What Is Success?

Is it your sweat and blood,

Your days and nights,

Your toiling in the endless trails,

Your outstretched hands reaching for the sky,

Your knowledge, wisdom, and pain,

Your will, your sacrifice, your brains,

The demons feeding on your entrails,

The greed, the ceaseless lust,

The longing that drives you insane,

The fire under your feet

That leads you to fame,

The stars in your eyes

That taught you the game?

Or

Is it the hundreds of hearts

Clasped together,

Praying and calling your name,

The words that came from another

That ignited your flame,

The hands of help

Reaching out from

Every nook, every corner,

Carrying you up the lane,

The pat on the back, the faith,

And the love in every grain?

The Filthy Rich, The Dirt Poor

A million dollars. Mansions, cars, the best clothes ,shoes, the glitz and the glamour, and all the bling in the world. Travelling all over the globe, a private helicopter or two, and 43 dollar Harrod’s instant noodles. Chicken and mushroom flavoured.
Flip to the other side of the coin, and face reality, where around 1.5 children die of starvation every year.

I will be addressing a rather serious issue, concerning, today’s society’s mindless chase after an expensive, lavish lifestyle, while showing complete disregard for our very own fellow human beings, who aren’t even nearly as fortunate. Through the course of my article, I will be throwing light on how this menace, is a threat to humanity, and will be highlighting solutions to address this problem.
Man has come a long way, but so has his greed. His awful, insatiable greed. This selfishness of human beings is the very reason for the existence of such disparities in the world today. There’s the filthy rich, and the dirt poor.
Coming to the first issue related to this problem – chasing after a fancy life is killing the benevolence in our nature. How? The famous clothing brand, Abercrombie and Fitch would destroy its clothes rather than donate them to the homeless, because, according to an employee, only people of a certain “stature” can wear their clothes. We choose to upgrade from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5, but sell the older one instead of donating it. We have eight to ten pairsof shoes, and we’re reluctant on giving away even one to someone who actually needs them. The lust, the madness we have for all these material objects are blinding us. So much, that we cannot see all the suffering around us. Humanity can learn a lesson from Mr Warren Buffett,an American investor, who is one of the richest men in the world. He lives in the same home as he did 20 years ago. He chooses to drive his own car. Even though he owns a number of airlines, he chooses to travel by economy. He can buy almost everything under the sun, but he chooses to live a frugal life having promised 99% of his riches to charity. 99% of the earnings of a billionaire have been promised to charity, whereas some of us cannot even spare an old piece of clothing for someone who needs it. We cannot bear the thought of having someone else own what is ours.
We choose to hide behind inanimate objects to define our worth. Which brings me to the next issue associated with our problem. To begin with, why do we even desire to have such a fancy lifestyle? That’s simply because we try to fill up the void inside ourselves with mere objects. We start finding happiness in things. We start seeking joy in owning. We must understand that creating ourselves is not about buying that perfect bag that matches your new dress accurately. It is about acquiring values and knowledge. It is about developing your personality. It is about valuing the people in your life. Let your relationships not deteriorate, by valuing material things more than emotions.
Here we come to the third and the most grave problem that I would like to throw light on today: Material wealth has made us ungrateful.We want to be perfect. We want everything for ourselves. We have an urge to accumulate.
A few days ago, when I was randomly going through various blogs on WordPress, I realised that an ugly paradox exists in this world. Some people can never get anything, and some will continue to get what they want, and still ask for more. I came across a teenage girls’ blog where she was ranting on about how her parents won’t buy her the latest version of the iPad and how much she hates them. Could we be so ungrateful as to be so focused on what we don’t have, so much that we forget to appreciate what we already possess? Remember that while we want a palace, some are content with just a roof on their heads. We need air conditioning when some are happy enjoying the breeze outside. Some of us show displeasure when we cannot have the most lavish meals at a seven star restaurant, when some cannot even afford two square meals in a day. We have been blinded, ladies and gentlemen. Blinded, to such an extent that we have lost track of that thin line. I am talking about the thin line that lies between what we WANT and what we NEED.
I am certainly not implying that spending on luxuries is immoral. All I am trying to put forth is that, making them the center of our existence is not the right thing to do. Let us remember that “Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.” in the words of Ben Carson. My point her is, to tell you, that you need to give more than you take. And I can assure you that, there will be true contentment, there will be true satisfaction. “If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there will be peace” quoting John Lennon. So go out there, find someone in need, and give. Give them your love, give them your support. Give them that old bag or that worn out pair of socks. Because they know the true worth of such items that you had forgotten about long ago . See the joy on their faces. Trust me, it is way better, than buying some 43 dollar instant noodles. It’s what you can call, true happiness.

By Shamshir Malik

Global Warming

We are homosepians. Wise human beings. We live on this miraculous planet and call it our home. Our Earth came into existence 4 billion years ago, and we humans, only 200,000. Yet is astounding, how we have thrown it into utter chaos and have successfully managed to completely disrupt the balance that is so essential to life.

“Global Warming” is the rise in the average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. This may remind you of your Geography teacher’s repititive, monotonous droning, but behind these extremely familiar words, lies a frightening reality.
Temperatures are escalating, and sea levels are rising even as I’m typing this.
Imagine, turning the news channel on in 30 more years, just to be greeted by something “17 October, Wednesday 2050, Island of Maldives wiped away from the face of this earth.” or “Scuba diving trips to the Sydney Opera House only for 2000 dollars per person!”
I cannot even begin to fathom the consequences that will follow if all of this turned into reality.
The average temperature of our planet has risen by 2 degrees. But this is not as minuscule a difference as might seem to be.
Without a doubt, we so called ‘homosepians’ slash ‘wise human beings’ are ‘very wisely’ leading ourselves to our own destruction. A global catastrophe. How else can we justify the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, or the recent Japanese disasters? Yes, just 2 degrees, that trifling a change in temperature, has made a huge difference.
The fact that we could go to any lengths for industrial development, even at the cost of other species, or the whole planet as a matter of fact, is highly disturbing. It has been estimated that two thirds of the world’s polar bears could disappear by 2050 as global warming continues to melt the Arctic’s sea ice. Not only polar bears, there are several other species which might soon be vanquished from the face of this Earth. Technological advancement, greed, and industrialisation have blinded us to such an extent that we have lost sight of what might be the future of our existence. We’d probably plant more trees if they gave off Wi-fi signals rather than the oxygen that we breathe.The underlined question here is, what direction is human kind going into? Does our self obsession hold no bounds? Cutting trees to make paper, just to write ‘Save Trees’ on them. Does our hypocrisy have any limits? This situation can rightly be described by the proverb “I see humans, but no humanity.”
The time has come to undo what has been done. It is a fact that our sins, our misdeeds have stretched this problem to such an extent that these distressing consequences may be inevitable in the times to come. But there is hope, for, the only thing, in my opinion which may help in saving the world, would be a concerted effort of the entire world community to move towards a Global Cooling Revolution. The time has come, to stand tall together to fight against this natural cataclysm, and do whatever we can to save our home.
It has rightly been said by an American politician, Mike Huckabee “The most important thing about global warming is this. Whether humans are responsible for the bulk of climate change is going to be left to the scientists, but it’s all our responsibility to leave this planet in better shape for the future generations than we found it”
How exactly can we go about having this Global Cooling Revolution? The answer is simple. By doing what can be done at present. By taking a small step to give off a large impact. By doing our bit. So recycle, plant trees, conserve electricity, do anything at all, but be a hero today. Be a hero for the generations to come, be a hero for our planet. “Be the change that you want to see in the world” as has been said by the great Mahatma Gandhi.
Two degrees have made a difference, but, can you make a difference?
We the homosepians. Wise human beings need to save, our mother earth not for ourselves but for the sake of our children, so that this planet is a beautiful place to live in, in the future.
It’s not too late.

By Shamshir Malik

Modern Women

Modern women. Her life is nothing like her grand mother’s or her great grandmother’s. Today, she has more freedom and has been endowed with more rights, than her predecessors could have ever dreamt of. But the fear of being let down, the fear of getting hurt still lurks somewhere in the obscure recesses of her mind.
For now let us unpaint the rosy picture of our society’s incredulous social development and face reality.
Yes, in our society exists many evils. Evils so grave, that we cannot even begin to assimilate their impact. Till date, women continue to be one of the most largely targetted social group in the world. This is one of the few facts that has been left unchanged by the growing modernisation and industrialisation of our world.
Despite of us entering the twenty first century . A century that is supposed to be of enlightenment , openness , direct dialogues , scientific advancements and civilized societies, why do we continue to witness such inhumanity against women, who are the very key of life on our planet?
In my very own country, India, exists a paradox. Here in the land of goddesses, A women is sexually assaulted every 20 minutes , mostly because some of them “provoked” the men to do so. Here, it is illegal for the parents to know the sex of their baby before it’s birth. Why? Because if it’s a girl, most of them would kill her even before she get to see the world. A girl was burnt alive in Arabia because she was thought of as an economic liability by her parents. Afghan women were forced to wear the burqa at all times in public, because, according to one Taliban spokesman, “the face of a woman is a source of corruption” for men not related to her. There are many such atrocities that women have to face today in this ruthless society, resulting in a never ending list.
Women. They are first and foremost, human beings. They have every right to be treated with respect and dignity at their workplace, at home, in the society and in every country in the whole world. As has rightly been said by Hillary Clinton, “Human rights are women’s rights, women’s rights are human rights.” Women have survived this rigorous oppression since time immemorial and continue to do so today, the only difference being that the oppression now has a lesser magnitude.
But they have survived. They have emerged as the victors every time. They have faced every challenge head on. They are mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, granddaughters. They are brilliant role models like Hillary Clinton, Opera Winfrey, Aung Sann Suu Kyi, Malala Yousifzai , Mother Terresa, Benazir Bhutto, and so, so many more that have enshrined their names in the world’s history. Women continue to affect our past, present and future in an extremely prominent way.
Today, every women aspires to make a change. They want to be valued, they want to be loved and they want to be fearless. They want a world where every girl can dream, and every women has the right to have her own perception. Somewhere, where every women can make her own choices. Let us work towards turning their dreams into reality. Let us make this world, and our very own country, a place that India’s great leader Rabindra Nath Tagore wanted it to be. Let it be a place “Where her mind is without fear, and her head is held high.”

By Shamshir Malik

Nothing Is Good Or Bad, Perception Makes It So

One of the world’s strangest truths is that life may be complex, but you can still choose to live your own reality

Is the glass half full… or half empty?

I bet that each one of us have heard this extremely “cliched” phrase more than once in our life. That’s because this one line has been quoted over several years, just to put across one message. This question has no answer, your full glass may look empty to me
Humans were fortunate enough to have been gifted this uniqueness of thought, which can analyse a situation from a million angles. People have always had their queer ways of living since times immemorial,which is why, we are at the top of the food chain today.
Every society has it’s own labels for every thing. This is good, and that is bad. This is right and that is wrong. The world bombards our young minds with such compulsions ever since the day we come into being, forcing us to believe that the gospel truth can be nothing else. This is exactly where the biggest asset of the human mind, the ability to perceive sets us apart from the other species.
Having the power to differ from what the world calls ‘reality’, gives you the capability of creating your own realm around your beliefs. Perceptions are nothing but, the illusions of an ever changing human mind. There is no absolute truth, only relative truth. There is nothing that has to be followed. There is nothing that will always be followed Regardless, there will always be a new mind thinking differently.
Different environments have conditioned different minds in various ways. Being fair skinned and skinny in India makes you attractive, but being exactly the opposite of that gives you the same response in Africa.
Perception is abstract. It is fluid. It’s a feral concept. Each of the 7 billion people in this world have a different perception. 7 billion people, following their own beliefs and living their own realities would be a problem, wouldn’t it?
Living your own reality and following what you believe in is acceptable, in fact it is a sign of strength and confidence. But there is a fine line between following what you think is right and harming other beings physically or emotionally, vandalizing their freedom. To coexist in a civil society, we must learn to alter our thinking, to promote harmony and peace. Good and bad does not exist, but there definitely is a moral code of conduct to be followed across a certain limit. Something like “Should that wall be painted red or yellow”, is up to your perception but heinous doings like rape and murder, cannot be justified as the result of a personal perception. The acts of a terrorist who kills indiscriminately, are not justified.
Perception, which is a unique gift to the human mind can be respected only when coming from a sane mind that means no harm to the human race.
In the end I would like to quote the movie Spiderman, when I say, “With greater power, comes great responsibility.” The power of perception is such that, we need to be responsible when we let our thinking rule our actions. Think, but think selflessly. Think of everyone, and not just of yourself. This is where the concept of “good and bad” meets perception. And this is where a line needs to be drawn.

By Shamshir Malik

30.03.2014

Today, I saw a massive purpled bruise on the arm of someone who is close to me.

Basically, everyone is really really broken, screwed up, and weak in their own ways. Each person on planet Earth is weak. People have it way worse that you can imagine. Way, way worse.
This starts dawning upon you only when the people close to you become suicidal, or become victims to domestic violence, etc etc.
People can get tired. Very tired. At the beginning, you think that life is what you make of it, it’s all about making it on your own and on your own two feet, but people just can’t be strong sometimes.
They drown.
It’s hard to stand there, watch someone drown, while telling them to learn how to swim. It doesn’t work that way.
You can’t always be the hero.
You can’t always save someone from drowning.
But you aren’t worthy of being human if you give up on them. If you don’t accept them. If you don’t correct them.
It won’t hurt to be the light in someone’s life. You must take it upon yourself. That’s how life becomes worth living. Both for them, and for you.

Life’s Lessons

Life is complicated, raw, heavy, magical, intense, and beautiful. You grow with time, and I have realised the importance of retaining what I take from this multi faceted journey in written word.
Hence forth, I will often post about some things that I learn from my life, in the form of small articles, here on this blog, along with still publishing my frequent poems and write ups of course.
I hope you enjoy reading.