Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Writer's Block

I love Wikipedia.  It has everything a curious mind needs in one place.  Sometimes, I just visit the site even when I am not sure what I am curious about and then from the home page, it’s just click, click, click and off I go.  Humans are definitely luckier than cats in this regard. 

Anyways, Wikipedia’s awesomeness needs a blog entry in itself and I don’t want to digress.  Here is what it says about Writer’s Block:

Writer's block is a phenomenon involving temporary loss of ability to begin or continue writing, usually due to lack of inspiration or creativity.

Writer's block can be closely related to depression and anxiety, two mood disorders that reflect environmentally caused or spontaneous changes in the brain's frontal lobe. This is in contrast to hypergraphia, more closely linked to mania, in which the changes occur primarily in the temporal lobe

However, another interpretation of writer's block, sometimes confused with scant output, is given in the book Silences, by Tillie Olsen, who argues that historically many women and working-class writers have been unable to devote themselves to, or concentrate on, their writing because their social and economic circumstances prevent them from doing so.

The reason I have put this crap on my blog is that I think I am having one.  Although, that would mean that I think I am a writer but I am willing to take that hit for a while.  I just wanted to confirm one thing.  I am unsure if one would be having a writer’s block if they were just feeling too lazy to update their blog?  Or do anything productive for that matter?  Like, anything at all?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Shoe Throwing Conspiracy

I have a colleague, HZM, who has this incredible ability to write about things in his own way.  I have encouraged him to start a blog of his own many times but having an email address is the closest he is to social networking via Internet yet.  

Below is his take at the famous shoe throwing incident.  This is a guest post by HZM:

Muntadhar al Zaidi’s daring act has won him world wide popularity and fame (at least in the Muslim countries). He has been hailed as a “Hero”, been presented a bravery award by a Libyan Charity Group, and a Saudi businessman has even offered US$10 million to buy the shoes hurled at President Bush. Even Venezuela’s President Chavez has applauded the man for his valor. So while Middle Eastern media and public consider this to be a “Courageous” act, the West read the same as “Outrageous”.

But the question that concerns you and I is not what the International Press and People think about the man, his act or the prevailing situation. What concerns us is its implications on “Pakistan”.

Yes, I know you’re wondering why this should affect Pakistan. But a little common sense will lead to believe that it has everything to do with Pakistan. It’s amazing how we find ourselves in the middle of all (mostly destructive) affairs. And I wonder why we complain that the World doesn’t give us any importance!

Mark my words, one way or the other, they (I’m not saying who) will link this with Pakistan. And I suppose they have every reason to do so. The following facts should convince you of the same:

1.                   So apart from being a Muslim, it has been found that Muntazar has links with Bata (Fata) in Pakistan.

2.                   He received training in throwing shoes while working in Bata. He used to be the man in the upper Store room who used to throw down shoes & boxes whenever a customer asked for a particular size. You can only improve your aim by training everyday to throw shoes from that little opening in the Store ceiling!

3.                   US Intelligence point out that while working in Bata, he was situated at one of the Tariq Road outlets. As there are more than one outlets in that area, CIA has asked the Pakistan Government to crack down on all of them on Tariq Road. Our President has gone a step further and has decided to close down all Bata stores in the city altogether. Kids will now be deprived of the free Tennis Ball that they used to get when buying “Back to School” shoes. Our Government has obviously misread the term “War on Terrorism” and interpret it as “War on Federalism”, and hence the actions against their own citizens.

4.                   Muntazar received special training in “Tying the Knot”, an exceptional tactic used by such terrorists to launch two shoes in a single throw by tying them together.

5.                   The Bata training camps were found to be equipped with a huge supply of WMDs (Weapons of Mass Designer-Shoes).

6.                   These camps were laced with “target practice equipment”, namely large size hardboard cutouts of a human figure with a picture of Pres. Bush pasted on the top.

7.                   Black, Brown & White Cherry Blossom Shoe Polish was found to be in-stock. Obviously, the BataMen (now dubbed as Batman) use this to smear their arms and faces for covert operations. (I wonder why would they use White Polish?!? … Maybe to disguise themselves as Goras when operating in a Western Country.)

8.                   Such was the barbarism (the single word quoted by a Western, so called, Human Rights Activist; when asked to describe the man’s act) of the Bata Sales Agents, that they used to openly display Shoes on shelves and the shop windows!

9.                   Not only that, they even invited others (namely customers) to come in and purchase the sophisticated weaponry. This was especially witnessed during the Eid Festival, where people horded the weapons for themselves. The young ones went a step further and bought the Nuke (in reality Nike) models. This indeed is Barbaric/Heroic.

10.               Finally, he was reported to have been kidnapped by Al-Qaeda and released after a few days. So common sense would tell you that there could be no possibly that he has any links with Al-Qaeda, else why would they kidnap him. Wrong! You obviously haven’t learned. Al-Qaeda picked him for at least one of the three reasons:

a.       To brain-wash him.

b.      To Give him a secret message (probably the words he shouted out at Bush) by pretending to kidnap him

c.       To train him in this deadly art. (Even the Japanese Ninja’s of long ago would be ashamed of themselves if they knew of this unique capability)

11.               The fact that Al-Qaeda released him (and did not slash his throat and post it on the Internet), and that too without any ransom (they don’t really need the money, they get enough funding from the CIA), proves my point that he has links with Al-Qaeda.

So if the above argument doesn’t convince you of the imminent dangers to Pakistan and its whatever-is-left Sovereignty; then you should start watching Geo!

For those who feel a little grumbled by the fact that the Shoes did not hit their intended target, don’t worry, there is a blessing in disguise. If it had hit Bush, he might have felt a little pain and would have forgotten all about the incident in a few days. But the fact that they narrowly missed him, will keep him on his toes for his life, because of the What If ?! scenario. As they say, “Curiosity killed the Cat” (in this case, the Dog!).

And what is to become of the man who started it all. Well, Saddam Hussain’s lawyer has offered to fight his case. Good luck Muntazar, because the last person that this lawyer tried to defend ended up at the Gallows!

The time has come to load your guns (meaning, to untie your shoe laces) and get ready for action! For those who have automatic weapons (i.e. not having any laces at all), even better!

This is your local report HZM signing off … reporting on behalf of all shoe owners!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Things Change With Time

Things change with time.

For example: There was a time when I started bugging my father to get animals for sacrifice weeks before Baqr-Eid and then spent most of the time taking care of them. This included obscure activities like naming animals, having beauty and strength competitions with neighborhood animals, even crying after sacrifice. Tomorrow is Eid and all I have done is had one glance at the two bakras (goats) my parents bought for sacrifice this year. The bael (bull), which I am supposed to be sharing for sacrifice with six other people, hasn’t even been this lucky.

For example: There was a time when I bought Eid cards for all my friends and made sure that they got the personally written and signed cards before Eid. Tomorrow is Eid and I am thinking whether personal email Eid greetings messages are too much and if I should stick with a Facebook greeting status only.

For example: There was a time when I got my traditional Eid dress, shalwar qameez, specially prepared a month in advance. Tomorrow is Eid and I am thinking what to wear this Eid and whether wearing shalwar qameez tomorrow is worth the effort.

For example: There was a time when I slept at 10 pm the night before Eid in anticipation of the Eid prayers early next day. Tomorrow is Eid, it’s 2.15 am and I am on my laptop, writing this blog.

Eid Mubarak. I hope this Eid brings happiness in our lives and peace in our country.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tennis

I have been playing tennis lately.

It so happened that two of my colleagues, AAW and SMAK, were forced into exercising by the ever-growing size of their tummies. They knew that they had to do something more fun than just running or stretching or else they would lose interest sooner or later and would get back to square one (well, round ones in their cases). So, they decided to play tennis and I chose to join them (for entirely different and opposite reasons) along with AVS, another colleague of mine.

We started playing at a very cheap city government facility regularly and when I told my other friends how awesome it was (and told the whole facebook network about how I kicked ass at it), a few dozen others also showed interest to join. BN and MFS, my old uni fellows, have been the only other duo out of the dozens interested ones that actually managed to join us after we had started. But, it’s awesome how awesome people think playing tennis is.

MFS is a blogger too and he also did a blog on tennis here. And there are no points for guessing who the mentioned Jdee is.

And this time it is the glorious game of Tennis!

I owe it to Jdee, for re-uniting me with the part of myself I let go 8 years ago. Jdee is one of those types who seem to have way more than 24 hours in a typical day. The earth spins a tad slower for these kinds of guys.

We are all beginners at tennis. Almost all the points on the first day were not won but rewarded by opponents to each other through faults. Gradually we've started playing finishing shots and volleys that last longer. According to our rough estimates, we deliver a spectacular ace once in ten serves. BN did some research on the web on how to grip a tennis racket, while AVS and Jdee floated a PDF on complete rules and regulations of the game.

It's our new-found passion.

It sure is our new found passion (we are found at the courts almost every day) and though, we are all still beginners, I have managed to compile a seed list for the six of us. It goes like … Heck, it doesn’t matter how it goes like but I am the top seeded player on that list, the thing that matters the most.  

All I can say is that tennis is a great game. I had always loved watching it (and had also dreamt of being watched by millions as I lifted Wimbledon). And now when I am into it, I know how not-that-easy it is and how awesome Sania Mirza used to be (as a player, for the ones thinking out-of-the-box there). I even feel bad for hating her (game) back when she was more active on the circuit.

By the way, I heard she was out with a wrist injury these days. What’s up with that? Like, how bad could it be? I had one myself like 3 weeks ago because of the faulty grip of my racket. I just kept on playing till it went away. And then I changed the grip. Simple, eh?