"I want this day to be good. I want to be happy today," I prayed to God before the teacher arrived in the class. It started off as a fairly boring day. I had to sit in this other class of pre-engineering boys for one block, because the strength of our class was low today. "Look at that boy and the strange glasses he’s wearing," I saw the k3wl boys whispering and pointing at me, followed by the other saying, "Hello, how are you?" in attempt to stereotype my habit of preferring to speak English. These things no longer continue to bother me ever since I developed immunity against opinions of those who do not matter. But it made me wonder how strange it is that people choose to say things that can ruin someone’s day when they can use the same tongues to utter words that can make their day.
I was thinking of Aeras. I wanted to talk to her. I wanted to tell Aeras how is my day going. I was also thinking of Abdullah, which is like a duh thing because I am always thinking of Abdullah. When am I not thinking of Abdullah? I was also thinking of Sadiya. I texted her recently and we planned to hang out next weekend. I was also thinking of Dania. And what I asked God the other night. So I started doodling a little bored me in my diary, and the faces of all people I was thinking about in a big bubble of thoughts.
I wasn’t paying attention to the lecture. It was not a class I attend. Sir Faraz was delivering a lecture about addition of hydrosomething acid to a..
Finally, the class was over and we were headed towards the biology lab for zoology class, but Ma’am Sabiha was at the VP’s office for some reason, so there was no zoology class, which made me sad because zoology class is what makes me get up in the morning for college, and no zoology class was simply a deal breaker. Sir Ali, the lab assistant, wasn’t letting us stay at the lab, which was strange because Sir Ali is tight with us and had never asked us to leave before. I was definitely missing something here.
Bilal was trying to convince Sir Ali to let us stay in his own pretentious, Bollywood-esque, cheesy way, which made Sir Ali laughed actually. I don’t exactly find that appealing about Bilal but if he enjoys it and so does the person he talks to, and it causes no one grief, my opinion is irrelevant. I let Bilal, be Bilal.
"Assalam o Alaykum, ma’am.", I said glancing at Ma’am Sabiha upon her arrival. "Walykum Salam," she replied. This time, her eyes were right on me. She seemed pleased to see me. Her delighted face felt welcoming. I wasn’t joyous at all though and she picked that up.
"Why are you so down?" she came to me and asked. "I…," for a short moment, I didn’t know what to say. That moment ceased as it dawned on me, what good can possibly happen if I do not share what troubles me with relevant people. "I’m bummed ‘cause I came today just for the zoology class and then, there was no zoology class," I started off, and then I went on and told her how I am still standing where I started while others are progressing, not just in zoology but in all the subjects, and how the decision of merging our class with the pre-engineering boys has affected my (our) learning. She advised me to take it to the Principal and ask him for a separate class for premedical, at least, and it was a plausible idea. If that happens, I just might be able to compensate.
Miss Ambreen called her in the office. Apparently, there was a phone call for her. I waited outside the office to talk, but it took her too long and the bell had rung and I had to return to class.
I had forgotten my lunch money at the table in a hurry when I was leaving college so I couldn’t buy lunch. It was a sunny day. The sun wasn’t veiled by the thick clouds that never rain, as it usually is every other day in Karachi these days. I stayed in the empty classroom, sat under a fan, and played songs by Imagine Dragons after a long time. On Top Of The World was playing. It has never failed to make me smile so bright. I used to call it my song, because it described my mood ninety percent of the time. I played All Eyes from their previous album. It was really good. They are good people. Imagine Dragons, they are my antidote to reality.
The boys started returning to the class when the recess was about to be over. Fahad was getting his pictures taken in class in the big, black, fake aviators he was wearing. Aviators never really fascinated me, but I suppose he felt nice. Again, my opinion was irrelevant. He got a picture taken with me too. The picture pretty much answered my question that why am I not seeing someone: I am a boring, unattractive and physically repulsive boy.
We performed salt analysis in the chemistry lab. I was performing it in front of Miss Shaista so that she corrects me in case I do something wrong.
"Asad, your accent is totally American.", she pointed impressively.
"Yes.", I sighingly said. But I was glad she noticed.
"Have you visited America?", she asked.
"No.", I replied. I wasn’t exactly up for conversation of any sort, but she’s too nice to just pass on.
"I watch a lot of American television.", I continued.
"Movies?", she asked. "TV shows." I said.
"Which ones?", she asked.
"Mostly sitcoms.", I answered. Because they make me happy.
"My all-time favorite would be How I Met Your Mother.", I told her, which continued into five seconds of awkward silence because the show’s content is not suitable for underage viewers.
"I watch that show too.", she said.
She had asked everyone in the lab about what they are expecting in the result and turned towards me expecting me to say something good because everyone perceives me as a brilliant student for some reason. I told her I screwed up physics and chemistry exams big time and it’d be a big deal for even if I gain points just enough to pass. She was shocked. I told her why, which led to the same conversation I had with Ma’am Sabiha earlier that day, in her office. Talha Javed was with me in her office too; he supported my claims, because all of the premedical boys were in hot water because of the decision of the college’s administration; I wasn’t alone.
At the end of the day as I was waiting outside the base for my van to pick me up, it was an okay day, I told myself. No. To say it was just okay would be an understatement. It was a nice day. I was happy by the end of the day. Wasn’t that what I asked God in the morning, I reminded myself. I thanked Him that He granted my wish for happiness and a good day.
Decide what you want to be, like I wanted to be happy. Think the thoughts of it. Emit the frequency, and your visions will become your life. We just concentrate only on the bad things around us, unknowingly inviting more of them to your lives. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.
On this fine Monday morning as I sat with my typewriter in the park, I couldn’t help but think about the last conversation I had with a boy who claimed it’s gays and lesbians that’s bringing our society down. Those weren’t his exact words though. Of course, I’m not habitual of remembering things I find irrelevant. Basically, his intent was accusing the LGBT community for the downfall of society. Why is it on my mind? Don’t take it the wrong way and think that I actually give a damn about a child’s opinion, which by the way, isn’t even his own opinion. The kid is too young to have his own true opinions.
But let’s ponder over the thought anyway to see if it is actually the gays that are at the moment, causing our society to decline.
Are the Taliban who blow up our mosques homosexual? Or are those anonymous gunmen who shoot innocent people down on the streets, at work, at home and while they are on vacation, gay? Or are the corrupted politicians who are eating our country inside and out, homo? If it is the gays that are causing our society to decline, then all those people must be gay.
And if you think it’s the gays who are to bring the wrath of God on your nation, then honey, tell me what would God prioritize, the people who He love and care about, or who His people date. The people of Sodom are famous for being the victims of God’s wrath because of their homosexuality but then, homosexuality has existed ever since humans did. Then why didn’t they suffer from God’s wrath? It’s because the people of Sodom hurt people. They raped travelers who used to stay at their places. And they raped those angels Allah sent to them in the form of handsome young males. That’s wrong. And unjust. And God is just. And justice was served on that nation. It’s not who we love that upsets God, it’s how you treat His people. Are you sure you always treat people right, and make sure you never ever do or say anything that would hurt their sentiments? ‘cause that’s what upsets the Almighty.
We love ‘cause we have this little bitch inside us that God gave us called ‘nafs’ or ‘desires’ and we like to be with those who we find desirable, which can be anybody. You wouldn’t know. It’s just natural. Those who are attracted to the opposite sex are attracted to the opposite sex and those who are attracted towards the same sex are attracted towards the same sex. It only makes sense. The only thing unnatural would be if a guy who likes other guys is forced to be with a girl. Nature is something that happens itself and not made by mankind, and homosexuality has been a part of the nature that some people refuse to believe.
The gays can only harm society just as much as any straight and thus, self proclaimed righteous person can. I still do not recall any gay man or woman causing someone’s divorce, killing the innocent or burning women’s faces with acid. Who does all that? You know who. Are they gay? Nope. They are one of you straight bastards. The reality is that it’s you who’s shaping your society. We are the minority. Our presence and absence in this society is almost the same thing. We can’t/don’t influence it in either good or bad way. You people do. Blaming us for your shit is just being holier than thou.
If that doesn’t answer your bigotry and you still believe the civilization will end if gay people are afforded the same rights and privileges straight people enjoy, go through this short list of reasons why gay marriages will ruin society and see how right you are.
At times like these when the city’s bleeding, the roads are blocked, public transport is nowhere to be found, pillion riding and cellular networks are banned and you’re confined to your homes, all you can think of is to whine on social media about the situation of the city. Did you know even a situation like this can be turned into a positive one? Let me tell you how, because it works for me and I know it will work for anyone who decides.
Get busy. Complete all the work that you have been pending. Look around you, your room is a mess. Tidy things up. Give your mommy a break and do your laundry yourself for once. Finish that book that’s been lying on the table ever since you borrowed it. If you don’t have something to read, tweet me @HeyAsad, I’m reading The Secret by Rhonde Byrne, I’ll send you a copy.
Watch that movie that’s been on your watchlist for so long. Finish a season of your favorite show that you haven’t been getting the time to watch.
How often does it happen that all your family members are at home all at the same time? Give your mommy a hand in the kitchen, or wash the car with your dad. Spend some quality time with your folks, share conversations with them. This is might be the perfect moment to tell them what you haven’t been getting the chance to tell them all this time.
How about a Skype session with your family abroad?
If you’re a school boy like me, there couldn’t possibly be a better time to finish all your practical journals, learn all those ‘tabsaray’ or derive those formulae if you don’t want to screw up your exams again.
If you’re artistically inclined, spend lots of time on Pinterest, Tumblr, DeviantArt or wherever you find artworks that inspire you. The philosophy “you are what you eat” doesn’t only imply in terms of food but on everything that you do. You are the type of music you listen to; you are what people you hang out with, every book you’ve read, every movie you’ve watched and every picture you’ve seen. You are consuming all that. Everything you create is a collective result of what you have consumed. So if you’re an artist, you should look at lots and lots of art. And if you are a blogger, there couldn’t be a better time to update your blog. See the feedback you’ve been getting on your posts and maybe, give your blog a revamp.
Now is the perfect time to make your own gratitude list − a list of things in your life that you feel thankful for. Gratitude dissolves negativity in our lives, no matter what form it has taken. It can part seas, move mountains and create miracles. Ask yourself what are you thankful for and list all the things that come into your mind, may it be the friends you have, your perfectly working limbs, the places you’ve see, or that you get lots of Eidi every year; there are no rules, be as specific as needed and add everything. This list will remind of you the blessings you have to be thankful for when hard times arrive and things aren’t going your way. Start right away. It won’t take long.
Stay away from social media. Social media can be depressing at times like these. Seeing people dying, protesting, constantly getting reminded of all the bad that’s out there, it’s not going to do any good to you or your country. You cannot help the world by focusing on the negative things. As you focus on the negative events of the world, you not only add to them but you bring more negative things into your own life at the same time, and every negative thought blocks good from coming to you. You can change the channel on your TV but you can’t control what appears in your news feed. It’s better if you rather stay offline.
Know that banning cellular networks, blocking roads and closing businesses cannot stop you staying postive. Like attracts like. Possess a positive vibe and watch all the positive things coming your way. It’s the law the Universe follows. Sitting and talking about the terrible condition of your country is only going to make it much worse. Like it or not, that’s who the Universe works. It doesn’t understand negation in any form − if you speak of negativity, it will send more of it towards you.
Reality is what you perceive it to be. If you see from my eyes, it’s a brand new day out there and brand new possibilities. Look up, you might even see a rainbow. See what’s in your hands. It’s power. The power is in your hand. It’s you who can turn things around for yourself. The Universe is on your side. Now it’s all up to you. Either you can stay inside that bubble with all of your troubles or you can look for the positive in even the worst situations and let the Universe guide you.
2012’s been catastrophic. It has been literally the worst year of my existence. It was entirely about loss and zero gains. Nothing worked out as planned. Nothing. There’s been a twist in fate and not in a good way. Unimaginable, unfortunate, unmentionable things happened. Yes, it was that bad. I’ve got chances, I blew them big time. I left no stone unturned in sabotaging relationships. I’ve been stupid. I’ve hurt people. I’ve been a disappointment. I’ve been a setback. And I have perfectly good reasons to state that.
If I sit here to chalk down every screw up I’ve had in 2012, it’ll literally take me the whole night and I don’t really wanna recall them anyway because what’s important is that its over. 2012 is over and I must not let 2013 continue its legacy. I am gonna make 2013 different. I am gonna make 2013 memorable, and in a good way. Must set a constitution for myself to follow. Yes. And shit or get off the pot would be an appropriate addition to it. This applies to whatever thing you’re not doing that you should just sack up and do already. I’ve spent almost the entire year procrastinating. And since I’m so good at procrastinating now, I’m going to utilize my skill to procrastinate on procrastination. Stop giving yourself up to that little bitch inside you that’s always keeping you from doing crazy shit because 2013 is gonna be about doing crazy shit and crazy shit is what we’ll remember 20 years from now. It’s what makes us come alive. I need to live a little alive this year. Screw hope. Do it already.
“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” doesn’t seem totally cliche now.
So yeah, fuck off, 2012. I’m gonna marry 2013.
Irritated by the teacher’s repetitive mistakes in dictation, I said, “Miss, why is that every word you pronounce is wrong? You call ‘instead’, inst-aid and you call ‘trace’, tras.”
Affronted by my criticism, she said, “It is my accent and I cannot change.” What she meant was, deal with it!
“So what, that doesn’t stop you from pronouncing words right as they are. I say your accent is fine.”
“There are different countries having their different accents, Australia, Columbia, Korea or India, people pronounce words how their accents allow them to. How many people are you going to correct, will you tell me, Asad?” she exclaimed.
“None other than my own English teacher, with whom I’m concerned with.” I replied.
“Look, the people here pronounce ‘adobe’ as adob, ‘receipt’ as re-sept. How are they supposed to get me if I ain’t speaking the language their way?” she said.
“Well, isn’t it your duty as a teacher to aware them of their slip-ups, correcting them in the process?” I said, “Well I’ll let you know I didn’t come from some Cambridge school with British teachers or the city of London; what I’ve learnt is all from here and it certainly isn’t rocket science to pronounce a couple of words right.”
Damned me, on the inside, she did indeed and continued dictating.
“You should’ve have said like that. The last thing you want is make them have beef for you.” they may say. “I believe in freedom of expression; a person has the right to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted restrictions.” I say.
“You are just making things difficult for you. They’ll avenge you and they’ll make your life miserable. You need to learn to zip it if you want to survive in this country, and you will have to follow ‘their’ ways to proceed with your life in this country.”
“This is Pakistan! That’s how this works here whether you like it or not.”
“The kind of family you come from cannot afford you living abroad where no one will give a damn about how you choose to live and you know it. You’re going to spend your whole life living in this society, among these people, and you will have to be one of them to survive among them.”
“Well if what you do is called living a life, then I surely prefer dying over what you perceive as life, because this goes against all my views, my beliefs and my religion.”
“Besides, this worldly life is only temporary and in the hereafter is my home of settlement. Now why would I risk that by taking the wrong turn on the road like everybody else?”
“Well then you will be facing a lot more adversities than you do right now, if you’re planning to stick with that attitude of yours.” they warn me.
I say, “I’ve got a strong hold on my faith and my Lord and He’s got my back. I need not worry about that and neither should you.”
And that’s when their doubts about my Lord’s might begin to expose, and still “What does he knows religion!” they say, calling me a sinner, an infidel, whatever it is that hits those hypocritical beings next.
You say ‘it’s Pakistan, deal with it’ but isn’t it people like you who make Pakistan how it is? I say, if every single one of us decide to set ourselves on the right path and don’t take the wrong turn whatsoever, Pakistan would be a more just and peaceful country. Take that step.
Now that I’m finally doing my intermediate at NFIC, I didn’t think I would say this but I admit it, I actually, really miss my school and everyone from there, even though I was the one who couldn’t wait to get out of school and move on with my life. And now that I have moved on, I’m not sure if I even remember everyone from my past year at school. I suck at trying to remember things from the past, others do it fine. Well, lets see if my brain cells aren’t total rubbish.
There was no desk that was not covered with Talha’s drawings of fighter jets. I was and still am the kid who’s so skinny he almost looks malnourished. Lubna was and probably still is that fat girl who was every teacher’s pet. Sobia was the girl who showed up merely once in a blue moon because she likes her sleep better. Hafsa was that wacko who used to throw stuff on Saad Aqueel while we suffered. And Saad, if I had a nickel for everything time I cracked his nuts, I’d own a bank! Sorry, Saad. I’ll make sure your junk is okay once/if I become a doctor. There were two Saads in our class. Saad Aqueel and Saad Naseem. Saad Naseem was a love bird. Both the Saads were, actually. Hamza was the kid we used to snack on because her mom don’t cook for him, but for us. Muttajjar, he was the best punching bag our class had. Shahbaz was best known for his driving skills, and Sameen was that tall girl with the curves, lol. Zaki was and always have been an abomination, but he sure was a source of entertainment. He was the one who invented the classic Ammar jokes. Ammar was the guy we used to literally look up to because he was the tallest guy in class (or school, probably). Fazila was the universal baji and Laiba, well, lets just say she came to her senses in the last year thankfully. Huda was the girl who once whistled during class which got all the boys kicked out of the class, and that was probably the most epic thing she ever did. Salik was the one with the prettiest handwriting and Faizan was the smartass whose goal was to annoy the living crap out of every teacher we had, and he did a fine job by the way. And then there was Mehwish, who got their Mehran sold for the sake of a good result (kidding). Taha was the fatass who used to watch porn on his phone during class and Nasir was the small kid who finally got growth spurt, in 10th grade. Better late than ever, I suppose. Noman, I’m not gonna mention anything about him because I’m not sure if there’s enough room for him in the server (if you know what I mean). Rida, she was the girl with a dude-ish voice, which was awesome by the way. And how could I forget about Nazish, popularly known as churya, and her best friend Umaima, she was cool though. You could find every item available at the canteen under their desk. Then there was Areeba who didn’t get to fit in so well. She joined us in 8th grade. Asneef, only one thing comes in my mind when I think Asneef is Rattan (janitor), the nickname Zaki gave him. Man, he got butthurt.
Okay, all that thinking got me hungry so if I missed someone, I don’t really care. No I’m not even gonna apologize. I can’t think on an empty stomach, so I’m just gonna go and make myself a sandwich. And no, I’m not fasting. Bite me!
So our English teacher gave us in homework, to go through the works of Stephen Leacock, and bring into class a short essay we liked the most. I did go through some of his short essays, but was too lazy to copy them down in my notebook, so I didn’t do my homework. The next day I went to school, everyone did their homework but me and I was screwed. So I took my pen, and during the chemistry class, wrote an essay of my own “by Stephen Leacock” and guess what? The teacher bought it! xD
Kids, every day of the week, they drag themselves out of bed around six in the morning to get to school on time, and what do they get in return? The teacher makes an already boring topic even more boring as if they weren’t already dozing out. What a typical teenager has in mind during the lecture aren’t subatomic particles. Here’s what ninety per cent of the students “present” in class really have in mind.
“When will the class be over?”. “How much time is left till the bell rings?”. “God, when will the damned bell ring?”.
“I want to sleep.”
“Why did I even come to college today?”
“That girl is cute.” ”Ah, she’s looking at me again!”. “Why is she smiling, do my hair look funny?”.
“I hope the teacher can’t see me doodling.”
“If that idiot has a girl, why can’t I have one too?!”
“That teacher is a…”
While some are irritated by the teacher’s jibber jabber, some are listening to that catchy song by The Beatles that is stuck in their heads and some are waiting for just the right moment to ask the teacher if they can go to the toilet.
I’m pretty much convinced seeing great minds being produced in the classrooms of Canada and judging by the looks of the faces, how can one not see the country’s bright future! Props to the teachers, of course.
Internet’s a wonderful place. Full of wonderful people showing of their talents ranging from freelance photography and choreography to baking cupcakes, and it is amazing watching kids making the most of it, learning and sharing and getting appreciated. Ahmed met me through my comic page on Facebook and he is full of surprises, found it interesting to get to know and he never failed to impress me. And for the rest of us, I interviewed him. Lets discover him, shall we?
To kick things off, shall you please introduce yourself?
"My name is Ahmed Hassan. I am 13 years old and I just passed the 8th grade. I was born in Larkana, Sindh, Pakistan. I love to draw and paint, which lead me to get much more interested in art.”
So Ahmed, did you had passion for art since you were merely a toddler or something like that?
"I wasn’t interested in art at that time. It was my sister who made me gain some interest in art. My passion for art started when I searched for other artists on the Internet. I was nearly 8 at that time."
How did your sister influence you? Tell me more about your family.
"Well, my sister is a great artist. I think she was interested in art when she was just a child. I have seen her sketches which she used to draw when she was a child, they were so awesome. She likes experimenting a lot in this part. Her art speaks for itself."
"Whenever I saw her drawing sketches, I used to sit and draw with her. She encouraged me a lot in my life. She is the reason why I am on this stage today. I am proud to have a sister like her."
You look for inspiration online. What kind of impact do they have on you?
"I am going to be honest. The only thing special about them is their way of drawing and their passion for art. I’ve learned a lot from them. I didn’t even know what digital coloring until I saw their work. The artists made me gain more interest in art."
You’re really good at what you do. Have you ever experienced failure? How did you cope with it, if you ever did?
"I’ve never experienced failure. Thanks to God."
What pushed you towards making comics?
"The comic artists of Pakistan. Just before starting my page, I searched for pages and comic artists to learn more from them. My comics are mostly based on the conversations I have with my friends. We crack up big time reading our messages. So, instead of wasting my humor, I thought of pushing myself towards the comic scene."
You’ve been passionate about art since childhood. Have you been a fan of comic books?
"Online comic books work for me a lot. For example, Kachee Goliyan. The humor is amazing. The drawings are just awesome. They crack me up big time. Apart from that, I love to see other comic artists starting up their own online comic books. Just like ‘Mango People’. I was way too excited for their comic book. Well, the result came out great. Pakistan is filled with talent. It feels good to see people trying so much to push the comic scene forward.”
Where do you see the comic scene of Pakistan is going? Do you see growth or do you see downfall?
"People with humor and talent are pushing the comic scene in Pakistan towards awesomeness. The only downfall I see is with the people who try to act funny, even if they aren’t in the mood. There are millions of people who don’t have humor, but some of them desperately try to drag the humor out of them. Which doesn’t quite work. Apart from that, I am sure the comic scene in Pakistan will keep on growing. I wish luck and success to all of the comic artists in Pakistan."
How’s Facebook working out for ya?
"Facebook is working a lot for me. I haven’t shared my page or my stuff on any other social networking website except Facebook. Apart from that, the response is amazing. The comics artists plus the fans have encouraged me a lot. Well, my Facebook page did take time to get some likes. I didn’t knew how to make people hear of it. All of my work, was kind of getting wasted. So, I contacted some comic artists and they kept sharing my page and encouraging me."
Where do you see yourself among the outburst of comic pages?
"I am just a mediocre artist. I draw. And when funny ideas pop up in my mind, I make comics. The only reason why I’ve used memes in a few of my comics is because of their expressions. I draw and I make comics because they both work for me."
"I don’t want to compare. There is some kind of a different talent in every comic artist I have seen. Some are awesome in sketching. Some are professionals in digital coloring. And some have got loads of humor. People have told me that they can expect me to draw anything. It’s right from my point of view. It just depends on my mood. Well, in the part of comics, I am not that much funny in real life. It’s just that a few ideas pop up in my mind and I make comics about them. While others have got a different kind of humor."
Would you like to be a full-time artist in the future?
"Not really. I draw and make comics because I’m interested in both of them. There is a lot of other stuff to do when I grow up. A lot of fields to join in. Though the passion for art will keep growing."
Judging by his performance, I say the boy has potential, he has the potential to go way beyond what he’s capable of at the moment. We all need appreciation . I recommend you checking his Facebook page iDraw - Comics by Ahmed where he currently posts all his drawings. You will be left speechless. Right that down.
This is Asad, signing out.