December- a hopeless lover

It has been a while since I’ve written something (not that there are hundreds and thousands of readers out there waiting for my next piece), and barren spells like these engender a peculiar literary vulnerability that itself is difficult to delineate. December, however has a surreal magnetism attracting words to come out mesmerized like the children of Hamelin in the story of the Pied Piper. For as long as I can remember, December has been my favorite month. All that the frosty month has to offer is almost irresistibly forgivable like it is for the storytelling, adventure sharing voyager who’s all set to embark on a journey after a brief stay as a lodger at our place.

It’s like trudging towards the end line after a laborious (sometimes even exasperating) journey and as ironically contrasting as it may sound, the end line itself is only a mirage in the winter; a mere pit stop after which all engines have to fire again. The race enters into another lap and continues with the same (if not greater) vehemence. The decision to look back or to keep focus on what’s coming up ahead is strangely irrelevant as engaging oneself in either of the two does not perturb the flow of time even for a nanosecond- it does not cease to move forward shamelessly.

December1

Even though December relishes the status of a full-fledged ‘31 day’ month, it suffers the constant misfortune of being ignored in that it is spent by the spenders either in recollecting memories, experiences, lessons and moments from its antecedents or in making promises, resolutions and plans for its successors. Hence, the lack of warmth, maybe! You can’t blame someone for being cold after they’ve been ignored like December, can you? It is unfair. I mean, the poor thing makes an effort every year by showering gifts like enchanting dry fruits, hearths brightened up with fire, snowfalls, cozy blankets, early evenings, the occasional romantic rain, a holiday season full of vacations and mouthwatering discounts on shopping. Yet, the best celebrations take place on the night December bids farewell. Must be painful being December, knowing that the reason for everyone’s rejoice is your going-away.

For me, this darling month is like an altruistic, hopeless lover with an innocuous amour-propre that is seductive in its own special way.

Happy December, everyone!

Hammad A. Mateen

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The doleful story

Moon

Najam Sethi: A bittersweet fruit of nepotism

Najam-Sethi

While Ali Sethi saved the first episode of Coke Studio 10 with ‘Ranjhish hi sahi, dil hi dukhanay k liye aa’, the PCB’s Board of Governors apparently took notice and recalled his father, Najam Sethi, as the Cricket Board’s Chairman. This is not the first time Sr. Sethi has found himself at the helm of affairs of the Pakistan Cricket Board. He has seesawed with Zaka Ashraf for the position in the past as well which definitely caused a lot of embarrassment for the country on the international front. Najam Sethi, because of his loyalty and affiliation with the Sharif’s and the absence of any sort of cricketing experience generally garners animosity from the masses. Senior Ex-cricketers aren’t also great fans of Sethi based on their opinion that only cricketers should run cricket boards (Even though Javed Miandad, during his stint as Director General, PCB proved many of them wrong). Ex-cricketers from recent times like Wasim Akram and Rashid Latif support Sethi as someone who can give Pakistan cricket a new direction.

najam-sethi-pcb-chief

Najam Sethi’s affair with Pakistan Cricket began not even a month after his much debated ‘successful’ stint as the Caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab ahead of the 2013 general elections. He has been part of the PCB since then in one way or the other. During Shehryar Khan’s tenure as Chairman PCB, Sethi was considered as someone who was actually running the show from behind the scenes. His stance regarding Pakistan’s vote for the controversial Big 3 proposal when he was Chairman PCB received mixed reactions from all circles. Many argue that it was a decision that was ‘not emotional’ and pragmatic considering Pakistan’s position in world cricket at that time. Nevertheless, Pakistan is yet to bear fruits for that decision as the bilateral series that was promised between India and Pakistan as a result of Pakistan’s vote in favor of Big 3 has not materialized and neither has Pakistan yet been compensated financially as a result of India backing out.

The Pakistan Super League (PSL) has been Sethi’s biggest success so far. The grandeur with which both editions of the tournament have been organized is comparable to any major cricket league in the world and speaks volumes of Sethi’s efforts in restoring faith of the ICC and many of its member boards in Pakistan cricket. No matter what Imran Khan and PTI have to say, staging the final in Lahore for the 2nd edition of the league was one of the biggest achievements PCB had made in recent times. And even though most of the international players who were supposed to represent their respective sides in the final backed out, the amount of support Pakistan cricket received for successfully and peacefully organizing the final is immeasurable and will go a long way. It is because of that final that a home series against an ICC World XI is now on the cards and if the PCB is able to successfully pull that off (what a series that would be!), it will surely prove many critics wrong.

The world is about marketing and lobbying these days and even if that is a bad specialty to have, Sethi is most definitely good at it. Two Ex-PCB chairmen (Khalid Mahmood and Gen. (Retd.) Touqir Zia) have also backed Sethi for the Chairmanship of the board. Ironically, both had also not played cricket but are considered opinion leaders when it comes to cricket administration in Pakistan. Najam Sethi will however need to disconnect himself from politics (if that’s possible) and focus on building a team that creates a domestic cricket structure which can back initiatives like the PSL in the future. I’m personally not a fan of the man with the ‘Chirya’ but I do hope he takes Pakistan Cricket to new heights and brings back international cricket to the country. People miss the biryani at National Stadium.

Hammad A. Mateen

A conversation at the barber’s shop

Two Karachiites in conversation with each other at a barber’s shop while they wait for their turns:

First guy:              This ‘gormint’ is as useless as a punctured stepney.  I mean look at what just 2 days of rain has done to the city!

Second guy:       Mmmmm…. (Maintains his attention on skimming through images on the showbiz page of a newspaper without caring too much about the date of the paper)

First guy:              You know how difficult it was to just reach here from my place? It was like laboring my way through a swamp. Disgusting!!!

Second guy:       (Pulls his head out of the newspaper almost involuntarily) But you had to come here, didn’t you?

First guy:              Of course! What else could I have done at home? I was getting bored. The electricity’s playing hide and seek since the day the first drop of rain fell on those fragile electricity wires in our area. All thanks to our ‘gormint’.

Second guy:       So, basically you had nothing to do & you thought it would be a good idea to step out for a while and visit the barber’s? (Puts the newspaper away and turns his attention completely towards the first guy)

First guy:              (Affably) Yes!

Second guy:       And you ‘labored’ your way through the ‘swamp’ to reach here just because you were getting bored?

First guy:              (With the same zeal) Yes! And because I knew there would be electricity here.

Second guy:         How did you know there would be electricity here?

First guy:              Well, they have a different PMT for this area. I hook up the ‘kunda’ for my place from this very line. (Looks at the barber and winks at him with a smirk)

Second guy:         (Confused) So you didn’t hook up your ‘kunda’ today?

First guy:              Of course I did. But my cable operator doesn’t do that. So, I couldn’t watch TV.

Second guy:       Right! So, don’t you think the electricity crisis in the city may also have something to do with the ‘kunda’ culture that we have. I mean they do announce that areas with electricity theft and low recovery will experience load shedding.

First guy:              That’s all bullshit! How is my ‘kunda’ theft?

Second guy:         (Baffled) How is it not?

First guy:              It is theft when no one pays for the electricity I consume, right?

Second guy:          (Keenly) Yes…

First guy:              Well, I’m already over-charged for the units I consume legally. They can deduct the amount for the units I consume through my ‘kunda’ from there. The day they stop looting the consumers, all problems will be solved.

Second guy:         So, it is there fault completely?

First guy:              It sure is. The whole ‘Gormint’ is at fault. They can manage nothing properly. They’re just interested in getting their pockets filled. I mean, just look at these guys from the building control authority for instance.

Second guy:        What about them?

First guy:              I built an extra floor at my place and the day the whole floor got completed, they came over with their team to demolish it. They claimed that it was illegal.

Second guy:          Was it?

First guy:               So what if it was! I gave them what they wanted when I got the layout approved for it.

Second guy:          So you knew it was illegal and you still went ahead with it?

First guy:              That’s not the problem. The problem is that they knew what was happening all along and yet they didn’t say a word until it was all complete. They knew I had nowhere to go after that. Bloody blackmailers!

Second guy:          So, the problem lies with them, you say?

First guy:              Oh! So what do YOU think? It’s my fault?

Second guy:       (Retreating) Oh no! Why would I think that? Why would I possibly think that?

First guy:              See! They have crooks in disguise of ‘gormint’ officials. They can’t swallow the fact that someone can earn a little from their own assets.

Second guy:        Earn?

First guy:             Yeah! Someone must have tipped them off about me.

Second guy:       Tipped them off about you… building the extra floor?

First guy:             No, about me selling off portions of my house.

Second guy:       (Takes a look at the grinning barber who was busy clipping off another customer’s hair) Oh, boy! You sold off portions of your house. How many?

First guy:              I made 6 portions- sold 5 of them. Had to keep one for myself too, u know. (Chuckles)

Second guy:       So, you made 6 portions in a 120 sq. yard house and sold 5 of them. Impressive!

First guy:             (With excitement that had arrogance written all over it) Isn’t it? I can get you in touch with the contractor who did it. The guy can make Burj Khalifa over an Eighty Sq. Yard plot.

Second guy:       (As if he had heard enough) No, thanks. I’m good.  I think I should leave now. I will probably come back some other time for the haircut. (Stands up and puts his hand on the barber’s shoulder to indicate that he’s leaving)

First guy:            There’s a marsh outside waiting for you, remember? A gift from the local authorities to the citizens of the ‘CITY OF LIGHTS’. A blend of rain and sewerage water. They can’t even clear the gutters of this city efficiently, for God’s sake!

Second guy:       (Turns around to the first guy with a look of annoyance this time) That’s probably because the gutters are working overtime already with people like you illegally building and selling off portions to settle multiple families in accommodations that should ideally house a single household. A sewerage line installed to cater a single family is being flooded with excessive waste on a permanent basis. But hey! That’s not your mistake either, is it?

First guy:            (Pretentiously surprised) You mean it is???

Second guy:       (Frustrated) Oh no! It is all the government’s fault. All of it! Just that everyone sitting in those government offices and helm of affairs are a reflection of who we are. You, and me, and everyone around us. The ones accepting bribes are as at fault as the ones offering it. People who are not doing their jobs properly of enforcing law are as at fault as those who are breaking it. I’m literally fed up with people whining all the time about everything being everybody else’s responsibility while they sit back and be a part of the very corrupt system they complain about.

First guy:            (As calm as a millpond) Take it easy, ‘Imran Khan’! Have a glass of water. Or should I order you a cold drink? You’re next in line for the haircut and if I had to swim back home through a swamp, I’d do it with a nice clean haircut. Especially after I’d waited for it for quite some time. (Looks around at the other men waiting for their turns with the most brazen of giggles)

Second guy:       (Sarcastic) Don’t worry about me. I’ll order a boat.

First guy:            Fine, suit yourself! They’ve got Peak Factors on these days on boats too, by the way! (Bursts into laughter as the second guy storms out of the barber’s shop)

 

Hammad A. Mateen

If you are reading this, you’re lucky to be not one of those who aren’t

Think about your father, your brother, your son, your sister, your mother, your daughter, your grandchild, your uncle, your aunt, or any of the most closest relations that you may possibly have and consider close. Picture all of them in your mind with all the nicest memories you have of them till now. Recall all the moments where they’ve been there to comfort you- even if comforting meant to only have the knowledge that they’re there for you.

Say your brother’s name once… Now your sister’s name… Now your child’s.

What was the last thing you said to your brother? What did you tell your son when you saw him last? Come on! Try recalling. Even if it was minutes ago.

Now imagine if I tell you that all these loved ones of yours just passed away in an accident or an act of terror that just lasted for a few seconds. Yes! You no longer have your father, brothers, mother, wife, daughter or son. You’ve lost all of them together.

Now say all those names again and tell yourself that they are DEAD. Never to be seen walking around the house, talking to you, laughing with you, crying with you, teasing you, or comforting you ever again.

This is how it is to the surivors of those who pass away in incidents where the news goes like: “5 members of the same family killed in the incident.” News that hardly means anything to us as we casually move on to the next news item without feeling the slightest of compassion for the deceased or their survivors. Forget about compassion, we’re probably not even consciously thankful to God that it wasn’t us in their place.

We’ve belittled the value of human life in our minds so much that we only consider ourselves and those whom we consider our own as humans. We’re comfortable in leaving it to God to take care of the rest of mankind but that too after God takes care of us in a manner that we deem fit.

A few years back, a friend’s cousin met with a road accident and required blood urgently. Upon receiving the message from that friend of mine I quickly spread the word in my circle of influence in order to make an attempt to arrange the required blood type quickly. A mutual friend of ours texted me back asking who the blood was required for. When I gave him the details he was very quick to respond in a manner that boiled my own blood quite instantly. He highlighted the fact that our friend (and therefore his cousin by that connection) belonged to a different sect. He also questioned me whether I was sure about asking people to donate blood for someone from another background.

I was flabbergasted at his response to say the least. All I could come up with in response to this was a simple question: What would you do if you find someone bleeding on the road requiring urgent medical attention? Would you take him to the hospital immediately or run a background check first confirming which religion, sect or group the person belongs to before deciding your next course of action?

Although his response was far less offensive to my surprise but since that day every time I recall the same question, I end up questioning myself for asking that question in the first place. I mean, let’s be honest here with ourselves. How many of us would even stop at the sight of a bleeding person on the road? Not many. Fortunately enough, the time hasn’t come yet when I could sadly yet confidently state ‘none of us’ in response to this very difficult question. But still, the continuously deteriorating situation is not something to write home about as far as compassion is concerned in our society.

Why does it have to take someone who is our own to make us feel the pain? Why has empathy been reduced to merely a topic that corporate trainers & motivational speakers charge huge sums to lecture about in workshops & training sessions? Why does blood have to be treated as blood only when it comes out of us?

All lives have to end one day. Some later than others. If you are reading this, you’re lucky to be not one of those who aren’t. Not because they don’t like reading what I write, but because they’re simply not alive anymore to do so.

Value life, and not just yours but every other human being alive. For every man and woman no matter what religion, sect, caste, group or ethnicity they belong to, and no matter how irrelevant they may be to you, they are someone’s own. Just like your parents, siblings, spouse or any other loved one, the mere thought of whose separation till the life hereafter absolutely sends shivers down your spine.

Hammad A. Mateen

Rationality- a facade

Rationality is such a facade- a getaway that is as equal in magnitude as fantasy. The desire to be pragmatic is as incomprehensible as the yearning to achieve something ideal. Who defines rationality? Isn’t it defined by the very set of people who reject it under different circumstances. Why is a revolutionist always an idealist and why are the followers always ordinarily rational afterwards?

Photo Courtesy: https://ak8.picdn.net

Why is there always light at the end of the tunnel? Why do we always crave for light? Is it because it opens our eyes to what’s in front of us? If so, then why do we fall? Why is darkness not hope for the ordinary to achieve something new? Is it because we are afraid? Afraid of ourselves of coming across something in the dark that may feel like our own yet it may not turn out to be something acceptable to those outside in the light. Why is ‘normal’ normal? Who decides what brings us out of our misery? Who decides if misery is misery?

Evolution is inevitable. But is evolution really moving forward? What if it’s merely travelling back in time? Why do we make mistakes when everything that happens has happened before and that too countless times with countless people, many of whom live to tell the tale and warn those who come after them?

Is reality a fantasy- or is it the other way round? Bleak memories of our past surround us like wolves that threaten to tear us apart with the slightest movement of our muscles. Yet we know we have to keep moving. Growls of these wolves keep frightening our souls as our bodies sleep dead and wake up alive every passing night and day hoping for a future that is placid and free from all worries- a fantasy that we choose to pursue in a rational world.

How naive is man!

Hammad A. Mateen

Xiaomi brings Redmi 4X to Pakistan in partnership with Smartlink Technologies

With the launch of Redmi 4X, Xiaomi demonstrates its commitment to the market

One of the world’s leading technology company Xiaomi launches Redmi 4X in Pakistan on Saturday through distribution partner SmartLink Technology. The launch event took place in Lahore on Friday and was hosted by none other than the witty Taimur Salahuddin AKA Mooroo.

Audiences were provided double dose of entertainment with the hilarious jokes of Mooroo and scintillating performances by Pakistan’s leading band Noori and Nescafe Basement band with Altamash Sarver who made audiences dance to their favourite tracks. The stunning Mira Sethi also made a special guest appearance who was all praises for the newly launched Smartphone, equipped with the latest technology in an affordable price.

Smartlink Technologies Marketing Director Ahmed Butt was quoted as saying, “Majority of the Pakistani consumers prefer to purchase smartphones remaining in this price bracket and thus this bracket has always remained a key market for all brands. We have confidence that Redmi 4X will be a hit within its own price bracket, as the smartphone surely outperforms its competition in the market.”

Ahmed-Butt-Smartlinks Technologies

Redmi 4X

Redmi 4X features a full metal body, is the slimmest in design at just 8.65mm of thickness and weighs a mere 150g. Equipped with a 4100mAh battery, Redmi 4X has an impressive standby time of up to 18 days! Bid those dying battery issues adieu! It will be available with a 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, so users can multi-task more efficiently, having more space for their downloaded applications and images. Redmi 4X will be available in the markets from Saturday in black a price of Rs 18,900.

Redmi4X launch

The smartphones will be available offline across the country and online at official mistore.pk and at authorised online sales agents including Daraz.pk and Yayvo.com.

Every Redmi 4X will ship with MIUI 8 which builds in several technology breakthroughs such as being able to clone apps and manage multiple accounts on the same phone. This means that users can have two instances of a messaging app on the same phone that correspond to different accounts, removing the inconvenience of having to log in and out on the same app. With MIUI 8, users can also split their smartphones into two accounts. This means that a different password or fingerprint can allow you to access a different home screen entirely, with independent apps and data. According to their needs, users can choose to merge certain data such as the address book and their call log history.

Key features of Redmi 4X:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 with (Octa-core 1.4GHz)
  • 4100mAh battery
  • 13MP camera with PDAF; 5MP front camera
  • 5-inch HD display
  • Dual SIM (3-choose-2 hybrid SIM tray)
  • LTE support
  • 3GB RAM + 32GB Flash
  • Up to 128GB microSD expandable storage
  • Rear fingerprint sensor
  • Available in Black

About Xiaomi

Xiaomi was founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Lei Jun based on the vision “innovation for everyone”. We believe that high-quality products built with cutting edge technology should be made accessible to everyone. We create remarkable hardware, software, and internet services for and with the help of our Mi fans. We incorporate their feedback into our product range, which currently includes Mi and Redmi smartphones, Mi TVs and set-top boxes, Mi routers, and Mi Ecosystem products including smart home products, wearables and other accessories. With more than 70 million handsets sold in 2015, Xiaomi is expanding its footprint across the world to become a global brand.

About Smartlink Technologies

Established in 2016, Smartlink Technologies is a brainchild of a pool of professionals whose strong vision and even stronger conviction paved the way for an exclusive partnership with Xiaomi. We believe in reaching out to both the low-end and the high-end consumers and still give out state-of-the-art and warranted products at the best possible prices. We live in an age where the digital world meanders from smartphones to smart everything – we see it all around us. Smartlink Technologies strives to connect latest technology with modern and innovative sales techniques to change not only how brands are marketed but also how they define themselves.

سانس لینے کی اجازت مل جایئگی ؟

beard

٭ داڑھی والا آدمی دین کی بات کرے ٭

“دنیا: “اوۓ! طالبان۔

٭ داڑھی والا آدمی دنیا کی بات کرے ٭

“دنیا: “اوۓ! ڈِسکو مولوی۔

“دنیا: “تم نے ڈاڑھی کیوں رکھی ہے؟

“داڑھی والا آدمی: “سنت کی محبت میں۔

“دنیا: “اوہو!!! ہمیں تو جیسے ہے ہی نہیں سنت سے محبت۔ ہم تو کافر ہیں نہ؟

                                                                                  “دنیا: “اوۓ! تھوڑی ٹرم کرلے اسے، انسان لگے گا

“دنیا: “اوۓ! مونچھ کہاں گئی تیری؟ تو تبلیغی ہے؟

                                                                               “دنیا: “اوۓ!! پہلے حرکتیں ٹھیک کرلیتا پھر داڑھی رکھتا

“دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کے جھوٹ بولتا ہے؟

“دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کر لڑکی سے بات کرتا ہے؟

“دنیا” “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کر لڑکے سے بات کرتا ہے؟

“دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کہ واش روم جاتا ہے؟

“دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کہ جینز پہنتا ہے؟

                                                                                             “دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کہ شادی کرتا ہے؟

                                                                                                         “دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کہ سانس لیتا ہے

براۓ مہربانی داڑھی والے کو بھی اپنی طرح کا انسان سمجھیں اور اسکی غلطی پر خود مولوی بن کر اسکے لئے فتوے دینے سے اجتناب برتیں۔

!بہت شکریہ

اللہ پاک ہم سب کو ہدایت عطا فرمایئں۔۔۔ آمین

‘Sangbaaz’: a tribute to the 3rd uprising- Intifada of the East

The freedom movement in Indian-held Kashmir rejuvenated from the martyrdom of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani last year. Wani’s blood proved to serve as fuel to the spark of a new wave of resistance from the Kashmiri youth in the face of Indian atrocities in Jammu & Kashmir.  2017 marks the 70th year of Indian oppression over a valley, people of which drape the coffins of their martyrs with Pakistani flags and chant slogans like ‘Kashmir baneyga Pakistan!’ during funeral processions.

kashmir

Jammu & Kashmir, which has been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan continues to be denied the right of its people to decide about their fate by ‘the barbarous’ India. By attempting to savagely suppress the freedom movement of Kashmiri people, India is not only quite heinously violating human rights in the valley, but is also pretty shamelessly not complying to the UN Security Council Resolution on Kashmir which ironically came as a result of the case being taken to the United Nations by no one else but India itself.

People of Pakistan continue their support for their brothers and sisters in Kashmir in their struggle for freedom. 5th February each year reminds the world of this support through ‘Kashmir Day’. This year, Inter-Services Public Relations released Sangbaaz (The Stone Pelters)- a tribute to the valiant struggle of the youth of Jammu & Kashmir. The song highlights the inhuman methods (such as use of pellet guns) used by Indian forces in the valley to crush the freedom movement and the unending resilience of the men, women and children of Jammu & Kashmir.

Pakistanis across the world observe Kashmir Day today in order to announce to the world that no matter what happens, the people of Pakistan will not cease to show solidarity with their Kashmiri brothers and sisters and will keep pushing the international community to wake up from their slumber and give the Kashmiri people their right of self-determination.

Cheen le aankhein mujhse… Khwaab tu kaisay cheenayga?

Hammad A. Mateen

DPS Festival of Lights: Reigniting the fervor in the ‘City of Lights’

Karachi is slowly but surely having its share of lights back. Life is returning back to the metropolis and Karachiites are welcoming it with open arms. Dawood Public School organized a ‘Festi…

Source: DPS Festival of Lights: Reigniting the fervor in the ‘City of Lights’