Thursday, November 4, 2010

Diwali and UNICEF

Dear all
May God bless you with a happy and prosperous Diwali. I wish I could be there and see all the lights. I have another appeal. UNICEF is arranging for education, food and shelter for the flood affected children but due to shortage of funds, it will close down: 
Unicef to Close?

This is worrisome- and hopefully, you will help on this auspicious day.
Support Unicef

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mood Streets

Mood Street is a weekly column, that runs in The News on Sunday. You can contribute to it on

Apple is more then a fruit. It is, in fact, a symbol with a long heritage. One of the most familiar apple symbols is found in our holy books – most prominently in the Bible. Apple is the forbidden fruit eaten by Adam and resulted in a shocking landing of man from Heavens on Earth. Had this apple not been consumed, there is a possibility that our joy-ride on planet Earth would not have materialised.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Them not us!

The recent protest in the US against the Islamic Cultural Centre near the site of the former World Trade towers hurt us all.

Almost a decade back, we had a performance in school. To sound unique, I presented a bible story. It was disqualified; instead a couple of puzzled faces looked at me strangely. After that, I remained uninvited to iftar parties. The issue re-emerged when I decided to stand for the school’s council election.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Back to Basics!

About 2.3 billion people (40 pc of the world) do not have proper toilets. Hence, lack of sanitation is a global issue and Pakistan also suffers from it. It has a human and environmental cost that most of us are unaware of.

The first modern sanitation system was implemented in the Indus Valley in 2800 to 2000 BC Mohenjodaro. Toilets were made with bricks and contained wooden seats. In 2500 BC Harrapa, near Ahmedabad, modern water flushed toilets and brick covered drain pipes were discovered that eventually connected to a main pipe. It is ironic that today, South Asia is doing worst in terms of sanitation, health and waste management.
According to the government, though the water supply coverage is 90pc, merely 58pc of Pakistan's population gets sanitation coverage. According to a recent WHO report, sanitation in Pakistan is improving due to the open pits in rural areas. The report said that from 58pc in 1990, open defecation had decreased to 27pc in 2008.
"The situation is unaesthetic. Human waste is full of disease-causing bacteria contaminating the air, food and water," said Nazeer Watto, an environmental expert who works for the Anjuman Samaji Behbud (Organisation for Social Welfare) in Faisalabad.
"When waste is generated in the open and remains untreated, it interacts with the food chain through the soil, water and crops. The disease causing bacteria are incorporated in the food we consume, persisting longer and having worst effects by the time they reach humans," says Mustafa Talpur of WaterAid. "Sanitation is for human dignity; otherwise it enhances class isolation since only the lowest classes endure it."
According to WHO, Pakistan loses 52000 children annually, due to diarrhea. The World Bank Strategic Environmental Assessment for Pakistan estimates the total healthcare cost of diarrhea and typhoid, both water and sanitation related diseases, to be Rs112 billion (US$1.33 billion), or 1.8 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
Although the urban sanitation has improved, it is still not up to the safe standard. Inadequate sanitary conditions are prevalent the sidelined and oppressed communities -- the more remote and poorer the village, the worst the sanitary conditions there. Pakistan's entire water system is running from north to south. This means that when waterways get polluted, the water goes downstream. People downstream utilise the polluted water for daily use.
"In hilly areas, water channels get polluted and the water travels downstream. This is not the case in planes," said Faheem Riaz Khan, director at the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency. "In urban areas, the excretion takes place near water pipes. Usually, the sewage and the water pipes are close to each other, with the former contaminating the latter."
Even if a handful of families perform unsanitary practice, the entire community is at risk. Most urban centers in Pakistan include several slums. Lahore alone has 155 registered slums and these do not include the unregistered, illegal settlements. How many tons of biological/ human waste they produce and where does it all go? Is there a data available? Can anyone estimate the invisible cost it has in terms of human health?
Lack of sanitation persists in underprivileged communities. These communities (slums, remote villages ) are not hot spots of political activities. Therefore, politicians are not propelled to improve sanitation and create influence. We see protests on food or power shortage, unemployment and inflation. The government prioritises its budget and policy plans accordingly. Due to the invisible health cost, lack of NGOs and pressure groups and political socialisation, the lack of sanitation is never seen as a national level crisis. Hence, in the provincial and federal budget, there is never any finance reserved to improve the public sanitation.
Mustafa Talpur is an expert working with the Water-Aid, an NGO for social welfare. "We work in coordination with other groups like MUAWIN, PURC, Orangi Pilot Project, and some 12 other organizations," said Talpur. "We give covered sewage lines in urban dwellings, connecting these communities with the existing central sewage system. We sometimes start sanitation from scratch in rural areas."
The biggest brunt is faced by women, another greatly oppressed faction of our society that lacks political representation. The illness of children, their consequent death takes a financial and emotional toll on these women. They lack awareness about the basics of hygiene and how these illnesses can be prevented. Million of women in Pakistani slums and villages persistently forced to bare their privates due to lack of proper lavatories are never discussed in the media.
Since millions of people are in need of proper sanitation, we need a national level policy in order to tackle this problem. Water scarcity worsens this dilemma. Where people do not have water to drink and cook, ablution and sanitation is not given precedence, especially when the awareness regarding its significance is missing. The floods have worsened the sanitation crisis, because the water that infiltrated the dwellings, lands and water table was unclean. Furthermore, people escaping the affected areas are cramped together under unhygienic conditions. Keeping themselves and their abode unsoiled is not one of their priorities. "We need awareness, better and effective ways, community mobilization and government effort," said the director PEPA.
In Kenema (Siera Leon's third largest city) the city council, district council, and NGOs have launched the sanitation campaign to prevent rural community from relieving themselves in the bushes, any water body and house. Indian government gives special awards to communities that stop open discharge and in Nepal children blow whistles, put up shame flags on those who violate the sanitation code. Nepalese NGOs assist communities in converting their waste into "humanure" for crops; and a women's group "calculated" how much waste spoiled the food supply.
An international NGO called the World Toilet Organisation is also working in 58 countries to improve the international sanitation. It has declared 19th November of each year, the world toilet day. WTO now has 235 NGOs as members and is trying to form a network of global support to influence governments. Hopefully, Pakistan will seek WTO's services.
In India, an innovative methodology called the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) has been initiated to mobilise communities against open defecation. Building a toilet is easier than creating an open defecation free community, therefore, CLTS focuses on behavioral reform to make the change permanent. CLTS instead encourages the community to innovate, support and seek local solutions.
There are a few Pakistani NGOs now that are working to improve sanitation. Pakistan lacks a nationwide NGO that is dedicated to resolving this problem. Every village has a different water table, topography, soil order, etc. Dumping standard washroom equipment in each village might not help. However, the fact remains that in a third world country like Pakistan, the community awareness and action like CLTS will be the most successful in bringing change.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Sialkot Tragedy

On the 15th of this month, two teenagers in Sialkot were accused of stealing and publicly beaten to death by hockey sticks. Thank God it was recorded on camera and someone submitted the video to the media.
It was of course disturbing to see it. But it caused a positive wave of resistance. People started protesting in Lahore and all over Pakistan.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Donate for Flood victims

Kindly donate something for the flood victims. The rains and floods continue and half of Pakistan is under water. You should use credit cards to donate. Please encourage your colleagues to do so. Those without a credit card can give cash to

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Who Let the Shoes Out!

Chacha Zardari! 
After all the President Zardari has done to completely eradicate terrorism and poverty, this is how he got paid? ( With the kind of money you raised, I bet you can afford your own shoes). We all know Billu Bhai , ( Bilawal) sacrificed his own speech to collect funds for flood relief after the protests broke on Heathrow. But this is no sound way of donating footwear, throwing them on you.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Healthy Vacation

Chacha Zardari
I am sure you are fine, after all London is sufficiently far from the Paki floods, and you are staying in a luxury hotel (mashallah). Please do not worry about the floods. The 1500 people who died were ANP supporters.The alive ones and the soon-to-die ones are also not PPP supporters. Just Relax. Very soon, more kids will be borne and you can convert em to PPP right away!

POETRY FILM 03: Panun Pan Parzan (Realize Thyself)

This film by journalist filmmaker Parijat Kaul interprets the message of Kashmiri saint poets Lal Ded and Nund Reshi (Sheikh Noorudin) in the context of today's violence torn Jammu & Kashmir. It won the 'Viewers' Choice Award' at 2nd Sadho Poetry Film Fest 2009-10.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Apni Bitya Key Naam Kavita

POETRY FILM 02: Apni Bitiya Ke Liye Ek Kavita (A Poem for My Daughter.)

A moving poem with lovely metaphors… a deliberately simple animation with the feel of children’s story-book illustrations

Friday, July 23, 2010

Youth Centric Culture

A few months back, a friend said she will die around 50, when her kids are self-sufficient. Many days later she said, whichever restaurant or outing place she and her friends go, "aunties" come there to spoil the fun. Not that these aunties interfered or disturbed. They just changed the happy atmosphere to "middle-aged". 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rain in Lahore

Rain in Lahore is a fantastical phenomenon but you have to scorch in the Lahore Sun for several months like a mango to receive the final sweet pleasure.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pakistan by Rahat Dar

Kabbadi Match in Derawar. ( Kabbaddi is an indigenous sport of Punjab)

Minority Problem in Faisalabad

Two Christians in Faisalabad facing blasphemy charges were murdered outside court today. The killing was extra judicial and Pakistan's mainstream media has yet to report it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Don't Call me " Bhai"?

Pakistan has been kissed ( or perhaps French kissed) by the American culture. We have all those eateries like Mcdonald, KFC, Dunkins, Burger King, Hardees etc.

One peculiar thing I have seen in all three of my recent offices, is that men frown on being called a " Bhai" ( Brother, Hermano). Probably they are ticked off by the complete impossibility of a romance with a so-called

A Choir of Leaves By Gary Robinson

I watch the girls eating ice cream,
drowsy as sunsets on this late-spring evening.

They conjure something, or are they conjured,
brought from a mirthful womb here

where they parse shrill narratives, silly riddles,
like pillows and stuffed toys on the sky's declining face.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Once Upon a Time

A spec of poetry in your blood?" Once Upon a Time"will shake you! A film and poem by Vishwajyoti Gosh, narrated by Ramesh Venkataraman at the 2nd Sadho Poetry Film Fest 2009-10.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Degree that Was'nt

The Pakistani political crisis has taken a new twist. Our beloved former dictator, who now wants to come back and stand in an election made it a compulsory to have a bachelors degree to compete in elections.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How to Live?

The Following are some of the links that can be useful to all of us,
inspirational, self help and more. It will of course take sometime to
listen to them- but Good LUCK to those who try!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How to get your thesis approved!

Many of my friends are busy in defending their thesis. So I thought, why not share some free gems of wisdom. Sharing is caring you know!

Last Few Weeks

The last few weeks have been testing for my nerves.
Firstly Facebook was banned. It wasn't a fatal blow to my self esteem. I can take this. But it once again hit

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pakistan Through the Lens

The following are a couple of photos of Pakistan, available at ( very good site if you want to understand Pakistan)

Quetta was where my father was posted for a decade. The city is quite dry and dangerous

Friday, May 21, 2010

The most endangered Species on Earth

There are roughly four types of Muslims available in Pakistan.

First is the most common breed, of which perhaps, even I am a member. This one picks and chooses what has to be followed and what not. For example, men who being the obedient followers of the Book grow the beard, and then focus on the hips of the women nearby. Or women who date in burqa, get drunk but boycott pork etc. Men who love porn but don't let their sisters go out alone. Many examples can follow here.

The second is the less common but far more dangerous species. These are actually rascals, who like to have a good time on Earth but pretend to be a Muslim. One must wonder why take such pains? Well, being a Muslim in Pakistan is a political agenda. All higher offices are Muslim exclusive. All parties, if not fully support it, at least don't defy Islam. Islam as a business is all profit. Take the example of a Islamic show host on t.v- the chap with fake degrees. He became a minister ( or MNA) was paid to attend house preaching , recite prayers etc. This was the first new-age glamorized version of religion, we faced. Many Islamic Political Parties, join hands with dictators and gain benefits. This is perhaps not as outrightly unislamic as the corruption they do. In Smaller circles, your reputation is improved by being Islamic (or dressing and talking Islam- a couple of Quranic examples, display of naiki, professing charity etc). Many girls in my school, went into a few years of Dupatta, to get a good proposal. In Pakistani aristocratic families, nothing is more prized then a rich, pious girl, who can flaunt a dupatta when the need arises.

The Third breed is the thoughtless follower. The one who doesn't read between the lines, thinks rationally, takes the blind, passionate plunge when the need arises. This is a large population. And they are equally dangerous... remember, in the 80s, the threats to throw acid on women who don't cover-up etc. This section is often used by the hypocrites ( second breed) to churn out money through militancy and attacking civilians.

The last is the rarest and the most endangered breed of all. The pure-hearted, harmless Muslim, who worships in solitude, doesn't intend to harm a fly and only seeks peace of mind as the outcome of his prayers.

P.S: I am not stating I am holier then thou. This is just an observation.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Who Screwed Facebook?

The Government took my anti-Facebook-photo-parade rhetoric too seriously and blocked the whole site for an infinite amount of time.
I must congratulate everyone, since it has improved our image greatly abroad.

My article was published on Chowk- it's all history and politics:

But its a rage.

My friend Amna came up with a nice post about workplace harassment:

Now here is someone I am very fond of , a journalist and friend, he won the Viewers Choice Award for his poetry film at the Sadho Poetry Fest:

The last week was a prolific one.
I got one good news that the English Speaking Union's Journal will publish some piece of mine. I don't know which. Ravi published my Amritsar piece last year, didn't get the copy till this Friday.
And then three of my articles came out.

On the Downfall of Lollywood:

And my travelogue on Delhi ( lovely memories)

Common Art ( Interview with an artist who sits by the street to promote art. )

But I missed my blog as hell , so came back to it!
My article got published in The News in march and I discovered it a month later:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sanctity of our Past

Facebook has revolutionized our lives. But the website, has almost raped our past and present.
When some friend of mine gets married ( mashallah) they upload a gazillion pictures. In case they are too busy, their friends, can create this havoc.. in fact , the friends are more rampant, since the pictures they load are non-professional, taken in a hassle and without any direct consequences...Even if you look stunning on your wedding day, why do you allow your pictures to be parading around, for free, among countless people whom you don't know and who don't give a damn, except for a general interest in your gender or dress-design. I am certainly not a religious conservative.
The worst comes if they visit a foreign land for honeymoon... then all u see is green beaches for many days to come on your home page. But nowadays, many of my friends are graduating. So you can imagine. Instead of one woman with digital camera , now there are several dozen, celebrating their last days in college. And suffocating us with 12 dozen pictures daily.
One of the silliest delusions FB ( facebook) gives us is that we are in the centre of the cosmos. By renovating our statuses, and uploading those pictures, we satisfy that desire for attention and itch caused by self-love. It nourishes our silly little idea that the World wants to know about us. Many people have statuses like " Sick of these assignments" or married women declaring " you can hurt me as much as you like, but I will always forgive you". To top it, all these relationship status acrobatics, from complicated to engaged to single, only provides fodder for gossip. Most of us have hundreds of people on our lists now. Trust me, only less then a dozen give a damn, or are honest to us as friends. Or may be more then that. But if you are telling me those 200+ people on your list, or those 30 who leave cheesy comments on your pictures are concerned- you are being delusional.
Some years back, we had those family albums, wedding albums, fewer pics that we cherished, but now when our lives are flooded with events, would we preserve and cherish these pictures? Will we think of our past with the same longing , once we have attempted to trap each and every moment through the lens and made it available to public? Some moments are perhaps too precious to be recorded or made public.....?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Just a few days back, my dear friend Rohma was gifted a cat by her smuggler friend (not me). The cat with all it's hair , looked as if it was trafficked from the north pole. After looking at it's catty features, I named her Aishwarya Rai. But it turned out it's a boy. So I named it Shahrukh Khan. But just then MNIK was released, and the irritating little Om Shanti Om was repeated on Geo. As a revenge tactic, I named the cat George Clooney.
Now, that Rohma had a huge cat, I was jealous. My maternal instinct was alive yet wasted. Just that, a stray cat who visited our house often, came back with a kitten. A small ball of cotton that could fit in my palm. (I picked it)
Now the little kitten under a table in the garage was not fond of me. It went further back under the table. My knees produced screeching noises when I bent down and extended my hand to it. Just then the Dirty Mama came. The little one foot high cat now acted like some lion king. And I had to run for my life.
The next day, the kitten, whom I named "Billu 420" was bigger and stronger. It whined when I picked it up- lovingly.
Just then the door opened. And my father arrived.
" You are not planning to bring that in are you?"
" No." I said
I dropped the kitten, who went back. Just then Rohma called. As she told me her romantic cat stories , I saw the cat return and Billu settle down on her back, like Simba. Out of jealousy and vengeance, I now call Rohma's cat "Pattey Khan".

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Who Killed BB?

Obviously I am not here to give you the answer. How would I know?
In fact I have my share of questions, that have been robbing me of a good night's sleep. The UN committee took two years to decide that the murder of BB could have been prevented.
Let me give them a good news. All crime can be prevented!
Why did uncle Zardari give out 10 crore Rupees to the foreigners. They could have easily delegated me and my best friend. We would also give him the same results, which he so vehemently desired.
Now that the Committee has not discovered the real murderer, shouldn't we ask them to return the public money. It is enough to set up a small power plant. Even royal fans come back with money back guarantee now.
And why is Musharaf in the line of fire again. Just because he looks suspicious, doesn't mean he is behind all the malice.The government did advice BB to stop her rampant campaigning. And of course, the Government didn't call her and suggest that she come out of that car roof. She came out of her free will. I admit it was brave of her to ignore the threats. But she didn't have the right to risk the lives of other people, who died due to her on the 18th October and later in December.
However, it was a very sad and insecure day for the country. And one thing that the then Government should be made accountable for , is how they handled this crisis. They turned the political turmoil into an economic one, and virtually the whole country came to a violent stand-still. Such a vigorous stand-still hadn't even been observed when Queid-e-Azam died!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The 18th Amendment

Pakistani democracy has come a long way, in the last two years. It has in fact, become speedier then is easily manageable.
The 18th Amendment is a sad affair. Its worst than watching your 40 year old son stuck in an anal stage.
So many clauses became controversial. It is all over the papers. And the legislature on the other hand gave it a super majority.
In a country that is corruption struck, and politicians are motivated by vested interests, it is hardly impressive anymore , to see political parties align on a bill that caused havoc. ( yes, many people lost their life and property in protests against changing NWFP's name).
It was amusing to see the name of Zia-ul-Haq wiped out as the president. The man declared martial law and became the longest lasting ruler in Pakistani history, and PPP still has trouble digesting it. ( Hajmola can work!) Just like Zia removed Mr. Bhutto's name from textbooks.When will we stop fiddling with history and attempting to produce a home-made version of everything? Mr. Bhutto's own ascend in power is was dubious enough. Remember, he came in power as a Cavilian Martial law administrator or God knows what...

We are still stuck at ideologies, names, redundant petty politics, while the clock is ticking the future away from us. They took 60+ years to change a province's name? Why now? When we display some mental and emotional growth? Is the political anal stage everlasting?

One can read more on the amendment here:
Full text is here:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

RIP Dr.Israr

It was a sad news on the 14th of April. Dr. Israr had been around all my life. He got my parents married ( recited the Nikkah), named me and said the funeral prayer of a beloved. And of course, all my Eid days started with him and his "Khutba" in the windy and sunlit Lawrence garden.
He was a hardliner. Perhaps the most conservative of all religious scholars.
In these modern times, I too found the lack of a T.V/ radio in his household, the swiftness with which they married all their children, gender segregation and what not. But there was of course a lot more to him. He was a historian and an interpretor of the Quran and Hadith.
And then I fear, these matters are private. He never came chasing me with a gun, to do what he wants me too.
His voice was thick, crisp and angry. On one or two occasions I said the Eid prayer behind some other maulvi.And what a drag! No mention of politics, war on terror, Americanization, the Afghan war, dictatorship and what not. Dr. was an authority on all the above and more. In the middle of a speech, he would quote Iqbal lucidly. Sometimes the Eid lecture "Khutba", mandatory for Muslims to listen to, would go on for a very long time. Amidst butterflies, flowers and sweaty women, I sat at the back, listening to the angry old scholarly dreamer.
His grave is some distance from my place, under the shadow of a power plant, visible from the road, dressed in flowers. Sad. He has had a connection with me, and yet he probably doesn't even know.
I encountered this community on Facebook. " Shut the barking Dr. Israr". Of course I couldn't appreciate it. That's too much of an insult to angry old man. Let alone a scholar. Rest in Peace Dr. Israr. You will be missed.

A blog claimed that Dr. Israr called a semi-naked journalist Haramzadi ( illegitimate) once. Here is a staunch follower's reply to it:

Mohammed Ashfaq-ur-Rahman Siddiqui said...
Haramzadi = harami ki zaat ; ya harami ki aulad. “West ne haramzadi ka huliya badal diya hai.” If this reported were to be wearing decent clothes, dr. saab wudnt have called her a 'haramzadi'. now i kno u haramzadi type women wud be hung on the point wht according to me or how do i define decent clothes. its how women should cover their body as prescribed by Islamic shariah. if you call yourself a muslim and do not follow this, then u r haramzadi. u r a haramzadi as rightly pointed out by dr. saab. dont feel sorrow at dr. saab's comment. be grateful tht he corrected u. and try to carry urslf wid dignity and honor and grace wherever u r out reporting. know islam before posting wht ur filthy mind and stinking mouth utter anything directed towards as prominent persona as dr. saab. Fear Allaah and ask for his blessings to guide us all towards the path of righteousness.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

If Kyrgyzstan, Why not Pakistan?

A few days back, the Government in Kyrgystan was ousted by its people. The country was suffering from increased energy prices ( hint hint) , power cuts, poor economic conditions ( rings a bell?) and corruption.
This is not a suggestion for the opposition to topple the Government over. However, the people need to wake up and stand united. There is growing violence and frustration in the society now. Rather then burning tires and inhaling carcinogens, why not peacefully protest , in thousands if not millions. The Government needs to wake up.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pakistan gets an Indian Bhabhi!

My excitement has soared high enough to burst through the ozone layers, into space. The nation forgot the grief of the power cuts (20 hours), inflation ( meat is Rs.440 per kg) and 52(b) on this auspicious occasion. The naive heart of Sania Mirza is about to be wed-locked with the corrupt heart of Shoaib Malik.

Firstly it is unimportant. The media is selling it. On some days, 15 to 20 minutes of each headline carry this gibberish. Secondly, the last marriage of Shoaib was a mess. If he was married, why deny it? His poor ex is now left alone after this bogus publicity. Bhaiya  has match-fixing and brawling problem so that the PCB banned him, likes discos, has an ex wife  who claims aborted his child while he started an affair with another girl- why is this girl marrying him?

Both the players have little sports left in them. So the two should cash it while they are still worth something. I hope they become family planning ambassadors as the Social welfare Minister suggested. Sania Bhabhi can promote birth control pill ads and Shoaib can advertise "Saathi" condoms. If Tiger Woods can, why can't he?
But after some months, or else we will switch to PTV again. The nation has had too much of Malik and Bhabhi ji...!
Bhabi and Co

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Noble Earth Hour

On 27 March this year, the World planned an Earth Hour. In this one hour, the Earthlings were supposed to come down to normal behavior and stop ravaging mother Earth. So the World went to cut down electricity usage.
The noblewoman in me woke up, my electricity hunger subsided as if I was suffering from Anorexia. I told myself tomorrow is the day to make dad proud.
But some rascal probably overheard my exalted plan to attain thus spiritual elevation and leaked it to WAPDA, for the electricity hardly returned that day. Now Pakistan is also conserving electricity. Not because it wants to save Earth. But because hardly any electricity is left. To top it all, doctors are beating journalists, lawyers are beating the judges and police and the police is beating the convicts, who then go out and beat the students and teachers alike. How can you expect the Government to focus on power plants with all this going on? And now even Shoaib Malik about to be hijacked by the Indian police. Zardari uncle needs a break.
Bijli as electricity is known in Pakistan, has become quite a seductress. It might not return on time, but will go out punctually. The moment you become used to it, she betrays. My computer is suffering from some battery weakness, the doctor said a minor shock will kill it. So I am waiting for the lethal shock. But of course, on the 27th, I felt betrayed by WAPDA, for stealing my chance to feel altruistic and generous.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tips for Would-be Brides!

My good friend Mona is getting married. And I thought, why deprive her of my gems of wisdom?
So here are some tips on how to treat your husband:

1. Never beat your husband , no matter how tempted you are because:
a.He is your husband
b.He is most probably your only husband
c. Log kya kahein gey?
d.Its against the Human Rights Charter ( yes the ambiguous document discovered in '47)
e.Since you will be in USA, he can get you jailed for this. Indeed US jails are not as bad as Pakistan's but what if the send you to Guantanamo Bay? Phir maza ayega?

2. Watch Desperate Housewives. They apparently have very crunchy lifestyles despite being home-makers.

3. IF you live with your in-laws watch star plus soaps. They teach one how to steal, pretend to be the heroine yet back-stab, tackle infertility accusations, insults on God Barahi, infidel husbands , how to crush your bitch of a saas or saukan. Above all, how to pretend doing the household chores in one ton of make-up and designer Saree.

4. If your husband is over-sexed, show him a live performance by Rakhi Sawant. Precaution : Either he will become sexless or gay. So do it at your own risk!

5. Think you will have to serve him for eternity? Well I had an aunty who slept while her husband made the breakfast, prepared fresh orange juice. In fact he made an extra cup for her and placed it in the fridge. Now this is what you call a set-up! lol

6. Suspect he is an infidel? Get his credit card, and shop till you drop! Spend so much that he barely has $5 left to stop at Mcdonald for a Happy meal! ( Happy meals make girls unhappy)

Disclaimer: These tips have been improvised after observing other people ( stuck in crappy marriages) , implement them at your own risk!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Magic Cup

Last month I was presented with a poetry mug. The mug as the name suggests is nothing ordinary. It was based on the poetry film, Panun Pan Parzun, which eventually won the viewers choice award for all the right reasons. The mug however, will change your life!

Areej Riaz, who was also fortunate enough to attain the mug commented:
" My hair were all fizzy and life-less. I had to straighten , dye or condition them everyday." complained Areej. " But since I started taking coffee in the magic mug, my hair have started growing softer, calmer. If I continue the coffee intake, I am sure very soon I will beat Deepika Pudokonee on hair softness."
Reports are that since these hair growth miracles, Nawaz Shariff is also trying his luck on the mug. He was discovered in Raiwand, Lahore, drinking lassi in the magic cup. He got in a quarrel with his brother Shahbaz Shariff when the latter wanted to share the lassi and consequently the hair growth miracles. This is the first time in 30 years that a quarrel has been reported between the two brothers.

But is the miracle restricted to hair care?
Not at all. Jitendra Ramprakash, the Sadho curator can verify.
" I have a voice perfect for voice-overs, but my singing was pathetic." ( Just pathetic? He almost killed us!)
" But eversince I started drinking in the magic cup, my singing is improving. Not only am I quickly learning when to sing, but also when to stop. And my music teacher was so happy that he allowed me in his house, let me touch his harmonium for five minutes and even offered me Boti Kabab!"
" How did you repay your teacher?!"
The answer was just what we expected!
" I presented him the magic mug!"
On being asked what one should drink in the cup for the optimum results he said anything.
" However I won't suggest you poison yourself with it. Since it emits positive energy, you might wake up behind the bars on charges of "killing yourself" rather then in heavens."
This is not the end. Many girls awaiting a good marriage proposal for many years now have reported to find their "Mr.Right" after close contact with the cup. How exactly these ladies found their way into their beloved's heart is currently inexplainable.
Furthermore, ever wonder how the NFC award got signed? The award regarding the division of resources among the Pakistani provinces has been due since 13 years. Then how did this miracle happen now?
Well the news is that after their personal hair growth miracle, the Shariff Brothers, gave this new recipe to Zardari. Although the latter has no known hair issues, the attempt was to mellow the President a little. Therefore, the Prime Minister fed him special Kashmiri Tea.

My friend Amana went so far as to gift the mug to Lahore's Power Development Authority in hope of reducing electricity shortage. She says an icy drink in the mug makes her immune to the heat, like a cold blooded reptile.

And here is what happened to me. Since last year I had an uncontrollable/painful crush on Obama. But when I happened to go and watch the movie My name is Khan, immediately after having tea in the magic cup, I realized how absurd and sentimental Barrack is .And of course the age difference and his marital status also became more visible. And since then, Obama entered my life's ignore list. He is since then increasing drone attacks to gain my attention but I won't budge. So people! Go and grab this magic mug now and change your life!

This blog is a piece of fiction.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

2nd Sadho Poetry Film Fest - Behind the scenes 04

Sidharth Saxena was standing outside Franciase Alliance. After a successful screening of his movie, Chail he was already wondering what to wear at the Oscars, hoping his size would increase at least a couple of inches more. A journalist approached him. The journalist was one of the greatest journalists of India, notorious for confusing even the most single-minded of people.

Journalist: Aren't you the guy who made a movie on monkeys.
S: Yes.
J: What inspired you to make it?
S: My Dad.
J: Age?
S: 13
J: The monkey?
S: No me.
J: And name?
S: We have yet to decide it.
J: You have yet to decide your name?
S: Oh me. I am Sidharth.
J: And if you had to name him, what would call him?
S: Charles Darwin?
J: You think you were a chimp in your last life?
S: Maybe
J: What good did you do you do to become human this time?
S: ( hit you with a cricket bat) I directed planet of the apes.
J: If you made a T.V serial what would you call it?
S: (pauses) Monkey jaisa koi nahi?
J: Or maybe Kyunkey Insaan Bhi kabhi Bandar tha?
S: May be.
J: And the name of your movie? Bandar Apka hai kaun?
S: No. Zoowaley Bandar ku Lay Jaingey.
A photographer came and started photographing him.

Sid: ( Should I give the full smile? No. Too much of tooth show. Doesn't go with poetry.)
Sid turned right. Then left. First gave the toothy smile, then the decent one.

Photographer: Kid, can you never move aside? I am trying to capture the background here.

Just then Nandan, Sid's father and Parijat Kaul came.

N: My turn!Gimme the mike!
S: What do I get in return?
N: A descent lifestyle?
S: Not convincing!
Parijat: Oye! I will speak now! You guys have already spoken!

The two were snatching mike from each other, when both Sid and the journalist realized it was time to escape to the safe zone.

This blog is a piece of fiction.

Friday, March 12, 2010

To dear Taliban

Dear Taliban- we are not handing Pakistan to you! We are millions, you are few, we are educated you are not, we are humans unlike you so God is also with us!You can bomb us but not shut us up! Musalman hu tu samney aoo, chup chup kur bumb na barsao!

Yeh mulk humanara hai!
Issey Humnein sawara hai!
Dushman ka nahi guzara hai!

This country is ours,
We adorn it
The enemies won't survive

The civilized society is unitedly condemning these attacks!

One of the most ironic facts are, that these people attacked on the auspicious Muslim day- Friday. They attacked the people who were going to mosques, in the second Jumah of March. Now who would say these are muslims? Who gave these jerks an idea that they can take over our country and run it as they desire? We wont let this happen. Period.

Incidentally it was Habib Jalib's Death Anniversary. Jalib was one of Pakistan's foremost poets, popular for his pro-people and sensitive poetry:
Here is a poem by him that befits the current state of events:

Bagiya Lahoo Luhan
Haryali ko aankhen tarsen bagiya lahoo luhan
Pyar ke geet sunaoon kis ko shehar hue weeran
Bagiya lahoo luhan
Dasti hain suraj ki kirnen chand jalaye jaan
Pag pag maut ke gehre saye jeewan maut saman
Charon ore hawa phirti hai le kar teer
KamanBagiya lahoo luhan

Chhalni hain kaliyon ke seeney khoon mein lat paat
Aur nahjaney kab tak hogi ashkon ki barsaat
Dunya walon kab beeteinge dukh ke yeh din raat
Khoon se holi khel rahe hain dharti ke balwan
Bagiya lahoo luhan

The Garden Is A Bloody Mess

This poem is about the oppression in East Pakistan in 1971

Our eyes yearn for greenery
The garden is a bloody mess
For whom should I sing my songs of love
The cities are all a wilderness
The garden is a bloody mess

The rays of the sun, they sting
Moonbeams are a killing field, no less
Deep shadows of death hover at every step
Life wears a skull and bone dress
All around the air is on prowl
With bows and arrows, in full harness
The garden is a bloody mess

The battered buds are like a sieve
The leaves drenched in blood smears
Who knows, for how long
We’ll have this rain of tears
People how long do we have to bear
These days and nights of sorrow and distress
This oppressor’s blood bath is a frolicsome play
For the mighty of the world, a mark of their prowess
The garden is a bloody mess

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thanks for Bombing Our Neighborhood!

On the 8th of this month, I was absorbed in Tagore's Binodini ( Choker Bali novel) at 8:30 in the morning. Just when a fight scene between the heroine and the hero's mother started, our house shook like a blade of grass. A loud blast was heard that left everyone dazed. At first I thought the stove exploded. Then I thought the next door under-construction house collapsed. But finally we realized that the SIA office near-by, which had been too prominently insecure to be ignored by terrorists was finally down.
First we were all shaken. Because it was too loud, our window panes broke and people started running on the streets. Somewhat chaotic. Then I became angry and hateful of the bombers. But my teacher reminded how we need to understand them before despising them. And the whole day people called us, offering their prayers and good wishes.
Many people are now requesting the Government to remove all sensitive offices from thickly populated areas.
Another concern is, since the window panes were broken all around the town, hopefully the terrorists are not using radioactive materials. The Government needs to investigate the chemical composition of these bombs, and save us from possible hazardous exposure.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cricket, Hockey And Kakori Kabab

I have to congratulate the Pakistani Cricket and Hockey team for their commendable performance in the last few months. The credit has to be shared among the management, the Hockey Federation, PCB, Sports ministry along with the hard work and skill of the players.

When Shahid Afridi licked ( or sucked or whatever) that ball I was in India. And an Indian (beloved friend) was very amused at this discovery and asked me Afridi's intent. Sigmund Freud would have said Afridi is stuck at the anal stage. But of course the attempt was more then just remembering ones toddler days. If he had new teeth coming he should have gotten tethers, to bite. Perhaps he sucks everything when the mangoes are out of season. But the face he made after sucking the ball, we know , that he realized mangoes taste better. When Malika Sharavat dances in an underwear on stage and gets in trouble with the Maharashtra Government, do I question my Indian friend about her intent? He doesn't have to tell me she is stuck at the phallic stage. ( This is between him and me, plz don't give our personal quarrel an Indo-Pak shade)

Afridi's coming of age takes a strange turn!

By the way, in which "Poodle Academy" did Afridi learn this cricketing technique?

There is a quote from the Indian Classic "Pyaasa" which befits the Pakistani Cricket Team too :

Vijay: Apne shauk ke liye pyaar karti hai aur apne aaram ke liye pyar bechti hai.
[For the sake of her hobby she gives her love, and for the sake of her comfort she sells her love.]

"Apne shauk ke liye cricket khelti hai aur apney aaram ke liye cricket bechti hai."
[For the sake of her hobby she plays cricket and for the sake of her comfort she sells cricket.]

When Sachinda made a 200 ( bless him), many Pakistanis were bereaved that Syed Anwar's record broke. Now all sports records are meant to be broken, and why waste our sadness on cricket records. Why not just look at Altaf Hussain and shed tears of frustration? You might start biting cricket balls yourself once you hear him.

Fool! This is the time to play and not pee!

Pakistan hockey team- I can suggest some food in Delhi. Wait? Didn't we send them there to play hockey? Just like the days of our Olympic Hockey glory, I feel nostalgic for Delhi's Raagi idlee, wara pao and dosa.
So I have a polite request for brother Sohail Abbas. Since you are not bringing the Hockey World Cup for us from Delhi- can you please bring us some Kakori Kabab?

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Morning in the Race Course

In early March the winters in Lahore start receding and Spring takes over. This is not very pleasant since it marks the steady arrival of a long and unforgiving summer. So this Wednesday morning I went to the Race Course Park with my friends. The park is near my college. The Sun was veiled in the clouds and the morning was dewy. A lush green covered welcomed us, and we were lost in the sensual pleasure for a while.
There was a rude awakening. Two men started running near the bench we were sitting on. One even started ridiculous boxing exercises a few feet from us, despite having a huge park at his disposal. After sometime a huge guy called us from the track
" Mein apsey dosti kurna Chahta hun"- " I want to befriend you!"


Let me not mention the several dozen men who stared blankly at us while walking on the track.

Another guy in school uniform came and said.
" Aap kitni pyaari hain" " You are so pretty" - to one of us. We wanted to tell the boy he is almost ten years our junior but we knew this is all an outcome of uncontrolled raging hormones.

Then we decided to go to KFC. On our way a sweet guy stopped and said
" Meri eik baat sun lein." " Let me say one thing."

In KFC, a group of school boys ( in uniform) came, who were singing songs to every girl coming there- " Tum agaye hu noor agaya hai."
" Lal dupattey walli zara naam tu bata"
And so on. These too were almost ten years our junior and when they started harassing us, my friend said :
" It is ok. My little teenage brother is also like this. This is the coming of the age."

When the " macho men" heard this, they suddenly became quieter and controlled. (lol)
So this is a golden formula. Sweetly go and imply they are growing up.

But this is very sad. Women in Pakistan cannot even have leisure time in a park?
Just because some women are alone, does it mean they are seeking boy friends?
Is this not an invasion of privacy and very ill manners to disturb women sitting in parks and walking on the streets?

Another funny thing. When we were about to enter the Race Course, the gatekeeper said, we don't allow students in. Just then a car full of young men and women entered. He allowed them. Then again stopped us. This was news, since we have been to the Race Course many times. We told him this.
But it is funny that instead of stopping all those men, they stopped us. Was this to prevent us from dating or else from being harassed? Is this the best they can do?
When I listen to my mother's pleasant stories of her student days, it is astonishing what has become of this country.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

No Power Crisis in Pakistan ?

Pakistan's power crisis is not a secret. In summers, the electricity deserted us for 12 hours daily, while the Sun baked us mercilessly. In some parts of Pakistan, the lights were hardly lit and the textile mills were eradicated.
Yet it is seen, on most national or religious ceremonies, there are elaborate decorations on the streets and houses. This is usually done with small light bulbs that form chain-like structures on the entire buildings, trees and poles. Although like fire-flies they please the eyes- they are a huge penalty on the country that is about to sink in a dark swamp. Instead of illumination, one can utilize large paintings, calligraphy or other means of decorations. Perhaps even a few energy savers. We are after all celebrating and not punishing anyone.
Similarly , on the 14th August, a truckload of paper flags are printed. Many of them either wither away into trash or on the roads. Paper is an important resource, since it is made from wood. For attaining wood, land is deforested. Paper can easily be re-used and re-cycled. Every year, many Pakistani students are disappointed because the price of paper makes books and copies unaffordable. There should be some sanctity to this resource, where course books are as pricey as gold and leisure reading has therefore become extinct. Resources shouldn't be wasted under the excuse for celebration and patriotism.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Memories Improvised by Leo Antony

Leo Antony is a gentle soul from Kerala currently working in Delhi. Here is a composition by him. He is sitting in the Studio Rehearsal Room. ~~ In case the video doesn't open.

"Graves of the Insane"

Library of Dust by David Maisel:
In an Oregan psychiatric hospital, the deceased patients whose bodies were unclaimed were cremated. The ashes were placed in canisters in a basement that flooded. Each of the canisters aged differently, creating patterns that seem to evoke the lost souls contained within.

These photographs by Maisel are touching. The embellishment of these canisters through time, instead of decay, is uncanny yet beautiful. These were people, who were psychologically challenged and commonly called " Insane". The "insane" have been persecuted forever, often because they diverge from the mainstream. They were not just abandoned when dead, but also when alive. Since they don't merge in the society, the society turns its back on them. The level of poverty and deprivation these tinned souls have suffered is unknown.
There is a verse for Van Gogh in the song Starry Nights, " this World was not meant for someone as beautiful as you." Perhaps the World was confining for the "insane", just like these canisters, sealed like their fates. So the insane liberated themselves like the colors that oozed out and blended into unique patterns.
This is a common fate of people at the edge of the society like beggars, prostitutes, criminals, drug addicts, street children etc. When they trip over, their corpse meets a relentless fate, just like their life did.
These souls in canisters have to be grateful. They were rescued from the street to this asylum. Eventually there was someone who paid for their cremation and these canisters. In third world countries like Pakistan, they would be helplessly loitering on the streets. And a graceless death would require a free burial. Or else they would be taken by medical colleges for a dissection so thorough that hardly a speck would remain of them.
The pictures whisper two secrets. One of the forsaken mental patients and the second is of all those at the periphery of the society who slip through the security net, drown in oblivion and are forgotten. So let us dedicate these photographs to all those unseen strangers, whose sufferings we neither felt nor realized.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2nd Sadho Poetry Film Fest - Behind the scenes 03

Nandan and Kavita , the Sadho trustees, are about to give the Sadho Film Fest introduction. While Jitendra- the Sadho curator is trying to figure out if the roof is leaking.

Nandan: I dont get enough credit in Sadho.
Kavita: For?
N: For?! I comment on the Sadho site,pose for photos, show up before Jitendra can scare everyone away...
K: Why dont you go out and invite more people?
N: ( feels exploited) The Sadho folks use me for my good looks.

Nandan leaves the hall to invite more people. Meanwhile, Jitendra is having a monologue.

J: This is the only time I get to checkout chicks. Two years of Sadho services and still no girl..

( A girl approaches him. )

Girl: Excuse me.
J: Yes?
Girl: (Takes out her cell phone) You have an amazing voice.
J: I know. ( Sid beta,now Chachi is also going to Chail!)
Girl: Can you please give me the number...
J: Sure---98
Girl: Of Sid?
J: ( is shocked) Which Sid?! One is married , the other is under-age.
Girl: Sidharth Saxena of Chail? I want to interview him... please, uncle?!!

(Nandan returns to the hall.)

N: Hey! Is the screen grainy?
K: Try cleaning your glasses.
N: ( wipes his glasses with a tissue) Better...

K: Wow ! So many people just entered! What did u do?
N: (nervously) I announced that Sadho will give everyone free wara pao if they come in.
K: What?! Who will pay for it?
N: Not me of course...

( Nandan sees a girl approaching him)

N: I bet this girl wants my autograph. Our film "Hollow Cylinder" was a hit...
Girl: I need to ask you something, Sir.
N: ( Yash Chopra- here I come!! ) Sure!
Girl: I think-
N: ( I should tell her I am not as young as I look.) Yes?
G: Apney sweater ulta nahi pehna hua... Isn't your sweater inside out?
N: ( looks down, embarrassed) Well ....

(On the other side of the hall, another girl approaches Jitendra)

Girl: Excuse me....
J: Listen. I am single, not waiting to mingle. (lie)
Girl: ( nervously) Actually, please don't mind..
J: What?
Girl: When will we get the wara pao?
J: ( wants a make-over) Do I appear to be selling wara pao here?! Sadho is for poetry not wara pao!

This blog is a piece of fiction.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2nd Sadho Poetry Film Fest - Behind the scenes 02

A conversation caught between two Sadho volunteers, Parijat and Mona.

Mona: Haan haan. Sara gosht tumney he khaya thaa... u ate all the meat..
Pari: Oye! Where was the gosht?! sarey aloo aloo dal kur ley aye thee tum... it was a pot full of potatoes..
( Pari looks around.)
P: Listen... How do we get the limelight, like those kids, Sidharth and Shashwat?
M: U make a movie.
P: I did.
M: u make a good movie.
P: It was a great movie- "Realize thyself"
M: Make a movie on monkeys now, since you "realize thyself".
P: Yes. People can relate with boys hanging upside down like apes.
M: Boys! Not fully grown married men...

P: Can we grow more poetic after drinking from those poetry mugs?
M: Why dont u try reading poetry first? The good old way......
P: I drank tea in my film's mug and had a picture taken. And since then, my throat hurts.
M: Even a poetry mug needs to be washed first....

P: Listen... am gona steal a mug. you need to help me...
M: No way!
P. Cmon. I wana impress girls by presenting them my filmi mug.
M: What about your wife?
P: Oh yes..still have to impress her.. I can give her the cup on the valentines too..
M: What if we are caught. Pi Singh - the Sadho Souvenir incharge is twice our size...
P: We can say we were collecting aid for the UN...
M: (pauses) Ok. I stand here, you go.

( Pari goes near the stall, looks around spookily, picks a cup. Pretends to inspect it. Hides it under his scarf)


(Both turn around, its Pi - the Souvenir incharge.)

Pi: Oye! What are you doing!Bhag jao! These are for raising funds... shuu shuuuu...

Both Pari and Mona run right and left respectively , as Pi bhai giggles on his chair like a King on his throne...

Mona: Ye Pi.. Sara gosht kha kur kitna khush hai! Meat eater!
Pari: Agli baar gosht kya, aloo bhi nahi deingey...Not even potatoes for you brother!

Oye! The Camera is here! Chalo Chalo lets look intellectual ...

This blog is a piece of fiction.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A rare piece

Amanat Ali Khan and Farida Khanum are two music gems of Pakistan. I had never before seen them perform together. It is a rare treat. And they are so youngish here... delightful..

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Toba Tek Singh

The whole story highlights the confusion and chaos of the partition. The partition is perceived as an abnormal situation and is considered unnecessary by the author. The story is based in mental hospital and revolves around characters who are mentally unwell.
It’s full of symbolism, every character and incident depiction of some event or character. The main theme is that of forced migration. The people have been in the madhouse for many years , even during partition and are now wondering where Pakistan is. How can they be a place India become Pakistan in a matter of days. Where is India now? What is the whole India becomes Pakistan or vice versa. Where are Sialkot and Lahore? What if they end up in India? Confusion and chaos.
The first incident is of a madman shouting “Pakistan zindabad” and sliping. He is passionate and emotional and slip in the process. This happened in India during the struggle to free India from the Brit. The people became emotional , prejudiced and violent.
Then a onepatient becomes so confused that he climbs a tree and refuses to come down , saying he doesn’t want to live in India or Pakistan, he wants to live on this tree. Indo-pak were insecure those days, and this guy wants to escape that insecurity and wants to seek asylum on this tree.
When he comes down from the tree, he hugs his Hindu and Sikh friends and cries because he thinks they will desert him now. Many Mslims and Hndus were separated from their friends
due to this divide. Also, the author wants to remind us of that the hindu-muslim divide was created by the politicians.
iginally, on a personal level, they had been living together for centuries and were happy.
Another patient , who was quite and a loner , now started roaming around nude. This shows things out of the ordinary start happening. Plus it can also mean that people were leaving their human, civilized side which required them to abide by certain rules, just like people did during the massacre. In Punjab the massacre was savagely and barbarous, just like the act of roaming around nude.
Now comes a critical part. A Muslim claims himself Quid-e-Azam and a Sikh claims himself Master Tara Singh( the leader of Sikhs during Partition). You can see which leaders these two are symbolizing. And these two are rated as “khatarnak Pagal” and locked up in separate cages!!!!! Manto is blaming the leaders for creating this chaos.
Then there is a Hindu from Lahore whose lover is now in Amritsar and her nationality is different from him now. He is separated from her for eternity. His companions tell him he can move to Amritsar but the lawyer thinks his practice wont be successful there. Now this was the central conflict in many people’s life. Love versus finance. They were required to make the choice between joining their loved ones across the border or staying where they are and preserve the comfort. Many people choose comfort.
Now comes the central character of the story. Bishan Singh has been in for 15 years and has forgotten every worldly matter. He keeps standing and doesn’t even take a bath except when his relatives come to see him. Now they don’t come to visit him and he misses it.
They don’t comes to see him because they have migrated to India.
He is suffering because of the separation caused by partition. Now bishan singh is wondering where Toba taik Singh is, the land to which he and his family belongs and where they own property.
Now there is a madman who claims to be god. When Bishan Singh inquires from this god, the god says he has yet to create Toba Taik Singh. On being disappointed Bishan Singh shouts his usual saying.
Manto suggests that what Bishan Singh meant by this slogan was that this is the god of Muslims , had he been the god of Sikhs he would have agreed with him. Now this is prejudice against Muslims that arose during the partition. The nations which had been living together for centuries now had a divide between each other.
Now a friend of Bishan Singh comes to meet him after a long time. This friend happens to be Muslim, again reinforcing the Hindu Muslim pre-partition unity. He informs how he safely sent his family to India and send them greetings. But being a simple villager, even he gets confused on where Toba Teik Singh is.
Bishan Singh’s companions at the mental hospital name him Toba Taik Singh because of his consistent inquiries.
He is man who has forgotten everything, his relatives, daughter, property and even himself. All he remembers is his district – the ultimate form of patriotism.
And now he is trying to find where his identity is and cannot find it. Many people where forced to migrate to and fro Pakistan and this was their crisis. In the end Toba Teik Singh dies on land that belongs to no country- the No Man’s land. He dies as a man in search of his identity.

KC Chaos

KC Situation ( the letter was published in Dawn on 19th Jan 2010)

Recently, Kinnaird College for Women has been in news. The purpose of this letter is neither to support the principal nor the teachers but to bring to light certain events that took place on 4th January during the teacher/student strike against the principal.

In every civilized society people have the right to peacefully protest. Yet two things were very disagreeable. Firstly the utilization of the media, particularly local TV channels to propagate sentiments against the college establishment was unwanted. The general public does not run the college, so why were the demands taken to them? It was probably an absurd attempt to topple the college administration through popular opinion. (Washing ones dirty linen in public?)

Secondly, the teachers should discourage students from involvement in establishment issues. If students are expelled on disciplinary charges, their career will be at stake. Even a five day expulsion can cost the students their grades, since in the semester system the attendance is included in grades. Student protest is disallowed in most colleges, including KC. If the students protested against some purely political matter, like the NRO or the Waziristan operation, will the college faculty allow such media hype? If not then why did they allow this protest to go on air? According to the college prospectus the protesting students can be suspended and the college faculty rightly advice them against protests. Students are just as vulnerable in college politics as they are in national politics. The strike was to reinstate the removed teacher but many students raised placards and slogans asking the principal to resign.Since when did students decide what the college principal should do? Who would benefit from this protest? Did the faculty use the students to oust their strict boss?
Some students blocked roads and came out to protest in front of the City42 office. In such dangerous times of terror who is responsible for enabling students to protest during college hours outside the college premise?

Perhaps the new principal needs more time. Hopefully Kinnaird won't mimick Pakistan's national politics, where no Government has survived a full-term and everyone has endured endless political perils and instability.

Few classes took place on 4th January. The strike should have been limited to one or two classes. The teachers, who already have very illustrious resumes, can find employment elsewhere. However, if even one day or student goes without education, it’s a loss for the country.

It was a response to the following video.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Poetry by Anwar Masood

Anwar Masood is a Punjabi poet and these are some hilarious Punjabi poems recited by him. The first is "Anarkali diya Shana" means the "Glory of Anarkali". Anarkali is a market in Lahore, very old and typical. The poet is talking to a cow, and describing the market's supremacy.

The second one is "Bunyan"- an undershirt worn by men and children. A street vendor is trying to sell it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Finding a Boyfreind in Pakistan

People think it’s easy to find a boyfriend in Pakistan. They are right in a way; you can find them in every nook and corner of the streets, markets and online. Their phone numbers are written on washroom doors and college walls. Bfs are available, but good ones are unavailable. All my friends had them, the classmates and even the servants had one or more bf (short of boyfriend). You can imagine my desperation!
There was a guy in our class with crooked teeth called Salman.
One day he came to me when I was alone in the class.
“ Suniye!(Listen)” He asked me without making eye contact.
” I don’t know how to put it. I really like you. Can you become my friends?”
Never mind- if not anyone else then let it be Sallu. A dumb bf is better then noo bf and I can get his teeth fixed by a surgeon.
He was now searching his pockets. (Condoms? so soon?) But instead came out a letter..and I blushed...such expression of true love I had never experienced before...
“Can you please take this – and ....please...give it to Shumaila.”
I raised my hand angrily in air, his cheek needed instant operation.
How dare you! You God dam Bugs bunny! I thought.
“Can you?” He inquired
“Alright.” I said weakly.

One day I found this dude-Imdad. HE was a dreamy eyed, huge nosed, curly haired and twisted head. He started calling me Ammu (with a special emphasis on the muuuuuuu, which reminded me of cows). At first he appeared quite normal, always telling me how he ran into Meera Nair at a bookshop in Holland and how he shook hands with Galbraith at fourteen. When Galbraith died he wrote an article on him and was impatient to get it published because he didn’t want anymore famous people to die before his article got published.
One day he came up to me and said.
“I need something from you Ammu.”
“I can’t give you my life- I never said I would.”
“It’s something very precious. I know you never done it before- you seem like an honorable Muslim girl.”
“Hurry up!”
“What if your husband-to-be finds out Ammu.” He looked down sadly. ”Ammu – I don’t know where to go incase you refuse!”
“What is it?!?” I shouted
“Can I get your Kidney please?”
How would you feel if the guy you think is in pursuit of you, turns out to be in pursuit of your kidney?

When everything flopped my hunt reverted to the internet. Once I met this Italian painter. I could already imagine myself serving him bed tea with the leaning tower of Pisa visible from the window. And he painting me and my jewels...
“What do you paint?” I asked inquisitively.
“Houses.” came the reply.

After this , most of my freinds got married or broke-up, so the thirst to show off a bf was quenched temporarily...

This blog is a piece of fiction.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

2nd Sadho Poetry Film Fest - Behind the scenes 01

On the 31st of January 2010, I finally got fed-up of my useless life. Since I discovered Parijat Kaul at the studio rehearsal, I decided to pesture him..(or is it pasture)
Me: I am sick of my useless life, Pari bhai..
.Pari : ( busy on the pc) u r?
Me: yes... i want sm work...
P: Ammara, I have sm work for u... the uphill task of uploading Sadho news reports...on fb... u knw wt to do?
A: ( feels insulted) of course! im the sadho creator on fb... i do all the work duh ... nd others take the credit ( heard of modesty?)
P: Listen... this is the Sadho pc...means u r nt supposed to burn / destroy/ delete stuff...
A: i knw! im no kid... im a smart/independant young woman
after 5 mins...
A: Pari bhai
P: yes?
A: ur net connection isnt working...
P: ( comes over, looks at the pc) it is working.
A: then y cnt i upload?
P: because u havnt signed in on fb?
A: oh... ok..
5 mins elapse
A: Pari bhai... ur pc has a problem...
P: which is?
A: it doesnt let anyone upload pix...
P: ( comes over...looks) u first upload the pix on ur fb profile... ok?
A: ok
after 5 mins....
A: ( feels very dumb. decides to have almond shake daily) pari bhai... i hav never uploaded pics on fb...
P: (looks off his pc...) there is a button...add pix
A: i knw... thats wat i cnt find...
P: ( comes over nd finds the button...wonders if his 6 yr old dolly could hav done faster)
A: Pari bhai... only one pic uploaded...
P: upload one by one...
A: ( muft mein itna kaam?) ok
after 5 mins....
A: only two pix uploaded...( wants to ask for a volunteer work certificate...)
P: try again..
A: i did.
P: keep trying...
A: pari bhai... three pics left...
P: (looks blank, is sure dolly cud have done faster) i will email them to u later( basically meant - go to hell )
A: ( is tired) i am nt usually this dumb... its just that ( pauses fr an excuse..) i havnt eaten since morning... chacha!! khana layein!

This blog is a piece of fiction.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Bro and Our "Dirty Talk"

Well , many times my mom has accused me of putting dirty things in my bro’s head. Well that’s certainly wrong! I only want his welfare. Just a few days back I saw him running after the daughter of our housemaid.
I advised him to stop because the maid is poor…” Why don’t you go after the neighbor who has a cycle. She can give you a ride. She has a lot of money too. Her dad can buy you a BMW once you marry her.”
He went upstairs and asked my mom and asked if he can marry the neighbor and the next thing I know is my mom running after me with a slipper in her hand.

What the heck….It was for her welfare ….Does she want a poor daughter-in-law?

Before my Chacha came from Canada….I asked my bro to marry his daughter….
“ She has a Canadian Passport….You can buy as many cars in Canada as you want….”
And when we were sitting in the dining room having dinner.
My bro asked “Chacha can I marry you daughter because she has a Canadian passport.."
“Who told you that beta?”
“Baji “ he said pointing to me but I wasn't there of course... I was under the table hiding from the deadly blows of my mom….What the hell …..I did it for her own good!! Does she not want free healthcare? So that she could go for a vacation with her Bahu

…..** Bhalai ka tu Zamana hi nahi**….

Heard of the song by Kishore:
Merey Samney waali khirki mein
Eik chand ka tukra rehta hai..
( In Front of my window lives a moon-face)

Well I made a funny song out of it……
Merey Samney waali khirki mein
Mera purana boyfriend rehta hai
( In front of my window lives my ex-bf)

And one day when we were all having lunch and my sister started singing it. My mom asked where she learnt it from…….I was of course under the table by then... but being a highly sophisticated and intelligent individual she said she heard it on TV! That’s my girl!

This blog is a piece of fiction.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pakistan's Love Funda

Love is all Pakistanis think of. Now take the case of India. They got a flood of dating and free &ex and now there is an overflow of the cases for AIDS.
One basic difference between a Western woman and Easter woman is that "no strings attached" doesn't exist for the latter. She eventually hopes to get married.
Girls learn this when growing up:
One God
One Book
One Prophet and
One man.

Pakistan boys have a piety syndrome. They need to have fun with the fun girls, but want to marry the so-called conventional/ghrailu ones.
Love is a package. The package includes many dreams and hopes, expectation along with failures, pain, wastage of time and in the case of us women, many tears. This filmy Heer Ranjha thing, in which the girl boy are ready to leave anything and everything is rare. Sometimes I am forced to asked:
Do you think it fair to leave the parents who gave birth and money to raise us up and that too for someone we know very little?
The how did Madhuri win fame for after sucha thing in that movie "Dil"?
Probably she related to the masses. lol.
Strangely these folks are ready to revolt when parents want to get them married to someone else, but never revolt against martial law or corrupt Governments/NRO.
The nation is detracted…Why don’t they go for research, and do what Thomas Alva Edison was doing in his teenage?Selling newspapers and working on his own newspaper. Or many other great scientists and artists did in their youth? Why don’t they pay attention to the declining classical music in the sub continent or rising human rights violations etc?Why are they bothered over a soul mate when in reality their own soul is lost....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Miracle of Saree

Women have stuck a cloth at their waist, supported by a top since ancient times.
Well I have been seeing saree since I was a kid. My mom wore it on her Valima- a blue Saree with a fancy shawl.
Usually the banarsi saree is common on Pakistani weddings because it looks more royal and expensive. Chiffon is the second most common. The problem with chiffon is it slip too often and is see-through ( especially around belly where most people have stretch marks or fat). It thin, soft and slippery and that of course makes it all the more sultry.
Saree is majestic. It has been worn in India since 2000 years. Worn in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India etc- it rightly represent South Asia. A cotton saree is airy in summers . Worn in all colors, designs and weathers. Whites is meant ( but not exclusive )for widows.
Many tourists wrap and wiggle in the loose cloth. But Saree needs to be carried. You can stitch a shalwar kameeze and jump, hop, become a jungle queen
(or play tennis like Pakistani female players)but not a Saree. You need to behave yourself. Hold it, pin it on the right places, let it fall on your left arm ( or right) and do not let your heels become visible as you walk ( also not stumble on something).
I personally prefer a little back showing, you can wrap it without showing later.
I remember seeing Mumtaz’s back often in the movie “ Aap Ki Kasam” and womdering why mommy doesn’t show off her body like that…In fact as a kid I was bereaved by the fact that I won’t be able to wear one being a good Muslim. But that was me at five……
The front part of the saree that is actually tucked in at the waist, can be stitched too. Well if the saree isn’t carried properly, it looks like a stack of cloth, wrapped around one’s body. Have you ever seen the painful image of Naseebulal in a Saree. If you want to wear it like that wear a dhoti instead……Many Pakis have worn Sarees, Farida Khanum, Iqbal Bano but no one became the Queen like Noor Jehan did…..
Noor jehan was a risky, brave and bold when it came to sarees……
She has worn bottle green and yellow in silk…..white Saree made of Tissue and one very beautiful pink Chiffon she wore in the song……..” Humari saanso mein ajj tak woh hina ki Khushbo mehak rehi hai…..”
In India…..Well that’s a hub of Saree wearers…..But Rekha was exemplary in the movie Silsila ( Dekha eik khwab tu yeh silsley huey…..)
And Yes……The former Miss world in Hum Dil Dey chukey Sanam…..
But… glam girl did it better then Sush in Main Hun Na…My oh my……The first scene in which she emerges in the college with all that air in her hair……breathtaking…..along with Sharukh Khan slipped the entire audiences…..
Well I don’t know why gowns are such a big hype at the Oscars….if Catherine Zeta Jones knew what the sublime show of contours in a Saree , the allusion of every curve behind that long Paloo and the slight ( but enchanting ) bareness of the back can do……she would never brag about some long maxi…..I also wore a Saree on my farewell…..It does need a little maintenance ( the tucked-in paloo which can slip away) but with a Saree , u don’t need to do a lot of work with your hair and jewellery. The Saree is where the magic is.


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