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.

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.

{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”.

{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 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?

{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 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.

{August 30, 2012}   OCD – an order

I believe I possess the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

And I believe I am blessed to be in possession of such a skill.

In fact, this is not even a disorder. It is termed a disorder by those too unfortunate not to have it. In all their jealousy and envy, they give it a name with a negative connotation.

Rather, this is order, the only order that helps put everything in order.

{August 15, 2012}   overthinking


i believe it is a tough way of figuring life out, but that there is light at the end. especially when there is a goal. to reach simplicity, you must sift through the clutter of confusion – uljhi taaron ko suljhanay k liye mehnat tou lagti hai. depends how you handle what is thrown your way.

{April 22, 2012}   political correctness

i dont want to be politically correct. i dont want to have to be. 

i think that is what will bring me down. at least in the wrong kind of field. 

in the right field, i will be intrinsically motivated to be politically correct, if i so wish. and not being politically correct, should i still choose so, in the right field wont bring me down because the field is right. 

in the right field, i will be motivated to do at least one thing, as compared to having to do something i dont really want, and being politically correct at it too.

i just want to be correct to myself.

{March 4, 2012}   to be a woman

When I was young, and sometimes even now, I used to wonder, and wish to an extent, why I wasn’t a male. Several reasons made me almost wish things would undo themselves and then restart on their path with me being a man then.

Often I used to try and justify God’s choice to appease me. These justifications included the possibility of me being far more intense as a person in male form than i currently was, which wouldn’t be good for all then, I told myself. I even told myself that if I was to be a man, I’d remember being a woman, and that might get awkward, despite the fact that I might actually enjoy courting women.

I tried reasoning with God, playfully, trying to justify that as a man, I would be the perfect single parent, if need be. But He pointed out I’m assuming I’d remember being a woman. 

But I figured out last night. Perfectly.

If I was a boy to begin with, I’d most likely grow up to be gay.

a glass of juice. another glass of juice. a glass of milk. which is the odd one out? the glass of milk. nope, the second glass of juice. why :s? cos it’s got no originality, man.

I find it extremely annoying when bloggers

a) literally strip their entries off the previous issues of weekend magazines, and

b) boast of a “thriving” blog when they don’t know the basics such as the difference between its and it’s or your and you’re, and all the comments they get are from a handful of the people they interact with daily anyway.

Such “bloggers” could at least

a) proofread their entries before posting them, or update them with corrections soon, and, while at it, quit giving birth to senseless and useless new vocabulary when they themselves blog about how annoying it is for their own *insert suitable adjective such as sorry / hypocritical / wannabeeistic [ah, you see what i mean 😉 ]* selves to find people using senseless and useless vocabulary/grammar/spellings while communicating through different means.

b) talk about real (or even relatively real) issues (more often) and thus use their time a liTTle more constructively.

c) make the necessary changes in their own lives rather than just blogging about the few semi-real (if that) issues they do talk about before going back to their own hypocritical lifestyles.

{October 26, 2009}  

so thats why the past was reminding me of itself. cos it IS coming back.


when there are still clothes in your closet that you wish you could just throw away…when there’s still remains of a past in your head…you simply need to open your eyes to the reality, to the now, to the growing up, to the giving, to the newness…you need to look away from everything that’s trying to force its way into your vision…and you know what the best part is? that it’s not all that hard 🙂

Kamiyan hum sab main hoti hain: kuch logon ki kamiyan dikhaiyee detee hain; kuch logon ki kamiyan un k saath waqt aur zindagi guzarne pe ubhar k saamne aati hain. Isi liye koi kisi ki physical disability/shortcoming/any other unfavourable aspect (like color or hieght etc) ko dekh k kuch judge karay – yeh uss ki khud ki bad-qismati hui.

{September 18, 2009}   glass-breaking not unlucky

“sheesha tootne se tou itte saare sheeshay ban gayay, tou khwaab tootne se bhi itte saare aur khwaab banaingay”

I usually get really pissed at the crap that these omnipresent star plus dramas show, but there are a few cases where i feel that what they’re trying to do is good.

People have so many superstitions: they consider breaking of glass (a glass, a mirror etc) to be unfortunate – a sign of something being negative or a prediction of something unfortunate in the near future, or related to the task at hand. But this one drama showed in one of its episode that when people got upset at such an incident, the rest of the family says it’s all crap. And there’s this mentally slow member of the family, who says the words i’ve put in qoutes above.

(Of course, later on they went on to show that something bad indeed happens, but I’d like to take the good from it 🙂 )

{September 13, 2009}  

An entrepreneur is someone who will work 18 hours a day to avoid having to work 8 hours a day for someone else.

{September 13, 2009}  

Did you enjoy yourself?

I had to, there was nothing else to enjoy.

{September 13, 2009}   secrets of success
I took this from Unilever’s wall :p
Master your mind.
Follow your purpose.
Practice Kaizen (continuous improvement).
Live with discipline.
Respect your time.
Selflessly serve others.
Ebrace the present.

{August 5, 2009}  

chocolates can be kisses. music has to be sex.

{July 17, 2009}   End of week 1

So, Friday it is. I am sitting in the office at 8:18 am. Waiting for the canteen to start serving breakfast at 9. Sat late yesterday at the guesthouse.  I realize that even if i reach home by 7, bed time somehow just doesn’t come around until 12, and then i have to wake up around six max so i can shower before i leave the house. So that’s where i miss the breakfast. But hey, they have good affordable breakfast here so that’s good.

I hate central air-conditioning :p Good we can get shawls and dress for winters :p

Bought a “water bottle” – it’s back to school days again baby :p Waise seriously, only university is the most..flexible…after that you really are back to school: from vans picking you before sunrise :p to being childish in the office!

You’re actually looking for more here? :p

{July 5, 2009}  

i dint know men could be bitchy. grown up men. who had three kids of their own.

oh, and i sleep well when hurt and have cried myself tired. ot tired myself by trying to curtail the tears.

Assigning a document an earlier date than when the document was actually created. This is often illegal.


This means that if the year ends on December 31st and i’m a sales incharge hoping to get a bonus if i reached sales of say 100,000 by December 31st, but fall short of my target by 1000, then i would be backdating cash receipts that i actually received in January the next year if i dated them as before or on December 31st, so that i can show that i reaced my target for this year and thus am entitled to a bonus.


Let me look up what would happedn to these January receipts if i recorded them in December but recieved them in January…

et cetera
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