Monday, May 10, 2010

Gradual Islamisation

Late 60's and 70's, as seen from our parents pictures and anecdotes were modern times. The country boasted of casino's, cinema's and public parties with booze. The armed forces in particular were considered extremely emancipated, promoting the club culture which the British rule had introduced in this part of the world. Those times were extremely religiously tolerant as well, many castes be it sunni's, sheas's, ahmedi's lived and interacted with each other, many inter caste marriages took place as well.

Come the 80's and the start of the Zia era, came the Allah Hafiz culture. From a secular society, we started transforming into an Islamic one where everything started and ended with Islam.
The women became very active and shifted from coffee parties to milaads and dars. The core concept of these events remained the same, to dress up in your finest,socialize and gossip to death but it was done in an Islamic manner with a Quran Khawani or with reciting ayats or naats. The women who did not attend were considered going astray from God's path. More and more men started growing long beards and Jameet e Islami became the saviour of Islam and its practices. It became common knowledge hearing about couples sitting innocently in Uni or college campuses, to be threatened or the boy beaten up and warned to stay away from each other. Gradually we closed our minds and limited our vision.

Standing in 2010 today, we have numerous religious channels where uneducated maulvi's lecture our nation about right and wrong. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing bad about having channels solely for religious purposes but the content is absolutely absurd. The viewers of such channels, their vision doesn't go beyond the end their nose. The Q&A session, where people call in to ask the Islamic expert, is amazingly hilarious. Q's like can i paint my nails and pray? can i marry off my gay son? is working in a call center allowed in Islam etc etc. The list is endless and gets funnier. We are deeply entrenched and have fallen far far down in this pit which is eating us up,a nation which has produced highly enlightened individuals still remembered by the world.

Friday, May 07, 2010


Home exhibitions of clothes, formal and casual etc is an extremely lucrative business these days, as women will never stop shopping, I can vouch for this, being one :) Earlier it was the middle class women who used to try and earn the extra buck but now its the rich bored housewives who have ventured into this.

These home based entrepreneurs are extremely rich, live in huge fancy houses and don't need the extra buck at all. With summer in full swing and women going crazy making clothes,I too attended a no of such exhibitions.

The trade mark of all such events are the dolled up women, dressed in their finest and talking non stop in fake accents. It's a very pretentious crowd, who try and act extremely modern, speak only in English,everything western rocks, desi values suck and look down on people not dressed according to the latest fashion. With long red painted nails flashing diamond solitaires, the ladies pick out outfits from the racks, totaling a bill of over 50k easily, and you get to hear comments like "I love these exhibitions jani,so cost effective na"

I love modern, independent minded, high maintenance women (it's imp to look good) but why don't these modern thoughts translate into other other areas as well, why limited only to your social circle. These very mansions, holding the exhibitions don't cater to the drivers who sit outside in the 50 degrees while the begum saheb spends her millions inside and on entering the exhibition area in the house, first comment after the mwahss is " Its boiling outside jani".What do these women know about heat? They travel to and fro in air conditioned cars, live in centrally air conditioned houses but never will they spare a thought to the people working for them. There is no arrangement for the poor souls outside, no chairs, no pedestal fans, hell they aren't even asked to come in the porch to get out of the direct heat.

If the elite are so for western values, then how come they treat the lower class in such an inhuman manner????

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Being Poor

Manzoor, a teenage balti boy, comes up to the room to hand a bottle of water to the lords. He enters the room and is told to put it on the fridge, instantly his body and mind responds to the chilled temperature. He loves the cool breeze on his face and wishes he could sit in the room for a while longer. The lords are sprawled on the bed, watching TV in their pj's.

Manzoor reluctantly leaves the room, closes the door behind him and wishes he could also sleep in heaven like the lords. He starts his daily ironing and thinks to himself "why are they better off than me" "Why doesn't God make my life better" " What is so special about them"????

He picks up toys thrown on the floor by lord junior, puts them back in the basket. The young lord comes shouting and crying, "Why did you touch my toys?", throws a big tantrum and keeps shouting till Mama lord comes out to console him, " Aww my baby, I will scold him, don't cry". Manzoor gets told off and the lords go back to their Alaskan environment. The Balti thinks to himself that only a day or two earlier lord junior was being given a lesson about respecting elders, talking to them politely, how come he is allowed to shout and insult me even though I'm at least 15 years his senior.

The young man goes into the kitchen and starts the washing up of the utensils, dries the cutlery and scrubs the counters clean. Once all the chores are done, he goes into his dingy room to sleep, as soon as his back hits the bed, the clock strikes 12 and the electricity goes. He tosses and turns in his bed, braving the mosquitoes, with the sound of the generator in the background which turns on instantly as the great lords can't be without their air con's for even a second.

He works hard the whole day without a minutes rest, but he can never earn such luxuries in life because that is the sole right of the lords as he is after all a poor guy and will remain so all his life.


I was sitting watching TV when I got a call from Akif, my husband, he wanted me to go scuba diving with him and his friends on Saturday. I had known about his scuba diving plan but wasn't taking too much interest as I wasn't going to go dive. Although I was concerned for him, as we usually tend to mistrust everything in Pakistan and totally trust ppl and institutes abroad. I was really scared but I said yes.
We set off for Mubarak village on Saturday, around two hours drive from Karachi city. We reached a small fishing village and beyond the thatched roof huts was absolutely blue crystal clear water. Simply beautiful. We started driving along a very narrow jeep track and several times had to get out of the car to guide Akif. We parked our cars in this open area and walked down to the beach, the water was cold and it was heavenly just to stand and get our feet wet. Our instructors Yousaf and Rosheen from Karachi Scuba Diving Centre had started unpacking the gear, quite a task. Once set, the instruction process started. We were given basic tips and told to change into the diving suits.I got into one of the jeeps to change and was huffing puffing by the time i finished. The diving suit is tight and to get into it in a car is very tough. One by one the instructors took us into the water and taught us how to breathe under water. The sea had become extremely rough by the time we were ready to dive and it was decided to come back another day.
In between the week,Yousaf and Rosheen organized a practice session at a pool which proved to be very useful. By the way, Rosheen Khan is Pakistan's only female scuba instructor. The pool session was fun and we came back more confident.
Next Saturday we set off early morning, this time our destination was Charna Island. We reached a mini port after a 1.5 hour drive, from there we got into 2 boats and set off for the famous dive spot. The sea was rough, the whole journey was quite frightening as we had huge waves hitting the boat and i was constantly praying. The instructors sat absolutely relaxed as it was nothing new for them. Once there, anchor was thrown in and the boats were parked right in front of Charna. This is considered a good dive spot for beginners as the island guards the water from the waves from one side, so the sea is relatively calm. Boat 1 went first, and we sat and filmed the group dive in one by one. I had calmed down seeing them come back alive :)
Next we started preparing for the dive, getting into suits, finding fins and weight belts our size. A weight belt is like 15 kg weight which is tied around the waist, basically to make the diver heavy and sink into the water. One by one, all of us flipped into the water, backwards complete commando action style. I consider myself very brave. A rope was thrown into the water to keep everyone together. We practiced our under water sign language once and then we went in. Down and down we went, 30 feet under water. It was an amazing feeling. I saw schools of fish swimming around a beautiful coral reef. The world under water has beautiful colours, creatures of all sizes and shapes. I was tremendously enjoying the experience, after a while, I checked my oxygen level as per instructions and it was down to a 1000, i gestured to the instructor and we swam upwards.We had a feast on our journey back, thankfully the sea was not rough and we had a smooth ride back. Everyone later asked me as to how I trusted a local diving centre as nothing is reliable in Pakistan. People, lets give the people in our own country a chance and opportunity to excel. Scuba diving, I highly recommend to everyone.