Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Another year gone, another year to learn?

1 January, 2013 Although January 2nd has already begun considering it is 3AM already and I’m wondering why am I still not in bed reading/listening to music or asleep like I should be? Anyway, that’s usually the case and I don’t really make much of an effort to change the usual scenario. Why complain? The New Year’s was nothing exquisite and why would it even be? The year that went by was nothing exceptional and like they say it left many scars in the hearts of many people. There was nothing but sympathy that I could offer and soon all this became commonplace and I became immune to it. Be it the everyday mayhem, sudden incidents cropping up or the likes. But can we bury our past that quick? Do we not think about the ones we lose? Or do we not feel even a hint of remorse for the day to day killings and the childlike victims who are targeted every now and then? There are countless things to worry and ponder about but my mind fails to get a solution. The answer is yet to come but maybe it won’t, ever? Perhaps this is the way to go on rather move on in life and let simple pleasures make my day like a mouthful of three layered chocolate and walnut fudge brownies. Yeah? Happy 2013 everyone! Not much will change but here’s hoping that it does. Mariam

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A failed attempt at celebrating "Malala Day"

November 10th 2012 observed as “Malala day” was celebrated at the Sindh assembly building earlier this morning. The sole purpose of the event was to educate and make children aware of the courageous step taken by our latest and youngest Pakistani hero Malala Yousafzai in the plight for education. Her daring stance has not only set a shining example for the current generation but also for the generations yet to come. The event commenced an hour late than the given schedule. Bearing in mind the sweltering heat, the participants ageing from five to sixteen years were made to sit and wait outside under a shabby tent which hardly provided them with any shelter from the sun as the place was more crowded and the tent was not big enough to accommodate all. A handful of chairs could be spotted which were mostly occupied by men than women. People were given placards displaying Malala’s picture just so that it could be viewed as their massive support for the cause they were celebrating regardless of the hash the event was being turned into. Nisar Khuhro – the current speaker of the National Assembly gave the opening speech which could barely be comprehended given the poor sound arrangement. Following him, were other renowned figures present at the event such as Fatima Suraiyya Bajiya – a renowned playwright who was also the guest of honour, Ameena Saiyid – the managing director of Oxford University Press (OUP) and Khursheed Haider. There were a few boring skits performed by children sporting fancy clothes which bore no connection to the theme but was made to show as a part of an activity performed by youngsters from different schools. In all honesty, all one could visibly hear was Malala’s name chanted a countless number of times without delivering a relevant message which could be understood by all. The scorching heat and the mismanagement of the event took away the real essence of the affair that it almost became impossible to sit through it. Fatima Surraiya Bajia, perhaps the eldest of all present at the event was seated near the entrance of the Assembly building being hounded by people who left the place stuffy with hardly any air to breathe. The event dragged a bit long and given it was started ahead of the given time; it became a little tedious before her time finally arrived to make the ending speech. No offense to anyone but there should have been some consideration given to her age, health and time and considering she was the chief guest, it was a bit careless and unjust on the organizers’ part to do so. All in all, today’s event presented a very appalling depiction of such a noble cause which could have been commemorated brilliantly if it was well thought of. Extremely happy for Malala for not being part of this confusion we all tried to pull in celebration of her nobility and resilience.

Aşk-ı Memnu: A must-watch for soap followers

I started following ”Aşk-ı Memnu” out of sheer boredom. I had always poked fun at my sister for watching it and never had I imagined that I would become an avid viewer of the show – even more so than my sister. “Aşk-ı Memnu” is a Turkish TV serial currently being aired in Urdu on Urdu1. It is often referred to as the next “Humsafar”, possibly because of the appealing star cast. It lists among the classics and has apparently been translated into 39 languages worldwide! Speaking of popularity, who can forget the time when TV shows featuring on Hum TV were the talk of town? Be it the charismatic actors, their amazing fashion sense or the melodious soundtracks – anything that aired on this channel was broadly discussed. Likewise, “Aşk-ı Memnu” has joined the brigade and has become a rage amongst drama watchers. The drama serial is a romantic saga with a blend of passion, greed, ambition and grief. The tale revolves around the life of Adnan Ziyagil, a prolific business tycoon and a widower. He lives with his teenage daughter Nihal, his son Bulent, the children’s nanny Mrs Denis and a distant nephew Behlul. After losing his wife, Mr Adnan marries Bihter, a beautiful girl whom he falls for, and who is much younger to him. Soon after their marriage, Bihter’s mother, Mrs Firdevs, joins the Ziyagils and lives with them as part of their family. Soon interests change and Bihter falls in love with her husband’s nephew Behlul, who is infamous for his playboy image. Bihter is young and passionate while Behlul is just a regular guy jumping from one relationship to another. He, thus, dumps his girlfriend and starts taking interest in Bihter. Meanwhile, Nihal’s transformation from a little girl to a young woman after her 18th birthday is rather uncanny. She starts fantasising about her life with Behlul, while he only considers her his little sister. Resentments soon crop up and the story takes a spin when the two Bs are caught by their driver Bashir. The driver despises Behlul because his love interest, Nihal, is smitten by him. He also hates him because he’s loyal to his employer Mr Adnan, and knows that is wife is cheating on him with none other than his nephew. Bihter is reckless and obsessed with her new relationship. Behlul, on the other hand, is clever enough to not give in completely, keeping in mind his relationship with his rich uncle Mr Adnan. However, Mrs Firdevs during this rampage is in constant threat of the wealth she could lose because of her daughter’s frenzied affair with Behlul. She tries manipulating Nihal towards Behlul which works against her own daughter as both the women worship the same man. In my view, the script is not conventional, but the portrayal is. The breathtaking locales, the magnificent mansion on the shore of Istanbul’s Bosporus strait, exotic cars and the luxurious lifestyle of the Ziyagils ─ it is a combination of all in one, and that’s what makes it all the more appealing to watch. I also find that the choice of voices for dubbing in Urdu aren’t the most suited. There are awkward pauses and it sometimes takes away from the essence of the scene or dialogue. Since the drama has been toned down for being viewed in Pakistan, many scenes are censored too, leaving it a little choppy and taking away the flow. The good part is that it airs on Urdu1 all seven days of the week, which is great for someone as impatient as I am. Not only women, but men, too, are taking interest in the drama ─ a few for the plot, and many for the gorgeous ladies with impeccable fashion sense. The wardrobe, make-up, hair and accessories of the star cast may be one of the major reasons people watch “Aşk-ı Memnu”. All the actors in the drama have brilliantly performed the roles they are portraying, whether it is the devious Mrs Firdevs or one of the maid servants. One really ends up getting engrossed in their characters to the extent of getting annoyed in order to find something contradictory to what you had predicted. It’s a must-watch and I recommend it to everyone who is on the look out for an addictive TV serial to follow. http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/14395/ask-i-memnu-a-must-watch-for-soap-followers/

My view on the Karachi Literature Festival '12

After having attended the not-so-appetizing dinner the night before, I was in no mood to wake up early the next day but, as it was my "first" ever assignment given to me by my favorite teacher, I had no choice but to brace myself for it and show interest, it was honestly very hard at first but oh well..I had to manage it, somehow. And the more I thought about working on my assignment with a bunch of lazy bums, the more difficult it was to pull myself together for it, but it was something that was assigned to me, and avoiding it would mean getting marks deducted so, that was definitely a "no no" situation in any case. Hence, getting back from the dinner, I decided to read up on the people who were supposed to talk at one of the sessions I had planned on attending at the KLF. It was based on "art history and it's relevance" - honestly, at first when I skimmed through the sessions, this one caught my sight as it had a mere mention of the word "art" in it and personally, I find myself to be quite drawn towards arty stuff so, I decided to attend it the very minute but later, when I found Amin Gulgee being a part of it, I wasn't too amused but I decided to give it a shot as all my group members had agreed too and I didn't want to be a buzzkill for them so we decided to go for it. So then, 10:30am sharp, I reached the venue i.e Carlton hotel sporting a blue Khaadi kurta, I had recently bought, draped in a black shawl and an aqua colour satchel which too was from Khaadi, along with the annual edition Herald magazine which I had just bought a night before to read the write up that had been written on the "Cultural heritage of Pakistan", a note pad and a pen and, voila I was all set to attend the session..(at least I thought so then)..though later, reaching there that early didn't give me a good feeling as I was slammed with the usual sea odor and some bitter memories of high school which quivered as a flash and, I just shuddered at the thought of having spent two years in that prison without complaining. What was I thinking then?! As I entered the gate, I noticed many old, well dressed people, both men and women, admiring the red KLF banner at the main gate which was very much inspired by what you call the "truck art." Although I love truck art, but at that moment, standing there and gushing about the banner looked silly if you ask me so I just happened to smile and walk towards the main hall where the people had gathered. As I passed by the passage, spotted many volunteers painted in makeup, sporting fake smiles and welcoming all the guests. I felt sorry for them as it clearly seemed they were asked to smile and be all courteous though not wanting to, yet HAD to. I met up my team mates who were glaring at every possible guest that was walking in, in a distinct style and were throwing questions at me as if I knew them and not to forget, they were pretty loud. Felt very odd but I couldn't pick a fight, could I? So, I decided to stand away from them pretending I was engrossed in William Dalrymple's speech which I obviously wasn't but it was cool for them to be thinking that ;) Haha When the inauguration speeches ended, all the psuedos gathered and were directed through this main lobby where all the rooms were so, we proceeded like everyone did. Each room was given peculiar names like "Maharaja" , "Maharani" , "Scillinas" etc. As I walked in with my team mates, the room was nice and chilled smelling of fresh paint that later changed into freshly lit cigarette smell that surprisingly took away the heady paint smell the minute Amin Gulgee lit his cigarette to smoke before the session commenced. Shortly, the session kicked off with Nilofer Farrukh's (art crtic) point of view on art and history, in general - how it appears to be decaying with the years passing yada yada. I was quite taken by her expression and for some reason she reminded me a lot of my deceased aunt. She had the same flawless complexion like her, with short grey hair and was approximately of the same built too but she was just a bit taller which really was the only difference I could see. Then when I looked at her closely, she also shared an uncanny resemblance with one of my mum's friend.I don't know maybe her face cut was such and I kept mixing her with people and soon she handed over the mic to the one and only Amin Gulgee who started off bragging about the prolific family of artisans he came from..how his father's company had an impact on him which persuaded him to become what he is today...I bet he's talking about his personal life than his professional life..Haha because that clearly doesn't speak much. :/ His accent was far from what I called "refined or cultured" but he kept going on and on spitting and stressing on every alphabet of the spelling. Glad he ended the discussion before the time that was assigned to him. Followed his discussion, was Asma Ibrahim (an archaeologist and the Director of State Bank Museum) and probably had a doctorate degree too as she kept referring to herself as Dr. Asma. The lady was anything but interesting as a speaker and surprisingly, having studied so much, one couldn't be impressed by the way she spoke. All she wanted was the revival of museums here which was why she was there trying to convince every artist to help her with it though, she honestly couldn't think of many sensible solutions that could be applied in that aspect but, she went on until she ran out of time. Then came Rizwanullah Khan (a complete malang by looks) who happened to be an art instructor at the Visual Arts Dept, KU spoke less and very well. That's the best way to put it. The only point he emphasized was on the importance of "reading" and how it is considered a dilemma in our society. He chose to converse more in Urdu than English but seeing him speak I could very well have an idea that he was quite well read. So, he did leave an impression Hmmm..Last came Taimur Ahmed Suri who taught art history at IVS and SZABIST and was an Oxford University graduate spoke of the mindset people have regarding art or simply anything to do with it. He was quite convincing with the explanation he gave regarding the subject being considered unholy and a taboo in our society. I enjoyed seeing him speak as he was good and also because he was the last speaker..Ahem* I jotted down a lot of points from their discussion which mainly helped me cover that news feature which was immediately turned down by people whom I considered worthy of sharing so that was kinda bothersome. The session ended with a few baseless questions which could be answered more properly, had they been given time but due to running short of the time lapse, it was mainly repetition which I wasn't quite in the mood of hearing again. So, I walked out and decided to attend the amazing "book fair" they had put up. Bumped into a couple of know-it-all relatives. Also happened to spot Shoba De in a bronzey rust sari, with wet curls and a tattoo on the arm. Considering the age she was at, it was commendable to see the stance she walked with. Phew! So, that was pretty much MY view of the KLF. I would be lying if I said it wasn't my cuppa tea, I loved the hoopla of the frenzy festival but I just wish I could have attended better sessions with much more interesting people. That's all. Enjoy reading! :)