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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Would you buy Pakistan?

A very commendable article I just read on Express Tribune. Insightful thinking by the writer Samir Butt. Unfortunately, our President does have a 'vision' for hot properties throughout the world but not the vision required for building a nation from near tatters that it is seeping into day by day! Vision deficit is a term that can aptly be applied to Pakistani rulers be it military ones or the more unlucky democratically elected ones! I would rate Ayub Khan and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as two near exceptions but again they had their own problems. Ayub Khan being the C-in-C of Pakistan Army shouldnt have taken Governance of Pakistan in the first place placing him as Pakistan's first usurpers of power while Bhutto had a great vision but the taste of power sucked him up dry n finally fried him up in the Pindi hole.
Anyways, heres to a great read!

Marketing cannot be limited to individuals or enterprises. Pakistan is in dire need of a new image and nation branding can help build it.

When Pakistan was conveniently paired with Afghanistan to form the so-called ‘Af-Pak’ region, world over people were made to think that both countries stand in the same line when it comes to infrastructure and economy. Richard Holbrooke was named as a common ambassador for the two countries by the United States and common policies began to take shape.

Afghanistan is a drug-based economy that has no transport, communications or government structure. It has no signs of technology and has been torn-apart by the constant war situation. Yet, when such a country was branded with Pakistan, nobody seemed to have a problem with it. There was no lawyers’ movement or judiciary movement or youth movement or political movement. Did anybody notice how India categorically refused to accept Holbrooke as a common special representative to South Asia? By refusing to accept Holbrooke, India clearly branded itself as the bigger power in the region. A clear message was given to the US that India will not be treated like Pakistan. This is the power nation branding holds.

If we look back, there was a time when there was an Indo-Pak region. Both countries were treated alike, given both were progressive economies. India successfully branded itself as an emerging world power. It is no longer seen as a competitor for Pakistan, rather India aims at China. Some things went wrong in Pakistan, the continuous political structure breakdowns due to military interventions are hackneyed issues and I will not discuss them. Still, a better global image can be painted for Pakistan.

The core issue is, can a country be branded? Sure, why not.

However, the technique used to brand a country is obviously slightly different from branding a corporation. Countries like Turkey and Bahrain advertise their abundance of skilled labor and ask others to invest in them. Their advertisements are aired on television and published in magazines.

Goldman Sachs argued that, since Brazil, Russia, India and China are developing rapidly, by 2050 their combined economies could eclipse the combined economies of the current richest countries of the world. The name ‘BRIC’ was given to this group of countries and it began splashing on every piece of publication ensuring the presence and emerging strengths of the respective countries. It helped build investor confidence in these economies.

In fact Af-Pak, Islamic bomb and failed state are all marketing buzz words used to brand Pakistan. The people are made to feel weak and exposed by constantly feeding them with such rubbish, sadly by our own media as well.

How is it that Pakistan was unable to cash on the N-11? The Next Eleven is yet another list of countries published by Goldman Sachs in late 2005, which includes Pakistan. With time, it was clarified that the N-11 may never be as big as BRIC, but they will emerge nonetheless. Maybe this is not as exciting, but there is a need to pursue the thought in any case.

Pakistan is one of the biggest users of the Internet and mobile phones in the world. Access from China to warm waters; from Central Asian countries to the most densely populated democracy in the world, we have it all. Moreover, an overflowing supply of young population. These are signs investors over the world look for. Do they know about Pakistan?

I have to touch upon the Pakistani media to establish the branding case. The hopelessly pathetic level of journalism in Pakistan has brought shame and disgrace, watch the news every day for ten minutes and you will turn into a heart patient. The news channels, to catch the audience’s attention, would say anything and everything disgusting about Pakistan. Whether the talk show anchors have hidden agendas or not, that’s a separate debate, but they sure have no sympathies with this country. From constantly abusing the politicians to continuous harping about how the country is about to fall apart, they have it all. Kill hope in people, you’ll kill the nation. That’s precisely what they are doing. International media only shows the handful of “news worthy” terrorists from Pakistan. So who will tell the world about the rest of the hard working population?

Over the internet, there is little positive you can find about Pakistan. Since the international media doesn’t show any of of good things that happen in Pakistan, this job has to be done by Pakistanis themselves. Search for ‘invest’, ‘trade’ or ‘tourism’ in Pakistan over the Internet and you will find nothing but dead links. Pakistan needs to go online. The Internet is a medium waiting to be used, not to be blocked. Nation branding was never easier.

Simon Anholt, an expert in nation branding said that ‘Places can only change their images by changing the way they behave.’

This can’t possibly be challenged by any sane person.

To brand Pakistan, the first step is cooperation between the public and private sector. The branding agenda should be clear and concrete, and the masses have to be educated accordingly. Some cultural and regional strong points must be identified and promoted in an attractive way. Effective advertisements can be used to influence public behavior. For a country like Pakistan, there is so much that can be highlighted to represent a true national identity. The challenge of having four culturally distinct provinces is actually a strong point that has never been placed on the table. Instead, we use them to create borders.

Malaysia Truly Asia, Incredible India, Invest in Turkey, Invest in Macedonia and Discover Indonesia are just a few campaigns. I am not suggesting an exactly similar campaign, given the present scenario and dynamics of the region. For the time being, nation branding can help Pakistan regain its progressive image.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hey President, dont dent us more presently please!

Here are a few articles I read in today's newspapers that cover most of the highlights of the week. Zardari is busy launching his son's career while his country, or rather the country of which he is the President, drowns in heaps of flood water. There is no sympathy, no empathy, no vision as the head of a state in Zardari to show to his countrymen at this dire hour of need. Shouldnt he be busy organizing relief activity around the country, visiting people ravaged by floods and reassuring them that help is at hand? Whose fault is it that we as a nation have stooped to such a low level that our heads shame us in front of the whole world in a manner utterly despicable. How can we even ask for donations when the people we look up to for governance (kill good governance for now) are not even in the country they govern.

Lets move ahead to excerpts from the articles now!

Out of Sync by Fakir Ayazuddin: The presidency is the symbol of unity of the federation of Pakistan. It demands everyone's respect, including the occupant's.

Pakistan has not yet recovered from the trauma of the air crash, and is in the midst of probably the worst flood disaster in our history. It is certainly not the time for a birthday bash, a coronation or any celebration. It is time to mourn. As president, Mr Zardari must respect the feelings of the people. For him to ignore their feelings, over the advice of his sycophants, would be extremely imprudent. The people of Pakistan are a very sentimental bunch, and Mr Zardari should know it, for he is a beneficiary of the people's sympathy too.

The good in all this by Ayaz Amir: True, we never expected much from President Zardari. Just as some leaders are victims of high expectations -- we expect too much from them -- President Zardari was always a victim of low expectations. We expected nothing from him. We just marvelled at his good fortune and we asked ourselves what we had done to deserve him. Even so, the least he owed Pakistan was to keep his head below the ramparts. The timing of his present visit apart, the revelation about his French chateau is less an embarrassment for him as it is a discomforting thought for Pakistan that it is blessed with such leadership. To suffer injuries is one thing. We are used to this. But to have salt poured over open wounds is an unnecessary exercise.

Don't we have enough on our plate? We are being hit by terrorism and we have been hit by the worst floods for the last 100 years. And Karachi is in flames. President Zardari would have done nothing had he remained at home. He hasn't once visited the frontlines where our soldiers have fought and died. It is too much to expect he would have done anything to ease the plight of the flood-hit. But at least he could have spared the nation's feelings.

The good thing is that he has also made himself more ridiculous in the process, the only silver lining in a very dark mass of clouds.

Where will the messiah come from by Shafqat Mahmood: by It also came as no surprise that Mr Zardari took off on a leisurely trip around Europe while hundreds of his compatriots were drowning in the raging waters. The damage to livestock and property is also incalculable. Millions have lost all their worldly possessions.

Yet, the highest office holder in the land, the symbol of our federation, the commander-in-chief of our armed forces, the receiver of indemnities and protections in our Constitution, was 'helicoptering' in to relax at a French chateaux acquired by his father in the nineties.

Nearer at home, the president's disappearance at a time of national emergency reflects the vision he holds of this office. He obviously has not understood that leadership is not just about honour and privileges. More than anything, it is about empathy with the people and responsibility.

But, this realization cannot be forced. It is either there or not. And within our democratic culture, it is rare. The reason is simple. While our dictatorships are forcible occupation of power by army generals, our democracy is another form of elite capture.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Been lazying around with kids at home and dad's gone! Rameen has got all the energy in her and Aimen is such an obedient sweetheart and Muhammad is such a tiny little bundle of silent joy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dramatic turn of events!

At 12 am on 3rd August, i was wishing Dija a happy 17th birthday, and at exactly 1 am, we were carrying the body of Kiran mami's mother to the ambulance.

She had died suddenly after her routine Dialysis, probably when she had to vommit and it got stuck in her lungs, thereafter having a heart attack. Really sad. She was already very ill and Hassan uncle was taking utmost care as her devoted husband. It is not possible to even imagine what a loss it would be for him, when the closest person suddenly leaves you to live all by yourself. As Allah wills. He is the greatest Planner.

May Hassan uncle and his daughters, grand kids and close relatives find consolation in Allah's will.

(2:30 am 3rd Aug)

A brief account of the funeral
We were busy all day at home with the paint walaas in the kitchen and above, therefore, went a bit late to mamoos place. At close to 5, I arrived there with abbu and the body was about to be taken to the ambulance outside. I rushed in and helped with it. Once settled in, the small caravan moved to A block mosque where the body was kept in the ambulance while everyone went in to pray. Uncle was very feeble and was being helped constantly by someone, especially while walking.
After the prayers, everyone settled outside in the lawn for the funeral prayers. Haqqani Sahib outlined the recitation for this prayer and made the necessary instructions. The body was placed directly infront of the congregation since bowing down is not requried. And thats how the prayers were led.

After the announcement of Quls by Faheem mamoo, everyone settled in their cars and proceeded to the Model Town G block graveyard. Hassan Uncle preferred to sit in the ambulance along with his departed wife. This was the last journey he would ever make in her presence.

At the graveyard, the chosen spot was already caved in the ground and lined with brickwork and plaster, what we would normally call a 'pakki kabar' from inside. This is the first one I have seen like this. A 'chittai' was laid on the bottom of the grave on which the body would be placed, as is the custom. The body was finally lifted with great care as Faheem mamoo held the head-side part of the cloth and I held the feet-side. A cloth was strung around the waist and so it was lowered into the ground with Afsheen khala's husband doing the final job of untying the shroud and throwing 'itar' on it, turning the head to face Qibla and anointing the cemented sides of the walls by rose water.

Five concrete slabs were placed side by side on top of the opening and mortar was applied roughly to close the gaps. Now everyone joined hands to throw 'mitti' on the slabs for the final phase of the burial. Hassan uncle was also helped to the site by someone who threw in a couple of handfuls as well. The two 'gorkans' piled up the mud as mound by pressing the lose clay together. Rose water was then thrown over to cover the grave and help it settle down. Finally, loads of rose garlands were strewn all over the grave and no single inch of space was left. Rose petals did the final kick. Some guy also stuck the glinting 'agarbattees' all over the grave after burning them. Their aroma filled my senses with images of Lahori graveyards and dramas including such scenes.

As the burial drew to an end, a maulvi sahib was called on and he recited the first 'ruku' of Surah Baqrah while standing at the head of the grave and the last ruku of the same surah while standing at the foot. Some other duas and suras were also recited and then he called everyone to recite Surah Ikhlas thrice with Surah Fatihah. Finally, everyone raised their hands for a dua for the deceased. May Allah give her a place in heaven and bless her soul for an eternity. May Allah also give patience and courage to Hassan uncle to bear this terrible loss that will inevitably come to everyone at some time.

Thus, came to an end the journey of a human being.
Viewpoint: I dont much believe in rose garlands and rose water and the use of itar and building cemented graves and sticking agarbattees in the grave. I definitely dont want all this happening with my or my parents graves. A simple clay grave without any rose petals or musky smells would do the job equally well.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Amazing story of the Mumbai Dabbawalas!

While reading The News on Sunday today, I came across a special report on the situation of Railways in Pakistan today. Here, in one of the articles, there was a mention of what Railways are like in India. Mumbai's Dabbawalas was mentioned as a direct beneficiary of the punctuality of their Railways. This struck me as something really interesting and I researched more on this. The following is an article found at I was contemplating on writing myself over this issue but I guess this surmises everything I had to say.

Four thousand five hundred semi-literate dabbawalas collect and deliver 175,000 packages within hours. What should we learn from this unique, simple and highly efficient 120-year-old logistics system?
Hungry kya? What would you like: pizza from the local Domino's (30 minute delivery) or a fresh, hot meal from home? Most managers don't have a choice. It's either a packed lunch or junk food grabbed from a fast food outlet. Unless you live in Mumbai, that is, where a small army of 'dabbawalas' picks up 175,000 lunches from homes and delivers them to harried students, managers and workers on every working day. At your desk. 12.30 pm on the dot. Served hot, of course. And now you can even order through the Internet.

The Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association is a streamlined 120-year-old organisation with 4,500 semi-literate members providing a quality door-to-door service to a large and loyal customer base.

How has MTBSA managed to survive through these tumultuous years? The answer lies in a twin process that combines competitive collaboration between team members with a high level of technical efficiency in logistics management. It works like this...

After the customer leaves for work, her lunch is packed into a tiffin provided by the dabbawala. A color-coded notation on the handle identifies its owner and destination. Once the dabbawala has picked up the tiffin, he moves fast using a combination of bicycles, trains and his two feet.

A BBC crew filming dabbawalas in action was amazed at their speed. "Following our dabbawala wasn't easy, our film crew quickly lost him in the congestion of the train station. At Victoria Terminus we found other fast moving dabbawalas, but not our subject... and at Mr Bhapat's ayurvedic pharmacy, the lunch had arrived long before the film crew," the documentary noted wryly. So, how do they work so efficiently?

Team work

The entire system depends on teamwork and meticulous timing. Tiffins are collected from homes between 7.00 am and 9.00 am, and taken to the nearest railway station. At various intermediary stations, they are hauled onto platforms and sorted out for area-wise distribution, so that a single tiffin could change hands three to four times in the course of its daily journey.

At Mumbai's downtown stations, the last link in the chain, a final relay of dabbawalas fan out to the tiffins' destined bellies. Lunch hour over, the whole process moves into reverse and the tiffins return to suburban homes by 6.00 pm.

To better understand the complex sorting process, let's take an example. At Vile Parle Station, there are four groups of dabbawalas, each has twenty members and each member services 40 customers. That makes 3,200 tiffins in all. These 3,200 tiffins are collected by 9.00 am, reach the station and are sorted according to their destinations by 10.00 am when the 'Dabbawala Special' train arrives.

The railway provides sorting areas on platforms as well as special compartments on trains traveling south between 10.00 am and 11.30 am.

During the journey, these 80 dabbawalas regroup according to the number of tiffins to be delivered in a particular area, and not according to the groups they actually belong to. If 150 tiffins are to be delivered in the Grant Road Station area, then four people are assigned to that station, keeping in mind one person can carry no more than 35-40 tiffins.

During the earlier sorting process, each dabbawala would have concentrated on locating only those 40 tiffins under his charge, wherever they come from, and this specialisation makes the entire system efficient and error-free. Typically it takes about ten to fifteen minutes to search, assemble and arrange 40 tiffins onto a crate, and by 12.30 pm they are delivered to offices.

In a way, MTBSA's system is like the Internet. The Internet relies on a concept called packet switching. In packet switched networks, voice or data files are sliced into tiny sachets, each with its own coded address which directs its routing.

These packets are then ferried in bursts, independent of other packets and possibly taking different routes, across the country or the world, and re-assembled at their destination. Packet switching maximises network density, but there is a downside: your packets intermingle with other packets and if the network is overburdened, packets can collide with others, even get misdirected or lost in cyberspace, and almost certainly not arrive on time.

Elegant logistics

In the dabbawalas' elegant logistics system, using 25 kms of public transport, 10 km of footwork and involving multiple transfer points, mistakes rarely happen. According to a Forbes 1998 article, one mistake for every eight million deliveries is the norm. How do they achieve virtual six-sigma quality with zero documentation? For one, the system limits the routing and sorting to a few central points. Secondly, a simple color code determines not only packet routing but packet prioritising as lunches transfer from train to bicycle to foot.

Who are the dabbawalas?

Descendants of soldiers of the legendary Maharashtrian warrior-king Shivaji, dabbawalas belong to the Malva caste, and arrive in Mumbai from places like Rajgurunagar, Akola, Ambegaon, Junnar and Maashi. "We believe in employing people from our own community. So whenever there is a vacancy, elders recommend a relative from their village," says Madhba, a dabbawala.

"Farming earns a pittance, compelling us to move to the city. And the tiffin service is a business of repute since we are not working under anyone. It's our own business, we are partners, it confers a higher status in society," says Sambhaji, another dabbawala. "We earn more than many padha-likha (educated) graduates," adds Khengle smugly.

The proud owner of a BA (Hons) degree, Raghunath Meghe, president of MTBSA, is a rare graduate. He wanted to be a chartered accountant but couldn't complete the course because of family problems. Of his three children, his daughter is a graduate working at ICICI, one son is a dabbawala and the younger son is still studying.

Education till standard seven is a minimum prerequisite. According to Meghe, "This system accommodates those who didn't or couldn't finish their studies. It's obvious that those who score good marks go for higher education and not to do this job, but we have people who have studied up to standard twelve who couldn't find respectable jobs." There are only two women dabbawalas.

Apart from commitment and dedication, each dabbawala, like any businessman, has to bring some capital with him. The mini-mum investment is two bicycles (approximately Rs 4,000), a wooden crate for the tiffins (Rs 500), at least one white cotton kurta-pyjama (Rs 600), and Rs 20 for the trademark Gandhi topi.

Competitive collaboration

MTBSA is a remarkably flat organisation with just three tiers: the governing council (president, vice president, general secretary, treasurer and nine directors), the mukadams and the dabbawalas. Its first office was at Grant Road. Today it has offices near most railway stations.

Here nobody is an employer and none are employees. Each dabbawala considers himself a shareholder and entrepreneur.

Surprisingly MTBSA is a fairly recent entity: the service is believed to have started in the 1880s but officially registered itself only in 1968. Growth in membership is organic and dependent on market conditions.

This decentralised organisation assumed its current form in 1970, the most recent date of restructuring. Dabbawalas are divided into sub-groups of fifteen to 25, each supervised by four mukadams. Experienced old-timers, the mukadams are familiar with the colors and codings used in the complex logistics process.

Their key responsibility is sorting tiffins but they play a critical role in resolving disputes; maintaining records of receipts and payments; acquiring new customers; and training junior dabbawalas on handling new customers on their first day.

Each group is financially independent but coordinates with others for deliveries: the service could not exist otherwise. The process is competitive at the customers' end and united at the delivery end.

Each group is also responsible for day-to-day functioning. And, more important, there is no organisational structure, managerial layers or explicit control mechanisms. The rationale behind the business model is to push internal competitiveness, which means that the four Vile Parle groups vie with each other to acquire new customers.

Building a clientele

The range of customers includes students (both college and school), entrepreneurs of small businesses, managers, especially bank staff, and mill workers.

They generally tend to be middle-class citizens who, for reasons of economy, hygiene, caste and dietary restrictions or simply because they prefer whole-some food from their kitchen, rely on the dabbawala to deliver a home cooked mid-day meal.

New customers are generally acquired through referrals. Some are solicited by dabbawalas on railway platforms. Addresses are passed on to the dabbawala operating in the specific area, who then visits the customer to finalize arrangements. Today customers can also log onto the website to access the service.

Service charges vary from Rs 150 to Rs 300 per tiffin per month, depending on location and collection time. Money is collected in the first week of every month and remitted to the mukadam on the first Sunday. He then divides the money equally among members of that group. It is assumed that one dabbawala can handle not more than 30-35 customers given that each tiffin weighs around 2 kgs. And this is the benchmark that every group tries to achieve.

Typically, a twenty member group has 675 customers and earns Rs 100,000 per month which is divided equally even if one dabbawala has 40 customers while another has 30. Groups compete with each other, but members within a group do not. It's common sense, points out one dabbawala.

One dabbawala could collect 40 tiffins in the same time that it takes another to collect 30. From his earnings of between Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000, every dabbawala contributes Rs15 per month to the association. The amount is utilised for the community's upliftment, loans and marriage halls at concessional rates. All problems are usually resolved by association officials whose ruling is binding.

Meetings are held in the office on the 15th of every month at the Dadar. During these meetings, particular emphasis is paid to customer service. If a tiffin is lost or stolen, an investigation is promptly instituted. Customers are allowed to deduct costs from any dabbawala found guilty of such a charge.

If a customer complains of poor service, the association can shift the customer's account to another dabbawala. No dabbawala is allowed to undercut another.

Before looking into internal disputes, the association charges a token Rs 100 to ensure that only genuinely aggrieved members interested in a solution come to it with their problems, and the officials' time is not wasted on petty bickering.


Logistics is the new mantra for building competitive advantage, the world over. Mumbai's dabbawalas developed their home-grown version long before the term was coined.

Their attitude of competitive collaboration is equally unusual, particularly in India. The operation process is competitive at the customers' end but united at the delivery end, ensuring their survival since a century and more. Is their business model worth replicating in the digital age is the big question.

Leaking Bad Waters!


One word, yet more than a 1000 dead. And the counting goes on! The worst floods in the history of Pakistan! Destruction. Devastation. My people are "calamity hit" yet my President goes to UK for the inauguration of his son's chairmanship of the party. Donations are coming in. But really, should they?? When we are ourselves not sincere with our people, who will give a damn about them!

More from A westerly weather system moving in from Iran and Afghanistan, combined with heavy monsoon rain, caused the worst floods on record in Pakistan in the past week, with the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa the worst hit.

Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told Pakistani media more than 1,000 people had been killed and the toll could be even higher.

“The level of devastation is so widespread, so large, it is quite possible that in many areas there are damages, there are deaths which may not have been reported,” army spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas told reporters.

Good work, Sir!

Getting up *early* on sunday mornings and lazily gathering The News pages, all of them, and tossing them aside and skipping through the eye candy of Instep and skimming the headlines makes me finally go to the first article I would normally read for the day. And surprisingly, its by Aaker Patel, an experienced Indian journalist who probably emails his articles to The News every week. His thoughts are always so refreshing and genuine, apart from all thats happening in the world, never concerned about any bomb explosions, floods, killings, corruption, political anatomy et al. His words underline the true essence of what things normally come to mind when one thinks of LIFE. His words hold a special place for many of us who want to read something good, something a journalist should also observe while doing his journalism, since its not just about the sarkar, the awam and the hera-pheri we see everyday.

Keeping them simple, true, and intelligent, his articles are the best in TNS. Summarizing things in India and Pakistan with an obvious link. Dr. Farrukh Saleem is now second fiddle with his bold facts and figures.

Heres the link to his articles:

Corny facts!

I love corn. And so does Rameen. She always wants it whenever the thought trickles inside her brain. Corns are irresistible when u have them close. I was just eating the last of the frozen packet contents that had been a long part of our deep freezer history. So soft, juicy and milky. Even put them in my maggy noodles yesterday and literally, I was looking more to finding corns in my mouth than those darn noodles! Thats what prompted me to do a more researched post on these tiny yellow studs rich in fiber! Here are the health benefits:

Health benefits of corn include controlling diabetes, prevention of heart ailments, lowering hypertension and prevention of neural-tube defects at birth. It not only provides the necessary calories for daily metabolism, but is a rich source of vitamins A, B, E and many minerals. Its high fibre content ensures that it plays a role in prevention of digestive ailments like constipation and haemorrhoids as well as colorectal cancer. The antioxidants present in corn also act as anti-cancer agents and prevent Alzheimer’s.

Speaking of Fibre rich foods, here's more into it.
Fruits: Apples with skin, Apricots, Bananas, Dried Figs, Oranges, Peaches, Pear, Plum, Raisins, Strawberries
Among other things, Almonds, black beans, lentils, BRAN CEREALS (how can anyone forget that most important thing!! BRAN CEREAL)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

TEDx - a Critical Analysis!

As shared on TEDx facebook page:
Summing up the TEDx experience, it was the first of its kind for me (and im sure so is the case for many others) and i thoroughly enjoyed being a part of it. Here is what I have to say about the event despite being unable to make it to the 1st session (I joined during the tea break)

Speakers: Of what I saw, a few were not as inspiring and motivational for the audience as they should have been. Surely the speakers list could have been betterd. However, Mudassar Zia, Nadeem ul Haq and Dr. Zeeshan Usmani were simply marvelous. Mudassar ingrained in us the importance of doing things by our very own hands. Little things count. Do them! Nadeem Sahib was the one person who really inspired me to get out of the auditorium and start doing something good for the country and our society. The economist in him really showed his true colors to his country. Dr. Zeeshan was marvelous in his creativity and ingenuity in developing the suicide simulation software. His work tells the tale of common people in Pakistan working to promote peace and stability instead of just blaming the Govt and the ruling elite. This is the force of thought guided in the right direction.
I heard Arif Hassan was also pretty good but unfortunately, I wasnt able to make it in time to hear his good words.

Organizing: Despite being helped by many volunteers, the end result was pretty good considering the fact that they got together barely 2 months before and worked hard to make this event a possibility. I have personal experience of working with student bodies and I do know the pressure when things dont go as planned, which happened a few times in the technical area. But we can forget them, cant we? Taking into account their professional inexperience, they did a marvelous job. For that, they do deserve a standing ovation!! Three cheers for Team TEDx Lahore! By the way, Nirala milk was simply irresistible! :P

Goody Bags: I cant ignore them. :) The saplings are so good for the environment. I just planted it today in my garden. It will surely remind me of my day at Ali Institute with all these talented people. The vouchure was a great idea promoting the habbit of reading Books which we so lack these days, thanks to the internet! The TEDx booklet was a marvelous thing to have. Awsome work, designers! A green match? What was that about? Saplings and matches dont go together! :)

Audience: Talented pool of young bright minds sitting together learning from the maestros.

PS., I wasnt officially invited to the event, however I sneaked in the hall when I was told that there isnt much checking into getting in. So my curiosity, interest and pursuit of something good got the better of me and I hopped in the bandwagon of social change. Sorry TEDx, but I couldnt resist not coming. :P

Of floody waters and lost lives!

Courtesy As raging floods wreaked havoc across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and some Fata regions, inundating large parts of Nowshera, Charsadda and Swat, the people of Dera Ismail Khan were warned on Friday of a similar disaster after 400,000 to 500,000 cusecs of water discharged from the overflowing Tarbela reservoir threatened all natural and man-made protective barriers in the district.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

TEDx Experience!!

Here goes my facebook status today about TEDx (Technology, Design, Entertainment):

Lets sum up the TEDx experience: It was a nice effort by the organization. We as Pakistanis are not much aware of such talks, however, they are a great platform for inspiring commoners to do little things that can make a difference. Speaker's list could have been easily much better. Greatly impressed by Dr. Zeeshan Ul-hassan Usmani and his work on suicide bombing simulation software. Proud to have him as a GIKI lecturer. As they said, collectors are there, lets see where the genius comes from.
PS. Nirala ka doodh fit tha! :P

We actually had to attend Imran Khan's address at the Ladies Club Model Town (as Sherwani had informed Faheem mamoo) but on reaching there with Kabeer, we got to know that it was for ladies only. LOL. So anyhow, we turned for Ali Institute and got in easily. Komal was there too feeling lonely.

Once in, it was a nice experience overall. Some of the speakers were not that inspiring as much as we expected but thats alright. Rafay Alam couldnt make it due to a late flight. They gave us goody bags with saplings to plant in our homes. That was nice gesture. A small vouchure for Rs.100 is also there for "The Last Word" bookshop, however, the presence of a green matchbox was wierd/wicked/strange/*eyebrows raised* whatever you wanna call it. :P

Mudassar Zia and the Economist were particularly inspiring. Makes one think and that's the whole purpose (ala the 1st step to DDD). Dream, Dare and Do!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tragedy strikes once more!

Things haven't been very good for our country lately. "Stuff" keeps on piling on top of each other. We have already become immune to little disasters like suicide bombing! A waste of 20-30 lives doesnt really raise our eyebrows except for a little "tch tch" here n there. We talk about it for a day or two and then move on to the next big news.

Yesterday, on 28th July, an Air Blue plane coming from Karachi crashed in the Margalla hills Isb. All 152 onboard died. No Survivors. Seriously! I have witnessed such a plane crash in GIK in late 2007 maybe. A fighter jet on training crashed near FME and Habib Bank causing an ugly scene of body parts and plane debris. So I can imagine what it must be to stand in those hills looking for little body parts, not knowing who they belong to. However, the magnitude is many times bigger!

It is totally very sad. Floods have already drowned more than 400 in various parts in the last 2 days, and mind you, the toll is still rising and since it is Pakistani media reporting it, so you can easily multiply the casualties by '3'. Misery isnt ending for us. Zardari still holds the reins for this poor nation. Well, cant really blame him for this. We elected him didnt we.

Here's a good article i found out on this topic:

Back on time!

Lets go a little back on time. 23rd July beckons me again. This date, despite holding enormous value for me already, brought further delights. Muhammad Shaheryar was born at around 10pm. Weight 2.1 kg. A little blessing from Allah. We have seldom been more happier!
Ammi has gone to Isb on Wed with abbu and will stay there for a few days til apa returns with all.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The first cut!

The blog is formally sliced open to readers!! (more like my own self) :P
Will keep on posting time to time. Stay put!!