Saturday, August 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Pakistan

Today, is my country's, my homeland's, my Pakistan's Birthday. The journey that started from 14th August, 1947, today completes 64 years. 
And so today I will list down few of the many thing I love about Pakistan. These will not be statistics, you can easily google for them. These are the simple facts that I love about this country and I will like to share them here.

I could list down a thousand things wrong with this country, but then again, I, being me, could list down a million things wrong with just about anything I encounter. That is how I am, that is exactly how each of us is; because, finding faults is so much easier.

But if you just think about it, listing down all the good things about Pakistan is just as easy. :)
So here I go:

1) The Purpose, The Religion: Islam was the purpose behind the struggle for this country. Our ancestors realized that Muslims needed a free country to practice their religion. This is exactly why the religion of this country is Islam. It is difficult for me to imagine living at a place where I can be ridiculed for the principles I follow, or judged because of the religion I follow.

2) The Name: Pakistan. Meaning "the land of pure". Such a beautiful name for an equally beautiful place. I love hearing the name. I love saying it. And I proudly say "I am Pakistani". :D

3) The Flag: Combination of green and white with moon and star. Sabz hilaali parcham. The shade of green that I love more than other shades of the same color. White, the color I love the most. 
The flag depicting that this country is for both the majority, i.e. the Muslims, and the minority, the non-Muslims.

4) The History: We have a glorious past. With a founder like Quaid-e-Azam, nothing short than courageous, daring and intelligent should be expected from us. Our history is replete with examples where Pakistanis shed blood for their country without so much as blinking.

5) The People: Us Pakistanis. We are a friendly lot. We know we can rely on each other. Each of us is ready to help out others. This quality may sometimes be misjudged as interference, but in reality it is far from it. The fact of the matter is that we are driven with the passion to lend a helping hand to all who may need it. One may go to any Pakistani and get the services psychiatrists  offer free of charge. :D We are passionate about our country and more about our religion.

Although, you will find a lot of people talking negatively about Pakistan, but most of them will not allow a single word meant as an insult to Pakistan.

We may not seem very enthusiastic about our Pakistan, but we proudly adorn our houses and cars with our flags, and our chests with badges (of flag).

6) The National Anthem: Oh I just love it. Too good. Our national anthem together with our flag stirs a deep passion. 
I have only once been to The Wagah Border in Lahore. And there I saw evidence of what our flag and the National Anthem playing in the background can do to us passionate lot. People forgetting where they are started shouting "Pakistan Zindabad", it seemed like we all were having the time of our lives, and we really were. Even today, when my sister and I plan to visit Lahore again, we always say "We'll go to the border again, it was so nice being there na" :) :)

7) The National Songs: Although I am mostly into foreign music, and listen to national songs only during August. But only in this month even, I manage to fall in love with the songs over and over again, every year.

To list down a few of my favorites:

Yeh watan tumhara hai by Mehdi Hassan
Khayal Rakhna by Aalamgir
Dil dil Pakistan by Vital Signs (My eldest niece happens to love this song immensely and made me sing it loudly with her, four to five times, in  a single sitting, last year and this one. Let's see if we continue the tradition the next year.)

8) The cuisine: I love food! I just do. That may not be something I should be proud of, but for some weird reason I am and I'll say it again, I love food!

And it's Pakistani cuisine that I love the most. For others it may be too spicy or too oily, but for me it's love at first bite! 
Biryani.. Yum!
Haleem.. Yum Yum!
Nihari, Behari Kaba, Tikka, mmmmmm!
Daal Chawal..

Ohh my mouth's watering so I'll just add more more thing..

I simply love the food thailas we have here. On every other street you'll find a bun-kabab wala or a chaat wala, or pakoras etc.

Of these I love the bun-kabab and gola gandas the most.

:D :D

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Trend Square... they set the 'trend

With all our busy schedules, with all the hussle bussle in life, with the demand to get hands on necessities easily and quickly, with the ready-made clothes and frozen foods; in this era, we so boastfully call the electronic age; we’ve all but forgotten the pure pleasure of something hand made. Something that is exclusively designed and delicately shaped by hands. Something that can’t simply be called ravishing, even alluring doesn’t do justice. And if you stop and look around, you’ll notice that only a few fit the criteria. Only a countable few. And one of these places is Trend Square.

A home-based, online business; Trend Square or (as they proudly call themselves) TS, exhibit a wide-variety of hand made jewelries, beautifully designed; show pieces, uniquely architected; greeting cards, made-with-love; brooches, admirably styled; scarf pins, angelically conceptualized and the list goes on.

TS, sprouted in November 2010, yet in this impossibly short span of time, they have served an assortment of content and highly pleased customers. A business which was started with only a few hand-made jewelries has now added a bulk of interesting products to their briefcase. They have skillfully casted the magic spell of hand made products and have enticed their customers with their boundless creativity and inventive artistry. Their tag-line ‘we set the trend’; has in reality proved to be their claim to fame.

Their ingenuity is evident enough with the array of products they extend; nevertheless each product’s unique name accentuates their out-of-the box thinking. Not only the names are music to the ear, with titles like Fruity Spoon, Flowery Ladder, a tempting House, fruity key chains, but they also show case the extent of innovation they offer to the mass.

Though they have proven themselves to be the rein forcers of all-things-handmade, yet they have not fallen prey to conservative ideas and have employed technology to the best for reaching the general public. By showcasing their products on a blog and my-offstreet online shop, they have shown yet another aspect of technology’s best uses. They publicize their products online and so have successfully acquired customers form all over Pakitan and live by a strong intention and determination to capture international clients as well.

Easy order and delivery procedure:
1)    Select products and email to Trend Square.
2)    Bill and payment details will be emailed to you.
3)    After payment; items are delivered by a trustworthy delivery service on your doorstep by the promised date.

Delicious Portfolio:

Hand made jewelry:
From necklace to bangles, from earrings to bracelets a wide variety of hand made jewelries is offered by TS. It seems that flowers is their slogan as most of the jewelries present different arrangements of flowers, designed consuming Italian dough. Add to it the various colored beads and viola! You’ll see a uniquely endearing piece of adornment.

Key chains and show pieces:
What better way to embellish your drawing room than with “Flowery Tissue box” or an exquisite house ornamented with (yet again) flowers?
TS goes a little beyond the traditional concept of drawing room d├ęcor by offering wooden spoons with an array of vegetables and fruits to provide a seasonal garnish to your kitchen. To add more flavor, select from a bunch of fridge magnets and show to your friends that you care and decorate every corner of your house, rather than concentrating on just one part of your home sweet home.
Add a final touch by opting for a hand made key chain with your name, car, purse, flag (what not) and as is obvious, with flowers, vegetables and fruits.

Greeting Cards:
A new addition to their portfolio, TS greeting cards became an instant hit. With the facility to get cards designed on order, you can ask for customized cards along with the ones for traditional occasions. Moreover, you have a choice to get words written on the cards as well. The paper-quilled cards offered by TS is a luxury you won’t find anywhere else in Karachi.

So let’s give a chance to our very own talent, put their skills to test and let’s buy ourselves exceptional jewelries for the upcoming occasions.

Email Address:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sab se phele Pakistan

Karachi, aka Roshniyon ka shehar, have been, for a long while now, suffering from bouts of darkness, and no, not just because of the frequent blackouts, but due to the bomb blasts, target killings and everything evil.

While discussing our beloved city in one of our team discussions (which we usually have every morning), I broached the point concerning corruption and how everyone from bottom to top is involved in it. This was when a friend pointed out that yes you are right, we are all corrupted, but revolution begins with self, and if something needs to be changed, the change has to start from the bottom, and this change will then proceed upwards affecting everyone it touches when finally even the top will be changed for good.

Bottom, consisting of commoners, and we being commoners, have never thought about this, and even if we have, we just force our minds to think about something else. Even I had never thought of it in this particular way. But my colleague was right. If we want a change to come in our society it has to begin from the bottom. From "US".

Now don't think that "how can WE be corrupted?". Because we are, we all are. And if you think you are not, then ask yourself the following:

1) Have you never cheated in a paper/test/exam? Remember, that just confirming ture/false is cheating?
2) Do you run away from responsibilities which fall on you?
3) Do you concern yourself more with others lives? What someone's wearing? What's the "scene" between that guy and girl? 
4) Do you often lie with/without knowledge?
5) Have you ever found yourself saying ill things about some person or/and then justifying your act by saying "I am not doing geebat these are simply the facts".
6) Do you spend more time gossiping?
7) Do you ask your friend to check-in using your RFID card at office? Or are you the friend?
8) Do you take an off from office for no reason, without even thinking if you have pending work and if it will disturb others?

If you can reply with "no" to all of the above questions then may be you are a better person than most of us. But DO evaluate your everyday life and if you can still claim that  you are not corrupted then maybe you can work towards making others aware of what they are doing wrong and motivating them not to.

And if you say "yes" to even one of the above questions and I will have to say yes to most of the above questions then we need to change our ways, and it's high time that we do. Change our ways, bring betterment in our lives, be better Muslims and, therefore, better human beings. 

It won't be easy, but then again, change never is. Yet we need to change. We need to work towards bringing this change in not only ourselves but others.

A good way to start would be to involve your friends. You can begin with something like this:

Yaar I think we have copied enough assignments, cheated in enough papers, let's do one think this time, let's not cheat. We, being Muslims, should not cheat anyways. Plus, as we have not been caught till now, there is a high chance we will be caught in the future. You can't get lucky every time.. So we will not cheat, we will prepare harder, we will not cheat and we will not let each other cheat as well. What say?

Or may be something like:

When I started this job, I followed the timing rule religiously. I was always, always on time. But now, I have spoiled myself. I don't ever come on time. But this month I have decided that I will check-in at exact 9 or before that, but not later.. Or maybe, one or two minutes late, but only once or twice. Most of the days I'll inshaAllah check-in at or before 9. If Quaid-e-Azam can do it, so can I! I will set my alarm to 7 o'clock so that I can be on time. Shall I wake you up as well?

So, revolutionize. Today. Don't wait for a new year to begin before you state your "Revolutions of the year". Why wait for something when it can be done today? Make a list of what things you should change. Prioritize them according to importance or easiness. Then start with the first one. One change at a time. Then when you have changed this one thing about yourself, then work towards the second on the list. And so on.

(By the way, this is not what I had set to write about.. I had decided to write about something else, but this too was going to be a topic for my next post. But as I have this topic here, a separate post for the actual topic will be pointless, so I will discuss that too here as well.) 

We keep saying that the conditions of Pakistan are Allah's wrath (azaab), the earthquake, the floods, the bomb blasts, the target killings and what not. We give the title of Allah's wrath on our nation for all our sins and corruption and all, and then we just sit around and do nothing about it. Have we become so accustomed to Allah's wrath that it no longer scares us? That we would rather just say it loudly then do anything about it? Is it too, like everything else, just an every day thing for us? Have we become that hard-hearted? 

And if not, then why doesn't anyone do anything about it.

Junaid Jamshaid, in one of his programs which were aired during last Ramzan, said:

Why haven't anyone of his ever asked Allah for forgiveness? He forgives like no one else, then why haven't we tried? How many of us ask Allah to help Pakistan, to save Pakistan? Why don't people ask Allah to forgive Pakistanis for all their sins? If asked with real devotion, maybe we will be forgiven.                                                                                                   (These are not his actual words, just the essence of what I remember he said. Any mistake is unintentional.)

So if we truly believe that what we are going through every other day is Allah's wrath then why don't we ask for forgiveness. Why don't we ask Allah to give us the strength to change our ways and the knowledge to decipher between right and wrong? Why don't we?

Instead, we have become so accustomed to all of this, that it's only seldom that a bomb blast or even a natural calamity really affects us. And it only does, when God forbid some relative or acquaintance is caught in it. Otherwise, we just carry on with our day-to-day lives without so much as flinching, or even worse, consider it an opportunity to take an off. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The war between rivals

Reading the Workplace Sanity column of June 12, 2011 instigated me towards writing this article and penning down what many professional ladies have to go through day in and day out. The person asking for advice believed that the ‘attractive and bold young girls’ in his company own an attitude which in his own words is ‘very seductive’ and although he is not sure if it’s intentional; this behavior is driving him and his colleagues crazy, confused and depressed. Although a perfectly balanced response, both complete and unbiased was given by Workplace Sanity (Rahila Narjeo), I failed to understand since when a seductive attitude from the fairer sex has depressed the sons of Adam.

I believe, or at least, try to (although many forces work towards breaking my resolve), that to judge the character of an entire gender because of the misgivings of one particular person is not fair. As a friend skillfully puts it;

‘koi acha nahi hota, koi bura nahi hota, sab dono dono hotay hain’

‘No one is totally innocent, no one is totally evil, every one has a tinge of both’

But sometimes the forces I talked about above succeed in shredding down my believe into teeny weeny pieces and I end up asking myself
“Why are all guys the same?”

The fact that I got out everyday to earn doesn’t make it alright for people to harass me at every place they can, from bus stops to institutes, from streets to organizations. No one has been blessed with the right to judge others, though this is exactly what we do and certainly what I am doing right now. But to do a little justice to myself, I have been driven to this particular school of thought by (let’s call it) weird experiences of not only myself but many other ladies as well.

Thankfully, I work at a place where there are strict rules for such behavior. And I believe that these policies are the ones that stop them rather than their decency. But, not-so-thankfully, I also happen to belong to a society where woman, no matter what their age, no matter what their educational background, no matter what their values and virtues, are blamed for everything. It is sad to know that ‘larki ne hee kuch kiya ho ga’ mentality still prevails.

This kind of mind set, I understand now, is why most parents don’t allow the women of their household to do jobs, in particular office jobs. Even if families do allow, it is difficult enough for us to get jobs in a society where girls are automatically considered incompetent even before conducting the preliminary test and interviews. And if we do get jobs, by our continuous hard work and determination, and a bucket full of luck, our progress is hindered by the so-called “gentle” man who God knows why are under the misguided impression that they are so utterly and totally handsome that every other girl feels the urge to talk to them.

Here’s a note to the guys:
1)      A smile is just that – a smile. Do you really want us to scowl at you every time we talk? A smile is in fact a representation of good manners and professional attitude.
2)      We dress well and look good so as to follow the work place attire rules. We expect the same from you and will not like much if one day you decide to show up “extra” casual. (And believe me you won’t want the same either). But dressing well, no matter how you look at it except through the manly goggles most of you seem to be wearing, is not an attempt to impress you.
3)      We talk, because we need to. We can’t possible launch a girl’s company within the company just so that you don’t start believing we want to be “more-than-just-friends” with you.
4)      What name will you give to a girl at your workplace/school/college/university who doesn’t smile at you, talks to the point and that too in a harsh manner? That girl you’ll call “akroo”, right? So you can’t actually be happy no matter what we do?
5)      Cut us some slack. Give us some respect.

To the ladies;

No matter what you do? No matter how much you try to safe yourself from such inane thinking, you’ll be called one of two things; seductive or rude. It’s the law of nature to throw at you exactly what you are trying to run away from.
I am in no way trying to scare you off. Not everyone is bad. Out of 100 you’ll find maybe five poor souls who believe themselves to be unsung heroes of some Hollywood blockbuster.

Nor am I advising you to be not careful. Wherever you go, to whatever age group you belong to, you always have to be extra cautious. For your own sake.

But the thing is you can’t stop living just because others have decided to be insane. I’ve seen girls go into a bout of depression, spend living a life-long season of lost self esteem, resigning in the hope of finding a better environment some place else and even worse; believing themselves to be the guilty party.

This is not the way to go on. Thinking that you are the only one receiving such attitude is also a misconception. But you are the only one who can get yourself out, if God forbid, you do find yourself in such a situation.

Here are a few pointers:
1)      When you join a new office or educational institution etc, try to keep a low profile in the beginning. During this time analyze the environment and the people around you. Making friends the very first day will not necessarily be later judged as people-friendly attitude. This same attitude may go against you and get you in trouble. (This happens to be a sound advice for both parties)
2)      Try to notice if any activity is going against your privacy. Putting out un-official email addresses and mobile numbers on a company-wide website is not necessarily a good thing. Anyone who really needs your number may ask you for it. However, do not consider anyone asking for your number an outright pervert. It is a common practice for colleagues to have each other’s number and texting or calling each other as and when needed.
3)      What you consider innocent gossip may in reality be tarnishing someone’s reputation. Reputation and respect of both the genders is equally important. And there is a thick and long line between gossip and warning. Try not to indulge yourself in such activities and stop others when you find them doing the same.

Also keep in mind, that not all ladies are innocent victims. There is good and bad in everyone but in some people the evil forces are far stronger than the pure ones. So blaming just the guys is not healthy either. There is a possibility that they’ve had their share of not-so-pleasant experiences. The better path to choose is to be a little careful and a little stubborn and a lot determined.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A line I liked

If you feel like working, sit down till the feeling passes.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Writer's break

I took a break from writing, claiming to the world that I won't write any more. Maybe, somewhere deep inside I wanted people to try and convince me to come back to the world of writing again. Maybe, I wanted to hear some really good words about myself, umm, actually my writing.
But guess what?! I didn't.. for OBVIOUS reasons..
During this break, I was wondering if I am actually fit to write. That what I write, can, in reality, be called writing.

And also I planned to improve my writing, work on it a bit. But while I call this practice, 'working' on my writing, what I actually planned to do, was read a LOT and polish my English vocabulary. Both the things I haven't been able to do. Or to be more correct, didn't even try to do.
Reading is something I enjoy, so that doesn't count. But I didn't try to read more than I normally do.
And learning English words.. well, that I didn't even try. 
But yesterday, I, after a long time, sat down to write, and realized that I am at the same spot I was these few months ago.

So it all comes down to this:
That I write, because I like to write, no matter, if no one reads what I write, and no matter if people who do accidentally or are 'made' to read don't like it.
That to improve my writing skills, taking a break from it won't help. What would help is to both read and write more.
That writing gives me a outlet to vent all my feelings.. happy or sad.. to share what I feel strongly about.. again, doesn't matter if no one reads it or if they do, they don't agree with it.

So from now on, I'll try to write more.. more.. and yes, read more as well...

I am suffering from a memory leak. Just a minute ago, I had to think hard for two minutes before I could remember the word 'outlet'.

Of Writing

I don't think anything can prepare you for writing fiction  other than reading fiction.
~Shehan Karunatilaka

Monday, April 4, 2011

To win or to loose

History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sleep on it

It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it. ~John Steinbeck
"Sometimes, I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there's no room for the present at all."
Evelyn Waugh (Brideshead Revisited)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I will speak ill of no man, ... and speak all the good I know of everybody

While reading How to Win Friends and Influence People (by Dale Carnegie), I decided to write a post on the very topic touched by Dale Carnegie in the first chapter, which is, NEVER CRITICIZE PEOPLE.

In our lives, we seldom stop ourselves from criticizing others, we take it as our right to judge people, and never do we pause for a minute and think about what would we have done under similar circumstances.

But wait, we are almost always keen on saying "If it were me, I would never do this and this, instead I would have done that and that." But how many times, do we really think if "that and that" would actually be our action or not. Mostly, we just say this because "that and that" seems to be the best thing to do. We say this because we already know that "this and this" didn't result in any favorable situation, and so we think that it's safe to say "I would have done that and that".
What we fail to see is that you can never understand what the other person must be going through, you can never really know what must be going through someone's mind. Because every person's actions and decisions are guided by his experiences and the way that person's mind works. Every person's experience is different from that of the other person. We all carry a baggage of lessons learnt, and this is what makes us take the decisions we take.

Our religion, Islam, teaches us not to say ill about any person. "Geebat" (saying ill about others) is a condemnable sin and all muslims are asked to refrain from it. We all have forgotten what Allah and Prophet (PBUH) taught us and now we need self-help books to teach us what has already been made clear by Islam.

There can be several reasons of why you should not say ill about others or condemn people:

  1. No one likes being criticized. If you don't like being judged, why do you think someone else would be fine with it if you are the one giving the verdict.
  2. We all have our own flaws. No one's perfect.
  3. If everyone WAS in fact, perfect; life won't be any fun. :D

The next time you see yourself fit to judge others, just take a minute and think of all the times you were judged and how bad it made you feel.

Below I am putting some quotes from the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie:

Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person's precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.
I will speak ill of no man, ... and speak all the good I know of everybody.
~Benjamin Franklin
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The true meaning of happiness

Those who can laugh without cause have either found the true meaning of happiness or have gone start raving mad.
~Norm Papernick

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Don't lose your mind, lose your weight by Rujuta Diwekar - Book Review

The biggest buzz these days is related to losing weight. I was under the impression that only the fairer sex indulges in such complexities but was astonished to see guys nibling on green veges as well. With this being the case, no wonder we have so many diet books, websites giving advice on losing weight, supplements claiming to remove those extra pounds within 15 days and institutes bragging to do the undoable. I always rejected all these ideas with a shrug, wondering how people could put themselves through the ‘starvation ordeal’, but the book by Rujuta Diwekar, India’s sports science and nutrition expert, “Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight” caught my attention. And I don’t regret reading it.
Most of the people going through the so-called dieting process are keen on starving themselves, surviving only on fruits and uncooked/boiled/grilled vegetables. Running in the marathon we call “life”, we want everything to happen quickly, if ti’s weight we want to lose then we prefer throwing it off in a matter of 15 days or merely a month.
We want to see results quickly without putting in too much efforts. It’s equivalent to try passing a tough exam without studying. We don’t want to waste our precious little time exercising, we don’t want to give up on chai/coffee but amazingly are willing to skip any meal thinking that this would eventually lead to healthy body. In her book, Rujuta Diwekar puts an end to all these atrocities we commit ourselves to. The book starts with the discussion of different varieties of dieting people adopt, reading about which you will start realizing it’s nothing but stupid to torture yourself like this. Rujuta Diwekar explains the reality behind such diets and encourages people to not entertain anything without first understanding it.

Dieting according to Rujuta should be
“a representation of what you will be eating your entire life.”
Rujuta narrates stories of her clients who in trying to lose weight ended up becoming dull, losing not just the glow from their faces but also their positive attitude towards life and (unbelievably) increased cholesterol levels. Rujuta tries to explain that we need to change our life styles, bringing in routine exercise yet NOT showing the door to our favorite foods. She boldly states;
“All food is good.” (which by the way is a relive for me, for I, can’t even dream of living on fruits.)
Thus, putting to shambles all low carbs, high protein diets.
Fitness should be the goal rather than mere weight loss. The diet plan proposed, which is to be followed your entire life, may at first seem absurd and un-follow able, but will start making much more sense once you understand the reasoning behind the rules and read the success stories of celebrities who have taken up this diet.
Rujuta gives four basic principles to be followed in order to stay healthy;
1) Never wake up to tea or coffee: Don’t be scared or skeptic if you are an addict and think you can’t even begin to imagine a life without your morning dose of tea/coffee. With what Rujuta proposes, it won’t even remotely feel like giving up.
2) Eat every two hours: For all the people who have a ghastly expression on their face after reading this, again please don’t be skeptic. Let Rujuta explain, and for that you’ll have to read the book.
3) Eat more when you are more active and less when you are less active: Sounds sensible right? You’ll need energy when you are performing some physical activity or exercising your brain cells. And energy is what you get from food.
4) Finish your last meal at least two hours prior to sleeping: Again, sounds sensible and more importantly something we all already know.

All-in-all it’s a sensible small (just 279 pages, including appendix) book which is quite easy to read. It doesn’t give strict rules but gives real life examples on how to follow the rules. With a cheat sheet at the end of every chapter which can be referred to while trying to follow the diet plan. Tables on which food should be focused on and why and which food you should try to avoid is also be of great help. For all the people who are willing to do ANYTHING to shed those extra kilos, go ahead and try Rujuta’s style.
Happy ‘Dieting’!

The Power of Pen

The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.
~Norbet Platt

Wednesday, February 2, 2011