Tagged with " Personal"
Jul 22, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

It’s official – I have no life

Someone I know through blogging recently commented that if my blogs are to be believed, I have a lot going on in my life. Flabbergasted that I was, I went and checked the first page of my blog to find out the sad state of my life.

The first page of my blog has about 14 posts. All it tells anyone about me is that I read lots of newspapers (I have quoted everything from Guardian to NY Times to apna local Dawn and Daily Times); I recently went to a beauty parlour and witnessed child abuse; I got called ugly by a random visitor to my blog. I also got published twice in one week and was proud to show it off to my five regular readers. It also tells one that I don’t have a life, I only live to blog and get deliriously happy when I find out that people are reading my blog in places as far away as Colombia, Israel and Slovenia. Oh it also tells you how much I hate Dr Shahid Masood, not that it matters to him at all.

All it tells you that I have absolutely nothing going on in my life and the narcissist that I am; I like to believe that I rant in style and people should read and praise my tirades about everything under the sun because I am so good at it.

Jul 21, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Ugly and funny!

Last night, I received this email from a certain S.Sen. It goes something like this:

“Read your blog, its funny as hell. Tell me something, are you an ugly girl? Usually, the girls are not funny and those who are funny become funny because they want to divert attention from their lack of beauty to their comedic skills. If you are not ugly, then there is no justice in this world.”

I need suggestions people, how do I respond to THAT when I don’t even know if the sender is a man or a woman? I have absolutely no comedic skills to speak off so I don’t even know what s/he is talking about.

So?

Jul 14, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Still hooked on …

Ten days on, and I still check feedjit for who dropped by to read my masterpiece rants (Self love indeed is a lifetime romance). People do arrive on my blog while looking for really weird stuff. I have mentioned in my previous post that people got to my blog while looking for funny pictures or number of husbands of Sherry Rehman (I got no picture or details about her husbands – the only thing I have is the groper video), I have noticed that people came to my blog while looking for stuff as weird as ‘Salary package of Shahid Masood as announced by PPP’ to something as odd as ‘Indian chors(thieves)’ and ‘Deadly female names’.

One of the most popular words/phrases searched online which lead to my blog was … guess … ‘public sex’ which leads to this post of mine. People looked for public sex in places as varied as Philippines, Iran (particularly the holy city of Qom), Hong Kong, Alexandria, Egypt, Istanbul, and Israel and landed on my blog. I think human beings are voyeurs in general. It doesn’t matter if one is a Muslim in Egypt, a Jew from Tel Aviv or a godless Chinese in Hong Kong (I am not being politically incorrect, I am just repeating a common perception here), everyone is looking for ‘public sex’.

Jul 14, 2008 - published work    No Comments

Work is a four letter word

Something that was published in Dawn, they gave it a different title but I liked mine better so here it is. It is actually a longer version of a previous blog.

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The recent idleness in my life, the unintended vacation I was on, made my days long and nights extended and I started pining for — yes, of all things — workplace insanity.

I longed for the days when I was surrounded by colleagues who felt no compunction in stealing my lunch from the office refrigerator, the inveterate gossip-monger who would say something to me and then go to the other person with the same statement using my name. The insecure boss who hides his incompetence by putting down my degree as inconsequential (if you have a foreign degree and your boss does not, you would get as much of an opportunity of growth as a one-legged man would in a kicking competition). In short, I was so bored with staying at home that I missed all the things I used to detest about my workplace.

Workplace dysfunction is definitely funny when you’re watching The Office, but it is serious business when you’re trying to cope with it every day. The biggest irritant at the workplace is the fact that the most degrading workplace tasks are the ones that are always put forward as being special.

Another sign of workplace dysfunction is getting labelled. If one is working in the corporate sector, one is either a YAWN (young wealthy but normal — the term reserved for people who despite earning insane amount of money live normally) or one half of Dinks (double income no kids — this is the kind that go for expensive vacations and usually have a 72-inch plasma TV). There are yuppies (young urban professionals) who wear sharp suits and drive fuel-guzzling vehicles; and last but not least, Bobo (Bohemian bourgeoisie) which include people like most of us who, although gainfully employed, have no sharp suits, no plasma TV and definitely no extra money lying around for expensive vacations.

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 the 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, butt-kisser, whiner, over-committed-company-man to… my personal favourite, the sarcastic un-committed slug.

We all have at least one ‘70-hour a week guy’. He lives, eats and probably sleeps at work. He’ll be in when you arrive and working still 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 workplace stress.

I have had the (dis)pleasure of working with this man who had a British-public-school-boy attitude, an illegal amount of (over) confidence and insane profundity in corporate speak. He would always rant about things like ‘high accuracy assessment’ and I would want to scream, “what the hell is that?” Does anyone really care if the assessment is highly accurate or just accurate? The terms I loathe most are ‘thinking outside the box,’ ‘paradigm shift,’ ‘synergy’ and ‘brainstorming,’ especially brainstorming. What do you think people do when they brainstorm? Nothing gets shaken up, no one sees the light. All people do is consume loads of tea and coffee and bitch about people who are not part of that particular brainstorming session.

I once had this co-worker who epitomised 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 internet, making a few personal phone calls or reading some newspaper in her presence. She would look at you, berating you for doing the sinful act of reading the newspaper at the workplace. If her workload is low, she would sit in her chair and do nothing — like staring at empty spaces or at her computer screen. I mean I am all for meaninglessness in life, I think it is very important, but staring at empty spaces does not match up when you can actually read about Britney Spears’s life online and feel good about yourself.

In most offices, people aspire to become managers (if they already aren’t). A manager’s designation is not high enough to be out of reach for most people, nor is it lowly enough to indicate lack of ambition. I became a manager two years into my professional life — soon after I abandoned my efforts at eking out a living with journalism — and was quite happy being the team leader. For those who don’t know how misleading this title is, let me tell you that my title as the team leader means that I report on the workload to higher-ups at meetings and make sure that my staff does not steal too much stationary, do not take too many tea breaks and report back to work after the long lunch and prayer breaks on Fridays.

Another very interesting part of working in a corporate setup is personal appraisals. As a team leader, I sat through the appraisals of my team. I had to be politically correct and come up with inventive ways to get my point across without stepping on any toes. When one had to come up with lines like ‘works well under constant supervision’ at times when all one wants to write ‘needs a rap on the knuckles every five minutes’ every year for over a dozen people, any delusions of creativity fly out of the window. At times, I have been tempted to blurt “I quit!”, pack my desk and be carried to the elevators by my admiring colleagues, but a scene of such dramatic bravado and career hara kiri is best left for Hollywood movies like Jerry Maguire (1996). I usually take leave of my employers with a resignation sent via email. I console myself with the fact that for most of us, work is just a four letter word.

Jul 9, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Hooked on feedjit – seriously

It has been 5 days since I have added live feedjit to my blog and I have been obsessed with it. I check it every 3 hours. So far, I have been very happy to know that I have had visitors from places as far as Vancouver, British Columbia to places as unexpected as Poland, Singapore, France, Denmark and Bogota, Colombia (Yeah the same country which is famous for its drug cartel and giving CIA a hard time).

A good 42% of the visitors were from US and an even 12% were from Pakistan, India, UK and Canada. The rest were from Asia Pacific region, Australia, Kuwait, Germany, Oman, UAE, Poland, Denmark, Ireland, Norway and Qatar. I don’t think I know anyone living in either Iowa or New Hampshire (I got to know about these places through Democratic primaries), but it is always cool to find out that your rants has readers in far away places.

Feedjit tells you what operating system and what browser people are using to access your blog. I was quite surprised to see that most of North Americans used Mozilla Firefox. Feedjit also tell you what people were searching for when they stumbled upon your blog. I am glad to know that my blog featured in the searches as varied as ‘funny pictures of sherry rehman’, ‘Salman Khan and his girl friends’, ‘Dr Shahid Masood’, ‘watermelon’, ‘political afghanistan’, ‘mummy daddy collective’ (I seriously don’t know what that means)‘Arshad Pappu’ ‘Shazia Murree’, ‘leopard and his spots’ and someone called ‘Tazeen Said’. Someone in Thana, Maharshtra actually searched for boobie groping in public and landed on this post of mine.

Seriously, it is a lot of fun.

Jul 9, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

My Blog is rated NC – 17

My Blog received the rating of NC – 17 which means no one 17 or under should read this. For a minute, I was at a loss. My blog with an adult rating! I am about as PG as they come, how anything I create can be rated NC – 17 which is not even a genuine rating. I then found out that the rating was determined because of the presence of the following words and the frequency with which they are used:

  • viagra (10x)

  • rape (7x)

  • death (4x)

  • sex (2x)

  • steal (1x)

Jul 8, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Defying death – one more time!

I don’t know if it can be called defying death or the fact that I have nine lives like the proverbial cat, but I had yet another brush with death (or a situation that can bring about one’s death).

In past, I held an unexploded grenade with its pin off in my hands in Sri Lanka (sheer stupidity, I know), I was in F-8, Islamabad, last year when PPP’s camp outside the courts was bombed, I had left Luna Caprice, a restaurant in Islamabad earlier this year, a few minutes before it was bombed, I almost drowned in Indian ocean off the eastern coast of Sri Lanka, I got mugged in Delhi (I have heard it can be a life ending incident if the mugger happens to be trigger happy), I got caught between a mob on December 27th 2007 in Karachi that was burning cars left, right and centre and the third car in front of me was torched down with a petrol bomb among other things.

On Monday, I missed the bomb explosion in Karachi by a few minutes.

Looks like somebody up there really likes me.

Jun 23, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Unexploded … or unsigned mangoes


The writer

I was halfway through “A case of exploding mangoes” when I got the chance to attend a reading by the writer Muhammed Hanif. He turned out to be a breath of fresh air. He read really well and did justice to his words. For a story teller and reporter who has an understated but sharp wit and knows how to put it in words, he was humble, self effacing and very matter of fact about the fact that he is the author of a book that is selling like hot cakes (Ok, I have no official sales figures of the book, but my friends in UK, US and Canada are also reading it and no, not all of them are desis). After the reading, he answered a few questions. Variations of one question that was asked many times was if he faced any threats from the all knowing agencies of Pakistan (The novel mentions ISI and war in Afghanistan, General Zia graces the cover and the version that is being sold in Pakistan is published by Indian publishers). Unlike any two bit journalist in Pakistan who claims to be chased and harassed by nothing less than ISI or the President’s office, he repeatedly told us all that nobody bothered him at all.

By the way, I went to the reading to get my copy signed by the writer, but those who know me know how terribly spaced out I am, and forgot to take my copy of the book and it remains unsigned lying on my book shelf.

Here is a small excerpt from the first chapter about what affect does a typical maan behen session has on the main protagonist. Its a gem.


There is something about these bloody squadron leaders that makes them think that if they lock you up in a cell, put their stinking mouth to your ear and shout something about your mother, they will find all the answers …

Does he really think that fuck-your-fucking mother, even when delivered at strength 5, still has any meaning when you are weeks away from becoming a commissioned officer …

I mean when they say that thing about your mother, they have absolutely no intention – and I am certain no desire either – to do what they said they want to do with your mother. They say it because it comes out rapid-fire and sounds cool and requires absolutely no imagination.

Indian and Pakistani Cover (I had taken the jacket off because seeing Gen Zia’s face every time I put the book down was just not worth the irritation)

Original British Cover

North American Cover

Jun 13, 2008 - Uncategorized    1 Comment

Monkey business



Some serious monkey time in Ayubia : ) ….

…. and a slightly more evolved version.

.

Jun 12, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

My right to protest is still sacrosanct – a response to Phill’s comments

I am writing it in response to Phil’s comment on my previous post. Honestly, I was expecting more people to comment along the same lines but somehow I only got 2 such comments. Perhaps I over estimated the popularity of my blog 🙂.

He very rightly commented that we, Pakistanis, do break the traffic signals, rob the nation and rape the women in broad day light and get away with because of faulty system. We are hypocritical and authoritarian and all the things that are perhaps not included in the post. My reason for writing the previous post was just that. Iran is as flawed as any other country in the region, if not more. I have met with so many people who have never even set foot in that country and are so enamored with it that it is not even funny. A lot of Pakistanis romanticize the revolution of 1979 and want something similar to take place in Pakistan. The reality of that country is a lot different.

How many of these proud defenders of state of Iran have actually gone to the country and saw it for what it is, and here, I am not talking about touristy visit to the museums and ruins in Persepolis. How many of you have gone to the University of Tehran and tried speaking with the students there about their civil liberties and found out that they were not even allowed to study the subjects they want to and it is the state that determines their education and the course of future? How many of you have been expelled from their universities in various parts of the world for holding slightly more liberal political views than your government? Irani students face this every day. How many of you are professors and are sacked because you refused to indoctrinate your students with the directives that come from the holy council and government? Irani academics have been subject to that. How many of you are women who have been publicly chastised by the moral police in the cities of Qom and Mashhad because you were showing three hair and wearing lipstick? I have been subjected to that along with millions of women who live and visit Iran. How many of you had their asses pinched in the bazaars of Tehran, Esfahan, Rasht, Tabriz, Sheeraz and Yazd? How many of you are women who wanted to become judges but cannot because the state does not recognize your right to be part of judiciary on grounds of your gender – something which is pre determined and you have absolutely no control over it? How many of you are women and are interested in sports but are banned from watching any of the sporting events where men play in your countries? Irani women are; they cannot even go to the stadium with their families.

They have the same problems of corruption and nepotism like any other country and it is not something that I am saying, it what Iranians say. Not everyone is interested in becoming a nuclear power, not even radicals. Like all of us, Iranians too want access to better employment and better health care.

If military service is mandatory in democratic countries, that does not make it perfectly adaptable for everyone else. At least in democratic countries, a person is allowed to travel outside the country without performing the military service (they put it on hold). I have had several friends and class mates from Greece, another country with mandatory military service, who were attending university in England without performing the mandatory duty. Iranians do not have that liberty.

Pakistani men break into bhangra at the drop of the hat at every occasion, bet it a political rally or the New Year’s night yearly sojourn to the beach in Karachi. Irani men are not even allowed to dance in public. The moral police can arrest them for this offence and can keep them in custody for a week or two. I prefer to live in a country where personal expression is not curbed to this level. I may not agree with the politics of people’s party but every time during elections when I heard the party’s anthem Jeeay Jeeay Jeeay Bhutto Benazeer blaring out of cars in the streets of Karachi, it made me smile a little.

As far my lack of interest in Iranian food is concerned, well that’s personal. Anyone who has had to survive on chilo kebab and jujeh kebab for 45 days straight will probably not be too fond of that kind of food. The fact that I prefer vegetarian food may also contribute to that.

Iran has superior economy because of oil. I am not so sure about their education and information systems. Irani students do not perform extra ordinarily well in western universities like other Asian students do. It’s a closeted society and the information that is fed to its people is extremely limited. Let me cite an example. Pakistan shares a long border with Iran and faced a catastrophic earth quake in fall 2005, when I visited Iran in 2006, no one, including our guide and translator who was the protocol officer with Iranian state television company knew anything about that earth quake. We have had volunteers from lands as far and remote as Cuba but our next door neighbours were unaware of that; such is the level of information in that country.

We are all busy arguing stuff in the cyber world but in Iran, harmless social networking sites like orkut are banned because they promote promiscuous attitudes in the youth, or so the government says. A lot of blogs are banned for the same reasons. The government in Pakistan blocked youtube for a few hours and people took to streets and ridiculed it to no end on all the 70 private television channels, which is why I like living in Pakistan. At least my right to protest is still sacrosanct.


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