Happy Birthday To You …

The ladies sit together. Pink balloons on their table indicate a celebration. Their clothes seem perfect. Almost too good. Hair made up perfectly. Ladies who wear the hijab have on the most tasteful hijabs one could imagine. Smiles abound.

And there is a popping sound and a sound of laughter. One of the balloons meets a terrible fate at the hands of one of the ladies. She stands in an awkward arch, laughing, not quite sure what to do next. But she resumes her poise very soon. Five of them and the chatter is audible enough for the whole mall.

Far from the elevators walk in four men, two holding bags on their shoulders. Baggy pants and buttoned shirts. Black to brown to blue to whites, a range of manly colors adorned their fit and stout bodies. The men don’t really seem to care much about how they look. Unfinished and unpolished, or rather unkempt. They walk over to the ladies who are now making space on their table.

One of the ladies calls a waiter who is wearing a red tee. Tall guy with dull features and stooped shoulders pulls over a table and a few chairs to the ladies’ table and chairs to make more room. He seems uninterested almost disgusted. It looks like a routine and he is used to seeing groups of young men and women chill out. His eyes avert and he just puts everything together and rushes off.

The group sits together and one of the men takes out a yellow crown made of paper and wears it on his head. Seems like he is the unkempt birthday boy bent on being the entertainer, also wearing black sunglasses. While it is evident that it is a birthday bash, this group of youngsters is totally unaware of realities or at least wants to care less about it.

The selfie session is on. Group selfies and picture time. A 2k+ spending on food and an extravagant card that has snippets of memories and a snow spray on everyone. The women seem to be in charge of the party arrangements while the men seem to just execute anything handed out to them. Evidently the societal conditioning of human beings.

Some new forms of celebrations pop out. Call-outs, hearts, mooch and fancy specs on sticks to click some more memorable selfies. All of the memorabilia which costs some money to buy and was not handmade. Another area where the women got creative and men only executed. Societal conditioning????

The washrooms aren’t devoid of the selfie- mania. The ladies throng the washroom to just selfie themselves. Another depiction of what the society expects of women who have a smartphone with camera. The confirmation and validation women ‘try’ to go through to fit in is level best weird. It can be judged from the fact that each woman gets an individual picture with the birthday boy, in addition to the gang picture, while the guys get a gang snap only. Looks like the gay fanaticism is high in this group.

After all this spending and celebrating in all the earnest, most sensible young people find it absolutely their right to do so a second time and a third time, money being no issue each time. But that man in the red tee who help put the table and chairs together doesn’t really get that chance. He just stands by to see more such celebrations and earn his cash. This guy might not think it weird to get individual snaps with all his buddies or even weird pics with his buddies, but maybe with women he might have weird reservations. O yeah he will. So there is a practical weird for everyone.

We have two poles and amazingly sometimes they just co-exist in the same space at the same time without saying a word to each other. Sometimes without even hating each other. They don’t even love or appreciate each other. They just exist and that is Pakistan or may I exaggerate KARACHI!

Take Me Up … Please!

The morning brings a new hope.

Well to most people.

To some its a routine. A boring and exasperating routine.

To those who want to change, everyday is an opportunity. I guess only 10% see it as an opportunity to change. To swell and grow.

In a country like Pakistan where somehow people manage to filter out the worst from all that is going on, opportunities get filtered too. What many miss is you can only grow food where there is none. Plant a seed where there is a barren land. In a stagnated or full grown land, there will be no space to plant a seed or grow anything. But then again the farmer waits and waits to get his produce. Patience is a virtue. Isn’t it? Sometimes its requires a lifetime to get results.

The worst situations could be the best recipe for growing into resilient organization. And by organization I mean any sort of organization, an organized human form. It could be as small as five or as big as five hundred thousand.

But every economy has its own requirements. A growing economy will not pay repeaters very well. It will distribute the wealth between them, paying the initiator the highest and the followers in a descending manner. The initiator is the first person who found a new solution or brought an innovation. Growing economies have lots of problems which need to be addressed and any such initiator gets the chunk.

The better-off economy always pays off the innovator the most or the want-need creator since such economies have sufficed all their basic needs. Or at least the product should look like it is something out of the box.

Thinking in terms of economy and direction gives a better view of the opportunities available in a country without the drama that is usually attached to defaming and deriding a place and finding excuses to not doing something by blaming everyone around you and not doing your own part.

Obviously something needs to change but someone needs to do them if everyone is not doing it. The opportunity is lying open and staring people in the face, requiring a sense of responsibility :)

To Know or Not To Know….. Is That a Question?

Another morning…. just another morning!

The traffic is normal and Karachi seems to go about its normal pace. People have loads to accomplish and the regular class has more to earn. But in between all this I wonder how much we want to LEARN and TEACH. Not much and not everyone is intent on it.

People come in all different shapes and sizes. So does their brain. Unfortunately when they develop to full content which is very early on in life, most are somehow fully equipped with all that they know and do not want  to know more. This is the most baffling view anyone can take on life.

Most articles online focus on re-learning, developing more skills and unlearning, which is alarming and outright amazing, coz lets admit it, it is outright difficult also. But to keep learning might not be as difficult as we ‘want to see it’. We keep ‘not learning’ stuff coz it either is not related to us, not relevant to our jobs, will waste our time or simply has no value. I wonder how algebra or Pythagoras’s theorem has helped anyone but an engineer, yet everyone has learnt it and applied it. I wonder how the atmospheric pressure could be relevant to anyone but a physicist  or a astronomer, yet all of us know its importance.

Continuous specialized or non-specialized learning may have very significant impacts on all areas of life, while paying attention to the self only has virtually or practically no positive impact on life-improvement. Nothing has been improved by paying attention to the sole self. If Steve Jobs had not paid attention to the programs he wouldn’t have developed Apple and continued to do so. Had the great writers not paid attention to small details of the people around them they wouldn’t have been able to create great fiction.

Learning improves the self and any roadblocks to learning can be felt strongly if paid attention to. Knowledge frees the mind, but it also gives a perspective. Looking at what can be accomplished by being in the know is almost infinite.

‘happy’ new year…. really?

Here we were dancing as a nation to the tune of the Taliban as they blasted some 140 children out of nowhere. Just before the year turned new and just before the world celebrated, Pakistan buried some of the well educated children whose only crime was being related to an Army space.

The media goes berserk and so does the international political space. But the borders of Pakistan aren’t safe and the LOC becomes a line of tension. The American President decides to visit the subcontinent and suddenly the exchange of fire and arms is on the high. Whether this happens as a matter of strategy by both countries or as a planned execution by one, the series of events is alarming to say the least.

The destabilizing fires in Karachi and Lahore, the targeted killing in Peshawar, is just the beginning of the age old game of bring-the-attention-of-the-people-to-daily-chores-and-poverty. Once accomplished the simple man will get busy with the daily life with a new fervor that maynot necessarily be positive in all its manifestations.

As things are again falling back into place we can assume the positivity of people will also fall back into place!

How to Support an Author’s New Book: 11 Ideas For You

Originally posted on Writers In The Storm Blog:

By Chuck Sambuchino

large_5595133805My Writer’s Digest coworker, Brian A. Klems, recently geared up for the release of his first book — a humorous guide for fathers called OH BOY, YOU’RE HAVING A GIRL: A DAD’S SURVIVAL GUIDE TO RAISING DAUGHTERS (Adams Media). On top of that, my coworker Robert Brewer (editor of Writer’s Market) recently got a publishing deal for a book of his poetry.

So I find myself as a cheerleader for my writing buddies — trying to do what I can to help as their 2013 release dates approach. I help in two ways: 1) I use my own experience of writing & publishing books to share advice on what they can expect and plan for; and 2) I simply do whatever little things I can that help in any way.

This last part brings up an important point: Anyone can support an author’s…

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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 :)