I found it incredulous that she believed in eyelash wishes.
Really? I asked her.

Her answer: Why not? It’s just a way to pray. An excuse, if you will.

That seemed to make sense. Back then, at least. Today, I just brushed off the eyelash that I saw on the back of my hand.

Didn’t I need to pray? More like, didn’t feel like it, the thankless human that I am.

All the more reason to pray, to ‘wish’, don’t you think? She says in my head.

I nod to myself. Yes. Yes, it is.

Only On Eid…

Only on Eid-ul-Azha do you…

…have to wipe and dust every surface in preparation of everyone coming over. And then some.

…make your annual visit to the bakra mandi (animal market) and act like you do this everyday.

…tell tall tales of how you had to ‘wrestle’ to buy them in the first place.

…compare and contrast the size, color and price of your bakras.

…stuff everything in the nearest cupboard – except for the goats and cows.

…dress up at 7 in the morning and quickly stuff your pajamas randomly in the cupboard at hand.

…forget to try to remember to avoid an avalanche every time you have to take something out of said cupboard.

…take out hoards of china and cutlery that you didn’t even know existed.

…run around refilling dishes, marveling at the speed with which people eat.

…finish making one batch of tea for one batch of guests and have more show up in between.

…switch on the light of the room and directly go to the dresser to clean it, only to jump at the sound of snoring and look behind you to find your taya (father’s brother) taking a nap; tiptoe back out quietly.

…feed sacrificial animals and then not hesitate to gobble them up.

…boast your butcher-nabbing skills as well as the skills of the butcher you just nabbed.

…kick up a great big fuss about how “your” butcher messed us “your” meat.

…feel sad and happy at the same time in lieu of the sacrifice.

…proudly declare that you don’t eat meat.

…bite into the meat carefully as if expecting it to bite back.

…admire the bravery of five year old kids who are not even the tiny bit squeamish at the sight of blood.

…attend never-ending dinners with just the venue changing but not the people.

…run to the mirror to check your hair before every picture at said dinner.

…pose, pose and then pose some more.

…upload all the pictures as soon as possible to your Facebook and then start the commenting.

..fall asleep at night, dead tired, ready to do it all again.

…don’t find time to write a proper blog post.


The Miniature Earth

If we could turn the population of the earth into a small community of 100 people, keeping the same proportions we have today, it would look something like this:

61 Asians

12 Europeans

14 Americans (from North and South America)

13 Africans

01 Australian (Oceania)

50 women

50 men

10 are homosexuals

33 are Christian (Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox)

18 are Muslims

16 are Hindus

16 are non-religious

6 are Buddhists

11 practice other religions

41 live without basic sanitation

16 live without an improved water source

6 people own 59% of the entire wealth of the community

13 are hungry or malnourished

14 can’t read

only 7 are educated at a secondary level

only 8 have a computer

only 4 have an internet connection

1 adult, aged 15-49, has HIV/AIDS

Of the village’s total annual expenditures of just over US$3,000,000 per year:

US$ 181,000 is spent on weapons and warfare

US$ 159,000 is spent on education

US$ 132,000 is spent on health care

If you keep your food in a refrigerator, and your clothes in a closet…

If you have a roof over your head, and have a bed to sleep in…

You are richer than 75% of the entire world population.

If you have a bank account you’re one of the 30 wealthiest people in the community.

25 struggle to live on US$ 1.00 per day or less…

47 struggle to live on US$ 2.00 per day or less.


Work with passion

Love without needing to be loved

Appreciate what you have

And do your best for a better world.

*These statistics are from at least 5 years ago.  It would be interesting to see updated numbers, but I didn’t find any.*

Re-blogged from: A Curious Wanderer

Ad-ding It Up

S. Shah – Rohani Scholar Extraordinaire – able to solve all the problems of all women. All those who have lost hope should contact at least once as a last resort.

If you want to stop a marriage or get married; want to enslave your lover’s mind completely; want husband’s full attention or have disobedient children; constant fights at home or issues of property inheritance; whoever wants revenge should contact immediately; know lottery numbers through Jinn; expert in making right left and left right

Have everything done while sitting comfortably at home. Total secrecy guaranteed.

Someone stuck this ad under my windshield wipers the other day. I perused it while I put the key into the ignition switch and went about putting on my seat belt. It was printed on rough cardboard, in red and black ink, and a contact number was provided for all those interested.

I couldn’t help laughing out loud (no, not the text messaging ‘LOL’ where you don’t actually laugh at anything, let alone ‘loud’).

Yes, I know you must be wondering whether I’ve lost my mind completely (a post for a later time, folks). How could I be laughing at something totally serious?

Jinn are revealing lottery numbers to us – BINGO!

Also, who wouldn’t want to make left right and right left? Really, I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve wanted to be ambidextrous. It would have been especially helpful when I was writing those long exams at school.

And of course, now I know how I will stop X marrying Y and then have X all to myself; he will live a much happier life, I’m telling you. At the same time, the cold and sweet dish of revenge is mine, all mine! *insert evil laughter*

See? This is extremely funny…

It is extremely funny how even in this scientific day and age, we believe in the rohani (spiritual) element and black magic so firmly. So much that it is only because of our ‘belief’ that people like S. Shah continue to exist and thrive in the society. So naive are we that we continue to be ensnared by these people time and again.

I have to admit: black magic does exist. Even our religion tells us so. And so do Jinn, and can easily be ‘used’ by people who I know how to.

Does that mean we should? Mr. Shah and his countless colleagues definitely thinks so.

Yes, poverty and lack of education (or maybe just plain old ignorance?) are definitely behind all this. Who wouldn’t want to make a little extra money by winning the lottery? Especially when you can barely make ends meet in the first place? But sometimes even the highest level of education and wealth is like spun sugar when face-to-face with the ‘results’ of such actions.

And you know the funniest thing? We demand ‘logic’ and a ‘rational’ explanation when we are called towards faith (generally true for most religions), but for things like this, all our ‘logic’ jumps right out of the fifth storey window.

Anyways, excuse me. I need to run out and call up Mr. Shah in order to ensnare X’s mind so he that he ditches Y and is forever mine. Being doubly sure never hurt.

History Repeats Itself

This is not really a lesson in Islamic history, nor a post where I declare that only Islam provides the correct way (although it does). All I aim to do is a small comparison.

In pre-Islam Arabia, the people were steeped in the worst kind of jahaalat. (To be politically correct, when I say ‘Arabia’, I basically mean the city of Makkah).

Literally, jahaalat can be translated as ignorance or being uneducated. When used for the Arabs living some fourteen/fifteen hundred years ago, it means they were ‘unaware’ of the true path to an unimaginable extreme.

They worshipped idols that they had placed, ironically enough, in the Ka’abah. Separated only by tribal boundaries, they were in a constant state of warfare. Might is always right was the rule of law. Money and other material things meant everything and they would resort to lying, cheating and fraud to gain them.

While they were a hospitable people, they treated women worse than the cattle they herded around. So much so that the birth of a daughter was considered the worst thing that could happen to a man. The only way out of this ‘humiliation’ was to bury her alive.

It was only when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) came to them with the teachings Islam that these conditions of this society improved. Although it didn’t happen overnight, it was Islam that guided these people to the true path and eradicated the evils from the land.

All of these are facts, recorded down in history.

But this is not really a lesson in Islamic history, nor a post where I declare that only Islam provides the correct way (although it does). All I aim to do is a small comparison.

Today, we live in an educated, modern and civilized world, where women have rights (comparatively, if only in theory). We built a country in the name of the religion of Islam and for the freedom of the Muslims. It is still considered an Islamic State, even if the current ideology seems to have shifted away.

Fine. I can live with that.

What is interesting to note is that we seem to be going back to that state of jahaalat. Maybe even worse.

OMG! How could I say that? How could I go against my own country?

And my own religion? I’m probably committing blasphemy.

It’s simple.

The Arab tribes fought each other constantly and sometimes, on the merest of excuses – hell! – on the merest excuse of an excuse! But, in certain ‘holy’ months, they refrained from any and all kinds of conflict. And everyone, everyone, respected this rule.

To us, on the other hand, nothing matters. No rule of law. No religious directive. Nothing. We kill and we kill, with no thought of the consequences.

It’s funny how we forget that Islam is a religion of peace. The word íslam’ literally means peace – how can it advocate anything else for its followers? Moreover, fifteen hundred years ago, it was only through peaceful and non-violent methods that Islam spread its message to the people.

Yes, there were wars but in the ultimate ‘fight’, the victory over Makkah of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) and his followers, not one drop of blood was shed. Today, however, we kill in the name of a religion that condemns all of mankind even if one person is murdered. Mindless killing, increasing death toll, no thought as to where all this is leading us.

It would seem that we’re going back to the practices of our ancestors.

History is repeating itself…backwards.

No Water for the Fire

I came across the link for Aatish Taseer’s article while surfing the Internet but didn’t pay much attention. The title “Why My Father Hated India” certainly did not appeal to me. Another rehashing of the old-as-time, never-ending Pakistan versus India debate. Haven’t they run out of angles on this one yet?

Browsing through the Express Tribune’s website, I came across Ejaz Haider’s rebuttal to Aatish Taseer’s piece, titled “Aatish’s Personal Fire”.

Without having read the Taseer piece, Mr. Haider’s argument made a lot of sense to me.

He appeared to have logically counter-argued Taseer’s rhetoric and, it would seem, given a convincing answer.

If judging by the comments that the readers had posted, however, maybe not. They were certainly divided on the issue.

Mr. Haider had said what he had wanted to say but the readers kept up a constant barrage of arguments. One would say that Aatish Taseer was one hundred percent on-the-dot and yet another would point out how brilliant Ejaz Haider’s line of reasoning was. And there would always be someone to rebut it.

It’s actually amusing to see how ‘Pakistanis’ keep blaming the ‘Indians’ and the ‘Indians’ continue pointing fingers at the ‘Pakistanis’. But only for a little while.

Who is right? Who is obsessed with whom? Questions that cannot ever be answered conclusively.

However, personally, the least I will say is that Haider does seem to put forth a more convincing argument, even where the structure of his article is concerned. His experience and stature shows. When I actually read Aatish Taseer’s piece, I felt like he should have spared his readers a History lesson and focused on the basic idea. I’m no expert but he seems to have gone off on a tangent from his thesis. And if his father’s anti-Indian Tweet and death was not the focus…well, then, why was it so important to mention?

I might be blinded by patriotism or be just plain-old ignorant of the ‘facts’, but a better style and structure means a better article automatically.

Moreover, I cannot help but wonder: Was Salman Taseer tweeting as ‘Salman Taseer’ or ‘Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab, Pakistan’ that it is being made into an issue?

There is no end to it. There never will be. I feel there will always be elements on both sides of the border who do not wish for actual peace in the area. So there will always be pieces like these where people get to arguing the same things again and again and again, rather than focusing on making things better.

Gal Mithi Mithi BOL

The movie, Bol, however, is not meethi in any way. Unless maybe you count the ending, ’cause that would definitely leave you with an ‘awww’ feeling.

No, this is not really going to be another movie review of a film that is taking the country by the storm. Well, at least, judging from the number of people flocking to watch it. Or maybe that was only because it was a Saturday. (Still, I feel obliged to say: Spoiler Alert!)

I liked Bol. I would recommend you to watch it, although I would rate it at least PG-13 for language.

But it’s not simple as that. Because, the movie, in itself, is not as simple as that.

I can’t decide whether the movie is controversially intense or intensely controversial.


And if I had to choose, I think I would totally go with Option C: All of the above.

I loved how in such a short time span Shoaib Mansoor was able to point out the various problems in our society.

So, we get to see how poverty defines the lives of a religious nut and his non-conformist daughter who dares to defy him, and the things each does to survive, even ending up murdering. All the women in that household live a life of oppression and the one person who isn’t technically a woman certainly has the tendencies. Which is another major cause of consternation for the religiously strict father.

The movie also touches upon rape and sexual assault in reference to kids, how it is considered a stigma and why murder becomes a result of such things. We bear witness to police asking for bribery in order to overlook a case. The general money matters are solved using other people’s money and then playing a ‘gamble’ to pay off the ‘loan’ and maintain family izzat. Ironically enough, only the people belonging to Heera Mandi, people who had been discarded because of their profession, were the only ones to step up. Meanwhile, the women are not allowed to do anything, and especially, not allowed to work: it is a man’s job to provide for his family. Except that when the cat isn’t home, the mice definitely play.

Tensions continue throughout the film, which ends with some very important questions: why do you keep having kids if you don’t have the means to feed them? Why is giving birth not a crime?

These are valid questions, of course, considering the vicious cycle of poverty and population problems in the country.

What I felt was that the non-conformist daughter could defy her father in taking her mother to the doctor and having her sister married off to the Shia neighbour she was in love with and was meeting secretly every day, to whom her father had expressly said no to. So she could have defied him to go earn some money and showed him that he was wrong. Wasn’t this what she was already trying to do when she talked back to him and earned a slap for her effort? Couldn’t she easily have hidden the details to her strict overbearing father, while making sure they did not starve? Nope! When it came to actually doing something, she preferred to play the damsel in distress conveniently.

And then, how once the evil and dominant father was removed from the midst of that family and everything worked out very well is a concept I find very problematic. Really? And what’s with the ultra-modernism? Is the only reason ‘compare and contrast’? To make us think?

Controversy for the sake of it or with an actual motive?

Such argument apart, what the movie actually did for me was simple: it made me really thankful to the Almighty Allah for my father.

I’m not kidding.

I was sitting in the dark theatre and watching that moulvi break the small mirror with his daughter’s face and all I could think was: Thank God! Thank God! Thank God!

I can’t even imagine my father talking to me loudly, let alone this.

Thank God!

But you know the best part?

When the President of Pakistan is watching the reporter’s broadcast about the hanging…when it ends, there is no ‘channel’ to go to. It’s as if there was a cable/power outage at that very instant.