Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 In Passing

It was a good year to be a Muneeb Pasha. There have been and will be better years, and there are no altogether bad years, not yet, no - but 2010 was a good year nonetheless.

"What is this thing called love?
It is nothing reliable,
not like this silk cravat"
      - John Beer, the Waste Land
What made 2010 such a good year to follow after the jump:

What made 2010 special was, in-part, the complete lack of deaths in the near-family. Or well, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that there was a complete absence of deaths from accidental or natural causes. All deaths were deliberate. But "all" is a deceptively large-sounding word. Oh, and there's a couple of days left so this might change. Let it go please, Azra Mengele.

Wait, I'm sure there are some other things that have made 2010 special.

"What is this thing called love?"

I managed to catch up on my reading, which had accumulated during my time in Lahore. I read a good deal of poetry: Classical, Romantic, Transcendentalist, etc. some others I can't categorize, and also, for the first time, Post-Modern.

Someone told me that English poetry is killing itself slowly by means of an inherited inferiority-complex from Shakespeare on down. That assertion sounds better when implied poetically. I disagree, however, not because I know much about poetry, but because it's unhealthy to make references to suicide in a post about what a grand year it has been.

More than poetry, however, I have read a great deal of prose - and some amazing fiction, mostly my Modernist staples. I still cannot stomach magical realism.

Amongst the non-fiction, Thomas Hodgkin's Theodoric was an exceptional privilege to read, the pleasure amplified by an accompanying reading of Volumes 3 and 4 of Gibbon's monumental opus.

While on the subject of the Romans: I have been intrigued by Gilfillan's research that lead-poisoning from the use of that metal in dyes, utensils, and water pipes, played at least an incremental role in the decay of Roman nobility into madness.

"What is this thing called love?"

I am thoroughly enjoying the Kantian dialectics. My study has been aided by the generosity of a very kind friend from the Southern Hemisphere. Thanks again. Fortunately, reading a book once on the subject means little, and so I'll be recycling the material over and over. I penned a brief primer on similarities between Rand's Objectivism and Kantian Systems (similarities disavowed by Mrs Rand, I should add) as they occurred to me, but perhaps the truth is a bit more elusive.

So, yes, the point was I've done a bit of reading, and a little bit of writing (I just finished a major rewrite of Nature of the Beast that's occupied me these two months. E-mail for a PDF of the draft.), and loved it.

I have done even more listening, to people and to music. Metal is great, yeah, \m/ But some pop is alright too, and so are techno and DnB. Trance is still intolerable, though, unless you're tripping out at a rave, even then it's barely tolerable; rap is never so.

"What is this thing called love?"

Jazz is closer to whatever love might turn out to be, however, partial-credit.

I wanted to pick out a theme-song for the year, but I cannot decide between In a Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington and Johnny Coltrane, and a certain Phil Collins song I cannot name ("On pain of death!" I have been warned) and I am the Black Wizards by Emperor.

The first because I have indeed spent this year (like most years, in retrospect) being a horrible sentimentalist. I annoyed even myself sometimes. ("What is this thing called love?") Phil Collins because everyone wants to live their lives set to a Phil Collins song.

In the interest of grounding myself (and fairness, let's be fair), however, this song by the Styx, that I do not really like, nor remember, and have heard only a few times, with its title alone sums up aptly how this year has been for me: Too Much Time on My Hands.

I met some very special people this year. Some at home, others abroad. Some less special than others. As the year draws to a close I know more people and better people and know them better than in previous years. That's a personal record.

"What is this thing called love?" My question of this year and most years. No answers, yet, thankfully. Just a lot of mysteries and several pleasant distractions in youth and art and beauty. Sure, I can make a go of that.

Here are some of the things Facebook managed to coax out of me this year.

Tell me about you: what's your theme-song(s) for the year? What thoughts have guided you through its course? What questions have you asked? What answers didn't you get? I ask because I care. Almost. Happy 2011.


  1. I'm happy for you Muneeb A Pasha :). May this year be even better than the last for you!

  2. Thanks, Tajallah. I hope you have a wonderful 2011.