Sunday, March 14, 2010
A Dream to Live For
Once, during a long phone conversation my architect friend Neil Edwards pitied the people who get so bogged down by the meaningless stuff in life that one day when they are very old, their life has slowed down and finally given them the opportunity to look back, they reflect on their own experience and say, “Life is whatever happened to me while I was doing something else.” That was one gem of an observation—I thanked Neil for it and resolved to keep track of my course every single day of this life. And I am very conscious about wringing the most out of every second of the time that has been given to me. But still, the world we live in keeps pushing strong waves towards us, which often lead us astray.
The year 1992 was my Wanderjahr. I resigned from my job and left the country, to discover the world. I was out on the road for eight months. During that time I passed through twenty-two countries and closely witnessed a range of human experiences the present age is all about. And somewhere in those observations I discovered the purpose of my life. I found out I was born to work with people in the “developing countries” and create islands of hope in oceans of anguish and despair. The previous sentence my sound high-flown and philosophical, but it really is not; it still took a lot of writing, a book titled “Elmustee, A Growing Island of Hope” to be more precise, to describe what oceans of anguish and despair I see, and how islands of hope can be created in the middle of such seas. It has been roughly eighteen years that I formulated my dreams and desired to one day peacefully die working on my pet project. Planning the initiation and the implementation of the project has been a big challenge—the strategy keeps changing. And in thinking about the project, about the strategy, about the challenges I sometimes lose focus, for months at end. Almost a week ago, another such long period of doldrums came to an end when my friend Sabahat Ashraf (iFaqeer) called and we decided to meet. We met at a deli and talked about Elmustee. Sabahat came up with an elaborate scheme to put the ideas in the broad daylight of the Internet and get people interested in the project. I liked his strategy and hoped this revival of the project would really take it to the launching pad.
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