Archive for July, 2005

While talking about Zia, one of Pakistan’s more notorious leaders, I realised that one of my first memories is of his funeral. My uncle had a house that overlooked the Faisal Mosque, a huge mosque that sits at the base of the Margallah hills in Islamabad. I remember we were there during the summers (we lived in Faislabad at that time and would always go to Islamabad during the summers), and I guess I must have seen the funeral through the windows. I remember there were hundreds of people there.

Now, I must’ve been about 5 at the time, so there’s a huge possibility that in reality I just saw the funeral on TV and not in real life. But I also remember my aunt getting my a wind-up toy seal that summer, one that would do back flips and rotate a beach ball on its nose.

Anyway, this is something I must ask my mom about. Fortunately since I’m going home tomorrow – finally! – I can ask her over a big pile of pancakes! I’ve missed pancakes! I’m so happy I’m going home.

Some things never change. I know exactly what I’ll be doing over the next two days. not that I’ve planned anything, I just happen to do the same thing every time! The minute I step out of the car the cook will come up with a big grin on his face. He’s been with our family only a few years but feels like family now. I’ll sit and chill for a little while then I’ll call up both my aunts, we’ll go over to their house first chance we get, talk about everything under the sun, maybe have dinner together. I’ll catch up with my grandfather, something I’ve come to realise I’ll miss when he’s not around. He’ll tell me about pre-partition India, stories I love hearing. I never knew until last year that my ancestors were from Jalandhar! My mom will ask me what I want to eat, the next two days will be filled with food I shouldn’t eat but will anyway! One of my cousins has moved back from New York so we’ll spend a lot of time catching up with him. My sister’s visiting, that means my neice will be there as well. My and my sister will probably off-load her on my mom atleast one day and go shopping for books – our biggest passion! I’ll catch up with her, she’ll lecture me about grades. Same old stuff.

All of the above will have happened by Sunday night. After that, it’s pretty much just chilling out at home. Catching up on @ stuff. Before I know it, one month will be gone. I’ll be headed back here. Another year, my last year with my friends. more on that later.


July 14, 2005 at 10:33 am 4 comments

Three passenger trains have collided in southern Pakistan, killing at least 132 people and injuring hundreds more. BBC News

What’s shocking is that this is the same train hundreds of LUMinites use every term to go back home to Karachi. Fortunately, most people aren’t over with their exams yet and other had opted to go via plane due to the reduced airfares being offered to students. I know a lot of people who were planning on going on this same train and for various reasons had changed their plans.

This crash brings back memories of the Daewoo accident that took place some time ago. I was in Islamabad that weekend and was supposed to come back to Lahore on that same bus. However, me being me, hadn’t booked a ticket and chose to drive in the next day. I remember my friends valling on my cell frantically once they heard of the crash on the news. I’ve never believed in fate more. I’ve also started wearing a seat-belt.

A friend of mine was on that bus. Actually, a lot of LUMinites were since most Islamabadi’s had gone home for the weekend. They were all ok, cuts and bruises. Some got more seriously hurt, but no fatalities. Quite a few people did die though.

Now this, I’ve heard from freshmen were on the train. We haven’t heard anything yet.

July 14, 2005 at 2:09 am Leave a comment

more news..

**for those who’ve been wondering how i have access to the internet**

Dear students,
Since the submarine cable fault has not been addressed so far and we have been provided a limited bandwidth by PTCL on the satellite backup link, you are requested to use Internet access for browsing the web pages only.
Please do not download software as this chokes the link and create problems for other users.
We hope that the problem will be over soon.
ITSC Helpdesk

**i also hope the problem will soon be over!**

July 6, 2005 at 4:04 pm Leave a comment

here we go again…

Dear All,
The submarine cable fault developed in SEA-ME-WE-3 last week has not been rectified so far and PTCL has recently informed us that one of their Satellite backup links has also been malfunctioned.
PTCL Engineers are working to resolve this issue. You may experience slow Internet access to complete Internet outage at some times. Access to our servers from outside Pakistan may also be slow.
For further information in this regard, you may contact ITSC HelpDesk at x4149.

ITSC HelpDesk

Tue 7/5/2005 4:22 PM

July 6, 2005 at 3:56 pm 1 comment

A tribute to all the ‘nice guys’ I know.

This article was written for the Wharton Undergraduate Journal

This is a tribute to the nice guys. The nice guys that finish last, that never become more than friends, that endure hours of whining and bitching about what assholes guys are, while disproving the very point. This is dedicated to those guys who always provide a shoulder to lean on but restrain themselves to tentative hugs, those guys who hold open doors and give reassuring pats on the back and sit patiently outside the changing room at department stores. This is in honor of the guys that obligingly reiterate how cute/beautiful/smart/funny/sexy their female friends are at the appropriate moment, because they know most girls need that litany of support. This is in honor of the guys with open minds, with laid-back attitudes, with honest concern. This is in honor of the guys who respect a girl’s every facet, from her privacy to her theology to her clothing style.

This is for the guys who escort their drunk, bewildered female friends back from parties and never take advantage once they’re at her door, for the guys who accompany girls to bars as buffers against the rest of the creepy male population, for the guys who know a girl is fishing for compliments but give them out anyway, for the guys who always play by the rules in a game where the rules favor cheaters, for the guys who are accredited as boyfriend material but somehow don’t end up being boyfriends, for all the nice guys who are overlooked, underestimated, and unappreciated, for all the nice guys who are manipulated, misled, and unjustly abandoned, this is for you.

This is for that time she left 40 urgent messages on your cell phone, and when you called her back, she spent three hours painstakingly dissecting two sentences her boyfriend said to her over dinner. And even though you thought her boyfriend was a chump and a jerk, you assured her that it was all ok and she shouldn’t worry about it. This is for that time she interrupted the best killing spree you’d ever orchestrated in GTA3 to rant about a rumor that romantically linked her and the guy she thinks is the most repulsive person in the world. And even though you thought it was immature and you had nothing against the guy, you paused the game for two hours and helped her concoct a counter-rumor to spread around the floor. This is also for that time she didn’t have a date, so after numerous vows that there was nothing “serious” between the two of you, she dragged you to a party where you knew nobody, the beer was awful, and she flirted shamelessly with you, justifying each fit of reckless teasing by announcing to everyone: “oh, but we’re just friends!” And even though you were invited purely as a symbolic warm body for her ego, you went anyways. Because you’re nice like that.

The nice guys don’t often get credit where credit is due. And perhaps more disturbing, the nice guys don’t seem to get laid as often as they should. And I wish I could logically explain this trend, but I can’t. From what I have observed on campus and what I have learned from talking to friends at other schools and in the workplace, the only conclusion I can form is that many girls are just illogical, manipulative bitches. Many of them claim they just want to date a nice guy, but when presented with such a specimen, they say irrational, confusing things such as “oh, he’s too nice to date” or “he would be a good boyfriend but he’s not for me” or “he already puts up with so much from me, I couldn’t possibly ask him out!” or the most frustrating of all: “no, it would ruin our friendship.” Yet, they continue to lament the lack of datable men in the world, and they expect their too-nice-to-date male friends to sympathize and apologize for the men that are jerks. Sorry, guys, girls like that are beyond my ability to fathom. I can’t figure out why the connection breaks down between what they say (I want a nice guy!) and what they do (I’m going to sleep with this complete ass now!). But one thing I can do, is say that the nice-guy-finishes-last phenomenon doesn’t last forever. There are definitely many girls who grow out of that train of thought and realize they should be dating the nice guys, not taking them for granted. The tricky part is finding those girls, and even trickier, finding the ones that are single.

So, until those girls are found, I propose a toast to all the nice guys. You know who you are, and I know you’re sick of hearing yourself described as ubiquitously nice. But the truth of the matter is, the world needs your patience in the department store, your holding open of doors, your party escorting services, your propensity to be a sucker for a pretty smile. For all the crazy, inane, absurd things you tolerate, for all the situations where you are the faceless, nameless hero, my accolades, my acknowledgement, and my gratitude go out to you. You do have credibility in this society, and your well deserved vindication is coming.

– taken from vesna’s blog

July 4, 2005 at 1:57 am 2 comments

aargh! what was he thinking? what does he think he is! i hate that man! i ABSOLUTELY hate him!!

in case you have no idea what i’m talking about, the lovey-dovey statements above are for my european history instructor! the most sadistic man alive on planet earth!

first he says, “history isn’t about cramming it all in, it’s about understanding and actually learning from your readings”. then he gives us mcq mid terms, short question answers in quizzes (asking us specific stuff like, “what word did the author use to describe …?”, a book which is 1400 pages long, and to top it all off, an essay to write on questions such as:

1. An historian of great eminence once said: “Guns and money make history.”

Write an essay evaluating this statement. What does the statement mean? Do you agree or disagree? What does “history” mean in this context? What does it mean to say “make history?”

The question is asking you to evaluate the flow of history. An isolated example or two will not be sufficient to back up an argument.

2. An old Latin saying: Ex Cultu Robur (“From Culture comes Strength”).

Evaluate this saying. What role does culture play in history? What does “strength” mean? Is it the power to conquer another’s territory? Or another’s mind? Or to show resilience of mind in the face of territorial conquest? Or something else? What does “culture” mean? Art, religion, philosophy, ways of thinking? Or more? Back up your argument with concrete cases from the book to show what culture is and how it effects the flow of history.

3. Consider the role of individuals in history. Choose three or so great personages from history and discuss whether they were products of their times, or whether they shaped their times to suit their own interests and temperament. Do individuals play an active part in directing history? Or is there a “glacial flow of history” too powerful for any single individual to be able to have an appreciable impact on it?

also, he makes “statements” like:

Write an essay which is meant to be read by a lay-person, a non-specialist, somebody who is not very familiar with European history. Make a convincing case for whatever argument you choose to make while backing it up with historical materials taken from the text. The fewer questions you leave unanswered in the mind of the reader the more points you stand to earn. State your argument clearly and unambiguously. Back it up authoritatively and clearly with historical materials without assuming any prior knowledge on the part of the reader.

You are going to find out that writing a short piece is more difficult than writing a long one. It is important that you make every word count. Every sentence should contain an idea. Every paragraph should contain a theme. The theme should advance with every paragraph. There should be a clear, concise introduction, followed by a substantive body, and a crisp ending which summarizes the argument and leaves the reader with a clear idea of what you are trying to say.

oh, and by the way, it’s a 1000 word essay! i can’t even begin to imagine how to write an answer to any of the above-mentioned questions in 2000 words, let alone 1000!

ok, i know i may be exaggerating. maybe i should actually be writing the paper instead of complaining about the unreasonable instructor. but no! i feel like taking the entire reading package, going up to his office, throwing it on the floor, jumping up and down on it, all the while screaming, aaaargh!!

July 3, 2005 at 11:16 pm Leave a comment

Dear All,

Due to a fault in SEA-ME-WE 3 submarine cable, Internet Service operations across the country have been shifted to the Satellite backup Link by PTCL. You may experience slow internet performance while accessing some web sites. Engineers are working on the problem and hope to fix it soon.
We will let you know as soon as the Internet Services are returned to normal.

ITSC HelpDesk

Tue 6/28/2005 9:19 AM
Today’s Saturday, and it hasn’t been fixed yet. It’s quite irritating because this is the first time in 3 years that I’ve considered checking my email a “pain”. Saad and Asad have also posted about it, although most of Asad’s post was too confusing for me to get. 😀
Also, it’s been raining a lot recently, due to which all sorts of bugs have started making appearances on campus. Some are quite scary, but most have alreday ben squished by passing cars.
Also, i got a new kitten. Actually, it’s been a week but the stupid internet cable fault made it impossible for me to post earlier. anyhoo, it’s a really cute male cat, about 4 weeks old. haven’t named him yet. plan on taking him home to islamabad and keeping him there. pictures soon.

July 2, 2005 at 8:41 pm 1 comment