Tagged with " India"
Oct 4, 2014 - Feminism, India    1 Comment

Here is to the future

 

indian scientist

Last month, India became the first Asian nation to reach Mars when its orbiter entered the planet’s orbit and this is the picture that was seen around the world to mark this historic event. It shows a group of female scientists at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) congratulating one another on the mission’s success.
Female desi scientists in their colorful saris celebrating their success is so amazingly beautiful. I hope young girls everywhere see this realize that they can be so much more than they are lead to believe.

Apr 22, 2014 - Bollywood, Books, rant, romance    No Comments

The Taliban Cricket Club – a book that ticks every Bollywood cliche known

Life in Kabul has become a sellable literary genre of its own. The success of hauntingly beautiful The Kite Runner opened the flood gates and there is no stopping since then. From fiction to nonfiction to memoirs, if the book mentions Kabul, women abuse and Taliban, chances are that it will get a publisher or two with some decent marketing budget. If a book as shoddily written as Kabul Beauty School can triumph at international best seller lists, then The Taliban Cricket Club should be considered a master piece but boy, is it a bad book or what!

I generally have no love lost for all things Afghanistan and Kabul, probably because I have lived too close to most things described in those books and also because I have been to Afghanistan and I always find the book version of Kabul very unreal and caricature like. I picked up The Taliban Cricket Club at the local library during the T20 World Cup when I was feeling homesick and missing cricket and live tweeting and cursing with my friends and fellow compatriots because that’s always so much fun (and heartache when your team lose). The book, however, turned out to be a major disappointment.

For starters, the introduction of Rukhsana as a spirited young journalist ticked just about every cliché that ever existed about spirited young female journalist. For a person who has been that spirited young female journalist, I found it to be majorly yawn inducing. When we are young and spirited, we do not think everything through like Rukhsana, we do things because we believe in ourselves and the power of written word and the naivety that it can bring about the desired change, but I digress.

The plot is simple. Taliban are ruling Afghanistan and things are awful. One day, they call all journalists, including our brave protagonist Rukhsana, to announce that they are keen on developing an Afghan cricket team. There would be a local tournament with local teams and the best of the best would make up for a national team which will first travel to Pakistan to get trained and would then tour the rest of the world. According to the book, no one in Kabul knew how to play cricket except for Rukhsana, which is the biggest bull shit ever because Pathans from both sides of the border have been mingling each other for long to not know about cricket.

How does our heroine know so much about cricket if she grew up in Afghanistan and living under Taliban? Well, for starters, her childhood friend and betrothed had friends in Lahore who taught him how to play cricket and he in turn taught Rukhsana and then played with her in their compound. Secondly, she went to college in India and played for her college team in Delhi which apparently made her an expert on the game. Rukhsana comes up with the plan to teach her teenage brother and her cousins to play cricket so that they can escape Afghanistan and brutal Taliban regime.

Apart from the rather weak story line, there are things that irritated me to no end about the book. One was this four page long tirade about how cricket is a genteel game that epitomizes fair play and equality. I wonder if the writer is not familiar with competitive sport that is cricket these days. What he wrote about is an afternoon friendly match in a rural England after Sunday lunch where everyone is bit mellow after food and a pint or two of beer. It is not the game where Hansie Cronje lost his life, Mohammed Azharuddin lost his reputation and young Mohammed Amir lost his career but I digress again.

The other thing that got my beef (no pun intended) was Rukhsana’s mother asking her to get vegetables for ‘quorma’. As a person who has cooked ‘quorma’ innumerable times, the only vegetable used in that dish is onion and that too to make gravy. The writer should’ve checked quorma recipe if he really wanted to include that in his book, it would have been better if he had not named the dish or just called it a stew. I know it has absolutely nothing to do with the plot but I do get irritated with lazy writing like that.  Is it too much to run a google search when you are writing a book?

If there is a protagonist in the story, there has got to be an antagonist. Zorak Wahidi was that villain – at times so cartoonish that I ended up picturing Teja and Crime Master GoGo instead of this fearsome bearded Taliban minister. When summoned, Rukhsana went to see this minister of vice and virtue with her teenage brother and her cousins. The whole scene where he killed a couple for adultery in front of them and how some other Talib dudes ogled at her brother had me rolling my eyes instead of feeling the terror and muster sympathy for them. As if random killing was not enough, the villain had to seek our heroine’s hand in marriage because that’s what evil villains do, seek hand of fair maidens in marriage when they get a break from killing random people.

Like a true heroine, Rukhsana is not without her share of better suitors. There is Shaheen, her well mannered, well educated, banker childhood betrothed living in USA. He is perfect on paper and Rukhsana kind of knew that she would end up with him but she declined a formal engagement not one but four times because her heart belonged to someone else – an Indian dude – a documentary film maker named Veer. I mean seriously? Have we not all seen Veer Zara already?

The chapters about her learning cricket and them dating in India were meh! Their first kiss was bleh! There was a page long text about Rukhsana’s awakened sexuality and maturity with that one single kiss in the back seat of a cinema in Delhi at the ripe old age of 17 and it was so corny that I wanted to scream like a banshee. I mean Hello! That Veer guy missed an opportunity to bottle and sell the essence of his kiss and becoming the next Ambani.

Among other things, the book tells us that Pakistanis are generally bad people. I know that there is not a lot of love lost between Afghans and Pakistanis but the way it was written, it was clear that it was not written with an Afghan perspective but an obviously Indian one. A good writer needs to find a voice for his or her characters, not force his own voice onto them. Mr Murari – the writer – obviously failed to do that.

In the end, it was the Indian love interest Veer – the man with magical kisses – who came to Kabul to save the day and win Rukhsana’s  team the cricket tournament which enabled them to get to Pakistan and then run away to other parts of the world. As he was an NRI, he had a wad of Benjamins to help the poor Afghan cousins of the heroine to get them to their desired parts of the world. The fact that the captain of the opposing cricket team was named Waseem (the bad guy of course) and had played for a club in Rawalpindi was not lost on the readers.

The writer Timeri N. Murari is apparently a big writer in India but this book was absolute shit. I can totally picture how he came about the plot. It must have been one long weekend when he watched both Lagaan and Veer Zara on TV and then some news about Talibaan and had some bad idli and sambar and thought, I too can write a saga comprising of various countries and escape from Afghanistan and become next Khaled Hoseini. I mean it has cricket, inter faith cross border romance, Taliban and a feisty heroine, what else would the public want? Errr how about some originality, research and some heart. Honestly, it was one of those stories where you end up rooting for the villain which in this case was the Taliban minister for vice and virtue. Yes, this book made me root for a Talib and that is quite a feat.

I would give this book half a star for the effort it must have taken the writer to sit down and write all 336 pages. The story is clichéd and predictable with boring uni dimensional characters ad really bad narrative. You want to slap the hell outta the protagonist by the end of it.

Jan 7, 2013 - published work, women    19 Comments

The importance of sisterhood



Last week, I wrote an op-ed for Express Tribune on what needs to be done in the aftermath of Delhi gang rape. I wanted to write a lot more but was constrained by space I am allotted in the newspaper.  The piece did not receive many comments either on the Tribune’s website or my personal blog where I cross post my work, but I got a lot of emails. Some from regular readers who liked my ideas, one from an Indian grandfather who wanted a safer Delhi for his two young granddaughters. Some emails from women in Pakistan saying that things are worse in Pakistan and that at least Indians are protesting and have taken to streets and had this incident happened in Lahore, we would not have even known about it. A few emails came from sisters from across the border appreciating the support and concern from their neighbours. I want to thank you all for reading it and feel humbled by your responses. 
While people generally appreciated what I wrote, I got a few emails and tweets (all from Indian men) saying that I should focus on women rights violations in Pakistan and leave India to Indians. One even pointed out that I have never written about the plight of Hindu girls like Rinkle Kumari and chose to write about Jyoti Singh Pandey. Another likened me to Ajmal Kasab and said some choice words about Pakistanis butting in their noses where they are not needed.
Indians with narrow nationalism are not the only one who question what I write. I get asked by Baloch dissidents why do I not write about them, I get asked by the pan Islamic zealots why do I not write about atrocities in Gaza and American aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq. While I do respect anyone fighting for liberty and dignity, I am not a professional bleeding heart and would not write about everything that is the hot topic of the day. I don’t touch Baloch issues because I feel I am not equipped enough to write about them and there are far better writers who take on that cause in a much more effective manner. I don’t write about struggles in Bahrain and Palestine because they are far removed from my reality and writing about them just for the sake of writing about them is kind of pointless. Honestly, I feel flattered when people tell me or expect me to write on issues that matter to them – as if me writing about them would make a difference – but it is impossible for anyone (unless that person is Ansar Abbasi) to write about everything under the sun so I refrain from doing that. 

As for the Indians who believe I should first write about the Rinkle Kumaris of Pakistan, I do feel very strongly about the minority rights and have written about them repeatedly, but Jyoti’s plight moved me like Rinkle’s couldn’t. Probably because as an urban resident of a big city who has used public transport and faced threats like harassment, insecurity, robbery day in, day out  on the streets of Karachi, I empathize more with Jyoti than with Rinkle and feel strongly about it. It may not be correct and perhaps Rinkle deserves the same attention but as a writer, I feel more confident when I write about things I strongly believe in or empathize with. Perhaps it is my inability to transcend the personal but that is who I am and that is how I write. 

I also want to point out the importance of sisterhood to those who are willing to understand that women draw strength from each other and if one of them stands up to reclaim their space or seek their rights, others also stand up either in support or to claim their respective rights. I may not benefit directly from the rights movement in India right now, but if the rape laws get amended in India, I would be cheering up for my sisters there and will try to campaign for similar change here in Pakistan.

As far as significance of sisterhood is concerned, let me share a recent example. A fortnight ago, my elder sister and I were flying to Karachi. The plane was packed and the flight attendants were busy serving the passengers. My sister pointed out that a man sitting in the lane in front of us is trying to get fresh with one of the flight attendants. I too started following their conversation. Initially it sounded like a bit of harmless chit chat, then he started asking inappropriate questions and the flight attendant became uncomfortable. She moved away quickly but then every time that girl would pass our section, he would stop her and ask her for something. When she went back to the galley, he followed her and said something to her after which her facial expressions changed and we gathered that it must have been something very improper. Let me also point out that she was very young and probably joined the airline recently and was not sure how to approach the matter. I was quite incensed and wanted to take up the matter but my sister said that we should not intervene and let the flight attendant handle it. Though I was not too happy with it, I said okay.
A couple of minutes later the man who was harassing the flight attendant started chatting with his family member on the other side of the aisle with their bodies hanging out making it almost impossible for the flight attendant to move without touching them or addressing them to move. My sister who asked me to practice restrain lost it at the temerity of those two Lotharios, and asked them if they can stay seated properly so that the others can move freely. The main aggressor turned to my sister and asked her to stay out of it at which I too lost my cool and told him in no uncertain term what kind of a creep he is preying on a young girl who cannot tell him off because of her professional duties and just because she is serving him tea and coffee does not make her his personal chattel and how any woman who works in public space is not there for his unwanted advances. When he said that I am insulting him, I said, even more loudly, that yes, I am publicly humiliating him so that other women should also see how one should deal with a cretin like him and everyone on the plane should know what a miserable excuse of a human being he was. At this point, his mother who was traveling with him but was sitting separately went up to him and asked him to be quiet. A senior citizen suggested that he should be handed over to the airport security. Most encouraging was the fact that no one including the man’s family stopped us from standing up for the flight attendant.  
A few minutes later the senior flight attendant who was at the other end of the plane came up and asked him if he was harassing the junior flight attendant and told him off that he may have bought a ticket but that does not give him license to misbehave with the staff.
When the flight landed in Karachi, it took a little bit longer than usual for the doors to open and for the passengers to disembark. We found out that the senior flight attendant had called the ground security staff who detained the harasser from getting off the plane. The senior flight attendant at the gate who was seeing the passengers off thanked me for standing up for the junior flight attendant. My sister and I don’t know what happened to that guy after we left the aircraft but what I do know is that incident helped a lot of women.
All the flight attendants got to know that passengers barring one view them as individuals with right to dignity at work. The junior flight attendant drew strength from the incident and I am sure that if anything inappropriate will happen to her in future, she is now better equipped to deal with it. Other women who witnessed the incident learned that keeping quiet is NOT the answer and when you raise your voice, things change. My sister who has lead a very sheltered life stood up for someone else. Not only she felt great about that afterwards and had a sense of accomplishment, she understands me better and respects my need for this crusade. That man and others who witnessed the incident will think twice before doing something like that because they know that someone might retaliate and tell them off. All in all, one stood up and other sisters drew strength, lessons and understanding from it all. 
Sisterhood is important and I dedicate this post to all who understand it and stand for it. Misogyny is best fought in company of the sisters who are fighting it out on their own turfs no matter what part of the world they live in. 
PS: This is a rather long personal rant, apologies if you did not know what you were getting into before you started reading it.  

PPS: Express Tribune Blogs took this one after it was published here with a couple of additions. It can be viewed here.

Dec 31, 2012 - published work, women    5 Comments

Death of a woman

The gang rape of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi and her subsequent death is a horrific reminder of how women are treated in this part of the world. Though the appalling incident happened in India, it made all the women in Pakistan empathize with their sisters in the neighbouring country because it could very easily be one of them. Things are just as bad, if not worst, for the women in our society and we realize that it is not just the six men who had committed that heinous act are the criminals. The societies that perpetuate the archaic notions of misogyny and make excuses for such acts by pointing towards a woman’s mobility or clothing are responsible for it.  

That rape incident did not happen in isolation. The crimes against women are on the rise, especially in our part of the world — be it rape, domestic violence, mental, physical or sexual abuse, threats of such abuse, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty to move around, to choose a life partner or to seek education or health care. Women are generally viewed as secondary citizens, incapable of making decisions for themselves. Women who dare to exercise that right are judged and at times punished by society for doing so. A fundamental attitudinal change in the way women are viewed by society is required. They are not viewed as active, smart, thinking individuals but as vessels that carry future generations during the gestation period, objects of desire or derision and the carriers of honour of the male members of their families.

One thing that comes to the fore in the aftermath of the Delhi gang-rape case is the need to make ethics a part of school curricula everywhere and a part of a massive media campaign because we desperately need it. We teach useless skills in schools all over the world but what about the behavioural codes regarding women in public and private spaces? What constitutes acceptable behaviour and what is deemed inappropriate? Are they taught about the consequences of inappropriate behaviour or do they believe that they will be not be apprehended because society is permissive of their misdeeds and will let them go with the attitude that “boys will be boys?” Are they taught how to approach women, which should be a taught skill in societies as segregated as ours. Laws ensuring women’s rights and safety are necessary and should be strictly implemented but they can only work when society in general changes its attitude.

It is sickening to live in a world where a medical student is gang raped because she dared to step out in the evening and wanted to use public transport or a teenage girl, Malala Yousufzai, is shot in the head because she just wanted to go to school. They shouldn’t have to become either a victim or a hero; the Delhi girl should have remained a carefree medical student and Malala should have stayed the student whose biggest problem should have been acing her calculus exam. Instead, they have turned into symbols of courage and valour. At state level, we need legislation to be amended and better implemented to ensure the safety and participation of women in society. Collectively we need rule of law to ensure safety of all citizens, esp women. Individually, the least we can do is raise the next generation of men to respect women and accord them the same dignity that they seek as human beings.

First published in The Express Tribune

I did not want the first post of the year to be this grim and sombre but I guess we live in times when we are capable of being just that – grim, sombre and insipid. 

Aug 31, 2012 - RAW, Salman Khan, Turkey    12 Comments

Romance of a Ballerina and Tiger Balm

Contrary to my earlier plan of watching Ek Tha Tiger in Cinepax during Eid holidays with the boys and girls of Rawalpindi, I ended up watching Ek Tha Tiger on my computer with a copy downloaded via torrent because the film was not officially released in Pakistan. It was no HD, but was still good enough to see that Katrina Kaif has increased the amount of collagen she injects in her lips to an alarming proportion and now lives with a permanent pout. It was actually quite painful to see her delivering longer dialogues, her lips must be hurting like crazy.
The film opens in Iraq where Salman Khan was busy jumping off buildings and killing people with guns, sharp objects, blunt objects,  with hands and a scarf (Yes, a man jumped after him from one building to another, while the hero landed perfectly on his feet, he rolled a scarf and threw it on the face of the goon following him, the scarf conveniently opened when it landed on the goon’s face, blinded him for a moment, he couldn’t jump neatly and fell to the ground and died, so yes, that was death by a scarf). Oh and he is also a nameless agent who goes by the name Tiger (I wondered through half of the film why a self respecting adult man would respond to a name like Tiger, Salman Khan also realized that in the latter half of the film and said, “yeh tau kuttay ka naam hota hai”.)

Tiger Bhaijan beating up an ISI agent

 

To cut a long and totally unnecessary story short, Tiger goes to Dublin, meets Katrina Kaif, a Dancer/Ballerina/choreographer/stage manager/ lighting director who also moonlights as a maid and dances with a vacuum cleaner. Before you can say something like ‘meteor shower’ our Tiger Balm and Katrina Ballerina are in love and before you can say ‘Abay kya bakwas hai yaar’ Tiger Balm aka deadly RAW agent finds out that Katrina Ballerina is not the sweet simple girl he thought she was (what’s with the desi dudes wanting simple girls, they do know that in English language simple also passes for a simpleton, right?) but an ISI agent! Hai Allah Mian Ji!

They part ways, Tiger Balm is back in the mother ship (that is Delhi and his sarkari daftar) and is kinda miserable. He finds out that there is some foreign ministers’ conference happening in Istanbul and Katrina Ballerina would be there. Tiger Balm suits up and goes as a member of the Indian delegation. Katrina Ballerina too is removed from active duty to become part of the Pakistani diplomatic entourage and though some sherwani wearing dude played the role of the Pakistani foreign minister, the film director paid a fitting tribute to our fashionista Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar by making Katrina Ballerina wearing clothes that look straight out of Ms. Khar’s closet, complete with blow dried hair, duppata pinned to her hair and small studs in her ear lobes – the only item missing was a Berkin Bag in her hand.

Katrina Ballerina in her HRK avatar

At this point, things got intense; kinda sad and very emotional, but I could not get invested. As I recently came back from Istanbul, afterbeing royally robbed, I was busy figuring out the exact spot where my bag got stolen. While Katrina Ballerina confessed her love for Tiger Balm and saying poignant words about tragic love between hostile spies and how they can never get together, I was busy telling my cousin that it was probably shot on one of the bridges in Eminönü and it was Süleymaniye Mosque in the background with our jasoos Romeo and Juliet.

Süleymaniye Mosque , Tiger Bhaijan and Baji ISI – Love in Istanbul

Tiger Balm and Katrina Ballerina duped everyone in their respective organizations, ran away from Istanbul and ended up in Havana where they lived like ordinary folks, or as ordinary as a balm and ballerina can get. Tiger Balm painted at night and sold his art on the streets of Havana during the day and Katrina Ballerina became a Ballet teacher, until one fine day someone tried to snatch Katrina Ballerina’s purse and being the agents that our love birds were, they ended up killing a bunch of low level criminals in front of an ATM machine with a camera. That image got transported back to Islamabad and Delhi and by defying all travel related logic; the agents from both the agencies reached Havana in just few hours.
No matter how modern Bollywood gets, there is always a lecture about the values and morality of Bhartiye  naari, this time because the naari in question was a Pakistani, there was a lecture about the izzat and abroo of a Pakistani dosheeza. What makes this lecture most distinctive is that it was not delivered by some Ammi, Baji type but by the guy who played Katrina Ballerina’s ISI boss! Katrina’s ISI boss, Capt. Abrar, was a very shareef pappu type boi who respected her so much that he used to call her Bibi. I have spent enough time in Islamabad to know that no one calls anyone bibi in any of the sarkari offices and they would never call a girl bibi who look anything even remotely like Katrina Kaif.
Among other things, there was a car chase in Havana where both ISI and RAW dudes were chasing the spies who loved each other and one of the cars was a brand new Range Rover! A shiny black range rover! Now I have not been to Cuba but I know that Fidel Castro is still alive and they would not start importing shiny new Range Rovers while Fidel still breathes and his brother heads the government.

Tiger Bhaijan romancing an ISI agent in a bed sheet

Btw, if Katrina Ballerina is an example of how ISI trains its agents, they are certainly top notch. If ISI puts it out in their recruitment brochures that their training includes ballet, Spanish language, jumping off the buildings, flying small planes, killing random men and pataofying the likes of Salman Khan, a lot more women would join the organization instead of all the shalwar qameez wearing uncles with handlebar mustaches and pot bellies.
Both RAW and ISI failed in catching the love birds, they are still on the run and my young cousin who was watching the film with me thought that it was sweet that they defied such odds for love but it would have been great if they were not living in sin. I am still trying to tell her that finding a maulvi who would agree to a nikah between a Zoya and an Avinash – the names that Tiger Balm and Katrina Ballerina were given in the film, would be a tad difficult, especially when they are on the run but she still insists on legal matrimony. Ah these children, they want this, that and the other!

PS: That checkered black and white gamcha that Tiger Balm sported in the opening sequence may be all the rage in India now, but we in Pakistan have been wearing it for quite some time. 🙂 

Bromances and brokeback !

So Cricinfo tweeted this photo with a “So much love in the Pakistan team” caption earlier today.

and the Pakistani twitteratti responded with this photo saying what about this one?

Pakistani tweeples thought that the picture with Ajmal and Akhtar was more bromance whereas the one with Sachin and Sehwag was more … errr. Brokeback. 
I asked people to come up with captions and here are some of the more interesting ones.
@shiringul “if I lose my head, it’s your ass on the line!”
@a_bong “I got your back …”
@ammaryasir   Sehwag: “Pedicure?” Tendulkar: “Ahaa, usual preparation for the big match against Pak”
@absarshah   ‘Sucking the marrow out of life”
@kamranbukhari   “Ass, gas or grass, nobody rides for free”
@alexpressed “baout yaraana lagta ay!”
@fayyazahmed  Tendulkar: “Cover my behind, will ya?”
@Ahmad_Malik  “After an intense batting session, Sehwag helped Sachin take care of his guard problems.”
@Zonk_D  Sehwag “I got your back ! ” Sachin – “only if you keep your head in right place ” ; )
Haya Fatima came up with “Bum chick chick bum, bum, bum chick chick bum!!”
Nabeel Zuberi came up with “Turn over and do it the Afridi way, Viru.”
Ibrahim Muhammed Khalil gets a special mention for double submissions along with Aneela Z Babar.
Ibrahim came up with “jin pe takya hay, wohi hawa daynay lagay” and “CYA – Cover your Ass”
And @AneelaBabar  came up with gems like “The Butt stops here” and “Haseena Atom Bum Part 2”
And winner is @amna_kaleem  who came up with this sterling line “Who needs a shoulder when you have Sachin’s bum to lean on.”
Here are some other caption worthy pictures. 
Defying gravity?

An India Pakistan game can make Service Cheetah go all witty

Arrrggghhh! enough with the lecture already…

Somebody get me out of here

Orange is the new black

bach ke jayega tu kahan

To borrow a line from Ali Azmat, bum bum phatta 
Audition for High School Musical 4?

Byoz offering prayers, the only one missing is good ol’ Shoiab Akhtar 🙂

Electrified!
Poster boy for liposuction!
Jun 9, 2010 - Uncategorized    32 Comments

This is NOT a film review

.

I saw Rajneeti last night and while the film was arrite, there are a couple of things that I must point out.

For starters, it always comes in handy to have two studs in a political family. You want a super rich dude to finance your election campaign; you offer one of them to marry his daughter, if he does like the one you offer, there is always the other stud who will step in.

The film has some of the most fertile female characters ever presented on celluloid. They could be from different generations, different races and countries but they all conceive at the drop of a hat. There are three female characters in the film and they all got pregnant before you can actually say the word. Be it the mother who sleeps with her geriatric guru ji, Ranbir Kapoor’s character and his firangi girl friend and the married couple of Arjun Rampal and Katrina Kaif, they are all reproductively blessed beyond measure. No single character, not even the PhD from New York and his American girl friend thought about using protection. No wonder South Asia still has one of the highest birth rates in the world.

Whosoever designed Manoj Bajpai’s hairpiece should be shot dead. I mean there is fake hair piece and there is a fake hairpiece that screams ……..FAKE!!!!!!!!!!! As if that hair was not distracting enough, he was made to wear silk waistcoats that go with kurta pajama/shalwar kameez. The irony was that he was made to wear them with trousers and shirts making him look like a total moron. The audience had to root for the sartorially sophisticated combo of Arjun Rampal and Ranbir Kapoor, poor Bajpai had no chance.

I am glad that Ajay Devgan’s role was small. Tolerating him is an ordeal in any case, tolerating him in a longer role would have been a bigger ordeal. Thank God I, and millions of other viewers were spared that.

The parallels with Godfather are inevitable. 

Arjun Rampal is drool worthy no matter what he wears (or not wear), but Arjun Rampal in a kurta pajama trying to speak in Bihari accented Hindi is super drool worthy. If you are a woman with a pulse and can understand Urdu/Hindi, please do watch the film to admire super desi studliness (yes, I just invented that word) of Arjun Rampal, you won’t regret it.

.

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.
Feb 10, 2009 - Uncategorized    29 Comments

Because chaddis are forever …

There is no shame in admitting that Pakistanis have followed India on a lot of policy matters. When the people here raised their voice against the huge defence budget, we were told that India spends 9 times the amount we do. When we protested against the logic of having 500,000 men strong army, we were told that India has 600,000 troops stationed in Kashmir only. India tested atomic bombs back in May 1998, and viola, two weeks later, we did exactly the same. In short, we have reacted to or copied India in a lot of matters.

Recently, right wing God fearing Hindu brethren decided that they do not like pub crawling morally lose women so they attacked such lose women in the southern city of Mangalore. The group responsible for this attack is called Sri Ram Sena which literally translates to Army of Lord Ram. After controlling/curtailing the movement of lose pub going women, next on their agenda is making sure that no Indian would celebrate the dreaded Valentine Day.

In its true democratic character, Indian public rose against this travesty and came up with this unique way of protest and reclaiming the public places in urban India. What started off as a facebook group has now become the most talked about event for Valentine Day in India this year, where men and women will be sending pink chaddis to Sri Ram Sena leader Pramod Mutalik. The group which calls itself the Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women has over 13,000 members and it is not even a week old. There is a blog with addresses of the chaddi collection points in various cities. According to BBC, chaddis are a reference to a prominent Hindu right-wing group whose khaki-shorts-wearing cadres were often derisively called “chaddi wallahs” (chaddi wearers).

Let me admit that I am truly impressed by the chutzpah and the cheek of our Indian sisters. After following Indians on crazy defence spending, we should follow suit in reclaiming our rightful space in public arena.

Let the chaddis rule.

.

Jan 11, 2009 - Uncategorized    34 Comments

Politically incorrect conversation between a Pakistani and an Indian

I promised Saadia that I will do a Pakistani’s impression of India after the myths post, but I just cannot get to do it (serious time management issues and multiple deadlines). Instead, I have decided to put up a dialogue between a Pakistani and an Indian girl. Chadha is a friend from university days and we stay in touch through the wonderful medium of World Wide Web. Here is a piece for you all – a piece of “people to people interaction’ between the two of us.

Tazeen says:
Chadhaaaaa …. longtime

Maneesha says:
yaar its been chaos at work… I am home now for holidays and still have to keep checking mails

Maneesha says:
By the way I saw my first nikaah ceremony yesterday

Tazeen says:
Ah, so you have seen our version of nuptials. It’s just like Christians’; we just ask them thrice to be really really sure. And of course there is the whole haq meher thing as well and the bits and pieces of “Do you accept Mr X to be your lawfully wedded husband for the meher of Rs. Xyz” and the girl has to respond with “qabool hai, qabool hai, qabool hai “ (I accept, I accept, I accept).

Maneesha says:
Yes, except unlike the movies the boy and girl aren’t separated by a thin curtain, but are in completely different rooms!!!

Maneesha says:
It was quite interesting, particularly since the boy is Sri Lankan and doesn’t understand a word of Urdu.

Maneesha says:
So all of us said what we wanted to in front of him and he didn’t get a word… kya mazaa aaya

Tazeen says:
wah wah

Tazeen says:
This is your masi’s daughter, right?

Tazeen says:
She is marrying a Sri Lankan dude?

Maneesha says:
yup

Tazeen says:
Good, everyone should marry outside their religion and country … that way no one will stay bigoted and unnecessary attachment to clan and country would make way for a peaceful world

Tazeen says:
Gosh, I sound like a Miss World contestant.

Tazeen says:
World peace!!!

Maneesha says:
You know…. write that somewhere… when you are dead and gone, someone will discover it and make it the law…. like in a futuristic movie

Tazeen says:
hahahaha

Tazeen says:
Let me do a blog post on it. (I did this one after the conversation)

Maneesha says:
Totally…. put it there right now

Maneesha says:
Future would be something like this:

Scottie approaches captain Kirk….
Captain I would like your permission to marry a Clingon…
Captain says, with flair – Scottie, as you know, Tazeen’s law is in the making. She was a visionary – she stated those words centuries ago that everyone should marry outside their religion and country (In their case, the marriage could be inter galactic )… that way no one will stay bigoted and unnecessary attachment to clan and country would make way for a peaceful world

Tazeen says:
hahahahaha

Maneesha says:
Or, write it…. the law….

Tazeen says:
Oh as in legal language?

Tazeen says:
Thou shalt only marry outside your clan (if you really have to) otherwise just live in sin. How is that for a brand new commandment?

Tazeen says:
I mean if it is that far along in the future, legal matrimony would have become obsolete by then, naheen?

Maneesha says:
Exactly, then it will be mind connection, and telepathy and other less messy things.

Tazeen says:
Hahaha, There wont be any exchange of bodily fluids, and zero chance of contracting STDs and Aids. I think people will be a lot more tolerant about cheating if it is all telepathic and long distance. What say?

Maneesha says:
Yeah, it would a much healthier environment. UNAIDS would be redundant.

Tazeen says:
Imagine. Cheating would just be a lot less thrilling hence the charm would be greatly diminished.

.

Pages:123»
``