Friday, November 30, 2007

We were watching a drama on TV, and a group of 3 women was shrieking, giggling and gesticulating excitedly and wildly. I turned to my brother and said, "A person who doesn't know women very well would assume that they are over-acting." :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

At Lex's 12th birthday:
Lionel puts the present in Lex's hands. Lex opens it and pulls out a lead box.

Lex: (Unimpressed.) It's just an old box.
Lionel: No, no, it's much more than that. This box was formed from the armor of St. George.
Lex: (Surprised.) The dragon slayer?
Lionel: That's right. According to the legend, St. George was fighting a particularly fierce dragon. The battle between them had raged on for days, and St. George was losing his strength... and his faith. So he took a piece of broken armor, and he made it into this box. Inside it he put all his doubts and his fears, and then he went out to face the dragon again.
Lex: (Amazed.) Without any armor?
Lionel: Yeah. (Almost a whisper, telling the story with intensity.) But when the dragon saw St. George coming to do battle with him again, it hesitated and drew back, and in that moment, St. George plunged his sword into the dragon's heart, and it fell dead.
Lex smiles.
Lionel: So when people are cruel to you, you take all your fears and your doubts and put them in here, (Lionel opens the box.) in this box. And then you lock it. (He closes the box. Lex nods.) And you'll find that you're, uh, you're stronger than you think you are.

Smallville, Episode # 319

Monday, November 26, 2007


David with the Head of Goliath by Caravaggio (1571-1610),

"There is a painting by Caravaggio, done late in his life. David with the Head of Goliath. In it, the young warrior holds at the end of his outstretched arm the head of Goliath, ravaged and old. But that is not the true sadness in the picture. It is assumed that the face of David is a portrait of the youthful Caravaggio and the head of Goliath is a portrait of him as an older man, how he looked when he did the painting. Youth judging age at the end of its out-stretched hand. The judging of one's own morality."
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Will Durant writes about Bertrand Russell in The Story of Philosophy [Oh, how i long to be like a person of this description!] :

'All in all, a very lovable man: capable of the profoundest metaphysics and the subtlest mathematics, and yet speaking always simply, with the clarity which comes only to those who are sincere; a man addicted to fields of thought that usually dry up the springs of feeling, and yet warmed and illuminated with pity, full of an almost mystic tenderness for mankind. Not a courtier, but surely a scholar and a gentleman, and a better Christian than some who mouth the word.'

Friday, November 23, 2007

One of the countless fictitious dialogues swirling in my mind...

X: Why can't you just go away! You don't even let me hate you!

Hatred often gives a lot of strength to a person's mind, especially when it is directed towards the person who has hurted him/her. Imagine your inability to hate the person who has caused you pain... now that would be a tragedy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I don't know what it is it about funerals that attracts me so much... anyhow, this is me and my brother's favourite scene from Smallville Season 1... the funeral scene of Whitney's dad.

The narrator observes a couple in a restuarant:

'... they are happy to be together, happy to be seen together.' (Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea)

I wonder how much of the latter contributes to their happiness. Would they be less happy if they couldn't afford to be seen together? Or maybe it doesn't make much difference? Or perhaps the former happiness is independant of the latter happiness... even if you don't have the latter one, it doesn't mean that the former should lose any of its value or charm.
I have always been the intrigued by the idea of a silent victory; my efforts to appreciate this phenomenon have only been partially successful. There are so many things that the world never gets to know about; they remain hidden, either by choice or by necessity... but the person who is involved in them, how does he feel about it? What is the charm, if any, of a success or an achievement or a happiness that you cannot tell the world about?

Associated with the theme is the idea of a pseudonym... suppose you write a book under a pseudonym that becomes an international hit, but no one knows who really wrote it. What would your feelings be about it? Does the idea of public recognition also play a part in what that achievement means to you? I once read a novel when i was young, in which a child saves the world... but in the end, the child is too shy to admit that it was he who did it, and the world never comes to know who the saviour was. And i used to think about it: What would that child feel as he would grow up, as he would gaze around at all the people around him with an enigmatic smile knowing that it was he who saved them, but none of them knows anything about it? Place yourself in that position and think about it... perhaps you can appreciate the charm better than i can.
Here are some excerpts from an article in this week's Dawn Review.

Love at First Sight

By James Randerson

Their eyes met across a crowded room. The party chatter ebbed away and the music slowed. That first lovers' glaze is the staple of the romantic novelist, and scientists believe they have now revealed the true nature of its real attractive power. According to new research, romance has very little do to with it. That “look” is all about sex and ego.

“People are attracted to people who are attracted to them, and that shows attractiveness is not just about physical beauty,” said Ben Jones in the Face Research Laboratory at the University of Aberdeen.

He said the work challenges most previous studies of facial attractiveness that have focused on physical characteristics, such as a preference for symmetrical faces or masculine versus feminine features. Dr Jones and his colleagues say they have shown that attraction is based on social cues that say, “I'm interested in you”. The most important cue seems to be whether someone is looking directly at you.

"What we found at the most basic level is that people like faces with direct gaze more than they like the same faces with averted gaze,” said Dr Jones. “In other words, people find it more attractive when they are being looked at.” The results are published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

See the full article at:
http://www.dawn.com/weekly/review/review5.htm


Well, this surely explains a lot of things!

Can anyone guess what this is? :)
[See the comments for the answer.]

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Out of the memory scrapbook:

Saad: Do you even feel the hugeness of it? You have made a woman the happiest woman alive... and another, the unhappiest one... in one day!
Gandalf: Sauron needs only this ring to cover all the lands of a second darkness... He is seeking it, seeking it; all his thought is bent on it. The ring yearns, above all else, to return to the hand of it's master. They are one, the Ring and the Dark Lord. Frodo, he must never find it...
Frodo: Take it Gandalf, take it! You must take it!
Gandalf: You cannot offer me this Ring...
Frodo: I am giving it to you!
Gandalf: Don't... tempt me, Frodo! I dare not take it. Not even to keep it safe. Understand, Frodo, I would use this ring from a desire to do good, but through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine.


Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [The movie]

Part of fighting a temptation is not just having the strength to resist it, but also having the wisdom to stay away from it. :)
One of my most favourite excerpts from Paulo Coelho's writings. [Thanks to Kishore for finding it for me!]:

For the warrior there is no such thing as an impossible love.

He is not intimidated by silence, indifference or rejection. He knows that, behind the ice mask that people wear, there beats a heart of fire.

This is why the warrior takes more risks than other people. He is constantly seeking the love of someone, even if that means often having to hear the word 'no', returning home defeated and feeling rejected in body and soul.

A warrior never gives in to fear when he is searching for what he needs. Without love, he is nothing.


Manual of the Warrior of Light

[See also my article on Paulo Coelho's life, works and thoughts, published in Us magazine:
http://jang.com.pk/thenews/dec2007-weekly/us-14-12-2007/p22.htm#1]

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dure: Maturity leads to partial indifference [of public opinion].

So speaks my precociously-mature little friend. :)
"But why, in any case, do we so readily accept the idea that the one thing you must do if you want to please God is believe in him? What's so special about believing? Isn't it just as likely that God would reward kindness, or generosity, or humility? Or sincerity? What if God is a scientist who regards honest seeking truth as the supreme virtue? Indeed, wouldn't the designer of the universe have to be a scientist?... Would you bet on God's valuing dishonestly faked belief (or even honest belief) over honest scepticism?"

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Page 104 [He is talking about Pascal's Wager]

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Found this little piece of satire:

The First Law of Philosophy: For every philosopher, there exists an equal and opposite philosopher.
The Second Law of Philosophy: They're both wrong.

:D
A man is defined not just by the thoughts and temptations he has but also by how much he resists and limits them.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

"Jealousy in romance is like salt in food. A little can enhance the savor, but too much can spoil the pleasure and, under certain circumstances, can be life-threatening."
Maya Angelou

Hmmm. :)
This is my favourite scene from the movie Braveheart, in which Murron gives a thistle to William Wallace after the funeral of his father. Found it on YouTube after a lot of search. :) Enjoy.

Friday, November 16, 2007

“Supposing truth is a woman—what then? Are there not grounds for the suspicion that all philosophers, insofar as they were dogmatists, have been very inexpert about women? That the gruesome seriousness, the clumsy obtrusiveness with which they have usually approached truth so far have been awkward and very improper methods for winning a woman’s heart?”

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
Bender: You made the cover of Fortune... again
Sol: Please note the use of the word "you", not "we."
Nash:[sees the magazine cover; his picture is there along with pictures of several other people] That was supposed to be just me.
Sol: Oh. [Laughs]
Nash: So not only do they rob me of the Field's Medal, now they put me on the cover of Fortune magazine with these hacks, these scholars of trivia.
Bender: John, exactly what's the difference between genius and most genius?
Nash: Quite a lot.

A Beautiful Mind

Wednesday, November 14, 2007



* "Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment. To such an extent indeed that one day, finding myself at the deathbed of a woman who had been and still was very dear to me, I caught myself in the act of focusing on her temples and automatically analyzing the succession of appropriately graded colors which death was imposing on her motionless face."

* "Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love."

Happy birthday to the French impressionist painter, Claude Monet.

Monday, November 12, 2007

"I do not envy people who think they have a complete explanation of the world, for the simple reason that they are obviously wrong."

Salman Rushdie

Saturday, November 10, 2007

* Martha: Did I ever tell you about the first time I ever saw him?
Clark: No.
Martha: He came to Metropolis U. to take a finance course and he was sitting by a fountain all denim and flannel eating an apple. And I asked to borrow his notes. He didn't know that I was the note-taker for the class. He still doesn't.
Clark: You were sly, Mom.
Martha: He was so cute. So I asked him for his notes and he just handed over his notebook without even asking my name and I said, "How can you be so sure I'll bring it back?" And he said, "I prefer to believe in people."
Clark: That sounds like Dad.
Martha: And I remember looking at him, completely embarrassed because I was thinking the dumbest thing. I was thinking God, I hope he marries me. I still think that. Every day there's part of me that says, God, I hope he marries me.

Episode # 115

* Lex: In his own way, he's just trying to give you something my father never gave me.
Clark: What's that?
Lex: Limitations. All my father ever told me was "Don't get caught. Don't cause a scandal." That's not love, that's public relations. You have no idea how lucky you are. When my father dies, kings will come to his funeral, but when yours does, his friends will come.

Episode # 117

* Lex: Anyone who doesn't appreciate poetry doesn't understand that it's all about seduction.

* Clark: It doesn't bother you that he's so...
Lana: Different? If you really like someone, you accept every part of them, but you can't do that until they're willing to share every part with you.
Clark: I think people like Byron keeps a part of himself hidden so he doesn't scare people away.
Lana: If you want to get close to someone, you have to take that risk.
Clark: What if the risk is too big to take?
Lana: Then you might miss out on something that could be pretty amazing.

Episode # 205
What does commitment mean to you?

The realization that even if there is someone better than you out there, it is you alone whom i want to spend my life with.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Dis-Trust Us!
By Saad Javed and M. Awais Aftab

The day Trust Us was hijacked by a cranky humorist and a rogue skeptic!

See the cover-story published today in Us magazine:
http://jang.com.pk/thenews/nov2007-weekly/us-09-11-2007/p25.htm#1
"Even so, I must admire your skill. You are so gracefully insane."

Anne Sexton, referring to Robert Lowell

Hehe. I wouldn't mind if someone said that to me. :)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

This cartoon would certainly be a rare gem for Russell fans!
Description: This cartoon from the Evening Standard refers to the week-long prison sentence served by Russell in September 1961, following his conviction on public order charges brought after a large central London peace demonstration in commemoration of Hiroshima Day (6 August).

Taken from The Bertrand Russell Gallery

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bertrand Russell writes in The Problems of Philosophy, Chapter 6, On Induction:

"We are all convinced that the sun will rise to-morrow. Why? Is this belief a mere blind outcome of past experience, or can it be justified as a reasonable belief?...

It is obvious that if we are asked why we believe it the sun will rise to-morrow, we shall naturally answer, 'Because it always has risen every day'. We have a firm belief that it will rise in the future, because it has risen in the past. If we are challenged as to why we believe that it will continue to rise as heretofore, we may appeal to the laws of motion: the earth, we shall say, is a freely rotating body, and such bodies do not cease to rotate unless something interferes from outside, and there is nothing outside to interfere with thee earth between now and to-morrow. Of course it might be doubted whether we are quite certain that there is nothing outside to interfere, but this is not the interesting doubt. The interesting doubt is as to whether the laws of motion will remain in operation until to-morrow. If this doubt is raised, we find ourselves in the same position as when the doubt about the sunrise was first raised.

The only reason for believing that the laws of motion remain in operation is that they have operated hitherto, so far as our knowledge of the past enables us to judge. It is true that we have a greater body of evidence from the past in favour of the laws of motion than we have in favour of the sunrise, because the sunrise is merely a particular case of fulfilment of the laws of motion, and there are countless other particular cases. But the real question is: Do any number of cases of a law being fulfilled in the past afford evidence that it will be fulfilled in the future? If not, it becomes plain that we have no ground whatever for expecting the sun to rise to-morrow, or for expecting the bread we shall eat at our next meal not to poison us, or for any of the other scarcely conscious expectations that control our daily lives."

The problem simply means that if A has followed(/been associated with) B in all the observation we have made uptil now, then it is not necessary that A will follow B in all the observations we make in future as well. Consider the example of a stone falling down. Every common man believes a stone dropped will always fall towards the earth, but is this belief rational? Let us inquire: why do we believe that a stone will always fall towards the earth? The answer is that because we have seen this happen millions of times. True, we have experienced a stone falling to the ground many times but we have never experienced the stone falling to the ground always. [We have seen it falling to the ground always in the past but we haven’t yet experienced it falling every time in the future.] Similarly, why do we believe that the sun will rise tomorrow? It is because we have seen it happen always in the past. But just because an event has always taken place in the past doesn’t mean that it will certainly happen in the future.

It would be interesting here to narrate that in the time of Hume in 18th century, one of the examples used to describe problem of Induction was: Just because all the swans we have observed are white, does it means that all swans are white? And then, as if nature decided to participate in this philosophical puzzle, the black swan (Cygnus atratus) was discovered in Australia... a real life instance of the problem of Induction in action!
Alifar commented on the post "Fire Always Burns?" and he raised a very interesting point. He wrote:

'Fire, as an entity, has a certain property that (we implicitly assume) is inherent in it. And that property is heat. Remove heat from fire, and we will get a flame that does not burn. This will, in a way, do away with the problem of induction, pro tem.
Any phenomenon that we can classify, based on certain visible characteristics, under the broad hypernym of “fire” must necessarily, under certain arbitrarily set yet inflexible linguistic rules, possess the property of burning. That is, that which we call fire must necessarily burn or else we cannot call it by that name. For a layman, the argument runs as follows:

“If it ain’t burnin’, then it ain’t fire.” '

Apparently, it seems to provide a solution to the problem of Induction, but i believe that it only tries to hide the actual issue, like shoving it under the carpet. The problem of induction is not a problem of pure logic... what we are dealing with is not an analytical issue, but an empirical one. And this is precisely what Alifar's solution does: it treats it as an analytical problem.

Let me explain. Consider the question:

"Can there be a square that does not have four sides?"

This is an analytical problem. The answer is simply no, because a square by definition has 'four sides'. If it doesn't have four sides, it wouldn't be a square. This is a logical conclusion from the general rule that it is self-contradictory to deny an analytical statement. [It would be self-contradictory to say 'A square doesn't have four sides'.]

Now, what Alifar is saying is that the question "Does fire always burn?" is logically equivalent to the question "Can there be a square that does not have four sides?". Just like a square by definition has four sides, a fire by definition always burns.
However, the fine point to note is, the definition of a square is independent of experience; it is a purely geometrical issue. This is how we defined a square in the first place.
But the matter of defining a fire is different. Humans first experienced the fire, and then defined it. And the fact that fire burns is a part of the fire's definition only because humans have experienced uptil now that fire burns. But while it is impossible to even imagine a square not having four sides, it is possible to imagine a fire that does not burn.
Say, let me quote Bible. Exodus 3:2. Moses meets messenger of God:

"The Messenger of the LORD appeared to him there as flames of fire coming out of a bush. Moses looked, and although the bush was on fire, it was not burning up."

So, what does it actually mean when a person asks,
"Does fire always burns?"
What he is really asking is:
"Can i ever experience a phenomenon which has all the properties that we normally associate with fire, except that it does not burn?"

Whether we would call that phenomenon 'fire' or not is a secondary issue. I believe that if such a phenomenon is experienced, people would simply revise the definition of fire.

To take another example, let's consider the question:

"Are crows always black?"

The problem of induction states: Just because all the crows we have seen are black doesn't mean that there can't exist a crow somewhere in the world that is of some other colour [say white, or red.]
Alifar would say that being black is part of the a crow's definition. Hence it is impossible to think of a crow being of any other colour. But that only ignores the real question. What the question really means is:

"Is it possible to find a bird that has all the properties we associate with a crow, except that it is black?"

As obvious, this question cannot be shoved underneath the carpet of language. And this is what the genuine problem of Induction is all about.
My cousin Sana introduced me to this song, and i find it so enchanting and magical that i had to share it on my blog:



Thanks Sana!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Kemcol 2007, the annual magazine of King Edward Medical University is out!
My short story 7: 40 am has been published in it.



7: 40 a.m.


Muhammad Awais Aftab
2nd Year

The Intrigue of the Past, glimmers through tears, memories and dreams!
Awais takes a closer look...

It was 7: 40 a.m. And it was raining. The digits flickered on my wrist-watch, which had the words “Water Resistant” stamped on its face. What was its purpose, if not sheer mockery? No amount of downpour can wash away the past; the scars that time leaves behind are indelible. As I stood in the rain beside my mother’s grave, just one day old, I felt myself being showered: not by rain droplets, but by memories. Memories damp, and memories cold. Once they had been warm, but no longer…

It was at 7: 40 every morning that my alarm used to wake me up with its shrill noise. As I would open my eyes, I would see these numerals flash at the dial of the table clock. After a few seconds, I would hear the firm, loud voice of my mother: “Sahil! Wake up! Time to go to school!” And I would get out of the bed reluctantly, cursing the whole world. Later when I joined the college, the ritual didn’t change; just the word ‘school’ was replaced. It brought a sting to my eyes now, realizing that I would never hear that voice again. The alarm would continue to ring everyday, but for me, life would have become very different.

I walked back to my house in the light drizzle. I saw my father sitting in the lounge, a newspaper spread out in front of him. He lifted up his gaze at me for a moment and then resumed his previous focus. His face was impassive like a stone. Questions that I had never asked myself jumped up in my mind. Glaring facts that I had been avoiding suddenly became impossible to ignore; my mind was ensnared. How could my mother have ever loved a man like him? She could not have. It seemed impossible. He wasn’t cruel, but something far more painful: Indifferent. Could I remember ever seeing the two of them laugh together like I had seen other couples do? Could I recall a single smile that my father had directed at her affectionately when she brought him the tea every evening? No, I could not.

I headed for my mother’s personal room; her library, and where she kept all her important documents. I was greeted by volumes bearing the great names of literature: Keats, Tennyson, Faiz, Sartre, Beauvoir. Were these who had consoled her in her life of unbearable solitude? In the corner of the room was a painting: her artistic skill and finesse had always left me breathless… now it evoked a sigh of grief. The picture showed a girl trapped in a net of thorns. Her eyes: a study in horror and despair. Her lips: a curve of agony. Her ghostly pale skin: pierced by spines, bleeding. There was so much pain lurking in this house. Why had I never felt it before?

I began to go through her books. In an inconspicuous cabinet, I found a dusty, old diary. All diaries promise revelations, but could my tight-lipped mother have shared her secret with anyone? I flipped through it; it was all blank except for the first page, which offered me nothing but a cryptic couplet:

Were my yearnings for you so sinful?
That I was sentenced to a life of death?

These words could have been directed towards anyone but my father; I felt certain of it. What desires she kept hidden in her heart, who can tell? How she had suffered in silence, who can disclose?

As I sifted through more of her documents, I discovered a carefully preserved page in a file: It was the roll number list of her class in college. I perused it, searching for any familiar name, and my eyes were arrested on roll no 192. The name was scratched off. The rest of the list was intact and insignificant. I studied the names a bit more closely. The roll numbers were present alphabetically, and 192 came in the start of S portion. Suddenly it occurred to me: could this name be Sahil? My mother had told me in childhood that she had named me Sahil because my liquid eyes reminded her of the seas. Perhaps that was only the partial truth. Perhaps there was an additional reason; something that was far beyond my comprehension at that time?

An enigmatic verse and a scratched-off name were the only answers she had left to the questions hanging in the house, haunting my mind. I knew I would never find out the truth. I could only guess. My mother had lived with her secrets all her life and she had taken them with her to the grave. Perhaps, now, at last she had found peace?

The next morning again at 7: 40, I went to her tomb, and wept for her. And again, it rained…

Unanswered questions haunt from the beginning till the end... sigh... just the way we toiled to answer certain questions for kemcol 2007. * The exasperated EDS

Monday, November 5, 2007

Suno tum azam walay ho,
Bala ka zabt rakhtay ho,
Magar jisay tum choray jatay ho,
Usay tu theek say shaid,
Bicharna bhi nahi aata...

Anonymous

This little piece of awesome poetry has been roaming around on mobile networks as a forward sms. I have no idea who the author is. If someone knows, i'd appreciate if he/she can tell me too.
Russell writes about the early student days of Wittgenstein:

"At the end of his first term at Trinity, he came to me and said: 'Do you think I am an absolute idiot?' I said: 'Why do you want to know?' He replied: 'Because if I am I shall become an aeronaut, but if I am not I shall become a philosopher.' I said to him: 'My dear fellow, I don't know whether you are absolute idiot or not, but if you will write me an essay during the vacation upon any philosophical topic that interests you, I will read it and tell you.' He did so, and brought it to me at the beginning of the next term. As soon as I read the first sentence, I became persuaded that he was a man of genius, and assured him that he should on no account become an aeronaut.
... In early days, I once asked G.E.Moore what he thought of Wittgenstein. 'I think very well of him,' he said. I asked why, and he replied: 'Because at my lectures he looks puzzled, and nobody else ever looks puzzled.'"

And no wonder that Wittgenstein went on to become one of the greatest philosophers of 20th century, as well as the Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Should i invent a dawn
To lessen the night's pain?
And fabricate a god
To keep me sound and sane?
Should i search for truth in life
To know that meaning it lacks?
Or make my heart my sole guide
To lead me on unreal tracks?

M. Awais Aftab
26 Oct 2005

Friday, November 2, 2007

*Clark: Mom, if you could see anything, what would you do?
Martha: Learn to close my eyes.

Episode # 104

*Jonathan: I know. Metropolis, do you miss it?
Martha: Sometimes.
Jonathan: Yeah?
Martha: But I didn't move to Smallville for action and glamour. I moved because a certain man told me we'd never be rich or travel the world, but he'd always love me. How could I pass up an offer like that?

Episode # 108

*Lana: That's the thing about Clark Kent: he's not always there when you want him... but he's always there when you need him.

*Lana: The other night on the porch, I felt you were trying to tell me something.
Clark: I was... Nell's timing was impeccable as always.
Lana: She's not here now.
Clark: What I wanted to tell you was... what I wanted to say was... I would never do anything to hurt you.
Lana: I know that.
Clark: But if I said what I really wanted to say right now, that's what I'd do. I'd hurt you.

Episode # 110

Thursday, November 1, 2007

An article by Munizeh Zuberi, 'Gone with the wind?' came in this week's The Review (of Dawn newspaper) about the decadence of romance in our society, and its replacement with a more physical version of relationships. It is an excellent article, and voices my own sentiments to a great degree as well.
You can read the complete article at this link:
http://www.dawn.com/weekly/review/archive/071101/review1.htm

And here are some extracts:

"Romance needs time and thought, two things that most people do not seem to have enough of in this day and age of ‘attention deficit’. Just like young people are not afraid to change jobs every time they get a slightly better offer –– in fact it is said to raise their ‘market value’ –– they do not want to commit to a romantic relationship in case there is ‘something better out there’ waiting for them.

The sensitivities needed for romance are no longer present in the average person; to stop and smell the roses is an awkward, alien concept. For the young, romance and love are merely euphemisms for sex and infatuation."

"But romance doesn’t have to be expensive or full of grand gestures! Little things like a handwritten note on the dresser saying ‘I love you’ or taking time out for the occasional picnic or dinner (with mobile phones switched off!) can go a long way in keeping the flame alive."

"Valentines Day is ‘celebrated’ with unprecedented fervour and extravagance now but genuine romantic gestures, even amongst the idealistic youth, seem to be increasingly waning. The shallow, single-dimension of gift-giving might be more ‘easy’ and practical, but can it ever compare with a poem such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s How do I love thee? Let me count the ways, which she wrote for her husband Robert Browning?

From the arts, to literature, to movies and music, the connotations of romance have been redefined. The natural affinity described between a man and woman in the poetry of Ghalib, Majaz and Faiz or the novels of the Bronte sisters was pristine, unpolluted, decent and innocent. It did not have the ugly, lewd undertone that is the norm in fiction, movies and music of the 21th century.

“It’s all about sex and the clich├ęd argument is that sex sells,” says 53-year old Shazia, mother of two. Anyone who seems to resist this tendency is labelled ultra-conservative and even frowned upon. “It’s all physical and tangible now,” adds her husband.

Till two to three decades ago, romance was all about the emotional attachment. Songs like Mausam haseen hai lekin tumsa haseen nahin described the emotional and the abstract which have been replaced by the crude vulgarity of Choli kay pechay kiya hai."

"Love and romance have become mundane emotions. The youth of today belong to the ‘cut out the crap’ generation. For most, romance begins and ends with physical relations.

They no longer wait for natural attraction to flourish. Instead, they actively pursue ‘lovers’ because of the stigma that society now attaches to single people. As a result, most relationships stem from the need to have rather than love, per se.

Both men and women routinely gloat and boast about their ‘romantic’ escapades and conquests to their mates and take great pride in doing so. In the days when romance was still alive, people were highly protective of their lovers and took immense pains to prevent any shame coming on them. They respected each other’s privacy and honour, but now each romantic enterprise is yet another feather in the cap."


I believe that a healthy romance is an expression of a person's fine sensibilities, because after all, what is romance but loving a person with elegance, grace, decency and refined manners?
[Kay]: My life would be rendered useless unless my being or not being with people makes a difference. :)

Very well said, my friend, well said.
 

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