Tagged with " Humour"
Jan 29, 2008 - Uncategorized    5 Comments

Invaluable lessons

From my past lives, I have learnt;

  • Love is best practiced online.

  • Most things one want to do are immoral; most things one want to eat are fattening.

  • Lying is an art, there should be schools out there teaching just that.

  • Being a vegetarian is not what it is all cracked up to be.

  • Love handles are essential; when love fades away, you need to hold on to something.

  • There exist something called boredom triggered coma; trust me, I have suffered from it.

  • The only people who support Manchester United are the ones who don’t know much about football.

  • Bananas contain a natural chemical that make you happy. The same chemical is found in Prozac, so bananas can now be substituted for Prozac.

  • The ability to bullshit your way around is handier than the ability to speak five languages.

  • Last but not the least, there is no experience as life altering as death.

Jan 23, 2008 - rant, Society    4 Comments

The weird co worker

Everyone has their fair share of weird co-workers, I just happen to get twice as lucky as most people on this planet. The amazing variety of people I have had the chance to work with is astounding. Who else can boast to have worked with just about every clichéd office character under the sun; ranging from narcissistic jerk of a boss to the regular run of the mill slacker, the office stud, the office tart, the gossip, the manipulator, the eater, the people pleaser, ass kisser, whiner, over committed company man to … my personal favourite, the sarcastic under committed slug.

I once had this co worker who epitomized Protestant work ethics of 19th century Americans (even the Americans have slackened down a bit since then). It was impossible to indulge in a bit of harmless normal workplace slacking such as surfing the net, making a few personal phone calls or reading some newspaper in her presence. She would eye you silently, berating you for doing the sinful act of reading the newspaper at the workplace. If her workload is a low, she would sit in her chair and do nothing – like staring the space or her computer screen. I mean I am all for meaninglessness in life, I think it is very important but staring space when you can actually read about Britney Spears life online and feel good about yourself. 

Of course, we all have the ‘70 hour a week guy’. He lives, eats and probably sleeps at work. He’ll be in when you arrive and still working when you go home. He’s often in on the weekend and before you can say the word ‘Bingo’, the management starts encouraging you to follow his example and sacrifice your personal life, provided you had one to begin with. The management would probably throw in the incentive of paying for every third angioplasty, if caused by work place stress.

I am off to have my first angioplasty, paid by my hard earned money of course. Let’s hope that I survive to have the third one on company account.
Sep 18, 2007 - quirky    2 Comments

A soul mate that never was

I have been labeled a cynic by all women around me because I don’t believe in a perfect soul mate. In my opinion, a human being is too complex a creature to have a soul mate who would either think, behave or respond as desired by one. I was proven correct by this Bosnian couple, who while looking for soul mates found out that life is actually a bitch and then you die. Here is the story for you. ___________________________________________________________

A Bosnian couple is getting divorced after finding out they had been secretly chatting each other up online under fake names.

Sana Klaric, 27, and husband Adnan, 32, from Zenica, poured out their hearts to each other over their marriage troubles, and both felt they had found their real soul mate.The couple met on an online chat forum while he was at work and she in an internet cafe, and started chatting under the names Sweetie and Prince of Joy.

They eventually decided to meet up – but there was no happy ending when they realised what had happened.Now they are both filing for divorce – with each accusing the other of being unfaithful.

Sana said: “I thought I had found the love of my life. The way this Prince of Joy spoke to me, the things he wrote, the tenderness in every expression was something I had never had in my marriage.”It was amazing, we seemed to be stuck in the same kind of miserable marriages – and how right that turned out to be.

“We arranged to meet outside a shop and both of us would be carrying a single rose so we would know the other.”When I saw my husband there with the rose and it dawned on me what had happened I was shattered. I felt so betrayed. I was so angry.”

Adnan said: “I was so happy to have found a woman who finally understood me. Then it turned out that I hadn’t found anyone new at all.” To be honest I still find it hard to believe that the person, Sweetie, who wrote such wonderful things to me on the internet, is actually the same woman I married and who has not said a nice word to me for years.”

source: http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_2512486.html?menu=

The funniest part is that they cheated on each other….with each other and then blamed each other, looks like a match made in heaven, what say?

Sep 16, 2007 - published work    2 Comments

Polls apart

EVER since year 2007 started, the buzzword is ‘Election Year’. Whether it is about the election year political or judicial activity, or the ‘good election year budget’, the election year sloganeering is at its peak and parties are busy forging new alliances and reviving the old ones to get the holy grail of parliamentary style democracy, simple majority in the lower house (heavy mandate is so out, remember what it did to a certain Mr Nawaz Sharif).With elections come election monitors, at least in countries where democracy is on shaky grounds and Pakistan certainly passes muster on that count. Election monitoring is the observation of an election by one or more independent parties, typically from another country or a non-governmental organisation (NGO), primarily to ensure the fairness of the electoral process.
An international election monitor is quite different from, let’s say, a class monitor. A class monitor is a lot more powerful than an international observer monitoring elections. The class monitor has complete authority over its subjects; an election monitor on the other hand, just monitors and reports the events as they unfold.
I too, have had the honour of working as an international observer monitoring elections in Sri Lanka for their parliamentary elections in 2004. My job was a bit more specific than your average run of the mill observer. I was there to specifically monitor election related violence. It meant that if anyone wanted to rig elections right in front of my eyes, they were welcome to do so, as long as they did it peacefully.
Before I embarked on the mission to observe, along with 15 other observers, I was given a couple of days of training about what to do in the field, what to look for, who to meet and what procedures to follow if I happen to witness election related violence. During the briefing, I was introduced to all kinds of election observers. The variety I got introduced to, for the very first time, was a diplomatic husband. I know the term is quite alien to us Pakistanis where husbands need not be diplomatic at all, but believe me, there are quite a number of them out there. All of them were from Scandinavian countries. Their wives work for diplomatic missions, so they could not be engaged in gainful employment. As they don’t attend ikebana classes like most diplomatic ladies do, they spend their days collecting children from school or playing golf or monitoring elections as it is not classified as work. Technically, you have to volunteer to observe elections.
There are monitors who have mastered the art of monitoring elections and have monitored elections everywhere; from Belarus to Nigeria to Papua New Guinea to Ecuador. One monitor’s dream monitoring job was to monitor elections in Saudia Arabia, when they get democracy that is.Some observers are students from rich countries with huge doctoral grants who want to get in the underbelly of the political system of a third world country and what better of that would be than monitoring elections.
Then there are US monitors who want to bring ‘democracy’ to the whole world. When I lauded their efforts of flying off to foreign lands, making the rest of the world safe for ‘democracy’, and asked them if their government would open doors for the rest of the world to check on the fairness of elections in US, they said that US boasts the oldest democracy which hardly requires monitoring. I guess Florida is no longer part of the United States.
Last but not the least are the penury stricken students like me who take on the job because it meant a month away from cold and damp Manchester and a chance to visit home for very little money. Curiosity about the process and prestige ranked much lower when I agreed to take on the job.
After being trained when I went to my duty station, which was a large area around the hill station of Kandy, I made a schedule for the fortnight I had before elections about the places to visit and the people to meet. Sadly, my schedule was shot to pieces with almost daily occurrence of bomb blasts, if it can be called that. Every other day, one would hear about a bomb blast in an area. Upon visiting the site, we would find a one and half feet-wide dent, caused by a homemade petrol bomb created in a used soft drink bottle. The only incident when they actually used hand grenades did not garner much attention as none of the bombs exploded. I ventured too close to the site and squatted next to the unexploded hand grenade to take a picture. My 70-year-old translator almost had a heart attack flinging his arms like crazy asking me to get away. He was not too happy with me and only stopped admonishing me when I told him that my bravado stemmed from ignorance rather than valour and courage.
As part of the monitoring process, I met local politicians from the three leading political parties. Imagine the plight of those who will have to monitor elections in Pakistan. They will have to meet with a dozen factions of PML alone, then there are a couple of JUIs, JUPs and MQMs along with ANP, JI, TI, NAP, BNP, JWP and what not. To top it, we have three versions of Ms Bhutto’s political party which are Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians and of course Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian Patriots (Quite a mouthful, isn’t it?).
While monitoring elections in Sri Lanka, one politician asked me about my nationality. When I told him I am from Pakistan, he asked me if I know Shoaib Akhtar. The only common ground between me and Mr Akhtar is our green passport and nothing else. When I tried to divert his attention to Sri Lankan politics and the violence around it, he refused to budge and talked about his plans to invite himself as a chief guest to all international cricket matches and meet his favourite stars when he gets to the parliament and becomes a minister. Shoaib Akhtar obviously topped his wish list along with Rahul Dravid, Jaques Kallis and Brett Lee.
In the end, my station turned out to be quite peaceful. There were no deaths reported and only four people got injured. A few bombs here and there and the minor irritant of Shoaib Akhtar fixation, it was quite an experience, one that I would highly recommend.

originally published in dawn


Jun 21, 2007 - Uncategorized    2 Comments

summer and faraghat

I may not have sent out an ad this Sunday but most of you do know that I am unemployed and have some time on me. And how am I spending it, by watching one DVD after another.

Now that I have done all the hard work, I want you guys to save the trouble of watching these films. Let’s start with Spiderman. I am not really a fan of the superheroes movies (Batman begins was an exception perhaps because it did not have any CGI -computer generated imaging- and because it had Christian Bale) but this one takes the cake. The basic premise was power corrupts and Spiderman let his powers go to his head. If you thought Marry Jane whined in the first two installments, you aint seen anything yet baby. She indulges in what can be called a ‘whine fest’. The villains were far cooler than the heroes and you wanted them to kill the Spiderman. Like any other super hero film, it ended on the good triumphing over bad … what a cliché.

Ocean’s 13 was another sequel but this one was better than Ocean’s 12. Matt Damon wore a prosthetic nose. If he was thinking that a prosthetic nose won Nicole Kidman an Oscar and he can win one too, he had another think coming. Kidman was a lonely woman who was divorced after a long marriage and got all sympathy votes. Damon is a happy family man and will need a lot more than prosthetic to win the bald guy.

Jhom Barabar Jhoom reiterates my belief that bad bois come with a huge babe magnet that stays switched on 24/7 coz there is no other explanation why a middle class uber sophisticated desi chick in UK who generally abhors all thing desi would fall for a shady character from Punjab who is as colorful as the meetha pan from PIDC with multicolor khopra. It also reiterates my conviction that women who swear with confidence are soooo cool. Just watch Lara Dutta calling everyone Harami and sooar and you will know what I mean. It also reconfirms the fascination of Indian film gurus with Pakistani girls as both the heroines are Pakistani.

The third installment of Pirates of the Caribbean was a major disappointment. Captain Barbossa returns from the dead, Will asks Elizabeth to marry him and Captain Jack Sparrow was his usual delightful self.

Now that the film I was downloading is with me, I am off to watch it, will let you know it turned out to be any decent.

Jun 17, 2007 - published work    1 Comment

The big three-O

Last week, it was a friend’s thirtieth birthday and a few of us decided to throw her a big party. After all, it’s not everyday you hit the big three-O. Amidst all the other more predictable gifts (perfumes, stationary and clothing), one of her co-workers gave her a novel called Turning Thirty. While I thought it was a nice present, my friend thought it was horrendously mean of her co-worker to give her a present that reminded one of a youth bygone. “Youth bygone,” I shrieked. “You just turned 30, not 60,” I said. But my friend was none too pleased so I took that book with me and said if it had anything worthwhile I will let her know.

How different 30 is from 29 that the transition evoked such a strong reaction, I wondered. Well, for starters, when you’re 29, people just think you’re lying about being 30. Whereas when you really are 30, you have to face the fact that you are an adult and you have taxes to pay (you probably were paying them since you were 23 but they hit you harder when you are 30). In your twenties, you can deny adulthood. You can afford not to have a career and say that you are experimenting with what you really want and get away with it; turning 30 changes it all. Thirty is when denial meets reality, which is why most of us have resolutions where the benchmark year is — you guessed it right, 30. We often hear people saying ‘I will be a published author before I turn 30’ or ‘I will make my first million before I turn 30 (although inflation has made it a possibility for most of the white collar corporate workers). To most of us, 30 seems just the right age to have life sorted.

While going through the book, I asked myself, why is it that people dread turning 30 the most? After all, you have had 29 birthdays before that and you will continue to have many more (hopefully) after that one. So what is it that makes it either the most anticipated or most terrified of birthdays? Is it as bad as Ally McBeal thought (she thought it was worse than death) or something less gruesome. Is it the transition from youth to adulthood or something much deeper and profound? I asked a few people who either have turned 30 or will hit the mark in the next couple of years to find how they view their thirtieth year on this planet.

Haroon, a 31-year-old marketing exec, said that turning 30 was quite an event for him. ” I think I’ve started to internalise only then how finite our time on earth is, there’s so much that I wanted to accomplish in my life and in my career, and it felt that I have yet to make decent progress on that,” he said (quite not what you expect from a marketing whiz).

Sidra, a mother of two and a teacher, took her thirtieth in her stride. “My thirtieth birthday was not that different from my 21st. I am just 20 pounds heavier, a mother and most of my male friends are follically challenged and live in the land of wispy strands,” she cheerfully said. Ali actually looked forward to his thirtieth birthday. “Isn’t your thirtieth all about what you have achieved in life?” he asked. “I probably felt good because I had achieved most of the things that I wanted to do in life (with the exception of getting married to Miss World),” he added.

For Mustafa, it is not about how much one has achieved in the previous three decades of one’s life but about how happy one is in one’s own skin. “I think it takes you roughly three decades to figure out who you are and how you feel about most things in life. Now, I know who I am and so I don’t really waste a lot of energy trying to be someone I’m not,” ponders Mustafa.

Naheed, 29, does not know how she would behave on her thirtieth. She thinks she will probably be having a nervous breakdown from turning 30. Isn’t it too strong a reaction, I asked. “Well, 30 is difficult,” she said. “When you turn 40, it’s expected of you to have a mid-life crisis, but if you are having one at 30, people think you are just a whiner,” she thought. For Sana, the idea of turning 29 was more trying that than the realty of turning 30. To her, 30 means starting a new decade of her life, whereas turning 29 was the end of a youthful era.

So how markedly different the thirties are from the twenties? Quite different, if I may say so. When you are in your thirties, you seriously think gardening is a good way to spend a lazy Sunday morning. Turning 30 also means buying life insurance and refusing to give your age away when someone asks you how old you are and saying something like ‘age is nothing but a number’ or ‘you are as old as you feel’ (unless you feel no remorse in lying blatantly to everyone’s face). Thirty is when you prefer watching BBC food over MTV and it becomes really important for you to know actually how many people work under you. Most of you probably have people at work whose part of job description is to listen to you.

Another way to find out that you are well and truly in your thirties is that you look at firebrand activists wanting to save the world with a cynical and knowing smile. For you, the biggest service to society would be actually getting out of your bed on Election Day and voting for someone. Previously, there used to be lots of things you didn’t do because you had no money; now there are lots of things you don’t do because you have no time. Previously, you were not making enough money to be eligible for a credit card, now people are trying hard to sell you one.

In my personal opinion, turning 30 isn’t so bad. Lots of people would love to be 30. Especially the ones who are 40!
(It was originally published in dawn http://www.dawn.com/weekly/dmag/dmag24.htm and the lovely illustration is by Fieca)
May 30, 2007 - Uncategorized    2 Comments

Welcome to MY WORLD

I woke up this morning with electricity breakdown and I just knew that it would not turn out to be the day that I wanted. As soon as I started my car, Atif Aslam was crooning (read crying) on both the radio channels that I listen to. I had to tune into another radio station just to avoid him which is a lot of effort for someone like me. Then, I got pulled over by the traffic sergeant for actually driving the way everyone should; that is staying in my lane. I used my gift of gab, impressive angrezi skills and last but definitely not the least; my employment card from my previous job (the biggest TV channel in Pakistan). He behaved the way most sergeants behave with journalists in a third world country; he bowed with a smile and left way.

Then I got late for work and had to placate a boss who, on best of the days, is instable (and I am putting it very very mildly) and can flare up over the minutest of things. After I settled in my make shift desk, (yes, I recently got evicted from my cabin) I had to endure an interrogation session by this bozo at work who is intolerable on the best of the days and today has most certainly not been a good day so far.

I am sure it is quite obvious by now that I don’t love my job. I have been called for the second interview for a job that I wanted badly. I was almost offered the job but was offered such a horrible package that I had to refuse (WHY ME???). Heartbroken, I came back to work and honked my horn like crazy all the way because of every motorcyclist in this blasted city had decided to drive in the first lane this particular afternoon. I came back and asked for tea and was given a lukewarm tea. Lukewarm tea!!!!! What can be worse than that??? Well a milky lukewarm tea.

To cheer myself, I though I should check my email (all you people who know me should have written to me, but none of you did) and guess what I found. An email from Liberty Books announcing new arrivals! Among other books, there was Twice as Good, Condi’s biography, but I had decided that being a patriotic Pakistani, I would not read that because she bitched about our lame duck PM Short-cut Aziz (yes, he IS lame duck. Imran Khan is working hard to get (s)elected for the next term). At the end of the list, I saw three titles, first was ‘Keeping the Love You Find: Single person’s Guide to Achieving Lasting Love’ which tells you that your dream of finding a partner is a natural and normal human instinct and your dream is perfectly achievable. Whatever your history, whatever your heartbreak, as a single person just read this magic book and wild passionate love awaits you at the corner (yeah right).

The second one was ‘Getting the Love You Want: a Guide for Couples’ which claims to have helped thousands of couples attain more loving, supportive and deeply satisfying relationships. Read the first book to find the love and read the second one to keep it (what would have happened to the global social fabric if it were not for these two books).

If you thought the first two titles were … well cheesy (and I am using this word for the want of a cheesier word), the third one takes the cake, the pastry and the pudding. It’s called ‘Fertility Foods: Optimize Ovulation and Conception through Food Choices’. What a great trilogy it is; you find love, you keep love and if you cannot conceive after finding and keeping that love, here is the guide to food that help you double the ovulation or put an added zing to your little runners (depending on your gender of course) and significantly improve your fertility and reduces the chance of miscarriage.

What the world is coming to? One can’t even check emails without getting reminders that one has not ‘found’ love, hence cannot ‘keep’ that unfound love and the fact that if you don’t do that soon enough you may need to take help from Dr Mumbo Jumbo’s fertility food to optimize ovulation! I want outta this world, and I want it soon.

Am I wrong, or is it not halal enough to want to die?

May 30, 2007 - rant    2 Comments

I am cursed: I can’t lie

One of my aunts has been dieting for the past four months. Desperate to know if it’s working, she asked a bunch of us if she had lost any weight. One of my cousins promptly said, “Yes auntie, in fact, I didn’t ask earlier as I thought it would be impertinent,” she quipped with a butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-her-mouth smile. I, on the other hand, kept quiet because I am one of those blessed (read cursed) people who cannot lie convincingly. Auntie wanted to know everyone’s comment on her newly trimmed (in her opinion) self and turned her eyes on me. I stuttered, aware of my sister’s glare, “um … I don’t know … I guess you have lost some weight but … ah … I wouldn’t know … you see … I am very bad at… um … you know … noticing things.” Needless to say that she was not happy with my answer and I had to endure a long lecture from my sister on my lack of social graces. It’s not that I am an insensitive fool or have a mean disposition; my problem is much more complex — I can’t lie.

Lies come in many shapes and guises, from the classic little white ones to the colossal desecration of truth we all endure at the hands of politicians (remember Zia-ul-Haq’s pledge of election within 90 days). There are lies based on kindness — on wanting to spare someone else’s feelings, and other lies, less noble, based on wanting to spare one’s own feelings. Then, there are lies one tells oneself to justify bad decisions or bad behaviour; there are manipulative lies told to gain unfair advantage and lies told under oath about which a certain Mr Clinton knows of. Just as there are various types of lies, there are different attitudes towards lying. Some people take great pride in lying well, while the puritanical types run a mile if asked to lie.

We all lie, for expediency, by choice, by accident or by default. Lying might be a relentlessly necessary part of our world and time may have expanded our appreciation of inventiveness, creativity, and cunningness, while undermining some of our more simplistic assumptions about truth but it is always easier to tell the truth. Lies may be part and parcel of living in the natural world, but so are gangsters, floods and malaria. Simply because something is natural doesn’t always mean it’s a good thing. There are other beings who find it easier to be truthful. A friend once asked me if he was losing hair and I instantly said, “at the rate you are losing them, you might as well check out the hair care clinics for any treatment.” After all there are limits to the obligation of friendship. As a result, he didn’t speak to me for three days afterwards. So if you happen to pass me by, don’t ask if you look fat in the dress you are wearing. I might say yes.

May 25, 2007 - quirky, travel    5 Comments

Public Sex !!!!

I know it is sad, some may even call it demented, but as soon as summers begin, my cravings for long exotic holidays start. Most of the time, I cannot give in to them for reasons ranging from penury to familial obligations (how do I wish that I was born in a bubble) to not getting time off (Pakistan is a horrendously marriage – heterosexual of course – friendly country and married people with young children are given preference for holidays in summer).

As I cannot travel during the summers, I do the next best thing. I check out all the travel websites from wikitravel to guardian and ny times to lonely planet and what not for the remotest places. Sometime back, I though I should look up Pakistani locations, after all it is the visit Pakistan year and poor Niilofar Bakhtiar braved a fatwa or two for luring people to Pakistan, the least I can do is take cyber interest in the touristy locations of Pakistan.
I stumbled upon this travelogue by an Indonesian student who posted some pictures of his time in Harrappa. If only ministry of tourism take note of those pictures paste them on the official tourism website, we can get a lot more visitors. After all where else can you see sexual intercourse on the streets? Yes, it happening on the streets of Harrappa, Lahore and even Karachi. The funny thing is, no one minds that, we are truly an enlightened and moderate nation. If you don’t believe me, see the picture yourself, after all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Hail enlightened moderation.

here is the link

May 21, 2007 - urban    1 Comment

The most original idea

I live in Karachi- what once was known as the city of lights (it now has the distinction of being called the city of candle lights).

Everyone has an idea or two about dealing with the bijli crisis in Pakistan in general and Karachi in particular, but the most novel idea came from my favourite maulanas of the week year. Yes, I am talking about Maulana Abdul Rasheed and Abdul Aziz (Lal Masjid again).

The controversial clerics came out with an odd solution for the current power crisis in the country. “The power shortage in the country will end if the ruling class, military and police stop ironing their clothes, ” Maulana Abdul Aziz, chief cleric of the Lal Masjid, said in a statement in Islamabad. “If the rich and powerful adopt frugal habits and live simply wearing un-ironed clothes, the country can considerably conserve energy to reduce rigors of power shortages,” he siad. According to him, the elite sections of society were living a sinful life of opulence, lavish spending and indiscriminate use of national resources including power facilities that has pushed the country into a crisis-like situation of power outages and forced load-shedding of electricity”

Now that’s what I call an original idea. I can so understand why thousand follow them.