“Just the way I saw him, 365 days ago.”

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As a pessimist I have to admit the following. Regardless of how blessed and thankful I am, a part of me still looks for a reason to live another day. All 365 days of the year, I constantly go over my mental bucket list on which only one item is crossed off. That one item being ‘cross one thing off your bucket list’ should give you an idea of where I’m going with this.. However, on my last trip to Pakistan, I realized how extravagant my ‘reasons to live’ were in comparison to the small blessings I am bestowed on a daily basis. Small reasons, that I have taken completely for-granted, which at any moment could be taken away from me! Numerous realizations followed, however the most interesting part is how I came to these realizations.

Deja Vu:
6 o clock sharp an old fashioned horn went off. As if the feeling of déjà vu, I rushed to the balcony of our little apartment. I tried to get the lock on my window to open but it was rusted shut from the last time we had visited. I put on my shoes & ran outside to get a better look; that’s when it hit me. It wasn’t déjà vu, it was the rush of realizations. There stood the same boy who had been delivering bread to us the last year we visited. The same boy, as though oblivious to the changes going on in the world around him, still stood tall. This boy had not even aged! The few strands of hair on his chin still remained freshly trimmed & his shalwaar kamiz just as starched as the last time I saw him, 365 days ago.

The children around him had grown taller, but just as rude as before. This time they had siblings, half their height as though carbon copies of their elders. He still responded to them with just as much love, as though he did this for them. For him, all he needed was these kids looking up to him! Instantly the energy to live another day would be reimbursed. With huge bags hanging from his little Honda, he carefully picked out local chocolate bars of their choices, but the light in the children’s eyes could not even compare to his. At that moment, it was quite obvious how counting your blessings is just as important as prioritizing them.

Unemployment in Pakistan:
At times one must realize it is not what you do for a living, as long as you enjoy it. However, with the pacing rate of unemployment, many are left struggling. One of the main reasons behind this, is the uncontrolled growth of the population. The population of Pakistan is growing at an insane rate, hence logically there aren’t that many opportunities available. Some believe the reason behind this pace is due to early marriages, lack of awareness & illiteracy. Despite the uncountable schools on every street, some factors caused by corruption do not allow for a fair education system. Therefore, those that have gained their degrees through unofficial systems, are granted the jobs of those who deserved them.


For that reason with such little opportunities available, at times many find themselves in a constant battle to be happy. On the other hand, for the blessed, knowing about the numerous opportunities available around the globe can also cause unsatisfactory to their current stage of life. So frankly, it does not matter whether you have it all, or if you don’t, you will always find yourself in the same battles. It’s those that make the most of them, that remain content.

All photos taken by yours truly!

 July 2014


Graffiti; Value Creativity


Thanks to Offscreen Expeditions, I was fortunate enough to benefit from workshops I could not complete over years in Saudi Arabia! One of my favourites was located in what seemed the artsiest part of London, the East. With the help of MCP & Mark ‘Batlow’ we were given a street art workshop for starters. From the basics of stencilling, inverting images, down to changing caps for different strokes of the spray.

Below is an excerpt of the many ways we were taught to value creativity. Click on this link to watch the film


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Towards the end of the workshop most of us had finally learned how to handle a spray can!

There was no stopping us.


At first when I was handed the itinerary for the expedition, this was the one workshop I was looking forward to least, as it was too out of my comfort zone. However, once the workshop came to an end I realised how important it really is to step out of your comfort zone.

After a successful workshop, we had transformed East London!


Winner of Create & Inspire 2012

Create & Inspire 2012

In the summer of 2012 I was granted the title ‘Winner of Create & Inspire’. The theme of the competition that year, was focused on the islamic pilgrimage, Hajj. Lucky for me, I had perfumed perfumed Hajj that same year where I had first starting taking photographs. At this point photography was just a mere method to take pictures of the journey, and not at all an artsy tool. Towards the end of Hajj I happened to sit right next to the woman in that picture. At first it was very difficult to snap a picture of her without her knowing, however I thought i’d take a risk .. she smiled right at me!

If at that moment someone had told me, this old woman would be the reason behind:
– falling in love with photography
– changing my education plans from business to graphic design
– going on a 17 day expedition all around the United Kingdom thanks to Offscreen Expeditions
– AND getting my photography exhibited at the British Museum?

Never in a million years would I have believed that. She later inspired me to write one of my best pieces titled  “A Million Emotions

I guess I owe her a lot.

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“Award winning photograph for Crossway Foundation’s acclaimed competition, Create & Inspire& expeditions programme targeting UK and Middle Eastern youth.  A London-based charity delivering arts and education initiatives for young people across the UK and Middle East, with a regional search to find the most talented young artists, photographers and filmmakers.”

Exhibited at :

The British Museum – Addis Gallery : (January 2012 – May 2012)  Click here for Details

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Feel free to read more about the creative journey on  http://www.offscreenexpedition.com/2012_uk/blog/by/118

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