Designer Diary: Lost Identities (Post #01)

Creativity. A word that has quite literally lost its charm in this digital age of arts. The once exclusive identity given to people known to the community as artists has now found numerous disguise. People are now designers, illustrators, painters, doodlers etc. All have almost different approach, exploring different fronts. But the true question is, is the artwork they are generating genuine and original?

Working for your own and working for some organization are two completely different ways to portray your aesthetics and creativity. I work not from my mind but heart. Self-devotion towards a project makes it unique, standing out from the rest and foremost it would be something you would love to do, that would please you not just today but in the later years when you pick up your sketchbook and look through the hard work, strain and time that you have put in it. Originality and genuineness should be the main course for any art related student or professional.

I have never worked for anyone else. Not until I joined an industry recently. It’s too glamorous, not the kind involving beautiful models in extreme spot lights, but glam in the sense that you get to work for the top notch international brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, Vera Wang and even Ikea, PotteryBarn etc.As a designer, it’s too tempting to even being remotely related to the names. Working for a big brand is like a dream job for any designer. I get goose bumps whenever I think of it like that. But on a very humble ground, working at a studio at a textile mill in Karachi is not at all fun. You lose a lot of stuff that you love. That you find peace in doing. You end up going to bed early and skip doing the side-projects that you believe as you’re true identity. As a whole life becomes really tough.

We are called creatives, but while working for someone else, a part of you gets lost within the requirements of the customer that you work for. I might be wrong here as creativity, as a designer, is not what you desire, but what the customers love to buy. We may infuse our personal style within the given framework, but it’s not that easy to satisfy both ways.

One of the factors controlling the creativity bar is the timeframe. The “ifs & buts” are the last thing senior management wants to hear from you. Time and Creativity are inversely related. At least that’s what I have gathered in the past few years. Any outstanding work of arts needs complete indulgence in that subject. Yes the “eleventh hour” work is sometimes better than any of the stuff that you have been working on, on that particular subject, but that happens rarely. Especially it doesn’t happen in the professional world. You have to manage the time or else you would end up embarrassing yourself.

In the end I miss how I used to work. Because at the place, creativity is not what your inspirations are and what your approach towards designing is, but the amount of customer-centric designs you can deliver within the given time, no matter how gross and how Shutterstocked they might be. Sorry to say but creativity has lost its meaning for them. I’m still trying to grab a cane and save myself from the abyss of these lost identities….Image

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Fear of Sharing…

When we were kids, we all had different kind of fears. The shadows in the night that materialize right after our parents switch off the light of your room. That creaky door that always use to give chills down your spine whenever you hear it in between the phase of waking up in the middle of the night. The sound of a bunch of dogs (may be cats for some) that kept barking till they open your eyes wide open. But none of them were even close enough to the fear of expressing yourself in front of people. That’s something in the human genes. Yes it can be controlled as we grow, but at first we all have dealt with situations where we were too hesitant to portray our side of the story.

We all (at least once) have passed through such experience, where we would have done a better job, but we never performed the way we always have visualized it in our mind. That depends upon several factors.

  • lack of confidence
  • resistance of hearing rejection
  • some specific incidence that lead to introversion

Whatever the circumstances might be, but think about it. How much the world is missing just because people are not being open to world they are supposed to? I’m not sure about the west, but here in the east, the education system is not producing any creative generation. Yes, there are a few who surpasses the system to grow their knowledge and expertise beyond the textbooks they are being advised to literally replicate in their minds. This ‘replication’ is causing our kids to lose their own identity. They are being oppressed to copy/paste the exact material found in the text books. Poor kids don’t even know what some specific topic in science or mathematics supposed to mean in our daily lives. They have no opinions of their own. They are being fed with immature and old concepts. I still remember, when I was a kid, I had a bit of a conflict with my teacher when he was teaching us about ‘The Solar System’. I was of the opinion that it’s not just one, there are several, and the teacher insisted there are not. I was right, I had a proof (read it in a ladybird book for kids based on Space). I always have been like this. Debating over some stuff, even over pronunciation of words, which a few of the times have lead me into some very serious trouble.

Beginning of an end

Beginning of an end

So… My concern is, let the pupil show their best. Let them feel the freshness of being free. Free to discuss their opinions. Free to express their view over any stuff. Try to make them participate in the class. A good teacher is always the one teaching ‘out-of-the-books’ things to his/her students. It’s always good to hear others thoughts. Especially the young minds. Their developing theories about nature of things they are yet to experience themselves. Academics is just for developing their professional knowledge, but what about the other experiences? There are a few things which can never be taught by writing long stories on the black-board. You have to involve them with yourselves. Try to make them read and write things that are current, things that can help them understand the nature of their existence, things that let them connect to their CREATOR.

I believe the ‘fear of sharing/expressing’ can be eliminated or at least minimized by showing love and respect for whatever opinion and views the young minds have, no matter how absurd it may sound. Eventually they would start believing themselves, and that can shift the thinking of millions of people in the later years. The ‘followers might turn into leaders 🙂

Before She Left…

We Humans are very funny and pitiable beings. The unpredictable nature of death make us so vulnerable to the probable and improbable universe. Planning ahead of time and there comes your end. We live and plan in a very idealistic world where nothing bad can happen. I’ll do this and that and life will be all simple and perfect as I plan, and all the plans seems to disappear into thin air when the ultimate plan start performing it’s acts. You know we should take life as a business venture. Always running a SWOT analysis before taking some bold wild step, risking things and living the return, expecting the worst and best simultaneously. This life is full of unpredictable and unexpected consequences that we would have never thought of. A happy life turns into miserable fate within no lapse. This can both turn someone strong or loss his faith over his acts completely. Difference lies in the account of taking things in the right or wrong manner. So what if this life involves such unexpectedness, we should be courageous enough to face any dire circumstances it throws upon us.

I lost a beautiful person recently. I wasn’t expecting anything like it. No one ever does. I never thought I was close to her, not until the day before she met her Creator.

She was shifted from ICU to general ward just a few hours ago. I was sitting beside her, looking at her fragile body. Thinking about her adventurous journey from a happy women to a struggling women to this unfathomable weakness and never-ending array of sickness. She doesn’t seems fine. My uncle came, two people accompanying him. One of them seems quiet peculiar. Anyways, he was the one giving some spiritual treatment to her. With all the moral uplift, he seems to bring a hope to her. She was smiling, not the kind of smile after a joke. But a serene smile with a hint of irony. He told her she’ll be home soon (and he was right, but not the way he said).

They left after she was given her daily course medicines. And she slept a few minutes later after having tea and watching a bit of cable TV in her room. I was up, was using my phone, checking out different social networks etc. Later, she was breathing loud, and noisily. She was calling ‘ALLAH’ (GOD ALMIGHTY) and ‘amma’ (mom in Urdu) after every while. She was groaning due to pain. I asked her what’s wrong, she told she’s having problem with her breathing. I waited for some time, then asked a nurse to check her condition. She woke, nurse gave her nebulizer and some injections. Which gave her a relief for some time, then she slept. I was up late, a few minutes on tab and then slept without realizing.

Woke up around fajr (morning prayer), went for it. It was cold outside. Came back, she was again surrounded by the nurses. They were giving her the medicines. Then someone brought hospital’s breakfast. She had tea, some bread and egg albumen. She was behaving normal. Watching a drama on HUMTV and commenting on some actress’s acting. I was glad. Sign of recovery, I thought. Then she slept after sometime. May be those medicines brings drowsiness. I was sitting just beside her. After a few hours she began calling ‘amma’ and ‘ALLAH’ again. She started weeping slowly. I felt my eyes diluted. Nurse came, same procedure as last night. But no relief this time. They called the docs. I kept sitting there, holding her hand and calming her. Reciting any dua (prayers) and verses I can remember. I was feeling like a worthless being, as I was unable to do anything about her pain, except to pray. I can never ever forget her voice at that time. She was telling me “faran, I am feeling too much pain to handle What am I supposed to do!?” I just told her “be strong!!” and gathered all my courage not to cry… I kept praying…

Doctor came with kind of a whole platoon, gave his juniors a bit of direction. Gave her some soothing agents I’m not aware of. But it did not calm her pain. She still felt agitated. I called my uncle before and told him, her condition. He arrived after I asked nurse to call the docs again. As she was still in the same condition.

They told us we have to shift her back to ICU. She was shifted before I left. She seems even more ill, when she’s in ICU.  She gestured me to stay and gave me her hand, I sat. But the nurses in charge asked me not to touch her or sit here long. I left a few hours later. I have never and can never speak about that time with her with anyone. It makes me lose control over my eyes…

I felt connected to her, even after coming back home. It was as if something was left with her. Her voice, her face keeps playing inside my mind. The impact of the visit was undeniable. A day after that, she passed away… She’s a brave person, very hardworking, down to earth with a beautiful soul. Ever smiling and ever caring. Making compromises and dealing with such severe pains that only a few could endeavor.

 

Some souls are always connected. Distance doesn’t matter to them. The purity of a relation comes directly or indirectly from the connection of the souls. But sometimes you never knew you had something like that until it’s too late, and you cannot do anything about it. Her voice always starts ringing inside my mind, whenever I pray for, or think about her.

The system can obviously run after you, as it was working before you. A single person does not create a loop hole. As it would collapse it eventually. But yes things change! It does bring a hollowness inside out. An unfilled void, for the people close to your presence, to your warmth and comfort. Take care of them in your own way. Try not to regret… until it’s too late!!

Comfort/Discomfort

It is funny in a bit sarcastic way to say this, but as Newton have said “every action has an equal and opposite amount of reaction”. Applying his theory into our daily lives, we come across hundreds of stuff going on around us that proves his point. Not taking it in a literal form but in a complete abstract way.

The people who love you the most, are the same people who ends up hurting you badly in one way or the other. Problem may lies upon developing a sense of for granted-ness towards them and more of a habitual way to behave with them in an unjust manner as you know and you believe you might not get an utterly unforgivable and harsh reaction, and they will always stick to you no matter what, and who would caress and pamper you while you still play your old dirty games and stay behaving the same way as before. This attitude can be neglected to some extent if it remains in a bearable zone. But this constant misunderstanding can leads to a few days of silence and then perpetual nothingness…

So when can we decide that it’s time to move on, and time to leave the rest on fate. The fact is we never can. We simply do not have that courage. The whole concept of leaving someone beloved, shatters you from the inside. It is so unbearable that you cry out loud, praying that some miraculous event might turn out the scenario completely upside down. That s/he might return. Part of you can never even imagine the pain that you would go through if it does not happen. I say the only thing that is making you still do it, is your very precious ‘ego’. A small three letter word that holds up a tons of power of explosions. That can crush and ruin your life to the very extent that you might not be able to foresee until the harm is done. I have heard it a lot of times that it was good that it stopped and that we moved on. But what if we stayed, there always remains a guilt… what if we waited for that extraordinary to happen. What if the moment we left, was the very moment that things might have changed dramatically.

The only force that is driving you mad and making you to think and do some really mean things to your once beloved, is that reaction of that pure, genuine and utmost love that you once gave them. It hurts to think what you were like and how things have changed now. But that force is making you go away in a similar but opposite manner that made you so close to them.

I believe that it’s useless to try and find a reason for the created distance. It might be one or many, but the driving factor is always the same amount of force that pushed you to do it. Certainly, it is a miserable condition for anyone. I myself have gone through the phase, for several times in my life now. But looking back at the past, the connection, the sentiments we shared, the time spend together, the waits, the talks… all adds up to create a void. A hollow that cannot be filled with any other soul. We wander around finding the perfect block that can be placed and completes a Lego of our normal cycle of life, but as a matter of fact we can never replace that unfilled space. It remains there. Setting its roots silently into our sub-consciousness, which might or might not become active in the later life. Anyone coming afterwards, just creates and illusion of filling that emptiness. We conceal our scars in never revealing them to anyone but ourselves…
how do you feel about it? do share your thoughts…

Unsettling Thoughts…

Rays of Actions...

Rays of Actions…

As mysterious as one might look like, sometimes I’m convinced they’ll be rather more surprising from inside. There comes moments almost daily in our life, when we are thinking on more than one topic at a time (voluntarily or not). It’s a gift of Mother Nature, or for some it could be a curse. We think a lot. In fact a lot of lot. The capacity and mechanism of human thinking is beyond our understanding. We cannot get rid of the thoughts segment of our brain. It’s ever charged, and ever working and ever creating its own fantasies (even while we are asleep). Which raises a question. Why do we have these inescapable, unnerving thoughts??? (Later about that…). We can always try, find and join those bits and pieces of information coming down upon us through different channels of our senses. Those are all inspirations…

Since birth till the transition, I think I have lost tons of precious time in obtaining nothing! It’s quite difficult to convince how, but I can affirmatively say that I was unable to think till I moved to the new city (I talked about in the earlier blog). I’m not sure how or when it occurred to me that I can think, but it was one of those beautiful feelings that one can never stop thanking GOD ALMIGHTY for. It’s like opening up of new horizons and possibilities that you have never ever imagined, nor believed to exist. Not just in the academics, but out of that four cornered building. I literally discovered myself and my CREATOR for the first time. Who am I, what’s I’m here for. What is the meaning of being alive, what’s true, what’s fake, human emotions: jealousy; love; enmity. It was not like I slept one night and when I opened my eyes, the world was different for me. No! It took a long way to learn, and it is still going on. I can never stop thanking ALLAH Almighty for opening the doors of blessings in the form of knowingness for me, the true understanding of life itself. I’m under perpetual gratitude and servitude. Those were the days I started to re-live my life. Although physically you would ask how? And I would be unable to answer, but the transition was more of metaphysical and spiritual than materialistic. And NO ONE would understand it until it has happened to his/herself. And I kept silent, until I met what seems like a mirror (a better mirror I must add) image of myself, one of the beautiful person I still have in my life (I’ll talk about it sometimes later).

Reading the lines of my first proper storybook “A boy from Makkah” by Muhammad Abdo Yamani. The words as if forming a complete new stage from my imagination, creating details and live size images inside my head, for every character, every scene. The first proper novel I read was Khuda ki Basti (Land of GOD) by Shaukat Siddiqi, a master piece of storytelling, roller-coaster of emotions and incredible detailing of both the characters, locations and scenes. Then later the ever wonderful J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. It was a visual paradise for me. Creating a magical world of my own, (I never saw its movies before starting the series). It was always captivating. I’m a slow reader. Sometimes reading the same page for like 4-5 times until and unless it makes an image out of itself. I enjoy words like that. That’s my style of enjoying art and especially literature.

I personally feel that it’s almost impossible for me to shut my thoughts (and of course the senses too). Yes, the focal point can be changed, which comes from certain exercises. But still, it is too difficult. I do not have an analogy to perfectly define the case. To give a very mundane idea about it, take the example of Bella, yes Bella from Twilight. When she was turned into a vampire, the power of her senses increases several hundred times, i.e. listening, hearing, smelling and seeing more. This transition was presented in a very superficial and comical way. But if you consider it as a slow & gradual process, it does happen with humans (not the part where they start drinking blood :P).

We all have definitely experienced the feeling, while coming back from work on a silent road, while taking small sips of a hot drink sitting in a lawn or gallery enjoying nature, even while sitting on (this one is funny) a toilet seat or whenever we are alone somewhere. Our senses seems to increase. We can feel, hear and see more (even more than what is actually real). So coming to a conclusion, the thoughts are always there during the whole day but when we start focusing, we start making sense out of it. We began to comprehend it, rather than letting go of these inspirations.

Inspirations can be both blessing and a motivation, determining the course of action we move upon in response to that specific stimulus. At the same time inspirations could be both lethal and destructive. The difference lies in our attitude. How do we absorb those inspirations (the overall thoughts as a whole) can amplify our productivity and can bring behavioral changes in us. We all have observed e.g. while reading some beautiful poetry; or listening to a romantic song; or observing a well detailed surreal photograph, it moves you! It brings a change in us. Directly influencing our emotions. That’s a direct impact. Indirectly the thoughts that I discussed earlier, those random and on-going stream of information going by our senses, throughout the day (sort of short term memories), can create an impact as well. It all depends upon the individual, how s/he absorbs those inspirations and make the best use of it. In the end… keep thinking, it’s healthy, and be inspired, it’s fun! 🙂

(6:56 pm Jan 17, 2014)

P.S. for each blog post I’m adding a photograph that I took sometime, somewhere, connecting to that particular feelings and describing the mood.