Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pervez Musharaf Meets Jon Stewart

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is probably one of the most widely watched political critque show in North America. Jon is a keen observer of US politics, critical of the currentl US policies in Iraq and the middle east and doesnt waste any opportunity to find gaps in what the US government says and does. His astute sense of humor and ability to put his guests on spot made his meeting with Musharaf an interesting encounter.

In a typical Jon Stewart way, he had a surprise that no one was expecting, a pot of jasmine tea - that he got from some Pakistani store - along side a plate of twinkies. He poured a cup for the prez and for himself, and started his discussion with a toast to Musharafs health. Barely had they taken a sip that he came with his controversial question, where is Osama bin Laden.

When I saw Musharaf on Sunday in 60 minutes, I was dissapointed. He appeared to be mellowed down, a man defeated in his endeavours. The soldier in him appeared to be lost in battle or missing in action. But that wasnt the case tonight. He was sharp and on his feet. He had a response to Jon's curve balls. He responded to Jon's Osama question by saying "I dont know, but if you know where he his, lead us to him." The discussion primarily revolved his memoires In The Line of Fire (I am getting it next week hopefully) but the entire references were around Pakistan, the culture, the people, the frontier provinces as well as the treaty with the tribes in Waziristan. Jon couldnt hold his punches back on George W and asked Musharaf if he seems "attentive" in conversation and if he is open to suggestions about Iraq.

Musharaf handed himself very well. He was articulate in his responses and I wouldnt be surprised if he won a few hearts with the show today. The final question that Jon asked, as a part of his seat of heat segment, was that if Osama and George W ran for some governement office in Karachi, who would win. In his true style, Musharaf remarked, they would both loose misreably. The response elicted lauhgs among the audience and the host alike.

From the view of an absolute Pakistani, and some people consider me a pro-establishment right winger, I would not have any else but Musharaf represent us on such a forum. I looked into the list of all the past leaders since General Zia and I couldnt picture anyone creating a decent respectable and moderate image for Pakistan as does Musharaf. I have seen leaders like BB, Nawaz Sharif (goodness imagine that dumbass on any talk show) and others constantly pushing their political objectives. Musharaf recognized the need and the nature of the show, and played along. Yet another reason why, despite some of his shortcomings, I continue to support President Musharaf in quest to improve the global image and domestic situation and economical situation of Pakistan

So Wrong Yet So Right

I hit my 3 PM brick wall today at well a little after 3 PM. With whole ramzan and roza thing - it was just way to tough to focus on doing work, which I didnt do much of after the said time. However I had to keep my self busy.
Its at times like these when somethings that are so wrong seem so right. Out of the blue I found
this game on the internet, and its kept me busy everysince. Enjoy it, rock on and pass it forward.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Impending Ramzan and Other Occasions To Ramble On

Leaves are falling all around, It's time I was on my way.
Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay.
But now it's time for me to go.
The autumn moon lights my way.
For now I smell the rain, and with it pain, and it's headed my way.
Sometimes I grow so tired, but I know I've got one thing I got to do...
Ramble On, And now's the time, the time is now, to sing my song.
I'm goin' 'round the world, I got to find my girl, on my way.
I've been this way ten years to the day, Ramble On
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams.

So ramzan is here. I refuse to call it "ramadan" like so many people do. I dont know why, maybe its an Arabic translation of the word or whatever, but it just doesnt sound right. Like calling wuzu, wudu. Whats with this, irrespective of what others may like calling it, I will stick to my basics, wuzu will be wuzu and so will ramzan.

In respect for the holy month thats upon us, I decided to tone down my weekend activities a notch. For the next month there wont be friday night outings to the madison or saturday night flings at Club 279. No more controlled substances or substances that can result in lack of control. Its probably going to be in-house movie nights or board games at the most, which honestly is quite a bit of fun if you have the right people to enjoy it with. However, tonight, its myself and some classic rock on the sound system. I am listening to, surprise surprise, Led Zepplin and a little while ago they started of with Ramble On. Which is exactly what I decided to do. Just talk, ramble on and update my blog which hasnt really been updated lately besides the weekly blog word.

Ever since I have been in Canada, ramzan is generally accompanied by confusion of when the month actually starts. This year wasnt much of a difference. At my cousins last-day-before-ramzan halwa puri breakfast there was quite a bit of deabte among all those present, none of whom were obviously fasting, about wether today was ramzan or was it tomorrow. There were conflicting reports from all over the place and my mother herself was fasting today. Its a crazy world out there, theres going to be such a conflict on eid as well. I just know it. We cant decide when ramzan is going start how can we expect there to be consensus about other grave issues that the muslim ummah needs to act upon. Lets just face it, unity, consensus and muslims are three words that wont be positively used in a sentence in the foreseeable future. Even in Pakistan, NWFP would occasionaly celebrate the ramzan and hence eid a day earlier then the rest of the country. It became a running joke there, be lets be honest here, if man can devise a way to actually land on the moon, then it should be effortless to spot it and determine the month according to the lunar calendar. But what logic percieves as effortless isnt quite that effortless in reality, or so it seems.

I guess our parents know us the best after all since I got reminders from my mother and all those at the breakfast mentioned being reminded by their respective parents about fasting during ramzan. One of the friend got the funniest text message from his father. Well we found it hillarious maybe because we know the fellow, but at the same time, his father told him ramzan shoro ho gaya hai, kotahi nahi honi chayay. The mere articulation of that message was rib ticklingly hillarious. If he his reading this, then I apologize for using the anecdote but it was funny none the less. You know it mate.

Ramzan always makes me feel nostalgic for Karachi. The ramzan spirit in Karachi was amazing. Things were different. People were different. I was talking to a friend the other day who was talking about all the concerns with traffic congestion and making it from work to home in time etc, but isnt that all a part of what one may refer to as the ramzan spirit. I would remember one of my very religious drivers who would stop in the middle of the road in ramzan to offer his prayers. It still beats me why, why is it admissible to delay prayers by a short while in other months and not in ramzan. But then I myself am toning down my routine for Ramzan so I am no one to point fingers.

The ramzan spirit, as I may have just coined it, allows people to pull of quite a few things that may not be normal otherwise. Excessive speeding around iftar time is one of them. Cursing at the samosa wala to speed it up is another. Carrying dates in the pocket or the cars dash is quite normal for people who are on the move a lot. Also making it to all the ramzan buffet place roughly an hour before iftar is quite normal as well. You can even spot long line ups at places like Village or Lal Qilla or even Pizza Hut. Bar B Q tonight is packed as always and iftar parties become a rage. In true Karachi style, there are quite a few individual who measure their social status by all the iftar parties they are invited to. I am not sure how many of them actually fast, but yet they do make an "appearance" at the iftar parties. Considering that working days and spirits are much shorter than in regular days, ramzan is almost like a mini vacation.

Unfortunately, we in North America dont quite enjoy ramzan to that same level. Fasting is the only difference in our routine and maybe things like praying regularly and reading the Quran also in some cases. The gym usually falls out of the picture but lets be honest, its suicide to go work out after not eating anything during the day. This in some way feels like what Ramzan was intended to be like, not the way it is Pakistan or the middle east.

So aside from Ramzan, I am eagerly anticipating Musharaf's appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. For all those who arent aware of it, the prez would be making an appearance on the polictical satire, to promote his autobiography, In The Line of Fire. I will definitely be getting a copy of the memoir, but the wit of Jon Stewart and Musharafs candour would be worth watching. The opinion of Pakistan and to some extent prez Musharaf can be gathered from this clip from the show. Furthermore, on his recent trip the prez has come under fire for comments about Richard Armitages' threats to Pakistan post 9/11 as well as Afghan Presidents accusations that Pakistan continues to support the Taliban. That added to the fact, that Musharaf is probably the first person of his position from the islamic world to make an appearance on the show makes for an interesting encounter. The show is schedule to air on Sept 26 11:00 PM EST on the Comedy Channel in Canada. Dont miss it.

So now having just gone on and on nothing of much significance, I will now go and watch something that goes on and on in a much similar manner, Saturday Night Live. Although I must say its a lot more enjoyable than reading a blog. So with best wishes for ramzan party on, as much as one in this month.

Words for the Wanderers Word

Part 1
So yet another installment of the weekly word. Somehow, it feels like a weekly ritual that if not performed, would cast a dark black cloud on my thoughts, my imaginative capabilities and my expression. Ah but how it could it be so, after all its a mere word and whats a word without an action, a combination of characters that conjures up an image in any ones mind. An image that maybe dark to some bright to others, an image of gore an image of beauty, an image that we wish to create of what we transalte those set of characters to really reflect. But all our translations are based on our experiences, our understanding, our context. The words I say are powerful in my world, the words I say can stir up a storm in my world, the words I say can break barriers that define the limits of my world. And it is the farewell from these barriers that allow you to peek inside what I have refered to as my world. Its the power of these words, the weight of the characters that allows for thoughts to flow and ideas to intermingle. When I read your words I understand your world and make sense of it and if you have decided to read these words so far, you may have gathered an idea of what my world is usually about. If you are thinking "a lot of talk leading to no particular conclusion" then you arent really off base.
Part 2
And there arent too many words out there that pin down the misery of our lives as accurately as these; from one of my all time favorite movies, Fight Club:
... an entire generation pumping gas.
Waiting tables.
Slaves with white collars.
Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes.
Working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.
We're the middle children of history.
No purpose or place.
We have no Great War. No Great Depression.
Our great war is a spiritual war.
Our great depression is our lives.
We've all been raised on television to believe that one day
we'd be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars.
But we won't.
We're slowly learning that fact.
And we're very, very pissed off.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Another Wandering Word: Truth

So no one told you life was gonna be this way

Your job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's D.O.A.

It's like you're always stuck in second gear

When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year...

The Rembrandts

Some times, the simplest truth about life could be a sitcom theme song away.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Weekly Blog Word: Decisions

A little over five years ago, some one, some where took a decision to take down WTC.
In the modern history, that is one decision that changed the lives of millions of people across the world.
Lets hope that people making such decisions are killed before they execute their heinous designs.