Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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

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)

A bit of north-east-west-south

Since there happen to be some good people out there who care about Metblogs and have raised a significant amount of money to keep it from being taken down, it would be very unfair to not write something. After a little unsuccessful fiddling with my Windows Live! Writer (a nifty little tool that allows me to save drafts and format texts to make the write-up look nice for all the pretty ladies out there (mind you, pretty ones only)), I was able to post yet another brilliantly composed test message for theme detection which could not be taken off for some reason (those subscribed to the Islamabad Metblogs RSS probably know what the hell I’m talking about).

So what is there to write about Islamabad? Nothing I guess, except for the oh-so-beautiful view from Daman-e-Koh which people have the urge to photograph again and again, or maybe the seemingly never ending construction going on at the zero-point area, or the relocation of the little disabled baba who sits in the Super market selling cheap little Chinese toys.

You didn’t see that coming did you? Have you noticed that little disabled old man? The one who sits next to the shawarma maker near Durrani’s, whose delightful little sandwiches we love to sink our canines into very often?

Bah, why would anyone want to know anything about him… because there’s better news abound!

News #1: Dominos, the renowned pizza makers have finally come to Islamabad! Yaayyy! They’re a HUGE success in Lahore, with their DHA Y-Block outlet usually always crowded. I had the good fortunate of ordering a pizza at Dominos Lahore on Eid day, and despite the fact that there were apparently hundreds of people there booking their orders, my pizza still came in around 40 minutes at my doorstep. I’m personally very fond of Dominos and usually prefer those over Pizza Hut/Inn whenever I’m in Lahore. Good thing they’re here in Islamabad now. The boys at Pizza Hut would definitely have a hard time retaining their customers now!

News #2: All you peri peri lovers have probably seen the new Nando’s outlet finally come to life in the Super market. I’m not sure if it was inaugurated over the weekend, but I saw some guys taking mobile phone snaps of the building from all angles. It’s quite a good location, but I’m wondering if the soft-tongued islooites would be able to develop a taste for Nando’s. And I think that Nando’s success would mean a blow to KFC. Their standard is already pretty low, so a bit of chicken competition would probably bring them back on track.

News #3: The monkey had his first ever plate of dahi ballay from munchies in Islamabad after 3 years of living in this city! *monkies cheering*

By the way, the monkey noted that exceedingly short kameez seem to be back in fashion now. He had the good fortune of seeing a petite young creature wear a kameez which probably extended an inch above the lower fold of the glutes. An mind you, that is dangerously provocative… the monkey almost collided with an oncoming black Toyota truck while he was intently observing the swaying undulating folds of the silky lower garment. I think the kameez is going through a phase of extremes too now (damn, everything is extremist). Either its too long, or too short. I won’t be surprised if the kameez goes way up above the navel one day to give the wearer a more arabian belly dancer type look. Sigh, the monkey misses the 1990’s!

Hold your horses…

The other day I was driving on the margallah road and I had a unique sight. A horse galloped past my car and I being a very responsible citizen called rescue police.

I said I am driving on Margallah road and a ghora is following us, I fear there might be an accident.
The guy said, what would be his age.
I said how would I know, but it is white in color and has a grey tail
The guy said, oh you mean ghora.
I said yeah Einstein
He said sorry, I thought you said Gora

Heh, I am sure the misunderstanding was because of the blackwater fuss that has been going around in our country, but the pics are worth seeing.

And in a totally different mindframe, Bollywood no longer makes movies like Amitabh’s “Mard
” in which his horse “Badal” saves the day.

Fables are actually interesting.

Well..

Siyasiyaat with Ejaz Haider on Samaa tv

I don’t claim to be much of a fan of political talk shows or shows on news channels related to politics, but one show I love to watch is Siyasiyaat. I recently came across their Facebook fan page and thought I’d share it.

“Siyasiyaat with Ejaz Haider is a news discussion, debate and analysis show.

Airs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10 pm Pakistan time on Samaa TV, and streamed live at www.samaa.tv

Past shows will be posted on the fanpage regularly.”

Siyasiyaat Page on Facebook

Ejaz Haider is a veteran journalist and is also a consulting editor for:-

The Friday Times

“Open Frequency” on Dawn News 17th’ Jaunary’10 at 11 pm.

I was recently part of a program conducted by the British High Commission, the British Council and Dawn News called “Open Frequency”. It was an insightful discussion with David Miliband, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom and David Martin, the head of the British Council in Pakistan, and was hosted by the ever charming and gorgeous Saima Mohsin from Dawn News (News Eye anyone?! )..

The panel of students chosen were to ask David Miliband or David Martin questions that concern the youth, even though only ten were present at the moment but it was after the publication of a report by the British Council called “Pakistan.. The next generation” :-

Available Here.

milliband6

The report was published after a concise survey was done all over Pakistan.

The program will air on Dawn News on the 17th of January’10 at 11 pm and will be aired again on the 18th of January’10.

Though I would like to say that this was a good effort on part of the British Council and High Commission, our Government needs to tackle these issues themselves instead of relying on outside parties to do everything for us.


Official Facebook Page for the British High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistan.


Official Facebook page for Dawn News.

The Haiti Tragedy

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CyqBmVS064&feature=channel[/youtube]
A sad state of affairs indeed. This is just the initial footage/photographs. The massive damage caused can only be predicted. Reports are already in that hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives. Major infrastructure damage.

CNN report.

And you begin to wonder what the initial comments of some of the people I talked to are. The same yadda bullshit about how we are bad at “amaal” and that it’s just another one of the “azaabs”.

The poorest country in the western hemisphere, already termed a fail state in 2006. Food crisis. And to think “THEY DESERVED IT YAAR”… Is just out of my comprehension. It is sad. I hope rehabilitation and evacuation efforts are done because they might have suffered a setback considering the amount of damage done.

2009 Budget Presentation by a Woman

Many kinds of histories would have been made this Saturday on June 13, 2009. But the most significant one of them all, that I can think of, was that the budget of Pakistan was delivered for the first time by a woman in the history of Pakistan. The lady who delivered the budget speech was Hina Rabbani Khar, who is the Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs of Pakistan. She did it for the first time and did a fine job with the presentation. It was an honor for the women of Pakistan. It was indeed another major milestone, representative of the women empowerment (in a good sense).

May the women of Pakistan play their role to the fullest in the progress and prosperity of the motherland. Ameen.

For more details on the budget presentation and the budget text itself, please see the following links:

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/business/12-hina-khar-first-woman-to-present-pakistan-budget–bi-11

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Business/14-Jun-2009/Text-of-budget-speech

PS: What actually “was” in the budget is a story for several new posts. ;-)

Better late than never…

They say that justice delayed is justice denied.

The Chief justice has been reinstated.

People all over Pakistan are celebrating, and I had a sigh of relief as well keeping in mind that I feared loads of bloodshed today.

But -albeit this being a success for the people of Pakistan in getting their voice turned to practical results – the question still remains that like it’s not advisable to keep all eggs in a basket – is expecting so much from a single person an intelligent expectation?

When will we place into action the processes that will streamline justice and that will let us have the leadership that is for the people, by the people and of the people instead of “far the people, buy the people and off the people”!

God bless Pakistan!

Bhutto Coin?

*screams*

So Quaid’s on a Re. 1 coin and Ms. Bhutto will get a Re.10 one. Yup that’s the news.

BBC reports:

Pakistan is to issue a commemorative coin to mark the first anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

The State Bank of Pakistan will issue about 300,000 special 10-rupee (16 US cents) coins.

The coin will read in Urdu, “Daughter of the East, Benazir Bhutto“.

Ms Bhutto was killed in a suicide bomb and gun attack in Rawalpindi on 27 December last year after an election rally for her Pakistan People’s Party.

The coin will be issued on 27 December, the bank announced.

Ms Bhutto has already had Islamabad’s international airport named after her, along with a hospital in Rawalpindi and a key road.

Argh.

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