Tagged with " Humour"

Mother tongue and the other tongues

speak

Human beings are designed to either want things or to want to do things. Most have a list of things they would like to do or get or achieve before they hit the bucket. It can range from wanting to walk the Appalachian Trail to wanting to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company to having 17 wives and over 100 kids. (I’m not joking: there is actually a person in the UAE who is doing this, and that too with government funding.)

My own wishes are a bit more prosaic and don’t require me to walk through a country or hike to a mountain peak or procreate like crazy. One of them is to become multilingual.

There is merit in learning languages other than the one you grew up speaking. (This applies especially to speakers of English, which almost everyone speaks these days.) I don’t want to learn a new language because it would look cool on my college application – been there, done that, multiple times – without ever knowing a third language. In fact, I already have three degrees and if I even think about going back to school (which I secretly do), my sisters will commit me to a mental institution. The doctors at the mental institution will have to coin a new term for my disease which would sound something like “addicted to being a student so she can do all the peculiar stuff she wants to and stay unemployed while pretend to pursue academic excellence”… but I digress. I also don’t want to learn a new language just so I can be known as that “crackpot who can speak Ukrainian”; there are enough reasons already for me to be classified as a crackpot (Ukranian or no Ukranian). I don’t even want to be called a well-rounded person because I am a well-rounded person. As a matter of fact, I need to turn some of that roundedness into muscle, but I digress again. My problem is this: every time I decide to learn a new language, something happens that puts me off it. It is either a series of unfortunate events or a horrid person or my lack of perseverance or a combination of it all, but I am yet to master a third language – I have checked, sarcasm doesn’t count as a language, although it should, given that it is the Esperanto of our time – and I am digressing yet again.

Anyone who knows me knows my love for Ghalib. When people land in Delhi for the first time, they want to eat food at Dilli Haat or see Qutub Minaar or have their pictures taken at Laal Qila. I went to pay respect to Mirza Ghalib at his mazaar. Abba (not the Mama Mia fame 70s pop act – I call my father Abba) used to say that in order to fully appreciate Ghalib one must know Farsi. And so I always wanted to learn it to understand Ghalib better.

But my 45-day trip to Iran – I was working on a travelogue for a TV channel – stripped me of all the love and affection I had for the language. All I can now remember is the haggling I did in grammatically incorrect Farsi at the Grand Bazaar of Tehran and how the Irani actor who was working on our project complained that he had been sexually propositioned by a Pakistani actor and how I first had to placate him and then requested him not to register a complaint in a weird mix of barely-there Persian and English with a few Urdu and Punjabi expletives thrown in for my personal satisfaction. I had to do that to get out of that country without getting entangled with law enforcement agencies because we were told that homosexual advances are considered a non-bailable offence in Iran. I wanted to learn Persian to appreciate Ghalib’s poetry more and ended up groveling to a guy for not reporting an incident of sexual aggression – something I don’t believe in – to save my skin along with that of my crew. That took care of my fascination with Persian. (Now I only throw random phrases of Farsi in the middle of arguments to sound learned.)

As a child, I also wanted to learn Arabic because I naively thought it would guarantee me a place in heaven. Growing up generally and dealing with a Saudi stalker at university who refused to register the fact that no amount of petro dollars would make him popular with normal folks took care of my childish enthrallment with Arabic (to say nothing of the visions of paradise associated with the language). The fact that I can still fool my European friends at Dubai airport into believing that I know Arabic by reading the flight schedule in the language also played a part (why learn a new language when people think that you know it already?).

Another language I have toyed with is French. I hate snooty waiters at French restaurants who correct my pronunciations. I dream of going to a French restaurant and ordering Soupe au pistou, Boeuf Bourguignon and Salade Niçoise without fumbling once. Back in college, I tried speaking French with my friend Frédéric but every time I tried take the name of a dish, he cracked up and dashed my hopes of holding my head high in a French restaurant and proudly order escargot borguignonne – the thing is that I don’t even eat snails, I only wanted to order them, without repeating the word thrice to make sure that waiter got my order.

Back in college I lived in student halls and when we got a brand new community room with a huge TV (I graduated 9 years ago, so that TV was a big deal) I wanted to enjoy that too. The problem was that every time I would go there – and I tried sneaking in at 3 a.m. – the room would be full of Greek students watching football. I had to give in eventually and learned to appreciate football with them. Not only that, but I also learned to enjoy Greek food, how to order it in the lone Greek takeaway in the neighbourhood and all the choice swear words in Greek that people in my building used to hurl at their teams when they would not do well. If I ever end up attending a football match in Thessaloniki or Athens, I would be totally at home out-swearing the wildest of sports hooligans. They say – and I don’t know who “they” are – that if you know how to swear in a language, it is half the battle won, so perhaps I can say that I “get by” in Greek.

Unfortunately, proficiency with Greek cusswords is not a skill I can list on my Linked In profile and hope to increase my chances of landing a high-paying job. The way things are in Greece right now, that will probably make me eligible for an economic bailout.

I think it is time I get serious about learning a new language and I have decided to concentrate on Spanish for various reasons. For starters, I have actually attended one La Liga match in Madrid.  Secondly, I have seen all Pedro Almodóvar films. Thirdly, I have always wanted to sing along Spanish songs and what can be a better incentive to learn a new language than singing along the songs that you liked but could not understand.

Hola Español, Here I come.

Originally written for The Friday Times the image is also reproduced from The Friday Times

Passing desi-isms as sage advice

Most people think that they have this one major problem and if they could change that about themselves, they believe their lives would improve drastically. Some people think that if they lose weight, or manage their anger or embrace spontaneity, their lives would be better. In my case, it is my lack of ability to say no that always ruins it for me. If I somehow manage to say the golden word NO, I end up with so much guilt that I actually regret making the right decision.

If only someone was teaching a course on how to politely say, “Please God, No”, “Not my problem” and “Whatever!” without losing friends and alienating people, I would jump the queue — and I never jump the queue, despite being Pakistani from all sides of the family — to sign up for that course.

The problem gets even more intense when you move to a new country. Unless you are moving to Outer Mongolia or Chilean Highlands — and I have my doubts about Chilean Highlands — chances are that you will encounter your fair share of desis, who will try and interfere with your life, dish out counsel when none is sought and try to sell you things and services that you have no use of. Saying no to that is not just difficult, it is almost impossible.

Everyone who has the opportunity to move to a country will probably meet people from the old country who may or may not help them get settled. When someone from our part of the world — I mean South Asia in general and Pakistan in particular — moves to another country there would always be loads of people from the home countries dishing out desi-isms and passing them on as sage advice.

There will always be people around you who would want to guide you in your job search — they probably have moved to that new country 15 years ago when the job market was drastically different — and easier to break into — but they will try and force their opinion on how you should carve out a career in your adopted country and will offer you a ten dollar an hour job at their father-in-law’s super store selling biryani masala and Bollywood DVDs to bored desi housewives.

It does not really matter that you are trained as a lawyer or an IT professional or a speech therapist, they will tell you that everyone goes through this because they have been through this.

Some of them will not only suggest that you take that butchery course from your local community college but will also have the cheek to say that you will enjoy it because it is so different from what you have been doing before – you could be an Economist in your old country but they would not care. You feel like practicing some of those butchery skills on them and ask how in the name of everything that is holy and sacred can a vegetarian with two post grad degrees ever enjoy being a butcher?

Some of them will tell you where to rent an apartment and whom you should rent it from — it would almost always be some relative of their wives trying to con you into getting a smaller/smellier apartment in name of desi camaraderie and brotherhood.

Telling them that you have decided to share an apartment with a Jamaican co-worker close to your workplace will result in high dramatics. From telling you that your mom will be disappointed in you for spurning their amazing offer to making you feel horrible about not renting their space as they kept the apartment vacant for you because they knew your brother’s mother-in-law’s neighbours back in 1980s.

You being the ungrateful FOB not only decided to move in with your co-worker but you choosing a black person to share your living space will be taken as a personal insult. There will be implied or explicit racism — depending upon how integrated they are in the society — and they will regale you with tales of how someone they knew lived next to an apartment where one of the residents — almost always a black person — slit the throat of his/her flat mate and robbed them off their worldly possessions.

You try telling them that your Jamaican friend — a widowed lady of 55 — has only decided to share her apartment because she is suffering from an empty nest syndrome and is a fine upstanding, law abiding taxpaying citizen but they will continue to shake their head and make you feel bad for not taking up their offer.

At times like this, renting the smellier apartment seemed like the easier thing to do. If you happen to take them on their offer of renting an accommodation owned by a desi person, you are in for a treat. For starters, three previous tenants would still be getting their bank statements and phone bills and other assorted mail on that address and would want you to hold onto their mail so that they can pick it up whenever they feel like it.

When you try to tell them that they need to update their contact details with their cell phone service provider and their bank, they would give you the hurt look which basically says, “Et Tu Brutus? Can’t you just pick my mail from the box?” and you who perhaps wanted to scream “Please Gawd, NO!” agree to keep picking up their mail for foreseeable future.

Picking up the mail is less of a hassle because you do it once a day; the bigger threat to sanity is your land line phone. If the phone is registered in your desi landlord/landlady’s name, chances are that you will be inundated with offers of Quran classes for toddlers from dudes who call you behen or baji. When you try to tell the telemarketers that there are no toddlers in the radius of 600 sq yards and you do not wish to avail their services, they will try to get you to buy an online course for yourself so that you are saved from the eternal fires of hell.

This is not all, if your landlord has an Arabic sounding name, telemarketers who do not speak a word of English will call you and try to sell you channels running Turkish soaps dubbed in Arabic and you end up wanting to tear your hair out. As you are not bound by desi code — and the fact that they barely speak any English — you can scream and shout and let it all out at them.

I once spent some time in Slovenia with friends and found the lady working in the kitchen of the hostel where I was staying giving me seriously dirty looks. My Romanian friend and the lady found a common language that they both could speak — Italian — and asked her if she had a problem with me.

The cleaning lady was a Greek woman who assumed that I was Turkish and felt obliged to hate me. When my friends told her that I am from Pakistan, her demeanor changed and she became friendly to the extent that she offered me special hidden jams and freshest fruit for breakfast. You just cannot pull that in an English speaking country where everyone knows Bollywood, chicken tikka masala, our track record with women’s rights and the fact that one Osama bin Laden lived in Pakistan for many, many years.

There are times when you get exasperated with all the desiness around you and you wonder about your decision of leaving home because there is no escaping the sights and sounds from home and you yearn to escape it all but that, too, passes away and you learn to coexist with it — at times reluctantly, and at times, wholeheartedly.

I remember once spending some time in Ukraine without seeing another person of colour and was ecstatic when encountered all things desi at Dubai airport after weeks of not seeing it. No matter how keen we are for integration in the new land or how insulated we want to be, a certain desiness will always stay with us, no matter where we live.

First appeared in June 2013 issue of Monthly Pique

Mar 9, 2012 - Punjab    16 Comments

Imran Khan running away from Awami Tsunami?

If anyone is handing out awards for writing the most refreshingly hilarious news copy without even trying, this Dunya Tv report is the top contender for it. 
Imran Khan went to attend a political rally in Kala Shah Kaku last month and true to his elitist roots, got flustered with awami love. He first pushed an over exuberant fan, then scolded his party leaders for the ruckus and then jumped off the stage when that love and affection got too much for him. When asked why he jumped off the stage, Imran Khan quipped with “Abhi tau main Jawan hoon. ”
Looks like Tsunami Khan is not too enamored with Awami Tsunami, but what awami leader wants to run away from awami junoon?



PS: You gotta know Urdu/Hindi  to enjoy the clip to the max
PPS: PTI workers looked extremely happy eating stolen oranges. 

Mansoor Ijaz: International Man of Mystery

Move over Austin Powers, here is the new International Man of Mystery

Mansoor Ijaz has been declared the most envied man in Pakistan according to the latest survey. The poll was conducted among married urban men aged 28-46 and they all agree that Mansoor Ijaz is indeed the luckiest of them all. Contrary to popular understanding, it is not his status as an ‘international man of mystery’ or his perfectly slicked-back-hair that has made men envious all over the country; it is his newfound role as an actor in a dubious music video.

Mansoor Ijaz has been known as an international businessman, a self appointed negotiator and broker of sorts, but ever since a video has resurfaced featuring the chief accuser of the memogate scandal as an actor, people have changed their opinion about him. “I thought he was a small-time troublemaker looking for glory, but who needs glory when you get to commentate for a naked female wrestling match,” said a Karachi-based banker, Ali. His colleague Saad agreed with him, gave a thumbs-up for Mansoor Ijaz and said, “Way to go man!”
A businessman from Lahore, who wishes to stay anonymous, thinks Mansoor Ijaz’s wife is the coolest woman on the planet. “OMG! There is a woman out there who wants her husband to partake in such activities and was there by his side all the way through. She is definitely a keeper.”

For most Pakistanis, the popularity of the video and envy for Mansoor Ijaz stems from the novelty of seeing a man who looks like themselves in a raunchy video with white women. “We always thought that it is the white dudes or the black guys who get to go to places like that, with Mansoor Ijaz in that video, it has given us the courage that we too can do stuff like that in future. All we need is a visa for Europe and some contacts on the other side,” said two high school best friends from an elite Rawalpindi school.

Mansoor Ijaz’s video has also created quite a stir in the lawyers’ community. Many lawyers have come forward wanting to represent him thinking it would give them an opportunity to experience his lifestyle. Mansoor Ijaz’s current lawyer has vowed to stay with him through thick and thin for the same reason. However, it is still not known if the businessman, ladies wrestling commentator and international man of mystery is in the market for a new lawyer.

It is not just the adult men who seem impressed by the memo man. It has been learned through reliable sources that high school kids who showed no interest in English language previously, now want to know the meaning of the words such as ‘tumbling’ and ‘nasty’. One kid even asked his mom if he can name his kitten ‘Double D’. It is not known, yet, if the mother relented.

A local video director is also considering using Mansoor Ijaz to do his music video, however, he does not know if he can afford the rich businessman. He has been told to approach him through his wife, after all, he only relented on his wife’s insistence the first time around.

Due to the success of the “Stupidisco” song in Pakistan, Junior Jack, the video producer, is considering hiring other Pakistanis for his future videos. Sources close to him have revealed that he has shortlisted Sheikh Rasheed and Shah Mehmood Qureshi amongst others to star in his next video.

First published in The Express Tribune

PS: Before anyone asks me about the validity of the survey (as they have done on the ET website) let me state that it is satire and everything is fictional except for Mansoor Ijaz, his wife, the music video and the writer. 

Because jumping the ship is en vogue

In an innovative move yesterday, PPP co-chair and President of Pakistan Mr Asif Ali Zardari announced that he is switching parties and has now joined Mr Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf.

While the general public is baffled and speculators are speculating about the probable reasons behind this unprecedented move – no party chair has ever voluntarily vacated his position and decided to move to another party as a junior member – this scribe managed a few precious quotes from the erstwhile PPP co-chair, who at the time of the interview was vacationing in Scotland with his children.

When President Zardari was told that his move to PTI is being viewed with suspicion, he was astounded. “I don’t know why there is such a brouhaha over my membership in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, it is but natural that Imran and I should come together. We have so much in common we could practically be BFFs, like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.” When asked to elaborate, he pointed out that both he and Khan had lived it up in their youth, unlike some other politicians who spent their younger days politicking and working on their public personas. “We are two single dudes whose children live away from home; we get lonely in the evenings and can now keep each other company, watch Capital Talk together and mock Hamid Mir’s hair, mustache and sartorial choices. Besides, both of us were astute enough to marry way above our station.”

When asked about the future of Pakistan People’s Party, Mr Zardari said that the party was left to Bilawal by his mother; Mr Zardari himself was just the caretaker waiting for Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to grow up and take over the reins. “Now that Bilawal and Aseefa are all grown up and geared to go, I have to step aside and let them take the lead, that’s what any good father would do,” said the president.

PTI chairman Imran Khan, also vacationing in the United Kingdom with his children, welcomed Mr. Zardari’s move to his party and said that Mr Zardari’s modesty is the perfect foil for his posturing. “I can point fingers and accuse every one of all kinds of misdeeds,” said Mr Khan, “and Mr. Zardari will go and placate everyone afterwards.” When asked whether or not Zardari’s inclusion in his party goes against the PTI rhetoric – such as the stance against hereditary politics – Khan said that no member of Zardari’s clan has ever been part of PTI; Zardari is the first person to have joined the party. “As his children hold key positions in a rival party, chances of them jumping in are slim,” Imran Khan added.

While both the leaders appear to be at peace with each other, naysayers are pointing out that Mr. Zardari had no intention of joining PTI, but a recent attack by NATO forces on Bilawal House made him change his mind. He would have let it go as collateral damage in the Global War Against Terror, but he changed his mind when he found out that Secretary Clinton had denied any knowledge of the existence of either Bilawal Bhutto Zardari or Bilawal House.

While Imran Khan seems happy with the stag-party-in-progress, another former jiyala (who was also a member of General Zia’s Majlis-e-Shura) does not seem too happy with the development. Shah Mehmood Qureshi thought he would be the only jiyala to cross over party lines and believes Mr Zardari will spoil his camaraderie with Mr. Khan.

“I thought it would be a party of good-looking men only,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi said. “Granted that Mr Zardari’s new teeth have made his smile the brightest one in Pakistan, but he still has to catch up with me when it comes to being called a good-looking man.” When it was pointed out to the former foreign minister that his party is not limited to good looking men – it has Shireen Mizari in a senior position – he declined to comment. Sources close to Mr. Qureshi later said that he was shocked when he found out that Shireen Mizari was not a good looking man.


First published in The Friday Times  

PS: Before anyone lynches me, let me point out that it is a spoof and Mr. President is still very much a jiyala.
Jul 23, 2010 - published work, travel    43 Comments

The perils of traveling by yourself

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If you happen to be a single Pakistani woman traveling on your own, chances are you will get asked questions by fellow travelers, random strangers and at times by the flight attendants that may vary from harmless chit chat to something that would rival a Spanish inquisition.

Once I sat next to a guy with the biggest cowboy hat I have ever seen. He started his inquisition with a Namaste, assuming I am an Indian. Such cultural sensitivity from a cowboy was endearing so I smiled and said hello. If I had known that it would unleash a torrent of questions, I would have stayed quiet.

He asked me what part of India I am from and when I told him that I am actually a Pakistani, he was shocked. His first question was, “You are not wearing a veil, and won’t you be persecuted for not wearing one?”

When I tried explaining that Pakistan is a jumble of contrasts and while in some parts of the country, it is but mandatory to cover yourself from top to bottom, I am spared from that in Karachi but that wasn’t enough and he jumped onto the next question. He asked me if I was traveling for the first time, (It was a Manila to Bangkok flight) and when I told him that I have traveled before, he came to the conclusion that I must have an extra ordinarily liberal father. He then asked me what is it that my dad does for a living. When I told him that he works for a bank, he could not believe it. Apparently my fellow Texan traveler thought my father had to be a doctor to allow me to wander off and that bankers cannot be liberal, at least they are not in America.

On a Dubai – London flight, I had the misfortune of sitting next to a sardarni Aunty. Before I could actually buckle up, she fired the first one, “you are traveling alone?”. To my affirmative answer, she asked me why. I stopped trying to find the seat belt (I later found out that she was sitting on my seat belt) and said, “Because I am going back to college.”

The Aunty was more persistent and asked me again, “but why?” and I decided not to answer that one. Barely two minutes had passed and she got restless again. She asked me if I am married or not. I thought this would be a good opportunity to ask her to let go of my seat belt so I replied, “No, I am not married and would you care to get up a little so that I can retrieve my seat belt.” She got up, not because I asked her to, but because she was shocked that I was an unaccompanied girl, studying abroad who is not even married.

She then asked me with expressions bordering on pity, “You are all by yourself, no friends either.” When I told her that there is absolutely no one I know who is traveling with me she said, “But I am sure someone will pick you up at the airport?” Although no one was coming to pick me up, I said yes, there would be someone who is going to pick me up. I thought that was the end of the conversation, but aunty had other ideas. She pushed her elbow in my ribs and asked me with a wink, “so who is coming to pick you up, a boyfriend or a gora boyfriend?”

Once, I got asked the same set of questions by an aunty from Faisalabad, who then lectured me on the perils of traveling alone and why I should always drag a mehram with me to wherever I go. When I pointed out that I was traveling for work and it would be impossible for me to take anyone with me, she gave me a disapproving look and said, “That is why I am against girls who work. It disrupts the whole system.”

And so the cycle of questions goes on; there can be the standard ‘you are traveling alone? Why? Where are you off to and why are you single – are you even allowed to stay single in Pakistan? What is your caste, where do you work, how much do you earn, and are you allowed to vote?

These type of questions or variations of them are often thrown off one after another but they are each time asked with different expressions and in different tones and accompanied by different gestures, depending up on who is asking them. Is it too much to ask to be left alone by the world and hope to travel in peace for sanity’s sake?

Originally published in Dawn.com
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Jul 17, 2010 - published work    14 Comments

Is Monticello a sauce, a casino or a mid level mafia goon?

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Whenever the word Hawaii is mentioned, normal folks think about white sand beaches, cool drinks, surfing and snorkeling. If you are a politically-minded person you may think about Hawaii as the birthplace of the current US president, but no one would think of Hawaii as the academic destination of choice.

Honestly, if I had to spend any time in Hawaii, I would rather soak up the sun on the beach than spend it inside a stuffy library. I know that there are people who go to college in Hawaii but they must have super human discipline to concentrate on academia when waves and wind beckon them to step outdoors.

Our esteemed minister for law and parliamentary affairs, Babar Awan is these days embroiled in a fake degree scandal. Apparently his doctorate degree, obtained from a certain University of Monticello in Hawaii is fake because the said university has been declared a non-recognised and non-chartered institute by the courts in the State of Hawaii. Babar sahib, for starters, you chose to order your (fake) degree from a university named Monticello which either sounds like the name of a casino or a spaghetti sauce from southern Italy, but not the name of a centre of academic excellence. At best, it can be name of a minor character in Mario Puzo’s Godfather trilogy.

Secondly, sir, you already had perfectly respectable degrees from Punjab University for both, bachelors and masters, why did you have to order a fancy doctorate degree from the University of Monticello? Honestly, if I were the investigation officer, I wouldn’t have investigated too much had your fake degree been from average, regular-sounding universities like the University of Montana or a Florida State University, but with a name like Monticello – people were bound to get suspicious. And that is what that has brought you down sir, the name of your chosen university. Next time, pick a better name.

‘Dr’ Babar Awan is not the only one with fake university with a fancy name. International University of America in London is very popular among the parliamentarians from Baluchistan. MPA Shama Parveen Magsi and the infamous minister for postal services Mir Israr Ullah Khan Zehri (his claim to fame is his defence of burying women alive as part Baloch tradition) have so-called accredited degrees from this university. If either of them had bothered to think this through, they would have noticed that there is no room for an ‘International University of America’ in a city like London that boasts a number of top tier universities and colleges. Perhaps minister sahib was too busy defending supposed Baloch traditions – he could not possibly find the time to pursue academic excellence or to even look for a fake degree from a believable university

Mir Humayun Aziz Kurd, the federal minister for livestock chose Eire International University for his fake BBA Marketing degree. Eire is the Gaelic name of Ireland, which except for a tiny minority in Ireland, no one really uses it, but I digress. There is an unaccredited university named Irish International University but perhaps Kurd thought it would be fancier if he used the Gaelic name of the university instead of the regular English. In any case, the university is a sham and according to Wikipedia, its own honorary chancellor calls it “dodgy.”

MNA Mazhar Hayat is also a proud holder of a degree from Winona State University, USA. Unlike Monticello, this is actually a proper university – albeit with a filmi name – but the university has confirmed that Hayat’s degree is a fake. Hayat must have been a fan of Winona Ryder from those ‘Heathers’ and ‘Reality Bites’ days and when one of his henchmen asked him about his degree of choice, he asked them to get him some ‘Winona.’

Originally written for Dawn.com with a different title and the illustration is by Fieca.

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Apr 7, 2010 - Sania Mirza, Shoaib Malik    94 Comments

An open letter to Ayesha Siddiqui

Dear Ayesha,
First of all, let me congratulate on you on your impending divorce. People usually commiserate at an event like this one but I know you have fought long and hard for it and you totally deserve all the accolades for having won this battle, as the kids on internet forums say; EPIC!
You are a miracle worker. You have mastered the art of doing impossible things and that too effortlessly. Let me tell you why I believe that you are the smartest Indian woman ever.
First of all, what started off as a blitzkrieg news session on romance of Shoaib Malik & Sania Mirza soon turned into the saga of Shoaib Malik and Ayesha Siddiqui. Every PR firm in India and beyond should be queuing outside your doors to sign you up. You have managed to become the most talked about Indian, nay, South Asian in a very short span of time with doing much. All you had to do was produce a doctored photo (even an organization as virtuous as “Times Now” had to put the disclaimer on their website that they cannot prove the authenticity of the photo) and viola – a person as famous as Sania Mirza was relegated to the back and all of a sudden, it was all about you. Did Shoaib marry Ayesha or not? Did they sleep together or not? Have they made a child together or not? Heck, you even managed to drag a fellow Hyderabadi Mohammed Azharuddin into it and he was so scared of you (rightly so) that he claimed not to have known any Siddiqui family ever. After three days of this hoopla, people started asking, who is this Sania Mirza again. Now who else but you could have done THAT?

People thought that only skinny skanks in their twenties with their big hair and flawless skin stand a chance as serious gold diggers but you have proven them wrong. If rumors are to be believed you are at least ten years older than Shoaib, you probably weigh a 100 pounds more than him, you sport nerdy glasses and wear a black burqa and you still manage to snare him to sign the dotted line – twice – first on the marriage contract and then on the divorce papers. I am sure you must have made some decent amount of money (some say its 40 million Indian Rupees) in the process as well. Once again, you have accomplished the impossible. If the matrimonial ads of jeevansathi.com that spring up on every Indian website are to be believed, getting hitched is big shit. You would strike gold if you start a school where you teach girls to get hitched to eligible, preferably rich and famous, men with limited intellectual capacity and raging hormones. With your proven record, mommies and daddies will line outside your door with bags full of cash to get enrollment in your program. Your intelligence will make so many mommies and daddies and their not so comely girls very very happy.
Baji Ayesha, your ‘mahanta’ knows no boundaries. In this awful economy, you have even created business opportunities for some folks. With your allegations and counter allegations, bookies have started betting on the odds of Shoaib and Sania ever making it to the altar. If you manage to delay the wedding, even by one day, you will be making a lot of people happy – and richer – who have actually put faith in your abilities and betted against the wedding.
Your magic does not only work in India, it spreads it bounties across the border as well. You are so good that you have managed to get a totally useless Apa Firdaus Aashiq (our minister for Family Planning) to work, at least for one day. Her ministry is pretty useless (you can tell that by the number of children being born every second in Pakistan without any planning) but even she jumped in and said that she will present Shoaib and Sania Mirza a family planning kit. She can now claim that she has performed her duties as the minister for at least one day in her tenure.
You have also given the opportunity to extremely farigh PML-N workers in Multan to stage a protest against the FIR you lodged against Malik and provided them with a chance to vent their misplaced anger.
Who would have thought that people in India and Pakistan would ever see eye to eye on anything but you have forced “Save Indian Family Foundation”, a men’s rights organization, in supporting a Pakistani man Shoaib Malik. When you filed the case against Shoaib Malik under section 498A of Indian penal code, Save the Indian Family Foundation sprang into action saying that you have misused the domestic violence act and asked that the case be removed against Shoaib as soon as possible. If only you decide to put your magical powers to use for Pakistan – India peace, who knows we may settle water dispute and resolve Kashmir issue. Imagine, millions of children in both the countries who do not go to schools because the governments are busy piling up arms will be able to get education because of that peace and you will end up as the winner of Nobel Peace Prize! You will be right there with the likes of Obama and some other old white dudes. Only you are capable of bringing food and education to millions of South Asian children Ayesha, only you.
You have broken the boundaries of fame that even Ashwariya Rai has not managed to do so. Yesterday, I was surprised to find that my Chinese Uyghur teacher who has lived in Colorado for long and now teaches in Rotterdam and does not know jack about cricket asked me the latest on the Shoaib Malik drama. Between you and Aafia Siddiqui, the name ‘Siddiqui’ is shinning so bright, I see many people taking it up in future for getting famous. Who knows, Mahesh Bhatt may end up making a film titled “There is something about Siddiquis.”
I have two other far more important deadlines to meet but I am so impressed by your brilliance and intellect, I couldn’t wait to appreciate you any longer. You do know that you are a genius.
Baji Ayesha, you rock!!!
From an ardent admirer of your craft.
PS: As per ToI news report, Shoaib had to shell out 150 million Indian rupees in the out of court settlement.
Mar 25, 2010 - Uncategorized    27 Comments

BFFs

It certainly comes in handy to have a handsome bugger as your minister for foreign affairs.

See how Secretary Clinton totally ignores the Afghan dude.

Qureshi says, “Look, we caught the terrorists.” Clinton says, “My my, aren’t you a strong man.”

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and now this. Aawwwwwwwwwwe, aren’t we cute?

If nothing it offers interesting photo opportunities.

PS: Is it just me or have other people noticed that there are more handsome Foreign ministers now than ever before? Apart from Qureshi, we have a handsome poet in Shashi Tharoor and an absolutely yummylicious David Miliband. Even Clinton is a huge improvement if we compare her to Secretary Albright.

PPS: Qureshi’s hair color keeps changing through out his pictures. What’s next? Clinton and Qureshi going to the same stylists and sporting the same highlights as the eternal BFFs?

PPPS: Yes, its a very superficial post. I am very shallow, deal with it.
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Mar 9, 2010 - rant, sarcasm    39 Comments

Twitter, Imran Khan and Aafia

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Twitter is amazing, not only it brings together people from all across the world, but any two or three people can randomly jump in to a conversation and can have a whale of a time together. If you are lucky, you can annoy other people to hell and have fun at their expense (some may call it trolling, but if you do not tag them, I would not call it that). It all gets funnier if the people you make fun of are Z list celebrities who probably google their names every 15 minutes (or more often).

Another friend on twitter and I have had doubts about a Jemima Khan profile on twitter (that was way before she got the blue tick) and we were not sure if it was a genuine account or not. So in a conversation last night we wondered if it was a fake Jemima Khan account or a genuine one. Apparently she saw that, got pissed and in order to prove that she is the real McCoy she scanned her passport with all the details and put it up on twitter! I mean I know she is a blonde and not particularly bright (she married Imran Khan for heaven’s sake) but who puts up their passport on a public twitter account which is open for all?

As if that was not enough drama, some desi men with fantasies of skinny blonde British women falling for them jumped in acting like knights in shining armor advising Jemima to remove her passport details. She then put up another photo of her passport – minus the details – on twitter (she has later removed them both but a pal from across the border saved that passport photo & emailed it to me). I mean what were those gentlemen thinking, she has had her fill of Desi men, she is not gonna fall for another one. One desi dude in one lifetime was enough, dontcha think?

Anyways, that got me started along with two other tweeters, Naheed and Mirza on all things Jemima and her erstwhile husband. Mirza shared that in another century, Liz Hurley and Imran Khan had dated. The made me recall that in the same century, Liz Hurley and Hugh grant also dated and then Imran Khan got married to Jemima and then Jemima dated Hugh Grant and now perhaps Imran Khan is dating the whole Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan which makes it kinda really kinky circle. Mirza then suggested that maybe it’s time Imran Khan and Hugh Grant should get up close and personal. In any case, Jemima has beaten Mr. Khan when it comes to getting intimate with famous people of the same sex – remember the lip lock between Kate Moss and Jemima (it generates 183,000 links if you google it – in case anyone wanted to know that).

By that time, Jemima Khan got really angry and gave me two names; twalker (that’s twitter stalker) and tweak (twitter freak). Now I am all game for name calling but they have to be smart and inventive. If only Ms Goldsmith had actually spent some time in college in her younger days instead of playing house with an aging Lothario, she would have known that tweak is actually a proper English word found in all major English language dictionaries. Her exact tweet was something like this: “What a relief to discover you can block the tweaks (twitter freaks). I’m banishing dissidents like a despot.” Even the statement was kind of a let down. After writing ‘expert’ articles on democracy in Pakistan in esteemed publications like Vogue and Harper’s, I never expected such naked despotic glee from Ms Goldsmith.

We decided to let go of Ms Goldsmith and stick to her former and far juicier half. Naheed asked us if Imran Khan has remarried and then started listing the names of all the women Imran Khan has ever been with but I suggested that we need to leave that alone. After all, if one starts listing all of Imran Khan’s conquests, 140 characters wouldn’t be able to do him any justice. That man has been very very busy for most of his adult life and he is in now in his late 50s.

As far as Imran’s second round at nuptials is concerned, I have a feeling he will do a complete turnaround. In the past, much to chagrin of all the aunties (who were not really aunties back then) he had almost exclusively dated foreigners. Now, in his new Maseeha-e-Islam avatar, he will only take the plunge when ‘Qaum ki Beti’ Aafia Siddiqui returns. Imagine a wedding invite that says ‘Imran Khan weds Aafia Siddiqui’, would it not be a Jamat-e-Islami and Talibaan wet dream? If Ms Siddiqui agrees to marry Imran Khan, then nothing can stop him from becoming the most powerful man in Pakistan.

Naheed disagreed with me. She believes that Aafia Siddiqui will sell Imran Khan at the juma bazaar for a bucketful of ammonium nitrate, which got me thinking. Ms. Siddiqui is a paak baaz Muslim woman, she will probably not agree to a union with a former play boy who has been with MTV VJs (tauba tauba haram). In any case, if the choice of her last husband, Ammar al-Baluchi, a nephew of the 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and ten years her junior, is any indication of her taste, she is into young Jihadist boy toys, not old Romeos like Imran Khan.

PS: I still have Jemima’s passport shot with me but I chose not to publish it, for obvious reasons.

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