The scent of life


Candid Corner


  • Having imbibed liberally from the state, giving some of it back should not be grudged


“Beyond the scaffold, in the haze of the distance,

The red of your lips kept simmering,

Your hair dancing with abandon,

The silver of your hands kept glistening.

When the unkind evening cast its shadows,

We sought your way till we couldn’t move any more,

A couplet adorning our lips,

And our heart bearing a candle,

Flickering as witness to your beauty.

We kept our word as promised,

Till we were lost in the dark of the alleys.”

–Faiz Ahmad Faiz


Life does not always bring what one expects of it, but it also cannot be blamed for dreams that remain unrequited. A reason for that could be traced to the domain of lack of self-belief for there may be something wanting in the manner we have sought life and desired gains of it to be delivered.

At times, one may also feel that there is only a little distance to realise the dreams of one’s life, but that little distance may actually signify an impassable vastness. This expanse may keep becoming more unfathomable with time and little could be done by way of transiting the impenetrable swathe that stares in the face. But the scent of life refuses to fade away, its beauty only becoming more resplendent and its benefactions more valuable. It keeps beckoning those who seek ever new vistas to confront, ever new peaks to conquer. Such is the inherent charm and indomitable challenge it carries within its folds. In the eternally ongoing cycle of life, we are but invisible specks wrapped in its folds, trying to find a meaning to our existence. But, we are also the force that drives it. This interdependence comes in a myriad colours and forms, each carrying its own distinctive hues, scents and shades.

The fascination of life aside, it also carries its unassailable burdens which, at times, would be difficult to bear, thus forcing one to wilt under them. This is a prospect which is hidden in the very act of living, its ups and downs, its vicissitudes, its ascendant moments and its pitfalls, its grace and its compulsions of rubbing shoulders with belittling mediocrity. All this has to be borne with courage and forbearance. It is only by going through a process of sufferance that one may be able to catch a glimpse of life in its entirety.

Those who have lived life to the full and those who have failed in the effort are both recipients of its largesse, albeit of different varieties and tastes. The ones who have had the best of what life offers in worldly measure may, in the end, take upon themselves the task of giving some of it back as an expression of gratitude, but those who may have fallen by the wayside could carry with them a taste of bitterness lingering to the time of their passing. This amalgam of emotions reflects life in its quintessential totality with some offering toasts of veneration and others exuding varying degrees of consternation.

Those who have spread the tentacles of exploitation in the past must be tackled with ingenuity and a sense of definitive purpose to ensure that the state is freed from their manipulative logjam to put it on an ascendant trajectory

The experience of living life is a challenge unto itself. Wrapped within its drapes are moments that may reside in one’s treasure troves as well as experiences which tell a story of pain and deprivation. Whatever encompasses the full spectrum of life, be it in the realm of achievement or loss, in the folds of victory or defeat, in the form of happiness or sorrow, in the shape of worldly riches or spiritual transformation, it is perpetrated by people to people as they become the instruments of what is planned.

In the endless cycle of life, there are moments when one would like to draw back into one’s comfort zone and contemplate the bounties that one reaped and the ones that one missed, the ones that one earned and the ones that passed us by. In its ultimate essence, there is so much to life that cannot be measured by way of material gains or losses. One needs a different bar to dig the depths of life and one’s relative position in its vastness.

In the existent environment, one is pained to see that there is a sense of deep despondency spreading across various echelons of the society, pulling Pakistan down into an abyss of hopelessness, a bulk of which is fabricated to serve pre-orchestrated purposes. Why so? Because, there are some who treat life as a means to furthering their agendas and motives. And when they are not able to do that, or they are denied the means and the wherewithal to do so, they take to Machiavellian tactics to unleash their plans. That, unfortunately, is the case with this country as those who have plundered it for decades, and who have now been deprived of that luxury, are desperately trying to engineer a change by using methods both fair and foul, mostly and sadly of the latter variety.

This is where the essence of life is pitted against the aims of self-serving politics which run counter to the needs of the state and its people. What matters for these deeply dug-in mafias is the furtherance of their infatuation with power and being able to use its instruments to advance the cause of their personalised interests whether those be rooted in ravaging the riches of the state, or expanding the base and expanse of their power to such limits that it would preclude the possibility of any person or institution becoming a threat to their absolute manipulative control of the state.

This is the challenge that the people are confronted with at this juncture: to extricate the state from the stranglehold of the family oligarchies and their criminal cohorts and operatives so that it could bask in the abandon of freedom. Much has been lost to the vile machinations of these mafias, and there is not enough energy left in a depleted state to continue weathering venomous onslaughts from them anymore. What is required is regenerating a sense of purpose in the way this country is to be managed.

This is not an easy task. It has to be planned to its smallest detail and then executed to deliver the desired objectives. This requires that those who have spread the tentacles of exploitation in the past are tackled with ingenuity and a sense of definitive purpose to ensure that the state is freed from their manipulative logjam to put it on an ascendant trajectory.

This alone is the way forward as all other paths take it back to the beginning – landing the country right in the vicious stranglehold of those who have brought it to this pass.

Having imbibed liberally from the state, giving some of it back by way of cultivating confidence and faith should not be grudged. That is the spirit that we need to take Pakistan forward. Let the country exude the scent of life that we have taken for our right alone. It needs dreams. Give it back its dreams.

You know what? This can be done. We can do it. If that be the approach, there would be no looking back.