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Photo Courtesy: Unknown

It Began With Death

I looked on
At the death of your
Laughter,
Watched as tears came down your face
Like angels of
Life,
Gleaming like silver-winged diamonds
Caught in the gold beams
Of the sun’s web.
One after the other
They carried your laughter down
To the surface,
Where the rest of the world
Received everything that
Your sky eyes let go.
There,
The wind brought forth
Loose fragments of the memories
You left behind…
The blushes…
The love…
The kisses…
And gathered it over the grave
Where broken hearts lay.
And I could only watch
As your world
Collapsed
Into yawning black holes
Filled with
Undying ghosts of the
Non-existent.

***

She watched the world in silence, letting the solace of the cold winter wind wash out dying embers of a once raging inferno that still charred the inner parts of her being, drowning any semblance of light inside with blackness as ancient as night itself. It has been days, and time still persistently dragged her back to empty avenues of memory lane where pain rained on the reminiscence, soaking her reality in gloom that doomed blooming colors to a grey hell.

“Hey! Hey Luna! Are you listening to me?”
Tiffany was at her side, her black eyes straining to find the open latches to the windows of her soul, finding only hollowness instead. They had been sitting at the restaurant for hours now, steam dancing between them like misguided ghosts from the heat of their coffee cups.

“Lu I know what he did to you was wrong, but you have to let me in, I want to help you. You have to let him go. I have to see you letting him go.”
“I want to, I really do T. But I don’t know what kind of person I’m supposed to be anymore. How can I let you in when I don’t even know myself anymore?”
“I know its not easy. It can’t be. But I know your pain won’t last forever. Don’t look back, there’s nothing there…”

She was right. As cruel as Tiffany’s words were she was still right. She always was.

Looking back felt like she was looking for things she could never find…light she could never see…the touch that she would never feel…a face she’d never wake up to again…

“I’m trying, but its hard letting go of someone who could love you like that!”
She could hear how soft the words fell from her wounded lips, torn by the endless nights she spent sobbing, as she watched the girl in the mirror crucify her lips upside down. Tears that dwelled from the seams of her ashened depths were now rounding the corner of her glass eyes, willing them to break one more time. She held her breath, hoping to suffocate the growing buzz of his voice…
His words…
His eyes…
His deceit…
“…I just don’t understand! I just don’t understand at all! Am I cursed to be this way?! Do I fall in love too hard every time just so karma can stab another knife through me deeper & deeper again?! What did I ever do to deserve this?!”

Familiar hands wrapped themselves around her own, as Tiffany moved her seat closer to Luna to comfort her. She hated it all. Hated how this angel she has always known to be the kindest girl in the world could never be given the love that she deserves. She was perfect to her, more perfect than she could have ever been, and had a beautiful soul. And today is the third time she’s seen it crushed, but the hardest she has ever seen her hurt. It made her angry…vengeful…almost like she could walk out there & kill him right now…
“He deserves to die.”

It was a surprise saying it out loud like that. And they both laughed at the thought. It was the first time she successfully made her laugh in a long while since the breakup 3 months ago.
“Damn right he does!” Luna added.
They laughed harder this time. For once, talking about death didn’t feel like a bad thing. It was just simple. Innocent. A release from the grip of an already dying reality. An escape from whatever fate time had conceived for her. And they laughed on, chiming out the gloom like church bells in the rain.
…That was how it all began.

Photo Courtesy: https://worldofinnovations.files.wordpress.com

In 2005, LEGO, the Danish toy maker, took the technology community by surprise when they cheered the hacking of its 3D modelling platform called LEGO Factory. Executives initially fancied the idea of legal action as an archetypal corporate reaction especially since the company still struggled to recuperate from near bankruptcy.

Yet, upon a closer look, it turned out that the hackers were part of a well-coordinated colony of dexterous LEGO aficionados. Discovering inefficiencies in the system brought out through the intrusion, the hackers sought to create a database that would optimize the number of exact bricks a consumer needed. The action would minimize the amount customers would spend, contrary to the original version of the software developed by LEGO whereby one had to purchase a whole bag with far more bricks than one required. Fleshing out the problem, LEGO put itself into the shoes of its ardent consumers. Instead of filing a law suit as originally intended, it switched gears and engaged the hackers.

Tormod Askildsen, LEGO’s Head of Community Development at the time was quoted saying “our lawyers were ready to go after these consumers and say, “you cannot do that.” But we also realized that there was a lot of talent and a lot of very great skills out there in the community. Yes, they are tinkering with our product, but they are improving it. So what happened was that we basically let consumers hack this, and that is the amazing thing. If you trust your consumers, then they may do something that is actually a benefit. The LEGO brand is not owned by us. It’s owned by the consumers. We own the trademark, yes, but the brand lives in the minds of the consumers.” What happened at LEGO was a classical performance of cognitive empathy in a corporate environment.

The 18th century British philosopher David Hume once remarked that “the minds of men are mirrors to one another”. In the early 1990’s, Italian researchers at Parma University made a riveting discovery. Through a series of experiments done on monkeys, they figured out that certain sets of neurons within the premotor cortex fired both when the monkey grabbed an object and also when it observed another primate grab the same object. These neurons were also recently found in human beings. They came to be known as mirror neurons. As such, they form the basis for understanding other individuals’ actions. The particular neurons facilitate empathy in that one experiences understanding of another person’s mental and emotional condition from their perspective. Thus human beings are naturally wired to empathize. Question is, why then should empathy take center stage in an organization’s efforts to turbocharge its performance?

Creativity and innovation have become the lifeblood of first-rate organizations like LEGO. Empathy serves as the engine of creativity and innovation. Business people often mistakenly think that empathy exists as a mere soft skill not taken seriously. However, empathy positively correlates with high performance. The Center for Creative Leadership analyzed data from 6,731 managers across 38 countries and found that empathy positively related to job performance. How does empathy specifically also promote creativity and innovation?

Researchers categorized empathy into cognitive and emotional empathy. Emotional empathy involves vicarious experiencing of another’s emotional state. Meanwhile, cognitive empathy entails the ability to accurately imagine another person’s feelings or thinking and even predict their subsequent behaviors. In the Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin describes Lincoln as a leader who possessed incredible levels of empathy. He held the gift or curse of putting himself in the place of another to experience what they were feeling. It allowed him to discern their motives and desires. A contemporary of the day, Hellen Nicolay, observed directly that Lincoln’s consummate gift for “political diagnosis” that arose from his empathic nature gave him “the power to forecast with uncanny accuracy what his opponents were likely to do.” Inasmuch, it is quite evident that Abraham Lincoln’s empathic capacity gave him a competitive edge when appraising situations and people. It was a source of insights that culminated into fireballs of political and military strategy, hence his competence.

In the corporate world, cognitive empathy aids both organizational and individual competence through integration of knowledge. It helps to explain why LEGO’s executives chose to see the problem from the hacker’s well-intentioned perspective which, of course, involved suspending their own initial security and legal concerns to become open to new knowledge that enhanced LEGO’s innovation. Individuals like Steve Jobs intuitively understood the importance of empathy so much so that he suggested a single set of bathrooms in the central atrium of Pixar’s building to force more interaction amongst animators, computer scientists and creative directors, paving the way for integration of knowledge. Through cognitive empathy, cross-fertilization of knowledge took place between professionals of seemingly unrelated fields resulting in cascades of juicy innovative ideas within an organization.

Emotional empathy, on the other hand, provides fertile ground for trust to flourish amongst employees. Communication between individuals who understand each other at a visceral level is spontaneous in character. Consequently, individuals share ideas without fear of being judged or ridiculed thus encouraging creativity in solving problems. A study conducted, in a manufacturing firm, by the neuro-economist Paul Zak, found that those in the top quartile of colleague closeness were 22% better at solving a difficult problem with others. They also enjoyed working on the problem 10% more than those in the lowest quartile of closeness. Ostensibly, such closeness can only occur when an individual emotionally empathizes and therefore results in spontaneity and in turn creative problem solving.

From the Danish toy company to the Oval Office, empathy is undoubtedly an engine that powers creativity and innovation. It would help executives and businessmen in Kenya to rethink the role of empathy in their innovative endeavors.


The article was first published on: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Empathy-engine-powers-creativity-innovation/539444-3842124-vr7tow/index.html

Mwandishi: Lali Mohamed

Picha: http://www.travelstart.co.za

Mwana dunia ni jando, njia njema ifuata,
Uvumilie vishindo, yote yatayokukuta,
Chako usitupe kando, qadari hutoifuta,
Usijifunze kukata, ukiunga huwa fundo.

Ya duniani menendo, mengi ni kama karata,
Kisha kuna na maondo, mitihani kukupata,
Ela sifanye mtindo, wa kwako ukamkata,
Usijifunze kukata, ukiunga huwa fundo.

La kukata ni uvundo, fikiri ukilimata,
Vionye vyako vitendo, kila moyo ukiteta,
Kukata hakuna mwendo, kisha kuunga utata,
Usijifunze kukata, ukiunga huwa fundo.

Jizoeze kwa ukindo, kilo chako kukamata,
Ufuate na mwenendo, wa kutatua matata,
Pa ufa sishike tindo, mwanya ukaufuata,
Usijifunze kukata, ukiunga huwa fundo.

Sitilie mno pondo, la ukuruba kufuta,
Wala usifanye pendo, kutangaza umekata,
Kukata kuna mafundo, kinyongo kijapo kita,
Usijifunze kukata, ukiunga huwa fundo.

Tesi zi kama vimondo, na hisani huzifuta,
Nyoyo zikabaki pindo, kila mmoja asuta,
Ujapo wafanya wendo, mafundoni utajuta,
Usijifunze kukata, ukiunga huwa fundo.

By: Farwa Shariff

At first
Life was amazing
No hurts
Just hugs and kisses
No regrets
Home full of blessings

He wakes up with a smile
Kisses her on the forehead
And says goodbye as he goes to job
So happy she was
So blessed she was
To have
A loving one

The whole day she spends
Looking at the album
She smiles on seeing the friends
Who attended her wedding
She keeps on looking
And suddenly
Tears start falling
Not because she is hurt
Not because she is mad
On looking at that
She is elated
Contented
Feeling so blessed
To have
A loving one

In the evening she waits
So curiously
At the gate
And suddenly
The awaited one
The lovely man
Arrives
Overjoyed she is
To have
A loving one

Years passed
More happiness filled their hearts
The expected happened
It is a baby boy
It is a baby girl
Yes!
They were blessed with
A daughter and a son
Expected was another little one
Three months old
She felt she owned
A more precious thing than gold
So exultant she felt
To have
A loving one

One bright day
He went away
On an extremely long journey
Left home no money
And there she was
The optimist one
Waiting for her man
She believed
She was blessed
To have
A loving one

With the little one
Daughter on the left
On the right is the son
Eagerly waiting
At the gate
For
The loving one

People passed
Cars rushed
Yet!
No appearance
No news
For the loving one

Time passed
Really fast
Children grew into
Economists
Managers
Directors of big hotels
With the help of no one
But only
The optimist
Courageous
Strongest woman of all

The awaited one
Never showed up
Yet!
Happiness was their title
Success their body
And
Forgiveness their conclusion.

You can read more of her work at: https://farwashariff.wordpress.comhttps://farwashariff.wordpress.com

By: Zale Navi

Photo Courtesy: http://cdn-media-2.lifehack.org

Four years ago, I didn’t know the existence of this word. Being a writer (not professionally) and someone who enjoys and loves reading, it is really a shame to admit that ”introvert” was not in my dictionary. But again, I have never been good with vocabularies.

Our dearest, beloved, respected, much appreciated and celebrated uncle Google defines introvert as a shy person. However, if you care to dig deeper to the psychological meaning of the word, you will discover that introvert has got nothing to do with shyness. So I will just blame uncle Google for misleading many of us. Why is it a big deal? Do I go around checking for words wrongly defined by Google? Absolutely no! I don’t even use Google, I prefer Oxford Dictionary 😉

The reason why I took interest on ‘introvert’ is, I believe it is not a coincidence that recently most of us identify ourselves as introverts. Before you throw your shoe at me, I know some of us are really introverts while the rest of us are just shy. Conventionally speaking, shyness is not a trait that is looked at positively; not unless you are a bride. Introvert on the other hand sounds cool to the ears and guys with this personalty are really productive people to hung out with; even though they are not largely celebrated in the society. Nevertheless, I’d rather say am an introvert than to admit my shyness.

The problem, however is not about being shy or being an introvert. The problem is actually how the world has forced some of us to keep to ourselves. We live in a society whereby, what is least important is considered to be the most important; yes I am talking about sources of entertainment. If you don’t know enough about them, then my friend you are automatically sentenced to life time silence. There is lack of kindness in our words and expressions. Our actions knows no boundaries nor show of compassion and consideration to the next person. We treat each other like the ground we step on. who would not want to keep to themselves in such a world?

Kindness, compassion, love, care, humility… they are important traits that give most of us the courage needed to get out of our shells and share our world with others. In today’s world, we listen, not to understand but to catch that shrub, or word said out of place so that it can be a source of entertainment to us years later. Making fun of one another and ridiculing each other is the norm. We observe actions not to learn from them but to find a slip up fit for our critics and harsh comments. We are busy looking out for ways to out do one another, competition is the order of the day leading to hearts that house jealousy and hatred towards each other. Love that is meant to be shown in actions is reduced to sweet meaningless words updated as status on Facebook or cute pictures posted on instagram. Our main focus is to accumulate more and more of anything and everything to ourselves, with no care whom we have to step on to get there. Many are in pain and tears because of our actions but we just don’t give a damn! Humility is a vocabulary to us and it does not matter how many definitions Google and Oxford Dictionary offers, we just don’t seem to get it. I ask again, who would want to be associated with such a world?

We need to see the urgency in making the world a better place. It does not cost you anything to show kindness, love, compassion and humility to others. It all starts with a smile, a ”how are you?” to the disturbed classmate. A helping hand to the lady from the market. A ”thank you” to the one who cooked your meal. A ”sorry” to the one you bumped into in your hurry to catch the bus. Holding the door for the boy coming right after you. A genuine ”well done” to the one who did better than you… the list goes on and on and I am sure I can list a thousand more a like without asking you for a penny from your pocket. So what is stopping you from taking action now?

So back to introvertism; it is so real. And these people too, need our love and acceptance. We should not view them as people with some kind of abnormality, because they are normal just the way they are. It is their different personality, their tendency to keep to themselves that bring balance to the world. So please, have mercy on them and don’t force them into gatherings for long hours, they literally get drained. It is in their solitude that they derive their energy from. But isn’t that what we are all about, diversity? Different personalities? Let’s allow our differences to bring us closer and celebrate the various personalities that are out there. Share your world with the rest of the world.

As for me, I am an introvert, I think. I’m also shy and know very little about entertainment world. So basically I am a part time normal person. And the people around me have accepted that. Most introverts, what they really need is their space. If you deny them that, it gets hard for them to function. But it is not a disease that needs cure. Being an introvert is just like being left handed and the society needs to accept you for who you are and make you feel comfortable among other types of personality. Our world is all about diversity, and we can co-exist. We just have to learn how to share the gifts of life.

By: Imran Abdallah Saeed via https://mylitcorner.wordpress.com

I finished watching the fourth season of 24 the other day.
As if I wasn’t already a big fan of the series, this season just went above and beyond to hook me in even further. Jack. Bauer. What’s not to like about this guy?

The narrative around which the show 24 usually revolves is that a lot can happen in a single day. And boy doesn’t a lot happen in Jack’s life in those 24 hours. His hobbies during the day include kicking butt and running around a lot without, seemingly, stopping once to catch his second wind. He kicks off with staging a store robbery, then single-handedly storms a compound chokeful of terrorists to rescue a government official, then saunters off to the headquarters of an arms dealership to gather intel where he wards off an army of mercenaries, then leads a black-ops mission to retrieve an informant from the Chinese embassy, all while looking as fresh as a November chrysanthemum (I don’t know what that word means either).

And he does all this while constantly being pressured and second-guessed by his bosses who include quite possibly the most incompetent US president ever depicted on a TV or cinema screen.

He is hands-down the embodiment of all our fantasies of resilience and invincibility. Jason Bourne and wimpy James Bond have nothing on him at all.

Perhaps it’s just as well that Jack Bauer is not a very complicated man. He has no philosophies to preach or grand prophecies to narrate to his audience. His dialogue does not include confounding parabole with deep life lessons a la Master Yoda. When a character is that ‘simple’ but fights for his country and innocent people, everyone can relate to him.

His adversaries, on the other hand, are the ones with complicated philosophies and big words, which is why they are so blindly committed to their causes they are willing to die for them. In this season, true to form of most TV and cinema presentations in the recent decade, and of particular interest to this article, Jack’s adversaries happen to be…well…“Muslim” terrorists.

When the first few episodes of season four came out, there was such a huge uproar over the portrayal of Muslims in the show that the Muslim Council of Britain lodged a formal complaint, and it’s hard not to see why. The show depicts a Turkish Muslim family so modern and assimilated in a foreign culture that the mother doesn’t wear a hijab, and the teenage son begins dating a non-Muslim local girl. Which is a big problem because frowny daddy has plans to turn continental US into a radioactive wasteland and his son’s girlfriend jeopardizes that…I think? What follows is borderline sinister and truly heartbreaking.

Feirouz, the teenage son, is pressured by his parents to kill his American girlfriend, because ‘she saw the darn warehouse’ where the father and other terrorists have been hiding a kidnapped government official. Feirouz chickens out and tries to rush his girlfriend away to safety, but she dies in his hands as it dawns on him that his mother poisoned the girl’s drink. You’d expect Feirouz would break down in tears and cry a river, but somehow, he manages to pull himself together immediately and doesn’t seem that distressed. No biggy, mum and dad were right anyway. Then, in a curious turn of events, mother turns against father to protect Feirouz, husband shoots mother, proceeds to kill an uncle and is on the verge of killing Feirouz when Jack Bauer swoops in once again to put an end to the madness. Just a troubled, messed-up family from start to end.

When the complaints began flooding in, the show’s creators promised that Muslims would be cast in better light towards the middle of the season. When that anticipated moment finally came it manifested in an underwhelming, in my opinion, cameo of two scrawny Muslim gun-store owners who helped Jack Bauer fight that army of mercenaries, further propagating the idea that Muslims are always ready for a fight, whether it’s to actively start one or to simply join in.

Alright, so maybe that’s what 24 is all about, gritty scenes with bad guys and good guys gleefully exchanging bullets every chance they get, so maybe that was the best we could have hoped for, but then I remember watching another show, the X-files, where one episode follows two very normal looking (and to some extent timid) Muslim teenagers cruising through an American town in their car until they park besides a building. Then to my genuine, but premature, delight they begin reciting together, a dua so familiar, in accent-free Arabic, I almost joined in. I remember thinking check out these two poor guys shaking and praying, are they going for a job interview or something? I hope they get it, I really do. I felt stupid seconds later when they walked into the building and it went up in one of those colourful explosions Hollywood is famed for.

It put me off so terribly, I watched the rest of the episode with my hand half reaching for the remote, but still curious to see if there would be some redemption for the Muslim community to come later.

It’s really depressing, I tell you, watching a TV show depicting people who claim to share spiritual beliefs with you, speak flawless Arabic and recite verses of the book we recite every day and regard as our life-manual, only for them to later on draw out their AK47s from thin air or don a bomb vest. You look at those people, when they are presented to you initially, hoping to see elements of your own life reflected back to you, but nothing of the sort is forthcoming.

We, Muslims, are people too.

We make embarrassing mistakes, small and big, throughout our lives, like every other human being.

We have an unhealthy habit of crying too much when we lose someone close to us, like most human beings.

We have our moments of comic awkwardness.

Like when we cant decide what to do with our hands while greeting the elderly who are our non-Mahrams (those we are eligible to marry). Our norms dictate it’s more respectful to extend your arm, yet at the same time tell us we shouldn’t when it’s a non-Mahram. Biiig dilemma.

Or that famed three-part Eid hug moment, when visiting relatives and you can’t remember whether you’re supposed to start on the right side or the left, or whether to end it with a kiss on the cheek or not. And if we do finish it that way, then who goes first? And then, you have that scene where both of you try to do it together and end up going around in circles and your necks wrap around each other and give rise to a clumsy two-headed monster.

Or how about the curious glances we contend with when we shout “Allah Akbar” in public after hearing good news. ‘Allah Akbar’ means ‘God is Great’ by the way, not ‘Death to the West’, for anyone here as yet unaware of that fact. In my mind I sometimes imagine a scene where a traditional middle-eastern mother visits her son in the US or Europe where he’s been studying and recently started working, and when the son pulls up at the arrivals terminal in his shiny brand new car, the overjoyed mother breaks into a khaleejy dance singing, “Allahu Akbar, my son’s made it. Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar.”

The son jumps outside, fidgeting and smiling nervously and tries desperately to get her to stop, “Ma, mama, ya ummi! Here in the states we say, ‘Yay!’ and sort of jiggle our feet. Quick now, get in the car, before mysterious men in dark suits pull black bags over our heads and throw us in an FBI van, shukran.”

Are none of the above moments or similar worthy of joining the ranks of those classical “famous TV scenes”?

How much longer are we going to have to wait for that modern Muslim family sitcom the world so desperately needs right now?

I don’t know, something’s got to give. Am almost sure of it. That there will come a time in the future when someone in the upper echelons of the entertainment industry will look at the culture of a people who make up a quarter of the world’s population, see past the layers of stereotypes and into the humor and romance in it and finally produce a critically acclaimed, fan-adored show that really, actually captures the life of the modern Muslim.

Until that happens though, this angry “Muslim” on my TV screen, with his bloodshot eyes and his sharp tongue and his gun-trigger-seducing fingers, will remain as strange to me as the mission he dedicates his life –and death­ – to.

Mwandishi: Lali Mohamed
Picha: http://s.ngm.com/
 

Pani kalamu watani, na waraka baidhia
Ninukuu ya huzuni, yanayosibu dhuria
Hunipa shaki moyoni, kashika tama kalia
Wana wasio hatia, roho zao tafarani.
 

Roho zao masikini, wana wachanga Syria
Wamehiliki machoni, wazazi waangalia
Jitimai na huzuni, Rabi wasahilishia
Wana wasio hatia, roho zao tafarani
 

Walokabili jamani, ni jambo la kutishia
Huvamiwa mitaani, wengi wakaangamia
Hata walo majumbani, mikononi kuwafia
Wana wasio hatia, roho zao tafarani.
 
Wameikosa amani, fazaa zimewangia
Wamengia adhabuni, hawatambui kadhia
Na majumba yako chini, hawana pa kuingia
Wana wasio hatia, roho zao tafarani
 

Imewatoka makini, hawakai kutulia
Kutwa kucha mafichoni, adui kumkimbia
Gafula viambizoni, bomu huwarepukia
Wana wasio hatia, roho zao tafarani
 

Wamekosa tumaini, amani kuwarudia
Wameita wahisani, bila ya kuitikia
Wamebakia gizani, hatari hata kulia
Wana wasio hatia, roho zao tafarani
 

Watoto ni kosa gani, hujuma kuwafanyia?
Kuwabakisha njiani, wazazi wamejifia
Wakala vya majaani, bila tiba na afia
Wana wasio hatia, roho zao tafarani
 

Lanikeketa maini, kila nikifikiria
Huwaza wana vitani, huwaje tukawatia?
Walakini ifaeni, imepofuka dunia
Wana wasio hatia, roho zao tafarani
 

Tamati nilobaini, si jambo la kuridhia
Tusiate miswalani, dua kuwakumbukia
Awaizishe Manani, irudi tena Syria
Wana wasio hatia, roho zao tafarani
 
 

By: Abdulqadir Mahmoud via http://selfcharge.blogspot.co.ke/

Photo Courtesy: Pexels

 

I used to believe in love.

Now, am not so sure.

Recording…

“It’s been uumm…it’s been a while since I talked to anyone…even a longer while since everyone disappeared…The last person I remember talking to was uuh, was a traveler. He was part of a small group I stumbled upon. He had to leave. The others followed soon after. Something about surviving this wave. Kinda like what am trying to do right now, with all this, in all this. And frankly I don’t know if am doing a good enough job, you know… It’s been so long ever since; I’ve lost track of time. It’s been so long I think I might be losing it, I mean, what’s real, anymore? I can barely tell what’s right from wrong, whether to feel or numb…I don’t know when I am myself anymore, like falling in and out of consciousness but with life, and what happens in it. Everything’s a blur now. Time is but a word, a reason, an excuse for me to say day, night, because none of them make sense to me now; a mere black or white as life passes by, numb, soundless. And every day I watch myself slowly fade, some part of me, of who I am, disintegrating like the floating dust as it mingles with the air, dispersing, disappearing, leaving me emptier with every dawn of day. Maybe it wants to help. Maybe it has hope of bringing them back. Maybe, just maybe, this part of me believes…Maybe. I do not know, of it, of me, I do not know.

We used to be so close my friends and I, hanging out, having fun, forgetting the world in those moments as we made our own, and just for those split precious moments, we lived in it…I remember we used to have these inside jokes that whenever we were in class, or a room and we would hear them, we’d look for each other among the crowds and just giggle or laugh when our eyes met, and we would savor that moment because it was just us who knew what they meant, in our little small world…It was perfect, until that day when the advert aired.

I wasn’t interested at first. It was like one of those promos you’d see on billboards and newspapers when going back home or surfing the analogue way (1). Promos like those never stuck around for long. They’d usually be replaced by some other advert for towels and children all in one picture, probably for a super market promo. But this one, this one never left. Its image grew on us as time went by. We’d even joke around with its catch phrase. ‘Let’s Change together’, it said. Within no time it was everywhere. Kids, teenagers, adults, everyone wanted one. It became the new toy, the new Black, the smart choice….They said it had the ability to transform the world…yeah, for once the adverts actually were true to their word. But no one knew how much…

We all had heard about how my neighbor’s aunt used this technology to do incredible things, how she’d make an interaction in a split second that normally would take days or even weeks to make. It was unbelievable. It was amazing. It was impossible, she said. And now it was our turn to rock the new Black. With a few mummers, requests and a lot of aunties, we finally got ours. Everyone was excited for the other. We had all these new techs in our hands, I mean, we were living the dream. The cool kids, you now. It was awesome; the attention, the wonder in others, the super workload lifting, we could use it to do almost everything, all we had to do was a few taps and swipes of the finger and, voila…we were transforming the world,our world…Then it all begun….

I couldn’t figure why I felt lost, at first. Why my life felt like an act, a pretense, a routine; planned and laid out for me to follow. I couldn’t understand what was it I liked in humor, in heart, in taste, in others. I couldn’t remember what deserved to be felt, be understood, what was okay or absurd, what needed my attention and what could wait. I had no idea of how to feel anymore, how to judge, when to judge, who to judge, should I be judged? I could feel myself scare. I could feel the confusion, the anger, the rage, the breath living my lungs without flowing back in. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t understand. My friends seemed fine. They were fine. Why wasn’t I? What was happening to me? Why am I feeling all this…this darkness…this rage? Why was I in so much pain? Bleeding….weeping….

Then I saw.

Everyone was leaving. Up and leaving. Leaving everything behind. Leaving their families behind. Just like that. They told me to come with them. They told me People were coming. They told me the smart people, the uh, the scientists had abandoned them. They told me Humans were dying. Dying a cold death in Life. Dying to be reborn into People, into a specie of no depth, of no emotion, no lives; into a specie of pretense, of confusion, of rage; into a specie of loneliness…and their Humanity, their Humanity dies with them. They told me to run, for the technology  the scientists granted upon us has unleashed a pandemic so deadly it corrupted their Norm, our Norm, and we Humans are paying for it, paying for it with our lives, our selves, our souls…we Humans are paying for it with our essence…with our Humanity…and being turned into monsters, into slaves of a corrupted Norm, a whole book of it as we slowly, but surely, sell our souls to it so my boy, Run! Run and save yourself! Because we all know, there is nothing anyone of us, can do for the other. Run!

You can imagine how shocked I was. I didn’t believe them because no, my friends were alright. No, my friends seemed fine so it can’t be true…I screamed in their faces, begged for their attention, tried for their care; but they were gone. It was too late for them…I was too late for them…and now,I was alone…now I am alone…And you know what is the most painful thing of all? Watching them fade away whilst their eyes cry for help, until they don’t.

One might think this place am in is a ghost town. Well it’s not. It’s full of People who follow what they are told to be right, believe what they are told to be true. It is filled with People who laugh by cue, live by routine; a planned schedule of day and night. This place is filled with People who call life by what they are given and like in it what they are told is likeable, hate what they are told to, no choices, no questions. This is indeed a ghost town; one bereaved of Humans, and filled with People. This is why I am here right now, talking to this screen. Hoping. Hoping that this will reach someone; reach anyone…Hoping that maybe they aren’t too far gone…Hoping that their eyes open their minds and free their bodies…hoping….hoping….

And now, here I am. Alone. Fading away, like them. Sometimes I wish I had their fate. Not ideal really, I know, but still free from all this, the pain, the sorrow, the helplessness…the loneliness…I don’t think I’ll last for long after this anyways, because, without any other Human around, I’m slowly giving up hope…giving in to the silence. There was a time I used to believe in friendship, in the unbreakable bond; in people…Before all this, I used to believe in Love.

Now, am not so sure….”

STOP.

Key

1. Reading the Newspapers.

By: Abdulqadir Mahmoud via http://selfcharge.blogspot.co.ke/

Photo Courtesy: Daily Mail

 
I used to believe in love.

Now, am not so sure.

After a tale like that, you’d want to hitch a home and get married ASAP. I know I did. So calm your nerves and take a few, breathe, you’re going to need it.

One word, Society.

This, simply put, is a realm where people and humans cross each other’s paths. This realm has some rules, which are said to have been conjured from the invisible Book of Norm. They are responsible for guarding and guiding these creatures with their powers of Thought Action to protect these paths and their takers. But something’s gone terribly wrong…And no one is aware of this to know it…

With the introduction of technology in to this realm, the creatures started showing rapid interaction progressions. What they could do in a weeks’ time, they did in an hour. It was amazing. It was impossible. But something happened after a while of this exposure. The creatures, the humans, they started evolving. As more records of interaction were continuously broken, more and more humans started to evolve gradually turning in to a new unknown species…turning into People.

It was not long before this new species of humans started reporting cases of memory loss, depleted senses, irregular tendencies and even personality erosion and finally, they stop reporting…just, Silence. When they were followed up, they just sat there, staring, with no expression on their faces, no emotion, their eyes empty with clouds of sadness…they had lost who they were…they were simply, gone…

The other Humans quickly started taking action to this new phenomenon. Research was launched to analyze this evolution, quarantines put up, drills taught to subdue this new infection. Panic, there was panic, worry, anxiety, depression…everything was going haywire because no matter what they did, it never stopped…just kept spreading, like light moving through the medium-less space, evolving the humans, one by one, into nothingness…into people.

The whole human species was now heading to its doom. Some decided to abandon ship and live in desert islands. Some just waited for the day they would turn into one of them, helplessly, as they watch their evolved versions walk around aimlessly, bumping into anyone and everyone they met within this realm, tangling their paths with theirs, spreading the contraction… Wait, their paths, that’s it! Alas, for they were looking in the wrong direction the whole time.

They finally figured out that what was spreading the contraction wasn’t the people, but their paths. Somehow this exposure to technology found a way to corrupt the rules in the invisible Book of Norm. And with a corrupt guiding and guarding system of interaction, the Thought Action powers of the rules corrupted every other interaction and thus, the contraction spread onto the humans, uninterrupted, without them even knowing.

They had done it. They had finally figured out what was happening. They had finally found out what was wrong. Everything will be okay, we made it, we’ll be fine, we can put an end to this.

Those were the last words they said. Nothing was ever heard from them thereafter. And now, no one knows where they went, where they are. The humans disappeared. They were gone.

The news spread of their success and the new species, People, they reacted. They were furious. Their faces were transformed into anger. Their mouths spoke words not heard of. Their bodies tensed in protection, in defense, guarding their attachment…they were now monsters. But their eyes, their eyes never changed… Empty. Sad. Almost as if they cried for help. Yes, they cried for help. They had no control of who they were anymore. They were helpless….Who is going to save them?

Where is everyone?

Is there anyone out there?

Am all alone…

Can you help me?

Anyone?

Please!

Stop staring and say something!

Please…

Am all alone…

Please…

Please…..

One word, Society.

This, simply put, is a realm where people and humans cross each other’s paths. This realm has some rules, which are said to have been conjured from the invisible Book of Norm. They are responsible for guarding and guiding these creatures with their powers of Thought Action to protect these paths and their takers. But something’s gone terribly wrong…And no one is aware of this to know it…

Stay tuned for part 3…

By: Abdulqadir Mahmoud via http://selfcharge.blogspot.co.ke

I used to believe in Love.

Now, am not so sure.

All I could think of when I heard the word was frankly something out of the Notebook, The fault in our stars or more relatable, the Vow. But what I didn’t consider was that Love doesn’t end there; with two partners and a life ahead of them; but also extends to partners we hold close to our hearts, those who we loosen up around and get awkward and downright mandazi (1) with them, those whom our love touch to care for and stand by, preferable over all others… you guessed it, Friends.

I’ve had my fair share of stories and experiences from others to amp the notion of ‘there is no such thing as “best friends”’ so for now am going to go with it. So that squad you’re willing to spend your quality time with, there is a connection that keeps you together and makes you prefer their company over anyone else’s. This connection exists regardless of there being any partner(s) involved or not; it’s a natural thing. There’s a clear line between a friend and an intimate munchkin pumpkin honey sweetie teddy bear cutie pie; you get my point. So you know who to go to when a little drama crosses your way. But you know, the thing about friendships, whether besties or accomplices, there is always the alpha of the group. The one whose needs comes first and whose likes are cherished to overrule that of the other(s). If you’ve never heard of this then ask yourself one question, would you go through all the trouble your friend(s) has gone through, favors done for you all to put a smile on their face?

If you don’t feel any entitlement to do all of them because hey, it was from their own free will, right? Yeah, know that you are the Alpha of that squad. If you’d do it all over again cause, come on, this is my squad you’re talking about here, well, am letting you know that your friend(s)’ amusement supercharges you to bend backwards and do things not less than amazing to achieve it. Let me rephrase, you’ll always be second priority. I know, unbelievable. But come to think about it….not really. I mean, do you even remember what you’d like to eat when you are in a restaurant, or is it cause your friend(s) also liked it at one point?
Please, don’t let me speak for you. Though am sure you know who you are between the two by now. As long as your friend(s) help(s) you forget about your struggles and keep(s) you smiling, it’s all good…right? #Food_for_thought

Hey, it’s okay. It’s simply how us humans were made. It’s totally normal for us to “serve” anyone we deem more awesome than ourselves, basic human psychology. No sweat. Except,  the Prophet aleyhi swalaatu wa salaam replied as such when he was asked who his best friend is, and he said, ‘Aisha’ (ra), who was her wife, and after being asked who followed, he added, ‘ Her father’, who was Abubakar (ra), referring him also from his wife. Now this is no special answer in the norm. But what’s fascinating about this reply is that Abubakar (ra), was the man who he travelled with after leaving his home town to another one, where they faced unlimited dangers and he even got stung by a scorpion for him. He was the man that accepted his message without a single ounce of hesitation when everyone around him scorned it. He was the man that believed the Prophet’s journey to the heavens and back in one night with no need of any proof. Scratch that, Abubakar (ra) was a very good friend of the prophet aleyhi salaam even before he became a prophet, and let’s not get into the number of battles he fought beside the prophet, upon him be peace. So what’s up? I mean, Bro, after all that?

What is up, is that even though their friendship was strong, Abubakar (ra) only met with him when they met, you know, see you when you see me. But his wife Aisha (ra), oh she met with him all the other times; not it be at his highest or lowest, happiest or saddest, be or not be. I mean she was inside his life just as deeply as he was in hers. See, the thing about marriage is that it takes you from the comforts of your house and privacy and puts you smack in the middle of someone else’s. Your personal space is not personal anymore, your schedule isn’t yours anymore, you have to worry about more than just you; cause you were just fine with how you were….In totality, you give up your previous life for this strange new one, with someone strange, all cooped up in a strange new space…Duude…But with time, with time a friendship brews. You start knowing each other, understanding, adapting, enduring…the displeasure, dislikes, repulsion of your opposite views slowly disintegrates as you battle life on each other’s side, standing by one another and being there for each other…It’s you Vs. the world, and alas, a bond more rigid than Love itself and its totality… a bond forged from the roots of Endurance, the stem of Friendship and the branches of Love… a bond soo unique the most richest of languages gave it its own name, Al Mawaddah(2), unbreakable…Subhanallah, praise be to the Most High.

Now you understand the Prophet aleyhi salaam’s answer, upon him be peace…Now you understand why he chose his wife over his life-long friend…Now you understand why she was his best friend…

Fascinated much?

This is the true meaning of friendship. Knowing each other to the core and having to deal, even if you don’t want to. And for this reason, is why, in this world of now, any other friendship will never be as equal sided, just like how 1400 years ago, a friendship that meant dying for one another could not match that of a wife, and her husband.

That bond, that is why I believed in love. I cannot still comprehend the intensity of the connection.

So, why halter in its belief now? I mean, what happened?

Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out…

Key
1. Used to mean crazy stuff
2. Affection, love, friendliness
3. (ra) : May Allah be pleased with him/her