The Road Less Traveled By

The Road Less Traveled By

SalmanAltaf , The Roadless travelled ByWhen we are young, we are sent to schools for education. We are taught what has been passed down, generation after generation. And a part of this age-old wisdom is to make secure choices. And we are forbidden from making bold choices – we are strictly told, times and again, that sticking to the norms, the pre-ordained rules, is the best course. And that anyone who refuses to comply ought to be punished.

That, I believe, is what ingrains in us a fear for the unknown. That’s what leads us right onto the straight road, like sheep to a shepherd, who can move about in the herd but never break free from it and take a course off from that road. This culture bars us from making bold choices; in fact, it hands us an all-new definition of ‘bold choices’ and we, by falling for the same old tricks, albeit presented in a new fashion, believe us as being the rebels, the bestowed few whereas that’s barely the case.

Yet yes, there are those who take the ‘road less traveled by’ and by no means is that choice an easy choice. You are confronted not only by the society but by even your near and dear ones who think that by abandoning the ‘safe’ course of things, you are venturing into the dangerous and uncertain. They tell you all kinds of anecdotes to keep you from choosing it.

But the fact is, the day you choose to comply with the norms and give up on your dreams, no matter how extra-ordinary they are, you cease to live. You merely exist for the rest of your life, doing most of what the society asks you for, following that dull, monotonous routine of things well practiced, well tested and guaranteed as secure choices. And just like that, you pass away with a life that frankly was no different than billions of other beings.

However, if you do choose to overcome all that opposition, a daunting task indeed, and take the path less traveled by, your life becomes a journey of discovery. You get to have all those exquisite experiences that perhaps no one ever had before. Your life becomes a perpetual struggle for the realization of your dreams and you willingly invest you time, your energies and everything you have to make it happen. The very conscience that you have embarked upon the unknown, that there will barely be the beacons of ‘guidance’ all along and that no one will be holding your hand and no footprints to mark your course pre-handedly, the very conscience of it all invigorates every second of your being. And even if you don’t end up where you had planned, and that’s quite improbable, you get to have a life worth-having!! You get to exist and not to live. The fear of the unknown turns into the ecstasy of exploring the new.

Image courtesy garryknight.

Some Heart Touching Words

The Road Less Traveled By
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Seeking You

Seeking You

I stand by the road, by the brimming stream of life flowing across the gray line – unstoppable, like the life itself. And as uncertain.

By the other side of greyness, you stand – a hand in your pocket, a smile at your face and a smug expression wearing your countenance. Always the calm you. You steal a quick glance my way and meaningfully tear it away – back to the book in your hands.
The current flows by in an incessant flow.

I wish to move across. The want for closeness arrests me. Unknowingly, unwillingly, I am drawn to you. Addicted to you. You pull me like nothing else does. Even in the mundane look of yours lies a deeper meaning which makes you the only one with so profound an importance – and in that crowd, amidst all the noise and colors, you stand alleviated.

I keep my eyes at you, savoring every moment of the veil undone, of a reality manifest. Just like every time, it’s timeless.

And then you’re gone. Dissolved into thin air like the ethereal nothingness.

In my feeble attempt, I desperately try to find you. Between the shifting, moving slots of visibility, between the gush of flowing life, I could still see the exact place you’d been occupying a while ago. But now, it’s just the stone pavement looking blankly back at me. I try to gather the streak of memory you just granted – and it’s no longer. Gone like a line erased off the pages of my mind. I stand there, looking at nothing. And then, admonishing me for my stupid gawking, I move off on a slow pace. Back to life. Back to my stupid life.

And in the back-street of a dark alley, you laugh hysterically at my ignorance.

Unexplainable Feelings , Some heart Touching Words

The Child

Poem ‘The Child’

A December night
pale light stole through
and amidst this
I walked down the cold street
the fog setting in the scene
the fingers numb and aching
I slid into my pocket
reached for the packet
and lighted a cigarette
“don’t do that uncle!!”
I was amazed at the whisper
thought it was wind
or perhaps a leave’s rustling
“please don’t !!”
the weak voice was louder this time
and as I tried to look through the cold
and the fog
I realized a mass
mass of tattered clothes and bare skin
pressed under a big basket
placed upon his head
moving slowly on and on
I looked at the face
which betrayed the hint of being once-handsome
a hint of being once-pretty
just like all others kids
but then cruelly and forcefully
turned into an adult’s face
the skin losing all the tenderness
taut and dry
yet the eyes –
the eyes shimmering with a retained innocence
glowing of some unknown passion
I put off my cigarette
bent down
and pulled his cheeks
cold as death they were
and they did run shivers down my spine
“why.. what brings you out son??”
I asked him
“on such a cold night”
“nothing but the search for bread”
he replied with simplicity
though i could see something
perhaps tears
glimmering tintly in his eyes
as his breathes dissolved into thin air
I bought off all the boiled eggs
took off the coat which burnt my skin now
and let it hide my conscience
and his bare skin
his face shone with an angelic glow
and as his pale lips moved again
I heard him say
thank you uncle
and his lips curved into a smile
It seemed heavens have dawned angels onto earth
I kissed his forehead
pulled his cheeks again
and I felt the warmth of life resuming into them
I heard a faint melody
as his footsteps fainted into the fog
and this once
I didn’t call it a whisper of wind
neither the whoosh of a tree
but the singing of my heart !!

Salman Altaf

* Air Blue Crash * – Heart Tearing Story Of a Young Widower !

Air Blue Crash – Heart Touching Story Of a Young Widower

Incident – Air Blue Crash
Date – 28 July 2010
Flight- Airblue 202
One year has passed.. Ammi said its your “Barsi” this week.. I am shattered.. I really want to yell.. I want to cry.. but my eyes are dry.. I cant weep anymore Ali.. I just cant moan any more.. I just cant forget those 4 months of our married life.. those 4 months.. the summary of my whole life.. The full stop on my Smile.. Now I am a widower and a mother of a daughter..!

How fast the time flew..
From Miss to Mrs.… From Mrs. to Widower… and now a widow mother..! all in one year..!

I feel afraid to recall that day.. but I am so helpless… How can I forget 28 July 2010… ??? This day marked scars on my soul..
That was a fine morning.. You left for airport.. I still remember that u asked me to finish your cup of tea.. I was thinking you must have reached.. I called u again and again.. U didn’t receive.. I just hate this habit of yours.. u never receive my call on the first ring.. I threw my cell.. and switched on the TV..
Morning Shows.. Film.. Cooking show.. Drama.. I had so many choices..While switching the channels.. I got stunned… my hands shivered.. Islamabad… rainy weather..Margalla Hills.. air blue crash… crashed..?!
My husband… Ali….seat number J 21..
I fainted..
I didn’t know what to do.. I got paralyzed.. I became dumb.. I prayed a lot.. and after few hours.. your name started blinking on the screen.. U survived…. U died..!?
I was such a liar.. I used to say that I’ll die without you.. see how stubborn I am.. my heart still beats.. I still breathe.. I am still alive..
Seems like time has stopped..
That air blue crash left so many emotional scars on my soul… I am alive.. I am dead.. I live daily.. I die daily.. I feel like coming to you.. but this little Dua stops me to do so..!
Ali..We have a daughter now.. I named her “Dua-e-Ali”.. she is your Dua… Dua is Just like you.. Same smile.. same eyes.. same forehead..I scatter into pieces.. when someone calls Dua “Orphan”.. Ali, come back… you daughter has started saying baba.. baba..

Ali, I cant face this world.. I need you.. Only you..! Ali….! I am so alone.. kill this loneliness…receive my call… hold Dua in your arms.. hold my hand and give me a tight hug.. I miss you..I need you.. I need your shoulders to cry on … Without you… I am nothing.. I am blind, I am deaf, I am dumb.. I am paralyzed.. Come back.. Come back..! I need my smile back..
Shivers go through my spine whenever I think of your funeral… I am a bird in a cage.. I wana fly.. Lemme fly..

*Every night in my dreams
I see you, I feel you
That is how I know you go on.

Far across the distance
and spaces between us
You have come to show you go on*

[A true story of a 23 years old widow mother…]

The logical case for ‘luck’

‘Luck’ is often a rather blasphemous term to use in a quasi-philosophical discussion and is, as such, disregarded as entirely insignificant by most when recounting the factors governing human life. In fact, some times the derision amounts to an utter denial of it’s very existence. I personally believe that such an attitude is a sad error which deems to regard something that has come down the conventional wisdom and nomenclature as being wrong for these very qualifications; whereas a true measure would be to judge it rationally against a valid argument to affirm or reject it.
A number of events, being causal outcomes of other events, will inevitably collide at multiple instances, giving birth to other causal outcomes which are a result of the very collisions – a shared outcome, if you may, which may not be originally designed to procure by either of the causing events individually. Any sufficiently randomized causal system will then inevitably go down that path. Luck, keeping with the jargon of this writing, will then merely be one such incidental outcome, profiting one or many by sheer ‘chance’ (or the contrary).
This, then clearly establishes a place for ‘luck’, or ‘chance’, whatever way you’d have it as, and a role for it in human life. Whereas disregarding it may be fulfiling for an ardent believer of free will, that would be well removed from reality.
As far as the case for free will is concerned, it is quite obvious that this agency has it’s limitations. Particularly, when one can’t adequately determine the cause and effect of an instant, being disturbed by the aforementioned phenomenon, free will breaks down. I shall cite an example to make my point clear:
Let’s say you shoot an arrow and that you’re an exceptionally good at it. The arrow is bound straight for a tree shall no external event interfere. But ‘as luck would have it’, a bird flies right into it’s way and faces a rather unpleasant outcome. In this case, the bird was to continue its flight while the arrow was to strike the tree; but since both collided, the outcomes of both events were disturbed and gave birth to an unanticipated new outcome.
This, then, is luck. I know it’s a fairly obvious phenomenon and could be very easily reasoned and reached. But some ardent rationalists, or so they claim to be, tend to consider luck something of a nuisance when it comes down to arguing free will. And that, in turn, leads them to make fairly ridiculous and invalid remarks about it. This is just a quick rejoinder to such fellows.