Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Spirit of Qurbani

''Why do Pakistani's throw up blood from their mouth?'' I was astonished as you are after hearing this question from a cousin of mine who had visited Pakistan for a vacation. He had returned after thirteen years and given that he was only six on his last visit, I decided to give his question a logical thought. It turned out that my cousin had been observing the market from his balcony and had seen several people spitting paan. Yes, he was not acquainted with that stuff and thus was confused when he saw people routinely spitting red liquids in a corner right underneath his observational view.
  
He went to ask a string of other questions like that making all efforts to register as a retard in my opinion. However, it turned out that his questions were not out of place or against common sense. After all, where in this entire world would he have had seen people slaying animals right in the middle of the road? To clarify, I would like to add that my cousin had lived in Canada throughout his life and so the very practices that Pakistani people cite as their culture and heritage turned out to be in conflict with his common sense. He failed to understand why people entered into a price race when they bought animals for Eid ul Azha? He is not one of the best Muslims I have met but growing up in a Muslim family he has learnt and practices well the basic tenets of Islam and hence I felt that some of his questions pointed to the stark truths that Pakistanis had grown accustomed to. His belief that qurbani is a sacrifice and that going by the Islamic way, there has to be equal proportions for distribution between self, relatives and the poor is scarcely observed in practice in Pakistan. Not that there aren't people who do it that way: there are however, these have been far outnumbered by the ones who buy animals costing a million rupees (and sometimes even more) and then freeze the meat in their deep freezers. My cousin’s invented a new slogan for them in place of “Eid Mubarak!”…it’s “Meat Mubarak!”

I decided to investigate by asking the same question in my neighbourhood. Very soon I felt too like a retard because the replies I got clearly indicated that qurbani for some people meant that they had to 'show' their wealth to their relatives in order to stay in the 'elite' circle and for that the higher the price of the animal, the better the bargain (albeit not the qurbani). A series of homogenous answers led me to the sad conclusion that Muslims or better said Pakistanis have lost the meaning of the word 'qurbani' in its true sense. Attending sermons and Eid prayers has not helped them change their ideology about qurbani, how it is to be done and the merits of distributing meat rather than bbqing it in bulk. I consider myself included in the list of people who need to rethink their stance and interpretation of qurbani and eesaar. I believe that if qurbani, as what is done in Pakistan, is what has been enjoined in Islam, then I would prefer to be labelled a retard and make peace with my cousin with whom I was at loggerheads because he could not understand why I drove past a red signal three times while dropping him home. I told him that it was Eid and traffic was low volume but he simply did not get it. Retard, me.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Kolaveri Di of Pakistan

Seems like we have our very own Pakistani "Why this Kolaveri Di?" with Waderai Ka Beta - Ali Gul Pir ... the video simply is viral and reflects in part the reality of our soceity - "Saeen toh saeen, saeen ka kutta bhi saeen". Interesting to see is the video in which Ali Gul Pir shares the road to the video. Even though it is a light-hearted jingle, Ali's live performance at Port Grand was a blast. Read about it here.

Monday, 2 July 2012

An excellent read

IT once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid, and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake.
And this thought having occurred to him, he had it proclaimed throughout his kingdom that he would give a great reward to any one who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was the most important thing to do.

And learned men came to the King, but they all answered his questions differently. In reply to the first question, some said that to know the right time for every action, one must draw up in advance, a table of days, months and years, and must live strictly according to it. Only thus, said they, could everything be done at its proper time. Others declared that it was impossible to decide beforehand the right time for every action; but that, not letting oneself be absorbed in idle pastimes, one should always attend to all that was going on, and then do what was most needful. Others, again, said that however attentive the King might be to what was going on, it was impossible for one man to decide correctly the right time for every action, but that he should have a Council of wise men, who would help him to fix the proper time for everything.

But then again others said there were some things which could not wait to be laid before a Council, but about which one had at once to decide whether to undertake them or not. But in order to decide that one must know beforehand what was going to happen. It is only magicians who know that; and, therefore in order to know the right time for every action, one must consult magicians. Equally various were the answers to the second question. Some said, the people the King most needed were his councillors; others, the priests; others, the doctors; while some said the warriors were the most necessary.

To the third question, as to what was the most important occupation: some replied that the most important thing in the world was science. Others said it was skill in warfare; and others, again, that it was religious worship. All the answers being different, the King agreed with none of them, and gave the reward to none. But still wishing to find the right answers to his questions, he decided to consult a hermit, widely renowned for his wisdom.

The hermit lived in a wood which he never quitted and he received none but common folk. So the King put on simple clothes, and before reaching the hermit's cell dismounted from his horse, and, leaving his bodyguard behind, went on alone. When the King approached, the hermit was digging the ground in front of his hut. Seeing the King, he greeted him and went on digging. The hermit was frail and weak, and each time he stuck his spade into the ground and turned a little earth, he breathed heavily.

The King went up to him and said: 'I have come to you, wise hermit, to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest? And, what affairs are the most important and need my first attention?' The hermit listened to the King, but answered nothing. He just spat on his hand and recommenced digging.
'You are tired,' said the King, 'let me take the spade and work awhile for you.'
'Thanks!' said the hermit, and, giving the spade to the King, he sat down on the ground.
When he had dug two beds, the King stopped and repeated his questions. The hermit again gave no answer, but rose, stretched out his hand for the spade, and said:
'Now rest awhile -- and let me work a bit.'
But the King did not give him the spade, and continued to dig. One hour passed, and another. The sun began to sink behind the trees, and the King at last stuck the spade into the ground, and said:
'I came to you, wise man, for an answer to my questions. If you can give me none, tell me so, and I will return home.'
'Here comes some one running,' said the hermit, 'let us see who it is.'
The King turned round, and saw a bearded man come running out of the wood. The man held his hands pressed against his stomach, and blood was flowing from under them. When he reached the King, he fell fainting on the ground moaning feebly. The King and the hermit unfastened the man's clothing. There was a large wound in his stomach. The King washed it as best he could, and bandaged it with his handkerchief and with a towel the hermit had. But the blood would not stop flowing, and the King again and again removed the bandage soaked with warm blood, and washed and rebandaged the wound. When at last the blood ceased flowing, the man revived and asked for something to drink. The King brought fresh water and gave it to him. Meanwhile the sun had set, and it had become cool. So the King, with the hermit's help, carried the wounded man into the hut and laid him on the bed. Lying on the bed the man closed his eyes and was quiet; but the King was so tired with his walk and with the work he had done, that he crouched down on the threshold, and also fell asleep -- so soundly that he slept all through the short summer night. When he awoke in the morning, it was long before he could remember where he was, or who was the strange bearded man lying on the bed and gazing intently at him with shining eyes.
'Forgive me!' said the bearded man in a weak voice, when he saw that the King was awake and was looking at him.
'I do not know you, and have nothing to forgive you for,' said the King.
'You do not know me, but I know you. I am that enemy of yours who swore to revenge himself on you, because you executed his brother and seized his property. I knew you had gone alone to see the hermit, and I resolved to kill you on your way back. But the day passed and you did not return. So I came out from my ambush to find you, and I came upon your bodyguard, and they recognized me, and wounded me. I escaped from them, but should have bled to death had you not dressed my wound. I wished to kill you, and you have saved my life. Now, if I live, and if you wish it, I will serve you as your most faithful slave, and will bid my sons do the same. Forgive me!'
The King was very glad to have made peace with his enemy so easily, and to have gained him for a friend, and he not only forgave him, but said he would send his servants and his own physician to attend him, and promised to restore his property.
Having taken leave of the wounded man, the King went out into the porch and looked around for the hermit. Before going away he wished once more to beg an answer to the questions he had put. The hermit was outside, on his knees, sowing seeds in the beds that had been dug the day before.
The King approached him, and said:
'For the last time, I pray you to answer my questions, wise man.'
'You have already been answered!' said the hermit still crouching on his thin legs, and looking up at the King, who stood before him.
'How answered? What do you mean?' asked the King.
'Do you not see,' replied the hermit. 'If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug these beds for me, but had gone your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented of not having stayed with me. So the most important time was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important man; and to do me good was your most important business. Afterwards, when that man ran to us, the most important time was when you were attending to him, for if you had not bound up his wounds he would have died without having made peace with you. So he was the most important man, and what you did for him was your most important business. Remember then: there is only one time that is important -- Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!'

Friday, 22 June 2012

Pakistan and its image problem

Eric Schmidt's article with the same title is not just a summary of our problems but indeed highlights the many different areas in which Pakistan is lacking. That he could not come to terms with the load-shedding here does not mean that he was oblivious to its existence. He pointed out that "Estimates are that the country has enough generation capacity (hydro and oil based) to handle all the load, but corruption, power stealing, poor payment rates and the classic mistake of under-pricing power compared to its real generation cost means that industrial production is threatened."


With a powerful middle class and growing mobile penetration, his argument for change and development is valid and achievable. At times his observations were very saddening...the gone-in-30-second feat of our PM, the brutal treatment of women in the rural areas and the 43% illiteracy rate...not that the other educated ones behave as such (which creates the major problems like corruption and mishandling)


The article should be looked upon as the areas where we Pakistanis can work together and bring about some positive change. The potential in Pakistan's people and resources is barely tapped into and collective ventures in the right directions with support from the top is all what is required to change the fact of this nation in five years...

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Tipping Point

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Whatsapp, Viber, LinkedIn, MySpace, FourSquare, Blackberry Messenger, Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live.


The above is a non-exhaustive list of social networks or applications that serve the same purpose (more or less): communication and sharing with friends, family, co-workers, etc... But why so many? If Orkut was not enough, we have Facebook, if WhatsApp was not enough, we have Viber. The growth of social media has been very fast-paced. So much that one can consider the current times to be the "tipping point" where individuals are likely to saturate into the existing networks and will tend to ignore upcoming ones. After all, how many times would one enter their personal data and why take the pains to keep them updated.


To summarize: How many social networks should a person join to be considered enough?

Friday, 8 June 2012

A Heavenly Sojourn

Saif ul Malook: Words cannot describe the beauty...
Pakistan's Northern areas are a beau. Truly. Recently, and quite luckily having the chance to tour the Northern areas of Pakistan, I am compelled to feel that if there are glimpses of heaven on earth, then Pakistan has a lion’s share in those glimpses. Touring Naran and Lake Saif ul Malook I was with a troupe of approximately 120 colleagues which is where I got the chance to breath nature. The picturesque views of Naran, the dangerous trails to Saif ul Malook, the clear clouds and steep ridges at Batakundi and the mesmerizing view at Malook were all indicative of the fact that the Northern Areas of Pakistan are still a heavenly delight. Words would do injustice to describe the fun and level of enjoyment I had, in addition to the treating scenes. From meeting the locals to hearing their myths about various places to eating some fantastically delicious food, it was a fun-packed four days.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Karachiites Toolkit

Keeping into view the rising number of mobile snatching incidents in Karachi, one of the tools at the disposal of Karachites is the CPLC Theft Form. Even though reporting an incident does not guarantee that the handset will be blocked, it nevertheless, reduces the risks associated with not reporting the incident promptly.

Of course, this has to be followed up with some sort of verification with the CPCL itself otherwise dummy reporting cases would lead to a number of legitimate users having their handsets blocked (at the hands of mischievous close friends). Listed on their website are also the contact details copied below:

U.A.N Number 111 222 345
Emergency No. 136

 
Phone Number +92 (21) 3568 3333
  +92 (21) 3566 2222
   
Fax Number +92 (21) 35683336 

Monday, 28 May 2012

Mobile banking in Pakistan

For years now, a lot of banks have cooperated with the mobile network operators (MNOs) to penetrate banking into the unbanked areas in Pakistan. The initiatives have all been led by the big five banks and the results have been mixed success. HBL's partnership with UFone and subsequent Mr. Bean marketing campaigns have been above the average response but other campaigns have not made a stir in the market. 


In such times, Standard Chartered bank's mobile portal is a breakthrough move. The bank, that already has an excellent online banking portal, has created a light-weight version of the same and rolled it out as the mBank. Though the online portal was easily accessible through mobile devices, the creation of this portal utilises data more efficiently by cutting down on unwanted graphics (which consume more data and hence are costlier). The portal does not boast of too many innovations - it is a simple stripped down version of the online portal offering basic services like paying phone bills, mobile credit and transferring funds to pre-added payee's. At the same time, the portal also offers saving icons for Nokia and Blackberry users. A very good start, one must say, for the future of mobile banking in Pakistan.

Friday, 25 May 2012

The Time Travel Saga

In a dream, in a period of an hour, you see a year pass and many deeds are performed. If you were to read the Qur’an in the place of these deeds in that hour, you would finish reading the whole Quran a couple of times. This state takes place for the saints of Allah while they are awake. The issue is related to the capacity of the soul. In fact, the soul is not restricted to time. The deeds of saints of Allah whose souls are superior to their bodies take place with the speed of soul.” (Mesnevi-i Nuriye)

Today, we take it for granted that voices and visions instantly reach many places at the same time via television. However, we cannot grasp it that the throne of Bilqis was instantly brought to the presence of Hazrat Sulayman (PBUH). If we succeed in transferring things like voices and visions one day, we will then find it only natural and reasonable too, and begin not to wonder at it, either.

In the text above, there was an expression we are not acquainted with: the speed of soul. The speed of soul can be compared to neither light nor voice. Imagination is a servant of the soul. It can reach paradises at an instant. Reason is the tool of soul for understanding. Man can rise to stars and contemplate them with this tool.

When the soul surpasses the body, it becomes very easy to be present in different places at the same time. In dreams, our soul also surpasses our body to some extent. It covers great distances at a moment; we can easily go to the past and the future. We can talk with both our grandfathers and grandchildren. Why should a soul, which surpasses angels by developing spiritually, not do the thing they easily do? Why should it not be present in different places at the same time?

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Much ado about nothing

Whilst reading the article (http://tribune.com.pk/story/374665/post-op-estimates-police-rack-up-rs16m-bill-but-barely-make-a-dent-in-lyari/), I could not help but think that for the police, it was all an affair of getting funds. At least the handsome figures of biryani supply costs insist so. The operation in Lyari has told the international media that we have terrorists within the backyard of our own commercial hub and that our police is incapable of thwarting them out even after ten days of "operations". It's high time for some kind of military operation because if the police cannot match the artillery in possession of the gangsters in Lyari, then there is no logic in continuing to keep the police operation on.

These things aside, a couple of weeks back, in a show on some local news channel, a reporter had surveyed the Lyari public on their issues, problems and concerns regarding the current security situation in the town viz-a-viz their political affiliations. It was surprising to see that the public's attitude was "This PPP minister (Gabol) is bad, but we will still vote for PP in future." The people had blind faith in PPP as a result of their generational loyalty and were not willing to look beyond it. I could not pity those people then because when the time would come to choose their fate, they would willingly select the thieves to rule over them. For them Steve Jobs summed it all well, albeit in a totally different context: "Stay hungry, stay foolish."

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Barthez - 16

Whilst attending my cousins Nikah ceremony at a lawn in KMC complex on Sunday night, I came across a young kid barely 12 who was picking up the table cloths after the dulha had moved to the dulhan side for photography. In between his cloth-picking I got a chance to speak to him. ''Saab aap mere baare mein jaan kar kya karenge (what will you do after getting to know me?''). He had a valid point. His story was painful and I do not feel like repeating it here. He was born into a poor family and to support his family he worked overnight.

His battle was a hard one. There was no government support for his family nor were they enrolled on the list of any NGO. Breaking out from the vicious cycle of poverty was a daunting task for him.

Amidst the negativity and doom that loomed his future, he remarked with a positive stint in his eye: ''Mujhe angrezi parhne ka shawq hai (I like to read English).'' So much as I wished, I could not do anything for him at that point in time except that I committed to drop by the next day with something of value to him that would assist him in achieving that aim. The number of Barthez's on the streets is silently climbing as we wait for political leaders to brush aside their differences and vested interest and do something for them. Being a taxpayer, it is kind of frustrating to see this trend. As I write this, I have in mind the success story of one such boy. Miraculous as it may seem, it certainly was the result of determination and hard-work. Let's hope the same for our Barthez too!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Achievement all the way

I was reading through the story titled Corporate titan: After 27 years at Engro, Asad Umar calls it a day and whilst what he will do next has already been revealed, his achievements as the CEO of Engro certainly demand respect.
His wealth mentioned in the article puts him in no need of any further financial rewards (at least literally). His reputation is amongst the cleanest of CEOs in the industry and the success he achieved in Engro is exceptional by all means. What then is the motivation behind the move from such an illustrious career towards a political one? It is probably the fact that he "felt" it was time to move ... to make a greater impact in Pakistan than he already had.
I came across a funny comment once regarding PTI that "if someone has joined PTI, then he must have had belonged to some other party earlier". The perception of PTI is "old school, fool again" amongst some of the literates of our populace. What they fail to see is that without peoples' support PTI, or for that matter, any party is nothing but dust.
Asad Umar's move to PTI is another signal for the people in power that there is a group of people who are slowly growing in strength and rising. No, they may not win the next elections and may not make an impact for the next five years but it will continue to play a role in Pakistani politics. In my opinion and that too a neutral one, we are definitely in for some interesting politics in the coming months as Imran Khan rejuvenates his strategy and inducts key individuals to his party. Because, PTI is slowly turning out to be "Party of Talented Individuals".

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A people of blood

As bizarre accounts of man's brutality come pouring in, so does it bring the grief with it that one feels for the loss of innocent lives. On paper Gilgit is embossed in curfew but few know that extremist factions of Islam...paganism...have begun the free massacre of Shia Muslims at their own will and desire despite army curfews.

Having read through what one eye witness had to say, I could not imagine what had gotten into/out the minds of the killers who have by now tried a number of brutal ways to exterminate whom they have so proudly pronounced as 'kaafirs (infidels)'. Declaring themselves as champions of Islam, they are doing in the 21st century what is definitely against both the teachings of Islam and human dignity. To kill a human without justified cause is a grave sin in Islam and that too on a religious belief or ideology is sheer idiocy and hypocrisy.
Though the account could not be verified independently, upon researching through contacts, I came to know of atrocities so brutal being committed by non-state actors that I am tearful at the moment and do not wish to elaborate them here (like our media fondly loves to).

Nothing can be as painful and grieving as what Imam Hussain (A.S.) and His companions suffered on 10th Muharram 61 AH and afterwards and throughout history, various dynasties have done their best to kill the followers of the Prophet's (S.A.W.W.) own kin. But what is happening in Gilgit and Skardu is a big slap on a nation that claims to be fighting against terror.

I request each one of you who reads this to continue spreading it because the media has turned a cold shoulder to this minority of Pakistan that has suffered at the hands of various rulers throughout the last 1400 years.  Sitting on our cozy sofas on speedy machines thousands of miles away from the scene of gross injustice does not relieve us of our responsibility to do whatever we can to condemn the grave injustice. Because if it this does not wrench our hearts, then God knows what will.

Friday, 6 April 2012

The Purfect Guy

Well done Amal, your Sunday piece "The Perfect Guy" was nicely written! And it was one of the few ones coming from the female gender. There are a few things, however, that I would like to add:

1. Girls seem to be pretty quick when it comes to getting judgmental. Allow some time before anything can be said about the personality of a guy.

2. The Perfect Guy is a myth. Men are from Mars, Women from Saturn :)
Both men and women have imperfections but what improves a relationship is the ability to move on with mutual respect without repeating past mistakes.  

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

the new stalker - Facebook!

Yup, your biggest stalker is not on Facebook, but its Facebook itself! And that's not according to a new research but an observation screenshotted above. Status updates, photos, videos have always been the crux of Facebookers. The introduction of the "Place" subsequently replaced by location tracking added the geographical aspect to social updates on FB. The introduction of the "Timeline" feature signaled that FB was using a detail-oriented approach with respect to the lives of its consumers. The latest straw in the hat is now the "life event" option that appears in the status update tab list. It seems that the existing updates and data uploaded by FB users needs categorization so that some sense can be extracted from it.

As is visible in the above screenshot, a number of life events can be entered in. Even existing posts/data can be linked to an "event". The purpose is to arrange everything in a linear time axis (because that's the best way to learn about someone). Sounds like there's a new stalker in town and he's going to make you arrange all your information neatly!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Firefox Aurora

Firefox Aurora seems to be the latest thing in the browsers' tinsel town. Sleek, still in its beta version and extremely fast, this browser combines the sleekness and speed of Chrome and allows Firefoxers to experience the best of Google and Mozilla's innovations. 

One of the advantages of this browser is that it does not overwrite an existing Firefox installation and in its own is a separate browser that borrows heavily from Mozilla. It imports all bookmarks and history just like any other browser. The experience of using this one is however very good and deserves a +10 any day. The UI is similar to that of Chrome but at the same time it combines the extendability of Firefox which allows already used gadgets and add-ons to be automatically imported to Aurora. This is one hell of a browser for any tech-savvy person.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Religious Fanaticism

This article highlights the plight of minorities in Pakistan: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/03/05/city/karachi/rinkle-chose-or-forced-to-be-faryal/

Economic, political, ethnic or social - a minority is a minority and vulnerable to the injustices that human extremes can think of. The case of Rinkle is very humiliating to the flag of Islam. There is no law, decree, stipulation, ayat (verse) in the Holy Quran that calls for the action that the influential baba ordered his disciples to undertake. Pretty sad that these people on the outside are associated with Islam because in reality they have nothing to do with Islam and Islam has got nothing to do with them. Though the report, the original story and the circumstances are all debatable, the incident in itself is not surprising. Rural villages in Sindh and Punjab and for that matter anywhere in the world have instances where people tend to engage in fanaticism when it comes to petty issues. Such cases often do not see the light of the day and in some cases, the media is only exploiting the victims to get themselves a story. Not passing judgments here but just have a feeling that as long as there is illiteracy on the outskirts of our population, such incidents will continue to give a negative to Pakistan and Islam.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

"Qanoon naqis karne waale idaare...

...kahin maujood na the. (Law enforcement agencies were not present anywhere)." Well why would they be? If a number of hooligans decide to involve a city of 15 17 18 million people in their war games, how could a force of already corrupt officials be expected to tame them? The favorite past time of policemen is err ... let's not be judgmental. But truth is that a number of corrupt policemen have tainted the image and the power of what is generally a disciplined force in developed nations. The opening statement is something you will regularly hear in local television news reports. We, Pakistanis, are so good at blame games that there is rarely a reporter or news caster who fails to mention that policemen were not present on a day when they could have had made a difference to the local situation. Me thinks the policemen are getting their inspiration from Afridi...hit hard when not needed and vice-versa.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Death and the city

I was crossing the Kashmir Road Society Office intersection today morning on my way to my brothers' school when I saw approximately 50 mazdoor (labourers) sitting on the footpath adjoining the roundabout. They were mainly Pathans or maybe Afghans and looked very grim.
Day before yesterday, Karachi was burning because 2 political workers had been ambushed http://thinkaholick.blogspot.com/2012/03/1-upon-karachi.html Yesterday evening, one ANP worker was shot dead in a busy district of Karachi. http://samaa.tv/newsdetail.aspx?ID=45305&CID=1 Within a few hours, traffic had thinned and the city had reverted back to its blood-thirsty counter-strike mode. 

In my mind I was trying to think what those labourers might be thinking. For them, the bloodshed and sectarianism was meaningless. Their struggle in life is to provide two square meals for themselves and their families. What is the meaning of political killings to them? Two days of lost work during one week which will only add to their economic and social problems. They have sunk two days back in time compared to the rich. This divide is getting wider and wider and unfortunately forcing such people to the point of frustration. As I rode around the corner back on my way after a while, I could see their depressed eyes. They looked tired...from the fight they had to consistently engage in for their survival in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan...a nation that was envisioned to be an embodiment of justice and equality...unfortunately it ain't no more.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

1 upon Karachi

Karachi.
2 brothers were killed and the wife of one was injured when gunfire attacked their abode in the early hours of March 27, 2011. It turned out they belonged to the emotionally unscrupulous party named MQM whose strings are controlled via phone calls from London. What happened next is a child's guess for Karachiites: more than three dozen buses (and cars) were set alight, shop owners refused to risk their lives for one day of business and schools panicked and started sending children home. Sad but true.

You may ask "Where was the police?" so I will answer "At Bilawal House, protecting the empty kothi (mansion) of the current rulers". "Who were the killers?" The people who lost their vehicles and their lives :( were not the killers. The killers in fact have a high chance of themselves being eaten away by insects in their graves now or on a flight to Sri Lanka. They will never be caught, prosecuted or punished. Sad reality.
For the taxpayer, such a situation is like a market crash. Everything and anything that was unfortunate enough to come in the way of hooligans who make the most of such situations perishes. People died without having any cause or relationship with the deceased or their killers. "How long will this continue?" God knows better.

Social Theft

'Kitne number hai meter pe?' I asked slightly agitated.
'Mera bhai...aapki bike mein maine 250 ka petrol daala hai, aap befikar raho. (I filled in Rs. 250 worth of petrol in your bike).' replied the chum attendant.

The context of this conversation was one which hundreds if not thousands of unsuspecting residents of Karachi may never encounter unless they choose to cross check the fuel meter at petrol stations.

I am not a social policeman but I lose my temper very quickly when I discover that I am being cheated. The conversation in question happened when I asked for Rs. 250 of petrol to be filled in my bike. I was observing the meter which had a very blurred '.' separator. Nevertheless, when the attendant finished the meter read 2510. The attendant said that this was equivalent to Rs. 251 whereas I believed that it was only Rs. 25.10.

What ensued next was a challenge to him to fuel the next car while I observed. Lo and behold the next customer was a car who had asked for petrol worth Rs. 250. At the end of the filling (which took a considerable amount of time as compared to when my bike was fueled) the meter read 25000. It was at this point I pointed my question to whom I would now like to refer as the chum attendant.

Despite his 'assurance' that 'he was my brother' and that he had put in Rs. 250 worth of fuel (which was evidently not true when I inspected the tank level) he shrugged at me when I demanded the remaining Rs. 225 petrol to be filled in.

He however, referred me to the pump manager who, after hearing my ordeal, decided that 'bhai Rs. 200 ka aur petrol mein dedeta hun (let me fill Rs. 200 worth of petrol more).'

The point was not petrol or the sum of Rs. 225...it was about trust and the reliability of both the fuel attendant and the fuel meter. I do not know who was wrong. Maybe the attendant was right and the fuel meter misbehaved or maybe he had a treaty with the cash collector to pin unsuspecting middle class people (bike owners>>middle class and lower middle class). But in any case, it was a situation I pray that other bikers do not fall prey to. This is the best way to spread awareness amongst the people I know and care for...and that is exactly what I am doing.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Time Dimension

Stephen Hawkings' analogy of defining time 'as an arrow' is notoriously interesting. It not only has allowed the lay man a better understanding of what time is but also makes it certain that time is a one-dimensional variable. And yet in the Holy Quran it is mentioned that 'time will be unfolded' (I will quote the exact verses when I read them in the whole Surah's context next time). Time may have three characteristics as defined by Stephen Hawkings that make it highly unlikely for it to coexist backwards; but there nevertheless is a greater power whose laws are Divine and yet to be understood by mankind.