Tagged with " Personal"
Sep 3, 2008 - Uncategorized    3 Comments

It’s Tazeen !!!

.

Holy shit, urban dictionary has an entry for Tazeen (if you do not know that it is my name, what are doing here?)

According to urban dictionary, Tazeen means a very meaningful stare, somewhat scary, very piercing

Example cited of use of Tazeen goes like this:

Bryan: OMG, she is totally giving me the TAZEEN.

Jordan: You probably deserve it.

I am sure my mom did not know about the urban dictionary roots of the name, she only checked the Persian / Turkish roots and happily named me Tazeen, but I must say that urban dictionary reference beats it all.

Thank you mom, I love my name even more now.

Aug 19, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

I had a dream !

Yes, I had a dream, but it was nothing like what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King dreamt about. In fact, mine was bordering on a nightmare.

After watching Mush’s last speech in office and talking about it for the rest of the day, I went home, switched on the telly again. I had a look at Hamid Mir going ballistic over some poor sod, switched off the TV and decided to keep the idiot box unplugged for the rest of the day and went to my friend’s home. Couldn’t escape politics there as her mom wanted my ‘expert’ opinion on the unfolding events (Yes, I did work for a newspaper a couple of centuries ago and that does not make me an expert, in fact it makes me a lot more confused than most people) so escaping it was not working out fine. I came home, did a bit of reading (a trashy romantic novel) and slept. My last though before dozing off was, “hey, I have been successful and did not think about politics,” and then I had that dream.

I saw a huge room with white marble flooring, expensive curtains and a huge sofa, like really huge. I immediately realised that it was the ‘President’s House’ in Islamabad (Don’t ask me how I knew it, but I just knew). In my dream, I was wandering in that hall wondering what the heck am I doing in this palatial palace and then I stopped in my tracks and saw it.

I saw Mian Sahab (Mian Muhammade Nawaz Sharif of PML – Nawaz for the uninitiated – yes he has a whole political party with his name) perched on the sofa with his – get this – pet lion (that’s his party’s election brand)! I was scared and wanted to run away – I mean a lion is scary itself, but a lion in company with Mian sahib is about as lethal as it gets and my self preservation instincts told me to run. Suddenly I realised that there are no doors in that huge hall. I turned back and looked at Mian sahib with pleading eyes and he had that Mustafa Qureshi / Sultan Rahi snarl on his face which all but said, “Ab Phansi Razia Ghundon main” (I cannot translate it). I decided screaming is the best option and screamed. Thankfully, that did wake me up.

I escaped the dream by screaming myself out of sleep, I am wondering how am I gonna escape it if becomes a reality?

Aug 18, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Humiliation quotient

I have recently found out that humiliation quotient for applying for a European visa has increased manifold. Not only do I submit proof of sufficient funds and the fact that I have a proper invitation, I now am required to submit my NTN (National Tax number for uninitiated)!!!!

I mean WTF, seriously?

Aug 8, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Blogging and PM sahib

Though there is no love lost between me and the prime minister, but I must admit that he is the person responsible to bringing most traffic to my blog, seriously.

The post that is a few months old and still gets most hits is the one I wrote, soon after Gilani sahib took oath as the PM, about his boob groping ways in public. Now every online voyeur who googles ‘boobie groping’ or ‘groping in public’ or ‘boobie groping in public’ or ‘groping video’ lands on that post of mine. The other post that generated over two thousand hits in 48 hours (a gigantic number by my standards as I only have five loyal readers who are generally bullied into reading my blog)was the one where he was trying, in fact trying very hard, to be coherent in English. What is strange that most of the people searching boobie groping online happen to be from either India or Nordic countries! I mean it makes sense that Indians want to see something like that given they are about as repressed as we are, but why would anyone be interested in something like this in say, Sweden or Denmark, I mean why?

Another hit generating question that diverts lots of traffic to my blog is “Is Nadia Khan Pregnant?” Apart from bored housewives in Pakistan and Middle East, I get hits from Belgium and Germany about the suspected bun in Nadia Khan’s oven. In my honest opinion, Nadia Khan has become Pakistan’s answer to Angelina Jolie whose womb is probably more closely scrutinized than the nuclear assets of a major country.

Another hit generating word is Taliban, most of the people searching Taliban are from US who land here on my blog. Instead of finding about the exact location of good ol’ Osama Bin Laden, all they get to see is my letter to Talib brothers and the story of them capturing marble mines in FATA.

Search for Sherry Rehman also landed a lot of people on the groping Prime minister’s post. People have googled questions as varied as ‘who is her hair stylist?’ to the fact ‘if she is married to Rehman Malik’ (Anyone who has seen her husband Nadeem Hussien would know that any one who has ever been married to Nadeem Hussian cannot even look at Malik sahib with affection, let alone marry him).

Shahid Masood is another hit generating person. People have googled everything, from his weight to his salary at PTV to his relations with Zardari and what not.

Here is my advice to fellow bloggers, if you want to increase the number of hits on your blog, just blog about Gilani sahib and a few of his cabinet members (Read Sherry and Malik) and viola, you are popular.

PS: My nephew thinks the most popular term these days in Pakistan is ‘Muakhza’

Aug 7, 2008 - published work, travel    No Comments

Flight Pains: Airport blues


A tweaked version on an old blog which got published in The Review, Dawn.

At airports you get to meet the most interesting of characters who you would otherwise not encounter anywhere else, writes Tazeen Javed

If I ever end up becoming a person famous enough to write an autobiography (what’s wrong with a bit of wishful thinking?), a major part will be about the time I have spent at airports. Most of the time not only is my flight off schedule, I also get to meet the most annoying, strange and at times downright dense people at airports.

On my way to Islamabad recently, I saw an assorted variety of such creatures at the Karachi airport. The airports are usually busy in the mornings and there was a long queue in front of the scanner that was checking our bags. A man in a smart suit broke the line; when the airport security person asked him to get back in the queue he dismissed him very haughtily and said, in English of course, that he was sent in by ‘the office’ and was in a hurry.

The security guy backed off, but then I stepped in and asked, “Which office sent you to break the line?” Taken aback, he said, “The office at the back.”

Anyone who has ever been to Karachi airport knows that there is no ‘office’ at the back of the scanning station. The only thing at the ‘back’ is a long corridor that connects the waiting lounges to the boarding area. When I told him that there is no office at the back which could have instructed him to break the line and if he would get back in the line, it would save us all an unnecessary argument, he started foaming at the mouth and screaming about women who do not know their place. It was at that point that someone from airport security finally woke up and decided to deal with him. He was taken back to the office at ‘the back’ and we did not see him again.

While getting my handbag stamped by airport security people (it happens in Pakistan only, I don’t see this practice anywhere in the West), I saw a couple of women teetering in unrealistically high heels and screaming at the security staff, their children and their respective maids in no particular order. One of them was in five-inch high heels, designer hijab and two inches thick layer of make-up. She had four children aged between six to 12. The poor maid who was holding the youngest and two bags also had to suffer the indignity of being shouted at by the eldest boy because she had put the boarding card in one of the bags and was holding up the queue. Mommy dearest had parked her ample self in one of the chairs and showed no interest in either taking care of the children or admonishing them for being publicly rude to the maid.

The other mom in high heels kept on writing text messages to someone and had two Philippino maids to take care of her twin daughters. When another woman commented on how beautiful her two little girls were, she gave her a blank look and then volunteered the most personal information. “Really, but I am not having any more babies, they are smelly and loud,” said the ever-texting-cellphone-addicted young mom.

Honestly, I don’t get the Philippino maid/nanny fad that has engulfed everyone who has two extra pennies to rub. First of all, they are not trained nannies; most of them are from the rural part of their country with dubious hygiene and almost non-existent English language skills so their demand does not make much sense. Secondly, if one has to hire untrained rural nannies, what is wrong with the local Pakistani ones who at least know the language, but I digress.

I got up and went to one of the free Internet kiosks run by a telecom company and saw, what was probably the filthiest key board I ever laid my eyes on. I admit, it is quite admirable to offer free Internet services to weary travellers, but it would be even nicer if the key boards are wiped once in a while with some disinfectants to save the same weary travellers from contracting all kinds of communicable diseases.

While debating the hygienic risks of actually touching the keyboard, I heard the announcement that my flight was delayed by an hour — in incorrect English. Crushed as I was by the delay, I decided to look for the most deserted little corner where I would not run the risk of running into anyone I may know; I found that corner and dozed off — with the result that I almost missed my flight.

Bon voyage everybody.

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Aug 6, 2008 - Uncategorized    1 Comment

An open letter to Talib brothers

According to Dawn, highly-motivated ‘boys and girls’ of Tehreek-e-Taliban, Pakistan, are eager to mount suicide attacks all over the country, including Karachi, targeting high-profile government functionaries.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday in Anayat Kalley, some eight kilometres from the agency headquarters of the Bajaur Agency, the Tehrik’s deputy chief Maulana Faqir Mohammad and spokesman Maulvi Omar said that a ‘Fidayeen Squad’, comprising 10- to 20-year-old boys and girls, was ready to carry out the attacks if the government did not immediately stop the operation in Swat and did not reverse its decision to launch military operation in other tribal areas.

Maulvi Omar said the Tehrik’s chief, Baitullah Mehsud, had held consultations with key Taliban commanders and they were of the opinion that the only way to effectively counter the government’s aggressive plans was to launch massive attacks.

Asking MQM chief Altaf Hussain to “wind up his group’s activities”, Maulvi Omar said Karachi would soon fall into the hands of Taliban who were awaiting Baithullah’s orders to launch action in the city.

The Taliban spokesman said the Tehrik had responded “positively to the government’s peace overtures”, but both the federal and the NWFP governments had “failed to meet their commitments”. According to him, the present government was pursuing the policies of Pervez Musharraf and trying to complete the “unfinished American agenda”.

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Ok I admit; this news gave me shivers, jitters and what not. I have drafted a letter, addressed to my Talib brothers, I need suggestions to make it perfect so that they stay put and leave Karachi in peace. Here it is:

Dear Talib brothers,

I just want to point out to my esteemed Talib brothers that Islamabad is much closer to you and home to good ol’ Musharraf (If he is the target, they there is no place like Islamabad/Pindi to spread the Tehreek’s wonderful and enlightening message). You should spread your brand of Islam (more pious than any one else) closer to home than try and come all the way down to Karachi; it would be a lot of work and will probably be a tad more expensive. If you want Altaf Hussian out of the picture, I would like to point out that even he does not dwell in the city of candle lights. Karachi is home to peace loving citizens like this sister and we would do anything for our brothers to stay in their comfort zone, like the mountainous regions of Bajur, Waziristian and Mohmand agencies. We will provide you with money and equipment and whatever you want if you promise not to venture down.

Your faithfully obedient sister (cant get any more obsequious than this)

Tazeen

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Jul 30, 2008 - Uncategorized    1 Comment

All about Askari

I have received a few comments and some really weird emails about this post of mine.

The first one was if it was an original chat session or did I make it up. 

People, it is part of an original conversation that I had with a friend. I do have a lot of spare time (I blog after all) but I have not gone coo coo in the head as yet.

The second one was if there actually is a guy called Askari or a figment of my imagination.

Yes, there is a guy called Askari, if it was an imaginary conversation and I had to come up with a name, I would have chosen a more filmy name like Sameer or Sheheryar, not Askari, not after 9 years of Askari government (those who are not familiar with either Arabic or Urdu should know that Askari means military and yes we do name our boys Askari). Secondly, Askari’s Abba would have been miffed if he found out that his master piece was called figment of my imagination.

The third one was, if there is a guy called Askari then why is he not here (people wanted to know why is he all quite and not blasting me on this blog)?

That I am afraid I don’t know, but I have been told (and I have it on good authority) that he is cursing me to hell for making him a celebrity on my blog but I know that he secretly loves it as well.

Jul 27, 2008 - published work    No Comments

Trivial Pursuit

Something of mine that was published in Dawn, an updated and more detailed version of an old blog entry of mine.

Among the benefits of knowing trivia is that one gets to know the true potential of seemingly innocuous things.

Have you ever wondered why Graham Bell chose to invent telephone of all possible things he could have invented?

If your answer is no, then you belong to the sane majority of people who generally don’t spend much time wondering about things that have no relevance whatsoever with their everyday life. If your answer is yes, then it probably is very important for you to know that Graham Bell probably (and it’s an intelligent guess) invented telephones because he wanted to speak to people. As both his wife and mother were deaf, the need to speak with other human beings, besides the quest of scientific discovery, urged him to create the telephone.

I have been fascinated with trivia and general facts since I was a little girl. I always wanted to know things like the exact duration of a blink, which by the way, approximately lasts 0.3 seconds. I would try to read volumes of encyclopedia, much to my mother’s chagrin, who wanted me to spend every waking moment with my text books. My mother actually thought that cramming my brain with useless (in her opinion) information would not leave much room for trigonometry and English literature. What she did not know that knowing that a chameleon’s tongue is twice as long as its body or that milk of a hippopotamus is bright pink or the fact that it is impossible to lick your elbow would make it so much easier for me to understand the Pythagoras theorems and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

Such seemingly useless factoids also explain some things that you would not understand otherwise. For instance, an ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain; it is probably why they bury their heads so that no one will notice how disproportionate their eyes are with the rest of their heads and we humans think that they are shying away from their problems. No, they are not; it’s just that they are a little more aware of their eyes than the rest of the animal kingdom. Talking about eyes, human beings cannot keep their eyes open when they sneeze. If they do it by force during a sneeze, the eyes may pop out. It is body’s defence mechanism that we always close our eyes shut while sneezing.

When one once asked me what my favourite animal is, I said shark. No, I am not a carnivorous freak with a ‘Jaws’ fixation. It is just that sharks are immune to all known disease and who cannot be awed by such an infallible creature? Another interesting thing about sharks is that their skeleton is made of cartilage only, it has no bones. It is probably why the saying goes that ‘he is as smooth as a shark’.

People think that multitasking is a term coined in twentieth century and gained true currency in twenty-first century; little did they know that it was truly mastered in 16th century. For instance, Leonardo Da Vinci could write with one hand while drawing with the other. Who can multi task like that in this century? The best we do is drive, yell at the kids, talk on cell phones simultaneously and get fined for that.

Another benefit about knowing trivia is that one gets to know the true potential of seemingly innocuous things. Peanuts are considered fairly healthy food but do you know that it is one of the main ingredients of dynamite, yes the same dynamite that is used in blowing things up. Similarly, beautiful grapes can be lethal when you put them in a microwave; they explode!

According to trivia, cows produce more milk when they listen to music, I wonder if this stands true about the all music or does the quality of music matter. If the quality of music influences milk production patterns, cows will produces finest quality milk while listening to The Who or Abida Perveen but will go on strike if they listen to Naseebo Lal’s songs with many a double entendre.

Some interesting facts about food are that French fries are originally from Belgium and not France. Table salt is the only commodity the price of which has not dramatically risen in the past 150 years (probably because no government anywhere in the world thought about either privatising it or levying new taxes on it). Bananas are the new chocolate; it is discovered that they contain a natural chemical that makes a person happy. The same chemical is found in prozac, so if prozac is not readily available, have a banana instead to feel happy!

There is a phrase in English language about selling ice to Eskimos. Well, they may not buy ice, but they sure do buy refrigerators. In Alaska, the Eskimos use refrigerators to keep their food from freezing solid. In Taiwan a third of all funeral processions feature a stripper — and we thought it was the decadent West that brought the trend to this part of the world. If BBC radio is to be believed, 57 per cent of British school kids think that Germany is the most boring country in Europe, however, BBC radio did not elaborate why do British kids think that way. Desi restaurants in United Kingdom employ more people than steel making, mining and shipbuilding industries put together in that country. No wonder John Major declared ‘Chicken Tikka Masala’ to be the national British dish. Another important tradition started by marketing forces is Santa Claus’ red coat. It is only about 80 years back when coca cola started this Red Santa campaign. Before 1930s, Santa used to wear green coats.

It is said that a human being spends, on an average, two weeks of their entire lives waiting for traffic lights to change. Obviously if that person happens to live in Karachi, he or she would spend an average of about two years waiting for traffic signals to change.

Needless to say, I have proven beyond doubt that I’m a trivia junkie; if you want to know the lurid details of Nelson Mandela’s divorce (for a price of course) you know who to contact.

Jul 26, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

C o n v e r s a t i o n !

A recent conversation between two friends

Tazeen says:
hmmm
askari says:
khair..
askari says:
anything interesting going on in your life?
Tazeen says:
yeh meri life hai … I am the most interesting thing in it

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Jul 25, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Conquering another language !

I soooo want to learn a new language.

There is merit in learning languages other than your first language and English which frankly everyone speaks these days. I don’t even want to learn a new language because it will look cool on my college application – been there, done that – without ever knowing a third language. In fact, I already have three degrees and if I even think about going back to school (which I secretly do), my sisters will commit me to a mental institution. The doctors at the mental institution will have to coin a new term for my disease which would sound something like ‘addicted to being a student so that she can do weird stuff and stay unemployed while pretend pursuit of academic excellence’, but I digress.

I don’t want to learn a new language because I want to be known as that ‘crackpot who can speak Ukrainian’; there are enough reasons already for me to be classified a whack job. I don’t even want to be called a well rounded person because I am a well rounded person. As a matter of fact, I need to turn some of that roundedness into lean muscle, but I digress again.

My problem is, every time I decide to learn a language, something turns me off that language. Anyone who knows me knows my love for Ghalib. According to Abba (not the Mama Mia fame 80s pop act – I call my father Abba), one cannot appreciate Ghalib unless one knows Persian language, so I was always a little biased towards Persian and wanted to learn it to understand Ghalib better. My 45 day trip to Iran stripped all the love and affection I had for the language. All I can now remember is how the Irani actor who was working on my play complained about being sexually attacked by a Pakistani actor and how I placated him and requested him not to register a complaint (Homosexual advances are a non bail able offence in Iran).

As a child, I also wanted to learn Arabic because I quite naively thought knowing Arabic would guarantee a palace in heaven. Dealing with a Saudi stalker in university who refused to register the fact that no amount of petro dollars will make him popular with quirky girls, took care of my childish fascination with Arabic. The fact that I can still fool my European friends at Dubai airport into believing that I know Arabic by reading flight schedule in Arabic also contributed to it (why learn a language when people think that you know the language already?).

Another language that I toyed with a bit is French. I hate snooty waiters at French restaurants who always correct my pronunciations. I dream of going to a French café and ordering Soupe au pistou, Boeuf Bourguignon and Salade Niçoise without fumbling once. I tried speaking French with my friend Laurent but every time I said voulez vous, he cracked up and dashed my hopes of holding my head high in a French restaurant.

I think I should concentrate on Spanish instead. For one, I know all the swear words in Spanish after attending football matches in Spain. They say that if you know how to swear in a language, it is half the battle won. For another, I have always wanted to sing along Ricky Martin’s Spanish songs.

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