Saturday, February 23, 2008

A new Year

It finally feels like a new year now, I mean after these elections. I have been reading all these editorials and opinions on various websites of Pakistani newspapers,TV and forums. Some how its elating, even sitting thousands of miles away from home and not having been there to vote. I am not the one to predict how it will go on and what it will do to for the welfare and betterment of the nation, the people, if any thing at all.

I however, know one thing that the will of the people has been done. The powers to be in our great republic the military-civil bourgeois, Uncle Sam, the Kings and Princes on the other side of the Arabian Sea are all some how subservient to the will of the people ! the Joe on the street.

Could it really be true, is it what it is or is it just another mirage ? is it the preface to another horrific chapter, a chapter the epilogue of which will never be written.

Parallels have been drawn to last time we surpassed our very own records on democracy and empowerment, the one in 1970 and the dismemberment of the republic the eastern wing. A General was responsible for conducting those elections and here we have another General, albeit retired responsible for another such gift to the nation, or is he?

Questions remain untold in our nations short history, from the breakdown of that rickety ambulance between the Airport in Karachi and the Governor house to the PIA aircraft that made a fateful landing 8 years ago.

Hoewever, above all these emotions; of bewilderment, pride, anxiousness, curiosity the most strongest one is of longing, of missing home - the mother land. For once I wanted to be there when history was being made, to witness my country men joyous and happy, to feel like how it feels to not having been violated, to feel empowered, to feel you mean some thing, to feel part of history. Motherland I miss you.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Another weekend

Another weekend, another working weekend, I should'nt be complaining it is after all January... trailing on the year end, the financial year end for most of our client January to March should be the busiest time of our professional lives,.. but lately its a pattern canvassing the rest of the year as well.

The other day, I was leaving office after having spent more than 14 hours in the office. The platform was deserted by London standards. Most of my fellow passangers were 'suits' workers in the city, bankers, IT guys and perhaps accountants/auditors. Professionals striving 12 plus hour days for a better, happy life style, perhaps. In the train on the commute back to my appartment, I felt like that 13 year old child holed up indoors in the exam week, looking outside from my bedroom window... the outdoors !!! When's the exam going to be over?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Yet another year

Yet another year, with all those new year resolutions already going stale. Well, there are no new resolutions its just another way of putting off important changes one wants to make, just another way of deferring it. Past the new year and we are ready to write it off !

I know its a bad attempt of stringing words into a sentence, but its January and lo and behold busy season for us auditors. One of my new resolutions is of course a change of career. Not just changing companies and stuff, but a real change ! not being an accountant or auditor or for that matter a finance professional. I am bored ... plain and simple. I want to do some thing exciting, like writing a book or being a full time Phd. student.

Yeah, easier said that done, have a mortgage to pay and then the credit cards etcetra. I know what I will do it, as soon as I win the lottery. (Now that's a plan)

P.S: next year's new year resolution start playing the lottery and change career.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Moving homes or houses !

What's it about moving houses .. I am sure no one in their right mind would enjoy it. I am the knid of guy who likes to warm up to his 'digs' and well am too lazy to move just because there is a better 'set of digs' about with more space and style ! That is precisely why I have been in this flat for a year and six months now. But that's the cost of being an expat.. in the last 6 plus years of being an 'expatriate' I have moved 5 houses ! not to mention the fact that its soooo easy to move places in Dubai... you have friends around to help you pack (well they were'nt married back then) and then on the d-day all you do is go find a Pathan with a lorry haggle some and presto you'd get a 'superb' deal, and just because you are a 'Pakistani brathar' the God fearing Khan would throw in a 'Chota' to do all the moving for you.. add to this the Malbari Natoor (watchman) and presto all you have to do is drive your 4 wheel from one part of the city to another (or for my last move there,, one city to another) and sit pretty, and best of all you can do it at your leisure.

This Country,, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland aka EINGLAAND and more so London, you have to do every thing on your own (unless you are filthy rich !) which for the record is no fun at all. The wife and I spend a good time of last weekend packing our worldly belongings (which seem to just multiply on their own) into our 'movers' brown packing boxes and in suit cases of various denominations. Now during the week she is to have all the fun and pack up her 'Kitchen' and then 'de pack' the land lords Kitchen back in its shape (don't ask what that is all about)

The D day is we are hoping end of this week, so if every thing goes by the book we'll have moved in our new flat. And then is one half day of fun with the 'Inventory Inspector' from my present real estate/manager and we'll have fun counting spoons, ladles, furniture and the three paper backs we got in with the flat.

One of our neighbour's volunteered to ferry the two dozen odd boxes and suit cases to the new place at the weekend, lucky us we are just moving two blocks away within the same post code !

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Public transport


It’s been two years in this city and when I first landed here I wanted to write ‘ a first impressions’ kind of thing, but never got around doing it. Well, this is just not that, it is more of ‘here we are again’ kind of a thing. The first impressions thing I will do some other day! The city has changed me, one of the most remarkable thing that it has done to me is make me ‘vehicle less’, it is not an unusual thing for people living in pretty much any where in ‘Greater London’ for not driving to work especially if there is a commute that involves going into central London and the congestion charge! The public transport system in this city is the very best and the most extensive compared to any where in the world. You can on most days get to your ‘intended destination’ more efficiently and economically than you would by say a ‘taxi’ or a ‘car’. The saying is if you really hate some one and want to torture them send the bloke to central London having to drive a vehicle!. Another thing quite acute about the public transport is that every one uses it, the Mayor of the Greater London Authority commutes from his house in North London to his central London office on a tube (underground), so do most of the millionaire chief executives of FTSE 100 companies and well every one. It is more of an ordeal for the ‘more wealthy’ citizen because most of them actually prefer to live in one of the many villages/towns on the outskirts of the Greater London because those are the best places to live in England, re good schools, amenities, larger houses etc. That means their commute time is any thing between an hour and two!! I on the other hand have a fifteen-minute commute to my office, door to door it is just 35 minutes and that’s not bad considering the fact that I live some 19 miles from central London. The point is even after two years I am just not comfortable in not getting around with a car, some days I have these cravings and others I simply think of moving to a city that supports ‘vehicular commute’. Driving is very much synonym to every thing macho! The rev of the engine, the pick, the speed, the cruise and the control over all that horsepower! I can quite well remember buying my first car a 1998 Honda Civic Lxi, now that was fun, of course cannot stress enough the sense of loss and depravity I had to endure when selling my Pajero before moving here, that baby took me to the beaches, sand dunes, off road in to the desert, hell I even made it to the ‘Rab ul Khali’ or the empty quarter on the UAE-Saudi Arabia border, where the average dunes are the size of a ten story building!

The Dentist

12 December 2006, Lahore

Ok let me make some thing clear, I hate doctors.. not as persons or personal human beings but as in Doctor - patient kind of thing, their receptions, the patient's chair and the dentist's chair !! If I do get sick, I am almost dragged to the GP! (there are exception however, say to get a sick note for). Now this was the sole reason why I am not a doctor (I’d like to believe that I would have made it to a decent Med college in Pakistan) and a Chartered Accountant. I could not get over the fact that I would be doing some thing all my life, which I actually loath personally other wise. I was quite good in Biology and scored the highest marks in my school in class 10, well then again I did that in Urdu (and alas I am not a journalist or a writer), come to think of it I did score the highest in Pakistan Studies (in class 12) and am told it was probably the highest in the Federal Board, overseas stream (but hey I am not a historian or a Political Science expert) although I am told I will be a good politician by one of my close friends (its lost on me though). Ahh the vagaries of being born a male in a third world country – middle class family. You don’t really get to decide what you want to be just because you like it. Its about the economies and money, well its just about money really! Having said that, I would not have want to be born a female, especially in a third world country (now I am not being a male chauvinist, just being plain honest.. In fact I think there is a bit of Women lib in these lines). I mean Women in our societies do have this option of doing what they really like, well most of the times at least.

Now coming back to the topic. Doctors and Dentists, because I hate visiting one,, I try to be on best behaviour with my body, so as never to get sick in the first place. More so with my teeth, I take good care of them because the last thing I want to do is end up in the dentist’s chair. Yesterday, though I finally succumbed to my Dad’s policing and got rid of two big one’s in the back there, my dentist having given me local anesthesia and all said it may ‘pain’ a bit. Now don’t get me wrong either this guy has a very bad sense of humour or he has never been in a dentist’s seat and woohaaaaaaaaaaaaah is all I can say. I held on and was being quite a man of it, you know with a couple of ladies in the room couldn’t just yell out with pain. Some where when my dentist was chiseling through my tooth breaking it into ‘3’ pieces before he could ‘extract’ them out I felt the intensity of pain I have never felt before (and pray to God I never do) , the worst part is that I couldn’t just yell out with all that apparatus gagged in my mouth and the ladies of course, but hey man was that painful, you can only experience it to believe it, perhaps some thing like ‘child bearing’ (thank fully I don’t have to go through that,, personally ie). Now as I was saying the ‘tooth’ in being extracted was broken into three pieces, when I heard (felt it more likely) the first one, it kind of reminded me of all my sins, big and small, all the nasty stuff I have done all my life, you know been mean or for that matter just ‘hurt’ people, In fact I was quite sorry for beating up my younger brother when I was 11 and he was 8, hey sorry man, forgive me if you are reading this! . I mean I literally ‘ran over in my head all my sins’ and well thought this was pay back time, God was just giving me my due. To be quite frank, I am not sure what the other two were for and of course the second tooth that came out, It took some good part of an hour and more, for the first half I thought I was just paying my due,, and the second half I am still trying to figure out… is that some thing for the next thirty days of my life.. kind of a ‘prepaid expense’ maybe. Where I sort of need to just amortise it over ever year. Whatever, it was, it was an eye opener and I hope that even my ‘Dentist’ never has to be in a similar position, ever (see I am still benevolent).

Saturday, September 30, 2006


There are a few things in life that sort of leave 'impressions' on you, well more of, should I say exhibit an influence on you. Let's say there are things and people. Coming to the things first, books.. most of us who do get to read them (apart from the one's that further our vocation) do get influenced, for instance your first book. I can remember mine, some thing I got at age 9 as a school momento/gift for being "best boy" in my class. I know it took me a couple of months to get through it, Enid Blyton's - 'Mr. Pink Whistle's Party'. I guess the only way it influenced me was to get into and read more books,, left right, across and all. Summer vaccations are usually quite an interesting time. Especially if you have had lived a life of an 'expatriate'. You look forward to spending the one month among your relatives back home (Pakistan) and getting into all the fun stuff. (Some things change little). Plus you get to read books,.. perhaps some day I will ponder on the mechanics of reading and how it effect you on a psycholgical level.

Just some books that have changed my thought process are Tolstoy's War and Peace (yeah I read the whole thing) Suleri's Meatless days, Vickram Seth's - A suitable boy. There there are the one's in Urdu,, the first and foremost, is ofcourse Bano Qudisa's Rajah Gidh (the King Vulture) and Mumtaz Mufti's Ali pur ka Aaili and Alakh nagri. There are some books again that leave a taste in the mouth,, in the good sense ofcourse,, some thing like brain masala or biryani or whatever.

Next in line on impressions is Movies and People,,,

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Aren't blogs more of your daily journals ? well, quite a stupid question there, is'nt it. If any of you have maintained a daily journal at some point in time... you know the kind that goes on to say "Dear diary,.. today was quite a hectic day. I started of by..."
I am saying this because I have; pretty much from the time I was thirteen (perfectly expalainable with all those raging hormones and stuff) until I was ironically eighteen or nineteen. Thereafter I did maintain a journal but more of an ocassional half dozen entries during the year. Now what was all that about? my inspiration was (and hold your breath for this) the Queen,,, HRH Queen Elizabeth II of the Royal house of Windsor ofcourse, constitutional head of theUK, Canada, Australian and NZ. Now the Queen has been an ardent recorder, a diarist from when she was eleven (and if my information is not outdated) to this day. I knew back then that I would not be able to beat her,, rival her may be... but then again I was just thirteen and all my literary failures of getting my short stories in the local 'Youth magazine' had become some what a reality. I must say that putting my thoughts to paper ( the pre internet era !) was quite refreshing and each day had its own high and low and on the most boring days the journal writing was a 'high'. Now, now its not as pathetic as it sounds. If you still think so,, you have no literary streak and I am really dissapointed !

But then blogs are not exactly like writing a journal, I think its more of a projection of self thought and end of the day you are concerned that are people are going to read it and JUDGE you. So there, end of my theory its not a journal, its more of your corporate statement. Some thing like the companies we work for keep on pushing down our throat,.. you know, 'Quality in every thing we do', ' People matter to us' and all that bolocks.

An email from Amazon announned today that my pre order of 'In the line of fire' is going to be delayed by not one or two days but 4-6 weeks !!! with their oppoloigies ofcourse. Now that is a real downer to internet buying,. I have no one to go and shout at and get my complementary vouchers from. So like every self serving conscious customer I have cancelled my order (so it hits them where it matters most .... their kitty) and am going to buy it the old fashioned way by stepping into my local book chain (there is no such thing as the local book shop any more). To make a long story short, my brother in Lahore has already thumbed through his copy of the book, while in LONDON I am still twiddling my thmbs to get one in ! You see they are well ahead of us in the third world.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Its a four letter word now,, and take my word for it,, especially if you are any day over 25. Is it just me or every one my age feels like that. I used to be a big fan of 'Thirty some thing' (the CBS tv series) back in my teens in the 90's. One of the reasons for this was because the whole story line seemed to be another world... some thing I could only fantisize about and perhaps muse. People in control of their lives and making all these darastic changes and risks and being adults, masters of their own destiny.

Now, for the love of God its all happening to me. Thirty some thing is none other than yours truly !!

Life just takes a turn and like one e card I got aptly put it as:
'Lost a little hair, belly is in the way, cholestrol's is ok......' there is a whole list to it. (For the record I am not all those things..well may be the cholestrol..)

Ofcourse you have more sexy things to think about like getting that mortgage, buying the BMW (so the TT is like just too small for the wife and family) and hey that cruise trip might just happen and going around the world.. perhaps in another five years..

Talking about birthdays, it was so easy back in the old days,, I mean any one wishing you for the day would send you a card (through snail mail... remember that !) or call you (on the phone .. the fixed line) and in person. This year around.. I had it in all these ways and much more... so much so that it got a little too yucky.... (no offence to all my well wishers ...friends and commercial enterprises alike) here is the list if you still care to read:
1) email (work, personal and all)
2) SMS
3) Phone calls (Mobile and telephone)
4) Forum posts
5) ORKUT posts
6) Snail mail
7) and ofcourse in person.

I am not being un thank ful, infact would like to take this opportunity to thank all my well wishers but it just stuck me so odd... or is it the age,,. well it must be my age for sure,...

My Birthday is 22 September....

The wait

Its still not here,.. might as well had got my copy from the local book shop. The worst thing is not getting it in time but actually having to wait for it. What happens when you pre order a book a CD etc is you loose the God given (hmm capitalistic god given) right to be a free willy consumer. So there you are with your hands tied,.. nothing to do but sit around and twiddle your thumbs.

I do not need to give a book review here, (unless I read the damn thing) but am surprised myself that it has created a lot of interest among fellow Pakistanis in Pakistan and Overseas and surprise surprise the opposition leaders in land of the pure and not so pure (read across the wahga border !!)

Hope fully by this time tommorrow I will have my merchandise and not go ahead with a civil suite against amazoooon