Friday, 25 April 2008

caravan of clouds

i took this picture a long time back, last year. today was a similar, cloudy day in Lahore.
i loved the long, endless, blanket of rain laden clouds. the time before the clouds pours down the rain is a period of eager waiting. its like someone is about to break some good news to you, as if you are about to open your birthday gift. then pours the rain, drop by drop on the trees, roads, windows, everywhere.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

robots playing soccer

This is one interesting clip. Technology has made us a slave. it’s like we have been changing masters but on a lighter note, this clip apart from displaying highly techno people at a game makes one laugh as well. or perhaps it’s just me. but i never knew soccer could get this slow with robots. then i also came across another interesting dancing robot clip, to view it just go to youtube.

Monday, 21 April 2008

who killed basant

For years now, the religious rights have repeated a constant refrain: basant is a Hindu festival, its celebration is un-Islamic. They quote the 18th century incident of Hakeekat Rai, the Hindu teenager from Sialkot who refused an offer of clemency if he converted to Islam. This was after he blasphemed against the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and was convicted to death. His death was said to have been celebrated by flying kites, and hence basant. This is patently untrue and just another example of how propaganda is used to wrongfully Islamise and distort a South Asian history shared by Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Jain alike. You can trace basant back to at least the 13th century — hundreds of years before Hakeekat Rai was even a glint in the milkman’s eye — when Amir Khusro sought to relieve his mentor, Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi, who was mourning the loss of a close relative. Khusro came across villagers dressed in yellow and flying kites. He learnt they were celebrating the arrival of spring and thought he would do the same to cheer up his ustad. Today, kites still fly in Delhi. Data Ganj Baksh, the patron Saint of Lahore, brought the seasonal festival to Lahore after observing it in Delhi.
Basant was essentially a festival celebrated in the Walled City and its immediate surroundings. Some time in the late 1990s, the Government of Punjab decided it would “nationalise” the event. It was a money-maker. Tens of thousands of families depended on it for seasonal income. It was great for tourism and it projected a modern and, dare I mention the phrase these days, “enlightened,” face of the country. All the government had to do was distance the festival from the Islamising propaganda. This they attempted to do with cosmetic alterations, like changing its name to Jashn-e-Baharan. It worked like a charm. For the first few years, basant grew in size and splendour.

Then, within the same 3-4 year period, three things happened. First, about 2000, a new, high-tensile strength metalled wire was introduced to the kite-flying market. Because of its strength, it soon took over the old cotton twine as one’s boo-kaataa kite-string of choice.

Other than sit and watch other string manufacturers grow rich while breaking the law, the various kite-flying associations or string manufacturers have done nothing to bring anyone to book. Now, with Lahore stretching from Bedian to Raiwind, most new districts and developments are too far from the old city to absorb its cultural heritage. The new city now dominates, and basant also suffers the apathy of the citizens of Lahore. basant is now no longer something that belongs to the new Lahore. It is now part of a Lahore that is lost. And that is the story of the death of basant.

above is an excerpt from Ahmed Rafay's column

Thursday, 17 April 2008

peeka peeka bogii

yesterday, i saw this advertisement on Discovery and i loved it. today i got hold of it on you tube. its cute for its got adorable kids in it who are just messing everything up lol. simple and effective, the ad displays sensible marketing strategy with an innovative team behind the camera. sony ads have always been great. just wanted to share this fun video

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

journey to islamabad

yawning and stretching i clumsily got out of my bed. it was a sunny day in Lahore and perhaps the best day to escape the arrival of summers with a bonus of load shedding. and the nearest and ideal place remains to be Islamabad amid mountains and serene clouds( ah my first love). So i got on Daewoo bus service that takes you to Islamabad within four an a half hour quite peacefully. A beautiful panorama of changing scenery of green fields, wheat crops and villages, a few cows and goats on the way, rivers (although a bit too dry and water deficient) is what the ride offers. Little did i know that the journey back would be a total opposite and considerably a lot more, actually bumpy throughout with dust blowing in your face. That too, however, turned out to be quite entertaining via Grand Truck road.
The best and most captivating part of the journey is when the mountains start to appear. a whole continuous fortress of mountains begin to appear before you as you look out of the air conditioned bus. the weather outside, the train of clouds above, the wall of mountains below seems endless and picturesque. As the bus takes you further and higher towards Islamabad, the mountains start caving you in, almost hugging you in their wide, rough rocky texture. The ride takes you through the famous Kallar Kahar and then enters into the Salt Ranges. My journey ended as the M2 turns north and ends west of Rawalpindi. I desperately tried taking some quick shots of the widely spread out red mountains. Accidentally i ended up deleting those pictures and later cursing my idiotic clicking away of the delete button. however, i soon found a very similar picture of the mountain range online and here it is. but to assure you, i took better pictures than this one :p

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

imagine one day you wake to find you no longer have your own face. the image staring back at you isnt you, its someone else. someone you have never seen. its the reflection of a new face looking back at the person before the mirror. a strange, unknown, unacquainted face. what would be your reaction?
panic, shock, disbelief...
probably it would feel like someone has betrayed you, someone has lied to you, you have been robbed of something very precious to you.
but what next? you just stand there, staring back as if its all a dream, everything is false. you just stand there, without touching the new features of your new face; fearing that a single touch would melt down the whole thing.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

bouyant spirits

Since the past few days Lahore has been witnessing a heavenly weather; wind, clouds, drizzling and infant spring flowers blossoming to their fullest. the spell of winter has sadly come to a halt. the transition period between the short and chilly winters and the long and harsh summers is indeed a huge welcome. its like theres some magic in the air. the dew shines more than ever and the air that is spreading its wings with the morning prayers is fresh, untouched, virgin, a little cold but soothing. there is some song in the winds that passes by you. there a secret with the thick titanic clouds that poured down with the rain drops early in the morning today.
the best thing i like about the way we construct our houses in Pakistan is that 'chath' (roof top) is an important and distinctive feature. the bigger and wider the rooftop the better. thus on such days, the terrace and the stairs that lead to the rooftop become my favourite hang out. there is something so mystical in the air that flies on the rooftop. its light, it smells good( unlike the heavy smell of the pollutants that dominates our environment) and it sort of sets you free from the mundane trivial worries.
On days like these when the weather is exceptionally romantic or so to speak pleasant, the world around you looks so perfect and flawless; the whole feeling, the ambiance pulls you towards it. and then you're lost like Alice in wonderland. everything around you feels new, alien and beautiful. you become curious just like Alice and then there is no end to it. hehehe i might sound a bit, no actually quite stupid, but i am at a loss of both words and thoughts.
That reminds me of something quite peculiar regarding certain kind of smells, fragrances etc. some smells are so profoundly anchored in our subconscious thoughts that if we feel them again, one can actually relate to it. there is usually a distant memory of a place or a person that is somehow associated with it. its fascinating even more than the feeling of deja vu. to me the flashback coming on such a day is some peculiarity in itself. there used to be an indescribable smell that is very common with our culture, a very ethnic smell of food being cooked on the old fashioned stoves. i always relate it to the time i used to spend with my Nani. There is also a universally and unanimously acknowledged (or is my assumption) mild, dainty and celestial smell of the damp earth ( geeli mitti) which is absolutely splendid. It brings back the memories of all the good times and the rainy days of the monsoon, the melting popsicles/ice lollies being effortlessly licked with feet being carelessly splashed in the water on the streets. Geeli mitti ki khusbo is like our identity, our roots, something that gives a feeling of a warm relation to the land that nourishes us.
What amazes me the most is that every person has a hallmark smell. its not their perfumes or scents they use, its their genuine natural fragrance that accompanies them everywhere. with a grin on her face my mother says its the 'roohani khushbo' (spiritual smell) and i guess its fairly true. then in winters or in this spell bounding weather, the smell of the coffee brings forth a wave of ecstasy. there are so many more smell associated nostalgia but the thunder and lightning are the dominant distractions presently.


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