Traffic Signal: Smashed or Perhaps Thrashed Too

Smashed and thrashed kind of traffic signals can be witnessed even in the Capital City of Pakistan. Looking at this signal pole and broken lights brought thoughts of a horror movie to my mind. I imagined a horrifying, drooling, beastly creature whose eye had popped out. Instead of falling to the ground, and getting squashed under the mighty feet of the following fellow beast, the eye is still hanging there from the tiny tissue fragments. And as the creature moves the hanging eye dangles. (… think i am getting carried away.)

The broken signal was still functional. It stood with its head held high and kept serving the people passing by it. I wonder how it turned into its shabby broken self. My first guess was rioting people who kinda enjoy thrashing anything that comes in their way. Or it could also have been an enthusiast practicing stone throwing while keeping the signal as target. Perhaps some “angry birds” took their anger out on the poor signal they used a a pedestal.

I just wish the repair works would be on their way soon.

Traffic Signal: Smashed or Perhaps Thrashed Too

Mujhe Kaam Batao, Main Kiya Karoon, Main Kis ko khaoon..

Zabinaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar…

Zakoota
A few days ago I was watching TV and switching channels when this black short sad guy on one TV somehow
caught my attention and I decided to watch that channel. The guy was Zukoota Jin from Ainak Wala Jin.

The guy who entertained us around 2 decades ago in the program “Ainak Wala Jinn” by the ever-popular chant
“Mujhe kaam batao, main kiya karoon, main kisko khaoon” was saying something like that, only this time
he was acually asking for work, asking for money (in terms of Zakat) because he doesn’t have work and
he can’t afford to feed his family.

That saddened me a lot in many ways.

I am sure the guy has entertained a lot of us.

If anyone of you want to donate money to him, any amount you guys can do, the following information is for you.

Account Number 01060028015360008

Account Name : Matloob Ur Rehman (yes, that is his real name, his stage name is Munna Lahori)
Bank Of Punjab
New Anarkali Branch
Lahore

Mobile Number: 0300-4494129 (Yes, that is his private mobile, you may talk with him and hear his
distinctive voice, and yes, he is more than happy to roar the chant for people)

Thanks guys, please spread the word!


Welcome..

Welcome home, Founder Islamabad Metblog Asma Mirza

Let’s have a reunion someday :)


TEDxNUST 2011

It was held this week on the 24th in an outdoor setting in SEECS, NUST H-12. It was the first NUST related event I had attended, since it was in the evening, and by chance I had taken the day off for some research related work at the university. My expectations for the event (prior to attending it) had shifted constantly from really grand to mediocre and then to moderately grand. But whatever it was, it didn’t disappoint, and it was a fun evening too, out in the open in the SEECS fountain area, as they call it, with a spotlight lit ambience, rose petals, umbrella outdoor heaters, and lots of charged up youngsters, who really made me feel like an old timer, BTW.

I may point out some things that I felt were a bit wrong, but it does not mean in any way that the event was not good. The event was brilliant. So my criticisms, if any, are to be taken in good spirit.

As with all student managed NUST events this one was well done too. Pretty little X’s on the path outside SEECS led me to the venue, where a group of students wearing cool black TEDx t-shirts were busy getting stuff in order. Last moment arrivals of necessary hardware like the mushroom heaters caused a bit of a disturbance prior to the starting of the show as the providers had to make their way through the corridors with their gas cylinders and other accessories… I feel that should have been done a bit earlier. But you can’t blame the event organizers entirely for that. They on their part were doing a really good job with the registrations and the other management stuff.

Apologies for the absolute lack of pictures. Maybe someone else on our blogger panel can put some up.

The Setting

So as I made myself comfortable on the left of the sitting area, a little higher than the stage itself. Since it wasn’t a proper auditorium, the lack of “levels” caused visual problems for the ones sitting at the back, since they were not able to see what was going on down on the stage, especially when the amazing sitar player and his tabla player had to sit down on the stage floor for his performance. The floral arrangements were very artistic, and we were later told that they were designed by one of the speakers themselves. However, the TEDxNUST poster on which some of these lovely floral arrangements were made was a little too reflective itself, which caused messy bumps and waves on the poster to be visible under the bright spotlights, creating a mildly unpleasant stage background. It would have been better if it were smoothed out in some way, pasted to a flat panel, or a clear white background were used.

The projection screens were placed on either side of the main stage, for the attendees to see from the left and the right of the sitting area. That was thoughtful, however the excess lighting on the stage caused the screen projections to dim out a bit, thus making it hard to make out the pictures that were being displayed. Usually a larger TV type screen works in these settings, but of course that could not have been possible too easily. A little clever lighting arrangement would have had made it fantastic.

There was a distinctly feminine touch to the entire setting; rose petals scattered near the central fountain area, little candles being lit up prior to starting the show, the stage sets like the matkas that were quickly arranged during the sitar players’ performance, the floral arrangements, etc. That’s probably why the environment looked appealing!

The seating was cleverly arranged to make use of all the space available, since the area wasn’t too large (the fountain is to blame). The rear gallery type view was taken up by the blogger class, who were actively involved in sending out live updates of the event to the website/twitter. It’s worth pointing that out at this point because the involvement of these tech-savvy youngsters in sending out live information over the internet made the event all the more dynamic and sort of digitally expansive, allowing thousands of viewers around the world to view and follow the proceedings live, online. Technology works wonders, BTW. That may sound like an old man’s statement, but visionaries like yours truly can’t help but imagining a time when digital holographs are beamed across the miles of this planet to be displayed in exactly the same three dimensional arrangement somewhere else in the world.

However, the NUST organizers did not have hologram technology, or Scotty’s beam-me-up tools, so they made most of whatever tech gadgets they had to make the event a success.

The People

I could see some externals and internals in the crowd, very eager to see what was about to transpire on stage. Most of them could be seen tapping away on their devices, probably tweeting about the event, or maybe even texting each other! It wasn’t an unruly crowd, kind of like the ones who spend their time giggling in the back seats, however it did need a little 101 on event ethics, as my cynical self noticed the excess disturbance when the show had started.

What bothers me most is people walking around the venue during the show, finding their seats, and hundreds of photographs crawling around with their cameras, taking pictures of whatever things of interest they could spot (glory to the days when camera films were expensive). Not only here, but photographers tend to be quite a nuisance at every event, where every second person in the audience has a camera, and they quickly move to front to get a first-hand view of the couple getting married (if it’s a marriage event), or for any stage performance, thus merrily blocking the view for all the unfortunates sitting on their chairs. That’s probably one of the first things I would make sure would not happen if I were an event manager at any event.

The crowd was mostly the young, other than some distinguished oldies. The event probably would not have been a success if it had been dominated by the internet ignorant generation, who frequently pesters their children to teach them how to e-mail. Moreover, most of the talks were targeted more towards engaging and motivating the youth, though the ideas can be built upon by the older generation (given that they have any mental flexibility left for drastic changes and new challenges).

The Speakers

I hope you haven’t skipped all the above to read this part, though I realize I should have written a bit about the speakers earlier. You can get their profiles on the TEDxNUST website, so I won’t bother going through their achievements.

I felt that the event had a theme to it, and the theme was Pakistan. I am not sure if that was the actual intent, but every speaker had a very Pakistan focus on their talks, unlike most of the TED talks one gets to see on the internet. Maybe it’s like that for independently organized events like these, or maybe it’s because it’s the first ever TEDxNUST event and it was necessary to give it a more focused and digestible beginning. It was good in a way; helps to assimilate all the ideas presented as a compendium, and then it can be implemented in a synergistic fashion to achieve all the speakers objectives.

The first speaker, YBQ, came on stage in a traditional dhoti-shalwar dress, and naturally everyone in the audience were anticipating a fantastic opening talk from someone who belongs to the distinguished artists class of our country. And that’s what he did. His dress was a striking green and white, the first indication of a very Pakistani event. He tried to kindle the kind of challenge-accepting spirit in everyone’s hearts by asserting that we should learn to believe in ourselves and do what we love doing the most. Apparently, he loves what he does, and he pointed out that most people come to Pakistan to die, but he came back from America to live. Now that’s original! The general theme of his talk was to look inwards into your soul, to accept who you are. Not too easy as said (for a large majority!), but motivating nonetheless, and a great start to the event.

I don’t exactly remember the sequence of the speakers, and I may mix up the points from their talks since I happen to have the memory of a cyborg goldfish, but I’ll try to bring it out from the heart, if you know what I mean.

Azhar Rizvi delivered a very crisp and professional talk on entrepreneurship, on engaging universities and institutions on the initiative that he was involved in, and startled everyone with the large numbers and facts that he presented. His talk built up into a final crescendo; the beginning felt like I was in an MBA lecture, frankly speaking. But through the interesting case that he built up and presented during his talk, he was able to send across one important point that I totally loved and is still stuck in my mind. He wants everyone to:

Engage in small groups and develop ideas for improvement in any aspect of the society, and then propel these ideas to platforms where they could be heard and transformed into a reality. When there are tens of thousands of these idea cultivation groups and cells across the country, it would not only connect like minded people who are passionate about innovation and development, but also connect their hearts which would help in improving the overall development of the country.

Those are not exactly his words, but that’s what I was able to extract from his interesting talk. It’s a sort of extension to the look-into-your-soul concept stated by YBQ earlier, only here you are extending your soul to other souls, creating links to let the passion flow like a river through the entire society, and engage people in developing new initiatives and startups which they alone could not have achieved.

Farhana Azim’s talk was a bit of a hassle for her as she struggled to keep herself in sync with the flipping slides on her PowerPoint presentation. She probably wasn’t comfortable with controlling the slides herself, so obviously it had to get a bit messy when someone else was doing it for her. However, what she presented was thrilling. She’s a floral artist, and the pictures that she showed were of outstanding works of art made from all-organic materials, especially flowers. She had ended her talk with a passionate description about the beauty of flowers in Pakistan, and her experiences being around them. Not as motivating as the other talks I should say, but an interesting foray into the art of floral arrangements, and a realization that passion is what can help you make wonders.

Now Shah Sharabeel came up with probably the most interesting ideas in all the talks. He was supposed to talk about how changes can take place with performing art. I was expecting something on the lines of all the theatre stuff and talk about art, but it was a bit more creative than that. The story that he told to send across his idea definitely portrayed him as a strict man who sticks to his principles, and that he’s the kind of guy who is serious about bringing a change in his society. His tone, however, got a bit harsh at various points in the talk, which showed his distaste for the prevailing ills in the society… but I guess that is what makes the talk all the more interesting, and gives more weight to the speakers statements.

He told how he always wants everything to start on time, and that his events are never a minute late. His staff had to bear a lot of manhandling, torn shirts and bruises because of angry late comers outside the theatre gates, but he would not let them in. So gradually, in the later shows that followed, all of the attendees came on time, and now his shows have 100% attendance. He also told how he was notified of a very senior government person, that he would be coming around 15 minutes late because of some family matters he had to attend to. Sharabeel thought out a plan, and that was to ask everyone in the audience to stand up from their seats and shout at the latecomer to get out, when he would enter the auditorium. The audience at his show loved the idea and were ready to that. Too bad the government guy was notified of this when he was on en route to the theatre in his entourage on the Mall road, and turned back home.

So HIS idea was based on a theme of Unity; that no one in our country would help us end corruption (he asked to mark his words on that), and that it would only be possible if everyone united, and openly declared war against all the corrupt people in the country. Now the idea may seem oft stated when you look at it on the surface, but there are certain societal dynamics, if I may call them as such, which need to be considered, as they play an important part in enabling this unity. Sharabeel introduced the idea before his performance had started, on stage, and obviously the audience were there for a purpose, and that was to watch HIS show. So naturally, the entire group of people at the event had a common thinking, a common objective there, and since the concept of a corrupt society is already understood and abhorred by every sane mind in the society, his idea motivated all the like minded people to instantly connect together to support his objective. So in my opinion, no matter what you do, you cannot unite people unless you have a uniting concept first, which should be independent of the objective you want to achieve. This would help automatically develop a kind of atmosphere of subconscious unity among the people, without them realizing that they are trying to unite themselves together. Simply stated, telling people to unite themselves in not the way to go, uniting them with something that secondary that they are all interested in doing will link their minds together.

The above concept can be used to explain the rationale behind Masoora Ali’s talk as well, in which she pointed out the importance of Active Citizenship. She raised a general idea, but I think it can be linked with Sharabeel’s idea for a synergistic effect. Thus, active citizenship can be one common uniting concept that can bring people together for a common cause, and when they come together for a common cause (which has to be a good one of course), they are linked, and when they are linked, their actions can be extended for creative revolutionizing concepts like the one introduced by Sharabeel; to put up slogans and posters at your shops, institutions, hospitals, etc., that no corrupt person of any standard would be entertained in these institutions.

Swaying away from these topics are the interesting talks by Badar Khushnood and Adnan Shahid, which revolved around more IT technology related stuff. Badar focused on effective utilization of the internet and active involvement of the Pakistani netizens in creating a better online Pakistan. He showed interesting facts about Pakistan’s internet behavior, which Google can very easily analyze. A bit scary when it comes to privacy issues, but I guess we can all trust a Pakistani working in Google (can we?). He talked about how there has been an increased use in mobile phones in Pakistan, something which I personally did not feel was a great “achievement” as owning a mobile phone does not signify progress on a smaller scale. It may show the adoption of technology by the country, but if the technology is not playing any role in the betterment of the country other than bringing it on top of the statistics lists, it need not be mentioned at all.

Adnan Shahid delivered a well organized, crisp and chilling talk about e-waste in Pakistan, how the west dumps their discarded electronic waste in the third world like ours, how the poor people here are making a living out of selling, burning, disposing, transforming these highly toxic materials without considering the health hazards involved, and how our society is completely ignorant about these ills. It did spark a bit of resentment for the developed world, how they used less developed countries as a means to dispose off their old electronic waste. His initiative, Green Pakistan, revolves around the recycling concept, and also that we should always carefully check our electronic gadgets before buying them (whether they are “green” products or not). He said that we should tell the developed countries responsible for the waste to take back their waste and give us back the precious metals they used in making them. Now that’s an awesome statement, and practicable too if thought out well. It would be encouraging to see people following his initiative to dispose off our electronic materials in a well planned way, and not letting it fall in the hands of poor children who risk their lives by trying to make a living out of these toxic materials.

Puruesh Chaudhary came up on stage with her very MBA-ish talk about… ummm… well frankly speaking, most of her high level terminology went over my head, but her initiative, Agahi, struck has an essential media revolution of our times. She showed a very cleverly complied short video documentary about how the media had shifted in its reports over time, and what is being displayed on TV nowadays. My thoughts exactly; as I watched the video, I felt like going back home, picking up the TV and throwing out of the house… something which I had been thinking of doing for a very long time (something which Adnan Shahid would not like, BTW). I do not understand why there is no regulatory body on media ethics in Pakistan. In the name of free speech, our TV channels constantly bombard us with hate, hate and more hate. They don’t even spare us on happy events like Eid, when they continue complaining about how the prices have risen during Eid, and other nonsensical material. Does a person really need to waste his day learning about elevated price items during Eid, when all he wants is just a pleasant time with his family and friends? Media needs a serious revamp, and we need to support people like Puruesh to bring this ethical revolution to the forefront.

The final speaker of the event, a photographer, delivered a highly patriotic talk about his unique travels throughout the length and breadth of Pakistan, the pictures that he had taken, and his experience with various places that a very large majority may not be aware of. Danial Shah presented a slideshow of his photographs which showed all the exocita in our country, stuff that I would personally like to see on my 2012 calendar. I’m not a big fan of nature and all-the-beauty-of-Pakistan, but I was engaged by the enthusiasm and determination of this young man to bring a good name to his country. People may constantly criticize these people who are simply doing what they love to do, and who strongly believe that what they do will eventually bring about a big change. But one should realize the criticisms will only make these people more stronger, and more unique. I thought that whatever he is doing is fantastic, and he should continue exploring deeper aspects of our urban, sub-urban, and rural societies, creating a link between the amazing natural beauty of the country, and the beauty that lies in the society that thrives and continues to mature in this part of the world.

Rakae Jamil is being discussed at the end here, though he performed midway during the event. And that is because his performance was outstanding, and I didn’t want it to be overshadowed by all the discourse that I would have written later on. It’s funny that he played Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Greenday on his sitar, probably to captivate the younger audience. But his performance that followed appealed to everyone; his control over his instrument, and the accompanying tabla, both gave the impression that there was an orchestra of around 12 instruments playing. There were a thousand sounds with each of them having their own pulse… it was mesmerizing… if only the people walking around and leaving had realized that. I am glad there was no underground rock band or something like that at the event, and Rakae Jamil decorated the event with his auditory delights in a fascinating way.

Conclusion

I skipped the dinner at the end, but that was supposed to be a networking session. However, what the overall impression that the event left on me, and of course on everyone else, was a very positive one, and it would definitely be a pleasure to attend more NUST organized events like these in the future. The event was well managed by the students, and I don’t think any other event management body would have done it as well as the students did it themselves (whoa!). You can check out the TEDxNUST website for more details. They might even upload the videos of the event for your viewing pleasure.

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Countdown to TedxNUST..

The clock is ticking and TedxNUST is happening in around 17.5 hours.

Pleaces to remember are :-

http://tedxnust.com/live

#TEDxNUST on twitter

http://twitter.com/TEDxNUST

and https://www.facebook.com/TEDxNUST

Also, do keep on coming back to Islamabad metblogs for our take on this..

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Tale of FBISE and the Online Result Inquiry

The result if Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Part I of Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) is out. It means that the tense wait for the class ninth students, who had appeared in their final exams under the flag of Federal Board, is now over. Their result is out and their fates that whether they passed or not are written.

The good thing is that FBISE has a web site from where the kids (and their parents and relatives and all) can check the result. The web site is http://www.fbise.edu.pk/. The result can be searched out based on the Roll Number, Student’s Full Name or through the name of the institution. This can save everybody time and hassle of waiting in physical queues in the markets or at the school premises.

Thinking all this I also happily accessed the web site to look for the result of an acquaintance. The ordeal I had to go through in doing this was tremendous. The first was the “Server is too busy” blow that I got on my initial access. I kept getting this for quite some time. When the page with a field to enter in a Roll Number along with a Submit button appeared, I forgot all my troubles and considered the worst to be over. I entered in the Roll Number and hit the Submit button, only to be put through the torture of witnessing an “in progress” cursor which eventually ended on a “run time error”. Darn web site!

I did not lose hope and kept on receiving the “busy server” and “run time errors” for more than an hour. During that time I had tried all my options of searching the result; i.e. via the Full Name, the Roll Number and even the name of the institute. Alas! I failed again and again and AGAIN.

Just when I was about to pull out my hair, scream and punch the monitor, I was greeted by a surprise. The result page of that kid had mysteriously appeared on my screen without any errors. I thanked my stars, noted down the result and hurried away from the horrid web site.

I request the FBISE personnel to kindly take notice of this and get the web site upgraded so that people can actually benefit from it without going bonkers.


Two new fountains spring up in Islamabad

Looks like the CDA chairman has nothing better to do lately than attending these ‘openings’. Quite a depressing sight looking at the state of the country outside of Islamabad, and the blue lights match the mood.


Short-lived

A scene from the markets during the interval after the Indian cricket team innings.

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Easy steps to bring a revolution..

 

How to bring a revolution in ten easy steps:-

1) For starters, wear a lot of sunscreen if you plan to bring a revolution in the summers (because skintone is if not more, as important as the said purpose itself).

2) Wear either Nike’s or Adidas sneakers, Servis joggers don’t cut it when the cause has so much international importance.

3) Make sure you keep your latest iPOD in handy so that when the Naara’s go out of tune, you can listen to revolutionary songs by Lady gaga and Justin Beiber. John Lennon? John Lennon who?

4) Eenie meenie minie mo between Imran Khan and Zaid Hamid, one is a confused apologist, the other is a state of the art fighter sent to the world to rid the world of all Zionists, regardless of their nationality.

5) Watch a lot of star plus before you go out in the scorching heat to fight for justice.

6) Believe that everything wrong in the country is because blackwater wants it to be wrong. Yes, your alarm clock didn’t go off in the morning because blackwater wanted you to be late for class so you couldn’t learn and bring change in the world.

7) Revolution doesn’t come overnight, so ask your mothers to pack you supplies for at least two days, sandwiches, lollipops, orange juice and a good bedtime story.

8) Go to protests with the opposite sex in numbers, because while you’re ridding the world of evil and social disorder, you might even score, how cool is that?

9) Before heading out, twitter, facebook, text message your friends that you’re going on the mission of your life and if you don’t return, they should forgive you for all the wrong doings that you’ve done and return an hour later and re-do the process with, “I almost died for the country”…

10) After the protest, tell everyone that the country has gone to the dogs and then take your dogs out for a walk in the evening.


OMG… Kuch Khaas.

There has been a constant debate over how the critically acclaimed city of the dead is actually living up to its name as far as performing arts (mainly music) are concerned. The overall security situation of the country amongst many numerable reasons contributed to this sad state of affairs. But as they say, all hope is not lost for 2010 saw KUCH KHAAS (A community space for discourse, learning, meaningful entertainment and participation in Islamabad) break into the scene. I recently caught up with the KUCH KHAAS program team to discuss their new venture called Open Mic Gig (OMG).

1) For starters, tell a little bit about the program team at KUCH KHAAS and what it actually does.

The Kuch Khaas Program Team has Program Managers, Assistant Program Managers, Interns and extended Kuch Khaas Family Members. There is a whole lot of collaboration between the team on how to execute various ideas into programs such as events or classes/workshops.

2) How much in your view has KUCH KHAAS affected the arts/music scene in the capital?

Islamabad happens to be a place where previously being self-taught was the norm for most artists and musicians. Kuch Khaas hopes to have instructors who now can impart their knowledge and skill to eager learners. These learners have a relationship with their Instructors and Kuch Khaas, which later becomes a source of confidence for them to show their talent in events such as OMG.

3) You people have various music courses going on, tell a little about them.

We have previously hosted classes and workshops by Singing Instructors, Natasha Ejaz and Ahmed Ali.

Our ongoing classes include:

“Singing Success” instructed by Shahbaz Zaidi which has been one of our longest running classes alongside “Guitar Lessons – Beginners and Intermediates” instructed by Syed Salman Haider Zaidi.

“Classical Vocal Training and Tabla Classes” by Ustaad Umeed Ali Khan, student of Barey Ghulam Ali Khan Sahab, while Ustaad Naimat Ali Khan Sahab accompanies him on tabla have been a great source of inspiration for all of us.

We also have “Percussion Training” with Asfendyar Ahmed. Rawal Shadab Ahmad is our instructor for “Basic Keyboard and Piano Lessons”.

A weekly facilitated drum circle conducted by Ammar Latif also takes place at Kuch Khaas, open to anyone who would like to participate and get together to make music, the purpose of this activity is solely recreational.

4) Do you think KUCH KHAAS caters to particular strata of society or is it inherently universal in its approach?

Kuch Khaas does not prescribe to a formulaic approach in building its community. We are here to mobilize not only the youth but also reaching out to adults in order for them to redefine their notions of everyday life in Islamabad. Kuch Khaas is an idea impacting society physically and theoretically.

5) When did you people decide to hold open mic nights and how has the response been thus far?

The Open Mic Night was to ensure a platform for local enthusiasts and musicians, a gathering that is intimate and casual enough for different genres to come together creating a diverse program for the audiences.

Kuch Khaas hoped to bring together acoustic playing singers, solo acts and local bands. To balance out the night we now ask for submissions a week before the event. These processes lead us to rename the Open Mic Night to Oh My Gig! Or OMG as Kuch Khaas manages the entire program. This does not in any way shape or form mean we dismiss or undermine some talent over the other.

The program each time leads to new realizations for the next OMG. As the Kuch Khaas Team we want to set out an example for local youth to come out and perform not because OMG is an official musical gig but a night to celebrate local talent.

6) A lot of noteworthy musicians have played at this venue; do you think it’s slowly becoming the GEN-Y Civil Junction?

Absolutely not, Kuch Khaas is not catering to solely musicians but multitalented individuals, who have potential and want to perform.

7) Are there any facilities/programs except the Open Mic Gig platform to facilitate budding musicians at KUCH KHAAS?

We now have started Karaoke Nights for those who might just want to sing out loud to their favorite tunes in a relaxed and informal environment. It is not about OMG the event but about the people who go through the experience with us.

8) Why did the chicken cross the road?

To go to Kuch Khaas.

9) Do you people plan on expanding further, if yes, then what avenues are you people looking to explore?

We have an extensive video library in the making of all our previous programs and events. We hope that having an archival process will enable Kuch Khaas to go a step further in delivering constructive dialog beyond its four walls.

10) Any final words of wisdom, messages, dedications or statements?

Kuch Khaas is now coming to a full circle with the completion of its first year in May. A place open to youth and adults alike, bringing forth opportunity and support for a more engaging Islamabad.

 

Photo credits: Zeeshan Jamal/Kuch Khaas


Zaid Hamid hates you.. Or vice versa?

One fine night, the best defense analyst in the world aka Zaid Hamid pondered over where his life was and where it is now ( ofcourse every news channel is marred by him cussing at the Indian Zionists, Israeli Zionists, Pakistani Zionists, Super Zionists with no real identity, so he must be doing something right, or is it?)... He decided that he would go public, and this time not refrain to cursing the zionists, the army, the dhobi who ruined his prized red hat or the local grocery store, this time he thought he’d write a few verses in English to show the world that he can write, and write he did and what he came up with, in his opinion would win him literary accolades (but the darn jews get them every time don’t they? )..

I hate the way you’re not fond of me,
and the way you mock my hair,
I hate the way you call me khwar,
I hate it when I’m here.

I hate your big dumb Zionist roots,
and the way you kick my behind,
I hate you so much it makes me a chick,
and forces me to commit this crime.

I hate the way I cry at night,
I hate how I’m so shy,
I hate it how I have no staff,
even worse when I can’t eat paye.

I hate the way I’m always found,
and the fact that I can only crawl,
but mostly I hate the way I can’t save you,
not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.

YAKEEN KIJIAY!!!!


Who deserves what?


Confusion is the prime of sorrow and everything that has been happening in the land of the green and the pure for the better half of the last decade can briefly be summarized as a confused view point following an even more confusing ideology. Everyone has a brief stint of identity crisis where the greener pastures seem blue if focused on properly but even more daunting than this is the global rejection of the green.

“We deserve it; it’s just God’s way of telling us that we aren’t good people”

This is something that I get to hear very often and it just makes me sad thinking how people can so aptly point this out without paying heed to the fact that the law and order lapses and the massive failure of infrastructure is a direct consequence of the short-term thinking of everyone who has been in power for the last six decades. It has all been due to the cat and mouse game that the honchos in big government establishments play when they could have diminished their differences and given more attention to both economic and environmental sustainability.

Why sit back silently and accept this as an order from the heavens and not ask questions? Why do we always give into dogma and refuse to question anything because either it is the ultimate word or it won’t make a difference if we ask questions. We know there was a flood, we know people are dying of hunger and disease, we know it’s the worst disaster of this century; we know it will take years to get everything back to the way it was. But isn’t it about time we start pruning every little detail and make amends so that it doesn’t happen again, isn’t it time we finally stop blaming it on some sect that doesn’t go to the same place to worship as you?

Acts of barbaric undertones have been happening for as long as I can remember. There have been public beheadings, little girls have been raped, people have been tortured and the recent incident in Sialkot is no less. It did not happen because we “deserve it”. It happened because people are afraid to raise a voice against anything that goes against their confused ideologies. It happened because at the end of the day every act of heinous malicious intent is justifiable using means ranging from scriptures to principles to how it’s a religious thing and no one should question it. It’s sad, really sad.

Tell this to a mother who lost her children or a kid who can’t ever have his parents sing lullabies again, tell them that they have been isolated in this world because “we as a nation” don’t deserve anything good. It’s about time we stop fighting over personal lives on national television, it’s about time we stop joining social networking sites to enhance a political image and it’s about time we start thinking about sustainability and a long-term view because you can have the best leader who can get people together but what direction to steer them is of utmost importance.

To think nine out of ten people that I asked about the recent catastrophe and what the solution to it post-rehab could be replied:-

“It’s happening because we aren’t good Muslims and we should hit the government with “a-shoe”.
Bless you I say, bless you.

(Picture taken by me)


The Partition of Shame

Here I am again in that waiting area I posted a guess post some time back. For those who are still guessing, this is the Daewoo Rawalpindi bus terminal’s new waiting area, which is usually empty except for a couple of eunuchs lying on those comfy metal chairs here and there. No I’m just kidding, eunuchs don’t hang-out in bus terminal waiting areas, they have a more visible presence in crowded areas like the Jinnah Super, where they walk around in a small group, scaring off all the shurafaa with their suggestive advances towards the innocent citizens’ nether regions. The sleeping people in the terminal are the ones who probably have a long wait before they board the bus, or who have no where else to go, and for the latter there is always a couple of hi-fi security cameras scanning the entire breadth of the room, alerting the local security personnel about suspicious sleeping people, who are probably dreaming about a better Pakistan or their latest electricity bill.

The new addition in this lovely waiting room is that lovely red partition on the other side. Behind this partition are a few people who are not fasting for some reason… which could be health related, spiritual reasons, or for no reason at all. Before this underground waiting area was made, the partition was created in the main waiting area above. I have never actually seen anyone walk into our out of this partition… or maybe they crawl under it to avoid the disgrace of being considered a khoja.

Partition of Shame

For some reason I find this a bit disturbing. We continue to create divisions amongst ourselves, repeatedly ignoring the essential element of tolerance for others spiritual inclinations. If you’re foolish enough to go to the public toilet here, or in any other public area, you’ll see food garbage lying around the filthy eastern toilets… a half eaten banana, a cup of tea with a wet teabag inside, slice of pizza… and all this lying around the usual artifacts like syringes and other unmentionables. Just imagine for a while; an old man with some physical problem quietly walks into the public toilet, locks the door, pulls out a sandwich from his pocket, and takes a quick few bites while standing over the welcoming hole below. How do you feel? (By the way, I suggest you keep a hand sanitizer in your bag if you’re a wuss like me).

Before I took this picture, I was at the counter waiting to buy my ticket, when a person much older than me sporting a beard and a skull cap rushes ahead, buys his ticket from the counter and walks away. Then another red cheeked zombie from the north comes up, points at the lady at the counter and exclaims in pushto that she should be covering her head in the holy month of Ramadan. I thought that he should be covering his mouth in the holy month of Ramadan! You see, it is that easy to be immoral in this country. If someone complains, just give a little smirk and walk away! Besides, the place is too crowded for a brawl since you’d be pulled out of it for assaulting a bearded man with a skull cap, plus who really has the time (or patience) nowadays to take these matters in their own hands. All we can do is… well… whine and complain.

So where do we get this time and patience from? The more we wait, the more the partitions, separations, divisions solidify themselves, and their supporters get bolder and bolder, eventually crossing the lines of morality and human respect in order to establish their own system of social governance based on a mutilated religious or religio-political concept. What we need is something more powerful than the current system, something that would be in the control of the people, yet it would not let the people control each other in a manner which violates human rights and freedom of expression.

What we need is a nice little place which serves the best halwa poori, alu bhujya and siri paey in town. Oh YES baby. We need to fill our tummies in this holy month and make sure we absorb all the lovely cholestrol. Because that is the only way out of this mess… affordable, legal, nutritious, delicious intoxication.

Ramadan Mubarik everyone!


Islamabad Metblogs 50 Word Wordle

Created using www.wordle.net. I’m not entirely sure how this is generated, but it does look like a typical Pakistani blog wordle with the words ‘amreeka’ and ‘molvi’ so prominent (and close!).


Soz-e-Ishq

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaII05SfX9E[/youtube]

This season of Coke studio to many was very disappointing but there were certain artists that stood out for example the collaboration of Overload’s Meesha Shafi with Arif Lohar and the amazing delivery of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s “Mori Araj suno” by Tina Sani. But out of all the artists featured, Abida Parveen to me stood out. The second I found out that she was going to be a feature in this season, I was very very excited because I grew up listening to her and to see the house band giving the music to her voice was a very exciting prospect, and she didn’t disappoint, she was a star in so many more ways than the term.

This song is from the last episode that aired today. This song moved me in ways that I have never been moved listening to anything. Her strong vocal tone can easily jitter you and send shivers down spines. This is the definition of love :)

This is brilliant.


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