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!


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.

Earth Hour in Pakistan?????

World Wide Fund for Nature made a commitment to organize Earth Hour on the 23rd March, from 2030 PST to 2130 PST. People across Pakistan were supposed to switch off their lights for a complete one hour and celebrate the cut in carbon emission. Since the climatic change is over-whelming and the world is emitting fumes that are harming the ozone layer, such a step not only proves to be useful, it also creates a sense of responsibility among the youth and a desire to be part of a movement.

But does it really have the desired impact in a country like Pakistan- in particular Karachi?

Karachi is a complex and beautiful city. Its beauty arises from the myriad of ethnicities it houses. Being a metropolitan city it also has a lot of foreign people residing and at least a few of them claiming to love it. The city has its rush hours, its pollution, its crowds, its noise, but then which metro doesn’t. It has a myriad of issues, with broken roads, some broken telephone wires and biggest of all the tickling and  playing electricity. The city that is awake at night and that refuses to sleep, although it is not safe at night these days, has one issue that has an effect of a plague. Electricity!

Last year alone the outages at a minimum were 3 hours per day. If we see that on a 10 month scale, excluding the winter months which are better, that would amount to 822 hours. In some areas of Karachi the outages were 14 hours at a stretch. Furthermore, some areas even had 18 hours without any electric supply. If the numbers are to be calculated the scale would tip to around 4500 hours. If in the last year alone Earth enjoyed around 4500 hours of no-carbon hours from Karachi alone, just imagine what was the contribution of Pakistan to ‘Earth HourS’ in 2012 alone!!!

The argument that comes here is that people had generators of some sort to switch on lights. I ask- how many people can afford that type of luxury? No doubt the sales rose, but so did the prices. Even with the power generation units, people prefer to power up single or two units only. They prefer not to power the whole house since it requires a lot of energy and resources.

Why celebrate Earth Hour!

With such a huge contribution in millions of precious hours already made by the whole Pakistan- does it really matter if we ‘celebrate’ Earth Hour with the rest of the world. I don’t think so. I believe the rest of the world should recognize the contribution Pakistan has already made to the world at large. Power outages whether created or genuine have markedly reduced the carbon footprint and by celebrating the Earth Day we not just undermine our contribution, we also don’t admit it.

On 23rd March the mausoleum of the Quaid was darkened because of the Earth Hour. I ask the whole nation, “Does the man who gave you a country deserve a dark mausoleum, on Pakistan Day? Doesn’t that make you feel ashamed or make you feel a tiny bit disturbed? The man gave the people a place to live and fresher air to breathe, and what we give him at the 66th anniversary of Pakistan Day is a dark forgotten hour to celebrate with the earth!!!! Not with Pakistan or with our land to say the least.”

A People Stronger Than The State……

I read in a book that at the time of partition “India as a state was stronger than its people and Pakistani people were stronger than the state.” Not willing to debate on the aspect of partition here, but the historian had a point. Today after years of hardships on both sides the situation is not much different. As a people Pakistanis have their own line of thought and are not willing to submit it for the greater good of the country. But it is also commendable that when calamities strike the oneness of Pakistanis, irrespective of names, religions, stature, class and creed is worth watching. Again the bewitched-line-of-thought has to strike someone, which made me realize that poverty is a malaise that makes people want more than is given to them.

Many NGO got together, special information system was put in place to locate affectees, the extent of damage was monitored by the many mobile systems in place, food, clean drinking water, shelter, make-do tents and medicines were made available to whatever areas were reported. Civilians and army worked hand in hand to provide relief in the major calamity that came in the form of earthquake first and flood the second time. What was astonishing was the spirit of people who wanted to help with money and material. People took leaves from their work and traveled to affected areas to deliver the goods themselves lest the bewitched-line-of-thought of some peasant make the hard-earned and dedicated work go to waste. It was no wonder that many such affectees got jobs in cities and were hired as permanent  employees. Many new businesses cropped up over night, especially in the textile sector as the people coming from the affected cities were skilled artisans.

While all this was going on, the devil was lurking and found his way to those bewitched people who thought it was ok to lie and cheat to bask in the glory and take some advantage of the over-flowing emotions of the people. While people were really disturbed, some could go back to normal lives, but they CHOSE not to. Instead easy money was their way of life, shorter but easier way of life. They pulled people’s emotions towards themselves by narrating stories that were heart-wrenching, disturbing and drastic but all were blatantly false and outright lies. Yes, they got the monetary benefit from organizations and people, but not for long since man is a leaner and learns to detect lies and deceit. For some wannabes who were not affected at all, the deceit was a fun game, a way to beg and earn extra cash!!

Earning extra cash by narrating stories is a new career that pops up specially when calamities strike. At least in the current 5 years of democracy I have witnessed it. While the lower tier begs the middle and upper class, the upper tier begs the international community. Excluding those dedicated international community country leaders who have a heart and no motive to invest in Pakistan, the rest listen to petty stories and give out cash to a so-called democratic, agriculture-based country which is an insult to their own thinking abilities. If you cannot do a background search on the leaders you are giving away to, kindly ask someone in your regimes to do it. You will stop the giving away in times of calamity.

While the State as a whole can not do much to change its people, the people in their own individuality can even change perceptions about the State. People residing outside Pakistan have done more harm than give a positive outlook to religion and Constitution, both which they do not understand. The leaders in individuality have minted more money than they can ever spend leaving the State more than ever dependent on foreign aid, which is never there to stay with the State. I wish more than ever that Mr. Jinnah, who gave us a country to run with an illiterate people(metaphorically),  would have been with the country a little more so that he would have laid down some concrete principles. But the again, who knows the same people who have been ripping off his country today, would have shredded those same principles and built their own in the name of modernization of the State and religion, an act which would have been even more saddening and drastic!! RIP Mr.Jinnah!

Look at me …. I am a smarty!

While the politicians of Pakistan discuss the various options to diffuse TuQ and handle his various demands, the media anchors sit tight infront of their screens hanging on to every word being reported. These words have more than just meaning. They are writing the golden history of Pakistan. Every minute, every hour is going down with meticulous planning and analysis, sometimes over-analysis. There is a saying in Urdu, “jab soch gehri hojaye to iraday kamzor hojatay hain”, “when people over think before acting,their actions become weak.”

Too much analysis has become an over-kill or a time-kill for anchors who have good reputations, from digging nasty pasts to appropriating Quranic verses without any regard to the sanctity of Quran. While the government has not been too keen on being on the same bandwagon, recently they showed sign of cracking under pressure from the long march. This the media has enjoyed to such an extent that their stupidity has been replayed again and again. The nuisance that the footage suddenly creates is unbelievable and I just wonder if our ministers realize what moral clause did that fall into. Even if state and religion are separate, no religion allows this moral degradation of the self, that too infront of the public!!!

A tiring day with a coalition of coalition…

TuQ seems to be achieving his remote-at-the-beginning motive of bringing the players of the government onto a single table. As hard as he seems to be against the players of the present times, all his motives seem to be bringing the oldies into the  center of the game as they scramble to protect their so-called democracy. While the call TuQ utterly undemocratic and don’t stop at concocting unusual stories about the learned man, they themselves threaten to call even bigger mobs and create ‘real’ unrest the likes of which can be found in history. If a man, who has willing throng of people at his beck and call asking for the shut down of the present government is undemocratic, so are the democracy flag-bearers who threaten to repeat history for the sake of false up-keep of present government!

Peoples’ speculation about the military being a key player behind the TuQ movement is evident online, while the government is beginning to shame TuQ on being an outside agent. The amazing sequence here is the series and sequence of statements. It is obvious that since day one of this movement TuQ movement would have been made to look like the work of some hidden hand. Courtesy Ayesha Siddiqa, writer of Military Inc, in an article that appeared in Express Tribune dated Jan 16, 2013, she traces the events of the day when she states,

“With the passage of the day, all non-parliamentary and non-political forces seem to be taking their place in subverting the political system. Supposedly eager to improve the quality of democracy, all of these characters are happy to flout democratic norms to push their way into power. Thus, not surprisingly, we have Qadri announcing the death of the government, the Supreme Court ordering the arrest of the prime minister in a case which has not been completely investigated, Imran Khan asking for premature resignation of the president, and the former dictator prodding the current army chief to move in and take over — all in the same day.”

The incidents she describes all come with successive clarifications stating detachment with the TuQ movement. Except for Imran Kahn who has the same agenda and states it clearly. What is the army and the court scared of? Why do they suddenly have to give explicit statements and conversation out to the public to PROVE their innocence? Or are they innocent?

While people debate the backing of TuQ, which by chance has had no major role so far, has been a DIVERSION from the main agenda at hand- the corrupt political system and its reform! The 7 points that have gone down in history of Pakistan now.

The day ends with the visionary coalition of all non-PTI parties coming to a consensus, not on democracy but on making another feudocratic government, which shall be lead by Mr.Sharif- which one we shall find out if they succeed!

The impending danger…

While Pakistan on the whole struggles with its basic survival, its neighbors gear to hit it with bows and arrows. Not in the literal sense ofcourse! Since TuQ announced his intentions for long march- Pakistan’s “Aman ki Asha” neighbors have been inching towards the line of control waiting for the exact right time. The recent event of hitting the Pakistan occupied Kashmir has sparked outrage among the masses and serious alignment of forces is taking place on both ends of the border. Is war inevitable?

The ‘visionary’, ‘democratic’ government has no way to stop this self-created mess. It cannot ‘buy’ its way out or ‘pay’ its way out. Stuck in the midst of the crisis are the people of Pakistan who are subject to mindless games and freaky talk shows where there is no solution. The people of Pakistan are yearning for the Pakistan Army to intervene- but will it? Or rather should it? Should it HELP to form the interim government? Should it help the people, who do not have the nerve to change their own destinies and will eventually re-elect the spawn of the same government 5-10 year from now?

The questions are burning- the present is threatening. But military intervention means two responsibilities for a single team with dwindling economy. Media with a throat of a lion, barking on and about every aspect of the low down of the economy, spreading the menace and depression through the masses, killing the hope, happiness and rays of sunshine. What the pen and tongue do not realize is that, they have responsibilities towards the people, as strong and astute as the government.

The war never gave anyone anything. Mr. Zardari has never been sincere with Pakistan. Hoping that in the last few days, he some how manages to amaze the nation and does something positive to avert the impending danger. Just not for votes this time, maybe just for the graves of his ancestors!

Democracy……or Feudocracy

Feudocracy-  a term I picked up while reading the reviews on current news on Express Tribune. Isn’t it applicable and more practical? The current system of ‘democracy’ is screaming out painfully under the stressful looting by the  feudals who are trying hard to run it. But have they succeeded?

Many people have put it this way- ‘democracy’ has not failed the government has failed the people. Autocracy, monarchy, dictatorship are not for Pakistan and its people. They believe the so-called ‘dictators’ have derailed the economy of Pakistan- while they themselves realize figures have been different. Their argument is then the constitution- anything happening beyond the constitution is way bad for the country- is it really so?

The pointers put forward today by Imran Khan  and TuQ are fairly same and similar in nature- with Imran Khan demanding an additional eviction of Mr. Zardari. No one seems scared of taking names directly- and they should not be scared of calling a spade a spade! The same pointers demand fair elections, grass-root people being able to select their own leaders without hesitation.

Keeping the past and present in sight, the game of constitution, dictators and pointers is being fairly and unfairly played by all parties involved. The media tries to play all cards, try all questions, be the all-knowing, yet it seems to dip in favor of the government when it is TuQ in question. But has no issues and questions when Imran Khan puts forward the same pointers. The same media plays anti-dictator tunes as well, hinting who might be the next in line while the masses roar in favour of TuQ.

The judiciary kicks out the Prime Minister, but that has no immediate bearing for any of the on going scenario. The politicians find it a diversion and try hard to prolong it, but it has no mass appeal.

The online world as the march goes on…

Facebook and Twitter become very interesting and swift places at times like these. The nation is not resting and so are the websites. They are making money by the hits, which are by the millions! But that is the least of my concerns at the moment. What dazzles me are the thoughts and the counter thoughts. As if the media was not enough!

Media is a strange yet effective tool which effects the online world in a subtle, sneaky way. Once bought into with some dough, the media can change its perspective in a minute or two and can give people alternative views that may never exist. People who have online accounts- are educated, will propagate it to give voice to their snoozing fingers without realizing what they are writing.

The online world transformed from the force of the media, that pushed tons of people into the streets for the long march, giving the long march a wonderful reception in every city it passed, to bogging it down now that it has reached its ultimate destination and has the full potential of tearing down the Parliament. The media has suddenly put out its anchors into the streets asking general people constitutional questions. I DIRECTLY ask the media ‘how many people in your family know their constituitional rights and what was your age when you realized your constitutional rights to vote?” “How many women in your family are aware of their constitutional rights?” Kndly let us know without LYING!!!!

The point to these pointless questions is that, your questions are as pointless as the questions above! Kindly stop giving people secondary ideas- a man wearing robes and having a religious background is as sound as a man wearing Western outfit- atleast the religous man is EDUCATED in deen and duniya!

The revolution thy name is ……… long march!

While thousands of people stride towards the capital of Pakistan I sit in Karachi wondering more than ever if this is really the revolution we all were waiting for- the new world order- the end of the world- the Mayan calender ending and causing a demonic or angelic change in the demography and geography of Pakistan.

There are numerous views on the long march. The political view, the non-political view, view of the masses which undoubtedly holds strong and the view of the spectators. While all views take but one angle and side of the event and stick to it the spectators are pretty choosy and try to question all angles and even the most dumb and pathetic angles.

Trying hard to discredit Dr.Tahir ul Qadri, the spectators, believe they can spring up anecdotes of their own accord and stash it up, again having firm faith they have threatened the Doc’s mission. Knowing full well that the doc has not given his full agenda, and he happens to be a lawyer, the spectators should be careful in appropriating anecdotes and mission-failing prophecies to a learned man.

Changing startegy might come in handy to channels who wish to increase their viewership, instead of name-calling or verbally harassing or challenging people who are following the Doc who is out for a change. Many people didnot ‘understand’ English during the revolution of Pakistan, nontheless they fervently listened to Mr.Jinnah, BELIEVING that whatever he was saying was the truth and the right thing.