Top Gun: 1986 to 2019

I wasn’t even born when “Top Gun” was released in 1986. Tom Cruise became a global star and Air Force Planes became a sensation for both men and women. The inverted plane maneuver is still one hell of a scene to watch.

It’s 2019. Trailer of “Top Gun: Maverick” has been released. Tom Cruise is the lead cast again. It looks promising though one shouldn’t bet against classics like that. But that isn’t the point.

In those 30+ years, while Cruise remained the lead cast / hero on screen, we went through the whole cycle of life. From Azaan in ears to passing through never-ending midlife crises.

Some of us got fat. Some went bald. White hair. Decaying skin. Decomposing. Some are unhappily married while others went through divorce happily.

Anyway, we hope, with our flop lives, that this movie will be a hit. We, the crowd, don’t like our stars to fail though our stars – our other stars – rarely align themselves.

“I’m going to need a beer to put these flames out.”

P.S. This one is for you. Not me. Because I ain’t bulky or bald.

Romanticizing Duffers in Paris

The business is same. 7 million tourists per year. To visit the steel tower. Why? Because movies say so. Celebrities keep that tower in the background of their pictures. Instagram. Models love to pose in front of it. It sells. And with that, Paris too. And consumers, the tourists, keep on coming like herd of sheep. Duffers!

It’s same elsewhere too. In Amsterdam, they have Red Light District. Tourists come even if they don’t want to fuck. They come. They spend. They visit. They roam. They spend a year’s savings in couple of days. But they don’t fuck. Yet they get fucked. Only they don’t know about it.

Well, why not enjoy the free stuff? Like sports on TV. Or do you want to be part of crowd to stand in queues for tickets, then fighting to enter, then finding the seat, then seeing the game with a binocular in one hand and selfie stick in other; posing for the world of social media which is waiting desperately for this particular duffer to illuminate their timelines.

Like. Like. Like. Heart. Love. Wow. For the ego. For self-confidence. For rest of the duffers to see the response on this duffer. Like mine. I will like yours.

Quid Pro Quo.

Even after following all their advertisements, we are tracked. Like inventory of Walmart.

Those who didn’t fit to the prescribed model of advertisements and monopoly and brands and trends; were out-casted. They were labeled. Traitors. Anti-nationals. Like Snowden. Like Assange.

And Assange is arrested. The founder of WikiLeaks is finally taken. The man who showed us a ray of hope in this ugly world of Orwell’s 1984, has disappeared.

Anyway,

Guess what? This sells too. Such words and books are cool. Also accepted and widely read. Writing about duffers has a market. A market of duffers. Not niche now. Every duffer believes he isn’t referred here. That’s his friend and everyone else. Not him. And that works. In writing. On laptop. In a hotel near Eiffel Tower.

Likes. Yikes!

In the Name of Zainabs – Our Daughters

There was a Zainab before. A blind girl.

In the times of Zia.

She was raped. Gang-raped.

But as she was blind and couldn’t identify the culprits, she was stoned.

Stoned to death for adultery.

The so-called “sharia” by Zia was imposed.

Just walk through the corridors of government or private organizations and you will find corruption at every corner of this country. Employees at lower grades are as corrupt as employees at top hierarchy.

Clerks are the ones that keep the pain alive. Employees in the field are the ones keeping the bribe system blooming. Shopkeepers, section officers, businessmen… almost everyone is corrupt. We have to verify a zillion times before making any purchase in this country.

Our kids, our generation, the innocent beings, are also not safe from our corruption. We feed them with impure milk. We raise them with bigotry and complexes. We trust strangers for their development. We send them to unsafe madrassahs and schools. We use them for our gains.

Most of the people, when asked about their kids, reply that they will help them in old age. That is it. Selfishness.

Lower the income bracket, higher the number of pregnancies. The only flourishing indicator of this country. And then they are left to face the miseries of life. Which is why they get into the wrong hands.
A Basic Health Unit (BHU) is given a minimum target of 60 deliveries per month. If less, an inquiry is held. Such is the ugly state of our “population control”.

Anyway, there is a question. Questions. What to do? How to keep our kids safe? Apparently the best solution is to take contraceptives. Let the kids stay in the heavens. But our selfish nature will not allow us to do that. Then what to do?

Schools are not safe. Madrassahs are not safe. Streets are not safe. Even relatives are not safe. What to do? There is no answer. There is only selfishness and misery. And misery will prevail for long. Because we see, we shout, and we become normal. Until we are jolted again.

Young Zainab’s father said that the head of JIT should be a Muslim. His consciousness is amazing. The rapist and killer of his daughter would most probably be a Muslim. The men behind child sexual abuse scandal of (2006-2014) were also Muslims. The state should be rid of this religion card by now. Our security, our existence, and our future is as stake; but we keep this card alive for personal benefits.

People are angry. There are episodes of anger.
Political parties are playing their political card.
Religious parties are playing their game.
The father of the unfortunate Zainab is also speaking in favour of the religious card.
Everyone is playing except those who are beyond the tags of conservative, liberal, Muslim, and non-Muslim “clichés”.

Mothers

Away from all these conspiracy theories reside our mothers.

The mothers who send their kids to schools even when they know they aren’t as safe as they were once.

Over a hundred mothers saw their little kids for the last time when they went to school on 16th December 2014.

There are mothers who are embracing the dead bodies of their young sons; in police uniform, military uniform, and also in no uniform; on a daily basis.

There are mothers who see their sons dying daily in the desperation of meeting the basics.

These mother get hurt daily.

Yet they never ceased the process of reproduction.

They give hope at the breakfast table and clean wounds at dinner.

Perhaps we inherited it from the fearless mother Fatima Jinnah.

Now I know why mothers in Palestine never stopped having kids.

It is not about death.

It is about life.

A Man, A Woman, & A Daughter

He saw the sleeping woman along with her daughter.

12 noon. June. Ugly weather.

Like others, he moved ahead. But that voice, the inner voice, that echoes in his brain like shrieks, didn’t let him move.

He had to come back from a mile.

He stopped his car.

Embarrassed.

Who is looking at him?

He called the woman. Why is she here? Why not at home?

The typical questions people with homes ask people without homes.

She told a typical story. A story such people usually tell. Liars. Lazy.

He gave her money and requested her to go where she lives. Then more money. He requested her to not do that to her daughter. She asked for a lift to a nearby stop.

All this happened because of a three year old daughter of hers. Or his.

That little girl. Playing around her sleeping mother. Clenched his heart. His moves. His time. His whole day.

His whole life.

And during all this, he didn’t dare look at the young girl. He couldn’t. He tried to look in the rearview mirror, but he was not that brave. He was a coward after all.

He remembers the whole episode. The words. The scene. The area. The temperature. The embarrassment. The time.

He remembers the feeling of being well-off equalizing the feeling of a sinner.

He remembers when the two worlds collide.

But he doesn’t remember the face of the protagonist of this episode. He couldn’t.

He is a coward.

He was afraid of seeing “her” instead of “her”.

Her. Who?

Cheat

His plan was simple. To cheat and get caught. And to be dumped by his wife. Simple as that.

She caught him. He confessed. She left. That was very easy for him.

To end the relationship, he chose the easiest path. He gave his wife the commonly-accepted-reason to end a relationship. And she did leave.

But what if she hadn’t?

Well that would have been double the fun. The crime would be “accepted”.

Yes you got the message right. But don’t get the messenger wrong.

Majority cheat because they cannot control themselves. And the rest cheat because they want to “control”.

You are Expected to be Present but…

No. you shouldn’t be doing this. Then what? Hmm. What is expected of you? Do that.

What your parents expect? What your friends expect? What your wife expects? What your kids expect?

Just do that.

You are expected to come home after your job. Directly. Do that.

You are expected to spend most of the weekend at home. Be it lying idle on the bed. Just do that.

You are expected to smile even when you don’t want to. Behave. Smile.

You are expected to laugh when you are the butt of the joke. Ha-ha. That’s it.

Get up early in the morning. Breakfast. Office. The ugly bosses. Yes. Do that. And don’t take lunch break today.

Come home on time. If there is work, inform. Don’t miss it. After the spanking from office, it’s time for home.

You are expected to pretend that you are waiting for the weekend. Excited for the weekend? Yeah.

Weekdays pass quicker. Monday is like the best day. But don’t you dare tell anyone, you abnormal human being. Friday is the non-nicest day of the week. See, my grammar!

Wake up. Sleep. Alarm. Snooze. You are late. You bloody…

You are expected to enjoy. Movies. Cricket. Football. And you actually enjoy these shits.

You are expected to yawn at long philosophical boring articles and books. But you don’t. Your six senses are only active at that time.

You are expected to date. You date. Then you are expected to marry. You marry. Then you are not expected to date. You don’t date. You are expected to carry on. You carry on. You cannot carry on all alone. You are dependent. You hate group tasks. There is a reason. But we don’t accept that.

You are expected to close your eyes when you kiss. You must moan while having sex. A little at least. Shiver. Orgasm. Have you had an orgasm? That is not an MCQ. The only answer to happiness is yes. What amazing sex you had. But you were thinking what the hell is that?

You are expected to love. But what is love? Is there a universal definition? Is the paradigm of love the same for all? Is there any metric to measure and rate it? No! Then what the hell is that? Is respect love? Is care love? Is empathy love? You are a loving person I guess. Yes you are. But if love is to get clingy, to look in the eyes, and to kiss regularly, then you are not in love.

You are not in love.

You are not present.

You are not in the moment.

You are not here.

Where the hell are you?

Lament for your sickness, and God won’t grant you death

It was a story about an old merchant, who lived a seemly and God-fearing life with his family, and went once with a comrade, a rich merchant, to the Makary.

Having stopped at an inn, the two merchants went to bed, and the next day the comrade was found murdered and robbed. The bloody knife was found under the old merchant’s pillow. The merchant was tried, punished with the knout, and, having had his nostrils slit, was sent to hard labor.

And so ten years or more go by after this affair. The old man lives at hard labor. Duly submits, does nothing bad. Only asks God for death. Good. And the convicts got together, a nightly thing, and the old man was with them. They started talking about who suffers for what, and what he’s guilty of before God. They began telling: this one killed a man, that one killed two, another set a fire, another was a runaway, so he did nothing. They started asking the old man: ‘What are you suffering for, grandpa?’ ‘I, my dear brothers,’ he says, ‘am suffering for my own and other people’s sins. I didn’t kill anybody, or take anything that wasn’t mine, but even gave to beggars. I, my dear brothers, was a merchant; I had great wealth.’ Thus and so, he says. That is, he told them how the whole thing went, in proper order. ‘I don’t grieve over myself,’ he says. ‘God, that is, has found me. I only pity my old woman and children.’ And so the old man wept. In their company there happened to be the very man who had killed the merchant. ‘Where did it happen, grandpa?’ he says. ‘When, in what month?’—he asked everything. His heart ached inside him. He goes up to the old man and—plop at his feet. ‘You’re perishing because of me, old man. It’s the real truth. This man is suffering, lads,’ he says, ‘guiltlessly and needlessly. I did that deed,’ he says, ‘and put the knife under your head while you slept. Forgive me, grandpa,’ he says, ‘for Christ’s sake.’”

And the old man says: ‘God will forgive you, and we’re all sinful before God, I’m suffering for my own sins.’ And he wept bitter tears. And what do you think, little falcon? This same murderer denounced himself to the authorities. ‘I killed six men,’ he says (he was a great villain), ‘but I’m sorriest for this old man. Let him not lament on account of me.’ He declared it: they wrote it down, duly sent a letter. This was a far-off place, it was a while before everything got done, all the papers filled out as they ought, to the authorities, that is. It went all the way to the Tsar. Time passed, the Tsar’s ukase came: release the merchant, give him a reward, as much as they decided. The paper came, they started searching for the old man. Where’s that old man who has suffered guiltlessly and needlessly? A paper has come from the Tsar. They started searching. But God had already forgiven him—he was dead.

(War & Peace – Leo Tolstoy – Page 1062)

Walli – With All Due Respect My Lord!

My Lord! You don’t know how much I’m going to love You and You cannot imagine the passionate sajdah that I will offer right on that moment of reunion… that sajdah which is better than a thousand nights of worship.

With all due respect my Lord! You cannot imagine it because you are not me.

Because you are not a human being

Because you are not in pain

Because you are not me, like I’m not You.

This is a relation between You and I

I ask,

I bear,

I cry,

I serve,

I accept,

I bleed,

I weep.

And You?

You give,

And forgive.

Just give me!

And forgive me!