Akeel Ashumat: Judge others to remain comforted in your convictions, but only at the expense of your own growth

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A wise man once said that art never comes from Happiness. Happy people do not make good art. Only a maimed heart can pipe out a tune melodic enough to kindle other hearts.

People are really helpful in this regard, I find, to make sure that you don’t lack for any judgments and criticisms along your way.  And I have had my fair share of criticisms along my music journey, yet I do not like to dwell on them. This is a negative energy which I would much prefer to expend on my music.

I was born into a humble family, part of an impoverished area, but I had an extraordinarily affectionate mother, an ambitious father, a twin brother and four siblings to make up for any material deficiency. I topped during my early schooling and took part vigorously in extra-curricular activities.

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However, I had to toil hard for getting into the prestigious Cadet College Skardu. I competed fairly well with the other brainiacs of the region there besides being active in other activities. I was the seargent of my house, house commander during parades, member of flag party and captain of the basketball house teams.

I was doing very well…..

until a tragedy struck me. Just like that.  Unannounced, unpredicted and unexpected. My revered father passed away. And I tasted then the first morsel of human mortality. The anguish was unbearable, the reality almost unbelievable and the memory very much real.

However, I bore it all with the support of an elder brother and the love of an affectionate mother. I passed out from the college with good graces.

I almost got selected for the Technical Cadet Course, halting only at the very last stage. This cost me a year in my career though. But I did not regret that much. Music was the food I devoured since childhood, which was less a choice and more a necessity for me, like air for us all. Although I settled for studying Law in Bahria University Islamabad, but really I was spending more time working on my beats, symphonies and strings than cramming my books.12494679_1193420247342264_2451855698702020878_n

But still to get a firm footing in music was no play, especially so for the middle classes who had to go through one distasteful experience after the other to establish themselves.

Criticisms started pouring in from everywhere when I and my brother Sajeel got a little bolder towards music. We were the stereotype breakers, daring to do something which our forebears hadn’t, so the pressure was bound to come from everywhere. We were the Mirasis in the full-on desi definition of the word, easy to be scorned and condemned for not fitting their mould of a conservative society.

But we were determined enough to resist all the odds, and therefore we materialized our long dreamed project of forming a band- the @Twos band. Through this band, we wanted to preserve the rich cultural music of Baltistan along with exploring its new flavors by mixing other musical elements of modernity.

But all this was worth it when the four years of struggle bore its fruit and we launched our first official music video, in which we had done enough efforts to establish ourselves as musicians of Gilgit Baltistan. Not only that, I could also make my family proud of myself when I was selected as the cultural ambassador of Pakistan at the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program where I visited the United States for an experience to last a life-time of exploration, exposure and learning.

My message to all newcomers is that you can keep doing all the things over and over again and then in the next five or eight years, you will be where you are today, or you can decide today that you are going to blame no one, make no excuses. If you make that choice today, everyday becomes a day when you grow higher and stronger, you can sleep at night, the sleep of success. We make so many mistakes, we are the product of our mistakes, all we need to do is not compare ourselves to others, and not give up.

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