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THE INVISIBLE HAND OF NATURE



I sometimes feel that language is miserably insufficient when it comes to having to express what one wants truly to express, except of course, when you are talking about someone who surpasses the worldly metaphors and clichés, someone who has such a marvellous sense of humour that even the toughest moments would be made light when around him . . . someone who fills the insufficiencies of language as I aforementioned with such grace and acuity that you have nothing but great admiration for such an individual’s refinement and stability. And so, before I tire you with any more of my rather (inefficient) words, I would like to acquaint you, in complete humbleness and pleasure with Doctor Muhammad Asif Nawaz, whom I admire from every cell in me. 

To say the least, Asif is a doctor registered in the UK, he is in the PAS, the 46th Common. He is a freelance writer, or so he claims, and I would leave you to decide whether he is ‘freelance’ or a ‘master’ once you have read his words below and looked him up online to understand his full genius. He is also an amateur filmmaker, a marvellous photographer, a hopeless wanderer, a third degree procrastinator, and for better, or for worse, for me, well, he is he – a brother in a buddy who is assuredly and distinctively treasured, someone immensely rare, and without whom my life would be most meaningless and bare.

Excerpt on Asif from the Humans of CSA that was published on Tuesday, the 9th of April, 2019. 

If I had a dollar for every time people warned me against being a passenger of two boats, I would have totally done away with the idea of boats and would charter a plane to go around the world. But this life, it’s peculiar. It’s beautiful. And demanding. You always have to take your leaps of faith. And no one ever gives you enough dollars to charter a plane. My story is not about perseverance or rising against the odds - there are far too many people in CSA who I look up to in that regard. It’s about taking risks, exploring unchartered territory, and gratitude. So much gratitude! Belonging to the city of Abbottabad, I studied to be a doctor. It was in the three months after the completion of my house job that I decided to prepare for CSS - undergoing a surgical procedure while at it. After taking the exam, I geared up for the post of a Medical Officer in Khyber Pakhtunkwa’s Public Service Commission, and ended up being second in my district. Afterwards, I eyed the FCPS Part 1 exams; cleared them; and started my training in medicine as I took IELTS with watery eyes - a remnant of the recent LASIK I had had. After the written result came out, I booked my PLAB 1 exam, which, as the invisible hand of nature would have it, fell one day prior to my CSS psychological exam. (In hindsight, I made through both). I prepared for the interview while attending to the incessant line of patients in my ward. After being granted a leave from my ward, I left for the UK to prepare for and take the next step of the licensing exam, which I passed. And as the final result of CSS came out, I had topped in my province. But it’s not just this, grappling with the various opportunities that life throws at you while not losing sight of things that make it worth-while, like traveling, learning, socialising and experiencing, was the real task. Never forgetting your laughable insignificance, nor your towering significance. And as the invisible hand of nature would have it again, I received my arrival letter to Civil Services Academy and final registration to work as doctor in the UK almost on the same day. But this life, it’s peculiar. There’s so much to do. And you always have to make defining, hard choices. You can only hope, and take a leap of faith. With a silent prayer, with a handful of passion. Oh, and no one ever gives you enough dollars to charter a plane. 


Asif Nawaz
PAS – 6th position overall
1st from KPK
*Admin 46th*

KPK is Khyber Pakhtunkwa. It was called North West Frontier Province (NWFP) before 2010.


All right, some of you say, I have read the above and I think I get a fair idea about Asif. I smile and bob my head knowing that there is a ‘but’ to follow, and before I say more, you ask: but what is the intent of this? I purse my lips and take a deep breath. You wonder whether I am about to say something of great significance judging from my demeanour, but instead I utter, no actual intent, really. You narrow your eyes and look at me like I am barmy. I laugh and tell you that you aren’t wrong in your assessment because I am indeed as barmy as they can get, and that I only wished to share with the world what some people mean to me, people who make me, me. I can see that you are flummoxed. To soften the point, I pat you quickly on both your shoulders and elucidate that you should celebrate life and acknowledge every single soul who makes a difference to you because not until most recently, when I had lost a very dear friend in Sushant Singh Rajput, who, like Asif, was also a brother to me, did I understand the tangible eminence of time and of the prominence of people and how we take them so for granted. I tell you that that was my intent – a reason enough to tell the world that I am grateful for each of them who make my world as glorious and wonderful as it can be, and that without them I am nothing. You remain in a state of sheer bewilderment when I articulate further that Sushant and I used to have these impassioned arguments about my intellectual property wherein I would apprise him that a portion of it I am setting aside in my will for him, and as if to enrage me he would chuckle and mouth in his landmark intonation that there was no guarantee that he would outlive me. You pretend to be interested and I can see right through you, but I am rather absorbed in my memories, and that I have started, I do not intend to break my flow and go on that on one of those days when I had broached the same subject he had said, Agar main rahoon ya na rahoon. And before he had completed whatever that he had intended to convey, I had blurted an expletive, and Sushant being Sushant had comfortably disregarded my extreme reaction and concluded, Ho tere naal rahu meri parchhayi ve. I had remembered slaying the call and not speaking with him for a week after. However, in hindsight, I had cared less for what he had meant by that then, or perhaps I hadn’t even understood it, and when I remembered it today, I messaged Asif asking him what it meant. 

My spirit/shadow remains with you. 

Came the prompt reply. 

And that is the essence of life is it not: the spirit and shadow of those you love remains with you whether or not they are around you physically. 

You shake your head and walk away thinking what an arse I am for having wasted your time, and I feel a sense of relief that I did not have to rid the unwanted from my life, that they rid themselves by themselves, and then I remember the words of Asif – But this life, it’s peculiar. It’s beautiful. And demanding. You always have to take your leaps of faith. And no one ever gives you enough dollars to charter a plane. My story is not about perseverance or rising against the odds - there are far too many people who I look up to in that regard. It’s about taking risks, exploring unchartered territory, and gratitude. So much gratitude!

And so I take a bow of gratitude for the one gone and the ones here. Thank you both and thank you everyone else who make me, me! 



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