Confessions: Why I Blog?

How did I get started Blogging?

Having been told I’m a pathetic writer all my life (as if there’s anything more degrading than getting a ‘C’ in your O’Levels English Language exam), I thought I should give writing a try, what with English being my second language and all. It did take me a long time to really find my stride but eventually, I did overcome a lot of my fears. To be honest, it was love, real love, that got me into writing. After I got married in 2008, I started writing love poems and was surprised when people appreciated my efforts, especially my beautiful wife. Realizing I had some above-mediocre writing skills, no thanks to my teachers, I finally found my voice, an outlet for my introverted feelings and emotions, my insanity; ergo the blog!

What has been my biggest blogging hurdle?

When I first started, I would think about sharing something about me that I might have never shared before, something vulnerable, something that people might relate to; being an introvert, it didn’t come naturally to me. Fighting my inner turmoil about letting my guard down, showing who I really am rather than pretending to be someone I’m not has perhaps been the biggest hurdle I have had to overcome on my (blogging) journey of self-discovery.

As with all writers (except ones who churn book after book like there’s no tomorrow), sometimes I find myself at a loss of ideas, call it blogger’s block. That’s when I turn to people around me for inspiration. I try not to restrict myself to writing as I believe I have a lot more to offer than words, prose or otherwise.

What has been my biggest blogging triumph?

Overcoming my fears, and knowing that I am better than what people had labelled me for, is perhaps the most satisfying feeling I get while blogging. People loving and appreciating (and criticizing) your work doesn’t hurt either.

Briefly describe my ideal audience.

Insanity is what truly defines us. Everyone has their quirks, their idiosyncrasies (apologies for the big word), their OCDs, and these are what truly make us unique. Ideally, I would love reaching out to people who acknowledge and celebrate their insanity, embrace life, and wish to have a positive impact on people, even if it’s just a handful.

How do I come up with ideas for what to write about?

As stated earlier, my biggest influence and inspiration was, is and will always be my wife; my darling one-and-a-half-year-old daughter comes in a close second. Sometimes, I witness something that leaves a profound impact on my perceptions on life, something so insignificant that others might disregard as mundane, even lackluster. I, on the other hand, try finding a deeper insight into these encounters, pouring my feelings into words and images that clearly portray my emotions (or at least I try to).

I write on topics ranging from art to photography, from parenting to religion, from things I feel to the way things should be. People are restricted only in their minds and should you choose, you can do whatever you set your sights to.

What does it take for me to consider a post successful?

This one’s perhaps the most difficult question to answer, or should I say, put into words. Then again, I’m (supposedly) a writer so I should at least attempt to satisfy your curiosity. Everything I do, every word I write, every photo I post, comes straight from the heart. People generally count the success of a post in the number of likes or comments they get on it, but some of my favorite posts have had few or no likes at all. These posts, however, remind me of who I truly am and who I aspire to be, and I keep going back to them to relive the experiences, the memories associated with them, painful or otherwise.

I wish, hope, that when my daughter is old enough, she’ll be able to understand her old man better, learn from my mistakes and maybe even seek inspiration from my work.

Thank you,
Yousuf

p.s. I have submitted this to The Daily Post and thought my readers would like to read it too.

Weekly Writing Challenge: From Mundane to Meaningful – The Suicide Mission

The inevitability of death is the only constant in our mundane existence, the one thing you can truly depend upon. Mathematically speaking, the probability of us dying eventually is always 1 – few events around us can make the same claim. Even though we tend to lose ourselves in our worldly affairs and ignore this reality from time to time, it always looms ahead of us, lurking in the shadows, waiting for the right time to make its move – you’ll never know what hit you when it finally grabs you by the throat, suffocating you, and sucking out every last vestige of life from your body. I’m sure most of us never want to grow old, never want to die, be immortal, but that is not the case. Death always finds a way to catch up to you when you least expect it. There, however, still exist individuals wishing to escape the drudgery of life, embracing death as a means to an end. These are people who have hit rock-bottom, and then some. Circumstances shove them in the middle of the fiercest sea-storm, miles away from the shore, and believe me they swim hard, waiting for the currents to subside, the huge waves to flatten out so that they can come up for some air, but that doesn’t happen, with nothing to keep them afloat, no one to throw them a life-saver, until all that is left for them is to take fate into their own hands, inhale one last painful breath, filling their lungs with water, burning their insides, and ending it all.

Yesterday was an extremely busy day at the office, what with all the business meetings and a work-load that knows no end. I ended up getting late (no surprises there), and it was almost 8:30 p.m. before I got up to leave for home. I headed into the pitch-black parking lot, finding my way to the car with the little light emanating from my cell phone. After putting my laptop bag in the back seat, I parked myself into the driver’s seat. The engine roared to life as I started it and gave it some gas. It was downright spooky in the parking lot so I hurriedly turned on the headlights. I put the car in reverse, took a slight turn to the left, shifted to first, and steered it towards the ramp. Once on the service road, I tried hard to maneuver my car through all the water that had accumulated on the road due to recent rains, all the while praying to God for saving me from any invisible potholes and open sewer-holes, and breathed a sigh of relief only after taking a u-turn onto the relatively-dry main road (i.e. Shahra-e-Faisal). I eased into the fast lane, all the while checking my rear-view and side mirrors for any rouge drivers in the insane traffic. Suddenly out of nowhere, a man jumped out from the shadows and started making his way towards the center of the road. The guy was thin, about 5′-8″, slightly balding with unkempt hair and wearing a dirty shalwar qameez. The only thing I could think was, “Has he lost his mind or has he gone blind?” I slowed down my car a bit to get a better look at what was unfolding right in front of me. What happened next was nothing short of insane. This man sat on the road and lay down on his back, as if it were his sofa at home, not caring for the cars speeding past towards and around him. He actually looked at peace with himself, a sad smile on his face, staring right into the eyes of his sorry existence as if mocking it, as if what he was about to do was going to liberate him. Thankfully, the speeding drivers saw him lying there and slowed down. A few motorcyclists stopped in the middle of the road and tried helping the man on his feet. He struggled, shrugged off the motorcyclists and pushed himself in front of a speeding Corolla in the next lane. It was at that exact moment that I had to take a right turn and the man slipped out of my peripheral vision. I do not know whether the car crashed into him or was the driver able to brake just in time. It was all I could think about when I reached home. I could feel the onset of a slight headache, my mind racing with questions that may never be answered. What happened to him? Did he survive? Why did he resort to such a thing? Was suicide the only way out? What were his last thoughts? Did he have any family?

People say that when you hit rock-bottom, the only way you can go now is up. I say what if there is no rock bottom? What if the conditions become so bad that you have no other way out? What if getting up in the morning everyday becomes a chore? What if the only feeling you have left is that of worthlessness? Unfortunately, the recent socio-economic scenario has turned life into a nightmare for the common man. Joblessness is everywhere, and that makes things a lot worse for him. A thousand rupees seems more like a hundred, with the ever-increasing inflation and prices of even the most basic human needs far out of his reach. Pride does not have a place in this society and he has to resort to begging if he wants to support his family.

Had he been a celebrity, he would have made headlines, the media making sure everyone knew of the circumstances leading to his suicide. People would have held vigils in front of his house, thousands attending his funeral, mourning the sad demise of the great man. Heck, even his suicide attempt would have made page 6, if not the front page. At least then I would have known the fate of that unfortunate man. But he was just a common man with nothing extraordinary going on in his life; not someone worthy of any attention. All I could hope for was that he was safe, and that his brush with death had put some sense into him and helped him put his life in perspective; it sure helped me prioritize mine.

Originally posted here.

Nursing a Broken Heart


I’m nursing a broken heart
Feels like I’m falling apart
Why did life have to take this turn
We were off to a wonderful start

I know what I did was wrong
And it broke up a bond so strong
I’m sorry, so sorry, I mean it
In my arms, is where you belong

Never have I been unfaithful
O! God, I’ve always been grateful
For the heartache and pain, my love
I’ll forever and ever be thankful

Love’s lost, no need for goodbyes
Just open wounds and sighs
Not a glimmer of love or hope
When I look into your eyes

As you step out of my door
It’s you my heart screams for
My existence, a million pieces
Shattered all across the floor

This world just won’t let me be
As I pick up the pieces of me
In every corner of my mind
What could’ve been, is what I see

– Yousuf Bawany

Note: I’m a happily married guy and this poem doesn’t reflect on my personal life whatsoever. There was this idea that I just had to put on paper and (fortunately) I am in a melancholy mood today, ergo the poem.

Royally Yours

My love, my soul mate
How sweet, thy scent
Come live in my heart
And pay no rent

No gold, nor money
Can help me survive
It’s thee, my darling
That keeps me alive

For thee, O! honey
I’ll give up my dreams
’tis my goal, my ambition
To make you my queen

– Yousuf Bawany

Heavenly Love

God made you just for me
Sent you from the heavens above
For me to hold you by your hand
For me to cherish and to love

It don’t matter where I see
Nor does it matter what I do
Every little thing around me
Keeps reminding me of you

Your voice is sheer magic
It just drives me insane
Sends tingles all over my body
A wave of bitter-sweet pain

My being, my existence
Was devoid of a soul
You pulled me back to life
Completed me, made me whole

You know just what to do
To set my heart on fire
You always say the right words
Cheer me up, lift me higher

Don’t wanna leave your side
Even if it’s for an instant
An inch apart feels like miles
A second, a million moments

If you don’t really exist
And it’s all but a dream
I never want to wake up
From this slumber so serene

– Yousuf Bawany (January, 2009)

NOTE: The 3D heart shown in this picture was made by me as a present for my lovely wife.