Donkey

He was 22 when she came into this world. That was his time to get what he wanted to get. The whole world. With a grip of his charm and smile. And he did.

Anyway, meaning being, she was zero when he was 22. Though zero came in 2018.

Back to chronology. He was 26 when he had his breakthrough. She was 4 then.

He was 30 when he stamped himself over a billion hearts. She was 8 then.

He was 35 when he visited Egypt and made his shirt more memorable than the Pyramids. She was 13 then.

A twist: He was 35 when he had an affair with a principal’s daughter. That principal was 58 at that time. Today, he is 58 but he is still in university and the principal has… well, the principal doesn’t matter because he retired.

He was 44 when he proved he wasn’t a terrorist. She was 22 and growing.

And then he became Dorian Gray.

Remember that curious case of Dorian Gray? No, not Benjamin Button. Dorian of Oscar Wilde. He stopped aging and the mirror got all the wrinkles. So, like Dorian, he also stopped aging. But she didn’t.

Now, she’s 36. He’s 58 – but considering the Dorian’s way of aging – he is 44. Stuck. And the two are together sharing as a couple. For you, it can be a difference of 22 but for him, it’s a difference of 8. Since she’s aging and he’s not, both will be 44 after 8 years.

This will be the story of Donkey. Inside sources. Could be wrong. Apologies.

Random Numbness – Nov 2023

The whole world is going down.

See local. Nawaz of 2013 was better than IK of 2018. But the current Nawaz is the worst form of Nawaz himself. Even though the film of filth is being run by the boys, the cast is being degraded without any substitutions.

Then we have hypocritical pains. We didn’t know about Uighur while playing the game in Yemen and – another while – kept on crying for Kashmir today. Even when Kashmir was undone, we stood in silence each week. Don’t know why.

Now, for Gaza, we have ultimate pain. Because we can’t do anything. But for Afghans, for whom we can do something, we don’t feel any pain. How does that work? It does.

By the way, by law, anyone born in Pakistan is a Pakistani citizen based on the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951. Yet, since we don’t like the neighbors – western ones, not eastern ones; though we don’t like them either – we are deporting them. 1.7 million. This can be considered as one of the ugliest crimes in modern times.

This is not just about one region of the world. The entire world is in the process of devolution. Maybe, all the good songs have been made and all the philosophies have already been written down, so there is nothing left to do. Except to use the weapons that have been made to kill.

To kill.

One of the first human instincts.

Then bury. The second instinct.

Then takeover the leftovers. Third instinct.

Then be remembered as a villain throughout the history. Not an instinct. It’s a lineage. A bloody lineage. The one who got killed, died. The one who killed, reproduced. Until, 8 billion.

8 billion galaxies. And so much deviation in the words. Like the galaxies themselves. Let’s all wish. For another Big Bang.

Forced Migration

Around 12 million migrated during the Partition of 1947. Roughly, 6 million had to leave Pakistan and 6 million had to leave India. Most of the migration happened within Punjab – that was once undivided. (The numbers vary according to different sources).

That wasn’t a happy migration.

The painful stories are part of our literature. Those tragedies lived for decades. Pick any Urdu writer and you will find the stories of painful migration. Manto, Shahab, Mumtaz Mufti, Ismat Chughtai, Intizar Hussain (my favorite short story writer), Ashfaq Ahmad, etc. all wrote in bits and pieces about the lost world.

Boota from Toba Tek Singh was not a Boota from Toba Tek Singh as he remembered but as you read in the story.

Apart from literature, there have been movies and dramas on sad stories of migration. An Indian movie titled ‘Garam Hawa’ (1974) captured the trauma in a very painful way.

Remember. Even when Prophet Muhammad PBUH had to migrate from his home city Mecca to Medina, He experienced sadness. He longed for his home in Mecca.

Today, we are seeing two tragedies. One is more painful for us than the other because of our bias.

People of Gaza are being forced to leave their homes. They are being killed. Their homes are being destroyed. Their entire neighborhoods have been bombed out, along with hospitals.

Thousands are dead and thousands are wounded. Even the memories of homes and streets and markets are being erased by Israel.

The other tragedy is of forced deportation of 1.7 million Afghans. They are being thrown out. They can’t carry cash more than Rs.50,000 to Afghanistan. They are selling their homes at cheaper prices as the deadline has already passed. Their businesses are being taken over at throwaway rates by their Pakistani facilitators.

Even those who lived here for two, three or even four decades are being deported. Their memories are being taken over. Their schools are no longer their schools. Their homes are no longer their homes.

After living as a second class citizens here in Pakistan, they are being displaced. To a land where no one wants to live under the Talibans.

If you compare the two, 0.7 million Gazans are suffering compared to 1.7 million Afghans. A million more. Obviously, the modes are different – as one is violent and the other one is physically enforced – but the sufferings are after all, inhumane.

Such are the tragic times. There are more tragedies too but these two are at a massive scale with millions involved. Condemn both with whatever mode of condemnation you can afford.

Badnight!

Hear My Plea!

Hear My Plea:

The hypocrisy at national level is not hypocrisy. Apparently. It’s state policy. And its worse than hypocrisy because it leads to bloodshed. But it is hypocrisy. Nevertheless.

Ukraine was owned and helped by the West. America felt the pain in particular. But Palestine didn’t ring a bell to them. Not even in western mainstream media which kept on showing the butchered as butcherers.

This weekend will tell the American Government how bad Biden has messed up this time. It’s like Vietnam’s time: Stop the war. People are coming to Washington. And people will demand the government to stop being an Israel’s puppet. Bad days for Biden. The only good thing he had was his inaugural speech after being elected. Since then, tripping and falling. With bad policies all over the world and at home, Trump is rising to haunt him.

Meanwhile, the noise in Pakistan has its own hypocrisy. They are pushing 1.7 million Afghans back to Afghanistan. Including those who are born and raised in Pakistan. These people will definitely suffer for a long time, wherever the road will take them to settle. Or unsettle.

Israel is invading lands and homes of the Palestinians.

Pakistan is organizing a mass exodus of Afghans after doing all the pimped jobs.

I know you can’t compare the two, but you can. Deep down you can. Unsettling and displacing a family to an unforeseen world is nothing less of a tragedy even if you compare.

Yet, we don’t feel the two pains. One remains numb. In fact, makes us happy. The other hurts us. The one that hurts us, is the one we cant do anything about. Except… some noise.

We all have our biases. We all have our compromised ethos, pathos, and logos. Governments work that way. Militaries too. And we too.

But I do wish.

And pray.

For the arms to be twisted.

For the armies to be demolished.

For the murderers to be murdered.

For the unsettler to be unsettled.

For the civilians to rise.

For the missing ones to be found.

For the slogans to be raised.

For the fights to be won.

Against any arm. Against any military.

Be it Israel.

Or be it…

Ending this for all the tragedies, anywhere in the world with shikwa of Faiz:

موری ارج سنو دست گیر پیر

hear my plea – O protector, O Pir!

مائی ری کہوں کاسے میں اپنے جیا کی پیر

O mother, how do I describe the anguish of my soul!

ربّا سچّیا توں تے آکھیا سی

O true Lord – well, you had said

جا اوئے بندیا جگ دا شاہ ہیں توں

go, O servant – king of the world are you

ساڈیاں نعمتاں تیریاں دولتاں نیں

my bounties are all for your benefit

ساڈا نیب تے عالیجاہ ہیں توں

my viceroy and of exalted rank are you

ایس لارے تے ٹور کد پچھیا ای

after this false promise, did you ever take any notice

کیہہ ایس نمانے تے بیتیاں نیں

what a miserable time we have been passing through

کدی سار وی لئی او ربّ سائیاں

did you bother to ever inquire – O Lord Master

ترے شاہ نال جگ کیہہ کیتیاں نیں

what the world has done to your king

کِتّے دھونس پولیس سرکار دی اے

in one place, there is the menace of police and state

کِتّے دھاندلی مال پٹوار دی اے

in another, there is cheating over land and money

اینج ہڈّاں چ کلپے جان مری

my very being aches to the bone in such a way

جیویں پھاہی چ کونج کرلاوندی اے

as the Koonj (crane), caught in the snare, shrieks!

چنگا شاہ بنایا ای ربّ سائیاں

a fine king you have made – O Lord Master

پولے کھاندے وار نہ آوندی اے

keeps bearing the humiliations of shoe-beatings

مینوں شاہی نئیں چاہیدی ربّ میرے

I don’t want kingship, my Lord

میں تے عزت دا ٹکّر منگناں ہاں

I ask just for a piece of bread, honorably-earned

مینوں تاہنگ نیئں، محلاں ماڑیاں دی

I have no desire for grand things like palaces

یں تے جیویں دی نکّر منگناں ہاں

I ask just for a corner to subsist in

میری منّیں تے تیریاں میں منّاں

heed me and I will heed you

یری سونہہ جے اک وی گلّ موڑاں

I swear to you that I’ll never refuse a single command

جے ایہہ سودا نیئں پجدا تیں ربّا

if this bargain is not acceptable to Thee, O Lord

فیر میں جاواں تے ربّ کوئی ہور لوڑاں

then I shall go and get some other Lord

موری ارج سنو دست گیر پیر

hear my plea, O protector, O Pir!

اس صورت سے

in this manner

عرض سناتے

presenting the plea

درد بتاتے

recounting the anguish

نیّا کھیتے

rowing the boat

مِنّت کرتے

making entreaty

رستہ تکتے

waiting expectantly

کتنی صدیاں بیت گئی ہیں

so many centuries have passed

اب جا کر یہ بھید کھلا ہے

at long last has emerged this secret

جس کو تم نے عرض گزاری

the one you had petitioned

جو تھا ہاتھ پکڑنے والا

the one who used to grasp your hand

جس جا لاگی ناؤ تمھاری

the place your boat found its mooring

جس سے دکھ کا دارو مانگا

the one you sought the cure for grief from

تورے مندر میں جو نہیں آیا

the one who came into your temple not

وہ تو تمہیں تھے

that was none other than you

وہ تو تمہیں تھے

that was none other than you

The Natives & The Palestine

There was an Australian Indigenous Voice referendum on 14th October. For aboriginals – the natives who have been living in Australia for centuries. The referendum rejected the voice. No to aboriginals from Australians.

This is a story like Native Americans (Red Indians) in America but a little better. At least Australians are having a debate. Or referendum. Regardless of the results.

Similarly, Canada issued regret and apology for the crimes their ancestors committed against the natives of the land.

Why these issues? Why these questions? Why now?

In the history of humans, the powerful have always captured the weak. It has always been like that. And it has always been glorified. Alexander. Saladin. Genghis. Richard. Leonidas. Babur. Napoleon. And many more.

That was the world order that has expired. With the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, a new way of diplomacy was formed and the world gradually turned into nation states.

But in any world order, in any war or crusade or attack; natives remained natives. Even if they migrated, they were not replaced forcefully. The idea of replacing the natives through power and changing the demographics of an area is one of the ugliest crimes in modern history.

Native Americans were replaced.
Aboriginals were replaced.
And that’s why true historians and people of conscience are sorry.

The same is the story of Kashmir where India is replacing the natives. Settling outsiders there. Changing the demographics with a plan and force. Hence, committing the ugly crime.

And that’s where Israel comes too. Settling foreign Jews in the land. With a purpose. With an idea. And with violence. Step by step, making the majority a minority. And turning the whole land into a war zone for the natives.

This is the crime. This is the controversy. And this is where the two – Israel and India – share a common ideology based on forced settlements.

Condemned.

Crusades happened but no one tried to make settlements through force. Whatever happened, happened organically and naturally.

Caliph Umar conquered Jerusalem in the year 637. He didn’t plan to make forced settlements. He respected the worship places of other faiths and Muslims were barred from not harming them. A treaty was signed for peace and people. Hence, a conquest ended.

Crusades happened. And the crusades ended too. Sometimes Christians won and other times Muslims. Ottomans made a long rule. Then came British rule. And then came the plan to make forced settlements. Hence, it’s an ugly human rights violation happening since 1947-48 and it’s not ending.

That’s the crux. That’s the crime. That’s where Israel becomes one of the ugliest villains in the history of humankind.

And that’s where come people of conscience who feel sorry for the natives of Palestine.

Rest, is a debate. Of faiths. Of power. And a land that has been bleeding since the first message.

Mint Margarita

One of the biggest modern day robberies in restaurants is of Mint Margarita. They charge as if they are offering Margaret with the Mint. Prices are like Rs.300 or Rs.400 per glass. Some places offer the same for over Rs.500.

All it has is iced water, mint, 7-Up and lemon. Some may add salt. That’s all. After some sips, there’s only ice hitting your brain more than your thirst. But people are obsessive about this particular drink.

Same goes with the lime water. A little cheaper than Mint Margarita but more or less, it’s nothing but a robbery.

Anyway, one has to drink something. Even water isn’t at regular price when you are inside. But still, it’s water. It is what it is. Like – or unlike – Coke.

Dear consumers! There’s no Margaret with Mint Margarita. It’s just iced mint. Stop being obsessive about it. Her.

American Murders

After Alex Murdaugh’s sentencing, one thing that comes in mind is that even though human history is full of murders but something isn’t right in America right now.

Here’s an epiphany:

Robbers and thieves murder for food or wealth. They have a reason or motivation, sometimes accidentally; but they do it to gain something or to remove the witness.

Some murder for revenge. A clear motivation.

Some murder to hurt a particular person. Another clear motivation.

And there can be other reasons. All wrong but there is always something behind the ugly action.

But America’s recent history of murders – and mass murders – is insane. Convictions have shown that murderers murder for fun there. Murder to taste blood. Murder for the sake of murder only. No clear motivation. No revenge. Nothing. Just murder. For fun.

Like the recent case of Bryan Christopher Kohberger who stabbed and murdered 4 students.

And some, when they aren’t caught, goes into a habit until they are caught. For example, in a small Muslim community of Albuquerque, New Mexico, a man is killed every once in a while and murderer is yet to be caught as there is no dot to connect between the random murders, except the pattern of murdering.

Maybe it is something like rape when rapists don’t enforce themselves on others for sexual pleasure but to show power.

Remember that serial rapist Marc O’Leary? He did once. Didn’t get caught. So he went into this habit and was only caught accidentally. Sexual pleasure was secondly for him.

School shootings are usual news in the US. Kids are perhaps as much unsafe there as they are in Afghanistan. Other countries wake up from slumber when their schools are targeted and the US is still debating about freedom of guns and bullets.

Anyway. It’s insane. America is giving tough time to Russia and China at global level, but deep down the society at individual level is scary as hell.

As if every murderer there is an American Psycho – who is into murders and executions just for fun or addiction.

It’s debatable. This epiphany. But if something is wrong with a murder anywhere, then something is insanely wrong with murders in America.

Russia’s War

Russia attacked Ukraine in Feb 2022. It’s September 2022. Ukraine is yet to be conquered. Or defeated. How embarrassing is that for the not-so-red army?

Let me rephrase.

Russia has the biggest arsenal of A-Bombs. It spends around $70 billion annually on its military with active personnel of over 1 million and over 2 million in reserve. This country has its own R&D in weapons and is a provider of tanks, jets and weapons to the world.

In comparison to that, Ukraine has an annual military budget of less than $5 billion with zero A-Bombs. It has less than 0.2 million active personnel and less than 1 million in reserve. And it doesn’t export war weapons or equipment at a massive scale.

Right now, Russia is considering the import of weapons from North Korea. Yes, it is embarrassing.

Just recently, the Ukrainian army was able to re-capture lands from the Russian army. The tussle between one of the biggest vs one of the smallest is not ending any time soon.

Now visualize how stupid you are.

There is another country that has weapons of mass destructions. A-Bombs. Arsenals. Depots. Long-range and short-range missiles. One of the biggest armies. One of the finest air forces. Navy. Everything. Yet the country remains an insecure state – internally and externally.

Two choppers can penetrate around 200-km and operate, kill and go back out of a military city, yet no one bothers. The largest province can fall under the fate of collateral damage, yet nothing shakes. Dig the earth and out come missing bodies. Or you may land on a landmine and the ashes of your body may spread in the air with the wind blowing from east to west…  because humans are insecure.

This insecure state goes into talks with their bloody foes every once in a while, to be in conflict again, again and again, so that people won’t be able to forget 144 or 444, and the holy war of blood continues forever. And ever. This goes on and on because you are myopic with the least idea of history of mankind. Of any kind.

When flood comes, we have nothing to offer. We let the bodies float. Their homes. Their crops. And their whole existence and decades to come. We beg the world for help. Because we have utilized all our funds already on least important priorities. The Finance Miftah has already taken the last bite from not-yet-drowned struggling lives. For him too, priorities are based on taxing those who are barely surviving.  

The world order has changed. It is not about territorial gains anymore. It is about capitalism, MNCs, wealth, technology, education and smartness. America left Afghanistan because it was expensive to sit on a land which has absolutely nothing to offer to humankind. Idiots think that America lost in Afghanistan. Well, the loser has an American Dream that every fragile ego wants to dream while the winner has yet to see a railway track or a proper school. Twisted idiots.

Ukraine is an example that reveals how brainwashed you are. You already have enough to defend against a giant army. You already have enough to defend against anyone. Your insecurity and all the internal follies and the games with blood are all related to certain duffers on the top who are addicted to vampirism. Even in the worst of economic times, the deep state made sure that their funds won’t suffer. Let the whole country suffer. When the whole country suffers, the whole country shall look for boys. Then boys shall come. In choppers. Throwing food. Man-o-salwa. Play this on repeat.

See how stupid you are?

You need unbureaucratic institutions. A human version of police. Non-political military in barracks with scrutiny. Highly funded R&D. Science based schools, colleges, and universities. Liberal arts. Acceptance. Rationality. And a little minding of your own fuckin’ business without poking your circumcised brain in every other belief system.

Queen

Her majesty is gone.
Took too long.
His Majesty has taken the throne.
And you have His Highness all along.

Everything rhymes these days. Cool.

By the way, the actual hero who died in recent days was Mikhail Gorbachev of Russia who ruled from 1985 to 1991. He stopped the red bloodshed and made smooth transition to peace after fall of Soviet Union. He was way ahead of his time and was not blamed for corruption even by his enemies.

Even the strongests die. Doesn’t matter. Everyone dies. What matters is how you lived and loved. Here, in this part of the world, we die randomly. Random incidents and accidents. Flood has taken a whole generation to decades back where people have to start struggling and living their lives from point zero.

Maybe, someday, we will start valuing LIFE here, which is as vulnerable as a dream but as impactful as a bad nightmare.

Random Numbness – Hated Ideas and Nostalgia

Cold War between America and USSR made the way to space. Just to attack each other’s capital at a distance of 7,816-km through rockets, the two went up in the air. Up, up, Until space. And then moon. Cold War is the reason that world is getting into the extended universe today. Interstellar.

Capitalism is the reason people have stuff. So much stuff, inside and out. Cars. Mobiles. Laptops. Clothes. Shoes. And hundreds of unnecessary things. Capitalism has offered cheap fast food 24/7. Globalization and McDonalization. You can tap your screen and anything will be at your doorstep at a pretty competitive price. The connected world through smartphones and internet at almost ZERO charges (as you are the product in such cases) is a blessing (in disguise) of capitalism. No more expensive calls or long awaited letters.

Colonialism had its own givings. Rails reached all across the world from UK within three decades only because of colonialism. The tracks were constructed in Africa and Asia which failed to expand after colonialism collapsed. Afghanistan has none even today.

Colonialism is also a reason that world have maps today. When Europeans sailed into oceans to find and conquer new worlds, they made maps. East India Company gave India its first accurate and comprehensive map. The same colonizers found heritage sites like Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro which were nothing of concern for locals.

Colonialists came with technology. They built dams and dug canals. Made new cities with new businesses and banks. Some of the giant cities of South Asia were established / expanded by the British Raj; including Karachi, Calcutta and Mumbai. Our tourism hotspot – Murree – has also a colonial history. Every major city of South Aisa has Raj’s monuments, schools, universities, hospitals, roads, bridges, tracks, museums, libraries, etc.

Spanish Colonialists went to North and South America and made their ways there. All the colonizers were cruel and unsympathetic, no disagreement. They annihilated some of the oldest tribes in America, Australia, Africa and New Zealand. There is not a single New Zealander aboriginal alive today.

New Zealand didn’t even exist for humans as no one reached there till 800 years ago. Today, we have Kiwis who lose finals in Cricket and Lord of the Rings.

Darwin and his theory of evolution also resulted through colonization. He was part of a sailing mission to find and conquer new world. European colonizers used to set voyages with scientists, botanists, etc. So came Darwin in one of the voyages of Royal Navy. He collected and studied species across the world for years and thus evolved Darwinism.

A thousand years back, Asians ruled the world, Europeans didn’t count, and America didn’t exist. People feared the giant armies of Asian Empires, particularly of Arab, Turkish, and Chinese. But they were least innovative and had no thirst of finding new worlds beyond oceans. They just wanted to rule Asia.

For example, gunpowder was innovated in China. For 600 years, it was used in fireworks only, and no one thought to use it as a weapon. But then, one day, Constantinople’s walls were bombarded by gunpowder by Turks. Fateh!

Anyway, when Europe was thirsting around the world and finding America and Australia, Asia was busy fighting Asians. When Europe was rising from ashes with ships, warships, companies, banks, royal armies, scientists, innovation, rails, and technology; Asians had swords and elephants. Soon, Asian giants succumbed to mere couple of hundreds of Europeans. A few intelligent and cunning colonizers conquered the rich world of Indus and Ganges.

Such is the history of the world. Cruel.

No one talks about the Russian soldier who was wounded in snow when Napoleon came. We don’t even know the history of common people and their sufferings. We know the history of emperors and empires only. Only fiction based on true events told us some actual stories. War & Peace of Leo Tolstoy told us that the wounded soldier staring the sky was Andrei Nikolayevich Bolkonsky. Relax! It’s a fictional character. Just like Zia of A Case of Exploding Mangoes. Pun intended!

After all, fiction is the powerful imagination of the unheard.

Greed made every single product around us. Capitalism made this whole world of today. We were going to be a century back (comparatively, not genuinely) without capitalism. Wars made new empires. Empires made nations. Nations bacame states. States give us goosebumps today with looney-tunes on parade days.

And then the system brainwashes you. Let me give you an example.

Mass transit is a system for public. A service. There can be debates and disagreements but the state makes you think that it’s a burden on nation. The service is not generating enough revenues and is running on government support on taxpayers money. And you forget, you are the taxpayer and it’s a service for you. You keep your eyes close on huge useless military budgets. You have no questions for fencing and unfencing of the border. You have no issue on hundreds of billions utilized on houses of generals, governors, ministers, bureaucrats and their luxury kitchens and cars and roads to their homes; but, metro is a burden. And you debate these burdens with your friends. This is the system and you just keep on playing as a pawn for the queen.

Nothing catchy in homeland. Any homeland It’s just the business of the riches that makes you a patriot. Or a traitor.

By the way, are you a fan of Shahrukh Khan? Haven’t seen a human-brand bigger than him. The tunes of his songs takes us back to late 90s and early 00s. Nostalgic compositions of A. R. Rehman, the finest one after R. D. Burman.

Easy! It’s Random Numbness. SRK can have a cameo appearance anytime.

90s had its nostalgic charm. Telephones were there but no smartphones. Computers but no laptops. CDs and DVDs were the game changers but VCRs and casettes were alive. Marriages were organized mostly on streets. And 80s. 70s. 40s. 1800s. As Sylvia Plath wrote, “I’m nostalgic for a place that doesn’t exist. I’m homesick for lips I’ve never kissed.

Nothing serious. His Highness didn’t post anything new for last some weeks. So, here is this Random Numbness on ideas / ideologies we hate but these ideas / ideologies shaped us. And the world around us.

Ending this with John Lennon:

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV,
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free.
But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see,
A working class hero is something to be.