About The Philosopher's Stone

It does not really matter who I am. The important thing is what I say.

Catharsis

I remember some wise guy once saying:

The freedom of expression guards our other liberties.

Freedom: a word full of meaning and beauty, but foreign to our society! Whether it be the freedom of speech or thought; you name it, and we don’t have it. “Why is it that every beautiful and noble thing is non-existent in our society?” I always ask myself! Anyway, I am not here to answer this question (neither am I in a position to answer this question ;-)). In fact, I am here to relate the consequences of the ‘absence of freedom’.

Everybody would agree with me on the fact that a lack of proper communication has a catastrophic effect on mental health; and it is as necessary as food or air to express oneself. Freedom is the most important thing to make this happen. We could fully express ourselves only when we feel that we are free to say whatever we have in mind. If we place even a single barrier, the whole purpose of communication gets killed.

Before proceeding further, I would like to justify this statement: “Freedom is the most important thing to achieve the real purpose of communication”. Whenever something goes inside, ultimately, it has to come outside. We come across a variety of feelings here in PMC on daily basis, for example, getting humiliated by the teachers, getting depressed because of samosa getting more and more costly, being let down by the fact that we are single and so forth.

These feelings do make their way inside our head, but they never actually come out of it. Could we tell our teachers of what we really think of them? Could we do something about the cost of samosa? Could we tell our friend that we are jealous of him/her because we are single and he/she is not?! The fear of a supplee never allows us to express our real feelings to the teachers; authority of the Café guy stops us from arguing over samosa price; and our ego prevents us from confessing that we are tired of being single! This evident failure to let go of our actual emotions and feelings has led to some extremely disastrous consequences, one of them being (as put in my own words) “a frequent, abrupt and nasty leakage of repressed emotions through certain highly unpleasant channels”.

Everybody has some companions who are otherwise useless but are a good means of releasing frustration and anger. We talk to them and feel somewhat relieved. Some of that “garbage” might get disposed of in this way but much of it remains within us because the above mentioned and other similar reasons compel us to never open up fully to them. We never talk to them about actual matter, hence destroying the purpose of communication.

At this point, I would like to quote Arthur Schopenhauer:-

The conversation among ordinary people mostly consists in hackneyed commonplaces, which they alternately repeat to each other with the utmost complacency.

The conversations that take place among us poor PMCians consist of nothing but hackneyed commonplaces. By taking part in these conversations, any keen observer would readily sense a degree of frustration that has arisen as a result of suppression of the underlying emotion and at the same time would get amused. The charm of these conversations is that they do not just take place among us fellows; they take place almost everywhere in PMC, that is, notice boards, walls, benches and anything that could bear the weight of our delicate emotions!

Thing that makes these conversations so special is that they are a genuine reflection of our collective mindsets and represent our true selves. Take a look at the following ‘picture’:-

I am not a Paindu!

It says, “I am a PMCian and I am not a PAINDU”. It is evident that the people who wrote this are suffering from an inferiority complex because they came to PMC from their pind with a hope that PMC would be a different place (a Camelot, thus to speak). But, nevertheless, we should admire their benevolence because they left much of the chart empty for the others to share their sorrows too!

Now, take a good look at the following placards which give glad tidings of an oncoming ‘book-fair’:-

Book Fair 1

Book Fair 2

The one on top, at various places, contains references to Munni and Sheela. Book-fair, Munni, Sheela…do they seem related to each other? If you are a PMCian, your answer should be: “HELL YEAH!” At other places, it says: “Sir Najam ki pencil mere pas hai, mujh se rujoo karein (I have Sir Najam’s pencil, contact me)”, “uthtay janazay dekho (see the funerals)”, “harkat check kar lo (check that action) etc.

The second one has these inscriptions: “haye Ammi, bhaoo (oh Mom, BHAOO)”, “chal rehn de baba kam kar (leave it dude, go do your job)”, “dafa maaro yaar (let it be, yaar)”, “Molvi teri to… (Molvi, you are a…)”, “jaldi lagaao yaar (do it soon, yaar)”, “Islamic bhai mujhe cheap books buy krni hain (Islamic bhai, I want to buy cheap books)”, “bachna ae hasino, lo main aa gaya (brace yourselves broads, here I come)etc.

Sometimes, the notice boards get polluted with filthy politics. As politics is also a means of letting the ‘garbage’ stored inside come outside, we see many politicians in PMC. Remarkable thing is that you don’t have to belong to some party to be a politician!

The following pictures show ‘politically emotional outburst’ which took place when a party planned an event and some other parties opposed the plan (and probably the ‘planners’ too):-

Political poster 1

Political poster 2

Now, see the rebuttal:-

Political poster 3

It says: “JALLAN KI MAARI (name of the opposing party has been censored)”

Apart from the vulgarities, indecencies, and random trashy stuff; some creative work could also be seen sometimes. Take a look:-

What a great BONGI is this?!

It says: “The RING IS MINE! SAURON LIVES!!!

ARAGON LIVES

FRODO LIVES

–What a Great BONGI IZ This?!–

Now, I would like to end this article with an advice: It is the freedom of thought which is actually important. Real freedom comes when your soul is liberated from petty desires. Learn to communicate with yourself. A famous nazm of Faiz is crossing my mind…

Bol, ke lab aazad hain tere

Bol, zabaan ab tak teri hai

Tera sutwan jism hai tera

Bol, ke jaan ab tak teri hai

Bol, ke thora waqt bohat hai

Jism-o-zaban ki maut se pehle

Bol, ke sach zinda hai ab tak

Bol, jo kuch kehna hai kehle

(Speak, your lips are free

Speak, it is your own tongue

Speak, it is your own body

Speak, your life is still yours

Speak, this brief hour is long enough

Before the death of body and tongue:

Speak, ’cause the truth is not dead yet

Speak, speak, whatever you must speak)

Regards,

The Philosopher’s Stone

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Keep the Change!

Change is a vital element of nature. A static world is unimaginable, no doubt. But when a person or a thing undergoes a change to such an extent that it can be termed as ‘transmogrification’ then the situation surely deserves, or rather, needs a second thought.

According to my observation, most of us today have ceased to be what they were back then. We have out-smarted the Family of chameleons in changing appearances. This change has been so remarkable and rapid that even the most composed minds have not remained safe from its influence. This prodigious change is not just limited to persons; it is more like a component of the atmosphere in PMC. It has operated like a chain-reaction on the minds, affecting the weak and fragile minds in a highly destructive manner. PMCians are the realistic examples of the “Mutants” which we see in sci-fi stuff. We can often spot a guy who is ‘chilling out’ with the other ‘dudes & pals’ in the ‘coolest’ sense possible, who was actually a slow-witted nerd throughout his past life (or a Theeta, as they say in PMC). A chivalrous young lad who was (and probably could still be) a notorious narcissist can be frequently seen striving to lend a hand to the female colleagues. Pseudo-Mafiosi, who were actually henchmen of some bully in their school life (probably due to the fear of getting beaten up themselves), also grace the PMC corridors with their precious presence (so much so that they don’t even bother entering any department because they feel that their presence should be felt uniformly throughout the premises during their brief visit).

Just a bit of introspection and each and every one of us can easily detect these ‘changed selves’. Well, as far as the reason of this change is concerned, it is quite vivid: unclear objectives! Before coming here, our goal was to get admission in some medical college (preferably K.E for most of the ‘unlucky fellow PMCians’ 😀). After the admission, every one of us had to set new objectives. Most people got derailed at this point because they neither had experience nor sufficient will-power which was required to do that. The parents used to take all the decisions for the majority of us and then this responsibility suddenly shifted to our shoulders weak shoulders. Consequently, two entirely different ‘races’ emerged, whose partition is graphically evident in almost every aspect.

  1. Theetas
  2. Non-Theetas

Let me make a generalization here. At first, people mostly choose to continue their old lifestyle (Theeta lifestyle). But they have to go to the other (Non-Theeta) race later on due to the seniors’ influence, stigmatization of the Theetas in general, the ‘encouraging’ company of friends and mainly due to the fact that they had always wanted to lead a carefree life after admission (a reward that was promised to them). In the end, only a few manage to stay the way they were.

The Non-Theetas are a diverse group of individuals. Fifty percent of them are entirely clueless of what they want to do with their lives, hence their existence and non-existence has same effect on others and themselves. They don’t want themselves to get engrossed into anything, be it study or something else. Their ideas keep on fluctuating and they spend their five years like a football which roams about between the two halves in the field and ends up getting nothing except kicks from all the players. They mould themselves according to their company (which is highly volatile) and adopt the ‘ideas’ of the group to which they belong to at any point of time.

The other fifty percent population is better in a way that they at least manage to have some vague idea of what they are going to do in these five years. Now the irony is that the future plans of this lot are so incongruous with their original self that they also have to end up empty-handed (though they delude themselves by cherishing their unreal achievements all this time). Generally, their ‘ideas’ sound like one of these:-

  1. Make a mark in the activities unrelated to studies.
  2. ‘Set some sexy bold and pretty Bacchi’ (the most appropriate word to use here is sexy, but it sounds somewhat impolite).
  3. Do all kinds of cheap things in the name of ‘shughal’ (amusement).

Now reflecting upon the above lines, answer this question: Is any of the above mentioned ‘purpose’ going to take you anywhere in life even if you succeed somehow in achieving it? Temporary rapture and ultimately it is all over and even then we transmogrify ourselves for these useless things. It is a fact that most of us were groomed in a confined environment and that explains much that why these things fascinate us. But just because you have been admitted to a co-ed institution does not mean that you start ruining your life in pursuit of foolish aims. Another thing is that PMC is not even a co-ed institute, it is ‘pseudo co-ed’ and that makes my point even stronger. Try to realize that you have actually been put into a primary school instead of a college and then you will easily understand that it is utterly useless to release your frustration in these useless ways.

Everybody has some potential but the education system in Pakistan is incapable of polishing the abilities of youth and consequently it gets wasted in wrong directions. The situation usually gets better at the graduation level, but unfortunately, it worsens in case of PMC because there are not enough opportunities to show talent in co-curricular activities (there are many reasons for this and they will be addressed at a later time inshaAllah!).

Lastly, I want to state that the purpose of this article is not to encourage everybody to become a Theeta. The point is that choosing to be a Theeta is like choosing a lesser of the two evils. Try to indulge yourself in purposeful activities both outside and inside PMC. If that seems difficult to achieve, at least try to have well-defined objectives. And whatever you intend to do (whether it’s setting a Bacchi or anything else), commit yourself to it and do it tactfully. Because Meer said,

شرط سلیقہ ہے ہر ایک امر میں
عیب بھی کرنے کو ہنر چاہیے

(shart saleeqah hai har aik amr mein

aib bhi karne ko hunar chaahiye)

Regards,

The Philosopher’s Stone

Is Something Really Better Than Nothing?

“Yaar! We have nothing here, in PMC!”

This is a typical statement, issued at the end of most discussions taking place amongst the PMCians. The statement in itself is really “profound” but the discussions at the end of which it is issued are even more “profound”. I will be giving only a few examples here.

Discussion 1:-

Pappoo: Have you heard something about that guy who was beaten up?

Jaggoo: Yeah, I was in the hostel too and witnessed the thrashing myself. It was quite legendary!😀

Pappoo: No, not that one. I am talking about the lad who was slapped by Sir ABC.

Jaggoo: Yeah, mates told me about the poor fellow. It is sad, indeed. But they also said that he was involved in some objectionable stuff.

Pappoo: Regardless of that, I think there should be some freedom here. In XYZ Medical College, teachers don’t bother about their students’ lives and students are free to show their talent in whatever way they want to.

Jaggoo: I agree with you. But hey, don’t lose hope. One day, they will allow us to show our talent and “freedom will ring from every corner of PMC!”

Pappoo: Yaar! We have nothing here, in PMC!

Discussion 2:-

Pappoo: I have heard that there are co-batches in XYZ Medical College. The girls and boys attend the tutorials and practicals together. I end up cursing my fate each time when I hear such things.

Jaggoo: It is not just limited to tutorials and practicals. The girls and boys also perform the dissection together.

Pappoo: Oh my God! That means the boys stand beside the girls? :O

Jaggoo: Yes. One of my friends told me that they even touch the girls whenever they get a chance without the fear of slaps and kicks.

Pappoo: Now don’t tell me that they get those chances often…

Jaggoo: Dude, you are a mind-reader!😉

Pappoo: Yaar! We have nothing here, in PMC!

Discussion 3:-

Pappoo: What about the trip dude? Have they decided something?

Jaggoo: No, I think they have dropped the idea. Better luck next time.

Pappoo: Alas! A friend of mine told me that they enjoy co-trips in XYZ Medical College. Boys and girls together, in the same damn bus and all types of classy stuff! And we are not even worthy of a plain, all-boys trip!!😦

Jaggoo: Don’t worry dude. There is still hope, you can go home and sleep instead!

Pappoo: Yaar! We have nothing here, in PMC!

Discussion 4:-

Pappoo: Here, see this video. My friend from XYZ Medical College filmed it. See how the girls are dancing and there are boys there too!

Jaggoo: Awesome! We should also have something like this here in PMC.

Pappoo: Hey I heard that there is going to be a function similar to this in PMC too. Maybe we can realize our dreams there!

Jaggoo: Sorry dude, it has been cancelled. But don’t worry, there is still hope. We can go home and sleep instead!

Pappoo: Yaar! We have nothing here, in PMC!

Discussion 5:-

Pappoo: How much time is left for the preparation of the next sub-stage?

Jaggoo: Three days precisely. But the time may increase because the girls were planning to see the H.O.D.

Pappoo: How will you know about the outcome of their visit?

Jaggoo: FACEBOOK!

Pappoo: Alas! In XYZ Medical College, boys don’t have to wait for girls to break the news on Facebook, they go and ask the girls directly.

Jaggoo: Yeah, that’s right. But hey, you can ask that girl whose number I gave you last week.

Pappoo: Nah, she hasn’t replied me till now.

Jaggoo: Don’t lose hope dude. She will reply one day and the sub-stage will also get delayed.

Pappoo: Yaar! We have nothing here, in PMC!

The sense of deprivation and Pappoo’s inferiority complex can be easily observed in the above lines. It is for the readers to decide whether this thinking of Pappoo is justified or it is baseless.

Note:- (for the persons who are offended when the attributes of ‘Pappoo’ are mentioned)

Pappoo is a fictitious character. While writing the articles, I don’t have any specific guy in my mind. If anybody feels that the character of Pappoo, in any way, has a resemblance with his personality, he should feel free TO IMPROVE HIMSELF (that is, by not being Pappoo) or otherwise he should stop feeling that he is being pointed out.

Regards,

The Philosopher’s Stone

Loved-up!

Love: an emotion still undefined scientifically. We find it everywhere in literature and especially in our rich and illustrious folklore. It is revered in almost all of its forms, whether it’s a mother-child interaction, human-God interaction or else. But its most commonly discussed type is highly controversial, that is between a boy and a girl.

There were times when people used to believe that Ishq-e-Majaazi (worldly love) ultimately leads to Ishq-e-Haqiqi (Divine love). Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case in our generation. Nowadays love means a casual romantic relationship with an intention of TIME-PASS.

Before we discuss it in the context of PMC, some things are necessary to keep in mind.

To be “medical students”, most of us had sacrificed a major part of our lives for studies which culminated in a sense of deprivation that is now apparent in our behavior and general attitudes. Secondly, majority of the PMCians were never actually exposed to co-education before their admission. They had just seen it in the movies and TV serials and consequently co-education was a taboo in their fragile minds. And the last thing regarding our premedical life is that during our F.Sc and MCAT preparations, we were always told that this is the “actual hard phase” and if we work hard, our future life will be a cakewalk. When we integrate all these things, we get a generalized mind-set: “Pre-medical life is a purgatory and the Medical College will be a Camelot!”

Now we discuss what happens in PMC.

As our brand-new PMCian (call him Pappoo) enters into his supposed Camelot, the first thing which he comes across is “SENIORS”. He instantly observes the desperateness of the “highly esteemed SENIORS” during the process of “FOOLING”. They send him to some girl and she, unknowingly, gives a ‘slightest response’, which causes them to remain ecstatic for a week (‘slightest response’ translates as “FITTAY MUU” in Punjabi).

When Pappoo goes on further to attend the tutorials/practicals and lectures, the remaining hope is lost too because the ‘fruits of co-education’ are nowhere to be seen there. These things severely derange his intellectual faculties and he goes into a condition of “mental shock” because the truth turns out exactly opposite to what he had expected. His perception of a Medical College was formed mainly by Indian movies and dramas in which they show that almost all the students mutually engage in romance and it is an inevitable part of professional college life.

Actually this is the time when the “SENIORS”, having all the required experience, jump in to save the day. They empathize with him and bring him back from the valley of despair. They assure Pappoo that the reality is unchangeable and he has to make adjustments to be successful. As they say in chemistry, ‘like dissolves like’, same is the case here. Pappoo sees his own reflection in SENIORS and ultimately they become his mentors. They suggest him to go by the book and disclose the following precious rules:-

1)      Make some “REPO”.  {read The Obscurantist’s recent article if  you don’t know the meaning of REPO}

2)      For that purpose, amend your life to such an extent that it becomes acceptable from a girl’s point of view (being yourself is not an option!).

3)      Get the cell number of the girl you like by any means necessary (it’s a basic requirement!).

4)      Never hesitate, remove the word self-respect from your dictionary. If you don’t succeed at the first attempt: try, try again (which often means STALKING in many cases!).

5)      Life is short, so try pursuing more than one girl at a time if possible (that’s called love, DUDE!).

Under the “professional” guidance of SENIORS, Pappoo “FALLS IN LOVE” with a pretty girl and begins the struggle to get her cell number. He changes his routine to make sure that she “notes” his REPO-enhancing-actions. After a while, he succeeds in getting the cell number from a “highly confidential source”.  He girds up his lions and musters enough courage to send her a text message (spare SIMs are usually available for these purposes) and starts waiting for a reply. After waiting an hour or so, he sends another message…(the process goes on and is directly proportional to the patience of that girl).

Seeing no response, Pappoo contacts the seniors after 2-3 days. They advise him to get an easy-load for a phone call. Now the calling process begins in a similar fashion and the patience of the ‘loved one’ is tested even at a higher level. Finally, a day comes when his “hard-work” pays-off. She picks up the call and the following conversation takes place:

Pappoo: Hello!

Girl: YOU SCOUNDREL! STOP THIS NON-SENSE. I AM DONE WITH THIS. I WILL GO TO MADAM CH**** IF YOU TEXT/CALL ME AGAIN.

Pappoo: Hello, Hello, Hello……

As a result of this trauma, Pappoo becomes lovelorn. Fortunately, the company of seniors and the overwhelming presence of other “more pretty” girls are there to heal his “wounds”. And after a week or so, PMC witnesses a rejuvenated Pappoo searching for another cell number!

There are hundreds of Pappoos in PMC and new ones are being admitted each year. The above mentioned Pappoo will be a SENIOR Pappoo in future and will train another army of Pappoos in the coming years. This same cycle continues for 5 years. The details and circumstances of the ‘Pappoo story’ may vary from Pappoo to Pappoo, but the results are almost identical in most of the cases.

I, as a rational PMCian, consider this shameful Pappoo mind-set a root cause of many problems. We are practically hanging somewhere between liberalism and conservatism. It would be better for us to choose one of these and fully implement it on ourselves. This seems to me the only solution.

I want to end this article with this meaningful verse:

کوی سمجھے تو ایک بات کہوں
عشق توفیق ہے گناہ نہیں

(koi samjhe to aik baat kahuu

ishq taufeeq hai, gunaah nahiin)

Regards,

The Philosopher’s Stone

It’s Show Time!

“WHY ARE MY COLLEGE MATES INCLINED TO SPEND A STUPENDOUS AMOUNT OF WEALTH ON AN EVENT WHICH IS THEMELESS AND IRRATIONAL IN ITS ESSENCE?”

Out of many questions that shook my mind when I stepped into the “land of the Gangsters”, this one was one of the most vexing. I never found the answer, but convinced myself to somehow enjoy this event instead!

Yeah, I am talking about the sports day, where girls come with loads of make-up on their normally inauspicious faces and boys come in third-class, see-through shirts and tight jeans. The idiosyncrasy of the event lies in the fact that an “esteemed committee” (a bunch of brainless dudes and chicks) assigns a color to each class and a “theme” to portray at the event. The respective Sports Day Organizers (commonly referred to as SDOz) from each class strive day in, day out to collect “riches” from their “under-privileged” class fellows. These riches are utilized to purchase some random stuff which is subsequently used to decorate the “garbage-depot” commonly referred to as “stadium” in our college. The remaining cash is used to buy refreshments (which are often in such abundance that a kind of World War-III takes place when it is being served).

Now we talk about the “phenomenon of entries”. It is defined as “the succession of events which depict the assigned color and theme of a specific year”. The people possessing “inherent super abilities” come forward and oblige the whole class by embellishing themselves with idiotic costumes. After their “ENTRY”, they usually perform the following strenuous tasks and further gratify the whole class:
1)    Dance clumsily
2)    Sit idly
3)    Take plenty of  photographs (probably to show their grand-children that their grandpa had done some cool stuff during his college days)
4)    Make merry
5)    Snatch a lion’s share of the refreshments so as to replenish the energy they had lost performing the above mentioned arduous tasks.

In addition to these “meaningful” happenings, there maybe an extra topping of a “teacher-student” match and prize-distribution plus “musical chair drama” in sports inauguration and final sports day respectively. I am not going to say anything about the Teacher-Student Cricket Match (because “samajh te tussi gye o”). As regards the prize-distribution, college people usually invite a “special guy” to give away the medals etc. The special guy’s quality is his “retardation”. He comes in a hurry and leaves in a hurry and shows the extent of his retardation throughout his brief stay.
The musical chair thing is the only “enjoyable masala” in the whole event because we have a chance to see the blissful faces of the old, nutty Professors during the process. Really, seeing the senior citizens of the medical society having that much fun is a rare spectacle.

Lastly, I don’t want to miss the loud-speaker guy who is a kind of commentator. Actually his problem is that nobody pays any attention to what he has to say. But that guy is extremely consistent and he goes on shouting throughout the event. I only see one advantage of his presence: He keeps the atmosphere full of noise-pollution so that people may not think that PMC is devoid of this variety of pollution!

Regards,

The Philosopher’s Stone

The Artists-Who were the audience (and the critics) at the same time!

Once upon a time, a grand gathering was planned in celebration of a special event. A young, highly ambitious caterer was hired to render his services for the occasion. He worked laboriously to please the taste buds of the guests, as it was his own Walima ceremony. As the time came, he served the food and people started consuming it. When all was said and done, the guests returned to their homes grumbling about the quality of food.

The poor caterer took this to his heart. When he was rebuked, he responded in a stumbling tone, “O my dear fellows, I worked from sun-rise to sun-set to gain myself a few kind sentences of appreciation. But it didn’t turn out according to my expectations. The people complained about the food quality. Reality is that they don’t know what the real food is like. They are too naïve to taste such sophisticated dishes. If they are dissatisfied with my performance, they should have cooked it themselves. If they have such profound culinary knowledge, why would people like myself are lurking around as so-called caterers?”

Moral:-

If you can’t cook yourself, you have no right to have decent food. Similarly, if you are not a singer, you should not be allowed to listen to good music. If you are not a surgeon, YOUR APPENDIX SHOULD REMAIN IN YOUR GUT EVEN IN CASE OF APPENDICITIS!

Dear readers, if the moral sounds familiar to you, you are a TRUE PMCIAN!

Regards,

The Philosopher’s Stone