‘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!

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!