2014: In A Little Over A Nutshell

Well, just like that. Another year struck off. It seemed like it was just yesterday that I was writing 2013: In A Little Over A Nutshell. I didn’t think I would write another one, but now with Lana Del Rey crooning softly in my ears and my room so cold there is actual mist hanging with every breath I take, my fingers fly over the keyboard in an effort to justify the year I have lived. This would have been a very different article, whiny and cranky, if it weren’t for a horrendous event that took place a few days ago. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week, you will know about the Peshawar Attack (16.12.14) that took place where terrorists brutally murdered 160+ people including 141 students (conservative figure) of a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. This year has been ridden with events that made the humanity in me cringe and weep at the brutality this world inflicts on those within it; from the massacres in Burma, Syria, Gaza and now Pakistan. It seems that as I grow older, the world grows callous and brutal by the minute. Or maybe my ability to notice the cruelty has grown. I was used to the notion that old people died. Children were to live and study and play. This notion has been eviscerated. Now, I have seen that reality is ruthless. It is mirthless and kills those who don’t deserve death. But then again…who does? Now, living seems like a privilege. And that, right there, is how messed up we are. Life seems like blacks and grays woven into a tapestry of bleakness, riddled here and there with a string of bright golden. Instead of how it should conversely be, life is but sadness with a splash of happiness. So, in lieu of the depressing turn this has taken, lets look at the aforementioned golden threads in detail. 1- The Good Things That Happened This Year

  • I have, been blessed in this life, by amazing people. People who make life bearable enjoyable.
  1. My amazingly sarcastic mother
  2. My ridiculously annoying yet amazing sister
  3. My friends (the fat, the short, the excessively tanned, the scarfed, the excessively egoistic, the dimpled, the mathematicians, the ones far away, the musicians, the artists, the music-dealers, the writers and the readers, the gamers, the providers of love and guidance, the ones that make me roll around with laughter, the ones that are just too adorable and all of them who are amazing.)
  4. No one else matters to me *evil laughter*
  • ROCKING GRADES IN O’LEVELS WHATS UP YO
  • I got enrolled in the most prestigious college in Pakistan. Although the significance of this barely registers to me and when it goes I go like huh goddamn I’m in the most prestigious colleges in the country and that is it.
  • I had some amazing times this year. Some days I will never forget, and some that I will despite not wanting to.
  • LANA DEL REY RELEASED HER NEW ALBUM AND IT WAS AMAZING YES IT WAS.
  • If I had a bucket list, I would have crossed out sing randomly on public transport so everyone looks at you funny; get thrown up on by a complete stranger in aforementioned public transport; listen to an entire album in class; get thrown out of class for snoring; bunking college and going to McDonald’s; mistake the campus manager of your academy for a custodian. 

1- The Bad Not Particularly Nice Things That Happened This Year

  • FScENOUGH SAID

Ok no seriously coming into FSc after O-Levels was a HUGE step and something I still haven’t entirely adapted to. I basically oppose the methods of learning in FSc and the English syllabus is painfully easy. The people here are very very different from what I was used to in O-Levels. Now, that can be a bad thing as well as a good thing. If you compare the good against the bad, however, you find one thing. All the flaws in them aren’t their faults but their strengths are to their credits. They aren’t that interested in reading, or in good music (translation: music I like) and they spend too much of their time and energy into the futile endeavor of finding a temporary significant other. However, these people are very hard-working. If only they had utilized their gifts, they would be MUCH MUCH MUCH more successful. Other than that, there is solidarity and humanity in them. They are willing to help. And they genuinely care for other people. However, my tough life schedule has pretty much made me drift away from everyone who didn’t make a conscious effort to stay with me through this time. PLUS MY BACK HURTS SO MUCH ALL THE TIME.

  • We had to endure songs such as Rude by MAGIC!; Happy by Pharell Williams; All About That Bass by that fat girl.
  • O’Levels ended. It was so fun. The people were fun. Life was fun and easy. A simpler time. I miss it tremendously.
  • It’s been so long and YouTube is still banned.
  • NAWAZ SHARIF *narrows eyes* Grrr…

The Advice Before we got to the actual advice, there were a lot more things rushing through my head that I wanted to write down before they tumbled back into some forgotten corner of my consciousness. But I guess that’s the beauty of it. I haven’t forced anything onto the page. Only the things that my fingers wrote appeared here, soul laid bare till next year. What I’ve also learned, something I knew already but what has been set in stone over the past year, is that you don’t need approval from anyone else. Society will never approve of you. They will break you down and pull your body and soul apart and criticize each and every portion of your entity. You cannot appease society if you hope to hold on to your originality. It is futile to conform to society, because society will strip you of your originality and your individuality and turn you into a mindless, opinion-less drone. Whatever you do, they will twist and turn it into something negative. So I have given up trying to fit in. No one can bring you down if you love yourself. If you know your flaws and know your strengths, there is no one that can pull you down. The only person who can control you is yourself. The only one with the power to break you down  is yourself. Everyone is beautiful. Everyone is amazing. Every life is important. Always remember that. I just wanted to request for everyone to live life to its fullest. Live it like there is no tomorrow (this doesn’t mean that you have to be reckless and do heroin and steal a walrus) but it means that you have to find the beauty in life so that all the moments can be beautiful. We can’t wait for happiness to come; we can’t wait for beauty to find us. We have to go to the happiness, find the beauty in life. Love your family. Love your friends. Let your love be true and unapologetic. If you want to talk to someone, send them a message. If you don’t want to talk to someone, don’t. If you want to tell someone something, do it. If you want to read or write or sing, the only one who can stop you is you. Life is short. Too short for hate or regret or what-if’s. You can be here one day, underground the next. Life is too short for waiting or being afraid. Life is too short for doing what you don’t want to do. So…

  • be true
  • be unafraid
  • be thankful for what you have
  • live life to the fullest

Stay safe.

Harry Potter Appreciation Post

I am well aware that this is not what I usually write but this is something that needs to be said. Mild spoiler warning.

When most people inquire about my favourite book and I blurt out Harry Potter without a moment’s hesitation, the amount of people who look at me with contemptuous condescension is higher than I care to admit. Now let it be known that I have read everything from Twilight to Coelho and Archer and Larsson and Dan Brown. But those books have never struck me as hard as this heptology has. This is a post that every Potterhead (that is the colloquial term for die-hard Harry Potter fans nowadays) can relate to and a post that every Muggle (non-Potterhead) should read. If I even get ONE person to read this series, I will get the satisfaction of accomplishing something worthy in life as well as the eternal gratitude of that one person.

Now on to the actual appreciation. Although, Harry Potter is a novel that kids are encouraged to read, the meaning of the books matures as you yourself mature. Every time I reread the books, I understand something new in the books. Because in the span between the re-readings I’ve understood something else in life. These books aren’t for any specific age. They are universal. But the meaning each person derives from them depends on the person himself.

Literature is like a piece of cake. The more layers it has, the more delicious it is. -Anonymous

Now Harry Potter has more themes than I can count and more fascinating things about it I can begin to list. But the theme of the books, according to the authoress, is death. This is because these books were impacted greatly by the authoress’s own anguish at losing family and living in poverty and dependence. Whoever read the books and didn’t understand this point didn’t read the books at all: Harry Potter is not a tale of little kids waving around sticks and learning how to turn rabbits into hats and riding broom-stick. That is just one level to it. Harry Potter is an intricate tale revolving around the constant war between good and evil. It shows the importance of bravery, moral fibre, loyalty, wit, the allure of power and the strength of love and how purity is always stronger than evil. Each and every character represents something. Each death has a meaning. Each event has its purpose. And the characters are so intricate that it eludes belief. For example, how Snape went from being the most despised person to the most loved in the span of one chapter. It is practically unreal.

Now I could sit here and with examples, write down a really long critical appreciation, elaborating the metaphors and the symmetry. Like for example, Remus Lupin is a metaphor for HIV and how all those with it are shunned by society. And how Dumbledore was a representation of gay rights. Or I could shut up and let you experience the magic on your own.

Harry Potter is a story that brings you together. Like whenever I meet someone, the first question I ask them to ascertain their awesomeness is what they feel about Harry Potter. (Ironically, 2/3 of my best friends are Muggles) I’m not saying that being a Potterhead is a sole criterion to awesomeness, I’m saying it is a major contributor.

Harry Potter is a story that stays with you, characters that live with you and deaths that haunt you. Now I would honestly and with every core of my fibre request all Potterheads to add to this and send it on. Because this is a story that deserves to be read. And I request all non-Potterheads to read the stories.

And even when I’m wizened and old, I’ll be sitting somewhere with a HP book in hand, a cold sea breeze playing tantalizingly on my skin. And people will see the book and say: “After all this time?”

I will simply look at them, smile, and whisper.

“Always”