The Newspaper Memories

“People don’t actually read newspapers.  They step into them every morning like a hot bath.”
Marshall McLuhan

There are hardly any memories I have from my childhood. Most of my memories have either been forgotten or repressed in some corner of my mind.

But one of these memories is a visual so strong, stuck in my head. A moment filled with a weird sense of peace, tranquility and warmth.

In my early years, I lived with my parent in the capital city of Saudi Arabia, a beautiful and rich country. That is where I had my primary schooling. Every morning my father would drop me to school at almost the same time. On the way to school, he would stop the car at a shop which sold food and newspapers, known as (Bakala) in Saudi Arabia.

We would get out of the car and go inside the shop, my father told me to go take whatever I want, while he stood at the newspaper stand, searching for the Urdu News, once he had the paper he would pay the shopkeeper, take my hand and walk me back to the car. He then sat inside the car and opened the paper, and for the next five minutes he would scan the headlines of the day.

“The newspaper is a greater treasure to the people than uncounted millions of gold.”
Henry Ward Beecher

I distinctly remember the crackling sound of leafs turning, the posture and focused sight of my dad’s face. Looking and scanning the newspaper, turning the pages. Then he turned the side of the paper in his right hand as he looked at his watch, and coming back to reality he would neatly fold the paper in four turns, place it on the handbrake and move forward.

Now that I think of it, as to why I remember this scenario in most detail, I feel a sense of warmth and security in this gesture. The aura of a man immersed in the task of reading a newspaper makes him so grandiose and noble. There something so poetic, so beautiful and warm about a man engrossed in the world of thin grey sheets and yet so aware of the world outside those sheets.

It’s a pity that now twenty years later; I rarely see a soul with a newspaper and a watch. The scarcity of newspaper culture implies that not many children would feel and witness this security and warmth which I was fortunate enough to experience.

With the mobile phone becoming a view port for the world, the fathers of today read the news on the screen which has no crackling music of turning paper and no firm twisting of the wrist to give their family and children that silent and secure experience.

The watches have become status symbols, the leather bands which once fit the wrist have turned to the free moving metal Rolex, which takes a jerk of the hand and arm to bring the watch in view of one’s eye. People take pride in holding the iPhone X as it makes them look rich.

But the combination of the firm, wrist hugging, leather band watch, which demanded an elegant classic turn of the hand to take note of time, and the thin grey sheets of black and white have long been lost.

 

The Essence of Life

Go back in time to a dream you first saw. That dream which you confused with reality. Or was it a reality which you perceived to be a dream? The souls exist in the back of your mind, those conversations which supposedly happened in front of your eyes, that house which was once your home, the house which might not exist anymore. Now you go ahead and shut your eyes, you are already living way too many lives. Take a deep breath so that the air may travel to your heart; make this connection to what is a world apart. The past which was once in the innocence of your childhood may show you the intimate threads of connection. You see yourself where and there is where you live, the place where your child self is not at all afraid. He is safer, he is calmer, he is once again curious. He is excited about the future with no memories of the past, and that is the past which you long for, a past which was the present with no memories of the past.

The house that you visualize is yours alone. You live in peaceful solitude, as you visualize your private, warm corners in that dim lit room. You are connected to yourself and your beautiful pure soul. The air is light, blurry is your sight, but it is and will always be yours and yours alone.

It’s vast, it’s far and wide. It is as you saw it as a little knight, fighting your emotions, accepting what you have without the knowledge of it being real or a dream perhaps. The movement is smooth; you walk through that room, up the stairs as you rise, the compassion, passion and butterflies. You are eager, curious to explore that house; a space which you think is only without. But, you have to know, just, need to know, the house is not without, but a space within. Every dream you ever had with open eyes, every second you were lost in the well of thought, you explored the depths of your own existence and reunited the fragments of the treasure of memory; the calm and hopeful treasure and the very essence of life.

 

Healing

A layer of metal under my skin.

A protection for what is fragile.

So you can’t tear my beautiful fin.

My heart and soul is bright and agile.

I healed myself by myself.

I healed all that was to heal.

You broke nothing, you should know.

All your efforts are a fail.

Do me a favour and ask youself,

What your words worth ehat you lost?

My heart and soul are synced too well,

For negativity to penetrate the shell.

If your vision told you the worst,

Why did you tolerate me thus?

For all so long you dragged me on,

Then I’m hanging and you’re gone.

But doesn’t it all matter no more

Since my life is so much better than yours.

Whatever you judge of me

Only be a reflection of thee.

Whatever you claim it is

Says what in your heart besits.

Now my heart and I are so free

Of thee and all other adversity.

I shall breathe the long and happy breath

Deep and relaxing it shall be.

I will live with a purpose and genuine beam,

This ignorance shall never make me scream.

TRY

You tried so hard, you tried consistently.

You say you did, but, did you really?

You seem unhappy, you are always depressed.

It takes the best of you and you claim to have panic attacks.

But all you do is ‘try’.

Why is it that you ‘try’?

You dont ‘do’ you just ‘try’.

You try to fight for what you want.

You try to fix what went wrong.

Is it that you console yourself?

Or is it that you actually ‘try’?

Because, what you and I, both don’t realise is that ‘trying’ is a ‘thought’ and not an ‘act’.

‘Try’ is a ‘barrier’, a ‘hurdle’, a ‘rock’.

So don’t you ‘try’, don’t you dare ‘try’.

Just do what you can, and then do what you can’t.

Do that which is ‘mad’, do that which is ‘bad’.

Do that which is ‘wrong’, do that what makes you ‘strong’.

Because whether you like it or not.

“YOU ARE DYING ALONE”.

The Perfect Pen

Art is a word. It is just a three letter word, a sound one makes from their mouths, like every other sound we produce to talk, express or impress. But it is the meanings, the romanticism, the clichés and all the other vast meaning we attach to this word which need to be contemplated. We describe things we don’t understand as art. We label thing we refuse to understand as art. And once we have done that, we attach the idea of madness with the one who forms the art. The artist is widely known as mad and eccentric.

Another way we see art or artist is a person who creates visuals out of paint and brush and other tools. The instruments and gizmos used to create what the eye can see and the mind can name, tools which are used with sheer level of skill to create visuals, so pure and perfect to be named with one’s mind and held with one’s eyes.

But little do we understand that art in itself is a word so fluid, it can be used to appreciate anything and every skill which exists on planet earth and beyond its horizons. But there’s a condition, the idea and skill behind anything called art should be nothing less than the excellent and exceptional.

One of my favorite quotes, from a brilliant movie describes this, and i.e. the idea: “Not everyone can become a great artist, but great art can come from anywhere.” And that is exactly what distinguishes the ordinary from the extraordinary. The ability to take a leap of faith, to think the new, to understand the existing, and to observe the ordinary from a phenomenal, unprecedented angle leading to an excellence of consciousness and instinct together working on producing the “new”.

ART: The Essence of Life

Art come in all forms, from the mother excellent at cooking breakfast pancakes to the painter, who is a master at using his brush, and the writer who uses his pen in the ambition to make a change. The tool, the idea, the conscious, the subconscious, the knowledge and the ignorance; all of it together becomes the perfect pen. And a pen is the agent for recording the essence of life. And that record is ART.

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Empty Souls by Muhammad Ali Bhatti

 

Yearn

She is addicted. She is fine. She isn’t fine. She doesn’t know. Yet she knows. She cares. She is taken care of. She smokes. She breathes. She drinks and eats. Yet everyday her addiction increases, her heart beats faster, she tries to stay normal. But then she thinks to herself this isn’t normal. But what is normal, and what is the reason? She can’t answer that. She can only ask. She is superficial, double faced and very judgmental. She is kind, open hearted and loving. She is normal. Because normal is a word of great meaning.

From time to time, she has flashbacks. She judges herself, her memories and her life.  She thinks of all the things she has messed up. Everyone she has hurt. But there is no way to make things right, because time has passed, days have become nights. But little does she acknowledge how right now is.

She remembers all the ex-boyfriends she has had, and she knows there is no one she loved. Yet when she was asked if the words of the song playing in the background had any meaning for her, she had said yes. A yes that was confident. A yes that meant, “YES”. But the truth remains as it is. She had never felt for anyone. Or maybe she did, but her conscience was never ready to accept. Her conscience believed she was a sinner and a liar. And this is why, on this day, as she sat and wrote everything that was anything. She was imagining herself in a place that was beyond her reach and yet so close. It was out in the universe yet in her heart. It was in the arms of the man standing right next to her. “If only I was prettier, and better as a person. If only I could be something he would want. If only I had a heart which was pure. If only I was as smart and intelligent to be considered an option.” She knew she was better. Better than all people and all women in her sight. But she had a past filled with darkness. She was comfortable being there. She couldn’t step out of it. It was her home. And he was light. She had recognized the light way long ago.  Yet she opted for the darkness. She chose darkness. She slept with darkness. She regretted her existence and walked back in to darkness.

But now as she sits and writes everything that was anything. She has finally realized, she want his light. She wants to be his home. The person he would come back to and never want to leave. But she knows it is beyond her reach so she decides: “I will watch, I will attend, admire and care. But I will do all from afar and never near. I might not be in love now, I might be heartless now. But he is whom I want. He is the one I want to love. May I fall so deep and never return. This may be my wish and I will forever yearn.”

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The Statue by Khalil Gibran

Once there lived a man among the hills who possessed a statue wrought by an ancient master. It lay at his door face downward and he was not mindful of it.

One day there passed by his house a man from the city, a man of knowledge, and seeing the statue he inquired of the owner if he would sell it.

The owner laughed and said, “And pray who would want to buy that dull and dirty stone?”

The man from the city said, “I will give you this piece of silver for it.”

And the other man was astonished and delighted.

The statue was removed to the city, upon the back of an elephant. And after many moons the man from the hills visited the city, and as he walked the streets he saw a crowd before a shop, and a man with a loud voice was crying, “Come ye in and behold the most beautiful, the most wonderful statue in all the world. Only two silver pieces to look upon this most marvelous work of a master.”

Thereupon the man from the hills paid two silver pieces and entered the shop to see the statue that he himself had sold for one piece of silver.

 

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Khalil Gibran Museum at Bchare in Lebanon