Tagged with " Personal"
Mar 19, 2008 - Society    No Comments

The next hip thing

In one of my previous posts, ‘Honest to blog’, I said that I was not particularly fond of the film Juno. I got an email saying that I just wanted to be hip and cool and stand out. According to that email, “Liking Juno is passé, people like it initially but those who want to sound ‘really cool’ don’t like it anymore. In fact the newest hip thing is to hate Juno because everyone likes it and makes it soooo common.”

First of all, I did not ‘hate’ Juno. I only mildly disliked it. For one thing, I used to be a smart ass kid but that was a long time back. Now I am a smart ass adult and don’t want to be around smart ass teenagers who think sun shines out of their own asses and have no regard for smart ass adults, hence the mild dislike.

Nothing more, nothing less, just the mild dislike.

Mar 4, 2008 - Uncategorized    7 Comments

Honest to blog!!!

Let me confess, I did not particularly like Juno.

I may be the only person on the planet who is not totally bowled over either by the film or Ellen Page in this particular film (those who rate her highly after watching Juno should watch Hard Candy – she is so good, she will scare the living day lights out of you, esp if you happen to be a man in his thirties and you like to befriend young teenage girls online).

Sorry, I digressed but that’s me and branching off is life.

I have to admit there are certain lines that are uttered with such sublime irreverence that make you smile such as ‘PennySaver has ads for parents “Desperately Seeking Spawn” and the super confidence of the character Juno when she said that all the jocks really want gothic/weird /freaky girls. But at the same time, it was nothing out of ordinary, I would definitely be wary of ridiculous hype over a movie again.

What I find most inspirational about Juno is that the screen writer, who goes by the name Diablo Cody and just won a BAFTA and an Oscar for the script, is someone who got discovered as a writer through her blog. I must confess that it is my ultimate fantasy – to get ‘discovered’ through my blog.

The problem is, Ms. Cody got discovered when she blogged about her year as a stripper in Minnesota, which has since then been published as a book ‘Candy Girl: A Year in The Life of an Unlikely Stripper‘. If I write about my work, the five loyal readers that I have will abandon me in a jiffy. Because then, it would be all about things like poverty reduction, income generation model for youth in hospitality sector, participatory development, rural development, civic rights education and gender economics. So if I intend to get ‘noticed’ online, writing about my work would be a big NO. I either have to come up some fantastic fiction, change my profession, start swimming with sharks and blog about it or bury my dreams of discovery forever. Any suggestions people???

Mar 3, 2008 - rant    6 Comments

I rant, therefore I am …

For all you five people who read my blog, I need to rant, badly, so please bear with me.

Someone I went to college with read some posts at my blog and wrote back to me saying that I should write fiction. Honestly, for a minute, I was taken aback (I thought she was praising me and that did take me by surprise) and started fantasizing about being called the Pakistani version of Dave Barry (I know, I know, I am much better looking than good ol’ Dave – a lot less wrinkles fewer grey hair) but then came the dampener. She said that what I write is chick-lit and then went on to define chick-lit and what is considered chick-lit in da USA, as if we, in the backwaters of Pakistan do not know what it is. Ufff I wanted to scream that I know what chick-lit is, we sort of invented it. What they in USA call chick-lit is called zenana adab here; we have produced many chick-lit giants such as Zaitoon Bano, A.R. Khatoon and more recently, Fatima Surraiya Bajiya and Haseena Moin. We even had male chick-lit writers like Deputy Nazeer Ahmed for his akbari asghari saga definitely falls under chick-lit. Khawateen Digest is probably the most popular example of chick-lit in Pakistan and it has been doing roaring business since god knows when. Heck, all our mothers and grand mothers used to read them and have been doing that way before terms like chick-lit or chick-flicks were coined.

Ek tau I generally hate patronizing people, but more so when they are your age but think they know better because they happen to live in USA. As if a blue passport and living in da USA can have positive impact on one’s mental faculties. If that had been the case, we would not have had to endure the last 7 years seeing Bush fumble and mumble incomprehensively a million and one times because the smart people living in da USA would have elected a better person.

Funny thing is, what I write cannot be classified under chick-lit. For one, my wit is too dry for chick-lit, secondly, I am way too irreverent to ever write about panting chests and heaving bosoms and last but not the least is that chick-lit is always about a man, where the chick protagonist fantasize about one perfect specimen of manhood and would do anything to get him. Being the narcissist that I am, I usually write about myself. It is always about what I do, what I think and most importantly; what and who I hate. I love myself and chances are that I will stay in love with myself for a very long time. Such self love would make the requisite pinning (a must for chick-lit) almost impossible to flourish and I will continue to rant as gloriously as I do now.

I rant, therefore I am.

Feb 29, 2008 - rant, Society    12 Comments

Not quite the party animal

I have been told that there is something seriously wrong with me. Some think it is physiological, some think it is psychological and some consider it to be psycho-physiological, but the fact remains, I dread going to parties and it is deemed to be abnormal by most of my peers. I am still young, social enough to know some people and get occasional if not regular invitations and am considered quite witty (not my words) yet I am the last person who will be looking forward to a party or at least the parties with big crowds and loud music.

Despite popular claims that I am not normal, I consider myself quite normal (could be an acute case of self delusion), but I don’t enjoy parties like normal folks. My biggest flaw is that I actually expect meaningful conversation when I go to a party. Instead of talking about who is wearing what and who is doing whom, I talk about things that actually matter. Is that too big a faux pas?

The other reason is that I am not too fond of parties is that I don’t like Dubai. I have a theory that one’s popularity in the current party scene is inversely proportional to one’s fondness for all things Dubai. Be it hopping over to catch the latest Shahrukh Khan flick or a game of golf with that ‘old Indian friend; or buying that designer bag, everyone has their fair share of Dubai stories. As my Dubai stories are limited to a few hours stop overs on my way to other less commercial destinations around the globe, I feel quite inadequate at the requisite Dubai story session at the parties. While in transit at the Dubai airport, I either hide in the toilet for special persons or the Irish bar where one would never run into desi people asking questions ranging from the origins of your tribe to the weight of your luggage and if you will be willing enough to carry that last minute addition in their luggage which is carrying that bag of chocolates for chintos and bubloos.

My third reason for not going to a party is related to the second one. As I don’t go shopping in Dubai, I don’t have a Louis Vuitton handbag and one cannot go to a party without a designer bag. It is a must have accessories these days, more important than any other type of arm candy, and I usually feel like an impostor at such do-s with my functional leather bag with no designer tag on it.

The fourth reason I am not a party person is that I am against abuse, be it people abuse or substance abuse. As most parties these days are about being wasted, which is aesthetically called ‘letting go’, being the only person in command of your faculties can be extremely trying at times, especially when you have to haul people off from various stages of letting go and then drop them off.

If I had been born in any other country, I would have quit the party scene ages ago, but being a Pakistani, it comes very naturally to me to do things I am not good at. After all, seeing the politicians and strongmen, who don’t know jack about either politics or running a country, have been heading one government after another, I too have taken a leaf or two out of their books and am sticking to what I can’t do well. The only thing I can say in my defense is that I have the decency of being charming and quirky.

Feb 6, 2008 - quirky    8 Comments

Electile Dysfunction

One of my most awaited emails of the day is the one that I get from urban dictionary. They send their subscribers one new word or slang a day to spice up their vocabulary.

Last week, a word that made me chuckle was “Electile Dysfunction.” Electile dysfunction is the inability to become aroused over any of the choices for President put forth by either party during an election year.

So if someone is US is having a dialogue that goes like: “Is anyone appealing to you in this year’s presidential race?” “Naa… No one excites me. I think I’m suffering from Electile Dysfunction,” don’t be alarmed, they are only discussing elections, and very dispassionately I might add.


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 19, 2007 - rant, Society, urban    8 Comments

I was hit, by a speeding vehicle, literally

Yesterday, I was hit by a speeding vehicle, literally. Apart from a dislocated shoulder, the totally banged up driver’s seat door and a bruised ego, I am doing fine.

It was a regular September afternoon, warm yet breezy. I left office at 2:55 (we get off at 3.00 pm during Ramzan) thinking about the precious half hour I would get before asar prayers to doze off, and I was hit. Believe me, I have used by this expression quite a few time, oh and then I was hit with this and that but the feeling of actually getting hit by something big and speeding is a different story altogether. All the bones and muscles that I never knew existed are crying for attention and some TLC and telling me that this is how one feel when they are hit.

Like it is practiced in Pakistan, a fight between the drivers of two vehicles involved in an accident is mandatory, the fact that they are fasting and their patience is on a short leash usually add fuel to the fire. However, it never happened in this case. I was quite delirious with the shock of it and had difficulty getting my bearings when the other driver, a pathan chauffeuring a huge sedan for his employers, came down and started knocking on my window. I tried to wind down the screen but failed, the door was smashed to scrap and my shoulder so badly hurt that any attempt at wrestling would have caused much damaged to both, the shoulder as well as the door. I opened the door and he asked me for my license, though I was seeing leprechauns and fairies, I still have enough sense to ask if he is the cop. at this he turned blue and started screaming and cursing the government that give license to women who are just good enough to make rotis at home. Thought that tirade did help in getting me riled up but such was the pain that I could not do much with that anger.

The accident happened because I wanted to take a turn and had been indicating that but the other driver emerged from a nearby lane and tried to overtake me, hence the collision. When I asked him if he did not see me indicating the turn, he said, “bibi dhoop main indicator kisko nazar ata hai” (who can see the indicator in sunlight?). Meanwhile, somebody had called the police and when they saw a woman all by herself, they thought it is a good opportunity to scare her and get some money out of her.

When they reiterated the other driver’s claim that I was wrong, flabbergasted that I was with the indicator and dhoop justification, I asked them if my car is hit from behind it certainly cant be my fault, it had to be them. no one can hot their own car with that angle. The policemen insisted that I should either pay up and leave quietly or come to the police station with them and leave my car with them. As both the suggestions were unacceptable, I then decided to deal with them Pakistani style and had called one of their superiors who then had told them to lay off. After some serious threats and my former employment card (I used to work for the biggest broadcast company in Pakistan), I managed to scare them away and drove my car back. When I called the claims officer at my insurance company, his first question was, “array Miss Tazeen kisko mar dee garee aap ne?” Implying that because I am a woman, I must have been at fault. When I went to the mechanic, he asked the same question with an even more demeaning, “baby ap ne garee mar dee?”

Here I am, nursing my shoulder and wondering what is the bigger problem; bad drivers, road rage or the patriarchal attitude that says women are not fit to carry out the simplest task (not that it is simple any more in Karachi) of driving?

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


Sep 2, 2007 - rant    No Comments

Being rare ain’t that cool

Like most people who’s motto is that self love is beginning of a life time, it too think too much about myself, add too much importance to what I read, what I say and most of all, what I write. I always used to grumble that i am the most misunderstood person I know, no one gets me and I am too good for the people around me and what not, my friend sent me this site that explained it all.
It said that it is my birth date that has made the way I am. If only i was born a couple of days later or a week earlier, my destiny would have been so different, it is the date, December 3rd, that made me the way I am.

this is what the site says, you can check out your fates too at


***Your Birthdate: December 3***

You are more than a big ball of energy – you are a big ball of hyper.
You are always on the go, but you don’t have a type a personality.
Instead of channeling your energy into work, you instead go for fun and adventure.
Witty and verbal, you can have an interesting conversation with anyone.
Your strength: Your larger than life imagination
Your weakness: You tend to be pretty scattered
Your power color: Lime
Your power symbol: Lightening bolt
Your power month: March

***Your Personality is Very Rare (ESTP)***

Your personality type is dominant, driven, poised, and self-aware. Only about 5% of all people have your personality, including 3% of all women and 6% of all menYou are Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Perceiving.

PS: With just 5 % like minded human beings, the probablity of find them is a very low 4.99999%. I should tell myself to be content with gamas and majas around me.

PPS: What the hell does power color and power symbol means???

PPPS: and power month……….. does that mean that i am powerless the rest of the year????