Category: Emotional Junk

From two of my most favouritest twitter personality, I got two compliments. As someone who has enough self-doubts and a tendency to go hard on myself, this was surely quite a pleasant surprise.I could try and be profound about it but at 6.30am and this state of delirium, all i know is that these are some of the kindest, nicest words ever said about me. Right or wrong, thats besides the point.

Thank you, two of you 🙂 It truly, truly means the world to me.

Person 1) “you are a case of still water running deep”

Person 2) “… Yours isn’t to be a polymath, you’re the socio-cultural anthropologist amongst us. You have this superhuman ability to step back and SEE the big picture
and analyze it right down to the bone. There aren’t many people with that level of depth and attention to detail AND a broad vision. It is the rarest thing i have ever come across. Much more so than being a polymath. Don’t think i haven’t been paying attention. It’s ridiculous how you do it. Being able to look at things from every side possible. social, cultural, economic, psychological, political and then put it all together in one neatly wrapped box for the rest of us. Believe me when I say this, every single one of those polymaths you so desperately look up to, they either already envy you this ability, or will when they realize it.

You see people beyond just what they say, and beyond what happened in their lives. You really figure them out down to their very essence. It’s an insanely important trait. much much more than having a bizarre memory problem, let me tell you. You’re more human than the rest of us, and it’s glorious.”

 Mr. MacPhisto leaves his hometown Karachi for a job in Lahore and lives to tell the tale

After spending just a little over a quarter of a century in Karachi, my hometown, I experienced a life-changing epiphany last year when I attended a U2 concert in Istanbul. As Bono’s mighty vocals rang in my ears with lyrics from ‘Walk On’ (“You’re packin’ a suitcase for a place, none of us has been/ A place that has to be believed, to be seen/Walk On/ Leave it behind/You’ve got to leave it behind”), a strange feeling took a hold of me: I just wanted to be away from home.

Soon after I returned to Karachi I made it a point to seek job options
outside the city. And, as luck would have it, the opportunity knocked on my door when only three months after that fateful evening in Istanbul, I had an offer to move to Lahore.

Having visited that famous ‘other’ city over the years, the decision was a no-brainer: three weeks later I was ready to change my area code from 021 to 042.

However, the moment I stepped out of the airplane and felt the bitingly chilly wind on my face, I knew I wasn’t in for a ‘warm’ welcome.  My Karachi-dwelling friends had warned me. A few had suggested I check into a mental asylum, but most had simply predicted that I would be back in less than 90 days, with my sanity and accent more or less

To pass judgement on a city like Lahore after spending only a weekend in it is a crime against humanity. (Or the chunk of it that lives in Lahore anyway.) One can never get an accurate impression of the city in a three-day visit.  One needs to spend a considerable amount of time in Lahore to understand its culture, its eccentricities, and all
that is good, bad, and ugly here.

On my previous visits to Lahore I often had a car on me, which meant it was easy for me to move around. But this time I was car-less and soon found myself in a crisis. How to get to work! The Lahori public transport system is mostly an exercise in fleecing poor, unknowing customers. For example, I have yet to witness a single functioning, stopping-when-you-wave-your-hand-at-it taxi in the city. Rickhsaw walas, whether on their shiny CNG-powered Qing Chi rides or specimens of the older and more colourful variety, all cite a shortage
of gas as an excuse for exorbitant rates. The Khan Metro Bus Service buses, which I currently use to get to work, keep me waiting at the bus stop for a minimum of 25 minutes.
And then there’s the bargaining process, a tragicomic farce in which I, an Urdu-speaking Karachiite with no ear for Punjabi, try to convince a nonchalant rickshaw wala that 300 rupees is way too much for a journey of less than 10 km.

Also (and I am about to offend some Lahoris by saying this), despite the presence of the most efficient and nicely dressed, colour-coordinated traffic wardens, the traffic itself is atrocious, and no where it is more painful to navigate than on the Canal Road.
With narrow roads and multiple underpasses, the Canal Road is a mela of indecisive drivers who try to zigzag their way out of procedural lines at rush hour as they are still calculating whether to enter the underpass or not.

However, I must concede that aesthetically, this city is like no other in Pakistan. Even though Isloo loyalists might want to lynch me for this blasphemous statement, I have to say that Lahore wins this competition hands down. There’s no city in Pakistan which can compete with Lahore’s history, culture and stunning architecture,

People in Karachi often accuse Lahore of being too phony, too loud. This I feel is a misconception. The final cut in this war of words between Karachiites and Lahoris is that the former have a sea to call their own. What can Lahore boast of? Great waters aside, Lahore has much to offer. For an outsider like me, exploring my new city of residence and its people allowed me to understand what makes Lahore the city it is.

Admittedly, there are vast contradictions. You have extremists at both ends of the spectrum. While riding a bus, you may find the interior dotted with stickers and graffiti calling the faithful to wage Jihad against imperialists and blasphemers. You could see a call to eliminate Ahmadis and a salute to the killer of former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer. On the other hand, the city is also home to the Lollywood film industry, raunchy stage shows and a thriving nightlife, albeit for a private few.

What is common to everyone in Lahore is their generosity and hospitality. Lahoris don’t do things in half measures. They go out and they make sure they treat you like a king, even if you can’t understand a word of Punjabi!

My own love affair with Lahore has been going on for quite sometime, but all of it was of a personal nature. All my former lovers and my current flame happen to be from Lahore, but this time round, I fell in love with the city too! This moment of confession came when I was
covering an event in a college inside the Old City.

Not knowing much about the old city, I borrowed my uncle’s car and muttering ‘In Google (maps) we Trust’, I made my way to the Government Fatima Jinnah College, Choona Mandi. Entering The Mall, I had to stop myself from craning my neck to look at all the marvelous buildings on this great road, whilst driving. I was left awe struck by the majestic

But the best was yet to come. As I turned towards Badshahi mosque, the magic of old Lahore swamped me. Buildings made hundreds of years ago, the marvelous structure of the Lahore Fort and the famous Alamgiri Badshahi mosque, the walls of which are witness to history, were right there in front of me. I was visiting the place after almost 14 years
and I was completely taken aback by what I saw. For a history fanatic like me, Androon Shehar was like heaven on earth. The Fatima Jinnah College itself was housed in two havelis which were regal. The narrow streets, the people, the small workshops, everything just looked so quaint and attractive.

When I returned to the office, the first thing I told my colleague was how I fell in love with the city. He laughed, asking me if I was sure I went to the college and not to that “infamous” street!

So far, at the end of the first month, my overwhelming emotion is that Lahore is a city I would love to live in. Having a scrumptious Mughlai dinner atop Andaaz restaurant, overlooking the walled city, I realised that Karachi may have the sea, but Lahore has the soul.

So, Pakistan lost today, again.

This has been the story of Pakistan Cricket Team for the last many months. In fact, looking at calendar, it made me realize that it has been exactly 365 days since the heady heights we achieved on the gloriously sunny day in June 2009, at Lords Cricket Ground, when Shahid Afridi led Pakistan to the T20 World Cup title.

One year later, and things are looking rather pear shaped. Our cricket has been through its darkest times, the worse kind of infighting our team ever had to suffer with, and a board that could easily be labeled as the most incompetent one in the history of Pakistani sport.

Off the field, we have quite literally touched rock bottom and I don’t see what more can we do to top the fiasco that was PCB committee’s in-camera probe, where the players ripped each other apart and it sounded more like a political conspiracy of the Machiavellian order than a disciplinary committee meeting for a national cricket team

However, as the title of this blog-post state, I realized one thing. We Pakistanis are finally, eventually, good at something. This is beside the point that something happens to be the most awful of all.

We, the Pakistani Cricket Team, are good at snatching defeat from jaws of victory. We are good at giving life to the deadest contest, and then falling at the last hurdle. We are good at giving false hope when there shouldn’t be any. We are basically, just good at giving a lot of heart ache to the entire nation.

Again and again.

Consider this. After today’s loss, the first thing that came to my mind was the fact that over the last one year since winning T20 WC, what we have done well, in all three formats of the game, is to choke at the last morsel and die. Consistently.

Here is the proof.

I browsed through the most magnificent Stats Guru on the greatest website on the internet,, and I filtered Pakistan’s records from 20 June 2009 till 20 June 2010.

What I found out was that Pakistan played 9 test matches, 19 ODIs and 13 T20 Internationals. Out of these 41 international matches, we lost 26 matches, a whopping 63% of the total. However, upon closer inspection, the astonishing fact was revealed which confirmed my initial doubt. Out of those 26 defeats, 13 of them [50% of the total] were absolute nail-biting crackers.

Now all of those who know a bit about sports, they can understand how much it matters to win a single close encounter and the kind of effect it has on the psyche of players but Pakistan was resolute enough to do just that. Continuously suffer close defeats.

To revive the memory of those who want to know about the 13 close matches were, here they are. Pray tell, if these were not heart breaking defeats, what is!

and finally,

Now, as one may go through the match results and details, it is evident that Pakistan, despite all the upheavals it has to endure over the last two years for various reasons, hasn’t done THAT badly. For all the flak we get for being chokers, and we admittedly are the greatest chokers in world cricket right now, at least the one silver lining here is that we were good enough to bring these matches SO close. In a lot of these matches, either we bossed them from the day one, or we fought back resiliently, multiple times throughout the course of the match. As I mentioned earlier, it is beside the fact that we ended up losing all of them, we were CLOSE ENOUGH, and that itself is a massive achievement keeping in mind how turbulent these times have been for our cricket team.

The second and definitely more important observation during this research of mine was how often we gave Aussies a run for their money and EVERY SINGLE TIME, those five times we went close to them, every single time HUSSEY WAS THE MAN WHO KEPT US AT THE BAY. It is astonishing how Michael Hussey has played against us, considering that during his first series against Pakistan back in 2004/05 season, he was rather pedestrian.

When today’s match finished, I was seething. I am generally calm and hardly lose my temper or let anything affect me, but Pakistan Cricket team almost always manages to do this to me, and of late, they are doing this rather frequently. It took more than an hour to get hold of my emotions and be composed and coherent enough and not snap at my family members and friends after this loss. But once I did, and managed to write this post, I also realize that ultimately, this can only make our team hungrier and desperate for success. They are surely a talented bunch, and with exceptions of some god-awful retards, have the potential to light up during this English Summer.

Let us all collectively pray and hope that by the time team for English tour is announced, we will see the back of Imran Farhat for good, while hope that Kamran Akmal never EVER dons the wicket keeping gloves. Shoaib Akhtar, well, that man is an enigma and regardless of how fond I am of his bowling talent, I don’t think I want him touring England.

May Afridi’s men perform a miracle and bring some much needed boost we all need.

p.s: I HATE LOSING, more so, against INDIA. But most importantly, I HATE HATE HATE HARBHAJAN SINGH.