And he claims to be a pacifist.
To do no harm,
To hurt no one.
But he speaks of artifacts,
Like just peace ,
He attempts to reconcile,
The good and the bad,
And the worse.
He struggles at his
Attempts on truth.
There is so much one can do,
And see, find, excavate.
One digs out treasures,
In smiles, frowns,
Cries and chuckles that permeate.
But all one needs is a context,
Based on love and care,
To live in and be part of.
To manipulate and interact with.
And he hopes that,
All that is needed for that context,
Is to have one’s antennae out,
To care, listen, miss and connect.
Then there’s the prayer of agnostic.
He who shall not believe in God,
Still wants to believe that there’s something out there.
It is instinctive, arguably irrational.
But he asks for mercy.
And some benevolence.
For every thing, every one.
I am pollinated.
By an idea.
A figment of reality,
Being synthesized by all that I see.
I am Polluted.
By the filter.
Of my mind.
It is as if.
Was just initiated.
Inside of my reality.
Sometime during my travels in last few years, I promised myself that I would do less touristy things when I go to new cities. I love walking and this Island has been closed for motor-traffic, so that was cool. It is a hill and a beautiful climb along the coast. The top of the hill took about 25 minutes of intensive hike to conquer. On the top of hill, somebody had aptly put a couch and a picnic bench in the middle of woods facing an extra-ordinary view of other Islands.
It is winter so there are very few foreign tourists. Hotels are locked. Horse-carts empty. Local market is open along with a cafe, which has a very nice WiFi connection. I enjoy a grilled cheese sandwitch/toast with turkish tea. I promise myself that if I every moved to Istanbul, I would love to rent a small place on one of these Islands and commute to the city. Yes, the commute would be long and maybe impractical from the center of city (about an hour) but it would be nothing like Karachi’s boring intensive traffic.
Istaklal street is the by far the most ‘touristy’ place I have been to in Istanbul. The street’s character is overpowered by the exhibition of international brands. However the best thing about Istaklal is that it takes you from Takism to Galata Tower.
So I arrive at the bottom of tower expecting a historic monument preserved by restoration and expecting to climb the total length of about 55 meters. What I get is a ticket entrance plus opportunity to spend more money at a cafe and a belly-dance performance. Anyway, I get to the top, in an elevator, squarely avoid the cafe and lo and behold Istanbul comes out naked in 360 degrees.
The city is not tall, but it is spread out far. If you are new here, perhaps the first thing to orient yourself with the city map should be to come to this tower. You can see many tourist landmarks from the top and enjoy a breath-taking view of Bosphorus.
I decided to stand at the top for next 40 minutes or so, to be able to enjoy both day and night views. Istanbul makes it easy forget that majority of population here is muslims but then muslim call for prayers happens at sunset and the city reverberates with it. Lights go on, on the bridges, mosques, offices and homes.
After successfully fighting the urge to get in the former cafe, rain and about 5 degrees, I am happy to report that every piercing wave of wind coming from Borsophorus that cut through my bones today was worth the blow.
It has been a rainy day. But as soon as I enter the inter-continental (yes, it straddles two of them, so technically, eh?) ferry from Kodikoy to Kabatas, I see the golden hole formed by the sun’s struggles with thick clouds that have engulfed the city since morning.
The motor is whizzing and the white birds are making sounds, perhaps expecting food and attention by the smartphone cameras held by tourists.
Humans have preferred to build cities along major water bodies, so this is not new. But there is something about Bosphorus, it has a transcendental character, separating the east from west, literally. When the boat leaves Asia and reaches out Europe, I cannot not think of my journey from Pakistan to US. I cannot not recite John Lennon’s, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”. Although, there’s really no connection between the two. Bosphorus engulfs my mind in all completely random thoughts. Yes. Fully random.
As I sit directly beneath the tall, majestic dome of Ayasofya, I think about the role of religion in human evolution.
My friend Munir thinks that human mind is essentially a predictable machine, just like a computer whose code has not been cracked completely. I tend to agree with him. But when I ask him where does the ‘inspiration’ come from? How can one predict that using a deterministic function representing the human psyche? He says we are driven by emotions, and there is an element of systematic emotional mechanics to our mind, which gives rise to the notions of ‘creativity’, ‘inspiration’ and well ‘spirituality’.
So, then, does the religion represent the best that human emotions can impute or the worst? I know the worst it can do; I grew up as a hindu in Pakistan — a country carved with blood of million of people in the name of religion. But then there is Ayasofya, which represents the best — in the aesthetics and intellect – that humans have been able to do.
The eclectic bunch,
Has spoken thus.
The philosopher wants,
To go see and wonder.
The industrialist wants,
To go see and mould.
The explorer wants,
To go see. and well. explore.
But the son and brother,
Wants to stay.
It ought not to be wished upon somebody.
It ought not be embraced.
It ought not be cherished.
And. It ought not be feared.
Death is but a culmination.
Of hopes and dreams.
Of pursuits and aspirations.
Into dust and flames.
And. Sorrows and names.
There’s something about death.
Which makes you wonder.
And contemplate if you so please.
That, what life could be.
That, what life ought to be.