Monday, October 15, 2012


A familiar new

We graduate from the hallways of our schools and universities into the hallways between the rooms and cubicles of our offices. All along, heading towards the light at the end; in pursuit of something better than what we already have or who we already are. But at the end of it all, when we have run out of hallways, what will we have to show for our toils? 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Space, light, dark. 

There is a slight irony in describing how a space is created; By cordoning of an area with walls, pillars and glass. There is certainly a sense of hubris when one talks about creating space, as if we can create something that already exists. We are fixated on carving out space for ourselves but often overlook the fact that there is the space we inhabit but there is also a space inherent; The space within all of us. Much vaster than the space without, the space within is the darkness of the body; limitless, dimensionless, objectless. The place of imagination and potential. All one needs to do is close your eyes and imagine. This is the space that needs to be explored, the space that will aid us in seeing beyond the next horizon. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Rooftops and hilltops

I have seen my fair share of rooftops from hilltops, be it a grassy knoll or a craggy desert hill.  Traveling makes you realize that there is a common thread amongst humanity. That there are certain universals that we all share. For example, that we all desire roofs over our heads.  And that to see a rooftop one needs to be above it, perhaps on a hill. I like to call these universals, truths. In this regard, philosophy is not very different from traveling, in the sense of what they both reveal. Philosophy shows in different modes and forms that the desire for truth is part of human nature itself. It reveals an innate property of human reason to ask why things are as they are, with the answers that emerge revealing how different human cultures can be and in fact are complementary. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012


The straight and narrow can also be bumpy and slippery.

I have fond memories of sliding across this cobblestone road as we tried to make our way up to the winged lion guarding the city gates. It was late afternoon and the sun hit our eyes at a 45 degree angle, causing me to squint as I tried to keep my balance; laughing, sliding, chattering. The one thing I relish about growing old is that I now have more memories and consequently more to look back on. And as a result of this cumulative experience, many things seem to take on new meaning. Words that I read years ago now do not read the same, revealing formerly hidden messages, metamorphasizing into completely different creatures from the ones I had previously ensnared with my imagination; different yet equally beautiful. This somehow makes life feel just that much richer, this richness paid for with youth. 

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.   

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


There but not quite.

Everyone says that the thirtieth is an important milestone because you are at a point where you know what you want in life and you've set yourself up to achieve these goals. I will admit that I do have some goals but I can nary say that I know what I want in life. I can however say with absolute certainty that at thirty, I now know what I do not what in life. And I think this is definitely something worth celebrating. Perhaps another reason for celebrating the thirtieth is that it marks the point in my life where I have spent just about more time as an adult than as a child. It is about at fourteen or fifteen that I started to realize the consequences of my actions and how I would have to live with the choices that I've made. Now that thirty has arrived in full force I am looking forward, very much so, to what this decade has to offer; until the next big zero. I think it will be interesting times and most definitely a life changing decade. Let's see where this journey takes me, already an adult but still lots of growing up to do. 

Monday, September 10, 2012


An olive branch. 

They are barrels. Perhaps not quite the kind used to store olive oil but they are filled with oil, a much cruder form. They are also filled with shrapnel, iron filings and TNT. Dropped from air planes flying overhead deep into the heart of the city. The consequences are, as you can imagine, devastating.  Just yesterday, a similar barrel bomb as they are now called, was dropped on a kindergarten in Aleppo. The bomb destroyed the kindergarten and leveled a nearby residential block. There were casualties; A fact which has become the only certainty in the Syrian conflict.  I can't help but feel a surge of sorrow for this place that I have visited. For I have breathed its air and ate its food. But then again so have millions of other foreigners. And maybe that will be my undoing, this sentimentality of mine. Maybe I should learn to be like the rest of the world, to forget and to focus on more pressing things in life, like getting ahead for starters. Perhaps. 

Someone I was once close to, what do we call them? An ex? Ex friend, ex boss, ex lover, ex colleague? Once told me that my speech was peppered with "Perhaps-es". The Ex was and is probably right. I suppose I use the tentative too often because I find the affirmative and the reality of it all too difficult to bear; always hopeful of a better tomorrow. That and this sentimentality of mine will be my undoing. Perhaps.  

Thursday, September 06, 2012


Fides et Ratio

I was recently reminded that faith and reason are two wings of a dove, rising to the contemplation of the truth. An important reminder in this day and age where so many things are sacrificed at the alter of modernity.

"A cursory glance at ancient history shows clearly how in different parts of the world, with their different cultures, there arise at the same time the fundamental questions which pervade human life: Who am I? Where have I come from and where am I going? Why is there evil? What is there after this life? These are the questions which we find in the sacred writings of Israel, as also in the Veda and the Avesta; we find them in writings of Confucius and Lao-Tze, and in the preaching of Tirthankara and Buddha; they appear in the poetry of Homer and in the tragedies of Euripides and Sophocles, as they do in the philosophical writings of Plato and Aristotle. They are questions which have their common source in the quest for meaning which has always compelled the human heart. In fact, the answer given to these questions decides the direction which people seek to give to their lives."
~ John Paul II 

Sunday, September 02, 2012


Windows and wires, that all familiar feel.

This photo was taken in Rovinj, Croatia. And although I was miles away, it somehow reminded me of a glimpse of Damascus. Perhaps its because both cities have winding alleyways where the buildings seem to be closing in on you. Maybe its the haphazardly draped wires and cables, strung across as an afterthought; a concession to modernity. Whatever the reason, I like this feeling of being able to draw a parallel between two very distinct cities. It makes me feel that there is a commonality between us all, us humans, be it European or Arab.  And as the death toll continues to rise in Syria, it is important to remember that these are lives being lost. Arab lives but also human lives. If we are powerless to anything to help, we should at least remember. For that is very much within our powers. 

Saturday, September 01, 2012


Almost a eureka moment, almost. 

"I said that what you find isn't necessarily what you want. Let's take love. It isn't like we thought it would be beforehand. Can we all agree on that? Better, worse, longer, shorter, overrated, understated but not the same. Also different for different people. But that's something you only learn slowly: What love is like for you. How much of it you've got. What you'll give up for it. How it lives, How it dies... And another thing. Beforehand, you think: When I grow up I'll love someone, and I hope it goes right, but if it goes wrong I'll love another person and if that goes wrong I'll love another person. Always assuming you can find these people in the first place and that they'll let you love them. What you expect is that love or the ability to love, is always there, waiting. But I don't think that love-and life- are like that. You can't make someone love someone and you can't, in my experience, make yourself stop loving someone. In fact, if you want to divide people up in the matter of live, I'd suggest doing it this way: some people are fortunate, or unfortunate enough to love several people, either one after the other or overlapping; while other people are fortunate or unfortunate enough to be able to love only once in their life. They love once and whatever happens, it doesn't go away. Some people can only do it once. I've come to realise that I'm one of these."
~Julian Barnes, Love, etc.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


un ĂȘtre sans raison reasoanble d'ĂȘtre

It has been close to a month since my last blog post. Well, 24 days to be precise. It is also the first time in the history of this blog that I've missed out a National Day post.  Its not that I've stopped carrying about the country. In fact, I feel even more for her as my roots sink deeper into the terra firma. Its also not that I've stopped bothering with posting, even though I know my readership has dwindled. So how do I account for the 24 days of absence? A severe case of jet lag was probably a large contributing factor coupled with a pretty hectic workload; pretty standard fare in this modern working day of ours. Which makes me all the more irate when I think of this 24 days of absence, with  much of the irritation directed at myself for not being able to keep everything in balance.  And life is really all about maintaining a balance, somewhat akin to a juggling act. All it takes is for one ball to be out of alignment or perhaps propelled with too much force and the whole act falls apart. But like a juggling act or a juggler rather, especially one who is juggling for a living, the whole spiel is relatively easy to resume again. I need to constantly remind myself that these small little things count; like how taking stock of life is as important as living life itself. The reason for being is as important as being. I console myself with the notion that the 24 days of absence, which will be clearly marked on this blog, speaks for itself. And in a way I guess I have made an entry in my little journal of life, albeit an intangible one. 

Thursday, August 02, 2012


Closing in, here but not quite.

A chord from a Chopin piece. A line from Auden. The Takhallus from a Rumi Ghazal. Fading in and out as the day goes by. Interspersed by the sound of familiar laughter. And conversations from the past; recent and not so recent. I close my eyes. And there is silence, deep dark lasting silence. The kind that I so long for in my sleep; which now takes me to places I have been and places I imagined I have been. Until the walls start closing in. And I am back where I began. Back where I am. Back where I am? 

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


Taking that one big step forward, together.

Love always requires a bit of 'damp-ear sixteen' foolishness. For we are all mere fools. And at the end of the day, its that little bit of folly that counts. 

"Yours etc. And then the newspaper drew even more attention to the sign-off by printing it: Yours &c... I used to muse about that. What did it mean? Where did it come from... Whereupon, as an ardent damp-ear of sixteen, I took to the parodic sign-off: Love, &c... Love, etc. The proposition is simple. The world divides into two categories: those who believe that the purpose, the function, the bass pedal and principal melody of life is love and that everything else - everything else - is merely an etc.; and those, those unhappy many, who believe primarily in the etc. of life, for whom love, however agreeable, is but a passing flurry of youth, the pattering prelude to nappy-duty, but not something as solid, steadfast and reliable as, say, home decoration. This is the only division between people that counts."
~Julian Barnes, Talking It Over

Monday, July 30, 2012


A la Recherche de temps perdu

Truffles gathered from the forest, figs plucked from a tree, some kunas, a rental car's key and a summer hat sums up 17 unforgettable days of holidaying. It is poignant that the holiday ended with a reference to a Remembrance of Things Past. As a fan of photography, an art form which seeks to capture the fleeting,  I accept the temporal nature of things and embrace the lasting nature of memories; Ours to understand, cherish and nurture. 

Saturday, July 07, 2012


Coffee, black and white  

We talk as if time would stand still for us.
Flowing conversation, gesturing hands,
and an afternoon escapes us just like that;
Moments lost, memories made. 

Friday, July 06, 2012


In memory, love lives forever

The tracks we made are now lost 
to the winds whose names
we cannot recall