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Monday, April 24, 2006

Nobody in Karachi whistles anymore

The way we were

Nobody in Karachi whistles anymore

By Kaleem Omar

In the Karachi of the old days, the city of my youth, one often used to hear people whistling a jaunty tune as they cycled home at night after a movie. Many things in Karachi have changed since then, mostly for the worse. Which probably explains why nobody in Karachi whistles anymore - or, if they do, they do so in secret, as if it were a crime. Indeed, whistling has become so rare now that a whole generation of Karachiites has grown up not even knowing how to whistle - at least not in the way that many members of my generation could whistle entire songs in the old days, including catchy ditties like "Awaara Hoon Mein", "Jambalaya" and "The Happy Whistler" Some of us could even whistle classical pieces like Ravel's "Bolero" and Dvorjak's "New World Symphony"..

The carefree Karachi of that happy-whistler era has gone forever, lost in the mist of time. Today's Karachi is a beleaguered, angst-ridden city, where most urban problems seem bigger and more intractable than those in any other Pakistani city, though Lahore has been coming along nicely in recent years, thank you very much.

Whistling is not the only thing that isn't heard in Karachi anymore; jazz isn't heard here either. Back in the 1950s, however, Karachi had many jazz musicians. Most of them belonged to the city's Goanese community and lived in a section of Saddar some people called "Little Goa". Romeo Pereira's bakery in Saddar was famous for its "black bread". Rodrigues, a tobacconist on Elphinstone Street, was the shop you went to for your favourite blend of pipe tobacco and other smokers' requisites. Where does one go to buy black bread now? Does today's generation of Karachiites even know what black bread is?

In the 1950s the US State Department had a programme under which leading American jazz groups were sent to give concerts in cities around the world. Under that programme, such legendary jazz groups as Duke Ellington's Band, Dizzy Gillespie's Band and the Dave Bruebeck Quartet (of "Take Five" fame) came to perform in Karachi and Lahore.

Duke Ellington's 60-member jazz band gave two concerts at Karachi's Metropole Hotel in 1959. The band included such famed musicians as Johnny Hodges and Paul Gonsalves on the alto sax. At the Newport Jazz Festival in the US state of Rhode Island in 1957, Ellington's band gave an open-air concert attended by 150,000 people. One of the pieces they played was an Ellington composition entitled "Diminuendo in Blue, Crescendo in Blue". During the course of the piece, Paul Gonsalves cut loose with an incredible 57 choruses on the alto sax that brought the cheering audience to its feet.

When Ellington's band came to perform in Karachi, some of us jazz groupies informed him during a practice session at the Metropole that we had a local jazz musician named Paul Gonsalves who also played the alto sax. Intrigued, Duke Ellington asked us to bring him over. When Ellington heard him play, he was so impressed by the quality of his playing that he invited him to play at the concert that evening. The American Paul Gonsalves and the Karachi Paul Gonsalves were seated next to each other at the concert. Their free-wheeling jam session brought the house down.

The Karachi Paul Gonsalves is still around, or was until a few years ago when I came across him one afternoon playing at the Pearl Continental Hotel's coffee lounge. But he was now playing soft background music - a far cry from the foot-stomping jazz numbers he had played with the other Paul Gonsalves when Duke Ellington's Band came to town nearly five decades ago.

If you want to look for Country Club Road in the Karachi of today, you won't find it; it's called University Road now. But the name isn't the only thing that has changed.

Forty-five years ago, Country Club Road was a lonely, 12-foot-wide track, leading out of the city toward Malir Cantonment through a virtually empty landscape frequented in the evening mostly by courting couples who wanted to be alone. Nobody bothered the courting couples in those days, not even the city police.

Heading out of town on Country Club Road in those days, the built-up area ended at the Sui Gas pipeline terminal. Beyond that there was nothing until you got to the Country Club, a small tiled-roof structure that housed the Karachi Flying Club. A dirt strip next to the building served as the runway for the flying club's two-seater planes - a few Tiger Moths of World War II vintage. Beyond the club, there was again nothing until you got to the Karachi University campus, on which construction had begun in 1956.

Today's University Road is a noisy, traffic-choked, six-lane artery running through some of the city's most densely populated areas, including Gulshan-e-Iqbal - a huge misnomer of a development that wasn't even a glimmer in planners' eyes in the 1950s, or even until the late '60s.

In this context, I am reminded of some lines from a poem by the early twentieth-century American poet Vachel Lindsay: "...Then, up around the apple-earth they come, / Blasting the whispers of the morning dumb, / Cars in a plain, realistic row, / And fair dreams fade when the raw horns blow." You can't hear people whistling over the roar of traffic and the screech of Japanese air horns.

In 1813 Karachi occupied an area of some 30 to 35 acres and its population was an estimated 13,000. The 1901 census recorded the population as 136,297. In 1941 it was 435,887. By the time of the first post-Independence census in 1951, it had risen to 1,137,667 - an increase of 161% over the 1941 figure. Today, it is an estimated 15 million - meaning that Karachi's population has grown more than 1,000 times since 1813 and now accounts for nearly 10% of Pakistan's population.

Today's Karachi is an urban sprawl of some 1,200 square miles, nearly 22,000 times the 1813 figure. It needs some 600 million gallons of water a day and close to 2,000 megawatts of electricity. It is the country's financial, commercial and industrial capital, and generates 70 per cent of all government revenue. It has more than a million vehicles, including some 55,000 auto-rickshaws, 16,000 intra-city buses, 10,000 minibuses and close to a thousand inter-city buses. By any standard, then, Karachi is a mega city.

But mega cities tend to have mega problems, and Karachi is no exception. Over 200 million gallons a day of untreated highly toxic sewage flows into Karachi harbour through the Lyari River, which now has the dubious distinction of being the most polluted river in the world (having overtaken England's Mersey River in the mid-1990s). In many parts of the city traffic conditions during peak hours are now approaching gridlock. Landfill projects have severely damaged coastal mangrove forests and altered the ecology necessary to sustain many species of marine life. The list goes on and on – but you get the picture.

A British army led by General Charles Napier annexed Sindh in 1843. In February 1843, Napier declared Karachi the capital of the new British territory, in place of Hyderabad, capital of the Talpur rulers. In August 1947 Karachi became the capital of the new state of Pakistan.. In 1959, General Ayub Khan (he hadn't yet promoted himself to field marshal) decided to shift the capital to the then non-existent Islamabad. Doxiades Associates, a firm of Greek town planners, was hired to prepare the master plan for Islamabad. Work on the new capital began in 1963.

The irony is that more than half of the land in Karachi is still owned or administered by federal agencies, including Port Qasim Authority, Pakistan Steel Mills, Civil Aviation Authority, Pakistan Railways, Defence Housing Authority, various Cantonment Boards, the Ministry of Housing and Works (which controls PECHS), and the Karachi Port Trust - which, under a 1895 ruling by a British official that has never been countermanded, technically owns all the coastal land in Karachi "up to the high-water mark".

On April 19, 1986, Karachi schoolgirl Bushra Zaidi was crushed to death under the wheels of a minibus. Karachi has never been the same "City of Lights" since then.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Saving India Fatafut

No this news report is not 25 days over due.

In a recently held conclave in a undisclosed location in the sub-continent far reaching decisions were taken that would impact on the way justice is delivered.

Miss U. L T. Ganga, spokesperson for the Saving India Fatafut speaking under conditions of anonymity has agreed to sit for an off the record interview with your erstwhile reporter from Desicritic.

t: Is the daiquiri good?
G: You know the costs of flirting with me? I am Bhai's favourite
t: (puzzled expression on the face)
G: I am kidding. Don't be nervous
t: (a whirl of unmentionable and unprintable thoughts race through)
G: The conglomerate is always on the look out for new business opportunities
t: You mean they are going legit now?
G: (giggling) They are always legit. They are taxpayers with registered and incorporated corporations
t: (here comes the schlemiel)
G: We monitor the net too
t: You do?
G: You want the scoop or not? I can always whisper in Arun's ears
t: Would you like another daiquiri?
G: Read this:


Saving India Fatafut

The condition of the Court system in India is deplorable and antiquated. In order to bring justice and equality to every Indian, the CBA (the Conglomerate of Bhai Alliance) will do its bit.

The CBA and its regional franchisees will offer quick and affordable justice to its clients all over India to ease the burden on the strained system.

Now there is a hope over the horizon. Your Family Disputes, Divorce, Property, and Business litigation would be amicably settled in your favour for a one time fees with guaranteed results. Only the Alliance can do it for you. Our slogan Only Alliance works: for you would soon be impressed on every Indian's mind.

Our fees schedule is extremely competitive and time sensitive. No other competitor would offer guaranteed results.

Call us day or night 1-800-FATAFUT

Only Alliance Works: For You


t: You guys are muscling in on courts? Business must be bad?
G: We seize an opportunity when we see it
t: Seize is right. There is no mention of fees
G: You are not as naive you appear?
t: Beg your pardon?
G: Behind that nurtured bozo look I can see an intelligent mind
t: The fee schedule?
G: It depends on two factors – the region and the parties...(shuffling through her blackberry and reading from it) Bihar a single case elimination would be 5000...discounts for multiple cases...rates for other states vary
t: any other services?
G: Yes in partnership with LIC (Life Insurance Corporation of India) we offer a Dis-Legality Support for the family members for the short duration our clients may be incarcerated
t:Dis-Legality? Brilliant. Like Disability Insurance
G: You are not slow t
t: More?
G: Yes, for higher end clientele we offer more services. Complete evidence removal, extended resort stay out of India with attendant chores like passports and visa arrangement
t: More?
G: Yes another daiquiri please. I am beginning to like you t
t: Thanks
G: Would you like a local franchise? I can speak with Bhai. It is a turn-key franchise
t: No, thank you!

a simple poem

she was drained
i said
'i love you - more'
and i was stumped
'is this sympathy
or empathy?'
'don't know jaan
just feel it
love you more'
'you men are strange'


if you love
don't you feel
their pain?
and then
don't you love
them more?
i do, i do
and admit it
is that strange?

V Mahajirzadeh:Laws of Ventilation and Other Quotes

I Mahajirzadeh: Mushtaque Ahmed Yusufi - An Introduction
II Mahajirzadeh:Manjhli and BaRi
IIIMahajirzadeh:Choti and the Siami Begum
IV Mahajirzadeh:The Great Hand Car Wash

Mahajirzadeh had some unique and weird ideas. He used to say education should be for the educated: it should not be wasted on the uneducated.

He liked qawwalis but hated qawwals. For ganays (songs) and ganaywalis (singers) his views were diametrically opposite.

For abortion and sood (interest) he had a unique solution. Make them legal for those who believe in them and illegal for those who do not. Had he moved here we are sure he would have added halaal food to this list.

Contrary to prevailing customs, he liked his wife and other's children.

Mahaijirzadeh provided the stimulus for temporal's Third Law of Ventilation. In any room or hall, regardless of the size and position of ventilation ducts, the smoke tends to flow in the direction of the most sensitive nose. And, of course, without the help of any revelation, heavenly or earthly, you can guess temporal's Fourth Law---The rate of flow of the smoke is directly proportional to the sensitivity of the nose.

Much before the advent of VCR , we learned to appreciate the old black and white Hollywood westerns he would screen every Saturday evening. He would switch off the sound from the Bell & Howell 16 mm projector and play Sorayya, Sehgal, Aatma, and vintage Nurjehan on his Sony reel to reel. Once you get used to Gary Cooper and Aatma or John Ford and Sehgal, you would watch westerns no other way.

His religious views were oracular. He told us once, pehlay insaan, phir muslmaan: pehlay ta'aleem, phir tafheem: pehlay khuda, phir rasool. We were very young then to fully understand or appreciate him. Even now there are times when we find him paradoxical.

He used to say Pakistani Muslims were of three kinds: those who get lucky --- often, occasionally and seldom. In turn they were liberal, moderate and fundamentalist.

We never saw Mahajirzadeh emerging from the mosque. Ostensibly he never entered one either.

conclusion: VI Mahajirzadeh:Inventions

Monday, April 17, 2006

Patwari - Zahid Shakil


Patwaris have enormous powers and an equally enormous duties. Will e-governance make a difference to this still seems a distant possibility

By Zahid Shakil

Patwari, originally a revenue collecting official in King Akbar reign, was assigned the task of arranging land record by the British Sarkar.

Today, 14,000 patwaris maintain the same monopolic position in the provincial boards of revenue as they historically did. He is the custodian of 17 registers containing various records -- like Register Haqdaran Zamindar, Register Khasra Gurdawri, Field Book, Register Inteqalat -- to maintain the record of rains, storms, thefts, dacoities and epidemics along with who owns which land and who sows what on a particular piece of land. In addition there is Roznamcha-e-Partal to maintain a record of officer's visits, Roznamcha-e-Hidayatee to have the record of the government's instructions on crop policy, land matters, revenue policy and so on, Roznamcha-e-Karguzaree to enlist his daily performance, Lal Kitab containing maps of crops and villages, Register Ujrat Naqool about the details of fees collected, and many other registers. All these registers need constant updating.

These registers are basic sources of data on livestock, crop production, average rains and even law and order. All these entries represent only the official side of his personality. There's another side to him -- the unofficial one. It's this side that cannot be overlooked to have a complete picture of his power and presence.

To begin with, patwari is the most vital figure of for all the fundraising at the tehsil level -- for lavish meetings of district authorities, for instance. Whenever some official of the revenue department or of district management needs to renovate his office in a grand manner, he assigns the Patwari to arrange money for that. The patwaris are also responsible for entertaining official and unofficial guests of the tehsil administration.

Before people start feeling envious of his immense powers, let it be stated that a patwari is actually a Grade-5 official with a monthly salary of around Rs 3000-3500. Only a tiny fraction patwaris has offices provided by the government (Tehsil Kharian of Gujrat district has 103 patwaris but only three of them have offices -- that too are about to collapse). So the patwaris are also expected to arrange for an office from themselves.

A patwari has a big patwar circle to take care of. Besides that he has has to be present at the tehsil headquarter for five days every month. But the government has not provided him even with a bicycle to perform these functions. Also, more often than not he is called upon by various courts -- like the district and the sessions court, the provincial high court, accountability courts, and anti-corruption establishments -- to present records for cases involving people living in his jurisdiction. On top of all that, he is given no extra travel or daily allowance for all these numerous appearances.

The patwari's method for meeting these needs is as direct as it is very well known -- he manges by being corrupt. He has nearly unbridled powers and people in his domain always need to be in his good books so that they don't fall on the wrong side of his unlimited authority. Which explains why they can be so easily used for extracting bribes.

One major venue for a patwari to earn some un-earned money is the farmers' or land owners' need to have every now and then 'fard' -- a copy of ownership record, an essential document for obtaining loans, for furnishing guarantee for obtaining bails in court cases, for obtaining a domicile certificate, for knowing about land transfers and for purchase, selling, mortgaging and leasing. With very few noble exceptions, every patwari charges heavily to providing this document. This price varies according to how easily or uneasily the patwari makes himself available. In most cases, it's with great difficulty that people can find him. They have to run from pillar to post -- from all over his patwar circle to the tehsil headquarter -- to get hold of him.

The second major source of earning for a patwari is 'manipulating' official fees to be charged at the time of land transfers. Provincial boards of revenue charge three per cent of the value of the land transferred and the district government charges one or two per cent of this value as fee. The patwari favours the parties involved in a land deal, assessing the value of the property in a way which incurs less than due fee. He thus decreases the government revenue and gets some portion of the money saved by the parties as bribe.

Tenants facing insecure land tenures due of his non-maintenance and non-updating of land record -- a practice which implicitly favours landowners -- are still another source of illegal money for a patwari.

With patwari having absolute power to play with land records with one stroke of a pen, most land records in Pakistan suffers from a lot of inaccuracies, creating ownership problems, leading to disputes over land rights, generating numerous property case, rendering official documents unreliable which at a macro-level complicates as big issues as obtaining aids and loans from international financial institutes.

The problem mostly pertains to how patwaris maintain their records. Since the colonial times, Persian digits and words have been used to make entries in his numerous registers and the tradition continues. In a country where more than half of the population cannot read and write in their mother tongue, deciphering a patwari's records as big an enigma as anyone.

It is generally said that a major reason for the failure of the 1973 land reforms lied in their poor implementation. Patwaris, in a very high number of cases collided with landowners and never informed the tenants that the reforms had changed their status. They continued to work on their fields as ever, without knowing that now they were the real owners of their farms, not someone else. Also, because of the poor maintenance of land record, the government was never able to crack down on those feudal lords who had frustrated the implementation of the reforms.

Successive governments have tried to curtail the patwari's influence. For instance, the government has curtailed patwaris' powers to determine Abiana, water revenue, by fixing a flat rate for its collection. This has come like a whiff of fresh air for poverty-stricken farmers, earlier vulnerable to the whims of a patwari.

E-governance is another issue that seeks structural reforms in a culture which revolves around a patwari. This reform has two aspects -- first, the computerisation of government functions and second is the provision of better interaction between the government and the people so that people may obtain direct access to records, rules and other official information. Under this reform, the government is computerising land records to thwart the patwaris' corruption.

So far, the impact of e-governance have been slow to emerge, where they emerged at all. The computerisation of land records, for instance, have been give a go ahead in Lahore and Kasur but no positive results have accrued from the exercise so far.

Perhaps it's time to offer all existing patwaris a golden handshake and make fresh recruitments in accordance with modern needs.

Even more important than that is creating awareness among people through 'mock exercises' about the processes of gaining access to official documents and government functionaries.

Cocooned Solitudes: Effects Of Environment On Children

Digression: this subject intrigues me... i can understand as a growing child one is restricted to the company parents keep...but how can people grow up in cocooned solitudes and splendid isolation and yet belong to the same village, city, state?

what about muslims from india...surely they grow up with many times more non-muslims around they form strong bonds and friendships with them as the grow up?

The digression is from here. Mayank's interview has generated interesting comments. Growing up in Karachi I did not get to meet many Hindus and hardly any Sikh.

Friendship did not even arise. The only Sikh I was aware of was a white bearded Basheer Pal who had a furniture repair shop next to the Zoroastrian temple that I would glance into on the way to school.

M had some friends who were from a prominent Hindu family. I exchanged some cursory hellos with some of her friends once. Hardly counts.

There was a large Christian minority those days. And I had a few Christian friends. But their religion was not a factor at all. The normal interests bonded us all – Cricket, Squash, girls, books, movies.

We made friends from school or from the immediate neighborhood. And those were the good days. There was hardly any provincialism or ethnic tension in the air. We did not know, nor cared who was a Pathan, Baloch, Sindhi, Punjabi, Mohajir, Sunni, Shia, Ahmedi.


Ayub Khan's son Gohar Ayub, later to become foreign minister for a short while was the first person who tried to puncture the amity in Karachi by creating a divide between sons of the soil and Mohajirs – the refugees from India.

Some years later, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto joined the bandwagon by trying to create a fissure between Sindhis and Punjabis and Sindhis and Mohajirs in the game called Divide and Rule that we inherited from the English and excelled at.

But all these were politics for us. We continued to form strong friendships, attended functions and parties in each others home and hotels, fought and made up.

I started writing this after I wrote the digression on that board. And as I mentioned earlier in Karachi there were not many folks of other faiths. And if there were, I am sure we would have formed friendships based on our interests, not religions.

Speaking of religion all this schism, hatred and divide came much later. To give you an idea, back then I had no clue whether we were Sunnis or Shias, Hanafi, Maliki, Wahabai, Shafii, Athna Ash'ari, Khoja, Bohri, Ismaili. Well, yes, those were different days! Guess am lucky I grew up then. For that acceptance has stood me in good stead. And over the years I have become less and less rigid and almost impervious to one's religious leanings. If you are a good balanced person is all that really should matter.


This makes me wonder: if I had grown up 15 years later would I have been a different person?

As I reflect, am troubled. There is no way to say with certainty if I would be the same person I am today or would have succumbed to the prevailing winds and turned out to be less tolerant and more inflexible.

First of all, a majority of us are what we are as a result of an accident of birth. That would earn the boasting rights in the passport column asking for religion.

Then we pass through life, some grow, some while away and some vegetate. If I was born 15-20 years later, my whole attitude towards life would have been tinged by all the hatred and distrust floating around me.

Is it possible for a child to escape such vibes?

It is so easy to become a Jamaat e Islami child, a VHP child, a Naxalite child, a Lashkari child, a Modi child. Views and opinions bombarded directly or indirectly form a lasting impression on the child. And without much conscious effort the child succumbs.

As an adult that child would still have plenty of time to reflect and recant. But in reality what are the chances of deflecting those sub-conscious implants for the majority millions?

Most of us here are not part of the majority millions alluded to above. While there may be lingerers here, most of us have grown--matter of degrees--some more, some less.

The almost universal North American desi experience is different today. We have strong bonds of friendships with desis from across the religious and nationalistic divide. This is in both measure a reflection of individual growth and geo-political necessity. Here, we are one. Our problems are same. Forces affecting and playing on us are the same.

No wonder that here, we have left the old suspicions, misconceptions and hatreds behind.

But back to the thought that intrigued me. I would look forward to introspection by Mayank, Jawahara, bevivek and Lakshmikant and other Desicritcs.

Nepal On The Brink: Sensing Kill, Opposition Intensifies Rallies, While King Offers Sops

In keeping with the tradition of the Shah dynasty to reign in accordance with the popular will, in the greater interest of the nation and people and our unflinching commitment towards constitutional monarchy and multiparty democracy, we through this proclamation affirm that the executive power of the Kingdom of Nepal, which was in our safekeeping, shall from this day be returned to the people and the exercise according to Article 35 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal-1990. King Gyanendra address to the nation, broadcast by Radio Nepal

"This is incomplete," Minendra Risal of Nepali Congress Democratic party, one of the seven main opposition parties that have joined with Maoist insurgents to protest the king's power grab. "The constitutional assembly is the aspiration of the people." Binaj Gurubacharya

Today is the second week of rallies and protests against King Gyanendra, who assumed office when the heir to the throne wiped away the royals and then took his own life.

Nepal abolished absolute monarchy in 1991. Current King sacked the government and regained absolute powers in February 2005, ostensibly to curb the Maoists. Various reporters and agencies unanimously agree the Maoists today control the countryside.

Since 1996 the Maoist insurgency has claimed 13,000 lives.

The Seven Oppositions Parties have been joined by the Maoists to demand constitutional rule that would either eliminate monarchy for ever or reduce and curb the monarch’s powers.

How that scenario would play out is speculative at best right now.

The death toll has risen to 14 in the current protests.

In what could be regarded as interference anywhere else, the U.S. Ambassador James Moriarty has reportedly said hours before the King delivered his speech, "His time is running out, ultimately the king will have to leave if he doesn't compromise. And by 'ultimately' I mean sooner rather than later."

Finding himself out of favour of Lord Pashupatinath and Lord Bush the King made the offer in the quotes mentioned above.

* * *

Courtesy newest DesiCritic Beena Sarwar, and Tapan Kumar Bose I bring you this:
Dear colleagues, sisters, brothers, friends and
comrades in struggle

I am writing this from Kathmandu. It is about 8.00 a.m. Nepal time. The entire valley was under curfew for 25 hours yesterday, April 20, 2006, the 15th day of the ongoing civic protest against the autocratic king and his army. The curfew which was first clamped for 18 hours from 2.00 a.m. in the mourning of April 20, till 8.00 p.m. was extended till 3.00 a.m. to April 21. Now the king has announced re imposition of curfew from 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. Within another one hour the entire valley will be under curfew again.

Yesterday,(April 20) as you have learnt from the news channels and news papers that hundreds of thousands of common people of Nepal, young, old, men, women and children had come out on the streets, not just in Kathmandu, but in almost every urban centre of Nepal to participate in the protest rally called by the Seven-Party Alliance. The CPN Maoists have also joined in the peaceful protests under the 12-point agreement signed between them and the Seven Party Alliance in November 2005.

The army and the security forces of the king used all forms of violence, beating up, kicking, firing tear gasing and shooting live bullets at the protesters. As per reports four persons were killed in Kathmandu. According to eyewitness account, one person was shot on the roof of a house in Kalanki as he was watching the rally in front of his house. Another young boy of about 17 years was kicked to death on the street. The security forces opened fire in several places in Kathmandu. Reports from media persons and other eyewitness from Kalanki, Sadtobato, Balkhu, Chabail, Chapa gaum, Khumaltar, Maitidevi Gwarko(Lalitpur) and Gangabu confirm that the injured were not allowed access to medical help. Ambulances and other vehicles which could have helped ferrying the injured to hospitals were not allowed to move as curfew passes were denied to them. Nepal Red Cross, ICRC and other Human Rights monitoring agencies were not allowed to do their work. Most of the injured were looked after by medical doctors participating in the protest rallies at roadside medicine shops who opened up defying the curfew orders.

News from outside the valley conform that more than a hundred and fifty thousand came out on the streets in Narayangadh in support of the demand for restoration of "complete democracy" and establishment of a new constitution assembly.

This is no longer a protest organised by political parties. It is a people's movement. The Seven Party Alliance had requested one person from every family to participate in the protest rally of April 20. From the number of people who came out defying the curfew and the overcoming the fear of bullets was enormous. I have seen the expression on the faces of the people on the streets yesterday. They are determined. They are fearless, They know what they want and are not going to be stopped by the army of the king. The days of the king and compromised politicians are over.

I appeal to all of to support this movement of the people of Nepal. They want democracy and they want to decide the future architecture of the state and the polity through a democratically elected Constituent Assembly. This king and his army are against this demand of the people of Nepal. He has let lose a reign of terror on the people. He is killing, torturing and jailing people. His army and security forces have been looting the poor people and raping Nepali women in the rural and urban areas. He has lost all legitimacy to rule. His "government" is illegal and immoral. Those who recognise this killer king and still deal with his rouge government can not escape the responsibility for these deaths that are taking place in Nepal. They are helping him to trample on the aspirations of the people.

It time for the international community to reject this rogue regime and call on the Seven Party Alliance to form an interim government. The Seven party Alliance should be helped to follow the road map that they and the Maoists drew up together for restoration of peace and complete democracy in Nepal.

I appeal to all democratic peoples of South Asia to came forward and support the Nepalese people in this hour of need. This is great moment in the history of our region. Let us not let another movement for democracy be crushed.

I particularly appeal to the human rights defenders of South Asian countries to come to Nepal now and see for them selves the terror that a rouge king has let lose and how the courageous people of Nepal, the poorest country of our region are facing this terror.

I also appeal to every person of conscience to come to Kathmandu NOW and be with the people of Nepal and help them in their struggle. Any one who will like to respond to this appeal, please contact the undersigned.

Tapan Kumar Bose
Secretary General,
South Asia Forum for Human Rights
Tel: (+)977-1-5541026
Fax: (+) 977-1-5527852
Mobile (Indian)(+) 91-9818001206

Read more about the Chaubese (twenty-four) at their blog aptly called

On Desi Kutcheris & Office Cooler Talk

my comment this here

On Desi Kutcheris & Office Cooler Talk

J and S:

you are right in a sense:) cannot talk forever about the ozone depletion...once in a while we do talk about who is doing what to whom and how...

coasting on auto pilot, while we recharge the gray cells to probe the statistics offered on DH's mating habits--DH is not baseball's designated hitter but disillusioned husband from...from the society for the prevention of cruelty to husbands (SPCH, you know)

in fact, scientists have discovered that one thing that makes us apart since we learned to walk on hind-arms...ok, the ability to scholarly dissect human relations where it pertains to missives about relations between other folks that are not our immediate friends

did you hear about aunt A and uncle B? or what cousin C was doing to cousin D while kneeling? and while E was riding that high chair F was giggling her heart out...all these and more when you visit TO

and now to more mundane things

F is not a lesbo, G assured me
H is definitely one but not out of the closet yet
why is she coodling with I
surprise surprise

numbers, numbers and more numbers

my comment on this post

numbers, numbers and more numbers

last i checked we are six billion plus and i have less than 23 girl-women friends...that is a blooming pity sir...i tell you...

no, no, M is very liberal and trusting kinda woman...and other than first screening rights she makes no other demands (more on this another time)

numbers--how deceiving they can be...who knows how many people an average person can get to meet in a lifetime...let me take a jab

people we smile and exchange hellos...hmmmmm...there is mrs. schmidtz next door...yes, yes the one who leaves blinds open while there are the odd drivers or two...nameless, almost body-less at the stop signal...say two per trip...that would make it 4 per now the total is the office...well say ten? is now 15...aur kya? cyber friends acquaintances count?...another is 25

ok now let's play statistics...

70 years (i know some may want me to bite the dust sooner – but we are playing statistics here, remember?) 70 x 365 x 25 = 638,750 (ok, ok be quite! i know there are leap years!)

638,750 souls that i mayhave encountered in some fashion or another

now reality check...

P was divorced, F - divorced...aur kaun?...ah S is remarried--so by deduction she must be divorced...that is three...and then there have been a few folks i know that should have divorced their lousy spouses...but that is my conjecture...ok let's throw them in also...say another ten?...the total is now 13...and if i include hear-says...another 23 divorce cases...incidentally not one of them volunteered to the burning part...the most heat generated was about 2200 degrees (centigrade or fahrenheit does not matter) in debates and accusations hurled each other's way...
what did george bernard shaw said about statistics?

khair, so we have some numbers 23 and 638,750

does it come to .0036007 % or my goodness! this is a some statistics i just pulled out

so where did i hear greenspan has retired and someone is temporarily warming his seat?

and who stole my hat?

things i don't understand and refuse to understand-- by Desi Joe

things i don't understand and refuse to understand by Desi Joe

forgetting biblical injunctions this world is a few million years old...and it is reputedly years since we have supposed to have descended from the trees

and started walking on two hind legs...don't believe i said hind...hmmmm so are my hands fore-legs?...any scholars? help!

the morning cuppa must be bad...why do i get these bad vibes?...hain ji?...koi bata'aye ga humaiN? that is a royal mix up;)

so hit me...oh i like it:)...ah...again?...o o ah;) ah men...and women too have been like dying since time like what? any actuary has dug up any data on them old skeletons?...

hmm...this neanderthal was done in by a mad bull...yes, yes like cows are not the only ones that can be mad, eh?

and that alaskan skeleton they thawed the other he was hugged by a very tightly...

and the somalian he died of hunger way back...way, way back...

so like what happened to moen jo daro skeletons

and the ones in moen jo you know i am kidding like?...right...they did not find any skeletons there...toldya am joking like...but really what happened to the dead in moen jo can someone tell there is a gold mine for the ancient sif(save-indian-family) if they had the time to reflect upon like these issues...hain ji? have to go there is this good lookin'... i've a meeting coming ignore good lookin'...just a regular meetin' will continue with this later like...yeah, later?

like before i leave a helpful hint for like guys mostly...and some gals we cannot be sure....who most likely are to counter...or encounter comprehending this …like you can look up any one of the following:

abracadabra, artifice, cant, chant, charm, cheating, chicanery, conjuring, deceit, deception, delusion, flimflam, fraud, gibberish, gobbledegook, hoax, humbug, imposture, incantation, jargon, juggling, legerdemain, magic, mumbo-jumbo, mummery, nonsense, open-sesame, rigmarole, spell, swindle, trick, trickery, argot, balderdash, banality, bombast, bunk, buzzwords, cliche, colloquialism, commonplace term, doublespeak, drivel, fustian, gibberish, hackneyed term, idiom, insipidity, jive, jive talk, language, lexicon, lingo, mumbo jumbo, neologism, newspeak, nonsense, overused term, palaver, parlance, patois, patter, shoptalk, slang, slanguage, speech, stale language, street talk, tongue, trite language, twaddle, usage, vernacular, vocabulary, weasel words

like cheers

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Of Beliefs And Believing and Believers and Non Believers On a Saturday Afternoon

t: yeh kya baat hui?
K: kya mutlab
t: kyun naraaz haiN aap
K: aap say kaun naraz ho sakhta hay
t: did he do this time?
K: keep him out of this
t: (smile)
K: wipe that grin off your face
t: yaar, those sif guys are human too
K: don't bring them up
t: ok...let's talk about god
K: not interested
t: art buchwald?
K: love him - how is he
t: don't know - donwhill i guess
K: remarkable strength in his decision
t; ji, don't know many who would go that route
K: kya ker rahay ho
t: reading mayank
K: do you believe in god?
t: haan yaar. call it accident of birth...besides i like to believe in things
K: really? atheists don't believe in god
t: true - but they do believe in not believing about god
K: haan woh tou hay
t: so they are believers
K: no they are not
t: you just said 'haan woh tou hay'
K: arey - i meant they believe in atheism but not in god
t: (sigh)- hmmm...same thing! a belief in the presence or absence of something is a belief
K: yaar why are hung up on the belief
t: kyun nahiN...sub accuse kartay haiN kay tum believer ho
K: yes...yes but that belief is different from this belief
t: is it? explain how one belief can be different from another
K: arey!...kya khaya thaa nashtay maiN
t: fine make fun of me....humph!
K: you are good
t: you believe so
K: yes, that is my belief
t: now you are being facetious
K: be back i need a drink


t: buzz-buzz
K: am back
t: what is the matter with them
K: you mean THOSE men
t: and women an equal opportunity person
K: are you confused
t: totally...sometimes think this could be a Raj conspiracy
K: think they deliberately left issues to rattle us
t: they could be devious
K: you are not serious
t: am serious...we are only 78 under
K: you talk in riddles 78 under/over what?
t: (smile) we can be charged under 420
K: ah...78 short
t: you are very perceptive
K: jao shaeri karo, humaiN confuse mut karo
t: you believe am confusing i doing so consciously and deliberately or.....
K: chalo bhago, believe - belief - my head is spinning


when darkness overwhelms light
the seeing become blind
the vision unveiled that day
of the Panj Pyare's blood
dripping from the Guru's sword
banished inequalities
a single stroke of courage
making one out of the many

kesh, kangha, kaRa, kirpaan, kachera
mita gaya hay sub far'q zaat paat ka

ik hee suff maiN khaRay ho ga'aye haiN
sub mar'd o zunn, aur sub singh o kaur

let us on this baisakhi
re-live, re-learn lost lessons
of equality, freedom

hum sub bhai bhai haiN
hum sub bhai beh'n haiN


On March 30,1699 at Anandpur Sahib, Guru Gobind Rai's sword glistened with the blood of five volunteers, to be known subsequently to the world as the Panj Pyare, he struck the first deliberate blow to the caste system, for the Panj Pyare belonged to Khatri, Jat, Chhimba, Ghumar and Nai castes.

'Where there are Panj Pyare, there am I
When the Five meet, they are the holiest of the holy'

Like other faiths, today, we have lost sight of that vision. Instead of being insaans, we are divided by faith and caste, yet again. Just check out the matrimonial ads in any desi newspaper.

Without Eve I Would Still Be A Glint

We had a good time away from T.O.

Upon return I checked out DC. Quite a few references to SIF, sif, 498-A, feminism, shoorpanakha.

I called Jawahara. She was away. Ams - missing. Suj - vacationing. Dee - packing. Called others. Finally managed to get hold of Kaveetaa. What follows is our IM conversation.

t: How are you
K: Kahaan ghayab thay?
t: Houston, Sugar Land - family commitments
K: How was the trip? Did you have anything to do with Congressman Tom DeLay's retirement?
t: No! - late nights-sleep deprived - did we miss anything?
K: Oh! nothing much, some spamming
t: Achcha, by whom?
K: By men
t: Woh tou hum bhee haiN
K: Not your kind of men
t: Oh!...We are puzzled and it is still early here
K: Check this out :

We did.

t: Since when divorce became a disease
K: Like HIV aids?
t: Yes
K: I don't know
t: What is 498A?
K: Don't be difficult. It is late here! Google!
t: Am being lazy
K: 498A is a section of the GoI Act of 1935 that has been incorporated in IPC to keep haraamis straight
t: You mean to keep gays straight?
K: Don't put words in my mouth?
t: Words? Mouth?
K: And don't even venture there -- I will mention this to M.
t: OK
K: (smiling)
t: I thought 498A was to prevent victimization of women. What is SIF crying about?
K: Ask them. They say the women are using 498A to get back at men with the complicity of authorities
t: That means the law is being abused.
K: Exactly
t: But aren't laws are being violated everywhere? Smart lawyers and loopholes?
K: It is like your Hudood Ordinance where the victims of rape are the guilty ones and have to prove their innocence
t: Why are they blaming globalization
K: They see in it an emancipatory force
t: What is wrong with making 498a bailable?
K: Nothing. But what does it have to do with men dying earlier than women? That is a lifestyle choice.
t: Lifestyle choice? Men dying earlier? Is that what Malimath Commission reported?
K: No. But they do say most injustices on men are perpetrated by women.
t: Yes?
K: Including giving birth to them.
t: Is that an injustice too?
K: They think the world is stacked against them.
t: Is it?
K: Ask M
t: What does M have anything to do with 498A
K: Ask M
t: Ah, I see! You are being wise
K: I have to go to sleep now. Give my love to M
t: Fine. So how should I behave if I am accosted by a SIF jehadi
K: You are the expert. You should know!

Dr. Enver Sajjad - An Enigmatgic Icon

The first ever-commissioned play to be telecast in the subcontinent in November 1964 was written by Enver Sajjad. He was bestowed with Pride of Performance in 1989 for his valuable work in literature. And he got the ECO Award of Excellence 2004 in history, literature and culture. His screenplay are so deftly written that a prolific writer like Ashfaq Ahmed once confessed that he learned
to write screenplay from Enver Sajjad

I was at Riaz Rafi's studio apartment one evening. Rafi as he likes to be called is an artist with a nagging conscience. I was in the midst of doing an in-depth profile of him. (project shelved indefinitely--cannot get permission to use some quotes.)

There I met an old acquaintance, Dr. Enver Sajjad, physician, artist, katahak dancer, playwright, columnist, short story writer, novelist and essayist...the list is long for this very talented man. He vividly recalled meeting a young temporal years earlier and commented with a twinkle at my appearance.

Ghazal oos nay chehRi mujay saaz daina ...I mumbled to which he instantly added... tO yeh umr e rafta ki saazish hay?

'Are you still in Canada?'
'Ji haaN.'
'Do you still write?'
'Have you published a book?'
'Why not? Why do you write?'
'I write (just) for myself.'
'Every creative writer does, but you must publish and make your work available.'
'I am aware of the limited appeal of my just a small time poet, stargazer...'

Luckily at this point someone entered and the conversation momentarily drifted.

'Aap kya likh rahay haiN aaj kal?'

'Nothing much, the odd script or two. I have stopped writing my regular columns for a number of years now. There is no point. The readers do not read. People do not read, do not educate themselves, do not inquire with an open mind. It fell on deaf ears and blind eyes. So I stopped wasting my breath.'

Dr. Enver Sajad is a diminutive man, with a lean body and unassuming demeanor. He is soft spoken, almost quiet. But when he discusses current state of affairs his eyes lit up and he punctuates his conversation with animated gestures.

Rafi was showing his latest painting of a man and a woman in a kathak pose to his guru Nighat Chowdhury. The classical music was playing in the background and looking at the painting Nighat instinctively moved her feet to the music.

Pointing to Rafi, I told Enver Sajjad, 'He switched from medicine to arts after being inspired by the Art Aur Musawwir columns by Shafi Aqeel.' (The columns ran for a number of years in the Daily Jang.)

'Words and thoughts do have an effect. You must not abandon your columns,' I implored. 'How can you encourage me to publish while you have stopped writing?'

He paused to reflect, then launched into a long monologue.

'We are still reeling from the effects of Daur e Jahilya's excesses. (He was referring to Gen. Zina ul Haq's dark tyrannical reign.) He has caused an ir-repairable damage to the already fragile national psyche. He empowered the demonic forces of sectarianism, fundamentalism and increased the already wide chasm between the haves and the have-nots.'

He kept bringing Zina ul Haq's reign throughout his conversation. At one point I interrupted politely and suggested that Pakistanis cannot forever blame the excesses of the past for their failure to live in the present.

'Not so, not so! The flood gates of terror and hypocrisy he unleashed cannot be recalled. The Uni-polar world and our (Islamic) conditioned fatalism have added fuel to this dilemma. My generation has had its innings. We played a poor inning. But the new(er) generations have been even worse than ours. They do not read, do not understand, do not think. They sadly have abandoned hope. And strive.'

'In the past 56 years we have not produced a single philosopher, thinker, writer of note. Not one from a pool of 150 million! And the one we had he disowned.'

'But janab this span of years is nothing in a nation's history. It is all too brief a period to lament.'

'I do not quite agree. We have regressed. The conditioning and fatalism I spoke of earlier coupled with 9/11 has forced us to regress even farther.'

'All the more reason voices like yours should be heard more often. You should impart your thoughts and ideas and what you have learned to the new(er) generation.'

'No use, no use. It is all a waste!'

'I disagree janab. You still have passion in your voice when you speak. You still have this fire burning in your belly. If I had not felt it I would not have asked you to continue to write. This sense of frustration is perhaps only a momentary lapse...'

Some more guests arrived, some drifted. In the ensuing melee our conversation drifted.

'Have you moved to Karachi?'

'No, I am here on an assignment. I am supervising the setting up of a Script Bureau for Geo.'

Last I heard he was helping Zia Mohyeddin in the National Academy of Performing Arts in the renovated buildings of the old Hindu Gymkhana.

(September 2004)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

What Kind of Hindu Are You?

Your traveler arrived at Bhubaneswar, the sleepy capital of Orissa in the east. With Konark and Puri it forms the Golden Triangle of Orissa..

Bhubaneswar once boasted of over seven hundred temples, and still has a few temples of worth but serves more as a conduit to Puri and Konark.

At Konark he visited the thirteenth century Sun Temple in the shape of a huge chariot with seven horses and twelve wheels pulling sun god Surya across heavens. Time has take its toll, but still its magnificence shines. Each stone wheel is intricately carved and about ten feet in diameter. Beware of the guides who try to push porn. They are a vulgar nuisance.

Next stop the famous twelfth century Jaggennath Temple at Puri. The traveler walked up the narrow lanes and arrived at one of the gates to the temple known as the lion gate. A little way inside he is welcomed by a prohit (priest) --a temple pujari in saffron.

'Aaiyay, aaiyay maharaj, swagatam, swagatam! bhagwan kay darshan kernay aa'aye haiN?' yahaN apna naam pata likhyay aur hastaakchur ker deejiyay'

And a pen and register is thrust in front of him. The traveler smiles recalling the earlier confrontation at Ajmer. He smile some more. This time more pleas are hurled at him. anand then finally;

'bhagwan kay naam pay bheee dakshina nahiN daiga, tu kaisa hindoo hay?'

'Aap say achcha, the traveler says and moves away. Some things do not change: no wonder the bearded one considered this sort of religion an opiate.

There are set prices here too for some services::

Gopal ballabha bhog (early morning bhog) - Rs. One Thousand
Sakal dhupa bhog (morning bhog) - Rs. Five Thousand
Madhyanha dhupa bhog (midday bhog) - Rs. Twenty Thousand
Sandhya dhupa bhog (evening bhog) - Rs. Ten Thousand
Badasinghar dhupa bhog (night bhog) - Rs. Three Thousand
Combined Five Raj-bhogs of the day - Rs. Thirty Thousand

Leaving the huge temple complex he comes out on the grand road, reminding him of a widened mall road with structures on either side slowly being replaced by eight-ten story buildings with shops and restaurants in the lower levels The rest of the front along the wide road was encroached by kiosks and street vendors that add colour and vibrancy to any bazaar scene.

He looked up and saw a sign for a terrace restaurant. He went up and took a table by the grand road. There were no other customers at that time in the restaurant: from this height he could take in the temple entrance, the temples in the distance and the hub of the bazaar below. He recorded the activities on his vidcam.

Down the centuries this widened grand road is the path they follow once a year when the three murtis are taken to the other temple on chariots pulled by devotees.

This annual coming out party with all the attendant acrobats, dhols ( drums) and chants and mantras by devotees in colourful garb gave birth to a new word in English. juggernaut

Is the irony is apparent? The leaders of major religions are juggernauting their followers unabashedly.


Note: the traveler was being facetious when he informed the purohit and the gaddi-nashin that he was a better Muslim/Hindu. He is struggling and barely succeeding to be a better insaan

What Kind of Muslim Are You?

A red-eyed traveler arrived at the Ajmer Railway Station in the wee hours of the morning. At the platform he was immediately accosted by a sherwani-clad young man. 'Where are you from? Have you come for ziarat? What is your name?'
The questions came at rapid fire speed.

The traveler was polite but firm in his non-answers. All he wanted to do was freshen up, brush his teeth, have something to eat, see the mazar, recite fateha take in the surroundings and move on to Pushkar Lake. But this sherwani-clad man kept pestering him with queries and refused to go away.

It is a fifteen-twenty minute walk from the station to the dargah bazaar and then the inner courtyard flanked by two huge beautifully carved doors. Just before the entrance the traveler found a roadside eatery and ordered scrambled eggs and tea, hoping the pest would leave him alone. It seemed to work and he disappeared from view. After the third cup of doodh-patti the now refreshed traveler paid his bill and entered the gates. 'These daigs (cauldrons) were gifted by the Mughals' the pest was back at his side!

There are two huge cauldrons: the bigger one has a capacity of 4480 kg and the smaller one 2240 kg. The food cooked in them is called langar and distributed to the pilgrims and visitors. As he passed by there were two bamboo ladders attached to the sides of one of them and a crew was washing the insides.

And the pest stuck to the traveler like a shadow.

Inside the courtyard there are scores of chambers, big and small. Signboards over the hijrah (chamber) declare to the reader 'this hijrah belongs to the successors of Hazrat XYZ.' There must be 40 plus chambers in there. All the hazarats ostensibly must have been noble souls but the present day occupants, their 'successors' and heirs --the gadee nashins seem like capitalizing on simpletons.

Most of them have computerized lists of past donors and visitors to the Dargah. And each year they mail out pledge cards and donation solicitations to Muslims all over he world complete with self-addressed envelopes and bank account numbers for electronic transfers of funds.

There is a a la carte price for vicariously offering pledges, du'as (prayers) on behalf of absentee Muslims or patrons of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. You pay: we pray!

In the centre of the huge courtyard is the dargah. The the floor was marbled and cracked in some places around the perimeter. As the traveler climbed up to have a look at the sepulcher and offer fateha he saw the intricately woven marble screen around it and silver railings around the huge grave covered by a chador.

At the entrance to the chamber the pest in black sherwani jumped forward and introduced the traveler to a middle aged fellow sitting cross legged behind a low floor desk. 'Mr. t is visitig from Canada,' he informed. The fellow exchanged traditional Muslim greetings with the traveler and then forwarded a register. When the traveler ignored that thrust he made a point of asking the traveler to put his name and address down on the register.

'Because everyone who comes for ziarat signs the register and makes a donation.'

That explained the pest

'Thanks, but no I won't sign this register and I am not here to make any donation.'

The man behind the desk tried to persuade in vain. When his efforts failed he asked the traveler in desperation, 'Why are you here then?'

'Am here to offer fateha, look around and leave.'

'Cover your head before you go in there,' man behind the desk rudely admonished the traveler.

But by now the traveler was quite piquant. He glared at the man behind the desk.

'Janab hum aisay hee khulay sir andar ja'ayeN gay' (sir, I will enter the inner chamber bare headed.)

'No you cannot enter bare headed'


'Because everyone who enters has to cover the head'

'But i won't cover my head. It does not say here anywhere to cover your head. The only sign I saw asked me to remove the shoes. I have been to the Haram Shareef (Kaaba at Mecca) and Musjid e Nabvi (the Prophet's Mosque, at Medinah) bare headed---so what is the big deal here?'

'That is a different thing,' the man behind the desk said lamely.

'No, it is not!'

'What kind of Muslim are you?' said the man behind the desk, trying to wriggle out.

'Don't know---possibly a very bad Muslim---possibly a big gunahgaar(sinner)---but sir, I know this---I am a better Muslim than you are or can ever be,' saying this the traveler offered a fateha from outside the sanctum sanctorum, turned back without a glance and invited the man behind desk to come outside the dargah area so the traveler can throw some choice words at him.

The man declined.

hymen, no-man, men-men, women

Random Top-Ten thoughts on the unfixed but pre-fixed men under so much fire of lately. Caveat: there is no money back, refund or exchange privileges for your lost time.

* The desi male should be declared an endangered species: pity UNICEF is so UNinformed these days...maybe UN should be in and re formed. SC veto for North Korea and Sudan...anyone?

* Good news: the hymen can be restored for special rites, whims, and staged occasions.

* Bad news: medical plans do not cover this - get out your Amex, MC or Visa.

* Mixed news: according to a soon to be published article in the Scientifc Desi by none other than temporal of DC, there is a mental hymen in both men and women. He calls it menmen - (mental hymen) - sorry no political correctness for now dee, am, aphra, suj, kaveeta, sakshi, shoes, anou.

Yes did consider menhy but the newly democratic Afghan government has already filed for patents on their highly refined opium crop so have shelved that. Will check into the root for hymen and might change it later.

* This menmen when penetrated properly causes happiness, peace and bliss, Harvard and New England studies have shown. That there is so much misery around the world indicates penetration rate of less than 1% globally. Am slightly in awe of statistics so actuaries may correct me on this later.

* Successful rapport and menmen penetration is achieved when both participants are tuned and receptive (not tunn -- ok bad desi joke, Richard-explanation will kill it.

* menmen penetration is advertent not inadvertent-mostly

* menmen penetration is an unlearned condition-and is asexual-mostly. And definitely not gay.

* menmen penetration does not cause a population explosion

* menmen penetration happens (credit Tom Hanks - Forrest Gump)

wingless bird by the watering hole

taking leave
is disconcerting
i dislike leaving
laughter, smiles
unspoken words
tears ungathered

in the
wall-less home
laughter, gestures
cannot be
abandoned to
the ever lurking


closed one door, opened another one
turned on the radio
...high of 11, low of 3...
running a to-do list
get the papers organized
go to the bank the day after Iraq today 75 casualties...
should have a heart to heart
with son, that girl is incompatible
...premier mcgunty told pm Harper...
should call bell and compare
and investigate voip
rewrite and rearrange fishing II
and may be half a confession
fix the blog
check out the submissions
...the blue jays blanked the yankees...
try and get out of that social gathering
another heart to heart with the other son
he should not take things so seriously gaza 5 more dead...
found a spot, parked, locked
closed one door, opened another one

Duck, Man, Duck!

words are cheap -- is that why we abuse them
words are god -- if we worship by them
words are useless -- duck, duck, duck
words are gems -- when others swear by them
words are trash -- when an argument cannot be dismissed
words are forever -- the true word is more durable than diamond
words are words -- like oxygen, taken for granted
words are abused -- by most writers, poets, speakers and specially by this writer;)

(Note: This was written in 2002)


The written/spoken word should stand on its own merit.

The almost universal absence of eloquence is stifling in the sub-continent. We have a Canadian Prime Minister, ostensibly bi-lingual, who cannot ask for a glass of water without stumbling. All right, am exaggerating slightly. And then we have the Mians and the Bibis and the Jurnails who cannot articulate in any language of Pakistan, present or extinct.

Words express, emote, soothe, guide, communicate. Pearled together, they effectively transform thoughts and intents.

Eloquence is directly related to brevity. Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib comes to mind. Could it be that my penchant for word usage is related to an appreciation of ghazal? One or several thoughts, in a metered couplet, standing alone, though a part of the whole. Yet, when I have a desire to express my thoughts in verse, they appear in the form of naz'm (poem) rather than ghazal. Dichotomy of a post-Raj generation that was influenced by western language and thought. This last half of my life, I have been playing catch-up. A conscious effort to undo the infantile impressions, sort out the valid ones and substantiate the wealth of literary and religious genii in our collective past.

Why is in-articulation the domain of bazaaris, illiterate mullahs, pseudo intellectuals, political bigots, dhobis, and the beast of burden they ride? Except the latter, all of the former can inarticulate for hours without conveying anything substantial. Capital punishment ought to be diligently re-introduced just for them. Sadly, abortion did not work.

Show me a man swearing and I will tell you much about his background, my Fairfax friend Pervez used to say. We have well defined boundaries for vulgar epithets---office, bazaar, home, with friends, with strangers. The articulate will deliver well chosen slurs in English, Urdu or Punjabi as the occasion demanded. The inarticulate will stick mostly to base, procreative verbal diarrhea involving and invoking close personal relatives in the act.

One mis-step and a trumpet of Israfeel's strength sounds. Alas, not with the same results.

Some of us revel in precision. Well crafted words reinforce ideas and lubricate thinking, merrily whirling us in ecstasy. A criterion I often employ is to express thoughts with the least number of words. 'Hmmmmm,' says M, reading these lines over my shoulder.

Why go to the trouble, you may inquire? Cliches abound. There is a storm raging in mind that needs an outlet. Okay, but why bother you with the results? This I will not even attempt to answer.

Lately there have been occasions, when frustrations caused by others have left me adrift in mid-ocean of trauma. Words that struggle to surface are not socially acceptable to the ethnic South Asian mindset. Their connotative references to procreative activities are not to be verbally expressed in any forum. Hence, duck, man, duck.

(Please do not expect allusions of phallic symbols, exaggerated or diminished, in my forms of expressions. An exception is the epistolary short story Half a Confession which has yet to surface here.

It is my endeavor to promote the duck to symbolize those procreative activities that sometimes offend our collective sensibilities.

Helpless, ducked-out, whirling in mid ocean. Knowing not, and not knowing that knowing not, ducked-up.

Last week, being driven in the company of Abdullah Hussain and Mohammed Umar Memon to a dinner at Zahoor ul Ikhlaque's, discussing similar subjects, I blurted, 'I can't suffer fools,' saying it with an ease and conviction that startled me. Messieurs Hussain and Memon have a constituency out there. Often, they cannot afford to say what is on their mind. And am being realistic, not contemptuous. Life is too short to be riddled with idiots or their whims.

This suffering is directly proportional to sensitivity and inversely to patience.

JFK once declared that if a speech took more than ten minutes to deliver its main theme, it was not worth the effort. And, we have political and religious leaders that go on and on---the duracell wa'az or sermon.

In his prime, my yaar, would daily demand from his Creator opportunities for one square meal, a good book and some sex not necessarily in that order. Now, I can more fully appreciate his urge for a good read.

Ouch, I just spilled hot tea over my lap. Duck, man, duck!



Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Applies equally to most politicans today
Mians: Husbands; also Mian Nawaz Sharif, the democratic dictator precariously perched on a two-legged chair----one leg, the popular mandate the other being the Army.
Bibis: Wives; also Benazir Bhutto aspiring and conspiring for(ever) the chair.
Ghazal: A short Urdu poem, usually of seven couplets. The first couplet is rhyming and is called Matlaa and the last usually with the poet's name or pseudonym is called Qataa.
Bazaaris: People found in the oriental marketplace---shopkeepers, small merchants and shoppers.
Dhobi: Washerman/woman.
Israfeel: As the legend goes the Arch Angel who will sound the trumpet on the day of resurrection.
Wa'az: Sermon..
Yaar: Alter ego.

snapped lift wire

like most men am the author
of my misfortunes and have
accumulated a vast
reservoir of near neat
excuses, explanations
and far fetched apologies
to keep love-boat's keel even
nothing new in that, you may say

was savoring her words flowing
in my veins, the blood now laced
with corpuscles of laughter
the world is mine each throbbing
from the ventricles shouted

as the laughter overwhelmed
in a dizzied euphoria
like most men (yes, again)
i promised myself to
avoid pitfalls prolonging
the laughter laced rapture
this thought further heightened
the drugless highs when the news
that the toilet trip lever
divorced the upper lift wire
damn (them) cliches, who could've guessed

Men's Saviour: Finally Good News For Women

ADAM (Androgen Deficiency in the Aging Man) and PADAM (Partial Androgen Deficiency in the Aging Man) theories are being debunked by the team of researchers led by Dr. A.Q.Ramsawami, Dr. Homily Bhaba, Maria Slvesternegger and Dr.Amrita Rajangopalachariya who have just published a paper in the New England Journal.

From scientists to lay man everybody was aware but not cognizant of the forces that affect the behaviour of Men. Men in various stages of physical and mental growth had their behaviour scuritinised and magnified since the days of camp-fires to the cosy comfort of fire-places.

According to research carried out on 625 men, in 13 countries and 5 continents (men when they were alive) Pulmonary Androgynous Glutinous Arterial Lyddite is the main cause of this behaviour. They have succeeded in identifying and isolating the amino-neurotic bodies in the brain fluids.

"This is the first step in the long march toward treating the condition that has cause so much mayhem, unnecessary murders and untold misery in generations of men and women," said the team leader Ramswami.

Contrary to popularly held beliefs until now that men's behaviour is variously and vicariously affected by the erratic production of C19H28O2, the Pulmonary Androgynous Glutinous Arterial Lyddite is triggered by signals from animate and inanimate objects. These signals cause the amino-acidic levels in the mind to accelerate or decelerate the production of certain fatty acids that are believed to be the principal conveyers of the signals from the brain to the impulse-wave generators that cause the undiminished conveyance of the impulses to the target areas.

The next step would be treatment. This could take us well into the next century- lab testing on rats, animal testing, human testing FDA approvals, hearings all take their tolls. They have hinted that in the next century men would be free of this P.A.G.A.L. syndrome.

black-white ___ gray: umbra borders

blessed is the world of black-white
fraught with doubts nor blurred with confusion
clear cut and crystalline are their
murky precept tinged perceptions

the gray see truth disparately
in words, gestures, smiles and shades
under the clouds cavorting ground
under the banyan they read phantoms
______________________of footprints past
in the umbra they see shadows
souls and specters of lives lived

in misty evolution, borders formed
celestial bodies, stars, planets -- earth
floating continents, countries, cities
then wars were fought to redraw lines
the abstract perimeters engaged
religion, ethnicity, caste all
came under the umbrage of boundaries
such was the passion that even love
was scrutinized and catalogued
classified, aligned and realigned


the limits of my endurance ends
just where your castle rampart begins
transcending the world of black-white grays
we whirl in celestial ecstasy


strobe smile fails to veil

a happy face, furrow highlighted
with a little jiggle it turns
sad, morose, reflective, impish
like those strobe-frozen faces
living several lives in one body

crown of roses and thorn

dou roti her ik ko
mil hee jatee hay

ger jo aisa no hota
tou phir na hotay aaj
millions maiN hum*

livelihood a struggle
for many from first breath
to the last whispered sigh

aur hum
bila wajeh khush qismat
jo chaha, woh paya**

this dichotomy
a black and white cross
we're destined to carry


* nobody dies hungry/ if it were true/ we'd not be in millions

** and/without reason/we so lucky/all our wishes/fulfilled