Monday, September 29, 2008

Rejoinder

Well further to my post yesterday..I realise now it wasnt clear... I can be pretty cryptic at times...my post was a comment on what 'being secular' or with it at best meant for Pakistanis over the years..so if for Jinnah it was demarcating the difference between a country for Muslims (amongst other backgrounds) that maintained a secular spirit as opposed to a Muslim/Islamic nation that was a theocracy per se...and how over the years a Pakistani leader exhibited it by pointing out that even a South Asian could be "with it" and indulge in an easy banter...eventually a Musharraf thought that 'secularism' meant to pose with his dogs which could emphasize that he was NOT TO BE CONFUSED with THOSE OTHER GENERALS who WANTED to bring in ISLAMIZATION SO PLEASE PLEASE DONT FEAR ME...though I will show you eventually how regressive I am ..for one I will declare in an interview that Pakistani women like getting raped so they can get to go to Canada...alas today our leaders are reading more from "Saath Din Larkee In" and "I too can hit on Condie"...the last nail in the coffin has been the Merry Widower Prez Zardari who thought that "fear not I come in peace...for I too can be MAADERN and not a Fundo" was using pickup lines that were passé even in the 70s when he conducted his charm inoffensive in the streets of Karachi.
Sigghhhhh.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

How They Will Go Down in History

Signs of the times eh.

From the people who brought you:

You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed --that has nothing to do with the business of the State." (Jinnah's Presidential Address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11th August, 1947)

to

the very witty "Rishtey may tau hum tumharey baap lagtey hai" exchange between Kennedy and Bhutto circa 1963

(Kennedy is alleged to have said): "If you were an American you would be in my cabinet." Bhutto is alleged to have answered, "Be careful Mr President, if I were an American, you would be in my cabinet."

we move to Shaukat Aziz (who is from the "7 din larkee in" school of thought)

Condoleezza Rice has complained fighting off the tharkee Shaukat "I can conquer any woman in two minutes" Aziz's charm inoffensive.

To the ultimate JIYALA ABROAD who is trying to emulate all that he learnt from 1980s baadd Bollywood pics:

Oh Sheeda when Im ABRAADD tau Meyma Sheyma





"Looking gorgeous, now we know why America loves you so much. I can give you another hug if the photographer wants." (September 2008)

Sighhhhh, all this as Manmohan Singh tries to wrestle out of his grasp "Georgie boy did ask me to meet you and make nice but no more puppyan jhappyan"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Postcards from the couch

I thought the lying horizontal, feet propped up routine would go down well with me...lazy days, flicking through TV channels, grading exam papers...heads, this one passes, tails he flunks (JUST KIDDING STUDENTS!! dont go running to the University Grievances Committee just yet) and well perhaps Pesho will try to emulate a Roman slave and feed me grapes while Gman struggles with the outside world and brings home the kosher bacon.
Well that aint happening. I still have to wrestle with deadlines lying down, still try to move my ass print from couch to work to back and well the hours lying down on the couch have been hell...whether its realising how the howling wind drives me nuts, I have actually caught myself shaking my fist at the roof as the roof tiles rattle and the pipes groan "Cant you stop that"...yup Im the crazy old woman your parents warned you about, so I crawl on my knees and shout at every little leaf that rustles.


And for obvious reasons the TV has been no relief...friends tell me I have to "bubble my existence"...I do not know if that is possible...today my BP was touching the roof as I had to go through umpteen stories of the Prince of Darkness ogling Sarah "Mussart Shaheen" Palin...that stupid stupid man...and then all the insensitive comments in the press, I HATE THEM I HATE THEM...so I "troll" the net, searching for something that will make me smile on someone's blog, beg friends to email me "cheery stuff" and than scold myself for the ridiculousness of my predicament...as one can actually "band aid" real life..but this morning as I watched Ellen DeGenres and how she ran a list of things to cheer oneself up in today's tough scenario, it was like she was talking to me...yup I had my own Oprah moment..and she shows all these cute pics of animals kissing and babies being cute and sigghhhh how the number one pick-upper is a glass of vodka and three olives...sighhh another life, another set of rules.

So I have been "racking my brain" trying to think of something interesting I could share with everyone...and well this could be a post on the things students say...but anyways my students teach me something every day (Im not!!)


Like one taught me how one can save on xeroxing material and then lugging 10 kilos of paper across the world by just clicking pages with a digital camera, hmmm...dont know what it means for copyright rules and the ethics behind carrying it to a library but it merits a thought...some good can come out of watching Mission Impossible re-runs hmm...and I wish I had known this all these years...there is a man in Islamabad who was able to get that hip replacement for his mother, a heated swimming pool for his home and put three of his kids through school with the amount I spent on xeroxing for my research over the years.

Another taught me about why we need not worry too much about being objective when writing about the other...one student (not mine) was asked to comment on the autobiography of a 19th century Japanese woman, and he wrote down "earlier it was difficult for me to write about someone in the 19th century but I later thought to myself well Im not a woman or Japanese either so carry on with the paper"..

But the real "gem" was offered by my good friend Rads son...I was wondering why an aunt's two children refused to accompany her on a holiday to China..it being such a fantastic trip and all and why there were being so difficult..and the 8 year old pipes up "well Im sure they are scared that the Chinese will throw them in jail...it having a one child policy and all"...hmmm food for thought...it could be that China one day refuses to allow more than one kid to accompany a vactaioning family...what with every day Chinese going through some kind of "kid envy" ...oh well.

So such is life for me...Im still waiting for any feel good stories.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Lone Battler

As we reel from the events of the weekend...some where from the smouldering embers from the fire that has engulfed the city rises the image of one fighter..someone who did not give up in the face of immense odds...as I watch the lone security guard trying to douse the flames of the truck with a fire extinguisher, a smile breaks on my lips and I am overwhelmed by the strength of the human spirit....perhaps there is hope for us in times of such despair, and the unknown secuirty guard is the beacon of light that should guide us in the dark days ahead. Take a page out of his book and at least make an ATTEMPT to tackle the monsters unleashed....

I have been telling friends that there is some 'truth' to what Zardari is saying, that it is just not the US war but also Pakistan's war...but we can only build bridges ...make peace...with the restive population if we can "isolate" all other irritants...I dont know why Zardari was in such a rush to hold hands with Bush...but if he could just tell him key bhaiya thoree deyr keliye ...for a while at least..get off our butts and let us put our house in order...you can come hunt your 'golden deer' after a couple of years, he aint going any where...kambakht drat them if they have not caught OBL in 7 years tau abhee kiya teer mareyngey....they cant do anything in the next year can they...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Own the Nightmare

I wake up from sleep with a jolt...having had a particularly bad dream that I am covered with blood with my insides pushing out from my skin...yes it does not make for very pleasant weekend reading...I realise some hours later when I have 'woken up' to the outside world that while I pacified myself with my phantom wounds being just a bad dream , to shut my eyes and let sleep overcome me, in another part of my world my compatriots fought pain, forced their eyes open and acknowledge that their terrible nightmare was here to stay.

What does one say...well wishers forward you links to websites...and I have to struggle not to send off terse email replies...You think I dont know, that words in cyber space will give me a message that my body my soul drums in every second. Khizzy reminds me of the Yeh Hum Nahee campaign that was launched an year ago...This Is Not Us they claimed but even then a silent voice inside claimed to be heard. It is Us..There were our governments that allowed a Frankenstein to be created and now flounders as the monster morphs into a many headed Hydra that devours our compatriots...these are our brothers and sisters who hate us for what we stand for and indulge in a macabre fratricide...they claim that we are impotent in the face of Washington and allow them to prey on our villagers, but we all know that the drones on the horizon do not indulge in the niceties of permission and sovereignty...This Is Us and this is our fate to die a million deaths every day...whether in a storm of brick mortar fire set by my brother...whether in a hail of gunfire...missiles...by the fire breathing iron birds on the horizon...or by your own personal nightmares a thousand miles away.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pet Peeves--frankly who is counting right now

Yup, I have turned into quite a ' whinger' havent I. But then Melbourne is throwing up so much to ' complain about'...if I have said it once, I have said it a 100 times...the WEATHER. It is the Goldilocks of weather, either too hot, too cold, too windy, too shizophrenic, NEVER just right and frankly the touristy spiel of ' experiencing four seasons in one day' just doesnt do it for me...real people have to decide what to wear in the morning, do laundry without a blizzard tearing the laundyr line, and put away winter clothes....hmmmphh.

And then Blogger decides to play ' shy' so I cant post or comment on anyone on blogger...which makes for a very crabby Aneela.

And well the 'thorn in my IMMENSE back side'....workmen in the city. I thought it was just me and my hangups. But as Parul so eloquently puts it in her post ...the fate of any brave soul who volunteers to open up her home or ' project' to a 'tradie' is to be universally insulted (in more than one language I would say).

Though I doubt my tile-layer/plumber is reading this post...but who knows actually...I should be marking essays right now...but Im not right...and I dont think the house we are renovating will be ready any time this decade, so perhaps he is updating his blog as I write...so if you are...REALITY CHECK...there is no jasmine bush growing out of your behind, so every time there is a rustle in your nether regions dont be mistaken that there is...now how does Ash say it in Hum dil Dey Chukey Sanam..yes Sameer...ek thandee hawa ka jhonka (a gush of cool air)...that is your dinner I smell, yukkk.

Moving on..a number of times we are asked in life ' do you know what you really want?' Well I do, but will you LET me, Mr Tradie. I know which tiles should go where and what feature I want on the wall...so why am I in tears every week as you shrug your shoulders and wink at Gman ' Brother, I will tell you later what we will do'...and in the car ride back home Im all over Gman as in 'what is he going to do? and you like my idea right..and thats what is happening right'.
But the tile-layer has a mind of his own...the first time he stepped in he had this fiendish plan to do away with the polished floor boards (the numero one reason I fell in love with the place and wanted to buy it there and then) he wants tiles, and Im pretty sure the industrial strength hospital white kind..." Oh such a BEAUTIFUL look sister, you just have to mop from one end to another" .and Im spluttering and fuming and at any moment going to throw myself tothe floor DONT TAKE MY FLOOR BOARDS away......all he does is just shrug his shoulder and In Every house Ive been in...Standard response now, to any suggestion from me.." Ive never seen that been done before, oh well..... (meaningful silence)...of course his new ruse is to try sidling up to his Brother (Gman)..Gman is stuck to his standard monotone routine ' Brother, Im a very poor man..lets see what can be done'

And my pet peeve numero one when it comes to this guy...something that the Aussies refer to very 'cutely' as ' the builders' crack'...translated the tradies go commando..yup nothing comes between their Calvin Kleins and them as Brooke Shields said so long ago..so everytime they bend down, and well that is quite the occupational hazard, we all have to cop an eyeful...man and well the bottom line is (pardon the pun) that is one pink hairy ' where the sun dont shine' @##. For the amount of money he is charging us cant he buy a pair of undies...yaaarrgghhh. So most of my conversations are now looking at the ceiling.

Now does anyone have an encounter that can top this....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More Confessions

Ok...so I guess Im on a major 'catharsis' mission this week...so what other nasty self truths did I 'discover' (or was actually nudged to acknowledge...Ok Gman you can stop sermonizing) about myself...ummm for all my aspirations towards a bohemian lifestyle, save the world stop stockpiling junk passion, I REALLY REALLY like actually LOVE shopping or people shopping for me...I dont how it crept up on me and became like a full time life mission...Occupation: Academic in the morning, Shopzilla after hours.

Gman reminds me of the time he was going to (or supposed to be sent to) Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis (such a beautiful lady, and now such an unfortunate 'name connection' to a tragedy that will not go away)...and I jumped up and said WOW, Ruby bracelets, and can we get like a turquoise inlaid Buddha...perhaps for all this and more the Myanmar military junta decided to keep foreigners out, sigggghhhh, I guess they could hear my screams of joy in Yangon.

And before leaving for Papua New Guinea, I did make polite noises about the security situation, how Im sure RedCross staff have to abide by guidelines and stay within the compound and no venturing out to the markets...but come 'homecoming' I had to push away Pesho (who was also sniffing the suitcases) AAP HAMAREY LIYE KIYA LAYE (what did you get for me)....on a separate note, what exactly is the respectable interval between welcoming someone home and asking for your goodie bag?

Siggghhhh, there is nooo hope for me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hidden Beard

Yup, that is me...and no it is not a very bad encounter with a depilatory product...I have just realised that perhaps I go around this world with a very very thin veneer of cosmopolitanism. Major self truth time. I did think that I was a pretty cool, urbane person keeping in mind well a couple of my life choices...but sigh perhaps it is for nothing that my generation is called "Zia's children"...so we are sitting in the cinema, I have dragged Gman to watch Son of Lion (Sheyr Bacha)..this Pushto film just out made by Benjamin Gilmour (the executive producer is Hayat Khan Shinwari from Darra Adam Khel in Pakistan who arranged for Gilmour to shoot his 'illegal film' in the region..details on the hyper link for Gilmour's interview)...anyways it is a Pushto film (and not a heaving busom and Badar Munir in sight!) and considering the only Pushto that you hear on the silver screen or on tele lately is Mullah Omar et Baitullah Mehsud and their cohorts speaking their 'minds' so you can imagine how excited I am.

Anyways, getting back on track...so I am watching this really sweet simple story about a little boy who just wants to go to school and well at some stage I sit up and say something (really insensitive now that I think of it) Tut Tut no young girl go can go around naked like this in Darra

Gman wakes up from sleep, Im pretty sure there is so much 'subtitle reading' he can do.. naked women, hey there are naked women in this film, where are they

and I am pointing to the screen, see Anusha going around Darra and she has no dupatta on.

I cant see his face in the dark but I know he has raised his eye brows and has that "woo woo there goes crazy Aneela" expression on his face.

Of course I give him the whole spiel of yes yes I realise I dont cover up, and how one covers their head for 'identity' or 'security' or a 'marker' or 'political expression'...and here I was trying to point out to someone not being 'culturally sensitive'...but he was like 'you think she was NAKED'.

Sighhhhh...who am I?

The movie on the other hand is sweet and simple...the audiences here found the 'candid conversations' about being Pashtun, the tricky relationship with the Pakistani state and US, and what we REALLY feel about Osama a real eye opener. Of course for us it is just usual small talk that goes around in our living rooms and chai khaanas...but walking out from the cinema I realised that it was not just Anglo Australia which learnt some home truths from the film...I found that there is an Other that is alive and kicking inside me, and I better accept and deal with that.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The BB Soap Opera

With trepidation we wait and watch as the next episode of the never ending soap opera plays out in Pakistan...of course if this was a soap opera, we would have BB resurfacing (apparently Prince Omar Rashid/Kabir Bedi had smuggled her to his kingdom and that was just a very well made and realistic dummy we had buried...none of the above will make sense unless you have been watching the Bold and the Beautiful..BB means more things than the Lady in the Dupatta) and her marching up to the oath taking ceremony...."Momma's Back!!!" or wait wait "When you marooned me on that god forsaken spit of land, you forgot one very important thing mate......... i'm Captain Jack Sparrow...sorry..Benazir Bhutto".

For fans of the saas bahu serials we could have her reaching out for the fake will and recent Political Plan of Action...and screaming 'naqli signature..jhoot sab jhoot (fake signature, lies all lies)...followed by Kiyani "Police ne tumhe charon taraf se gher liya hain - apne aap ko kannon ke haawale kar do". Sighhhh...I live on in hope.

Meanwhile, in Casa Flinders Street it has been all quiet and boring as Gman is away in PNG...of course Pesho is having a ball considering the disciplining influence is away so she is pigging out on unscheduled treats...this cat is VERY smart, she doesnt meow or follow you around or howl and cry and make a pest of herself...what she does is park herself in front of you every time you are having a meal or a treat (even pop corn!) and just stare at you like THAT...Case in point:

...very quiet and steady eye contact as in "You Better Hand That Over NOW'....she would do MQM and the Sena hafta (protection money) collectors proud (ummm I am getting ready to apologize to Raj Thakrey any minute now!).

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Haseena Atom Bomb 2008

Hmmm ' a dark haired beauty queen' political aspirant proud to carry a gun (and not afraid to use it)... is it just me or has anyone else had the same suspicions that Mussarat Shaheen has 'up and ended' somewhere in Alaska?

Meanwhile I (along with millions out there) shudder at (our version of)Lady Macbeth occupying the High House on the Hill.... I bet the staff at the Presidency will soon have visions of the First Widower walking the corridors of Aiwan-e-Sadar any time now 'out out damn spot'....oh come home Mush baby all is forgiven.Meanwhile our inboxes are innundated with what the ex-Gen, ex-Pres could be up to. My thoughts on one 'option'(any grievances to the simian community are unintended.....enjoy!!)
Mush with the four monkeys who did not make it to the PML (Q) Forward Bloc

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sonar Bangla?

BBC World was screening a promo today of people 'gold panning' in the sewers of Dhaka. I had to silence the little scream inside. As it is we have to put up with the "Bengali intellectual mafia' when it comes to the academia, imagine the immense Bengali ego when they can tell us that yup three Nobel prizes and counting, and now we are shitting gold!!

Gman was pretty sure this was a 'hoax' to keep the sweepers turning up to work regularly, "Salaam Saheb, any gutters to clean?!!"

Imagine my sense of relief when the story turned out to be about the gold that gets washed away by gold cutters..no need to have any 'bowel envy' guys.