Between Dhuwan and Maalik: Ashir Azeem in retrospect

 

Ashir Azeem is a Pakistani writer and actor, who rose to instant and immense in the 90s, with a smash hit drama ‘Dhuwan’. It involved a group of friends who formed a vigilante force by night and had professional lives by day. After which he left the media world to focus on his own career as a civil servant. In the last few years his contribution to Pakistani cinema was a hit film by the name of ‘Maalik’, which in the footsteps of his drama, focuses on the nature of corruption in Pakistani society, had good dialogues and had enough action to keep the scenes interesting and cinematically appealing.

This interview was originally done for an online magazine, which does not exist anymore. So I’m putting this interview for everyone to read.

 

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  1. How are you?

Ans: I am Good

 

  1. How was life, growing up for you?

Ans: The best childhood one can have. I grew up in wilderness and mountains deep in Baluchistan. We were not wired to computers or restricted to four walls. Ran with the wild and breathed fresh air. Hence my lifelong love for wide open spaces, nature, animals, human spirit, dignity and undiluted freedom and independence.

 

  1. What kind of a family setting did you grow up in? Was it strict or liberal?

Ans: I am eldest of four siblings. I grew up completely unrestricted. We did not live in a joint family so completely unaware of politics and intrigue of any kind.

 

  1. How did you develop an interest in films?

Ans: Quite frankly, I don’t know. I guess one thing led to the next. My complete independent nature with no preconceived notions about anything and the desire to experiment with and experience everything has led me to very interesting things in life. Film, being one of those.

 

  1. Were you active in school plays? Did that help you grow as an actor?

Ans: Not really. I did do a play or two at school but wasn’t really interested.

 

  1. You are a talented writer, so what books do you read? Any favorites?

Ans: I read everything, from technology to philosophy, history, fiction, politics, religions, you name it. But I love physics and astronomy the most.

As far as favorites are concerned, I guess you get to those when you are approaching the finishing line; I have too much stuff to read yet to decide the best.

 

  1. You seem to be fond of the army, and often write about characters that are in the military. Where did that come from?

Ans: Military takes you away from the mundane ordinary life to a world of extreme. You experience everything to the limits, Camaraderie, Loyalty, Rage, Courage, Fear, Pain, Endurance, Strength, Discipline, Respect, Dignity, Honor, Compassion the entire spectrum of what makes you tick. It turns you inside and out and shows you what you are made of and capable of. Once you know yourself then you have the choice to do what you wish with it.

I think everyone owes it to themselves to undertake a journey of self discovery. This is why I was in Pakistan Air Force for a few years, I needed to test my limits, to read my owner’s manual.

I enjoy writing about characters that have discovered themselves.

 

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  1. How are you such a good actor?

Ans: Forget Camera and Light. Forget it’s a movie. Immerse in the situation and go with it. If you want to be a good actor, don’t act, live the role.

 

  1. Are there any actors that inspire you?

List is too long and ranges from Hollywood to Bollywood to Lollywood.

 

  1. Which movies or dramas do you like?

Ans: Instinct 1999, Saving Private Ryan 1998, Vertical Limit 2000, The Patriot 2000, 3 Idiots 2000 . . . the list goes on and on

 

  1. You wrote a drama yourself, Dhuwan, which was a great success. What was experience like? Because it was the first time you wrote a script.

Ans: Close your eyes and write what you see on the screen of your mind. You will end up with the screenplay, dialogues, props, cast, editing sequence, sound etc. Now go on and make it.

  1. Maalik, your movie is fantastic, what was the best part of being the heart and soul of it?

Ans: Being the heart and soul of it. To be answerable to yourself, have the freedom to do as you please and take responsibility for it. No retreat, No regret, No surrender.

 

  1. There is a lot focus of society and its ills in the film, do you believe that movies help in bringing social awareness about things that matter?

Ans:  اندر گھر کی ایک دیوار کے، اور کوئ دیوار نھیں، سوچ سے زیادہ ھتھیاروں میں، اور بڑا ھتھیار نہیں. An idea is the most powerful weapon. Today there is a conscious effort to divert focus of society from the real concern to a false sense of happiness and escapism. Not unlike drugs. Maalik focuses on real issues, poverty, access to justice, democracy, role of institutions, rights and responsibilities of citizens etc.

Issues are like disease, the longer they are ignored the worse they get.

 

  1. How did the public react to Maalik?

Ans: For me to respond is conflict of interest.

 

  1. Where you ever afraid of being as honest as you were in the film?

Ans: Nope.

 

  1. As a writer, what is the moral of your movie?

Ans: Take care of your present and future, no one else will do it for you.

 

  1. How did you feel when Maalik was banned from cinemas?

Ans: Obviously I felt bad, but I knew I will win. یہ تو چلتی یے تجھے اونچا اڑانے کے لیے

 

  1. Do you have any work that we will be seeing in the future? Because we want more.

Ans: Yup. I am already working on finalizing scripts.

 

  1. Do you have message for Pakistan and its people?

Ans: I have written and produced Maalik as a message for Pakistan and its people. They should see the film if they want the message.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On writing ‘Ramiz’ my poetry Book

ramiz coverHey everyone. I hope everything has been fine and blessed on your end, and today I’m going to talk about something very special and close to my heart.This year I got the chance to publish and launch my poetry book ‘Ramiz’. I had been working on it for about three or four years as a concept for a proper book, there had been multiple delays and distractions in between that got in the way. But that’s fine, because it wasn’t until this passing December that I finally felt that Ramiz was complete and ready for the world.So I’m going to talk about what Ramiz is about . Ramiz was a cousin of mine who we lost a couple of years ago, he died in between my uncle and my mama. During that time I wasn’t really writing anything, I was out of pretty much everything. I had given up on a lot of things. It was during that time that I wrote one poem about Ramiz, with his name as the title, on a rough page with black ink. And by some miracle I never lost that singular,flimsy page. Years after that I thought about writing more poems along the same theme,sound and feel. Initially it was about thirty pages, which I thought this was enough. By this time I was in my university, the first semester, I was working for my publisher and I figured that everything would happen really fast. But I kept on delaying things myself.So fast forward three years, Ramiz was completed with about fifty poems, one short story and one personal essay, and at the brink of the final semester. I wouldn’t really call the end perfect. I wasn’t able to fulfill the complete the mental image that I wanted, and everyone I wanted to be there wasn’t able to make it. But I’ve learned to not be so obsessed with images and dreams and take things as they are, and walk out of my mind. I was also able to have my first photography exhibition on the same day. My father was there, and I spoke rather well on stage, so I guess everything turned out fine.ramiz4So what is Ramiz about?Ramiz, I guess the book about dealing with someone not being there. Someone slipping away, and you having to live them no being there. It’s about feelings of loss,change,regret and pain, all packaged in symbols and beauty, without taking any names.It’s also about nostalgia, or the relationship we have with time, and how unreal it can feel at times, as nothing makes sense and we don’t know how to react to anything.It’s about love.And as a whole the book is about growing up, having personal closure and letting everything go.And I feel like it’s development mirrors my own growth and journey as a a mature person. The world just feels more open and welcoming now. It practically made me see the value in art and literature.Apart from that I want to say the writing is fairly simple, and easy to read. The color blue is very important to the context, images and theme of the book, I sort of inserted it into everything. And lyrically and sonic-ally the sounds follow a lot of nursery rhymes and slowly grow into more complex and dense sounds.And I’m going to keep on writing the future also, and have some fun ideas to work on. But I don’t think I will be able to give it the same dedication, tears and love as I have given Ramiz. Something so natural to my destiny.

I’m going to work on getting Ramiz out to everyone now. But I don’t have an ordering link at the moment. As soon as that is up, I’m going to share it with everyone. It’s going to a modern testament of love and a classic.

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Load Wedding ( 2018) – Review

 

 

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‘Load Wedding’, is a cute little comedy slash social commentary film by director Nabeel Qureshi and producer Fizza Ali. It stars Pakistani trail blazers Fahad Mustafa and Mehwish Hayat as the main couple. It’s a simple and elaborate film that at most is a breath of fresh needed air, elaborate and well- balanced.

The movie follows a shy,cute and introverted Raja, who wants to marry his childhood crush Meeru, who has recently been widowed. But standing in his way is the inactive marriage of his Baby Bajee, and the dowry that he has to get for her.

 

So just to say off the bat, I loved this movie. The actors main and side were excellent and they all fit in well to create a wholesome,authentic, sincere and not stereotypical and exaggerated portrayal of  desi people. Pujabis in particular.

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The movie looks beautiful, and the colors are enough to make someone feel welcome and warm, in this era of ugly and in the shadows cgi. The cinematography is always dynamic, visual sweetness and I liked it was a lovely site of what a small town actually looks like, and not some over the top display of money and unnecessary show sha. It does well with it has, and what it should have. I in particular loved Raja’s sweaters.

On the social side, I think the movie actually got to display the problem of dowry in a unique and thoughtful way, that I haven’t seen before. The film actually shows and doesn’t tell, it even takes the message out to the people inside their homes. Raja works hard to get the dowry for his sister, and fulfill his responsibilities, but hurdles always seem to get in the way, and it feels like they have to sacrifice their self respect to get the deed done. But it’s then that everything turns around, and that also  by finally confronting the bigotry in society and speaking up for oneself, which Raja does finally vocalizing his   sentiment and making a spot on analysis of the situation.

I loved that scene so much. And everyone should watch this movie. Because very few movies can be entertaining, innovative, fun, authentic and hard hitting all at the same time without falling short. Load wedding is something for and by the culture, but like all great works of art it needs to spread out into the masses.

 

So yeah. Watch Load Wedding, it’ll give a good cry and laugh.

 

 

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You can watch the movie here

Passing Time – Photo Essay

This is my friend Mina. I met her when I was a teenager, and at the time I wasn’t really filled with any wonder or need of the past. But I also had no clear plans for the future.

We got closer over me being young and in need of guidance and needing to be molded, into to something I desperately wanted to be. And thanks to her, for a short period of time, for just a moment in the day, I saw how beautiful I was capable of being.

 

Mina and I studied a lot of the same subjects, and I remember her painting on my face and being on the few people who saw me. And gave me exactly what I needed. It was a friendship that grew on a whim, and blossomed like a  flower. A pleasant surprise.

 

I remember her saying to me, as she spread the redness on my lips, ‘ I am your mama now’. I recall having pizza in her room, and taking her copy of ‘The Great Gatsby’. I was impressed by how many books were in her room, and that she had read them all.

I was a little uncomfortable on the bathroom floor, when the smoke flew everywhere and all I could do was watch it. A nervous gesture of running my fingers through the grey smoke sufficed. She mentioned a house where everything changed.

I jumped at the site of my face in the mirror, coddling my own burnt cheeks, ‘Look at the magic you’ve done to me’.

 

When it was my birthday, I went to spend my day with Mina. We went out to eat in a place that was particularly dark and empty. What did we have? I recall onion rings, Alfredo pasta and a chicken steak, plus a few sticks of bread.

After lunch we walked into a parlor that was a little walk away. We got hair cuts. Then we drove around and bought a movie and went back to her home to watch it. It’s a fun way to have memories of people. To remember their faces touched by the light of a tv screen in a dark room. To see them walk ahead of you in an empty street in Lahore. To call them trying to make plans to meet up, and knowing pretty well, you’re not going to be able to meet them today.

After I went home that day, I got into trouble. I cried and afterwards I got into a fight. And there was one thing I never got resolved. I started the day completely happy and ended it in dried and wasted tears.

 

After that I hadn’t seen my friend for a long long time. A couple of years went by, until earlier this year I got to see her again. And like every time you meet someone again after a long period, you act polite. You don’t talk much and keep eye contact at a minimum. And try not to give away too many stories.

We went to a church for fun. But first at Jinnah library.

Is that what I am supposed to feel? Knowing that everyone comes back. And that it’s not the easiest thing having them come back, that it means having to forgive them?

When they come back they see how different you are. You can’t even tell them how much you’ve been through since they’ve been gone, or even honestly speak with them. For the most part there is so much hurt in between you can’t help but let go, and be happy that they are back in your life.

Even if it’s a little late for them to come back… and it would have been nicer if they came back faster…or if they never left… but who knows…at least they’re back now…and they’ll be back someday…and you can do anything except say something.

 

 

Thoughts about ‘ The Little Mermaid’

 

 

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‘The Little Mermaid’ is a fairy tale from the Hans Christian Anderson collection, and perhaps most famously known as the loosely based Disney animated film, which has equally enchanted audiences and readers around the world.

It is a story about a young mermaid princess, who wants more from her life and escape her limitations. Having fallen for and saving a human prince from drowning, she makes a bargain with a sea witch. She gives her voice away for two legs, and needs to have her feeling returned or else perish with the rising sun. Not to be loved and not to attain a soul. She chooses to be the self-sacrificing person and even if she doesn’t the prince, she gets what she truly wants, a soul.

‘The little Mermaid’ in the simplest form is a recount of unrequited love. It’s about not getting what you want, perhaps a selfish or greedy journey, but what stands out is the emotional investment and the sacrifices that go in the way for that dream. It is something that speaks to the private feelings of the personal lives of people, who hide their hurt, and make way by sublimation, by destroying the past. But the young girl does with all her desire, all her pain, does not let the bitterness or defeat corrupt her.

In that sense the story is more of a hero’s journey, of self actualization, a path for a painful loss of innocence and change. It is both tragic and beautiful, because she gets what she wants just not how she wanted it.

The story may not always be a feminist favorite, since she willingly leaves everything for a man, and her love involves a lot of suffering and she doesn’t get what she wants, which narratively contrasts with how male characters are able to pine for a get the girl. Symbolically also the color red is associated with the male in the story. The coral around the statue that the mermaid idolizes is a bright red, and when she dies the sun is a burning red flame, showing a victory or overpowering of the male over the female. People also generally take issue with the protagonist being a questionable role model, stating she is silly, for giving up her life. They take issue with the fact she runs away from home, falls in love with someone she doesn’t know and par takes in black magic. So obviously conservative society and parents don’t want their daughters doing the same.

I personally don’t feel that way. I think what Anderson did was inverse a generally anti-woman trope into something humane and heart-felt. He turned Sirens into mermaids. A siren is basically the sea version of what witches were on land, the images and lives of women demonized and disrespected through the male gaze. Be it Medusa, Homer’s fight with the sea witches or general stories of sailors being brought down to death at the voices of bewitching sirens, it’s hard to see how female sexuality and romantic feelings have always been seen as something worthy of punishment. And they in the biblical sense must be cursed and become a symbol for all other women to not do the same. And that it only men who can actively battle and fight for love, that also outside the consent or control of the women that they love. They must fight those in their way and she must accept the victor, because he is the winner. Not because she can decide for herself.

 

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‘The little Mermaid’ does not exist in the same context. Here is have a child who will through her encounter with the world become who she was always meant to be. She is not evil, wicked or filled with any jealous intentions, she is just young, innocent and in love. Instead of bringing the prince down to die, she saves him from death, but is not recognized for it. There is a selfless quality in her actions. And even when she leaves her family, home and makes a deal with the devil, we forgive her. We don’t feel the need to watch her pay for her sins, because she is brave enough to willfully suffer if she is able to be with the boy she comes to love. Every step she takes with human legs is like walking on knives, and without a voice she is unable to confess her feelings. And when is left out in the cold by the prince she still decides to spare him his life, for her character and her spirit out ways his ignorance and existence. The heavens at last do not strike her for having a heart but it blesses her. She becomes an angel like being, literally rising above the mess.

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The story overall has very strong Eco-feminist tones to it. The girl is raised by her wise grandmother, who makes sure the child gets her education. She has older sisters to look up to, she is able to get legs through a sea witch. The women dominate the story, and the only place we feel a lack feminine care, is that the mermaid does not have a mother, and that she has this obvious fascination and love for the male spectacle. This also follows the mermaid as a character who is able to transcend all the divided parts of society, probably because she wants to actually more than what society deems acceptable.She moves from the sea, to the land and finally to the ethereal realm.

It is a story of dynamic magic, transformation, growth and following one’s dream and being what we all are as young star-crossed people. We are alone in our personal battles against destiny.

Fading Graves – A Photo Essay

I decided to go to the graveyard in December. The last time I came here, it was summer, and I was in higher spirits. I was happier and with more possibilities in front of my ignorant eyes. This time I am cold, evasive with all the possibilities in the world and the sun shining brightly down on me.

It’s an old graveyard. Old enough that some of the older graves that no one comes to visit are being replaced by the dead for who there are people willing to cry. People who want the best land for them to be buried in, and who will come back to visit them. The place is old, and for the older ones buried is a waiting place until they are finally forgotten and no one comes to see them.

We try hard to deny the reality of death, and we try hard to keep the dead alive, and if not alive we try to honour their memory, as much as we can. It’s just not easy.

Outside my university, is a memorial that I came across that day. It was for a girl who died in an accident. It said that twenty-four trees were planted in her memory for the twenty four years she lived on this earth. Have we not forgotten this girl who I will not name? There are no trees at that place anymore, and the memorial is vandalized. On that lovely stone that is left and forgotten with her reminder is unjust fully spray painted with an advertisement. Is this not disrespect?

Must we disrespect the dead? And if we must, what is there for us to do to offend them with? How are they supposed to respond to us? And when everything is done how are we supposed to ask them to forgive us?

Were so suspicious about death, and we are afraid of it. Rightfully so, even if it is as natural as birth and life. Our existence is always in question, life feels so timeless, stretched out and often in the time of sleep unreal. Death is only thing that lets us know we are alive, and that one day we will cease to be.

And perhaps that is the center and the finish line to all our fears.

They say girls aren’t supposed to visit the graveyard. I go any way. I’m not trying to offend anyone and I’m not trying to prove anything.

But there is nothing to be afraid of. Of all the harm the living inflict on you and all the danger that follows people around, why be suspicious of something that isn’t there.

There’s nothing there. Nothing but the fading memories of the dead.

I’m not sure what I’m looking for. Maybe a sign or a reminder.

Why does everything I love have to become a target for you?

It’s ironic. When I was at the graveyard, my father was at a funeral. He came there to pick me up, and in his voice was a nervous laughter. Yesterday was the day all those kids were killed.

And we are driving away and lighting candles for them.

That funeral was for a boy. He was 26. Died of a heroin overdose. He was only son. Went to a good school. Had the world and everything ahead of him. He’s gone now.

When is it the right time to let go?

I keep thinking of Ramiz from time to time. Since what happened a few weeks ago, I had to change things about what I said.

It means more than it should to me.

I had a fight again last night. I said things I should never have. Don’t know why I did.

I hope God doesn’t take it seriously, I didn’t mean any of it.

I still need to apologize for everything.

I can go to any grave.

Except the one where my family members are.

Passing by the Night – Photo Essay

I can’t believe I’m at this place again. Last year when we were going into the new year, I took a photograph of the last sunset. I hoped in that moment that maybe things would be different, that they would change, I would change, and maybe finally have a resolution.

Oddly enough, the opposite has been happening. Isn’t time supposed to change everything? And things have changed I just haven’t changed or evolved at the same pace.

Maybe I’m suffering from a generic kind of arrested development.

The same things that hurt me three years ago, are the things that are hurting me now. Shouldn’t that change, or is this the lope I’m stuck in. And I tend to end up in the same place, roaming the streets alone at night. The night changes everything. All these streets and buildings, all the lights and no sound. It’s just man-made space devoid or feeling and full of me, but that’s not something to be surprised of since I’m out at four in the morning and midnight.

But coming home and looking back , both at the roads and at time, I have to admit that things have changed. The kids are gone.

And that change that I thought would never come, or never felt was there, is finally shinning through my eyes.

It’s a big step.

It hurts.

But it’s here.

And there is nothing that I can do about it.

Could I go back and change things?

Was it something I did?

I feel like I did so much, and felt so much, and for what?

Can I go back and apologize to everyone? And replace the hurt and the damage?

Or continue to walk on into the night like nothing happened?

I’m always in awe and disturbance with time. I can never decide if it’s real. Last time I was out like this – aimless – timeless – I remember my friends saying all the things I already knew.

I was shaken. Moved to a point of offense but there wasn’t anything to protest.

I don’t protest at all. A girl should at least try, even if it changes nothing.

I’m still here. I wake up like it takes no energy. I break in tears when no one is watching.

I’m alive.

These look like how I feel. I walk through the cold, and my heart is full of nothing but hope and I see my future come up to me, while my past is limping in front of me.

Is all of this distress just because of the weather? Is that it ?

Everything is coming together. In the stillness of the night and the shadow of the dark it’s easy to think of the future. It’s easy to be hurt in the hurt, anything could happen, and no one would care.

But to venture out and visit the past, look out into the future, deal with those spirits that lurk in the streets and then come back having survived, having apologized, having changed. That’s the victory of the night.

Stories don’t change anything.

That’s what hurts me.

It breaks my heart.

I know why we tell stories. We tell them to ourselves, not other people. We tell them to find our solutions, our way to an escape from how we feel. To get away.

To throw out the blood that we don’t need anymore. No more.

This is isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way.

I’ve felt this way before.

I’m feeling it right now.

Of the future I am unsure.

I was so protected.

I am guarded.

I am still and strict in the smile.

My chin and shoulders are high.

My eyes are dead and in flames.

But my voice betrays me.

Sweet solitude.

Where do I go from the end?

Do you feel the same way?

Or the complete opposite?

Can I make you understand how I feel?

I come to them looking hungry for love, but when the glance is returned it’s trying to find a solution.

It’s love that I want – not promises.

Why you should watch Living Single

 

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‘Living Single’, is a show from the 90’s that I recently started watching, for the most part I’m hooked on it. It stars Queen Latifah as ‘Khadija James’,, who lives in Brooklyn with a group of eccentric, funny and animated friends, and she runs her own magazine by the name of ‘Flavor’.

‘Living Single’ is a nice feel good tv show, that sort of uplifts the spirit, and makes you wish you lived on your own in a vibrant city with a group of fellow successful, attractive friends who are always there, and always entertaining.

It was a hit when first came out and the freshness has not faded.

Reason 1

It’s a captivating adorable show. The premise is a young confused person’s fantasy. Who doesn’t want a supported group and to be out there and working at their dream job?

All the characters have very distinct character traits and funny personalities, so they often get into teasing comical verbal exchanges. It may not be the most serious show, but the episodes, plots, characters and situations hold up strong. So it doesn’t take a lot of effort to like it, or find the charm.

 

Reason 2

It’s good for that nostalgia bug. It’s hard to notice Hollywood has been trying to milk our fascination and need for content that looks like it’s not from our time. Oddly enough it’s only brought in dissatisfaction and the destruction of everything we love.

So what better to quench our thirst for nostalgia then what actually made up our nostalgia.

You can take inspiration from older fashion, music and dialects that made way for us. It’s a good way to deal with wanting to belong to different generation and maybe learn something new.

 

Reason 3

It’s a fun way to learn English. This of course depends on how well you are with the language already, and are aware that people don’t always speak in the formal manner that we are taught English at school.

The good thing about this show is that all the characters have a very distinct way of speaking and a vocabulary that fits their personalities and backgrounds very well.

This way you will be exposed to different vernacular, vocabulary and learn how to throw ‘juggats’ outside of Urdu and Punjabi.

 

Reason 4

They had excellent writers. All the characters are well formed and believable and recognizable.

 

Reason 5

They have really cute romantic couples on the show. Especially Sinclair and Overton.

 

Reason 6

It’s about time people got over this cult like obsession with the sitcom Friends. That show has hype around that to outsiders of the fandom does not match the content writing and output of that show. So I have decided that if people can watch that they can watch ‘Living Single’ and witness something similar just better.

 

The End.

P.S Do comment if you’ve already watched the series, and what shows do you like.

 

 

 

 

Campus Cats – A photo essay

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When I was eight we lived in the middle of a solitary land. It had magnificent atmosphere, filled with high mountains that ripped the sky. The air was clear and fresh and when it snowed in that desert it was unrecognizable.

One night during pleasant weather, we heard noises from the back. Turns out a cat had a baby and decided to leave it there. We we’re curious about it, but when it was small it wouldn’t come near us. It would run away and not let us touch it. But eventually we begged our way into the little kitten’s heart.

It got close to us. Sat by me when I read the Quran. When I played when I eat when I caught birds with my small hands.

The kitten was golden and white, and my memories of him are freshly vague. It was loving, intelligent and genuine and not heartless like most cats. It was best friends with the baby peacock. When I bug for treasure it did the same thing. One time it snowed and we were inside the house and the kitten had climbed up there opposite the windows and we saw him there – on the other side of the glass with the snow gently falling behind him. I put my hand against the glass and our kitten licked the glass there.

One time I brought it inside the house, it sat down next to me on the rug as I watched cartoons on the bulky tv. Back then I thought it was watching with me.

It was hunting a sparrow in the peacock cage once. It was a quick chase but the bird and the cat weren’t breathless. I tried to help my kitten but the sparrow slipped away and I saw how animated his face turned from excited to sad.

 

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My mother used to say to me she would be overwhelmed by how much the kitten loved her. Because he would cuddle her, follow her and show it’s love by never leaving her side ; and that all she could do was feed him a little .

Sometimes the kittens mother would come by and she would sit still on the wall watching us, watching her baby.

One time our kitten went away with the mother for a while, it made my brother cry because he saw the two walk away from the house that evening. But the kitten always came back.

He came back like he never went away.

I wanted it come with us when were going to leave the city. But we didn’t. It wasn’t a kitten anymore but I was still a child.

The day we went to the house for the last time, it was completely empty. Our furniture gone, the tv, the toys , everything. But there he was walking around that home turned house. That was the last I saw him.

I miss him sometimes. I miss the animals. A few years ago it was as if animals didn’t exist anymore.

There will be no cat in the world like he was. Never.

I still see cats around. They’re everywhere, in universities and neighborhoods. We see them grow and we feed. We love them and we leave them. And they with those big unending eyes love us with a mature indifference that we always resent but they’re the higher beings to never die of hurt.

 

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A Lonely Basta – A photo Essay

Projection is a defense mechanism. One in which what we feel is shadowed on to other people or other objects. And for the most part, that is something people have always been doing in lots of ways, some harmless and some just sad.

The rain, sunsets and empty spaces are just what they are, but someone once felt a way and since then we have been staring at the rain, as depressing and cemented the image with films and art. We let what’s inside us, take over everything, and we become victim not to logic and not to reality, because what’s real isn’t always the first image or thought in our own personal and private reality. There is no place that we can come on our own and decide that this is how we must feel and how we must control what we feel.

The sun was never in danger during an eclipse, but centuries ago people thought it was being eaten up. I know that was just innocent superstition, and projection under its social scientific definition, is something completely different. But it feels the same.

And what about when we begin to see our feelings in things that are dead. That are objects. Can we really judge if a brick is angry? can we judge is a corpse is happy? Why are we desperate to create man like machines and recreate ourselves as artificial beings? But in all these questions and trying to use art to show how we feel, we can all agree when we find something peaceful.

The same thing happens with my brown bag. My aunty got it for me from London, but I’m pretty sure the cow was from Pakistan. Everyone likes it, it’s well made and beautiful, and to me in the right lonely location I can make my bag look like how I feel.

If I’m the one feeling depressed this whole November, why should it be left behind.

I always stuff the bag up with things I think I need, but I’ve seen myself actually needing them. Ironically half on the notes and books I need are never actually in it. They’re always home lying on the table or on my bed and I’m left wondering what’s the load on my back. Why to keep carrying all the extra things around?

Is beautiful all I must aspire to be? Is beauty enough? But why should objects wonder what they look like? And why am I so concerned about how the things I own look? I’m very careful. I don’t buy things that don’t match the images in my head. I don’t buy clothes that I don’t feel suit me. But are those innocent, superficial reasons reason enough?

Why do I have to be so strict about it?

Maybe in the next month , I’ll feel better and liberated and it won’t hurt anymore. And this brown bag will follow me there.