Shifting!!

August 27, 2009

I have shifted my Blog to my website http://www.alihamza.com

For more posts, tweets etc., please visit that site.

Thanks  :)


Welcome to Fifiland!

April 14, 2009

Closed and well defined
Yet open
to the most beautiful
limitless dreams

Waiting to explode
A box full of butterflies
Caterpillars they were…

A day’s end nears…
Dark night to follow…
Fireworks await us…
To light up the sky
And wake us from slumber!

Let go my love!
Set yourself free!
Help me free myself!
Help me… Help you!!!


Ik Alif

April 13, 2009

Ik alif teray darkar
I’lmon bus kareen o yaar…

Parh parh sheikh mushaikh sadaawein
Be-ilmaan nu lut lut khawein
Tenu kita hirs khwar

Bus kareen o yaar
I’lmon bus kareen o yaar
….

Parh parh ilm te faazil hoya
Te kaday apnay aap nu parhya ee na

Bhaj bhaj warna ay mandir maseeti
Te kaday mann apnay wich warya ee na

Larna ay roz shaitaan de naal
Te kadi nafs apnay naal larya ee na

Bulleh Shah asmaani ud-deya pharonda ay
Te jera ghar betha unoon pharya ee na


Quotable Quotes

April 2, 2009

“Every now and then, we sit back and take account of our lives.
It’s like an exercise we have to undertake for moving forward…
Some of us do this more, some less..
But nonetheless, we do it!”
– Grenid Dwirkly

“Falling in love is way quicker than falling out of it. You fall at once but it takes a lifetime to get back on your feet!”
– Walter Styleman

“Commitment becomes Responsibility becomes Obligation becomes Burden!”
– Judith Bentley : ‘Idealism and Self Indulgence – A Psychoanalysis’ (Title for Chapter 3)

“Revolution is the completion of one cycle, It’s evolution that runs the show!’
– Babar Leghari

“There are those who communicate to fulfil their needs and then there are the few who do it for others!”
– Mark Appolo : ‘Political Warfare’

“I wanna name my kid Sardar Mohammed Ram Masih”
– Ali Hamza discussing religion with this Naqaab wearing chick


A New Beginning!

April 1, 2009

What a ‘cliched’ title for a comeback!

But it’s quite true!! I have decided to go the tech savvy way!

Now the question is how fast and how comprehensively can I do this? 😉

….
I should be writing about all that has happened over the time I’ve been away! ….
But sometimes I question if that really matters? And this is one of those moments!

….
But the point is my friends that I have a Blackberry! So I want to experiment with it!
Quite a gadget it is 🙂 … Has its limitations.. Yet there is a lot to discover within it 🙂
And I’ll stop marketting here!

This is a new writing experience. No spell checks.. A little more spontaneity… Still learning how to write… I know that soon I’ll be doing a lot more than this 😉

….
At the same time I have to say something about all that has been happening.

Coke studio has been one heck of an experience! I fell in love there!… With an american banjo 😉 … Got to see the cream of our industry working together… And I must say we have quite a versatile pool of extremely talented artists in this country…

Much more than that, I saw genuine concern about our present situation, and a drive to do something about it!
… And the drive in this case was to work hard towards setting new, higher, quality standards for a Pakistani product! Something that will make us known in a different and positive capacity.

There is a renewed optimism in me about where we’re heading as a country 🙂

And that’s why I say it’s a new beginning! 😉


I have a lot more to say. But the PR people for Coke Studio have put a curb on me!

But fear not… It will happen very soon so keep in touch 😉

Meanwhile I will try and bore you with some other random talk!

Until next time…. 😉


Not Good!

February 6, 2009

I have been avoiding making this effort. I know exactly what to write, but I have been on another trip altogether…

In economics I read about this thing called ‘moral hazard’. I just wikipedia-fied it to recall what it meant :P… basically I wanted to use the term as an explanatory for my staying away from writing. In a twisted way I can apply the reasoning (in economics) to my own case, but these days I am finding it difficult to ‘play’ with words and ideas. It feels as if one is being dishonest, playing around like this!!

Why it’s happening?
Because I am trying to write lyrics for new songs. And this time, for a change, I’m making a conscious effort not to use words for the sake filling space or for the sake of making them rhyme. It’s god damn difficult you know!? … Someone very rightly said that bad habits die hard!

But then Ghalib also said: ‘Ghaib se aatay hain yeh mazameen khayaal mein…’ … ??? …. !!!! @$$^^$@

I am no Ghalib. And my ghaib is created in my own little universe, limited by the very little knowledge I have. … See I am doing it again!!??

Quite frustrating …:(

All this said, things are going good. Way better than before.

Can’t be more thankful. It’s good to be thankful … it makes us patient.

The rest is upto Ghaib! 😉 …
New post coming soon….


In Retrospect: From Gurgaon to Bedian

January 5, 2009

Retrospection can be a good thing, as good as introspection – and sometimes even as bad! Everyone looks back into the past to learn; sometimes to avoid mistakes and sometimes to repeat beneficial deeds.

Some people also like looking into the past and question, ‘What if A did not happen, or B happened instead of A?’ I know one such person. He’s my father. Quite frequently he looks back, usually when he notices a mistake or something going wrong there (in retrospect of course), and propounds that if the mistake hadn’t been made things would have been so much better.

I personally never get this reasoning, especially when the (new) consequences are altered. Mind you, I have no issues with the idea that consequences can definitely be affected by changing even the slightest of historical facts. But knowing exactly what the consequences would be; that I surely have a problem with! The simple reason being that one fact doesn’t exist in isolation, it’s a complex of innumerable facts, most of which are unknown, that determine the progress of history, and, in fact, are part of history itself.

I learn this much clearly today. Especially when I see the world change so fast; even more so when majority of the paradigms (developed by so many humans) that chalk out a path of ‘progress’, are falling flat on their face – like frog rain!

Nicholas Nassim Taleb gives an interesting insight into the reasons behind this flawed reasoning. Do check out his work.
… …

A few days back me and my dad went to Bedian to get our land measured and demarcated properly. We are thinking of building our last and final abode there (there is a very interesting story to all this, but I will share some other day; the topic of today is a bit different).
For this task we had to utilize the services of the local Patwari.

First of all it was interesting to see how the Patwari pulled out this huge map, made on a piece of cloth, which had property demarcations of the entire village (Mauzaa). It seemed as if we were out on a treasure hunt!

But more significant, for this piece, is the fact that he, along with an entire family of near relatives, had migrated from India at the time of partition. They come from this place called Gurgaon, which, just like Bedian, is a suburb of Delhi.

Now I have visited Delhi, and I have (almost) visited Gurgaon. The suburb is blooming like anything: huge malls, Cineplex’s, beautiful apartment and residential complexes with state of the art infrastructure – a truly modern place (I am afraid I have nothing to compare it with inside Pakistan).

When I mentioned this fact to the Patwari, he was amazed, and the very next thing he said was that ‘had we not migrated, we would have been billionaires by now’, as they owned hundreds of acres in that locality. While in reality, he earns max Rs. 10,000/- a month, and then some ‘additional’ income (he is a very important person nonetheless) with which he has been able to purchase a Suzuki Mehran.

It is this statement of his which got me thinking about what I wrote earlier. ‘Maybe he is right, maybe things would have been different, but I can’t be so sure if he would have been a billionaire, or even very well off. I really wish he would have, but there are just too many factors involved here.

History is always a chain of cause and effects. A change in one single cause/effect in the chain can alter the entire course of subsequent causes and effects. And then add to that a complex of causes and effects interacting simultaneously at a certain point in time. One just can’t figure out the changes which would have taken place instead (of what actually happened), unless, of course, we can account for each an every detail of the process, which, for any sane individual, is almost near impossible.

I sometimes ask myself: ‘What if this partition hadn’t taken place?’ ‘What if Jinnah had lived another 5 years?’ ‘What if laziness combined with evil opportunism, were not the foundations of Pakistani culture?’ ‘What if the industrial revolution and the renaissance had come in South Asia?’ … and so on and so forth!

There are just too many trajectories to come out from a single alteration in historical facts. But then I ask myself… Why the hell do I need to figure all this out in the first place? This kind of retrospection seems to be nothing but a waste of time, and mental energy!
… …

So what was the point of all this?

I guess it makes me accept present reality as a consequence of the past. It makes me understand that what’s done is done and that no one can change that. But most importantly, it further strengthens my urge to work for the future, learning from the past but not indulging in it just for the sake of an intellectual joyride.

Let those who can relate to the finer aspects of what I say, utilize this realization and avoid wasting time in the future … this is a personally learnt lesson, if you get what I am saying 😉


My First Letter to Sanjana Zehra

December 26, 2008

Dear Sanjana Madam!

… ‘Madam’ because even I feel like a child in front of you!

Before anything, I would like to formally welcome you into this world. I wish you a long healthy life and pray that your stay here is adventurous, enjoyable, and one that covers a variety of experiences – fun, play, games, battles … hope you do it all!

I guess you won’t get to read this letter for quite some time, and maybe understand it much later; and when you do, you might wonder, ‘Why did Hamza make this letter public?’ … in all probability you won’t (wonder), but eventually you will understand the many reasons why … as I look forward to the history you and I will share 😉

First let me tell you that you came as a good luck charm; at least for me you did … and quite certainly for Ali Noor as well.

As far as Mandana is concerned, I think she is your lucky charm – hold on to her and you will find what you seek the most!

I also think that, by the time you’re an adult, you will consider us (at this point in time) to be a bunch of irrational, over-emotional, individuals, who were reluctant and unwilling to recognize ‘luck’ as a logical process itself! … Little will you understand or accept the context of our existence …

Next I will impress upon you that you have robbed me, as Rashida Khala puts it, of my ‘babyhood’! Because, before you, the title of ‘youngest’ (in our unit, as it exists on this day) was held by me … quite trivial, yet something that might affect the nature of our relationship.
… …

On a less personal note, I really didn’t know that your coming would alter the entire concept of life I had about and around myself! Let me, once again, give you a context here:

You’re born in a place where identities are losing strength – a nation whose sovereignty is on the verge of going bust, and amongst people who just don’t seem to get together for the right reasons.

You’re born in a time when Humanity is experiencing a new sense of freedom – a few days back one of the citizens of an occupied territory got away (with his life) after throwing his shoes (considered the height of insult in his own culture) at the ruler of the occupying country. Even more so, this fellow has become a global hero of sorts!
When you will read your history you will realize that such an act would lead straight to public execution had we belonged to any prior time.

But, as I keep repeating myself, for you, these are only trivialities which our generation prefers to blow out of proportion, in some cases, because we benefit from doing so, and in others, because we get an entertaining respite in dealing with the mess we are getting into with each passing day.
… …

I also took out an astral chart of your birth and shared it with the whole world. You are almost a cusp, between Capricorn and Sagittarius: serious minded, energetic, extremely ambitious and highly result oriented. I have been looking at many configurations over the last few years, and I must say that yours has been one of the most uniform and ordered astral configurations I have ever seen. I feel jealous first, but then I am humbled, especially when I get an insight into the course, the potential and the objectives nature has laid-out for your generation as a whole.

While we, the generations of the 20th century (and earlier) have been dreaming of a new world, yours will be creating it! While we had been struggling to figure out a new knowledge, a new mind and its associated ideas, you will be using them with ease to live a new and much more ‘efficient’ (as you might define it) lifestyle.

Much more humbling is my personal realization that how small and insignificant one lifetime is in the bigger process of nature. As I live today, the entire center of my attention tends to revolve around my own life, my own dreams, and those of a few others I am so closely attached to. But then, if I get outside of all this and take an overview, which your birth compels me to do, I see how many people live in exactly the same way.

Take your own birth as an example:

When they took you to the nursery, right after birth, there were 5 other newborns, each with a family of their own – a set of individuals who were celebrating and cherishing the joy just like me and my dear ones. This was further verified as we walked out of the nursery and saw another baby coming in, followed by a woman (probably her mother’s sister) with tears in her eyes, and happiness all across her face…

And then if I focus just on my life alone, my goals, my objectives, my likes, my passions etc., for the first time I felt that although they seem so grand and all encompassing for my existence, they will (eventually) lose their individuality like ether evaporating in thin air – at best it could be a perfume which spreads a momentary, pleasant smell in the unimaginably grand scheme of nature – all dimensions inclusive.

Much importantly though, I get a very strong sense that you as a generation will be far more comfortable with this idea; and unlike us, who get this realization only to forget about it when our everyday life calls us ‘back to reality’, you will utilize it and make it a real factor for your everyday doings … And if it not be true in your case then, I can confidently say, it will be so for your children … although I would still like to place my bets with you 😉

… …

This brings me to my final realization. One that stems from a concern that so unexpectedly took over me. Unexpected for me because I never thought I would worry about bringing up a child – especially one that is not biologically my own!

Within an hour of your coming into this world, the only thing my mind could focus on was: ‘How does it go from here?’ ‘What am I supposed to do?’ ‘What am I to get out of all this?’

How does it go from here?

Apart from the usual taking care of your physical well being, making you comfortable, keeping you away from pain and sickness etc., which I would do as much as is necessary from my side, what about the other aspects of your upbringing? Teaching and educating you? Making you distinguish between right and wrong? Providing you with a framework of ethics and morality? Etc.?

It seems obvious that these are equally necessary things. And these are exactly the principles upon which society (at least the one that I was brought up in) brings up its children.

And then add to these every parent’s (and other elders’) personal dreams and agendas which they would love to see these children carry forward – a family business/profession is the most typical example…

And then, suddenly, Raza’s words also resonate in the head… he has always been telling us that the most important thing for an individual is freedom and independence. That it is necessary for one’s mental (emotional and intellectual) nourishment to be free; and I couldn’t agree less…

But then he also finds it quite inexplicable how individuals are robbed of their freedom and independence right from the day they are conceived!

To start with, no one comes into this world out of their own will. It’s the parent’s decision/choice/mistake that brings a child into this world. Secondly, as a child you are the most impressionable thing around. You are sensitive, ignorant, naïve – like a blank sheet waiting to be written upon. The things that happen around you, the sounds you hear, the words you end up recognizing, actions you observe, all of them are raw material for the formation of your personality. … And so, the person you end up becoming is hardly independent of whatever and whoever has been around you.

What am I supposed to do and what do I get out of it?

In context of the above, I get really tense! Because, as far as my involvement in your upbringing is concerned, every action I take, every idea I share with you, every communication I make, has an impact of what you will become.

It then becomes more of a work that I do upon myself than upon you. That is, to bring you up, I have to bring myself up!!

But to what end???

I would prefer that end to be freedom and independence – yours and mine both…

I have been sensing a problem in family-centric societies like ours: extreme cases where individuals closely associated with the kids (their parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts etc.) have a bunch of ideas, actions and moralities they must impress upon children. This involvement of theirs sometimes reaches a state of excessively unhealthy indulgence. And then later on, in many cases, people expect reciprocity for such indulgence, which, I have noticed quite often, doesn’t take place (or takes place most unwillingly and out of a half hearted sense of obligation) and makes it a bitter experience across generations.

When I think of such cases, and when I notice that subtle traces of this reality exist all across the social fabric of which I am a part, I feel bound and chained – mentally and emotionally. The need for freedom intensifies; the want of independence increases. And then when I think of you, the intensity doubles, literally!

So, following the idea that your upbringing is dependent upon mine, the first task I have in front of me is to become a free and independent individual myself, in the truest sense.

And hence, I think about what freedom and independence mean … … ???

Consider adulthood Sanjana. Even as an adult you remain the child of ‘mother’ earth and ‘grandmother’ nature, dependent upon their internal conditions and circumstances, as they shape your deeds, your ideas, your personality for as long as you are alive!

And then, also, there are further, subjective choices of mine, according to which I prefer to be dependent. When I consciously rely on another, when I place my trust in someone else’s hands and so on and so forth…

Where is the escape from dependency then? Where then do I find perpetual and unaffected freedom?

But then, what if this is not how freedom and independence are to be defined? What if having the ability to do, believe and think all by one’s self is not the right definition of freedom?; because under such a definition, even as I stretch my mind to extremes, I am still not able to find a single example (real or hypothetical) when such independence and freedom are achieved.

I feel the dire need to look for another definition for freedom and independence, especially as I have always associated these words with a healthy life… But then, maybe, I need to find, instead, another definition for healthy life! … …

All this can go on in circles, and we might not get anywhere!! Because these are exactly the confusions I face as one belonging to the 20th century – which, by the way, makes me time dependent 😦

I am going to stop here because this is as far as I can take myself at this point in time, and beyond this I will only ramble (not that I haven’t been doing that throughout this letter). Secondly, I have a ‘real’ life to get back to! …

Although I don’t think that will ever stop me from going further into this inquiry. In fact consider this letter an invitation for you to be part of the inquiry, and the subsequent pursuit of freedom, as we end up redefining it. It’s not mine, nor is it yours alone; it is for everyone, and, as I said earlier, you and I can only play a minute, insignificant role in it, which, in reality, will be more than enough for our own, personal selves.

As far as the immediate is concerned – how I will be a part of your upbringing, I would mostly want it to be via observation, i.e. you observing my growing up.

I must confess that I never thought that I would want it this way. I wanted to indulge in you, spoil you, cuddle you in my arms and speak in unclear, baby lingo. I will do all that also. I know that, because I cannot, all at once, let go off my own mental paradigms, which have guided me since childhood. But yes, whenever I indulge this way, I know there will be another part of me calling unto me and telling me that ‘listen you are doing all this not for the child, but for your own self, for your own indulgences, and you might have to pay heftily for that… if you truly lover her and care for her nourishment then think about what she needs!’ …

Honestly, I have no clue about what you need … and so I will let you determine most of that for yourself.

At least I am clear about defining freedom to that extent!
… …

… …

As I end this letter, my dear and beloved Sanjana, I wish you a beautiful life. I pray that God gives you an open heart and an open mind. If anything I would want you to take as a training lesson from my side, I would ask you to be thankful, at every stage of your life. Thankful that you are, have been, and will be so much better off (in many different ways) from so many others around, before and after you, respectively.

Being thankful makes us patient!

God bless you!

Your Friend,

Hamza


Not Sacrificial Anymore

December 12, 2008

Eid was a very different experience this time. A kind of an aversion developed by the end of the festivities – towards meat, slaughter and blood!

To start with we had to do this recording for Atv (this was way before Eid by the way). The event was titled Meat meatmilanMilan Party and the tagline was Aao Meat Karein! … Now that’s repulsive!! All offence to Atv! …

At the same time, I am quite aware of where all this is coming from:
There is a kinky side to Lahori sense of humor where we twist a few letters around in a word to create another meaning out of it, while the word sounds the same. These guys made meat out of meet!!???
So basically they transliterated ‘Let’s Meet’ to ‘Aao Meet Karein’ and then added the Lahori kink to make it ‘Aao Meat Karein’. But if we reverse engineer the transliteration, it will become (in English), ‘Let’s Do Meat!’ … ahem…

Let’s move on … …

A day before Eid I was walking inside my residential compound and I came across a bunch of goats (if anyone want to shoot a morality bullet at me, especially about me not having my own goats, for sacrifice, then go ahead… I have my bullet proof vest on these days).
It’s funny how, right when I passed by these goats, they stared at me and starting bleating. Somehow, I too was quite perceptive at that moment and could sense a lot of pain in their eyes. They were staring at me is if I was their long lost savior or something. Their cries increased as I moved away…
I had to divert myself… … not that I would have pulled off a saving act – Ali Noor does that stuff … I just regret not doing it later 😦 …

This staring and moaning happened all day into the night. The last call came from inside a locked garage as I was walking by. Even strange was the recollection, before going to bed, that these cries were more or less specifically towards me – as I had seen other people pass by the goats without getting a single call.

In bed I could see those eyes again, telling me:

… this is what you have come to … you feel this sense of pride that you are not me … that you are bigger, greater … I too was willing to accept that when you made the First Sacrifice … I respected you because you deserved the respect … today I stare at you as my equal, if not less … you can kill as many of me … but don’t you dare think that I will cover up for your wrongs … I don’t find you worth it anymore!

….

I slept at 10 a.m. on Eid day. Woke up at 1, got ready and went for lunch to my aunt’s place. I love her cooking… but she’s also grown old and now she has a whole platoon of kitchen workers (including her bahu’s)… so her own input has become more mental than physical… still it has always worked.

This time however, the food was too spicy! And even she confessed that this was a first time that they had to use a lot of spices to cook the meat properly, especially the liver… My cousin then made the remark: ‘Ab to Bakron ke bhi Jigar Kharab Honay Lagay!

It might be a random chance event for any reasonable person; luck had it that we got a bad goat. But somehow the pieces were fitting in one after another…

I usually eat a lot at my aunt’s but I couldn’t digest the food (quite against my nature by the way as I am known to have a strong digestive system). I walked out. My eldest cousin followed suit and together we went for a long walk on the streets of Model Town.

Simultaneously, as if by coincidence, both of us started lamenting about the current state of affairs… and in that too, we went straight to the topic of religion, how it came about and how we ended up understanding of it…

I will skip through that discussion for now… maybe when I am 40 and far more educated on that front, and when people around me will be forced to become more open minded (forced because that’s where circumstances are taking us)… maybe then I will share all that openly…

For now, I will just conclude with the final piece in my Eid Puzzle

sacrifice1On my way back from the walk, we passed by this house… where a good 50 or so people had queued up outside the gates. The gates were closed, yet we could see some six to eight cows hung on the porch ceiling. The driveway outside and the road across the gate were sticky, while the roadside was a blood swamp. The smell was intense – if I could give it (the smell) a feeling I would say it was painfully claustrophobic!

At once I remembered the scenes from Apocalypto; the human sacrifices taking place in front of thousands of onlookers, thirsty for blood … thirsty for deliverance!


Saint Monkey

December 10, 2008

Temptation… Mesmerizes
A blink of an eye
it takes
to let go…

Promises forgotten
Hope set aside

“Maybe tomorrow? … Will I see it (again)?”

……
………

In a bag of secrets I carry this burden:
“Pick and Choose!
Destinies Assorted”

Delightful, but short lived!!

… … …

But Stop!
and wonder…
My Dear Friend,

Why so lost?
Why so anxious?

Where is the patience
that you seek so vehemently?

Where is this ‘New Person’
(that) you aspire to be?

One foot in Hell’s fire
one ahead… leaping… …… ……… …………

Hang in there,
This is just the beginning!