Tid bits from my take on life in 2011. For the latest, click on the tab above.
06/08/2011 Ramazan Rage and the Money Game
Its the 5th day of Ramazan and already I can sense a strange disquiet on the roads. Nothing new in that, except that the rush, the inching in to get in or out of line, the looks and stares have started earlier than usual this year.
Political observers attribute this as ever to the conditions of the economy and the country in general. Psychologically, only extreme examples of food deprivation come to mind, none of which seem to fit here. Hunger for a limited time, when one knows that there will be an end to it, causes mild irritation for sure if prolonged and with the additional factor of burning heat added, but the reactions we have on the roads are in excess of what is expected. Perhaps another dimension is that over some period of time we have been losing our levels of tolerance. It can be sensed in the way the direct-pick-up-the-mobile instead of calling on landline translates into an incessant honking of the horn outside the gate and the idea that the person wanted inside the house will fly out in a matter of seconds. Another horn happy instance can be seen in a traffic jam where many feel it to be their duty to herd the commuters along. A very young version of me once revelled in the idea of owning Chitty chitty bang bang or Knight rider, only to discover that it was a shared dream with others. Now I shudder. If we Pakistanlings are unable to follow properly demarcated roads then how on earth will we follow aerospace rules?
Ramazan rage and swindling is on the rise this Ramazan.
Another money making scheme was just witnessed on Main Khayaban e Jami, Karachi where a tiny little school van came packed with goodies today. As I write this, this farcical scheme is still going on where a company by the nonexistent name of Aryan Enterprises has supposedly launched a dubious custard packaging with a prize scheme – get a ‘free’ blender, tv, sheraton dinner or Nokia N73 cellphone if the coupon yields that name – all for a paltry 1400 rupees. The catch: the France made blender is actually a ‘Mounelux’ instead of Mouleneux (meet the Bata – Beta version), the cell phone with a sheepish admission when confronted, turns to a made in China cheap revision, the TV suddenly goes from a made in Korea to dubious Malay origins and the men incharge earlier smiling and pleasing, turn into the sheepish, sidelong glances types when charged with fraud.
Full marks for the initiative though. The Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani version of Pakistani money makers. ‘Kabhi nayey packet mein baichain tum ko cheez purani’.
And this is just the beginning of Ramazan. Stay tuned for more from the roads of Karachi. Au revoir.
22/05/2011 Neighbourly batting
Just got a phone call from an irate neighbour questioning my take on child psychology when I don’t return her son’s cricket balls. Now should I really explain the consequences of negative punishment? Well, positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement both having failed, time for the big ‘P’. Thats my take on it for now.
In addition I have been told that the cricket balls WILL continue to fall in my house and I should deal with my negative emotions; and that ofcourse there is a 1 in 100 chance of getting hit by one (it narrowly missed me a few days back), and ofcourse cricket balls are not strong enough to break windows of a car or a house. Im totally re-educated! The icing on the cake: I also learnt that this is how children learn to bat sixers otherwise how else will they learn?! I suddenly have visions of young Afridi in knickers having half the neighbourhood running after him with sticks.
So wherein lies the soloution? It truly is a sad fact that we barely have enough playgrounds for children in the city. Yet, there is one very near my house and there happens to be just that someone who can take this kid out to play there. So, till I find another solution, long live negative punishment. Though in this case after hearing a lot of irrational beliefs, I’d say the mother needs it more than the child.
13/05/2011 Revelation – Personal Eureka on Islamic Practices and Self Healing Practices in the World.
Yesterday night I was hit by a revelation. Today it hit harder as I actually said it in front of a friend.
I was printing out a manual for Reiki level 2 when looking at the hand positions and the conceptual framework I was struck by how close the entire concept is to Islamic Practices of Namaz and Roza, Saum o Salat. The conceptual framework including meditation – relaxation – focussing on the words – placement of the hands … it all falls into place. Reiki linked with places we touch, Yoga linked with how we move and bend, Meditation linked with how we focus on removing external worries while we focus on His names. The list goes on and on. While we are praying it is not for Allah only; it is He who has created this system for us so that we are purified by the process. Reiki may well call it the flow of the eternal life force.
Bottom line – If one can take out time for Reiki, one can take out time to pray. The most natural and best God given gift to Man – provided one focusses, lets go of external stressors while praying and most important of all: ‘believes’! Pure Taqwa.
30/04/2011 Water, water everywhere…
Water. It is not just Man’s basic need but essential to all life on Earth. Imagine if this necessity were to become a luxury…And this is exactly what may happen and soon enough if we are not careful in water conservation – and here by conservation the reference is not just to its use but also its abuse ranging from overuse to the addition of various pollutants.
A case in point is that of Manchhar in our very own country where high levels of pollutants caused avoidable casualties. The current devastation caused by the recent floods (2011) is also a case in point after which the pollution level has increased further. It is said that the Government has undertaken to provide compensation to the families of the victims… Yet the question remains: who are we to blame? The Government, as a convenient target; the industries, for emptying their pollution into the pure Pakistani waters: or ourselves, for sitting and watching…and watching…
28/4/2011 Psychology of Terror
I have just come within inches of a bomb blast today. On my way to work I saw ambulances, sirens blaring rushing past and several police vans. This is the third blast in a bus in 2 days. I don’t know how long this madness will last where innocent people are killed daily and yet fingers point all around. The blame game doesn’t end does it?
Terror comes in various garbs and the one that is most potent is the one that injects fear in the masses. Overdose of fear can at times lead to apathy like the proverbial switch that has become faulty due to overuse. Right now, perhaps apathy is our double edged sword – the defense that keeps us going and the withdrawal in our own shells and little worlds that leads to social ignorance and carelessness.
If this is a war, which side are we on?