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Saturday, October 10, 2009

javaaban arz haé

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Inimitably Woody

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Enuff awready!

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

DAWN gets it "101%" right!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Just in case this gives you ideas ...

Be warned …

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

It may be just a rumour ...

... but the electronic market was abuzz that, following Mobilimp's decision to donate cellphones to the deaf, electronic giant Sohni will donate TV sets to the blind.

Before mocking the telco's initiative, please understand that there's method in their madness: These are non-working sets!

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Word Clouds

This is just a "yooñhee" post, so skip it if you wish.

I was woken up - at just past 4AM!!! - by the sounds of some guys emptying their guns (hopefully [not] into each other ... I am feeling ambivalent!) and decided to while away the time doing something that didn't require much thinking.

Choosing the last couple of posts of the three bloggers I follow regularly (though, sadly, only one of them is prolific), plus an older one of my own, I decided to generate "word clouds", using Wordle. In all four cases, I used the very first option presented by the application after hitting the 'Randomize' button. Here are the results:

Waste of time? I think I've found a couple of interesting ideas about using these in classrooms. Maybe I'll share them here some day, once they've taken better shape. Feel free to suggest some that come to your mind.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

At the Dentist

OK ... so this woman walks in and from about five feet away stares hard at me and says in a really lovey tone, "When did you get this shirt?" ... then takes another step forward while pulling out her glasses (perhaps to examine my clothing at a closer range) and then suddenly stops and steps back and says "Shit. I thought you were someone else!"

This is for her:


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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yayyy ... 'Windmills' is back!!!

Oh, I know not all of you feel that way about my blog ... but I do ;-)

Thank you, Sabeen, for spending so much time trying to get to the root of the problem and those endless and fruitless calls that you had to make, but you've got it going ...


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Zore hua kis par?

Whether it's Obama using it in a speech or Annie Leonard in The Story of Stuff, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address resurfaces almost daily to contradict "The world will little note nor long remember what we say here ...".

Strangely, the vast majority of the people quoting it - from the 2 mentioned above, to hundreds more, including teachers who should know better - recite "government of the people, by the people, for the people" with the emphases on the wrong words.

Raymond Massey, after his great success on stage (late 1930s) and film (1940) often made guest appearances playing a scene or two as Lincoln on numerous stages. There's a story that on one such occasion, in 1943, when he got to those words, he too said in his booming dramatic voice "government OF the people, BY the people, FOR the people".

As the speech ended, over the cheers was heard the voice of an old man from the audience. "That's not what Abe said. He said 'government of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE, for the PEOPLE' ..."

The 98-year old man was just 18 when he'd heard Lincoln deliver the speech at Gettysburg, on 19th November 1863 (almost exactly one hundred years before the day when JFK was killed).

I don't know if this incident actually happened or if it's just a story, but the old man's claim sure makes better linguistic sense. (Many actors, since that day, do use this intonation while playing the part. Listen to this recording.)

There is, however, one real Massey-Lincoln story that I recall from Kermit Schafer's collectible album, Pardon My Blooper. In Abe Lincoln In Illinois, Abe, played by Raymond Massey, is leaving and standing at the back of a railroad car while the "crowd" yells good-bye. One young 'extra', overcome by being in the same room with the great actor, can clearly be heard above the others: "Good-bye, Mr. Massey."

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Oh well ...

Tom Lehrer said:
"People ought to love one another.
But I know there are people out there
who do not love one another.
And I hate such people!"

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

PPP's given us an 'acting' woman President

PML could do even better
by giving us a real, full-time one!

Wouldn't she make a great candidate here?

I suggest that PML grab her quickly.
She's more attractive than Saeed uz Zaman,
Mushaayad, or, for that matter, AZ himself.

And if the US President, like his predecessors,
wants to screw our President
that'll be an entirely internal US matter.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Just sharing a comment ...

George Orwell - "This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse."

Naeem 'Warrior' Sadiq - "But then how do you get funding from the donor agencies?"


And while we are on the subject ...

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

This is a bit of a cheat ...

I've been tied up with a Spring-cleaning job in my Library, home to my books and audio-visual collections. (OK ... OK ... it's not Spring. But, then, in Karachi it never is, except on special occasions!) This massive task has been undertaken to meet a deadline: Nuzhat returns from her Isloo/Lhr trip tonight and I think she deserves to see a cleaner space (though, to really make her happy, I'll need to do similar things in 5 other spaces :-( There was another incentive, too. I've wired up new speakers (nothing special ... just a small surround set-up to go with the new DVD player) and the sound-colouration caused by the stuff lying all over the space was bugging me.

This 'detour' from my planned tasks for the weekend means I have had to postpone the post(s) I was supposed to put up today. Maybe by tomorrow night, if I haven't collapsed in a heap (probably indistinguishable from the one that's getting built up with the junk I am throwing away) I shall add one or two of the 4 pieces I have simultaneously started. So much has happened that I want to rave/rant about ...

Anyway, among the piles of unsorted papers I found a little thaéla containing cartoons I'd clipped from magazines and papers --- and was immediately distracted from the task at hand. There are 2 - both by that absolute genius, Schulz - that I wish I'd found just a few days earlier, since they'd have made apt inserts into recent posts. However, I am so bent upon sharing them with you that I am reproducing both below, with links to the originally blogged bits. This way, I also get to lure those of you who cruelly ignored my earlier posts to take a look at them, too. (I warned you this post was a bit of a cheat!)

The first cartoon makes a great companion to the Giles Coren post:

And if anyone like the reporter mentioned in this post ever submits anything to you for publication, I suggest your response be based on:

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Subs and Eds (& Contributors): Take note!

When I got back from a week-long trip to India last Monday, I planned to write several posts about the trip, but a bout of food-poisoning (caught here ... and furthering my resolve to stay away from 5-Star Cuisine) has laid me low. So, until I am back in action - in a couple of days at most - I thought I'd share a particularly delightful piece from the Guardian.

While Giles Coren - quoted in full below - makes a solid case (and the response from The Time's subs, imho, is a poor effort at one-upmanship), it is to the credit of The Times to have responded in another newspaper and The Guardian to have published Coren's piece, in the first place. It also highlights the maturity of the press in the UK. I doubt if such an exchange could have been possibly published, in a daily of such a vast readership, in the USA or any other part of the Free[Speech] World.

Several friends and I have been victims of sub-editorial misdemeanors, often at the hands of twerps still unweaned, it seems, from their Radiant Way series. I hope this will help both sides of what should not be a divide to start thinking about the process.

(Subs & Eds have my sympathies, too. To those who submit the trash that these poor guys have to wade through daily, Giles offers one helluva lesson on what good, precise writing requires. Learn from it!)

And now to Giles Coren: frequently controversial, as a quick peek at this Wikipedia entry will show, but, in the true Oxbridge tradition, delightfully witty, barbed, and almost always fun to read. Here’s Giles Coren's letter to Times subs: Caution (or Temptation?): Strong Language Ahead! — ZAK

Wednesday July 23 2008


I am mightily pissed off. I have addressed this to Owen, Amanda and Ben because I don't know who I am supposed to be pissed off with (I'm assuming Owen, but I filed to Amanda and Ben, so it's only fair), and also to Tony, who wasn't here - if he had been I'm guessing it wouldn't have happened.

I don't really like people tinkering with my copy for the sake of tinkering. I do not enjoy the suggestion that you have a better ear or eye for how I want my words to read than I do. Owen, we discussed your turning three of my long sentences into six short ones in a single piece, and how that wasn't going to happen anymore, so I'm really hoping it wasn't you that fucked up my review on Saturday.

It was the final sentence. Final sentences are very, very important. A piece builds to them, they are the little jingle that the reader takes with him into the weekend.

I wrote: "I can't think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for a nosh."

It appeared as: "I can't think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for nosh."

There is no length issue. This is someone thinking "I'll just remove this indefinite article because Coren is an illiterate cunt and I know best". Well, you fucking don't.

This was shit, shit sub-editing for three reasons.

1) 'Nosh', as I'm sure you fluent Yiddish speakers know, is a noun formed from a bastardization of the German 'naschen'. It is a verb, and can be construed into two distinct nouns. One, 'nosh', means simply 'food'. You have decided that this is what I meant and removed the 'a'. I am insulted enough that you think you have a better ear for English than me. But a better ear for Yiddish? I doubt it. Because the other noun, 'nosh' means "a session of eating" - in this sense you might think of its dual valency as being similar to that of 'scoff'. You can go for a scoff. or you can buy some scoff. The sentence you left me with is shit, and is not what I meant. Why would you change a sentence so that it meant something I didn't mean? I don't know, but you risk doing it every time you change something. And the way you avoid this kind of fuck up is by not changing a word of my copy without asking me, okay? it's easy. Not. A. Word. Ever.

2) I will now explain why your error is even more shit than it looks. You see, I was making a joke. I do that sometimes. I have set up the street as "sexually-charged". I have described the shenanigans across the road at G.A.Y. I have used the word 'gaily' as a gentle nudge. And "looking for a nosh" has a secondary meaning of looking for a blowjob. Not specifically gay, for this is Soho, and there are plenty of girls there who take money for noshing boys. "Looking for nosh" does not have that ambiguity. The joke is gone. I only wrote that sodding paragraph to make that joke. And you've fucking stripped it out like a pissed Irish plasterer restoring a renaissance fresco and thinking Jesus looks shit with a bear so plastering over it. You might as well have removed the whole paragraph. I mean, fucking christ, don't you read the copy?

3) And worst of all. Dumbest, deafest, shittiest of all, you have removed the unstressed 'a' so that the stress that should have fallen on "nosh" is lost, and my piece ends on an unstressed syllable. When you're winding up a piece of prose, metre is crucial. Can't you hear? Can't you hear that it is wrong? It's not fucking rocket science. It's fucking pre-GCSE scansion. I have written 350 restaurant reviews for The Times and I have never ended on an unstressed syllable. Fuck. fuck, fuck, fuck.

I am sorry if this looks petty (last time I mailed a Times sub about the change of a single word I got in all sorts of trouble) but I care deeply about my work and I hate to have it fucked up by shit subbing. I have been away, you've been subbing Joe and Hugo and maybe they just file and fuck off and think "hey ho, it's tomorrow's fish and chips" - well, not me. I woke up at three in the morning on Sunday and fucking lay there, furious, for two hours. Weird, maybe. But that's how it is. It strips me of all confidence in writing for the magazine. No exaggeration. I've got a review to write this morning and I really don't feel like doing it, for fear that some nuance is going to be removed from the final line, the pay-off, and I'm going to have another weekend ruined for me.

I've been writing for The Times for 15 years and I have never asked this before - I have never asked it of anyone I have written for - but I must insist, from now on, that I am sent a proof of every review I do, in PDF format, so I can check it for fuck-ups. And I must be sent it in good time in case changes are needed. It is the only way I can carry on in the job.

And, just out of interest, I'd like whoever made that change to email me and tell me why. Tell me the exact reasoning which led you to remove that word from my copy.

Right ... Sorry to go on. Anger, real steaming fucking anger, can make a man verbose.

All the best.

Giles © Guardian News and Media Limited 2000

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dayr aayad, dürüst aayad?

The mailing date (July 30, 2008) seems kinda late. The Seminar (The Benefits of a Connected Campus) that it is inviting people to was already over:
Date: May 8, 2008
Two sessions: 3:00 PM - Eastern Daylight Time or 12:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Sponsored by: Sprint and Rave Wireless

Sprint Campus Connect enables students, faculty and staff at higher education institutions to better connect and communicate resulting in enhanced learning, safety and time management
but, to make matters even more amusing, the email arrived just a moment ago! 

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stumbling upon Solutions Unlimited

Got this from Sab recently

Yep, Sab ... and that was way back in 1985
(as the 8-bit image jaggies show!)

I guess great graphics designers think alike

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yak Jaan Do Qaalib?

Occasionally - though not too frequently - I ignore the fact that my name has been mis-spelt on invitations (even though, as in this case, the hosts have an almost quarter century long association with me and should know my correct name by now). So that is not my gripe with this card. It is with the confusion that it creates.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Operation Cleanup Unearths Treasures ;-)

Found a notebook among the junk which is being given to the kabaa∂iaa.

It contained some pieces from my days at Government College (Lahore). They have now been rescued and hidden in a special new junk collection place in the house. (I hope Nuzhat is not reading this post!)

This is what I discovered of my bachpan kee ghalat-kaariyaañ:

English: 3 Limericks (one unrepeatable at any cost); several angst-ridden entries; 12 pages of abandoned attempts to write short stories which had started developing into either corny or horny writing; a diatribe against the college-election politics of Khalid S. Butt (when he stood aginst Kamal Azfar); a page of Tom Swifties ... Anyone remember those?

Art (er, not!): A drawing of a tinda ... or was it a shaljam? (we were served one or the other far too frequently) followed by some words expressing the desire to give it back to the cook ... with gruesome details about how!

Urdu: 2 Ghazals, 1 Hazal, 1 qit'ah:
nah ham-khayaal haé koee, na ham-zübaañ koee,
ajab qabeelah haé, ham jis meñ aaj rahtay haeñ;
dimaagh aur kaheeñ haé, to dil kisee jaa haé,
takallüfan isay ham phir bhi ghar to kahtay haéñ

- the quadrangle (1957) -
and oodles of (Price-less) droodles (yet another popular activity at the time).

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? (Slightly Spiced for the Local Palate)

Pervez Musharraf - Egged on by NGOs, I bet! [Cluck, cluck.]

Fakhar Imam - Musharraf probably meant "[Qalaq, Qalaq]"

Chaudhry Qazaa-e-Elahi - Jaae kaheeñ ... aana to üsay yañhee hae!

Maulana Fazl-ur-Rahman - The other side must've paid more.

Nawaz Sharif - Oye Shabaaaz - Chhaytee kar. Kukkad pakad, tikka banwaa ...

Peerané Peer - Vaqt aanay par sab vaazeh ho jaaega!

Qazi Husain Ahmad - There is no compulsion and she is not answerable to us. As long as she wore the Hijab when crossing, it is entirely her choice.

Imran Khan - [Sigh] Chicks do that.

Jaahil Online Team - Qaza-o-Raza kay masaael mayñ ülajhna hee baykaar hae.

Asif Zardari - Never mind why! Did we get our 10% from the toll tax?

Kamila Shamsie - Dunno Why ... but do know How: The Bird Flu

Head of ISI ("Name withheld by request") - The chicken did not cross the road. This is a complete fabrication. We do not even have a chicken. Probably happened in a 'neighbouring country'...

Manmohan Singh - We have reason to believe it was a 'halaal' chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road to confirm this.

Atta ur Rahman - It wasn't a road, it was a Highway. An eHighway that I built with my own bare hands. The current Government is helping chickens in all villages cross highways. Leghari sahab has been appointed to figure out what they will do once they get to the other side.

Nawabzaadah Nasrullah - What's a chicken?

Everyone's Daadaa Jaan - In my day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us that the chicken had crossed the road, and that was good enough.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Season's Greetings

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Of interests to Diabetics during the Holiday [and, in Pakistan, also the Wedding] Season!

Dr. Barnett offers the following tips to help people with diabetes enjoy a healthful holiday season:

1. Follow a regular exercise routine to help regulate metabolism. Don't have an hour to spare? Try 10– or 15– minute brisk walks at intervals throughout the day – they all add up. Remember, after a holiday meal, to wait 60 to 90 minutes before taking your walk.

2. Eat something at home before you go to the event or party. When you're hungry, you tend to overeat and are likely to choose foods that are less healthy. Grab a piece of fruit on the way out to the party to tide you over.

3. Enjoy those special holiday foods in moderation. Pass on the everyday foods like crackers and dip. Instead, take small portions of special holiday items. A small portion is less likely to upset blood sugar levels.

4. At parties and other social events, gravitate toward the veggies and fresh fruit.

5. Make water or diet sodas your beverages of choice. If you do choose to drink alcohol, be sure to have something to eat along with it.

6. Remember to monitor your blood glucose level, and be sure you don't skip meals.

7. Take extra care to be certain that your meals are nutritious, varied and balanced. If you do have a treat, make sure you substitute it for an equivalent item in your regular menu.

8. Be positive. Remember that you control your diabetes; it doesn't control you.

An estimated one–third of those affected by diabetes go undiagnosed for several years. Symptoms of diabetes include extreme thirst, frequent urination and blurry vision from time to time. Early symptoms of the disease include unexplained weight loss or weight gain, as well as fatigue.

And bookmark this site ... it is worth referring to, frequently.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Having an effair? (PG-13: Kids, stay out!)

Got this ad in my email today, forwarded by someone who actually installed X-SPY in his office in the USA and was advised by his lawyers that he needs to inform his 9 employees about this installation, otherwise he could be sued for all sorts of invasion of privacy cases. (Wonder if this applies to home use, too.)

X-SPY to the rescue!

Do you know who your kids chat with whenever they get on to the Internet? Or your spouse's cybersex activities? Or what sites your employees visit on the Net on your time?

Even more scary: Are your employees emailing your business secrets to your competitors? Or sending confidential data to their private email addresses for later use?

If you do worry about these issues, worry no more. X-SPY (only $69 to download) runs in stealth mode where it is not detected by the user of the computer. It captures everything from chats and instant messages to email, web sites and much more.

Some STATS for you:
· 85% of WOMEN who feel they have a cheating spouse ARE correct.
· 50% of MEN who feel they have a cheating spouse ARE correct.
· 70% of MARRIED WOMEN do not know about their spouses' affair.
· 54% of MARRIED MEN do not know about their spouses' affair.

· 86% of CHILDREN can chat online without their parents' knowledge.
· 64% of TEENS do things online they don't want their parents to know about.
· 50% of TEENS communicate online with someone they have never met.
· 30% of TEENAGED GIRLS are sexually solicited inside a chat room.
· 58% of PARENTS monitor what their child does in online chat rooms.

So, if you are the perpetrator of a corporate crime, or are having effairs (as I prefer to call them, since they may not always lead to cybersex), be on the lookout for SpyKiller - a piece of software that's sure to follow, possibly from a sister company of the X-SPY guys - making money both ways off eSuckers.

Postscript 1: The person who forwarded the ad had this to say on stats #4 & #5: "... only 30% women know, but 46% of men do. This indicates that men are more tech-savvy and use this software ;-)" ... His wife added a footnote in the email: "Being less tech-savvy also means fewer of us have 'virtual affairs' and go for the real thing, unlike stupid males! Hahaha!"

Postscript 2: Had I written the copy for the ad, I'd have used the tongue-in-cheek pricing tab to greater advantage by using this ad headline: 69 keeps you from getting screwed!

Piece! Peace!

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fans of Zeeshan Sajwani need not read this

On more than one occasion I have received email from a Zeeshan Sajwani who, as a search on the internet will show, is a prolific writer of articles, a speaker at conferences, and a lot more.

What does he talk about? Well, in the interest of remaining civil and polite, I'd describe it as crap. It's the usual self-help shit that uses a lot of words to say very little, if anything at all. Here's an extract from one of his speeches, with the title LIFE IS LIKE PREGNANCY: Problems are like pregnancy, they grow until presence is obvious.
Ladies and Gentlemen, recently I had a problem to face and I did. I cannot discuss that problem here but it was very common and I can feel that particular problem in hundreds of you today. I know you people might not be interested to listen to my problems but let’s see the solution. The best thing to come out from thoughts is to mediate.

I wont’ take more than five minutes of you. Meditation is something we organize through and in our minds. The best exercise to fight against thoughts is to communicate with your thoughts. Get more into them. Think more about it. Feel it. Cry for it. Go sad about it. Get more into your thoughts. Take off for two or three days from your office. Don’t shave. Don’t iron your dress.

And than one day you will be able to accept that fact. The fact of life. The fact that happened to you for whatsoever good reasons. The fact with whom you have to live with and the fact of your entire past, presence and future.
Mr. Sajwani also explains things in the oddest of ways, as the beginning of his article, The Logic of Dreams, will show:
When we are dreaming alone it is only a dream but when we are dreaming with
others, it is right beginning of the reality.

I raise a question right here in the beginning of this chapter. People talk about their everyday dreams and fantasies. Before, we begin talking about dreams, I would love to ask that should we have dreams?

Well, I make a political answer right here both in Yes and No. I personally feel that one should not have dreams because when they don't get turned into the reality; it hurts. But if we don't have dreams, we nearly don't have a vision or an objective to live. Now it personally depends on us to have them or not to have them.

The word "Dream", is not exactly like it is mostly self-interpreted. There are many kind of dreams, of which one is the dream that we sketch ourselves during the preparing time to sleep. The other one that comes itself in the mid of our deep sleeps.

Lets begin with talking about self-sketched dreams. Most of us believe and practice this exercises before getting into deep sleeps. What do we construct? Well, everyone has his or her own set of desires. When it comes to me, I desire for a healthy family life but may when it comes to you, you may have desires to have a good job, education for children, going abroad or fantasies of your love life.

The fact that you may believe or deny, It is that every self-sketched dream turns into reality, but it takes some time. Let me be clear more on it. If I desire to be in arms of my loved one, and I practice this self-sketched dream everyday; the vibration of my thoughts take direction towards my loved one and transfer the message to her or him in telepathic codes.

Describing the same universal truth, The Source of Gravity explains that everything that has weight comes right down towards earth but everything that has no weight flies right towards the Sky. Gas and Sound Pollution is the right example flies all in the direction of sky.
The whole article is worth reading if you are looking for unintentional humour. But the topper in this category, so far, has been his piece called Out of Box Thinking which I beseech you to read in full. Do keep a printout handy to whip out and read when needing inspiration.

Today I received an email from him that contained a long article, of which the opening is quoted below:
The Naked Bond - A Relationship Journey
By: Zeeshan Sajwani

Dating and marriage is different than it was twenty years ago. In today's society, more than 50% of all marriages fail for one reason or another. Just thinking about that makes "commitment" seem scary. It seems that when relationships are faced with challenges, people quit trying. Dating is more like a marathon, trying to date as many people as possible, instead of taking time to get to know someone at a deeper level. For married couples, divorce is not biased. Whether married for thirty years or eight months, the outcome can be the same.

Think of it like choosing a car. You pick out the make, model, year, color, and features that you believe are best for you. After driving your car for a couple of months, you realize that perhaps you should have purchased a larger car, or that maybe the leather seats would have been better, or on hot sunny days, the sunroof would have been nice. However, it is now too late so you choose to keep your car and make it work. It is the same for marriage. Not everything will be perfect and there will be major obstacles to overcome but you have made your decision and now you choose to make it work.

There could be thousands of things we can do to better our relationship. To help get us headed in the right direction, below are few ways to build, strengthen, and enhance our relationship.
He signs this piece off with: "Many thanks for heading yourself for an effective relationship. Let me take a break right here. There is a lot more for only those who intend to read more about The Naked Bond. If you wish to read the complete copy of The Naked Bond, write me an email and I'll send you the complete version ... You will not be asked to pay for it."

"His linguistic ability certainly seems to have improved", I thought to myself. Unless, of course, it's a cut/paste/alter job. A little search revealed this.

Dear Mr Sajwani: I liked the hilarious English ones better. At least they were original!

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Errr ... (Revised!)

To process a particular request
Facebook requires me to leave my present network
although I am not subscribed to any

Urdu kee ayk masal hae:
Maeñ to kambal ko chho∂ rahaa hooñ,
kambal müjhay naheeñ chho∂ta hae!

My apologies to Facebook.

I would not have attepted to join a new network
had I known of this rule:

So, dear fellow Pakistanis, see you in a fortnight!
(That is, if my Internet is warking!)

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Thursday, October 04, 2007


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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Religion's Magical Mystery Tours

Some of you may recall Rashad Khalifa (sometimes also referred to as Khalafa) and his Miracle of 19 - a mathemagical and computational 'proof' of the Divine origins of the Qurãn. Why a True Believer should look for scientific proofs to validate his beliefs is beyond me, but it certainly caught the imagination of a lot of people. You can read some details by others, too, here, if you are unfamiliar or wish to become more familiar. The gist of it, for others with less time, was that a so-far not clearly explained verse in the Qurãn seems to assign some significance to the number, 19. Khalifa postulated that this was a kind of 'checksum validater', since far too many occurrences of the multiples of 19 abounded in the book. There were, to start with, 114 chapters (19x6) and scores of other such incidences.

Ahmad Deedat, the brilliant debater and, primarily, an [anti-]Bible scholar ... (and I wish to emphasise this to clarify that he was NOT, as some have begun to insist, a scholar of the Qurãn or of Islam ... ran with the idea, making delightful presentations of this theory (initially without even categorically acknowledging the source) until the theory was challenged from within and without and even called deceitful. To add to the problems, referring to Khalifa became a serious embarrassment after Rashad Khalifa's proclaiming some form of prophethood - so Deedat and his students (among whom, though now in opposite camps, are Zakir Naik and Muhammad Sheikh) dropped the '19'-related videos and pamphlets like hot bricks. The last straw came when, holding his own theory above the Holy Book, Khalifa decided to 'expunge' two verses from the Qurãn after he discovered that they did not fit in with his calculations. Errrrr ...

Rashad Khalifa - who also taught that the end of the world will come in 2280 - was, not too surprisingly, assassinated, after he professed that he was sent by God to purify Islam from all fabrications and injections and to restore The Message to its original. He thus claimed to have rightfully removed what he insisted were Satanic Verses (9:128 & 9:129). Incidently, he was stabbed to death 29 times, a number not divisible by 19 as a tabloid noted.

A recent email from young friend, KK, brought back memories of Khalifa and the time some of us spent diving into Al Mu'jim ul Mufharis to confirm or reject his 'theory'. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to weave RK into the preamble before commenting on the mail itself.

OK. With that out of the way, over to the email (which quotes a website) and my responses:

• Very interesting findings of Dr. Tariq Al Swaidan might grasp your attention: Dr. Swaidan discovered some verses in the Holy Qur’an that mention one thing is equal to another, i.e. men are equal to women. Although this makes sense grammatically, the astonishing fact is that the number of times the word man appears in the Holy Qur’an is 24 and number of times the word woman appears is also 24, therefore not only is this phrase correct in the grammatical sense but also true mathematically, i.e. 24= 24.

While one cannot argue with the grammatical correctness, many would assert that the notion of gender equality in the Qurãn is riddled with enough statements - such as laws of inheritance, the status of witnesses, and more - to make the matter of 'unqualified equality' (and I am not talking of 'similarity') debatable within the various sects and scholars of Islam. However, here, I am concerned with the mathematics of Swaidan's claims.

First, let me state the obvious: The words that appear in the Quran are neither 'Man' nor 'Woman', but their Arabic counterparts, right? So, are we going to count all instances of the words that stand for 'Man' & 'Woman'. And shall we not take 'Men' & 'Women' into account, too? Of course, if we look at an English Translation - and I am using Abdullah Yusuf Ali's text at the moment - I am assuming that simple words like Man and Woman have not been translated radically differently and some degree of accuracy (within reason) would still result.

So, Dr Tariq: Take your pick, preferably one that suits your argument best, and then s-t-r-e-t-c-h it a bit. Well, more than a bit, actually ... because, in this translation of the Qurãn, Man appears 144 times, Woman 14 times! Men appears 213 times, Women 108 times.

And what about including Male and Female? At least for those occasions where the beings under discussion are humans (and not animals)...

• Upon further analysis of various verses, he discovered that this is consistent throughout the whole Holy Qurãn where it says one thing is like another.

I am sure 'like another' cannot include opposites, making examples, such as "Life 145 .... Death 145", pose a bit of a problem (albeit, only for people with some form of a brain). But let us waive this objection, too, and even allow words that have some perceptible links (synonymous, antonymous, whatever...) to each other to be included. This would certainly permit the Life/Death example to be used. But what connections can you see between the first and second word in the following 'pairs', chosen from the submitted list?

• See below for astonishing result of the words mentioned number of times in Arabic Holy Qurãn:
Benefit 50 .... Corrupt 50

Misled People 17 .... Dead people 17

Mind 49 .... Noor 49

Muslimeen 41 .... Jihad 41

(Does that mean Muslimaat have no connection with Jihad, then?)

• And, amazingly enough, have a look how many times the following words appear: Salat 5, Month 12, Day 365

I must admit that, in the case of Salat, I was unsure of whether I should search for 'prayer', 'worship', or both. So I left that. (Later, in the Mu'jim, I found it mentioned 68 times. Not 5. But I could have made a slight mistake in counting).

Month appears 11 times, Months 13 ... I guess one could take an average to prove a point.

Day: 535, Days: 31 really threw me off, though. So I request someone who is reading this post - and understands Arabic - to please list (in the comments box) all the possible words for Day that I should look for in the Mu'jim.
Until then, I am working out possible ideas that could explain what, at first glance, seems to be a flaw in 'Reason'. Here's one: Day (535) + Days (31) - Surahs (114) Names of God (99) = 353. Now add 12 to it and you not only get the correct number of days (365), you also get to see how important the correct number of Imams is to the takmeel of Islam.
• Finally ...
Sea 32, Land 13

Sea + land = 32+ 13= 45

Sea = 32/45*100 = 71.11111111%

Land = 13/45*100 = 28.88888889%

Sea + land 100.00%

Modern science has only recently proven that the water covers 71.11111111 % of the earth, while the land covers 28.88888889

If the number of references is correct, that would have to be an amazing coincidence. But, by now, the combination of suspicion about Swaidan's 'integrity', my limited knowledge of Arabic, the appearance of accurate-to-8-decimal-place numbers ... all lead me to one state: I am confused. This is furthered by the fact that in the first quarter of the whole 230-page PDF of the English translation I have already counted 45 incidences of Land ... so something is amiss.

One could excuse misunderstood coincidences ... but juggling figures around and fitting them into places of choice is not defined as a coincidence, dear Doctor. And every belief system has charlatans like you, who work on the principal (wrongly attributed to Barnum):"There's a sucker born every minute!"

To those who fall for such fraudulence, I can only say that your gullibility serves to strengthen Sam Harris's view: "Religion remains the only mode of discourse that encourages grown men and women to pretend to know things they manifestly do not (and cannot) know."

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Dunno why ... but I feel like sharing this today!

"The Appointment in Samarra"
[As retold * by W. Somerset Maugham]

The speaker is Death:
"There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, 'Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.'"

"The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, 'Why did you make a threating gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?' 'That was not a threatening gesture,' I said, 'it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.'"
* ORIGIN: I read in an article on the Web that "When Death Came to Baghdad" is in the 'Hikayaat-I-Naqshia' of Fudail ibn Ayad, a ninth century reformed bandit, turned Sufi sage. Although some details differ from the version most widely told today, it is considered to be the 'same' story as "The Appointment in Samarra".
BTW, "Appointment In Samarra" is also the basis of a Novel of this name by John O'Hara. It is one of 'The 100 Greatest English Novels of All Times', selected by a panel at TIME magazine.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Finding humour in the worst of times

Dear Customers

We regret to inform you that due to critical conditions of the City on May 12, 13 and 14 our staff - despite their best efforts - could not reach their offices. As a result of this you had to spend these three days without loadshedding.

We sincerely apologize for the convenience caused to you.

The KESC Management

[Thanks for sharing this, Freddie!]


Thursday, May 17, 2007

A 'Wake Up!' Call for Muslims

Who's sleeping? Click on the image to read caption.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Some interesting trends!

While writing my last post, I realized I needed to share something which many of you may not have been aware of: Google Trends are fun and informative.

It is wonderful to know, for example, that for all the charges of Fundamentalism and Religiosity dumped at the doorsteps of Islamic societies, the world's Top 10 Cities from where people search for God are

whereas the world's Top 10 Regions looking for Sex are

I suspect it means that the guys in the first instance have had enough of Sex and are looking for God ... and it's the opposite in the second case.

But even more interesting is the Top 10 Languages used in searching for Sex

Wonder what the Social Scientists and Psychologists make of all this!


Monday, November 13, 2006

You gotta have a dream ...

People get fooled into giving up many things. Reason; Liberty; Life.

Even dreams.

No one can steal your dreams. What they can do is to threaten to steal them. And you, afraid of losing the only thing that is yours and yours alone, stay awake to guard them --- thereby losing all dreams.
Happy talk, keep talking happy talk,
Talk about the things you like to do;
You gotta have a dream,
If you don't have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?

[from: South Pacific - The Broadway Musical]
What brought about this thought?

Listening to Martin Luther King's recording this morning, delivering one of the finest world-changing speeches of all time on my Worldspace Satellite Radio ... a really worthwhile investment (and, by the way, the best place to buy the radios in this region is probably India.) My life's centred around 24/7 Jazz and Western/Eastern Classical Music. You can take your own pick. What a program selection their subscription service offers!


Friday, November 03, 2006

Nothing, really ... just venting!

Jaun Elia (also spelt as Jon and John), the enfant terrible of recent Urdu poetry, wrote:
Kaun iss ghar kee daykh bhaal karay
Roz ek cheez toot jaatee hae !
(Who can take care of this house?
Every day something breaks ...)

Whether he was speaking of his personal marital predicament or referring to aging, I am often reminded of this shayr when I read national news. If it's not Bugti, it's Bajaur. If it's not Karachi, it's a Khan.

If the whole country is fucked-up is the leadership to blame? If the whole leadership is fucked-up is the country to blame?

When I feel most frustrated and angry, I return to a poem by Kahlil Gibran that I'd like to share with you.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Birthday Blues

Watching a movie in a cinema-house in Calcutta with a bunch of cousins, the day I turned 4, I recall that when Gandhiji's picture appeared on the screen on a slide before the film, with a hideously painted garland on the photograph, everyone stood up and clapped. I asked my mother why this was happening and was informed that it was Bapu's birthday, too. Puzzled - as my friends have been repeatedly told over the years by elders who seem to revel in such embarrassing anecdotes - I am alleged to have said, "Maeñ to itnaa chhota rah gaya aur Gandhi Chacha buddhay ho gae ..."

I admit that I still feel a childish thrill, knowing that my birthday is a national holiday in India. And don't ask me where the chacha came from ... but it's immensely better than the "Unkil" I have become, to people whose aunts I have never had anything to do with, I swear!

This year, on October 2nd, I became 66 ... The unexciting number countered by celebrations lasting much longer than usual, beginning with Vickram and Jehan Ara landing up with a huge cake on the evening of the 1st (because they were both flying out the next day) ... and ending with a really gorgeous dinner, on the 2nd, put together by Mahenaz and Sabeen, who has now been promoted from COO to COO[K].

While I am dreading my birthday three years from now when I know that all my male friends will send me pornographic birthday cards - underscoring the age old old age problems associated with being on the verge of 70 - I must admit that I wasn't expecting some of the stuff I did get this year.

In the name of what is now called CRM, a bank sent me a box of chocolates. As a diabetic, if I do have to break my parhaiz, I do it for something worth the trouble. This stuff was from a shop that probably specializes in dog biscuits ... for dogs with no pedigree. I remember getting these home (from a restaurant that offers them gratis, after meals) for Lady, our late Dachsund who adored chocolates, and seeing her spit it out after the first bite. Of course, the banks have your DoB from the various forms you fill in. Given that their obnoxious telemarketing campaigners call you up at really odd hours on the most relaxed of days when you are asleep for the first time in weeks after a hectic project, it is unlikely that they'd even understand my annoyance at getting a gift! The fact is that I do not accept sweets from strangers.

However, here's something I'd like to warn all bloggers about: Please do not fill birthdates on your Profile, unless a blogging tool allows you to omit the Year. The more popular ones insist upon it, not accepting just the month and date. [Blogger/WordPress: Are you listening?]

Tricky thingies, known as spiders, crawl around the web, gathering all this info and passing it on - for greenbacks - to all and sundry. Once they know your age, the wonders of modern-day computing allow merchants to spam you with loads of 'targeted' email they consider 'suitable'. Thus, I received 32 wanting me to try Viagra, Cialis, etc.; 11 trying to sell me contraptions that would make my love life more 'interesting' - a word that, in this context, could mean almost anything! 2 were rather rude and commented upon my physical attributes, suggesting ways to 'enhance' them (although I do not recall providing info on that to anyone ... unless the spiders also visit sites of really close friends and use AI to make connections).

However, dear Bloggers, if you do want to enter your birthdate in your profile (in the hope of winning some strange lottery or something), make sure you enter your Gender, too. Unfortunately, I had not disclosed mine. Mere oversight, I promise you. I know what I am ... and if I ever forget, my eyesight is still OK! As a result, I received this message: Men will whistle at you. Even at this age your breasts can regain their natural firmness, in Rs. 990 only, through Ayurvedic Joban Paste. [Update: Save your money. It doesn't work! Z]

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Yaqeené Mohkam ...

The ad below appeared in the Dawn (October 8, 2006). It was brought to my attention by The Loan Ranger, Naeem Sadiq.

Yaqeen Curriculum Development urgently requires female composer for institutes of high repute in Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Gulshan-e-Jauhar.


  • Education...intermediate
  • Typing speed...60
  • 2 years experience in composing graphics
  • Command over Inpage, MS Office, Corel, Photoshop
  • Fully SHARIA & SUNNAH compliant
  • Practicing Muslim with correct AQIDA
  • Purdah observant with NIQAB
Some of the readers of this blog may wish to take issue with Yaqeen if they find such requirements to be discriminatory. Others may wish to apply for the job. I understand that the cream of the chosen candidates will be assigned to work on the organization's forthcoming magazine, Prayboy.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Have a nice day!

Every once in a while
a totally fun art application comes along
and grabs people's interest merely by its uniqueness.

But is some/all art useless?
More to the point: Is this art?

Who cares about these larger questions when having fun!

Windmills of My Mind

What do the colors mean?

blue: for links (the A tag)
red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags)
green: for the DIV tag
violet: for images (the IMG tag)
yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags)
orange: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags)
black: the HTML tag, the root node
gray: all other tags

Thanks, Sala!

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Signal Tampering? Matt Cartoon

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Space Wars

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Yikes, No!

Click image for full-sized poster!

See book cover!

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

This one's for you, Doc!

Professor Arvind Mahalingam is a dodgy character who leaves comments on my blog with wild-goose chase links that people follow, mistakenly expecting to be transported to a scholarly blog. He found his way to my recent book cover posts. The first he found merely funny. But with the second, he decided to throw me a googly. Hopefully this response will meet his (and your) approval.

Note: This is positively the last book in the series to be published from Pakistan. The Publisher has applied for Lunatic Asylum in Denmark.
Epilogue: I have had an email from The Institute for Palsy Studies asking for the identity of the person making the astonishing claim on the cover. Sir, a click on the image is all it takes to find out. [Added: 05.40 July 10]

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Enough is Enough!

Pakistan does not need any "outside" advice
on holding democratic & free elections,

its foreign ministry says.

BBC Report

Become a Sales Agent and earn points.
Redeemable for everything, from Government posts to Umra trips.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Loud and Clear?

Tom Lehrer, in one of his usual brilliant performances (Kazaa or Limewire him; Reading the lyrics is great, but listening to him is a lot more fun!), highlighted the dilemma well when he said, "Everyone ought to love one another. And I know there are people who do not love one another ... and I hate such people!"

Controversial author Sam Harris, on a more serious note, says
"... most sensible people advocate something called "religious tolerance." While religious tolerance is surely better than religious war, tolerance is not without its liabilities. Our fear of provoking religious hatred has rendered us incapable of criticizing ideas that are now patently absurd and increasingly maladaptive. It has also obliged us to lie to ourselves — repeatedly and at the highest levels — about the compatibility between religious faith and scientific rationality."
But a really 'thought-provoking' statement that caught my eye comes from a major religious figure.

I wonder what Bushama will make of this!!!

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Take a deep breath! Block your nose and mouth. Exhale!

Damn! Now there are 3 people in my life wanting me to lay my trust in Breathing as a way to cure all diseases. The Video-CD that I have been made to watch guarantees Total Cure, for everything from Cancer to Hemorhoids. What does a Guarantee mean here? Total Cure or your disease back?

I haven't seen all the videos yet, so can't tell you if Hemorrhoid treatment will require breathing from the usual end or not.

One thing's sure: Maharaj Thandagaram, who is conducting the training on the Video, suffers from Lingual Rectitis - a not-so-rare condition among such gurus - which is caused by the sphincter and jaw muscles becoming entangled and resulting in the patient talking shit!

To be fair, he is much respected in circles that respect him, since his earlier book, pictured below, received the prestigious Deepak Chootia Award.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Har baras kay ho[n] din pachaas hazaar!

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

What was that question, again?

Some questions are technically (in terms of language rules) correct. But they cannot be answered, since they are either meaningless or there is NO WAY that anyone can really, really answer them.

What Colour is Round? Where does Love go when it Dies? How long ago, exactly, did the Universe begin? While these range from the silly to the seemingly scientific, they have one thing in common. They can't be answered conclusively, ever! The problem is that some people answer them and do so with necessary authority.

Why necessary, you ask?

Well, the rule I have postulated is: If you ask an Unanswerable Question, you invite an Unquestionable Answer.

Think about it!

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blogword: Magic

Click on the image to see it at full size.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Once upon a midnight dreary ...

(On the midnight of 06-06-06, actually) there was a knocking and scraping on the door. Looking through the peephole I found this strange being.

He (it's always a he, isn't it?) let me in on the secrets of the Universe. If you need to be in on them, too, please meet me at the Zamzama Espresso on Saturday at 8.00 am and pay for my breakfast.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Going cheap! (Berhabs I'll Get One, Too)


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Blogword: Together

Ever since I set my eyes
on her lovely figure
I've been trying
The Honest Rake's Dilemma

Tell the truth?
Or just lie to.get.her?

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

And a Pox on Glabrous Muslims?

A Poem by ZG

Glorified be He who beautifies women with long locks of hair
And Men with long beards
There is beauty in the beard
Aye, there is beauty in the beard!

When the lion roars all the animals submit
For the lion is the king of the jungle
The lion with its glorious mane
And a Muslim man grows his mane in pride
Showing the rest of humanity that he is to be respected
Can one imagine a lion without its mane?
Nay, thou canst not!
Then imagine a man without his beard

Woe to worldly women who mock the beards so!
Desiring husbands with clean shaven faces
Woe to women who mock the Prophets Sunnah
In the name of hygiene, neatness and smooth texture
Indeed the women of this world cannot like the beard
But she who wants Paradise adores the beard!

A beard is a gift given to man by Allah
He can grow; a woman never can!
When he ponders, he gently strokes it;
When he eats, it stores food;
When he is with kids, they play with it adoringly;
When he is with his wife, she fondles it lovingly;
When the enemy see it, fear is struck in their hearts!
Ah! there is indeed beauty in the beard!

All the Prophets had beards - yes they did!
Muhammad had a beard - so big! so big!
All the companions had beards - o yes! o yes!
All the sages had beards - I know! I know!
All the wise have beards - tis true! tis true!
All the pious have beards - you see! you see!
All the Muslims have beards!? - if only! if only!

Who did not have beards? The kafirun!
Who had clean shaven faces? The kafirun!
Who grew their moustaches? The kafirun!
"And what did our Prophet order?" I hear you ask
He ordered us to lengthen the beard and trim the moustache!
Lengthen the beard and trim the moustache!
What greater reason than this can there be
The fact that our Prophet told us to see
That we make ourselves appear to the world
As full bearded men with honour untold

O Muslim brothers! Why do you desire to look like a woman
When your blessed facial hair is the difference between you and the opposite gender?
O poor Muslim brother! Why do you imitate the kafir
Instead of following the Prophet of Islam?
O silly Muslim sister! Why art thou so blind?
Infatuated with Bollywood actors who have no mind!
O wretched sister! Are you not scared of your choice?
You would rather have a feminine monkey instead of an exalted manly ape!

So indeed I love my beard
And adore the curls and tangles
Which no oil, gel or superglue can ever straighten
My glorious long, curly, messy, fluffy beard!
The playhouse for kids;
The envy of Malaysian people
And the beloved of Allah!
I maybe rejected by worldly women because of this hair on my face
But who cares! For my Mum loves it and she puts all such sisters to disgrace!
Be patient Muslim brothers, who shun the trendy look for a Prophetic pose
Paradise with the wide eyed Houris is our final abode!!!!!"

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

But I thought our National Bird was the Ostrich ...

The ad in Sinday Times struck me as particularly interesting. Not just because of its acceptance that, despite a ban on Alcohol sales, people are drinking in sufficient numbers for a large enough percentage among them to become alcoholics and keep a project such as Willing Ways going. Neither was it because the advertising clinic has been acknowledging and treating the problem for 25 years in this Land of the Pure.

It was the use of the male pronoun in describing the prospective patient - which assumes, rightly, that the bulk of them are men - that caught my eye. The clinic is, after all, situated in Nazimabad, where women are unlikely to drink. Not true of DHA according to the Doctor-on-Duty at the NICVD, where I had taken my wife for a check up after a chest pain last week. He asked her where she lived and, on hearing our address, said, "Oh. Most of the women from there smoke and drink, which causes heart problems." (Talk of sweeping statements! I think they should transfer him from Emergencies to Janatorial Services.) And Willing Ways, how about a female alcoholism centre in this area?

The opening line of the body reads: Drinking per se is not a defect of character. Alcoholism is." Now that's really interesting to know.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Raqsé Bismil to naheeñ hae yeh kaheeñ?

Dilam dar aashiqi aavaarah shüd? ... aavaarah tar baada!
Tanam dar baykali bay-chaarah shüd baychaarah tar baada!
Amir Khusro

Well, both dilam and tanam are off-colour ... and not for reasons of aashiqi or baykali.

The privately organized Raqsé Durvaish session at the PC ended with my head doing a raqs of its own. It wasn't the sufi experience, for sure: the qavvaali was good, but not enough for me to be blown apart! Could have been an attack of Vertigo, which I do infrequently suffer from and had quite an adventure with on my first seafaring trip (... and thereby hangs a tale, to be recounted someday). Medical tests this week should throw more light on the problem.

There's so much zipping around in my mind to blog about ... but it'll just have to wait. Just one note about the mehfil: Haider was and will continue to be missed.

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Friday, December 09, 2005

Does no one really care?


What do these words mean to you? Or are you as puzzled as I think you ought to be? Well, here's a big hint: They have all been all 'cut and pasted' from the same site that displays this phrase: tarraqio ka mal

Huh? Still no clue? Then here's a whole line that's bound to be a dead giveaway: Painda ta binda bad shad, bad man zele murad.

OK, fellow Pakistanis. By this time you've surely recognized the distorted and criminally mauled words as belonging to our National Anthem. (That comma before 'bad man' really threw me off!)

I grant that, when transcribed by someone totally unfamiliar with our National Language, the words could be written in this horrendous fashion. But this crap is not on a Zambian or Greek school website! It's on The Official Website of the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington D.C., with the charming address of

dotORG? I'd expected dotGOV. Surprised, I checked out another of our embassies that came randomly to mind. Australia. It, too, was also registered similarly (

"Well," I thought, "never mind the slight change in nomenclature; at least we are consistent when it comes to Domains" ... only to discover that, in Poland, we are a dotCOM, for crying out loud: takes you there, as does in the Nederlands.

The Nederlands site, by the way, has a link titled Constitution, which took me to the aptly named, where, apologising "for any inconvinience [sic]", the page informed me that the links were currently being updated. That's OK. I'm willing to live with it. After all, this happens to the Constitution, itself, fairly frequently.

While on the subject of links, I must inform you that none of the content or links on any of the sites were the same as those on the others. I am sure that if people really scoured all the pages on all our embassy sites (how's that as a form of torture for political prisoners?), they'd even unearth glaring contradictions.

Some suggestions for the powers that be:
  • The Government of Pakistan Foreign Office, or whoever is in charge of smearing our image abroad, should have a full set of standardized links and basic content developed for re-use on every embassy site, with variations for locally relevant sections. This approach would save time and money, make updating of centrally issued information easy and timely, and ensure that all facts and figures were current everywhere.
  • The style of each site could be similar, while respecting the sensitivities of the country in which it is based.
  • Translations in Urdu (for many travelling or expat Pakistanis unfamiliar with English) would be useful in a special section that displays new rules or laws that may have changed while they were away.
  • Even more important, if not in all countries, then at least in those from which we receive most traffic, pages in the local language of that country should be considered essential.
  • If possible, all sites could have links to useful information pages, such as those containing Addresseses/contacts of our Embassies/Consulates around the world and addresses/contacts of other embassies/consulates in Pakistan; Immigration and Visa requirements, with downloadable forms.
We are a hospitable nation; let's start by making life easy for others from the first point of contact.

Oh, and placing a correctly transcribed and translated National Anthem would gladden all our hearts, as would an image of our National Flag in the right proportions! This is serious stuff, guys! Even Corporations don't allow screwing around with their logos. The proportions are as sacrosanct as the flag!

I quote:
Resolution Passed by Constituent Assembly

"That this assembly resolves that the national flag of the federation of Pakistan be of the following description.

"A dark green rectangular flag in the proportion of length and width 3:2 with a white vertical bar at the mast, the green portion bearing a white crescent in the centre and a five-pointed white heraldic star. The size of the white portion being one-fourth the size of the flag, nearest the mast, the remainder three-fourths being dark green.

The dimensions of the crescent and star are obtained as follows:
"Draw the diagonal from the top right hand corner to the bottom left corner of the green portion. On this diagonal establish two points 'A' and 'B'. Point 'A' at a distance equidistant from top right and bottom left hand corners of the green portion, i.e. the centre of the green portion. Point 'B' at a distance from the top right hand corner equal to 13/20th the width of the flag. With centre point 'A' and radius 1.1/4th the width of the flag describe a second arc. The enclosures made by these two arcs form the crescent. The dimensions of the five-pointed white heraldic star are determined by drawing a circle 1/10th the width of the flag. The circle surrounds the five points of the heraldic star. The star lies with one point on the diagonal at a point where the larger arc of the crescent, if completed, cuts the diagonal."
Source: Letter to Dawn Editor, Monday Sept 21, 1998, by A.R. Thalpawala
While we are at it, can we get to the bottom of who really designed the flag? The current stance is that it was designed by the Quaid-e-Azam, himself, although many websites, including (which, like many others, uses the popular Wikipedia as source), stick to a long-forgotten version - one that I only recall because I found it amusing that the surname seemed to be a Hyderabad Dakkani variant of my own.

But, back to our D.C. site, and a link named "Job Opportunity in Pakistan", where we are told that this singular opportunity exists for the following: "Chairpersons (One ach [sic] for Sciences and Humanities subjects)". Details, we are told can be had from the Ministry of Education, and a hot-link is very kindly provided to, except that clicking it does not take you there, but opens up your mail software with "" as recipient.

Can't we get anything right?

One bit of information that may be useful for younger Pakistanis in the USA is that our embassy in Washington accepts interns.The site informs potential victims --- er-sorry, candidates --- that "Applications for the spring are being accepted on a rolling basis" - and that they are looking for "individuals with ... SUPERIOR writing skills, (this is the single most important requirement)".

After going through several pages of the site, I heartily second the importance of this requirement, and would like to suggest: Please get an intern who not just proof-reads the site pages but also knows some mathematics. A Grade 4 level student will do: Rainfall figures like "1,484 mm (164cm)" just do not make sense. Unless 1484mm translates to 164 cm after taxes).

Until then, maybe, we should just call these foreign office outposts Pakistan Embarrassies.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005


I thank my friend and R&D Junkie, Dr. Isa Daudpota, whose Research has resulted mainly in his own Development, for bringing this to my notice:

The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning about a new virulent strain of a Sexually Transmitted Disease. The disease, contracted through dangerous and high-risk behavior, is more likely to affect those with certain genetic weaknesses.

The disease is called Gonorrhea Lectim and pronounced "gonna re-elect him."

Many victims contracted it in 2004, after having been screwed for the past four years. Cognitive characteristics of individuals infected include:
  • anti-social personality disorders
  • delusions of grandeur with messianic overtones
  • extreme cognitive dissonance
  • inability to incorporate new information
  • acute xenophobia and paranoia
  • inability to accept responsibility for own actions
  • cowardice masked by misplaced bravado
  • uncontrolled facial smirking
  • ignorance of geography and history
  • tendencies towards evangelical theocracy
  • categorical all-or-nothing behavior
Naturalists and epidemiologists are amazed at how this destructive disease has evolved, having originated only a few years ago from a bush found in Texas.

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