Who am I?

It was the summer of ’76. I was in London with my family. We were in the downtown office and my dad (Abbu) had called a taxi for us to be going somewhere. The cab was there but my family was not ready yet so I was asked to go out and let the cab driver know that we were on our way. A huge responsibility for a 8~9 year old and I took it very seriously – obviously. When I told the driver he asked me who I was. I responded, “I am my father’s son”. I don’t recall much of that vacation / trip but I remember that statement and the confidence with which I had responded. Someone asked me a straight question and I responded precisely.

Somehow that same question doesn’t seem so very simple today. Or ever since that day I suppose.

I have tried to think how I would respond to that question today. Or, more precisely – how would I respond to the question – “Who is Manzoorul Hassan?” Is it just a collection of roles that I fill on a daily basis or roles that I have played at some point? Is it the collection of relationships I have? Is it the characteristics / traits I have?

While I continue to explore that question, I do realize that different people see me differently. Not that I’m surprised by that revelation, I do see that otters don’t necessarily see / realize that. At least not everyone. First, I am not intentionally trying to portray myself differently. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. But various conditions around my relationship creates the differing variables that causes each to relate to me differently and that let’s them into a only a different tiny bit of me. Not to mention each of them bring their own experiences that also contributes.

I am who I am and at a fundamental level I might never be able to change myself but might be able to tweak how I behave with others or to various situations. Also, intentionally or not I am not the same person I was 15 or maybe 20 years ago. So I have changed which probably proves that I might change some more. Maybe.

– manzoor
Not by Erin Hanson

You are not your age,
Nor the size of clothes you wear,
You are not a weight,
Or the colour of your hair.
You are not your name,
Or the dimples in your cheeks,
You are all the books you read,
And all the words you speak,
You are your croaky morning voice,
And the smiles you try to hide,
You’re the sweetness in your laughter,
And every tear you’ve cried,
You’re the songs you sing so loudly,
When you know you’re all alone,
You’re the places that you’ve been to,
And the one that you call home,
You’re the things that you believe in,
And the people that you love,
You’re the photos in your bedroom,
And the future you dream of,
You’re made of so much beauty,
But it seems that you forgot,
When you decided that you were defined,
By all the things you’re not.


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