Old clothes. What were we thinking when buying them

Brain

So many sounds in the factory but I see a particular dude hammering away on a piece of furnitire and can identify his sounds and everything else goes into the background.

I look at another guy in another corner of the room talking to his colleague and can almost hear him speak.

How does our brain do that? Out of all the stimuli my sense are bombarded with in this noisy, crowded factory floor, how does my brain hone in on the exact frequency of a subject of my interest?

Blows my mind really but have you ever stopped what you’re doing to just marvel at your own brain? Not because you’re a genius or some such. But because it’s how nearly every brain is programmed to operate.

So which of your Lord’s blessing will you deny?

End of an Era

About ten years ago I started business school and most daily journeys to my classes went by listening to the chirpy baritone of Khalid Malik as he woke up the nation on his Breakfast Show on CityFM89. 

As Facebook shared memories of my graduation four years later, the BFS was still going strong. It was what FM89 was known for. It was called the Breakfast Show with Khalid because obviously there can never be a breakfast show without Khalid. 

Morning shows came and went on television but nothing replaced the BFS. You could only listen to your playlist for so long but you could never tire of Khalid’s voice as he unabashedly roused people from their slumbers or wished them Happy Birthday with a  song you never heard before and never would again. 

When I started working, the BFS was the only thing keeping me upbeat on my way to another long day at work in a beat up pick up van. At my next job it helped me bond with my Dad even more as he drove me to work everyday. I was never a regular participant but occasionally I dropped a message in the show and wondered excitedly who would have heard and known it was me Khalid was talking about. 

As someone mentioned about Khalid Malik leaving the BFS, I let it pass as a joke. Like come on, it’s the BFS with Khalid! What’s a BFS without Khalid? No way the radio station is gonna let that happen! 

I never actually gave in to the idea that maybe it was Khalid who would be moving on. This guy who loves people and loves entertaining them. This guy who has spent ten years as the voice in the ears of thousands waking up in the morning. This guy who has made the mornings better. I never thought for a moment that he would have his own life or aspirations that he would want to fulfill. This person who has inspired and motivated so many to do more would want to do it himself? I was too selfish to assume so. 

But when the announcement came, when I played the video of his farewell speech, it hit me hard. He gave ten years of his life to us, his beloved audience. And we truly were his beloved, his sincerity could never let us doubt that. He was the son, brother, uncle, nephew, colleague, mentor and so much more with just his voice. And now he wanted to do more, be more. How could we stop him when his heart was breaking just telling us about how difficult it was for him to do this. 

And so we let him go. Happily. With cheers and blessings and a standing ovation as the amazing Saad Haroon humbly took up the mantle, perhaps knowing that he would have to build this show as his from scratch again, as with Khalid’s final goodbye there truly came an end of an era. The era of the Breakfast Show with Khalid.

The Skates

My 3year old niece just started learning how to skate. We saw a video of her zooming around the skating rink in her brand new pink and purple inline skates, slightly wobbly but getting there.
Dad smiled a little thinking about his own childhood days when he used to skate around town. “These days you have these in-line skates which need that smooth surface, back in the old days I had iron skates which I could even take out on the roads”, he said.
I remember those skates: heavy, made of iron and with tan leather traps. They had a screw in the base to fix the length of the skate to your foot size. You placed your shoe on the skate, adjusted the front and back placeholders and screwed the bolt tight, then you buckled the leather straps on top to hold your foot in place. The wheels were narrow and also made of iron. These were the types used by acrobats in those days.
I remember when Dad took them out when I must’ve been around 5, I took to them instantly and have faint memories of circling the 12 seater dining table so fast that the room was a blur. Can’t remember where those skates went but I know I put them to good use and only graduated to the modern inlines in my teenage years.
Dad recalled how he used to cycle all the way from his home in the north of the city to Hill Park in the center. The skates hung by their straps at his back. This was in the 60s when in Karachi there was only one skating rink in the city found at the top of Hill Park. Those were the days a ten or twelve year would safely cycle across the city, no worries of traffic or speeding cars as there were so few automobiles around.
Dad talked about how there was even a boy who came all the way from Lahore Karachi on skates. Only difference that his wheels were made of thick and wide rubber made for speed in straight line, unlike Dad’s skates which were made for sharp twists and turns.
As we rewound the video of my niece I wondered about my own childhood skating accomplishments which I could one day tell my niece all about.

Today I noticed #7

There are two keys on the keychain, facing opposite directions. They look the same because they are of the same brand and because they face opposite directions I can never say which one is on the left and which one is on the right, because it looks the same either ways. One key opens my room, one my parent’s. Every time I come home and Dad hands me the keys, it always takes two tries to unlock my door.
Everyday it happens and there’s no changing it. I thought it happened only with me because I prepared myself everyday to be defeated by the first key. But the other day when I got home and Dad handed me the keychain, instead of going back to his desk he stood behind me as I readied for the first try to fail.
“It’s always the second key”.
I turned to look at him in shock as he stared at the lock thoughtfully,
“It is a rule, only the second key will fit.”
I held my breath as I picked one key and fit in the lock. It didn’t turn. I quickly put the second key in and heard the satisfying click and smiled. I turned to look at Dad and he was mirroring my amused expression.
“Told you, it’s always the second key.”

Today I Realized #6

I’m a very neutral person who doesn’t like to waver to either end of the spectrum for any argument. People don’t necessarily agree with my head over heart philosophy; my friends believe it’s important to have an opinion, but I feel like as soon as you develop an opinion, your ability to listen to an opposing one diminishes.
In that sense of neutrality I don’t think I could say I love a place, restaurant, experience in the usual order of business. The movies that I love, the cities that I enjoyed have impacted me greatly to make me come to the conclusion that I “love” them. But for the everyday experiences I find myself unable to identify if I love it or just like it.
Just the other day I had a girls’ spa day with old friends and tried out a new salon. The girl who did the service handed us review cards to rate the service and our experience. I didn’t think too much over it and marked 4 stars out of 5. Coming back home I noticed a little piece of hangnail the girl hadn’t removed and I wondered what was the 4 star for? Why hadn’t I thought it over harder. Did the service really deserve 4 stars? I figured that I might not come back to this place if ever I wanted to go for a manicure. Just as suddenly I also realized that my trips to the salon near my house, what I had labelled as convenience and practicality, was actually a liking for that place and the service. I would go there again and again. I was comfortable there. I was satisfied there. Perhaps that place actually WAS my favorite, without realizing so.
When I thought about it, I figured that I did not necessarily have to NOT have a favorite thing. I could love something just by the sheer want of it over other options. I love Anda Paratha because I can have it any day. I love Cosmopolitan because I love the food I’ve had and I could go there in a heartbeat. I love the movies Speed and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham despite the poor ratings because if they’re on I would watch the whole thing. Even if it is up every day.
This realization was so strange to think of that I’m nearing 30 and I still am trying to figure out the difference between my likes and loves, that it is okay to love or hate something. Try as I might I cannot always remain neutral because the heart will always find it’s way to the head.