Friday, November 24, 2006

A Wanderers Secret

My biggest secret is falling in love with a unicorn and if you have ever read through this blog you would have seen several Unicorn references. On the occasion of this weeks blog word, allow me to elaborate on why Unicorn came to be called Unicorn. If you are thinking you'd find out who the Unicorn is then be ready to be dissapointed.

Unicorn is someone so vividly there yet so out of reach that she seems to be afantasy. She is pure, she is natural, shes honest. Like children get attracted to the grace of a unicorn, people fell weak in their knees when she smiles. One cant help but fall in love with my Unicorn and to her credit, shes the only person who leaves me searching for words. When I see her, or get a message from her on MSN or on Orkut I am left dumbfounded and that for me is a first. And that is probably also the primary reason (there are several secondary ones) why I have never been able to tell her how I feel.
And as it happens, the good birds fly away. I guess my Unicorn galloped or at least trotted to her soul mate, either way she is now betrothed. All I could say about it was dam. But so be it, it will be a first for me to be friends with someone I truly, madly, deeply loved.

We had the funniest conversation when I met her in Karachi this past summer and she asked me if there was someone new in my life. I said no, there is this old girl I cant get over. She suggested that I speak to her, I told her she is spoken for, she said if I loved her enough I will get her. I laughed. Cruel cruel fate.

So thats why I decided to call her my Unicorn and this happens to be my big secret, a woman I cant name, a feeling I cant express and happiness that I wont ever experience.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Blog Thought For The Wanderers: They Say It Isnt Possible

Hasan and I were seated across from each other at the Gelato Affair on that warm June Karachi night in the year 2000. He was worried like had never seen him before.

Hasan: "Do you think we can do it?"
I: "Do you have any doubts?"
Hasan: "Its big man and august is barely two months away."
I: "But you know that this is the best time to do it. We can focus all our energies before classes start."
Hasan: "I spoke to BS today, he wasnt sure if it can be done, he was quite skeptical about the whole idea."
I: "BS is a techie professor, if he could do it he wouldnt be where he is."
Hasan: "I spoke with the IBA guys too, they said it was a long shot."
I: "Dude, you know them, they werent supportive of the festival either. We have a good base to build of from."
I took another sip out of my chocolate shake while Hasan toyed with a spoon in front of him.
I: "Whats Ali saying?"
Hasan: "He is in it if we are."
I: "We can rope in Sunny too."
Hasan: "yes"
I: "I am in it to win it man"
Hasan looked straight into his cup of coffee and possibly thought about all the thing in his own Hasan way. He looked back up, with his trade mark grin
Hasan: "Lets do it then"

On August 29, Hasan, Ali, Sunny & I stood at the Karachi Marriott as the organizers of the National IT Expo 2000, the biggest and most diverse IT exhibition to be held thus far (Dawn and Jang hadnt jumped into the picture and the Expo center was barely complete). We had our share of nay sayers and detractors. We were hearing "it isnt possible" from all quarters. It took us a little over two months, unmatched motivation, a few strokes of luck and support from a handful of friends to use Rs.10,000 and hold an event with a budget of around Rs. 700,000.

In the words of Adidas, Impossible is nothing!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Last Weeks Blog Word - Sorry

its not easy to say or write about being or feeling sorry.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"You Wanna Get High?" - A Tribute To Towlie

Although I am not a big fan of South Park, I like it in small doses, but Towlie is probably my favorite character in the show.
Heres a tribute to Towlie I found on You Tube.
Cheers to college days!!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Complete Wanderer

I am not certain what I can say about this weeks blog word, complete. I am the last person to know what the word complete means. Sometimes I wonder if completion is ever an objectve. Are we meant to be complete? Are our lives, our work, our days or our nights meant to be complete? Would completion not be complacency, which in my view, is death.
I guess completion is probably the motivation to forge ahead in life. We finish short term goals to be complete in the long run. Whats funny is that the if and when we reach that point of total completion, it will be over. That kind of makes more sense when you think of life as a test, all tests are over when they are complete.
Thus I too like many of us run, walk, pace and run again towards finding that ultimate completion. Till I dont, Ill just keep walking and talking and writing such oh so confusing and wasteful posts. The only thing I know about complete, is that I am far away from it, lost and wandering hence, a complete wanderer.

Readings That Leave You Shaken

I have spent the last week reading two very interesting books. One I paced through, the other I picked up and couldnt let go of till I had finished it. It was the second one that left me shaken, that made me question quite a few things that I would elaborate in the course of this post.
Monday started with me reading through Musharaffs biography on the way to and while come backing from work. It is best to describe "In the line of fire" as a birds eye view of what Musharaff has been able to accomplish since October '99. I do commend him for agreeing to some of his short comings, for instance the referendum. He also openly identifies his role in the way he is shaping the modern Pakistani politics and he is justified with it reasons that at least I am willing to consider, but then again I am known to be a Musharaffist as one friend recently put it. At the same time he paints very broad stroke of some aspects that i wanted more detail on, things like the proceedings of the Agra Summit, the political situation of Karachi etc.
The book serves as a wonderful resume for President Musharaff to justify his continued role in his position, something that I am not opposed to yet something I am slightly wary of. Since with prolonged power comes the opportunities for those powers to be abused. That, as I see it, may lead to his downfall. I am also certain that a number of reflections that he has made about several situations are his own opinions and not necessarily the hard fact. At the same time, some events have been watered down probably in the interest of avoiding a further negative image of Pakistan or for not eluding too much information about an ongoing judicial process. In either case, the book serves two primary purposes and serves these purposes rather well on a macro level. The first one is to paint a more positive picture and a softer image of Pakistan. The second is to create a commendable well balanced resume for Musharaff.
The next book, that I started reading earlier today found a great segway from one chapter of Musharaf's book about war on terrorism. The book is called A Mighty Heart and is an account of the events surrounding the kidnapping and eventual murder of Daniel Pearl (A journalist from The Wall Street Journal) in 2002 in Karachi. Written by his journalist wife Marianne Pearl, the book is now also being converted into a film starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. There arent too many books that I have found captivating enough to read through till I am done with it. Furthermore there hasn’t been any that make me get out of my reading chair, at 4:30AM, pour my self a stiff one and light up a cigar. A Mighty Heart, did all that and more.
I must tell you that I ordered the book with the thought that it would be an account of a victimized westerner who is going on an anti-Pakistan and anti-Karachi rant. Going through the first few chapters I was still skeptical about the whole premise that Marriane seemed to be developing. However, by the time I had finished reading it I could not help but feel miserable about all that Daniel, Marianne, their family and friends had to go through. Added to this was the thought that all this happened in my hometown.
The book is by no means a westerners rant, all those thinking that way can be rest assured that it is not meant to stir up anti-Pakistani emotions. Its the story of a loving journalist couple who end up in Karachi in search of a news item. Its the story of their Indo-American Muslim friend who is trying to be a party of the cities social fabric but is being rejected. Its also the story of a few very dedicated law enforcement officers who despite all odds are giving it their best to recover a foreign guest who is missing in their country. It talks about people the whole of Pakistan and the whole of Karachi is familiar with. It brings out a certain level of truth about Karachi about Pakistan and the complex bureaucracy and corruption that exists here. At the same time, the most heartening aspect of it all is that Marianne Pearls continues to describe Pakistan as a battle ground of the war on terrorism where the soldiers who fight against the menace are less equipped against a much powerful and nimble group of terrorists.
All along the book, ever since Marianne described her husband as missing, I could not help but in my heart tell her that I am sorry it happened in Karachi. The funny part is that I was still there in Karachi when this incident occurred in 2002. I would cross the house where the Pearls were residing, almost on a daily basis, yet never did I know or even care as to what was going down there. It made me question how our nature has developed in the city. I remember everyone reading the Daniel Pearl was missing, but no one I knew give it a second thought that he is a foreigner missing in our own home. Our culture pays significant tribute and respects to guests. The Pearls were guests in Karachi and yet Marianne and her unborn child left Karachi with the worst taste in their mouth. It made me wonder when this would all come to a halt, for how long must we continue to suffer at the hands of terrorists who don a "religious" veil as an excuse to carry out some of the most heinous of crimes the world has seen. I also realized how dead we Karachites have become as a people. Human casualty has become a number to us, the botheration to care about anyone in trouble is followed by the thought of avoiding a messy situation. There arent too many people who are still willing to get their hands dirty for helping some one come out of a messy situation. As inflation, poverty, illiteracy grows, there would be more extremists who would unfortunately follow the path that has been blazed by negative elements like those implicated and absconding in the Pearl Case.
Daniel Pearl wasnt the last fallen foreigner in Karachi, there were quite a bunch before him and a good number after him as well. With this trend common there is no wonder that people from all over the world think twice about vacationing/investing in Pakistan. We have to make this better, the city and the country. However the most disappointing aspect in my opinion, was the fact that government knew about murder at least a week before the arrest of the key witness and yet decided to hold onto that information. Although Marianne never said this, yet it’s quite simple to draw this conclusion from what had been happening.
What I think I should have done a long time ago was to have extended my condolences to the Pearl family and friends. Your husband/brother/son/father has not died in vain, if anything, he has opened the eyes to severe incompetence in the systems. He deserves all the respect and gratitude for all those he helped. Even in his physical absence he is spreading the light of his messages and I hope that region could enlighten from it soon. Lastly, I do offer my deepest and most sincere respect to all those who stood with you in the tragic time. The aspect that leaves me even more remorseful is that you had to experience this all in Karachi and I truly most sincerely, as a Karachite, apologize for that.
Heres to hoping that the film does justice to the book, that no more Daniel Pearls happen any where in the world, that Danny's spirirt rest in peace and Karachi continues to progress and becomes a safe haven for all tourists from all the world.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Vindictive Nature of PCB

Yes this post is about the much publicized, much talked about ban on Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Asif. From the title of the post, some of you must be amusing that I belong to the camp thats crying foul. Let me clarify that by saying, Yes, I am crying foul but not about the punishment but the nature of the punishment, the inequality in justice and the complete lack of objectivity from the tribunal that passed the judgement.
My friends know me as a big fan of Shoaib Akhtar, and like any fan I am deeply dissapointed by the fact that I wont be seeing much of him, if any at all in the future. His life as a professional cricketer has probaly ended with an exclamation mark. One has to see red flags that these decision were being taken by a supposedly dynamic PCB thats out to change the shape of cricket in Pakistan. We have all seen such tall claims in the past, like those of Tauqir Zia, without much coming out of them.
In the 27 years that I have breathed cricket, there have been two rock stars, Imran Khan and Shoaib Akhtar. The first one bowed out of the game rather gracefully with a world cup under his belt - lets say like a Jimmy Page or more like a Paul McCartney. Shoaib however proved to be a Kurt Cobain, his demise somewhat sucidal and blamed much on drugs and much like Kurt, Shoaib's absence will be felt by all lovers of the game.
Now let me come to my grudges. I am just an inch away from out rightly suggesting that the cricket board goes forth and multiply or something to that order. How ridiculous is this new management. Not only do I find Nasim Ashraf to be extremly pretentious but I also doubt his capability to effectively manage the board. His elevation to the position in the board is probably one of the few areas where Musharaff and I dont see eye to eye (not that he would seek my consent but still).
The board has not taken effective measures to create awareness about the drug use. These are Pakistani cricket players we arent talking about. They arent choosen for their comprehenshon ability. You have to drill these into them, make them understand. Passing out a code book and that too in English (not a commonly spoken language in the team) and then conducting a workshop to all those present is not enough and all this happened during the time of Sheryar Khan, the former head of PCB. You have to indoctrinate these fellows about the damages, both to their abilities and careers, that result from the use of drugs.
Then there is this debate about Nandrolone itself. Reputed athelets from a broad spectrum of sports had tested positive, were suspeneded and later proved their innocence. It is said that currently the IOC is debating wether the level that it has set for Nandrolone are too strict. In cases were athletes were able to clear their name, there was a thorough investigation, research was done and a case was made by experienced professional in their respective areas.
But lets get back to PCB, who decide to pick a half witted former player and coach (Intikhab Alam), a retired Judge and former governor Shahid Hamid and a Dr. Waqar Ahmad for the tribunal. As is the rule in proceedings across the world, the defendants are asked to use a lawyer and if they are unable to do so, the authorities provide them with one (Miranada Rights anyone - all those cop and robber movies that we have seen). The players were however represented by a medical doctor in case of shoaib and a by himself in case of asif.
The verdict was that asif gets a year long ban, because hes is not that literate to understand the complexities of doping law and yet the same board found it adequate for this less than literate player to represent himself. Shoaib got a two year ban. According to Intikhab, he was to be made an exmaple of, why you wonder, not because he took drug supplements alone, but also because he used to drink alcohol and had an active sex life. I knew some of these guy were and no self esteem, but Intikhab Alam has now gone low enough to crawl from under a snake . Nobody informed Shoaib that he was being judged not only on the charges of consumption of controlled substances but also on allegations of breaching the hudood ordinance.
I thought cricket was a game of gentlemen not priests, what the gentlemen does in the confines of his own space is not a concern of anyone else expect those within that space. Either Intikhab is jealous or mis-informed that Nandrolone can be created in a body through comsumption of Alcohol or having an active sex life. In either case, its non of his god dam business to talk about it with the press. For shame Intikhab Alam, for shame!!
And while all this happens we hear a whimper of news come by and probably go un-noticed from PCB about player contracts being revised. Hmmm, who was the player who had the biggest issue with the revision of contract. None other than our Shoaib, who was reported over and over agian for not having agreed to the contract and was probably among last few people to signed on his prior to the teams departure for the champions trophy and surprise surprise, he barely there for a week when shit hits the fan.
All this has convinced me, maybe wrongly maybe rightly, that although the players are at a bit of fault the punishments handed out to them have showed a highly vindictive side of the PCB. My suggestions to both Asif and Shoaib is to challenge the PCBs decision, also Shoaib should take Intikhab Alam to court for publicly talking about his private life without his content in matter that did not pertain to it at all. I hope that my favorite rocker in the Pakistani team would soon be back rocking stadias all over the world, alas I may be extremly wrong.