Open up your mind and your potential reaches infinity…

Archive for 2011


Food for thought…

Imagine yourself going up or down in a lift at night and the light goes off. The lift stops and one or more of you get trapped in the pitch dark. You scream at your utmost and no one hears you for less than 10 seconds. You know you are above the surface of the earth, have enough oxygen to keep breathing for some hours, surrounded by a metal cased lift walls which cannot cave in, and a button at your hand to press in case of emergency. Close your eyes and imagine how do you feel…

I know exactly how it feels. I got trapped in a lift some few floors above the ground . I saw my end from the closest and shreaked hysterically at my best for ‘help’ ‘help’ till after some 20 seconds, rescue arrived. I did not have the presence of mind to even think of pressing an emergency bell right next to me. I even had a cell phone but no presence of mind to even think of it. The state,both physical and mental, in which I walked out of that lift was only seen to be believed. So embarrassed was I for several months that I could not look the eyes of those two men who rescued me,for a long time.

The thought still sends shivers through the cells of my body.

Today, there are 33 miners trapped 2500 feet below the earth’s surface in a remote Atacama desert of a far flung country we call Chile in a remote continent by the name of South America. They haven’t been trapped for 20 seconds or 20 minutes or even 20 hours. They are there since the past 20 days. They were mining the precious metal called copper to get huge revenues for the owners and for their country. The mine caved in and the 33 miners began climbing the emergency ladder, but they could get only upto a third of the way.

Ask why? Because the mine owners had never bothered to finish the ladder to the top. If this ladder was in place they could have been out in 48 hours after the incident.

The owners of the San Esteban Mining Company that runs the mine said “it was THANKS to the safety regulations that the miners were found alive and WELL.

”Clap clap! “ (I wish I could keep my social norms up on the laddle and swear all the possible four letter words I know)

If this is not enough to shake you, the news is:they are going to stay there until December when the rescue tunnel is completed to pull them out.

Yes, they are getting oxygen, water, food, letters from the loved ones everyday through a duct with the diameter of a grapefruit. Camera too has been lowered for them to send their images and messages for their loved ones and to the rest of the world to know what they are going through.

Yes their relative are camping close to them—2300 feet vertically above them. They are really happy to see their partner’s ,son’s, father’s recorded films, showing they are alive. Yes the miners and their families are blessed. Eating, living, happy—why should they get the news coverage from our “independent media”. This is not a sellable story in our part of the world, why should our reporters or journalists hype this news.

They are not Palestinians ,they are not Iraqis, they are not suffering Indian Muslims, they are CHIIILEEEANS. Why care?

We have our own mega problems .We have BIG issues like big cricketers being pulled in a conspiracy of the gora media because our team was so good ,that no one could ever defeat us in the tests, one days or the twenty-20. Jealous world. Ehh !

Indeed we are the chosen people .Why should we care even to know whether Chile is a country or a condiment?

We have the right to cry foul when we don’t get enough foreign aid or foreign empathy for our floods and they have no right of their plight to be even known by our countrymen.

We have the right to ask for all the aid possible and they have no right to question our governance.

We have the right to call others infidels and they have no right to call us extremists.

This is the world in which we live. We look at things from a tube through which only those things which matter to us are visible. We prefer to keep the rest of the issues as” none of our business “ attitude. We are a great people!

I feel ashamed of myself.  I feel so probably because I got trapped in the lift myself. Those amongst us who didn’t they needn’t worry.

Why didn’t these floods drown my conscience?
Please think.

Think hard……..

Ilmana Fasih
30 Aug 2010


Until an year ago I detested facebook to the fullest. Ever since my kids and husband had joined the network five years ago-life at home had transformed. There was a queue and constant quarrelling over the single PC we had then. I couldn’t get a head and tail of what they meant when the three of them constantly talked of checking their posts. They took turns to do so but came out with no post in their hands.

” Where is the post?” a technologically challenged person in me would ask.

T hey found the question too ridiculous to even give an answer. The indulgence was so continual that I had to put a ban on the internet for a month during their exams.

One fine evening, my daughter led me to start my own account on the FB—less out of love for me and more to get rid of the nagging that she got from me. I thought it was beyond my comprehension. I had no clue what these Latin words stood for—wall to wall, profile, privacy settings, status etc. etc.

Unwillingly I was grilled into learning the FB   science by these techy teens. Little did I know then, what was the future unfolding for me through FB.

Slowly and laboriously at an ant’s pace, things started to make sense. With some guidance and some trial n errors the FB intoxication was taking over.

Long lost neighbours, school mates and college friends kept surfacing on the friends list. Exchanging wall posts or mails with them and checking the recent wall posts –I too joined the bandwagon at home.

FB  for me is a time machine that takes me into the past in an instant. Exchanging mails or wall posts from different friends flashes the memories as colourful as the aurora borealis on the north pole.

Recieving a wall post from an old friend who I last saw 35 years ago transported me instantly to those beautiful days when we both played for hours with our dolls and even arranged their weddings.

I could clearly remember that red polka dot frock I always wanted to wear while going out to play. This friend once wrote a post on my wall referring to me as ”girl .  My nasty son rolled over the floor on that word and asked her to come out of FB to see who she was calling a girl. It was annoying but embarrassing too.

A friend from the Grade VII  who is now an architect, wrote a nostalgic note on my wall reminding of the silly things we did, and how I had acted as a messenger for him when he asked me to take this slip to my best friend saying “Will you marry me?”

Again the kids giggled.

I retorted, “Boys in our times had good morals and asked for marrying not dates”.

Their giggles turned into a hysterical laughter. I knew I was cornered, but I tried my best to act cool.

A friend from Grade X, who is now a CEO of a renowned software firm, adds me to his list. I couldn’t help but remind him of the day when he screamed at me for being “the meanest girl” on earth for betraying his trust. My wicked daughter looks wide eyed at me—demanding an explaination without saying so .Since his roll number came after mine and we sat adjacent in the exams—we had struck a deal. I would study the inorganic chemistry and he would learn the organic. We will then exchange notes in the exam in a collaborative effort .The exam began , I kept whispering my inorganic chemistry answers to him and he kept copying them obediently. When came his turn, his eagerness to tell me his part was worth recording.

The mean girl that I was, I had studied for the organic part too. I told him the paper was easy and I could manage it on my own. Nothing happened for the next one hour.

As I stepped out of the exam hall, a redfaced dragon was waiting to spew fire at me –hurling all kinds of allegations. I explained I had told him all the answers—but alas he was upset that I betrayed him and didn’t take his help. The whole school knew what we had corroborated.

A nerdy school senior who is now a Physics Professor and a very good friend chats on FB. We talk of the golden school days and the talks stray towards our chemistry Sir and his message screams :”Oh Julie”. That was like a password and it opened up all the memory boxes right from his pronunciation to how he used to erase the black board,  to how he compared the protons to girls and electrons to boys with the protons in the nucleus and the electrons revolving around them in the orbits.

I forgot for that hour how old I was.

Brother XYZ of Sacred Heart adds.He was the vice principal of our school and a person we could crack jokes with ,without any fear of reprimand. We talk about the other Brothers. He tells me he knew very well what all names we had coined to the whole fleet of Brothers.

We talk of our strict and dangerous Principal, and that he too knew what we called him behind his back. He revealed that he even knew how we girls walked past him taking a deep breath trying to check what perfume he was wearing that day. Too embarrassing to know but thanks to FB  I was behind the laptop and not face to face .

A friend from high school writes on my wall. She reminds me how we both were expelled out of the biology class for constantly giggling at the lame jokes the  boys sitting behind were cracking,  telling a running commentary of the actions and the expressions of the poor lady explaining digestive system on the blackboard. For once I managed to hide this post from the two monsters and succeeded in maintaining the holier than thou image.

My brother adds me and these two monsters at the same time. They narrate all my secrets to mamu. He offers them another occasion to poke fun at their mother. He explains how it took me some hours in the Grade VI to understand simple algebra—not until Papa had to elaborate 2x + 3y as 2 horses and 3 donkies.

My kids cry foul.

”So why do you scream at us when we don’t get it the first time”.

I have no answer to them but a sheepish grin.

I got smarter on FB with time and learned the tricks and privacy settings to not to expose the shady sections of my past to these monsters.

I even got the art of closing the window after typing “BRB” at an infinite speed when there were: “bachas right behind”.

It may be embarrassing at times but revisitng the past through FB is a trip to heaven.

I admit my addiction to the intoxication of this time machine. Even if that occurs at the expense of becoming a butt of joke from  my kids, I dont care.

It makes me escape the daily grind of the four letter words that keep me held up— WORK, READ, COOK, WASH and YELL at these bundles of joy I call my children.

All credits to Mark Zuckerberg  for making the ‘reliving the past’ experience possible.

Thank you Mark.

29 AUGUST 2010


Panchee nadiya aur pawan ke jhonke, koi sarhad na inhen na roke;
Sarhad to insanono ke liye hai socho tumne aur main ne kya paya insaan ho ke.

(Bird, river and the gust of wind, no border inhibits them:
Borders are for people, think about what have you and I obtained by being born as humans?)

This couplet by Javed Akhtar from a Bollywood blockbuster entered through my ears but shook my soul. Wow ! Javed Akhtar knows what I feel each time when I go to the Indian consulate to ask for a visa for my family to visit my parents in New Delhi.

“In January 1990, a girl in her mid twenties in New Delhi ties a knot with a Pakistani man in his late twenties. Happily, but quite unsure how the things in her life would unfold after that. She wasn’t a poor small town girl from India who gets married to her well off cousin in Karachi on her parents decision. She was a typical city girl, who made it to a premier medical school in Delhi and was full of patriotic fervour for her homeland. Her parents did not consent for it until she approved of it herself. No good decisions are made on a swivel chair. It took her four painful and paranoid years to decide if this was the right decision. The young man across the border erased all his egos despite repeated refusals to convince her that they can make it.”

Twenty years on, now I can confidently say that we have really made it. The road of life together hasn’t been all tulips and roses, though. We had our share of bumps and puddles on the way, in addition to the usual hurdles any random couple faces. Both of us being passionately patriotic about our respective homelands, it wasn’t an easy task. The only thing which made us sail through was the erasing of psychological borders, knowing very well that humanity on both sides of the border had same needs and aspirations. We promised to uphold sanity in the heads above our shoulders and not indulge in spewing of patriotic venom against each other. Not that the outsiders spared us in peace. Any bitter comment on the annihilation of the other side by a “patriotic acquaintance” from either sides, left me more enraged than my husband.

At times I would even cry for being “punished“ for this decision, only to be comforted by my husband with a “mitti pao” attitude. This is an experience to be lived, to realise what goes within one’s heart when someone recklessly passes a casual snide remark about your homeland sitting on the other side of the border. With every news of bomb blast or riots in my city, amidst the indifference of the friends and relatives, but I would sit paranoid, glued to the TV wondering about the safety of my parents and sibs.

Even in the kindergarten my kids were hurled questions by their curious friends—if we had fights at home when there’s a cricket match between India and Pakistan ? For several years in the early childhood, my son would come home crying that his friends tease him saying, “Your mom is a traitor!” It did take him some years to get confident that his mom wasn’t a traitor.

Months and days passed by as usual. The only time I really, if ever, regretted my decision was when I had to queue up outside the visa window in the consulate of a country I called homeland. Miserable is an understatement of how I felt when the man behind the counter would frown at my kids as if I was taking terrorist recruits with me to my beloved city. And then on return to their homeland my kids and husband would be scrutinised by the airport security questioning about the frequency of their visits across the border.

One has to live it to feel it.

The upbringing in a home with parents teaching international politics- my sibs and I grew up with our eyes open to the world issues. We were trained to look beyond our boundaries and feel the empathy for the suffering of others be it in Palestine or Apartheid in South Africa or Gen Zia’s martial Law in Pakistan. I salute my parents for raising me and my sibs into “human “ beings with a wide horizon.
Many a times my critical comments on the Dawn blog or FaceBook, on political issues in Pakistan are retorted back at me attributing them to my “Indian roots”.

Yes I am proud of my roots but I also have a very patriotic husband and two passionate kids who say: they own Pakistan they love both the places.

A for me, I claim that I  own both the places and love both too.

But more than that we know both sides have their good and bad. And don’t indulge in mutual blame games. We have erased the psychological borders at home and at the same time respect the sanctity of political borders. And we love this feeling.

What if the one and half billions across both the borders could erase the psychological borders one day?

Believe me it isn’t really impossible, for the humanity on both sides of the border is made of the same flesh n bones, has the same shade of blood and shares the same genetic pool.

I wonder if I will live to see that day!

llmana Fasih
27 August 2010.


Food for thought…

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, or the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change that does”.

This is a quote from a famous man. I dare not mention his name, fearing the knee-jerk reaction one would get from a section of our people who have already made our lives unliveable on the face of this earth.

No, this isn’t a puzzle or a riddle. It is a blatant truth that all those who possess sane heads over their shoulders need to accept and pull their ostrich heads out of the sands. In fact, burying our heads in sand for too long has made it metamorphosise into granite and we find it now impossible to pull our heads out without fracturing the cervical vertebrae. Not that I am making myself sound ambiguous out of fear or to look charismatic, but because the message is intended to those who have the willingness to grasp its essence. If others don’t get it—probably it wasn’t meant for them.

1400 and some years ago, Islam itself brought with it a huge change: from survival rights of a female baby to women’s rights to child’s rights to minority rights, and to human rights, in general. That was a huge change.

By ‘change’ I do not imply a revolution. It does not mean rebellion either. But yes, a change which is enough that the bend in the road does not become an end on the road, if we fail to take a turn.

Yesterday when I saw on TV, the much needed aid being distributed to the flood victims in Pakistan—my eyes couldn’t believe that I am alive enough to see this. Yes the aid was coming to the them, but certainly this is not how they deserve to receive it.

‘One plastic bag gave itself up when at least half a dozen needy angels pounced on it for the grab. As if this wasn’t enough—the flour spilled on the dusty road was so desperately being collected up by the kids that they chose to pick up even the straw and dirt in not letting an atom go waste. There were those relief workers with a big heart but small minds who did not have the common sense to bring water in individual containers. They poured water out of their jerry cans from the trucks to the people down below holding their shallow trays and polybags trying to catch every drop they could. And then in the pushing and pulling the poor souls drenched their bodies with it more than their throats. And that old lady who was trying to dip all her face into the polybag to get some sips without bothering if the bag and the water in it could smother her. Gosh, why don’t the poor come born with beaks?’

The truck moved ahead like a Pied Piper of Hamlin and the needy angels (no, they are not rats) ran obediently behind it trying to catch the goody bags thrown at them.

My heart too raced into a paroxysmal atrial tachycardia. I wish I had a cardiac arrest instead.
I wondered what stopped them from distributing the aid in a more dignified manner.

And then came the news report, wherein the myopic MNAs and MPAs who did show up in their constituencies, not to save people, but to save their own lands and properties. The smartest of this smart lot showed up in their constituencies only to breach the bunds toward the lesser smart ones. I couldn’t help but notice the glimmer of hopelessness with which these needy and desperate angels watched on, when these “people’s representatives’ cheered in their heart on saving their side, while deluging the other. Why were the peasants born with eyesight if their Feudal Lords were without vision? I wish I could go into an amblyopia before watching this news clip.

Alas, as if all this was just a trailer and the movie was yet to come. My misfortune that sitting half way across the globe I had to witness the Sialkot incident on TV. The barbarism of the perpetrators and the police wasn’t a surprise. What was heart shattering, instead, was the way those cool bystanders watched, as if Shahrukh Khan was shooting a scene for the next film. If I could, I would certainly want to sample what blood ran in their veins and biopsy their flesh and bones. I am sure each and all in the crowd had a Blackberry, a Nokia or a Motorola in top front pockets over their rib cages, devoid of a human heart. My heart missed a few beats. I wish it had decided not to beat again.

How I wish what my eyes were witnessing through TV were not real happenings in August 2010 but a reconstruction of the dark ages. We call this a civilised world, when even the cave men lived a more dignified life.

After all this do we still need to wait?

No, we need to change.

Yes not only do we need “a “ change and we need “to” change as well.

We need to change the faces that represent us and even if it requires a radical plastic surgery.

We need to change the way we disapprove of what we see on TV and whisper our complaints in our living rooms. And then move on to a soap serial on the next channel.

We need to change the way we shop till we drop and then hunt for a penny at the bottom of our purses, present it to the “cute boy” at the red light signal, driving back home with the feelgood feel of a philanthropist.

We need to change the way compassion pops up in our brains but fails to reach to our hands as if the floods swept away the bridge that transports the thoughts to actions.

We need to change the way we point a finger towards others without realising that the rest four are pointing and poking fun at us.

We need to change the way we look condescendingly at those who do not fit into our frame of faith and feel proud of ourselves.

Yes, we need to change our mindsets, our hearts, our philosophies and our lives. We need to come out of our cocoons and think beyond ourselves.

We need to change, to look at this world from the eyes of those millions who live a life not even a sewer rat would choose to live, if given an option.

Indeed, we need to change. Or we shall perish.

Ilmana Fasih
26 August 2010


Food for thought…
WHO SAID THAT BACTERIA AND VIRUSES WERE INFECTIOUS? Twenty or so odd years ago, I studied in Microbiology during my third year in medical school that infections were caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. I believed it with my eyes closed. Then a couple of years later, I stood with my gown on the convocation day with the photocopy of my medical degrees rolled in a ribbon and snugly hugging to the fingers of my right hand. I stood up with my head high, my spine hyper extended and my mind floating in the seventh skies. I was certain I was prepared for a career wherein I will alleviate the illnesses of my patients by my smiles, my prescriptions and if luck be with me, maybe with my scalpels.
On embarking into a journey into the real world, the lessons I learned unabashedly contradict the science I studied in my medical school. Time and again, the realities of life screamed in my ears and poked fun on my knowledge. “Hahaha. Who says that only bacteria, viruses and fungi were infectious?” “What else was infectious, man?” My thoughts wandered, flipping the pages of microbiology textbooks. The ‘Hahaha’ screamed louder and longer. However the ringing of the morning alarm, the call from the ward or the cry of my baby would wake me up from these thoughts and I would again enter the real world of responsibilities and duties.
I hear the cry of my naughty son, because he fell from his bike and bruised his shin. I caught the “anxiety” from his cries and got anxious too. Then it struck what else was infectious.
A small “hug” would comfort him and he would run back to his play the next moment. Again, it flashed in my frontal cortex what else was infectious.
My little girl comes “worrying” that she didn’t do her test well and wouldn’t get a High Honours that year. I would catch her worry, staring all night at the moving fan wondering about how she would be comforted on the day she gets her school report card. Again that was infectious too. The D-day comes. She goes to the stage and gets her High Honours. The “confidence” in her eyes beams on to me like electromagnetic radiations. Surely, that was infectious too.
My husband got his MRI report which said the “pain” he was having for weeks was from the prolapsed disc. The words in the report transmit a lightening pain in my spine from the cervical to the sacral vertebrae. Oh! Yes, I knew that was infectious too.
I write a “disturbing’ status on Facebook and my school friend from Atlanta (who I haven’t seen for the last 20 years) writes back equally disturbed to know what went wrong in my life. Gosh, that also was infectious.
Life went on and each day, I discovered a new cause of infection which medical science failed to teach.
And as enters August 2010, Pakistan faces a deluge from Swat to Sindh. It ruthlessly sweeps with itself the lives, the materials, the crops, the aspirations and the mere survival of twenty million innocents. They “suffer” and so do many elsewhere through their TVs or Facebook images. Wait, this suffering isn’t simply an isolated infection. Isn’t that what you call an epidemic?
As their houses and fields get “flooded”, millions of human hearts flood with empathy and compassion too, from Canada to US to Norway to UK to Saudi Arabia. Does it mean even the floods are infectious? And that too of Pandemic proportions.
The doctor in me stands paralysed in my abilities to deal with this suffering. But eureka! A thought springs from the grey matter. This pandemic needs to be treated with another infection and that is the pandemic of “generosity” which needs to spread from North Pole to South Pole, that too with a speed of light.

August 25, 2010


Man has been striving in search for greener pastures since the time immemorial. So did we dream when we came to the kingdom 19 years ago. Being expatriates we had full insight that we will have to return one day but perhaps better off in the material sense. Little did I realize then that by the end of my journey in the Kingdom I would be successful in enriching my soul and mind far more than merely acquiring the riches in the conventional sense. And indeed it is strictly in this sense that I leave well off.

I take pride in sharing some of the pearls from the string of my experiences in the Kingdom.
It was destiny that landed my husband and me in Makkah in 1990. Having got the opportunity to live in makkah and all those countless Tawafs and Umrahs in both happy and sad times, being able to visit and revisit the Haram just at the flick of a thought—is the greatest blessing bestowed upon us by the Allah Almighty, which of course no treasure in this entire life can match. I feel specially blessed to realize that both my children opened their eyes in Makkah and for rest of their lives their hearts and passports will bear the print of the Holy City as their birth place.We couldn’t have chosen a better gift for our newborns then.

As kids were getting ready to enter school, a new school (tailor made to our aspirations) sprung up in Jeddah from no where. I had no clue that as the children pass out 13 years later, it would stand as one of the premier educational institutes in Jeddah. I do not endorse it as a flawless place but it certainly gave back our children far more than it robbed from our pockets. My special thanks to the driver who drove them back and forth on the Jeddah Makah, highway safe and sound for 13 years. My children graduated out with medals, trophies, values and loads of memories, but I too walked out of the school with a few life long friends. No land deal back home could be more valuable that this deal.

To add to my treasure are the institutions where I worked over these years –right from a prestigious school in Jeddah to a couple of hospitals in Makkah. More than a few thousand riyals that I got as the pay packet, I earned the enrichment of my mind and vision by having a close peep into the kaleidoscope of cultures and nationalities. I gained the diamond experience of learning to respect and peacefully coexist with colleagues from diverse cultures. I earned a bank of friends from over a dozen nationalities and am proud of the fact that my best friend is neither from my country nor from the same continent. No bank account can ever weigh heavier than this treasure chest.

It would be unfair if I do not give a special mention to the last institution (a renowned and highly esteemed in the kingdom) where I managed to serve for over a dozen years. With each annual contract added, not only did I brush up my clinical skills but also gained more trust and respect from my patients and colleagues. I learned to look at them not as mere patients but as real human beings who entrust their lives in a doctors hand with no qualms. This group managed to creep into my heart as my “nearest and dearest” ones in Makkah. It is the hardest to bid them goodbye. Feeling of owning them as “my” patients surpassed all the feelings one got on possessing even the most precious piece of jewelry from the Souks of Makkah.

Being part of the Hajj medical mission year after year and going to reside in mina for 6 days each season away from the family, to exclusively serve the pilgrim is another feather in my cap that I am really fortunate to have. Loads of prayers collected from the tired and worn out pilgrims were far more precious than the turquoise stones acquired at a bargain price from an Iranian pilgrim at the sidewalks of mina. My colleagues and seniors deserve a special tribute as they all lent their support and appreciation and encouraged me to grow professionally. A concerned inquiry from one of the top bosses(sitting 100 kms away in the head office in Jeddah )digging into the reasons of my departure with empathy and concern was very touching .I thought my identity in this giant organization was my Badge Number but perhaps I was mistaken. No diamond solitaire could ever rise up to the touching letters of reference I have been eagerly granted.

At the home front my family enjoyed a blast of a time and with the availability of a variety of cuisines and foods from almost every corner of the globe, the world seemed contracted. My husband’s passion for mangoes kept his taste buds satiated with mangoes all the 12 months of the year-enjoying the ones from southern hemisphere in the winters and the usual Asian variety in the summers. Souvenier hunting during the Hajj months from various pilgrims from China or Central Asian states or elsewhere added a materialistic dimension to the Hajj duties. Long drives to various corners of the Kingdom and to the neighboring states popped out the adventurers from within us. I shall hold dear my memories of the visits to the unusual places like the Khyber fort, Madaain Saleh and its Hejaz railway station, Badr and the virgin beaches of Rabegh.

The stream of my memories is flooded and I can go on without seeming to reach an end .But it is not just glitter and gold that passed my way. Like any ordinary human being I also had my share of bumps and puddles on this road-but I wish to bury their recounts beneath the load of “goods” that I grabbed all along.
Nothing comes for free in the world. In this bargain of give and take, one has to first “give” ones best before aspiring to “take” the returns. Like all expats I too tried to do the same.
Now it is time for me to put into history the big chunk of my life I spent in the Kingdom.

I came young and naïve but I leave with graying hair, a wider outlook and of course with “some’ material gains.

Kingdom I bid farewell to thee.

Ilmana Fasih

August 12, 2009


This is in reference to the religious extremists who believe in controlling the people through the fear psychosis:

Ye jo deen ke thekedaar hain
Mazhab inka byapaar hai
Munafe bakhsh ye kaarobaar hai
Mukalama inse bekaar hai
Hukoomat bhi laachaar hai
Shayad Khuda bhi inse bezaar hai
Jo fatwe jaari karte hain
Aur khauf sa tari rakhte hain
Masoom qaum ke seene mein
Kya rakha aise jeene mein
Hum zinda ho ke bhi marte hain
Bas azab azab se darte hain
Ye jeena maut se badtar hai
Is zillat se to maut hi behtar hai.



The kimono is a Japanese traditional garment worn by women, men and children. The word “kimono”, which literally means a “thing to wear” (ki “wear” andmono “thing”),has come to denote these full-length robes.

Kimonos are T-shaped, straight-lined robes worn so that the hem falls to the ankle, with attached collars and long, wide sleeves. Kimonos are wrapped around the body, always with the left side over the right (except when dressing the dead for burial), and secured by a sashcalled an obi, which is tied at the back. Kimonos are generally worn with traditional footwear (especially zōri orgeta) and split-toe socks (tabi).

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This is in light of the unfortunate reaction of rejoicing of Salman Taseer’s brutal assasination that I saw on FB walls of ‘virtual’ friends and in the sitting rooms of few ‘real’ friends:
As Today I see:
Hatred feels as love goes numb
Lies speak as truth goes dumb
Desperation sees as hopes go blind
Apathy emerges as empathy goes behind
Extravagance flourishes as simplicity stunts
Modesty is killed as vulgarity hunts
Greed gets acceptable as charity resists
Prosperity evaporates as poverty exists.
Awareness drowns as ignorance sails
Reasoning whithers as gun prevails
Extremism wins as tolerance gets defeated
Peace goes extinct as suicide bombs get repeated
So for Tomorrow I fear:
Devils shall take over as humans vanish
Cruelty will emerge as kindness they’ll banish
Angels will stay quiet as satan will yell
Heavens will weep as Earth turns a Hell.
A cult will emerge as ‘real faith ’ will die
Intellectual wings will be clipped as idiots will fly
Darkness they’ll love as awakening they’ll hate
Sanity will mourn as madness will be our fate.
Autocracy will stand as democracy shall derail
Barbarians will succeed as humanity will fail
Tolerance they’ll hate and bigotry they’ll cherish
Ruins shall remain as civilization will perish.


The under-appreciated, indigenous Pakistani tradition of truck painting has an extraordinary history, starting in the days of the Raj.This extraordinary tradition has it’s routes in the days of the Raj when craftsmen made glorious horse draw carriages for the gentry. In the 1920′s the Kohistan bus company asked the local Michaelangelo, Ustad Elahi Buksh, a master craftsmen to decorate their buses to attract passengers. Buksh employed a community of artists from the Punjab town of Chiniot, who’s ancestors had worked on many great palaces and temples dating back to the Mogal Empire.

As early as the 1920′s, competing transportation companies would hire craftsmen to adorn their buses in the hopes that these moving canvases would attract more passengers. The technique worked so well that pretty soon you couldn’t purchase a ticket without seeing dozens of beautifully painted trucks waiting to take you to your destination.

While the art doesn’t serve the same purpose anymore, it is still as prevalent as ever and has become more intricate and developed a deeper cultural significance over time. The proud truck owners spend $3,000-$5,000 per truck for structural modifications that convert these gas-guzzling, smoke-spewing, road-dominating monstrosities into beautiful moving canvases covered in poetry, folk tales, and ‘…religious, sentimental and emotional worldviews of the individuals employed in the truck industry,’ making it one of the biggest forms of representational art in the country.

Pakistani truck art is about cultural history and tradition, storytelling, passion, and sometimes playful one-upsmanship. As such, every little adornment on the trucks has a special significance

It was not long before truck owners followed suite with their own designs. Through the years the materials used have developed from wood and paint to metal, tinsel, plastic and reflective tape. Within the last few years trucks and buses have been further embellished with full lighting systems.

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