Wednesday, December 20, 2006

transit visa

until the twerps who work for ministry of telecommunication or information technology or whoever is inc charge of our internet policy (frankly i wouldn't be surprised if it were the ministry of agriculture), comes to its senses and unblocks blogspot or at least till the pkblogs or inblogs somehow revert to their trusty old selves, the poor saps who occasionally drop by can catch me at http://abbasnama.wordpress.com

yes i've moved. but it might just be temporary. who knows? or cares, for that matter.

so in case some of that didn't get through, you might want to catch me at http://abbasnama.wordpress.com .

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Friday, December 15, 2006

urdu ka janaza hai, zara shaan se nikley

to continue the rant against what seems to be the premature demise of my beloved mother tongue, albeit at a tangent, i present to you the classic case of the end of verbosity in urdu shairee. the class and style has given way to simple efficiency. much like sacrificing the pure talent and artistry of brian lara for the workmanship and efficiency of a ricky ponting. take for example the following couplet from everybody's favourite classic, mirza ghalib:

jab tak ke na dekha tha qad-e-yaar ka aalam
mein motaqid-e-fitna-e-mehshar na hua tha

now that has to be the classiest way possible to compare your beloved to doomsday, which is a very romantic thing to do in desiland, though i can understand it if my north american and european readers are totally bewildered here. however, you get the same meaning if not the same taste in the mouth with the following couplet, one i read off the back of a water tanker in s.i.t.e. area:

un ko dekh kar hamein yeh yaqeen agaya
qayamat kul paanch foot do inch ki hogi

i can see my poor urdu teacher pulling out his hair in agony. this however is a far classier effort than the standard tanker/bus/rickshaw poetry you manage to read while stuck in the smokey, smoggy karachi traffic jams which have become all too common. case in point:

bulbulon, ghul na karo, yaar hamara sotee hai
tum to urr jata hai, wo ham per khafa hotee hai

i once watched a tv show on which amjad islam amjad claimed that the future iqbals and hasrats would probably come through the ranks of these rickshaw-backside poets. excuse me while i find some rope to hang myself with.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

let burger = wannabe gora

there is the person who comes out and says yaar, itna halka paper to kabhi aya hi nahin. and boy do i hate that kind of person. then there is the kind that comes out with the export quality expletives, froth on his lips, chest heaving as he deals with his anger - well thats not exactly dealing with it, per se but you get the point. there is also the infuriating consumptive type who sits next to you through the 12 hours sounding like there's a truck starting somewhere deep in his chest. and its not easy to tolerate the geriatric invigilator who wears almost fluorescent suits and lets his bloody jingle bells ringtone ring in the exam hall.

i don't like them.

ok the guy who said mein icap ki @#$%$##%%$@!!!..... was mildly amusing.

but the most irritating thing you get to hear after the exams is someone saying dude, tera paper kaisa hua? i mean dude, whats with the dude? what happened to our old desi slang like yaar, dost, jigar and even boss? and this from people who seem more naturally attuned to star plus than starbucks if you follow my drift.

if you assume that your classic, for want of a better word, "burger" type is a gora wannabe, then a wannabe is a wannabe wannabe and these guys who wannabe wannabe don't wannabe burger are actually wannabe wannabe wannabe or wannabe cube to make it simpler. and the thing is spreading. i remember when passing by sir syed college for women at noontime in a bus would mean you'd hear some really interesting comments from the kids in the back. but the same thing gets modified every year.

2000: maamay, piece dekh!

2002: the relatively classier jigar, bachian dekh!

2004: oye yaar copy-aan check kar! confirm position!

2006: buddy, chicks check out ker!

i remember when even i, the self proclaimed linguist, would respond to something like that with oye hoye english! or something to that effect. but everything gets english-er and english-er everyday and sometimes i miss being guaranteed a taste of old style corny punjabi songs in a kali peeli taxi. but the guy today was playing juggy d. which is not that bad but thats not the right flavour. its like going to burns road to eat chinese. like the wierd taste left in the mouth by the movie guy who put bryan adams on the soundtrack of my cousin's wedding. i was the only one who noticed it wasn't normal.

maybe i'm just growing old.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

ahh yes. ferguson...



so, beta, what are you doing these days?

i'm working at ferguson's.

ferguson's?

the audit firm. we're the pakistan offices of pricewaterhousecoopers. you've heard of pwc obviously.

ahh of course. ferguson. the tractor company...

and that coupled with the doctored dilbert thingy there is the story of my life. woe betide thee oh ye who convinced me to become an auditor.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

all ways are my ways

as if to further reiterate the union council-ness of the library, a cat has actually brought her 5 kittens and officially squatted under the bookshelf labelled ikhlaqiyaat (ethics) - which, somewhat disturbingly, has orizio's talk of the devil: encounters with seven dictators in it. the regal attitude of the cat, reflected in the absolute confidence it has in its right of residency in the library displays the effect the karachiite psyche has on all its denizens.

i once asked a friend who'd been involved in the student unions in his college days why the name of his "student organisation" was always attached to what my nani would have called "ungentlemanly conduct". his answer was simple. "dude, badmashee is a karachi thing."

which is why neither one of us was surprised when the transvestite beggar at the signal deliberately scratched the side of feica's car with his/her (i'm never sure what to use here) bracelet after we refused to give him (her?) and his (her?) clapping partner cash.

ahhh karachi. when will you get normal?

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

anthony uncle

he dresses like your average indo-paki middle calss senior citizen; grey trousers, navy socks, black leather loafers and the obligatory blue cotton half sleeved shirt with the first two buttons undone. he's got that arrogant swagger of the retired bureaucrat coupled with the disapproving gaze of christopher lee. only he's a dead ringer for anthony quinn. i wonder if they actually mass-produced a bunch of these guys in the old days or are they just genetically programmed to be this way. the quaid-e-azam model as we used to call them when i was a kid.

"ball kahan hai?"

"yaar mirza sahab kay ghar mein gaee hai."

"mirza sahab kaun?"

"yaar wohi quaid-e-azam uncle."

"achcha"

anyways this guy sits there from before 9:00 till what i imagine is his lunch time at 1:00 when he finally puts down whatever he's reading and leaves. and boy does this guy read. the pile he created by the time he left the library today consisted of dawn, the news, jang, akhbar-e-jahan, morning special, mag, newsweek, reader's digest, herald and khwateen digest. and yes he ogles at all the pictures of women modeling sitara lawn and nishat linen which is why i get irritated at his hypocritical disapproving glares at me bobbing my head in time to the beat on my ipod.

and whats the point of listening to listening to sean paul if you aren't going to be at least vibrating if not gyrating?

and to those who approve of my taste in movies you have to watch the departed. vintage scorcese and for once di caprio is looking like he can act. nicholson of course is at his classic best and wahlberg makes a surprisingly good cameo. its worth a couple of hours of your free time.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

lost in translation

the librarian at the tiny union council library feica and i hit everyday to swot for the exams has the annoying habit of pronouncing the urdu "yeh" as "yah". kind of like the effect you would get if you crossed arif lohar with martin lawrence. which is why his yeh lo (take this) comes out like yal-lo (colleagues, did the face of a former coworker, mustachioed and bespectacled, suddenly flash before your eyes?). and that is probably what was on my mind when i looked up from the variance analysis to see all the oldies (who apparently have nothing better to do than read the newspapers) staring at me. i realised then that i had been humming to the tune of the sixties beatles number, we all live in the yellow submarine. and to those of you desis who've heard it the stress on the "yallow" will have you laughing your asses of when you realise the pure english accent screws up the yellow the same way some of our brethren do it. fortunately this is more or less restricted to yellow. i shudder to think what my reaction would be if a gora said "twankle twankle leetal sitar/ hoe i wander whut you are" in the same way that the kids did in this really old mohammad ali/zeba starrer i saw on tv when it was not yet totally uncool to not have a dish antenna.

its interesting how the beatles got away with the stupendously ridiculous lyrics of the song. imagine timberlake trying to pull it off. not that justin is in the same league as john and paul but you get the picture. the same however does not apply to whoever writes the lyrics for the playback singers of modern day pakistani movies. consider for example the following lyrics from sarkar, one of the more successful flops of 2005, a movie i would deny having seen if asked.

badan badan pey khoya lapaitway
mein tujh pe laitoon
tu mujh pe laitway

(wrap [a certain kind of sweetner made from milk] over bodies
i'll lie on top of you
you lie on top of me)

at least thats what it sounded like. the sound was drowned out to a major extent by the hooting and catcalls of the classy cinegoers (i was watching it at a cinema named nargis in quaidabad of all places - but thats another story). now that is simultaneously nonsensical and vulgar enough (especially when coupled with the dance? moves of laila and urooj) to be one more never to be forgotten piece of music in my book. like afzal rambo pretending to be michael jackson in the early 90s movie, prince, while dancing on a dining table no less.

aap nay yaad kiya
agaya mein
na dikhaye mujh se zyada koi ack-shun
i am michael jaaik-sun

you don't want me to translate this one.

and no there was no intended point to this post. just felt like writing. fudge says i make more sense when i aim to come up with nonsense than when i'm being serious.

hmmmm. there may actually be something to that.

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