racism-pakistan-cancer

Pakistan’s Obsession With “Who Are You?”

Pakistan, a so-called independent state, is still in the grips of a menace. A menace that has gripped it from its very core. The menace of racism. The menace of cast. The menace of “Who are you?”

I have been working for quite sometime now and already have a few bank accounts. For the sole purpose of saving, I decided to open a savings account in one of the local private banks in Pakistan. With this purpose in my mind, I walked into this bank that is near to my place to open an account. The bank was United Bank Limited, one of the biggest banks of Pakistan. As soon as I walked in, the Relationship Manager greeted me and asked me to sit. I obliged.

And then, it began.

I am going to try and recreate the whole scenario, so that the main purpose is understood. The conversation took place in Urdu, but I will try my best to translate it into English.

Me: Assalam-u-Alaikkum, I would like to open an account…can you please guide me through.

RM: Sure Sir, its our duty and that’s why we are sitting here. (Discards the pan he was eating!)

He cleans his hands and reaches for his drawer to take out a booklet. He hands it over to me to fill it up. (Surprisingly- since the rest just fill it up themselves.) Anyways, I start filling in my details and the RM starts asking some questions. It is a routine in our part of the world. RM’s try their best to entertain their customers by asking them some personal and professional questions. So he starts by asking the usual questions.

RM: Sir, may I ask what you do for a living?

Me: I am self employed and have a job as well.

RM: That is really good. And your business is related to what? Software?

Me: Not really. I am a writer and also work in the online marketing industry.

RM: Okay, that is good. A lot of people are now doing freelancing. We try our best to offer freelancers some real good services…

I smiled and return the filled booklet back (to cut the long sales pitch short) and he’s surprised I filled it up so fast (Talk about practice.)

RM: Sir, everything looks good. Just a little information is required. You’re a Muslim?

The first shock.

Me: Yes, I am a Muslim.

RM: Good..and you belong to..?

I am confused as to what he was trying to ask.

“Belong to…what? Sorry, I didn’t get what you’re trying to ask.”

RM: Sir, I meant are you a Sindhi, Balochi, Pathan or a Muhajjir?

Now, he’s ticked me off.

Me: Why? I don’t think this sort of information is required for opening a bank account. Or is there a restriction in this bank for someone from a particular background?

RM: No Sir..every one is..just asking for my own knowledge.

Me: Then, I really do not want to add anything more to your knowledge.

RM: I am sorry, I didn’t meant to offend you.

Me: You should be, because I was offended.

RM: Sorry Sir. Anyways, I have all your details, I just need a copy of your CNIC and a deposit amount along with a proof of employment or business.

I give him the required stuff without uttering a single word. He looks at my CNIC and asks me:

Sir, if you don’t mind, are you a Shi’ite or a Sunni as it is not clearly mentioned on your CNIC?

I gave him an angry look and just asked him to provide me with my form.

I took the form and tore it up into pieces. Then, I told the RM on his face that I don’t think I need to open an account in a bank that is more concerned about my caste and religion then the money I am going to provide to it.

The Branch Manager heard this and came out of his room.

BM: Sir, I apologize for what ever mistake he did..please calm down Sir.

No, there weren’t any customers in the bank at that point in time.

ME: I am completely calm. You just need to tell your respected RM to learn a few lessons in customer service and then take a rod and hit himself in the head with it so he comes back to his senses. Anyways, I really do not want to open an account here. I don’t think I am allowed to.

The Branch Manager did offer some freebies along with an year of free services. However, I really was not in the mood. I stormed out of the bank. On my way out, I did hear the Branch Manager summoning the RM to his office, didn’t bother to know what happened afterwards. I had already heard enough.

While coming back to my home, I did ponder over what had happened. It’s a sorry state of affairs at the moment. I mean, the questions or the “knowledge” he was looking for were completely irrelevant to say the least. He has nothing to do with who I am and what my beliefs are.

However, these are now household discussions. On most dinner tables, I am sure a lot of people talk about

“Sindhi aisay hi hotay hain..nasal ki nasal aisi hoti hai,”;

“Punjabi’s kabhi bhi aage nahin aane denge muhajiron ko.”;

“Pathan toh qaum hi pagalon ki hai, khapti hotay hain,”;

“Balochi toh hotay hi naa shukre hain,”; and so on…indeed, these are the darkest of times.

But, I guess, this is a point where we all have landed at. After 70 years of Independence, we are still at war within ourselves. We still don’t want to free ourselves from these pointless discussions of life. We still don’t want to free ourselves from the “Wahabi’s” and “Sunni’s” and “Shia’s” and “Hari Paghri’s” or the “Sindhi’s” and the “Balochi’s” or worst, “Karachiites” or “Lahori’s” or “Pindi Boys”!

I guess, even after being declared as a Republic, we dare others to challenge our “Public” minds. And we fail.

Smile-Is-Women-Makeup

Smile Is A Women’s Best Makeup

Doctor: Congratulations, its a girl!
Father: Oh…thank you.
Doctor: Huh? You’re a father now, why such a gloomy face?
Father: Because I wanted a…SON!

This isn’t something new in the third world countries. Sad, but yet, its true. Women are seen as a medium of satisfying one’s devilish needs! I am not going for any facts or figures here, because they are as twisted as the whole society is towards them. I am not going for any particular case/scenario here, because they are as crippled as the oppressed gender themselves are! All I am doing here, is venting out my feelings through a medium I know best!

To the Girl Who Was Raped

For me, you are stronger than those bastards can ever be. I cannot comprehend the pain you must have gone through, I know I would’ve died on the spot. The fact that you have the bravery to speak about it gives me hope and courage to move on from every obstacle life throws at me.

image

To the Girl Being Buried Alive

I promise you, although I didn’t know you, you were beautiful, you deserved your life in good health. You deserved freedom from hell.

image

To the Girl with an Alcoholic Father

I don’t want to sound sympathetic, but I really am so sorry for the agony you have to go through every night he comes home, like drunkard. Again, such courage is remarkable you must be such a strong person to bear such pain, with only a smile and no regrets.

image

To the Girl Whose Parents Died

You can’t stop missing them. You can’t let the heart ache go away. But the love they had, the memories you shared surely must last. I can give you my word, the people who have taken the long walk back home and left you in this world are exceptionally proud of the kind of person you are.

image

To the Ailing Mother Whose Son Left Her

Don’t worry, there will come a time when he will be a father himself. But I am quite sure, even in all your loneliness, you’ll pray only for his well being.

image

To the Teased Girl at the Public Places

Don’t face things lying down, get up and fight! Tell them, you are the reason they have a life.

image

To Every Other Women out There

Remember, you’re the full circle of life. Without you, no one can dream of having a family, a partner, a companion, a mother, a sister, a daughter or a housewife. Within you, is the power to create,  nurture and transform. Every time you’re pushed beyond your patience, yet you remain on top! Just go out and discover yourself, not anyone else.

Your moments, these secrets, are all precious even though they are sad. To all of you (including those I did not mention)

  • You are worthy of equality.
  • You are stronger than superman.
  • You are brave in whatever role you play.
  • And You are loved by THE ONE MIGHTY BEING.

Just remember, somebody, somewhere does care for you. Don’t loose hope, I know you won’t!

Just remember that it is a patriarchal idea that getting raped would ruin your community’s honor. No, your community’s honor does not lie with in your vagina. Even you won’t lose your honor. Who put your honor in your vagina? If anyone loses their honor when a woman is raped, it’s the rapist not the woman who is raped. It is the mother of the rapist.

A smile is the best make up any women can wear, and no man has the right to steal that!

image

Your smile does not make you a weak person nor does it give the signal that you are available. It just goes to show that you have learned to work around your shortcomings and are doing great. It shows that you are true warrior who is proud to wear her battle scars and is not afraid to walk again. I understand this is in contrary to some popular belief, that stranger men should stop telling women to smile. But i’ll stick to the stance. A smile is the best make up a women can wear and no men (or women) has the right to steal that smile.

Lives are Never Lost, They are Taken Away!

Whenever I hear the phrase, “lives lost,” it boils me over. We have gone so inconsiderate in our approaches to humanity, including our institutions, that we don’t care about the words or the phrases we use. This is specifically the case with all the news channels that are running their nonsense on daily basis. News is killing us. I don’t like the phrase “lives lost.” I despise the phrase. Lives are never lost, they are always taken away. Always.

Living things have been killed for centuries for materialistic gains. We never say that the life a tree was taken away because it outgrew its age. We take away lives.

Lives are taken away during street crimes, terrorist attacks, gun shootings, hunting, driving, drinking, rape, violence, domestic abuse or due to any illness, lives are always taken away.

When we are mugged on the streets, we never say our wallet was “lost”. We always say that our wallet got “stolen.” Even when we drop something on the street, we think that it has been stolen by that awkward looking stranger.

Likewise,

The lives in ‪#‎Orlando‬ shootings were not “lost”.
The lives in ‪#‎Syria‬ bombings are not lost.
The lives is ‪#‎Iraq‬ war are not lost.
The lives in ‪#‎Afghanistan‬ war on terror are not lost.
The lives in ‪#‎Pakistan‬ war on terror are not lost.
The lives in ‪#‎America‬ are not lost.
The lives in #CalifroniaWildFire are not lost.
The lives in #IndianCommunalViolence are not lost.
The lives in #Kashmir are not lost.
The lives in #Palestine are not lost.
The lives in #MyanmarMassacre are not lost

Lives in any of the attacks were not lost.

All these lives were taken away – forcefully, hatefully, violently and quickly.

They were taken away by man with the firepower to act on their anger.

They were taken away by man who were/are blinded by their materialistic gains.

They were taken away by man ordered to wreck havoc on innocent people.

They were taken away by laws that have failed to keep weapons out of the hands of violent people and others like him.

They were taken away because we as a society have failed to co-exist.

All these lives were taken away by lawmakers who have sold their morality for mere pennies. Their hearts do not have space to care about innocent children in schools, faithful people performing their religious duties at their preferred places or loving fans in movie theaters, or a group of socialites in night clubs. They are least bothered about the World ‪#‎Peace‬. All they care about are their needs and wants. Their lust for power and money always steals away lives of innocent people around the globe.

These lives are taken away by people like you and me who stand and watch as this tragic play unfolds in repeat mode, again and again and again. We only stand and argue as to what should not have been done rather than talking about what we should do to make sure these things never happen again.

You lose Innocence.

You lose Faith.

You lose Love

But,

Lives at gunpoint and bombs are always taken away.

facebook-status

6 Facebook Status Updates that Need to Stop Right Now

Ever since hopping on to Facebook, we have all read statuses that are awful. They need to stop. ASAP!

I remember posting status updates on Facebook when I joined it for the first time. But that stopped soon. Less updates and less visits started becoming a norm. And now I just simply check my Facebook with an update here and there. Usually, my profile is filled with updates from my page. However, somethings have not changed.

I still see people posting a status update when they check in to the loo just to take a selfie to post on Instagram. Because for some very strange reason, they think they look good in the bathroom selfies.

Selfies in the loo
Photo Source: Daily Digs

Anyways, as I was saying…before I got carried away in the chocolate sauce…

I am sick of people posting status updates about every teeny detail of their messed up lives. Specifically, these are the 6 Facebook status updates that need to stop right now!

1. The Pacifier

FTW

“Sigh…”, “FTW”, “Yaar..aisa mere saath hi kyun hota hai?!”

It is obvious. You want people to pacify you. You want people to ask what is going on with you. If you are lucky enough, then around 10% of your “Facebook Friends” will ask what is wrong because they do not want to die from curiosity. The rest of the 90% know it’s time for you to stop being an annoying idiot.

2. The Sickomaniacs


Photo Source: Whisper.sh

“Checked in to ER”, “Migraine is killing me”, “Lucky to be alive”

If you are sick, going to the hospital or you have been involved in an accident, then you should not make a status about it. Specially, if you are not going to be there to respond to the “Kya hua’s,”; “What happened?? Are u ok?”  and “OMG’s”. This is definitely not an appropriate way to inform your friends and family about something bad that happened to you. You just killing them with your curiosity. And add to that the fact that your cell phone is switched off.

Oh and yeah…if you are suffering from migraine and posting it on to Facebook, get yourself checked. You might be heavily mistaken! (Pun intended!)

3. The War of Words


Photo Source: Cheezburger.com

“Why talk behind my back…SAY IT TO ME ON MY FACE”, “Naani naa yaad dilaadi toh mera naam bhi ___________ (insert any funny name you want)

Really? Really??! Do you really feel the need to post it all over Facebook? It is clear you are addressing someone. Go and talk to them face to face. Stop wasting time gathering uncalled for sympathy.

4. The Unfriended

“Cleaning out the garbage from the list”, “Itne baikaar log hain facebook par add, nikaalnay main din lag gaya pura!”

I am so grateful you kept me as one of your 987 friends on Facebook so I can torture myself everyday by reading your pointless junk. *Unfriend*

5. The Routine Update

“Woke up!”, “Just Checked into the loo. Finding it hard to poop!”, “Using Colgate for morning freshness”, “Leaving the washroom after a good morning pee!”, “Going for a walk with my dog!”, “Watching the hardcore Game of Thrones on TV”, “Drinking water to keep myself hydrated”, “Time to take a shower after a good day’s hardwork”, “Too much laundry to clean”, “Laying on bed after a long and hectic day”, “I love you so much my Jaanu..my dumpling” (Yeah..we deshi’s have our own dictionary for Bae!) and so on..

You know your life is miserable. Why make others life miserable as well? Whom are you talking to actually? What is the point of all this? You know you are the only one to like your status and there is a reason for that. Stop. Please.

6. The Hashtag Abuse


Photo Source: SMWCentral

“Hanging out with friends! #friends #life #boysnightout #desiboyz #saturdaynight #enjoying #brosbeforehos #thebestihaveeverfeltinmylife #party #booze #nightout #drive #random #enjoywithfriends #letshavefun #killingtime #fun #familyfriends #enjoyinglife #lifeislikethat #lifeisfun”

#Hashtags are fun to use; only when used appropriately. What you are doing is called abuse. Violent abuse. Stop this violence and learn how to use #Hashtags.

Itshardtopickoutwordsinahashtagtofigureoutwhatitsaysifyouusetoomanyofthematthesametimeinpost.

Now you should know what I mean.

No hard feelings. We all make mistakes. I made some too. I still make them. It is okay. Nevertheless, I hope now you know how it feels to be at the other end. You still have time. Get help. REAL HELP!

Kuttay Ki Dumm Hamaisha Tairhi Rehti Hai

An old saying in Urdu, well…still valid!

“Kuttay ki dumm hamaisha tairhi rehti hai”

I have seen people change over a new leaf from being no one. There are so many “flowers” around me which, at times, used to be conical thorns, but have now turned into ripe roses, willing to spread smiles on others. These “flowers”, which protected their own scent from spreading out to the whole world, have now changed their reason of existence. Or have they?

There’s an old saying in the Urdu language:

“Kuttay ki dum tairhi ki tairhi rehti hai”

And considering the total population of the world (Yes, I am exaggerating A LOT), I believe at least half of the population fulfills this definition in a perfect manner.

So in that case, how does one know when to or when not too believe in someone? Whether to believe in what they are or what they were before? Yes, change is the only constant thing in life. Everybody goes through it. It is imperative. Some find it hard to cope with it, while some give it a warn welcome. But do we really change?

I have not been around in this world for a very long time, but I have been around enough to say “been there, done that”.

And in doing so, I came across a lot of people who changed their course of life only to be seen as rebels or vigilante’s, but were never accepted socially. The reason: They changed for good. But, I guess they could not do anything about their pasts. Because its gone, done and dead for good. All one can do, is sit back and think about all the chances he/she could have taken but chose not to take.

So what’s the hard core truth about change? Is it possible for someone to truly turn a new leaf? If change were possible, wouldn’t it take at least an year or so to happen? The answer is, well, change is possible… and I mean a drastic, and most of the times a life-altering change. But there’s no rule of thumb about how long this kind of change would take to occur. I believe it depends on what the current surroundings are and in what kind of a state the people are in.

Now, this should raise a doubt in the mind of all those “experienced” people out there. The doubt that “if a change has occurred in a short period of time, and if someone has gone from being a thorn to a flower, than, is that kind of a change even possible in such short time; if it is, then how come we never see it coming?”

I think,

A change of heart that happens faster than the system of justice in this world, than that change is never a true change and won’t last for long.

Change is inevitable. It is quite possible, and positive, when we choose to be humble enough to see the places we are off from and are willing enough to change them, before they are changed for us. A lot of us refuse to see our own fault lines, some even dare not to draw them, we keep on blaming those around us for how we act or what we have turned in to. We don’t listen to critical feedback and never appreciate it coming from our true critics, we keep our hearts and our souls frozen. That’s where we lag behind. Never wait until the world starts crashing down on you and you’re forced to change (for bad). So, open your hearts and clear your mind, and start listening to what the world is saying to you, who knows, maybe then you just might have your

‘aha’

moment.