Wednesday, July 28, 2010

With Freedom comes great Responsibility

We all have been siding with the term freedom quite aggressively. Be it the ban on the social networking site or the press by the Punjab Government. Having said that one thing that has also been highlighted is that with freedom comes great responsibility. Those who are able to keep the balance I am all out for there support. However, those who have started taking this for granted that to people will support their freedom just to show the world that we too are from the same sane category & not from the stone age, have got it all wrong.


There is & cannot be any justification of the abuse of the freedom & those who try making these justifications are an utter fail.

Today was another sad day, an Airblue’s flight crashed at Margalla Hills, Islamabad. 150 people were on board. There has been no major large scale suicide bombing & I guess the daily target killings in Karachi & the murder of the only son of Kyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Information Ministery were not good enough stories to keep the people glued to the news channels. Therefore, this crash provided a nice opportunity.

Watching the coverage it was obvious that most of the journalist have forgotten that there were real people sitting in that flight. Humans who were connected to other humans in multiple network of relationships. Normally in such relationships what happens is that you care for others & if something bad happens to them a part to you hops on the balance too & the phase of not knowing the exact facts is nerve recking to say the least. How difficult is this to comprehend? What is so philosophical about this basic instinct that anyone with an average I.Q fails to relate with?

Neither it is the absence of the IQ nor the concept under discussion is too difficult, it is just about keep a control over your work ethics in crisis situations. Showing the live manifest of the flight was not really a nice way to for the families of the victims to know about their loss. And the animation by Geo was really really an act of a sick mind. Then another journalist stated that he’ll be showing the two identity cards that he found from the crash site. I fail to understand what was going in his head.

Agreed that this is the commercial age but still somethings & situations are not for sale & sure death tops the list. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

People vs People

Last Sunday while on my way back from a sleep-over at a relative’s home I got stuck in a traffic jam, whose cause was unknown for approximately twenty minutes. The first rumor (we are an expert in here & spare no occasion to relish in satisfaction of our tongue) that circulated was that there had been an accident & this news helped in lowering the boiling tempers. However, the odd thing out was that there were no ambulances screeching around, only one passed by & that too in the opposite direction. This & the popping heads finally announced that there was no such thing even remotely resembling an accident ahead.

So what the heck was the problem?

This was answered when we saw police mobiles move around & after a brief session of hue & cry the traffic started to inch forward. During this it was told that there was a protest going on & this entire blockage was its resultant.

Cause of the protest?

In an area (whose name I couldn’t get confirmed) the sewerage lines were blocked due to the rains resulting in the water submerging everything in its proximity & to add to the miseries of the residents there was no electricity at stretch from last two days. Thus, the people had all the right to protest.

What my problem is?

My objection here is the method of protest, there location & the obvious fact the result of such protests is ZERO. The people in the administration who are supposed to listen couldn’t care less as lately most of them have gone tech savvy & the people in the concerned departments would have been enjoying their Sunday too.

Who actually suffered?

People on the whole as always. However, in this situation & other like it people become the cause of suffering for fellow equally suffering people. That is why it is said that although there more good people in this world than the bad ones but the latter are the organized lot, hence they get to subject the majority.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Real Books Rules; E-books Drool


I am so glad to see the result of this poll conducted by the Guardian. If you are even remotly considering that this is coming from someone who is anti-tech, think again, because I am not & I can present ample proof of it.  Anyways the point here is some things are not just meant to change, no matter what & this stands true for the Real-books. I fail to understand how are people able to connect with e-books; when you can’t feel the book in your hand & can’t wheeze through the pages & not get lost in it while folding yourself in whatever posture you want.

My experience with e-books has been torturous to say the least as there is always a limit to which you can continuously stare at the screen which limited & to some extent effected my review of the book.  Though I am one of those who agrees with a lot of what Bill Gates says & does, his statement about e-books being a better option is something I won’t be agreeing with as far as I can see.

Long live the REAL BOOKS!!!! 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Power of New Media

It’s been a while now that there is a buzz around the concept of “New Media” & how it has revolutionized the business world. For starters which I doubt exist in the present time & age, new media is defined as “catch-all term for all forms of electronic communication that have appeared or will appear since the original mainly text-and-static picture forms of online communication” (for those interested in details or re-reading the details they already know on their tips ,to put it in absolute simple words our time spent on facebook, myspace, linkedin,twitter & blogs etc is all part of the new media hype.

When we say revolutionized; it’s not just at the business end, the customer end has been equally affected. From every perspective the thinking patterns have changed dramatically, from the business to customer relationships to the way people view their privacy in general. The facebook issue that made headlines lately can be used as a perfect example here. The facebook people took for granted their popularity & used a loose hand on people’s privacy which turned out to be not a great move. Though people have shown a trend towards beings less finicky about their online privacy settings but that too has a limit resulting in a sort of outcry when facebook took a self assured leisure.

A branch of new media which is at the top is Word of Mouth (WOM). Everyone uses it, be it a business with lots of money at its disposal; those who can barely touch break even, start-up etc.  this concept is not new in any way, just the way it is applied, has been modernized just as everything else that we do or have around us.

Those of you familiar with the old life styles in general & of the sub-continent in particular, WOM played quite an important role from the day to day gossip, to exchange of important news to praise or defaming of the quality of the traders who used to sell their stuff (which ranged from vegetables to the most expensive silks) by going door to door. s

Now our social networking sites & blogs play a similar role & that to on a much bigger scale; on a global level as now there are no boundaries as far as businesses are concerned (our politicians blabber is an all together a different story & ironically there are business motives of an industry behind it too). We see the concept of “Corporatocracy” given by John Perkins in his book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” unfold around us ruining lives & countries.

All this has resulted in customers playing a bigger role in the decision making of the business, from the attributes of their products to the increasing trends of businesses associating themselves with different causes & giving back to the society, showing that after all money making can be done in a positive manner as well, keeping a balance & maintaining the balance is what we currently need to get rid of the problems that we are facing from left, right, centre at every level.

New media has the credit that it has helped create awareness among the people & aided them in exchanging their information across borders.

Some people are there to stay

I only had my maternal grandfather for a small period of six years of my life but the memories that I have of those years will always remain fresh. Being the first grandchild in this side of the family I had the privileges of a star where I was the center of everyone’s attention & got away with a lot of things; & the helm of these grants was the blessings of my Nana Abu sometimes to the annoyance of my mother (who was hell bent on not letting me get away by capitalizing on my single child status). The memories of his treating me goodies, I being glued to him while my parents were off to work, he volunteering trying to put me to sleep during late nights when I refused to sleep while my mother had her night shifts in the hospital, & I having his uninterrupted attention while I showed my useless skills at my musical instruments; often comes back to me.

With the passage of time he has turned into an ideal more than the adored grandparent I knew as a kid. Looking back at his life never fails to amaze me. Coming from a well established family of Jammu & Kashmir, a graduate of Aligarh College who joined the freedom movement along with his father giving it all his energy. Then on his father’s instruction he had to leave his land, fulfilling the duties of being the eldest child & make sure his mother & four siblings would be safe in the new land which would be their home for the rest of their lives. From here on he balanced his life between the freedom struggle & settling his family. Then he had to deal with the loss of one of his younger brother to whom he was attached the most.

He was a very progressive father, treated all his children equally & gave them full liberty to choose which ever profession they wanted to pursue. From his letters to his children, one sees his far-sightedness as he gives them guide-lines how to face life standing firmly on their ideals & never backing out. On the other hand one sees a soft hearted father who knows his children’s date sheets by heart & secretly worrying like hell how his daughter is going to cross the heavy trafficked road between her medical school campus & hostel.

Fast-forwarding to my memory lane. I saw the peak of his strength in 1993 when the baby of the family (my youngest uncle aged 25) came home wrapped in the flag of the country on 15th January; result of the Sui (Dera-Bughti) operation in Baluchistan. By this time Nana Abu had a stroke & had lost his speech. Even in this condition he was the pillar to which his devastated family was clinging for strength. Without being able to say a word he consoled them trying to pull them out of their grief & back to life. In all this he kept his pain to himself, something I guess he was now used to. And maybe this time is was a bit too much as he followed his son just five months after his son on 10th July 1993.

Everyone has to leave this world when their time comes, but some leave such legacies that they live among those they have left behind forever. My grandfather lives on & I feel him around when I read books from his collection, when I read the notes that he has scribbled on their sides, his letters, articles & most of all when I see my mother pass on his bringing up & principles on to the next generation in a similar fashion.

Wild Man or Confused Man

Tom Wells took a big challenge in writing “Wild Man” (a biography of Daniel Ellsberg, whose sole claim to fame was releasing the Pentagon Papers) about such a complicated personality but he went too far in dealing with this challenge & not for best mostly.

To sum up Ellsberg’s personality one can say an intelligent man detracted for his whole life. Main reason behind this being his relationship with his mother who’s expectations knew no limits & never showed satisfaction with her son’s achievements. The main reason why Ellsberg was never able to produce results which paralleled his intelligence levels.

His self-centeredness (a characteristic which forms the bases of his persona & affects his relationships) was also the result of his mother’s training. He was treated as the most important member of the family & everyone else was considered secondary. Daniel was never able to break through this feature, considering only what he was saying or doing to be the most important thing of the time; which needed everyone’s attention. Nothing else mattered. Also his lack of analyzing situations from a multi-dimensional viewpoint was an extension of his self-centeredness.

The self-contradictory element of this personality is seen in the fact that at one hand he is a hundred percent self-centered person & on the other hand he needs the approval of others around him constantly. This he never found & he took refuge in reconstructing the events of the past. None of his accounts (or if one has to be polite you can say ninety-nine percent) match to the recollections of the other individuals involved in those events.

Daniel Ellsberg’s whole life it seems is spent in trying to prove himself, in which ever way he felt he could make a mark. In this quest (for which again one finds it impossible not to point the finger at his mother’s role) he missed out the little things which produce huge effects & are core essentials of the humane aspect of mankind; which is where you start to feel sad for Dan. Most of his actions produce the opposite reaction from what he desires are shouting examples of the things essential for a normal brought up which he was denied.

His lust for being in the lime light & power are seen dripping out in his attitudes towards keeping secrets & his exhibitionery attitude with regards to his sex-life. Buying extra copies of the papers to distribute among peers just to make sure that they see him in the news, sending his drafts to people all around are all indicators.

Once a part of the system & a complete supporter of the Vietnam War, his 180 degree turn towards being an anti-war activist (this might not be the right word for him as during this phase of his life his main objective remained being the solo star on the stage, something quite contrary to the attributes of an activist who in general would love to be standing in a team) makes no real sense. His emotional imbalance is evident everywhere but one fails to point out one solid core reason for his conversion.

Combination of these reasons made people doubt Ellsberg’s real intentions behind the only act which brought him his 5mins of fame, the release of the Pentagon Papers. And you can’t blame them for their cynicism as it is well rooted in rational justifications.

The book is interesting from a physiological analysis view point but to consider it a complete political biography is to overestimate the book’s cardinals. The author has done quite an extensive research & as most of it presents the exact results the book gets quite repetitive & the organization of these same points narrated form different people spread in different chapters make it a difficult read as it gets extremely boring & is not able to keep the reader gripped to the story. Joan Hoff in his praise of the book stated that “…Wells’s biography will save him (Daniel) from becoming a mere footnote to history”. However, after reading this account one wonders whether his becoming a footnote in the end is such a bad idea.

Everyone has a story & every story is worth listening but Tom Well’s over did Daniel Ellsberg’s story in 604 pages as it was not really worth this much space in the archives of the history.