Archive for art

Madness

Wednesday – 22 Zilhaj 1428 – 13 Pausa 1929 – 02 January 2008

I do not refer to my unbelievably fickle nature with depression and sadness. Over the past couple of months I have been fighting very hard against my moods of depression. I would like to say that at any given time I am either a man of happiness and sunshine or of sadness and lamentation. And in that period of time I see only that particular taste of time till the end of time. Fickle I would agree. But, it adds tastes to life not expected by so many. And of course of the recently polled 149 friends, family, colleagues and acquantances 134 declared me absolutely insane and unpredictable, 10 said I wanted to seem different and hence overacted, and of course 5 wanted to go to the bathroom and said “To hell with your questions overly fat and irritating bitch, where the hell is the can???”. I rest my case.

The madness I refer to is what I see around me. My country, my society, my people, my land. I met with a very dear friend from Hyderabad. Yes, yes, I know, only people above fifty are allowed to use the word dear friend, but, fuck off, grow up, go kick yourselves in the nuts, I will do what I want to do. He was telling me about the absolutely insane violence that took place in his city. So did it happen in Karachi.

My cousins, who were in from the US forced me to take them out on the New Years Eve. I didnt want to go. I did. I saw everything. What had become of my city. The closed shops. The dark streets. The empty roads. I cried. I cried in the car. They asked me what it was. I stopped crying. They can not share in my pain. I needed someone who loved those streets as much as I did to be able to understand.

And here, I would like to share with you all something that went through my mind during a split second of the drive. I am walking across the India – Pakistan border.  When they try to stop me I run across it and declare “I demand political asylum because I am an Agnostic and the country behind me is a Taliban / Warlord hellhole”. The Indians do not say anything. They look at me with understanding eyes and let me walk on. I cross the guards. I look back. I look at the gate on the border with the Crescent and the Star. I know that my country descended into chaos. Another Afghanistan, another Baghdad. I saw it happen. And as I looked back across the border, I felt the pain of loss. Loss of each element of my existence. The sum of my being defined by a symbol that had restricted my world to what I ended up learning to love so strongly. Ghazal singers and Sufi Rock. Dawn newspaper and tv channel. As these images go through my mind I start walking back towards the Pakistani border. Something pulling me back. Towards destruction. Towards oblivion. But, the ability to think and process and decide rationally had left me. There was only one thing. Pleasure and pain, and the knowledge of eternal pleasure in the company of what I know and accept. And as I walk towards the border I am torn into two, one who wants to grasp at the last dying embers of what I love and cherish and hold above everything in the world, and the other who has the knowledge that seeing the destruction of a part of this whole would finish me. Yet again, as in my personal life, I am torn between two paths that both lead to oblivious destruction, I can not choose, and I can not decide, they are both right and they are both wrong. Am I only trying to run away from the questions by forcing so sudden a decision? As I walk towards the border, I fall down. I break down. I start to cry. A sound comes out of my throat like the primeval cry of an animal in pain. I dont know where it is coming from. Maybe it is coming from Pakistan. Maybe. And the images flash at me with increasing intensity. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan singing Pakistan Pakistan. The Azan of the Muazzin from my old home. I fall to the ground. Old late 80s PTV song / jingle that was played before the Khabarnama. I start to pull my body across the gravel towards the border. Jinnah Mausoleum along the MA Jinnah road covered in a soup of Rickshaw vomit. I know that I am going to die. Sunset from the Clifton beach on a winter afternoon. I know that I must cross the border before the inevitable. The large pothole on the road to my house due to which I had to drive on the wrong lane each and every day. I scrabble like a mad man on the gravel, making a lot of effort but little progress. The Kabab Fry from Burns Road. The Indian guards who had tried to stop me have just now let me be; they understand. Nayyara Noor singing Faiz Ahmed Faiz – خیر ہو تیری لیلائوں کی. I think my hand has hit the border; and now, I can finally die in peace. I turn over, on the border. Saadat Hasan Manto. Pakistan Paindabad. And all is peace forever.

 پاکستان پائندہ باد

Clashing Sounds

Sunday – 09 Rajab 1424 – 16 Bhadra 1925 – 07 September 2003  

i was told that i am a freak 5 mins ago. by my mom. i was listening to my music. usually the problem is that childrean listen to NEW forms of music and parents dont like that. here. i listen to classical forms of music and my mom calls it a cacophony of clamourous sounds. go figure.

well i listen to classical and semi classical south asian music. the raaga. the ghazal. the thumri. the geet. now that the background is done i will proceed.

currently everyone at my home laughs at my music and calls me dead man. lots of eye rolling and messaging about it all the time. that is not it. except for everyone in my house. everyone i know in person laughs at it as well. it seems that my music is so strange that everyone laughs at it. my musical choice has been the topic of many a joke and comment even places where i wasnt present.

well this is ovbviously depressing. i havent come across any one after my university who is nearly my age by about 20 years and shares my musical taste. well i dont know what to say. their loss. a man screaming your loss in the face of 100 % of the other people his age and beloging to his country.

what the FUCK! is wrong with me. why the FUCK do i listen to classical or semi classical music. when people laugh at it and say who died why are you listening to this. and people have actually started laughing when i told them what i listen to. i mean come on. i think given a choice the social stigma will be more for me due to what i listen than due even to my sexual orientation.

oh he is gay … too bad … but he is a nice person.

WHAT !!! he is 22 and he listens to ghazals and raagas … KEEP AWAY FROM HIM !!! i dont want you mixing with people like that.

i am terribly depressed. i seem to be fond of something that can only be seen as an affliction. it is so horrible and terrifying that people shy away from it. it is so ridiculously funny that people laugh alond at its mention. what the FUCK!!!

i am very very depressed. i cant be gay. now i cant listen to my music. why the hell cant i get even a small break. what the FUCK!!! music DAMNIT it is only MUSIC !!!

Roohi

Sunday – 09 Rajab 1424 – 16 Bhadra 1925 – 07 September 2003 

i saw a drama today. “roohi” casting ‘talat hussain’. well lets just say that anyone who can understand urdu. who likes beautiful things. who can appreciate a drama. has to watch it. if you dont watch it you will lose something. you will lose something. watch it. please. i beg of you. watch it.

the acting. oh dear dear lord. the acting. talat hussain and the girl. it is wonderful . the subtle subtle hints. the hints that i can understand as a pakistani. the ghazal being played at a certain point and the wording telling you what is going on. the music being played to heighten or dampen the mood. the way the actors had small … minute eye movements and worlds of meanings that they held in them.

the subtle subtle things. and the big big meanings. barefoot in the library showing casual as opposed to formal. the way talat is shown and the very very subtle things in which i can see a man who has the morals of a pakistani from a well educated background and who grew up in 1950s and 1960s. oh it is a wonderful drama. you have to watch it. have to.

i am in a wonderous mood right now because of that. it was like i was touched by a ray from heaven. the beauty. the aesthetic. the touch. the feel. the desire. the passion. the ‘haya’. the ‘hijab’. the aura. the whole feeling of the art of drama touching the epitome of sublime beauty and me watching it. and the ability to share it with someone else, in this case my cousin. it was wonderful. i hope all of you as wonderous evenings as i had today.

pakistan has a very rich tradition of tv dramas. until the late 80s pakistan saw only one tv channel. pakistan television ptv. and they used to show a drama every night between 8 pm and 9 pm. there used to be 4 quarters in a year and 13 episodes in every quarter. there were times when between 8 pm and 9 pm the streets of karachi used to be deserted. throughfares and main roads were emptyish. everyone used to watch the dramas.

and they were excellent. in the script. in the acting. in the directing. in the sets. in the expression. in the settings. everything. they used to be excellent. the art was carried to new heights in pakistan. tv drama. called “drama” lovingly by millions of pakistanis. it was our art. we mastered it. we took it to its zenith. the drama reached its peak in the 80s. tanhaaiyan, waris … well known pieces of art.

unfortunately the art of the drama has gone down now. maybe itll resurrect some day later. but by god it was a marvellous time while it lasted. i hope comes back.