My ventilator. Read, comment and judge me not.

Friday, October 28, 2005

If I had the power I would have gladly, and I repeat gladly, killed everything collegeboard. Seriously and honestly. Enough is enough. This time we were in for another wonderful shock; the SAT papers didn't arrive from America. They forgot, I guess. Or something equally dumb. I wouldn't be suprised in any case. How ridiculously lame and how ripping-the-admission-ticket-ly annoying. But true...

I took a day off, skipped my Economics test, went through that wretched 5 inch thick SAT book again, revised every darn technique, gave myself a headache, not once, not twice but several times, got our sociology tests postponed, changed ever darn schedule, for what? For having the privildge of roaming through Avari at 7 in the morning? For walking through their grand halls? For opening that huge, royal woodern door all by myself? For the SAT that always disappoints/annoys/angers/ us? FOR NOTHING!!!

Even though I know that the supervisor has little, if any fault in this SAT fiasco, I somehow want to give her a thick, meaty punch. She seems to enjoy our plight, laughs at us and cracks joke at the most unappropriate of times. Right when everyone was ready to grate through steel, she gave an ear to ear smile saying, 'its not our fault' conveniently followed by ' will you please shut up'.

This SAT is a joke. A prank. A curse. Atleast for us.

posted by Niqabi at 10:52 PM | 5 caw-ments

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I'm pretty busy. Not the usual kind of business, its the kind that drives you to the edge but pulls you back again because you're required to do one thing or another. Expectations. Endless sea of expectations from you, in all forms possible; relationships and studies. Its hard to strike a balance between the two. I usually ignore both but can't let this continue for long. Have to get serious. Either one would do, though.

I have to give a retest for SAT on Saturday because of some ghuppla with the supervisors in the previous one. I won't go in the details because I've repeated them to a quarter of the world's population already and I just don't have any energy left. I won't say 'I'm sick of everything' because this phrase has lost its true meaning and feeling. We need to come up with better phrases and words. Unique and effective. I'm under immense pressure from so many people; teachers to be precise. Its hard to please them but then its essential. And Only for my own personal good, that is.

I need to improve my eyesight, get in touch with economics, start studying sociology, practise more maths and read more. The strained circumstances that I usually find myself in, have directly effected my reading. I've not been reading newspapers lately and I think I've started to grow indifferent and apathetic to misery in general, which is a straight road to turning into a heartless beast. Something that I'd very much resent. But speaking in terms of achievments, alhamdolilah I have successfully completed 'The Satanic Verses' by Salman Rushdie. I wish I could write a little review on it here but now is not the right time. I'll probably channel all my frustrations in the wrong direction, turning the review into a rotten, biased and unintelligent piece of prose. Must remain objective at all times. Have to keep my subjective views to myself. One thing's sure, though, Salman Rushdie has no shame, no humility and no consideration for anyone. His pen is sharper than a sword, cutting right through people. Words dripping with HCL. Not a quality, in my opinion.

Anyway, I'll be around...

posted by Niqabi at 7:32 AM | 3 caw-ments

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I think I ought to write something about the earthquake that shattered so many lives. The epicenter of the quake was in north Pakistan, fortunetly Lahore was saved from any major dectruction but the threatening presense was felt and feared.

In the morning of 8 th Oct. 2005, bracing ourselves with everything SAT-scholastic apptitude test- and everything that can humanly be crammed in a months' time, we sat in the examination Hall waiting for the exam to commence. Except for a few random racous noises from one of the instructors, the atmosphere was calm, atleast on the surface. Some were praying fervently, some were looking intently at their desks, some were busy arranging their stationary, some were deeply engrossed in staring at the ceiling, some were playing with their fingers and biting off over-grown nails, some were radiating the im-not-bothered-about-anything-in-the-world attitude, some were dying with anxiety and some were running to have their last pee. But whatever the activity, we all shared the same thought; SAT.

I was fixing the safety pin on my niqab when something started to shake. At first I thought it was the boy behind me, playing with his legs but when I looked up I saw everyone staring at each other, trying to confirm their fears. The ground shook more and we all realised that this was no ordinary earthquake. It was quiet intense. The walls shivered, the floor floated and the calmness evaporated. A storm of horrible thoughts hit me. In those three agonising minutes, I imagined the walls caving in, the roof collapsing and dying under the debris, without doing anything significant in my life. I felt so unprepared and weak.

Maybe it was the contrast that made the earthquake more unexpected than usual. In that huge hall with strong walls and large domes, with men in classy suits, polished shoes and ties swinging with an air of urgency and business, with microphones and a well organized stage, with a wall clock and properly arranged desks, with precision and infallibility, the concept of an earthquake wrecking up this complete and idyllic world seemed so alien.

But it did hit, jolted us back to life, yanked us out from oblivion and set us right in the middle of reality. No matter how safe we think we are, no matter how many layers of protection we weave around ourselves, no matter how much we pretend to be in control of everything, we're still vulnerable and helpess infront of nature. Allah asserts his supremecy and Will from time to time.

Besides coping with the massive destruction, some people are asking...

Why was it Muzaffarabad? Why Balakot? Why Mansehra? Why the harmless villages? Why Kashmir? Why those poor, innocent people of the mountains? Why not us? Why not Lahore? Why not Karachi? Why not Farieha Altaf...

And I've been thinking about it for a week now. The only thing that seems to make any sense in this chaos is the consolation that the tens of thousands of people who died, are shaheed. They died in a state of fast, they're successful, they got their ultimate goal; jannat. But this is a test for us. For the people who'v been left behind to face the tragedy and come to terms with it. We've been warned. We've been shaken out of our safe lives where we sin and still have the audacity to feel proud about it, where we lose humanity and then try to justify it.

In blaming the weak infrastructure, the government, the haram-khore contractors, the terrain of the area etc. we're missing the point. Allah didn't send an earthquake so that we spend our evenings blaming everyone for every class of problem, over a warm cup of tea. And yes I believe that earthquakes are a form of adhaab sent by Allah and that they're occurance is not merely a coincidence. Ofcourse we have a scientific explanation for them but that is only because Allah doesn't do anything without 'sabab'. Science explains the causes but not the question that why did it happen in the first place. Why was it Kashmir, precisely and not the Galliyat, for instance? Why was it only one building in Islamabad and not more? Why did that 70 plus, Mah bibi survived when 17 year old Zohair Iqbal died? Its the selection of few and the evident use of choice that implies that there is some force controlling this. There is someone who decides and plans. There is someone who creates and crashes, who saves one, yet buries another. And that force is Allah. We are not to question His actions because we do not have the hikmet to understand the reason behind them. We can only submit to His commands and learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others. We can ask for forgiveness and try harder than before.

posted by Niqabi at 8:31 AM | 7 caw-ments

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Working, working and working. Thats all I've been doing. I've been busy, contrary to my normal sluggishness. I've hardly been online. I've been preparing for stuff; situations, exam, confrontations, ramadhan, praying among alot of other things. Being busy is not so bad after all, you simply don't get the time to ponder over the less obvious and minute details of life. You go along the wave and don't bother to rip everything to shreds. I think its similar to being drugged, speaking in terms of the effect. Although, I haven't taken any drugs but I assume the effect to be somewhat like this, distant, nonchalant and generally floating. Oh whatever. I'm busy and I'm liking it.

I made so many resolves in the past couple of months that I've almost lost count but I'm just hoping that I follow through them. One was about NOT backbiting. Oh that one's the HARDEST! You resist and keep your mouth sealed for the entire day but then suddenly you get an overwhelming desire to critisize someone, blame someone or just simply gossip . Its hard to resist bhai. Very hard.

Also I want to read Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. I've been meaning to read it for quite some time now but can't seem to find it anywhere! Hopefully soon insha'Allah. World War II fascinates me. I'm obsessed with it, I can read any literature available on it. Simply everything. I don't know why World War II, in particular interests me but it was probably after I read Anne Frank-the diary of a young girl and later to follow it, The hidden life of Otto Frank. I instantly loved Anne frank; the remarkable sense of humour that she maintains even when surrounded by war and so much tragedy is exceptional. Her ability to survive everything with a smile on the face or atleast the effort of making one is truly amazing.

On the other hand, The hidden life of Otto Frank, took its own sweet time to make its place. It was more mature and detailed, though also peppered with superfluous events that made it a bit boring in the begining. I think the author was making her ground before launching the story in full swing. Its not one of those books that you can start from the middle and expect them to make sense. Although this one doesn't make sense until you're deep into it but nevertheless its worth reading.

Until that book was published nobody knew for sure who had betrayed the Frank family. There were some clues, names and links but they all lead to a dead end. Nothing definate. An investigation in the case took place in early 1950s but that was closed down too, in the 60s as they couldn't come up with any solid evidence against anyone. Then came Anne Lee, the author of the book. She wasn't convinced with what was presented to her and decided to take the matter in her own hands. Her primary area of focus was Otto Frank but with the Franks the topic if betrayal is almost inevitable.

Anne did extensive investigation on her own, excavating dark facts and previously unpublished interviews that lead her to the answer and ultimately pointed at only one man. In the closing chapters of the book she brings up the name of her prime suspect backed with reasons and evidence. Now the interesting part, after the book was published, the late suspect's son came forward and wrote to her, assuring that it wasn't probably his father but it was him for sure. The end was truly marvellous but the most amazing thing about the book is that while reading it you're very aware of its reality, that all of this actually happened to people like us. All the grotesqueness and horrible destruction did not occur in the Dark Ages of Europe but just a mere 60 years ago in the so-called developed continent of Europe. How ironic...

I've only watched two movies, The Pianist and Schindler's List based on World War II and both of them were very successful in capturing the actual spirit of the war...well atleast I think they did!

Anyway, coming back to the point I'm interested in Mein Kampf because Hitler intrigues me. I'm curious to know how his mind functioned, his experiences and the way they shaped his ideas, beliefs and actions. Surely there must be something that propelled him to commit such atrocious crimes. It'd be very interesting, I assume, to read through the mind of a murderer who killed six million jews. Six million human beings. Six million people who lived and dreamed just like you and me. How could anyone justify something as terrible as killing people just because we believe them to follow an inferior religion? It isn't only about Jews, the same goes for all; Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists etc.

I spent an entire month, last year reading through a Holocaust website. It contained alot of pictures and interviews of the survivors and there was one that I distinctly remember. There was a woman around the age of 45-50 who had been experimented upon by German doctors in the camps and she said that, 'Bergen-Belsan-a concentration camp in Germany- was hell on earth, hell on earth, hell on earth.' The way she said it had such a haunting effect to it; with so much pain, agony and anger, someone who's actually been through hell and back. I wish I get a chance to talk to a Jewish Holocaust survivor. Insha'Allah I hope that comes soon because they they must be quiet old now and I want to catch them before they become...err extinct.

OK. This is completely unrelated to what I'm saying but I was reading through my blog and was slightly shaken by the fact that I come out as a very depressed person or atleast someone who's seen much bitterness in life. And that is not true. I'm not trying to re-potray myself but I think I've been hyperbolic in my writings. I use strong words that catch my fancy but sometimes change the outlook. I've got to be more precise and to-the-point. Admittedly, I've had my phases of meaningless sadness but that is all short-lived. Coming in torrents and then leaving me calm. Everything is essentially evanescent in life so I've got to get used to it, eh? Just need to change the focus.

My blog's break is not over yet and so this is not a post.

posted by Niqabi at 5:46 AM | 4 caw-ments
Name: Niqabi
Location: Lahore, Pakistan
Occupation: Housewife
Religion: Islam
Interests: World War II, Jews, Hebrew, ancient sites, Muslim rule in Spain, revolutions, Vatican city and Islamic literature.
Books: The black album, Portofino, Ladies coupe, In beautiful disguises, The buddhist of Suburbia, The hidden life of Otto Frank.
Contact: niqabified [at] gmail [dot] com
Quote: "We plan and Allah plans and Allah is the best of planners"

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