Monday, October 31, 2005

Hello Halloween!

"Halloween" at Wikipedia:

"Halloween is an observance celebrated on the night of October 31, usually by children dressing in costumes and going door-to-door collecting candy. It is celebrated in much of the Western world, though most common in the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada and sometimes in Australia and New Zealand. Irish, Scots and other immigrants brought older versions of the tradition to North America in the 19th century. Most other Western countries have embraced Halloween as a part of American pop culture in the late 20th century.

The term "Halloween" is derived from Hallowe'en, an old contraction, still retained in Scotland and some parts of Canada, of "All Hallow's Eve," so called as it is the day before All Saints day (observed by some Christians, including Roman Catholics), which used to be called "All Hallows," derived from All Hallowed Souls. In Ireland, the name was Hallow Eve and this name is still used by some older people. Halloween was formerly also sometimes called All Saints' Eve. The holiday was a day of religious festivities in various northern European pagan traditions, until it was appropriated by Christian missionaries and given a Christian reinterpretation. In Mexico, All Saint's Day, following Halloween, is the Day of the Dead.

Halloween is also called Pooky Night in some parts of Ireland, presumably named after the pĂșca, a mischievous spirit.

In Britain and Ireland in particular, the pagan Celts celebrated the Day of the Dead on All Hallows Day (1st November). The spirits supposedly rose from the dead and, in order to attract them, food was left on the doors. To scare off the evil spirits, the Celts wore masks. When the Romans invaded Britain, they embellished the tradition with their own, which is the celebration of the harvest and honoring the dead. These traditions were then passed on to the United States and Canada.

Halloween is sometimes associated with the occult. Many European cultural traditions hold that Halloween is one of the "liminal" times of the year when the spirit world can make contact with the natural world and when magic is most potent (see, for example, Catalan mythology about witches).

Anoka, Minnesota, USA, self-proclaimed "Halloween Capital of the World," celebrates with a large civic parade.

Salem, Massachusetts, USA, also has laid claim to the title "Halloween Capital of the World," though Salem has tried to seperate itself from its history in the subject of witchcraft. Despite that, the city does see a great deal of tourism surrounding the Salem witch trials, especially around Halloween."

By the way, What Monster do you wish to be??

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Checking your Moral Sense...

Moral Dilemma

This test only has one question, but it's a very important one. By giving an honest answer, you will discover where you stand morally. The test features an unlikely, completely fictional situation in which you will have to make a decision. Remember that your answer needs to be honest, yet spontaneous. Please scroll down slowly and give due consideration to each line.


You are in Florida, Miami to be specific. There is chaos all around you caused by a hurricane with severe flooding. This is a flood of biblical proportions.

You are photo journalist working for a major newspaper, and you're caught in the middle of this epic disaster. The situation is nearly hopeless. You're trying to shoot career-making photos. There are houses and people swirling around you, some disappearing under the water. Nature is unleashing all of its destructive fury yet you are relatively safe in a boat with some food and a mobile phone.


Suddenly you see a man in the water. He is desperately fighting for his life, trying not to be taken down with the debris. You move closer. Somehow the man looks familiar. You suddenly realize who it is.

It's the president of the US - George W. Bush.

At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to take him under forever. You have two options; you can save the life of the president, or you can shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize winning photo, documenting the death of one of the world's most famous and powerful men.


Here's the question, and please give an honest answer from the heart....

Would you select high contrast colour film, or would you go with the classic simplicity of black and white?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Watch Out!, for the demon's coming

The fear's rising, the omens are not so good. It could be anywhere; even at your nearest McDonald's regardless of where on earth you live. Bird Flu's coming back...

hoooo ha ha ha!

Watch out for next time you sneeze after having Chicken in your meal; it may not be a good sign either for the late chicken or for you own health.

Watch out man, watch out!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Water; God's Blessing by Drops

More than seven more hours to go and I'm already feeling thirsty like anything. My throat has been dry for a good many 'ticks' and now I think it would lead to malfunctioning of my voice box. I've never been that dry-throated for the last 20 days of fasting.

It seems like my taste buds are producing much less effective saliva these days. Just like mercury, it is gulped by me without wetting my throat.

Warning Warning: These signs show that I am soon going to start coughing (khaou khaou), which, in turn would restrict consumption of hot and spicy pakkorras, chilli sauce stuff and chilled liquids at Iftaar time.

Keeping a Roza, as Muslims call it; the act of fasting, helps us in experiencing the hard life lived by our less previliged brothers and sisters. And right now, I can realize the misery of millions of people living without SAFE drinking water or just even water, as in case of thousands who have been unable to get relief in Northern parts of my own country.

Water, indeed, is one of God's greatest blessings on humanity. And, today, I can realize this more than before...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Brownie in a Box...

Yesterday, I gave a small scale eat-feast to all of my friends; a brownie in a box. Yes, it was my belated birthday treat; one of the first steps towards normalizing my life.

Keeping in view the impossibility of taking my friends out for a feast, I found this one as quite a feasible and an affordable option. Each one of my friend was granted a box with a brownie. Some of them, however, were able to fool me and got more than a single box.
It was quite interesting to see people peeking repeatedly into their boxes and not being able to taste or even touch those choco fudges. Everyone was getting tempted by the aroma of fresh dark chocolate in walnuts and the doubly double chocolate brownies by Masoom's. It was such a case due to the Holy month of Ramadan during which all of Muslims fast, and for my friends, it wasn't before a full one and a half hours that they could taste this heavenly stuff.

I wonder if there was someone who was unable to hold on till 5:25; the Iftaar time.

Are you, too, getting tempted ??

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Hoping for the good times to return

It surely has been a difficult time for all of us here in Pakistan. The month of Ramadan always brings up a new flavour to life in the form of celebrations, Iftaar parties and, last but not least, the joyous occasion of Eid. But, this time around, everything's so gloomy and sad. It isn't only about the surroundings, it is also about the people who have not smiled, about the flowers that haven't bloomed and about the birds that haven't sung since that unfateful day.

The only thing I want to believe is that good times are going to return. Those beautiful valleys will again be filled with the melodious jingles of life. Everyone would be happy and merry again. People will smile; they will celebrate again, like they used to do before.

The incurred loss can not be recovered, therefore, we should try to work for a better future for the sake of those who have suffered, and for our country as a whole.

Life will be going on, and it must be for the better. But, we should promise that we will keep helping our brothers and sisters who have been through this tragedy, that we will not ignore the surviving and will keep remembering those who have left us.

We'll reconstruct Springfield High School alongwith hundreds of other schools that have been grounded, and just like it was used to, this land will again bloom like a paradise, forever.

This is the only way we can recover from this tragedy, the losses brought by it and from the sorrows that have followed it...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The act of helping the helpless...

In view of the calamity causing thousands of deaths in Pakistan, we at IBIT, University of the Punjab, launched a full scale relief drive. The relief effort was fully backed and co-ordinated by the SEC (Student Executive Committee), of which, I am the Secretary.

Sacks of warm clothes

The response was overwhemling with people helping us in collection of supplies, medicines and cash. In a short span of just 4 days, we were able to collect more than Rs.100,000. This was in addition to assembly of 120 family boxes containing basic supplies in the form of packets of pulses, wheat, rice, sugar, salt, biscuits, 2 bottles of water, 2 packs of milk, a blanket/quilt, some clothes, candles and matches.

Friends helping in preparation of Family Boxes

A Family Box

Other goods, that were collected in bulk and packed up separately, included warm clothes, bottled water, packaged milk, grains, juices and big boxes of medical supplies.

Food collections

Most of the collected money was spent on buying much-needed tents to be used as shelter by people suffering from hunger, thirst and the up-coming freezing winter.

Being a member of the SEC, I, alongwith other members, had to sacrifice some of my lectures, a bit of studies and had to devote much time and effort. But, it surely was not in vain. As our first truck carrying goods and tents has reached the affected areas yeasterday, I feel more delighted and satisfied than ever, for being able to HELP someone in need.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Stepping into 19th Saal (year)

Today's the first day in 19th year of my life. Yes, yesterday was my birthday and I feel quite delighted about turning 19.

Like the previous one, this birthday also fell in the Holy month of Ramadan; the month of fasting in Islam. For that reason, it did spare me from giving any treat to my friends and fellows for the time being. However, I know they are not going to let go of me after all. I'm still considering different options for that.

This birthday was strange in the sense that the first person to wish me was a complete stranger. It happened so that I had to visit a bank for some purpose on Sunday, 16th of October. While I was filling the forms, the Bank Manager whom I had hardly met before wished me Happy Birthday! in advance... It came out that he had already checked on my birthdate on the forms before my arrival.

The day 'was' special for me and despite being in a sad state of mind for the last few days, I decided to forget everything else. My elder brother was the first one to come up with a present in the form of a Mobile reload prepaid card of considerable monetary value. The younger fellow gave me a Nirala laddoo box; it was so sweet of him. Parents, as always, blessed me with their blessings and some very Blue currency notes. The celebration was as simple as it could get. However, a bigger family eat-out Birthday Iftaari is still due...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Mercy for All...

It has been quite a couple of days when the earth shattered once happy towns and villages in the north by turning them into rubble. With relief and rescue efforts in full swing, much more sad stories and accounts have to come up and be reported on National and International media. Deaths in thousands, injuries in hundreds of thousands; the toll is rising with every passing day.

The hardest part of this reality is its connection with the ultimate End. I don't want to think about it because i am not prepared for it. Whatever the reality be, may it be in the best of interest of those who believe in truth and goodness.

For the time being, I want to forget everything about what has happened after the killer quake or what is going to happen when temperature scales are going to dip below zero degrees in the region where millions are shelterless with nothing except grief and sorrow as their only belongings.

Right now, I just know that, despite being angry over our wrongdoings, our Lord is the most Merciful too. And I have always believed that this other side of Him is much stronger and much more active. Strongly believing in this I just want to say;

Oh God! I pray for thy mercy for all; for all those who belong to You and also for those who BELIEVE that You still are there to bless us...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

More Links to Help...

Here are some of more links through which you can help the victims of the worst earthquake ever to hit Pakistan:

1. Unicef

2. Disasters Emergency Committee (UK)

3. World Food Programme


5. Kashmir International Relief Fund

6. Red Cross/ Red Crescent

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Let us help them not loose hope. Help!

With more than 40,000 feared dead and 42,000 injured, people in Pakistan desparately need 'your' help.

Lives won't be the same for 3 million Pakistanis who have lost everything. Let us help them not loose hope. Come forward and donate as generously as possible.

Here are some of the many ways in which you can help the victims of this horrifying tragedy:

Insanity Works
Organized List of Relief Efforts
Pak Quake
Edhi Foundation International Offices
Pakistan Red Crecent (Hilal-e-Ahmar)
South Asia Quake-Help Blog
Oxfam UK
Islamic Relief

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Young and the Dead

- A father unable to speak, unable to cry, carrying body of a nearly 4-year boy in his trembling arms.

- A teenage boy crying of pain as rescuers try to break concrete that has sandwiched his lower body.

- A 9 year old boy in a school uniform, weeping without being able to speak anything except shouting; "My brother's in there, my brother's 'still' in there."

- A mother looks at the dead cold face of her young son and is not able to look back; starts screaming and breaks down with shock.

All of the above are some of the many scenes that have been terrifing the people of my country in the aftermath of the 7.6 scale earth-shake. The devastation caused by Saturday's earthquake has been so enormous that even I felt my eyes being unusually wet while watching the video footage on T.V.

The victims of Pakistan's worst natural calamity include more than 40,000 dead and nearly 50,000 injured. It's heart-shattering to know about 300 school children burried under debris of a Balakot primary school in one bulletin followed by another announcement declaring 1,500 boys missing in another college building collapse in Bagh.

I still remember when I was in London as Turkey mourned over thousands dead in an earthquake back in 1999. It was so terrifying to see the destruction, that I thanked GOD for saving me and my people of the calamity that had been the cause of so many human deaths.

Never, ever could have I imagined that the same could happen right here in Pakistan. The shattered buildings, perishing dead, heart-thumping crys, motionless hands, thirstless lips, empty faces and those rock-dry eyes are signs of what happens when GOD sends warnings to those who have lost His path. But, then I look at the innocent children who have been the main victims, and who were too young to do any wrong deeds. I end up giving up in the will of GOD, as we believe whatever He does, does it right.

May GOD bless all who have suffered from this tragedy including those who have lost their family, friends or loved ones and those of us, who He saved by a slight geographical difference.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The razed World!

The Day that shook us!

It is not that much easy to make me awake early in the morning, especillay on a lazy Saturday. It was proved wrong this Saturday when a shockingly jolty Earthquake struck Lahore. As I started hearing windows rattling, I could only imagine heavy downpour that may have marked the arrival of winter. But then, it was like someone shaking me fiercely. This made me sit up on my bed. As I tried to remove the sleepy curtain off my eyes, to my utter horror, I found my elder brother standing under a door panel. It, then, came to my conscious that I was sitting on my bed when the whole house was shaking like I have never seen before. Immediatley, after gaining full senses I rushed to another panel while shouting to get my little brother awake.

The horrific quake lasted for an unusual 2+ minutes as it continued to scare the hell out of us. The shaking walls made the chandelier in our TV- lounge swing as if it was going to come down any moment. The rattling sound made by windows was making the scene even more terrifying.

To make it worse another wave, though of lighter intensity, followed the first one just after five minutes. Later, we came to know that parts of Northern Pakistan were struck with the strongest earthquake in Pakistan's history at 8:55 AM Saturday morning. The shaky phenomenon continued for a good two-three minutes.

The earthquake panicked people in at least 14 major Pakistani cities including the capital; Islamabad, its twin city Rawalpindi, Lahore, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Sialkot. However, the worst struck were the parts of Northern Pakistan including Azad Kashmir where thousands are feared dead.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Handling "5", Five...

my buddy Atif tagged me for the first time to do this:

5 years ago:

First of all I was 5 years younger than what I am today. I was in my teens and loved to read Young Times. The most favorite topics of discussion among friends included talks about parents' restrictions on poor teens, the newly discovered idea of privacy, ways to increase our pocket money, and about just how to prepare for the next test at the Academy...

As studies were getting serious in the 9th grade, I was made to join a strict academy for after-school coaching. Now, I wonder I really didn't need that coz it really didn't make me an Einstein afterall.

1 year ago:

To my parents' delight, I was peforming great in studies. This came just after I didn't get the first position in Lahore Intermediate Board. The reason, which they still donot believe in, was simple; I simply wasn't interested in Engineering.

Despite getting admission into one of the most prestigious Engineering Universities in Pakistan (i.e. NUST), I had decided to switch my field of studies for good. And that's why my parents are proud of my performance as an under-training Marketing Manager with multiple scholarships achieved to date.

5 Songs which I know all the words to:

- Tere Bina Dil Naa Lagay - Faakhir
- My Heart Will Go - Celine Dion
- Kahani Mohabbat Ki - Strings
- Najanay Kyun - Strings
- Woh Lamhey- Atif Aslam

Don't laugh at me, but seriously, I really cannot remember any of those lyrics for long.

5 snacks I enjoy:

- Mc Chicken with Cheese
- Zinger by KFC
- Nando's Flame Grilled Chicken & Chiken Burger
- Coke n' Fries (I just love having them together)
- Stuffed Chicken Breast with Pineapple sauce

5 Things I’d like to do with 100$ million:

- Building myself a huge mansion in the center of my own golf course
- Constructing an underground mass-transit for Lahore
- Saving some of it for my days at Stanford or Oxford
- Buying my mom a brand new Beetle & gifting my Dad a gracious BMW
- Investing for future

and I really don't wanna say it but as a formality;I would save some for the rainy day.

Did I exceed my balance limits?

5 places I would run away to:

- my home & my farm house(when I'll have one)
- the paradise; without any accountability for my sins
- Malaysia
- Bath, UK
- Lake Saif-al-Maluk, Northern Areas, Pakistan

5 thing I would never wear:

- Bracelets
- Glasses
- Braces
- A greedy smile (like that Grinch's)
- any Girly stuff .

5 Favourite TV shows:

- Megastructures
- Fear Factor
- Oprah Winfrey Show
- Des Pardes
- Any documentary on Pakistan by a foreign film-maker/traveller

5 Greatest joys:

- Getting appreciated by Parents and Friends
- Getting scholarship in each semester
- Buying a new mobile phone
- Going for Umrah and visiting the UK next year
- Elimination of all grievances in the World
plus one more
- The ultimate discovery of my own self

5 favorite toys:

- My Burago Beetle
- My Lego Service Station
- My age-old, battery-operated Jumbo Jet
- My brother's PS2
- My huge collection of miniature models of Automobiles; "Dinkies"

5 people I am tagging: Yasir, Brea, AsianSmiles, Amna, Ayesha

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bakra Baychara! (Poor Goat!)

Can you imagine yourself standing like this bakra (goat) in front of a crowd in hundreds!

The image was captured by me at a local festival...

Lahore Metblogs