Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Doubt of Self

To know that all geniuses suffer from terrible self-doubt, at least at some point in their lives (usually at the beginning of their journey), offers me only very little consolation.

First, being a genius alone is not sufficient to achieve the kind of success I aspire for. Second, terrible self-doubt involves a lot of stomach ache, and this is not to be taken as lightly as it sounds. Third, I forget what I was going to say, but there is a point #3.

And now, what is the kind of success I aspire for? Only to be able to answer ably this one question of God after I die: “What did you do with what I gave you?”

It’s a shame that a great part of my whole life so far has been led in a way to provide no satisfactory answer to this question. If this observation is some form of the terrible self-doubt of the genius, it better be a productive one.

But a question still remains on the table: is genius any good in itself?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Footloose in Khairpur

This is an inside view of the entrance to Khairpur Mir's' Faiz Mahal. Khairpur is a district in Northern Sindh and is closer to Sukkur than my office is to my home in Karachi. Translated, that would mean it's enjoyably close.

Khairpur was governed by the Shi'ite Mirs of Baloch origin at the time of independence of Pakistan in 1947. At that time, Khairpur state opted to join Pakistan, and the rest is a very murky history of which I got a one-sided loaded account so we'll keep that for another day when I'm more knowledgeable.

The Mirs, also known as Talpurs, live in the palace known as Faiz Mahal to this day - and on the day of our visit, they kindly let us in. The names are interesting here. "Khairpur" would translate as "the city of well-ness" or "the city of blessings." "Faiz" itself means a continuous charity or a continuous blessing. But it's not just the names that are so wholesome. It's the aura of the place.

Even though many treasures of the palace are largely in need of attention and the city itself is not very developed, the place has a stillness and a feeling on content that is better felt than described. Before the city turns blazing hot in summers, this is a good time to visit.

I fell in love with the place. And with someone who will take years to reach the age I am today. Sigh! That's a first for my otherwise geriatric-focused romantic tastes.

Ahem. No, it's not me. It's the place. I loved the way Faiz Mahal looked so rich and so warm in the sunlight. I loved the chowkidar - the watchman - who my host had warned was media-phobic. But he loved the camera! I loved that, and... well, I tell you, love was in the air!

There is much more that I have to share about Khairpur! The best of that place is in feeling it, rather than describing it. More to come on these pages.


Photo: Sunset at the North Pole with the moon at its closest point. Forwarded by Rosen.

I heard there is going to be a lunar eclipse tonight? Not visible in Karachi? Why? (Is there like a back-side to this lunar eclipse thing or a partial eclipse visible elsewhere - how does this disco ball work?)

I thought I'd find out at around 2.00 A.M. So first I tried to take a peek from the many house windows. No, the moon was not to be seen from those angles. I reminded myself that I have a new promise: to examine and experience everything as close to the source as possible. Trying to be as subtle as I can be with a creaky lock & key on a silent night, I stepped on the moonlit terrace.

Now here is where I must stop. How can and why be described what I saw and felt? One must experience things themselves when and where they can. The beauty of the moon is available across the globe - and tonight, some lucky lunatics will be enjoying watching the moon veil and unveil...

It was a cool pearly light that shone on the terrace floor and flitered through the balcony. To inhale in the lovely air and to absord the silvery light, I sat on the terrace floor. Inhale, exhale... Move the arms in the air and feel the currents of energy... touch the light!

When I was young I experienced the pleasure of sleeping on charpoys on the roof of our home in Punjab of Pakistan. One could see everything from frost trails to crystal halos to shooting stars to bats flying in the night. It made the world look very large. In the modern, adult life, when the pain of living begins to press on to the heart, the remembrance of those nights is the best alternative cure of experiencing such a night itself. You see, the pain of modern living is alleviated to a great degree when we life our heads up. It is then that we can be consoled that the world is much, much larger than we might be feeling at that moment. And consequently, life has much more to offer than what we might be focused on.

What a gift it is to have a moon to look up to! I don't think my life and all its struggle would ever be worth it if I had not had the opportunity to enjoy many a lovely, mysterious moons alighting the skies with their cool silver fire.