The Eligible Bachelor Conundrum

Disclaimer: This a story specific to some parts of South Asia particularly to Land of the Pure.

There was once a young lad. When he was only an infant, his mother took very good care of him. He was fed and changed by the caring hands of his mother. As years past he grew into a handsome young boy by the very precise account of his loving mother. She would tell adorable stories about her boy. She would chuckle and get rosy cheeked with pride when giving account of her son’s handsome features, white skin and thick hair.

More years past on, the boy of tender age entered teenage. His handsomeness grew tenfold. His mother’s stories and pride about her son touched the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro (Mt Everest is over rated) She could not help but narrate tales of his achievements at school. Later her obsession with her boy’s success turned into even bigger stories. She moved in her circle of friends like someone with a gold medal. And indeed she had worked hard on her boy. She had spent her time and energy into raising her child, now a fully grown man; if I may say so an eligible bachelor — ‘a catch’ if you might add it in his mother’s words.

It was time. It was the right time for him to get a bride. A bride with a pretty face, a clean past, culinary skills to put master chefs to shame, qualification to match her son’s; and most importantly a girl of the right age. Age is a matter of big concern for it is closely connected to the prospects of furthering the family tree. Hence, the right age, the appropriate number is a serious business for mothers. If the bride in question is same age as her handsome son, it is a big no. If God forbid on the wedding day, a neon sign starts to shine horribly bright, letting lose the truth about the girl being OLD. No one wants a girl looking like a grandma!  According to “How to Find the Right Girl for your Son” guide book a girl should be at least 5 years younger; in fact the older the son, the younger the bride to be. What? You are questioning the existence of such a guide book?  Well I assumed there must be a golden rule book that is followed by all the proud mothers of their one in a million sons.

Coming back to the particular mother and son duo, the hunt began and is still ongoing. It has been some 10 light years since the mother set out to find the perfect match for her off spring who has grown into the epitome of a perfect man. And by grown I mean really grown like there is no stopping – no, not just vertically in height, but horizontally in all angels and shapes. The once poster boy for all to follow in all respects, now seems to be losing his edge.  The data, however, remains unchanged in his mother’s mental scrapbook. The records haven’t been updated for years which mean the girls keep aging all around. The eligible bachelor remains alive with that vampire streak of his, keeping him young and handsome and immortal in the fantastical mind of his mother.

Sun rises and fall, flowers blossom and wither, girls are born and then age. But there is a son or sons of marriageable age, forever the eligible bachelor(s) waiting for a perfect match. They all will live happily ever after, after they have lost their hair and teeth, with a young, naïve, pretty wife by their side.

Some Thoughts

It is amazing how the ache from our hearts reaches our eyes. Has that ever happened to you? It is strange how our heart and eyes are connected. An aching heart is never alone, the eyes take the burden. They shed some tears, they cry with the crying heart. Am I making sense?

Tears in eyes and conscience knocking at our hearts makes one feel wide awake. It is faith blooming like new spring leaves. Faith is like a new born child, weak and fragile but spotless, yet it needs constant care; a close watch so that it doesn’t get hurt. Sometimes, when praying, our cupped hands feel the heaviness of the pain, like some magnetic current travelling through the body. On other occasions the lightness of it all makes the hands in prayer feel empty.

I wish many wishes, as is the human nature. The desires and wishful thinking has deep roots within the human heart. As age takes its toll on the human body, the wishes center around nostalgia, the past, the frighteningly fast pace of time. The idea of time slowing down seems tempting. For some old souls, the time’s slow pace, the same mundane days, become an added pain in their already arthritic bones. The clock’s constant tick tock is a reminder of their fading life and vague memories.

I want to write the words before they dissolve into the dark humid night. The sweat beads on my forehead stick to the rubber end of my half chewed pencil. The silhouette of the trees on my beige curtains cast a ghostly impression. The grasshopper continues its benign but rhythmic sound. The friction between the paper and the pencil lead reaches a crescendo and then snap, the nib breaks. The words disconnect and finally dissolve into the quiet walls around me; some slip through the half open window, the rest too tame to escape, sink back into the dark recesses of my thoughts.

Find them if you may

Dust and smoke on some rusty roads.

The ghosts of writing spring out alone,

Near the dawn of the day

Or into the midnight fog

Mocking the shadows of my words;

Blow out the candles, Dark out the night. 


Find them if you may or better still,

Say rest in peace

To that what haunts you;

The silhouette of words,

The ghosts of writing,

The muses so shy.


If you then still persist;

Walk along the train tracks,

Run after the missed bus,

Hail loudly for a worn out taxi,

Board a plane or 

Adventure on a ship.

You will not find them.

Words lost aren’t meant to be found.


Lying on a charpoy

Hang onto the starry sky,

A moon will glow back at you.

Drink away the summer night

With thoughts of a rosy past,

With plans for a morrow not seen.

You will not find them.

Words lost aren’t meant to be found. 


Book Review: Dark Places

Dark PlacesDark Places by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places is a twisted tale of a crazy night on a farm in Kansas that takes Libby’s mother and two sisters away. Ben the only son to Patty and brother to 3 sisters of the Day family is in deep trouble for not just the alleged murders of his family but also Satan worship and child molesting. Libby the youngest, and only 7, escapes the gruesome murders by a twist of fate. But how and why? 25 years after the murders, Libby now 30 something finds herself researching into the murder case of her family only to discover the truth that was buried by the people involved in the case.

As I turned page after page into the story, I couldn’t help but pause and say, what the hell goes on in Gillian Flynn’s mind? As I started the book, I kept saying nah its not at par with Gone Girl. No, nothing close but she proved me wrong! The story just keeps getting better if you keep turning the pages and once you start the book there is no stopping until you have reached the end. Though I would highly recommend reading the novel with all the positivity and happy vibes around you as there is some depressing, disturbing stuff to freak you out.

Things I really enjoyed as the story progressed are as follows:

Libby and her unusual random theft moments stop disturbing you and as the story unfolds you realize how perfect are her stealing skills.

The conversations between Libby and Lyle brings out the personality of both the characters making them more human than weird. But then again, humans are weird. right?

As Libby starts visiting Ben, her brother in the prison, the layers to these characters start to come of.

Flynn does it incredibly well when she describes the murders. They hit you like a bullet and stay with you. I do not want to reveal much, spoilers are the worst thing but let me tell the readers (if anyone has come this far into reading my ‘review’) that some of the final chapters in the book are best.

Libby’s dreams are perhaps the weirdest but one can relate to their strangeness.

I don’t remember giving much thought to acknowledgement part of the book. But with Flynn, acknowledgements were fun, inspiring and more of an insight to the kind of person Flynn is. I recommend reading them, seriously!

View all my reviews

Busy Bees’ Book Bash

Hello dear readers,

Along with my friend we are starting a small book club named SoulFood where we plan to read a lot of books and exchange our ideas and thoughts on them. In order to document it, we are further planning to write small reviews and blog about them, ideally every two months. There is a tasty twist to our book club, a theme that would run in the backdrop of some good book discussion; good food to tie everything in. We experience a new restaurant every time there’s a book to be talked about or philosophical concepts to ponder on. So far we have done it twice and hope to continue it.

To continue reading you can find me and my friend F. on our page here

The Conversation

“There is so much inspiration in the world and I can’t seem to write a single word.” lamented the man with exasperation piled up inside him for years.

“ You are a mad man,” came a reply as if unveiling a piece of art.

“No…I’m not…,” said the man taken aback at the bluntness.

With confidence dripping like Nutella the second man said, “Yes, indeed you are.”

Clearly vexed at the coldness of the stranger’s tone he exclaimed, “NO! I M NOT.”

“Sigh,” nodding his head the second man reinforced, “I’m afraid you are…”

The exasperated man trying to hide his anticipation said, “Okay, then why don’t you prove it?.”

Second man’s cold reply came, “Well, you are talking to a mirror.”

The Bell Jar Review

belljarcoverAs a reader, when I picked up this book, I did it solely to find some answers into the mystery of Plath’s suicide. Why would a beautiful mind producing amazing poetry, would put an end to her life? The Bell Jar is exactly about this person not just through Esther’s character but through all the characters that we meet in the book. You cannot help but see Plath in Esther’s friend Joan as well. Esther, the protagonist, has been portrayed to  what Plath could have become in an ideal world but it is Joan’s character which is mirroring Plath’s real life. Once you open the book, a labyrinth opens up as Esther goes on from being an apparently stable mental health to eventually breaking down. The book portrays the struggles and experiences of her time in different asylums; most importantly how she ends up in them.

The imagery in the book gets you in awe with a tinge of pain. There is a fig tree described at one point in the book. A sadness lingers on once the fig tree has been interpreted through Esther’s perspective. This is by far the only imagery that will remain stuck in my mind; especially whenever I see the beautiful fig tree out in my own lawn. The dilemma of picking the right fig instantly climbs up my spine. At one point into the story, Esther goes to visit her father’s grave and the description of the graveyard is exactly the kind you find in Pakistan. She says ‘It was crowded right up by another gravestone, head to head, the way people crowded in a charity ward when there isn’t enough space.’

The issue of gender equality made me draw parallels between Pakistani culture with that of the American when Plath reflects on men and patriarchy.

An element of distrust looms over her relation with Willard Buddy that on some level amused me. I could not come to a conclusion who was more at fault Esther or Buddy? Was it the feminist in Esther that made her inflexible to Buddy’s confession, or the lack of his ability to build confidence about their relation for Esther to lean onto.

It is not just Esther’s relation with her boyfriend and other men that she comes across that make you want to dig deeper into her character or so to speak see into Plath’s. The irritation with her mother’s visits to the hospital and her memories of her father, all lets you peep into the complex mind of Esther.

What happens to Esther in the end is for you to find out; making observations about this girl who herself is a silent observer ‘I liked looking at other people in crucial situations.’ As readers we all kind of become Esther; very carefully peeling off layer after layer observing her dissent into mental illness.

Revamping Morning Shows

Recently there was an article published online on why morning shows on Pakistani television are so horrible. From what the trend and high ratings show (god knows who decides the ratings) they have been on our screens to stay till the end of times. The divide is society is an interesting one. A lot of people hate these 9 to 11 shows while many more than ‘a lot’ are head over heels in love with everything about them.

Yes, these shows first thing in the morning are nauseating at times. They are way too loud and dramatic, almost echoing the prime time slot when the actual dramas go on air. Perhaps something light and subtle on the nerves would do the magic in terms of the style of hosts conducting the show. From how I see it, there are majorly two to three things as to why some of us see what is wrong with the morning shows- the number of morning shows, the lack of content and the lazy hosts.

Number one reason is the ‘number’ of morning shows that fill up the slot every single day on every single channel. The news channel of the same entertainment house will also have a pretty caked up celebrity doing the exact thing her colleague would be doing on the sister channel. When you have the same genre of shows on news, entertainment, cooking channels; one cannot expect to see much of a variety in the content of the shows. The plethora of shows means that there will be repetitiveness and there will be a feeling déjà vu again and again. How much content can you generate on a daily basis to attract the masses? Not to forget the same guests taking rounds on every channel. On average you would see Sahiba and Rambo as guests on one channel, then Sahiba appearing on another the very next day with her film star actor mother, and exactly two days later on her friend’s morning show. So there is excessive repetition of people on the shows.

The interesting thing is that this annoyance is only felt by the working men and women and not by the housewives or young women at home. Is it really so or do fans of these shows also find the shows to be superficial at times? Majority of the women really are big fans, they do not find any faults with these two hour long shows where celebrities are rather ineloquently talking away on issues that we could easily pass for. These issues which range from skin problems to weight gain, to bride to be’s dilemmas, to self grooming, to black magic and emotional outburst- well some of the things especially the DIYs and tootkas can now easily be followed on social media, Pinterest, Youtube and Dailymotion etc.

Majority of the middle aged housewives in Pakistan are not very internet pro; which means that accessing things online isn’t a daily routine for them. Whatever they watch on TV especially local channels is new to them. Whereas the more tech savvy or active social media users realize that the makeup techniques, the DIYs etc are all more or less picked up from the internet. Hence a few visits on these morning shows’ fan pages on FB reveal how much their audience loves them.

Coming back to the content of the shows, there are two aspects to it. The article referred to the misogynist producers and mindset, which are doing well at keeping women occupied with kitchen and clothes. I do agree with this. But part of the problem also lies with the hosts of these shows. Every morning show is being hosted by a known, successful and well liked celebrity/actress. It isn’t that they do not have a say when it comes to the content of the show. They have influence and aura enough to play a role in coming up with intelligent show content. However, it seems that most of them bask in the glory of being ‘working women’, balancing their married life but also ‘working very hard’. While they are busy enjoying getting all glam up for their morning shows, they are spending less time working on the content. The easy way is to invite people with dramatic stories of ‘saas bahu’ conflict, a black magic saga, designers with glittering clothes and jewelry, beauty experts, cooking experts, fitness experts, sometimes a religious and spiritual scholars, and last and definitely the least – the weddings on TV; all of these if you see are guests who will do the show themselves, they are the ones talking and providing all the content material while the host will add in her ‘oohhs’ and ‘aaahhs’ and a few tears. The emotions and tears must be genuine concerns on part of the show producers and hosts; the massive amount of same content makes the mornings seem like a drill, churning out money and glamour and fun time for the people on the screens only.

So what is the way out of these? Doesn’t seem like the trend and popularity for the morning shows are going to die out anytime soon. Also if anyone noticed that Geo Entertainment is bringing the pioneer of the morning show trend back Nadia Khan, could things change with that? Doubtful.

We accept it or not, as I mentioned before, there is audience out there who thoroughly enjoy what morning shows produce and they will not like it otherwise. Then there are potential audience who are off to work early or later till 9 am or so in the morning. They are the ones who seem to whine about the quality of content and rightly so but in voicing their dislike, in a way they look down upon the housewives and their intellect. Also a lot of men might be interested in watching some good TV content on weekends. Although there are a few shows on air on the weekends as well but their content, show pattern and topics discussed could be worked on. So why not start addressing the potential audience as well who want to enjoy a little something on TV other than the usual.

The way out of this is to reduce the number of morning shows and replace them with a bit serious content based programs. Instead of showcasing the same genre of morning shows on news channels as well, there is a need to restructure the pattern of the morning slots to set them apart from the entertainment based shows. It is easy to follow the examples of the morning shows on international news channels. Or we could turn a few pages back to the days of PTV’s morning shows that were done by the likes of Mustansar Husain Tarar. I m sure news channels will do rather well if their morning slots differ from their sister channels attracting a wide number of audience.

Thoughts and Book review of sorts on ‘Stealing from God’

Frank Turek wrote a very comprehensive and well argued book dissecting deep into the issues that bring atheists and theists at loggerheads. With themes like morality, evil, bad and good, the purpose of God in our lives etc have been dealt with an ease for everyone to understand along with quoting a number of theologians, philosophers and scientists both who are atheists and Christians. He is certainly well read when it comes to giving various arguments to back up his case and why God very much exists. So if you are a religious person, a theist, someone who finds that they are confronted with questions from atheists around you that you can’t seem to address or feel you too need to refresh your faith in God, that being who created this all, then this book is a good read. Although I m not a Christian, but the work of Frank Turek is relevant even if you are a Muslim, Christian or a Jew or simply a believer in an Intelligent Being who created us.

Following are the few things that I have been reflecting on which are especially from the chapter on morality, the idea of evil and good.

In the chapter of morality, the author first presents the incident of a girl’s abduction to make the case of atheists denial of objective moral values. Since atheists do not believe in the existence of God, Turek argues that they cannot then make their moral values when deny a set of objective morals set by a higher force. He talks on the issues of rape, murder and the Nazis to address the idea of justice and the lack of it. Richard Dawkins champions atheism and is of the view that there is no ultimate justice. To this Turek refutes that if there is no justice, there can’t be injustice either. Which means that you or I could commit one wrong after the other and say it is just a matter of opinion and not a matter of injustice or brutality.

For evil to exist, good has to be present and for good to exist, there has to be an Intelligent Being. The argument atheists give is that either God is wicked or that since evil exists in this world, how can there be a God who is passive to all wrong being done. Some also argue that since there is no Designer of this world, our universe is a result of natural forces only, good or bad, good or evil are no concepts. All of these are sensibly refuted by Turek in his book by the way of analogies.

Frank Turek says very aptly that “you don’t judge a religion or philosophy by its abuse, but by its truths.” This caught my attention by way of my being a Muslim and confronted almost every day with a finger being pointed at us and our religion (through media) for someone’s actions elsewhere. I find myself questioning why would someone commit a heinous crime on a large scale in the name of a religion. No matter how many arguments go forward from the Muslim community, no matter how good we are in our daily lives in our interactions( with people of other faiths, deists or atheists) but one act from an extremist hold us responsible for all the evil existing. Interestingly if the culprit turns out to be a while man or woman they are nothing but psychopaths with no relation to Christianity or atheism whatever so ever. There is a clean chit for them, they only psychologically ill which never happens to be the case with people who are unfortunately Muslims by name and origin but not by their practices.

Another interesting thing pointed out by the author is evidence that the number of crimes done by the people of faith over the past 500 years combined is less than the small number of atheists’ actions in the past few years.

The question that often bothers many of us is how does a good God let bad things happen to us. This is the question that atheists often raise as well. Richard Dawkins and Peter Singer, however, contradict their own statements when they opine that parents should have the right to murder their children even after they are born.

So why evil and bad things if there is a God? Again Turek reflected on a Q & A session he had with one of the students where he was presenting. The author said that for evil to stop completely, God would have to take our free will away. With that gone, Turek says, we will also lose our ability to love. Another interesting thing articulated well is that the bad things that happen not as a result of evil done by men but by natural disasters, we as humans learn from the effect of those happenings which brings us closer to our creator. The pain, the loss of someone or something sometimes awakens us to the existence of God.
Quoting from the book, C.S Lewis once said that sometimes people only look up when they are on their back. It is important to realise that God did not send us on this earth merely for pleasure but so that we can understand and know God. Again, how would we distinguish between pleasure if there was never pain or setbacks or loss. I would point out here that Quran also mentions in Surah Mulk that God made this place as a testing place for us to see who does good deeds.

Although there is a difference in Muslim concept of God being a Master and Christianity referring to God as a father, the good humored example does make a point when the author says that God is like a father and not a grandfather who pampers and spoil us out of love. There is a balance in His role, who wants us to learn from our successes and also sometimes from failure (which we could roughly define as pain or loss, injustice)

It may seem I m only quoting from and talking about the issue of morality. Needless to say there’s a lot from the evolutionary process, laws of logic, laws of intentionality, laws of causality and science that all need a mention. However, I will leave it for the readers to explore themselves.

Last but not the least, I would end my rather unexpectedly long post with an analogy of a man with a metal detector from chapter 6 of Science in the book. The guy with the metal detector denies there’s any rubber or plastic material around because his gadget didn’t detect it, little realising the gadget is made of rubber and plastic as well ! Dr Edward Feser identifies this man with the likes of Richard Dawkins who claim that all truth comes from science and if some things science cannot prove, they do not exist. With this point stems a number of other issues that have been discussed in detail in the book.

Interesting fact from the book: Did you know that the single celled Amoeba’s DNA has as much data/information equivalent to a 1000 Britannica Encyclopedia? So if this is not the working of a Designer, an Intelligent being who has existed forever, then who has?

Spend Less But Also Spend More

I have been thinking about things that we should spend less on in our lives. Usually the ‘spending less’ implies on how we spend our money. However, there are so many things we do in life, our habits, our daily routines that we need to spend less on. Here’s the list of what I mean by it and you will know.

Spend less on thinking about people, their negatives, their shortcomings. You have many of your own so refrain…
Spend less time picking your nose. It is gross.Period.
Spend less time sleeping. But that doesn’t mean one should stay up late. That is just unhealthy.
Spend less time in the loo/washroom. Yes I mean it, instead of pampering yourself in the washroom, keep deep breath outside.
Spend less energy worrying about just anything in life. Things eventually do fall into place and our worrying doesn’t contribute positively to it.
Spend less time watching TV. That includes Netflix, Youtube etc

Why not then have a list of things we should spend more on.

Spend more time praying
Spend more time feeling gratitude for being alive. Do not be tempted into thinking about why this specific person in your life is alive. They might be thinking the same about you.
Spend more time making memories with loved ones
Spend more time waking
Spend more energy feeling positive
Spend more time doing something creative. It could be anything. Try a new hobby every now and then.
Spend more time reading books
Spend more time reflecting on why you are alive
Spend more time outdoors than indoors, even if it’s just about being in your lawn or terrace

I would like to know what else could I add to these lists above.