Lighten up your day

Arshid Malik

Neon winds blow through the maze of my mind as speeding cars screech to a halt. And I know it is the postman’s fault. These are the opening lines to my new novel. What about my previous novel, you might be tempted to ask? Well, the fact is that I never wrote a previous novel. My first novel is my next novel as well. That’s confusing, isn’t it? Yes it is because I wanted to make it confusing. The idea is that since we are blessed with a functional brain we can make stories up and tell all kinds of lies. Excuse me but that it what most of us do most of the time, without paying heed to the revealed path of honesty and truth that our religion, Islam, directs us to follow. We cheat and then pray; we pray and then cheat; we do it always, almost all of us. Yes, there are some blessed souls who do not cheat and do not lie, but I do not happen to know any of them. I just believe in the deepest core of my heart that there are such people and if I do not believe that or someday realize that there are no such people, I will certainly get a cardiac arrest and die (something chain smoking has not achieved at my end).

Frugality is another of our “religious missives” that we always miss out on. We spend lavishly and do not care about people who have nothing. A saint once said that he was complaining all the time for he had no shoes and then he saw a man who had no feet. These are things we do not care about. We care about money, mansions, concrete pathways, “Blackberrys” and “Nokias”, fine dining, high teas, the idiot box and all perverted stuff that is telecast over it day in and day out, we care about “Levis” and we care about “Pantaloons”; we worry ourselves to absolute imperfection over cakes and pastries and we dream about skinning our enemies alive. But we do not care about things we should care about. We spend electricity and safe drinking water as if we have every right to do so. We overeat and then fall sick and then buy medicines and ingest them and then take some more to cure the side effects of the drugs we ingested in the first place. What kind of people are we? We are not true Muslims. Come on, we are not even true human beings.

We create waste and then dispose it in our lakes and now scarce waterways yet we keep out houses speck clean. We waste paper, wood, fuel and everything that may eventually cost us the life of this planet, our Green Planet. Why do we do this? I do it and you do it, but why? Let us all ask ourselves in private as to why do we indulge? Why do we live a life that is way off the standards that our religion teaches us?

I am bothered and frustrated by my own actions and wrong doings. I am doubly bothered and frustrated owing to the actions and wrong doings of other around me. And this is the case with all of us. We are stuck in a rutty circle and that’s what makes us unhappy and sick. 

Pharmaceutical companies thrive on our miseries and we are only happy to spend. We are the people who believe that we are always right when we are wrong most of the time. We are the people who join escapades into oblivion and then turn our heads away from our pathological existence. We are sensitively narrow and diminutive and we violate norms as if we have been assigned the duty to do so.

Why do not we look into the mirror every morning we get up and really look at ourselves in the light of the factual errors we have committed against ourselves and others the previous day? If we do that, we will have a more pleasant day everyday.  But we won’t for we are escapists and we always run away from our mistakes.

I am talking about myself and all others I know who are like me. Dear reader, I am not generally classifying everyone as an untruthful and unscrupulous person and if you happen to find my comments disgusting you have every right to not count yourself in, for after all this is no beauty pageant. I would be glad to meet you once you have decided to count yourself out and I am really glad that there are people like you in this world. I am just a little more than disappointed but please do not take my words too seriously for misery is always contagious. I am really sorry if I have made you feel bad about yourself, but I really could not help it. By the way, you could follow the “look yourself up in the mirror every morning” routine though in the “light of all the bright things you have done unto yourself and others the previous day” and I assure you that it would lighten up your day. Goodbye for now.

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