All posts by Mustaali Marvi

Debonair and dilettante.

Because life has just started…

The problem with high expectations is that nothing will ever be good enough.

But the alternative, low expectations, is sad indeed.

The internet-inspired will always disappoint us. It will always be too flaky, too slow, too insulated. It will always have errors, hate and stupidity. The truth is: That’s the way our life is. It happens to all of us.  Nobody can ever evade it, and perhaps, that’s the only thing you can never change as a human being.

The question is: how are you supposed to plan a life, a career, a family when all of us are continuously involved in grappling up with the carpe diem.

Perhaps, if we all seized every moment of every day, there wouldn’t be any problems. No problems would mean not striving for our betterment. Consequently, there wouldn’t be any one “mending our damage” for us. No doctors, no engineers, no businessmen – and worst of all, no marketers to make them realize that the need for the resolution of a certain problem exists.

We were all meant to live in the present. Whatever you have in the moment is meant for now. Don’t push yourself against the wall of the future so hard that you forget the privileges of what you have at the moment. Don’t be a quack of your own destiny whereby you are busy scribbling your own “five years from now” in the most quixotic way.

Do yourself a favor today: Live your life the way you want it to be.

Tomorrow: Repeat.



I am Normal: I am a Dwarf

It all started with a bedtime legend. This was the first time you got acquainted to a mysterious, short statured human while you were you were told Aesop’s fables at your bedtimes. By the time you could have realized that dwarfs are real, that dwarfs are the only creatures that you read about, reality surfaced: you, amongst every other mythical creature, that you came across, saw a dwarf in real life.  As you matured and started to gain sense of things, the image was pummeled further by some people with a short stature, who would appear in circuses, dancing to the tunes of their ‘master’, or perhaps those in TV commercials whereby a ‘chotu’ would appear to the scene to submit to his supervisors’ derogatory call at a mechanic’s shop, or a dhaaba.

Your mind was corrupted to an extent that it became an emblem for advertisers to showcase myopic mothers of what their children could possibly be if they didn’t nurture their children with a specific diet plan, or were subject to a superficial “force”. If that wasn’t enough, there was enough content on the media to plague the minds of our people with ‘choti dunya’, when they saw someone who suffered from achondroplasia or was a subject of a small stature.

The worse part was that dwarfs were (officially or openly) never classified as disabled. For some, they were deemed to be classified as a “handicapped” when they wish to undermine them, or  in case, when they plan to flush your hopes and segregate you from the “normal” world.

For once, while trying to erratically balance yourself on the shoreline of an alien, unchartered territory, it suddenly dawns upon you that life has suddenly thrown you a curveball.

But in a world of masks, misrepresentations, subtle and vast distortions, truth is rarely glimpsed. In my case, as reality surfaced, the world saw a more altruistic, a realistic version of dwarfs in the television series, Game of Thrones, whereby Peter Dinklage plays the role of Tyrion Lannister. It was at this point in time I realized one thing: we, the “normal” people, or those with a rather orthodox stature – we are all the same. This clash of identities with which we demarcate our boundaries, we are all the same, separated by a thinnest filament of who we are.

The problem is simple, and perhaps never as complex as we assume them to be. The only difference being that the world in which we presume ourselves to be, or perhaps, the way our minds are trained to be, is apparently more Utopian. We hopelessly hope that the world we live in should have been more homogenous than it actually is.

While I accept that everyone faces obstacles in their lives, I also believe that the success of those ventures depends on the foundation on which one walks and especially on how firm and supportive that foundation is. Once we accept people for who they are, and how their uniqueness differentiates them from others, things would perhaps become more aligned with how our minds have always been trained.  

As for me, dwarfism is a funny thing. It can hit back when you don’t really expect it to be coming. Karma or God’s will, perhaps, I would never know. It’s like you realize that the fairy tale you always dreamt of was slightly different from what you expected. It may not really be the castle, but a muddy mansion that you just see through the rough waters and you realize that it was never a happy ever after.

But as I ponder, I realize that the challenges I have faced have allowed me to gain a strong foothold within a situation that was never constant. I would insist on bracing your life as it is, and treat everyone the way you expect to be treated. For once in a while, or at least one in a blue moon, people will surprise you. And perhaps, some day, people may just take your breath away!

If Today Was Your Last Day…

“So how do you wish to be remembered?”, asked one of my colleagues casually as we strolled down the road towards his car. For a moment, I felt stumped, but then, suddenly, as if someone kicked in a supplement of dose of wisdom into my brain, I nodded, took time to carve a smile on my face, and said:

“The best thing that could happen for any one would be a mass funeral, full of weeping mourners, and an epithet that reads, ‘And when the sun had set itself in the right direction, did you see how a very small man casted a very big shadow?’”

Mic drop.

We didn’t speak for at least, the next 10 minutes that day. He was probably more astounded than I was.


When things go wrong as sometimes they will,

When the road you’re struggling seems uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t quit.


Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learn,

And many a fellow turns about,

When he might have won had he stuck it out,

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,

You may succeed, yet with just another blow.


Often the goal seems nearer than it seems to a faltering man,

Often the struggler has given up, when he might have captured the Victor’s cup,

And he learned too late when the night came down,

How close he was to the golden crown.


Success is a failure turned inside out,

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near, when it seems afar,

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,

It’s when things seem worst, you musn’t quit.



The Morning I Killed Myself

The morning after I killed myself, I woke up.

I made myself breakfast in bed. I added salt and pepper to my eggs and used my toast for a cheese and bacon sandwich. I squeezed a grapefruit into a juice glass. I scraped the ashes from the frying pan and rinsed the butter off the counter. I washed the dishes and folded the towels.

The morning after I killed myself, I fell in love. Not with the boy down the street or the middle school principal. Not with the everyday jogger or the grocer who always left the avocados out of the bag. I fell in love with my mother and the way she sat on the floor of my room holding each rock from my collection in her palms until they grew dark with sweat. I fell in love with my father down at the river as he placed my note into a bottle and sent it into the current. With my brother who once believed in unicorns but who now sat in his desk at school trying desperately to believe I still existed.

The morning after I killed myself, I walked the dog. I watched the way her tail twitched when a bird flew by or how her pace quickened at the sight of a cat. I saw the empty space in her eyes when she reached a stick and turned around to greet me so we could play catch but saw nothing but sky in my place. I stood by as strangers stroked her muzzle and she wilted beneath their touch like she did once for mine.

The morning after I killed myself, I went back to the neighbors’ yard where I left my footprints in concrete as a two year old and examined how they were already fading. I picked a few daylilies and pulled a few weeds and watched the elderly woman through her window as she read the paper with the news of my death. I saw her husband spit tobacco into the kitchen sink and bring her her daily medication.

The morning after I killed myself, I watched the sun come up. Each orange tree opened like a hand and the kid down the street pointed out a single red cloud to his mother.

The morning after I killed myself, I went back to that body in the morgue and tried to talk some sense into her. I told her about the avocados and the stepping stones, the river and her parents. I told her about the sunsets and the dog and the beach.

The morning after I killed myself, I tried to unkill myself, but couldn’t finish what I started.”
—Meggie Royer

Implications of Big Data Revolution in the Middle Eastern Region

Emerging economies, such as those in the Middle East, are poised in an excellent position to take advantage of all the information that big data has to offer. With the explosion of mobile phone and other electronic device ownership rising in the Middle East more, and extensively detailed, information is available to be captured by big data companies. Once processed, this information can then be sold to government agencies as well as private sector businesses. Whether you’re utilizing the rich information that big data collects, or are the collector of such information, the Middle East is the place to be to reap large profits.

Rapid ownership growth of digital devices heralds large amounts of data that are far too big to be processed by traditional data processing methods. These large sets of data have to be processed by computers with specially designed software programs. What makes this data so valuable, is that it can be used to predict human behavior. The data analyzed can uncover trends and patterns which can help businesses position products and services in the right place at the right time. Emerging big data companies in the Middle East stand to profit richly from collecting and analyzing this information and then selling it to governments and private businesses. New big data companies created to manage the influx of data will create many jobs in the Middle East as well.

The highly detailed information that big data analysis produces is of high value to commercial and retail businesses. This information allows businesses to target customer bases that they didn’t know were available. Additionally, businesses can target specific market areas by demographic, location, etc. This highly targeted marketing reaches consumers who are most likely to buy the businesses’ products and services, thus increasing sales.  Not only are sales increased, but businesses save money by receiving a higher return on their advertising investment money. The increase of profits into the Middle Eastern economy is going to positively affect job growth and consumer spending. The potential for higher employee wages is also a distinct possibility.

Governments are equally as eager to get their hands on this information as private businesses are. Data, such as which roads are traveled on most and a how often, can support expenditures on infrastructure that needs the most repair the quickest. The analytics that big data offers can also assist with improving a government’s health services. The more information governments have, the more efficiently things will run. When things run efficiently, governments save money and have the option of lowering taxes. Such data will also allow governments to manage natural resources more efficiently as well.

As the usage of smartphones, sensors and the IoT (Internet of Things) grows in the Middle East, more and more information will be available to be used. The emerging companies who compile and analyze this data, as well as the private businesses and governments who use it, will have a competitive edge over those who don’t use it. The Middle East is about to experience substantial market and economic growth, and those who are first to take advantage of big data will no doubt profit the most.


Imagine a boy standing on the shores of an obstreperous harbor. Two miles away, faint, lying on the horizon, panting out of his sense of achievement – gazing right into the sun as he postulates on the golden sand.

All the other boys said that it was impossible to go there. But this one boy thinks it can be done. The others gaze as he kicks off his shoes, and plunges into the water. They watch with shock as he goes farther from the shore. They whisper to each other solemnly that he would drown, and never make it, and in case he turns around, he’ll just make it harder.  The others propagated that it was just another belligerent stunt in a series of his self assertive, unilateral moves.

The water was cold, and the current was strong. With every stroke, the boy had to fight off the chills, and battle with the tide rushing in from sea. Anyone watching him, as his schoolmates did from the shore, who barely made out anything other than a tiny speck moving through the sea, would have thought he stood no chance against the waves. But that thought never entered the boy’s mind. His muscles and his heart, pounded. But the water would not defeat him.

The ramparts of the fort were still a mile away, but he stood at the point of no return. Turning back was no longer an option. Why did he cross that invisible line? Why risk his life great odds that stood against him? The question now in front of him wasn’t why did he make a move; it was, what kept him from drowning, while he was mid way across the shore.

Another day, with warmer water, but currents carrying him, he might have made it; but on this day, he would only make half of the way as his arms gave out and numbness overtook him. The coast guard pulled him out of the water despite his protests. Was he reckless, or was he foolish? Possibly. One thing can’t be denied however. What others considered to be as impossible, he refused to believe in such. The water proved him wrong, and he fell far short of the other shore, but yet, he made the attempt. And that, is everything!