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Archive for the ‘Humour’ Category

Negative Stereotypes


Think Norway. What occurs to your mind?
A beautiful country up in the north, where it snows, its all peaceful, no crime. No?

Think Africa. What crops up in the same  head?
Poverty, AIDS, famine, a picture of a starved kid pops up in imagination, and for some well informed perhaps they think of it’s corrupt leaders. Yes?

BTW, don’t  you know Africa is not a country but a second largest continent?
It comprises of  57 countries, each with a distinct culture, language and of course like any other country, each of them have their distinct problems.

So will it  be  justified to summarize all these sovereign states with just  four or five issues, that too very negative.

Why did this stereotyping occur?
The answer is simple. Disinformation.

How?
Of course through the various advertisements from the social sector, that with all their good intentions wish to collect funds for development in the continent. And the media, that through its good intentions tries to highlight to the world the grave  issues they face. However, despite their good intentions, they end up creating a negative stereotype.

Ever thought what must Africans be thinking or feeling of this stereotyping of  them?
It is not that such issues do not exist,  they do, but then this is not all, about Africa.

To highlight this negative stereotyping, without  lashing out in anger, a group  has come out with an extremely creative and cheeky parody called “Africa for Norway” with the message:

“ Imagine if every person in Africa saw the “Africa for Norway” video and this was the only information they ever got about Norway. What would they think about Norway?”

Also imagine if they also used  picture of a Norwegian child shivering in cold, without permission from those concerned?

Here is the parody “Africa for Norway” :

What message do they want to convey through this initiative?
1.Fundraising should not be based on exploiting stereotypes.
2. We want better information about what is going on in the world, in schools, in TV and media.
3.Media: Show respect.
4.Aid must be based on real needs, not “good” intentions.

For more details on the brilliant project click>>  Radi-Aid .

Coming closer to home, who would know more about stereotype than Pakistanis and Muslims with a “My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist.”  being their holy passport to the outside world.

On a personal note:

Growing up as a minority Muslim in a metropolitan New Delhi, India, I came across some curious stereotypes:

  • How many wives  does your father have?
  • Why doesn’t your mother wear a burqa or why doesn’t your father have a beard?
  • Is you father a professor of Urdu in Delhi University?
  • Do you eat Biryani everyday?

Equally ridiculous questions were asked when I came two decades ago, as a newly married immigrant to the megacity Karachi in Pakistan:

  • Are you a Hindu? (On wearing a saree and bindi together, and being of Indian origin).
  • Did you have Hindu friends?
  • Did you ever eat food in Hindu households?
  • Kya India mein VCR hota hai? (Are there VCRs in India?) ( The last curious query  sounds hilarious 😀 now, but it almost got me crying as a new immigrant. Those were the days when India had only Fiat, Ambassador or Maruti cars,   no Sony TVs and yes, not even StarPlus channels 🙂 ).

Not sure if these stereotypes were also created through media !

“Rationality ka janaza hai, zara dhoom se nikley”


The heading was the best tweet, I found on #waterkit. ( Courtesy: Urooj Zia).

There have been few moments in my ‘virtual’  life, when Tweets have been so hilarious.

#waterkit hashtag was  tragically comical.

Based upon the dialogues exchanged in an epic  TV program on this invention, I could not help summarise it this way:

Ye qissa hai Physics key balatkar ka
Aur Waterkit se chalne waali ek car ka
Jab mil baithe syaane chaar
Do minister, ek scientist, ek Engr Waqar

Dikhaya aisa duniya ko chamatkar
Petrol , Bijli sub huwe bekaar
Karwayein kyun Auto-specialists se inspection
Kya kee hai kisi ne pehle aisee invention

Mamoo ban gaye anchors Talat-o-HamidMir
Aur Dr AtaUrRehman huwe lakeer ke faqeer
PhDiyaan sabki ho gayein fuzool
Koora huwe Thermodynamics ke usool

Theory nahin hum practical ko maante hain
“Water is H20”, kya aap ye raz jaante hain
Wikipedia se hum ne kiya hai confirm
H2O se Hydrogen nikalne ka irada hai firm.

Faqat jahalat ki rail-pail hai
Sub moh-maya ka khel hai.
Duniya hansegi to hansti rahey,
Gumrahi ki gari buss chalti rahey.

Moin Bhai Dilliwala, a tribute to Moin Akhter


As if the year passed in a stroke. It is hard to come to terms that one year has passed since Moin Akhter left us.

A stand up comedian who took the art to a level whose altitude is hard for any other actor  to surmount.

As a family friend there are countless small and big moments to cherish,  which are no less pleasant and hilarious, than his performances.

Actions speak louder than words, hence Moin in action, not words is the best way to pay tribute to him.

I pay homage to this monument of Comedy called Moin Akhter through my favourite piece.

The episode touched me, and related to me in more than one way.

First it was one of the million brilliant performances as a Dilliwala by Moin Bhai, who often chose to speak to me exclusively in a Dilli wali wisko, jisko dialect.
Being a Delhiite, what could be more pleasing, than see his genius turn into ‘mere sheher wala’ at a flicker, both on and off the screen.

Secondly, being an Indian-Pakistani, this Indo-Pak collaboration where Moin acts as a Dilliwala who migrated to Karachi,Pakistan, and the brilliant comedian Javed Jaffery representing a Dilliwala residing in Delhi, India, I found it so close to my own life.

Thirdly, it is a perfect example to showcase how the two Delhi cultures survive thousands of miles apart, and yet distorted  in their own ways.

Fourthly, the interaction between these two Dilliwalas also showcases the ground reality of how the two countries relate to each other in a love-hate relationship through cricket.

Last but certainly the most important reason, why  I emotionally fell for the episode, is the of Indo-Pak visa, and how the Indian Dilliwala,  used cricket as an easy way out to jump the grueling process of obtaining a visa to meet his near and dear ones on the other side of the border.

For those who have to go through this ordeal can very well relate to how the visa process acts as a heartless wall between the loved ones conjoined in heart, yet separated by the political border.

Friend or no friend of Moin Bhai, Dilliwala or no Dilliwala, cricket match new or old, I am sure everyone will be as thrilled to watch it as I am even after having viewed it over a dozen  times previously. (Many will  find it exaggerated, but perhaps comedy is always so  🙂 ).

P.S. My special apologies to my non-Urdu/ Hindi understanding Blog followers and friends.  I wish I could translate the episode, and could share with you the thrill of watching the pure genius, the king of stand up comedy in Pakistan, who was also a personal friend, mimic like a typical  resident of the walled city of Old-Delhi, my city.

Part-1

 

Part-2

Reflections of a little mind !


For years as a little girl I did not know the exact literal meaning of the word ‘socialite’.

Having seen pictures in the centre pages of magazines, I knew they were pretty, mostly in full make up which looked so natural, nearly always dressed nicely and almost always wore the most enviable jewellery one could imagine.
Honestly, at times I did not even find them pretty, but everyone, in their hi-fi circles thought them ‘beautiful’ or stunning’. Not quite sure if they thought them beautiful or just called them beautiful on their face. But yes the magazines did quote them ‘good looking.’

I also wondered why they took so much pride in being called “Heyy sexy!”  Weren’t they annoyed or scared, when someone called them that?  Perhaps they did not have to travel in crowded buses, or pass through quiet alleys after dusk, where if they were ever hurled that same phrase, it would have taken life out of their limbs and made them run for their life. So how would they know that?

I also wondered what was it that made them be called ‘socialites’. Did they do social work?  But I never saw any mention of that in those glamour magazines they made regular appearances in.

Imagine, I did not even have the common sense to guess they did a lot of social events like throwing birthday parties, barbecues, celebrations, bashes and sometimes even parties without any reasons to earn that title. I wonder perhaps I envied how come they were able to hop from one party to another like butterflies. And how is it that their parties always got coverage in those glossy magazines, when it wasn’t even a fund raiser for a cause?

As a little girl I also wondered, “Didn’t they ever get bored of just enjoying, partying, wearing nice dresses all the time? Weren’t they ever bored of being happy go lucky and smiley all the time?”


“If it is all a hullabaloo because they are rich, then why and how did they get rich?” I always wondered as a little girl.

I was stupid enough not to understand they had rich parents, who let them do all this. But then how could I know this, because my parents weren’t anything close to rich. They didn’t even let me have enough pocket money for buying a puff pastry in the school cafeteria, I just had to suffice with a sasta samosa, that too once in a while.

I actually wondered how their Moms and Dads raised them, “Didn’t they have to study hard to grow up, to be ‘something’ in life?”
I could guess they didn’t have to get good grades in school; just an expensive school’s name where they’ve been was enough of a merit for them.

If there was twitter then, I am sure I would have wondered why they had so many followers while they barely followed back only a hundredth of them.

And the tweets they tweeted were just too ordinary to be given so much attention.

With tweets showing off like

“Went into my helicopter to Las Vegas”,

“Ate a red velvet cake with fresh cream”,

“Wearing a ******** (big brand) pink dress” with a Fickr image of it.

Well I would certainly have wondered how was that 10k dress any better than my pink lace frock I wore on my 6th birthday, which Ammi just tailored herself after buying the lace from a bumper sale.

I would even would have wondered why some serious people were so very concerned to clarify what their tweets meant, when on rare occasions their tweets weren’t that clear and straight forward:

Example
Socialtie: Went to a spa, had a massage and got adjusted.
A follower: Adjusted?
😀

Well, perhaps I wasn’t made of that material to fathom the depth of what a socialite is meant to be. And, understand,  I was just a little girl then.

But tell you a secret; I still cannot get the sense of the purpose of this word Socialite.

Leaving your heart prints


Valentine’s Day isn’t just about expensive gifts, teddy bears, chocolates or red roses to girlfriends. It’s about  making any of your loved ones ( whosoever they may be)  feel that they matter.

And to make anyone feel  that you care, fortunately does not take loads of money. In fact it does not  cost anything but  a tender caring heart.

I planned to write a humorous blog on the ‘extortion day’ that  men generally call Valentines day, with a few jokes.

But when a friend sent in an email mentioning about the idea of  ‘heart  prints’, it was too touching to just shoo off this day in a joke. Hence without adding any of my non serious words I share the sentimental caring words a friend wrote in her email.

Sharon  shared:
We leave fingerprints on whatever our hands touch.  On walls, on furniture, on doorknobs, dishes and books, as we touch we leave our identity.  Each day we have the wonderful opportunity to leave prints on the hearts of those who are entrusted to our care.”  

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote in one of her famous poems:  “How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.”  

We might say:  “How can we touch hearts?  Show us the ways.”  

The ways that we leave heart prints can be summed up in the word LOVE.

In his meditations, St. La Salle was very fond of quoting St. Paul.  In his First Letter to Corinthians, St. Paul describes love.  He writes of a love that touches hearts.

How might we describe this love?  We might say:

“May we leave heart prints by dealing patiently with others.
May we leave heart prints by being kind to others.
May we leave heart prints by never being jealous or boastful, or arrogant or rude.
In our dealings with others, may we leave heart prints by not insisting on our own way.”
When we are not irritable or resentful or rejoice at wrong, but rejoice in the right, we leave heart prints.

So, in all of our dealings with others, let us leave heart prints.

And if someone should say: “I felt your touch,” that might be miracle enough. “

Continuing with a  serious note,  perhaps  an look of concern, a nod that we  understand,  a bend  to lend an ear,  a few words of  compassion or just a caring glance that turns a grimace into a grin  are all ways to leave heart prints.

Coming back to my not so serious  words, well I wouldn’t  leave this page without  caring  words for my  men friends  for whom this day proves to be more of an extortion day. Here goes my empathy for the impoverished pockets:

  Conversation during an expensive candle light dinner on Valentine’s Day:

Girl (blushing) : “Do you love me with all your heart and soul?”

Boy (”the bill’ on his mind): “Mmm hmm.”

Girl( flushing ): “Do you think I’m the most beautiful girl in the world?”

Boy( still thinking of the ‘ the bill’) : “Mmm hmm.”

Girl(slushing): “Do you think my cheeks are like rose petals & my eyes like gazelle’s?”

Boy( ” the bill’ thoughts persist) : “Mmm hmm.”

Girl( gushing) : “Oh dear, you say the most beautiful things in the world!”

With no  offence meant to anyone, but I hope to  leave some grins on the grimaced faces  :).

A just Mullah


A Mullah ji  is fed up of his wife who either forgets or puts more namak(salt) in the khaana( food).

One day in a rage he spells: “Talaaq talaaq talaaq.”

So that he doesn’t change his mind, he immediately goes to the Qazi to announce and make it final.

Qazi: “Okay, are you sure?”

Mullah: “Yes, very much. Enough is enough, I hate the food she cooks and the little attention she pays to me.”

Qazi: “Fine. How many children do u have ?”

Mullah : “Alhamdulillah seven.  Four are big enough to look after themselves, three are too young to stay without their mother.”

Qazi: “So how will you divide them. Will Allah not be angry that you will take 4 and give only 3 to your wife. Allah wants you to be an ‘aadil’ (just).”

Mullah( thinks a minute) : “Okay, InshaAllah then I’ll come back to you next year.”

 

A complaining Mullah

When a Mullah died and went to Heaven he saw that a Karachi bus driver was given a higher place than him.

He complained to the angel on duty: “I gave long khutbas in the mosque on every Friday, all my life till the last day.” 

The Angel asked: “While you gave long sermons, did people all pay attention to you? Speak the truth today!”

Mullah: “Well to be honest, many played with their cellphones, some yawned, and few even dozed off.”

Angel: “See when this man drove the bus on Karachi streets, not only did his passengers all stayed alert, they even prayed to God  for Mercy. Even the other drivers of cars and rickshaws prayed and remembered me, when he was plying the bus on road.”


Aalu Anday etc.


If you churn the ingredients-adversity, endurance, sense of humour,  imagination and hope into a machine at one end, you will receive Pakistani youth at the other end. Hammered with adverse circumstances one after the other, the hardy rocks of youngsters are  carving themselves into idols of the future.

Endurance is not just the ability to bear an adversity, but to turn it into glory. And laced with sense of humour, their creativity becomes their crowning glory.

Remarks a friend Kamran, “ I’m both amazed and proud of this younger generation of Pakistanis who refused to cow down, who continue to eke out a good time against all odds and do their thing. It’s almost as if nothing’s happening around them when everything is.”

There could not be a more artsy way to show their disdain for the prevailing politicosocial circumstances than through this master piece by the Beygairat Brigade .

There a lot more to this song, than just funny lyrics or catchy music …and is pleasing to know how these ‘kids’ get them conveyed through the briefest of  audios and  visuals. In fact, the name of the band says it all.

It was extremely imaginative of them to depict aalu andey (potatoes & eggs,  the current offering ) what  these youngsters are getting from their Mom( Pakistan), while they wish  Chicken ( their desire for a better deal).

As an  FB friend Rashid aptly describes  the song ( in fewest possible words) , “Song worth thousand articles by sages.”

I salute thee, the Brigade.

 

Sometime ago, yet another hilarious piece of creation pertaining to the burning issue of load shedding brought a cool breeze to the sufferers through the composition by Load Shedding Studio. They did a superb job in sketching the biography of a load shedding victim aka Pakistan.

Bijli ji !  Great  ji .

 

“There is no defense against adverse fortune which is so effectual as an habitual sense of humor”,  quotes Thomas Higginson.

And,  when the adverse fortunes become as habitual as they have in Pakistan, then humor becomes  a compulsion. Had there not been the knack in Pakistanis, in general, to laugh at themselves,  who would have been their saviour ? I wonder.

Youngsters, keep scoffing  off  your miseries  through melodious satire, till the true happiness sprouts from the seeds of your efforts.

“Satire, indeed,  like a polished razor keen,
Wounds with a touch that’s scarcely felt or seen.
Thine is an oyster knife, that hacks and hews
With  talent and not  rage, to shun abuse.”

Bravo, keep it up !