I was pleasantly surprised when I saw an update on Facebook. It said a Skype session has been arranged with Jeffrey Archer at Liberty Books BBQ Tonight branch and it is a great chance for his fans to talk to him directly. Soon I saw event page being shared on out The Readers Avenue group and decided to attend the session. Despite the fact that I was tired from office, air conditioner wasn’t functional and needed to be fixed and I was still in the middle of downloading the newly released Watch Dogs game, I managed to take out time and reached the venue on time.
One of the best decisions I ever made.
The session was lightly attended, the dreadful traffic probably kept a lot of people away and that took away some of the charm of the event. I met Afrah and marketing team of Liberty Books, a pleasant meeting since we have made acquaintance over the past few months and it felt nice to catch up. Jeffrey was online right at the time and I easily got front row seat for the session. Jamal moderated the session and after a short introduction he asked Jeffrey to talk about his writing experience.
Jeffrey was animated. He spoke clearly about his experience as a writer and how his life events and knowledge provided the necessary information for his novels. The audience, although not many, asked him varying questions from his ability to write for multiple genres to dealing with Writers Block. He answered all openly and often humorously, leading us to fits of laughter when he declared he his God gifted and doesn’t suffer from Writers Block and would write forever till he dies. Since most of the questions were general in nature, Jeffrey didn’t go into unnecessary details about his writing. He talked about how he is closer to his first novel ‘Not a Penny more, not a Penny less’ than his other novels since that was the first and how he loves to write, particularly since he is a best seller. In fact, since he has been best seller so many times is the reason he still goes on writing.
Also, he doesn’t type but write by hand. His recent book has gone through 9 drafts and all of them are handwritten. It’s an old habit that is still a part of him and can’t switch to typing so easily. His past experience as a politician has had a great impact on his writing. Since politics is what he understands best, his novels also surround such themes and he is particularly fond of his current series Clifton Chronicles. His advise to all budding writers is to write what they feel comfortable about and have knowledge. For example Jeffrey said he has no idea about Pakistan, so if he writes a story based on Pakistan it will be a bad story since he has no knowledge of the country. There will be those who tell you there is nothing in you to pass on through your stories so why write, but don’t give up and continue to write.
Jeffrey had plenty to offer in terms of advise to the new writers for both reading and writing. The session ended after 20 minutes of conversation where Jamal did his best to successfully maintain the flow of communication between Jeffrey and his fans. After a polite good bye, all participants were upbeat and are excited about participating more in future of event of such nature. And hopefully there will be a bigger crowd the next time such an event would take place.
OPEN Karachi held its first Annual Dinner at Creek Club on 2nd May and invited people from various walks of life to interact and connect with each other. The session was interesting to attend as I met various people, from teachers to entrepreneurs of all ages and it was a small but energetic gathering. Continue reading
Sometime ago I came to know about introduction of a fictional character from the stories I read in my childhood, Umru Ayyar, in comic book. The team behind Kachee Goliyan was gearing up to introduce this old-time shady/assassin/greedy/wily person as a hero in the comic world, and that came out as a surprise to me. True, Umru Ayyar as a character presents a lot of interpretations and its stories give so many angles to work on that it is possible re-introduce him in a whole different package. Still, more strong characters like Ameer Hamza (to whom Umru played a role of adviser as well as guardian assassin) could have been used for the comic book.
Nevertheless, something is better than nothing and therefor when I was invited for the soft launch of Umru Ayyar I tried my best to take out time and attend it at the new acquired office space by the KG team. Continue reading
SZABIST Karachi organized Pakistan’s first ever Hackathon where 100+ computing/IT students from 7 different institutes stayed at SZABIST for 3 days and attempted to automate the manual processes of Pakistan. SZABIST Karachi is the institute from where I completed by MBA degree specializing in Marketing and I am proud of their achievement. Following is the Press Release of the event.
[48Hour Hackathon] Press Release
IEEE-SZABIST Student Branch is a non-profitable student branch at SZABIST of the international organization IEEE, which works to promote technological and industrial market by organizing various seminars, conferences and workshop catering students from all over Karachi.
From the 22nd to the 24th of March 2013, IEEE-SSB (SZABIST Student Branch) organized a 48-Hour application development event, HACKATHON at SZABIST 154, Clifton, Karachi. This event provided a forum for the students of Pakistan to collectively come up with creative ideas and provide technological solutions to real life problems.
The theme that we selected for the HACKATHON this year was ‘To Automate Any Manual Process of Pakistan‘.
IEEE-SSB molded this event to fit best at national level. It was platform and technology independent; the teams comprised of 2-4 participants and were allowed to work on web, mobile or desktop applications. There were a total of 26 teams and overall 118 students that registered for the event from 7 different universities all over Pakistan (SZABIST, FAST-NUCES, University of Karachi, ISRA University Hyderabad, DHA-SUFFA, SSUET, MAJU) who stayed at SZABIST 154 Campus for 3days. Participants were provided with all the necessities to make their stay as comfortable as possible.
There were 3 judges that were there to evaluate the projects of the participants at the end of the third day. The judges were from renowned industries and well reputed personalities including Mr. Syed Asif Shah (CEO, IT Minds), Mr. Owais Sheikh (CTO, Lutebox), Mr. Amir Ali Jivani (CTO, Pi-Labs). The judges were very fair in their judgment and gave ample time to every team to explain their projects in detail.
At the end, all the participants were awarded with a certificate of participation. The top 3 teams, all from FAST-NUCES received shields and cash prizes i.e. the team that came in first position received Rs. 20000, the team that came in second position received Rs.10000 and the team in third position received Rs. 5000.
For accomplishing all expected objects we have with us ICT R&D Funds & KMC, Thank you everyone for everything.
Karachi Literature Festival concluded on Sunday, bringing a wonderfully spend weekend to a successful end. I haven’t had such a good time for three days straight in a long while and attending KLF was worth every minute (and penny, for food and books). Before I talk about KLF, I must talk about the upcoming Lahore Literary Festival which will be starting next week.
I was contacted by the team responsible for Lahore Literary Festival and asked if I could attend the event. I had to apologize because the event timing clashed with the CSS examinations. Last week they sent me a press release to be posted on my blog and I checked my emails after a week, thereby missing it completely. The text of the press release is as follows: Continue reading
As most people in Pakistan know, a long winded drama being played at Islamabad has come to an end with the most amazing anti-climax moments possible. Tahir Ul Qadri, founder of the NGO “Minhaj-Ul-Quran”, led a revolutionary march from Lahore to Islamabad that in itself costed a fortune to host and brought both life and economy of the country to a virtual standstill.
It is true that blaming the economic factor completely on Tahir Ul Qadri is unfair, simply because around the same time sit-ins in support of Shias killed in Quetta had sprung up throughout the country (I was sitting in a train when sit-in on tracks began and thus ended up missing both my chance to visit Lahore as well as the Table Tennis tournament I was suppose to play to represent my institution). But at the same time it did affected businesses in and around Islamabad as the city remained hostage to Tahir Ul Qadri’s sit-in.
A few days back I got a call from my friend Talha Shamsher. A new cafe was opening soon and they needed a blogger to attend the event. The invitation was initiated by Rimsha Malik who was also attending the initial meetup before the grand opening and had send it through Talha. I agreed and reached the venue right after finishing my evening exercise on 8th January.
Symmetry Group has brought some much needed success for Pakistan at the prestigious “Agency of the Year awards 2012″ that were recently held in Singapore. The Symmetry Group, comprising of Symmetry Digital, Creative Jin and Iris Digital, bagged 4 awards.
In the press conference held at Southend Club on February 2, 2013 the management presented details about the event and shared their success story. The “Agency of the Year” is a prestigious award that is well recognized internationally. Digital agencies from round the globe participate and there is a comprehensive screening process that ultimately leads to final selection. There are various categories, including a Pakistan specific sub-category within South Asia that was completely dominated by Symmetry Group. The group not just bagged all three awards from Pakistan category but was also awarded “South Asia Digital Agency of the Year”. Continue reading
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 43,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 10 Film Festivals
This is a short story I wrote after hearing how a person ruined his life by making wrong choices and not facing the pressures of life
The class had the usual hustle and bustle. Students sat chit chatting animatedly and gossiping, the girls about the latest fashion and TV dramas while the guys about recently concluded Football league. Ahmed entered and after a general hello to the class he headed towards his usual place beside Sehar and Alina.
“Thank God it’s Sir Ali’s class first, it won’t be a bad start of the day” He said as he fell into the chair.
“You stay up most night talking on phone. Stop doing that and all mornings will be fine” Alina said.
“Sorry, I am not a morning person” Ahmed muttered
“Whatever, at least Sir Ali will keep us awake” Sehar said
“Won’t affect me as I’ll fall asleep” Ahmed said with a smirk
“Stop taking advantage of his nature. He’s easygoing, doesn’t mean you piss him off as well” Alina said exasperatedly
“No need, I’ll just take him off-track again and doze off like before”
“He tells really good stuff, you should listen to him” Sehar said
Ahmed laughed. Alina thumped his head. Both girls knew he was not going to listen. The bell rang and as the class began to settle, the door opened and Sir Ali entered. Thin and tall, wearing rectangular spectacles and tidy hair, Sir Ali seemed calm and peaceful like always as he greeted the class and put his laptop on the table and turned it on. This was perhaps the only class in the university that never required memorizing events and dates in Pakistan Studies course, making it not just easy but interesting as well. The only reason why the whole class found Wednesday mornings refreshing compared to the rest of the week.
“Everyone enjoyed our 1965 War analysis from last week? I hope you guys made the necessary notes, you’ll probably need them for the next quiz” Sir Ali said said.
“Will you be asking us specific questions? I mean like names of battalions and squadrons and all that?” Nooria asked
“I explained that earlier as well. You all need to understand the event AND recall the right names. You can cover broadly but that may not result in better analysis” Sir Ali replied
“That means we will need to remember all the names of pilots of PAF as well? And their squadron numbers too?” Sajjad asked
“Those that matter and the ones we covered. For example, who was Sarfaraz Rafique and why a base has been named after him?” Sir Ali asked Continue reading
I received an email from Creative Jin on Saturday morning for an event at Expo Center at 7:30 pm. I was busy in the afternoon working on my thesis presentation that I emailed to university management around 3 pm. I had to attend a meeting at 6 pm after which I headed out for Expo Center and reached the venue on time to attend the launch of new branchless banking product from Zong and Askari Bank (pictures and video included towards the end).
The following article appeared in Dawn newspaper today (4/11/2012) and I am sharing it as it is for enlightenment. It provides a brief history of sectarian killings in Pakistan, most notably from Zia’s time when organized Sunni and Shia militant wings were formed and attacks were carried out on each other’s leaders as well as on general population.
by Syed Shoaib Hasan
To understand the genesis and growth of anti-Shia extremism, the claims of both Sunni and Shia leaders must be examined. Shia-Sunni violence in this region precedes Partition but its more recent form has other beginnings. Most analysts are convinced that the present problem is a product of the Pakistan’s security establishment enduring relationship with radical Sunni militancy. Continue reading
The issue of ethnic divide had been simmering beneath the surface for some time and SPLGO ordinance has once again brought it out to front. The divide has been there since the creation of Pakistan but came to prominence during the 80s and has now become the most violent factor that threatens innocent lives during peace as well as troubled times. This post is first of a series that will look at how this divide came into being and will start off with the introduction of once “Sindh’s Jinnah”, Saeen G. M. Syed. Continue reading
It is constantly repeated in history text books that separation of Sindh was result of All India Muslim League’s efforts. I am presenting a short chronology of the events that took place which eventually led to the separation of Sindh. These facts have been referenced from the book “Political Dynamics of Sindh: 1947 – 1977″ by Tanvir Ahmed Tahir.
It has been a sad week for Pakistan. The controversy surrounding the cheap and highly distasteful short film Innocence of Muslims has gotten out of hands and not just figuratively but literally. It started with protests over the internet from all over the world and then quickly translated to the physical world where street power was demonstrated in several countries. As a result, many people died during protests, most notable of them being the American Ambassador Chris Stevens who died in Libya.
In Pakistan, the protest that started from social media quickly translated to street power too and small-scale anti-American and anti-Jewish rallies were organized all over the country. Soon Youtube was blocked when movie and its trailer were not removed by Youtube. Pakistani government, in order to appease the sentiments of general public, declared September 21, 2012 as Ishq-E-Rasool (Love for the Prophet) day. The purpose was to honor the Prophet and counter the propaganda shown in the movie, only to see hell breaking loose all over the country. Continue reading
For years we have heard about Freemasons, Illuminati and whatnot conspiring against Pakistan along with Jews and Americans/Israelis and trying to destroy the country. This oft repeated mantra gave us a ‘hidden enemy’ to loathe for all the bad things happening in the country and remain ignorant of many facts that were concealed in plain sight.
In this modern age, the Freemason conspiracy is no longer needed to undermine Pakistan because Pakistan is rapidly becoming self-sufficient in creating its own brand of Freemasons and Illuminati. Continue reading
A couple of days back I went to Tariq Road with my mom an hour after Iftar and faced the traffic of shoppers to this prime area of Karachi. Police was everywhere, some people were shouting on megaphones and people were moving around in droves. One particular announcement caught my attention. I didn’t hear the first part of it but the second part was interesting.
“Apni rai aur tajaweez ka izhar yahan akar kijiye, suggestion box main apni suggestions dalein aur acha shehri honay ka saboot dein” (Give your thoughts and opinions here, put the suggestions in the suggestion box and prove that you are a good citizen).
I found this quite curious. Continue reading
Note: I wrote this story in two hours as an entry for LUMS Young Writers Workshop 2012 but couldn’t make it to the final 8. After refining the story a bit, I am publishing it here on my blog.
Sound of running footsteps filled the corridor as the bell started ringing. Ahmed managed to rush into the class and jumped onto his seat before the final ring. He took a sigh of relief. Finally he made it to the class before the teacher and that’s a rare achievement for him. With a toothy grin he showed double thumbs-up to the whole class, practically dancing on his seat. Some laughed, some ignored, Ayesha giggled and Fari gave him a congratulatory pat on his back.
The celebration was short lived as the sound of resounding footsteps, like a giant walking the earth, clamped their mouths shut and glued them to their seats. The door opened and the teacher entered. She was so big that if she sat upon Titans, they couldn’t to do a thing about it. Her smile was ghastly and today it was particularly smug. She lumbered to the front of the class and slammed a pile of papers on the desk, announcing with a delight that the assignments were graded. Continue reading
This article was published in the 8th issue of Lafz Magazine.
We are old pals, loadshedding and me. I don’t recall a time, at all, when I did not experience the absence of electricity. It was always there, coming and going, like it owned the country. And it continues to do so after so many years; no wonder my nephew was confused when he asked his American school friend a week after arriving in US “When does the electricity goes out?” and his reply, with equally confusing facial expressions, was “Never”.
Just take yesterday’s example when I was out playing Cricket after quite a long time. The heat was so intense that I needed water break after every couple of overs. We had placed a pedestal fan in the dressing room but behold, it worked for just an hour because of loadshedding. We also brought a watercooler with plain drinking water, hoping to buy ice from nearby shops, but they were out of ice due to loadshedding. Thanks to them, I had blacked out in the 17th over and was lying spread-eagled in the dressing room (which was nothing more than a tented cubicle with broken benches and hard-edged stones to sit on). Continue reading