Apr 30, 2008

*silly grin*

The hypothesis that if you're happy even silly, crappy stuff can make you grin ... is thus proven.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Goliath who?
Goliath down! You looketh tired!

Apr 29, 2008

Fits of laughter after a long time.

This person sent the following message to Saira, who has a picture of her little niece on Facebook.

I want to thank this person from the bottom of my heart for giving me the dose of laughter which I had been looking for throughout the past year.

Thank you, Mr. Crackhead, you are truly what we needed.

Saira and I still have not stopped laughing, btw.

Muhammad Saleem
Add as Friend
10:34am Mar 20th

hello little baby

asslam o aliakum i m sameer from lahore. mujh say dosti karo gay?laikan abi
tum kafi younger ho.

Apr 28, 2008

Gravity - John Mayer.

Gravity is working against me
And gravity wants to bring me down
Oh I'll never know what makes this man
With all the love that his heart can stand
Dream of ways to throw it all away
Oh Gravity is working against me
And gravity wants to bring me down
Oh twice as much aint twice as good
And can't sustain like a one half could
It's wanting more
That's gonna send me to my knees

Oh gravity, stay the hell away from me
And gravity has taken better men than me
(Now how can that be?)
Just keep me where the light is...

Apr 27, 2008

"As Good As It Gets"

I won't even apologize for watching it 11 years too late.

Loved it, loved it, loved it, LOVED it. Goes right down in my top favorites. And that's very aside from the fact that I'd just been looking for a movie to show my masters' students about OCD (the bachelor students would be way too overwhelmed with this one), this movie was way, way beyond enjoyable. When fart-jokes and Pamela Andersen movies are supposed to be 'laugh-out-loud' funny, I'd ask the degenerate audiences to give this a watch.

THIS is real, as-good-as-it-gets comedy. Brilliant, charming and heartwarming. Everything about it was exactly what I look for in a movie. It doesn't attempt to insult my intelligence, it doesn't want me to kill myself and it doesn't make me roll my eyes and wish I hadn't wasted 2 hours of my life.

Melvin Udall: Police! Donut-munching morons, HELP ME! HELP ME!
Frank Sachs: Shh!
Melvin Udall: Assault and Battery - and you're black!
Melvin Udall: Never, never, interrupt me, okay? Not if there's a fire, not even if you hear the sound of a thud from my home and one week later there's a smell coming from there that can only be a decaying human body and you have to hold a hanky to your face because the stench is so thick that you think you're going to faint. Even then, don't come knocking. Or, if it's election night, and you're excited and you wanna celebrate because some fudgepacker that you date has been elected the first queer president of the United States and he's going to have you down to Camp David, and you want someone to share the moment with. Even then, don't knock. Not on this door. Not for ANY reason. Do you get me, sweetheart?
Carol Connelly: OK, we all have these terrible stories to get over, and you-...
Melvin Udall: It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good.
Melvin Udall: I might be the only person on the face of the earth that knows you're the greatest woman on earth. I might be the only one who appreciates how amazing you are in every single thing that you do, and how you are with Spencer, "Spence," and in every single thought that you have, and how you say what you mean, and how you almost always mean something that's all about being straight and good. I think most people miss that about you, and I watch them, wondering how they can watch you bring their food, and clear their tables and never get that they just met the greatest woman alive. And the fact that I get it makes me feel good, about me.

Apr 23, 2008

Moral of the Story.

Humanity has sunk to a new low today. I guess this probably means I wasn't disillusioned enough, contrary to my own opinion.

THIS is what I feel like shouting and thus doing.

Apr 22, 2008

Dubai ke naam.

Too sad to apply to me wholly and completely - but still makes sense nonetheless. If Urdu poets didn't spend half the time being self-defeating, they'd apply a bit more to rational, self-respecting individuals. But there isn't any glory in that, is there :)

... Sabhi kuch hai tera diya hua sabhi rahaten sabhi kalafaten
kabhi sohbaten kabhi furqaten kabhi duriyan kabhi qurbaten

Ye sukhan jo ham ne raqam kiye ye hain sab waraq teri yad k
koi lamha subah-e-wisal ka, kai sham-e-hijr ki qurbaten

Jo tumhari man len nasiha to rahega daman-e-dil main kya
na kisi udu ki adawaten na kisi sanam ki murawwaten

Chalo ao tum ko dikhayen ham jo bacha hai maqtal -e-shahar main
ye mazar ahal-e-safa k hain ye hain ahal-e-sidq ki turbaten

Meri jan aj ka gam na kar, k na jane katib-e-waqt ne
Kisi apne kal main bhi bhul kar kahin likh rakhi ho mussaraten

Apr 21, 2008

"Johnny Gaddar"

The film is gripping enough, although the plot shows much reliance on cliches that are associated with suspense novels, the overall quality of the film is good enough. Neil Nitin Mukesh playing title role of Johnny Gaddaar and surely deserves to be a more credible debut than Ranbir Kapoor.

For blood, money and thrill-lovers, the 2 hours just fly by.

Apr 20, 2008

Epigram of the day.

All the world's a corporate structure.
We're all under some pressure or other.

And every boss is a jackass.

"The Wizard of Oz"

Timeless classics are tough to beat - but topping this particular tale is impossible.

Still ringing true to so many media-infested youngsters of the day (including myself) the tale of Dorothy Gale and her three unusual friends still captures audiences young and old. The magic is still bewitching after numerous decades and kids today, who have been bombarded with so many advanced graphics it's just laugh-out-loud funny, are still enraptured by her tale.

With melodies that continue to resound and characters that are played and replayed in people's lives and hearts to this day, The Wizard of Oz truly fits the title of being a timeless classic, a fairy tale epic and a developmental psychologist's dream all in one.

From the background score to the animation to the dialog, everything is just remarkable, just beautiful. After all these years ... this film still makes you sing songs from the "Lollypop Guild" ... try to find your own "Yellow Brick Road" ... wish for ruby slippers that shine and blink and glitter and have the power to send you to home ... have an all-wise wizard answer all your questions (to be disillusioned later) ... thus ... it still makes you believe in a world over the rainbow.

Apr 19, 2008

"U, Me aur Hum".

Okay, crappy stuff:

Oddly reminiscent of "50 First Dates". Simply a serious, Indian version of the aforesaid film.

"A" Ajay Devgan Film. Bad grammar always gets on my nerves.

Kajol's pre-marriage makeup. She looked older, weirder and not really pretty at all.

The length of the movie. Despite the intensity of the plot, it could have still wrapped itself a lot earlier had it not been filled with needless songs and dance numbers.

Good stuff:

Devgan's directorial debut makes a good impression, the film gets gripping once we get past the whole hook-up phase and I don't know if it's marriage or Devgan's talent, but their as co-actors they work beautifully. Kajol's acting was great as always, which proves that you don't have to look like Barbie and you don't need to have a perfect Ken to deliver a good performance.

The fact that it makes best use of the new 'psychology is in' theme that is rampant in movies nowadays. After "Taare Zameen Par" and "Bhool Bhulaiyan", "U, Me aur Hum" thankfully doesn't disappoint.

Favorite high points included Devgan's interesting cuts and shots, his "It's always about Me" speech, Kajol's candor-filled and post-intermission performance and a solid, well-delivered, integrated storyline. Despite the charba.

Overall verdict: way to go, Bollywood. I like.

Hufsa's Dedication.

I feel suddenly understood and flattered at the same time. This is my niece's current wall post to me on Facebook.

The Book is called, "Crow Lake - By Mary Lawson"
Lawson is a relative of L.M.Montgomery.

Anyways, generally the book is very good, I'm not done it yet (it's a Class-Reading Novel) but I plan to finish it this weekend.
But yes, so far it's really quite good. And in one part.. while reading today, I came across a passage which instantly made me think "MAHWASH APPA"!

This is the passage:
"The marking of Lab reports is one of the most depressing activities known to man"
... "Why do kids come to university if they aren't interested in learning?"
"I turned back to the reports. One or two showed some effort at accuracy, some awareness of scientific method. Half a dozen were so depressing that I had to restrain myself from writing "drop the course" at the bottom."

As soon as I read those lines they totally reminded me of you!

Apr 18, 2008

On demand.

Something I dug up for Mona. Written all the way back in the winter of 2005. Who'd have thought rickshaws could have place in pleasant memories. :)

"Four Women and a Rickshaw."

Dementia is a small word. When it comes to doing things that are beyond boundaries, dementia is merely a psychotic disorder.

What's the practical manifestation of normality combined with abnormality (or deviating from social norms, if you may), is what we do at college/university everyday.

I have realized, of late, my love for rickshaws has deepened; maybe it is because fate has drawn me to them quite more than I would like (at nine in the morning when your car doesn't start, and you're already late for your class, the best possible solution is a noisy vehicle, you wait desperately for an empty one to come by. When it doesn't your love to see that blessed vehicle increases dramatically, I assure you)... On other instances, for reasons best known to myself, information is better suited in a classified folder.

However here, in this unclassified domain of viewers, I take this opportunity of unoccupied moments and a single-eared headphone playing a Pakistani band trying to rock it, I write about the normal dementia as experienced by us each day.

"Tomorrow, Ramzan starts," was the key clause of the day. Every activity, thought or rescheduling of classes and brainstorms revolved around it. The most affected domain, as was expected, was food. Mona was lamenting how we'd eaten biryani yesterday thinking that yesterday, in fact, had been the last day of Shaba'an. And that was the 'last biryani'.

Now today, we were sure that we would NOW be having our LAST BIRYANI. However, no one felt like walking in the scorching heat to the cafe and find out that they'd run out of it.

With these grave issues at hand, Mona, as always, went off on a tangent and came up with one of her most brilliant ideas: "Let's take a rickshaw, go to Defence Market and eat Daal Chaval from a Dhaba."

After it was refuted that it was not a dhaba at all, but a full fledge hotel, and that it offered much more than just Dal Chaval or dhaba food, my eyes brightened and I yelled for Nihari immediately. Sara came around to the idea too at the further mention of Biryani and Nihari and we had our plans made. As we walked out of our classroom, Neelum asked us to inform them if we fit into the rickshaw. As if we didn't have enough of that to worry about, I retorted,

"All right.. if we do.. we'll give you a missed call."

Now to find a rickshaw.

Just outside the hospital, within which our university is located, there is a swarming of rickshaws like motored, noisy flies. We walked out wondering how we'd fit into it. No one in the group was diminutive enough to occupy space that wasn't human enough.

Spotting the first rickshaw outside the gates, we pounced on the grungy-looking Pathan chewing on a matchstick. His eyes never left the four of us and as we drew near to his chariot, we kept muttering, "Who's going to haggle?"

Meeting up to the challenge, as I was quite used to haggling with Rickshaw wallahs, and owing to the haggard way in which I was dressed (pathetic pajamas, sorry-looking shirt and a white old-woman dopatta), I asked him, "Bhai, all we need to go is Defence Market .. how much?"

He spoke in fast Urdu mixed with Pashto and expected us to understand. That was when I felt like a foreigner.

"What? What? What is he saying?" poked Mona.

I glanced at Sara, our Pathan friend, but I told myself that she was too beautiful to converse with a rickshaw wallah, who has the propensity to stand in front of our university. I rose to the challenge again - alone.

"We're not paying anything more than 35 rupees."

He spoke even faster now. Because we were in the groove and talking money, his adrenaline jumped levels and his translucent blue eyes sparkled in his matted browned face.

"Baji.... 35 ... 20 ... 4 banday .... khud socho..."

... was all I could make out of it.

I finally understood that he was saying 20 rupees for one way and 20 rupees for the other. I felt like agreeing, but later realized that Mona had already shaken her head into an emphatic NO and now was motioning towards another rickshaw wallah.

Pathan Undecipherable panicked. He then spoke the words that were decipherable, workable, and understandable. "Ajao beth jao."

Here rose another great obstacle. How to fit into this small a seat. I stared at the shiny red cloth that I was to sit on. Mona was still trying to find a foot ledge. I wanted to tell her that the foot ledge was missing in this particular rickshaw but I had more pressing concerns of Sara and our other friend waiting behind me.

Moving in unglamorously into the small compartment, I sat down apprehensively waiting for others to fit in. Once the first two were inside, the seat was full. All three of us stared at Sara standing outside blankly. Then we burst into giggles.

I moved forward until my knees were pressed hard and solidly into the cold metal that ended the compartment. Mona yelled, "I'm gonna fall out, I'm gonna fall out!" and Nyma insisted on saying, "Move, move, move," until I finally quietened her with, "I CAN'T!" .... in the meantime Sara made her way into the little rickshaw.

The rickshaw wallah was sure having fun. I could tell because he didn't need any signal for us to tell him that we were safely inside the rickshaw. The moment Sara entered the rickshaw, the puht-puht began and as if in a roller coaster in Disneyland, our ride swiveled around the round about and I clung on the round steel bars for dear laughs and dearer life. I cannot put the words I felt when I couldn't stop myself from laughing at the utter ridiculousness of the situation.

Usually you can see the expression on the rickshaw wallah's face in the multifarious rearview mirrors they have all around... this time around, I was too embarrassed to even look at him. Yet that embarrassment didn't stop me from laughing. We didn't stop all the way back to university. We kept laughing while we were in the rickshaw... even though Sara told us not to because, "When we laugh we expand and we need SPACE to EXPAND.. don't make me laugh please!"... but Mona wouldn't quit... she said, "Chalo ab let's message our classmates... that we've fit..." We laughed even when we were at the restaurant where all the male population had gathered to eat lunch and we had to stand behind the counter hidden from everyone - that was when our laughter slightly subsided into chortles and chuckles. We laughed when the poor chap at the counter on the better restaurant asked for 140 rupees and we gave him all ten rupee notes. Five minutes later when we realized that we had to pay the rickshaw wallah too, we went back to him and asked him for the change back and paid him the 100 rupee note. Our laughter didn't help the counter wallah's irritation.

Once after we'd taken the food, we were faced with the dilemma of squeezing ourselves back into the rickshaw. Oddly, here is the unexplained phenomena. We fitted fine this time .. Hmm.

All the way back, amidst our chortles (we realized that laughter was just not possible), we tried three to four different theories on how to fit four women into one rickshaw and plus food on the way back.

Over our Chicken Garlic Rolls and Mona's Biryani, we shared our theories with the rest of the class for their own future benefits.

Sara's regret was that she was under confident about speaking Pashto, else she'd have conversed with the rickshaw wallah herself! Well. Almost.

Apr 17, 2008

Mike Ego.

What's in a name. Especially when the scent is heavenly.

Apr 16, 2008

Excuse me?

I must, must, must quote Hira S. today. Words of wisdom.

M: Why is it that you can't expect to have a decent conversation with a human being without leading them to think that you're the heroine they've always dreamed of?
H: Every time you talk to a guy thinking that you're just chit-chatting ... they start hearing wedding bells.
M: Really?!?! Where was I when they were distributing these pamphlets?
H: YOU think it's random meaningless chit chat. Their first thought is: "She talked to me. She must like me."
M: (consternated)
H: Second thought: "When can I talk to her again?"
M: (shock ensues)
H: Third thought: "Apne amma abba ko is ke ghar kab bhejoon?"

.... and to think.

To think.

All this time. Wedding plans are made before they can even realize that we're already contemplating the million things we're going to do after this conversation is over.

Fascinating. Mars is one f*cked up planet.

Respect schmspect.

It was surreal.

The same chubby girl grinning ever-so nicely at me. The over-achiever sitting up straight in the first row. The back-benchers, looking as bored as always, only giggling when the scruffy jock next to them cracked a goofy joke about heaven-knows-what and creates that twitter in the class which completely pisses me off and I snap-question them back into the class. (HAH.) Then there's the notorious but studious feudal lord's son, once again, sitting with the prettiest chick in class, with the best cell phone. The pretty 19-year-old happens to be so porcelain-perfect, it makes me feel, after taking back to back classes from 9-3, like I'm Kurt Cobain on Halloween.

But who are we kidding. Who do we think we are fooling.

These people don't remember pedagogues. They remember disco numbers. That too, only half the time, if they're remixed by Atif Aslam often enough. Teachers find it easy to let go than to create impressions. If they want to create impressions, they want to make favorable ones, not compromising upon people liking them. But indeed - compromising upon the standard and the attitude they bear with students.

I wondered if it was worth it. How would I want to be remembered? Would I be remembered? Would I rather choose memory over learning?

The choice was hard yesterday, but something made it easier. A lot easier.

Something that said tons about how students are discarding what remained credible about education itself. I've been on both sides of the fence, so I won't appreciate any jackass telling me what that is or is not like.

Kher. On a lighter note. I heart iGoogle. The thing's a modern day wonder to the Google addict.

"Tara Rum Pum".

Now this is the kind of feel-good movie that can be tolerated - even with loopholes!

After watching it, I realized one thing though. "Race" and "Tara Rum Pum" should have been named vice versa. :)

A heartwarming film about the 'best, best, best racer in the world', Ranvir Singh and his family: his wife, Radhika and his two kids, "Princess" (who only manages to be slightly less tolerable than Annie herself) and "Champ" (cute kid, wonder why they named him like a dog :S ), this is a good ol' comfort-food type of a movie. Take your favorite munchies, prepare for some good ol' cliches (tolerable because they're added on with a bittersweet story) and just have your regular, relaxed weekend. Saif and Rani look oodles better than Saif and Bipasha (cringe cringe) and the songs are much more in tune than "Khwaab de ke jhootey jhootey" (huh?) ... "Forever" even has a better ring to it!

Saif's niche is truly the real, everyday, smart-alec guy (that Siddharth Anand explored in "Hum Tum" and Farhan Akhtar broke through in "Dil Chahta Hai") who is easier to fall in love with for audience - as compared to high-powered millionaire who's chasing super-models and killing his brother and dodging monster trucks. Let's leave that to Hamlet, shall we?

Anyway. Loved Tara Rum Pum. I'd recommend it. With pizza, Pepsi and all that fatty, carby jazz.

Apr 15, 2008


Ye hai Karachi.

We have big roads and big skies.

Short mattarways and an even shorter electric supply.

Jam packed traffic.

And rare moments of peace.

No second, no breath wasted.

We're all in fast pursuit.

Gradual dilapidation.

And an appetite for more.

This isn't a city.

It's a soul.

Apr 14, 2008

Sweet. :)

Saira at 04.03:
"HAPPY 14th APRIL! Jaldi shadi karen na, I want to dance at your wedding!"

Naba at 15:49:
"Mubarak ho!!! exact one year ago before you got officially engaged to your 'someone special' ... hehe i am happy .. remembering that day... uff kia din they yaar!"

Thanks to anyone else, also. Anyone who remembered..

10.46 p.m.

And a number of other people did too, btw. Honorable mentions. KJ and co (we all went out for dinner and perhaps the loudest round of ice cream imaginable), Aali and of course, Mom. :)

Apr 12, 2008

Get a life.

Electricity, roads, traffic, work, relationships ...

... it can get a lot, can't it.

But what about this?

If this doesn't make you rethink your life and focus more on gratitude over toadying, you've lost yourself for ever.

Apr 10, 2008

Yemen ke naam.

Zindagi ke melay main
Khwahishon ke railay main
Tum se kia kahen jan'an, is qadar jhamailay main
Waqt ki rawaani hai, bakht ki giraani hai
Sakht be zameeni hai, sakht lamakaani hai
Hijr ke samandar main
Takht aur takhte ki
Aik hi kahani hai
Tum ko sunani hai
Baat go zara si hai
Baat umr bhar ki hai (umr bhar ki baaten kabb do ghari main hoti hain
Dard ke samandar main
An ginat jazeere hain, beshumaar moti hain)
Aankh ke dareeche main
Tum ne jo sajaya tha
Baat us diaay ki hai
Baat us gilay ki hai
Jo lahoo ki khilwat main choar bann ke aata hai
Lafz ke faseelon main toot toot jaata hai
Zindagi se lambi hai, baat ratt jagay ki hai
Rastay main kese ho
Baat takhliyay ki hai
Takhliyay ki baaton main guftugo izaafi hai
Pyaar karne walon ko ik nigaah kaafi hai
Ho sake toh sun jaao aik din akele main
Tum se kia kahen janan.. is qadar jhamailay main.

I don't understand Pakistanis.

YES, our leaders are corrupt. Our cricketers, our lawyers, our moguls.

YES, our constitution is a joke. Our amendments, our bills, our LFOs.

YES, we are victims of sectarian violence. Our Punjabis, Sindhis, Baluchis, Bengalis, Muhajirs, Pathans, Siraikis (and I am deeply apologetic if I miss someone out, please don't burn my car).

YES, we've had political turmoil and international chaos since the day we called ourselves Pakistanis. Our Kashmir, our Jihad, our "War on Terror".

YES, we're confused. Our Sunnis and Shias, our ABCDs, our enlightened moderation, our cable channels, our underground discoes and our frontrunning fashion styles.

YES, we are in economic limbo. Our deficits, our NABs, our do-we-nationalize-or-capitalize debates and Karachi being struck by riots regularly.

But I am still confused.

I don't understand why Pakistanis have to go out and do what Agha Javed Pathan did. I don't understand why we cannot be civilized people when someone does something against us. We've become mad beasts with appetites for destruction bigger than Perses himself.

We've been at it for years. Can't we just give a rest? Can't we stop fighting and name-calling and balderdashing each other for ONE MINUTE and think about national interests? I'm talking about every Pakistani - whether in the political arena or not - who has witnessed or been a part of these past 60 years of total and complete havoc.

What is WRONG with us?

Apr 9, 2008

The Psychoanlytic Viewpoint on Divorce.

I would have added something myself, my own two cents about whether it's really all that cracked up to be (the explanation) and if I have a theory of my own.



I'm too tired, too sleepy, too cognitively wrought and far too much in deep-rooted disregard for Psychoanalysis to add anything more to this article.

Freud's fans, enjoy.

Apr 6, 2008

"The Namesake"

I'm not a big fan of Mira Nair as such (I'd choose Deepa Mehta over her any day) but this movie was riveting. Imagine having to check a bundle of reports on cultural diversity (most of which were plagiarized so intelligently that Wikipedia's reference links still showed, subscripted) and watching Kal Penn trying to adjust in the Big Apple. Talk about the grand design. Hah.

Anyway. Good watch. First time I got to saw Kal Penn as a serious actor and it wasn't half bad. Oh and the romantic in me still wanted to see Jacinda Barett til the very end. :)

Apr 5, 2008

Laleh Saddigh: celebrating the divide.

Holding strong to the true stereotyped image of the Muslim world in the international media, here is the story of Laleh Saddigh, the 'Iranian Schumacher' and rebel with a cause to celebrate females in Iran.

Whether or not this woman cheated has taken a background in her one-year-ban from racing. What is now highlighted and publicized is Iran's oppressive regime that forces down the voice of millions of women that are MPs, bus conductors and graphic designers. The emphasis continues on how socio-politically deprived the Iranian women are - especially when it comes to legal rights. They are not allowed to travel overseas or even work without the permission of a male relative and prostitutes are executed if they happen to be arrested the third time. The story doesn't end there for Islam, oh no. According to this 'very-Islamic' society, if a woman is found wandering on the streets, people will circulate all sorts of rumors regarding her character.

Interestingly enough, Lalel Saddigh accepts the charges of cheating in the race, she blames it on the system and says that she was forced to do so because the men would not let her be equal to her in the competition. But of course, that is now secondary. What was previously an intra-organizational feud and a matter of rivarly between competitors and perhaps even a regular case of engine-tampering, has turned into a social issue of feminist agenda, which as always, makes Islamic countries look like an ugly cross between Johnny Bravo and Hitler.

The fundamental questions we've got to ask ourselves is whether these allegations of being 'Islamic' are really allegations at all. And to what extent can these countries be really called Islamic? To what measure do they implement Islam in its true meaning - and to what extent do they use it for their own vested interests? Everyone knows, by now, that any system can be manipulated for personal gains, be it Islam, democracy, feminism, socialism, capitalism, whatever. It's not just a matter of the perfection of system that is liable to create an ideal state, but the degree to which individuals interpret it for the benefit of people and well-being of society. The moment we begin to forget that systems are made to benefit people, and not the other way around, the cataclysms will begin to unfold. Islam, as a system, if aims to achieve a society of peace and well-being, would never want women being beaten up by the police for having their headscarves shifted slightly to an angle of 35 degrees. Thanks to all the fading of lines, through nine-eleven, Taliban, the media, the Islamist, the politics of fear, the tendency of humans to make stereotypes faster than they can process information, we are really now turning into one big fat ugly nation.

The blame? Pointless to question or debate about where that's going to go. I guess it doesn't matter whether or not we question the western society of all the drawbacks of their own civilization or the wonders of a so-called democratic (read = imperialist) nation, because our channels and our people don't speak in the same glorious American and British accents - unless they become ABCDs themselves. We can't fight this tidal wave of stereotypes that is currently making the world go round and round, like a big typhoon, and Muslims seem quite at the bottom of it. If they can manage to grab hold of some Amreeki's foot, then they'll probably be allowed the title of second-rate citizens and climb up a little. But that's just about it.

I sound like an angry Islamist myself, now, don't I? But au contraire. I probably am their greatest holy horror. A woman who believes in emancipation of women as strongly as she believes in God, listens to Guns n' Roses, doesn't understand Islamic imperialism, rejects the obsessive ritualism that makes Muslims more afraid of people than they are of God Himself, believes in tolerance rather than lashes and questions most of the current status quos of society, is anything but.

Which is quite the tragedy. (Hah.)

No distinctions between what is what anymore. No telling who's the engine-tamperer and who's the freedom-fighter. Who's the imperialist and who's the democrat? Who's a female-empowered society and where one-in-every-three females is subject to domestic violence everyday.

It is simply mob psychology to accept images on stereotypes. We like to accept ideas more on the magnificent principles of the angelically good and the maliciously bad, when in reality, these extremes are hard to find anywhere at all - except maybe ... in the semi-obselete but classic theory of Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud.


I'm just not going to waste any time telling you what a crappy movie this was.

Rife with absolutely needless latkas and jhatkas from the likes of Indian babes, this story had nothing but spin and substance that you could have gotten from any cheap weekend action thriller starring nobodies and somebodies. The hype existed because Saif is in great vogue, Katrina Kaif is of course a great motivator for the other half of the audience and Bipasha Basu fans will probably roll over and die after watching this flick.

I find Akshaye Khanna to be one of the most under-rated actors of the Indian film industry right now, he has time and again proved with his range of roles that he can do more than just be the muscley muppet that the epitome of Indian heroism is supposed to be. He portrays well the character of the obsessive, jealous, conniving brother and Saif, had it not been for his rugged look, would have been paled in his performance.

As far as Saif himself is concerned, everything seems to be working for him these days. He can play a cook, a nincompoop and Iago and still be loved. So let his star shine, but if I had to give him one simple suggestion as a member of his wide audience, I'd ask him to drop the Brando act. Huskiness can only go along till Amitabh in his emotional speeches. Not for business tycoons, who by the way not only own cheap phones (a K750i) but also go out to blow up their enemies on their own (poor darlings don't have any henchmen at all to do their dirty work, the dears!). Anil Kapoor and Sameera Reddy's sloppy fruit-eating humor leaves much to be desired, and I wonder who's really to blame for these stupidities. The audience or the directors?

The story seems ripped off enough, and the direction still has a long way to go before it reaches the summit that directors think they've reached everytime they make movies with big budgets. Thrillers or action-packed flicks don't always have to involve a high-speed chase or women dancing in discoes (although that does seem quite the formula), it can also be as creepy as "The Others" and as riveting as "Sixteen Blocks".

A relatively better film for the Bollywood bunch, but third-rate and just another ordinary pot-holed flick with eye-candy to smooth rough ends.

At the end of 2 hours, you'll be left with sheer gladness, that the 'race' is indeed over.

Apr 4, 2008

Insomniacs Inc.

If you ...
  • Cannot sleep for more than six hours.
  • Have been a night owl for the past 10 years.
  • Need to exhaust self extensively so sleep comes, and generally cannot fall asleep without effort.
  • Find medications not working.
  • Have disturbing dreams and feel crappy all day long because of them.
Then ... join us. We have nothing for you except sympathy. Because everything else has failed.

Apr 2, 2008

The Fitna?

Perhaps we are an emotional nation to begin with. Our spirit of Islam is filled with true passion and sacrifice. Perhaps that is why when 9/11 happened, we were ready to go to Jihad for the Mujahideens, when we remember how our own women and children were asked to retrace their footsteps right after partition, at the Afghan border.

Perhaps that is why, at the death of Benazir Bhutto, we saw mass riots, looting, bloodshed, and all was let loose out of Pandora's box. Perhaps that is why, when we want to be good Muslims, we like shedding blood more than we like going to the mosque five times a day, or being good to our wives, or refusing to take and give bribes, or beat our children, or establish tolerance or become better citizens of our nation.

But then again. That's just my point of view.

Regarding the boycotting of all the Danish products, I have a different perspective than the mob behavior that is now being observed in most Muslims. I don't think by not buying Danish butter cookies, Geert Wilders is going to learn anything else apart from reinstating his point of Muslims being emotional old fools who respond angrily in terms of violent defense, instead of some form of dignified dialog and confident arguments on respecting the views and ideas of a nation and abusing the freedom of expression. The real fitna, therefore, is not how the international community misjudges us. The real fitna here is to understand how we, as Muslims, have forgotten what it was like to be a civilized, creative and politically shrewd nation. What we have suddenly turned into, is a big body of angry, furious, flailing hands and feet, with no head. And everytime someone dares to hit a nerve, or cut one of our body parts, another sprouts out, only flailing about here and there again.

It is not new to the Muslims to be misunderstood, ostracized and be brought under the threat of a political propaganda. It happened to the Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alayhi Wassall'am during his own time period, he had to face many situations which created opportunities for anti-Muslim sectors to make the most out of a mucky situation. The Qur'an is rife with instances where the opposing groups have tried their best to misconstrue statements about Islam, character of the wives of the Holy Prophet Sallalaho Alayhi Wassall'am, where there has been enough controversy to go around for tribes all over the Arabian peninsula. Yet in all these situations, the solution was not to go to the nearest bread shop and burn the man down. Nowhere did this random, angry, unplanned action come forth from him, where he knew that the dignity of his Ummah would suffer.

What have we, as Muslims, found to be our ultimate MO, our ultimate ammo (no reiteration intended)? A war cry. Everything has to start from there otherwise, we're just not Muslim enough for our so-called religious guardians. How many churches did we burn so that Pope John Paul II apologized? The entire international Muslim forum rose to demand an apology - and it came. But what did we do after the caricature of the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasalam was made? Go out on streets? Destroy our own markets, destabilize our own economy, burn our own assets, boycotted Telenor and Nestle, who by the way were companies owned by Muslim shareholders in Pakistan, so there again, we lose the point of boycott ...

... ?

And there he is at it again.

Is this how we want to prove we love our religion? By being insane?

It is my plea and my request to the international Muslim community to stop thinking in this highly immature manner. Most of you may find my opinion less-Muslim-than-necessary or far-too-rational (both seem to go hand-in-hand when it comes to categorizing Muslims such as myself), but I must ask every Muslim if this is what Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho alayhi wassalam would have wanted? Would he not have preferred a dialog? A political and socially peaceful attempt to explain the boundaries of respect to those who have forgotten it? Because if this had not been his sunnah ... than he would have agreed to Hazrat Jibrael AS to crush Tai'f into smithereens when he was sent out of the city, after being pelted with stones to the extent that his shoes were filled with his own blood.

Headless lemmings is what we are becoming. We are giving Geert Wilders yet another opportunity to call us idiotic and irrational. And I for one, oppose all boycotting of products. I propose a rational, cohesive and informed action from the media community, from the members of the Muslim community all over the world, especially leaders and figures in power or in some position of influence and authority. I encourage editors, talk-show hosts, media moguls, writers, bloggers, assembly speakers, teachers, corporate executives, (even drug-lords, if need be!) to unite to put together a united and Islamic front. We do not want people to die and suffer just to make a point (after all, does that make us any different from Bush Jr.?) or to show just how angry we are. It is not anger that must drive us, it should be our inherent sense of being Muslim, to show to the world as an example of what kind of nation we are. Our actions will say a lot about who we are as a community and as peoples under a united system of life and experience.

Muslims of the world, unite. You are the followers of peace, harmony and tolerance. Don't let a couple of buzzing insects come in the way of your self-identity.

"Chachu Diyan Chalakiyan".

Punjaagi Totay at their best. Makes you think what a laughingstock Uncle Sam made out of us. Doesn't solve half the problems we have, won't bring back the millions of dead jihadis, and probably doesn't change a single xenocentric aspect of our lives.

But you have to watch this.

You simply have to.

The Idyll of Lunuganga.

Attended a lecture by Dave Robison on a pretty amazing landscape in Sri Lanka, and the history of Geoffrey Bawa, the man behind Lunuganga. Whether or not we actually go there is a different story... but this definitely looks like a nice place to dream about.

The house and gardens at Lunuganga, Bentota, were lovingly created over several decades by the world renowned architect, Geoffrey Bawa, as his vision of a tropical garden idyll. The Italian inspired garden with spectacular views over lakes and tropical jungle together with a simply designed plantation house are one of the lasting legacies of Asia's most famous architect. Guests can now share in Bawa’s vision and can stay in one of 6 en-suite bedrooms available in the house, the studio or on Cinnamon Hill, or rent the whole property in its entirety. It is perhaps the most magical garden retreat in the world. Lunuganga opens each year from 15 November 2006 to 30th April 2007.

The rates, the activities are all given here.

Courtesy: Sri Lanka in Style.

Apr 1, 2008

Celebrating April.

In fifth grade, everyone in my class went to the Quaid's maosoleum.

Dad said no.

Then they went for a picnic at the Marina Club.

Dad said no.

In sixth grade, Yasir Akhtar invited me to join his new production team "Pegasus" in which he wanted me to play the lead role of a bubbly twelve year old.

In tenth grade, I was offered to go to an all-Pakistan tour as a correspondent for a Dubai-based magazine and do a write up for Pakistan's landscapes.

In eleventh grade, a study tour of China came up, everyone was going, I was simply asked to hand in my passport, the rest would be taken care of.

In twelfth grade, the chances of a Fulbright scholarship and admission at LUMS came my way.You can guess what Dad said.

I worked with FM 100 as a disc jockey for six months, after which they wanted me to continue my contract, but. Dad disagreed.

In third year, Mrs. Rubina wanted me to go to GC Lahore for an All-Pak debate. Risalpur also was passed up (for one year anyway).

In final year, I put my foot down. I wanted to go to Risalpur.

But it wasn't like I did what some people thought I had the power in me to do. I still gave up the Dawn News position. Didn't even think of going after a year of masters in Canada, didn't even blink when he told me not to go to LUMS, kind of accepted it when he stopped me from working with Sumbul, the designer, the NGO, and decided that it was for my own best, after all, when he didn't want me to go for a more permanent position in the magazine I was working for.

In my final semester of masters, last year, he told me he is not going to agree if I marry an Arayeen.

It was my turn to say no. And I did. And I am blissfully happy.

I recount many times he has said yes to things I wanted. Barbie dowries, Barbie shoes, Barbie's beach house. Public speaking competitions. Writing forums. Lot of the television work that I did was under his supervision and lot of places where I learnt were due to him.

I'm not asking aspirants to start a rebellion. I'm also only half-complaining. I am who I am because of the merge of all these experiences, beneficial or otherwise, and I wouldn't change a thing.

Guess what I'm saying is. That this month marks the fact that I did the right thing.

Because that's what he has taught his daughter to do.