Sunday, April 17, 2011

Alone: Isn’t it wonderful?

Man is a social animal and if we get the prefix of 'social' away from this elucidation, the man would not be anything else but an animal. The reason to start this post with this highly accredited quote of Aristotle is to admit that living alone, away from my friends and family made me quite an animal. Oh! Do you think confession of being an animal is embarrassing? Not anymore. Still not believing, okay let me campaign my case this way. Animals haven't made any harm to this world; no Hippopotamus has invented Kalashnikov, had not heard about any incidence of Bear been thrown out of the jungle because he is black, and even there is not any evidence of an event when a group of Lions tried to invade another jungle and killed all their naive breed. So, believe me I am feeling myself much more pious and noble than ever before by categorizing myself out of this brainy race called human.

To be on your own is quite an experience but not always as adventurous as for Kavin McAllister in Home Alone. It would be fun for few days but more we get used to it, more we become addicted to our own selves. An alone man likes to share, talk, walk, mourn, and enjoy with his own self. One acute examples of the same is the role of Chuck Noland played awesomely well by Tom Hanks in Cast Away. Being unaccompanied has its own advantages which cannot be substituted easily, read below to find quite an handful of blessings;

  • Liberty, freedom, independence, and what not. I can read a book anytime, watch any movie of my taste, and have full autonomy of remote (Ah… what a blessing).
  • No one is there to say its bedtime; when the world is snoring under their blankets, I would be enjoying the dazzling performances of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.
  • Most of the souls mingle around us even don't recognize their own selves. About their own personality, a myth or perception has been mapped in their minds which most of the time is far away from the reality. Spending time in your own company helps in knowing and sometimes even exploring hidden traits of one's own self (let me make it short: self-realization)
  • Another awesome thing which I cannot forget to mention is that there is no one to ask me to go to market and buy some eggs or bread for the breakfast. If there is nothing to eat in the morning, no problem, just have a pack of Milo and leave the home with eyes full of dreams but stomach empty of anything.
  • Complete your office assignments by late sittings (high probability of promotion), hangout with friends (more social acceptance), enjoy late night shows… no one is there to ask you anything whenever you come to your place.

A lot said about the awesomeness and fascination of living alone but one thing I would admit openheartedly is that living alone creates a strange emptiness in the personality and the place where you live can't ever be pronounced as home no matter how much you decorate it. The cost of aforementioned purported blessings is too high; there is no father to scold you on coming late, no brother to play cricket with you in veranda, no sister to ask for some bucks to change her latest mobile, no nephew to insist for a ride, and no mother to kiss your forehead when you comeback from work. On coming back from work, empty rooms and deadly silence are the only things which welcome you.

Logically I may have got your verdict in my favor on making right decision of living cast aside. Now I am thinking that when I would be in my late fifties, alone again but that time not by choice indeed by circumstances, then I would definitely regret the decision of living away from my family and the opportunity cost I have paid to earn few bucks. There are few things which are priceless and if we give cold-shoulder to them, life will snub you in return.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

“With High Hope for the Future, No Prediction is Ventured”

It's 2011, every media vehicle and our 'intellectuals' are propagating their own predictions on the future of Pakistan. Few are highlighting the precarious situation we may encounter and others are stressing the importance of education, health, democracy, and blah blah... Is anything new, perhaps nothing.

I don't know why we're not getting tired of portraying our own country as 'Gabbar' of the world; this country has given us a lot and still ready to shower its never-ending blessings without asking for anything in return but integrity with our own selves. It is good to give some limelight to the issues which we confront in our routine life but not to the extent that the misery becomes our breakfast and wretchedness our bedtime story. If we want to know the importance of our motherland, observe the people who are deprived of this blessing. In abroad, a mother fleeting her last days at old age home or a boy enjoying (read as mourning) Eid thousands mile away from his family can tell us the importance of the motherland, Pakistan. Even the Scandinavian lifestyle or million dollar lottery cannot substitute the values in-built in our system.

In January, few predictions on Pakistan which I have experienced at firsthand were that the our democracy would remain as vulnerable as an infant to pneumonia, GDP growth will hardly cross the figure of 3, law and order will remain disturbed in Afghanistan so the Pakistan, cricket world cup will be beyond wildest dream, menace of mullahs will keep showbiz guys under their roofs, extremists from both right and left wings will advocate and even impose their agenda on the masses, raising tensions on both eastern and western borders, and a lot more such breathtaking (in literal sense) prophecies.

Is it all what our country can offer to us? Do we have any chance to survive? My answer would be YES with big 'Y'. Whatever people say, they can't discard the truth and this is;

  • Whenever we lose hope, an Ali Moen Nawazish or Ibrahim Shahid comes and gives us courage that this country is full of talent (both have set a world record by securing 23 As in Cambridge exams).
  • We don't have any scarcity of role models whether it's politics (Jinnah), research (Abd-us-Salam), literature (Manto), entrepreneurship (Mansha), art (Gulgee), or music (Nusrat F. Khan). So we couldn't be excused for any such reason that we can't grow.
  • Experts raise their fingers on Pakistan's sports infrastructure but no one can stop champions to born. This land gave birth to Imran Khan, Aisam-ul-Haq, Jahangir Khan, Shabana Akhter and Sami Ullah, the legends in their own fields.
  • No gas even to fuel the car but we have Thar Coalfield - fourth largest coal reserves in the world , spread over more than 9, 000 sq. km comprise around 175 billion tones sufficient to meet country's fuel requirements for centuries (thanks to Wikipedia).
  • We are ready to compromise our sovereignty for $7.5 billion but we have Reko Diq minefields in Baluchistan estimated reserves of 2 billion tons of copper and 20 million ounces of gold. According to the current market price, the value of the deposits has been estimated at about $65 billion.
  • A decade before no one could have predicted that the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries can supersede G8 so can't anyone predict the Pakistan's future.
  • Even though we don't have wheat or rice to ensure two times meal for everyone but we are ranked among top-10 producers in crops like Cotton (4th), Sugarcane (4th), Milk (5th), Rice (8th) and Wheat (9th).

I can't understand why Pakistan's future is so bleak in predictions; we could have a brighter future and Insha'Allah we would have. What we need is a 'Leader' and they wouldn't wait for any red carpet reception, they just arrive and change the things overnight. Now it depends on our luck and more on our deeds that we will be fortunate enough to enjoy such blessing in 2011 or 3011.

P.S. Thanks to Abraham Lincoln for giving title to this post.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Taseer and Qadri: 142 Seconds Affair

This 142 seconds piece of animation narrates Taseer and Qadri affair nicely. Who's the devil and who the angel is, blurred picture is getting clear. No one can claim the sanity or raise the flag of divinity is my belief and code of life.

Today, the single most important message needs to be instilled in our nation is that if we point our finger at someone; we should remember there are 3 more pointing at us! It’s quite common for us to condemn others and disapprove their theology but don’t bother to sit alone for even 5 minutes and weigh up ourselves. Are we true Muslims..? Oh! It’s so tough. Are we worth something as human beings? Ummm.. again a hard hitter, need a lifeline.

Patience, tolerance, and forgiveness are the great messages of our religion but fanaticism and prejudice became the code of our lives. We have tagged ourselves as Wahabi, Sunni, Shia, Deoband, but not Muslim. Like the non-believers of Islam’s early days, we are not ready to give someone chance to elucidate himself openly. We are not following even the 5% of what our religion has taught us; to me it’s more of blasphemy than what Taseer did.

Taseer would always be thankful to Qadri; he made hero of a man who spent his whole life like a villain. If Taseer had the chance to write five words before his death, they would be “Shukriya Qadri.. With Love from Taseer”.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Why do we blame politicians for ‘everything’?

Sugar, wheat, and veggie prices are soaring like anything. No gas, no water, no electricity, and even no hope. Unemployment, lack of quality education, and inadequate health facilities… are the quite common issues which we discuss at cafes, offices, homes, and almost everywhere. And our debate always ends up with a legend comment ‘these stupid politicians are responsible for all the mess’.
Why do we blame politicians for everything?  Every one of us likes to calculate things like; what will be our home budget, how to ensure timely payment of credit card bills, or where to invest savings, but no one bothers to look at the history as analytically as we do other things. There’re few facts which would help to add some dignity to my hypothesis;
1.       Pakistan was ruled by non-politicians for more than 32 out of 63 years
2.       In NRO beneficiaries list, only 34 out of 8,041 people were politicians
3.       Voted governments remained much more vulnerable because of other non-political elements
I am not mentioning these stats to claim that our politicians are as innocent as a lamb but there are also some other guys who are equally responsible of all the ugliness.
Development of irrepressible terrorist breeding grounds, 3 million Afghans to encourage unattended weapons & nourish illegal cross border trading, deterioration of democratic system, corrupt king’s party setups, insurgency in Baluchistan, and 1971 break-up are all gifts of non-political setups and now if we see blessings of politicians, major ones are;
§  Creation of Pakistan
§  Detonation of nuclear weapons
§  1973 Constitution
§  Judicial movement 
§  Enhance communication network (Motorway)
§  Successful and sovereign foreign policies
These steps haven’t only influenced our economical, cultural, & social infrastructure in a great manner but also provided foundation for lasting gains. Politics has given some fine leaders like Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Nawab Liaqat Ali Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, Aitzaz Ahsen, Mustafa Kamal, and list goes on. But can we figure out any list of Generals, Judges, Journalists, or Bureaucrats who have influenced the people as positively as the mentioned politicians.
It’s quite a routine now that in every other talk show, a man with almost ‘zero’ credits toasts a bunch of politicians by the name of 8 pm or 10 pm show. Most hosts don’t even bother to do any homework and keep on asking whatever comes in their mouth. In such scenario, we should give some respect to our politicians who ‘most’ of the times face these questions levelheadedly. Few days back, I was watching a program in which few of the most prominent Journalists were invited and was amazed to see their reaction on different questions, they were not anyway behind Fardous Aashiq Awan while answering the questions.
I am not here to defend the politicians’ fraternity but to advocate that we should learn to stop pointing fingers and take some blame. The culprits are 170 million people not 170 politicians. Do your job honestly and let them do theirs.