14 December 2011

Serengeti Cindrella!

The rules of Serengeti have been laid down for centuries for one reason-Survival! It contains the collective intelligence of millions of years.There is a reason why the Tiger hunts down Gazelle and Snakes gobble Rats.If you wonder why doesn't the Elephants stomp on rabbits and eat them instead of starving for months to find a particular tree to chomp on leaves,the answer is a simple process called Evolution!

That's why the story of Layla,the strong hearted, stubborn but tender Lioness from Serengeti and Raja,the intelligent,arrogant but skillful Snow Leopard from Maasai Mara is unique.

They came together for survival in a strange migratory land in the plains of Maasai Mara.It had been fourteen months of drought,the longest ever both had witnessed.Layla had to feed her little precocious cub,Luna, while Raja was looking for a land to call his own. As the drought continued, Raja realized he needed a partner to conquer this land. As he saw the strong lioness migrated from Serengeti walk towards the plain, he decided to do what no other Leopard has ever done before him for millions of years. Make a Lioness as his partner in hunting. He showed Layla the lay of the land.

In the jungle, everyone has to earn their keep. To Raja's surprise, Layla proved to be more than a worthy partner.She surprised him with her moves striking with less energy while Raja would strategize for hours changing positions ten times before a kill. Raja's stealth matched Layla's straightforward kill.Together, bound by survival,they forged an unknown,unusual, unique bond.Their differences vanished under the stars filled sky as they shared stories of plains filed with rivers and beautiful deers. When the survival instinct recedes, when the necessary niceties go away, you peel a layer that's more honest and true. That's where Raja saw Layla's unique way of seeing life in the Jungle and realized how similar they were spiritually. They both 'kill for necessity"and not for the joy of hunting. They shared tid bits of their life that revealed a master canvass of each other that was being painted on each other's psyche. It was a controlled revelation yet contained nuggets of truth that both knew contained precious vulnerability. They shared in trust knowing the other could usurp the land. First hesitantly, then willingly, and on some days when their respective individualistic free animal spirit took over, none whatsoever.

In the plains of Maasai Mara, they climbed trees, hid low in the grass and counted the star streaks in the open sky together. They left clues in the trail and met at the rendezvous point in the wee hours of winter mornings. It was only a matter of time before one of them did the unthinkable. As always, it turned out to be the impulsive Leopard,Raja. He fell for Layla. He knew about her cubs, her pride but he also knew this was not based on survival probability or prosperity in the plains.This was purely a soul connection that tugged at his heart during lonely hunting nights. There was a need for sensing each other in the core that reassured and replenished each moment together with content and bliss but at same time light and warm in the grassy playground with tender touch.

Life is transient in the plains.It is cruel, unforgiving and hits you hard with reality. Raja knew he was holding on to Layla because his kill had a purpose beyond feeding oneself. When they hunted together, plotting each move, matching each one's step, arriving at same pace,backing away at right moment before plunging on the prey, what got killed was lost in their minds and what mattered most was what got created in their hearts. Raja knew the truth in that moment that Layla makes him alive. With her, it's not surviving the plains but living the plains. He felt sure that Layla felt the same. He knew that their time together was the soul nourishment that fueled the time in between when they were not together and his days were not counted by the Sun but by the intervals between their meetings. It had nothing to do with other members of his species or hers. He felt the bond that he knew was special and wanted to believe Layla felt the same.

Raja decided to let Layla know his feelings. What better way to let her know than by sacrificing his kill for her ? As Layla looked at his elaborate hunt laying infront of her, she withdrew. She wasn't sure what Raja needed. She couldn't believe that this Leopard would be so stupid to pursue someone who was from a different species altogether.The biology, anatomy and physics, all of them denied together in her core. This created a slow rift as Layla felt conflicted. Raja knew he can wait as one day Layla would know he meant the eternal bond that defied everything she knew but Layla began to sense the danger in this relationship.While she was thankful on one hand,she had a hard time categorizing this bond between them. After all, they were two independent cats responsible for their own members of their family with fear of revealing too much as they wanted to protect their identities and the free land.

There is a saying in Serengeti that says "The dreamer is entertaining, inspiring and rejenuvating but in the end, he will get you killed". Layla knew this fact and has always been a realist. She made sure she was a spectator in Raja's dreams as she knew his world revolved around her. It only made her feel more proud but as she returned with the food to feed Luna, she knew where she belonged.She was sure where her loyalties lay.She was sure she would return back to Serengeti from Masaai Mara soon.

Raja would get glimpses of their old times after that day and then suddenly she would turn into the head of pride that is solely responsible for the protection of Luna. He didn't mind the dualities as in his mind, what they had was unique irrespective of the other realities. He was happy as long as they met in the plains to do their dance. Some days, Raja would get frustrated at her lack of acknowledgement of what they have.They began to hunt separately now and share whenever Layla felt sorry for Raja. Every time she indulged out of gratitude,  Raja would build more castles between them.

 Layla did not understand what made Raja to be so enamored with her. She was a Lioness and he was a Leopard. She could not allow herself to be dragged into a dreamer's world that would conflict with her pride family. She knew that was her purpose in life.She liked this crazy Leopard that dives, rolls and hunts just to please her but she knew she can't acknowledge what he wants. She did not believe in his eternal bond as it interfered with her realistic world.She realized he was making it difficult to leave this place without feeling guilty. She sent him on a mission to fetch the finest of water from Nile river in Northern plains.

Layla finally left Maasai Mara to Serengeti as Raja went on his mission. She knew there was no easy way to do this. As Raja returned to find an empty plain, he knew she had left. The winter set in as the trees became bare. Raja sat alone in the middle of open ground and looked at his face in the Northern Nile water. He saw what Layla saw in him and why she left. He is but a Snow Leopard imagining a unique connection with a Lioness that has a different purpose. Layla can never accept Raja and come on his soul journey because she believes in the life on the plains. Not the one beyond it.

As Layla saw her little cub Luna join the big pride in Serengeti, she knew she had come home!

Raja began his long walk out of Maasai Mara, never to be seen again!

Life in the jungle continues unabated!

*Picture taken in Taronga Zoo in Sydney

25 October 2011

Gyaku Gire!

Ever had a "feeling" that boiled you over in an instant with your mind still grappling to put that sensation into a word, so you can describe that moment later, as you think it will help you to deal with that situation,if not,at least, have a place for it in your mind so your heart can move on ?

This is where your mother tongue usually comes to rescue. For all the greatness of English language,there are many situations, where it is just plain inadequate. But when it comes to certain situations involving technology,even your mother tongue can't help you as they hardly grew in vocabulary relative to English.

Can you remember how you felt when someone lashed at you for pointing out something they did wrong ? Perhaps you were trying to help them.Perhaps you wanted to change them for better. Maybe you told them something as it was going to cause problem to someone else. Yet, they sprang at you with vile vociferous curses.Your immediate instinct is legitimate anger,justified rage and righteous retribution! As you see, there is no one word to accurately describe that. However, the Japanese, have a term for it. It's called  "Gyaku Gire"! If you show your anger/drama at someone because they told you the truth or caught you redhanded, then you are using the technique of Gyaku Gire.

Simple. Authentic. Straight forward. Even though I don't know Japanese, I can see myself saying,"Stop your Gyaku Gire!" and move on. It really helps you to put that situation in perspective instead of being confused and angry and stuck. That is the power of "situational description" words. They bring joy, calm, ecstasy, anger, hurt, love, our entire world in perspective, if we just knew how to articulate it to ourselves and others.

This made me think of other situations where i would love to have a word than be glib about it.

When you are listening to your CD collection or iPod, there comes a pause between songs and your mind races instinctively humming the prelude of next song. What do you call that ?  "A Great recall?"

"Meandering" and "Wandering" sounds insufficient to explain how you actually hyperlink words and stories when someone is talking while you are on a different website,different world, inside your mind!I really wish I had a word to encapsulate that.

What do you call a tune that pops up unannounced, torturing your whole morning,before you give up and suddenly reveals itself exactly when you realize that you have been wearing your new t-shirt with tag for almost a week ?

How about the earthy smell that swarms you before rain or the tiny fingers of a baby or that dreamy perfect kiss in an empty beach during sunset at 4am in your deep slumber that feels very real ? These situations deserve their own words than some phrase to explain in lengthy fashion.

What about those you fondly recall sharing your umbrella before they turned into jerks and screwed you over ? We need a word for all those wonderful people whom you liked at one point and never want to see them again!

The summarization of entire periods and moments like Nostalgia, childhood, happy, therapy time, just doesn't do justice to the gamut of feelings we go through and experience in that situation.We need more "Gyaku Gire"s and "Mamihlapinatapai"s.

What the world needs is words that succinctly, instinctively,exactly describes certain feelings and situations, so we can spend less time analyzing,wondering,creating what-if's and spend more time, living! 

If only i had a perfect word for it!

25 August 2011

Effacing Versions!

Do you know the moment when your self morphs from an excited illusion,falling into burnt dark brown earth,shrinking into an unknown version of you? A version that would make dementors lick their fingers to devour you? A version that you have to carry across the desert with no hope ? A version that after months of gloom, slowly regains the strength but more wary, less wise but sometimes with more understanding of the times you were flying ?

When you think of memories with someone and the eventual loss of that person, what probably hurts most is the loss of our version with them. The version where you dared to do things without fear. A version where the words fell on the pages without effort. A version where inspiration was a feeling that you transmuted effortlessly in to works of art. A version where you felt the movement of beating heart pumping more than blood. It's the unknown unsaid equation that both of them knew. It's a lie that both of them live up to and some of them succeed in making it true. Perhaps all great works of art arise out of it. A pretentious lie that the belief of it by the person you love,makes it true. And when that person rejects that version or doesn't acknowledge it, another version emerges.

Maybe we all are used to versions from our birth. One to Mom,one to siblings,one to granddad and one to the taunting bully in fourth grade.We get comfortable with our versions. We pat ourselves on our back at our ability to switch between our versions. There is a version where we share our secrets. There is a version where we protect those secrets fiercely.

And then, there are Versions with people who upgrade you. Transform you.

Like your history teacher who told you,"If you want to study differentiation, look at Moghul era, if you want to understand Integration, look at Ashoka.Math will help you earn money, History will help you earn respect!".

Like the day you realized your parents aren't even middle class when you asked for that donation to engineering college. Like the day you realized the job that paid you the most is not the one you want. Like the day you found that your injury to shoulder doesn't make you eligible for any professional sports.

Maybe there is a cycle to all this. An uninhibited raw free spirit version. A mishap. An accident of life events that causes you to stumble and fall. You rise up cautiously. Live carefully. Aware of pitfalls but you fall nevertheless finding a new one. You have an urge to feel integrated but your realities don't allow you to. You juggle your versions knowing well which one is real. And, when your real one takes a beating, you re-form,re-morph,re-cleanse and start walking always longing for a previous version or hoping for a newer version.

Perhaps our goal is to find a version that gives us peace.To live a version that makes us whole. To accept our versions,constantly effacing,resurfacing,refacing our core forming a new version of self!

21 August 2011

Soul Hug!

A 57 second transcending full embrace,
Revealing each others true buried face,
Holding warmly under the blue wide sky,
Feeling the fall of every escaped sigh,
Assuring the doubtful rising heave,
Soaking this moment that'll never leave,
Holding tighter rising above reality tomb,
Recreating safety of your motherly womb,
You and I disappearing in each others arms,
We and us spreading as Halo in our nerve farms,
An Unpossessed hug that possesses every core path,
Forging new meaning in the depths of our hearts!

08 April 2011

Arrested Thirst!

A million desires arrested,
Jailed unevenly in each capillary,
Packed and compressed to capacity,
Quivering every inch in anticipation,
Aching to be released, all in one moment,
When your lips quench this thirst!

03 April 2011

New Dawn!

How do you sum up the fulfillment of a generation's quest ? How do you express the collective euphoria of a common prayer being answered in exactly the same way you dreamed about for years? How does a passionate inspiration lift you to shatter your inner doubts to realize your own full potential ?

Today, just a day after Fool's day, eleven men on the cricket field,fooled you in to a magnificent trance for 510 minutes, winning the World Cup after 27 years. To understand the magnitude, I have to give you a personal history lesson.

I was seven years old when the first World Cup was won by India, which I never saw, but always heard stories about Kapil's dare devils humbling the mighty West Indies. I watched in agony the 87 World Cup when Graham Gooch swept my dreams in semifinals. I endured 92 World Cup,watching my idol, a young 19yr old then called Tendulkar,smashing the best world class bowlers to pavilion only to see rest of team members letting us down.

Perhaps, the most painful Cricket memory was watching India lose to Srilanka in semifinals of 96 world cup.The image of Vinod Kambli crying will forever be etched in my psyche. 1999 World Cup was unique for the fact that I watched the games outside my country with fellow Pakistanis surrounded by curious rednecks only to crash out again. 2003 was a highlight year. I now had an apartment with cable connection and India was not a country of snake charmers anymore. We played with grit and heart to reach the finals after one of the most memorable Pakistan thrashing innings by my hero.However,the gap in skills were exposed excruciatingly in the finals by the Aussies. By now, the unfulfilled dream had reached two decades. I have vented enough about 2007 World Cup.It is only befitting that my 1996 memories are erased by 2011 victory over the very same Srilanka.

The wait was worth it!

Today, is the culmination of an era. My Generation's era. An ascension from Young confident men to Assured middle age. From passionate impulsive heart to calm skillful execution. From peaks and lows to measured balance. From contended mediocrity to expecting excellence. From martyring dreams to dog headed perseverance. And no one embodies this generation more than Tendulkar.

Every sport has it's heroes. You have the jazzy Jordan jumping in rhythm during clutch times. The elegant Federer with his sublime forehand surrendering opponents. The brave Armstrong who accelerates his bike over right turns to dash over the finish line. What all these sportsmen don't have is carrying a billion people's expectation for 21 years. What makes Tendulkar the greatest is not his majestic cover drive of Brett Lee, but his ability to bring joy to the man who spent his three month's earnings to watch India play Pakistan. His ability to remain humble and dedicate himself to the craft for 20 years. His ability to transcend race,age,creed,nationalities by his sheer showmanship and skill. No one deserves this World Cup more than the still 16yrs old, quintessential Indian Demi-god.

Every country has it's share of events and moments that shapes the attitude and confidence of the generation who witnessed it. The Indo-China war of 1962 changed our Army forever. The emergency period in 75, took us to brink of communism. The performance of Zubin Mehta and Pt.Ravi Shankar exposed our Artistic wealth to World. A young,idealistic Rajiv Gandhi revived a nation after Tragedy only to succumb to corruption and his own tragic death.The Mumbai blasts, IT boom, Telecom revolution, World's back office,Call Center, Foreign cars, Installment schemes,outsourcing and Rahman's Oscar win, have morphed the divergent populace resulting in confident, strong, brave India. It is no surprise that 2011 World cup win is a culmination of two decades of measured strides.

Should we remain content in this glory time?

Great Nations use moments like this to shape future course.
It is time to move up to next level of excellence.As we rejoice in 1.2 billion voices cheering together, it is time to elevate those voices into nation building actions.No more kids begging on the roads. Clean water and Clean streets. Accountability of public leaders. No more farmer suicides due to lack of food. Consistency and Quality in our services.

Can Cricket teach us lessons to solve our life and country's ills ?

You bet!

All we need to do is find inspiration in our finals run chase.
Focus on task at hand irrespective of expectations.
Not try to win by fours and sixes but running hard for one's and two's.
Not depend solely on one person but knowing Nation Building is team sport.

And above all, electing leaders who perform with common sense and sense of calm when rattled,leading from the front,pulling all levels of people with care and love!

It's a New Dawn and we all have a role in it!

30 March 2011

Dormant Panic!

An impatient heart losing it's balance,
Known trigger shooting without senses,
Gathering each day the scattered pieces,
Regaining my sanity without any semblance!

Eventual ending would leave gaping hole,
Everyday churning is just hyperbole,
Tired hope wears my emotional sole,
Thirsting acceptance to become alive whole!

Perhaps its all an imaginary castle,
Conflicting inner twin with justified rastle,
Deluded assumptions is my heart's hassle,
Denying every moment with bow and tassel!

Show mercy to quieten this aching howl,
Give strength to survive if's it's run afoul,
Save my spirit to hide from my scowl,
Acknowledge my love to fulfill my soul!

27 March 2011


What makes someone inspirational ? What drives someone to make the hardest of inconvenient choices ? What pushes sane compassionate human beings to degenerate into fanatic blood hungry animals ?

Agora, directed by Alejandro Amenabar, tries to address all these and more in a period piece set in 4th century A.D. in the great city of Alexandria, raising more questions than answers stamping it's relevance even in 2011.

The City of Alexandria is at the cusp of religious transformation. The Roman empire has fallen and a new religion called Christianity is spreading like wild fire among the oppressed. The Pagans are still holding on to their past glory while the Jews are caught in-between Christians and Pagans. Amidst all these chaos, stands firm the great library of Alexandria. Here,the most beautiful and respected philosopher-teacher,Hypatia, teaches astronomy and math to a diverse group of students. She is constantly trying to solve the mysteries of the cosmos; Is the Earth, center of Universe or is it Sun? Is the Earth round or flat ? Does the Earth revolve around the Sun or vice versa? If it is revolving, how come we don't feel it ?

It is this obsessive passion and thirst for knowledge that makes Hypatia the object of affection to three of her students. Davus, her most intelligent lovestruck slave; Orestes, who expresses his love for his teacher in front of everyone in annual play ,only to get a rude harsh rejection; Synesius,who is thankful to her courage for protecting him,a Christian, among Pagan majority.

The story revolves around these three students and Hypatia and how the events outside the walls of the library change their lives forever in a climate of religious intolerance.

The attention given to details of this period makes you sit up and enjoy the little things like the clapper used during play, the detailed statues, authentic period costumes, the CGI rendition of city streets, ocean, market place, cultural mix and the way camera descends from stars to the open veranda of Hypatia's bed as if the Gods themselves are watching with curiosity the happenings on ground.

Rachel Weisz, radiates and embodies Hypatia. There is a certain luminance in her face that fills up the whole screen and instantly makes you want to sit next to her and listen. Davus, brings his lustful love,mixed with oppressive anger towards the Pagans beautifully to screen. His repressed love for Hypatia along with the religious fanaticism in the streets,makes you think about the things we don't control no matter what the heart wants.

One of the boldest moves in the movie is how they have depicted the dangers of religion over state. It reminds you that there is a separation of Church and State not to protect Religion from the clutches of government but State from fundamental religious leaders and their intolerance. The Pagans kill innocent Christians, the Christians kill Jews, the Jews kill Christians. The director doesn't spare any group. The other bold move is to not let any character behave like holier than thou. The knowledgable philosopher has slaves, the dedicated Christian soldier goes from feeding the poor to killing the innocent simply because they don't believe in Jesus, the Roman law keepers choose the majority mob over peace and allow genocide and plunder for political gain, the Bishop picks selective passages from St.Paul to twist the meaning of verses(very much like fundamental Imams in Mosques). No character is left without their flawed side and no group is spared their ugly darker side. It takes courage and conviction to portray such uncompromising display of our fallibilities. It also makes you wonder how fragile, we as society are, even centuries later when you hear about Darfur, Kosovo and the tribal wars in Africa.

There are flaws in the movie as it almost seems like two parts. One, the times in the library and other, after the students have grown into their adult roles. The pacing could be faster and the constant violent scenes could have been shortened but considering the times, it is probably ncessary to drive home the human insanity.

There is a scene when Orestes asks Hypatia how can she be so obsessed about cosmos when people are killing each other in the streets. As a viewer, you feel he is justified while you also understand the pursuit of things that are greater than one self or your current situation, even if that situation is a choice between life or death. Socrates died drinking a vial of poison as he wouldn't compromise on his beliefs. Bhagat Singh died as he wouldn't compromise on his vision of free India. A strong passionate belief is what makes them inspirational. Having a purpose beyond self, in and of itself, makes every moment worthy of living. Even if that life is curtailed, their idea,ideology and belief lives on.

Agora is an epic drama that shows the conflict between Science and Religion, conflict between Survival and Choice, conflict between Secularism and Religious intolerance, and above all, the struggle between Loyalty and Love!

Relish it!

24 March 2011


A Phantasm,
That rules our hidden microcosm,
Sharing our whispers,
Under the Silent darkness,
Stretching our hearts unguarded
Yet guarding it all when the Sun rises,
Letting it flow unfettered
Yet steering it uninhibited,
Knowing the destination is close,
Yet feeling so morose,
A sense of rowing alone,
Waiting for a sign in the glowing phone,
Perhaps it is a suppressed whisper,
That lingers and caresses,
Falling in your heart with momentary kiss,
That you were hoping to be eternal bliss,
Such is the Moods of seasons that impress
Weaving aching knots sewn by your seamstress!

07 March 2011


A Pause, to examine that broken part,
        A Toss, that flips between Mind and Heart!

  A Voice, that rises up from deep within,
   A Choice, that defines your inner feeling!

  A Noise, that still exists in the outer layer,
          A Poise, which you yearn in your daily prayer!

A Loss, which you fear will end in pain,
         A Cause, which you know will forever remain!




   Let it be..!

25 February 2011

Anchoring Descent!

Can you stop yourself while in the middle of a free fall?

Can you withdraw when you slowly step into a quick sand where the view of rain forest is perfect knowing you are sinking deep each moment?

Can you control the racing heart that seems to beat on its own rhythm controlled by an external force?

Can you stop yourself from not obsessing about the process of getting high that makes you feel alive?
It is during times like these that you need an anchor to hold on to. A reason to restrain. A reason to hold on to sanity.  

A moment of pause for self-preservation.

Self is deluded in free fall. The exhilaration, thrill, rush makes your senses disappear as you are not thinking about the final descent and lost in the beauty of the moment. The joy of thousand lives is lived in those few seconds that makes everything else immaterial, including life. The question is, can you find an anchor during that fall to prolong it?   To hold on to those “falling” moments?

More importantly, when you find an anchor, will you hold it long enough to pause without getting enamoured by the surrounding beauty and find a way to enjoy the scenery, warmth and gratitude for reaching those heights? 

A lot depends on your maturity in the climbing process and your ability to restrain.When you lose your restraint and loose your grip on your anchor and willingly let go off your foothold, you enter the zone of free fall. Free fall with hope!

Hope that you will reach your destination. Pure Faith! Pure Instinct with honest intentions!

It takes a lot of courage to let go as only one in a million land on their feet. For the rest, it’s an impending crash. And the part that’s broken is not made with bones.

Yet, we risk ourselves every time to climb, step by step, with a sense of déjàvu. Perhaps, the reason is that some people want to fly. They are suffocated by the predictability and safety cocoon of Earth and this climb for a jump, gives them a purpose.

A purpose to see the extraordinary in ordinary.

A purpose to live in a different plane that imbalances their soul equilibrium letting them know of its existence.

A purpose for the heart to feel alive in spite of breathlessness.

Self-preservation is for cowards. Restraint is for the fearful.  

Letting go is pure giving and giving in! The falling is wrought with grave danger, but, even if you are going to crash, there is those few seconds of bliss in descent. And for these optimistic hopeful climbers, that is better than dead-soul existence on the ground!

Yes! There is a possibility of broken hearts that might cripple them for life and kill their optimism to climb again. But, if you survive, with each broken fall, you understand your inner terrain better. You realize your missteps. Maybe you will gain the perspective to anchor yourself and enjoy the Sun next time. Maybe you will gain the insight to accept and stay on the ground and enjoy the mountains and sky from below. Just Maybe!

But there are those eternal searchers who will climb relentlessly each time, jumping, sooner or later; seeking their destiny and destination to land on their feet and hearts in tact!  That’s the day they will stop climbing; that's the day they will be content and peaceful having found their soul destiny on Earth! 

20 February 2011


He Sighs
To Resuscitate himself,
As She keeps
Stealing his breaths,
Every time
He thinks of her!

09 February 2011


Let it Simmer,
Let it Flow!

Don’t force it,
Don’t rush it!

Sink deep in you,
Seek the real you!

Watch you emerge,
Before you submerge!

Your restraint is sweet pain,
Your constraint is lost vain!

Your sighs fill you,
Your cries calm you!

It is slow and steady,
Measured Insanity!

Longer the Simmer,
Assured thy heart a winner!