Lets play elections

The recent political environment changed to considerable heat and dangerous pokes when details of the elections 2013 in Pakistan were bared open by a member of Election Commission of Pakistan. The to and fro of comments and news conferences, even resignations which do have the potential of being over turned is an exciting game that has started. The people sit glued to their screens listening to people who claim to have experience, are pretty old and seem adamant to leave their seats.

What makes this a matter of concern is that the public of Pakistan loves new conspiracies and new games. Will this open, bare and outspoken statement of a member of the Election Commission of Pakistan strengthen the stand of the people and the Inquilaab/Azaadi March or divert all attention to itself and kill the media hype that the Revolution needs is yet to be seen.

For now the drama is in nascent stage. The ball is in the election commission’s court to prove that they did conduct one of the fairest elections that Pakistan has seen, which is by far not true. But as they say not all five fingers are the same length. Not everyone in the Election Commission of Pakistan is corrupt and shrewd. And that makes the task for a common man even more difficult!

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Before You Start a Business, Listen to Your Ego

Originally posted on HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review:

When I meet entrepreneurs I always ask them why they started their companies and they almost always say something like “because I had a great idea the world needed.” But when you peel back the layers you discover far different motives – motives they don’t want to acknowledge because they’re directly related to primal desires and fears.  Yet the well-being of their businesses depends on their understanding those real motives.

A talented coder I know — let’s call him Abe — is characteristic of many other talented individuals who start a business saying that they had a great idea the world needed. Abe’s talent attracted investors but he deeply disliked babysitting customers and supervising non-coding positions. He was miserable. His investors fired him.  Only after he was fired did Abe’s soul-searching lead him to realize that his real motivation was to work only on projects he enjoyed. Only after the…

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Music… Try it!

They say music is food for the soul. I say it feeds the thoughts and the imagination… unless that is the same as being the soul of human psyche and causes its wellness or its degradation.
Science has proved a lot in this area. Positive thoughts bring about positive changes in human outlook. Negative thoughts change perception to being totally negative about everything, depression being the worst form.
But people listen to all forms of music… gory depressing music, high metal, soft pop, R&B, reformative music. The mind is affected by each form and so is the thought process during each. Try it. Try thinking about a very beautiful waterfall scenery while listening to high metal. Its not only difficult its weird too.
“Unbreak my heart” will never be happily ever after sort of scenery. Music choices should be changed once in a while to give a fresh start to the human mind. It can be invigorating and free the human imagination too.
Experiencing a little down music once in a while can release pent up negative emotion…. while listening to up music can change mood to positive!

Finding Peace…

“Some people just don’t give up!” Mujeeb said with desperation, throwing his Iphone on his bed which slid across and fell to the floor.

Krishna looked up from his book and knew what was going on. Both had been room mates long enough for that.

“Why do you keep arguing?” he asked, “Study, that will help you more!” and he threw the Psychology book at Mujeeb. Mujeeb caught it and crossed his arms looking with an angry expression at Krishna.

“Why can’t people just let go? Why can’t they just believe that Pakistan is a sane place and Islam is not the name of a terrorist organization?” blurted Mujeeb keeping the book down.

Krishna got up and walked over to Mujeeb, “Coz they need to gossip man. You are taking away their joys. How about giving people something to talk about!” picking up the book and thrusting it back in Mujeeb’s hands. Krishna waited for Mujeeb to open it.

Exasperated Mujeeb opened it and started reading but his mind was stuck. An hour passed. Krishna kept an eye on Mujeeb all the time knowing full well Mujeeb would snap. And he did.

An hour later…

“I have had it,” he reached for his Iphone, opened Twitter, looked at the distraught Krishna and typed his reply. He then looked up with a victorious smile at Krishna.

“Happy?” asked Krishna

“Yup, very!” a broad smile across Mujeeb’s face.

“What did you type?” asked Krishna.

“Nothing much. I said that may God help you find your peace like He helped me find mine!”Mujeeb smiled again. This time Krishna smiled with him.

Mobbing to bring a change…

Another turmoil in the country…

Another movement, another call for jam packed ‘dharna’….

Personally, this feels good and a bit changeable. I used ‘changeable’ because it feels positive and the call for mobbing (again a very wayward word) seems to be making a positive impact on the majority. Although the imbecile and impotent politicians would like to think it is derailing the so-called hanging-by-the-thin-rope democracy, I feel it is strengthening a bit of it. After all a strong opposition is all that a strong democracy needs…

While people will gather 11th May, many uninvolved parties have already started leveling allegations against the intelligentsia involved. Seems like the harassment has already taken its toll on the weak. The weak has gone for a grievance procedure and is looking for some satisfaction. But the grievance procedure is detailed and long and needs to be preached to a higher authority and most probably is being preached to the major fund-givers of the country. Now isn’t that sweet! But that is not the ‘changeable’ part.

The ‘changeable’ part is the electoral crap that comes every five years with division of the entire Pakistani area among the existing parties. The parties enjoy the fruits which come from the labor of the workers living in each. The feudal ownership of land and then swap it for another portion every democratic term.

Unfortunately this is inbred in successive generations, from father to son/daughter. Breaking a psychological satisfaction of automatic ownership is a breakthrough. Earning instead of inheriting is a better choice, even for the baby born with the a silver spoon. The inheriting class does not want to go from being the inheritors to earners, which is fair. No one wants a life of luxury turned into a life of hardwork :) The other way is pretty easy and imaginable.

But the ‘changeability’ is inevitable in an environment. That is the law of nature. Someone will rise to the occasion or the people will be fed up with the lawlessness. If the inheritor wants to survive in luxury, they have to provide for the people too to make them happy. Minus that and down they are to hardworking! Money is a fickle friend :)

 

Coming together to social improvement…

For the past month I have been writing half-baked posts, and leaving them to bake to perfection, but they never came to perfection. So this time its either do or die :)

The International Dance Day was commemorated in Pakistan with some of the brilliant dancers of the region giving breathtaking performances. Some dancers got together for a bigger cause, the country! It is always amazing how each element of the society comes together for the betterment of the society in their own capacity.

The critics, seculars, Islamists, atheits or minorities have always had a stance, free speech. Extreme poverty, decadent lifestyle has never stopped them from having their own respective powers and stances within Pakistan. Ofcourse the rich is born with a tongue and the right to speak, but this right is earned by an impoverished man.

In times of desperation the rich and impoverished need to line up together and of late this has been going down. Whatever the political, social and dire reasons, the liaising of two social strata can be adventurous for both.

Social understanding and ideas for social betterment can come from a refined mind that has a direction. Although it is hard to find such a person on the lower level of social standing, yet the lower level can be honed to come up to expectations and move forward. While we may be light years away from developing a rocket to send into space… some small incidents do lend hope that the glue holding the class structure of the society is still fresh!

Have you ever loved a woman enough?

Women love in the most strange ways. They love hard. They flirt. They take their time and sometimes they just spend their whole life with a man loving another man. But when she falls in love with a man truly, o she is amazing.

I have met all sorts. But a woman who has loved to the hilt and has not found the same, has always intrigued me. I don’t know why but such a woman has the depth and knows things many will never find. Its like discovering an old book with answers to lifelong questions.

Love for any woman is same. It is deep, connecting and sublime. Some lucky ones find love from the same man but the not so lucky ones are the ones who discover the meaning and worth of love and rejection. People say a man never forgets his first love; attention people, a woman often thinks what life would be like if she would have spent the rest of her life with that one man she fell for. The house, curtains, the color of the walls, the bed covers, she pictures everything. She goes back in time to relive those few moments and twists them in her favor. And then she tries to  reason with her ownself. She tries to see the present as it is and suddenly can’t find the past fitting the present. She smiles, shrugs and goes on with life. But in the corners of her mind that episode remains which will play again at some other time. And this goes on. A reel that plays when that particular song or film or that familiar event occurs.

Women love hard, almost always pretty honestly. But when dejected, most of them close all emotional connections to men. Only men who can see through them can even touch their core. Never play with a woman who has love and lost. She knows men a bit too much to let anyone even joke around her!

Confidential … For **** Eyes Only!

There was a time when the radio was invented and used for news and then it was used to air fancy programs. Soon it became a medium for music and parents wondered what were their children going to be facing when they would grow up in a world where there would be a radio program airing obnoxious music with even more daring lyrics.

Then there was Television. And the same cycle was repeated. And to this day parents wonder what their child will be seeing in the next 20 years that will become part of his/her acquired behaviour. So they ‘invent’ child locks on the material a child has access to on TV. They ‘create’ package plans for the mobile. The ‘install’ firewalls and child locks on computer internet access.

But something they conveniently forget is Newton’s Third Law; every action has a reaction. The child also becomes an adult and learns things of his interest and of his age quicker than his parents who have become more specialized versions now, with no practical interest in TV ratings, mobile midnight packages or the best website for buying football. So naturally what started out as ‘selective knowledge disbursement’ for the child becomes ‘selective knowledge acceptance’ by the parent.

And that becomes trickier with time, as the child learns that whatever he was ‘child locked’ from as a young child is still not acceptable as an adult in his/her household. This gives the child ‘power’ to “disburse” knowledge about his/her doings to their parent which becomes dangerous and crucial. Switching channels in the presence of a parent, watching obnoxious content with inner guilt, doing something you know you your parent’s wont approve; all are examples of selective disbursement of knowledge to parents.

But then children grow in a different time frame and parents in a different world. That argument is pretty much lost when only technology and science has improved and ways of bringing up a child or birth process has not really changed.

The life long round circle of doing and then getting it back and feeling ‘cheated upon’ by your own child is not rewarding. I don’t know what the solution is….. but there has got to be one! :)

Art Thou a Good Book???

I recently read a news article that Malala’s book launch was stopped in Peshawar. And IK had a balanced yet debatable view on it. Although we don’t have ‘jahils’ in Peshawar we can’t call KPK an educated mass of land which can bear the brunt of Malala’s story. When Karachi and Lahore have issues with her book and cannot sit and debate about her book amicably in a reasonable manner without disrupting the peace of the larger majority and the non-Muslims of Pakistan, the book was being released by a dastard crowd in the most volatile province of Pakistan. Does that make sense to anybody? It doesn’t to me!

Book launches in Pakistan are a wonderful affair, smell of fresh paper, literati and the media circus. It does wonders to boost your self-image and, if you are an avid book reader, does wonders for that mind that is yearning for the flow of words and some alone time with a fresh cup of chocolate, milk or tea.

I particularly like the signing booth. I guess most writers would like to see themselves signing books, but the line of excited people trying to get their books signed by the author is mesmerizing. Shows a lot of compassion for books.

Same goes for exhibitions and book expos. A whole lot of books sold and a whole lot of people looking for those favorite and wonderful titles from old stocks and and clearances that different participants do in exhibitions. But exhibitions are a wonderful way to see new countries exhibit their collections of exotic covers and once in a lifetime chance to see some of the titles. They might be priced heftily but some titles are just single copies and such expos might be the best time to grab them.

Books and information in books should be treasured and pleasurable. Investment in books and lone time is made with a motive of enjoying a novel or reading for understanding one’s life better and easier. Once that is out of the equation, no one will want to buy a book. No one wants to listen to a soliloquy or self-praise. No one wants to read something that degrades one nation or one class, creed against another. If someone is looking for such material explicitly, beware, they might have severe failings as an individual to find fault with a crowd!

Harass the harassment…

“Muashra kharaab hai (the society is not good for you),” said the mother, with concern.

“Bahir jaogi to kuttay kha jaegay tumhain (If you go out alone people will not leave you),” said the father, furrowing his forehead.

“Taangein na tor dun tumhari mein (I will break your legs if you leave the house),” said the brother, tightening his fists

“Bohat shoq hai tumhain sunnay ki, aur sun lo (Don’t you love listening to all this),’ said the sister, filing her nails.

These are the regular you can hear in the less-than-average household in Karachi, Lahore, Hyderabad, maybe any random city of Pakistan with slight variation in the severity. Anyone who knows such a household will know when a girl from such a household tries to go out and work cannot because of the ‘wow’ factors of the such a neighborhood even though the girl will wear the best covering in terms of clothing.

Another scenario:

“Khayaal se jana (Take care),” said the mother, concerned.

“Bhai chor aaega, akele mat jao (Don’t go alone, take your brother with you),” said the father, motioning the ‘younger’ brother lounging in the couch to get up and walk his sister to the stop.

As frustrated as he can be at being asked to get up from that couch, he still goes with his ‘baji’ till the stop.

“Mujhe bhi job karni hai parhai k baad after studies (I will also work after my studies),’ said the sister, gulping her milk with a wishful look on her face and hurrying for the van. A slight look of concern flashes across the faces of the parents.

A middle class family prays for the safe return of their daughter each day. She travels in a bus to save money for that Sony smartphone and for that wedding gift she wants to buy her friends next month. But she has ground realities waiting for her till she can fulfill all those innocent wishes.

And there you have a household with a story and a community with a culture and a Pakistan with a sensibility. But do we have to be concerned with the concerns that all these people have for the female gender of the society. Let me think and ask again….. oh yes we do. Are we insecure? Yes. Is that good? No. Can it be any different? Yes. How? :)

A famous Pakistani comic strip thinks we should raise our voice against the atrocious behavior that leads to such sensibilities; namely sexual harassment and sexual assault. But what has raising voice done for violence against women, liberation for women and rights for women. Little I would say! So without raising voice and crying out loud, I say solve the problem.

It isn’t that difficult. Groping a woman isn’t funny, neither is calling her funny names on the street or even talking about her in a sexual manner with a bunch of friend; that my friends is the worst form of sexual harassment that goes unnoticed, un-felt and unseen. So who is the culprit here and who is the victim. Personally I feel the old adage; a victim, being a victim gives rise to oppression. Now, now, now don’t just start with that stereotyped whaling, ” O she is against women,” or even the more famous, “she feels so victim-centric” whatever that means really! Coming back…. both the oppressor and oppressed are to blame.

Women in our society are ‘taught’ to be the weaker sex, ‘brought up’ to be the weaker sex even ‘conditioned’ to be the weaker sex, so much so that many, almost 90% believe that being weak is being pretty. Sorry to burst your bubble gals! It aint pretty, you are stronger than you think, use that physical and emotional strength at least to protect yourself. Men on the other hand are always ‘taught’ by those same ‘weak’ women that they can conquer the world and by some magical inference women too.

So sexual harassment ‘comes easily’ to men and not to women. Has a woman ever groped a guy in a public bus? Has she ever hooted at a lone boy in Pakistan? Will she ever think of touching him? The answer is a plain NO! She wouldn’t touch a boy no matter how high on estrogen she is because she is ‘ingrained’ with morals, while there is ‘no check’ on the morals of the boys of the same family! Boys can fake it too well I guess. The same ‘weak’ women of the family will hardly notice it through the facade!

Cutting a long story short, most of it comes from the house, training and what and where you learn. A man who harasses a woman outside his home, probably doesn’t respect his mother, doesn’t talk right to his sister or has ever seen what an ideal gentleman should be like. He probably has a father who has been a failure in his life, or doesn’t respect his own wife or mother and will never respect his daughter because he knows what world he has created for her. A harasser lacks confidence in himself always, don’t give him the confidence that he can shake yours!