Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Morning After...Cricket

The entire nation woke up yesterday feeling exuberant, hopeful and somehow, very sure that we will win. How could we lose? Our team had played so well against all odds. We weren’t perfect but we had the spirit to win. Higher forces were with us. ‘This World Cup is ours’; you wrote this on your Facebook status, you heard this on the media and you sat with incredible expectations in front of the telly yesterday, your celebrations all ready for the victory party.

But we lost, to India, Ouch!

The entire nation woke up today in mourning. We are going through a mixture of emotions at the moment. There is anger, shock, disappointment, frustration, hurt, and disbelief. Was this a bad dream?

The fact that we managed to reach the semi-finals was a huge feat in itself. A team which was considered a black sheep managed to show the world otherwise. Our bowling attack was, without Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, one of the best in the tournament. But only a strong bowling attack isn’t enough and whether we like it or not, we lost to a better team yesterday.

Why did we lose? Was it because of Umar Gul’s poor bowling? The catches we dropped of Tendulkar? Our batting collapse? Yes. But we also lost because our team wasn’t driven enough to win. When our team reached the semi-finals in 1992, they knew this was their cup. And love him or hate him, it was Imran Khan who instilled this belief in the team. He led the team from the front and took no nonsense. When your wicket keeper drops catches and the replacement feigns an injury, you know you have a problem. And the problem is that, at the end of the day, every one wants his central contract intact (unless he has relations with bookies).

To win, on the field or in life, we must have the desire to win. Passion for the game isn’t enough. It requires hard work, discipline and dedication. It requires honest performances and the ability to think beyond our own gain. How can we expect our cricket team to display these traits when we, as a nation, don’t possess them?

Yesterday’s game was not just a defeat in a cricket match. It was a wake-up call for us. If we give holidays because of a cricket match, stop all traffic because of VIP movement on the roads, break signals, get roads dug up because they lead to the President’s private residence, misuse State resources (at any level), have corrupt police and politicians, unemployment, illiteracy, and many other vices – how can we stand united and fight against the perils which surround us?

We don’t blame you Afridi. At least you fought against the odds and were gracious in your defeat, which is more than what can be said about any of us.

Photographs: Google Images

Monday, March 28, 2011

Are you living your life?

Found this on a blog and HAD to share it. 

[For more stuff like this check out]

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pakistan Day = March 23rd = Public Holiday = ?

There is nothing to celebrate on 23rd March anymore. The termination of the Pakistan Day parade has stripped this day of its glory and it has now become just another public holiday. No more soldiers march smartly on Constitution Avenue, saluting the President, followed by armoured vehicles and tanks. There are no F-16 fighter jets in the sky breaking sound barriers (or so it seemed to me when I attended the parade as a little girl) as the crowd cheered and clapped below. Everything is gone. The colourful provincial floats are now history and the present is littered with police, rangers, barbed wire and road blocks. Since 9/11, we are paying the price of the, so called, War on Terror and it seems the stakes are getting higher each year.

But today we celebrate. A nation plagued by inflation, recession, corrupt rulers, taxes, minimal facilities, lawlessness, killings and fear found solace through our cricket team. Today’s victory has made us forget, momentarily, the madness that surrounds us. Hopes have filled our hearts. We are dancing with joy because we want to tell the world: you may shun us, bomb us, label us but we have the capability to rise against all the odds and achieve the impossible. 

Or am I being too optimistic, too soon?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Celebrating Marriage: Guest post by Ahsan and Sadaf

Anniversary celebrations continue as I asked another great couple their views on life, love, marriage and the truth behind ‘happily ever after’.

Ahsan is both a cousin and a buddy. When he married Sadaf, a doctor by profession, I found another buddy! They got married on 20th July 2006 and currently live in Karachi with their beautiful little daughter, Alina.

Me: Define the word ‘marriage’.

Sadaf: Marriage is the strongest yet the most delicate bond between two people. It is definitely the richest relationship that exists, which keeps on unfolding every day.

Ahsan: Marriage is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you will get!

Me: Arranged or love? Does it matter after you actually start living as a married couple?

Sadaf: In my opinion, it hardly matters if marriages are love/arranged, No matter how many years you’ve been together before marriage, life after marriage is a fresh start and a different experience. Knowing each other before marriage is definitely a great help but not an essential element for a happy married life. It’s the love, care and importantly, respect that make it work.

Ahsan: Love. Why? Because I had one! 

Me: Which song best fits you as a couple?

Sadaf: Zindagi main toh sabhi pyar kiya kartain hain – Mehdi Hasan

Ahsan: Truly, Madly, Deeply – Savage Garden

Me: A cheesy question. Which fairy tale or story (or maybe even film) couple do you relate yourself as a couple?

Ahsan: Never really thought about it. And now that you’ve asked, I can’t remember any film!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Celebrating Marriage: Guest post by Arif and Sana

Our second wedding anniversary is round the corner and to celebrate the day, I asked a few close friends their views on life, love, marriage and the truth behind ‘happily ever after’.

I met Sana and Arif while working at a local FMCG company. And that is where Sana and Arif met each other also! They are the most down-to-earth, simple, fun loving and talented couple. They got married on 21st November 2009 and are currently living in Dubai.

Me: Define the word ‘marriage’.

A&S:  Marriage, for us, is friendship. Marriage is what makes you complete. It’s not just a social custom; it’s essential and is a necessity. After getting married, you realize what the term 'better half' means. :)

Me: Arranged or love? Does it matter after you actually start living as a married couple?

A &S: Ours was love so yes, for us it’s love. Yes it matters. You know your spouse from the very beginning so you don't get any surprises. You know all the positives and negatives which helps you in sorting out the issues. Things do get sorted out in both the relations but in a love marriage, it’s kind of easier. 

Me: Which song best fits you as a couple?

A&S: 'Everything I do' by Bryan Adams.

Me: A cheesy question. Which fairy tale or story (or maybe even film) couple do you relate yourself as a couple?

A&S: This is a difficult one. We feel we are really special and so far, no one has made a movie on us. :)

Following is Arif and Sana’s sweet note for us. Thanks guys!

"All the best wishes for the couple! They are great people to be with. They will always be there for you. We wish them all the best for their future plans!" :)

Of Channel ka bag and Jimmy Shoes! (Tender Hooks - A Review)

Tender Hooks is Moni Mohsin’s second book which features her sassy heroine, Butterfly, a character based on her column in Friday Times and the protagonist of her previous book, ‘Diary of a Social Butterfly’. In case you have forgotten, you are suffering from ‘sterile dementia’!

Although this book was totally out of my league, I enjoyed reading it. At first the book might appear to be a chick-lit, but appearances can be deceiving. If you scratch the surface and read between the lines, it is more than a society woman’s gossips, GTs (get together) and obsession with material wealth. It is a representation of the issues and problems that plague our daily lives; only it is shown from the perspective of Butterfly, who happens to be a ‘society woman’.

The plot is simple. Butterfly has to find a suitable girl for her cousin, Jonkers. The twists and turns come while meeting the suitable candidates and handling Aunty Pussy’s (Jonker’s mother) tantrums. All this is done in the backdrop of suicide attacks in Peshawar, terror threats to schools and colleges in Lahore, and eight hourly load shedding, to name a few.

What makes this book interesting and memorable are the characters. Butterfly’s character, being the protagonist, is the most colourful. She has a strong personality and her careless, silly, typical yet at times, sensitive, outlook on life makes her likeable. Of course, there are times when you’ll find her, for want of a better word, dumb. Like when she talks about her son, Kulchoo:

“Kulchoo is resting upstairs. I’ve told him, ‘No reading sheading, okay?’ So he’s watching a film on his DVD. Something called Black Hawk Down. I think so it’s a nature documentary. So serious my baby is. Between you, me, and the four walls, he’s becoming a little bit bore like his father, always watching documentaries about global warning and energy crisis and other bore-bore things like that. Vaisay, thanks God, he’s at home.”

A simple woman, no?! She reminded me of Queen Antoinette and her famous phrase, ‘Let them eat Cake’, in the following excerpt. Her response to the servants demand for a raise, who citied the increase in the prices of sugar as the major reason, was:

“‘So who’s asked you to eat so much sugar? It’s bad for your teeth. You should hear my dentist. He’s forbidden Kulchoo from drinking sugary drinks. And Coke tau is a total no-no. You know how many teaspoons of sugar it has? Ten. Ji haan. Ten. I’m telling you, you don’t want to pay thousands and thousands to fill cavities. Besides, also, you’ll get diebetees. And sugar puts on weight. Ask me, it’s been a year and I’m still trying to get rid of those five pounds I put on from eating all those ice creams and chocolate cakes in America last year.’

The men in her life are all boring; whether it is her ‘Oxen (Oxford educated)’ land-owner husband Janoo, her son Kulchoo or her simpleton cousin, Jonkers. They might be rational but it is the women who dominate the story and come up with solutions. Butterfly’s mother is always there to lend her a hand when the going gets tough. In Butterfly’s words, "‘Aik tau Mummy is also such a clever one, na. No wonder Janoo calls her Kernel Klebb. I think so she was a famous spy from a James Bond movie. The kernel, not Mummy.’"

All women in our society, with Butterfly, Mummy and Aunty Pussy being no exception, are the decision makers when it comes to finding suitable girls for their boys or cousins (I wonder what will happen to poor Kulchoo when he reaches marriageable age. Hopefully, he'll learn something from Jonkers!). Maids too, are of great value to a society woman and are portrayed in the book as sharp and industrious women, who groom themselves at the expense of their rich owners and take flight when they find a better opportunity. And this is something all of us can relate to – how life becomes ugly once the maid walks out.

So what is Tender Hooks really about? In a nutshell, it is about the degeneration of our society, both at state and citizen level. There are no facilities for the tax-payers, the rich are getting richer, lawlessness reigns and fear dominates. But the book ends on a positive note as Jonker finds the perfect girl and the wedding takes place without any mishaps. As Butterfly says herself:

“ Oh yes, and Jonkers and Sana will be very happy. How do I know? Haw, haven’t I told you? I have a sick sense about these things. Didn’t I tell you Jonkers would find a girl at the Butt–Khan wedding, haan? Past your mind back...” 

Moral of the story: When all else fails, believe in your sick, oops, sixth sense!

Note: Moni Mohsin is a columnist and the author of ‘The End of Innocence’ and the ‘Diary of a Social Butterfly’. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Morning After..

The wedding season has, for the time being, come to an end for us. Back to back family weddings had turned my world topsy-turvy. A sort of block had engulfed me. These blocks usually come un-announced; almost in stealth mode and they attack when one is most vulnerable. And when your sleep and digestion are going awry, you are at your most vulnerable!

The Love List was not completed. Maybe it was an ambitious attempt on my part considering the wedding and all. I did manage to read A Russian Affair (a collection of short stories by Chekov) and An Equal Music by Vikram Seth. An Equal Music is a book about love and loss, about friendships and broken relationships. But above all, it is about music. The book, for me, was a tutorial on symphonies, piano sonatas, chamber music and string quartets. It also introduced me to The Lark Ascending and Bach’s magical piece, The Art of Fugue.

An Equal Music is also a heart breaking love story of Julia (a pianist) and Michael (a violinist).  
‘In the painting I saw, in the books I read, I recalled her, for she had in many ways been the making of me’.  

‘When I hear Bach, I think of her. When I play Haydn or Mozart or Beethoven or Schubert I think of their city. She showed me that city, every step and stone of which brings her back to me. I have not returned there for ten years’.

Hubby dear is reading Maurice (another book on the love list) and I abandoned reading The Thorn Birds. There are so many books to read and new authors to discover that re-reading it seemed a slight waste of time. I’d watch the HBO mini-series once again, and ogle over Richard Chamberlain!

To undo the block I did some major reading this past week and managed to finish two books, Tender Hooks and The Catcher in the Rye. The ‘Life’s too Short’ Competition is just around the corner and I have to finalize my submission for that also (more details to follow).

It’s good to be back! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Ami!

My brother's wedding festivities are over but celebration continues as, this week, I celebrate the birthdays of two very special people in my life. A big birthday wish and hug for my amazing mother. No matter what we do Ami, we can never thank you enough for your love and support. Thank you for everything, everyday! 

Photograph: Google Images