Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hafiz/sufismo

I once wanted to make a series of spiritual paintings, but I now no longer do.

Here though, are some of the quotes I was going to use. I still like the quotes. I still appreciate Hafiz, Rumi, Shams, the Sufis in general, sufismo in general.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Punjabtronix

I needed this.
Lots of emotions from this tune and video but only got time for these 3 words right now...

BIG UP SOUTHALL!!!

As I sat in my local coffee shop today and worked, I let this play in the background about 15x or so.

My goal is for my 3rd film in my trilogy of films about migrants, to address Partition. So am saving this tune and video for when it's time to tackle that script iA! In a way it'd be me going full-circle, finally addressing my own migrant roots in this trilogy that I'm aiming to make, with the first 2 films being about communities different than the one/s I come from. Anyway:



- from a London <---> Los Angeles migrant #MIGRANTLIFE

Sunday, January 07, 2018

On airports

Airports are checkpoints essentially. When I don't get patted down, I am relieved and always incredibly surprised. Because pretty much almost all of the time, that is what happens. I get examined. And I feel that recently, these "pat-downs" have gotten worse and much more invasive.

Is it better to not go through that stupid x-ray machine that examines every nook and cranny? I just do it, because if I don't I know that I'd only get more harassment, and delays.

So I go through the machine and almost every time I am not allowed to proceed. I've learned to look behind me, at the screen next to the fugly and massive machine that scanned my whole body, to see what my so-called problematic areas are. Before it'd be my head getting patted down. Now it always seems to be my legs and crotch area.

I had had enough. I did not want to be touched there by them. Yet again. The agent explaining where they would touch me and how, did not make it any better of course. I kept protesting.

"There's nothing there. It's a jean zipper. That's it. And there's nothing in my pockets".
"Ma'am if you don't cooperate, I'm getting my supervisor".

I knew what that meant. So I backed down, and then said no to a private screening. I just wanted the whole idiotic thing to be over. Yes, it is humiliating to be examined like that publicly. And it's gross. And infuriating. But in my mind, a private screening would just amplify it all.

WTF do they expect to find down there?

It is a violation. It's happened so much that I immediately block it out right away, and don't really think or talk about it.

But these painful flashbacks occur every now and then, at inopportune times - like right now. What's worse is feeling that there's nothing I can do to reclaim my humanity, my dignity, in these moments. To make these moments stop.

Sometimes, usually right after I've landed or once I'm at my destination, I wonder if the TSA agent that violated me earlier that day, remembers me and realizes that there is no news report of something going wrong in the skies, and I wonder if they realize that I, the person they violated, wasn't a threat at all. And I wonder how many times this must happen in a day. Such is the thinking of an oppressed mind.

And then I block it all out again.

Part of me wants to do an experiment, of going through airport security without hijab, to see if all of this same bullshit happens, or not. And then part of me thinks, that I shouldn't have to do such an experiment.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

HXA as DJ


This may seem like a small thing, but its actually quite momentous. It's so meaningful and deep for me, that I haven't told many about it. My bros know, coz they know me, and they get it. I've just now started to clue in my closest friends.

I've wanted to DJ since I was 14. I've long been a househead, since I got into music at 11. Long story short, I chose filmmaking instead, and have since (mostly) denied my immense desire to do anything with music. Rather, I end up writing and making films that feature characters who do music; they're either DJs of some kind, have been or are in a band, etc. I suppose that's me as a creator attempting to bring my worlds of film and music together.

In September I went to Berlin and I went out and experienced the nightlife. I had to, as Berlin's the current techno capital of the world and has been for about a decade now (after London and after Detroit) - and also I wrote about Berlin clubs in my script, so I had to actually go and experience at least a couple of them. Of course, the tunes I heard were terrific. A couple nights after returning to Los Angeles I found myself becoming the impromptu main DJ at a welcome-to-film-school party that my classmates and I put on. It was FUN. Having 250+ or so people in Soundstage 2 dance to the tunes I chose, was extremely fun. I've done some DJing before, randomly and off-the-cuff, and because I listen to music and especially to DJ mixes constantly, I don't find it tremendously difficult, but a great thrill.

After that night at the end of September, I decided, bas, that's it. I've made enough excuses for way too long. So I spent some money and finally got some gear. Learning how to properly DJ I think will be a meaningful and healthy hobby for me - I already spend a lot of my downtime listening to music, and always have, so I might as well make it more effective and useful in some way.

Here's a clip from yesterday. Monday morning, start of the week, eating cereal and exploring. Alhumdulillah a great way to start the week. Playing one of my favourite tunes from my high school years.

This is a big part of me attempting to take better care of myself, inshallah.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

On getting older

This is an exercise in procrastination. Oh well. I keep getting told I need to take better care of myself, so am gonna write this first.

For several weeks or months now I've been thinking about how hundreds, probably thousands, of people have walked in and out of my life. This is the result of having lived in multiple places, being in multiple circles as the result of multiple identities, multiple jobs and networks from those jobs. At some point we realize that there are only a few people who actually do stick around, and I can count those friends on one hand. That is all we need really. And though some of them are married now and have kids, every now and then we're able to reconnect, and if push comes to shove, I can reach out to them.

For them, I am immensely grateful that they have stuck around, despite all the bullshit I've put them through, over years, or decades. Perhaps it's no coincidence that two of them happen to be therapists...wozzup K & M.

Pretty much almost everyone else just passes by though. Somehow during my twenties in New York I built an immense network. When I am back in town there are only a few people I do actually see and/or who make time to see me. And that is totally fine. It would be exhausting and impossible to attempt to maintain connections with scores of folks there. I had a trip back to NY just a few days ago and I fully appreciated and enjoyed the time with the friends I did get to see. Quality, not quantity.

When I was briefly back on the monstrous social media site that rules too many of our lives, I "defriended" probably over 1,200 people (this defriending has happened over time, not all at once). People who lived on my floor in freshman year at college, people met at parties or events, etc etc - there is no need for me to be on that network or for us to be connected on it. It's interesting, I realized that as I "defriended" someone that I would probably never come across their name or memory again.

My brief trip to NY made me realize that close to 2 years after having left, that I am finally over NY. I'm over that city. New York is an incredible and emotional and long chapter in my past. I am not romantic about the city anymore, I think. Perhaps it was because I went in December, and it snowed - and thus then got grey and mushy - perhaps it's because the MTA is much more worse now, perhaps it's because I find the new and gigantic constructions aggressive, ugly, and in some ways, violent - my heart doesn't yearn for NY anymore. I used to write "NY meri jaan". In some ways it still is - but that's really only because of the incredible people I know there.

I feel much more ready and willing to embrace LA now. Come on Los Angeles, embrace me. Give me a massive hug with your tall and skinny palm trees, 5 lane freeways, avocados, and the lovely home I happen to reside in, alhumdulillah.

Many have told me that it's harder to make friends as you get older. I can certainly attest to this. I'm sometimes with those who are much younger than me - they want to stay out late and party, meet lots of people, etc - that was me. I'm way past that now. Those were the things I did in NY almost a decade ago, and later on, most of the people that I met have come and gone. I'm going from having a massive network in NY, to being much more selective about who I spend time with and attempt to befriend, here in LA. I think it's better that way. Because, most of the folks in the past are just that, in the past. Thinking about the present and the future now, in this city that I'm now looking to embrace much more, I'd rather more fully connect with just a good small number of folks, than attempt to befriend everyone I come across.

So here's to getting older, and maybe, though probably not, wiser. Hopefully spending my limited free time to building well with good people. Call me an introvert, I don't care. My days of going out and roving around with whoever are long gone...I think. I'd much rather have a handful of decent friends to connect with here, and spend my other free time working on myself inshallah. I still haven't really gone hiking here, dammit.

I suppose now I should actually finish this assignment...