Friday, November 17, 2017

Sarfaraz A Rehman: Living in the Now

Sarfaraz A Rehman: Living in the Now: As a child Our time scale was very short. That was the basic reason why we lived in the Now and were happy.  It was incredible how t...

Living in the Now

As a child Our time scale was very short. That was the basic reason why we lived in the Now and were happy.  
It was incredible how the smallest expectation and our happiness would hit the roof. That is because the time span we saw was just upto the expectation. We did not see beyond.

If something bad was about to happen, even then we were like a rubber ball, because we bounced back immediately after the bad event, because we did not look back and so happiness prevailed.  

There is a lesson for us in this. Kids outlook span of a short time, is natural. A fear of the future is deliberately inserted into our children by us humans. Making them slaves of society for the rest of their lives. If we stop, they will continue to be the happy creatures they were at the start. 

The sort of fears we inculcate in our young ones are endless. 
  • a fear of financial security
  • of rejection
  • of loss of face 
  • defeat or failure 
  • loneliness 
  • a lack of love  
  • physical safety
  • And many more specific ones

These kids are born clean happy humans and we distort them. They then end up developing paranoia, ego or insecurities. It mutates them and that mutation becomes the basis of all the troubles of this world. The likes of Borgias, Caligula, Attila, Napoleon, Hitler, Mussolini and many more are just some of the products of their circumstances. The world paid a heavy price for what went on in their houses, schools and early lives. Had their parents and adults been able to see into the future, much could have been prevented. Much! Such a tragedy the world could have been spared.  

Wish there was a way to stop these tragedies in the future. Of leaving these happy bubbling beings just what they were born to be, good happy humans.

* picture is from

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Laws of Perversity (Never say Never)

imageIts my hypothesis, that there is a trap set at every step during our lives. Its been pre programmed. You just need to find it. And its not that difficult. Just the right mind set and you are in there.
As a kid, I remember my father thinking of buying a Volkswagen Beetle, as a family car. Nothing unusual about that. One in every four cars on the road was a Beetle in those days. This is before the Government of Pakistan decided in its infinite wisdom, that they should tax higher literage cars more than others. So before the Japanese cars took over in Pakistan (and really the world), you could see the Beetles every where. We all went and checked out the Beetle at the showroom and my mother categorically stated that it was a horrible, ugly looking thing, and she would not sit in it. So, alas, no Beetle!
Cut forward 14 years and I was back in Pakistan, studies completed, I had recently joined Unilever, on whose princely salary, all I could afford was an old second hand car, Alhamdulillah. Guess what I ended up buying ? A dilapidated 14 year old Beetle! ( this car had a mind of its own. It would forever stop on Clifton Road at the most inopportune times and caused me constant heartburn). And of course my mother sat often in the same ugly car, for the next 3 years. A soft trap, but nevertheless, one which repeats itself all the time.  
Never say Never!
Just go ahead and state your intentions of not doing something in a categorical fashion, and more than likely, the exact thing you denied, you will end up doing. Now, somewhere there is a Murphy’s Law, which states that anything which could possibly go wrong, well it will go wrong. Similarly, I think there should be a Perversity Law. If you say something will “Never” happen, well sadly it will happen.
In my own personal experience, it has occurred exactly like that. I stated I would not study abroad; I did. Never do Chartered Accountancy; I did. Would not join a commercial organisation; I did. Did not want to be heading an operation; I did. Once I left the commercial world, would never come back; I did. Would never smoke; I did. Will always exercise and have no weight problems; well in the last ten years done little exercise and had the mother of fights to keep the weight in check.
I wonder where this stops and how many others suffer from similar results. Friends I have enquired from, all have a similar story to tell. So is this a worldwide phenomenon? Then the thought occurs, if it is so common, why don’t we humans, stop stating things in a categorical fashion? Or better still, only say “Never” to things you actually want to happen, thus engineering a perverse reaction, all to your benefit. That should lead to the perverse happening., which is what you wanted in the first place… right? If you see what I mean.
So then, my fresh, new Laws of Perversity.
A) if you are sure in your mind you will “Never” do something and you state it out loud for general consumption, you will end up doing it.
B) if you are sure in your mind something will “Never” happen and you state it out loud for general consumption, it will happen.
C) if you are blessed with a high IQ and a devious mind, and believe (A) or (B) are true, and then you state the opposite deliberately, thinking its going to assist you to achieve the same, you are wrong! It will catch you out and it will not happen. It simply reads your intention.
D) Law A and B are therefore the only true laws, based on the confidence of your statement.
Therefore, my conclusion, after a lifetime of experience … Never say Never!
*the picture has been taken from a free picture site.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sarfaraz A Rehman: Let Go

Sarfaraz A Rehman: Let Go:    The older guy smiled and said 'Yes, he knew the place and had walked the familiar corridors'. The young man, in some puzzlem...

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Let Go

The older guy smiled and said 'Yes, he knew the place and had walked the familiar corridors'. The young man, in some puzzlement and trepidation, looked at the older person and nodded. 'I have heard your name before, they say you were very good'. The older guy, was not even sure his name was  recognised. Long time ago, these corridors belonged to him and were his creation. C'est la vie.     
The mace passes. What is today will not be tomorrow. Do not forget it. Age gracefully. Move on before your downtime comes. Let go! Leave some of yourself behind. So that some of it is remembered, which in time will also be forgotten. Do not hold onto the past. It is a recipe for defeat, ridicule and pain.       
This is the best advice I would give to anyone, in youth or old age.. There is a time and place for things. One day move on and do new things.  And some day like all humans, we will go the way of eternity. There we can seek the everlasting. 

Lastly the best human words related to this are from Percy Shelley in Ozymandias.   
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay 
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.” 

*picture is from 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"Life's like that"

Such a common phrase. We hear it used often. "Life's like that". It explains much and most of us, who have lived long enough, understand it immediately. It does not need any further clarification.

There was a time in younger and more idealistic days, we would rant and rail when destiny went against us. A bad umpiring decision in cricket would bother us for days. I  remember the awful decisions against Pakistan during the 1982 England series (no neutral umpiring in those days). We were angry for days, as it meant not winning our first series in England. Alternatively, sometimes it was just about luck. A terrible FA Cup final in 1977. Liverpool would have done the treble that year, long before any other European team. But they missed out on the FA Cup, while winning the  League and European Cup.  In the FA Cup Final they    attacked Manchester United all the game, were parked in  their area and scored only one goal. ManU attacked twice during the whole game, and scored two goals. The second goal was a horrendous deflection of a ball going well out, but catching an errant foot and looping over Clemence into the goal. I was distraught for days. The reach of Allah had meant this to happen.  

You see plenty of lack of perfection and equity in life. And this discussion need not be about personal events. Infact, through the course of life, the personal blips are the least bothersome. Generally, a person feels that one has the capacity to get over personal setbacks, injustices or failures. It is the events which are uncontrollable and happen to others which bother the most. So one of the most bothersome was the gruesome Bosnian war in early 90s. Watching those horrible events on television was excruciating. But other than donate money there was not much we could do. Similar events in Syria, brought sadness and helplessness to the fore. Donating money is never  enough. The inner conscience requires action and in today's very structured world, one feels disenfranchised in such situations.

Eventually, through the course of this life, we actually do learn that Life has a mind of its own. I think of it as Allah's will, others will have different names. This world is not a perfect place called Jannah.  Life is about striving; the good, the bad and the ugly, all will be thrown at us. It's up to us how to handle them. Decades ago, the lyrics of Bob Dylan made much sense. His words about the perceived injustices of this world rankled and pained. We were always ready to take up a cause, however small. Then slowly, life taught us a lesson. Even Dylan stopped ranting and raving and became more mainline. He became a born again Christian, lost his revolutionary fervour and eventually the establishment gave him a Nobel Literature Prize!  

That unfortunately happens to us as we grow older. Experience, attrition and a declining ability, teaches us that 'Life's like that'. We grow to accept this and sadly go the way of all humans. Our destiny is that. This is life and not Jannah.

*the cover of Two doors Down.

Friday, September 8, 2017

A List of Hope

Forever one has tried to be positive in this life. Even in the   worst of times. That is a trait which beats next to the heart   and keeps it ticking. Recently, after a couple of these 'knife  in the guts type' world wide events, I was going to write a  list of despair. Fortunately, reflection made me change it into a list of prayers. 

So I pray fervently, with a sincere heart, without any prejudice and with belief in Allah.

  • I pray that all wars go away and killing fields disappear. 
  • I pray that the rich become softer and less concerned about themselves.
  • That the poor become more hopeful and happier.
  • Perhaps corporates, superstar actors, singers, sportsmen, high flying executives be less greedy and more human.  
  • That journalists and judges are good, honest people.  
  • That wealth is distributed more evenly; the rich give more.  
  • That humans waste less and not cut trees.  
  • I pray that humans do not starve, go unclothed or have no roof. 
  • That children have a chance to play and the old a chance to rest. 
  • That education is for all.
  • That everyone finds a passion and stays engaged in life. 
  • That religions find their space and Allah guides all. 
  • That armies disarm and spies go home to their families.
  • I pray there are no refugees and humans welcome all. That home is everywhere. 
  • That discrimination on language, colour or creed does not happen.
  • That leaders are servants and not rulers.
  • Once everyone gets their due,  justice is not needed.
  • That everyone loves and finds their love.
  • That the softer subjects prevail and arts and spirituality abound everywhere.
  • That humans guard their tongue and hurt others less.
  • That people will be healthy,  live long and be happy.
  • That people will acquire wisdom and big hearts. 
I pray for the above and much more. Just a small list of wants. Now who is to say, Allah (swt) might accept all this in his absolute wisdom, knowledge and power. Ameen.