Archive for the ‘Rants & Muses’ Category

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 Fallen Leaves

Islamabad has been particularly sparkling the past week. With nice puffy clouds floating above the hills like mushroom outgrowth on rotten broccoli, and the intermittent spells of refreshing rain, everything seems so surreal. It is so surreal that one would want to spend the rest of the day sleeping at home, or watching the clouds float away, or sit back in your comfy couch in front of the telly with a cuppa of chocolate milk and watch the magic of day sweep you away! Well, that’s what nature lovers would say on a nice day, which clearly implies that all nature lovers are lazy people who just can’t wait for the weather to get nice so that they can indulge in the little pleasures mentioned above (woops!).

The rain has been pouring relentlessly over the capital for some days, taking away most of the heat and humidity that was making life difficult for the citizens. The complainers will, however, continue complaining. Like that taxi driver who took me to work one rainy morning, in the days when people were worrying that there was not enough water for their crops, and that those dams and rivers of ours were drying up. He was annoyed by the fact that the mud would ruin his tires, and something else which I can’t recall right now. So no one is happy at any point in time in this country, even if we might think that everything looks perfectly OK.

Nature has his ways of maintaining a Balance. And that is Balance with a capital ‘B’. This balance is essential, even if we might not like it. Too much of everything is bad for your health, they say, and too much of happiness or sorrow can be bad too. So, if we get too happy about something at a particular point in time, the system that governs the universe adjusts that and makes things a little less happy some where else, or at the same ‘location’. You get my point? The average human has been endowed with the capacity to feel every kind of emotion, and depending on the circumstances he may or may not feel happy or sad at a particular point in time. And do we know what the future holds in store for us? Can we tell if we are going to be happy tomorrow or sad the next week? Can we tell that someone is going to leave us tomorrow or come home and bring joy the next?

Can we tell if we, or someone we love, would die on a beautiful surreal morning, when everything seemed so perfect?

We were told by elders, and our religious studies textbooks, that there is a large tree in Heaven, and for every human being on earth there is a leaf on that tree. When a leaf withers and falls, that person dies, and the leaf is replaced by new little ones… another example of the balance that is being maintained. We never know when our leaves would fall, and how we would make our exit from this wonderful thing we call life. For most of us, death is usually painful, and this pain comes from the fact that we do not want to leave this life, and that we want to get so much more from it. We do all in our power to stay there a little longer, just to see what would happen ‘next’. But the most unwelcome of all guests, the angel of death, does not pay any heed. And like Imam Ghazali said, his countenance is horrendous for those who love their material life more than anything, and angelic for those who accept the inevitable.

The leaves fell for around 152 people on the 14th Sha’baan, the unfortunate passengers on Air Blue Flight 202. Those who missed the flights must be in a state of utter shock, and would be thankful to the Almighty that they did not board that plane. What transpired during those last 18 minutes when the airport lost communication with the aircraft is still a mystery, but we can well imagine what would have transpired in the hearts of those people strapped to their seats. Some would have been screaming for mercy, some frantically fiddling with their phones to make a call, and some sitting still with a morose expression on their face, accepting the fact that whatever happens in this world happens for a reason, and that whatever would happen in the next few minutes would be beyond their control. Some would even have been fasting on the 15th of Sha’baan, and one would ask why were lives of these pious people taken that day?

May the deceased rest in peace.

Garam Roti

I was compelled to look up Islamabad’s weather on weather.com this morning after the unpleasant episode of excessive perspiration that transpired last night. It says that there would be some thunderstorms later today and tomorrow, and that the temperature is 91° but it feels like 104°. There was some rain very early in the morning today, too bad it hasn’t done much about the stickiness, but I guess that’s a Monsoon gift we should accept without much complaining!

So how bad was it last night? Well, my skin had become a salt mine by the time I came back home after a brief walk around the neighborhood, and it was not that easy taking off a polo short drenched 60% in sweat (or maybe the good Lord used a drill bit of a larger diameter to make my sweat glands). Those dirty old exhaust fans on the east wall of the polyclinic facing that bumpy old underpass were blowing out lukewarm air as usual, along with a host of little critters from the putrid depths of the murky hospital. As I walked down the path that led to the blue area, I would occasionally get a whiff of stinking sweaty armpits out of nowhere. It was as if a horizontally challenged sweaty little fellow in a white shalwar kameez had been standing at that particular location for a bit too long, and the stench from those yellow spots under his arms had permeated the vapor in the air, thus creating a floating mass of stench that would partially stick to every passerby and blend with his stench to create another unique aroma.

And when I cast my eyes on the blue area towers in front of me, and on the distant yellow blinking lights on the road, I was reminded of my days in the middle east, when I would come back home after a walk with friends near the sea-side, and smelled like a fish fresh out of the salty sea water. Luckily we don’t have a sea or fishies in Islamabad, so we can’t blame them for making us smell bad in the humidity. The air was very still, unlike the air near the sea-side, and I could not muster up enough courage to walk the extra distance to the Usmania restaurant for my late dinner.

It was quarter to nine, and the shops had their genny’s running. Most of the shopkeepers were sitting outside next to their genny’s, fanning themselves with scraps of paper or with their own shirts. But the brave ones are those who work in the tandoor naan shops. These lads stand near those terrible tandoors for hours with strange Hellboy like gloves on their right hands to reach into the bowels of hell and pull out a nicely done roti (I wonder if Hellboy worked in a tandoor). They don’t even have genny’s, maybe they can’t afford them, so some of them use the gas that is available to them to their advantage and light up a huge fire in their shops. That’s not very pleasant for the customers either, but the tandoor guy makes the roti to earn his roti, and the customer wants the roti he makes. So the need for roti overpowers the suffering caused by the heat… and roti makes the world go round!

And so I walked back home with my roti, watching the shutters being pulled down. The old man who sells newspapers near the polyclinic covered his little stall with a dirty thick cloth, set his charpai on the sloping footpath and laid himself down shirtless under the infinite sky. He probably doesn’t think too much about the heat, or the humidity, or the stench emanating from the tattered old shirt he had been wearing all day. He’s too worried about getting roti everyday. And here we are in our pretty little rooms with AC’s and fans running around us, complaining about the weather and taking everything that we have for granted…

The end.

Youtube and Flickr- Need lube and a kick-er?

Life restricted? Everyone committed? details omitted and every fucked up thought in the world remitted. Welcome to Pakistan. Welcome to the land of the free and green. Welcome to the den of the Holy. Welcome to the Mecca of corruption and welcome to a place where you’re an asshole and the Government is holy and doing stuff like this will stop the Zionists from ruining our life. SOS ZAID HAMID YOU WERE RIGHT… fucking hell.. *shoots himself*

Not significant enough you say?!

RAWALPINDI: A 13-year-old schoolgirl was allegedly raped for 21 days by policemen as they illegally detained her at the Wah Cantt Police Station.

A Class-VII student Natasha, daughter of a stone crusher Muhammad Aslam, approached Taxila Additional Sessions Judge Rao Abdul Jabbar Khan and narrated to him her mental and physical torture in detention. She also told him that she was pregnant.

After recording her statement, the judge ordered Natasha’s medical examination and directed the CPO Rawalpindi to register a case against the accused policemen, and complete investigation within 14 days. Police authorities have failed to act against the accused policemen despite the passage of one month. The RPO says the accused obtained a “stay order” from the high court to pre-empt police action, so he is waiting for the day when the court vacates that order.

According to the information gathered by The News, Natasha is a resident of village Labb Thathu, Tehsil Taxila. Afsar, a close relative of her father Aslam, was killed on January 24, 2010, and an FIR was registered against Aslam’s wife Azhar Bibi.

Taxila police picked up Natasha and her brother Yawar Saeed, 18, when policemen failed to arrest their mother, whose whereabouts are still unknown. According to her on-oath statement before the judge, Natasha said the police kept her in a room for 21 days on the premises of the Wah Cantt Police Station, where different police officials, one of them identified as Sub-Inspector Mohammad Mumtaz, made a plaything of her; they would rape her daily at their will, force her to drink alcohol, dance naked, and change their uniforms before her.

These police officials, sensing that she had become pregnant, booked her for the murder on January 24, 2010, and produced her before the court which sent her to the Adiala Jail on judicial remand from where she was released on bail.

On getting initial information, The News approached the victim at her home in village Labb Thathu. The poor victim was still unsure of her surroundings and her father, too poor to even think of taking any steps other than harming himself and his children, seemed to have gone numb with persistent mental trauma.

“They would repeat this (rape) on me every night. And it was only after three weeks when I started feeling sick, and they took me to a court which sent me to the (Adiala) jail. A kind lady constable, who had noticed my condition, told me to tell the truth to the judge in the court but I was too afraid. Somehow, after two days of my release on bail, I gathered courage and chose to tell the court all that had happened to me at the police station,” said Natasha with tears rolling down her cheeks.

“They ruined my life. I don’t want to go to school because the students and staff there know about what has happened to me. It’s too humiliating. What would become of me and my sister? Would the chief justice (of the Supreme Court of Pakistan) take notice of what has happened to me and punish those ‘wolves’ in uniforms?” Natasha asked.

When contacted, Natasha’s counsel advocate Farhana Qamar said that it had been proved by the medical examination of the minor girl that she had been gang-raped. But, she added, the RPO (Regional Police Officer) Rawalpindi was still reluctant to act against the accused policemen.

When contacted, CPO Rao Iqbal told The News that an inquiry had been ordered to ascertain the facts in the case. He said that it was a heinous crime and if the allegations levelled by the girl were proved correct, strict action would be taken against those guilty of crime.

Regional Police Officer (RPO) Aslam Tareen told The News that Natasha moved the court of the ASJ Taxila on April 17, 2010 after her release from jail on bail on April 15.

He said her medical check-up had already been conducted before sending her to jail under the law. Answering a question about the police inaction despite the ASJ’s orders, the RPO said accused sub-inspector Mohammad Mimtaz filed a petition before the Rawalpindi Bench of the Lahore High Court against the ASJ’s orders and the court granted him “stay” to pre-empt registration of an FIR against the accused till the decision of the petition.

The RPO said the first hearing of the stay order was held on May 13, while the second hearing was due during this week. He said the case would be registered if the court vacated the stay order.

By Shakeel Anjum & Saleem-ur-Rehman

Original link :-

And yet we debate about who the better Muslim is and who sent more text messages calling for d-dos attacks on the websites that apparently support a particular event that the PTA thinks along with the ulema e karam as being very “OFFENSIVE” to the “ghairat” we hold.

Those who think this little girls case isn’t as significant? Fuck you..

The Boys Knock Out Arch-Rival India and Our Nation Celebrates

Pakistan won the ICC Champions Trophy Match against India and we watched it live

Yesterday night, Pakistan beat India by 54 runs in the ICC Champions Trophy. I did not watch the match myself but witnessed a running commentary on Pakistaniat and I got the news of Pakistan’s victory from my friends’ status messages on facebook. Funny but creative, the status messages on facebook were reflective of the immense pleasure my fellow countrymen and women had derived after India’s defeat by Pakistan.

A friend of mine felt like dancing over Pakistan’s victory and his status message was “bhangar-ing over Pak victories in ICC Trophy….. dil bolay Hiddpaaa!!!! :):)”. A couple of friends expressed their joy through songs “we will..we will rock u..!! (We beat india) keep on rocking the free world…. “Hum hein Pakistani hum tau jeetein gay haan jeetein gay!!! :)))))))))))”. Few of my friends felt blessed to watch this match live and their status messages were “Pak Vs India ICC Champions Trophy. Pakistan won yayyyyyyy… and we saw it right there :) and now my throat is badly scratched because of all the “na’ara bazi” of PAKISTAN ZINDABAD and JEEWAY JEEWAY PAKISTAN”, “”Pakistan won the ICC Champions Trophy Match against India and we watched it live!! Awesome!!! :)”. Somebody happened to give credit of Pakistan’s victory to the newly appointed Psychiatrist for Pakistan team in this way “ First ever defeat to India by Pakistan in any ICC event. Thanks to Psychiatrist :-) Congrads !”. A very close friend of mine who considers himself a cricketer but everyone knows he faces the ball with his legs rather than a bat admired Pakistan team’s yesterday performance and called it a brilliant game, his golden words were  “ PAKISTAN SMASHES “TEAM INDIA”. A guy born after Sachin had started his international career got his wicket!!! Way to go Aamir!!! You made us proud!!! Brilliant game!!!!”. Another gentlemen tried to keep a check on his and other’s emotions by calling everyone to appreciate players of both the teams in these words “I love India/ Pakistan matches …no matter who wins ..One team has to lose..People keep ur emotions in check and salute the players from both the teams..Great game of cricket” . A friend of mine had sent birthday wishes to another friend (whose birthday is on 27th October) and called Pakistan’s victory a great birthday present for her… and this list is never ending.

Great were all such status messages of people on facebook but they also made me think if people are happy because Pakistan has won against India or whether they are happy because Pakistan’s chances to enter semi-finals are bright now. I have not seen such an enthusiasm of people in the first match Pakistan played in this ICC Champions Trophy. I have got my answer “My fellow country men and women are happy and jubilant because Pakistan has defeated arch-rival India. Yes, our traditional arch-rival and the cricket game between these two countries is not a mere a match between two teams but a fight in a battle ground between two arch-rivals. Yes, it’s a love-hate affair between two teams, two countries and two nations”. Since 1947, more than 60 years have passed but we the people have not forgotten anything, we have not moved forward and we still consider India as our only ‘enemy’ even if it a cricket game we are talking about. I wonder when we are going to get rid of this deep rooted hatred against India….

Of the Zoo and care.

I’m sure all of you must have had the chance to drive by the Marghazar Zoo on your way to either having sheesha at “Jungle Spot” or going for a nice meal up on Peer Sohawa. The other day, I along with my camera decided to pay visit to the once coveted Japanese Park and the Zoo. Now If you’ve grown up in Islamabad, you must have fond memories of school trips to the Japanese parks, the new portal of “weird” and “interesting” jhoolas, the canteens, the frost juices and what not. Everything changes, and it has too. In a good way or a bad way, that I’m not sure of.

japanese

Landscaped, more flowers, more shades, but that feeling just wasn’t there. I guess it comes with age. But as it stood, it was a very safe haven, for people expressing their wishful thinking and unprecedented love for one another. Hallelujah. Merry making has taken a whole new twist, but then again so has the whole city so it wasn’t a surprise. But a public children park? really? *shakes head*

On to the real intention of this post, I went to the zoo hoping to see animals having “fun” or maybe that’s what I thought happens in a zoo but the animals are trapped and caged but they can be taken care of. Which is one tenet that the administration does NOT follow. The animals looked half dead, there was no one around them, people were throwing stuff inside their cages, throwing water. This one trip from some out-station university even had the guts to throw ALL their garbage inside one of the cages because they thought it was funny. I mean how is that even remotely funny? Maybe the 30 odd girls with amazing “poise” and utmost “beauty” thought it was, but it was rather sad to see them doing it. I bet they wouldn’t be this happy if they were in the cage.

bird

Look at this elegant work of nature. An elegant bird. It should be free, but then again so should the rest of the animals be but the point is, they’re not being taken care of. It’s sad that they can work on the “outlook” of the place but not feed these poor animals properly? Or perhaps stop stupid people coming and harassing the animals. You thought outstation universities were through with harassing local people, specially women. Well guess what their new mission in life is.

Very sad state of affairs and to top it, when I went to the man apparently in charge inquiring as to why there was “no” water in the pelican place he said “Pani jaisay he aiga dalaingay”. I was baffled, and well, speechless.

*shakes head again*..

From my seat on KFC’s first floor

Well, here I am again in the Super market, wandering around aimlessly and filling my lungs with fresh Islamabadi air (mixed with popular brands of perfume, the stench of garbage cans, the smell of sweaty under arms, and the hormonal discharge of emotionally charged adolescents). Having brisk walked around the area for over an hour, I was beginning to feel hungry, and so I decided to go to the KFC outlet for my favorite snack of a chicken nuggets combo meal with an Arabian rice add-on. I hadn’t eaten something unhealthy in quite sometime, so I thought it would be nice if I could treat my taste buds to something Finger Lickin’ Good.

Since I’m a regular KFC customer and keep ordering those nuggets at my place whenever I feel like getting my arteries blocked with cholesterol, the delivery guy wandering around the counter recognized me and made sure that I got my order in time. And soon my hot star shaped nuggets came sliding down their delivery cabinet and were served in a disposable paper plate along with the unusually salty fries by their side. Since the lower floor was being renovated, I had to go to the first floor to have my meal.

What I have felt during my three year stay in Islamabad (my personal observation) is that people here like going to the KFC outlet more than McDonalds, whereas in Lahore McDonalds is far more popular than KFC as you’ll usually see every McDonalds outlet in Lahore spilling with people who are dying to sink their teeth in a juicy slab of chicken or beef meat (stop drooling, you’ll short circuit your keyboard). Accessibility maybe? With McDonalds far away in F-10 near that park thingy (Fatima Jinnah probably?), people would rather prefer going to the more accessible KFC in the Super, a market place where people are found anyway at any time (except for later in the night after 11, which I think is quite sad). I would personally rate the McDonalds Big Mac more chunkier and juicier than the KFC’s Zinger, the latter having tarnished my image of the much likened burger after I received it in a messy condition at my place. And for some reason I have this feeling that food served at the KFC is more unhealthier than that served at McDonalds.

No comparing McDonalds fries with KFC’s though! Nicely served, crisp and hot and appropriately salted, the McDonalds’ fry is the perfect sidekick to an equally good Big Mac burger, unlike the KFC fry which is a bit more oilier and inappropriately salted. The taste of the fry should be uniform; it should penetrate the flesh of the potato and be homogenous throughout the fry. Because if you chew on a piece of fry with a non-uniform taste, you would see that it is saltier on the outside, but not as salty on the inside, giving you an incomplete taste in the mouth. When you bite a fry, your brain expects the same lovely salty potato taste on the inside too, and when your tongue does not find it, the brain is disappointed. And that’s why McDonald’s fries are better than KFC’s… they just have a nice uniform taste in addition to the crispiness and freshness.

I guess we’ve dissected the fry a bit too much than was necessary.

The first floor of the KFC outlet seemed like a children’s area with balloons everywhere and lovely greeting cards self-made by children pasted to every window of the outlet. I found some of the cards very very touching. Here’s a window covered with cards the children made for their mothers, probably for mothers day:

Image044

There’s all sorts of lovely things written on them. The kids have been very creative about expressing their love for their mother in these cards. There was stuff like: There is nothing more comfortable in this world than a mother’s lap.

But I find this quite strange. Not that the kids are expressing their love for their mothers, but that a multi-national fast food outlet that serves fried chicken with potato fries and a soft drink in a disposable glass has children’s emotions splattered all over their walls. Why is a fast food outlet stressing so much on a child’s love for this mother? Is it because they want to improve their sales by attracting more children? Is it because they are using the cover of Mother’s Day to get more customers? Is it because this outlet is in a way educating these children to respect KFC more, and by doing so are preparing them to be KFC addicts in the future? Or does KFC truly and honestly respects a child’s love for his or her mother and is proudly displaying it on their windows with these cards that the children made? Quite strange if you think of it.Image045

It didn’t take me much time to finish what I had in my plates, but what I usually look forward to eating at KFC is the Arabian Rice. I often find myself ordering two plates of Arabian Rice, one as an add-on which costs Rs. 40, and one separate, which costs me Rs. 75 I believe. It’s that combination of the rich chicken flavor with the capsicum, the peppercorn and the green chilli that makes this rice so irresistible. I tried making it at home but wasn’t very successful with it. The only difference was the absence of chicken; I had put chicken stock in it instead. But it did come near to the real thing.

Image046With plenty of time to waste I thought I should send up a few tweets through my cellphone. But then I wondered if there was a WiFi internet connection in the outlet. Quite a ridiculous thought, but when I scanned for wireless internet I found a LOT of them! And everytime I ran the scan I found new ones. The first one in the picture on the left gave me 100% signal strength, so that probably was the KFC’s connection. There was another one for the Chopsticks restaurant right next to the KFC outlet, and this too was an unsecured open connection. The others had either WPA or WEP encryption, so I couldn’t get through them. But I spent my time there comfortably tweeting through the KFC and the Chopsticks WiFi connection. So if anyone of you is on the move and is looking out for a good internet connection to post a blog, check e-mails or work, then just sit around the KFC area and you’ll get a good signal.

And after having my meal, I walked back home, made two glasses of nice salted lassi with a kulcha, and went to bed with the thought that by the time I wake up in the morning, my body would have had absorbed the proteins from the nuggets and patched up my muscle tissue with it, the fries would have provided the much needed carbohydrate, and the rice a truckload of calories to burn on another walk on a Saturday afternoon.

Bu-Bye (for now)

Anyone up for some barf ;)

Anyone up for some barf ;)

the picture suggests that heat is scorching at the moment in beautiful Islamabad.  And the girl is not so happy about having her ice lolly being shared ;)

Stay cool everyone.

As for me .. this journey at IMB was absolute fun … but I guess its bye-bye time now that I lingered on for some time ;) Will see you when hit Isloo again Inshah Allah .. and the occasional hello hi’s ^_^   2.5 years here were helluva good …  IMB will stay close to my heart  .. yup the drama queen thingy. And IMB gals and guys .. when I come back .. we’ll have a grand meet up :)

Until then ….

Goodbye for now

ps: hoping people are as active to help IDPsof swat, malakand divison and buner as they were during earthquake days.

In and around Super

I usually take the van to go to the F-6 ‘Super’ Market, the place where I like to walk around for a couple of hours at night aimlessly, looking at people walking, talking, and shopping. Sometimes I choose my ‘victim’ from the crowd of walkers, and follow the unwary person around the market, observing what he (or she) is doing. But that happens sometimes, mind you, and calling me a public stalker would be an insult to a very interesting urban art form just like the more risky sport of parkour. I wonder how it would be like to be doing parkour in Islamabad though… jumping around garbage cans and lamp posts and those newly erected fancy bus stops. The city is crying out for some kind of urban sport to take over its streets, and the post-taliban era (if the army manages to beat the pulp out of those miscreants) would be the perfect time to encourage these activities, and other arts. But if we do turn into bearded buffoons and get our barbers shops and massage parlors closed in the near future, it still wouldn’t hurt to have some kind of urban sport to keep us entertained now would it? Or maybe they would accuse someone of flashing his ‘naala’ while jumping around garbage cans and cars in a parking area.

Best Price

So, when I reach the ‘Super’ market, I go to the supermarket called Best Price to replenish my supply of cereal and frozen goods, a majority of bachelors means of survival. This is one of those places where you can get all the stuff you need at a reasonable price. They do get unfriendly with their vegetables and fruits prices sometimes, but their buy-one-get-one free type offers are usually quite tempting. Plus their clever strategy of deploying pretty young women in-front of popular brands like Olper’s milk and the new Flora margarine usually fool gullible and easily persuaded men like yours truly into buying their product. And to top it off, they get your cellphone number too, leaving you wondering if the pretty young lady would call you later for a little tête-à-tête in the middle of the night, only to disappoint you later by having her ‘boss’ call you up for other so-called unbelievable offers of the same product.

Now this particular supermarket has an upper floor which has tons of plastic goods, crockery and utensils, bed sheets and other stuff. This was the first place where I came to shop for all my kitchen utensils when I first came to Islamabad, and I wasn’t disappointed. I did, however, want a nice little bowl for pouring in milk and food for cats which I was unable to find in this supermarket. Funny though that they’ve got a huge stock of dog and cat food but no stuff to put it all in! Their kitchen utensils section seems to be aptly stocked too, with items ranging from a variety of knives and forks to all sorts of cooking pots and pans.

To cut a long story short, it’s a good place to shop for everyday stuff.

The Walk

One of the activities I enjoy doing at Super, as mentioned above, is walking around for hours (well not actually ‘hours’ but half and quarter hours… lots of quarter hours!). The route I like to follow starts from the Servis outlet where the van drops me off. From there I walk towards that book and stationary store on the main road side which has rows of magazines outside up for sale, and an old tattered banner advertising the availability of the much coveted Brasstacks CD (which, in my opinion, is all a load of bull to get people’s attention). I cross the Levi’s store and turn right to get ‘inside’ the market. Here’s where I am welcomed by the fragrance of serrated edged potatoes made by a short squinty eyed Afghani, who is usually found surrounded by a few ladies wanting to replenish their energy with those chunks of carbohydrate after their endless rounds of shopping for women’s accessories.

My feet then lead me to the Illusions store, where I usually stop by to have a look around, check if the price of the new gaming consoles have reduced or not, and of course, to buy a DVD or two to watch on the weekend. Why do I like to buy DVD’s from Illusions and not from any small DVD outlet in the corner of the market? Well, I like to give my movie watching experience some more respect, and by not buying the DVD from a measly CD outlet somewhere next to a men’s underwear shop where a semi-naked man wearing a p-cap chewing a ciggie stub is sitting in front of his collection of CD’s wrapped in polythene, I am in a way making my experience more pleasurable.

I then walk out into the open and into the small sitting area with concrete (or was it wood?) benches on a nicely paved ground. You can see people sitting there, chatting, playing cards, smoking, making future plans, discussing issues, eating, etc. etc. It’s one of those places where a terrorist is most likely to strike if his objective was to discourage people from coming to the marketplace (oops!). If only they had a few low street lamps sort of lighting there… nice orange colored lights… they would have made the ‘sitting’ experience more pleasurable. And of course if the CDA wants to do that they should do so without making it look too showy and obvious. Just a few nice orange lights in the background to make the place more cosy…

From here I either go to Best Price to buy my stuff, or walk towards the pharmacies and then to the United Bakery near the KFC outlet to replenish my supply of bakery items. I love buying bakery items, even if most of them would not have the pleasure of dissolution in my gastric juices and would rot and turn green after lying for weeks unattended in the refrigerator. The items I usually pick off the shelves from this bakery are those stick thingies with sesame seeds on them,  and some nice garlic bread, although it is a bit too oily and not as good as the ones served as appetizers at Pappasallis. Somehow I feel that the United Bakery has lost its standard and doesn’t make the kind of stuff it used to before.

So here’s where it ends, and here’s where I stand for 10 minutes wondering if I should walk back home or take the cab. The cabbies here usually charge and exorbitant amount after seeing that you have tons of shopping bags in your hand and have no other choice but to hire a cab. But at least they’re not as crazy as the cabbies or rickshaw drivers in Lahore.

If anyone asked me where I would like to hangout in Islamabad for the weekend, I’d say that it would be the Super market (hint hint).

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