Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Why our generation has to stop being offended!


The generation I was born in, the 90’s we have had the best time. And I say it in the sense that we had the better part of the technological revolution, the birth of social media, and ‘smart’ phones that let us do, see and share anything we want with the world. And with that has obviously brought its own disadvantages. Before continuing any further, I would like to say that the world we live in is one filled with hate, and breeds contempt. Of course, we live in peaceful times but that doesn’t necessarily make us happy. One of the issues of that our generation has to face due to the rise of social media and global news deceptively presenting information which spreads like wildfire which leads us to being easily offended, and is something I wanted to discuss today.

Well you might ask, why is being offended a problem? It’s a problem because we get offended easily, and we think this gives us a right to position us as the victim to inequality. This is an outright, completely flawed concept and this mentality is one that has to be changed for the collective good of the society we live in. Yes, there are horrible, religiously offensive and politically incorrect jokes that will leave us infuriated, but that doesn’t give us the right to feel being ‘better’ than someone else. At best, tweets from an untalented comedian will give the rednecks small snort of laugher, but does not give someone the right to go after these people with a mob-like mentality on social media without the proper context. Context is also very important in determining what a certain person, and organization is trying to convey, and since the internet has become host to people with people with very little spans of concentration, the media  has changed their headlines to suit these people and thus has brought upon the ‘clickbaits’.

One of the reasons that we are negatively biased against a certain person or a topic of conversation that has been buzzing the internet is because of the media presenting hoaxes, scams or just deceiving the internet in the most dishonest way possible. Without the proper context, a certain phrase or sentence may be misconstrued by people and for the ‘quick buck’, the media will give the ‘juicy bits’ of the news and leave us feeling us angry, mad or even sad. A catalyst to these situations is the media who either overly dramatize the news, or who use deceptive clickbait titles, are worsening the situation to their profit. Being offended sells, and we have become pawns who are unwittingly exploited. At the end of the day, being offended is ‘our’ problem, not ‘theirs’.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Captain America: Civil War (2016) review




Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, Daniel Brühl, William Hurt

Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

Synopsis: Political interference in the Avengers' activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America and Iron Man.
                -IMDb.com

Captain America: Civil War (2016) on IMDb
Review: WARNING – Spoilers ahead!
Where do I start? The whole movie was a rollercoaster ride that poses some questions in a world full of superheroes that not all things are ‘fine and dandy’ and that even heroes have to face the consequences when fighting the ‘bad guys’. To put it simply, the world owes the Avengers a great debt as they have saved the world two times (well from the two movies) from catastrophic consequences. But, the governments have decided that even though these heroes have done a great deal to save countless lives, in the process they have not been able to save everybody. This has prompted the United Nations to come to a decision that the heroes have to be ‘put in check’, and that their actions have to be monitored by a panel and not act on their own as a private organization.

This is where I just have to say that Marvel has done a terrific job on foreshadowing this conflict from ‘Age of Ultron’ as Tony Stark feels that his ever deepening guilt from his creation was bound to destroy the world, where in the beginning sequences of the movie an elderly woman’s son was killed by the rag-tag action that happened in Sarkovia sometime prior to the movie. This guilt is what makes Tony feel so strongly about the need for the Avengers to be under control, so that innocent lives are not lost in the blunder of their own mess. However, Captain America, on the other hand, has seen that government control is not safe, with had happened from World War II with ‘Hydra’ and after being unfrozen from the ice how ‘Hydra’ had lived on secretly within S.H.I.E.L.D. This was a fantastic set-up for the conflict between the two.

In a fictional world with superheroes and supervillains, and although the movie doesn’t take it too seriously upon itself, brings the concept of liberalism and totalitarianism which had spurred the conflict between the two. But to quite frank, the two sides leaders’ Captain America and Iron Man, were never really portrayed as friends and more as comrades, but comrades who respect each other a lot. When Bucky had somehow became intertwined into this mess, Rogers just couldn’t help and watch his childhood friend and somewhat idol get tossed aside. Thus, the conflict between the two group of superheroes was more of an emotional conflict, as Tony felt as if own creations had only deterred the world of being a better place and the good Captain believing that ‘the safest hands are our own’. Vision addresses this elegantly:
“Our very strength incites challenge. Challenge incites conflict. And conflict... breeds catastrophe.Supervision is not something to be dismissed out-of-hand.”

Sunday, 1 May 2016

The demise of the music industry: my opinions on mainstream pop


I am not the one into delve in controversial topics like these as I have always hated confrontation and conflict (that why I’m a ‘Wimpy Kid’) and most certainly hate the dirty politics back home in Bangladesh where the two political parties are always at each other’s throats literally. The strike in Bangladesh carried out by one of the political parties in November had ruined my chance for a retake exam which had basically ruined my future prospects to a certain extent! But that is not what I’m here to talk about, today I want to talk about the demise of the music industry, and this is supported by fall in revenue by big labels scratching their heads due to the increased availability and reach of illegal streaming content.

The quality of music has dropped. I may get hate for this, and I know that people will have different tastes and will like different genres, but even a person who likes the same genre as me may think the music industry is flourishing – producing the best music he has ever heard and it is continuously getting better. But that’s not me. To clarify, I am going to talk about the mainstream music that usually topple the Billboard Top 10. And I must say, it is going downhill. I must admit, not ALL songs are bad, but the majority aren’t that good either. Now, as a reader, you may say that, “well Wimpy Kid just listen to what you like and stop complaining about it!” Trust me I wish I could, but I am not complaining about the state of the music industry just because of my own personal opinions, but that, in terms of social media portrayal, the ‘get rich or die trying mentality, and most and foremost the constant sexual appeasement for men, is what is horrifyingly wrong.

Firstly, I would like to talk about the quality of music. When I say quality, I mean the sophistication of lyrics, the songs having an ambiguous meaning so that we can interpret the meaning ourselves, and the level of thought, energy and ‘soul’ that goes into writing the music. And if you look at the newest top hits for the last maybe two years, you will find a steady trend that most music is not written by the artists who perform the songs themselves and that the main motif consists of ‘getting money, bitches, and sex’ in a nutshell. This is not my definition of music. Don’t get me wrong though, songs including these ideals can be good – but they hardly are. With a few exceptions in my eyes like Coldplay, Adele and maybe Charlie Puth, most of the songs that are topping the charts are electronic dance hits, which to be fair, is not proper ‘songs’ in my eyes at all. The importance of beat over melody has also reduced the quality of songs in general, as the greatest songs in general have had an equal footing in harmony, melody, rhythm and – in my mind the most important of them all – lyrics. Artists also probably do not have more ‘soul’ in their music due to hiring songwriters, their own personal talents may not be able to shine due to lyrics not being written from their own personal thoughts, which I think is what makes great music. Trending icons nowadays have very little to no personality and I think this is because of the desperate need for fame, but not for the reason of sharing one’s thoughts to the world. Record labels are also to blame as by trying to ‘play it safe’ they have reduced their credibility to nurture actual talent. This has all culminated into a huge mess and due to these qualitative factors about the industry not being taken into account, the financial side of things have suffered as well. I’m not saying that good music has to be at a certain sophisticated level, but a certain degree of thought and passion has to go into making songs. Catchy dance tunes are not going to cut it, and this can be seen even from a financial perspective:


Friday, 29 April 2016

Real heroes: the ones that need to be appreciated


“Real heroes don’t wear capes”. I have heard this being said time and time again to symbolize the flourishing support of the justice system, the small businesses in the economy, and in general, a little pat on the backs to  ‘the little guys’ as a whole. But to be honest, do we really understand the meaning of such a phrase? The amount of work that these people do and the little amount of appraisal they get – in both monetary and mental terms – in comparison to the level of effort they give is astonishing. In recent times, for example, police in the US have been ridiculed with a mob-like mentality, their faintest mistakes have been nitpicked and media have reported incidents in a deceptive manner. A couple of days ago, a cop was questioned to have killed two girls due to a police chase gone wrong. What the media didn't report was that - surprisingly - is that the girls had hijacked a car and due to them driving under the influence, they skimmed into a pond where they had drowned. The police officer had followed the rules to the book, but since the media had not read the police reports carefully, they were asking ridiculous questions to the deputy who had been involved.

These people work to protect us, some officers working ridiculous hours and get paid a below average salary. This, however, is an issue that is being constantly talked about, but my opinion is that the economy is organized in such a way that we have given more to the ‘value added’ to tertiary services such as giants like Microsoft, Google, who make billions, but we cannot bear to give a few extra cents to FairTrade suppliers so that farmers can have a subsistence living standard to raise their families in a relatively better environment.  Granted, that the entrepreneurship skills of the owners of these companies is letting me use Microsoft Word to type this, and Google-owned ‘Blogger’ to be able to share my ideas. But that is not the point I’m trying to make. The reason why I am bringing this to light is not to degrade the importance of modern technology and other tertiary services in our lives, but to illustrate the state of the world and that we cannot let it to continue in this way. A thousand years ago, these companies would not matter, but as in Economics we get to know that to survive there are three basic necessities: food, water and shelter. And in that time and age, people who could cultivate food, knit clothes and make homes were the real heroes: people of action who actually cement the foundation for the pillars of life. This may sound overly-dramatic but it is the truth. As the human race has learnt, grown and evolved we have taken advantages of even the most basic things that would leave our ancestors amazed, like the wheel and fire that we take for granted and have learnt how to ‘thrive’ and not just ‘survive’.

My conclusion is that we have to look at the declining importance we give to people who give us our food, people who risk their lives to defend the nation so that we can sleep peacefully at night, and the people who work tirelessly day in and day out in a questionable work environment to make clothes you have on your back. The economic system fails to address the needs of the people who are actually the people who have skills that are necessary to ‘survive’ It is true that being human will lead us to creating technology as ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, but we have to also take a step back to look after the ‘little people’ who do these things for us and have to accept the fact that they are being under-appreciated. I’m not asking for a standing ovation - that doesn't give these people a better life - but it is necessary for us, as human beings, to look after our own and that’s why we should. Because at the end of the day what are we if are not human?


That's it from me, I just wanted to share my thoughts about this as I have been thinking about this for the past couple of days. I probably won't post regularly in May because of my final exams. But if you like what you see, please follow  the blog or on social media!


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Waiting - a short story

Waiting – a short story





Waiting. She waited for him and she knew that he would come. No matter what, he would come. They said that after the war, they would meet at their favorite coffee shop where they first met. He was a decorated marine in her eyes, and an American hero for all she knew. He represented the pique masculinity and the gleam for his shining teeth would make her heart quiver. But apart from his physique, she fell in love with the man he was at heart, and it wasn’t the love for his country that made him so emotionally desirable; his genuine kindness towards others around him is what sparked her interest in him. Even though she didn’t know him well, that scrawny middle-schooler would always stand up for his friends when they were getting bullied. He usually would’ve ended up getting beaten to a pulp, but he would still stand up for them. But the thing that really made her fall in love with him is the fact that he never made a scene if he was bullied and used to shrug them off like it wasn’t anyone’s business. That’s what she loved most about him, and although they may have not spent as much as time as they would’ve liked, he was – and always will be – her cornerstone.
It’s funny how things would work out in the end. She wouldn’t have, in a million years, thought that she was the man for him. It was not until a fateful encounter between them in a coffee shop where he worked that he had finally had the guts to ask her out. And she was so glad that he did. His father was crippled, which had made money sparse within the family so he had to get a job to help his father have a somewhat decent lifestyle. This only made her love him more.

*

Pearl Harbor was a navy ship that most marines would be proud to work on as an American soldier, protecting the nation was a matter of pride. But to him it didn’t matter, at least not anymore. The bombardment of planes, destruction, and injury was not he stood for. His vision of protecting his country seemed more heroic when looking at the posters ‘America needs you’. It was only when you are on the battlefield that you realize that it is the most cowardly thing governments can do; perilously putting the innocent in risk for feuds that don’t matter. This is what happens when one man thinks he is above all else and has the power to command thousands and million troops with a slight nod of his head. That is not justice, and that definitely is not what the founding fathers were hoping for. “War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace”. Indeed, whoever said that was absolutely right. This is not justice, just torcher.

But that didn’t matter. Everyone was too worried about surviving the genocide, hoping to dear God that they can see their children, wives and girlfriends one last time and tell them ‘I love you’. So did he. It was kind of funny, he knew these were his last moments, and even if he did survive, the hell he had experienced would never be erased from his memory. No one wants to live with the pain he had experienced and no one should. It was ironic how his girlfriend had made him origami crane before he had left, a kind gift cultivated from the culture from a country he was aiding to destroy.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

What type of person do I want to become?



At this stage in my life, I have no idea where I'm heading. To be completely honest I have never wanted to take responsibility for my actions and always relied on mother to decide what to do for me. On that note, I would like to shower my mom with appraisal as I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for her support and constant nagging about my college applications. I would've wasted an entire year of my life doing nothing, which in this very competitive world would've been a disadvantage when getting a job. But I am to blame for my own lackings, and no matter how much someone's mother cares, it is his or her responsibility to take decisions seriously when it is regarding one's future, which I did not at all. My own brother, who is well-established in my own family's eyes, is a good role model to look upto and I - no matter how much I tell myself I don't - hate him for that as I feel the overbearing burden of keeping up with the expectations from my parents, even if they won't admit that.

So, as the title says, what do I want to become? There's one thing I want to do, and that's to help people. Now, you may think that is indeed a very 'noble' of me, but to be completely honest, I only want to help people because my idol helps people in his adventures. My idol is a fictional character from an anime called 'One Piece' and in short, he is a pirate who goes from island to island and ends up saving the island's peoples' problems he visits... with his fists. But that's not what I'm going to do, but I want to help people in some sort of way to prove to myself I care. I'm not impeccably selfish, but I feel like I don't care about the people around me as much as should. My friend, on the other hand, the one I made at uni, is a person who cares about other people when he doesn't have to. I am glad that I met him because, to be completely honest, his interactions with people even in chicken shops is something I learned as he didn't act cold when placing his order, he asked about her life, and she opened up to him about her whole life story. I felt annoyed at first because I was having a bad day, but then I realized that I would have never asked how she was doing, let alone be able to start a whole conversation. Having him around has really helped me dealing with some personal problems, as he is a genuinely down-to-earth guy that just wants the best for his friends, and I think that's the only thing that matters and am really happy that he is in my life (no homo XD).

So, back to my initial question, what do I want to become? Well, in terms of getting a job I still have no idea, but I really hope that my family's pride will not be shattered if I want to do a job that will help people around the world, even if it may have low pay. Coming from a South-East Asian family a 'socially acceptable' job has to be taken like being a banker, engineer, doctor etc. which I do not care for at all. I guess the point of writing all of this is to say that I don't want to become some corporate drone that works from 9 to 5, and with a promotion can afford a Rolex working over time so that he can show it off to friends and family. But when you spend so much time working, who will you show it off to? I would rather make aggressively medium money and spend it with my friends and most importantly family. Research even shows that people are tend to be more satisfied with their lives if they are around good friends and family.




Hopefully in the future I can be caring like my friends and be socially adept in awkward situations. I wish I had realized sooner, but there is so much you can do in your life, so I guess following your ambitions is the least anybody can try to achieve. I guess it would be better to be failing in doing the right thing then succeeding in doing the wrong.

At the end of the day, I may end up becoming a corporate sellout, funneling money directly or indirectly to the wealthiest people in the world, but there is enough wealth in this world to go around. I think, being part of the generation which has the responsibility to solve the energy crisis and promoting sustainable development, we should be worried about saving our lives and God forbid maybe our children's and grandchildren's. Money can't save the world, or buy freedom and peace. I recently heard a quote that had resonated with me and would like to end this post with it:

"When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money."
-Cree Indian Proverb
*

Hope you enjoyed this one, if you like what you see you know what to do! ;)

-Saquib

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Am I a Good Man? - a short story

DISCLAIMER: THE CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ARE MY OWN CREATIONS AND THOUGHTS. I APOLOGISE, IF THE CONTENT OFFENDS ANYONE INTENTIONALLY OR UNINTENTIONALLY. This story does not reflect recent events and are a work of fiction. 


Am I a Good Man?

It was a different kind of day for the man. Wiping the tear of his face as he had wept himself to sleep last night, he started to realize that today had to be treated like any other day, to get over his recent loss. He staggered out of bed and averted his eyes from the pictures of his young daughter and all the flowers and sweets that he had received in the past few days. Even though the man was always kept to himself, he had always cared about his daughter, and with her mother passing away from an illness a year ago, he had to be both parents to a lower-middle class family which he couldn’t afford. He had recently started to doubt himself: am I a good man? Recently he had started to feel as if his own doings had led to the ordeals he had been encountering. After the passing away of his wife, he became cold, and stopped talking to his neighbors, scolding his tenants for no good reason. He didn’t communicate with his daughter as much after that and he blames himself for her passing away, thinking that maybe it was the broken heart that took her away. But from now on he had decided that he would change his demeanor, and have a friendly attitude towards anybody he comes by. The man knew that he was trying to compensate, but even so he felt that – no matter how strange it may sound – his arrogant demeanor had led to a karmic retribution on his one and only loved one. And, so after dressing up for the office, he set out foot of his door to be a changed man.

The first thing he did after locking the door behind him was to pull up ahead of his tenants trying to desperately flee from his line of sight and give a big grin, and walked right past them without mentioning anything about the mold growing in their apartment. He had noticed that particular beggar in front of the bus stop, but in the mean streets of Islamabad nobody gave a damn about the thousands of peasants with their hands stretched out. This beggar had noticed this man didn’t pay for all this time, and in contrast had snickered that the beggar’s shortcomings in life. Not that he wasn’t grateful, but he didn’t like it one bit, as if it were some bad omen for a man to change so quickly.
The man gave the beggar 100 rupees, and stepped on to the bus with a big grin on his face. He felt that he was doing some good about his recent endeavor. The bus to work was a long one, and it stopped on the way to the inter-city bus station which was always jam-packed with people in this arid environment. The sweat trickling down his forehead was like the man’s conscience was being cleared. Then the man noticed a certain person sitting in front of him wearing a jacket of all things he could in this weather. He didn’t think much of it, but at the inter-city bus stop he paced frantically for the exit. As soon as the doors opened, he was out in a dash but had dropped some sort of device. The man, feeling as if this was another chance to redeem himself had without a second doubt picked up the device and walked out of the bus to follow the stranger.
*
The stranger sighed with a gasp of relief, it was finally over. He had decided that it was enough, and even if suffocating with this contraption stuck to his chest meant that he could be free, then so be it. He decided that he would leave the city, the closest bus stop being a two minute walk away. He knew what he was doing was unimaginably selfish, but he knew his young sister would want him to escape and live the rest of his life in peace and not for the remaining evening he had left in this world. The entrance to the station was only a few steps away, and with every step he was second guessing his decision whether to go through with his escape, which would inevitably lead to her death but even if he were to go through with their instructions, there was no guarantee that they would let her live regardless of his actions. Then, at the foot of the entrance to the station, someone poked him from behind, with his hands on his knees and panting furiously. “You dropped this!” he said gasping for breath. The stranger looked at the device, and he knew. Although he hadn’t lived for very long considering he only just became a teenager, he knew that this was fate, and he was absolutely certain now that he couldn’t abandon his sister. The boy replied, “yes thank you uncle for bringing this back to me”. The man asked him “son, are you crazy that you are wearing a jacket in this hot weather?” The boy smirked at the man and with a slight hint of anguish in his voice he responded “I think I am”.
*
The stranger darted of in another direction without another word, and the man lost sight of him in the hustle and bustle of the station. For a young boy with such a big belly he sure walked really fast. The man realized that the device he had picked up was a phone, as if it had been taken apart and put back together with additional circuitry sticking out from the sides. One thing that stood out was the beeping red light but the man didn’t care too much for that as he felt that he had done his good deed for the day, even if it meant being late for the office. So he waited for another 30 minutes to jump on the next bus to work in the congested streets of Islamabad.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

A Wonderful World - a short story

A Wonderful World

“It is a wonderful world”, she thought to herself. The lady sipping her drink with a lavish dress that made her sparkle like a ruby, her body slumped on the chair with her ever-lasting legs spread out in such a fashion that would make any man’s head spin if looked at the right angle. She was beautiful she thought, but tonight was the night that she felt more beautiful than ever. She felt complete than she did ever since her marriage with her husband. It wasn’t always like this. But marriage gets to even the best of us and it is all about how you handle it, and after all “familiarity breeds contempt”.
                                                            
The night had gone exactly as planned, the five star hotel had lived up to their expectations, and the husband had looked forward to treating his wife to a nice night out in the city, where there marriage was facing some problems a year before as the husband had failed to keep his carnal desires in check when it came to women other than his wife. His wife was torn apart, but they were over that now. Things were finally looking up for the couple. They proceeded to drink at the hotel bar to their heart’s content to celebrate this momentous occasion. Once they had one drink too many, both of them decided to turn in for the night and by the time they had reached the floor for their room they were devouring each other’s mouth and had to take a break for the husband to use the bathroom. That was when it happened. The husband leaving his phone on the dresser, had started ringing. The wife, trying to put on some more lavish lipstick to further accentuate her beauty for her lovely husband – or so she thought – looked at the phone to read a simple three word text “I love you”.

Fast-forwarding to the present, she pilfered a glance to her husband lying on the hotel bed, looking up at the ceiling with a resting, satisfied look on his face. Pondering about the marriage that had made her feel alive and also made her feel the loneliest person in the world, she felt that it had all come to a full circle tonight. The pain was gone for the first time in a long time she had left the embrace of her childhood, gone was the endearing heart burn that was her miscarriage and gone was a little piece of humanity that would haunt her for the rest of her life. But for this moment, for the few seconds of relief that she would be able to enjoy from the boredom that was her life, the excruciating struggle of her mundane lifestyle that had made her doubt her career choices and second-guessing the thought of having kids; all of those doubts, the dread was gone. She felt peace, but in a way that she never thought she would ever feel and in a very strange way she enjoyed it. The only problem was that the ringing in her ears wouldn’t stop, the constant ringing that felt like head was being ripped apart as if someone was tearing away her two cortexes like tearing paper. But she didn’t care, today was a great day in her mind and a day full of revelations that she thinks has helped her marriage beyond what she could’ve ever imagined. She gazed up to look at her reflection in the mirror of the dresser and couldn’t believe how happy she looked.

She put on some more red lipstick with frivolous look on her face and the reflection in the mirror gave a sinister smirk as she proceeded to remove the smudges of blood from her face. Her husband lay there smiling on the bed, as if he had been freed from the agony, with the blood slowly blotting his shirt that his wife had bought him for this occasion. The life in his eyes had gone but he died smiling.

The wife looked down at the gun that she had used. The smirk from her face disappeared as she had finally grasped with had happened in the last few moments, and suddenly the reflection of the person in the mirror had a look of despair on her face. There was a commotion outside as other people had stepped outside of their rooms and lifts of the hotel floor had started dinging at their floor. She drank the remaining vodka martini with a single gulp and started feeling drowsy as she took the ‘murder weapon’ in her hand once more. Her hands trembling, she put it upto her head, with a single tear slowly rolling down her cheek as she whimpered thinking about the false sense of justice she had felt. And never in a million years did she think that she would ever think that it was her time to say “it WAS a wonderful world”.



This was my first attempt at a short story, well a very short story. So, please if you like my content follow my blog and if you do not like what you see, please leave constructive criticism in the comments :).

-Saquib

Monday, 11 April 2016

Why I inspire to be like Luffy

This is a post I have really thought about and have edited considerably given the nature of the topic I'm about to discuss. The man I idolize is from a fictional world, but can his aspirations be a conduit for 'Wimpy Asians' like me to succeed in life? What does Luffy (loo-fi), the future Pirate King do so differently that makes me want to be like him? I don't want to delve into a deep psychoanalysis of my self or anything, but I think that the titular character from the show, 'One Piece' is just not another hero figure, but I think there is something more heartfelt about the character's story.

The most important thing that makes me feel that he is different from the stereotypical heroes from cartoons and all that is the fact that he doesn't say much. Luffy is probably the only character in the show, if you think about it carefully, isn't really known for being smart. He barely has any common sense, and unsurprisingly being a pirate he lacks manners, which is from the fact that his guardian had left him to be brought up by a pack of thieves in the middle of a forest! Apart from that, Luffy has had no formal education, and the fact he understands what he does is kind of surprising to say the least. But his unique quality springs from his simple but very relatable quotes in context of the moment. To be honest, the most amazing thing about this protagonist is the fact that his actions literally speak louder than words in the sense that although being the main character of this vastly expansive world 'One Piece' is set in and thus may not get enough "screen time" due to the many subplots that into the overall story arc, his impact on the story is widely received with awe as his actions are somewhat unpredictable.

Even Luffy (as awesome as he his) had a role model who initially sparked his interest in becoming a pirate, the warmhearted 'Shanks'. When this pirate was visiting Luffy's hometown when he was young, the boy had interacted with Shanks and became quick friends with the humble person that he is. One day, a bandit had entered the pub that the captain's crew had usually had sake (japanese beer) in and made a fool out of the kindhearted pirate by spilling sake and embarrassing him in front of his crew without knowing that the bandit was infinitely inferior to that of Shank's crew. The bandit soon left, and the captain and his crew laughed it off which had left Luffy enraged that Shank's did not fight back. Shank's simply replied "he just spilt a little sake". This led to Luffy confronting the leader of the bandit to protect Shank's honor at a later time, who kidnapped the little boy to drown him in front of the whole town to see. The reason I am saying all of this is because of the quote that had inspired Luffy to become a man like Shanks when Shanks had confronted the bandit, "You can spill drinks on me, even spit on me. I'll just laugh about it. But If you dare to hurt my friends... I WON'T FORGIVE YOU!". From that moment on Luffy had learnt what it means to be a man, to protect your friends and their honor rather than your own.

One of the many anecdotes from the manga would give you an idea about the type of person Luffy aspires to be, but in the end the author also highlights the fact that Luffy is a pirate, and thus being a hero is not his 'piece of cake'. No matter how dumb the meat loving pirate is, he will always have a special place in my heart as the anime had really instigated my own downfalls when it had come to friendships and all that, when I realized that I had not become friends with the right people at school; people who genuinely might have not wanted the best for me.

Quintessentially the main thing I wanted to say was that Luffy is a person who does what he loves, and loves the way he does it. That may sound very stupid, but from all the real world people like linguists who are congratulated like my friend who idolizes 'Noam Chomsky' or another more cynical friend who actually praises Donald Trumps best moments, these are the people I don't really see taking the world by storm. People like these... they are but words and no action, no matter how much dilly-dallying one does will not justify a certain politicians rude and consistently inconsistent statements. A man like Luffy may not exist in our universe, I do understand that, but the basic spirit of a man's dreams will always be the same - same fiction or non-fiction. All these politicians, journalists, lawyers and even what I could become - an economist - just talk (a lot). In my mind, real people just go and change the world without hesitating, something I wish I can do.

I am not undermining the use of language to make a difference, but in my perspective I have learnt a lot about life lessons and unwavering conviction from a man who is possibly 'below average' in a fictional world than I have from people in the real world. Our world breeds contempt, hatred and jealousy but in a manga for kids I have understood about loss, pain, and sorrow than I ever would from a real life story. The story of a 19-year old teenager who knew no better is probably the best story I have ever read and am forever grateful to have stumbled upon it. In my earlier post I had mentioned about becoming Pirate King as my dream, and no matter how stupid it may sound, it seems possible week by week as the story progresses because at the end of the day your idol is supposed to make you feel like you can do anything. And if Luffy can become Pirate King, then so can I!

-->Please excuse grammatical errors and mistakes, I stayed up at 3 AM to write this even though my university assignment deadline is only a very few days away which should be spent more productively! But as always, please do leave a comment on what you think about whatever I rambled on about and share this article if you liked it. Also, please follow my blog if you would like more!

-Saquib


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

My very stupid dream

THOSE OF YOU THAT DON'T WATCH ANIME OR THINK IT'S FOR KIDS PLEASE SHY AWAY FROM THIS ARTICLE

The epitome of my life was probably the year 2015. It was probably the year with great ups and downs; an emotional roller coaster if you will. But it goes without saying that the 'ups' were definitely much more favorable than the downs, but this post is not about that. This post is about my dream, my dream of becoming the Pirate King! Yes, pirate king! I never have told this to anybody except a few friends whom I deem to brothers but even they could not take me seriously and laughed it off and now I will be sharing my ambition with the rest of the world. Truth be told I didn't take it seriously until I pondered what it really means to be King of the Pirates, as there are still mysteries surrounding the moniker and how to become it in the show. If you have read up until this point and have not been discouraged by the ridiculous amount of 'jargon' terms in this post, I will try to make it as easy to understand as possible but without reading and staying up-to date with the manga, or Japanese comic book "One Piece" (which has been adapted to a very successful ongoing animated series), the rest of the article maybe hard to follow.

The story mainly follows a teenager, Monkey D. Luffy who wants to be Pirate King, which had been done 20 years or so prior to the storyline which was an unprecedented achievement by the likes of the very enigmatic pirate Gol D. Roger.  Now, the full details of his exploits have not been revealed in the story so far, but from what we have seen in flashbacks, he seemed to be a very awesome guy in short. But the type of person that the Pirate King was is not who I want to become, but the type of person that the Luffy perceives the Pirate King to be, and his conviction to hold that title, is what had me hooked to the show from the very start. Granted, the first few episodes were not so entertaining, but the reason I keep on watching every Sunday morning is not just for the engaging storyline and amazing action sequences, but because of the main character's conviction to, and to quote "I don't wanna conquer anything! It's just that the person with most freedom on the sea, is the Pirate King!".

The reason for saying all this is because in real life, I really didn't have an idol to look upto, but when I started watching the show I became inspired by Luffy's drive and his 'never give up atittude'. I was going through a tough time in 2014, of which I do not want to share with the rest of the world at the moment, but watching Luffy's adventure and his inspirational quotes, although they may not seem so 'classy' or thought provoking, had helped me battle my greatest fears and given me e bit of self-confidence in myself and restored faith in myself and in my abilities. The main thing I wanted to say was that to be honest anyone can aspire to become Pirate King, since the world of One Piece does not apply to our world and there is no title such as the 'Pirate King', if we aspire to become the Pirate King we may be able to become more proud of ourselves and whatever we deem fit a Pirate King should be in our eyes. When I was going through this tough time that I had mentioned I kept my held high because of Luffy's determination, willpower, and spirit and the anime had reminded me about some very important things about friendship and loyalty, in addition to a lot of other important life lessons that we know about but seeing it unravel in our own eyes in the form of a story that we really understand the drudging hardships of life in general and that we must, no matter what, always hold our head held high to see past it. This is what Luffy has taught me and I hope will continue to teach me so that I can become a Pirate King in a sentimental way. Since I am in the first year in university and have not decided a career path, 'Pirate King' does seem to be a more fulfilling way to go.

That's about it from me from my end. If you have managed to read all this please do leave a comment about my thoughts, I will try to reply as soon as possible. And I know that you may hear this often, but please follow my blog as I intend to post more in the future and if you haven't guessed already, I love anime (!) so I will try to posts related to my favorite shows.



-Saquib