Lessons

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The New Seven Deadly Sins

Published February 2, 2014 by sidmary

So everyone, this was the declamation that got me in the top 10 of All Pakistan Declamation Contest, hosted by St.Patrick’s School. Here you go:

Wikipedia defines the seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins as the classification of vices used since early Christian times, to educate Christians regarding humanity’s tendency to sin.

Whatever the ancient concepts may say, in this morally corrupt, obscenely advanced, and highly materialistic world, we are forced to question ourselves about the very concept of sin and virtue.

It may have been another age and another time that wrath and pride, sloth and greed, lust and envy and gluttony were feared lest they condemn the practitioner to hell. In the twenty-first century, they are but naught!

For science decrees what C.G. Jung said, that “The pendulum of mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.”

And sense and nonsense dictate what the five senses claim, and hence ladies and gentlemen, where money has become religion, ills have become virtue, and sin has changed gowns yet again.

Thus ladies and gentlemen, i present to you the new seven deadly sins: honesty and kindness, chastity and generosity, humility and vigor and love.

For where lying has become strategy; and the corporate world depends on strategy, it is honesty that makes life hell!

When going out of your way to help someone is considered a waste of precious time, it is kindness that has become a vice!

When modesty means you lead a boring life and are too “backward” for the advanced world, it is chastity that has become a sin!

When giving has become losing, and hoarding and greed bring you rank, power and respect, it is generosity that has become an ill!

When a bough that bends to offer its fruit is taken as an invitation to cut it off, it is humility that has become a wrong!

When hard work is looked down upon, and importance depends on how much one man can make others run, it is not sloth, the vigor that is an offense.

And when all acts of goodness gain underlying meanings, and all show of affection meant for deception, it is not envy, but love that is sin.

And whether you believe it or not, like it or not, want it or not, this is how it has become. When the age is named after materialism and money has become religion, heaven and hell lose importance, except for their glimpses on earth. Such are the times, and therefore, the aforementioned are the new seven deadly sins.

You and I may dream according to what Martin Luther King Jr. said, that: “I have a dream, that one day, every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain made low, and the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight.”

But for now, let us remember, that the pious man of the religion of wealth calls forth all his objects of wrath and pride, sloth and greed, lust and envy and gluttony and says to them, that “Out, beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing there is a field; I will meet you there…”

–Sidra Maryam

note: the quotation the speech ends on is by Maulana Rumi.

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Busy Much…

Published October 23, 2012 by sidmary

Life’s this big dynamic roller-coaster at times. It takes you, and it sways you, then it takes your breathe away; and in the end, it hails you.

So there is a lot going on. Life’s my roller-coaster ride, because maybe it thinks i do not entertain myself enough the ‘normal’ way, so it makes its own ultra-big effort to keep me occupied. I am laden with school-work, deadlines of projects, preparations for up-coming competitions besides this list of extra-curricular that i managed to get my head into. At times i asked myself, ‘Is this too much,’ ‘Am i taking more than i can chew,’ ‘Should i back out?’…but no. I kept through it. And i am glad.

Yes at times it does freak me out: this having such a lot to do. And yes i get stressed out; and the ends of my fingertips tingle; and my brain snoozes and i wonder how i will ever get through…but in the end, ‘it is’ as i told my friend at the end of the scool day ‘good to be busy.’

There’s this sense of purpose that you get, and the feeling that every day is actually a development. I try to maintain a journal (which i don’t update so regularly), and seeing it all there, the memories recorded in words, phrases, notes; the tries, the failures, the insecurities and the accomplishments; i sometimes just sit back and wonder at how long ago it seems. What is trapped there so that i remember it, is a record of all the ‘busy-ness’ of my life, aswell as the mild observations of one who sits back to relax, and the intense observations of one too depressed or too sick of it.

Yet at the end of the day my journal teaches me that life’s only worth it when i have new experiences and adventures to record on its pages every day. It teaches me to take chances and take risks, because tomorrow when i will see how silly i had been, that will tell me how wise i have become. So for now at least, i put my leg in everything that is good enough. I occupy myself at all times because it keeps so much at bay; and it keeps me busy. And being busy, in so many dimensions, is so truly good…

Withered Petals

Published September 18, 2012 by sidmary

A withered petal between the pages,

Is frozen into dust.

A brittle existence before my eyes

That crumbles in the dusk.

A slow sweetness invades my nostrils

Like the dampness of musk.

.

A fleeting vision crosses my mind;

And its motions suspend.

I navigate my heart and find

A slow evolving trend:

Its me and pain that memories bind

Till heart or life may end.

–Sidra Maryam

Anomaly

Published September 9, 2012 by sidmary
Earth and atmosphere cutaway illustration

Earth and atmosphere cutaway illustration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

anomaly- an odd, peculiar or strange condition, situation, quality etc.

It struck me today, as I was browsing the formation of tsunamis, how strange everything is. For long we have known that fire and water are enemies; that the stronger always always eats up the other, and precisely that they cannot co-exist.

What struck me was the formation of Earth, and no, I am not roving. The thing is that Earth is all fire beneath and all water above. You know that already, of course. Now look at at this way: the fire underground is so great, it can eat you up within milliseconds. Its miniature spurts cause huge volcanoes and terrible catastrophes. A mere crust away, life is all water. The Earth is~72% water; you yourself are 70% water; you and no other life can survive without water, and yikes! There WOULD be no thing without water!!!

And what is the crust but a thin layer compared to the core and the magma inside and the universe outside! And to think that all life depends on this crust! If this was just to disappear, would the Fire eat up the Water first, or will the Water extinguish the Fire?? (Oh, by the ways, this just reminds me of a poem by dear old Frost):

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

I don’t know how this relates, but somehow I feel this just does.

So lets end these musings with a concrete statement:

 He it is, Who has made the earth subservient to you, so walk in the path thereof and eat of His provision, and to Him will be the Resurrection. Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not cause the earth to sink with you, then behold it shakes (as in an earthquake)?Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not send against you a violent whirlwind? Then you shall know how (terrible) has been My Warning? (Surah e Mulk: 15-17)

–Sidra Maryam

Closed Eye: The Breaking of a Heart

Published August 2, 2012 by sidmary

I meant this blog for creative words. Words that form beautiful pictures, serene sounds and soft smells…

I meant this blog to write about a dewdrop on the petal of a flower and the tear drop between the lashes of an eye…

I wanted to write about the delicate being and the delicate feelings of those homo sapiens…

I wanted to write about children and laughter and happiness and nature…

I wanted to write about the musings on ordinary things and the making of extraordinary ones…

I wanted to write about my city, and my country, and my history, and the people of my world…

I wanted to write about everything I love…

But this world is a cruel world that I live in:

It breaks into my dreams and my musings and my passions, and robs from them all the delicacy and innocence that hang on to…

This world has double standards for everything I love…

It treats the powerful with more honesty than is honest, and the weak worse than animals…

Its authorities fuss over things that hardly matter and ignore massacres and genocides…

Its Ambassadors of human rights play chess pieces for the Veto powers and silent audience for Muslims…

Its Buddhists who preach that no ant be killed murder thousands rendered more helpless than ants…

Its NGOs which fight for food, shelter and safety for all sleep tight when comes the call to fight by the people at this side of the world…

Its people who raise the dead protesting against breaking of idols opt silence as lives break away from the tentacles of this world…

Its saints who don’t eat meat for fear of hurting animals disown, dislocate, starve , torture and rape people helpless…

This world has two eyes, and ones remains eternally closed…

A massacre continues in Syria as a massacre inaugurates in Burma…

It leaves me desperate…

It leaves me exhausted…

It gives fire to my passions…

And power to my pen…

I have a big heart- It shelters the whole world…

And my heart is breaking into bits…

NOTE: Please raise a voice against the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Burma (Myanmar). When the media and authorities opt for silence, it becomes a duty unto every citizen- every “citizen of the world” to speak against oppression. Don’t keep quiet. It was them this time, and “you” are a “them” for them…It could be “you” next time.

–Sidra Maryam

 

A Memorabilia

Published July 30, 2012 by sidmary

While clearing the cupboard and nooks and corners,

We happen upon a thing

That is a reminder of other things.

.

You say you don’t know what it is,

Then look away.

And ask me whether I know what it is?

I say no and look away.

Yet I know and you know

And I know that you know

What it is.

.

Then you ask me if we should throw it in the bin.

I say yes- then look away.

And you look away.

.

As it lies in the bin

You cast furtive sidelong glances at it.

And I cast furtive sidelong glances at it.

.

Then when the garbage collector comes next day,

We thankfully give it away:

The thing

That is a reminder of other things…

White Noise -3

Published July 5, 2012 by sidmary

He was on foot. He had gone to the park two blocks away for his regular evening walk and had just met a long lost friend. They had forgotten the time as they talked. The friend finally departed with a promise to come for dinner the next week. He remembered that he still had one lap to do, and resumed it. Half way through it, he heard three distant, distinct gunshots. The park was almost empty. Then his wife’s messages began coming: one after another.

He glanced quickly around him, and keeping to the border of the park, moved out. The streets were empty and an eerie silence reined them. He took the shortest path home, keeping in shadows as much as he could.

As he passed near the shops, he saw a man lying on the middle of the road, looking up at him helplessly. He quickly averted his face, adrenaline rushing in his veins.

‘The gun-men must be somewhere near.’

As he closed into his street, he heard two more gunshots. He hurried his step. When he finally entered his threshold, he closed the door softly behind him. Anxiety was still coursing in his veins and his face was flushed. Aneeta was in the entrance hall, her face panicked.

As he entered his bedroom, more shots were heard in succession. Now there were other noises too. Aneeta entered after him:

“What is the noise, Baba?” He turned around.

“Shut the door, sweet.” She closed it.

“What is happening, Baba?” He turned his back to her again.

“Close the window, sweet.” She followed.

“But the noise is deafening, Baba!” He lowered on his bed.

“Pull the curtains, sweet.” She adhered.

“The noise is going to kill me, Baba!” He lay down.

“Cover your ears, sweet.” She looked up helplessly.

“What if they kill me, Baba?” He closed his eyes.

“Go to sleep, sweet.” She was sobbing quietly as she exited.

                        x——————————————————–x

Mama and Baba took me to a doctor today. There was a big big room where many people sat. I could see my face on the floor. No one spoke over there. They just sat and looked. I don’t know what they looked at.

It was so hushed: I wanted to run and touch all the blue tiles but was afraid of doing it. Mama just tapped her heels on the floor: tic tic tuc.

The clock hand came to three twice on my Mickey Mouse watch before the doctor called up. I didn’t want to go to him. I wanted to go home.

He asked me strange questions, and looked at me with big, empty eyes. Then a girl in white came and took me away. I waited outside. Mama and Baba came and no one spoke. In the car, I sang ‘The wheels of the bus.’ I asked Mama to sing with me; she did not. I was annoyed, so I sang at the top of my voice all the way.

Now Mama does not smile. No one smiles, no one laughs. It is sick! I sing. I sing all day; I sing the same rhyme over and over again and no one stops me. Not even Bhayi, who hates it. The vacations have started:

“The wheels of the bus go round and round;

The babies in the bus go ‘Uayn Uayn Uayn;’

             The mothers in the bus go ‘Hush Hush Hush;’

The people in the bus go up and down…”

It has started to get boring.

                        x——————————————————–x

The day she died was another silent day. The heat had been oppressive. She was playing in the garden with other children from the neighborhood. They had brought in their toys. Ali had brought a brand new toy gun; a very expensive one that his father had bought at a mall. It gave her the creeps, but she did not say anything.

Soon, it was the center of attention. They began “role-playing” with it. Ali pointed it on Shaheer’s forehead, and he pretended to fall.

She felt her body going numb. Then everything blacked out. She did not know when she was screaming, or when she was falling.

It was a hot afternoon; not even the birds chirped.

The doctors said she was normal. She probably had a shock and her nerves were too weak to support her.

The children were too afraid to speak. Their mothers kept them home.

Hamza chose the line for her tombstone. It said “When angels tread on Earth, they can’t bear it for long.”

                        x——————————————————–x

Ten years later, when even her parents and brother had forgotten to visit her, a young man came and brought roses for two tombstones: hers and his father’s.

THE END

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