Archive for April, 2008

What Are You Doing Here In Our Hotel?



When I went to the Marriott recently with my family, I felt like we were making a trip to a foreign country. I am alluding not to the stark and opulent contrast of the hotel to the rest of the country, but to the gauntlet of security checks we had to permeate in order to get inside and finally reach the Nadia – where we only really intended to have an innocent little high tea. Now, while I am getting used to seeing all the metal detectors and airport-style x-ray things at hotels and shopping areas alike, the obstacle course at the Marriott was still rather overwhelming. I realized just how overwhelming when I entered the lobby and the very first thing I thought to myself was upon seeing the aquarium: “These fish probably have more peace of mind than anyone else in the city, living in a fortress like this.”

I shook the thought away and resumed making my way to my tension-free high tea.

The whole thing reminded me of another similar experience a couple of months ago at the Serena. My friend and I had taken the wrong bus from Quaid-e-Azam University, and after being taken through all sorts of irrelevant sectors, were alarmed to see that we were heading back to university. Wanting nothing more than to avoid completing a full circle and ending up back where we had started, we told the bus driver to let us off there and then. There and then, incidentally, happened to be right in front of the Serena in the early afternoon.

“Want to go inside and explore?” suggested my friend.

“Sure!” I said, always game. So we walked up to the main gate.

Now, my friend wears a nikaab. Not only that: in her arms she was carrying one of our textbooks. And of all the textbooks in the world, it just happened to be the one with the words “International Politics of TERRORISM” written in big letters on the front.

So there we were, two strange pedestrians walking up to the main gate of Serena, one of us carrying a huge suspicious-looking backpack, and the other dressed in a black nikaab and abaaya, brandishing a book about terrorism.

 Naturally, we were stopped in our tracks by a couple of guards and an alarmed-looking man with a walkie-talkie.

 “Asalamoalaikum,” we said, good-naturedly.

“Walaikumasalam,” replied the walkie-talkie man, warily. “Aap kahaan say aa rahi hain?”

“Quaid-e-Azam University.”

He scrutinized us more closely, still uncertain.

We grinned back, at our most charming. My friend is used to being regarded suspiciously because of her appearance.

“Aap nay kidher jaana hai?” he asked.

“Er. Lunch karnay?”

He gave us another appraising look and I could almost see the wheels turning frantically in his head. Then he just stood aside and directed us in.

When we were inside, we laughed so much our stomachs ached. We hadn’t brought enough money to be able to afford even a breadstick at Serena, so we just explored the hotel, admiring the architecture and decor and taking joy-rides on the elevator. We even did the old knocking on someone’s door and running away bit on the third floor. Then we got bored and decided to leave. On the way out, my friend whipped out her phone and started making a video of the hotel – with no other intention, I assure you, than of immortalizing a memorable afternoon.

From their posts at the gate, the security people stared uneasily. But what could the poor dears do, after all? My friend and I laughed all the way home.


Disclaimer: Some readers have made the error of not reading attentively and assuming that the author merely played a cruel prank on the good security people at Serena. She would like to reassure all such readers that the situation at the Serena was by no means intentional or staged, but purely coincidental. The author has intended no disrespect to any security guards, terrorists, or fish, and is very grateful for all the measures being taken to keep the citizens of Islamabad safe. She does, however, believe in finding humour in (almost) all things.

"Marine Photography" – The Morbid Kind


It was a little funny – and a little sad – how excited I got the other day upon visiting the Fish section at Metro. Wide-eyed, tugging at the sleeves of family members, going on and on: “They have sharks here! SHARKS!” While other people had their noses pinched and were picking out what they’d like for dinner, I stood there with a gleeful expression on my face and took pictures. I was so excited that I think my blood cells have multiplied tenfold. The only time I’d seen sharks in real life before was at an underwater aquarium in Singapore.




I didn’t photograph all the fish of course, but there were many, many kinds. I kept thinking, if we can have sharks and eels and crabs in a store, we should so have live ones in an aquarium as well. Sharks.. real, whole SHARKS, right here in Islamabad!

Later it also occurred to me that not many people in Islamabad would actually buy these marine creatures, or even dream of eating them. It made me sad to think of them having been rendered lifeless for nothing.

I am seriously considering going back and buying one of the crabs to keep as a pet. I’ll keep him with me for as long as I must, and the next time I visit a seaside town, I’ll set him free.

I wonder how my cat would react to this plan though.

Ruthlessness ?

Last evening I was walking by The Mall in pindi. I was a little behind the Army Stadium Bike Wheelingchowk, when I heard the sound of a smash. I looked forward and all I could see in the dark was an Army jeep backing off and then moving forward on The Mall with a bit of pace. I was frowned on this. As I was a little far from the incident, so all I could think of from this was: this jeep hit somebody, and the guy just backed off, and ran away. Ruthlessness, isn’t it, was all I could think.

Literally pissed off, I moved a bit quickly to the place of incident. There were two guys, quite young, sitting by roadside and a black motor bike, with all that bichu stuff painted on its tank. They were rubbing their arms and the stuff. I just got near to them and asked if they were fine? and if they need any help?, to which they said “No thanks”. A traffic police guy, yeah the new generation, was around and was sort of scolding them which surprised me. On my amusement he told, that the signal was red, and these two guys tried to cross the chowk, and as they thought the road is empty, because of red-signal, they were driving on the backwheel only. Yeah they were wheeling as you say it. And as they were wheeling, they smashed into the army jeep coming from the other side. And it was the Good Lord who saved them, otherwise this could have been as tragic as you may think off.

Image Courtesy: Daily Times


There is a lecture on the poetry of Baba Farid @ Pakistan Academy of Letters, Islamabad today at 3 pm.

If you have interest and can manage it, be there.

Aaj kai naam, aur aaj kai gham kai naam?

Ok, where can I get these T-Shirts.

Any ideas, folks?


This is also Islamabad

Khattak02April15, originally uploaded by khattakphotos.

Islamabad is not exactly different from rest of the Pakistan, as many of you believe.

Glimpses into Olympic Torch’s Visit

….. After 44 years :)


Preparations amidst security

A Pakistani soldier and a police officer stand guard as Pakistani athletes take part in a rehearsal for the upcoming Olympic torch greeting ceremony at Pakistan Sport Complex, in Islamabad, Pakistan on Tuesday, April 15, 2008. The Olympic torch will arrive in Pakistan on April 16 on its 20-country, 137,000-kilometer (85,100-mile), global journey. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) …Courtesy

Dhol Tamashay ;-)



Hail Springeth

Roam around Islamabad and find gorgeous colors blooming in nook and corners, roads and highways (Close the other eye from the mud and construction around for your own good ;-) )

Images below are all Courtesy Flickrites … thanks to them for capturing Isloo’s beauty so well … my photographical instincts are waiting for a weekend too :\


Political Idol: Start Voting

Or just forget it.

simon-cowell.jpgIn what looks like Time Magazine’s attempt at mimicking reality TV shows like American Idol or those talent shows, they invite readers and users to vote amongst 200 candidates that should make it into the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Pakistan had/has four candidates. Three of them live inside or in the vicinity of Islamabad. They are Pervez Musharraf, PM Gilani, Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, and Bilawal Bhutto (Bilawal beats Bush?). Motivated by the recent acclaim received by a Lahori born photographer, I thought this too would be a fun way of doing some national international PR. Sadly, the real goings on are much more grim and need taken care of immediately.

The poll results are based on two values. One being the average rating, and the other just being a simple vote count. Both of these combined form the real ranking value of the candidate. A little fudged, as some would say, but our PM sahib Mr. Yusuf Raza Gilani has the second lowest votes but a much higher ranking due to a higher average ranking he received. And obviously, the higher the number of voters, the more converged (stable) the ranking of the candidate will be.

I don’t really know if the polling is still open or closed, but I have this gut feeling that with in a few years we will have candidates doing their gigs on stand and Simon Cowell taking a piss at them. Now that would be entertainment!

BTW, just so know, Stephen Colbert wins (or is winning) the poll, lol.

[Image Courtesy: ShowBizSpy]

Protest En Style

Get out of Iraq & Afghanistan

Silent Protest more profound than this OR this ? You think??
Image Courtesy: Daily Times

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