Celebrate Past 

​I’ve never understood why it’s considered weak to send positive vibes and love to people from your past. Why a happy birthday text to an ex, a congratulation on the new job to a former bestfriend, or a straight out I miss you to someone you had a fall out with is frawned upon.
It is so much easier to hate than it is to love…I could honestly say I still care about every person I’ve ever loved. I’ve never understood why showing love and compassion to people who have wronged me in the past is seen as an act of vulnerability or is supposedly offensive to my pride. You know what’s weak? Hatred, hostility, bitterness, apathy, and forcing ourselves to hold back on kindness because society says so.

Mariam Badawi 

This thought is so spot on and is very much found in our society. People love being negative and judgmental while they stop themselves from loving. Being in pain of hating anyone is acceptable to them rather then replying to a pure feeling. If moving on is like this it’s quite weak rationale of love.

Sahib jise nafrat krte o woh tumhara hi intekhab tha 🙂 Aur Fankar fan-paro se hota he

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Ik aur khat :)

Teesre Asman se Tum tk ik aur khat

Behad pyari ma
Kesi ho

Main kal aya tha tumhare bete ki shadi ka card le k per tumne mitti nae hatai so main laut aya. Ye kya bat hui hazar mashware krne hote ab itni b kya k tum chand lamho ko mitti hata k bahar na ao.
Tumhare bache kehte hain shadi me chand din rehgye, ghar tiko — per tum janti ho na main bachpan se muqable krta hu, so tum ne jab hassan ki shadi pe sab kia aur meri bar mitti b nae hatai to main kyu tiko. Kab tak ab Maria sab kre had hoti he! Beti b arae per nae tum na do lamho ko mitti hatana. Han bhai hu main haider, sabz jazbo k sath yasrab walo k asool b manta hu per itna b nae k sab jane du.

Khair choro logo ko card bhejdiye, ghar b saj jayega aur siwae mere sab ne boht mehnat b ki he. Rha main to tumhare bad ab khud ko us k sapurd krdunga. Use samjha dena k ladla hu aur ye 10 sal khud pe Kate hain tumhare diye me khyanat nae ki aur age b nae hogi.

Acha ab theak he! Kam krluga wazan per tum sath rehna aur upar ko mukamal sajana pata chale bin ma k bache ka Jashn ziada dhoom dam se hota he q k her rishta us rishte ka haq ada krta he.

Jashn ho. Mujhe yaqeen he upar na 10 baje ki shart he na 1 dish ki pabandi s

Letter to Wardah – My better half

بہت پیاری وردہ!
لاءلپور

تمہیں خط لکھنے کے لیے آج سے بڑھ کر اور کونسا دن ہوتا.. بتاؤ بھلا؟ شکر ہے آسمانوں پہ زمینوں جیسی مجبوریوں کی ہتھ کڑیاں نہیں ہیں.. تم جانتی ہو حیدر مجھے اکثر خط لکھتا ہے اور رلا بھی دیتا ہے.. سوچا آج میں بھی لکھ ڈالوں.. حیدر کو اس لیے نہیں لکھ رہی کہ اسکی دیوار پہ ویسے ہی بہت ہجوم رہتا ہے جس سے مجھے الجھن ہوتی ہے.. معلوم نہیں تمہیں ہجوم بھاتا ہے یا نہیں.. مگر اب تو نصیب میرے بیٹے سے جڑ گیا ہے سو سنبھال لینا

بیٹیاں عجب شے ہوتی ہیں.. جب گھر میں ہوتی ہیں تو پتہ ہی نہیں چلتا کہ کیا کچھ گھر میں صرف ان ہی کی وجہ سے ہے.. اور جب چلی جاتی ہیں تو احساس ہوتا ہے کہ ان کے بغیر تو گھر میں جیسے کچھ تھا ہی نہیں.. اور تم تو ہم سب کی امید ہو.. رات جب تم نے مجھے ہاتھ پاؤں پہ لگی مہندی دکھائی تو میرے دل سے دعا نکلی کہ خدا تمہارا مقدر بہت روشن رکھے اور تم میرے آنگن کے لیے بہت نیک ثابت ہو.. آسمانوں پہ وقت جیسی کوئی چیز نہیں اس لیے نہیں معلوم وہاں ابھی کیا ہوا چاہتا ہے مگر شاید تم ابھی سج رہی ہوگی.. میرے بیٹے کے لیے.. حیدر کے لیے..

میں دیکھ رہی تھی جیسے جیسے شادی قریب آرہی تھی ہر لڑکی کی طرح تمہاری اداسی اور اندیشے بڑھ رہے تھے..مگر کیا یہ خوش ہونے کے لیے کافی نہیں کہ تم اپنوں میں جا رہی ہو؟ میرے گھر آرہی ہو.. میں نے کہا تھا ناں نکاح کے بندھن میں بندھتے ہی تمہیں سکون آجاءے گا. جیسے دھوپ میں سر پہ کوئی بادل کا ٹکڑا آ کھڑا ہو.. سایہ دینے والا.. اپنے اندر چھپا لینے والا..ٹھنڈا.. نرم.. سکون دینے والا..
اچھی واردہ!
محبت یا شادی کا یہ مطلب نہیں ہوتا کہ ہم ایک دوسے کو اپنے اپنے ہاتھ کی مٹھی میں بند کر کے رکھنا شروع کر دیں..اس سے رشتے مظبوط نہیں ہوتے, دم گھٹنے لگتا ہے.. ایک دوسرے کو اسپیس دینا, ایک دوسرے کی انفرادی حیثیت کو تسلیم کرنا, ایک دوسرے کی آزادی کے حق کا احترام کرنا بے حد ضروری ہے.. بیٹا امید کو ڈھونڈا نہیں جاتا, امید کو رکھا جاتا ہے..اپنے اندر, اپنے دل میں, اپنے ذہن میں.. چند دنوں میں بیج زمین کی مٹی سے باہر آ تو جاتا ہے مگر درخت بننے میں بہت دیر لگتی ہے..لیکن وہ درخت بنت ضرور ہے..اگر اسے پانی دیا جاتا رہے..اگر مٹی کو نرم رکھا جائے.. بیٹا ہمیشہ یاد رکھنا صفر کی طرح زندگی بسر کرو, جسکی ضرورت ہر عدد کو ہوتی ہے.. جس کے ساتھ لگے اسکی قدروقیمت کیء گناہ بڑھا دیتا ہے..جب ہم صفر ہوتے ہیں تب بھی بہت قیمتی ہوتے ہیں..اس کائنات میں کچھ بھی بیکار نہیں ہے..اور ویسے بھی ہر گنتی کا آغاز بھی تو صفر سے ہی ہوتا ہے ناں!
تم جس گھر کو جا رہی ہو اسکی بنیادوں میں میری محبت جسم میں دوڑتے خون کی مانند شامل ہے.. میں نے بہت محنت اور محبت سے اس مکان کو گھر بنایا.. ایسا گھر جو مثالی ہو.. ہر آنے والے کو میری مامتا کے جیسے اپنی بانہوں میں سمیٹ لے اور روح کا سا سکون میسر کرے.. میرے سارے بچے آج اپنی اپنی جگہ سرخرو ہیں.. زاءرہ نے میرے بعد گھر سے محبت رخصت نہ ہونے دی.. میری دونوں بہوؤں نے میرے گھر کو خوشیوں سے بھرا اور سب کو جوڑے رکھا.. مجھے ان سب پر مان ہے..میرے یہاں آنے کے بعد یوں تو سب ہی تنہا ہوئے مگر افضال صاحب اور حیدر نے یہ سزا سب سے زیادہ کاٹی.. میرا تم پہ یقین ہے کہ تم یہ خلا بھر دوگی میری گڑیا!
کوئی بھی شادی فیری ٹیل نہیں ہوتی.. اور اگر ہوتی ہے تو یہ وہ فیری ٹیل ہے جس میں ایک جن ضرور ہوتا ہے اور اس جن کے ساتھ سمجھداری سے چلنا پڑتا ہے.. عورت کے پاس اسکے علاوہ کبھی کوئی آپشن رہا ہی کب ہے.. تم بھرپور کوشش کرنا کہ تم دونوں کے بیچ کبھی زیادہ خاموشی نہ آءے.. میاں بیوی کے درمیاں بات چیت ہوتی رہنا چاہیے۔ عورت کا سب سے بڑا مسئلہ یہ ہے کہ وہ مرد کو ضرورت سے زیادہ بہادر سمجھتی ہے..اس وقت بھی جب وہ ریت کی دیوار کی طرح ڈھے رہا ہوتا ہے..بیٹا مرد ہو یا عورت کوئی بھی زندگی کے ہر لمحے میں بہادر نہیں رہ سکتا.. بہت ساری چیزیں انسان کو کمزور کر دیتی ہیں.. مگر کمزور لمحوں میں تسلی کے لفظ بولنے والا انسان کے دل کے بہت قریب رہتا ہے.. اور اگر وہ بیوی ہو تو رشتہ بہت گہرا ہوجاتا ہے.. ماں چاہے کتنی ہی عظیم ہو بہٹا مگر وہ کبھی بیوی نہیں بن سکتی.. دیکھو خدا نے یہ کرم حیدر کی زندگی میں آنے والی کسی اور ہمجولی کے نصیب میں نہیں لکھا.. وہ میرا لاڈلا اور بگڑا ہوا بیٹا ہے تم اسے بتانا کہ تم اسے کتنا یاد کرتی ہو.. کہ تم اسکا کتنا انتظار کرتی ہو.. کہ تم زندگی کی اس کٹھن راہگزر میں اس کی ہمیشہ کی سہیلی رہوگی!
دیکھو زرا! میں لکھنے بیٹھی تو لکھتی چلی گئی.. دھیان ہی نہیں رہا.. میں اپنے ہمسفر اور اپنے بیٹوں جیسا اچھا خط تو نہیں لکھ سکتی.. ان کے ذہنوں سے تو تاثیر کی شاخیں پھوٹتی ہیں اور خوبصورت الفاظ پرندوں کی طرح ان پر آ بیٹھتے ہیں.. مگر یہ بے ربط خط جزبے کی اس صداقت کے ساتھ لکھا ہے جس پہ میرا کبھی اختیار نہیں رہا.. اور زنگی بے ربط ہی تو ہے.. ہم کہاں بھلا اپنی ذندگیاں خود لکھتے ہیں.. تمہارا میرا رشتہ ہمیشہ یونہی سہیلیوں جیسا رہے گا.. تم ہمارہ بہترین انتخاب ہو.. میں بہت خوش ہوں.. اور یہ احساسات کسی عالم بالا کی چیزیں نہیں ہیں بلکہ یونہی زندگی کی سطح پر کھیلنے والی لہریں ہیں..
یہاں سب اچھا ہے.. تم دلہن کے روپ میں بے پناہ خوبصورت لگ رہی ہو.. صہیب یقیناً تمہارا صدقہ اتار دیگا.. اپنی آنکھوں اور دل کو یونہی پاکیزہ رکھنا.. میرے گھر کا خیال رکھنا.. میرے رشتوں کا خیال رکھنا.. اور ہاں.. پودوں کو پانی اور میرے گھر کا صدقہ اپنے ہاتھ سے دیا کرنا..میری دعائیں ہمیشہ تمہارے ساتھ رہینگی.. میرے بچے ہمیشہ تمہارے ساتھ رہینگے..

بہت پیار,
امی,
کہیں آسمانوں میں..

Letter by Asma to me :)

The day is finally here. You’re getting married. To a lovely young woman, too. Another milestone in your life. You have learned a lot throughout and gained immense popularity.. But this milestone is huge. This is being an adult, big-time. I’ll spare you the “it seems like only yesterday” that I remember so and so or such and such. Well – maybe just one … it seems like yesterday that I visited Layllpur and offered you Nestle guava at Daira’14.
Now you are to be Wardah s husband, I would like to share something I have learned along the way… important things; vitally important things. Like the need for trust, respect, honesty, equality and communication in a relationship.

To trust the other person with yourself. To respect the dignity of another human being at all costs. To seek the truth and be honest, always. To recognize your spouse as different, but equal. Above all, to keep the communication channels open, even when you don’t feel like it.

If you remember these things, almost any differences – and there will be plenty of those – can be resolved in a mutually beneficial way.Marriage is not easy. Sometimes it’s a challenge to remember those vows, even on a day-to-day basis. But it’s worth it. Human beings were made for companionship, to work in partnership, to experience love.

And remember that you can love someone but not always like them. Go easy on yourself; you’re only human. And so is your wife. No one is perfect, and no one has all the answers. Everyone has good days and not-so-good days. But when the two of you work together, you’ll get through just about anything that life puts in front of you.
Remember, too, not to lose yourself in another person. There’s that wonderful part of the two of you that no one else can touch, but it’s so important to allow each other your own identities as well. You will be a husband to Wardah , son to uncle Afzaal , father to your kids and uncle to the rest of the kids of Al’Miraj. but you’ll also always be simply Haider , with your own interests apart from those as a couple. The Haider who never loses himself, yet becomes better because of his partner in life. That’s so important.
There are some rules in fair fighting, and one of the biggest is to let the past rest in the past. Once you have resolved something, don’t keep bringing it up to re-hash it. That’s not fair. Once it’s done, it’s done. End of story. Mind it, what you say at home stays at home. Remember, too: don’t keep score; marriage is not a competition. It’s a partnership of equals. And don’t be afraid to ask for your own space…everyone needs to breathe, some times more than others. Also remember that your happiness is not your spouse’s responsibility – you are responsible for your own happiness. As for drama – well, keep that to a minimum.

I wish you happiness and joy, contentment and peace. But most of all, I wish you kindness and strength.. Always.. A very happy wedding to you and your better half.

PS: A big shout out to your fan club for not letting us feel that we are missing something, for updating us with every single activity. THANK YOU!!!

Ten Rules of Writing

The following is from Amitava Kumar’s essay collection Lunch with a Bigot. A mix of memoir, reportage, and criticism, these essays explore how Kumar, a Professor of English at Vassar College, practices being a ‘writer in the world.’

When I was promoted to the rank of professor, the library at the university where I was then employed asked me to send them the name of a book that had been useful to me in my career. I chose V. S. Naipaul’s Finding the Center. The library then purchased a copy, which was duly displayed in one of its rooms, with a statement I had written about the book:

This was one of the first literary autobiographies that I read. Its very first sentence established in my mind the idea of writing as an opening in time or a beginning: that sentence conveyed to me, with its movement and rhythm, a history of repeated striving, and of things coming together, at last, in the achievement of the printed word: “It is now nearly thirty years since, in a bbc room in London, on an old bbc typewriter, and on smooth, ‘non-rustle’ bbc script paper, I wrote the first sentence of my first publishable book.” This first sentence—about a first sentence—created an echo in my head. It has lasted through the twenty years of my writing life. The ambition and the anxiety of the beginner is there at the beginning of each book. Every time I start to write, I am reminded of Naipaul’s book.

But that wasn’t the whole truth, neither about Naipaul, nor about beginnings. The sentence I had quoted had mattered to me, yes, and so had the book, but what had really helped was Naipaul’s telling an interviewer that in an effort to write clearly he had turned himself into a beginner: “It took a lot of work to do it. In the beginning I had to forget everything I had written by the age of 22. I abandoned everything and began to write like a child at school. Almost writing ‘the cat sat on the mat.’ I almost began like that.”

And I did that too, almost. About a decade ago, soon after I had received tenure, Tehelka asked me to come aboard as a writer. I was visiting my parents in India at that time; it was winter, and I went to the Tehelka office to talk to the editors. Later, when we were done, I was taken around for a tour of the place. There was a pen-and-ink portrait of Naipaul on the wall because he was one of the trustees. And high above someone’s computer was a sheet of paper that said “V. S. Naipaul’s Rules for Beginners.” These were rules for writing. It was explained to me that Naipaul was asked by the Tehelka reporters if he could give them some basic suggestions for improving their language. Naipaul had come up with some rules. He had fussed over their formulation, corrected them, and then faxed back the corrections. I was told that I could take the sheet if I wanted. A few days later I left India and the sheet traveled with me, folded in the pages of a book that I was reading. In the weeks that followed, I began writing a regular literary column forTehelka, and, in those pieces, I tried to work by Naipaul’s rules. The rules were a wonderful antidote to my practice of using academic jargon, and they made me conscious of my own writing habits. I was discovering language as if it were a new country. Like a traveler in a new place, I asked questions, took notes, and began to arrange things in a narrative. I followed the rules diligently for at least a year, and my book Bombay-London-New York was a product of the writing I did during that period. Here, then, are “V. S. Naipaul’s Rules for Beginners”:

Do not write long sentences. A sentence should not have more than 10 or 12 words.

Each sentence should make a clear statement. It should add to the statement that went before. A good paragraph is a series of clear, linked statements.

Do not use big words. If your computer tells you that your average word is more than five letters long, there is something wrong. The use of small words compels you to think about what you are writing. Even difficult ideas can be broken down into small words.

Never use words whose meanings you are not sure of. If you break this rule you should look for other work.

The beginner should avoid using adjectives, except those of color, size and number. Use as few adverbs as possible.

Avoid the abstract. Always go for the concrete.

Every day, for six months at least, practice writing in this way. Small words; clear, concrete sentences. It may be awkward, but it’s training you in the use of language. It may even be getting rid of the bad language habits you picked up at the university. You may go beyond these rules after you have thoroughly understood and mastered them.

In their simplicity and directness, I do not think the above rules can be improved upon. A beginner should take them daily, like a dose of much-needed vitamins. Of course, rules can never be a substitute for what a writer can learn, should learn, simply by sitting down and writing. But I offer my own students rules all the time. On the first day of my writing class this year, I handed out xeroxed sheets of rules by Ray Bradbury, not least because he offers the valuable advice that one should write a short story each week for a whole year. Why? “It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

I have also prepared my own list of rules for my students. My list isn’t in any way a presumption of expertise and is offered only as evidence of experience. I tend to teach by example. These habits have worked for me and I want my students to use them to cultivate the practice of writing.

1. Write every day. This is a cliché, of course, but you will write more when you tell yourself that no day must pass without writing. At the back of a notebook I use in my writing class, I write down the date and then make a mark next to it after the day’s work is done. I show the page to my students often, partly to motivate them, and partly to remind myself that I can’t let my students down.

2. Have a modest goal. Aim to write 150 words each day. It is very difficult for me to find time on some days, and it is only this low demand that really makes it even possible to sit down and write. On better days, this goal is just a start; often, I end up writing more.

3. Try to write at the same time each day. I recently read a Toni Morrison interview in which she said: “I tell my students one of the most important things they need to know is when they are at their best, creatively.”[i] It works best for me if I write at the same time each day—in my case, that hour or two that I get between the time I drop off my kids at school and go in to teach. I have my breakfast and walk up to my study with my coffee. In a wonderful little piece published on the New Yorker blog Page Turner, the writer Roxana Robinson writes how she drinks coffee quickly and sits down to write—no fooling around reading the paper, or checking the news, or making calls to friends or trying to find out if the plumber is coming: “One call and I’m done for. Entering into the daily world, where everything is complicated and requires decisions and conversation, means the end of everything. It means not getting to write.” I read Robinson’s piece in January 2013, and alas, I have thought of it nearly every day since.

4. Turn off the Internet. The Web is a great resource and entirely unavoidable, but it will help you focus when you buy the Freedom app. Using a device like this not only rescues me from easy distraction, it also works as a timer. When you click on the icon, it asks you to choose the duration for which you want the computer to not have access to the Net. I choose sixty minutes, and this also helps me keep count of how long I have sat at my computer.

5. Walk for ten minutes. Or better yet, go running. If you do not exercise regularly, you will not write regularly. Or not for long. I haven’t been good at doing this, and have paid the price with trouble in my back. I have encouraged my students to go walking, too, and have sometimes thought that when I have to hold lengthy consultations with my writing class, I should go for walks with them on our beautiful campus.

6. A bookshelf of your own. Choose one book, or five, but no more than ten, to guide you, not with research necessarily, but with the critical matter of method or style. Another way to think about this is to ask yourself who are the writers, or scholars, or artists that you are in conversation with. I use this question to help arrive at my own subject matter, but it also helps with voice.

7. Get rid of it if it sounds like grant talk. I don’t know about you, but I routinely produce dead prose when I’m applying for a grant. The language used in applications must be abhorred. Stilted language, jargon, etc. I’m sure there is a psychological or sociological paper to be written about the syntax and tone common in such things—the appeal to power, lack of freedom—but in my case it might just be because, with the arrival of an application deadline, millions of my brain cells get busy committing mass suicide.

8. Learn to say no. The friendly editor who asks for a review or an essay. Even the friend who is editing an anthology. Say no if it takes you away from the writing you want to do. My children are small and don’t take no for an answer, but everyone who is older is pretty understanding. And if they’re understanding, they’ll know that for you occasional drinks or dinner together are more acceptable distractions.

9. Finish one thing before taking up another. Keep a notebook handy to jot down ideas for any future book, but complete the one you are working on first. This rule has been useful to me. I followed it after seeing it on top of the list of Henry Miller’s “Commandments.” It has been more difficult to follow another of Miller’s rules: “Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.”

10. The above rule needs to be repeated. I have done shocking little work when I have tried to write two books at once. Half-finished projects seek company of their own and are bad for morale. Shut off the inner editor and complete the task at hand.

If you have read this essay so far, you are probably a writer. That is what you should write in the blank space where you are asked to identify your occupation. I say this also for another reason. Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Those words scared the living daylights out of me. I thought of the days passing, days filled with my wanting to write, but not actually writing. I had wasted years. Each day is a struggle, and the outcome is always uncertain, but I feel as if I have reversed destiny when I have sat down and written my quota for the day. Once that work is done, it seems okay to assume that I will spend my life writing.

From LUNCH WITH A BIGOT. Used with the permission of Duke University Press. Copyright © 2015 by Amitava Kumar Via Raza Rumi

Qualities of Cultured People – Maria Popova

Anton Chekhov on the 8 Qualities of Cultured People

by

“In order to feel comfortable among educated people, to be at home and happy with them, one must be cultured to a certain extent.”

What does it mean to be “cultured”? Is it about being a good reader, or knowing how to talk about books you haven’t read, or having a general disposition of intellectual elegance? That’s precisely the question beloved Russian author Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) considers in a letter to his older brother Nikolai, an artist. The missive, written when Anton was 26 and Nikolai 28 and found in Letters of Anton Chekhov to his Family and Friends (public domain; public library), dispenses a hearty dose of tough love and outlines the eight qualities of cultured people — including honesty, altruism, and good habits:

MOSCOW, 1886.

… You have often complained to me that people “don’t understand you”! Goethe and Newton did not complain of that…. Only Christ complained of it, but He was speaking of His doctrine and not of Himself…. People understand you perfectly well. And if you do not understand yourself, it is not their fault.

I assure you as a brother and as a friend I understand you and feel for you with all my heart. I know your good qualities as I know my five fingers; I value and deeply respect them. If you like, to prove that I understand you, I can enumerate those qualities. I think you are kind to the point of softness, magnanimous, unselfish, ready to share your last farthing; you have no envy nor hatred; you are simple-hearted, you pity men and beasts; you are trustful, without spite or guile, and do not remember evil…. You have a gift from above such as other people have not: you have talent. This talent places you above millions of men, for on earth only one out of two millions is an artist. Your talent sets you apart: if you were a toad or a tarantula, even then, people would respect you, for to talent all things are forgiven.

You have only one failing, and the falseness of your position, and your unhappiness and your catarrh of the bowels are all due to it. That is your utter lack of culture. Forgive me, please, but veritas magis amicitiae…. You see, life has its conditions. In order to feel comfortable among educated people, to be at home and happy with them, one must be cultured to a certain extent. Talent has brought you into such a circle, you belong to it, but … you are drawn away from it, and you vacillate between cultured people and the lodgers vis-a-vis.

Cultured people must, in my opinion, satisfy the following conditions:

  1. They respect human personality, and therefore they are always kind, gentle, polite, and ready to give in to others. They do not make a row because of a hammer or a lost piece of india-rubber; if they live with anyone they do not regard it as a favour and, going away, they do not say “nobody can live with you.” They forgive noise and cold and dried-up meat and witticisms and the presence of strangers in their homes.
  2. They have sympathy not for beggars and cats alone. Their heart aches for what the eye does not see…. They sit up at night in order to help P…., to pay for brothers at the University, and to buy clothes for their mother.
  3. They respect the property of others, and therefor pay their debts.
  4. They are sincere, and dread lying like fire. They don’t lie even in small things. A lie is insulting to the listener and puts him in a lower position in the eyes of the speaker. They do not pose, they behave in the street as they do at home, they do not show off before their humbler comrades. They are not given to babbling and forcing their uninvited confidences on others. Out of respect for other people’s ears they more often keep silent than talk.
  5. They do not disparage themselves to rouse compassion. They do not play on the strings of other people’s hearts so that they may sigh and make much of them. They do not say “I am misunderstood,” or “I have become second-rate,” because all this is striving after cheap effect, is vulgar, stale, false….
  6. They have no shallow vanity. They do not care for such false diamonds as knowing celebrities, shaking hands with the drunken P., [Translator’s Note: Probably Palmin, a minor poet.] listening to the raptures of a stray spectator in a picture show, being renowned in the taverns…. If they do a pennyworth they do not strut about as though they had done a hundred roubles’ worth, and do not brag of having the entry where others are not admitted…. The truly talented always keep in obscurity among the crowd, as far as possible from advertisement…. Even Krylov has said that an empty barrel echoes more loudly than a full one.
  7. If they have a talent they respect it. They sacrifice to it rest, women, wine, vanity…. They are proud of their talent…. Besides, they are fastidious.
  8. They develop the aesthetic feeling in themselves. They cannot go to sleep in their clothes, see cracks full of bugs on the walls, breathe bad air, walk on a floor that has been spat upon, cook their meals over an oil stove. They seek as far as possible to restrain and ennoble the sexual instinct…. What they want in a woman is not a bed-fellow … They do not ask for the cleverness which shows itself in continual lying. They want especially, if they are artists, freshness, elegance, humanity, the capacity for motherhood…. They do not swill vodka at all hours of the day and night, do not sniff at cupboards, for they are not pigs and know they are not. They drink only when they are free, on occasion…. For they want mens sana in corpore sano [a healthy mind in a healthy body].

And so on. This is what cultured people are like. In order to be cultured and not to stand below the level of your surroundings it is not enough to have read “The Pickwick Papers” and learnt a monologue from “Faust.” …

What is needed is constant work, day and night, constant reading, study, will…. Every hour is precious for it…. Come to us, smash the vodka bottle, lie down and read…. Turgenev, if you like, whom you have not read.

You must drop your vanity, you are not a child … you will soon be thirty.
It is time!
I expect you…. We all expect you.

Thy Art is intense

– He looked into my eyes and said ‘you are too intense’ and I was listening to him because I saw many attributes shared even our Chinese signs he was right it happens people at times come and depart just because they can’t take it and start being judgmental or they leave or they accept and learn. I was looking at him silently and I thought should I work on it but he concluded saying but this is what makes you who you are fire is fire, people need to decide how to handle because at the end of the day everyone wants a warm place to lie and connect.

23/05/2015