Saturday, December 24, 2005

Windsor Again

Its 8:45 in the AM and I am in Windsor today. Its funny how the city keeps pulling me back. I came here last night right after work (the boss was gracious enough to let me off an hour before due). The 4 hour train ride proved to be the ideal setting for me to go through the book that I had picked up a few days ago. Its called Samarkand and what a book it is. Its set over a centuries of Islamic history with several parables and parallels to our current day and age. A must read by all.
I am to Windsor amidst melting snow and positive tempratures. Woopie Doo. It seems our dear friends celebrating christmas would not be able to cherish a "white christmas" this year. Thats good news for me. Since I have a huge drive ahead of me today, highway 401 is a bitch to drive on in the snow.
The reason I am in Windsor is that a good friend is moving back to Pakistan and I am (despite my protests) the designated U Haul driver to Toronto. For those of you less familiar with U Haul and who have bothered clicking on the link back there, its kind of a small truck/lift van custom made for moving housings from point to point, or in my case city to city. Rest assured, an adventure beckons.
Windsor hasnt changed much since I was last here, some 2 months back. The thick smoke still hangs over the town. It reminds me of walking into a friends room who used to smoke 24/7. He also had the habit of smoking anything that could be lit cup and gave a buzz. We use to joke that if we leave several open bowls of water in his room, there may condensation and rain. Windsor is pretty much like his room. The Detroit river and Lake Erie are throughs of water that cleanse the air occasionaly with its rain.
So I got thinking today that everyones going back, well all my Pakistani friends. Either I have befriended those Pakistanis who were all set to return or for some other strange reason all the Pakistani friends I made in Windsor are moving back. Its kind of nice, that I would have some buddies from Canada in Karachi and Lahore when I go there but at the same time, its going to be somewhat of a pisser to not have them around in Canada. I guess thats a part of life.
On a lighter its reminds me of line from Samarkand when Princess Shireen says "Who knows, our paths may meet again."
So might as well make the most of what we have now and save the rest till the time when the paths meet, again!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Worst Day @ Work

If some one was to call me today at work and get my voicemail by some freak of nature (i am just shooting shit today at work) they would hear me say " surprising as it may seem, some of us do work a day before the holidays". Yes, the christmas/holiday season is starting from tomorrow and most organizations have the rest of the week off. That means no work till Jan or as we would amuse ourselves as children, no work till next year.
The wosrt part about a job like mine i.e. account management/business development/sales etc is that you are dependent significantly on other people. Your clients determine your routine, they determine when you get to work and when you leave. This point is further pushed by bosses who push the idea that what we earn is what our clients pay us so me must work with them. In terms of Porters 5 forces (yes I am a geek) we have 0 power.
So even if it is one crazy stupid client who has no life and works on the day the rest of the country is out shopping, we have to be at work to care of that SOB. The server he needs to configure cant wait a few weeks, those software licenses arent going to get to him till next year anyway and its time like these when I feel like telling the guy, dude, get a life, go get laid or something. However, the imperialist cycle of self fulfilment that I have stepped into deprives me of indulging in such simple pleasures.
To make things interesting in the absolute DUB style (thats what we call the company are the last alphabet on its initials) there is a competition going on the idea is that if can convince at least three of our clients to buy something worth $5000 we can take the rest of the day of. THis is where I draw the line. I didnt take the ethics course for nothing. Unfortunately, myself and others who find this exercise to be rather tasteless are stuck in the office. The others who pursued and succeded has been leaving as soon as their targets matched.
We have managed to retain our sense of humor though, balls are flying across the cube farm people are taking turns at telling jokes and ur bosses abviously are featured in some.
It times like these that make think where the hell is the world heading, I mean this is not what life is all about is it ?
Sadly some feel that way. Sadly it is all about making a buck or two even at the expense of others. It is a rat race, the cheese has a strong stench and and slowly but gradually we all flot towards with our eyes closed lavitating on the lognitudnal waves of cheese odours.

The silver lining is that I am writing this post from work. I am being paid to diss my job on the internet. Thats way of getting back at the man, 1 blog post at a time!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Happy Festivus

On This Day A Castanza Declared A Merry Holiday - A Festival, A Celebration! Festivus, for the rest of us.

Happy Festivus Every One :D

Good Times From Seinfeld !

Sunday, December 18, 2005

its weird how life sometime makes no sense - you get along all perfectly well with some one you dont see anything happening with and barely get to see or talk with the person whose hand you want to be holding later down in life.

how does 1 make the right call ?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Getting Over You

Dear Unicorn,

I love you. I miss you, now and forever!

Enjoy your life


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Zinda by Strings

Heard the new song by strings called Zinda - and it had such strong lyrics, I was compelled to put them up her. Get the song, its definitely worth a hear.









Sunday, November 13, 2005

aaj karachi bara yaad aya!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Murphs in Australia

my best buddies are touring australia. check out their blog. Its just a wicked journey to be on.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Eid & Other Boring Weekends

It was an uphill battle. Either I kill the weekend or it would kill me. Alas humanity prevailed, a couple of friends and a great movie called Jarhead saved the day.

Friday, October 28, 2005

I never thought I was so fragile from the inside, but the earth quake in pakistan shook something deep inside of me. My sudden response has been to do something to help my countrymen. So i jump in whatever direction I can, what ever I think will make a difference. I have been so tied up in this stuff that some of my colleagues at work think I run a small business on the side. I occasionally ask myself why I am doing this? why sell the wrist bands, why work with charities, why talk to the PSAs, why argue with customs, and the only answer i get is I have to. Its like a must, like one of those things that we do out of habit. Like we know that when someone falls down our reflex is reach out and help them back on their feet.

I guess its just my internal insecurity. I think that while I was growing up and living it out in Karachi I had a blind eye towards everything else. I mean having never personally been effected by a natural or other forms of disaster, my mind was closed to the concept. and then all of a sudden seeing these people, hundreds and thousands of them on their own helpless, clueless, shelterless, everything-less just made me realize how wrong and short sighted i was.

ALthough its only been three weeks yet it seems like a life time. If thats how I feel, I cant even imagine how the victims feel. Would they even want to wake up everymorning to the same drudgery do they have the will to survive to move on. Its amazing just to see them stand there and do something, anything, it really is.

I guess we all have a responsibility at this point to support our people in any and every possible way. Its like how the body works, when a part of it is infected, the internal defense mechanism fights the infection till it exits the system. I guess thats what we all need to do as well. Help bring the victims back to their feet, tell them they are not alone, show them support, give the hope and help them dream sweet dreams again.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Help Us Help Our Nation

Lets Help Out Our Friends In Pakistan In Their Hour Of Need. If You Are A Pakistani Student in North America Contact Your PSA About The Pak Quake Relief Wristbands or Click Here for Details

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Phir Kiya Hota ?

Agar woh hota jo mein chata
tu kiya phir hota, woh jo ho gaya
Tum bhool gaey, mein bhool gaya
Tum rooth gaey, mein kho gaya
Jahan chalta raha, zindagi guzarti rahi
mein chul para aur tum waheen rahi
hum nay shayad khoshish bhi ki
kuch yaad rahi kuch baat hui
pur waqt humara dost na tha
tumhari subha mein mera sooraj na tha
meri ratoon mein tumhari chandni na thi
jo baat wahan mein shayad keh dayta
yahan kehtay kehtay reh gaya
Jin bahoon ko shayad thaam sakta
unko dekhnay say bhi reh gaya
phir yeh suna kay koi aur hai
tumharay khwaboon mein tumhari batoon mein
tumhari muskurahat mein uska naam hai
aur tum mein jaisay uss ki jaan hai
jub yeh suna tu mein huns para
kuch apanay aap pur, kuch waqt pur, aur kuch jazbat pur
aur hunstay hunstay mein nay socha
Kay agar woh hota jo mein chata
tu kiya phir hota, woh jo ho gaya
Followed the link of Samarkands page to the leadership test and the results, surprisingly, are

I dont think JFK was much of a risk taker, some commentators have usually been critical of his abilities to "pull the trigger". Who knows ? I am not sure if I like been compared to an American President.

I have been wildly busy in the past few weeks, driving all over the place between cities and flying to US and back. As always, I have some interesting thoughts that I would post shortly. For now, I have just moved into my new place in Toronto earlier today and am awfully busy setting it up.

Till next time.


Monday, September 19, 2005

On My Own

Yesterday, I rented my first apartment. Holy shit I am an old frigging bloke now. Its a funny thought to say "Mera Ghar" and mean it. I have been renting apartments and rooms for the past two years but they were always temporary. I knew that in a semesters time, maybe in 8 months I would be moving out to a new place. But this time its totally different. This place is probably going to be there for a while. Its not going to be a house, but a home. That fact, added to the additional responsibility of maintaining the place like a home, furnishing it to my taste, repainting the pasty walls to a more vibrant colour -basically just giving it "my touch"-make this an adventure with mixed emotions.
So the place itself. Its almost like my dream apartment, except that its not on a 20+ floor nor does it overlook a body of water, but its very roomy with wooden floors and a great neighbourhood. The landlords are a fabulous italian couple with two really cute children. Theres a park right infront of the apartment and the neighbours are very friendly. Its a stones throw from the subway line and around the corner from the highway. Since I would just kill myself if I lived alone, I agreed to inherit the apartment with a room mate. The dude is a really nice Indian kid who is studying to be a film maker.
So on October 1st, I make the big move of going on my own. Earning some, loosing some, saving some and still trying to party like it was 1995 (good old O Level days). Its quite symbolic that all this is happening in October, since thats when I turn 26. So how about three cheers for my big move ;)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Only A Pakistani

So these days, while waiting for my work permit and all to come through, I am killing time in Windsor by hunting for apartments in TO, looking up cars and insurance rates, and playing cricket. I hadnt played cricket in almost 6 years when two weeks ago I took up a friends offer to join him for some cricket in the quad. Considering that frosh week was about to start, I went to the quad hoping to meet some hot new comers, but ended up getting totally involved in the game that I would play religiously as a child.
That led to me being a part of a team of friends participating in a cricket tournament today. The students association at the unviersity organized the tournament (in a soccer field, but still something is better than nothing) as a part of the Frosh Week. My friends put in a team and I played along. It was'nt much of thriller, since our team was way stronger than the others there, but it was still a good way to kill a lazy sunday afternoon. After the match ended there were five us, all Pakistanis, heading for our car, when we come across a huge tractor tire lying in the middle of our way. It was being used by the soccer team for some training exercise and they had not kept it back. For some reason, we all instinctively thought that we need to move the tire to the corner, so two of us put the tire up and started rolling it towards the corner of the field.
Our soccer field at the University rec center is made in an unusual way. Theres the parking area and then a grassy incline that plateaus into the soccer field itself. While we were rolling the tire to the corner, yours truly opined, wouldnt it be fun for someone to sit in the tire and roll down the incline. Everybody laughed, we made jokes, asked for volunteers and made fun of each other about rolling down in the incline in a bigg ass tractor tire.
Five minutes later, the tire was held upright by two of us, while a third person, Hasan, was taking position in the tire. We had two engineers among us, and they decided the best position for a person to sit and what would be the best position for the tire to begin its descent. Myself and one of the engineers were asked to play the role of a break at the end of the incline. Our job was to stop the tire from rolling into the parking lot. Two people took position at the "launch pad" and one person was all set to roll down the incline in a Good Year tractor tire.
The fun began when the tire started rolling down. We could clearly see Hasan with expressions of panic and curiosity as he held on to the tires inner wall. I was the first break, Salman was my back up. The tire was initially rolling very slowly, but gained momentum as it rolled further down the incline. I was all set to grab a hold of the rolling monstrosity when I realized that it could actually run me over. Behind me, I could hear Salman saying oh, its suddenly gotten a lot faster. I was feets away from the tire, when I decided to jump of to the side. Salman miscalculated the speed and by the time he moved away, the tire crashed into the side of his body bruising his shoulder. It fell off the path, onto the grass, and we could all hear Hasan laughing out loudly inside the tire.
Although the ride did not end as planned, yet it was still a great thrill. Everyone caught on and soon all five us were ready to roll down in the tire. We figured out a better braking mechanism and decided to use cricket bats in tandem, instead of bare hands. For the next 30 minutes, five Pakistani men, in their early and mid twenties were rolling down an inclince in a tractor tire.
What makes this even more funny is that there some caucasian, some indian, some sri lankan and bangladeshi people before us who had walked past the tire, but it took someone from Pakistan the brains to figure out that a tractor tire on an incline makes for a great time. Hence our unainomus conclusion was that no matter how good people from any other country are in any other field, no one can take the cake from Pakistanis when it comes to screwing around. :D

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Life Is A Highway ...

...and I am driving in the express lane right now. The past few weeks have been BRUTAL to say the least. Interviews, shifting, setting up the new place followed by the anticipation of the response from the interviews. Plus the fact that right now I am camped out in a friends living room doesnt make things peachy to begin with.
One thing I have perfected in over the last four months is what I call doing the Superman. Doing the superman is all about changing clothes quickly in a place other than a house. Now dont think that its about stripping down in the middle of the street and then quickly putting on another set of clothes. Heres an exmaple of "doing the Superman". Last week on Monday I had an interview in the outskirts of Toronto at Noon. Living in Windsor, Toronto is a 4 hour ride at least. So I hopped on the 6AM train to TDot (as some people affectionately call toronto) and reached downtown toronto (Union Station) at 10:30. I was wearing a pair of shorts, my favorite led zepplin t-shirt (its my lucky charm) running shoes and cap.
Prior to leaving Windsor I had shaved and I had showered. All I needed to do was my hair, and put on the interview attire. I also enjoy travelling light, so I had carefully folded my trouser, shirt and tie into a small duffle bag and I was carrying the coat on a regular mettalic hanger with the cleaners plastic wrapping still on. As soon as the train came to a halt, I picked up my stuff, jumped of the train, dashed to the mens room and quickly changed into a "pro". The technique is to pack your stuff exactly the way you are going to take it out, shoes and socks, followed by the trouser and the belt followed by the shirt and the tie in the end. Its a quick change, out of one dress into the other. A quick wet comb and a dab of hair gel further complement the look and the cologne adds the finishing touches. From a skid to a debonair in five minutes, thats a good feat eh.
Anyway, thats how lifes been everythings been moving quick. When it came to shifting I had to help my friend move in so that I could move in with him and he has a boat load of stuff. We eventually had to rent a truck and since he doesnt have what they call a "G" (meaning graduated) License in Ontario, I was required to drive the truck. It wasnt one of those small U Hauls that you see here and there it was this bigg ass F-450 which this huge carry on that can pass of as a lift van. So there i was rigging through Windsor at odd hours of the night. towing stuff from one place to another.
To make matters worse, it was the very the night that the remains of Katrina were hitting the Mid West, including Michigan, so it was light showers all night long. Adding fuel to fire was the fact that the condo that we were moving too did not allow shifting stuff after 8 at night. So waited out till past midnite and actually sneaked in our stuff, including matresses and couches, at 3 in morning with a constant drizzle drenching us.
And now that all that is done, its the really bad wait and see period. I have had a few job interviews, a couple have the potential to reach fruition, but the wait to actually hear a yay or a nay is absolutely nerve wrecking. Every time the phone rings between 9 to 5 on a week day my heart skips a beat I say Bismillah before answering the calls only to realize it some person irrelavant to my career prospects. This coming week holds the key, its make or break time. I have raised the ante on two opportunities, what I need now is a straight flush.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Yeh Doo Saal

August 28, 2003 - I left Karachi. Its been two years. I cant say long or short since its so relative, but they have been eventful to say the least. Landing onto the Pearson airport was like opening up this Pandaroas Box of living on my own. Here I was, a somewhat spoiled brat who had grown up in the "lap of pakistani luxuries" and now all of sudden I was in country where I knew four people out of ten million and was asked to live in a city where I didnt know anyone out the two hundred thousand or so. Limited funds and lack of permanent accomodation were also two of the issues on my mind.
However, as most foreign experiences teach most spoiled brats, I learned the art of surviving as a poor student and its fun. Its been good, great in fact, and now I can also claim to know a lot more about myself, life and the world, than I had intially. Canada, despite its extreme winters and openness towards homosexuality, has come close enough to be called my second home.
I have also learnt more about home #1, Pakistan. It's funny how the the views can change when you look at something from the outside. Maybe change isn't the right word, maybe clarified is. You see things in a new light, on a new level. Its like being told you are fat and then actually seeing your pictures to realize the truth in that statement.
Although there is a lot more that I have to learn and a lot more that I am yet to achieve, I think these two years will go a long way in making everything else possible. I now have a solid foundation and its all set to face any thing that the future holds. So bring it on life, show me what you got.
In words of Robert Plant "Its Only Just Beginning".

Friday, August 26, 2005

Packing Up

Its last week of august and over the past two years, this time represents a move. Unlike my friends who carry loads of crap with them, I have no issues with packing. It takes me a day and I am done. 4 boxes, 3 suitcases 1 camping bag and a couple of smaller back packs is all I need to squeeze my stuff in.
The fun part of packing is always going through the stuff that has accumulated since I last moved. Receipts of useless purchases, birthday cards, wedding invitations, thank you notes and even To-Dos that are yet to be "done".
Another fun discovery is coming across change - lots and lots of change, nickels dimes quarters all over the place. I have found almost $11 in change in the last four hours that I have been packing.
The toughest part is deciding whats trash and whats not. The assignment that I bombed goes out, the one that I aced stays, notes from finance class goes out, notes from strategy stay. The strategy quiz on the other hand makes the recycle bin and advertising projects make it to the file.
The worst thing to see is bills that still due - I generally close my eyes and toss them in recycle basket but thats not advisable. I also have serious trouble letting go of old magazines, I have a box full of economist and fortune from the last year that I feel might come in handy sooner or later, for what? I have no clue. But I remember most recently using a magazine from last year as reference, I just cant let go of it, I thrive on information.
The worst part is the clean up. Once everything is packed, I have to clean every single nook and cranny of the room. At times like these, I thank God and P&G for having made the Swiffer.
So now, having taken a breather, Ill head back to packing rest of the stuff. I have a feeling that a new adventure is just around the corner, look out for updates. :D

Cheers to all


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Odette Memory # 527

MBA Games - Jan '05- Quebec City-Returning from the spirit competition Ryan, Dwayne, MKA, Jamie and KS!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

As It Ends...

Its happened. We were all working for it and it did happen in a glamorous, the most fantastic and elaborate way that it could. The Odette MBA Class of 2005 reached its end. We are done. Done with exams, done with assignments, done with hectic schedules and demanding ECAs and irrelevant Co-Op issues. We are done, period!
When we all congregated in B-04 for our orientation session we didnt realize that the 40 of us would end being a unified group unlike our previous batches. When we caught up with our fast track colleagues we didnt realize that we were embracing people who would motivate us to succeed. We all kept going just building on from what we had which eventually turned out to be a solid structure built on solid foundations of trust, friendship, harmony and compassion.
Now all thats left are the last few parties. It was the Murphys last night, the Chevaliers tonight, Benincassa tomorrow, Stasiak on Friday and Carbanairo on Saturday. We would all bid each other adieu, with commitments of being there for times to come, of constant communication, of subscription to mailing lists and additions to MSN however what would never change, is the way we all directly or indirectly influenced each other in achieving our goals.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Pakistan Zindabad

To over a 160 million people in this world, this flag is a symbol of pride and a celebration of freedom. On August 14th, we celebrate once again, the right to live and breathe freely. What we should also learn and possibly celebrate in the future, is the ability to exercise that right.

Youm-e-Azadi Mubarak!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Celebrating The End

Sometimes an evening starts like this, then you start chilling, maybe open a bottle of shiraz and unwind with your friends. Something like this

there maybe some lime light, some awards, some recognition, some appreciation, like this:

you finally decide to cut it loose, shake leg, have a ball party on - maybe like this

and when you finally call it a night, you can only wish these two years could go on a bit longer.

Cheers to friends, to the days gone by and the days to come!

Monday, August 01, 2005


While I was developing marketing strategies for Alpaca fibre, a door bell rang in her world. Probably when I was suggesting participation in Expofil, she headed towards the door, slightly curious as to who was on the other side and partially thinking about what she had been doing.
Just when I argued an alliance with retail outlets, she opened the door. And for a split second, our worlds became one, she thought of me, I thought of her thinking of me. She looked at who was out there yet the aftertaste of my thought, made her smile. I smiled too.
She shut the door, she went back to her world and I to mine. I continued talking about partnerships for selling Alpaca fibre and she went back to doing whatever she was doing. But we smiled for the rest of the day, because we realized, that for a brief second, we were both in the same world, together.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

In The Waiting

A lot of people ask when? I say when the opportunity comes for me to sweep someone of their feet. The thrill of pursuit, the adventure of the chase, the twists and turns of sweet talk, the thrill of realizing the one, the fear of loosing the one, the fight for your right and the satisfaction of getting of it all. It sounds rather confucian with its focus on the process and not on the result, but i say when all this comes together, thats when!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Problem With Pakistan

A few explosions in London, a couple of bomb blasts in Egypt and Pakistan makes the headlines. Some of you who are expatriate Pakistanis may to some extent share my remorse at the influences such incidents have on us expatriates. Its not something you would observe right away, its not something that would bite you immediately, but the Pakistani of today, is gradually gaining reputation that was once enjoyed by Palestinian separatists; Hollywood's poster child for mayhem, menace and destruction. Don’t be surprised if in some years you start seeing movies with Pakistanis being framed in a negative context.

Like Palestinians, we know that all Pakistanis aren’t evil, all Pakistanis aren’t bad. Hell very few of us are actually foolish enough to wrap ourselves with TNT and blow our body to smithereens. But the world reads headlines, they don’t look at the inner pages, they don’t look at foreign office statements, they look at the headlines that read 5 Pakistanis being sought for
Egypt, or four Pakistanis being sought for London or 100 arrested in Pakistan for links with "the notorious one".
So the other day I started wondering why, why do these folks do what they do? Why do they ruin the name of the nation and the image of its nationals? Why does any one commit such atrocious acts and how can they justify it? I think a simple walk down the path of history would clearly explain things.

First thing to establish is this, and it saddens me to say this, but even after almost 60 years of independence we have failed to outline what our culture is. Is it a Muslim culture? Are we secular? Is our culture an Indian culture mixed in with what could be acceptable by our religion? I would love to see anyone, explicitly identify and describe a Pakistani Culture. One that is not on paper but one that the society truly reflects.

Having established that, consider the implications of not having a culture. We appreciate all that’s acquired, not ours. We seek inspiration from what’s acquired not ours. We do not have contemporary have art or crafts, writings or theatres, that define us, reflect our nature, or stand as being our cultural ambassador.

In parallel to this is another problem. The attitude of society towards social rebels. Those who define the culture aren’t appreciated. People who dare to make a difference are more often criticized than encouraged. People are born, and their fates are decided. "I want to see my son become a doctor/engineer/mba and my daughter can do anything she wants since pretty soon, ill marry her off" We don’t have the privilege to dream or the comfort of aspiring and deciding our own course of thing.

A large reason for this again comes back our cultural confusion. There is the generation that grew up during the much happening and progressive 60s and somewhat similar 70s . Their approach to life is different. Then there are those who grew up during the 80s. Who would see the Jamatis strike fear in people’s hearts. Who would see the MQM born and take
Karachi by storm. Then there are kids from my generation who witnessed some of the worst violence in the history of the country who saw democracy take a nose dive. Who saw elected representative make a mockery of the confidence the public had in them.

The result is this, since the 80s and I cant comment for before that time, I was too young to remember anything, but since the 80s, we haven’t had an inspirational leader, a role model, a charismatic individuals that someone could gain hope and emotional strength from. Instead, we end up with sporting heroes like Imran Khan, Jahangir Khan, Wasim Akram etc or end up seeing our role models in non-Pakistanis. To add further fuel to fire we are constantly told that we can’t be like our heroes. We are constantly made aware of the fact that shit happens in life and no one makes it big, except for a few who have an uncle in the government.

Effectively speaking, there are at least two of generations in the past that have grown up without inspiration, without role models, without a will to go for the star even if it would be tough to become one. This has led to a huge void in their life.

The void could be filled by several ways. Some people resort to alcohol, drugs, sex, etc to fill this void. Others, the lucky ones, find inspiration in their homes, their parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings someone who provides them emotional confidence and security that is expected of a role model. For those who even fail in this area, religion becomes the answer. I am in no way implying that the others are not religious, but that religion, to them is a code for living their life and not an avenue to find emotional stability.

Some may argue that religion is both. That if it provides a path, then it would offer stability as well. However, an ideological concept can not in anyway fill the void that needs human compassion. Comprehending religion depends on ones context. The context of an emotionally stable person would be entirely different from that of an emotionally unstable person; hence their comprehension would be poles apart as well.

This, in my view, gives rise to our biggest challenge, religious fundamentalism. Religious fundamentalism, as several incidents to date have proved, is beyond social divide. It is not, nor has it ever been, a function of poverty. It is a state of mind, one that is spawned by gaps in ones life. Think about it, you are desperately looking for the answer to a question that is bothering you. I give you give you a book and I say that it has your answer. Would you read the whole book, page by page, or skim through it to look for answer. Would you go into detail of each theory the book presents or try to find the one that suits your need. For those of who you are cursing me for comparing The Book with any book, please read the analogy again. I am not comparing books, but the state of the human mind. The way humans respond to a situation. Our Book, The Book, The Holy Quran, is a perfect code in totality. However, the reader of the book varies, their states of minds vary, their needs to read the book vary, and their interpretations vary.

So how is this all becoming a problem in Pakistan. Well, considering that our culture hasn’t spawned any heroes of late, a good number of people turn to look at history, the more immediate one, the one with the mughals and the religious history. The institution that has received the maximum respect in Pakistan, has to be the Army. We find heroes there, a number of them, who received Nishan-e-Haider. Their claim to the medal is not that they gave up their life trying to defend the country, but they gave it up in upholding the name of Allah, the right path, the rah-e-haq. Thus we find heroes in those who gave their life for Allah. Next we look at religious history, the more immediate of which again supports religious mavericks who supposedly did something outrageous in the path of God. May that be Tariq-bin-Ziyad burning his boats to conquer Spain, or the various battles that would pursue in the modern day middle east for the control of land by so called religious liberators (read the House of Sauds, but lets save that for another blog). I am not talking about the times of the Prophet of his four Caliphs. This is all afterwards.

So a person seeking a role model in history does not see Rumi, Khusro or Bulleya Shah, does not get much about the Quaid or Iqbal, sees glimpses of Sir Syed Ahmed Khans secularity, but is heavily exposed to religious gunghos who took on several armies - the conquest of Spain, the conquest of somnath, the fights with chandragupta maurya and the emergence of mughals. Violence, as we had learned in grade school, begets violence. I feel there should also be a part that says Violence breeds violence as well. For that Pak Studies book subliminally justifies mauling "non-believers" to spread the word of faith, ironically that is something the faith itself does not ascribe to.

So let’s start making sense of this verbal yak, our historic heroes that stand out, were violent individuals or individuals who gave up their life for religion. I do not doubt their intentions, but I am concerned about its influence. This mixed with contextual interpretition of The Book aimed at filling the emotional gaps is like a mosh pit by an oil reserve. All it will take is one burning splinter and the whole reserve would be on fire.

There are some people who realize this. These are the people who are carrying out their ulterior motives under the guise of religion. The united front of mullahs is an assembly of all such individuals. For one thing, they are very organized. The madarssas are an odd institution. Even the most civil of them can be conceptualized an assembly line for emotionally unstable people. The mullah and the feudal work together. The feudal makes sure there are no schools in his villages, there is no education aside from “religious education". This allows mullahs to start communicating with children at young age. From there on, they develop within the children, a sense of insecurity and emotional instability. As the child grows up and demands the answer, he seeks the counsel of his teacher, the mullah. Who tells him the answer lies in religion. I am not saying that the religion does not have answers, but to seek the answers one has to be able to ask a question and know what they want. These emotionally unstable people don’t know what they want. They are told what they want.

You may ask, there is no feudal in England. My response would be, there are people in England who have grown up under feudalism; these are the people who become absolutely apprehensive of loosing their identity in a foreign land. They want to hold on to it really really strong. But wait. Our cultural identity is so mixed up, how do they hold on it? The answer is they do not hold on to the cultural values but the religious value. What the child sees while growing up is a religion that defines culture, instead of a religion that sets a parameter for culture to flow freely. Again, the child either rebels and ends up in drug rehab, or takes to religion to fulfill social and cultural needs. The religion outlines this, sets a parameter, but leaves the rest to the child itself. Since the child has seen religion being the defining cultural tool, the parameters don’t make sense to him. He thus refers to someone who can explain religion to him and thus ends up in the clutches of the ever evil mullah. Hence Pakistanis in England, Pakistanis in Egypt and most of all Pakistanis in Pakistan become a problem.

Some of you may suggest that education would open some minds. I ask how? What does education do? It gives someone depth in thought and outlook, right? At the same time it gives a person the confidence to proceed in life. It gives hope. It lets people dream. But what do we dream about? What do we hope to become? Who do we look up to? Who is our hero? If we have a hero, how did education help him? Why should I be hopeful of achieving anything similar to what the hero has achieved? Our culture needs to answer these questions. Our culture needs to distinguish itself from religion, our culture needs to work with the religious parameters and grow. The people of Pakistan need some new less radical heroes and we need them fast. Our culture to identify and support such heroes

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Good Times

Nothing is quite as refreshing as jumping of a boat in the middle of a great body of water and letting the nature take control of whatever happens after that.
Dwayne took this picture after I re-emerged from Lake Erie, one of the North American Great Lakes. A deep plunge that soaked my body, cleansed my soul and brought sanity back to my mind. I wish I could do it, over and over and over again!

The five troopers at Erieau. When the going got tough, we got going - litrelally - we took a break, had a blast, recharged ourselves and are now running full steam ahead. From back row Brad, Ryan, Dwayne, Jamie and me!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Star Light, Star Bright . . .

Look closely at this picture, you might pick up a few small reddish orangish specks.
So heres what happened over the weekend. Me and a few of my friends decided that we needed a serious break from the academics and off we went to this heavenly little corner of southern ontario, right by lake Erie, called Erieau.
Other things aside, the best part of spending the weekend at Erieau were the starlit nights. Just the most beautiful thing I have seen in a very very long time. I usually think about how we fail to take notice of things that go missing from our life, till we see them again and this was just anohter example. I had virtually forgotten how beautiful a starlit night really is. Plus living in industrial towns with high pollution means that even on the clearest of days, we would only see very few stars, if any at all.
Unfortunately, its one of those sights that I couldnt capture properly on my camera and words just wont do justice to it. So the next time you are around southern ontario in the summer look up Erieau and catch the starlit nights that make that small peninsula a source of unmatched tranquility.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


The class is about to start. The teacher is waiting for the last few to show up. He clicks on internet explorer (his laptop hooked to a projector) which navigates to CNNs homepage.
One of the major headlines totaly embarasses me:

"Honor" Rape: 5 Pakistanis Held

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Strange Day

Its been a really strange day. I finally had my economics exam (stupid pre-reqs) thank god its over. I woke up on time, without an alarm, to make it to the exam. Considering that it was an 8:30 exam, this is a major achievement for me. The exam, 60 MCQs in 2 hours, was not that bad. For some reason, a good number of my answers were option C. Either I am going to ace it or go down in flames. Further on, I finished my exam and looked at the watch 10:10 how often does that happen. 10:10 exact!! I went out to grab a cup of coffee and the local Tim Hortons was closed – CLOSED. Timmy’s is never closed at this time. I had coffee yesterday at noon there and its just 10:30 right now.

With a heavy head and a body yearning for caffeine I got back home to a message from an ex-boss about a future opportunity. Awesome!! I turn on the computer to email him lo and behold, there’s a friend online from Pakistan – the internet is supposed to be down there these days, yet she’s online. While I am splitting time between email and chat another friend logs on and tell me that one of my best friends had a baby boy today!! WOW !!

There’s thunder, for real, and really strong winds start blowing in the background. RAIN, dancing with the gushes of wind, takes over the neighborhood. And soon enough, as though paying tribute to Karachi, there’s a power failure. Its quarter past one now. I am sitting in the dark, sucking on ol’ lappies battery, typing this and listening to Nusrat. The song playing is Gorakh Dhunda – ironic, isn’t it!!

(lights were out till almost 2:30 in the afternoon)

Sunday, June 26, 2005

I Have Had It

I am sick of reading the same old news about Pakistan. I really am, I go through the Dawn website, I tune into Geo, I read the Friday times and since the past 10 years, there hasnt been any development. Whats happening, where are things going wrong? why are people quiet??? It really does bother me.
Surly some of you may point to some massive beautification project in Lahore or some grand new hotel in Islamabad, some new flyovers and underground trains in the making for Karachi or even the new Gwadar port but are these really indicators of social development?
Ok, then what about the fact mosques are no longer secure, people cant pray without the fear of being blown to bits by a deranged fundo who is giving up his life "in the name of Allah", since the past few years, the politicians have been debating about wether the president "sheds his uniform" or not, is that what tax payers are paying these guys for, debating about appearances and perceptions and power play instead of development. You must be thinking, who pays taxes nowadays, well guess what, the middle class does. They dont have the privelege to control taxes, its deducted automaticaly from their salaries.
People who are claiming to be flag bearers of religion dont even allow establishment of schools in their own villages, the people in the rural areas have no hope for the future and urbanites are scared shitless to take out their cellphone in a public place lest someone snatch it from them at gun point.

Social Development, RIGHT!

Then theres the whole issue of the high level of despeartion in a male-dominated conservative society where every other thing is a taboo. Women suffer. Directly or indirectly, physically or emotionally, at times by their families, at times by their co-workers, at times by that random dude in the street who keeps eyeing them with perverted fantasies. Is that what these fundo mullahs call a righteous society? They themselves are pervs of the higest order.

I say we have become a nation of the emotionally dead. Both you and me, those within and those outside of the country, the politicians and the people. We have become a nation of selfish cliques. With every clique having disparate visions and diverging goals. This has a resulted in two things, the huge gap between the various cadres of the society and a high level of intolerance. People, cliques, believe in taking decisions beneficial to themselves as opposed to the entirety of the nation. We dont tolerate each other, we kill, we fight, we feud. We jump on bandwagons that ultimately destroy us. Some take pride in their ethnic identiities while other have a chin up in whims of religious superiority.

Its not the way it was supposed to be. Its time we made a difference, its time our goals converged, its time we break out of the cliques. Its time that people dont get shot on the newly built flyovers. Its time that friends could walk on the streets at wee hours of night without any fear. Its time to embrace social tolerance. Its time to realize the difference between those who claim they are right and those who really are. Its time for a change, its for a turnaround, its time for everyone to come together, have a single voice and move our beloved nation forward.

We can do it, if we want!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The "Durderian" Philosophy

Life, as we see it, is not what it seems. Our actions are a reflection of the deep thoughts that engulf our brain. Its a twisted world out there, if you look at the big picture, there are no winners, there are no loosers. There are just unique amalgamations of cell and biogenetic processes that are searching for a means to fill the gap that exists between a satisfied mind and a satisfied soul.
We have become people who are slaves to the invisible. We are slaves of what we think we own. We buy our masters, we choose our rulers, we claim to look beyond the imminent but we cant even see what surronds our immediate existence. We cant look far, we cant look near, we only see illusions that make us feel that there is no gap between what we have and what we want to be.
Satisfaction is a temporal concept to us, there is no lasting satisfaction. This leads us to believe that nothing lasts forever, emotions, relations and creations. Change dictates our motives, we seek change, we say its what we need. We need it because our search is ever continuing, we are looking for something that we arent sure of, we cant see what we really need, we cant see the cause, we are chasing symptoms. We are not nipping the roots but triming the leaves.
We have become usable and reusable. We pick, we eat, we chew, we enjoy, we spit, we stomp, we toss and walk on. We dont buy products, we buy happiness, but we also know that happiness can not be bought, then what are we really buying? A jolt just to keep the spirit alive and hopeful? A means to justify our existence?
And then we fear the ultimate outcome. Death. We seek change, yet we cant find comfort in the ultimate change. We want to be different and yet keep the same frames of reference. The problem lies not in the mind, not in the heart but in the soul. The soul feeds heart and trains the mind. We have, at some point, sold or souls, of our own accord or not, that is a sepearate question. But what prevails is the fact that our hearts and mind are not in our control. We have lost the capability to comprehend in a beneficial manner. Beneficial to us, to those around us, and to those around those around us. We make claims of being a developed society yet arent we all just a gathering of individuals striving to go one up on each other, gain an advantage, one benefit and move up? Up what, you ask? Well, you tell me, since you want to go up and so does everyone else, but up what? up where?
Why can there not be an equilibrium. Why cant we all step back, see the big picture, realize the existence of the ultimate end, get over our fancy fears that are just a mutilated creation of our minds which get sicker by the day. Why dont we help each other in achieving a common level, why dont we seek permanent solutions to fill the gaps, why dont we all, as a group, think and seek to regain the control that we have lost. Its about time that you wake up and smell the coffee.

"This is your life and it's ending, one minute at a time."
- Tyler Durden

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Chinese Are Taking Over The World

I usally dont blog about the world of business but this just blew me away. The chinese are building up on their economoc ammo. Last year they acquired one of the major Canadian mining company, Noranda, then Lenovo, a chinese computer manufacturer, bought IBM's PC business. We were all sort of surprised. IBM's PC business wasnt doing that great and it was susceptible to take over - but a Chinses company, that was beyond the realms of imagination for some us.
Now, theres an another twist, Unocal, a 100 year old upstream oil exploration company is facing a takeover bid from CONOOC, China's third largest upstream company. The even more ironic aspect of this takeover battle is that CONOOC is rivaling a bid from Chevron, and who doesnt know Chevron!
You must either be going wow, or ok so whatever, the chinese are trying to buy out an oil company. Well hear this - Maytag the famous home appliance company is also facing a take over bid from another Chinese manufacturer, Haier. Those of you in Karachi might recall Haier as the cheap chinese telvesions that were promoted by displays at PSO pumps. Talk about BTL marketing.
Now the Maytag bid is peanuts as compared to the Unocal one ($2.1BN vs. $18.5BN) but the physcological impact is huge.

The chinese, my friends, are taking over the world and you heard it first, on this blog !! :P

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Along Came Julian ...

That's Julian ... Posted by Hello
I have been meaning to tell this story for a while but, couldn't find the time and then the picture etc, finally its all together. So that's Julian. Julian has a very unusual story. A month or so ago, when school started, Julian started hanging around my friends Jaime and Ryan's (or as we call them, The Murphy Twins) place. Being the animal lovers that they they would occasionally leave some milk water bread and at times pastrami and other meats for Julian. They suspected that Julian, who was at that point an unnamed cat (better known as The Cat), was abandoned by one of their neighbours who had gone home for the summers. The Cat was domesticated enough to prove that she surely wasnt a stray. So that's how things would go, The Cat would show up get some pity food and walk away.
Then one wednesday night, the twins were walking back home when they saw Julian (who had been christened by this time)roaming around the schools vicinity. It seemed Julian was looking for them since it saw them and ran straight up to them. Julian was shivering, Julian seemed unfed, Julian seemed to be shaken. The twins took Julian home, put on the sofa and covered it with a small towel to keep it warm. A little while later, Ryan decided to check on Julian. He was shocked and yelled out to Jaime " Julian is shitting its guts out."
No, it wasnt guts, it was actually the early stages of the miracle of kitten birth. What ryan had seen was kitty placenta. Julian had three kitten that night on the twin's fouton. They have now adopted Julian and her trio for another 4 weeks so that the kids can grow up. After that, Julian and the trio are off to a farm.
The picture up there, is from last night. The twins are in TO and I am looking after Julian and the Trio. So I decided to catch a snap while while Julan enjoys her special strentgh Whiskas milk.
Now is that a cool story or what??

Friday, June 10, 2005

Random Word of the Day

Being in a primarily english speaking environment where even the desis either speak in english or the anglify the mother tounge, its easy to forget some words. And then, at times like this, the words suddenly pop back into the head, out of the blue.
The one word that came to my mind today was "Jamal Ghota" - - - - - - no i am not suffering from constepation, but for some strange reason, i found myself thinking jamal ghota - and then like looking through a dictionary, my mind took a quick run down the history of the various comical conversations that me and friends would have with regards to Jamal Gotha.
From a friends disgusting prank that involved Jamal Gotha, to the word being used to describe the diatribe of one person in my undergrad class.

Hence, the random word of the day is JAMAL GHOTA

PS: for those of you who dont know, Jamal Ghota is a herbal laxative.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Harleys Rock

We had representative come in from Harley Davidson Motorcycles to speak to us in the advertising class. As anticipated he rode on his Harley. Its a mean beast - the sound the feel the look - its a must have.
Lifes goal # 53: Own a harley before I turn 40

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Yadoon Mein Meri Aati Ho Kiyoon ?

I never thought that years and years after being away for that someone who touched me immensly, I would be talking about that person But you know how sometimes, somethings happens that all of a sudden make your mind travel to that point in time where things went wrong and you think, what would it have been like had things worked out - had you not been the way you were had i not been the way i was. Had I been the way I am now and you the way you are. I guess its true that distance makes the heart grow fonder, but what makes more sense is that humans desire the most of what they cant have.

At this point, 3:37 Am on a friday night, I am much the same. Listening to VS's unreleased Ab Ho Ga Kiya and going over the line "Yaadein teri kiyoon aati hain" and absolutely ignoring the dame that i met out on town this night and just imaging how great it could have been. Ah the level of curisotiy and the fact that at some point in my life, I actually lost bad, makes me realize the essence of existence and the presence of an ominpotent being that guides us all.

Cherish what you have!

Friday, May 27, 2005

What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by

I do love cigars - but I dont have a monica in the oval office - bad timing i guess (i might have been wearing my "no fat chicks"t shirt!)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Bad Timing x 2

Why is it, that when ever I run into a superb girl, I am wearing a T Shirt that says "No Fat Chicks" written on Peter Griffin's belly. Dam it just kills the impression!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Trippin Pics

Rockafellar - This column of fountains between the fir trees just looks awesome especially with Rockafeller in the backdrop Posted by Hello

This is the spot in central park where thousand of fans placed flowers in memory of Lennon. The Strawberry Fields is built this spot. There are three tracks in the field that lead to the spot and it is said that an aerial view of the field reveals it to be a Peace symbol Posted by Hello

donated to the park by Yuko Ono, in the memory of John Lennon Posted by Hello

This is the "Sheep Meadow" in Central Park. If you are a fan of the Classic Michael Douglas movie, Wallstreet, you would recognize this as the spot, where Douglas's character Gordon Gecko snaps out at Charlie Sheen for selling out on him Posted by Hello

The central park in NYC offers people an opportunity to take some time out and relax. This row of benches by "Sheep's Meadow" is a common place for people to sit and read, as you can see the lady at the end of the row. She was totay lost in her book. Posted by Hello

Coop reports suck

So i have to write a report about my job. What I had done in the last four months - its sucks - it really does - how can i put down four months of efforts, into pages, double spaced, times new roman 12! Not fair i say. After all my boss was happy with me, my evaluations were fantastic and I achieved great results. Stupid shitty coop reports and my head is still hurting from saturday night! now back to the darn report.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

New York, New York

Time Square Posted by Hello
The last time i was in NY I was twelve years old. I recall being all amazed and having a good time and going to a lot of place and ferrying to see lady liberty, but i didnt remember the vivid details. the pictures helped me a bit, but not all that much. So when I reached NY I decided to walk around by myself in manhattan just to get the feel of being in the big apple. And what a feel it was.
The island of manhattan can excite anyone, irrespective of their interests. Arts, business, technology, science, architecture, everything. The way I see it, it all comes together in mid town mahnattan - Times Square - Nasdaq on one corner, The Viacom Headquarters and MTV studios on the other, broadway leading of towards west, the worlds financial capital constantly abuzz in the south and the truly wonderful presence of central park in the north. It all comes together and spreads out from this spot. Hence, one should expect it to be buzzing, and it not only lives up to that reputation, but it truly amazes you the first time you see it.

Good food, great drinks Posted by Hello
Ticker symbols, rolling of buildings,big ass billboards, creative advertising, TV projection spanning the width of some buildings, people constantly in a rush, the buses racing, cabs zig zagging their way through traffic and horns - car horns, at the level of Karachi. No where else in North America would you feel traffic to be as crazy and Karachi-like as in Manhattan.
The funny thing about Manhattan is that if you have every followed hollywood, or network TV, you have pretty much seen the whole place. Every corner has been featured in some movie or sitcom or something. I was looking at places and thinking "oh so this is where they shot that movie."
The city, like any megapolis, has some infrastructural issues. When I got closer to central park I picked up a smell that reminded me of golimar and bolton market in karachi. I wondered, what it was, a karachi smell, thousands of miles away, but then I saw the horse buggies, and realized the common element between market and 7th & South Central was horse droppings.
The horse buggies on south central Posted by Hello
The subway system, although a very comprehesive one, is extremly dirty, rats and sewrage are common sights on the tracks and since the place is all closed with no sunlight making it, it smells odd too. I must say, Toronto beats new york in this aspect. The public works staff seems to be overworked, or just really snotty, because most of the time, theyd be harsh in their responses to queries. Despite it, the city is still a leading tourist attractions, alongside orlando, and vegas.

So how do I end this post, I have so much in my head about the city - and what I have said is just the tip of the iceberg. I know,

Start spreading the news, i'm leaving today
I want to be a part of it - new york, new york
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it - new york, new york

I wanna wake up in a city, that doesn't sleep
And find i'm king of the hill - top of the heap

These little town blues, are melting away
I'll make a brand new start of it - in old new york
If i can make it there, i'll make it anywhere

It's up to you - new york, new york

New york, new york
I want to wake up in a city, that never sleeps
And find i’m a number one top of the list, king of the hill
A number one

These little town blues, are melting away
I’m gonna make a brand new start of it - in old new york
And if i can make it there, i’m gonna make it anywhere

It up to you - new york new york
- Frank Sinatra

Saturday, May 14, 2005

2 Weeks of Adventure

As I sit in my aunts long island condo, all set to head back to Canada, I feel its mandatory to reflect on the past two weeks. To say the least its just what the doctor ordered, a short fun filled time with the family with its share of highs and lows, smiles and frown, affection and astonishment.
I enjoyed the nature in the abdundant greenery and nature of New Jersey while crashing at my uncles and was amused hoity toity neighbourhood my aunt lives in.
I have many stories, this place is full of it. Stories of places, of people, of ideas but its been so fast, these two weeks, that the stories wont become words till i find some solitude that allows the emotions to hit me.
Although I am excited to see the gang in windsor, I do hate to leave my family once again, who knows for how long this time. Rest assured, come monday, life would stamp its foot on the gas pedal as I head in the final summer before graduation. Just saying that brongs a wry smile to my face.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Chapter 1 - Lil Bo Beep Has Lost Her Sheep!

This posting has been moved to my blog on spaces. The story, as it develops, would be featured on Spaces.


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Paradox of Our Age

I met an inspirational person today. Michael "Pinball" Clements, head coach of Toronto Argonauts who had come over to my office today as a motivational speaker talking about team work. In the hour and a half that he was there, he said quite a few things that made me and my colleagues comtemplate and reflect. He also shared something with us that I had read a long time ago but still found it to be equally thoughtful. Something called the paradox of our age that I felt deserved a place on my blog.

The Paradox of Our Age by Dr. Bob Moorehead

We have taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways but narrower viewpoints; we spend more but have less; we buy more but enjoy it less; we have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, yet less time; we have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge but less judgement; more experts, yet more problems; we have more gadgets but less satisfaction; more medicine, yet less wellness; we take more vitamins but see fewer results. We drink too much; smoke too much; spend too recklessly; laugh too little; drive too fast; get too angry quickly; stay up too late; get up too tired; read too seldom; watch TV too much and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values; we fly in faster planes to arrive there quicker, to do less and return sooner; we sign more contracts only to realize fewer profits; we talk too much; love too seldom and lie too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life; we've added years to life, not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We've conquered outer space, but not inner space; we've done larger things, but not better things; we've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we've split the atom, but not our prejudice; we write more, but learn less; plan more, but accomplish less; we make faster planes, but longer lines; we learned to rush, but not to wait; we have more weapons, but less peace; higher incomes, but lower morals; more parties, but less fun; more food, but less appeasement; more acquaintances, but fewer friends; more effort, but less success. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; drive smaller cars that have bigger problems; build larger factories that produce less. We've become long on quantity, but short on quality.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, but short character; steep in profits, but shallow relationships. These are times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure and less fun; higher postage, but slower mail; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are days of two incomes, but more divorces; these are times of fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, cartridge living, thow-away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies and pills that do everything from cheer, to prevent, quiet or kill. It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stock room. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete. Indeed, these are the times!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Travel Dreams

I want to buy a video camera and take four months off and travel to Pakistan.
I want to go to multan and all the sufi shrines there, I want to go to bhit shah, I want to go to chaman and queeta I want to go to gawadar and sonmiani and travel on the coastal highway. I want to take pictures of the "eye of the sea" . I want to make a movie on shandur polo festival i want to take pictures of basant in lahore. I want to smoke up in dara adam khel, and see the men from frontier dance with their swords, i want to visit the tomb of shireen farhad, i want to dhamal with papoo saeein at data darbar i want to go to parachinar and peek into afghanistan. I want to travel on the karakoram highway making spontaneous stop overs to chat with the locals who look chinese no pakistani no chinese, ah we are all gods people. I want to go the base camp at K2 and feel the heat of the sands of cholistan. I want to stand at Wagah and scream in the face of the Indian soldiers and declare the proud existence of my nation. I want to check out what BRB Nehar is all about. I want to visit the neelam valley and see how men divide heaven on earth. I want to go to punj nad and since the indus come together. I want to follow the indus in hope of spotting some blind dolphins, i want to hung an ibex and watch a hobura bustard take off. I want to see migratory pink flamingos that come to karachi in the winters. I want look in the eyes of the vultures that spot super highway in sindh. i wanna go to hala and learn the age old art of making those lovel handicrafts. I want to go to taxila and realize no matter how strong and developed we are, god will have his way. I want to visit the abandoned synagouges in the mountains and dance with people of kalash who still lead their Alexandarian lifestyle. I then went to stop, take a breath and start all over again.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Good Morning

I woke up with a smile
and your thought in my mind
The clock said 6 AM
"hmm, still 3 hours to 9"

I got off my bed
still thinking of you
still questioning myself
"What Can I Do ?"

I turned on the radio
there was a good song
I danced in my PJs
the pleasures of living alone

I shaved and I showered
and got dressed for work
then poured myself some juice
& ate last nights hors d' oeuvres

Your thoughts kept bringing a smile
over and over again
your memories were sheer happiness
your absence, pure pain

I tango'd with thoughts of you
& salsa'd with your memories
and kept hoping for a miracle
for me, for you, for us, to be

I then got up, I was on way
our sweet little date was over
Its night where you are and my day has begun
so naturally we cant stay closer

& every morning when I wake up
before the crack of dawn
I hope at some point, you thought of me
my one true love, my Unicorn

Sounds Like Karachi

"Theres something about this city that gets under your skin and you cant sweat it out"

Salman Haq - A Character in Kamilia Shamsie's "In The City By Sea".

Monday, March 21, 2005

Chai, Garam!

anyone ever having travelled across Pakistan in the train, not the swanky karakoran express, but the cheaper ones like Shalimar or Tezgam, would be familiar with two voices that haunt the train's corridor late at nights and early in the morning.

Chai, Garam - Garam, Anday

on one of my trips to Lahore i was woken up by the Chai Garam holler. and I decided to get the tea. It was pretty good. only matched by moms doodh paati, the special karak one she would make with the special tea leaves not the regular lipton stuff.

As I sit here today after a hard days work and not having had that moms special blend in ages, I wish I could hear someone holler, Chai Garam on the streets of Toronto. I guess its back to the tea bag for me.

Proud To Be ME

You scored as Pride.















Seven deadly sins
created with

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Road Trip!

51 hours

Four Cities


Three Friends


One Car


One Great Weekend

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Waqas and I, Jan 2000 during one of the many sessions of spontaneous combustion Posted by Hello

Thand Wala Pankha

I realized today how much I miss all the great things that I would be involved in while in Karachi. I got talking to a very old friend on MSN today. While in Karachi, my friend Waqas and I, would occasionally jam together and make stupid sense that we found utterly hilarious. There were songs of forgotten love like "Kutti" (Bitch) and songs of first love like "I Get High". Since the past few years, Waqas has been in Minnesota, and I have been Canada. We possibly couldnt sit down and jam together.
Today, he messaged me on MSN wanting some help on a song that he and some friends were writing about a ceiling fan or what we call in urdu a Pankha. We added audio to our conversation, played the riffs, told me the chords and sent me the first few lines he had come up with. In a very short time span, we ended with a the song below.

PS: If you find it nonsensical then I have done my job well ;)

bara july ka ek garam sa din tha
mein baitha howa tha, kamra band tha
khirki khuli thi, per hawa thi garam
dil mein thi sirf, ek thand ki lagan

mujhay nahi chayay, koi pyar ka phunda
is jaisay mausam mein eik hi dhunda
mangay fakeer, ameer aur hur eik bunda
sub loogon ka chayay thand wala pankha

aai phir woh july ki shaam,
garmi, aisee garmi, kay july badnaam
aurat, bachay, bhoray aur naujawan
sub ko diya hum nay yeh paigham

mujhay nahi chayay, koi pyar ka phunda
is jaisay mausam mein eik hi dhunda
mangay fakeer, ameer aur hur eik bunda
sub loogon ka chayay thand wala pankha

shaam dhuli, phir aai raat
garmi na choray hamara saath
dil say niklay eik hi faryad
barsaat barsaat barsaat

ab sooch liya hai, maan liya hai
sub nay yeh pehchaan liya hai
dunya ka hai sirf yehi dastoor
garmi kay agay hur eik majboor

mujhay nahi chayay, koi pyar ka phunda
is jaisay mausam mein eik hi dhunda
mangay fakeer, ameer aur hur eik bunda
sub loogon ka chayay thand wala pankha

Friday, March 11, 2005

Homer Says 2

"Homie No Function Beer Well Without!"

Homer Simpson Expressing Displeasure at the Unavailability of Beer at an Event

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Homer Says

"I am not disabled, I am just lazy"

Homer Simpson when buying a monkey to help him around with work

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Something Old For A Change

This weekend I cut myself from the rest of the world. Shut the lid on my lappy and turned off the lights in my apartment, baked some fish and did something that I hadn't done in a long long time. A movie marathon.

I would do that occasionally in Karachi. Once in a few months, Id rent a number of movies and watch them back to back all night long. The movies would spark ideas, the movies would spawn thoughts, questions and concerns. But most of all I could entertain myself by spending a little time in someone else's fantasy.

So this time, my choice were five different movies from five different parts of the world. From Italy, Maleena; a story of a child becoming a man, his infatuation with a woman and the woman's strife in a Sicilian village that wont accept her on her terms. From Argentina, a Spanish movie called The Motorcycle Diaries, took me deep into the trans Latin American trip that changed one Ernesto Guevera to the revolutionary that we know as Che. From Brazil, The City of Gods, a Portuguese film that described the evolution of criminal gangs in the Rio De Janeiro slum called The City of Gods. A true shocker, the movie described a real life story of two young kids growing up in the same slum, one becoming a kingpin and the other becomes a news paper photographer and despite of the difference of their profession both their lives revolved around the crime infested slum. Next in line was a slow pace satire of the Iranian culture in a Persian movie called The Secret Ballot. Imagine a woman polling agent who lands on a remote Iranian island municipality for a few hours on election day to ensure that everyone votes. That's what the secret ballot is all about. And finally, there was an English movie too, Ray. I now know and completely believe why Jamie Fox deserved that best actor oscar. That was one gripping movie with a great performance by all those involved.

Everyone in the movies was following an objective, Ray Charles was trying to find self fulfillment through music, Che was seeking self discovery through the trip, Lil Ze was seeking absolute power in the City of Gods and in the same slum Rocket was seeking an honest way to make his name, Maleena was seeking respect as a widow while her sexually frustrated guardian angel was seeking true love, Khanum was seeking people who wanted their voices to be heard while her military aid sought an explanation to how a vote from the small island would make a difference to the nation and the people who voted!

All this made me wonder, how many of us, in all that occupies our life, have been able to figure out what our objectives are in the larger scheme of things. Why are we doing what we are doing and is that what we should really be doing ? And finally does the load of work, the lack of time, and the diminishing role of spontaneity call for changes in life ?

Thursday, February 17, 2005


"They have turned the navy into a floating joke"
Homer Simpson, about homosexual men in the US

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Inspiration T.O style

Here's a little something about me, I have been a story teller all along. I often find myself killing time by making stories in my head and hoping that someday by some stroke of luck I end up writing the screen play for a movie.
Now anyone who loves telling stories seeks inspiration. That's why I miss Karachi so much. Karachi was my muse. I was involved with that city, the environment, the history, the people, the buildings the streets, everything that constituted the city helped me spin a story in my head.
Ever since I left Karachi I had sort of run out of inspiration, I played around with old stories, toying with the characters, with the context, with the plot, but nothing that that stood out to me as a unique work of my imagination. That changed today. On my way home from work, as I stepped of the 42 Bus to Cummer East, there was a moment. In the mild blizzard, with the yellow hand flashing to us pedestrian suggesting that we do not cross the street, and the purple glow that lights up the Toronto night sky as light from sodium lamps is reflected of off the fresh snow, there was a jolt of inspiration. My imagination was rekindled, I had a smile on my face and an idea in my head that kept spinning and spinning, other ideas came and went a plot was born.
For once I enjoyed walking while it was snowing, for once I was in no hurry to avoid wind chill, for once I didn't feel like making a dash for my apartment building before I freeze out in the cold.
Its taken me a year and a half but finally I have found it again, my mojo of sorts.
I guess thats the best way to get inspired, enjoy where are you not where you want to be.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

I Miss Junoon

It was on a sunny Karachi Saturday afternoon in 1992 that I bought a double pack of close up tooth paste just because it came with a free Junoon audio tape. That was the time when Ne Heeray became the wildest song to come out of Pakistan, Bheegi Yaadein became my favorite ballad and Talash was the ultimate leftist political statement made in public. That was the power of Junoon, the second band to make it to the masses of my generation, the first being the one and only Vital Signs.
Junoon was different, Junoon was what some called raw and some stereotypically termed "the angry young men" of our time. But the thing that made Junoon more of a success was their approachability. I could relate to them, my friends could too. I couldn't relate to the signs, I enjoyed their music sure but I couldn't relate to them. The signs were the big stars, Junoon; the boys from the 'hood.
They also broke a huge stereotype that rockers were college drop outs. These guys had professional qualification and yet choose the path of music to make a buck. That added to their approachability. That added to their support. Junooni, literally meaning passionate, was the termed use for Junoon groupies and there were a plenty who proudly claimed to be the biggest Junooni alive.
Junoon concerts were the best there could ever be. From the 1993 concert that I attended in the Karachi Arts Council, and 1994 concert in FTC to the Hippodrome inauguration in 2000 and the Karachi yacht Club Concert 2002, there honestly was no feeling better than going to a Junoon concert. This in a country that was put under the creative siege of a conservative dictator till the late 80s, was a huge cultural change.
In 1996, Inquillab happened, and I can bet my life on this one that its been the most anticipated music album in Pakistan to date. And did it ever live up to all the expectations. The 3rd from Junoon and their second big hit, broke various musical records in terms of sales. I distinctly remember waiting for this album after hearing them perform Mahi at one of there concerts. Personally speaking, I am yet to hear a better album from the band, a pack of hits, an album 4 years in the making, and every song was pure pleasure. Stuff you'd put on repeat play and go out for a drive or party with your friends. Stuff that made you think, that made you laugh, that made you sing along with the band. I recall many instances traveling to and from my university and the passenger in the shuttle bus breaking into a chorus on some Junoon song or the other. Inquillab did exactly what its name suggested. It revolutionized the local music scene and allowed Junoon to stake the claim as the leading band in the nation.
Their live act kept improving too. Ali with his on stage antics, Salman and his passionate finger play on the fret boards, and Brian's complacent smile as he added the grooves on the bass just made Junoon an delight to watch. I have seen many Pakistan bands perform, both old and new, but none manages to command the attention that Junoon could. Such was the power of this trio!
In 1996 the band became the voice of the nation with the second most popular patriotic pop ditty (first one is Dil Dil Pakistan without a doubt), Jazba-e-Junoon released during the time of the World Cup Cricket. In 1997, Junoon faced its first major controversy, when there political song Ehtesaab (Accountability) aimed at a certain group of politicians was banned from being aired. Meri Awaz Suno (Listen To Me) another song with political underpinnings made it to an album but wasn't allowed air time for at least a year.
In the midst of all this Junoon had slowly entered the international music scene. Their fans were being spotted where ever there was a Pakistani and that's pretty much everywhere. Countries around Pakistan were joining the ranks of Junoonis and some Junoonis existed in far of places like Japan, Norway and South Africa.
Then came Azaadi, the album that changed Junoon from being Pakistan's biggest band to what VH1 called, Asia's U2. India witnessed a trio from the western neighbor conquer hearts, minds and ears. Accords, Accolades and Awards virtually flocked in from all corners of Asia. Their fan base went on to include Bollywood superstars to Eddie Vedder of pearl Jam and Bono of U2. They too were Junoonis.
Albums, Videos, Tours kept happening, the band stepped into the globalization cycle, destination to destination, point to point, the fans could be spotted at quite a few places across the globe. From becoming that band whose lead singer we'd chat with after a gig to a band that acquired the role of diplomats of sort. They played in the UN general assembly, a privilege that not many bands have. The best part is I saw it happening. I saw them evolve, I saw them grow.
Come to think of it, it was like we were all growing up together. They grew bigger as did we. Its amazing to realize that something that started in front of our own eyes has become so magnanimous.
The fate of Junoon is at this point, uncertain. The bands American bassist, Brian, has left for the US, possibly for good. The vocalist Ali is working on a solo album, the axe grinder Salman is testing the waters with vocals and is heavily involved with work for betterment of humanity in liaison with the UN. But one thing is for sure, they have given us some unmatched tunes, from the nostalgic Khwab in their first Album to the Spunky Papoo Yaar in their last one - the band continues to make a solid mark.
I hope, for the sake of all the Junoonis, that the band blesses us with an occasional concert or two. Just for old times sake. Many people have sweet memories associated with their concerts, one of my second cousin met her future husband at their concert in Central Park in NYC. I am sure the couple would enjoy taking their kids to a concert that helped their parents meet up.

After all this, need I say more why I miss Junoon !!