mal’s Weblog

{August 4, 2013}   On sharing afataaris

For those of my readers who are not familiar with Ramzan and our culture, Ramzan is the month during which Muslims Fast for their Creator and Benefactor, Allah. A fast means abstaining from basic necessities of life such as food, water, intimate companionship of spouses, etc, from dawn to dusk, while dedicating the entire day & night to the worship of Allah. The rewards and sins multiply during this month.

(Which is perhaps why you see so many Muslims regain practice of their beliefs with renewed zeal during the holy month, even if they don’t fulfill daily requirements during the rest of the year. We Muslims, btw, are encouraged to encourage this return to faith of sorts, of less practicing Muslims brethren – who knows this might be the turning point for someone to continue with the routine s/he develops during Ramzan).

Anyway, similarly, during this holy month, Muslims mingle a little more with their neighbors as compared to other months. This mingling, among other cultural practices, usually includes exchanging aftaaris (the meal which one has upon the breaking of the fast – even a khujoor (date) and a glass of water can be counted as aftaari). [This post will not be touching upon the commercial aspect of Aftaari buffets and all that have become the norm of the modern society].

Over the years, this practice of exchanging aftaaris has evolved into an elaborate ritual, a cultural must, and so, unfortunately, is beginning to lose its essence. People feel it is an obligation to send out aftaaris on pre-numbered fasts (such as on the 10th Roza/fast, or on one of the major nights of the last ten days, and so on). They go through quite a bit of unnecessary trouble to prepare lavish platters, often in a bid to outdo other neighbors. Some families also have the culture of waiting till the last or so Roza to send out aftaari platters that gives them the opportunity to outshine the rest of the muhalla (neighborhood). I have even come across elders who seem to feel relieved that they did their share of sharing aftaaris at least once during the month.

This is something that has bugged me a lot for several years. This is where I am reminded of taking inspiration from the “There is no obligation in religion” bit. At the core of this message is the fact that Islam believes in invitation to itself, an encouragement toward Islam, while at the same time it instructs tolerance of other religions. [I would highly recommend people to look up the meanings of words such as ‘invitation’, ‘encouragement’, ‘instructs’, ‘tolerate/tolerance’ etc in dictionaries]. And to those who embrace Islam, Islam is lenient in that it encourages the following of whatever is feasibly possible (so while it is obligatory for a Muslim to perform Hajj at least once during his/her lifetime, Allah will understand if the man/woman could not have afforded the pilgrimage; similarly, it is obligatory to pray 5 times each day or fast each year, but with allowances/ease for life’s tolls).

Today was the 25th Roza (fast), and upon the receipt of a platter of aftaari items from a neighbor, my mother commented on the ease of sharing aftaaris that people nowadays had developed. She said something to the effect of, “How easy it is these days for people to send out aftaaris; all they simply do is get snacks (samosas, pakoras, jalebis, etc) from snack shops, spill a few of each item on a plate, and send it out to neighbors. How smart.” – to those of us who have experienced Ramzan since childhood, we understood that her implication was that gone are the days when people used to sit down and prepare all these items at home, and cater to a larger muhalla (neighborhood).

I couldn’t stop myself any longer, and I’m glad I didn’t. I commented back with this message:
Islam does not tell you to do this as part of your fasting ritual. Islam merely encourages that one keep one’s neighbor in mind, a value that is applicable to all 12 months of the year (Hadith available), not just Ramzan, like people have made a necessity out of the same which they now can’t imagine life without. And our elders tried to inculcate in us this value of caring for thy neighbor, by demonstrating it as a ritual (which if you note, was not something restricted to the holy month of Ramzan alone), mostly because they could afford it on so many levels: food items were less costly a generation or two ago; more families were based on a joint family system & less women used to be employed on full time jobs outside the house and thus there were more hands to prepare seemingly more lavish aftaari platters; these were, again, easier to distribute because of the presence of more male hands in the joint family who could manage the distribution once back from offices. However, our elders perhaps didn’t educate us well enough – the purpose of this practice of theirs was to demonstrate that one must want for one’s brethren/society what one wishes for himself (Hadith available), which is why they teamed up to prepare home-made aftaar platters (meals as well in some cases). Our elders truly ‘shared’ with neighbors, from what they had prepared for the family at home, rather than preparing something, (whether less or more), separately for them.

The point being that Islam instructs and encourages caring for the people who you live amongst, teamwork if you must, and caring for them goes beyond ensuring that you sent out the annual platter and yours was one of the best: it means being aware of whether your neighbor has had a decent meal before his family retires for the night or not, be it Ramzan or any other day of the year; it means being inclusive of the whole society; it means wanting for one’s neighbor what one wants for oneself – the entire routine points towards strengthening of societies. In this regards, sending out food acts as an ice breaker of relationship building.

And what do we do? We turn it all into a competition: a competition of what we ‘managed/got away with’ with the least bit of inconvenience to ourselves, a competition of doing something because others expect it of us, a competition of whose platter was the best, a competition of who sent out the first platter of the month, and a competition of who sent out the most platters each Ramzan.

Ramzan is a month that helps you picture & taste the ideal Islamic life. And the ideal level of justice that we would be doing to Ramzan is by understanding the reasons behind instructed way of life, and slowly and gradually adopting good practices from the month’s routine, for the rest of our lives.

At the end of my short comment (the explanation was not required at the table because of obvious group dynamics :p), my mother, and other family members on the table, were first taken aback to a very tiny extent (understandable because these lessons perhaps jumped a generation), but understood and agreed with silent nods.
I hope my friends who read this, will too. And more than that, I hope I can live up to my own positive understanding of life and my religion of choice.

Pakistan Zindabad

Pakistan Zindabad

Democracy is not the answer for this country (The Islamic Republic of Pakistan). Sure, it was made in the name of Islam, but at the same time, it did have democratic roots: people elected, by way of following, and chose to follow Jinnah, united.

However, Jinnah died. And since then, this harmony that he envisioned, has been snatched at by different factions. Each faction adamantly believes they are absolutely right and have absolute right to set everyone right. This mindset and action-trend is generally destructive, and all those who have studied even a bit of communication or team management skills, or know anything about organizational vision and how it takes years to see results, will understand this and agree with this.

I am not saying that Khilafat should be enforced – while that is indeed the Islamic way to go, but neither did it last a few cycles after the Prophet, nor do old rules apply as is to new times. We always need to factor in changing needs, stakeholders and resources, and then channelize our plans accordingly, toward the same original vision (minor tweaks allowed, already spoken of in the first half of this sentence).

But what do we do in the name of democracy? We avenge the people for the unfairness we were dealt with, once we come in power. That is what each of the previous ‘parties’ that have been in power have done so far.

We fail to realize that just change does not happen overnight: it takes an individual a good 2-5 years to make effort, honest consistent effort, to witness any sort of productive change/results. If it takes an individual that much time, it makes sense that the larger the number of ‘team members’ involved, the more time it can be expected to take for positive changes and results to occur and show. For example, it takes a small business at least 3 years (as per general standards) to start recovering investments in the shape of profits. Similarly, it takes a family a freakin generation to turn their lives around from struggling to stable.

How then can we expect democracy, which is supposed to look after an ENTIRE NATION, to show results within 5 years!?

Sure, go ahead and continue in the spirit of democracy. But BEWARE, democracy is not the answer if you don’t let it do its job.

Whoever wins, and hopefully not anyone who has previous negative track record, must have a clear vision that caters to all stakeholders’ needs and rights equitably, possesses a strong honest conscience that makes him/her stick to his/her responsibilities, and must be given the space to breathe and do his job: this means that s/he needs to be allowed to make a few mistakes (he too is human) provided he is not consciously indulging in irreversible injustices, but then, he needs to be re-elected 4-5 times, for a generation.

This is absolutely necessary if democracy is to work. You can’t expect a newborn to start walking as soon as it breathes, to start running as soon as it takes its first step; you cant expect a student to start to start earning at the beginning of his first semester, you can’t expect the first pill of medicine to recover a cancer patient, you can’t expect a new daughter-in-law to be on top of everything from the first day, you can’t expect a mother to know everything form the moment she becomes a mother.

You can’t expect democracy to be the answer if you keep changing the vision and leader every freakin 5 years, and if everyone is selfishly engrossed in personal interests.

Unity. Faith. Discipline.
Unity: EVERYONE needs to work for the SAME VISION.
Faith: comes from honesty – everyone needs to be honest and fair, expect good of others, don’t do bad unto others, treat others as you would want to be treated, fulfill your responsibilities, your rights will be fulfilled, have patience and faith that they will, do not give up at the first sign of a temporary setback.
Discipline: Work hard, consistently, on all the objectives that lead toward the SAME LONG-TERM GOAL, i.e. VISION.

Pakistan Zindabad.

I just had to share the following piece of writing by a Rape Victim who survived to truly live the next 32 years.
Note: I have added stuff where I felt was the need, in “[]”. Stuff in bold is something I endorse.

After being raped, I was wounded; My honour was not.
-Sohaila Abdulali

Sohaila Abdulali

Sohaila Abdulali

“When I fought to live that night, I hardly knew what I was fighting for. A male friend and I had gone for a walk up a mountain near my home. Four armed men caught us and made us climb to a secluded spot, where they raped me for several hours, and beat both of us. They argued among themselves about whether or not to kill us, and finally let us go.

At 17, I was just a child. Life rewarded me richly for surviving. I stumbled home, wounded and traumatized, to a fabulous family. With them on my side, so much came my way. I found true love. I wrote books. I saw a kangaroo in the wild. I caught buses and missed trains. I had a shining child. The century changed. My first gray hair appeared.

Too many others will never experience that. They will not see that it gets better, that the day comes when one incident is no longer the central focus of your life. One day you find you are no longer looking behind you, expecting every group of men to attack. One day you wind a scarf around your throat without having a flashback to being choked. One day you are not frightened anymore.

Rape is horrible. But it is not horrible for all the reasons that have been drilled into the heads of Indian women. It is horrible because you are violated, you are scared, someone else takes control of your body and hurts you in the most intimate way. It is not horrible because you lose your “virtue.” It is not horrible because your father and your brother are dishonored. I reject the notion that my virtue is located in my vagina, just as I reject the notion that men’s brains are in their genitals.

If we take honor out of the equation, rape will still be horrible, but it will be a personal, and not a societal, horror. We will be able to give women [or men] who have been assaulted what they truly need: not a load of rubbish about how they should feel guilty or ashamed, but empathy for going through a terrible trauma [just like any other trauma, such as robbery, accident, illness, earthquake, etc].

The week after I was attacked, I heard the story of a woman who was raped in a nearby suburb. She came home, went into the kitchen, set herself on fire and died. The person who told me the story was full of admiration for her selflessness in preserving her husband’s honor. Thanks to my parents, I never did understand this.

The law has to provide real penalties for rapists and protection for victims, but only families and communities can provide this empathy and support. How will a teenager participate in the prosecution of her rapist if her family isn’t behind her? How will a wife charge her assailant if her husband thinks the attack was more of an affront to him than a violation of her?

At 17, I thought the scariest thing that could happen in my life was being hurt and humiliated in such a painful way. At 49, I know I was wrong: the scariest thing is imagining my 11-year-old child being hurt and humiliated. Not because of my family’s honor, but because she trusts the world and it is infinitely painful to think of her losing that trust. When I look back, it is not the 17-year-old me I want to comfort, but my parents. They had the job of picking up the pieces.

This is where our work lies, with those of us who are raising the next generation. It lies in teaching our sons and daughters to become liberated, respectful adults who know that men who hurt women are making a choice, and will be punished.

When I was 17, I could not have imagined thousands of people marching against rape in India, as we have seen these past few weeks. And yet there is still work to be done. We have spent generations constructing elaborate systems of patriarchy, caste and social and sexual inequality that allow abuse to flourish. But rape is not inevitable, like the weather. We need to shelve all the gibberish about honor and virtue and did-she-lead-him-on and could-he-help-himself. We need to put responsibility where it lies: on men who violate women, and on all of us who let them get away with it while we point accusing fingers at their victims.”

– Sohaila Abdulali.

God may be a sadist, god may have decided all the rules of the game, and he may be the judge of his own game. But where does that leave us, silly? Can you fight God? Just play the game according to His rules, and you will win.

I recently had the opportunity to interview a handful of candidates for a few internship positions at my employer’s.

The experience made me realize a few things, the most painfully obvious one being the fact that I am alhamdolillah one of the few lucky ones to have been trained at one of the best business schools in the country and region, for the corporate toughness to come my way. Another thing I realized was that no matter how much one reads about the Do’s and Don’ts of the Corporate World in a classroom setting, or at an employer’s Campus Recruitment Drive, some things stick with you only after you experience them (as the recipient, or as the poor soul who happens to be the butt of cruel misfortune).

Yet another thing I realized was how far behind Pakistan (the relatively faster metropolitan cities included) is on the Human Resources front of the business world.

I am thus penning down the following interview tips with the intention of spreading some awareness for those less fortunate than us, as well as to serve as a reminder to those of us who tend to become a little complacent.

Naming your resumes:

I remember one of my faculty members pointing out to us how job/internship applicants tend to keep improving our resumes, and our tendency to save each updated version as something along the lines of, “CV_final_final_FINAL.doc”. While it clicked immediately when pointed out back in classroom setting, and while recruitment processes of some large MNC’s have guided us regarding how to title our resumes a little more professionally than we would consciously remember to, the true irritability of this struck me when I received some 4 dozen resumes myself, most of them titled in a similar fashion. The proud OCD-victim that I am, I was probably the one off case who actually sat down to rename each resume according to the Applicant name and position applied for. But I assure you there are very few who have the time and energy to do that for you. I was lucky I hardly had 50 resumes to go through, over a small application window. It wouldn’t be surprising if someone at a large company that allows you 2 months window to apply simply overlooks a resume titled in such generic a fashion. Or worse, imagine your resume getting lost because a resume with the exact same title already exists in the folder!

A common rule of thumb that groomed professionals prefer and promote is something along the lines of “Resume_Your Name_Position Applied for + Year_Company Name”. If that becomes too long, the least one could do is use a simple “Resume_Full Name” format.

Further tips on naming your resumes:
1. Please refrain from using all CAPS.
2. Please refrain even harder from using mixed case in your resume title! Case in point: “fIRST NAME LAST Name with pic.doc” – please, no. Another case in point: “Cv hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.doc”. Seriously?

During this recruitment experience of mine, I received a resume (for an internship based in Karachi, offered by a company based and operating in Karachi), from someone studying in London, and “willing to come to Karachi if offered the internship” – I couldn’t tell whether it was plain silliness or actual desperation. Plus, I could not afford to, and would not bother calling someone seven seas afar, only for an internship.

Using pictures in your resume:

The world over, it is being increasingly acknowledged that adding a picture to your resume is generally discouraged as it adds to a bias. Studies have shown that good looking people are at a natural advantage, not matter how unfair it seems. It is also generally advised that unless the position you are applying for specifically requires your face and demeanor to look acceptable according to certain industry standards (such as for models, or air host/hostesses, or people in the service industry in general), a picture should not be used on your resume.

Pakistan on the other hand, is not only far behind on the Human Resources Development aspect of the corporate world, but also happens to be in a very confused place itself. While there are MNC’s operating on International Standards, a large number of employers/recruiters/interviewers belong to the same old desi seth mentality where they consider it appropriate (for different reasons), for a photo to be included on a resume.

In such a scenario, the best option is to do your research on the company you are applying to. If the company claims to operate on international standards, or is reputed to be absolutely professional, then it is safe not to include your photo in your resume. But if you are applying to a lesser known or a known-to-be-seth-desi-type of an employer, then it is safer to include that passport shot. Do note however, to keep the photo itself as professional as possible (well-kept hair, not grinning beyond reason, not photoshopped beyond required – just a pleasant glimpse of what you look like as a professional).

Receiving a Call for Interview:

1. First off, please do yourself the favor of providing the employer/recruiter with a functioning and correct and complete number! ‘Nuff said.

2. Equally importantly, please ensure that the phone number you provide in your resume for recruiters to get in touch with you is always switched on and accessible! Yes it is possible to run out of battery, or to be in a low-to-no-signal area for the exact amount of time when the recruiter happens to call you. But recruiters today give you at least 2-3 calls over a spread out period of time in case you are unable to answer the phone call the first time. Recruiters today understand that you could be in the shower, or on the road, or in an elevator/basement without signal, or in a meeting or class. But you can’t expect every recruiter to show you the kindness of trying to reach you on a phone that they find to be consistently switched off…over a week!

Answer yourself this: who wants the job/internship? You, not the recruiter. Who has more options? The recruiter, not you.

Someone who is on the road in heavy, noisy traffic but answers the phone and requests a call back in an hour or so, like any professional would, leaves a much better impression (and secures a higher chance of a call-back) than someone who chooses to ignore the call altogether.

3. We understand what a nuisance prank callers can be, and we have developed a certain precaution around unknown numbers. But if the unknown number seems to be a landline, please do yourself the favor of answering it at least once. It is likely to be a recruiter. If it is a cellular number calling, and is not testing your patience with missed calls or cheap texts, and is in fact ringing consistently, please do yourself the favor and answer it at least once. It could be a recruiter.

4. When you apply for some opportunity, please keep a tab on all the places and positions you applied to. Do not ask the recruiter who gives you a call to invite you for an interview, things such as, “Which company is this?”, “What position is this?”, “What is the JD of this position?” and so on. Major turnoff. Especially when all these things have already been advertised for your benefit – based on which you applied in the first place.
While on the one hand it does make sense that you may have applied to 20 different places in your desperation or in your less than strategic job/internship application plan, the least you could do after randomly applying to a million places is to keep a tab on all those places. Yup, the onus of that responsibility is on you. The even more basic courtesy you can do yourself is to listen to what the caller just said, which on a standard basis includes information on who they are, where they are calling from and why.

5. When a recruiter calls you to invite you to an interview (a first interview, for an internship), please refrain from asking, over the phone, what the timings would be and whether there would be a stipend and how much if so. Graciously accept the interview call, ask more important questions such as where the office is located where you are required to appear for the interview, whether there is something you need to bring along, what time are you required to report, and so on, rather than make the recruiter wish to simply hang up on you. Save these questions for the interview. And the end of the interview at that. Preferably if the interview goes well.
[Note: generally speaking, leave all questions pertaining to the working conditions and remuneration et al for the end of the final interview or when an offer is made. Or, if these things are so important to you, do your research at home, not in the recruiter’s face].

Showing up for the Interview:

1. The most important thing you need to do for this step is to show up. All other things, such as showing up 10 minutes before the reporting time, or dressing appropriately, or keeping a copy of your resume and the job description handy, and such, are quite secondary. Make sure you show up on the said day and date. If you do not show up, not every recruiter will be kind enough to give you a call to check up on you.

Case in point: So I schedule an interview for this lady, and we agree on the time and day/date. On the day of the interview, she is an hour late, and when my expectations of her giving me a call asking for help on directions are not met, I call her myself, only to hear, “Isn’t it off today?” (it was a Saturday). Coming from the background of leading business schools, I should have saved my own time and energy and just hung up. But perhaps curiosity got the better of me and I asked her, “Why would I schedule an interview if it was off?” When she was lost for words, I further probed, “Why would you not show up and ask me this question upon my re-calling you, rather than confirm when I was offering you this time slot 3 days ago?”. I was met with sheepish responses and requests for a rescheduling, and I told her I would consider her case. Needless to say, before I could return to her case, I found a match for the opening and I did not feel the need to bother myself any further.

2. Oh and by the way, if you are late and miss your slot, please do yourself the favor of not demanding (yes you read that right) to be interviewed according to the schedule. If you miss your turn, you go to the end of the line and wait like every other candidate. If you have to be somewhere else, evaluate your priorities and make your choice.

During the Interview:

1. If you do not know the answer to a question, aerial firing is definitely the worse option than politely and genuinely admitting that you do not know the answer. There are ways to accept/acknowledge lack of information/knowledge without coming across as a failure. It is okay not to know something, or to forget something basic in the nervous moment of being interviewed. In fact, some ways actually make you gain further points in such scenarios. But aerial firing – please refrain! Do yourself, and those belonging to the same institute as you, this favor.

2. Why would you ask the interviewer what to do in case you receive a better offer from elsewhere? Is s/he your university student counselor? Wait…why don’t you know the answer to this question yourself?

3. When being interviewed for a job opening, please do not ask the interviewer about the car company policy. Please also do not . Most certainly not during the first interview. First interviews are usually arranged for recruiters/interviewers to gauge the person-job-organizational fit. Further 1-2 interviews are scheduled to confirm the candidate-LineManager fit, and to make the offer.
Only at the stage of an offer being made should you take the risk of trying to negotiate. Then too, know the art of negotiating. The only other point where you can bring up the package your current employer is offering you is if the interviewer/recruiter asks/requests you.
Do yourself the favor and do not rub that car in the interviewer’s face during your (first) interview. If your current employer is about to give you a car shortly, why are you job-hunting elsewhere anyway? Is it just me, or are you actually more worried about what you get out of a professional relationship rather than realize the win-win such relationships need to be? You know what’s worse than that impression? The fact that all that you are looking at is short-term physical benefits.

Now, after knowing the Don’ts, if you google the Do’s, you’d be in a much better position to fight for that position. Good luck!

{March 23, 2013}  

scared of life…

{March 23, 2013}  


{March 23, 2013}   stoned perhaps

am i so depressed that i cant even see im wrong if i am?

{March 15, 2013}   people’s problem

sab se manhoos wo lagta hai jab koi khud se andaazay lagata hai k you have a problem & THEY have THE solution to it. and ev1 does this. CH!

{March 12, 2013}   why we are a confused nation
think, and ye shall be provided with answers

think, and ye shall be provided with answers

Our problem is that we call ourselves followers of one religion (Islam), while looking for answers to our questions and solutions to our problems in ideologies derived from another (such as by trying to follow ‘rules’ and ‘systems’ that we expose ourselves to via Western TV series or lifestyles for instance).

In doing so, we perform the classic fallacy of trying to compare apples (religion) to oranges (ideology). Your basic “Methods in Business Research” course during your BBA or MBA should have taught you not to fall into the pitfalls of research methodology (such as the trap of seeking 2 answers from one question, because that will do nothing but pose problems for you in the end when it comes to coding). The same basic principle applies here too.

Furthermore, we spend at least most of our energies trying to understand something that we shouldn’t be spending time trying to apply to our life in the first place [the rules & systems of a lifestyle (for example Western) that is not the lifestyle proposed by the religion we chose (for example Islam) – if we call ourselves Muslims/Christians/x, we should first study what Islam/Christianity/X is all about and what rules, systems, & guidance etc are presented by Islam/Christianity/X for us to govern our lives. Watching Western TV series for entertainment or perspective, or ‘growing relatively modern’ in terms of lifestyle is a separate matter altogether and should not interfere with the teachings of the religion of our choice (and should be done away with if it in any way does interfere with that).


Note:- Ideology is defined (google) as:

  1. A system of ideas and ideals, esp. one that forms the basis of economic or political policy: “the ideology of republicanism”.
  2. The ideas and manner of thinking of a group, social class, or individual: “a critique of bourgeois ideology”.

{March 11, 2013}   Islam for Atheists, Logically

faith & reasonI was quite the late adopter of social media, especially twitter, (and have yet to explore several more platforms such as pinterest, Reddit, you name it). So it was only natural for me to discover a handful of things quite late. One of these things that I came across was twitter accounts with bio’s that for some reason proudly claimed they were ex-Muslims and now Atheists. This actually came as a shock to me, because I had heard of atheism, and had not yet gotten over the fact that there are people who don’t believe in the concept of a god, any god, and here was something even closer to me, Muslims/Islam, slapping my brain with an ‘ex’. I just could not comprehend this latest find.

So here is the post I promised last week – a post that addresses especially those atheists who look down upon others who exercise their choice and right to practice religion (whichever religion for that matter), and those twitterati who proudly claim to ex-Muslim-now-Atheists, because these idiots have nothing to be ‘proud’ of, and for all their harping on about logic and science, don’t make an ounce of sense to me.

Here’s to calling on their BS. Read the rest of this entry »

{March 8, 2013}   the rape philosophy

helplessness = power over other

helplessness = power over other

This post stirred many a thoughts once I happened upon this piece. I would like to disclaim here that there is a lot more that can be further elaborated upon, and that toward the end I might sound like preaching (especially from an Islamic point of view), but 1. had I been preaching like a holier than thou saint I would not sometimes be found clad in tomboy clothes or I would be a regular head scarf-er etc; 2. I am merely putting down my thoughts as my mind untangles those threads and answers questions in light of my life and my study of life so far, even if it sounds like a conclusion, which it is in a way. I would also like to disclaim here that I do not expect everyone to spring into some realization and agree with me and my conclusion and adopt it.

There is A LOT to be said and understood about how sexual violence works. But in light of the above special-focus topic of ..I will limit this post of mine to a single aspect of sexual violence: rape.

It is men who have given rise to rape, and women are not to be blamed. Read the rest of this entry »

“Marina Abramović, “Rhythm 0,” 1974

Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović is best known for her performance pieces, in which she tries to explore what is possible for an artist to do in the name of art. Her best known piece was the recent “The Artist Is Present,” in which she sat motionless for 736.5 hours over the course of three months, inviting visitors to sit opposite her and make eye contact for as long as they wanted. So many people began spontaneously crying across from her that blogs and Facebook groups were set up for those people. 

Her bravest piece, however, is my favorite. This piece was primarily a trust exercise, in which she told viewers she would not move for six hours no matter what they did to her. She placed 72 objects one could use in pleasing or destructive ways, ranging from flowers and a feather boa to a knife and a loaded pistol, on a table near her and invited the viewers to use them on her however they wanted. 

Initially, Abramović said, viewers were peaceful and timid, but it escalated to violence quickly. “The experience I learned was that … if you leave decision to the public, you can be killed… I felt really violated: they cut my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the public. Everyone ran away, escaping an actual confrontation.”

This piece revealed something terrible about humanity, similar to what Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment or Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Experiment, both of which also proved how readily people will harm one another under unusual circumstances. 

This performance showed just how easy it is to dehumanize a person who doesn’t fight back, and is particularly powerful because it defies what we think we know about ourselves. I’m certain the no one reading this believes the people around him/her capable of doing such things to another human being, but this performance proves otherwise.”

Source: Facebook Sharing

{February 20, 2013}   categorizing social media platforms
striking that balance is as much on you as on others' perception of you (photo credits: google images)

striking that balance is as much on you as on others’ perception of you (photo credits: google images)

As a Marketing and HR bi-major (MBA from one of the top business schools in my region) and professional, it irks me to no end when potential employers or line managers scan your personal social media profiles to arrive at a judgement of your work-related potential. Common examples are pictures uploaded on facebook where you might be acting silly with your friends, and a potential or current employer, boss, or colleague takes that to mean you have a non-serious attitude that applies everywhere and anywhere, and makes sure to have it noticed in the work place environment. Another common example is the need for people to mention in their twitter bio data something along the lines of “RT’s are not endorsements,” or “Views my own, not my employer’s”.

However, given the kind of background we all come from in Pakistan, a background where people are only beginning to understand and practice professional HR standards and practices, I believe those who face such problems are also at a bit of fault.

where to draw the line (image source: google images)

where to draw the line (image source: google images)

For instance, a simple measure that could be taken is to avoid mentioning you work related background on a twitter account that you are using solely for entertainment, or, for instance, ensuring that colleagues are kept off your facebook profile. One of my colleague-cum-bosses I worked with went so far as to make 2 facebook profiles, one was strictly personal, and the other to keep in touch with professional contacts as per facebook’s ways. Like, why should you mention where you work or what professional background you hold, on a twitter bio, when you know that the purpose of that account is more personal (such as RT-ing jokes & quips, most of which may not be acceptable in a professional setting) than corporate? 

You have LinkedIn for professional contacts and communication, apart from your professional email address, office number etc. Must you have all your professional contacts on all your personal interaction forums?

Simple rule: decide what the objective of your social profile is, for each social platform: Do you want your facebook profile to be the primary manner in which to keep in touch with professional contacts or seek out professional opportunities? Do you want people not to confuse your twitter account with what your employer or your work ethics represent? Do you want to restrict professional activity to LinkedIn only? How would you prefer people contacting you for work – via personal email ID or via a professional one?

find that balance & stick to it - message is consistency & updation (image credit: google images)

find that balance & stick to it – message is consistency & updation (image credit: google images)

Even if you use more than one social platforms for several purposes each, in the end, it all boils down to the weightage you give to each objective on each profile. That, and strict adherence to your own rules, will help you fend off professional attacks due to activity on personal profiles/accounts.

{February 18, 2013}   the grand limitation of being human

the grand limitation of being human

(photo source: facebook sharing)

{February 15, 2013}   in the name of religion

heart stringsSo yesterday was, almost globally, being celebrated as Valentine’s Day. And once again, what a sad turn of events it is all taking in Pakistan.

Personally, I am not in favor of restricting love to be celebrated on a single day, and this includes Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Labor Day, every day for that matter. Personally, I believe that one should believe in what they believe in every day of their lives, should try their best to practice what they preach every day of their lives, try not to always be preaching, and focus on self instead of everything everyone else is doing.

However, people will use every opportunity to earn a buck or prevent someone else from earning that buck. Which is why, one sees extra focus on some value or the other, some sentiment or the other, on one particular day, so that an industry could reap exponential profits on that particular day (take any day that people celebrate with special preparations and decorations and rituals etc).

There will be those who understand that business will not only make use of opportunities to earn, but will in fact strive to create opportunities which they can then reap benefits off. There will be those who will use the same opportunities for the benefit of businesses of other kinds (such as political or religious or social agendas). And then there will be those poor souls of fools who are so insecure and sensitive that they will play right into the hands of the two groups defined above. Read the rest of this entry »

{February 9, 2013}  

this author just won every lover’s heart. for penning these things down, as well as for providing these explanations for use.

{February 8, 2013}  

i wonder what it’d be like to slay a beautiful horse while it thinks you’re happily riding it on the perfect kinda field on the perfect kinda day…

{February 4, 2013}   on missing out

i don’t understand people’s craze about capturing things because they don’t want to miss it. like sunsets. i mean, i get it if you loved a sight so much that you pounced on the opportunity to capture it so that you can revisit it at will in future. and i get it if you’re a photographer by occupation/passion. but all other people who take like a million pictures of EVERY scenery they come across – like, dude, get a life. you say you dont wanna miss it? you wanna preserve it? what for? do you realize how many sceneries you have missed already because you weren’t born then? do you realize that preserving every day in a number of ways is not really preserving anything for future generations because they will have their share of beautiful sceneries. this – this crazy snapping of things and environments – is only wasting your day, each day that you do this.

get a life. enjoy whatever comes your way for its sake, and for your own sake. it is for you to keep. sure take a snap or two, or a few. a handful of albums from your past are usually a nice thing to have around you. but know that that day was sent for you to enjoy, so live it, rather than waste time trying to capture it. capture it with your heart & soul, for the most part at least. and no matter how much you yearn for it to happen, sometimes, you just cant share everything you want to with everyone you want to, and you cant save everything. you cant save everything.

here is a little sunset for you:

{February 3, 2013}   of sick pleasures

watching re-enactments of crimes televised by news channels. regularly. religiously. becoming a paranoid freak due to them, yet not using one’s own mind to differentiate between what is hurting you & what you should simply get rid of.


list to be continued.

{February 2, 2013}  

this is a good reference list i think. what say you?

{February 2, 2013}   on feminism

this post is inspired by certain life incidents that have often made me think to such an extent that it irritates the crap out of me. 

i’ve often been labelled a feminist. and it has, simply speaking, pissed me right off. the first time i got called a feminist i had to look the word up in a fat oxford dictionary. and from what i understood of the definition, i could not agree with myself being labelled as such in absolute terms. the next few times it happened happened after a long long break. during this break, i used to go to school where the uniform demanded that i be covered in loosely fitting clothes, a large dupatta and a scarf, (other facts of the context are that the school was co-ed, and that i used to be very active participant in competitions of almost every sort, especially sports). anyway, so the next time it happened i was 3 years into university, and at an internship, where the rest of the 6 interns were all girls and just one guy. it was this guy who called me a feminist, which made me stop whatever i was doing, taken slightly aback, and look at myself objectively. the only things i could come up with were that i was active, enthusiastic, and vocal about things i believed in. which i consider an incomplete definition of feminism.feminism Read the rest of this entry »

{January 31, 2013}   on death. and all her friends

people shut up about you once you’re dead. out of respect. respect that you dont need anymore. because you’re dead. and are no more a threat to anyone, in any way. people are such dumb fucks. people suck the life out of life

{January 27, 2013}  

there are two kinds of pain: one at the onset of injury, and the other throughout the healing process.

first the thorn pricks. then you have to pull it out.

{January 26, 2013}   On hard work and success
how hard work works

how hard work works

Successful people emphasize hard work. I was just wondering what hard work really meant, and came to the following conclusion, which i’d like to share with my readers because I wish someone had explained it to me:

Read the rest of this entry »

{January 14, 2013}   “Because if we …

“Because if we are busy hiding what we have done, it leaves us vulnerable to anyone who discovers our secrets. And we become so consumed with keeping them that it is a slippery slope to doing even worse things.”

picture credit: copyright LA TimesSo they ask me, in shock, whether i even know what piercing in the west stands for. Well, do you know what black nail paint with dark eye makeup stands for in the west? Get a life man. Why don’t you ask what piercing means when you get your nose pierced? You got the top of your ear pierced thus looking life a wannabe elf, i got my lip pierced. Same difference. Suck it. Read the rest of this entry »

{September 7, 2012}   of sinning and conniving

“In a closed society where everybody is guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”
– Hunter S. thompson



Interesting. However, in a society, whether closed or not, it is not necessary that everyone is guilty. Especially because guilt is not for humans to decide, not in every case. So, IF one is guilty, yes the only crime is getting caught. But if one is sure that one is not guilty, one wont commit the supposed crime, and will not be under pressure to hide things. Yet if someone else accuses one of a crime (other than being caught), the burden of proof is on the prosecutor/accuser.
In a world of sinners and thieves, one who does not want to (and does not) sin or steal, is safe in their non-political bliss.

{September 4, 2012}   World Hijab Day… _|_

Warning/Disclaimer: those who may take offense to use of explicit terminology and a bit of venting by way of using swear words (if any), are advised not to venture further, or keep their reaction to these things to themselves.

So now religious extremists have started suckling on the idea of making hijab compulsory for the women in the (oh so) Islamic Republic of Pakistan. According to those in favor of the new World Hijab Day (in Pakistan only, btw?), hijab is the only protection against inviting stares, gazes, oggling, and other forms of eve-teasing women. Also, according to these oh-so-saintly guardians of Islam, by making hijab compulsory in this country, all evil emanating due to the existence of female boobs and ass and skin and whatever your sick mind can fantasize about, to which the attention is apparently attracted by way of uncovered hair or face, will forever be eradicated.

[Sidenote: The female body structure was also Allah’s creation. Every body part has a function, and yes I can go so biology on you.]

Sorry suckers, but I shall openly disagree with this premise. For several reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

{September 2, 2012}   charsi

I think if there’s one nursery rhyme I took too seriously, it was the one that started, “I am a tea pot…”.

I swear tea is my pot. And I often feel like a pot full of tea. Cup after cup, pot after pot.

If there is any cancer-like disease that can be caused by tea, I sure need to pray against it.

et cetera
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