Some days, I’d rather live in the past than exist in my present. Nostalgia sweeps over me, as I soak in the memories of places and people from my earlier life. Though those days were not always happy, and I faced some downright desperate and depressing moments, through it all, I cling to them…because they’re mine. My memories. My history. My life… Continue reading
I sit on top of the mountain:
hearing the Chinese tourists behind me,
Americans too – that unmistakable New York accent,
The French and Germans,
those from elsewhere in our continent.
A tapestry of humanity… Continue reading
I’m captivated by the glory of early morning light
hitting our beloved, majestic mountain.
That timeless memorial of this place,
Put here by the One Whom no man can match,
In the ability to design, build, create. Continue reading
Over a decade later,
I sit here again.
My beloved rooftop.
My fortress of solitude.
My former home away from the stresses of life.
I close my eyes,
Shut out the visual perception.
Experiencing only my other senses… Continue reading
I’d see when staring into the night sky.
I’d wish to watch
with my then-unknown beloved. Continue reading
I first saw you when I was just 15;
a visit on a school holiday,
tagging along with those much older (in my mind, at least) –
the students of a new era in their lives,
in their first year of the post-high school adventure. Continue reading
The dawning of a new day.
Suburbs lay quiet,
resting under the blanket of morning clouds,
only the tree tops and buildings remain visible.
Morning flights, begin slowly.
Birds alone, birds in flocks.
People in flocks, gathered in the single, man-made vehicle of flight. Continue reading
Continuing from part 1, here’s another section of the book I’m hoping to publish.
Keep the world away.
Don’t turn on the radio.
Keep yourself away from the ideologically-tainted programming that entrenches itself in your home via the TV.
Reject their news media.
Their unhealthy fascination.
Be free of their poison.
They feed it to you: slowly, constantly, unrelentingly;
Headlines; top stories this hour;
chart shows; advertising –
“the right to choose” –
the right to choose what they make available to you:
“This week’s ‘must-have’ DVD”;
Dress like the stars;
Live the high life…
“winners know when to stop”
“enjoy it responsibly!”
Keep your (de)vices of shame and addiction.
I don’t need your modern-day idolatry:
your disease of celebrity obsession;
your hedonistic pursuits of all that delight the senses –
yet suffocate the soul.
I reject your ideas. Your way of life. Your deen*.
Mine may be flawed and faulty – but I’m on the right path.
I don’t drink from your poisoned cup;
I don’t breathe your polluted air.
I exist, I live – hard though it is –
in my own vacuum, with my own boundaries and my own border control.
Stew in the world if you want.
I choose something else.
I choose my own world.
Date written: December 2006
* Deen is an Arabic word meaning “way of life”. Islam is often referred to as such – being far more comprehensive than just a ‘religion’, but an actual way of life encompassing all aspects of our existence.
I was in an airport parking lot one morning, waiting to pick someone up. I’d arrived early, turned on the radio, and after hearing just a few seconds of a news bulletin, switched it off instinctively – as if being burned by a hot stove. The feeling at that instant was really an eruption of sentiments that had been building up for a long time before that. Hearing that news bulletin – however brief – was a catalyst for this emotional release, and I poured them into this piece.
At the time of writing, I was in a somewhat contradictory space in terms of media. I habitually indulged in some forms of entertainment – mostly a few TV series I was hooked on – yet I was also fully aware of the poisoning effect that modern entertainment had. The moral degeneration of society, I believe, has been fueled largely by the growth and dominance of media in our world today. And in many cases, those in charge of the industry push very harmful and spiritually-destructive ideologies through their programming – whether blatantly or in more insidious ways. So while I knew such pastimes weren’t good for me, I justified it by thinking that just a few of these would be fine. It’s not like I was a major TV / entertainment addict – like the many, many people around me at the time (and still, to this day).
One of the targets of this piece is the modern disease of consumerism, and the information overload we get via the constant flow of ‘news’ that never ever ends. At the time, I was anti-news, and really wanted nothing more than to be cocooned away from this world – in a bubble of my own: pure, happy, and free of the manipulation that comes with today’s news media. And for the most part, I actually was kind of living that life. I was living alone, without much exposure to the outside world or people – aside from day to day work and occasional family stuff.
This piece really just expressed my rejection of modern media, and the yearning to be free of it.
While the world goes on below,
I am free, I am calm.
A place, so far from them all – yet
close enough to reach quickly. Continue reading
I think of how my own life has changed in these six years.
When we got back, the desire to “live my Hajj” meant staying highly spiritual: worshipping a lot; being beautiful in character; and just living a good, clean life.
Six years later, my feeling is that that’s not what it means to live our Hajj. At least not for me. Maybe because I’ve failed miserably by my own initial definition. Continue reading