mortal mettle

Like a shipwrecked vessel adrift at sea, our earthly lives are but a fleeting voyage. As transient travelers treading the sands of time, we journey together under endless skies, our footprints traced temporarily along the shores of eternity. Though our mortal shells erode, our spirits sail on. (Photographed and styled by The Border of a Mind Studios from a beach in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)

We all try to avoid thinking about it, but death comes for us all eventually. Though it makes us uncomfortable, reflecting on our mortality can inspire us to live more purposefully. When the clock of life stops ticking, fret not about the lifeless body you leave behind. Your loved ones will take good care of it—they’ll dress you up nicely in a white shroud before sending you off on your final journey.

Many will come to see you off – some taking time off work, others rearranging plans. They’ll stand around chatting like at a high school reunion before you set off on your last journey.

Your possessions – that Ukulele lying around you never learned to play, the fancy plates at home you never used, the clothes that hung unworn in your closet – they’ll all be passed on, sold off, or tossed out quicker than last night’s leftovers. The details of your material life will go on without you.

At the office, they’ll have your replacement before your obituary hits the papers. Your workload will be passed on seamlessly like a baton in a relay race.

Your finances and assets will go to your next of kin. Don’t be surprised if you continue to be analyzed and criticized even in death – people always have opinions, after all.

True friends will mourn you for a time, shedding tears over memories you made together. But the river of life keeps flowing, and they’ll soon be back to their routines. As for fairweather friends, they’ll forget you faster than a fleeting TikTok trend.

Your pets might tilt their heads confused, wondering where you went, but they’ll bond with their new owners soon enough. Loyalty has its limits.

Your smiling face in those photos on the mantle will gather dust, gradually relegated to boxes in the attic to fade from memory.

Your home will echo with emptiness for a while, but will soon be filled with the noise of someone else living your life.

In time, the pain will subside, the calls will taper off, and you’ll become just another name etched into stone, a distant memory.

For you, though, the real adventure is just beginning. A new phase of existence where worldly possessions and status symbols are meaningless. Where you take only what you gave – your compassion, wisdom, and light.

While you glance at these writings, let us remind each other to live and love fully now. Build spiritual wealth by touching lives. That’s the only currency that lasts. Make your mark on this world, because your chance is finite. But your soul is infinite.

wild drift, lush fronds

Two regal betta princes survey their aquatic kingdom, tails flowing like royal robes as they patrol the dense emerald foliage of their jungle realm. Like adventurers in an ancient tale, the intrepid fish weave through the tangled wood, the vast and wild frontier their underwater Camelot. Their sapphire scales shimmer like armor in the dappled light, noble knights of this verdant and vibrant wonderland.

For those of you who have been journeying with me through the tangle of tales and art of words and ideas on this blog, you’ll remember my old posts on aquascaping. As a gardener of water, I’ve nurtured my underwater realm, shaping it from a simple basin to a bustling, verdant underwater jungle somehow. It’s been a labor of love, a test of patience, and today I share with you the fruits of my labor of several months.

Imagine, if you will, a jungle. Dense with life, brimming with an untamed symphony, where every inch tells a tale of growth. Now, imagine that same wild expanse, but beneath the surface of the water. That’s the essence of my Jungle style aquascape. It’s a chaotic waltz of the wild set free within the glass confines of my humble aquarium.

Unlike the meticulous rigor of other aquascaping styles, the Jungle style finds beauty in the bedlam. It embraces the seeming disorder of nature, the spontaneous burst of foliage, the unanticipated twist of driftwood. The heart of this aquascape is the verdant array of aquatic plants, a dense range of varied species, each contributing its unique essence to the tableau. Towering fronds of small and long-leafed plants stretch towards the light, their surfaces a playground for dancing shadows and shimmering reflections.

Driftwood, the skeletal remains of ancient trees, punctuates the lush greenery, not to impose order but to echo the intricate disarray of nature. They’re like brushstrokes in an impressionist painting, adding depth and texture to a scene that revels in its beautiful chaos. Creating a Jungle style aquascape is an exercise in controlled chaos. It’s a delicate balancing act of allowing nature to unfurl in all its wild beauty yet curating it enough to ensure it thrives within the confines of a tank. It’s an art form that challenges you to harness your inner wild, channel your creativity, and test the boundaries of your ability.

The allure of the Jungle style lies in this freedom of expression, the liberty to let your aquascape be as untamed as your imagination. But within this wild abandon lies a silent covenant – to nurture and sustain this vibrant ecosystem, to be the silent sentinel safeguarding the harmonious discord of this underwater jungle. In cultivating this aquascape, I’ve not just created a humble art for the eyes, but a subtle art of balance in my taste. It’s a living, breathing metaphor of life itself – wild, beautiful, and forever changing.

the trek within

In the darkest valley, when all seems lost and failure looms, success flickers in the act of rising once again. In waking at despair’s midnight, abandoned and impoverished, and finding the will to face the coming dawn. Every new day survived is a small success. Original photograph by Nasna Nassir. Styled by Ajmal,

The road to success is not a straightforward highway to a glittering destination, but rather a winding footpath through darkened woods, lit only by the inner sparks of courage. No wise guide sets the course, each must follow their own inner compass.

For one lost in a fog of a drinking addiction, success may be a week freed from drink, a first glimpse of sunlight. For another trapped in creative drought, success could be three pages written after months adrift in a sea of blank pages. To someone recovering from illness, success may be simply taking six steps unaided, after legs long robbed of their strength. Success is not crossing the finish line but taking the next step, however faltering, on the onward trail.

Success isn’t about the sparkling Ferrari in your driveway, or the penthouse with a view. It’s not about the designer shoes that line your closet or the VIP contacts in your shiny new maxed out phone. It’s not about the Instagram-worthy photos of your family vacation in Bora Bora or the sprawling vacation home in Cape Cod. True success dazzles not in manifestations of wealth that fade like stars at dawn, but rather glitters in small precious gems of everyday life. In a child’s smile, a lover’s kiss, the quiet satisfaction of work done well. It blooms when one tends the garden of their character, watering discipline and nourishing perseverance. Success is about finding the strength to rise, like a phoenix from the ashes, when you’ve hit rock bottom. It’s about staring into the abyss, when everything feels like a dead end, and choosing to take that first step back towards the light. You see, success is not about the glitz and glamour. It’s about resilience, perseverance, and the audacity to keep on keeping on, even when everything feels lost.

In the darkest valley, when all seems lost and failure looms, success flickers in the act of rising once again. In waking at despair’s midnight, abandoned and impoverished, and finding the will to face the coming dawn. Every new day survived is a small success. Each breath, each tiny act of courage to march onward – that is the true measure. For when all is shadows, the next step is everything. Success isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. It’s not about reaching the top of the mountain, but the climb itself. It’s about the grit, the sweat, the tears, and the laughter along the way. It’s about standing tall, dusting yourself off, and being able to say, “I’m still here. I’m still fighting.” Now, isn’t that something?

being tender

In the rush of life, we immerse ourselves in, it seems that tenderness has become a rare and precious commodity. We often forget the value of being kind and gentle, like the soft skin on our eyelids. Tenderness is a sweet collision of emotions that encompasses vulnerability, love, caring, kindness, hope, and warmth. It is an experience that we all crave and need.

The beauty of tenderness is found in the smallest things we do. It can be manifested in the way we kiss with a loved one, how we peel a banana, turn the pages of a book, or brush a hair off someone’s forehead. When we do something tenderly, we slow down, relish the moment, and find unexpected pleasure in the little things.

Tenderness is also about listening, empathizing, and understanding. It is about being present, holding someone’s hand, feeling their pain, and offering comfort. In today’s world, where even the smallest aspects can ensue into something to be anxious about, tenderness is especially important.

Let us take a moment to pause and appreciate the tenderness in our lives. Let us embrace the beauty of vulnerability and love, and be kind, gentle, and caring towards ourselves and others. In a world that can be cold and harsh, a little tenderness can go a long way in healing our souls. Let’s go.

contemplating the inner mirror

“A thought is a veil, not a reflection; thus, you dwell within a cocoon of thoughts, disconnected from the essence of Reality.” | Photographed and styled by The Border of a Mind

The reflective nature of existence

In the words of an insightful philosopher: “Why fear thoughts? For it is through them that we bring order to the world.” Yet, the very act of thinking has the power to veil reality so completely that we become blind to it.

In imparting wisdom to his disciples, he elucidated: “A thought is a veil, not a reflection; thus, you dwell within a cocoon of thoughts, disconnected from the essence of Reality.” This charming allegory by Anthony de Mello highlights the profound truth; life is a prism reflecting the depth of your inner thoughts.

Individuals often attribute their tribulations to external circumstances, endeavoring fruitlessly to transform their surroundings in the hopes of ameliorating their lives. This approach seldom yields success, as their thoughts remain incongruent. What the mind envisions materializes, regardless of one’s desires.

Life, as a mirror, reflects your very essence back to you.

Perceiving the World Through the Self

The world, as we perceive it, is not an objective reality but rather a reflection of our inner selves. If you perceive the world as precarious, you will seek evidence to validate this belief, perhaps by focusing on distressing news stories that confirm your convictions.

“Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.”

— Earl Nightingale

Conversely, some individuals embrace the beauty of life, attracting delightful experiences as a consequence. These people are not naïvely optimistic, but rather prioritize joy in the face of adversity. Thus, we observe two distinct individuals manifesting dissimilar circumstances, driven by their prevailing beliefs dictating their reality.

The Malleability of Thought and Experience

Continuously, your conscious and unconscious thoughts shape the world around you, as reality becomes a mirror reflecting your inner realm. Should your thoughts be distorted, it is imperative to realign them with the truth. Failing to do so may lead you into the abyss of despair.

The power of choice lies within you. Reality manifests external conditions in accordance with your thoughts. Life is neither fair nor unjust; it merely confirms your thoughts as both the creator and the experiencer.

As our perception of life is an experience of thought, overthinking complicates our existence, constricting the aperture of our consciousness. Soon, all we discern when peering into the world is our own thinking mirrored back to us in the distorted reflection of self-awareness.

Embracing the Duality of Life ,the Illusion of Free Will

“The wise man smiles in adversity, gathers strength from distress, and becomes courageous through reflection.”

— Thomas Paine

Life flourishes due to its dualistic nature, comprising equal and opposite forces. Day yields to night, each complementing the other. Without darkness, how could one appreciate the light of day?

Many individuals ardently defend the concept of free will, yet it could be argued that free will is an illusion, veiling our unconscious beliefs as choices. Your decisions stem from ingrained beliefs established during your formative years, when your environment was outside of your control.

Life offers feedback regarding the congruence of your thoughts, enabling you to take corrective action. Consider your external environment as a reflection of your inner landscape. When observing an external event or situation, delve within to uncover the parallel, the connection.

Embracing Personal Growth

Many hold fast to the idea that their thoughts are unchangeable. This belief is flawed, as countless individuals have triumphed over limiting beliefs to forge empowering lives. Your existence is a tapestry woven from outcomes, symbols, and shadows. Positive and negative moments exist only in the meaning you attribute to them. Reality provides feedback to guide you in amending your course and constructing new circumstances based on a shift in awareness.

Personal development and self-improvement serve as the catalyst for enduring transformation, provided you commit to the inner work.

The impediment becomes the pathway.

The journey reveals the way.

The world is a reflection of your mind. If chaos and confusion reign within, your external world must mirror that. You must perceive what you believe, for you are the confounded thinker, the interpreter of all things. If chaos abounds within you, the sights and sounds you encounter will echo that chaos.

Life is the manifestation of your innermost thoughts and I truly believe this is where we can connect with the Almighty.

God bless.

no moment is devoid of worth.

A blissful boat ride with Netta and Ehan through the serene waters of Zanzibar, a memory to treasure. | composed and styled by Ajmal, The Border Of a Mind [dot] com

In life, no moment is devoid of value. The tender embrace of a vada pav’s brioche at the office canteen. The unyielding nature of affection. The intricate design of confectionary rings. The quietness after a kiss. The velvety glide of a spice-laden shawarma toast from the cafeteria. The nocturnal lament carried by the wind from the balcony on an early morning. An unexpected GPS detour leading to discovery of a new place. The melancholy of deflated culinary ambitions at the kitchen. The tedium of anticipating destiny’s plan for something. The flawless crunch of a well-crafted pastry parcel.

The hesitancy permeating a romantic encounter. The subtlety of linguistic artistry in a foreign tongue. The precise elegance of a tailored shirt. The ephemeral bond forged through a fleeting glance. The opulence of being cradled in a toddler’s embrace. The alchemy of flawlessly softened dairy. The aroma of freshly pressed pages. The gentle cascade of crystalline luminescence. The distant echo of a once-cherished voice. The comforting pressure of familiar hands encircling your form.

The trepidation before facing the undiscovered. The immutable presence of sorrow. The benevolence of unfamiliar faces in a metro. The ever-widening chasm separating aspiration and achievement. The symphony of droplets colliding with metallic surfaces. The unuttered sentiments haunting your thoughts. The declarations that escaped your lips. Your essence is molded by each encounter and sensation, as both the tangible and intangible leave their indelible mark. Nothing and no one is devoid of purpose or significance in the rich tapestry of existence.

Incremental Progress: Small Steps to a Better You

Have you ever felt that your to-do list is so overwhelming that you don’t know where to start? That you’re stuck in a rut and can’t find the energy to move forward? It happens to the best of us. But the good news is that there are small, actionable steps you can take to start making progress and feel better about yourself and your situation.

Incremental Progress: Small Steps to a Better You

Create a List of Priorities
The first step towards a more productive and fulfilling life is to create a list of your most pressing priorities. Whether it’s work-related tasks, household chores, or personal goals, write them down. This will help you visualize your goals and take the first step towards achieving them. It may seem like a small step, but it’s a powerful one. By putting your thoughts on paper, you’re taking control of your situation.

Take Action, One Step at a Time
Once you have your list, it’s time to take action. Don’t worry if the tasks seem daunting or overwhelming. Break them down into smaller, achievable steps. Start with the easiest task on your list and work your way up. By taking action, you’re building momentum and gaining confidence. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish when you take it one step at a time.

Talk it Out
Sometimes, it helps to talk to someone about your struggles. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or professional, sharing your thoughts and feelings can be a huge relief. It can also help you gain perspective and work through the reasons behind your negative emotions. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. You’re not alone, and there’s always someone who cares.

Groom Yourself
When you’re feeling down, it’s easy to let self-care fall by the wayside. But taking care of your physical appearance can have a significant impact on your mood. Take a shower, brush your teeth, comb your hair, and put on clean clothes. These small acts of self-care can help you feel more confident and positive about yourself.

It’s never too late to start. Take that first step today and see how far you can go.

limitless scribbles

“Within the scribbles of a child’s creation lies the purest expression of human potential..” Photography and styling –

As I gaze upon the picture of my 2-year-old son drawing with crayons for the first time, I can’t help but feel a sense of wonder and awe. In that moment, I am reminded of the incredible power of creation and the endless possibilities that lie within each and every one of us. For the first time, I gave him crayons that his grandfather gifted for him on our last visit to home.

As my son scribbles away on the paper, I am struck by the pure joy and innocence that radiates from his tiny frame. There is no fear, no self-doubt, no sense of limitation. Just pure, unbridled creativity and imagination. In this simple act of drawing with crayons, my son is tapping into a deep wellspring of human potential. He is exploring his own unique perspective on the world, expressing himself in his own way, and creating something that is entirely his own.

And as I reflect on this moment, I am reminded that we too have this same power within us. We too have the ability to tap into our own creativity, to explore our own unique perspectives, and to create something that is entirely our own. But what if we could approach the world with the same sense of wonder and innocence as my son does with his crayons? What if we could let go of our own limitations and tap into the endless possibilities that lie within us?

The question is where are the crayons of imagination of you and me gone? When we get buried ourselves in chores and work, always remember that there’s a child inside us and a boundless mind to wander if we put in effort to search for it. It’s exact vision that I’m expounding with the border of a mind venture. To kindle and spark the inner souls within us : )

Perhaps then, we too could create something truly remarkable. Perhaps then, we too could tap into the deep wellspring of human potential that lies within us all.

peaceful glide

The little betta fish that I recently added to my desk is a true beauty, with its bright red color and white fin ends. It’s a half-moon type and as it gracefully glides through the water, it’s a peaceful watch for me to behold. The mere glance of the fish is a satisfying one, and it brings a sense of calm to my day. I enjoy watching it explore every inch of its lush green forest-like aquarium, swimming through the dense foliage and resting on the wooden driftwood. It’s a reminder of the vastness and beauty of the world outside my four walls.

The betta fish also serves as a reminder to me, that amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s important to find moments of peace and tranquility. It reminds me that sometimes it’s the small things in life that bring the greatest joy. My betta fish is a source of balance and harmony in my daily desk routine, and it’s a reminder to appreciate the beauty in the small things. It’s a reminder that even in the smallest of spaces, there is always room for something beautiful and peaceful. May you have a day of inner peace : )

elevated greenery

elevated greenery.

As I surveyed my cramped abode, my potted companions and I seemed to have reached the limits of our cohabitation. But then, a glimmer of an idea dawned upon me – why not elevate our greenery to new heights?

With a curious toddler constantly exploring every nook and cranny of our home, the tops of my windows seemed like the perfect solution. Not only would it free up valuable floor space, it would also keep my plants out of reach of little hands.

And so, with great care and perseverance, I transported my verdant friends to their new home. The task was no easy feat, as each watering and replenishment required a treacherous ascent. Yet, the reward was more than worth the effort.

Not only did the plants invigorate my dwelling with their lively presence, they also aided in the creation of an optical illusion, making the space below seem more expansive. It was as if a gust of fresh air had swept through my humble home.

While this solution may not be suitable for all, it was, for me, a simple yet effective means of maximizing my residential retreat while also keeping my plants safe from curious little hands. It is often the minimalist ideas that have the greatest impact. As I beheld my flourishing flora, a wave of accomplishment and satisfaction washed over me.