Thursday, February 24, 2011

"I am not the only man to seek his fortune far from home, and certainly I am not the first. Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination."
From The Third and Final Continent, one of the short stories in Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Young and?

Close your eyes and breathe it in. The smell of grass growing out of melting puddles of snow, the smell of sunshine and new-bloom. Let's waste time and make dreams, do it until we're tired and giggling. Then let's do it all over again, for the rest of our days here. Let's not think beyond now, or today, or this moment right here, beyond these days. We're no longer young enough, but if time should have to stop, this is where we should let go of it and never ask for it back. Because the coming years won't make us any prettier than we are now. It's just right now these all-nighters won't kill us, only now that we have nothing to lose. What is a zit in the face of everyfuckingthing?We know we are blessed, how can we feel guilty about it all the time?
Don't ask what we've got to celebrate. That is a stupid thing to ask, if there ever was one. Just close your eyes and smile when the sun shines on you.
Why, you ask? Because you are beautiful young people, and you deserve to stand in this moment.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In my veins

are twisted streets, filth-filled alleys, a wreckage in the name of urban planning, the threat of bombs and blood and death, clear skies with no stars, excruciating summers with hours of no electricity. The face of  all that is deprived, and hopeless, and downtrodden. The stench of fish and sewerage, the musky smell of bodies in crowded bazaars, and dirty street-side food. The children and the disabled and the old, knocking on windows, begging and selling- begging for more than money, and selling more than flowers and tacky made-in China toys. Selling lives and blood and dreams.
In my veins are 4 am sunrises in a place that never went to sleep, waves crashing against hot sand, the feel of bug-infested grass under feet, skies in shades I will never find anywhere else, the vivid, nearly tangible threads of hope that clings- a whole life. And all the people who live in that universe that sprawls and sprawls and sprawls. That cruel, beautiful city- it's difficult to come from something that is more than around you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A friend of mine just turned 19, and her Facebook status is one of the most beautiful, uplifting things I have read in a while. And therefore:

"18, I'll miss you...
I stood on the top of an Italian mountain, galloped on the Mediterranean, graduated, swam in a little black dress, let someone go, became part of a sisterhood, toasted the sunrise on the Atlantic, ran through Times Square, lost a friend, gained many new friends, drank with a stranger, danced in Montreal, and learned what it means to simply be. A very big thank you to being in my life. Much love"

If that isn't beautiful, I don't know what is. And what makes it better is, I did many of the things she did.
So here's a late goodbye to 19 and 2010.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Because black and white is only just a color scheme, after all.

Friday, February 4, 2011

For someone who doesn't pray, I have a lot of faith in God. I suppose I no longer know what I am, and the term "Modern/Liberal Muslim" irks me. People like us aren't at peace with themselves simply because they live in a strange sort of uncertainty. I know which God I want to follow, but does that God want me to be following them? I'm definitely not doing enough for my God. But I'm not going to turn to some alternative version that caters to me and what I want, makes life easier. That's never been the answer.
I will not take the God's name in vain. I will not tattoo the Quran on my body. I will not wear Allah pendants, or the Ayat-ul-Kursi for decorative purposes. Does all of this make me sound holier than thou?
I don't restrict myself to halal meat. I respect people who do. I don't understand it when people insist on eating halal, but will drink alcohol. And there are many who do that. But perhaps this is some strange way of practicing faith, just as I have my own.
I do judge people. More than they know. More than it is my place to judge. And I ask for forgiveness everyday. But excuse my audacity if I don't know what it is that I seek forgiveness for. All my life I was taught not to take God's name in vain. The one thing I took away from faith was to be a good person. Does a good person pray regularly? Or do they avoid hurting other people? Or both? I was taught that there is a God, watching over everything. And I've never really forgotten it. While there are people all around me professing their atheism and their agnosticism, I turn to the only God I know and I pray for protection. From what? I don't know, but I suppose it's a certain loss of faith that I fear more than anything else.
We all need something to hold on to, and feeling abandoned by the one entity I place my trust in is more than I could handle.
We all need forgiveness. For a million things.