Friday, June 25, 2010

How the general lost his job

General McChrystal was denied a glamorous ending.
All monarchs and generals, atleast in books and movies, lose their jobs in very grand manners. They are either killed in battles, or assassinated, or take their lives themselves. They are made to suffer for their mistakes by being marooned on islands far away from their country where they die of some awful disease and end up being glorified. Or they seek political asylum in a foreign country, giving lectures all over the world for a living and still end up being gloried. But no general, in the history of the world (as I know it), lost his job because of an article written in a magazine.
But here is where you’re wrong. Rolling Stone is not just ‘a’ magazine. I thought that too for some time, but that was before I read Hunter S. Thompson’s work and a magazine which can have a journalist like him on board, must be quite radical. The magazine is devoted to music, politics and popular culture (source: Wikipedia). So the same issue that might rave about Lady Ga Ga’s new album (with her 'almost' nude pictures all over the place) and criticise the new chick-hunk-action Cruise/Diaz film 'Knight and Day' also squeezed in a life changing, and maybe a world changing, interview of General McChrystal.
I wonder what the general was thinking. Did he imagine he would have all the bigwigs in Congress and the White House worrying over what this man, in charge of one of the biggest wars in the history of America, thinks about them behind their back? Or maybe, he thought that Obama would consider his ‘I-don’t-give-a-shit-about-politicians’ attitude as the key to put pressure on our puppet government? Or maybe, just maybe, he was looking for a way out from this whole Afghanistan thing and instead of asking for a leave, he just thought of giving a bizarre interview to an iconic magazine. Or maybe, (and this one is good), he thought that having his picture in a popular, youth oriented magazine might make him a big star and land him with a Hollywood movie.
Whatever it was, General McChrystal was relieved of command, over, yes, a magazine article. Not a very glamorous ending. No firing squad. No life imprisonment over war crimes. What would the General do now? I think he would probably team up with Musharraf (another gung-ho general) and they’ll make a geo-political think tank which would try and solve the Afghanistan problem, hunt down the Taliban, get hold of the mineral wealth of that country, and eradicate terrorism from the world – all in a few hours of lectures and talks.
So, if the war in Afghanistan worsens, do we blame Rolling Stone?
Photograph: Rolling Stone magazine []

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Here's wishing my super dad a very Happy Father's Day! You've always been there for me Abu and I owe a lot to you in making me who I am today. Thank you for all the love and support all these years!
My daddy strongest!

Photograph: Google Images

Friday, June 11, 2010

Let's play!

The Football World cup 2010 will kick off in South Africa today. Google is celebrating this grand event with their special logo of the day. The football fever is gripping everyone and hubby dear and myself are still undecided about which team to support! (I'll probably root for my old favourites Brazil, and maybe Portugal).

Which team are you supporting?

Viva football!

Photograph: Google football logo (

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I admit that this entry is at least two months late. But would you believe it if I told you I was abducted by aliens? (I know you won't but there is no harm in trying, is there?)

In May, the British physicist, Stephen Hawking gave out this warning that humans should not actively seek the aliens. This news became a very hot topic for a few days (and was also discussed in the Larry King show. Maybe it was discussed in the Oprah and the Ellen de Generes show also. Americans love to talk about themselves!). The existence of aliens is a subject that has intrigued us humans since the very first satellite was sent into space. The knowledge that there are other planets and galaxies where life might exist is fascinating and scary. Who are these 'other' species who inhabit the same universe as us? This remains a mystery which scientists want to unravel.

But Mr. Hawkings does not think this is such a good idea. According to him, we should refrain from trying to make contacts with aliens because the landing of aliens on earth would be similar to that of Columbus on the soil of (what we now know as) North America.

Humans would be treated similar to how Columbus and his men (and subsequently other men from more 'civilized' nations) treated the native Americans. And I think we all know what happened to the natives of North America.

This seemed an interesting idea for a blog entry and what was more interesting was the idea to involve certain people in this. I sent out a mail on aliens to people whom I thought would be interested in, well, aliens and asked each of them three questions.

1. Do you think there are aliens out there?
2. What do you think they look like?
3. What will their reaction be if they land in Pakistan?

Here is what some of you had to say.

When it comes to visualizing an alien, most of us think of something green. Kashif thinks that we've been conditioned from movies and comics to think green when we think aliens 'a short green one eyed character like Marvin Martian (from Looney Tunes). They would sound like computers where their conversations would be beeps to us'.

My bro, Ali, thinks there are no aliens, 'at least no intelligent aliens'. Ibrahim also felt that there are no aliens but if they do exist, 'they would be skinny with round black eyes popping out of their heads, with three fingers only and a slightly green or white body color'. Owais also agreed with the green color and added that they would be short. So, most people agreed (at least the ones who responded!) that aliens do exist and an overwhelming majority thinks they are green. (Thanks to all the comics, films and television series. We have no imagination of our own!).

Now, what would the aliens do if they come to Pakistan? This was very interesting. Read on.

Arsalan wrote that if the aliens do come to our country, two things would happen. Either we would brand them as terrorists or as some special being from God who has come to save us. I think US would accuse them of being terrorists, ad on this basis will get them deported from Pakistan so that they could be the only country with access to aliens. Kashif, on the other hand, thinks that we Pakistanis would do the one thing we're good at doing; blame the government. He wrote, ' if the aliens wreck havoc, we will probably blame the government for not being farsighted enough to prepare for an alien invasion and the army would be blamed in the media'. I say, the people will blame the government and the government would blame the opposition, external factors, judiciary and Gen. Zia. The media would follow the aliens everywhere and each talk show host would try and get an exclusive interview with them (and then flash this on their channel every hour).

Ali felt that the aliens' trip to Paki-land would either be a very short one or a very long one. The latter because with all the power outages, they won't be able to charge their spaceship enough to leave. I think they'll probably either hook their spaceship to an electric pole illegally (kunda system) or buy a big generator or appeal for help through a TV channel and in return for power, give the channel exclusive access to their spaceship. Owais, on the other hand, feels that the aliens would never want to leave because they will get addicted to 'the phatan dhaba tea and parathas and the spicy food'. Me thinks Owais is a big dhaba food lover and secondly, if they do happen to like our food they'll either bring all their other alien folk to our country or take away all our food. And considering the present circumstances of our country, they would probably exercise the second option.

Owais and Ibrahim posted another question for me (and everyone else also). Why do all aliens land in USA? The answer is simple. All aliens that we've learnt of are through films and television series which are made in Hollywood which happens to be in USA. Also, I think that since the Americans claim to have landed on the moon (which I don't really believe in and I'm not getting into that at the moment) they feel it the right of their country only to play hosts to the aliens.

Zubair had a completely different story to tell on the alien saga. He says, 'My belief is that they have come and gone. They came to understand the human species, unfortunately, they came to Pakistan. Their intellects were incapable of comprehending us as a people. They broke all their equipment in an effort to make sense of our behaviour. The team that was sent from the planet Shungomon was killed in a bus accident trying to read the inscription on the multicoloured transportation module. They were robbed of their equipment while they lay spewing green blood on the asphalt. The search and rescue team came and had to bribe 14 policemen and 22 morgue staff to recover the decayed bodies, they even ended up reimbursing the bus driver for the damage to his wind screen. Shungmonians never came back after that.

The mighty people of Ghungdani Solar System, 55 light years to the left of the Zhukhani Fuelling station at the intersection between ASU 13 and the Coastal Highway, decided to pop over. Unfortunately they came to Pakistan. They landed in Swat and were mistaken for Americans, taken hostage and subsequently beheaded when they could not produce the new Madonna MP3 the Taliban were so riled up about. The rest of Ghungas wanted revenge, so an elite team of special ops soldiers was dispatched to deal with the Taliban problem. They were, again, mistaken for Americans but this time in Karachi where they were welcomed with rose garlands and lots of "mithai". They thought they were on the wrong planet, got food poisoning from the "doodh patti" and died.
A final transmission from the captain of the revenge squad was intercepted. "This race is the deadliest and cold blooded I have ever seen. They kill one another without remorse in the name of belief. On this planet you can die for every thing like education, saying hello instead of hi, wearing something, falling in love, believing different. This primitive race is completely devoid of all emotion, those who do express compassion or love are shunned from the larger group or even executed. These savages have gained only the knowledge or weaponry, they have devised ingenious ways of killing each other. If ever these savages were to be engaged in combat, the sheer number of guns they would have would out match every civilization in the Konaki system! We are attempting to exfiltrate, but these savages have already poisoned us, we may not survive for long. Please, all who are listening, stay as far away from this planet as you can! Bulsiki Out!"

May the Force be with you!'

Do you believe in aliens?

Photographs:Google Images

Sunday, June 6, 2010

On the Road

'What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies'.

And it was one crazy venture after another that Sal Paradise undertakes in Jack Kerouac's very crazy book, 'On the Road'. But no matter where the road leads Sal and his buddies, there is always lots of booze, lots of women, lots of drugs and lots of mambo music.

The book takes the reader on a long ride across the United States. It gives an interesting description of post- war America which was waking up to the rise of a new era. An era which was graduating to jazz, the hippie movement and The Beatles.

Did I enjoy the book? In many ways, yes. The narrative style was simple - the book never seemed to drag as the protagonist, Sal, moved from one place to another meeting up with all sorts of crazy bums on the way. It was a queer book in many ways. There was no real plot and yet everything made sense.

What is more interesting than the book is the story behind its creation. Kerouac wrote the entire book in one go (20 days to be exact), on a single 120 scroll of paper which he had fed in his typewriter. The whole manuscript, once completed, looked like a road itself!

Moral of the story? There's no place like home. Or something to that effect!

Photographs: Google Images

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The French (upset) Open!

No Federer, No Djokovic. Who to root for in the French Open?

I must confess, I am a Federer fan. Not as big a fan as I was of Sampras but after him, Federer is the player I root for in every grand slam. So it was with great shock that I listened to Federer losing to that (@#$%%^^) Soderling. Yes, listened because World Call Cable cut off its transmission during the customary load shedding and hubby dear & myself had to catch the fourth set on the internet through the Roland Garros website. Till the last point I was hopeful that Federer would get back in the match because, well, he's Federer. He has to have a solution for every tricky situation, doesn't he? He's not human, he's a tennis demigod. How could he lose?

It didn't end with Federer. The French Open had some more drama in store in the form of the Melzer vs. Djokovic match. There was Djokovic, in his angel wings shirt but he didn't take off this time and lost after a grueling five set match. The last set was heartbreaking. And what was even more heartbreaking was watching that (@#$%%^^) Melzer celebrating. (Do I get emotional abut the games I watch? Hell yes!).

No Federer. No Djokovic. Who to root for in the French Open?

Photograph: Google Images