The 2020 December time during Covid-19 may seem like a very isolated time, with much less to do than what we are used to. However, it is an excellent opportunity to be introspective and imaginatively time-travel into our pasts; in order to leave behind some real legacies for our future generations.
This time reminds me of a dialog from a Pakistani drama.
I cannot recall its name, but something I watched back back in the day. Basically, one of the lead characters in the drama, Talat Hussain, is paralyzed and his wife consoles him that it is the best time for them to revisit the things that they used to do in the olden days, such as listening to Ghazals and stuff that they had to let go of, as they got caught up in the hustle-bustle of everyday life.
On this note, I opened up one of my old legendary diaries from the 90’s and the early 2000’s. As I saw the clip below tucked in my book, I could not resist but write out this blog-post.
Our Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has remarked on many occasions that he wished Allama Iqbal’s literature was taught in the Pakistani schools, instead of Shakespeare.
I have felt the urge at many times to correct him on this, that his comments are only representing the 3% of Pakistanis like himself, who attend the Grammar schools. The other 97% of the literate Pakistani population, like myself, who go through the Matriculation and the Intermediate systems of the country, have to study Iqbal’s “Shikwa” and “Jawab-e-Shikwa” as a mandatory curriculum for their Urdu-Matric exams.
The reason I bring this point up is that the picture that I have pinned from my legendary diary reminds me of a debate competition that I participated in, on Iqbal-Day when I was in the 8th standard.
The school that I attended in Karachi, Pakistan was not the top-tier school of the city, but one thing I always tried to reinforce in my student-life was that: “It is always about the student and not the school itself, that defines the person.”
Schools can only provide the basic frameworks, but one should not consider themselves inferior in any way if they did not start their lives in one of the most porche-neighborhoods of the city.
Similarly, to stand up to the real competition and the strength to make it or break it comes from the will within, which is completely independent of the exteriors that one is exposed to.
Going back to the debate competition, when I signed up for participating in it, deep inside I was convinced that I would not win the prize.
The night before the competition, as I was narrating my fears to one of my sisters, she read out the above poetry for me.
Somehow, the last stanza of the poetry stuck inside of me as a real defensive force through the competition. It is also something that I have leaned onto at many times in my career.
Life’s battle does not always go to the strongest or the fastest man (or woman). But soon or late, the man (or woman) who wins is the person who thinks they can
Contrary to my original expectations, that day I actually won one of the prizes.
The message in the above poem is very strong and powerful.
Basically, it is a message for all those who feel that one has to belong to some group, class or stature to win through the battles of life. As much as it is debatable, as to what one’s true aspirations should be, the message above can be applied to any kind of undertaking and ambition that one aspires to.
The point is that there is no one person or community that owns success. Success is nobody’s inheritance.
Success emanates from within our thoughts, the mindset that we can succeed and the trust that we have in ourselves. Success comes not from what we have on the exterior but rather how we feel on the inside about our own abilities.
As I go through more artefacts from my journals, I encourage you all to do the same and share with us your sources of inspiration. Do not be shy about what you have to offer. Consider it a treasure that you are leaving behind for the Post-Covid generations and beyond.