Portrait Project


Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Ali Hashmi

By [the passage of] Time [that cannot be recaptured]
Verily, humanity is in loss

- "The Declining Day", The Qur'an

It took me a while to realize that the future I was chasing was the one I was "expected" to have, not the one I was destined for. "Keeping my options open" became a pretext for exercising none, so I settled, suppressing the internal monologue of doubt with that time-honored justification, "There is still time; I can come back to it."

Yet, something inside me kept tugging, asking "What makes you think you will be here tomorrow?" I did not have a good answer. After all, my 26-year-old cousin, Zaheer, undoubtedly thought he would live to see his wedding day. "But that was Karachi in the tumultuous 90s. What lessons does one terrible day in December 1994 have for your life?" Many, I believe.

Life has a way of concealing certain truths. Despite the many coincidences that separate us, a simple truth unites us: our time in this world is limited, and that which is limited is precious. As for me, I want to live a life that does not merely "acknowledge" this truth, but genuinely acts on it; I want to live a life that is destined for me, today, not tomorrow.

For how is it possible to continue living life as usual after realizing that the one loss that cannot be recouped is time?

— Ali Hashmi