Friday, May 10, 2013

Election 2013 and its highly informed voters

I am happy and excited for the elections and its not because its my first time voting. This is not about who I'm voting for and who I'm not. This is me being a proud citizen who has recently noted herself and everyone she knows get out of their slumbers and stand up for whatever they believe in. Yes, there are people who never bothered to vote before and not because they were underage. It is safe to say that people are bothering this time. Some of whom I know going all the way to Peshawar and even Faisalabad from Islamabad or taking chartered flights from abroad just to cast their votes.

This time is different, we are not people blinded by any sort of love for a party or candidate. As much as we finger point each other's belief we all know that we are all working on logic. And here, I would like to take the opportunity to declare how offended we young ones feel when we are declared immature or hero-worshipers when we claim to support new ideologies/new comers. As far as I know, most mainstream parties are taking a special interest in the young population. After all, they constitute for more than 50% of total voters. And most of us have made the effort of reading party manifestos.

What people don't get is that all of us, in our 20s and well, slightly under, were not exactly blessed with an ideal socio-eco-political condition. We have witnessed bomb blasts, dharnas, rallies that have influenced our exams, our farewell parties and the mere indulgence of enjoying some time out with friends. We have volunteered, gone to tribal areas, donated for causes from personal spending money, argued with parents to allow us to get out of the house for causes and assured them that if God wills, we will return in one piece. Call us "burger" again. I dare you, I double dare you. (See what I did there?)

So yeah, while the adults lived their young adult life in bell bottoms and liberal lifestyles and listened to Michael Jackson and the Beatles we have been face to face with extremism almost everyday of our lives. Cut us some slack? I thought I was very well versed and awesome because I am aware of all constituencies and their candidates and their respective pasts and reputations, It appears so is everyone else, my friends, my colleagues and everyone who knows how to work a hash tag over twitter. It is admirable right, normally at this time of the year, people discuss the latest Game of Thrones episode or some lawn exhibition but now its about "halkas" and "jalsas".

Verdict: listen up, we are very difficult to fool this time. Before declaring a random crowd "hullar baaz" think that they might actually know what's going on. I am NA 48. To date, we have 51 candidates standing. As me and my friends were discussing that day, there's this conundrum between the voting for party or candidate. Someone asked my opinion, I told them, by all means if your candidate is crappy, don't vote for that party. The point is choosing the BEST candidate of them all. If a corrupt candidate is chosen under a different party slogan then we are not exactly going for change right? Then again, we all have our perspectives.

And remember, they need us a lot more than we need them. And I'll tell you how. This is not just about the votes. This time, if anyone who comes to power end up eating their words, people are actually going to eat them in turn. I'm dead serious. Choose wisely, give a new person a chance and if an old familiar face suited you then by all means vote for them. The truth is, the parliament of 2013 shall be a mixed fruit salad, which is a good thing. Maybe what Pakistan needs is a coalition government and a strong opposition. This way everyone can be kept in check.

We are not looking for perfection because its not like WE'RE perfect. It is true that the leader of the nation is the reflection of its people. And lets just say, we've been imperfect ourselves lately. Bad times are no justification for looting, cheating and killing. We might assume we are pure but corruption has many levels. Think about it.

Almost a day to go now. Do not forget and do not forgive. No time for forgiveness now. Locate your ID cards. May the best man/woman win? You have one vote and to quote Albus Dumbledore "USE IT WELL". Happy voting!

Politically yours,
Sara Q.

P.S : If you get time, watch this viral video about the proper procedure of vote casting. Try to go early as possible. Its gonna be hot and pretty busy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Where we are, where we're going and other places

I haven't written anything in a long time, but it's exam preparation time, so how can the creative juices not flow? After all, if you want to be very very very creative, make a man sit down, hand him a book (the boring kind, like "Company Law") and tell him he has to give an exam on the subject in 20 days. It'll be as if he has hurricane Sandy inside his skull! See what I did there? eh? eh? Ok fine, maybe I'm not as funny as I think I am. I'll chalk it up the sleep deprivation. So what's this post about? I have no clue. None whatsoever. Zero.

So I'll just write about whatever I please.

For starters, Malala. Though she isn't in the news as much as before, she's still dripping off the tongues of our newscasters now and then. I'll be honest, I heard about her only after she got shot. My only thoughts on the matter are, damn, the people that took down a superpower, are afraid of a little girl. I even tweeted about it. See? I am a concerned citizen. I tweeted about it. The girl from Swat was the only thing people talked about for quite a while, non-stop twenty four seven. Except for that time when she was reduced to being just text on a scrolling red band because OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!! SAIF AND KATRINA GOT MARRIED AAAAHHHHH!!!! Boy do we have our priorities straight.

The next thing to follow after that was, the American presidential election. My opinion on the matter, none. So let's move on.

Then of course, there is exams themselves. That's what on my mind. Among a few other things. The very nature of exams to be exact. Why do we even have them anymore? I'm not saying that we don't need exams, that we should abolish them, though that's what we've been hoping and praying for since we were little kids. What I'm wondering is the one question that always haunts us, the one that is never easy to answer, that is, why? Why do even have exams? What purpose do they serve?

In my opinion, and that's just what it is, simply opinion, exams are not what they used to be. From the perspective of the examiner, they're no longer a means of measuring the capability of the examinees, assuming exams were actually ever capable of accomplishing that. Exams are a means to filter out university applicants. And further on, they are a way of controlling supply of labor into the job market. A means of creating artificial shortage of supply to keep existing price of labor right. From the perspective of the  examinees, it's no longer about learning or gaining knowledge. It's all about reading the mind of the examiner,  and figuring out the "trick" of passing an exam.

It could be that I'm totally wrong about all this, like I said, It's all just opinion.

But the larger question that keeps me wondering is, because I'd rather wonder than actually study, what if the whole education system is outdated? The world has moved on. That much is clear. We're at a time and place where innovation and discovery is happening at a faster pace than ever before in human history. The way content has distributed has changed. Our understanding of how a person learns has greatly improved. Technology itself, though not available to all, has become much more accessible. But all around the world, the education systems are almost the same. Not only that, they're also similar to their past selves.

How can something like online video change how kids are taught in the classroom? How can connectivity allow students to coordinate or help accessibility to education to areas not so well off? How can our knowledge of a child's cognitive and social development allow us to rethink our curriculum? And in some way, change is creeping up on us. Just have a look at the Khan Academy. Sooner or later, the education system will catch up with the developments going on all around us. I'm curious to know how. I'd like to know what the classroom of tomorrow looks like. All the same, I've had enough of studies for a while, so just a peek will suffice.

The most interesting thing is, that thanks to all these different mediums of learning that are now available to us, people are able to satisfy their curiosity. You can go online via your laptop or smartphone and learn whatever the hell you want. And more interesting than that, people are actually going ahead and doing it. The same lessons that bored you to sleep in class, are now available in a completely new format and everyone loves it. Which means that in part, if not completely, the problem was not with the student or the teacher, but probably with the medium. I'm not placing blame on anyone, we didn't have youtube or wikipedia back then, but now we do and the sooner we leverage this and other technology the better. Because as I learned after watching videos of maths, history and physics, learning is fun.

But like I said, it's all opinion, nothing more. I could really go on about this topic, but I won't. It's an interesting time we live in. The availability of information means that if we want to learn something, the only barrier is us not getting up and learning it.

With that said I still feel that if you want to read a book, then nothing but actual paper bound in hard cover will do. I speak of non-study books of course. That reminds me, I haven't read a book in ages. Seriously. I think it's been three or four years, I can't recall. I read the Potter book and, I'm sure one or two other things. Weird. I used to be an avid reader. Anyway, If after my long (understatement) hiatus we still have people willing to comment, I'd like love a book recommendation.

Moving, while technology allows us to learn in new ways, it also allows us to express in new ways. Take this very blog as an example. It is the 90's equivalent of printing your own magazine. Except that would cost you. Yet now you are free to express. In many words, in just 140 characters, with pictures, good god the pictures (I'm looking at you amateur "photographers"), with video and with music. The barriers to entry are being lowered to a person wanting to express themselves. Which means now "I can't afford X or Y" is not as valid an excuse as it used to be. Want to write? Start a blog. Graphic designing? GIMP is free, so are online tutorials. Want to make music? Well, you'll have to spend some cash on that BUT you can get started for free with Audiotool. The disadvantage of lowered barriers of entry? The same as the advantage. Everyone who wants to do something will, even if they are very very very bad at it.

It is now more possible for people to learn and do what they want and the evidence of this is around you. Take music for example. How many albums or singles used to come out every year in the 90's? Compare that with today. There's a new song practically everyday. And why? Well, again, technology. Back then recording equipment, synthesizers and a mixing board would cost you your house. Now, for under five hundred dollars, you have a studio in you house. With the right laptop and software. And this allows me to shamelessly transition to pasting some tracks that I made in my own spare time. And before you comment, yes, I'm aware that they are a little repetitive. Cut me some slack, I am but a student, working my way up the ranks:
Stuff I made so far by TalhaAzim

And with that done, I'm signing out.

See you next post, which I'm hoping won't be too far off.
Talha A. B.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Getting pawned.....umm i meant "lawned"

I wrote a status update a few days ago, about how there were more lawn designers than lawn wearers. And say you are at a party NOT wearing one of these lawns you might as well be mowing the lawn outside. A few years ago there was a charm right, having 2 or 3 and the rest is the usual stuff you get from the pathans everywhere and pair it with white. Then there were one or two embroidered suits that were singled out as evening or party wear. And now, lo and behold, it be a battlefield yo. I have witnessed aunties lashing at each other for the last piece left and fighting over stupid magazines that tell you how you are NOT supposed to wear lawn (read strapless, towel style).

The thing is, the Pakistani woman is a busy woman. I have no freaking idea when she got labelled as the woman who wears extremely elaborated stuff in the middle of very awful summers. Summers so awful that the monsoon times mean you can't breathe properly and you feel like ripping off any fabric that is the slightest bit uncomfortable. So yeah, smart move selling stuff off with 3 million extras and extensions in March because we being a naive nation forget too easy. We forget what any past government did to us, we forget how bitter these winters were thanks to no Sui gas and thus we have forgotten our hot sticky summers. Last weekend I went to this lawn exhibition of a very well known designer and I was apalled. You touch the fabric and think, wow jute might be nicer. One machine wash and the fabric will crimp up and all the little stars will go to Halifax. And the price quote was the highest of all, nearing 6000! For lawn. The fabric that we wear happily for one season, less than happily another season, as something just for the home or maybe as nightclothes and towards the end give it away to our maasi. Oh yes, I have spotted many a maasi wearing designer lawn. It fills my little heart with joy and pride, I mean if this is not "taraqqi" what is?

To top it all, we are looking at one hell of a tough Ramzan. Seriously, end of July, tongues hanging out, hypoglycaemic headaches and faces devoid of any beauty whatsoever. Fine fine, maybe aftaar parties give us a chance to show off a bit but even they have fallen in number. Another thing that is a laugh is that all designer suits come with their little picture that teaches you how to sew the thing so no more brain work yo. So there we have it, a conveyor belt that produces identical dolls. The same stitching, the same prints, borders, chiffon sleeves, embrodered motifs. AAAAAHHHHH!!!!

The thing is, quality matters. I was actually exploring the border of a fabric and the guy goes, yes madam this is original, designer name and all. And i'm all, no, who printed this? As in which garment mill/factory prints this stuff. The design is just a picture. The fabric is the real thing. So yes ladies, know your mills I guess. I stick to the old fashioned ones and no matter how much I open my heart I cannot stand looking like a dulhan in the middle of a market or the office. Also, I don't appreciate how many of these lawn owners employ the Indienne women. I shall quote the mother "Apni larkiyon ko rakhein na, woh bhooki mar rahi hain". And yes, the prices mean it is virtually inaccessible to most.

No, I take that back. It can get accessible. HEar me out, this guy at a very well known clothes shop in F-10 declared that they were getting 'copies" of designer prints and no they are no cheating, they were all, "Baji, select kar lein, next week photocopy ajayegee woh hhi coloured. Kaisa?". And i'm like, sheesh. This is an extreme seriously. It goes on to say that since people will get a "do number" copy just to be part of the brigade. Qayamat is near I swear. Maybe we do deserve Zardari. Look at our frigging preferences and priorities now.

I might have said it before, that we are a bi-polar nation. Either we'll snatch it all or be totally hungry. When a girl at a uni sees her peers dressed to the nines in designer lawn she will go eat her mom's brains out and demand for a 4000 rupee suit. When she gets it, it'll never be enough because the girls can have one for every day of the week. We are that unfortunate nation who loses the "special" in every ornament. So now, when we go out we actually recognise prints, we shall judge a person by the amount of money they spent on clothes. We have made something like lawn, comfy, easy, a way of life, open to designing at will into something so complicated yet commonplace. And like an epidemic we are all part of this; you, me, your mothers/sisters/cousins. Everyone. This is us venting frustrations. No better way to do so than vanity right?

Summerly yours,
Sara Q.

​P.S : So, umm any new exhibitions coming up? Just asking :P

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"You think I'm pretty without any makeup on"......NOT?

I like Lady Gaga. Other than her catchy songs I've always thought Gaga was is an original. You know why, because she prefers to be interesting rather than typically pretty. Its like, she's not conveniently different but inconveniently different. Many other stars tried to follow and be outrageous, like Kesha, Rihanna? Epic fail I'd say. The only thing that comes through my vocal cords is the four letter word used to describe ladies with provocative extra curricular activities. Yeah, that's the closest I get to swearing. I wonder if PTA banned that too.

​But this is not about divas and their antics. This is about finding the fine line between being who you are and trying to be who you're not. This newfound quest of being "different". The reason Gaga gets away with her shenanigans is that's who she always was, from day one. Other regular ladies tried too hard to bring something to the exterior that didn't match the interior at all, thus they appear a bit "desperate". And no, not everyone can tell the difference. Also, those who can't wouldn't know what the hell I'm actually talking about.

Back in the day when we were young and without worry life was so simple wasn't it? As in, either you had or or you didn't and everyone lived with such facts. I remember how in A' levels, a welcome or farewell party was all special since everyone was excited to see everyone else all dolled up and suited up, respectively. Save for some, regular school days came with this rough and tough look. Those were the looks we ended up crushing on.

So what's up these days? Mass production? Its like this, the worse the country's situation gets the more extravagant we get with our shopping and choices. To rid self of depression in a time of recession? Vanity in a time of insanity? Every winter it becomes harder to just waltz in the general store with this hoodie inherited from the brother. What was once a sign of warmth, carefree-ness and comfort is now apparently some feminine fashion disaster. Gimme a break.

The sights and sounds around a general marketplace bustling with people, like say Jinnah Super has changed. No more variety of individuals. Its weird, you actually admire someone from afar, girl or guy both but then people like me wonder how much of what you saw was a lie. If a person can make that much effort in hiding all of their flaws what does that say about them? What of those sun kissed faces, unkempt flowing locks, casual careless demure replaced by walking talking Kens and Barbies. Perfect getting boring no? Call me weird but I believe in the slightest of flaws in a person, it kind of makes you see how unflawed the rest of them is. And when I say appearance i mean anything and everything that contributes to an overall outlook. The skin (caked so much that you might be needing a drill), the hair colour, the car, the clothes, the lifestyle, the gadgets, the education, the fake accent, the lavish eating, the stories of non-existent special connections. Everyone is fat these days. And this is not body fat, this is what everyone looks like when they're coated with all that materialistic sheen, real or fake. An epidemic, just like dengue?​​

When the guy sang "you got designer shades just to hide your face" it brings an anecdote to mind. My brother told me how once a group of guys in school followed two girls who came in for admission, all the way to the admin office (very long walk :P) and then came the about turn. Why? Because the girls took off them gigantic shades and the boys weren't actually thrilled. Frankly, that's a bit mean. Stereotyping at its height. It goes on to show how people can like and unlike a whole person like a status update. Where be the simplicity, the sudden rush of feeling, the infatuation, feelings that run skin deep? What is it now, a checklist? Loyalties anyone?

Weirdly, the "checklist" works differently for both sexes now. Most of the female population(take note guys) still goes for the old-fashioned/classy roughed up look rather than glistening hair products. *Points to self*. (And no, that still doesn't give you license to NOT shave orcomb hair for the rest of your days). However, even if you're an original, you're only partially qualified. The female mind is stronger in resisting attraction which is why​ they'd prefer a'package' deal any day. Like my brother once said :"Fine, I admit guys can never be as loyal as girls but girls are crazy for 'dough'".

Its scary right? How do you filter them out? What's real anymore anyway? Believe it or not, humans are weak. They see what they like, they like what they see. End of story. Its just sad that the nation has become even worse about passing judgements. And well we're all part of this. I know the difference. If I barge in a store looking significantly hot with a Fendi hanging on my elbow I am "madam" and if its a quick run, my hair's toussled and messy and I have a shawl wrapped around like an "amma jee" I'm treated like a homeless person until I produce the green or blue bill to get some attention. Did I mention I always end up meeting a gazillion people when adorned by the latter look and get major judgement stares?

Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder anymore. What is it then, our insecurities speaking?Are we THAT bipolar or is it just the result of these trying times we're going through, like there's no other entertainment anymore. There IS no obsession like self obsession right? Or maybe, you think, its not a bad thing to happen at all. If looking or appearing good has been made so easy then why not right? That's what my sis said when I showed her this. She said, so what if its easy and accessible for everyone to look nice these days, if someone thinks they look good with makeup on 24/7 its not actually some sue-able offense. I know she's right but I also know that whatever this is is getting way out of control.

The quest of being different made all of us look the same no? And like a drug we can't get enough of it. I wish that time would come back, when judgement was passed after you actually knew the person, when taking people seriously was not based on how and what they looked like, when people meant what they said and said what they meant, when words were not just words but actions waiting to happen. I wish I was born in the 60s (I say that a lot fyi). Music was good, food was pure, people were transparent and kind of hip too. Oh well.

​Until next time, originally yours,​
Sara Q.

P.S: I HATE winters.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Optimist Taking a Break From Optimism

The following was my facebook status update yesterday. It got a lot of attention because well it was sorta unlike me, the dark emotion not the intellectual piece of writing fyi. The thing is, creativity comes when it does and the context is not of our own choosing so what the heck. Talha pointed out that the status update could actually be "mini post" in itself.

Note: It wasn't this long originally. I added stuff to it. Its hardly 300 words. This is weird for me because its so tiny. Now I'm just rambling to make it bigger :P

When we're young we are told to do anything that makes us happy, not talk to strangers, dream, have a wild imagination, be spontaneous, ask questions to learn more. We think our parents will always be there to take care of us, that love is unconditional, every grownup who smiles at us is awesome. Life is colour, life is sunlight. There is still the good guy/bad guy distinction thanks to cartoons, we hate homework, and studies. Whatever happened yesterday was history. The only thing that mattered was today.

And then we grow up. We realise we can't do everything that makes us happy because there's a society to answer to, we are told to stop dreaming and be realistic, that our imagination will be the death and starvation of us someday, we question our parents' mortality and their depleting healths (I know that's grammatically wrong but pluralising gives a better effect) , we wish we had studied more, or had worked harder. We are told to get out of our individual "bubbles" and face reality. We will eat our own words and extinguish our internal fires with our own hands. The colours and light we thrived upon seem to make us squint. We'll realise even love has conditions, people are not what they seem and smiling is no measure of character.

We switch spontaneity with round the clock planning, we'll realise some questions will remain unanswered forever and some answers make us learn more than we bargained for. We realise how mere strangers have the ability to transform our lives. We stop being thankful for today. All we have are the regrets of yesterday. The only thing that remains is the good/bad guy distinction, with a slight upgrade. We realise that more than any bad guy or any enemy, it is our own self that has the ability to finish us off without assistance. We will be our own worst enemy yet forced to be everyone's friend.

Hoping she comes back to her normal crazy self soon,
Sara (burgundy) Q.

P.S : Why the hell is our cricket team wasting time with Bangladesh? Just got the winning six alert. Afterthought.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Just a number...

AK-47 Assault RifleImage by via Flickr

I really can't remember how many men I've killed. In Metal Gear Solid I've slit the throats of Spetsnaz spooks. In Call of Duty I've gunned down Arabs and blown American soldiers to bits. In Tenchu I've beheaded many Samurai warriors and in Grand Theft Auto I've indiscriminately killed everyone from the police officer to the ordinary citizen in the most sadistic of ways. The number of ways I have killed is almost as innumerable as my victims. I've used piano wire to choke them, a high powered sniper rifle to reduce their heads to mince meat, pushed them off cliffs, thrown venomous snakes at them, fed them poisoned food, suffocated them with a plastic bag over their head, perforated them with automatic rifles, used an old fashioned sword to mutilate them and many many more. And you know what? It was fun. It was exhilarating. It was epic.

You're the same. You love it too. Killing is.... exciting, for the lack of a stronger word. In every movie we all move to the edge of our seat as the protagonist is about to deal the final blow. The doves fly, everything slows down, the music swells, the hero pulls the trigger and down goes the bad guy. The clouds part, the sun shines down. The evil one lies in a pool of blood and is forgotten after one final shot of his corpse. Everyone celebrates the death of a man. In that moment, that final moment, killing is glorious. It is proof that as civilised as we are, within each of us still beats the heart of a barbarian.

There is nothing glorious about killing.

It doesn't matter how many video games we play or how many films we watch. Nothing can soften the full blow of watching the real thing. These days, that is not a scarce sight. It seems the road to hell begins in Pakistan. This week, we all saw an unarmed man get killed in cold blood by none other than the guardians of the people. And I don't know about you, but I'm still trying to figure out what just happened. I'm still lost in that "what the f***?" moment. I can't process it. How can someone just do that? End a life, for no other reason than to end a life? By what process does a mans mind just decide to pull the trigger, or swing the blade and end someone? How is it possible for someone to suppress all that is human and kill in cold blood?

Sometimes I hate the empathy that I possess. It's annoying to see everyone else's point of view. Seeing that video, that too inadvertently, I can't help but picture myself in that same situation. I can't help but see myself there, bleeding away, screaming for help and watching in horror as no one does a thing to help, knowing that the only thing a "concerned" citizen is doing is recording my last moments to spread "awareness". I can't help but wonder what that mans last thoughts were. Did he think of his loved ones? What did he want to say to them? What did he think of all the spectators to his demise? Did he feel hate for them? Did he have regrets? What did he ask God in that moment? What did he feel for the one that pulled the trigger? I can't help but have all that run amok in my brain and the sheer horror of that moment, being the victim of an injustice, lying in a city of eight million with not one doing anything to help is enough to paralyze me.

So did he deserve to die? Does anyone deserve to die? Does anyone deserve what happened to that man? And who gets to decide when a life must be extinguished? Who is the one who deserves to carry out the deed? Knowing what I know so far, the only thing I can say is that what happened was wrong. There is no way to justify the killing of an unarmed man, without trial, without just cause. Anyone who says otherwise, is wrong. What he was, what he may have done, whether he was thief and murderer, he did not deserve the fate dealt out to him. If people have to be shot because they were probably evil, because they had probably committed the crime, then you'll have to line up everyone in the country and put a bullet in them. The actions taken by the ranger on that day are no different than any terrorist.

What about the other side of the story? There's always another side. If we assume that the ranger was a reasonable man then what can drive a reasonable man to do such a thing? Well, the nature of his job always puts him at risk. He is always there in the places we don't dare to go, dealing with people we don't want to meet and experiencing moments we don't ever want to be in. Maybe after watching citizens lose their lives over something as little as a cellphone, after watching his comrades die trying to protect an ungrateful society, something in him snapped. Maybe after all the senseless slaughter he decided that the only way to fix things was disproportionate punishment, to set an example to serve as a deterrent to others. Don't deny the fact that somewhere deep down you feel the same, that the best way to fix the problem is with a bullet. But that will fix nothing.

I don't condone what the ranger did. I'm surprised some do.

I remember back in A-Levels a friend showed the whole class a video of a man being beheaded. Our teacher had to rush to the washroom as he could not hold down his lunch. Nothing can prepare you for the real thing. It's easy to watch all the bloodshed in movies and video games because we can reassure ourself, it's fake. But that video, knowing that what we were watching was a real human being, with family, with hopes, with memories, with dreams and emotions, that it was all real, something changed in us. It was like a punch to the gut and pain would not just go away. It was the same thing with the video of the incident in Karachi. So why does everyone feel the need to distribute it? What is it that you wish to obtain from the footage of a man dying? And don't tell me it's for "awareness." When did simply knowing an innocent man died stop being enough to stir emotion? What joy do we derive from watching and spreading the death of a man? Am I the only one who feels that this is disrespectful? Who is being helped by the proliferation of the footage?

Spreading a video doesn't make you a patriot, tweeting doesn't make you a part of a revolution, changing your profile picture doesn't spread awareness and liking some page doesn't make you a better Muslim. For that matter even blogging is meaningless. People need to wake up and realize that these meaningless things just mean they are too lazy to solve the problems that we face today. They are silly games, made to make us feel better. Here's one last question, when our descendants ask us what we did to make things better, what do you think they'll feel when we tell them "well beta, I updated my facebook status"?

I for one hate preaching, I hoped to write a different post this time around but our country never fails to surprise.

Talha A. B.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sweet idle brain o’ mine

There goes a saying that “Everything is bigger in Texas”. Well maybe it’s not a saying but I saw it on a T-shirt in a Hillary Duff video many years ago. Don’t judge me, I was 15 OK! I say, forget Texas. In exams, everything is bigger, brighter, more colourful, entertaining and exciting than any other time of the year. The interesting thing is that it’s a concept everyone can relate to. Everyone ranging from age groups 7 to 25 years (or more if you think you haven’t had enough yet or due to the current insane amount of extended studies we all are compelled to do anyway) goes through this phase.

It is times like these that the human mind amazes me. I mean, why and how can it be that something we don’t give a crap about normally will become the center of our lives. I remember when I was studying last year, the nights were long and hot. All I had was the window displaying darkness. It was then that I started noticing this vehicle coming up to the office up front around three in the morning, VERY often during the week. Before I knew it the books were chucked away and I saw myself, binoculars in hand, lights off, trying to find the cause of such late night visits. My imagination went wild; drugs, smuggling, chucking away dead bodies, burglary, human trafficking, country wide socio-political conspiracy, you name it, I had already thought of it. Of course when I revealed my midnight adventures on the breakfast table they were welcomed with appalled faces, the mother adding “Haye Allah, what will people think of a girl hanging on the window with binoculars at 3 in the morning!” Well, my answer was, what would people be doing looking out of THEIR windows towards the girl’s window at 3 in the morning? No, why would they be awake anyway? (*Goes into investigatory mode. Again*) I mean, here I am playing responsible neighbourhood watch-type citizen and nobody cares! I was glad that at least THIS reaction was a bit toned down than when I confessed a possible UFO sighting (Again, do NOT judge me, I was around 10 when that happened :P). So yeah, when I say imagination gone wild, I’m so not kidding.

It is this time of the year, or month, or 6 months or semester that out neural configurations change a bit. I don’t know about you but I tend to get edgy, sensitive, emotional, totally creative and much to my bad luck hungry! Somehow the neighbours' grandkids start looking cuter, so much so that you just want to watch them take swings and live their problem-less life. Of course I snap out of that soon enough since at least I’m done with all THAT, you know school, O/A level. That kid still has to go through that. Ha! SCORE! Take that extremely cute kid with no worries! Then there is the house at 7 o’ clock. Like clockwork the girl who lives there will come to this swing set and keep swinging till sunset. She doesn’t follow the clock, but the sun. And once again, books forgotten I concoct up her life history, hopes and dreams. Also, the earlier mentioned grandkid’s grandma and ma have this whole Star Plus style thing going on. I can feel the vibes and the characteristic “gongs” at a bearing of 45 degrees north, about 50 feet away.

Speaking of Star Plus I develop an interest there too. Normally there is total remote snatching going on along with constantly cursing the poor characters and camera angles and blackmailing the mother but come exam season I find myself asking the mother how “Akshara” (HIGHLY annoying) is doing. Also, there will always be a notebook nearby, literary epiphanies come when the mind is too full of numbers, poetry evolves when the mind is blocked with too much information, outrageous status updates (yes, more outrageous than usual) will keep flitting when the self gets lonely and misses its constant ‘networking’ and much to everyone’s horror, waiiiiit for it…..singing! Not to mention sartorial ideas even, so much so that one is compelled to sketch some scrawny drawings. Yes, that is a big deal. Those who know me a bit know I usually wish for the miracle of going to bed one night, getting up the next morning and voila, all clothes, matched, designed, stitched lying somewhere in “the elves and the shoemaker” style.

The worst part is there is always some wedding, huge party or Eid round the corner that you have to miss more or less. Not that it’s too bad, I mean I look like hell anyway but yeah total self-pity moment. BUT the family always sends my share in plastic ice cream boxes so the food pity is covered I guess.

These are just a few examples. I guess everyone has a crazy exam creativity niche. My sister goes artistic and starts making stuff out of the kind of stuff people would throw away (to great effect I must add). My brother says his mind opens up for strategy video games and he gets better at them. Everyone I know will have some distractive exam life in store for them. Talha A. B. here coded a whole template (for the blog! Coming soon :D). Yes, coding a template, that’s a big deal. Not child’s play so children, don’t play. Note to Talha: Good work, now STUDY!

Anyway, here be that time again. Already here for some and for some (cough) not too far off. So yes, the time of distraction (that can lead to destruction) is here. Let’s hope we all consider it only an element that keeps us sane and it doesn’t prevail the mere reason it originated from. Let this be the time to reflect on the little “fun” things we take for granted. Like staring at the huge mango tree the 7 o’clock guys had WHICH they were stupid enough to cut down. Who DOES that to a mango tree? That’s fruity blasphemy! The only tree in the vicinity now is the “jaamun” (black currants) tree. I don’t even like jaamun. I hardly like “gulaab jamun” (come to think of, that’s sweetmeat blasphemy. Fine, I’m “selective” about them, stop judging my sweet tooth now :P).

With that highly unnecessary last detail I bid you all the very necessary good lucks and break a legs for upcoming and ongoing exams. Study hard, stay sane and remember the most important rule, one chip at a time :D

Sara (distracted) Q

P.S: At this point I feel awfully relieved that the good looking grand kid is 24 months and not 24 years. Just saying. Again, do NOT judge me!