Saturday, January 1, 2011

Show me the green!

(Just beautiful how the sunlight was filtering through)

(That tree trunk looks like it has a face on it. Creepy and cool at the same time. Don't you think so? I imagine it to be an imprint of the ghosts of old medical students of the college, come back to haunt the college or maybe just share their great wisdom with some fresh minds.)

(The arecaria tree outside my apartment building - sitting amidst a few random green bushes)

Just some random snaps I took from my Black berry right after I came out of my final exam. Yes, right after. I was simply overjoyed and ecstatic on that day... bursting with excitement and brimming with that all-candy and sticky toffee goodness! It was an amazing feeling. If you have ever given medical exams and 'lived to tall the tale', you would know what I mean. Medical exams are never ending... just go on and on and well... on. You have to study till the very last moment if you want good grades and wish to develop great concepts. The pressure is always on, expectations always high and sleep always far out of reach. So, naturally, I was over the moon when my last OSPE (practical paper) finally ended. It was like a new beginning. A breath of fresh air after a month long (or more than that) captivity, shackled to my study table night and day, with no companions whatsoever, except for my fat books with their itty-bitty font size, the occasional biscuit crumb, the line of ants going to that biscuit crumb, and the not-so-friendly neighbourhood mosquitoes/draculas flying in for a bite or two. :S Can you imagine a worse scenario?

So I'm sure you understand how absolutely crazy I felt at the mere 'thought' of freedom when my exams finally ended. Was just ready to dive into the sea (read: ocean) of non-study activities and creative learning - painting, baking, photography, writing, etc; something for which you just don't have time during normal college days with all the assignments, study schedules and handwork that we dentists have to do (I mean seriously. Making partial dentures isn't exactly a walk in the park!). So I did dive right into the sea of creative learning. Indeed. Out came my camera and the clicking began. I started my photo taking as soon as I came out of the exam hall - I realized I had never really noticed the plants outside my college. They were amazing and I started my photo taking mania with them. I have a feeling they thought I had lost it. And honestly speaking, I did feel a little crazy with all that adrenaline coursing through me.

The plants were just lovely models - very cooperative and docile. Stayed put throughout the photo shoot and gave me their best side. The sunlight was filtering through the leaves, illuminating some of them while leaving others in green shadows. It was simply beautiful. I couldn't believe that I had walked right past these same plants throughout the year and never really noticed them. They are at the front gate of my college, and although I always enter from the same gate, I never really appreciated them as much or noticed them as much as I did that day. Very pretty and full of green pigments. And I don't think many people notice them. We all are always so busy in our daily college activities, chit-chatting with friends and studies that we walked right past them without appreciating their beauty and silent presence. May Sorton was right when she said:

"Flowers and plants are silent presences.
They nourish every sense except the ear."

Anyway, the lesson I learned: never ignore plants and greenery no matter how small they may seem or how insignificant. Seek out the green and love it. And by that I don't mean money! Go for the natural green instead and surround yourself with it.

P.S. Just so you know how I felt at the last day of my exams: the song 'spirit-you can't take me!' just sums up the feeling of the internal fight between my creative side and the side that drags me to my books! As you can see, I prefer freedom and creativity :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Zamzama park- bonsai society pictures

(A horse-drawn carraige standing outside the park)

Just in case you are wondering what a bonsai plant is,

"A Bonsai (pronounced bone-sigh) is an ancient oriental horticultural art form. The word Bonsai literally means, in both Chinese and in the Japanese language, tree-in- a-pot. Originally developed in the Orient almost 2000 years ago, today the sublime art of bonsai is practiced throughout the world. Shape-harmony-proportion-scale are all weighed carefully as art, and the human hand combines this in a common cause with nature.

A tree planted in a small pot is not a bonsai until it has been pruned, shaped, and trained into the desired shape. Bonsai are kept small by careful control of the plant's growing conditions. Only branches important to the bonsai's overall design are allowed to remain and unwanted growth is pruned away. Roots are confined to a pot and are periodically clipped. Bonsai may have a stylized or an exaggerated form ... but, as found in nature. The appearance of old age of a plant is much prized and bonsai may live to be hundreds of years old. The living bonsai will change from season to season and from year to year requiring pruning and training throughout it's lifetime ... and as time goes on it will become more and more beautiful.

You can also visit the Pakistan bonsai society web page for more pictures and upcoming events:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Zamzama park

(Funky tree. Me really like it.)

(Some structure inspired by something)

(I love this tree. Sadly, the picture hasn't done justice to it.)

(A pretty gazebo perfect for a nice cup of tea)

(The skating ring I was talking about)

(The Pakistan Bonsai society. More pictures on that later.)

(A Chinese inspired structure close to the Pakistan Bonsai society)

(Very pretty and artsy tree. I couldn't help but snap it.)

Since Mustafa Kamal became the new mayor of Karachi a lot of good, sensible projects have been initiated and completed in Karachi. I say ' sensible' and 'completed' keeping in mind the history of other mayors who have visited the mayor's office and breezed through their years in power. Not all of them, of course, but most of them. On the other hand, Mustafa Kamal genuinely put in all his effort to improve the city of Karachi and the lives of those living in it (Note: I am not saying this to support MQM, but as a concerned citizen of Karachi who really appreciates anyone doing anything good in the city.) He started the development of a lot of long-needed projects in the city like under-passes, by-passes, fly overs, medical clinics and other important things. Most important of all, however, he really stressed on the of building of new parks and green patches in the city to provide both relief from the hectic, crazily-noisy life of Karachi, and to make the city a little more greener. There after, a lot of new parks have sprung up here and there in the city, much to the delight of kids and green-lovers (that would be me!) alike.

The above pictures are of Zamzama park. My family and I often go for a walk there, early in the morning, right after our morning prayer (Fajr). It's very pretty and has very pretty trees. There is a nice, wide jogging track running around the perimeter of the park and that's connected to many small lanes that go through the heart of the park. Scattered around the lanes are a couple of artsy gazebos, one Chinese-style structure and a few other ancient-architecture-inspired structures which really pull the park together. Its nice to see that the park developers have put in an extra effort to do some landscaping in the park, rather than just building a bland park on one level with plain grass and jogging lanes. The landscaping makes a whole lot of difference to it.

There is even a skating ring in the middle of the park. I've seen kids skating there in the evening. And, like any park, this one is not complete without its share of swings and see-saws. Funnily, children are not the only ones seen playing there - adults can also be seen exercising on the swings and working out on the baby monkey bars! So, all in all, its a great park for a family to hang out in. :) And the best part is that you can go for a good, totally-non-healthy oil-laden paratha breakfast after a healthy walk in Zamazama park. A good dhabbey wala (a local restaurant that often caters to truck drivers) is not far from sight in Karachi and nor are the people who would want to eat in it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My green escape

Living in the big city. Thinking of the countryside. This happens to me a lot these days. I think it has less to do with the pollution and filth you find in the big city, and more to do with the desire to see more of the color green. Seriously. No kidding. At least, that's the case with me - a completely ordinary urban dweller living in the heart of Karachi. You don't really get to see too much green color in Karachi. There are very few trees and green patches - unlike Islamabad (the capital city) which is lush green with a couple of 'green belts' lying between residential sectors and many bushes and shrubs scattered here and there. Even the skyline is adorned with the beautiful, lush green Margalla hills that Islamabad is so famous for. Me thinks it's a perfect paradise for a green lover- if he does not not have pollen allergies, that is!

As I said before, Karachi does not have much greenery. But, quite recently, I have discovered that Karachi's greenery is not so little as to ignore. It is little but it's there. You just have to be rightly positioned to be able to see it. Like, this one time, I was standing on the roof of an apartment building and I got a good view of my concrete-jungle-like city, except that it did not look too 'concrete-y' from the top. In fact, it was quite green and there were so many trees scattered about among the buildings and roads that I was surprised I had not noticed them before. So many green lollipops were peeking out at me from between those tall, lifeless buildings and quite a lot were mushrooming along the sides of the roads. I was quite surprised to see so much greenery and felt totally ungrateful for not having noticed all the green that my city has to offer. Man is seriously a fool. We never see all those lollipops. We're too busy looking at the big chocolate bar.