Monday, October 4, 2010

Green gone black


 


Long time no see followers. We’ve just been REALLY busy. A lot of significant and insignificant things have taken place since I last posted something here. As far as the national level is concerned though, most of what’s happening nowadays is not only significant but significantly horrifying too.

 It probably started with the Air Blue plane crash. That one came with a personal connection too. Like my equally busy co-author said; there were 150 people on that plane but somehow all of the 18 million were connected to someone on that plane, directly or indirectly. Of course the devastating flood was already doing what it does best somewhere in the background. And then it came onto the big screen. More than half of the country got affected by the flood. The loss of human lives is another thing but the survival of the remaining is more than just a toll on the unaffected.

 Here we all were worrying about the water when some people thought of adding some fire to the pot. I’m talking repeated bomb blasts, firings and target killings. The fact that a totally disinterested and innocent pedestrian can be made a target just for the heck of it just scares the hell out of me. As if that wasn’t enough a mob killed two kids with their bare hands in the midst of onlookers and policemen somewhere in Sialkot.

 Add in the total drainage of State reserves, glutinous corrupt politicians playing blame games all the time, Cricketing scandals, skyrocketing prices, diplomatic dirt with God knows how many countries, the US of A making us lick their boots and oh yeah we even got a 6.3 shaker a few weeks ago to shake off what’s left of us. Yes, my dear Pakistanis, we are officially screwed. In fact we are SO screwed that it might eradicate my inability to swear. And yeah, that’s saying something.

 But guess what nothing up there is new, nothing you and I don’t know about already. So yeah, let’s look through the other end of the periscope for a change. Let’s stop saying that Zardari will rot in hell or Imran Khan will be our savior or who’s corrupt and who’s here with a fake degree. Let’s talk about Pakistan, the people/ citizens for a change. Are WE doing our bit too or just sitting around like spoilt kids waiting to be spoon-fed. I know you guys don’t want to hear this but it’s all us. We no longer deserve anything. Now at this exact point people usually say “Why would God do this to us, we’re the best Muslim country in the world. Look at blah and blah, look at what they wear” etc etc. The thing is it’s not about being a good Muslim anymore. Hell, I hardly think anyone knows what a good original Muslim is supposed to look and feel like. People all over this world are not screwed, Muslims or not. WE NEED TO BE GOOD PEOPLE, PEOPLE. Honestly, we do that and we’ll actually become good Muslims.

 So what am I talking about? I’m talking how wildly animalistic we’ve all become. Ready to snatch and steal everything thinking it’s our right. What do you think was going through the mind of those ruthless men while they were beating those boys to death? It’s a frustration we carry with us at all time, ready to not just beat but actually eat the pulp out of anyone we can find. That mob was not just a mob; it represented US, Pakistanis who have severely slipped down to the down most rung of the human race ladder.

 Think about it, these days people will rip off, lie, cheat, steal or even murder someone on a good day. For those of you who think this is a bit too much read on for day to day ventures; people will keep polluting a place because they think one wrapper doesn’t make a difference, talk back rudely to some shopkeeper, not give way on the fast lane and when they do it’ll come with a complementary hand action and colorful vocabulary, waste resources and power knowing they are scarce, call a woman ‘baji’ and as soon as her back turns give her a nice MRI, honk rudely on the roads without rhyme or reason, try to sell off expired goods, arrive late at meetings and on weddings because ‘that’s how it is’, break into queues, carry out full fledge 'phaddas' over the most immature reasons possible, bully anyone who classifies as a subordinate, even make up dirty rumours etc. etc. And even without these everyday happenings the average Pakistani has become this combination of aggression, jealousy and impatience and when they see someone who's not, a big conversion is underway for the poor soul. Its the "If my life sucks so should yours" routine.

The thing is two wrongs don’t make a right. Oh God teach this concept to this country, please! (Yeah that includes me too. NONE of us are bathed in milk at the moment :P). When one person is in the wrong it makes him a total loser not an excuse or justification for us to repeat that. So the plan is as simple as my name; if ALL of us do what we’re supposed to and do it right we are SO out of this. That includes everyone, from some high profile CEO to an office janitor.

But you know what the real problem is? We just don’t CARE anymore. See, people mix up love and care. We all say we love the country but we don’t CARE about it. BIG difference ma dears. It’s like any relationship actually; we need to contribute into it or we’re in for a big time break-up very, VERY soon! This is one relationship we need to start fixing, like NOW!

 

Think about it. Until next time and hoping it comes soon,

Sara Q.

 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Plus or minus?

There is a wedding going on. Everyone’s pretty overdressed and wearing way too much jewelry. Then again, this is not a normal wedding. The bride finally agreed to move on and marry someone. You know, to get past the loss of her husband who drove over a cliff and his body was never found. His belongings and identification documents were totally intact though. Bad luck I guess. Just as the final act of the ceremony is being carried out a gentleman appears declaring himself as the lost husband. That can’t be, cries the bride. It is so, says the intruder and he quickly tells how he was rescued by some local villagers and as his face was totally distorted and there was no photograph available the plastic surgeon gave him the face of his own dead son. Silence! The cameraman goes wild. For some odd reason he not only captures the expressions of the main characters but anyone he can find; including all the badly dressed guests and the waiter holding the tray. I guess the next move would be to actually prove through an exhaustive question and answer session that he is in fact the same guy. Why he was out of the picture for so long is of course another story.

Sounds familiar right? This is a scene typical of all those Indian soaps on Star plus/One, Sony, Zee etc. Basically they’re predictable. Anyone can just think along the strangest lines and concoct a complete script. Here’s a list of some other clichés we discover even before they are declared:

  • The guy and the girl who are totally in love with each other will never get married. At least not in the beginning.
  • The person who seems the sweetest will always be the villain.
  • Two people who totally hate each other in the beginning will ultimately wind up together.
  • There will always be a handy plastic surgeon nearby.
  • If someone is in an accident the only think that will be distorted will be their face. Thus the handy plastic surgeon.
  • People have selective amnesia like they have the flu.
  • You can buy the whole population in order to carry out an evil plan.
  • People talk to themselves aloud; very very loud thereby revealing their plan, good or bad.
  • There will always be a handy eavesdropper somewhere. His job made easier as the doors will always be carelessly open, ALL the time.
  • The script writers have no biological sense. For e.g. If a girl is unable to enslave a certain gentleman she will simply ‘pretend’ she’s pregnant and get away with it.
  • If something big has to be revealed, an unraveling of a previously discovered evil plot, it will all be done in the middle of some poor bloke’s wedding/engagement/reception. And then all the guests shake their heads and leave.
  • There is always an undiscovered illegitimate child out there.
  • Sometimes a guy/girl will consent to a marriage only to take some sort of revenge.
  • If a person is wrongfully blaming another, the other will never put up any defense. I actually pull my hair out when that happens.
  • People can waste their entire lives only to wait for someone to grow up so they can take revenge. What a waste!
  • The transition from good to evil and vice versa is as easy as a change of clothes.
  • There is no need to mourn a dead person. He’ll turn up sooner or later.

Everyday when I come down to dinner I’m greeted with the ‘dhum dhum tana nana dhum dhum’ soundtrack. I was never allowed to talk in between serials but now it is an even bigger crime. I repeatedly tell my mom that I only comment when the soundtrack and flashes come on. Also, when something big is revealed with an even bigger reaction and an additional soundtrack (dhak dhak dhina dhina dhaaa) you can actually listen to a full song on some other channel. Unfortunately, my strategic interruption is not appreciated. And thanks to the looming exam threat I seem to have lost my previous jurisdiction of holding the remote and commanding it. Of course I can avoid all that by just walking off but family TV time is something none of us wants to lose.

So yes I have to endure like many others. The funny thing is that we do end up watching them. I mean we curse, overuse the words ‘lame’ and ‘stupid’ over and over again but we end up watching; amidst the remote snatching and begging to change the channel. Is it because they are so totally impractical that our minds just go numb and simply get entertained without reason or logic. Having said that, sometimes there does come a serial that focuses on normalcy too. I remember watching one about four women and their individual lives. It had topics such as wife beatings, vulnerability of teenage girls and a mother fighting cancer. It was a job well done I must say. Anyway, that apart the question is what is so alluring about these dramas that our mothers, grandmothers and aunts totally weave their routines around them?

The first is easy; time span. You can sit for hours watching back to backs but technically its just 30 minutes each right? Second is the culture difference. Technically what they show is neither our religion nor culture so whatever moral or immoral goes on we don’t give a damn. Thirdly, even with all the riff raff I’ve talked about upstairs they are made to seem interesting. I mean even if something totally non practical as marriage for revenge happens the audience will be excited at such a concept; especially when they know that the girl/boy will fall for the other ultimately. And lastly, there is so much devastation around us that it actually helps to look at foreign faces. Add in the fact that the quality of Pakistani dramas went so downhill in the ‘middle’ ages that people reverted to Indian ones and well got too comfortable to revert back!

I really miss those times, the PTV prime time. A decent serial everyday from 7:45 to 8:45 pm. This is coming from the generation that experienced “Alpha, bravo, Charlie”, “Kashkol”, “Bandhan”, “Laag” and many others that I can’t recall. The comedy too was awesome. Imagine the “UFONE” team in a 45 minutes play and you’ll get the picture. If you go back even further you get names like “Aangan terha” and “Ankahi”. The emphasis at that time was on the writing and acting. It was never supposed to be fancy or anything. Dramas were about normal, everyday people going through ordinary and extraordinary experiences. You could relate to the characters, connect with their grief or joy. They were all of a decent length; maximum 13 episodes. Sometimes, they showed these single episode short plays based on some social issue. Nothing! And I mean NOTHING can compare to those times. Not all these three channels combined together.

Then came the dark ages. The funding probably halted. There was a national writer’s block probably. Only a few programs were worth watching. It was all downhill after that; especially when came the stampede of private channels. Writers and directors wanted new horizons where they could open up their wings more, think a bit provocative maybe. I’m not at all against the depiction of the taboos of society because frankly they’re a part of it. What totally pissed me off was the wrong depiction of our culture. Cultural shock it was. Scanty clothing, vulgar behaviour on national television and above all the embarrassment that all of this was transmitted abroad too. I mean just because they were private channels didn’t give them the right to go all out on everything. It was almost desperate. The comedy went to such a depth that I don’t think it can ever recover. If you suffer from bulimia you can actually try it out; it would make throwing up easier.

So it was then that the cable guys decided to bring in fresh meat. Lo and behold, Star Plus made an entry. This change was welcomed with open arms because to be frank Indian movies might be all stripped; the dramas are a total opposite. Yes, there are exceptions but they are prominently looked at as something rotten and unclean. The moral of the story is that no one forgets their roots; they might be going wayward due to the versatile nature of the film industry but here on television it’s all prim, proper, sacrificial and traditional.

However, I see an improvement now. Saw this drama on a private channel and found it very refreshing. It was realistic and you could actually relate to it. The strange fact is that it was a sad one but the sadness or the screw ups of the characters didn’t seem frustrating at all. The gist of Indian dramas is that they are wholly and solely based on misunderstandings. If you look at it this way these dramas are actually shows of pessimism. They stretch endlessly thereby justifying the fact that there can never be an end to problems or human devastation; it is like you get rid of one problem and another one just comes up. It all runs on evil I tell you.

Unsurprisingly I can go on and on but I promised myself I’d stay close to the point. No need to feel sarcastic, this IS to the point; just an elongated one. To conclude I would like to announce that PTV is sort of back again. Let us not ignore it anymore. If our channels are recovering we should at least give them a chance. Let’s just give the Indian background banshee singer a little break and dive into local waters. And that would also go for the aunty next door who’s watching a repeat telecast at two in the morning. It appears that the “dhoom tana nana” beat is my lullaby for tonight.

I will return soon my loyal readers. Till then, this sleep deprived person bids you goodnight! We shall meet again. Up up and away!!!! (Yeah I should definitely get some sleep now).


Until next time, this is Sara Q DOZING off! :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Some pictures + a thousand words

I'm sure most of you have already noticed that this will be a different than usual post. Photography is one of those passions that almost everyone has but not all get to pursue it. Fortunately the basic need is a camera; need not be the professional SLR one. A simple digital one will do for the time being. Click away amateurishly. Who knows, your passion might die there and then. At least you won't call it 'abandoned' anymore. So yeah as I was saying, this is different from my usual philosophical interpretations (read self-created). The following are some random images I took round my house. To be honest they have sort of a philosophical take too. Anyway here they are; random as random can be:


Straightforwardly, this is a junction of a blue wall and an orange wall. This wall deserves the honour to be on this cool blog because it is highly responsible for the unsurpassed creativity that Sara Q is famous for. It's the blue actually. It gives ideas; and not just for writing the blog or poetry or my journal. There have actually been a few "eureka" moments as well (don't ask). The orange is this happy colour. It's like this stimulant; I look at it and start feeling positive. No idea if that's actually been proven scientifically or not. The 'blue' theory is true though.



This here is the ‘Centaurus’ under construction. Named the ‘landmark of Pakistan’ (honestly, how many landmarks are there?) this multi-something project promises a seven star hotel, a luxury apartment complex and a mall complete with a movie theatre et all. Anyway, this is not a promotion, it’s just this huge building that will have all the fun stuff mentioned above but as of now, for someone like me only two things matter concerning this project; whether it’s going to block my sun once completed and second is understandably the security of the workers involved. This is actually an after hour shot. Usually you can see tiny, speck size construction workers moving about. What would seem like an impossible feat to us is a livelihood for them. Oh yeah, count in diversion of traffic as a concern too.



For antique lovers: this is an antique! I found this lying somewhere in the house and gave it a new status when found out that it was more than a hundred years old. It is a sort of an heirloom too actually. On further investigation on its origin I was told it was actually passed down to my grandmother when she got married. And so it resides on my fireplace. People say it's dumb to get attached to materials but i say it's not the materials it's the memory or the person associated with them.



An original Harry Potter collectible. The 'Knight Bus' that could take you anywhere as long as it was on earth. When I mention Harry Potter people always seem amused. Little do they know Harry is not about a young boy waving a wand and saying a few words. Harry Potter is a concept, a getaway from this weird humdrum of life. It sort of transports you to this other world which might be a fantasy place but it follows the same principles we follow; right and wrong, good and evil. life and death. Just like we have to make sacrifices in this world to get a happy ending, same goes with Potter. What can I say, the concept will never cease to have its influence on me. :)



Thick black rimmed glasses are actually the most stereotyped thing in the world. Words like ‘geek’ and ‘nerd’ have always been associated with them. It’s like people never realized there were actually eyes behind the lenses. It became easier when ‘anti-glare’ ones were introduced though. Though this stereotype stays I’m happy to see that glasses have actually experienced a rebirth in the western world. And well lets face it; fashion travels super fast eastwards. Big names are seen sporting dark rimmed spectacles on the red carpet and award shows. So just like the world is starting to get over the ‘size zero’ concept I guess glasses are gradually getting a new meaning. There was actually a girl my junior who was a total 24/7 black rimmed glasses person and she was the most sought after female of the batch. I guess there is still hope for that minority. :P



I guess we all know that the human heart has always been associated with the concept of love. What I don't get is that the heart is this spongy thing with valves coming out of every direction. Then how come the 'heart' associated with love got this shape. Well I know a spongy thing with valves though totally amazing would look a bit strange on greeting cards and teddy bears. However, as to how this shape really came into being is a total mystery to me. Please enlighten me if anyone else knows.



The classic question; is the glass half empty or half full. How do you see it?How would you want to see it? A total optimism/pessimism choice.




An African man and woman carry water buckets on their heads. The one on the left is the woman. If you look closely you can see she's also carrying a baby. It is more prominent in the shadow rather than the original piece.




This is actually a figment of the "Flag movement" I talked about in an earlier post. The fact that our flag is an integral part of our lives as Pakistanis. It is more of a 'back to basics' concept. First realise how the flag came into being because it is humanly impossible to imagine the whole country in such a manner. A simple glance on the back of the car can provoke thoughtfulness or a realisation of our true identity. Maybe a humble reminder that no matter how much screwed up we are these days we are still ONE. Just like Talha A.B reminded us of our blessings in his last post.


A lost cause? Something we had but don’t have anymore. It’s surprising how much we Pakistanis look up to cricket to boost our ‘terrorised’ spirits. Unfortunately, like my co-author said the whole political/social instability seems to have gotten them too. Nothing seemed to go right this season; as if there was this dark cloud looming overhead. Like some curse.
Anyway, this equipment you see here is in every Pakistani home irrespective of economic situation or gender configuration. Yes, even I’m a self declared cricketer :D.
Street cricket is like this getaway and even a platform for getting ‘discovered’. It’s not just some leisurely activity. It can mean war; tournaments, challenges, a fight for glory b/w 2 different sides of the neighbourhood. Yep THAT serious. In the current situation it has become this outlet for rage. In many cases disappeared completely thanks to parents worrying over security. The latter has actually caused the young generation to go totally couch potato. Whatever exercise they got in these meager two hours is now kaput. Great! Now we have another potential evil to get rid off; obesity.



A lamp. With a light bulb. Emitting light that is obviously not needed right now so I’ll just switch it off. Somehow, under the country’s current electricity deprived situation it is unfit to fashionably photograph a lamp. This was a lucky first shot.


A mirror. Chemical composition has something to do with silver I guess. Obviously, it reflects our appearance but what else does it do. It helps us feed on narcissism. Sometimes elevates our appearance related insecurities. For some it is an obsession (think on the lines of Snow White; ‘mirror mirror on the wall…..remember?) It shows us who we are in our own eyes, even if we try to hide our truths, good or bad. It’s actually our own self looking at us in a ‘are you sure’ manner. Mirrors help us gain confidence too, its like looking yourself in the eye, accepting what you see. Like Talha A. B puts it; you need to bathe in your own glory sometimes. There are many superstitions surrounding mirrors but let’s not scare our minimal amount of readers away. Add in magic too (the mirror of ‘Erised’ in “Harry Potter”). The terms ‘mirror’ and ‘reflection’ are used as metaphors to convey love, telepathy and understanding too. As writes a local poet “He saw her as no mirror could reveal her to herself”. (The rest is unimportant and explicit)


Surprisingly this picture was taken less than a month ago. This is a tree right outside my house and it's surprising because now its all green and 'springy'. I was strolling in my driveway one day when i noticed the myriad of colours behind this tree. It was near sunset. I quickly ran in for the camera and captured it, afraid that the light will go bad. Weirdly yet logically i see the same array of colours in the backdrop the next day, same time. It was then I realised that this was like an indirect second chance. I mean, even if my batteries had been dead I could have easily caught this image on camera the next day or any day for a while, before the backdrop changed course due to weather. Somehow it seemed appropriate that this picture should mark the end of my post.

On first glance this leafless, apparently dead tree against a subtle sunset gives this forlorn look but the fact that it stays in the same position all year round, grows leaves, sheds leaves, its background goes from dull to bright and bright to dull gives a lesson in itself. It’s here to stay. Just because it braves against all forces of nature doesn’t make it any more lifeless than us. It makes it strong and steadfast.

And like I said, if nature is so forgiving that it provided the same pattern and array of colours the next day then why can’t we, as humans be forgiving. What’s so great about us? Who do we think we are? Why can’t we give someone a second chance, or nature or situations or events? Everything! To be honest most importantly why can’t we give our own selves a second chance, a break perhaps?

I’ll let you guys sleep on it. Remember it is only when you learn to love and accept yourself that others learn to love and accept you. Think about it.

Until next time, Sara Q is signing off.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The blessings on my table

We all love our country more than any other country in the world. It's what makes us who we are. Pakistani. It is the womb that gave birth to us and it is the soil to which we will return. Just like how we somehow feel the pain of a loved one, seeing our motherland bleed causes us great pain. Once again, our country has suffered a horrifying blow and the price was the blood and lives of its sons. You know the event that I refer to. It is the terror attacks that occurred in Lahore.

These days it seems that the mood in Pakistan keeps getting more and more gloomy. Even our national cricket and hockey teams seem very depressed. The poor guys feel so down that they haven't been able to perform at peak levels recently and as a result have suffered many (very humiliating) defeats. It seems we Pakistani's just can't get a lucky break these days.

Everything seems to working against us, in an almost conspiracy like manner.

As a nation, we are all suffering from depression. So whats the most basic strategy to counter this? Well, like I've been told many times by a countless number of people, the trick is to look at the positive side of things. Like they say, Always look on the bright side of life. That is what this weeks post is about, looking at all that is great about this country, aside from the fact that me and Sara Q. were born here. Here we go:

  1. This one is a no brainer. Freedom. We were born free. Now I know that given the conditions of the country we're not as free as we'd like to think, but thats our fault, we let things get like this.
  2. We are not a nation of quitters. We are a resilient nation. Obsession with a cause is what gave us the country and this obsession is what allows us to keep it. We've been hanging on by a thread since 1947 and no amount of predator missiles will make us let go.
  3. Our nation is overflowing with talent and potential. How many times have our kids gotten out of this world results in A-Levels? We won the cricket world cup and countless other tournaments on pure talent without the presence of any formal sports coaching facilities. Same for hockey. The day we tap into our potential will be the the day we take over the world.
  4. We have an amazing cricket team and hockey team. Sure, they're going through a rough patch right now, but we all know once they get rolling they'll knock down any opponent they're up against.
  5. Whats the one thing that any Pakistani returning from foreign lands crave? You know this, stop reading for five seconds and try to guess this. Chances are you'll need less than three. The answer is, mangoes. We've got all four seasons and each season brings with its own tasty produce.
  6. We are a nation blessed with beauty. Beautiful people surrounded by beautiful scenery. Whether its valleys surrounded by mountains blanketed in white and green or rolling plains with rivers carving through or historical locations with a million stories to tell, we've got it all.
  7. Our armed forces are top notch. They've got the training, they've got the tech and most importantly, they've got a dedication to protect this country that no other soldier in the world possesses.

This is not really the whole list. It's only a small fragment of it. But, I'd love to complete it or at least make it really long so comment like crazy with your reasons that make you say Pakistan Zindabad.

Till the next post,
Talha A. B.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

First impressions; the inside story

For this week's post I’ll be putting down something awfully common in our everyday lives. And like every common we dismiss it rather than delving deeper into origin or logic. So I’ll come straight to the point rather than elongating my preamble as usual. Like the title suggests it’s about impressions. First impressions actually.

To the general public first impressions are what we perceive when we SEE a person for the first time. But little do they realise, it’s more than just an assumption based on physical appearance. THAT is stereotyping. The first impression is a two-fold thing. The first being the initial assumption mentioned above and the second is when you actually get to exchange syllables; a proper tête a tête. It is then that you actually get to form an opinion about someone. Watching someone from a distance and forming an opinion about them might seem unfair but it is human nature to ‘size’ up individuals and categorise them into ‘types’. SO, today we talk about what happens after we approach someone, administering them as our own type. Like Talha A. B informed me the first time you talk to someone it’s all mysterious yet cautious. You actually get to know how successful your stereotyping was. Eventually both of these things will contribute to a first impression ‘grand total’. However, you can still form an authentic impression about someone even if you don’t get to chat; sometimes you just observe how the person in question behaves around everyone else.

If you think this is some lesson on how to make first meetings successful, think again. Though I’ve been told I can make a career out of giving social advice but that’s for another time. Maybe next week we can talk about tried and tested small talk. But for now it is more of a speedy journey from the first time we meet someone till present day and how much we were right or wrong about them. Based on context I’ve donated all possible situations with metaphors. It’s better to call them relationships actually because this here is a journey rather than an abrupt dismissal on first sight. These being ‘The ugly duckling’, ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Smooth surfer’, ‘Rocky road’ and ‘Lukewarm’. I would also like to add that most of these phrases are the work of my creative co-author. (Just in case I make a sociological breakthrough and am later sued :D). Anyway, let’s look at these in turn.

The ‘Ugly Duckling’ is actually a very interesting phenomenon. Don’t be fooled by the name. Always remember that the ugly duckling actually transformed into a swan in the end. That’s how such a relationship works. It starts off a bit strange; a thing or two might put you off but then as you get to know the person well you realise how lame you were to assume. The thing is that everyone in this world has a life different from ours and as we get to know more about theirs its revelations all around. The fact that we are proven wrong by such happenings actually becomes a positive thing. At first we saw differences; now we see similarities. There are countless stories of how people got on each other’s bad side at first but later became the best of friends.

‘Frankenstein’ in the opposite of the above. Just like an apparently useful invention went nuts this is what happens in this relationship. You start off well because you probably had a positive stereotype and impression but as you get to know the person you realise your direction might be inappropriate. Maybe it’s because expectations were high at the beginning and could never be fulfilled. It is like an infatuation that loses its glitter and goes ugly when the initial love-stuck sheen rubs off. What people need to see here are the long term effects of their current doing. Kudos to all those who can get through such a phase though.

Then comes the ‘smooth surfer’. As the name suggests these people are lucky enough to be proven right of their first opinion. In brief; whatever they expected they got, the expectation can be high or low but there’s satisfaction so who cares. They can be friends or couples who are taken as an example of perfection. However, if you ask me perfection can get a bit boring. Ups and downs are essential so we realise what the other person is like in a negative situation. But hey, that’s just what I think. (And apparently ALL those who get involved in infidelities :P). Pessimism apart, a salute to all those who make a spot-on decision and keep the magic going all their lives.

The ‘rocky road’ is well an ice cream flavour I think. It saddens me to use a beauty such as ice cream for such a benefit but I was running out of ideas :P. Anyway these individuals never get along and probably never will. They got on the wrong foot but unfortunately stayed that way. Do NOT even attempt to make something like that work. A co-incidence or a bad mood can prevail once, or twice or thrice if you feel generous but if ALL the time then such a thing is not meant to be, definitely! Just do a 180 and keep walking.

Last of all comes ‘lukewarm’. And just like the name suggests that’s what such a relationship is; lukewarm. This is actually the least important form because either these people are simple acquaintances we get to see once in a while or probably one of those we’re obligated to see once in a while. They are not obligated nor authorised to influence our decisions. The same goes for us. Such an acquaintance is all smiles and civility but nothing deeper. It is always a useful tip to have a few of these lying around; beats loneliness I guess. Back in high school, there were many people I could just go and talk to about general stuff when no one else was around and till this day we’re in contact. However, don’t make it a habit because honestly we all need to delve deep once in a while. Oh by the way, if such a relationship does not consist of mere acquaintances I suggest you add some fuel to the fire.

Personally speaking one of my best friends is someone who sat behind me in class for two years but only got to know each other later and realized how totally compatible we were. Compatible enough that she’s 25% of our followers :D. Of course can’t forget my co-author here. Who knew two people who barely talked to each other despite being classmates would ultimately team up to create the extraordinary, the awesome and the next big thing. Ok I guess I’m getting carried away now; we just love our blog too much. But the point is; we communicated that’s how we got to know each other’s literary insights and very awesome traits. And yeah I just had a “Rocky road” recently; a guy my senior from college whom I got on the wrong foot with (that wasn’t me it was actually the people I hung out with but somehow they’ve all disappeared and I’m the only one he can run into :S). So yeah not only is he intimidating his chain smoking skills will probably give me cancer!

Anyway, that’s a rap I guess. To conclude, all I want to say is, types apart it’s always good to give someone a chance when you’re meeting them for the first time. I mean someone might be having a bad day, a headache, family or peer problems or maybe he/she generally takes time to open up. GIVE PEOPLE A CHANCE! And they might give you one too. A CHANCE not high rising expectations or you might do a “Franky” here. (So my mom says). We shouldn’t judge from first impressions but yes we are allowed to think about them. However sometimes, at the end of the day, every little thing you find about someone is something unique and interesting so find away!

Speaking of find; I need to go find a midnight snack. This is Sara Q signing off for now. J

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I'm getting too old for this sh**

I still remember all those little memories that make the early years worthy of being called a childhood. Back then it was the simplest of things that made me happy. Things like climbing all over the boundary walls of our house, chasing butterflies and running around on all fours like Simba from the Lion King. These things have something in common. I can't do them anymore. Though I did do the Simba thing just yesterday. I'm kidding. Or am I?

I do remember one other thing. I promised myself I would never grow up. Now you have an idea what I'm talking about. How many times have you heard the older and wiser crowd say something like "I'm getting too old for these things" or "It's not my age to do such things". I always thought that I wouldn't end up like them. That I would always be with "it". However, these days I'm finding that it's really getting hard to fight and not become obsolete. I find myself using the line "I'm getting too old for this sh**" a little too much lately. I really don't want to be a dinosaur. Oh well.

The pop culture these days is beginning to make less sense to me as the days go by. First of all, what the hell is it with all the emo crap thats going around these days? When did androgyny become a style? Seriously, insanely tight jeans (guys, you do know you have to reproduce someday right?), girly hair, and make up? It just doesn't register with me. I'm watching a music video and I think to myself "Hey, this lead singer chick is kinda cute" only to realize, its a dude. Thats just not right. Death to emo. Seriously. I'd rather have the boy-band craze resurrected.

Moving on, the music. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh here, but it's all just the same. Thats it. It's like they have a factory somewhere that just mass produces these generic celebrities and artistes. The material and the attitudes are all recycled. Every time I listen to a track I can't help but spot samples taken from songs of the 90's, 80's and 70's. The subject matter of the songs also seems pointless and shallow to me. The choices available to the artiste of today are:

  1. Parties
  2. Drugs and Violence
  3. Sex (with a great deal of misogyny)
  4. Random pseudo-philosophical crap (which is cool by me)

And again, the mellow (think brit-rock, brit-pop) and emo stuff just irritates me. We were all annoyed by that person, who just walks in the room and goes "Whats that noise? Honestly the music these days.....". I really don't want to be that person, so to all the bands and performers out there, please get your act together and pump out some good music.

The movies of today are also running low on originality. They suffer the same disease. There are way too many re-hashes, remakes, prequels and sequels these days. Special effects and insane action sequences are all good but I'd rather just have a good script. You know, the kind that leaves everyone talking and immersed in debate as they leave the theater. Though not every movie has to be a life changer so its all good. Sometimes a guy just needs to watch a movie with a lot of flash and a huge body count.

The kids these days are also a strange breed. I don't think I need to say much here as Sara Q. already touched on this. I will say this, seeing the things kids today do I can't help but say "Don't these guys have parents?" (Translation: "Oh ****, inn kay maa baap nahi hain?).

This post was supposed to be a bit longer but give me a break, I'm in recovery. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to run around like Simba on all fours. Yay.

Till the next post,
Talha A. B.


P.S. Who can guess which character from which movie uses the line that I have used as my title?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I tried, I really tried

This weeks post was supposed to be about something else, but something else didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. Lately I haven't been able to write the way I usually do. The only way to describe how I write my post is that its completely fluid. I tap away at the keyboard and thoughts turn into words almost instantly. It's all about what I'm feeling at the moment. I haven't felt like myself for quite some time and I don't think thats going to change anytime soon. Writing for this blog seems almost a chore where once it was something that I used to enjoy and look forward too. If you don't believe me ask Sara Q. how much I used to bug her about making her weekly post. This time around, I was struggling to get the words out. I'd spend minutes just staring at the screen, trying to remember what I had to write or trying to remember If I had anything to write at all. What I did manage to type down made no sense at all. It just didn't feel like me and so I just deleted the damn thing.

That brings us to this post. I have no plan for it. I'm just writing whats coming into my head. The reason is that I just want to get this mess out of my mind so that I can move on to the next post. Don't worry, this is not going to be diary or journal entry, though I think some introspection may come into play. We're not going to get into my emotions here. I'll see a psychiatrist for that. Lately, due to the multitude of challenges (read problems) that keep piling on the pressure on me I seem to have become this bitter, vengeful and rage fueled individual (I'm listening to death metal for gods sake. I don't even like metal). Or if you prefer it Sara Q's way, an angry young man. This state of mind comes with the side effect of me always being on edge, ready to explode at any moment. This doesn't really come with any advantages. Unless of course you consider scaring your co-workers and getting on virtually every seniors bad side an advantage.

I won't get into what it is that has got me so worked up, after all, this is not a diary. Actually, I don't know what I'm getting at. Unplanned post remember?

Here's something that I want to ask all of you though (I'm hoping "All of you" is more than the two followers we have as of right now), do you really know where you are in life right now? You have a plan right? You measure how far you've come and how far you have to go by this plan. Did you ever consider what you would do if this plan didn't work out? Or whether this plan is grounded in reality? You follow this plan because it promises some reward at the end. How would you feel if you put in all the hard work, went through all the pain and jumped through all the hoops that were set up for you only to be told that there is no reward?

The point that I'm trying to bring to light is not the one you may be thinking about.

You see, you have to sit down and realize that we are adults now. Now I know you think you're an adult but I'll stop you right there. You think wrong. Once again, we are adults now. Why? Because now we make the decisions. The choice as to where our life goes is up to us. If, again, you think you know all this, you're wrong. You see, we do have the choice, but what we don't know are the consequences. Having the power to choose means that we are blind to the knowledge of what the wrong choice is and what the right choice is. The choices will be made right now but the effects will show five years from now, or ten years from now or throughout our lives. It is only in the future that we will know if our choice was right or wrong. By the way, by "we" I mean those born slightly north or south of 1987.

My plan got royally...... you know. But as the animal inside is slowing down, a certain form of twisted clarity is seeping in. I'm beginning to see what the situation is. Sure, one path is closed but what I have now is opportunity. An opportunity to pick a different direction. So now I stand surrounded by choices, with no idea which one is the right one. This sort of leads into the second point, plans change, roadblocks pop out from nowhere. But at the same time, there is usually a fork in the road. Be prepared to deal with life. There are things that school, college and books can't and didn't teach us. Luckily I like to learn the hard way, I can't speak for anyone else though.

This has to be my worst post to date. At least its out of the way now.

Till the next (hopefully better) post,

Talha A. B.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Organised chaos!

This entry was actually supposed to be light and comedic. Instead it’s something else. Can’t specify because don’t know the direction myself. One thing I know though: it’ll be a little shorter this time. Yes, we who are famous for word waterfalls can sometimes be lost for words too. It is when there is too much going about our brains, so much that expressing it in words would result in an overlap. But then again that IS my state of mind now; organized chaos!

I’m sitting in a very ideal position for creativity to flow; surrounded by orange and blue and a quite eye pleasing view outside. It was here, almost a dozen years ago that I came out one morning and exclaimed I’d seen a UFO. See what I mean by creativity and imagination gone berserk. But honestly I DID see something. Anyway, paranormal activities will be discussed some other day. I type as the rest of the family is contemplating where they would like to go to eat fish tonight. As an afterthought; my damn result is coming out tomorrow; around 10 am our time! (The air has changed).

I’m always in denial of the coming out of the result. Avoiding discussions and queries from family and friends about how I did in exams. But finally, one day before it’s as if I have no where to run. It’s on Facebook, it’s on my mobile inbox. It is always on a damn Monday which means weekend pep talks. Every time I run into my parents it’s “so what do you think, you’ll get through right?” My days of living in denial and blissful ignorance are over. I have to face the music. Whatever I put in the oven 2 months ago finally needs to get out and get devoured by the world. And yes that works both ways; it’ll get devoured even if it is totally crappy. I mean half of Islamabad knows it’s coming out and somehow they have supposed that as these were the 2 final papers I’m probably done with education (I’m not). So I should either find a job or find a guy! :S

I have always had a different approach to results. I mean if they suck it’s my fault I get it. But I’m not going to punish myself just because I screwed up. Bad things happen and they happen to everyone. Some people take it really bad; moping around, not touching their food, thinking it’s a sin to laugh out loud or watch TV or knock the life out the computer. I’m not saying I have never been to the dark side because I have. (I think I’m having an ‘emo’ day today :P)

It was somewhere in A’ Levels I guess and I assure you that was an ordeal that temporarily took the life out of me. Not because I wanted to, but because I thought I was expected to. After that experience I realized that just like we need to govern our happiness, the same is with sadness or anger. It is only on that person how he is supposed to mourn. And besides after all that my sadness deposit box took a heavy fall and was non repairable so I just chucked it. Anger is actually a better option. When used in a controlled amount it gets the frenzy out; a minute later your blood cools down and you actually think of a more rational next step. I’m glad though that it was a high school result that made me realise this rather than something bigger and worse. Also that heavy rock music can act as a better brain stimulant than slow and soft numbers.

This seems like an ideal place and situation to share my secret mind weapon; because technically I think more people should learn to use it. It is called the expelling/siphoning of a bad though from the mind. All those who are familiar with Harry Potter must remember how the wizard folk touched the wand to their heads and siphoned off their memories. That’s what you have to do. When something bad happens you can do one of the following: mourn or make it right. If suppose that you don’t have the “making right” authority then you probably won’t get anything out of thinking about it over and over again. Do NOT misinterpret though, this is not a lecture on insensitivity, it’s just an adjustment of the brain dials. You can try the ‘all is well’ theory told of in the “3 idiots” if you like; does seem effective.

The human brain is a chamber. Imagine this transparent cubicle inside the chamber. Totally secure and soundproof. This is where all unpleasant and torturous thoughts should go. They’re locked so you can’t hear them and they won’t bug you from time to time or control your activities. However, you can SEE them which means you haven’t forgotten and you’ll get back to them. The lesson here is not to run from problems, face them but not in a destructive way that you end up destroying your own self. This box is where I trap unpleasant thoughts or memories, only so they don’t roam my brain and suffocate my neurons. It works for all; results, fights with friends or siblings, unfairness of the world, suicide bombings, etc. etc. Call it a hair fall defense too :P (One of the many secrets of Sara Q’s enviable hair:D)

This entry is very journal like I think. And yeah it’s not short, probably because I’m rambling here. It started with result anxiety, had a bit of tragedy in the middle and ends with self-proclaimed philosophy and tried and tested methods. Anyway whatever happens tomorrow I know the direction I have to take. It does not depend on my result because I’m making it happen anyway. Might as well get some beauty sleep before the bomb drops though. Don’t be surprised, this is my own version of pessimistic optimism, need to see both sides of the coin. If you’re prepared it leaves a more decent mark.


All that has been said above applies to all tragedies tragic enough to promise a sleepless night or a sunless day. So knock yourself out. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Re: Sound advice..?

It's been a while since I made my last post, which was actually quite short and cryptic. The song was nice though wasn't it?

Anyway, I've been neglecting my duties as co-author for quite some time due to the numerous bullets I've been dodging as of late. Finally though I have some time to make a post and I thought I'd start easy and riff off Sara Q's post. Hey, at least I'm not getting "inspired" the way Pakistani and Indian filmmakers do. Due to the amount of bullet dodging I've been doing lately I'm not in the same state of mind that I usually am, so don't expect my post to have that signature flair. But hey, I'm awesome so it doesn't matter.

Reading through the "useful advice" that Sara Q. collected from various sources (Honestly, what do you read?) I could not believe what the so called experts told their dear readers. I can't say I was surprised though, after all, I learned a long time ago that we humans are born with the talent of stretching the limit of stupidity.

So here we go. This is my attempt to answer the questions of these perplexed individuals, along with a few words to the "experts".

Dear Aunty: My husband is my problem. He’s glued to the TV 24/7. It’s like the silly, rusty, old, big bellied telly is more attractive than I am. He doesn’t listen; he doesn't care what I say. He only gets up for bathroom breaks. It’s driving me crazy. Please help!

Aunty: Darling, I know exactly where that’s coming from. Its sad how something as small as a bathroom can create a tiff b/w two individuals so much in love. My heart swells at your concern for your husband’s entertainment. Maybe you can surprise him with a nice flat screen plasma. What’s money without love right. It’s no wonder he needs to go to the bathroom all the time. That TV is a bore. With a new hot one you can have the bathroom for hours because that guy won’t budge and he’ll adore you for the present! Talk about 2-in-1 right?

To the troubled wife:

You're the wife damn it. Throw a tantrum or something. He's supposed to give you attention so you're well within your rights. Ask your friends what to do about this situation and see what they have to say. I thought you ladies love to moan and complain about your not-so-better half? Just have a fight like normal couples do and KICK HIS A**. One night of sleeping on the couch will set the man straight. Just make sure you snatch the TV remote first.


To the "Aunty":

I'm sure your teachers must have said this to you a lot but I'll refresh your memory anyway, READ THE DAMN QUESTION YOU IDIOT.


Dear Aunty: I have a cousin who visits often, usually bringing her kids in tow. They are the most rowdy bunch ever. They run around the house like wild animals with my precious cookie jar. It’s not about the cookies; it’s how they and the rest of the goodies end up in the weirdest places, half digested or thrown up! I usually go along because I don’t want to upset my cousin who’s really touchy about her spoilt brats. But now I’m having second thoughts. Please tell me how to get the message through without hurting her feelings.

Aunty: Listen up girl! Those kids are going down! Let me also add that food is important even if you don’t think so. Too many people tag along their kids so they don’t have to feed them afterwards. Listen carefully; whenever that family gatecrashes take 2 sleeping pills per kid and grind and mix them in their juice. They’ll drop like logs and don’t worry it’s not dangerous. (Try xanax; it’s the best). Or you can do another thing; press down on the side of the necks, right where the jugular vein passes. It’s an old police trick; they’ll be knocked out for 30 minutes. Pronto! One child free zone.

To the perplexed cousin:

It's like this. Your house, your rules. You can get the message across to your cousin in one of two ways. The first method requires that you both sit down with a cup of tea in hand and then you proceed to tell your cousin that her kids are just a tiny bit troublesome and you would be ever so grateful if they didn't leave a food trail like Hansel and Gretel all over the house because then you would have to become an evil witch.

The second way requires that the next time your cousin comes over with kids in tow, send the maid away and hand your cousin a dustpan and a broom. Then, tell her to get to work. Hopefully, the back pain that she will suffer afterwards will serve as a reminder to keep the brats in check.


To the possible former junkie/Mel Gibson wannabe:

Oh.... My.... GOD. What the hell is wrong you? You should not be allowed to have kids. Sleeping pills? Honestly? Oh, and in case you do have kids I suggest that you deposit them at the nearest circus so that they have a chance to have a normal life.


Dear Aunty: I’m new in town and called over a few classmates to my place to hangout and socialize. While I was away getting some snacks, my PC was running and everyone was messing around with it. Somehow they activated videoconferencing and ended up recording everything they were doing. The vision and sound wasn’t good quality but enough to let me know that it was all badmouthing and rude gestures about to me. I felt really bad. Should I confront them or simply ignore the whole thing?

Aunty: My tech consultants advise that you should get a decent webcam, maybe up to 5 mega pixels if not more. If not, check whether your resolution is on ‘high definition’. Also, your microphone might be losing it. Maybe it needs replacement or cleaning. You do both and next time you’ll get a crystal clear image and sound. I know how you feel hon; you teenage boys want the best in technology all the time. Call ‘em all another time and see the results for yourself. Good luck!

To the kid:

Confront them. Do you really think you can just ignore this and still be friends? You won't have any respect form them and they clearly don't have much respect for you. So again, confront them. If they are your friends, they will understand that feelings were hurt and apologies should follow. If they don't understand your feelings, then they're not friends, they're parasites. Dump them and find a new crowd to hang with.


To the computer whiz:

My tech consultants advise me that you're an idiot. Tell me, what are the requirements to become an advice columnist? Is extraordinary stupidity included in the job specification? Wait a sec, you're not the same moron that gave advice to the wife competing with the TV are you?


Dear Aunty: My husband and I are an average looking couple, living in a very modest way. We’re quite content with life. However, this new neighbour moved in and she came to pay a visit. I noticed how instantly she and my husband clicked. I mean she’s all young, chic and drives some sports car while my hubby is a bum with a 1988 Honda. What’s the connection? My husband has been comparing me with her all weekend. I feel very insecure. Please help me prevent a disaster!

Aunty: Girl, it’s time you put an end to those modest ways because seriously where are they taking you. Break the piggy bank and buy your hubby some decent stuff. You’re obviously not good enough for him so why try. Become the ultimate date planner. Rent a nice car; they have an hourly rate so won’t cost much. Lets prevent the disaster; the disaster that would take place if you don’t hurry. I mean things go bad he still has you right but doesn’t hurt to try! Cheers!

To the insecure wife:

Find the girl a young, chic boy with a Ferrari. End of story. Though I must admit, Sara Q. is better suited to answer this query.


To the car salesman:

Damn it, your job is just to read a letter and respond. How can you screw that up? I hate repeating myself, READ THE DAMN QUESTION YOU IDIOT. The lady has a big problem. Her husband is comparing her to a younger model (pun, couldn't resist) and it's biting into her confidence. Help your fellow female out.


Dear Aunty: My farewell party is this weekend which I’m really excited about. My mom got me these clothes; they’re wonderful; all pink and yellow. Anyway sadly I failed on a test and am supposed to get it signed by my parents before the weekend. There is no way my folks would let me go after seeing that test. Tell me how to negotiate, please!!

Aunty: First of all; dump that dress. That combo is so last year. I saw your address; your place is close to this new boutique. Check that out instead. OK, about the signature: listen carefully. Get hold of your parents’ bank statement and trace that signature on a tracing paper. Next, put the tracing paper on your test paper and trace it down. A mould will appear. Shade that area with a pencil. The groove will become prominent so carefully trace that area with a pen. Wait for it to dry and then run an eraser over the whole thing to erase the pencil shading. Voila! One faked sign and one hot dress!! What will you kids do without me!

To the honor student:

The word here is "negotiation". Despite what you may think, parents are an understanding bunch. Get the test signed and put on those puppy dog eyes. Lay out your terms, which are to get to the farewell and know that some sacrifices will have to be made such as but not limited to being grounded after the farewell, lower allowance and possibly tuitions.


To the con-artist:

What will they do without you, you ask? Well here's a thought, they'll grow up to be honest responsible human beings. You know, the opposite of you.


Dear Aunty: I’m currently engaged to a very rich guy my parents chose for me. He’s not bad but he doesn’t really care for my choices or opinions at all. Recently I started chatting on msn messenger with this guy I don’t know. He is so down to earth, honest and understanding. He even told me he couldn’t come online everyday as he couldn’t really afford it. I’ve still not seen his picture but maybe I don’t need to. I’m caught up in the middle and don’t know what to do; I think I’m falling for him. Help me!

Aunty: Girl you are totally insane. You are putting a future of money and a lavish lifestyle on the line for whom? Some guy who can’t use a computer two days in a row. To top it all you haven’t even seen him. For all you know he might look like Danny Devito. Eventually both of you will starve. THEN I’ll ask you how much you want to go down the ‘earth’ for him. He has probably got the oldest version of msn. Urgh! Who needs love when you got money money money!! Silly goose.

To the girl:

Right. People like you really tick me off. To be more accurate, girls like you. You're in love with the idea of love. I guess its not your fault given all the junk bollywood and star plus are infecting you with. Listen up, chances are you are stereotyping. If the guy is rich he's probably a villain looking for a trophy wife right? He's probably spends all day in some dark office planning world conquest petting his white kitty. Wrong. Consider this. Maybe he's just shy. Rich people can be insecure too you know. Have you really talked to him? I mean like REALLY talked to him? Do you care for his opinions? Have a nice long chat, share your concerns. I'm sure he doesn't want to spend his life with a girl who doesn't want him. Breaking the engagement is not as bad as breaking a marriage. Oh, and conversely, who says the poor guy will be innocent and loyal as a puppy? Maybe he's a con artist after your money? Marriage is a big decision. Couples have big fights over the smallest of issues and money is no small issue. Lastly, THE INTERNET? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THE INTERNET?


To the matchmaker:

Please get a different job. Please. Please. PLEASE.


Dear Aunty: My brother is suffering from a dangerous form of obsession. He supports Arsenal and has never missed a match no matter what the time, place or event. He didn’t even attend our parents’ 25th anniversary dinner because he had to watch football. He takes it too seriously and so becomes edgy if his team loses. Should we be worried? Should we see some expert?

Aunty: Do me a favour and give him a good kick up his rear. Why the hell is he going through so much effort for a team that hardly made the top 10 last year. Show him some statistics. He needs to change loyalties. Tell him to try Chelsea or Man City instead (if he’s only interested in the Euro champion that is). Oh and try to be a little understanding from now on.

To the troubled sibling:

I think you need to have one of those intervention things. I've never actually had to hold one of those or be subjected to one of them so I have no idea. But hey, it's the age of google. Look it up. Also, maybe use another obsession to ween him off of this one. And you should see an expert about this. This obsession is quite unhealthy. Sports are supposed to be a healthy activity. The way he's behaving is clearly not healthy.


To the football junkie:

I think you'd be better off writing for the sports section. This is clearly not your game (pun again! Woohoo!).


Till the next post,
Talha A. B.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hey child, stay wild....

I’m a regular viewer of “gossip girl” these days; a show that gives a complete insight into ‘the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite’. It makes me think how easily a group of people can spend money as if its water. Oh wait! We can’t even play with water these days. Anyway, back to the elite; add in lack of a moral compass or integrity, infidelity, backstabbing and slander. Now that IS a bundle of vices.

I’ve nothing against the rich; it’s just that it’s obvious you need money to fool around. Having said that I admit there are many ethical exemptions. Anyway, I replaced Manhattan's elite with Islamabad's to see whether the city given the adjective of “dead” could possibly have a dark side. Well, apparently it does; kids gone wild, trafficking of illegal objects (read drugs), alcoholism and outrageous after dark parties.

I started racking my brains for any fishy activity either witnessed or passed on by word of mouth through credible channels. Little did I know that I’d run into it 5 minutes later. As I took a left from my street I almost ran into an SUV that had suddenly stopped next to a Honda. Within a split second the SUV guy made the transfer of a huge bottle wrapped in black polythene to the other car. In broad daylight! Talk about flexible work hours.

Sadly, this was not the first time. There is this mysterious Chinese restaurant a street away from mine that actually acts like a harbour to such activities. The police have tried to raid it many a time but somehow those good-for-nothings always get away with it.

A lot of kids from several institutions have started a tradition of making their appearance at school events all stoned. They’re just falling down all over the place and have no recollection the morning after. A friend of mine confided how he tended to this guy who got so drunk that he might not have lived had speedy counter actions not been taken. It still boils my blood to think of a certain underground band that was called to perform at my high school. As soon as the lights went down the band took out those flashy metal flasks and downed the contents as if there was no tomorrow. Even today, the day I’m writing this I was told by my parents how the boy in the car next to theirs was helping himself to cocaine.

This just might also be a small part of wild after parties. A few acquaintances of mine have stood witnesses to such activities and then made quick and embarrassing escapes; or if not, waited to eat the food they paid for and then made a run for it. To say that the public was smoking and drinking is a minuscule of what they were actually doing. Picture a sleazy music video of some rapper complete with a club scenario, flashing lights and grotesque body movements. A lot of other stuff goes on but then again let’s not get an “R” rating here. However, you are free to use your own imagination :P

Oh by the way, if you ever happen to accompany your mother to boutiques or designers and see skimpy outfits hanging as if the most usual thing in the world don’t think it’s going to go to waste. I assure you they are put to the best use (music video once again). That might be a good thing as a big bundle of money is being paid for a scanty amount of fabric. Good for the textile industry I’d say!

Then there’s street racing. Ever since the first “Fast and the Furious” came out it sort of became a new rave. Extremely modified yet unfit for racing vehicles are used in the process. What my dear racers don’t get is that the magic is in the tires and not the shiny alloyed RIMS; also that a cool music system and flame art have no technical relation with racing. You can actually sell one of these vehicles and feed all the homeless the country has to offer. To be honest I think I can hear something going on right now; courtesy of the close proximity between a certain flyover and my window. A fair share of ugly accidents has followed these shenanigans many a time. (Sigh!). The folly of youth!

I remember the first time I discovered the existence of such a class. It was many years ago at a dinner with family in a restaurant. In came half a dozen couples. Unfortunately we were the only ones there and those guys were particularly vocal about everything considered indecent in decent society. Add in chain smoking and public displays of affection. My innocent little mind wondered what kind of parents raised such a pack. My mom told me that the parents were probably no different; to them this is right, this is how life should be. Talk about family values. We never went back to that restaurant although I’m sure it was just a horrible coincidence.

So yes everyone, Islamabad is definitely alive but in this context, for all the wrong reasons. They all shout out loud about how much the youth is important especially in the current socio-political situation but here the youth is going through an identity crisis themselves (think Mick Jagger meets Marilyn Monroe). I’ll repeat my disclaimer; this goes for only a number of individuals though sadly that number is still big. The same number contains intelligence and resources that are invaluable but alas so SO wasted. I mean they’d rather solve a dispute with cash or influence rather than getting sweaty and physical.

All that can be said is: Farewell you night riders/ party animals. You have never contributed and you probably never will. Your activities bring along shock and sadness but I guess an outrageous and unconcerned division of society is required to make the rest of us very concerned and responsible. However, your mysterious yet senseless lives do make us want to probe from time to time but until the next investigatory session, SHIRLEY Holmes is signing off :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sound advice..?


Let’s take a break from seriousness today and lighten up things a bit.

Most of you must be familiar with the advice columns in the entertainment section of almost all newspapers. These advisors, mostly female hide behind pseudonyms and offer apparently unsolicited and loyal advice. Most of it seems reasonable; probably something we would say so ourselves. But what if these ‘aunties’ go haywire; misuse their power of trust and misinterpret what their ‘problem children’ are actually trying to say. Here’s a peek into how they can screw up those who are already screwed up:

Dear Aunty: My husband is my problem. He’s glued to the TV 24/7. It’s like the silly, rusty, old, big bellied telly is more attractive than I am. He doesn’t listen; he doesn't care what I say. He only gets up for bathroom breaks. It’s driving me crazy. Please help!

Aunty: Darling, I know exactly where that’s coming from. Its sad how something as small as a bathroom can create a tiff b/w two individuals so much in love. My heart swells at your concern for your husband’s entertainment. Maybe you can surprise him with a nice flat screen plasma. What’s money without love right. It’s no wonder he needs to go to the bathroom all the time. That TV is a bore. With a new hot one you can have the bathroom for hours because that guy won’t budge and he’ll adore you for the present! Talk about 2-in-1 right?


Dear Aunty: I have a cousin who visits often, usually bringing her kids in tow. They are the most rowdy bunch ever. They run around the house like wild animals with my precious cookie jar. It’s not about the cookies; it’s how they and the rest of the goodies end up in the weirdest places, half digested or thrown up! I usually go along because I don’t want to upset my cousin who’s really touchy about her spoilt brats. But now I’m having second thoughts. Please tell me how to get the message through without hurting her feelings.

Aunty: Listen up girl! Those kids are going down! Let me also add that food is important even if you don’t think so. Too many people tag along their kids so they don’t have to feed them afterwards. Listen carefully; whenever that family gatecrashes take 2 sleeping pills per kid and grind and mix them in their juice. They’ll drop like logs and don’t worry it’s not dangerous. (Try xanax; it’s the best). Or you can do another thing; press down on the side of the necks, right where the jugular vein passes. It’s an old police trick; they’ll be knocked out for 30 minutes. Pronto! One child free zone.


Dear Aunty: I’m new in town and called over a few classmates to my place to hangout and socialize. While I was away getting some snacks, my PC was running and everyone was messing around with it. Somehow they activated videoconferencing and ended up recording everything they were doing. The vision and sound wasn’t good quality but enough to let me know that it was all badmouthing and rude gestures about to me. I felt really bad. Should I confront them or simply ignore the whole thing?

Aunty: My tech consultants advise that you should get a decent webcam, maybe up to 5 mega pixels if not more. If not, check whether your resolution is on ‘high definition’. Also, your microphone might be losing it. Maybe it needs replacement or cleaning. You do both and next time you’ll get a crystal clear image and sound. I know how you feel hon; you teenage boys want the best in technology all the time. Call ‘em all another time and see the results for yourself. Good luck!


Dear Aunty: My husband and I are an average looking couple, living in a very modest way. We’re quite content with life. However, this new neighbour moved in and she came to pay a visit. I noticed how instantly she and my husband clicked. I mean she’s all young, chic and drives some sports car while my hubby is a bum with a 1988 Honda. What’s the connection? My husband has been comparing me with her all weekend. I feel very insecure. Please help me prevent a disaster!

Aunty: Girl, it’s time you put an end to those modest ways because seriously where are they taking you. Break the piggy bank and buy your hubby some decent stuff. You’re obviously not good enough for him so why try. Become the ultimate date planner. Rent a nice car; they have an hourly rate so won’t cost much. Lets prevent the disaster; the disaster that would take place if you don’t hurry. I mean things go bad he still has you right but doesn’t hurt to try! Cheers!


Dear Aunty: My farewell party is this weekend which I’m really excited about. My mom got me these clothes; they’re wonderful; all pink and yellow. Anyway sadly I failed on a test and am supposed to get it signed by my parents before the weekend. There is no way my folks would let me go after seeing that test. Tell me how to negotiate, please!!

Aunty: First of all; dump that dress. That combo is so last year. I saw your address; your place is close to this new boutique. Check that out instead. OK, about the signature: listen carefully. Get hold of your parents’ bank statement and trace that signature on a tracing paper. Next, put the tracing paper on your test paper and trace it down. A mould will appear. Shade that area with a pencil. The groove will become prominent so carefully trace that area with a pen. Wait for it to dry and then run an eraser over the whole thing to erase the pencil shading. Voila! One faked sign and one hot dress!! What will you kids do without me!


Dear Aunty: I’m currently engaged to a very rich guy my parents chose for me. He’s not bad but he doesn’t really care for my choices or opinions at all. Recently I started chatting on msn messenger with this guy I don’t know. He is so down to earth, honest and understanding. He even told me he couldn’t come online everyday as he couldn’t really afford it. I’ve still not seen his picture but maybe I don’t need to. I’m caught up in the middle and don’t know what to do; I think I’m falling for him. Help me!

Aunty: Girl you are totally insane. You are putting a future of money and a lavish lifestyle on the line for whom? Some guy who can’t use a computer two days in a row. To top it all you haven’t even seen him. For all you know he might look like Danny Devito. Eventually both of you will starve. THEN I’ll ask you how much you want to go down the ‘earth’ for him. He has probably got the oldest version of msn. Urgh! Who needs love when you got money money money!! Silly goose.


Dear Aunty: My brother is suffering from a dangerous form of obsession. He supports Arsenal and has never missed a match no matter what the time, place or event. He didn’t even attend our parents’ 25th anniversary dinner because he had to watch football. He takes it too seriously and so becomes edgy if his team loses. Should we be worried? Should we see some expert?

Aunty: Do me a favour and give him a good kick up his rear. Why the hell is he going through so much effort for a team that hardly made the top 10 last year. Show him some statistics. He needs to change loyalties. Tell him to try Chelseaor Man City instead (if he’s only interested in the Euro champion that is). Oh and try to be a little understanding from now on.

Uh, need I say more?

P.S: I think it's necessary to add that although I wrote this, this is not the type of advice I give. I give good advice. Like really good. I'm famous for that. Do NOT underestimate Sara Q's advisory service. Period! :P