Tagged with " Personal"
Jun 9, 2008 - published work    1 Comment

What’s with wit?

One can act intelligent or pretend to be serious and get away with it but one can never pretend to be witty. I had always harbored a desire to possess wit, having always been impressed by those individuals who can keep people enthralled with the sheer wit of their words. People who throw casual one-liners with an almost regal air have always had a profound impact on me. I, and thousand others who are a little slow, always think of a million witty rejoinders three days after somebody has had a laugh at their expense. One morning I woke up and vowed to be as witty as any one else. I decided to work really hard at it. Needless to say that this declaration came after a particularly humbling experience.

My journey to becoming a great wit wasn’t paying off and was filled with one obstacle after another. Whenever I made any comment which I thought to be witty, my mother castigated me to no end about propriety and etiquette. She had an idea how teenage girls should behave and she was not happy at all with a smart ass motor mouth of a daughter. One day I was singing (read screaming) along with Madonna in my room thinking myself as the new pop sensation, when my sister came in, lowered the volume and said: “What will the neighbours think?” I responded, “If they could think, they wouldn’t live next to us.” She went straight to our mother and I was told to be more respectful of elders.

I distinctly remember the time when I was busy watching a lousy soap the night before my calculus test: my mother was threatening me of dire consequences if I didn’t go to my room and study for the test. “I don’t know what I am going to do with you,” she wailed. I switched off the TV and languidly said: “Try leaving me alone and see if it works.” Needless to say my mother did everything but leave me alone for the next three months. Another attempt at wit proved futile.

Although I think I have grown well into my sarcastic persona, (at least in my own estimation), my endeavors at wit continue to fail. Once my ex-boss stormed into my cubicle and said: “I gave you a simple task and you couldn’t even do it.” I shrugged and said: “That’s because I am not simple like you.” That obviously was the last day at that particular job and I have wizened up since.

I think I am yet to muster enough savoir-faire to say things and get away with them. I am still working on my poise. So far my finest hour has been my response to a former colleague who was curious about my age and asked when I would turn 25 and I replied: “When I am all done with being 24.”

This is an extract of an old article of mine that was published in Dawn about half a century ago and I just noticed it on someone else’s blog.

Jun 3, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Airport blues … continue….

If I ever end up becoming a person famous enough to write an autobiography (I know I can’t but what is the harm in imagining), a major part will be about the time I have spent at the airports across the globe. Not only most of the times, my flight is off schedule, I get to meet the most annoying, weird and down right stupid people on the planet at the airports.

On my way to Isloo last week, I saw an assorted variety at the Karachi airport. While getting my hand bang stamped from airport security people (it happens in Pakistan alone, at least I don’t see this practice in the West) I saw a couple of women teetering over unrealistically high heels and screaming at the security staff, their children and their respective maids in no particular order. One of them was on a 5 inch high heels, designer hijab and two inch thick layer of make-up. She had 4 children aged between 6 – 12. The poor maid who was not only holding the youngest baby and two bags also had to suffer the indignity of being shouted at by the oldest brat 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. 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 with 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. Ek tau I don’t get the Philippino maid/nanny fad that has engulfed everyone with two extra pennies. First of all, they are not trained nannies. Most of them are from the rural part of the country with dubious hygiene and barely there English language skills. Secondly, if one has to hire untrained rural nannies, then 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 Wateen telecom 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 unmentionable diseases.

While debating the hygienic risks of actually touching the keyboard, I heard the announcement that my flight is delayed by an hour – in incorrect English, off course. Crushed as I was by the delay, I decided to look for the most deserted little corner, but ran into the most unpleasant gay man in Pakistan. My friends, who are familiar with the ordeals I faced in my Iran Yatra, would be familiar with the gay character I am talking about. He is a crew member with the national airline and moonlights as an actor if anyone is stupid/demented enough to cast him. He is a diva from the dark side and had made my time in Iran a pure fucking hell. I decided not to notice him and ran to Costa coffee which is tucked in the farthest corner of the departure lounge. He followed me to Costa and kept on preening like a beauty queen (i believe he was sticking his imaginary boobs out). He was meeting and greeting all the PIA people at the airport with fake loud cheers and artificially jovial camaraderie to get noticed by me. I decided that it was time I pull my iPod out of my bag and doze off. You have no idea how my regard for the genius of Steve Jobs rises every time I snub an idiot with my iPod. Here is to Mr. Jobs.

PS: My five loyal readers who missed me while I was away, thanks a lot for missing me, I missed you guys as well.

May 26, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments


This was sent to me by a friend over the weekend, ab tau log bhi kehnay lagain hain ke bibi, de stress and take a chill pill.

May 23, 2008 - Society    No Comments

Happy and gay

Someone, lets call him ‘J’, recently asked me if I have any gay friends. After going over all my current friends, I had to relent that I have no gay friends. I mean I had a couple of really cool friends back in university who also happened to be gay and I have worked with gay people (one of my former bosses was gay, although no one is Pakistan ever comes out of closet and admits it) in the past. Perhaps Begum Nawazish Ali was the only exception who openly claimed to be an icon for gays, cross dressers and all things un straight but even he seems to be mending his ways and is now looking for a dulhaniya very actively. Yes, there are a people or two who I suspect are off the ‘straight and narrow’ path but as they still are in the closet, I cannot claim to have friends who are happy and gay.

Anyways, when I asked J why was he interested in my supposedly gay friends, he said (no, I am not joking) that he always wanted to have gay friends because it will add diversity in his group of friends and acquaintances. He actually believed that being a social misfit that I am, I must have had a friend who goes the ‘other way’.

I was truly intrigued with this idea. Do people actually seek out gay friends so that can claim to be open minded and cool? There was just one way of finding out so I wrote to this friend of mine (from university) and asked him if he is ‘oh so popular because he is gay’.

He said that he would hate to think that he is only popular because he is gay – and he is popular – but whenever he meets a new set of people, they do gather around him and ask really stupid questions. People have asked him everything from the most obvious one ‘when did you find out you were gay’ to relatively personal one ‘How do you know you’re really gay if you’ve never been with a woman?’ to extremely personal one such as ‘how do you feel when ^&(*&*#$ and @%#@$%* and *@$%$’. Mind you, my friend is a Greek man who lives in Chicago, Illinois, imagine this conversation in a desi set up with two aunties frowning up on you for socializing with the spawn of heathens. That sure as hell will spook the living day lights out of you.

One of the reasons my gay friend pointed out which adds to the popularity of gay people is that if they ever make a pass at straight people, it would give the straight people fodder for a party story for the rest of their lives that how they are so irresistible that people of the same sex make passes at them.

What about you guys? Do you actively seek out gay friends? And girls, do you all want a ‘Will’ to your ‘Grace’? And gays, do you guys really get bombarded with weird queries?

May 21, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Keeping the eyes open

Its 10:24 Pakistan Standard Time.
I received this horoscope feed on facebook.

Sagittarius: A person who enters your life today will affect your life in a BIG way, so keep your eyes open!

On my way to work this morning, I swerved and survived a driver who was hellbent on knocking me off the road and consequently off this world. I guess he was probably a little short on niswaar. I sure as hell can do without any such life altering (well almost) experiences. I worked through the night to write a paper for Zeeba (Sorry darls for being soooo past the deadline) and it would be very difficult for me to keep my eyes open throughout the day, if I miss this person, my bad.

May 21, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Blog and be damned!

After writing a blog about being cornered by the roving ambassadors of all things Dubai, I received an email that goes something like this:

“People like you who have nothing better to do in life write blogs sounding superior to the rest of the world. At least the corporate types are contributing to the world economy, people like you work for NGOs so that they can feel smug about it and get 6 figure salaries but do nothing about the state of world affairs. What is your contribution in the world economy? You people do nothing more than writing useless reports, hold rallies and stupid workshops that no sane person ever attends. In short, all you do is whine. You whine against government, you whine against corporations, you whine against politicians and you get paid handsomely for whining. Some of you even get famous for bitching about your own country such as that lazy ass bitch Asma Jehangir. You deserve hell.”

Whoa! That was quite a tirade. All I said was that I don’t like Dubai, don’t want to go to Dubai and don’t want to live in a city that looks and acts like a corporate wonder park and I get this. Seriously man, blog and be damned!

May 20, 2008 - Uncategorized    2 Comments


I met a couple last night for the first time. They both live in Dubai and apparently are having a whale of a time there. Hubby works for Acer – the computer manufacturers – and the wife works for one of the fancy hotels that abound the desert emirate. After talking about their glorious life non stop, they thought it was polite to ask me about my life, in general and my work in particular.

Hubby: So what do you do?

Me: I am into publishing but I work in non-profit sector, I …..

Hubby: (interrupted me with a saucer eyed look which basically said, WHY?) But didn’t you go abroad for your degree or something?

Me: (not knowing what it has got anything to do with my work and his knee jerk reaction) ummm yes, I did.

Wife: So why did you choose to work for an NPO?

Me: I don’t know. I am a policy analyst by training so apart from government (Which repeatedly rejected my attempts at getting a job there – I was even told by a man in one of the government departments that I am overqualified and over enthusiastic about my work to make a go at it in the power corridors of Islamabad), I can work in a research institute or organizations that work for people.

Wife: So how much money do you make working for an NPO, do you make much?

Me: (visibly uncomfortable, because no one knows how much money I make, not even my dad, in fact even I don’t know how much I make because my income tax deductions vary every month depending on my fuel consumption) …. Ummm I make enough money to pay my way around.

Wife: But that’s not enough na, you want more from life, naheen?

Me: Do I? I guess if I had more money I would have traveled a bit more but I like what I do and I …

Hubby: (cutting me short) But wouldn’t a foreign degree equip you for a job in a multi-national?

Me: I don’t know, I never applied in a multi-national, probably because …

Hubby: (Interrupted me yet again) But why?

Me: I don’t know, I guess thats not who I am.

Hubby: That’s rubbish. You are qualified and you should be able to get a decent job in a multi national. What are your strengths?

Me: (with sugar coated sarcastic smile) I have a lot of patience; I tolerate bad behaviour and stupidity.

Wife: that’s not good enough, we will have to bluff.

Me: Bluff? Bluff who?

(They started talking about me as if i am deaf and mute and cant really understand what they are on about)

Wife: She is tall and presentable and has a really nice voice; I guess she can be good in PR.

Hubby: Yeah, or may be promotions (Honestly, I don’t even know what they do in promotions).

Me: Excuse me, what are you talking about.

Hubby: Don’t ruin your life here, come to Dubai, we will set you up in decent job where you can make some money and live a comfortable life.

Me: But I do live a comfortable life and I don’t like Dubai.

Hubby: Nonsense. Everyone likes Dubai.

Wife: (hands me her business card) Send me your resume and I will set you up with a few people I know. I am sure we can work something out in Dubai.

Me: Dubai? Who is going to Dubai?

Hubby & Wife: (in unison) YOU ARE (and left me feeling bushwhacked).

There is something wrong with me, no other living or breathing person meet characters from hell with this regularity. On another note, if this couple ever have any children, they would be so damaged that no shrink would be able to work his or her magic on them.

May 14, 2008 - travel    1 Comment

The flight from hell – a traveler’s worst nightmare

If there ever was a contest for people who get to sit with worst possible travel mates while flying, I will win the first three positions in that contest, without doubt. On a recent trip to Quetta, I specifically asked for a window seat while checking in. I had not slept the night before and was looking forward for some shut-eye. When I boarded the plane, the gentleman sitting next to my seat looked like the heavy weight version of Hamid Karzai. He was about 188 cms, must have weighed over 300 lbs and with his Karzai like silk robe (in mustard colour) and huge headgear, there hardly was any room left in the adjacent seat for me, or anyone else for that matter. Seeing me trying to fit in that space, my colleague offered to swap seats with me. I readily agreed, which later proved to be one of the gravest mistakes of my life. 

The seats next to mine were empty and I sent a little prayer asking God to let them remain vacant for the next hour and half, but with my luck, it was a given that I would not be spared. Within minutes, a young family of 4 occupied the two seats next to mine. There was a dad, with his son who was about 17-18 months old in another while the mother and her loud 3 years old daughter who tore a copy of Hamsafar, PIA’s in flight magazine, into smithereens within minutes, settled in next to me. I opened my copy of Morgan Spurlock’s “Where in the world is Osama Bin Laden?” that I bought from the airport bookshop. The minute that little girl saw the book, she wanted it. The mother had the audacity to ask me if I will hand my book to her daughter. Seeing what happened to the magazine, I had to be a total nut to hand that kid my book. I politely refused saying that I am reading and cannot give it to her. I then asked the flight attendant if I can change my seat but apparently, the plane was packed and there was not a single vacant seat available and I did not have the nerve to inflict my fellow passengers on anyone else.
Before the take off, the flight attendant came and asked them to split for safety reasons. There were four seats in the row and five oxygen masks, the flight attendant tried his level best to convince them to change seats because the passengers safety is his concern and in case any emergency, there will not be sufficient number of oxygen masks for the people sitting in that particular row. The woman first said that nothing will happen in a 75 minutes flight, when the flight attendant persisted that they must do what they are told, the husband left the seat with the boy and I sighed with relief, but it was extremely short-lived. The little girl started crying for her daddy and the daddy started placating the daughter from the other aisle at the top of his lungs. To tune out their combined commotion, I took my iPod out and started listening to the music. The minute that girl saw my iPod, she stopped bawling and started smiling at me. I ignored. She again said something to me and I decided to keep ignoring her, after all I had the perfect excuse. My ears were plugged in. 

When mummy dearest thought her daughter was being ignored by a fellow passenger, she shook my shoulder and mouthed, “meri beti aap se kuch kehna chah rahee hai.” I had to take my ear phones out and asked her what happened. She asked if I can lend her my ipod as her daughter wanted to listen to music. Aghast that I was at the mother’s cheek, I said that it is not only rude to ask someone for their personal item, it is also unhygienic; I could have had an ear infection, would she expose her daughter to that? She looked at me for a few seconds and then told her daughter, “beta baaji ki music naheen lena, baji ke kaan kharab hain.”

Although my ears were in perfect condition (I did hear her remark despite wearing ear bugs after all ) I decided not to respond to it. 

When the crew served the food, that little girl threw salt, pepper and sugar all over the place. As I am allergic to pepper, I started sneezing like crazy. When I asked the mother – as politely as I could – to control her wild child, she said, “Array bhai bachi hai, isko main kya kahoon.” I asked for a wet towel with which I covered my nose to stop sneezing. She then started screaming for coke and the mother started calling the steward as array bhai zara bachi ko coke tau day dain. The steward was at the other end of the aisle attending to other passengers but the mother couldn’t wait that long. The woman who was sitting on the other side of the disastrous mother daughter duo had to call another steward to shut them up. 

To add insult to the injury, the last 20 minutes of the flight were as turbulent as any flight which eventually lands on ground can be. When I landed in Quetta, I resolved not to board another plane in my lifetime which did not even last for two days as I had to get back home. 

If anyone here thinks that I could not have topped this mother daughter duo, they are so very wrong. On my way back, I sat with an aunty ji who told me her life history, including the fact that she had her first orgasm at the ripe old age of 51 when she divorced her first husband and married her stud of a second husband. She also pointed out that the first husband was a ‘Muhajir’ and the second husband was a ‘Punjabi’, perhaps implying that Muhajir men are less conversant in the ways of loving a woman properly. As I am neither a muhajir man nor a Punjabi one, I decided not to take offense or pride in it and feigned yawns. At least the aunty was decent enough not to pursue with her tales of belatedly found orgasmic delights and left me in peace.

Can anyone top that???


May 5, 2008 - quirky    2 Comments

The C O N V E R S A T I O N

I recently went to a get together and met with a few new people. As a rule, I usually take sometime warming up to people, if I do warm up to them at all. Until then, I try and smile my way around most conversations. Anyways, I recently met this guy and had the weirdest conversation ever for two  people who have met like 5 minutes back. It went something like this:

Me: Some banal pleasantries.
Him: Some even more banal pleasantries.
Me: Some wacky bits about me (like how death always chase me, it has happened quite a few times in the past four years)
Him: Suitably impressed at how I always chase the death away.

– –

Some bizarre lull in the conversation

– –

Me: So… do you get asked out by girls a lot?
Him: I beg your pardon.
Me: I am assuming you are single, right?
Him: Yes, that I am, but why would you ask that.
Me: Well, you have disgustingly gorgeous teeth. Have you ever worn braces or any other dental beauty enhancing aids or is it your genes that give you such beautiful teeth?
Him: What?
Me: Or may be dental veneers or any such thing?
Him: You know what, you are a nutter?
Me: (I just smiled; I don’t know how one politely responds to ‘you are a nutter’. )
Him: (He gave me a seriously strange look and then relented) No, I have not had any dental treatment ever. I still have all my original teeth and they have been with me for the past 30 odd years and I hope they stay with me for the foreseeable future.
Me: (I smile like some more).
Him: But why would you ask that?
Me: Oh I just thought that your naturally gorgeous teeth make you a perfect father material.
Him: WHAT?????
Me: Well, I have a theory. Men with good teeth generally attract more women. Procreating with men with good teeth is not only pleasant but also financially sound. Suppose you have two kids who inherit your genes and have flawless teeth, you end up saving at least a couple of hundred thousand rupees on dental braces.
Him: That’s some odd reason for picking up a man.
Me: But you can’t deny that it is a very valid reason, dentists are expensive as hell.
Him: (Now gives me a really odd look which says, I am ready to sprint if attacked) Its like a man picking up a woman for having good child bearing hips because it may save him a couple of hundred thousand rupees on fertility treatments.
Me: For a single man, you sure do know much about fertility costs.
Him: Of course I don’t. It was mere speculation.
Me: Aha (A knowing smile.)
Him: What? Why are you smiling?
Me: Why am I smiling? Because it is the polite thing to do and I generally have quite a genial disposition.
Him: Anyways, like I said earlier, how would you feel if men chose women for their child bearing hips?
Me: Oh come on, most men in Pakistan do not choose their partners; it’s their mummies who do it for them. And those who do chose their partners do have a good look at their hips, among other things.
Him: Among other things? What other things?
Me: Well, other things are the length of her hair, the whiteness of her complexion, the socio-economic status of her father and some people are also hung up on number of siblings their future spouse has.
Him: (Gives me another look and says) you know, you are a piece of work.
Me: If you mean that I am undiplomatic then yes, I am. 
Him: Wow, and modest too.
Me: You know, it is really strange. I just said that you have wonderful teeth and you flew off the handle. I am assuming that you thought it was inappropriate that I made a personal comment. But have you noticed that you have made several comments about me since then; I am a nutter and a piece of work, immodest and what not. Boy, are you judgmental or what?
Him: Excuse me; I think I need a cigarette to deal with it all.
Me: By all means.

He then went off and grilled the hostess about me. I looked around and smiled some more.

PS: When I narrated this story to a friend, she refused to believe it. In her words, “it is too unreal, even for you.” So I request that anyone who thinks it is unreal, please leave a comment. I would be much obliged.

PPS: Just had a telephone call from the friend who hosted the get together. ‘Him’ was asking for my number. Did he think I was flirting with him? I sure as hell was not flirting with him? If I had been really flirting with him, he would not have gone for that ciggie for sure. As a rule, I don’t flirt with people who are slow and he was seriously obtuse, was he not?


Apr 21, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

First Anniversary

Its been one year since I started blogging.
It started off as a place to vent while working at a place that was my worst experience (professional and personal), but it has assumed a life of its own since then.
105 posts later, I want to thank all my friends who, despite being coerced by me via repeated emails, read all my posts. Special thanks to those friends who leave comments. You know that your comments mean a lot to me.

It has been happy blogging for me, I hope you enjoyed my posts too.

PS: Somebody I know said that I talk about some of my friends quite liberally in my posts and that it might offend them. I want to apologise to all if I have offended you. You know it was not meant that way.