Grand vs Noble

I feel like a lamb going to slaughter. You know how sometimes you work on something and it comes out so different from what you expected that it takes a life of its own? And you know it’s perfect the way it is, and then because of circumstances out of your control, you have to change it and make it less than that?

People say that’s what real life is all about – having to give in to those above you in authority and accepting that they have that luxury because of their rank. If that’s true, then that version of real stinks. Thoroughly.

So tomorrow I go to face the battle for my opinion, and while I’ve done that before, it’s usually with people I know and am familiar with and still I come out with a bad taste in my mouth. Tomorrow, for the first time, I will have to do it amongst strangers.

It’s so tempting to just give in. Yet, doing so would mean I don’t believe in my perspective and it’s time to be taking a stand on that. I can’t flow with the tide forever just to avoid conflict, can I? I know people who do and I guess being around them makes me feel like a horribly, over-aggressive person which is why sometimes I give in, even when I know I shouldn’t.

One of the things I’m learning the hard way is that it’s okay to be different. Really, it is. Different doesn’t mean ‘better’ or ‘worse’, it’s not an obscenity and it’s not a scarlet brand. It’s simply a word whose true definition that we often forget.

Unfortunately, there’s a problem with realising that, because while I’m learning to accept that others are different from me, they aren’t necessarily having the same epiphany. So really, the problem remains – the only thing that changes is my perspective and how I’m willing to deal with the issue.

What’s worth fighting for? What’s not? I know deep inside that it doesn’t matter what fancy letters you have following your name, it doesn’t matter how famous you become or how much money you earn in this lifetime, it doesn’t matter how well you measure up on the success-scale set by the world, it doesn’t matter if you work with a big-name company or if you own one.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t tempting to want that when you see others having it. I guess the attention or the awe that comes in people’s eyes when you flash your business card can be a really great high. De-sensitizing yourself to that and realizing that what matters is not what you do, but why you do it and how you do it is a terribly hard lesson to learn.

The people who do the noble things. The ones who don’t ask for appreciation or even acknowledgment, who do things because they answer to a Higher Power and consider themselves accountable on a personal scale. These are the people I want to be like.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t envy those who seem to be in the fast lane. But that in itself is so weird, because I don’t think I’d survive in that lane. I hate confrontations, and I hate dealing with issues like I’m going to have to tomorrow, which is apparently the norm if you want to climb to the top. (What is at the top anyway? Who’s ever been there and said what it’s like?)

When I make something, I don’t really want to know if someone will like it or not, I’m just happy in making it and when it’s done, I don’t really want to put it out on display and have others see it. I simply want to give it away to the first person who likes it, and then move on to making the next thing.

I’m sure I’d make some psychologist out there very happy – there’s plenty of issues to analyse in all this. But again, I don’t much care in overcoming them if they’re not making a huge difference in how happy I am and how I’m leading my life.

So that’s that. Musing is officially over. I’ll come back next month (:P) and tell you how tomorrow goes. I’m sure I’ll survive, I just hope it won’t be with that bad taste on my tongue.

Bint Ali

Why I Believe in Him

Because when I need to hear from Him, or I need a push in the right direction, but I’m stubbornly refusing to go to Him, He reaches out and communicates with me – through my inbox.

I got this in a mail today that I almost deleted without reading. Only after reading it did I realise that it’s quite possible that the person who decided what to put in the newsletter and send it out to thousands around the globe might have chosen this particular passage simply because God knew I was on the mailing list and needed to read it.

And maybe I’m deciding to post it up here because someone somewhere needs to read it too.  If you’re here, this message is specially for you from Him. I know.  He sent me one too.

Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (a)’s letter to his son:

“Realize this truth my son:

“That the Lord Who owns and holds the treasures of the Heaven and the Earth has given you permission to ask and beg for them, and has promised to grant your prayers.

“He has told you to pray for His favours that they may be granted and to ask for His blessings that they may be bestowed.

“He has not appointed guards to prevent your prayers reaching Him, nor is there any need for anybody to intercede before Him on your behalf.

“If you go back upon your promises, if you break your vows or start doing things that you have repented from, He will not immediately punish you, neither has He refused you His favours and (He) grants in haste; and if you repent once again, He neither taunts you nor betrays you though you may fully deserve both, but He accepts your repentances and forgives you.

“He never grudges His forgiveness or refuses His mercy; on the contrary, He has decreed repentance as a virtue and pious deed.

“The merciful Lord has ordered that every evil deed of yours will be counted as one and every good deed and pious action will be rewarded tenfold. He has left the door of repentance open.

“He hears you whenever you call him. He accepts your prayers whenever you pray to Him.

“You beg of him to grant you your heart’s desires, you lay before Him the secrets of your heart, you tell Him about all the calamities that have befallen you and misfortunes which face you and beseech His help to overcome them.

“You invoke His help and support in difficulties and distress. You implore Him to grant you long life and sound health; you pray to Him for prosperity and you request of Him such favours and grants that none but He can bestow and award.

“Think over it that by simply granting you the privilege of praying for His favours and mercies, He has handed over the keys of His treasures to you.

“Whenever you are in need, you pray and He confers His favours and blessings.”

What more is there left to write?

Bint Ali


Just Because…

Yup, just because…I have a blog and I can post an entry on it, I am.

First week of hols and I have to be back in college finishing up leftover work.  I had kinda hoped I would be able to have all 4 weeks off and do some creative development, allow my senses to evolve and so on.   But now it seems like I’ll have only 3 weeks.  i guess it’s better than the two weeks that I first thought I’d get.  

I need to seriously set up a schedule for myself or else I’ll just fall into the “I’ll get started tomorrow routine”.  So I’m going to make lists, allocate timings, and make sure I actually get around to doing some of the things I promised myself I’d do. 

And I’ll start with all of that tomorrow.

Bint Ali
P.S.  I’m still asking “Why?” and still no reply.  But I won’t give up and when I get my answer, I’ll make sure to come and dedicate a whole post to it.


I was doing some research into the creative spark/gene/instinct and was pleasantly excited to see how often the reference to some level of insanity came up. Whether officially or unofficially, there is a general agreement that creativity in any field requires some sort of madness.

The border between the eccentric genuis and the clinically insane is fine and delicate. I guess in that context, I should be okay with hearing people use the word ‘odd’ or ‘weird’ or ‘crazy’ to describe me. It happens every so often and depending on my mood and circumstance, I’ve found it funny, inspiring or plain depressing.

Thomas Henry (1825-1895) said: “Tolerably early in life I discovered that one of the unpardonable sins, in the eyes of most people, is for a man to presume to go about unlabelled. The world regards such a person as the police do an unmuzzled dog, not under proper control.

I found that perfectly appropriate for my own life. Through no conscious decision of my own (which would have been more admirable), I’ve managed to evade the labels society would love to tag on me. When people ask me what I do, depending on the time I can say “I write” or “I work with a magazine” or “I teach”, but sooner or later I have to come to terms with the fact that I do a lot of different things, but none of them long enough to make a label out of.

If anything, I can probably say I’m simply a perpetual learner. The kind of person who given a chance would haunt the corridors of a university infinitely, simply finishing one course and moving on to another. There’s never enough answers for me and sometimes the process of learning something new is more exciting than the actual knowledge I gain.

Having said that, I should get back to the main point of this post which is that:

“I’m done with my exams!” I would add a “whoo-hoo!” but I’m not in a whoo-hoo-ing mood right now. I’m just too tired. I’ve slept for about 6 hrs in the past 48 (split into 3-hr sessions) and I can tell I’m tired because I’ve beeen stumbling over words all day long.

I’ve learnt that my tongue imitates unwieldy rubber in direct proportion to my energy, so when I hit hazardously low levels, I end up using the wrong words in the wrong place or the right word but in some weird combinations of sounds and basically I sound less than intelligent. Next time, I should make a point to ask those around me if they can detect a greater, noticeable incoherancy in my speech. Or maybe I sound like that all the time? (*eeek*)

And time loses its clarity too – moments become surreal and I wonder whether things ever did happen the way I remember. Was that me sitting there? Did I say that? What the hell was I thinking? and so on and so forth.

The very worst bit is that I’m so tired, I can barely type this out, but I can’t sleep either. I think the term for it is ‘wired’, but seriously I’m having difficulty just remembering the spellings of normal words so I might be very wrong.

So anyhoo…before I resign myself to that fact that I HAVE to sleep, here’s what’s in store for me:

– 3 (supposed) weeks of holiday
– 1 (forced) week of working on the magazine/finishing projects
– 2 (actual) weeks of holiday and (hopefully) of creative license and experimentation.

And I also need to clean, sort out stuff I’ve been ignoring for weeks, clear out the confused mess in my head, get rid of junk – both external and mental, and basically pretend to join the masses of the normal for a fortnight or so.

Is this what life is going to be like from now? It sounds surprisingly appealing.

Bint Ali

Current Saying:

I am a night painter, so when I come into the studio the next morning the delirium is over. I come into the studio very fearfully, I creep in to see what happened the night before. And the feeling is one of, “My God, did I do that?” 
– Philip Guston

Struggling To Surrender

Exams next week and then it’s the end of the second semester. It’s more than weird how fast the last three months have passed.

And yet, it it wasn’t for the tangible proof I have of time having moved forward (new skills, finished projects, new friends…), I would be tempted to believe that I am exactly where I was on that last afternoon of the first semester. I can remember that particular day with an eerie clarity and then everything else in between is a hazy blur.

It’s like a full circle, I’m back to the same hopes, the same disappointments, the same inner state of being torn between deliruim and exhaustion. It’s also a little like having been given a second chance and then gone ahead and repeated the very same mistakes all over again.

I guess it settles one thing: I’m a slow learner. (LOL) I should be glad my Teacher has Infinite Patience.

Bint Ali

Current Saying:

Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. 
Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. 
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… 
Anything can happen, child. Anything can be. 

– Shel Silverstein 
(American poet, cartoonist and composer best known in children’s literature for his poetry, 1930-1999)