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Finally I’m moving October 28, 2008

Posted by muddleheaded in Uncategorized.
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……to Blogger. I couldn’t let go off WordPress but it has created so many impediments in so many things… I felt so contrained here. So finally I take courage to try something new…

Here is the link to my blogger. Please update your blogrolls :)

http://muddleheadedsblog.blogspot.com

See you there.
Cheers.

Delusion October 27, 2008

Posted by muddleheaded in Poems.
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In my mind I fancied

To incite I proceeded

To the old serpent which

With legions I defied

But vanquished and pillaged

Plundered and exhausted

Why a remorseful pain??

I’m tarnished as I itched

Genocidal for all of you

Nought! but which have been I

By disowning myself

Unchained I thought be I

Delusion; how big ’twas

Astonished have been I

As you still stir like the wind

Stirs the ashes which am I

Eating, Puking and Ruminating October 23, 2008

Posted by muddleheaded in Creative Arts.
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Writing for me is a window to the outer world. A passage through which I can communicate at my best and whenever I don’t write I feel it stifling. It’s a shame for me whenever sometimes I can’t write somehow. It becomes comparable to having a weak or no libido at all. I feel myself unable to fulfill the desire – feel so useless. And if I were a woman I would feel myself barren, infertile and sterile – so incapable of producing reproducing children. It’s more than reproducing in fact. It can be like goods manufactured in a factory. Rather it’s more like eating absorbing a great deal of things happening around me – trying to digest them and in being unable to do so, puking them out on to paper. May be the feelings while actually puking is way different from the feeling of creating sentences but the level of both feelings is same. One gives you immense unrest and disgust and the other is a tremendously exhilarating experience. Post-feelings are however the same in both cases. A sense of relief and craving for more raw materials is increased.

The beauty lies in the indigestion of the raw materials. If someone starts consuming then the outcome may be biased and tend to shift reader’s thought process. The writing is however (in my opinion) stands away from dictating people. It is supposed to make them ruminate generate a thought process and not to harness their brainwork.

Then Blogging and writing are two separate things for me. I do write often but I may not blog that often. I don’t want you guys to indulge in to rigmarole of my personal stuff. The reason is the same. My thoughts too get prejudiced sometimes. It’s often that many of the things about which I write have an ending with conclusive ideas which are non-interactive. I don’t want my blog to be a futile effort. I want it to be animated instead of defunct. I want radio instead of tape recorder – TV instead of VCR – internet rather than a stand alone computer.

The Winter’s First Night October 16, 2008

Posted by muddleheaded in Music, Personal Experiences.
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Winters are here at last. I realized it last night when I was coming back home. The moon was at its full and I could feel the same old stillness and chill in the atmosphere which is characteristic of winters in Pakistan. I simply love it. On reaching home, I had dinner with Aloo Gobhi (Potatoes / Cauliflower hotchpotch kind of thing) and by the time I reached inside my room, something had already happened. Actually its winters that happened to me at that very moment in its true meaning. I felt a very strong craving for music – something from 80’s was direly needed – reached out for my library and began searching for some of my very prized CDs. I use my computer hard disk for saving my music which I listen to everyday as I want music to be available whenever I need it at the shortest notice. So I started putting CDs in the drive… one… two… three… four… copied around 80/90 songs by artists like Aha, Climie Fisher, Carole King, Survivor, Foreigner, Air Supply, and Eurhythmics – not to mention their Urdu contemporaries like Nazia / Zohaib and Asha / Kishore. I put the music on but kept the volume to such a low level that I could only get to listen to the lyrics – didn’t want to break the silence and stillness which was prevailing in the atmosphere. 80’s music is made for winters. The keyboards, the strings, the percussions – everything hits right at our heart – yet the simplicity of compositions and lyrics is never compromised. I lighted a cigarette when Climie Fisher’s “Love Changes everything” played and fell in love with it once again – remembering when I was a kid and this music wasn’t available in the shops generally and I used to steal my cousin’s cassettes to listen to it. I like 80’s music because may be I am born in the very first year of the decade and I grew up listening to this kind of music and it brings nostalgia to me whenever I listen to it now. But even then I guess it is the best music that has ever been written. I kept listening until I was asleep and switched it off in some later hour of the night – I don’t even remember when it was. The first night of the winters went very well.

P.S. Here are few links to Youtube Videos to some of the great songs of history:

Is this love by Survivor

It’s too late by Carole King

Making love out of nothing at all by Air Supply

Sweet dreams are made of this by Eurhythmyics

I want to know by Foreigner

Tu hay wohi by Ahsa / Kishore

Disco deewanay Nazia Hassan

I hope you will enjoy them all… :)

 

One Day Excursion Turned Out to be a Great Experience [Episode-II] October 15, 2008

Posted by muddleheaded in Travel.
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This post is the sequel to “One day Excursion Turned Out to be a Great Experience [Episode-I]“

The route to the valley is devoid of trees or any greenery. For almost an hour of drive we saw nothing but the crushers eating up the dry and rocky mountains along the road. The slope is not too steep but it is continuous and the river flows continuously way down deep inside kind of an abyss, far from the edge of the road in the opposite direction. As we moved further in to the valley, the mountains started getting covered with thick vegetation. The autumn was taking away the green color from the shrubs in the valley. It seemed like a huge oil painting canvas laid down in front of us, so beautifully painted in green, yellow, brown, mustard, red and I don’t know how many colors. Deep down the valley, far from where the bus was crawling, there the river Neelum was flowing like a huge emerald green serpent whose head and tail we couldn’t see. The sight was breath taking.

River Neelum flowing Deep Down in the Valley

River Neelum flowing Deep Down in the Valley

When we reached “Kundal Shahi”, our night stop over, it was already dark. We had left Muzaffarabad at around 1230 HRS and it took our five to six hours to reach here, pertaining to the slow moving bus and the terrain of the area. People of the town had already disappeared inside their abodes. We saw only few guys near Madni Hotel, where we have been referred to by the bus driver as his guests. The kitchen of the hotel had almost been closed but we were treated specially by the owner and he got food for us to eat and later provided us a room at the back of the hotel. The night was very comfortable as compared to the day. The door to our room opened towards the river and at that particular place it was too noisy and it was making the environment, sort of dramatically frightening. But among all this we managed to sleep early.

We did not have the chance to see the surroundings as it was dark yesterday, so we started exploring the nearby points by foot. The first place to go was the river. Here it flows very close to the level of the land. We could have dared to enter in to the water but the prevailing insecurity regarding the depth of the river prevented us against any such venture and we relied on just dipping our feet in it. It was freezing cold. The town of Kundal Shahi or I must say village is beautiful in its own way. The soil is golden brown in color and especially in autumn the grass dries and turns it more husky and shiny. It contrasts with the emerald green water of the river exquisitely. As we did not have any kind of luggage and we already had checked out from the hotel, so we left Kundal Shahi by foot. While we were moving upstream the river, we saw a bus crawling up from the town and we availed the opportunity. The driver took us to the next stop with in an hour.

“Athmuqam” is the sub-divisional headquarter of this area. It contains all the civic services to a certain extent like hospital, post office, bank, a telephone exchange and a few small bazaars. If you need anything then you must buy it from here because this is the last stop where you can find reasonable commodities in quantity as well as in quality. Apart from the fact that this valley town is very unique in its beauty with respect to the other places we had yet visited, it is also significant as it marks the beginning of control line with Indian Held Kashmir in Neelum Valley. You can see people across the river with similar faces, same outfits, and of same creed and most probably from same families but no body can go beyond the control line. The loved ones are separated from each other for quite many years, even now after the establishment of cease fire line. They can see each other across the line but can never touch or communicate in any way.

Suburbs of Athmuqam

Suburbs of Athmuqam

We came out of the town and wandered around for an hour or so, capturing the scenic beauty of the river and the surroundings. People were working in the farms. It seemed they just had harvested the seasonal crop. We took a jeep and moved further. On our way we came across a small bridge which was made over a small stream crossing the road from north-west to south-east. A few houses were constructed nearby but now abandoned by the owners. The tin roofs were battered and had holes in them. A passer-by villager told us that a few months before the cease fire between India and Pakistan, there used to be a lot of shelling from the border side and the residents had moved to nearby villages in order to be in peace.

We reached “Sharda” around 2 hours before sunset. The sun sets early when you are in mountains. Sharda is yet another small town which spans on the both banks of the river. The major part of the town lies across the river and is connected with the Neelum Road by a beautiful long wooden suspended bridge. The town has a small shopping market which offers local handicrafts and households.

A View of Sharda Town

A View of Sharda Town

Towards the heightened portion of the town on the adjacent hill, there lie some ruins of an ancient Buddhist University and The Sharda Temple. The area is under control of Pakistan Army and they don’t allow the visitors to peep in to the ruins for more than a specified time and that too under continuous supervision. But we somehow managed to reach right in the middle of the ruins beside guard soldiers continuous scolding us. As specified on the information board there, it was built in reign of Kanshak-I in 24 to 27 Century BC. But my later research on Sharda Temple revealed some other interesting facts.

The exact date of building the Sharda Temple could never be ascertained but according to historians it must have been somewhere in 3000 BC when Saraswat Aryans settled in the Neelum Valley (Kishanganga Valley). The temple was built in the name of the Hindu goddess “Sharda” which is considered as another form of the goddess Saraswati. As “Brigadier Rattan Kaul” states, “The goddess Sharda represents matrix of the universe displaying in her hands; jar full of nectar, book signifying learning, rosary signifying subtle nuances of universe, source of Upanishadic knowledge and three Shakti’s {Trimurtis} known as Saraswati, Lakshmi and Iswari”. Since the ancient times till to date the place is visited by enormous number of pilgrims for religious purposes. But according to certain sources the place has also been the epicenter of knowledge and wisdom during Brahinism and later Buddhism era in the subcontinent. There has been an ancient university, The Sharda University where diverse subjects like Spiritualism, Astrology, Literature, Medicine, Mathematics, Arts, Architecture and Linguistics were taught. This was the time when Sharda Script was developed. It is the same script which had been used to write ancient Mahabharata.

//pbase.com

The Sharda Temple from Inside [Courtesy of http://pbase.com

The local people told us that there is a huge statue of Gautama Buddha in a long cave somewhere inside the mountains. But the place can not be accessed because of the security. It is opened once or twice every year only for the Buddhist pilgrims to visit. The visit to Sharda proved to be very interesting and informative. On the way back from the ruins we were just imagining ourselves 5000 years back on the same land which, in many ways, was better developed than many of our present day cities, in terms of knowledge and spirituality. It was the land of goddesses and statues and miracles and beautiful architectural designs.We remained awed for quite some time during our trip.

Continued…

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. October 8, 2008

Posted by muddleheaded in People, Personal Experiences.
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I can not make anybody to stop what they are saying. I let them say whatever they want to say. I am just here in this world to listen to people and even my own opinion doesn’t matter to me, so how can I insist upon it for somebody else.

How the day starts, what it brings during its course and how it’s going to end? You can never know. And in my case I feel it’s a little more unpredictable. I started the day with zeal and to add in it more, my boss got happy with me for I don’t know what reason. He told me that whatever I was doing, I was working in the very right direction and I should keep it up. Everybody at office takes his this kind of remarks as tremendous praise. So I too felt myself at the height of confidence and self esteem. As a result, I worked all day like a dog and didn’t feel any trace of weariness until pack up. I came back home late and while I was entering my house, at my doorstep, my cell rang and guess what – its like – my dream came true. I got a call from S which I was longing for the past 6 months. We talked a lot about this and that and my emotional level rose from happy to ecstatic. But then he asked me something which was to be the motive of the decline in my emotional level of happiness from contention to depression or even down below later. He didn’t even listen to what I had to say about the matter and picked me out in the middle of myself – blamed me for not being wise, protective and at a giving end – gave me thousands of advices about what is love actually although in the beginning he told me that I was wise enough to need any advices and he was just going to give me some suggestions. In the beginning I wanted to tell him all of it as a friend, to share some bad feelings and later I wanted to tell him because I just wanted to prove myself right, but he wasn’t ready to listen on both occasions. So finally – failed in my objective – I decided to wind up the conversation. It didn’t end well.

Later the conversation kept echoing in my head and I ended up pulling out all the memorable and unmemorable things out of my head and out of my closet. Kept thinking and kept looking at the things – going down and down. I was perturbed too much deep when I got another call from A. I could hardly utter out a meek hello. He got that something is wrong – kept asking me what’s new? and stupid questions like that. May be he was expecting same cheery of myself like I always have been with him but I was not like an entertaining creature at that time at all. So bored because of my attitude he cut off the call. I sent him a simple message containing a question mark. He replied that there was some network error so the call couldn’t go on n bla bla bla… I got the point so I sent, “bored of me?” and the reply was predictable and I don’t like predictability in life.

I inferred two results from it, either both of them are applicable or one of them at least at a time. The first one might be lame for you guys but its true; people who you call and take as friends aren’t friends actually. Second; there are many types of friends. Some of them just for fun purpose, some with whom you have to be friends for the sake of carrying out your daily life tasks and very few of them are for discussing your problems. The later conclusion seems more objective in terms of applicability to the modern world.

The Golfing Gods September 24, 2008

Posted by muddleheaded in People.
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How human beings can be irrational and unruly for their fellow human beings – I realized (once again) when I visited Peshawar last month. I checked in to Peshawar Golf Club early evening and called a couple of friends who live in Peshawar. But they said they would see me later that evening, so I cancelled my plans of unpacking for a while and sat in the chair in the balcony of my room. People or May I call them “gods”, if religion permits me so, were playing golf in the fields in front of me. I just couldn’t help feeling their “godly” presence there. Their attitude made me to think like that. Actually, its not their fault, golf IS very much an elite sports, not meant for ordinary people like me. That’s why I never liked golf but that was my first chance to watch it closely and observe keenly few things other than the technicalities of the game. A few amateurs were standing in a row in the field. Every one of them has two attendants waiting for him; one to give him the new ball and one for holding his extra clubs. It’s not this only. A few attendants were standing at different places in the field as well, just to pick up the balls that the “gods” were throwing there and then to bring those balls again to them so that they can throw them again. I mean three poor souls at the disposal of one guy; for his absurd entertainment? So that he can throw the balls in different directions aimlessly – poor wretches. I don’t like to pity people and I am not a supporter of communism. But hello! This is not fair at all. What big cause is playing golf that three human beings are dedicated for one person? This reminds me of the famous forwarded mail comparing the daily life of two head of states; Pakistan and Iran.

 

I want nothing but I demand only a little respect for the human lives. Why God has been unfair while dispensing wealth and wisdom among His creatures? Whose fault is this if somebody’s born in a peasant’s house? And why the son of a lord enjoys all which he has never earned? I just don’t get it.

Sporadic Serendipities September 9, 2008

Posted by muddleheaded in People, Personal Experiences.
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Today, unexpectedly too early, I went out to have a walk cum cigarette break right after the aftari. As I was early today so apparently there was no one outside except some occasional crow flapping in the trees beside the street. It was strange for me at least. The place which used to be so crowded and full of life is dull and non-enchanting. There was a family going somewhere and trying to get a taxi. They were too quiet as well when I passed them by. May be the atmosphere affected them as well. Even the wind was not blowing. From the far end of the street was echoing the shrill sound of the Walls Ice-cream songs which seemed like the ballads sung by some cursing sorceress. Trees too seemed weird. All of that was sad in a very strange way. That was enough for my dismay and I cut my walk short – had some quick short puffs and came back home.

I tried to take a nap. While I was on bed two things caught my mind. One; I realized, out of nowhere, that all the girls and guys from Peshawar always use Yahoo as their primary instant messenger; while the most of the rest of Pakistan uses MSN. Our north always stands apart from the rest of the country in many ways – I don’t know why. Two; I realized that it’s been a while I had one of my phases of swinging moods. It took a while to remember; when was the last time I had been a victim of depression. Depression or I must say a lull period because I don’t like to be called depressed. It is certainly not depression. It’s just that I don’t feel like talking to somebody or even doing anything. But one thing is for sure, I am damn explicit in every form of art during that time. A river flows like a river should flow – unguided. But only a barrage can hold it for sometime until it gains enough potential to propel the blades of a hydro-electric plant. I am a river and I need a barrage.

I had already made a last note on today’s post but some events compelled me to write a little more and made the previously last note, the second last note. So here I am, back with the tick tick of the keyboard (I love it). I just came back from a reconciliatory meeting (courtesy of my friend F) with a newly made friend who became un-friended with me, due to stupid circumstances or because of my arrogance, a couple of months back. It went quite well. I know people don’t like to cut a sorry figure in front of anyone but frankly I like to make apologies to people. I like to make them happy. For if they are happy I am happy. And I guess I like to make people sad too. For if they are sad I am sad and I like to be sad. All in all, today – a good day became better for me as the night approached.

The Bottom Ones at the Top September 7, 2008

Posted by muddleheaded in Politics.
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Politics is nothing but manipulation. There is no right or wrong in it. See what’s been happening in Pakistan. First we all voted for the same people who had been the rascals of the past and then we saw a single person dramatically taking over the fate of the country. First, people have been lured and manipulated by politicians in the name of restoration of democracy and the judges. And now as they are assuming their much desired positions, a man from nowhere comes to the scene and takes them to wherever he wants to. In the beginning it was hard to digest for a person like me to believe that politicians are willing to work under a person who was almost a nobody yesterday. But after contemplating much, I and many others have finally concluded that they are all the same. After the death of Muhtarma, they needed an entity. An entity, which can maintain the party integrated. No one was interested in democracy in Pakistan or for that matter Pakistan at all. So they gave the charge single-handedly to Mr. Z. I bow to him though, for he has cried every little scream at the very right time. You name it: from calling Muhtarma Shaheed, changing his son’s name to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the infamous restoration of judges, forming the so called coalition with PML(N), ousting my LATE dear president Musharaf, and last but not the least restoring federation by becoming President of Pakistan. Wow! what a brain he’s got. I guess he should be the 2nd person from Pakistan who can be declared the most intelligent person of the century, after Aitazaz Ehsan. By this, I remember Aitazaz is also an effected one, of the various achievements of Mr. Z. Today he stands nowhere but only as a righteous lawyer. And so many “Ah’s” to my dear Sharif Bhai’s. Where do they stand? Even their candidature stands at the will of President of Pakistan. How beautifully they have been maneuvered by Mr. Z. They rightly are SHARIF.

I love you my dearest PRESIDENT. I love you indeed. For atleast there is some one who has harnessed these bloody rascals the way he wanted. And that too without ANY support from Army (refering to Mush era). You are a real politician. You deserve to be at the top. Otherwise I always used to refer to Pakistani Politics as a place where the bottoms are at the top. And I mean top and bottom in every single possible meaning you may think of. I am the witness. ;p

One Day Excursion Turned Out to be a Great Experience [Episode-I] August 22, 2008

Posted by muddleheaded in Travel.
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I remember we started over as a one day excursion to Murree, a hill station about 2.5 hours drive from city of Rawalpindi. The autumn was yet to set, so when we reached there we didn’t find any fun because the temperature was still relatively higher than it is used to be in winter. In desperation we thought of coming back to Islamabad instead of wasting time in Murree. Suddenly, out of nowhere we decided to move further and what could be further? The only nearest visiting place was Kohala near the bridge over the river Jehlum. The idea was to visit some water sight. But we extended our plan and planned out for Muzaffarabad City. Immediately, we set out for our then destination.

The road to Kohala is too twisted and the bus twined up and down the slope while we were sitting there watching outside the windows. But unfortunately the journey didn’t turn out to be so enchanting because my accomplice had been too damn nauseated and I had to look after him. But till the time he was fine, I had a lot of good scenery out there and I wondered why I never travelled to this place earlier. Being so close to Murree we are so used to visiting Murree but we never come this far. Though there is no particular picnic spot all the way to Kohala Bridge but the road is covered with a dense forest of Pine trees and other shrubs along side. It is evident that it is relatively less intruded by human beings yet. We were travelling down the hill now. After half the route to Kohala the road proceeds further north and down the hill and the travelling becomes easier.

Muzaffarabad road crosses river Jehlum at right angle through Kohala Bridge and then proceeds just parallel to the river up the way to the city. Just after we have crossed the river we came across a very old pass which was constructed by cutting a tunnel through the hill. It is so narrow that at a time only one vehicle can pass through it, so we had to wait as well. I have come to know from a friend that now the government has built another road for the incoming traffic, so the things are bit better for the travelers. We didn’t find much of the greenery on the route after the Kohala Bridge. The road enters Muzaffarabad through yet another bridge on river Jehlum called Domel Bridge. It’s the same place where river Neelum and Jehlum confluence together.

The Domel Bridge

The Domel Bridge

It was already late afternoon when we reached the city. We roamed around here and there to watch for some places to visit but in vain. Muzaffarabad city is nothing but a little better than Raja Bazaar of Rawalpindi except that it has plenty of wooden suspended bridges crossing here and there over both the rivers. Yes there is one thing must to see: The Muzaffarabad Fort.

The forte was built somewhere in 1600 by Chaks and later on completed by Sultan Muzaffar Khan, the founder of Muzaffarabad in 1646. It is neglected and taken care of in different eras by different rulers including Mughals, Durranis and Dogra rulers. But one thing is eminent from its structure that it must have served very efficiently against many offensives. It is surrounded on three sides by the river Neelum. It presents a nice entity for the people who love archeology.

The Outside Wall of the Fort Facing the River

The Outside Wall of the Fort Facing the River

All in all, the city is full of dirt and litter and does not contain any parks or a proper place to sit around for a while except one so called park where people go for jogging stuff and it is built by army. It is right on the road to the state house up the hill. We met the Swan there on the northern bridge on river Neelum. She was standing there among people in a crowd, 4.5 feet tall and wearing white fluffy feathery hood. By SWAN I really mean the bird Swan, so don’t get confused. She was having fun there, taking everything from people she could to eat. She was looking so funny as she was trying to eat even people clothes behind there back. It was nice to see a Swan so mingled with people. She is considered sacred by the locals but I guess she was the nicest thing that happened to us in Muzaffarabad. The most disappointing factor for us in Muzaffarabad was temperature I guess. It was the same as we had in Islamabad although the whole city spreads right on the mountains.

The dark was falling, so we came back to the bus stand to buy tickets back to Rawalpindi. As we were talking to each other about our “not so fun filled” journey, a local guy asked us “Which places did you visit here?” We narrated ALL of the places we saw. He told us that there is nothing here in the city to see. The tourists who come to Muzaffarabad don’t come here to see this city but they opt for the valleys further in to the mountains. We were still not satisfied by our excursion so we asked him a series of questions and in reply, he told us about the two valleys which are very easy to access. The first one was Neelum Valley and the other one was Leepa Valley. We got all the information from him we could and thought over the pros and cons of venturing there. But we really have to decide where to go: Neelum or Leepa? I had heard about Neelum earlier so ultimately we decided to stay in the city for the night and restart our journey early next morning for Neelum Valley. The night was cold.

Next late morning we set out for the Valley. We had little information about the place and we were scared too. The Valley is cut in to two halves by river Neelum,  on one side is the Indian held Kashmir and  on the other is the state of Azad Kashmir. Arbitrarily, river Neelum was the cease fire line those days.

Continued…

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