I have been trying to come to terms with what tragedy has transpired in my dear city two days ago. I mentioned in my previous post about how the violent Kharjiites of old remind me of the Taliban of today, having the same misguided principles of La Hukma La Illah, willing to go to great lengths to impose their way of thinking on others, and not hesitating for a second to take innocent lives. As I write this, reports are coming in that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have claimed responsibility for the heinous attack. May God curse them all, and hasten their removal from our country at the hands of our troops. Amen!
It was interesting to see how quickly CNN branded these attacks as having been carried out by Sunni extremits. True, we've witnessed a lot of violence against us in the past courtesy of Sipah e Sahaba and the like, but the fact that they were so quick to label the perpetrators of this crime reekes of something else. BBC were not far behind either, claiming that sectarian strife is extremely high in Karachi since the attack. Clearly, they haven't been looking around the same city I have. Nothing could be further from the truth and let me state it very clearly: There is no shia-sunni split in Karachi right now.
And to all those people questioning the very reason for taking out such processions in times of such distress: My friends, you clearly have no idea how resilient we can be and have clearly not read up on the history of the tragedy of Karbala. We, the azadars, have persevered over the ages in the face of the most violent oppressors. There was a time when going to Karbala or taking out a procession meant certain death, yet people still did it. That spirit will never change. And as proof you shall see the remainder of the processions this year and for years to come in Karachi and across Pakistan. There is no greater honor than to die in the cause of Hussain (A.S).
As I was entering the Ashura procession that day, and being frisked by security I remember thinking about how easy it would be for a suicide bomber to claim 40-50 lives just by detonating right there at the entrance where everyone was being frisked as it was jam-packed at the time. Sadly, this fear is nothing to new for us Shias in Pakistan as several of our masajids and imambargahs have been the target of such attacks in the past, but that does not mean we will stop going to masajids or imambargahs as events that have been inside compounds didn't discourage these animals attacking us.
I also feel bad for the hundreds of scouts and security personnel who were working hard to ensure everything was smooth in and around Nishtar Park, and later in the procession. I would like to pay special tribute to the brave Ranger (Abdul Razzaq) and scout who reportedly stopped the bomber from entering the main procession, eventually saving many lives. A lot of people owe their lives to those guys.
The mood in the city since the attack has been expectedly somber, and there is great anger at the losses suffered by the traders at the hands of miscreants. The need of the hour is action, and swift one at that. It is too soon for us to forget incidents like May 12th, December 27ththat now we have to live with this one as well. We need to ensure that this does not happen again. And the only way that can be done is to capture the people behind it in the short-term, and in the long-term develop a disaster management system that actually works. Also, law-enforcement agencies must cope with such situations right there and then. I would even propose firing warning shots or, as a last resort, shooting people setting public property on fire on such a large scale. This must not be allowed to happen at all.
Lastly, I'd like to pray for the souls martyred in the attack, and the swift recovery of those that were injured. Peace.
Ammar Faheem - Karbala-e-Karachi
Ammar Yasir - Are you ready to surrender your life to Terrorism?
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I have been trying to come to terms with what tragedy has transpired in my dear city two days ago. I mentioned in my previous post about how the violent Kharjiites of old remind me of the Taliban of today, having the same misguided principles of La Hukma La Illah, willing to go to great lengths to impose their way of thinking on others, and not hesitating for a second to take innocent lives. As I write this, reports are coming in that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have claimed responsibility for the heinous attack. May God curse them all, and hasten their removal from our country at the hands of our troops. Amen!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam
(available on Amazon)
I was told about this book by my brother, who had heard the author (Lesley Hazleton) being interviewed over the radio for this book. The title naturally seemed intriguing, and after listening to the interview myself, I decided to buy the book because the author seemed extremely well-informed and had obviously done her research on the early history of Islam. You can listen to the entire hour-long interview yourself on the radio station's web site here.
So I bought the book so I could read it during this trip home, and I just finished reading it yesterday. I think it makes for excellent reading for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The British author does an excellent job in my opinion of presenting the historical facts of Islam's early history in an objective manner. Too often when we Muslims look at that history, we glorify and exaggerate a lot of the characters and portray a larger-than-life image of the people of the time when, in fact, they were normal people with normal problems. The same goes for the society and the power struggle that ensued once Islam had started making its presence felt in Arabia as as real as anything we see today.
The author presents the facts from the point-of-view of the central characters that helped shape Islam's early history. Starting with Muhammad (PBUH), Ali, Ayesha, Omar, Abu Bakar, Usman, Muaviya, and Marwan (to name the major ones). Shes does a good job of conveying the story of a religion that was plunged into crisis following the Prophet's demise, and had the potential to self-destruct as a succession crisis materialized between the people. As she aplty put it, no one denied the Prophet's actions, but debated what they actually meant (for one reason or another). The schisms that were eventually led to the tragic events at Karbala only 50 years after the Prophet's demise, a shameful stain on the religion of peace. These schisms still exist today, and to say anything else would be naive. Another observation I couldn't help but make was the sparkling similarity between the Kharjiites and the Taliban of today. I had not read about the particular act of violence done by Kharjiites that is described in is, and suffice it to say it was sheer barbarism on their part (something we associate with the Taliban today).
For the historical facts presented, the author relies heavily on hadith accounts from the renowned historian Al-Tabari. I have personally always been a critic of the glorified version of our history that is taught to us in schools and colleges. That history paints everything in a positive light, from Islam's early period to Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphs to Muhammad bin Qasim. How conveniently they forget to mention how these dynasties came to power, and how they left no stone unturned in asserting their rule through violence and tyranny. The sooner we are at peace with our shortcomings, and accept the history for what t is, the sooner we can ensure that none of it is repeated.
As one commentator on Amazon said, the book should be required reading for all journalists covering the Middle East or for anyone remotely interested in knowing more about Islam. So, whether you're a Muslim or not, I would highly recommend getting your hands on this book.
The book on Amazon
The author's interview on KUOW
The book's website - aftertheprophet.com
Seattle Times Article on the book
I realize I haven't updated the blog in almost 2 months. It's been that kind of a semester. Anyhoo, I arrived back home last week for spending the semester break here. Needless to say, it's been awesome as always. Despite the extremely long journey and a hefty ticket price you have to pay, in the end it is always worth it.
Some of the best things about coming back home to Pakistan for me are:
Meeting friends and family (of course!)
Those endless meetups, get-togethers with family members, school friends, college friends, online friends, co-workers, ex-coworkers, visiting your school and college, meeting your old teachers etc. etc. The list is endless.
Oh boy, there is no comparison when it comes to food. Absolutely awesome. Considering I'm
something of a forced vegetarian abroad, Pakistan is akin to heaven for the meat-lover in me.
The Premier League
I don't get to watch my favorite football (soccer) league in the US :(, and it's only when I'm back here that I get to see it. I miss the excitement of it, and even though the Toon are not in it this season, football is, well, the best sport in the world by far.
The Religious Spirit
Be it Ramadan, Muharram or Eid. There is a certain religious fervor that is associated with each occassion that one gets used to if you've grown up in Pakistan. And you get to miss that dearly abroad. Especially, the sweet voice of the AZAAN. It is surreal.
Having said that, things are not so rosy on the political and geopolitical front. I will write more on these topics soon, but for now all I can say is that the only way we can assure our salvation is by being strong, steadfast, and willing to stand up for what is right (especially in the wake of all the wrongs that have been done against us in the past) and not budge to threats by anyone. Nuff said.
Friday, October 23, 2009
As I mentioned in one of my posts earlier, I recently upgraded to Windows 7 Professional. Unlike the installation of Windows Vista which warned me that several of my software are not going to be compatible with it (most importantly, my anti-virus at that time), Windows 7 did not come up with anything of that sort. By setting device installation settings to Automatic, Windows 7 was able to locate the drivers for all plug-n-play devices (my camera, wireless mouse and most importantly, my legacy HP deskjet 3653 printer). It was a pain to get that same printer to work on Vista and I had to install drivers manually for the wireless mouse and keyboard.
As far as UI is concerned, the look-and-feel of the OS is pretty much like Vista except for the taskbar where you can now "pin down" your most frequently used programs. And by hovering the mouse over any open programs that are pinned to the taskbar, you can see a live thumbnail of the window courtesy of a functionality called AeroPeek. Another cool feature connected to the taskbar are Jump Lists, which allow you to access commonly-used features in a program by right-clicking on its icon in the taskbar. They are essentially a replacement of context menus for the taskbar and make your life a lot easier. For example, I can right-click on Windows Live Messenger on the taskbar and change my status. You can drag-and-drop other items on a program's jump list depending on what you access the most.
Besides being noticeably faster (in terms of general use, booting, shutting down and hibernating), one of the things I'm really glad they got rid of are those annoying UAC pop-ups that popped up every second asking your permission to run one thing or the other. Windows 7 also conserves more battery power for your laptop. It dims the display after 2mins of idle time. If you specifically increase the brightness of your display when running on battery, Windows 7 remembers that every time you disconnect the power chord (Vista didn't).
In other changes, Calculator, WordPad and Paint get complete makeovers. WordPad and Paint get those cool ribbon bars from Office 2007, and WordPad has the added functionality of opening .docx files now, so no need to install Office 2007 compatibility packs for opening Word documents anymore. Several more usability features have been added in Windows 7 that allow you to snap windows to size instantly or clear the desktop of all windows by a quick back and forth motion by grabbing the top of a window. See these awesome ads for a demo of these features and more.
There's an automatic desktop wallpaper changer built-in allowing you to set your chosen desktop backgrounds at specified time intervals (default is 30 minutes). You can also finally change the background of your logon screen. Last but certainly not the least are libraries for arranging documents, pictures, videos etc. No longer are you restricted to put all your stuff in specific folders on the C drive. Libraries are the aggregation of your chosen files from all across the storage media in use. Gone is the hassle of remembering file and folder locations since you can access them at anytime through the libraries. The libraries also appear on Open/Save dialogs of all programs which makes file-management a piece of cake!
Ok thats all I could think of for now. In short, Windows 7 refines a lot of the things we saw in Vista while improving on its basic functionality. Boot times, resuming from hibernation etc. are noticeably quicker and everything works just fine. There's no reason NOT to like it. I'm certainly loving it!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
There's a lot of talk going on these days about this new scary movie in theaters, called Paranormal Activity. I had heard about it from a friend last month and saw the trailer (also embedded below), and found it quite intriguing. The movie then was playing only in select theaters and the closest place from my home was a good 40-50 mins away and the only show was at midnight. I didn't really wanna go see it because frankly I thought it wouldn't be worth the trip. Fortunately, on my recent trip to Seattle to visit family and friends, I was able to finally see this movie and absolutely loved it!
Ok first off, I know the movie has a lot of mixes reviews and people don't think it's THAT scary blah blah. But I really really liked it despite all of its obvious flaws (whether it was the acting, the handheld camera or whatever) . The reason I like it so much is the creepiness factor, which can scare the shit out of you (to put it mildly). And another strong reason why I was able to connect with the movie instantly was the fact that I have experienced some paranormal activity before and firmly believe that this sort of stuff exists (although, not to the extent depicted in the movie). Some of my friends (who thought the movie was terrible) say none of this is possible, that ghosts etc. do not exist and that it is human psychology to justify seemingly unexplainable phenomenon as paranormal. Also, they deny it on the basis of science for e.g., nothing can cast a shadow without being visible etc. etc. You get the point. My argument is simple: Science does not explain everything, and it never will. There are things (and forces) at work in this world which are beyond our control and there can be instances when we come across such phenomenon when we somehow interact or come across those forces, although admittedly it is very rare.
Also from a religious standpoint, we KNOW that there are other forms of life on this planet. Be they be the Djin, ghosts, or some other evil entity, it is believed that they exist. Since the connection to religion is inevitable, this gives agnostic people another reason to deny the existence of these things citing that there is no proof, scientific or otherwise (sightings etc.).
Oh well, it is a long debate and I'd rather not talk about this stuff too much. Here is the trailer for this movie. If you haven't seen this movie, I suggest you go see it asap! Oh, and good luck sleeping after that! :)
Salman Mehmood (@skdev) - a fellow blogger from Karachi - passed away yesterday after battling the deadly meningitis for many days. He was also a thalassemia patient from birth and had been fighting the disease all his life. I did not know him in person, like most of my blogger buddies, but us bloggers (especially Pakistani bloggers) are a close-knit bunch and we get along pretty well. He was one of the people I interacted most with on Twitter, and to now think that he's no longer there is shocking. I do not have any words to console his sister (@blessedAyesha, also a fellow blogger) other than to say that I haven't seen anyone be so brave in the face of such tragedy. Her constant updates on twitter let us all know how Salman had been doing for the past couple of days. And lord knows, we all tried, and prayed as much as we could but what has been written has been written, for the best.
May Allah (SWT) bless Salman and give his family the courage to bear this unimaginable loss. Frankly, I have no idea how I would have held up in the face of such tragedy. May God give us all courage to face the loss of our loved ones, which is another harsh reality of life that every single one of us has to face up to one day. Rest in peace my friend. God bless you.
A Prayer for Salman - by Aly
Salman will always live in our hearts - by Alzeee
Salman Namah - his blog
Posted by Raza Abbas Syed at 1:56 AM
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Updates have been long overdue on the blog, and plenty has gone on since my last post. I was busy with studies and research stuff and did not update the blog much, but here's hoping I can write more from now on (time permitting of course). First and foremost, I managed to complete and submit my very first research paper to a conference in France next year. I'll hear back from them in December whether the paper got in or not (fingers crossed for that!)
I also had a quick little trip to Seattle during Fall break. As always, it was very nice. Did some hiking (see picture on right, I was there where that arrow points!). I only wished there were some hiking trails close to where I live as they can be perfect way to lose weight. Oh well.
It's that time of the semester when assignments and projects creep up on you. You get midterms out of the way, and concentrate on your projects going into the final 5 weeks of the semester, and it gets real busy at the end. A good motivator for me is going to be my trip home this December. Yep, I'm going back to see friends and family AGAIN in December. Can't wait.
My book reading is going well. I finished the best-selling novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini on my flight to and from Seattle. I can see why the novel is so popular as it captures the trials and tribulations of man and a country lost in conflict. His personal story, from Afghanistan to USA, is narrated extremely well by the author. I'm definitely going to go on and read his other best-selling novel A Thousand Splendid Suns soon. Right now, after much pondering, I have decided to give one of the trek novels a chance hoping that they won't ruin the storylines and endings I have ingrained in me from the tv series (DS9 in this case).
In other news, I now regularly play football (soccer) on weekends to have at least some sort of physical activity during the week. Last weekend I also upgraded to Windows 7 RTM, which is available to us students for free courtesy of MSDNAA. Needless to say, I'm loving it so far. I'll definitely be doing detailed posts on these topics soon. All in all, life is good and time is flying by like never before.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
My blog's been wearing something of a deserted look of late. August saw a record-low number of posts by me - ONE, that's it! Time has flown by ... my semester at state is in full swing and work and studies are keeping me busy. But that is not the only reason why I haven't been paying attention to my blog lately ... it's my new-found obsession with twitter. It's real-time, short and sweet and lets me say my 2 cents without having to sit down and write a proper post. Although a blog has its definite advantages but, at the same time, demands attention.
Rest assured, I will get back to updating it ASAP. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Twitter is fast going green with pakistani users changing their display pictures to a green background with a crescent and a star on it in a show of unity for the upcoming independence day. The credit for this inspiring campaign goes to Farhan Masood for coming up with the idea and voluntarily converting people's display pictures to a lovely shade of green. On last count, he had converted 876 singlehandedly! woah!
The stage is set and we are set to take over twitter on August 14th by making #Pakistan the top trending topic that day! Join us and help spread the word. If you're a twitter/facebook user and want your display pic "greened", contact me (razzman), taalz or farhanmasood.
Friday, July 17, 2009
I think it would be an understatement to say that I have a fondness for the color Blue. From my blog theme to the color of my water bottle, most of the things I possess are blue. Let's see ... I have different hats (topi) - all are blue; I have several pairs of jeans - most are blue; Most of my shirts (causal and formal) are blue; The color of my car was blue (before some sorry bugger stole it); My ja'namaz (prayer mat) is blue; I chose Iqbal House in elementary school because it was, you guessed it!, blue... are you detecting a pattern here?
Most of my desktop wallpapers have a bluish tone (unless they're of a celeb like this :P). I always liked facebook more than orkut because it was blue. Now all that's left is for me to marry someone blue (an Andorian like this one perhaps :P). Ok, that was a trek joke but seriously, does that tell you anything about me or my personality? Besides being overly-obsessed with one color?
Some time in the future, in a galaxy far far away
In a dramatic turn of events, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled today that Nawaz Sharif was born off immaculate conception rather than a normal one, like the rest of us.This latest ruling follows a series of acquittals in favor of the "Sher of Punjab" who helped play an important role in the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhry last year. So, is this a case of CJ paying back? But at what cost? Justice? Our common sense?
It would be interesting to see what Mr. Nawaz would be acquitted of next, and if the Supreme Court keeps this up, he might end up being declared an infallible! Watch this space.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
When I visited Seattle last December, I had the opportunity to go to the SyKart Racing Center to do some go-karting for the very first time. It was one adrenaline-pumping experience and, needless to say, I enjoyed loads! So, I was on the lookout for places to do go-karting in and around Raleigh and luckily there was a place close by in Garner called Rush Hour Karting. So me and my cousin went there today and had loads of fun. The go-karts are not that big as you can gather from the picture here but since they're gas-powered (petrol for all you desis), stepping on the accelerator and maneuvering all those tight corners while maintaining your speed and doing a bit of drift at the same time is simply exhilarating! These things go pretty fast ... as fast as 40mph actually!
The ones here were 6.5 hp, but the ones in Seattle were 9hp. Nevertheless, it was a fun experience and one that all drivers enjoy. Here's a nice little video of a couple of laps at the indoor racing center:
Is it cool or what?
Monday, June 29, 2009
I found out about the Google's Urdu Transliteration service today via a tweet from Badar Khushnood. I spent some time using it, and must say it does an excellent job of converting roman urdu into the native script. Some phrases that were converted flawlessly were:
Dekh magar pyar se - دیکھ مگر پیار سے
Naach na jaanay aangan tairha - ناچ نہ جانے آنگن ٹھیڑھا
Dil kay behlanay to Ghalib yeh khayaal acha hay - دل کے بہلانے کو غالب یہ خیال اچھا ہے
Daant tor diyay yaar - دانت توڑ دیے یار
No pattern to the aforementioned phrases btw, just some stuff I wrote off the top of my head :)
Interestingly, when you write "Daant tor" and specifically "tor" it converts it to a tor with a TOEY (ط) and not a TAY(ت). Pressing backspace, it offers more options ... one of which is tor with a TAY. Try it. Cool stuff. There were, however, some inconsistencies. For example, Umer works fine (عمر), Umar doesn't (امر); Abbas converts to ابباس; Nisar converts to نصر; but like I said, if you press backspace it offers more options including the correct one.
Some minor glitches, but nothing that cannot be improved upon later. For the most part, the transliteration engine rocks and converts most common phrases and words without a problem (case in point, bhains ki taang - بھینس کی ٹانگ) lol ! All in all, nicely done Google.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
I have always been amazed by the stars (who hasn't?) and the infinite magnanimity of our universe which makes our existence seem so minor and insignificant .. we're more like a speck in the wilderness and that's it. I remember going to the Karachi PIA planetarium on field trips in school, and being awestruck at the wonders of the universe they told us about. From the amazing phenomenon that is the solar eclipse to the composition of planets farther out in our Solar System. If we as a species did not have so much to deal with on our own Planet, we'd be making every effort in traveling the stars, that's for sure. Who knows what wonders await us outside of our little neighborhood in this vast uncharted space. That is also the reason I became a fan of science fiction ... at people's imagination of how the universe could be, and how we one day can travel great distances and seek out other life in the universe. Of how we could one day forget our differences and unite under our commonalities, our humanity.
Having said that, in reality, it is a pipedream right now and all you could really do in this day and age is to go out on a starry night and gaze at the beautiful stars. That's something I did last night! Me and my cousin went to the Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society's star gazing sessions that are open to the public. We saw a greatly magnified version of the moon, with all its craters visible. And finally, the beautiful and spectacular Saturn with four of its moons clearly visible. It looked something like the picture here, except it doesn't show the moons. It was the very first time I had seen any of the planets, and the experience was simply wow-ing. Its rings were clearly visibly and very bright. In school, they taught us that Saturn had 18 moons. Well, thanks to the recent Cassini mission ... we now know that a total of 62 satellites actually orbit Saturn. They range from mile-wide rocks to full-fledged celestial bodies much like our own Moon. The rings, too, were thought to be condensed together but as one of the people told me there .. that Cassini discovered that there were actually thousands of small ringlets orbiting Saturn (and that they appear to be a much bigger and a condensed ring from this far out). Millions of years from now, these rings will apparently cease to exist and will eventually break away from Saturn's gravity. I guess we won't be around to see that happening.
It is an experience you have to go through before it sinks in. We only get to "learn" about these things in books, but when you actually get to see a moving planet thousands of miles away slowly but surely drifting in space, it sends a shiver down your spine! Absolutely amazing! You cannot help but say WOW to Allah mian's greatness and at the same time realize our own insignificance. I only wish we did more of such activities back home. Makes your jaws drop and kneel in prayer to God Almighty. SubhanAllah!
Image courtesy Malleesky.com
Monday, June 22, 2009
Words cannot describe the happiness and joy all of us Pakistanis felt as Afridi scrambled to make the final run to beat Srilanka and, in turn, crown Pakistan T20 Champions! A thoroughly un-Afridi like and un-Pakistan like performance that saw us through in the end despite the SriLankans posting a half-a-decent total with some hitting at the death. It is a day that we will cherish long into the future, a day when everything went right for Pakistan. From an amazing start (SriLanka were 2-2 and 70-6 at one stage) to a thoroughly professional batting performance by Afridi n co. that culminated in this awe-inspiring victory. It was also a truly team effort, Mohammed Aamer, Umar Gul, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik and of course Shahid Afridi. Every one did their bit and contributed to this massive win.
It is more than a win, it is a morale booster, a sign of hope and that all is not lost. More importantly, it is a slap to the face of all those who seek to destroy us. Try as you may, but you can only keep us down for so long; for we shall rise a stronger and a unified nation. Youtube is filled with videos of people reveling in celebration on the streets of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. And rightly so, the country hasn't had anything to feel good about in eternity. It took 17 years coming, but Pakistani cricketers finally delivered some silverware to a nation starved of any sporting success for the longest time.
Younis Khan mentioned in the presentation ceremony that the win is a gift to the nation, and what a fitting gift it is indeed. How else would you collectively raise the spirits of a nation as down as Pakistan has been recently and how else would you bring a smile to the face of every Pakistani, whether they are in the refugee camps in Charsadda or as far away as Melbourne? That is power of Sport, and one which unites a country like nothing else. Not to mention Bob Woolmer, to whom this victory was aptly dedicated to also.
I mentioned in my previous post about an e-rally that sought to make Pakistan and Pakistan cricket as the most talked about topic on Twitter. Although, there were less than 1000 people tweeting about this topic, but it was great to see our hashtag (#PakCricket) made as high as number 5 on trending topics on Sunday! So, kudos to everyone who made this happen. No doubt hundreds of people only got to know about the game (or even twenty20!) by seeing our hashtag in trending topics.
Here's hoping this victory goes a long way towards turning Pakistan's fortunes. Finally, dedicated to Team Pakistan is the song Stand Up For the Champions:
Friday, June 19, 2009
Facebook may be the social networking service of choice for most people on the web (they recently surpassed the 200 million mark for members!), but it is Twitter that is making the waves these days, and for good reason! I've been a member of Twitter for quite some time now, but only in recent months have I become totally hooked to it. It has galvanized the social media industry with it's awesome concept of real-time updates and bringing people together in a completely different way.
For the uninitiated, Twitter is a service that lets you post real-time updates from your phone or through the web on your own page using applications such as UberTwitter (blackberry), Tweetie (iPhone) and TweetDeck (computer). Other people can choose to follow you depending how interesting your updates are (basically, how interesting you are). Twitter hash tags (for e.g., #Karachi) help keep track of topics being discussed and helps in making new connections and/or finding people with similar interests. It is also meant to bring context to people's tweets. At the time of writing of this post, the most popular hashtags on twitter were #IranElection #Tehran and #FollowFriday. Clicking on these will display updates in real-time! Here's a nice little video I found on youtube that explains the service in plain english:
TIME recently published an article about Twitter entitled 'How Twitter will change the way we live'. One of the excerpts from the article couldn't be any truer ... "If you're looking for interesting articles or sites devoted to Kobe Bryant, you search Google. If you're looking for interesting comments from your extended social network about the three-pointer Kobe just made 30 seconds ago, you go to Twitter." How true!
In Pakistan, Twitter has taken off recently. Online activism using sites like Facebook and Twitter has been the highlight of the last 1-2 years. And with an increasing number of Pakistanis turning to the web to voice their opinions in the form of blogs and tweets, things can only get better. The trending topic among Pakistanis right now is obviously the ongoing Twenty20 world cup. Using hash tags such as #t20, #PakCricket and #Pakistan, several hundred people are tweeting their thoughts on the web in real-time. Teeth Maestro is even gathering support for an e-rally in support of our team for tomorrow's final.
So go ahead, join the tweeting bandwagon and while you're at it ... click on the cute birdie if you wanna follow me :)
Twitter on Wikipedia
HowStuffWorks - How Twitter works
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Pakistan steamrolled their way into the finals of the ICC World Twenty20 by defeating favorites South Africa at Trentbridge today! I cannot help but think of a similar post I did about two years ago, in the last installment of this tournament, when we beat New Zealand to enter the final. Although that particular final proved to be something of a heartbreak for us, but the tournament cemented Pakistan's place as a major force in the twenty20 arena. I have to admit one thing though, I was initially very skeptical of this format of cricket, but two years later it seems I have been proved wrong. The format has literally taken off, thanks in part to the Indian domestic leagues of ICL and IPL. The IPL doosra especially generated a mammoth interest among cricket lovers all over the world.
Much was made of this mouth-watering tie beforehand. Cricinfo called it a clash of cultures - 'Science vs. Art', a clash of arguably the most consistently performing team against the most inconsistent lot of players ever assembled. Don't get me wrong, the men in green can be superb at times, but they've choked far too many times in the past (1999 world cup, 2007 T20 final etc.) to ever let their fans rest assured. If anything, it is Pakistan who deserve this label more than South Africa if you ask me. South Africa have just been plain unlucky as far as them not winning many tournaments is concerned. Their loss to Australia in the 1999 world cup was especially heartbreaking and I genuinely felt sad for them that day. But I digress; let me come back to the topic in question. The truth is South Africa knew that a side as mercurial as Pakistan had the potential to undo their dogged determination and organization and a spark of brilliance is all that would be required in this shortened version of the game to triumph over their all-round better side.
Pakistan came into the game full of confidence having finally found their feet in the tournament with the awesome defeat of New Zealand that left Vettori crying foul at Umar Gul's outstanding bowling, and the subsequent beating of Ireland. South Africans, meanwhile, maintained a one hundred percent winning rate in the tournament having won all their seven games leading up to the semi-final. Typical of them. The game started at a frantic pace with Kamran Akmal smashing South African bowlers all over the park in the first few overs. But Pakistan lost Shahzaib and Akmal early on and had to rely on Afridi (yes, Afridi) to build their innings. And what a fantastic job he did, playing the anchoring role for the side. For once, he played sensibly not going after every ball in an attempt to hit it out of the park. He kept his head, and a nation heaved a sigh of relief as his innings proved to be vital. It was only some excellent South African bowling at the death that restricted Pakistan to a total of 149, which was a good 15-20 runs of what it could've been at one stage.
South African innings started in familiar fashion with Abdul Razzaq getting the spanking treatment early on. Graeme Smith was the first to fall to Mohammed Aamer as he tried to pull a short delivery. On came Afridi and delivered the decisive blow for Pakistan by taking out Gibbs and de Villiers in 3 balls! No one could deny him his glory as this was his day, and his magnificent effort saw Pakistan through to the end. Jacques Kallis fought on for his side, but ultimately fell to Saeed Ajmal. Some more awesome bowling by Umar Gul ensured that the South Africans never got back in the game and even though the final margin of victory was just 7 runs, by the end of the day the Proteas had well and truly been outplayed by a side that is peaking at the righ time!
Shot of the day belonged to Kamran Akmal for that awesome drive off Abi Morkel straight down the ground. Man, that was beautifully picked up or what. Awesome shot. It was also funny watching the duel between Afridi and Kallis especially when the former blew a kiss to the latter :). There was definitely no love lost there!
On another note, it was Wasim Akram who had said at the start of the tournament that Pakistan were one of the favorites to win this crown. I must admit, I too, enjoyed a laugh or two at his expense when I heard that, but how wrong all of us have been proven to be! Wasim, you were right, no one is laughing at you now. Pakistan are odds-on to win the final now no matter who they face. And for a nation that has been down in the doldrums for the best part of half-a-decade, this couldn't be a better time. Nothing unites Pakistan like cricket, and winning this world cup would be absolutely fantastic for the country at this point. So Team Pakistan, do us proud ... let's win it for Bob Woolmer, let's win it for the 160 million cricket-loving people of Pakistan!
Highlights of the game are available here:
Pak Innings | SA Innings
Monday, June 15, 2009
Lest we forget, our brothers and sisters in the once peaceful valley of Swat need our help in what is being termed as a migration of epic proportions. While many of the displaced people have started returning to their homes following recent victories by the Pakistan Army, but there are still a large number of people who are still out in the open and is depserate need of help.
If you are worried that your donations will not reach the affected people and want greater transparency in the relief effort, fret no more. HelpCounts.org is one such site which provides the transparency you've been looking along with live updates of the ongoing relief effort on their website. Ideally, all relief organizations and NGOs should be utilizing this method as it is an excellent way to keep track of its progress and at the same time earn people's trust. Hats off to the people over at HelpCounts for this great effort!
Please donate generously!
Sunday, June 07, 2009
The Toon may find themselves in dire straits at the moment, a predicament that can at best be defined as unprecedented. But there was a time not so long ago when the club was flying high in the Premier League, as I remarked in my earlier post after we were condemned to Championship on the final day of the season. In retrospect, this seems like a minor annoyance to a football club regarded by many as one of the top clubs in England. The 'Save Our Seats' campaign talked about in the article below was indeed an embarrassing development for the club, and while the 'Save Our Sites' campaign never really took off, it was something that saddened me as fan. What may I be talking about? Well, I used to run my own unofficial toon fan site back in the day and one day some legal representative contacted me to remove the club's logo on the website. I protested by writing back to the club, posting to fan forums and they suggested I write to some of the local newspaper editors. And so I did, and much to my delight they decided to run a story on me.
And so I ended up in the Sunday Sun of England's north-east one fine Sunday with my picture, imagine that. The article is quoted below:
The "unofficial" website in question here is located at: http://nufc.host.sk/old/. I stopped updating it quite a while ago as I got busy with college n all. I still have that shirt though, an original Toon home replica of 2000-01 season.
Toon chiefs leave teen crestfallen
Newcastle United have been accused of bully-boy tactics after bosses showed the red card to a teen fan's website.
Magpie-mad Raza Abbas is furious after officials told him to remove all images with the club crest.
The 17-year-old, a fan since 1995, was told he was infringing trademarks ... and the clampdown could hit fans worldwide.
Raza, who lives in Karachi, Pakistan, said: "I am a diehard fan and I run an unofficial website."
"A couple of days ago the FA's legal representative contacted me and asked me to remove images that display the club crest."
"There are a lot more disturbing things on the web the authorities should be dealing with, rather than trying to stop sites with inoffensive material.
"They said that the use of the club crest imples that I am connected to Newcastle United.
"How they failed to notice the huge 'Unofficial Website' notice is beyond me!
"It is just utter nonsense that loyal fans are treated like this."
The matter could spark an embarrassing Save our Sites campaign against the club still trying to live down the Save Our Seats fiasco.
That campaign was launched in October 1999 after plans were revealed to move 4000 season ticket holders to make way for corporate clients.
The matter ended up in court where the club claimed a hollow victory.
A Newcastle United spokesman said: "The FA Premier League has a legal department which looks after the intellectual property of all the Premiership clubs.
"We have to establish parameters to protect our trademarks.
"There are so many of these sites and it is difficult to know who are the genuine fans and who are the commercial entities making money out of the club.
"Anyone using club trademarks gets a very polite 'cease and desist' letter.
"We have got 15 different trademarks and protecting them costs a fortune.
"There are other ways for people to show they are a Newcastle fan."
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
First of all, what an awesome movie - for trekkies and non-trekkies alike. I've never seen so many non-trekkies say so many good things about a trek movie, which is fantastic! Credit to J.J. Abrams for bringing back the franchise on his own. Doing a reboot of a franchise - let alone one as illustrious as Star Trek - gives you a lot of room to be flexible in terms of where you want to take it, and J.J.Abrams used that freedom to perfection in my opinion. By making the story revolve around the lives of Kirk and Spock (who couldn't be anymore different from each other) he has struck a masterstroke and tells us precisely why both of them make a perfect team - easily the best Captain / First Officer duo in the franchise. Hats off to him for a truly awesome job!
Also, a shout out to the Pakistani actor Farhan Tahir as well for portraying Captain Robau of USS Kelvin (destroyed early on in the film by Captain Nero with James Kirk's father George on it). To be honest, I had not heard of him before this film but the fact that he's landed such a good role deserves applause. According to IMDB.com, he has two films in the offing at the moment - Ashes (2009) and Two Mothers (2010). Will definitely keep an eye out for them.
Friday, May 29, 2009
public folder on eSnips.com. Lastly, embedded below is an awesome manqabat by a dear friend of mine recited at Yom e Hussain (Hussain Day) at NED University in 2006. Entitled Ghar Fatima Zehra Ka Ajab Shaan Ka Ghar Hay (Fatima's house has an unusual significance), it speaks of the elevated status of the people belonging to this blessed house - the Ahlul Bayt (the family of Prophet Muhammad).
Hadees e Kisa (The Event of the Cloak) is a famous narration from the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) by none other than his exalted daughter Hazrat Fatima Zehra (A.S) herself. The hadees tells of the event in which God extols the status of the Panjetan e Paak (The Pious five) and introduces them with the refernce of Hazrat Fatima (A.S). The pious five constitute the Prophet (P.B.U.H) himself - Fatima's (A.S) father, Ali (A.S) - her husband, Hasan (A.S) - her first son and Hussain (A.S) - her second son. Therefore, she is the focal point of the Panjetan e Paak and enjoys a status rivaled by no one. She is also Syeda tun Nisa al Alameen (Leader of all Women). Yesterday was the day of her martyrdom (3rd Jamad us Sani). Her last words are a true reflection of her exalted status and of her exemplary devotion to God Almighty.
Back to the topic of this post - the Hadees e Kisa. I am particularly fond of the Urdu Manzuma (poetic) version of the hadees which is regularly read in many households (especially Shia households) on every Thursday night. I was unable to locate the Manzuma (poetic) version of this hadees on the Internet, so I decided to scan it myself on this trip. I am posting these images here in the hope that someone else looking for them may find them here.
Image courtesy: Darwaish786 at DeviantArt
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Much has been said and written about this relatively newly coined term 'Talibanization', in the context of Pakistan and Karachi itself. The 'Talibans' from Afghanistan have poured in across the border in their hundreds following the US invasion, something which US secretary of state accepted last week in her address along with general attitude towards Pakistan. I think there should be no ways about it, the Taliban have been operating inside Pakistani territory with impunity for far too long and something needs to be done about it.
The Taliban ideology is in many ways similar to the Kharjites - La Hukma Illa Lillah (No Ruler ship except by Allah alone) ideology and represents an extremist view of the religion that defies logic and common sense.
Meanwhile, the government, in its eternal incompetence, knew that there was no semblance of its writ left in certain northern areas of Pakistan but continued to delay when an operation seemed inevitable. And the poor populace (hundreds of thousands!) were the sufferers as they were caught in the crossfire and left with no option but to flee their homes. Can you imagine leaving your homes and everything else behind like that? It is a sacrifice of great magnitude and it is our duty as fellow citizens to help these people in their hour of need.
There are also stories of great personal heroics of Pakistan Army officers. Examples like the one of Major Abid Shaheed and Captain Bilal Shaheed reaffirm our faith in the exceptional ability of our armed forces to get the job done. The public opinion is in their favor and with each terrorist attack that is carried out by the Taliban, the more alienated they become and the sooner, god willing, they will be flushed out. Attacks in Lahore and Peshawar this past week are proof that the Taliban are desperate and retaliating in their own cowardly way.
Again, I agree with Anas when he says that this would have been expected of them and security agencies should have been better prepared and equipped to prevent such attempts. As I said the other day, I have serious doubts whether we will ever be able to rid ourselves from these blasts given the inefficiency with which our police force operates. As Kulsoom pointed out in her post following the Lahore blast, it was third time in three months that Lahore was hit which goes to show that terrorists continue to operate freely inside Pakistan and no major attacks have been averted of late. Can you think of any?
Some time back, I posted about the heinous sectarian violence being committed by the very same Taliban in Kurram Agency, Parachinar in particular. It is high time that this operation is extended towards the areas bordering Afghanistan and all such miscreants are driven out of Parachinar, again, something which should have been dealt with much much earlier. But the menace is here and is spreading out of control and needs to be curtailed right now. There are no 'good' or 'bad' Taliban anymore. Anyone who has the audacity of taking up arms against the state and refuses to come to the negotiation table needs to be dealt with in the most strictest way possible.
Also worth reading is Karachi Khatmal's excellent post on the Taliban.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
The ignominy of relegation has come to pass. My worst fears have materialized and the unthinkable has happened - the Toon are down :'(! I was surprised by the lack of fight shown by the team at the death knowing that a goal was all they needed to stay up. But maybe it is for the best. The tumultuous fortunes of this club need desperate sorting out and maybe going down was the best way to come back up stronger and better. But it is painful as hell nevertheless. I've been following them ever since Big Al moved there from Blackburn ... and it's been a topsy turvy ride. Two 2nd place finishes behind ManYoo; the slump that followed; the resurgence under Sir Bobby ... but never in my wildest dreams had I thought that things would get this bad.
In the process of going down, we've set new records for teams that have been relegated. Apparently, we're the club with the highest attendance to have gone down (50,000) and possibly the club with the highest wage bill. It remains to be seen who the reigns will be handed to. Personally, I would like for Big Al to keep the job and for Ashley to get the eff out asap. In nine months since he's taken over we've had 4 managers and a disastrous campaign affected by boardroom troubles culminating in this humiliating day. A mass exodus of players will undoubtedly follow, and the onus will be on local talent coming through the ranks. When the toon will return to lock horns with the big guns of the premier league is anybody's guess.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Oh boy, oh boy! What a difference a day makes. Just last week we were reveling in the aftermath of our victory over Boro, and now a week later courtesy of a harsh result - perhaps a bit undeserved - and there we are again, staring at relegation right in the face with only one freaking game to go! What makes it worse is the fact that it is out of our own hands now, so even if we win next week, it may not be enough!
Sunderland's game away to Portsmouth on Monday now becomes crucial for us, as a loss for them would leave the door open for overtaking them on the last day of the season. It's bad, real bad ... who would've thought of this day, Newcastle in the championship, no freaking way!
God help us.
Echoing the appeal for the displaced people of Swat valley, I would like to urge everyone to donate generously to this cause. The number of displaced people has overwhelmed the authorities and it is up to us to help our fellow countrymen in their hour of need. SARelief.com have compiled a list of organizations that you can donate to.
You can also join with Dr. Awab Alvi aka Teeth Maestro, who's himself on a personal fund-raising drive. It only costs 37 bucks to get a hamper of relief goods to one family, so do chip in.
If you're in the US, you can text "SWAT" (without the quotes) to 20222 and donate $5 to UNHCR that will go towards the Swat Valley relief efforts. Thanks to Kulsoom for this info.
P.S. I've also added a widget on the right-hand side of this page that can be used to place online donations. The donations go to Paksef. More about them here. You can customize the widget and put it on your blog too! Click here to do so.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Being home and free has given me plenty of time to catch up on all the sports action going on nowadays. First off, football - my dear club Newcastle United aka the Toon Army are in dire straits at the moment. I cannot, for the life of me, remember them playing as dreadful as they are playing right now and nothing short of a significant increase in their quality can result in them staying up this season. Remember, this is a club that was playing European football only 2 years ago and finished as high as 3rd and 4th in 2001 and 2002 seasons under Sir Bobby Robson. It clearly proves that no club is too good to go down and that in the Premier League, fortunes can change very quickly. With a wage bill topping a whopping 70 million quid this year, and with no clauses in players' contracts in case of relegation, just goes to show how everyone who ran this club had no idea they would live to see this day, where relegation is a realistic possibility. Alas, all is not over yet and with a game against fellow struggles Middlesbrough on Monday night, things could still go our way. Alan Shearer wasn't exaggerating when he said this is possibly the biggest game for this club in a long, long time. And here I was thinking this honor would've been reserved for those famous meetings with Liverpool (3-4), Barcelona (3-2), Leeds (4-3) or ManYoo (5-0).
In other action, playoffs are in full-swing in the NBA and NHL. Carolina Hurricanes are leading the Boston Bruins 3-1 in their playoff series (much to my surprise, I must add) given the thrashing they received in the first game. Orlando Magic are also 2-1 up in their series against the Boston Celtics. Celtics barely got through their first-round series against the Bulls, who I thought played some great basketball and deserved to go through. Nevertheless, I'm rooting for the Magic to down the Celtics before they meet LeBron n co. God help them then :).
Finally, Formula1 - which has been nothing short of exciting this season. Who would've thought that with four races into the season Ferrari and McLaren would have no significant successes to speak of. The whole debate about the diffuser has marred this season for sure, and while some manufacturers are struggling to get their car running smoothly on diffusers and KERS, you would've thought they could've prepared better beforehand and done some homework in case the ruling didn't go their way (which it didn't). Nevertheless, Brawn GP have been a breath of fresh air this season and it'll be interesting to see whether they can carry this form into the next season. Williams, oddly enough, and Nico Rosberg in particular has been setting fastest practice session times in every other race this season but for some reason have failed to translate that into a podium position yet. I hope they do good this weekend.
All in all, an exciting weekend of sports action awaits us. While you may be going out and having a good time, I know where I'll be this weekend - glued to the TV! :) and did I mention its good to be home? Hell Yeah it is!
Friday, May 08, 2009
No place like it. Although I haven't been out yet, the air of Karachi is definitely different - not necessarily in a bad way. It's just different. The sweltering heat hasn't helped matters, but hey I'm not complaining! The dreaded load shedding is there but is bearable. Since I'll only be here for a month, I have to plan out everybody who I have to meet before I leave - relatives, cousins, and friends (in that order). The place hasn't changed much in the past year. I hope I could say the same for the security situation, things just seem to be going downhill on that front.
They announced May 12 as a public holiday today. I hope someday justice will prevail and the perpetrators of that black day in our city's history will be caught and prosecuted. As Hazrat Ali (A.S) rightly said: "Societies based on Kufr (infidelity) can survive, but societies based on injustice cannot". How true. I hope we don't end up becoming an example of that. It's also great to be in the gracious presence of mankind's best invention ever - cable :P. Ok ok, that's a bit too much but when you haven't seen no cable in months, that would probably be your reaction too. I'm a sports buff, so needless to say I miss cable like hell. More on that in the next post.
The long flight went unexpectedly well. Was able to get some sleep and spent the rest of the time reading Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. You should definitely read it if you're into Da Vinci Code and that sort of stuff. I'm also eagerly waiting for the premiere of the new Star Trek in Karachi (it opens on May 15th). Reviews have been favorable so far, and it seems J.J. Abrams has been successful in reviving the fortunes of this franchise (like I hoped he would).
Sunday, April 26, 2009
As the semester culminates in the form of Exams next week, I'm already looking forward to it since I'm set to board a Karachi-bound flight the very next day! Yayy! As much as transatlantic travel can be mentally and physically exhausting, the sight of halal fast foods of Doha (my transit city) and the joy of being reunited with friends and family makes it all the more bearable.
Living alone has its advantages and disadvantages. You get to do stuff you like - whatever, whenever. You also tend to become a bit more responsible (supposedly) since you're more independent .... mostly because there's no one to help you out with your chores (laundry, cooking et al.) Still, I've seen people become lazier and ever so more carefree with no one around nagging them to clean up and stuff. Hey, I don't care how people live their lives or how they take care of their personal hygiene ... but it annoys me sometimes. Anyway, coming back to the topic of the post in question ... I'm really looking forward to landing back in Karachi, the chaotic, polluted streets, the kachray kay dhairs (as much as I despise them), normal left-hand driving, faster internet etc. etc. One thing I'm certainly not looking forward to is the dreaded load-shedding :(. Oh boy, that is one thing I have not missed about Karachi at all!
Life in USA so far has been pretty interesting. As soon as people find out I'm from Pakistan, they want to discuss the current situation with me and get my views on it. I have made no secret of my animosity towards the past American government, its continued support for Israel n all. But surprisingly, more people agree with me than I thought. I don't know if the fact that I encounter "enlightened" people in and around my campus is whats responsible for this sentiment or whether its a general sentiment among the public. I should write more on this on a separate post perhaps. For now, I'm excited to be going home. Karachi rocks in its own way. There's no place like it. Period.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I've been inundated with work these days and there's hardly enough time to watch TV or play games. But the time I do get every now and then, I spend some of it catching up on the TV series I like watching. The one that's the subject of this post is Terminator : Sarah Connor Chronicles. I'm a big sci-fi fan (if you don't already know) and I heard there's a new TV series about the Terminator out, but it wasn't until I landed here in the land of the free that I started watching it online. Anyway, it's first season was really very good and got me hooked alright. The second season took a dip in the middle when the storyline just became downright boring, but boy did it finish on a high or what! Its season 2 finale aired last friday and it was a total cliffhanger I tell you! One of the best finales I have seen for sure! If you're a T2 fan then you absolutely have to see this. There's so many interesting questions it poses, and I would hate to see the series not being renewed for it's third season, which it richly deserves IMO.
Here's hoping the guys over at FOX see the light and let the show continue. There's also a Terminator movie coming out next month - Terminator Salvation. If that movie proves to be a success (I'm really hoping it is) coupled with the fact that the show ended on a high, it should be reason enough to renew the show. Here's hoping.
Friday, April 03, 2009
"There are four causes of infidelity and loss of belief in Allah: hankering after whims, a passion to dispute every argument, deviation from truth; and dissension, because whoever hankers after whims does not incline towards truth; whoever keeps on disputing every argument on account of his ignorance, will always remain blind to truth, whoever deviates from truth because of ignorance, will always take good for evil and evil for good and he will always remain intoxicated with misguidance. And whoever makes a breach (with Allah and His Messenger) his path becomes difficult, his affairs will become complicated and his way to salvation will be uncertain.Source: http://www.al-islam.org/masoom/sayings/saying5.html
Similarly, doubt has also four aspects absurd reason- ing; fear; vacillation and hesitation; and unreasonable surrender to infidelity, because one who has accustomed himself to unreasonable and absurd discussions will never see the Light of Truth and will always live in the darkness of ignorance. One who is afraid to face facts (of life, death and the life after death) will always turn away from ultimate reality, one who allows doubts and uncertainties to vacillate him will always be under the control of Satan and one who surrenders himself to infidelity accepts damnation in both the worlds."
Hazrat Ali (A.S)
Thursday, April 02, 2009
So I tried my hand at baking today with a Frozen cold cheese Pizza. The instructions seemed simple enough. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees; stick the pizza in there; let it bake (or burn) for 15 minutes straight and voila, you got a hot and delicious pizza .... NOT! Instead, it ended up looking something like this:
Oh well, I guess with every disappointment comes a lesson (South Park style). I learned something today i.e., to pay more attention this things I'm "trying a hand at" for the first time! Nothing is as easy as it seems. duh!
Friday, March 27, 2009
I know this video has probably done the rounds a lot already, and chances are if you haven't seen the video yet you'd have at least read the transcript of this wonderful speech by Steve Jobs at Stanford in 2005.
There are so many important and inspirational things to this talk and I wanted to archive it here for my blog, and of course for those few who haven't come across it yet.
The text of the speech is available here.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
"The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short. The truth is, they are afraid to fight a good fight."
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Monday, March 02, 2009
Literally speechless about what happened in Lahore today. Mortified at the fact that they were guaranteed security yet this still took place. So much for our guarantees now. I just don't know what else to say. I'm glad no one from their team got hurt and I salute the brave policeman who died protecting them, not to mention the driver who drove them away from the scene.
Things just seem to be going from bad to worse for us. For once, I hope the investigation reveals the perpetrators of this heinous act. Those animals should be caught asap and brought before the courts, and their masterminds should be exposed no matter who they are!
Sangakkara's account of events
Younis - Kill cricket, create terrorists
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Have you ever felt crazy enough to try some weird combination of different beverages? I have! I remember I was introduced to it by my brother, and he learned it at his college (why is everything crazy associated with college life?). Anyway, the first beverage concoction that I tried was Sprite + Milk. It was awesome! After that I've tried Pepsi Milk (so-so), Fanta Milk (not so good), and lastly Vimto Milk (very good!). Vimto Milk tastes kinda like Rooh Afza, except with bubbles and gas. Sprite Milk still wins hands down though.
It is incredibly easy to make your beverage concoction, just do as follows:
1/2 glass of milk
1/2 glass of the beverage of your choice
Pour milk, then beverage and stir a little and VOILA! You got a brand new drink! Although I don't guarantee it'll always taste good :P Sprite and Vimto Milk still rock though! So, go ahead ... give it a try :)
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I came across bilishy's post about a Boston.com story entitled Scenes from Pakistan which is aimed at depicting the current situation prevalent in Pakistan, .
It was interesting going through the comments in that post. Apart from the inane and moronic views of some trolls, it was nice to see some positive comments from others that really put the situation into perspective. As for my opinion, I think the pictures paint a very bleak and gory picture of Pakistan (NWFP in particular), not that it isn't half-true or anything. The recent truce with the Taliban in the Swat valley is something to be concerned about. While it will bring much-needed peace to the region, what remains to be seen is the concessions the Taliban are willing to make (if any) in imposing their Shariah law in the region. I would be gutted to see if girls' schools continue to remain closed under the new truce. That would undoubtedly signal a defeat for us hopeful of making Swat the wonderful tourist destination it once was.
But Swat is not our only problem at the moment. The Taliban element that seems to have grown more and more on our side of the border in the wake of the US invasion has also resulted in an increase in sectarian violence, particular in Kurram Agency and Parachinar. I'm surprised no leader of ours hasn't said that in public especially when the Americans have the audacity to question our intentions in fighting this war on terror.
The collection of pictures, overall, was very moving. Just goes to show the dire straits our beautiful country finds itself in. If there was any time we needed some really sincere leadership, it is NOW but sadly look who we have for a leader!. Recent events like this don't exactly fill you with confidence either.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Friday, February 06, 2009
Sunday, February 01, 2009
Superbowl is undoubtedly THE single biggest sporting event in the US. The attention it gets, in terms of TV commercials and other publicity is just amazing. Stores even put out special sales on TVs just for this single event! It is expected that somewhere to the tune of 130 million people will watch this year's game between the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers! Moreover, they're expecting that around 90 million will take a bathroom break during the half-time! That's more than half of Pakistan's entire population, or the entire population of Mumbai! Can you imagine an entire city going to the toilet AT THE SAME TIME? It'll be just like that!
More fun facts include an estimate of chips being consumed on that day (20,000 tons), guacamole (8 million pounds). Tickets which initially cost a whopping $500-$1000 have been known to change hands days before the game for as much as $2000-$4000. Ridiculous if you ask me! And they say Football (Soccer) has become commercialized! And may I remind you that we are in a recession? The number of private jets flying in to watch the Superbowl is down as a result. Ha!
For first-time viewers, American football seems to be the most hideous game on earth quite frankly, a rip-ff of Rugby (that's what I thought when I first saw it). But as it turns out, the game is quite complicated with a plethora of rules newbies like me have a hard time fathoming at first. You have to grow up watching it to develop the kind of appreciation for it like we have for cricket back in desi-land. And boy do they love their football or what! If I cited trucks as the object of their obsession in my listing of weird american facts, football most definitely trumps that.
I still prefer the real football (or Soccer as they call it here), that's still a million times better than this IMO. Still, that doesn't mean I won't be watching Superbowl this year. My only issue with them is that they call the winners `World Champions`. Oh come on, this isn't WWE for crying out loud!