Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Load Shedding and the ‘Other’ Woman


A lot of readers might have heard about the effects of load shedding in our daily life but this electric monster once put me in a very awkward situation while shopping.

It was last eve of the Holy Ramzan. Load Shedding was on full swing as usual however Eid shopping was still incomplete. My wife urged me to complete shopping that evening, as the next few days were quite busy.  I agreed and sent out to nearby famous market for eid shopping along with my wife and elder son. My wife was wearing black abaa and black scarf on her head.

Thanks to the load shedding, it was dark everywhere and even no street light was on. Only the roadside stalls were using small Chinese emergency lights to throw light on the goods to be sold. And only Few shopkeepers were using generators but over all lights were not enough to shop comfortably.

My wife started her shopping from bangles stalls and fitting the role of a noble husband I wanted to help her. She wanted to buy some bangles for herself and her sisters.  I ran my sight on the whole stall for few seconds and picked up some bangle packs of her choice. I noticed she starred at me with anger, turned her face and took a step towards right. I also stepped forward and showed another packet of a different color , still praising my choice and aesthetic sense. In the twilight I could not see her face clearly but felt that she was looking nervous. I was quite surprised on what was going wrong and why was she not talking to me?

Just about when I was about to ask what was wrong with her, my son, came running to me that his mom had purchased a fancy purse and was calling me for payment…What. His words hit my head with big bang and standing there I was only puzzled that if my wife was on other stall then who was she whom I was helping with shopping? And it did not take more than a few seconds to quickly realize that when I was riveting over the stall and picking up some packets, wife would have moved and there was that lady, in same black abaa and scarf, I thought to be my wife. In a few seconds situation was crystal-clear to me.

Apart from the hilarity the situation was truly disturbing. Although, it was a pure misunderstanding, not a deliberate action and the insufficient light was the only culprit in the situation, but it was hard for me to even imagine the ‘other’ lady would be thinking about me… a shameless and mischievous soul. Only my good luck saved my reputation. I did not tell my wife anything but I learnt my lesson that evening and gifted a few beautiful scarves to my wife and requested her not to put on that black scarf  anymore. She cheered upon that “unexpected”, and to me the good thing was that she never asked the reason behind that request.

This Article was published in The News Blog (

Load Shedding and the ‘Other’ Woman

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Alamgir - the King of Pop in Pakistan

Alamgir, the founder of pop music in Pakistan, left the music industry when he was at the heights of popularity. Likewise his name, he is really a conqueror and music is his kingdom.

Few years ago, Alamgir settled in America and in October 2008, his kidneys were failed and he went on dialysis. Years went by, and now he is back to Pakistan for treatment and hopefully he will recover soon after kidney transplant.

In America, he continued his music journey and staged many concerts in different states. He is still full of energy and his sportiveness on the stage during performance makes him entirely different than others. When he is singing pop, the fluency and gaudiness are prime characteristics of his lyrics, which make his audience wholly devoted, moving with him as a whole.  Songs Albela Rahi…   Dekha na tha kabhi hum ne yeh sama… Hum chalay to hamare sang sang…  Keh de na baton se … are his all time best.

In his Ghazal singing, Alamgir has his own soft and easy but melodious style. The middling note of gamut brings eternal happiness for his friends. He does not seem to go more towards the classics of Ghazal singing but a blend of Ghazal and a touch of Western music assorted with fluency and soft rhythm make his style popular amongst youngsters in particular. His selection of ghazal has always been brilliant.  Sham se pehle aana… and Koi bhi rang ho tere… are the ever-green songs all of us will remember in the times to come.

His conversion and composition of Gujrati (Main ne tumhari gagr se kabhi pani…) and Bangla (Hamain to us par le ke jana manjhi re …) folk songs into Urdu were so impressive and romantic, they elevated his dignity and glory mutlifold. Alamgir had also sung many Bangali, English and Spanish songs whenever audience demanded. He was also successful in playback singing and in his films Jageer and Aa’ina were blockbuster.

His devotion to music is natural and is surely an inseperable part of his personality. He has always been successful in various forms of music. His perception and translation of in music thereafter is outstanding enough to conquer hearts. His patriotic songs are moving, and inflate one with zeal and enthusiasm. His popular patriotic songs are Khyal rakhna… Ma’an ki dua puri hoi….and Tum hi se ae mujahidon. On stage he connects with his audience’s hearts, softly and ever so subtly, something that is quintessential of a tremendous singer

His collections of music albums, no doubt, are a complete syllabus for the upcoming pop singers. Pakistan’s existing lot of pop singers and stage performers are only a tradition Alamgir has bequeathed on the new generation.His warm reception on coming back to Pakistan is the greatest proof of his fame and repute as an undisputed legendary pop star of Pakistan.

This Article was published in The News Blog (

Alamgir-the King of Pop

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Do you need to have a great vocabulary?

If you want to be a great communicator, do you need to have a great vocabulary?

You might be surprised to learn that a really big vocabulary is not necessary in order to express yourself clearly and to move others with your words.

Some of the most dramatic messages that have ever been uttered in the English language actually used very simple words to stir the blood, or touch the heart.

Look at any well-known passage in the Bible. Chances are that the passage does not rely on sophisticated words to create its power.

Think of Lincoln's Gettysberg Address. Although President Lincoln spoke in a style that is very different from the way we usually speak today, his words still have the power to move us deeply with their clarity and their deep emotion. During the darkest days of World War II, Winston Churchill's rousing speeches to the British people used very simple, common, powerful words to successfully ignite the courage and determination of his people.

So if it's possible to communicate effectively without using a lot of very big words, why should we bother to try to expand our vocabulary? The reason is that learning new words expands our understanding and improves our "mental muscles". Every new word we learn entices our mind to stretch into new areas.

When we have a larger bank of words to draw on, we improve our ability to think and express ourselves. Our thinking will become more fluid and supple, and we will understand more of the world around us and within us, when we have a larger vocabulary. In the modern world the ability to use words effectively is often highly rewarded.

The English language has an enormous number of words, perhaps more than half a million of them. Most people however, use a vocabulary of just a few thousand common words on a daily basis. It is possible to get by in the English language with a limited number of words, but you expand your options as you expand your vocabulary. When you understand very few words, you are limited in your ability to learn new information.

If you want to increase your vocabulary, there are many approaches you can use. One good way is to read books or articles that are slightly more difficult than what you are accustomed to. When you come across a word you don't know, see if you can figure out its meaning from the context. Look at the way the word is made up, with its letters and syllables. Does it remind you of any words you already know? What parts of it are familiar?

Many words in the English language are made up of common roots they share with other words. You may be able to deduce the meaning of the new word from the way the syllables are put together and the way it is used. You should consult a dictionary to be sure.

If you come across a word you don't understand during the course of a lecture or a conversation, you can ask someone to explain the meaning of the word. Many people are reluctant to do this because they are afraid of exposing their ignorance by asking.

It is occasionally true that other people may choose to look down on you if you confess that you don't understand a certain word. On the other hand, they may be happy to teach you something new. If you decide you don't want to ask anyone else for the meaning of words you don't know, be sure to make a note of those new words and look them up later. Should you try to learn new words directly from a dictionary? It depends on your learning style and your preference. Some people will become bored very quickly while reading a dictionary, while others will find it fascinating.

All dictionaries are not alike, and you may find a certain version far more useful than the rest. Good dictionaries will do more than just give a definition of a word. Some will show you an example of the word used in a sentence. Often they will show you alternate spellings, and give the plural forms of nouns and the past tense of verbs. Most dictionaries will show you correct pronunciation. Some will tell you the historical derivation of the word. Many English words have their roots in ancient Anglo-Saxon, French, or German.

Language is always evolving and new words are being created every day. New words can come from technology, from scientific discoveries, from other languages, from pop culture, and from the streets.

When learning new vocabulary, you can better integrate it into your brain if you actively involve yourself in the learning process.

When you encounter a new word, write out a definition of it in your own words, and write one or more sentences using the new word in context. Visualize the word in its printed form. Say the word out loud, and spell it out loud. Say a sentence out loud that uses the new word. Make up an image in your mind that will help you remember the word. If you make the image funny or bizarre, you will probably remember it better.

To improve your use of language and your ability to think, practice summarizing the theme of an entire article or book using just one or two paragraphs. After you have read an article or book, try writing out two different versions summarizing your ideas. Do one version using very simple, everyday words. Make it as clear and simple as you possibly can while still maintaining accuracy. Do another version that uses very complex sentences and advanced vocabulary, like you imagine a university professor might write.

This will give your brain a good work-out and increase your verbal and mental flexibility.

If you are committed to expanding your vocabulary, how many new words should you try to learn in a day? It's up to you. Just two new words a day will add up to more than 7000 words in ten years. Ten words a day would add 36,000 words in ten years.

Once you have learned a lot of new words, should you work them into your conversation every chance you get? The kind of vocabulary you use should always be appropriate to the context in which you are writing or speaking. For example, if you are speaking to a group of high school dropouts you may want to use different words than if you are speaking to a group of scientists.

Don't use an impressive vocabulary merely as a means of showing off, always using big words when small ones would do. People can often intuitively feel when you are using fancy words merely for effect, and not because you need them to communicate.

But if your new vocabulary really has become a part of you and has a useful place in your writing and conversation, by all means, go ahead and use it!

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