Culture, Posts

Drawing the Wrong Comparisons. Of Artistic Shrinks & Fallen Defenders

Photo Credit: raylook Flickr via Compfight cc

Yesterday, the voice of my late teens consumed its own life. Chester Bennington, spoke to me and many people of my generation at a totally different level. Within no time, my Facebook feed was flooded with the news. Why was Chester so important to me? You see, growing up in times when there was no counseling to handle teen angst and the world, as it unraveled its dark side, Chester’s lyrics gave solace to our clueless minds. I, along with thousands of millennials worldwide, mourned at the news. It wouldn’t be wrong to say Chester was our shrink.

At around the same time, a Pakistani soldier Abdul Jabbar, was martyred in a terrorist attack. I was unaware of the news until I saw an Instagram story. But there’s a reason behind my ignorance – I don’t subscribe to any local news’ channel. The primary reason is ‘Sadistic Journalism’ practiced by our media. You see, every casualty is reported with sickening amounts of gory detail. Rarely do you see a victim’s picture from an identification document, but a picture of a blood covered carcass. Amidst hundreds of terrorist related casualties daily, does the media assume viewers won’t believe the news until they saw the picture of a dead body?

Not to mention the fact that in the age of extensive media consumption, the martyrdom of our soldiers didn’t get adequate coverage anyways. Notice they hyperlinked article above? It has ZERO shares. If only a handful of military personnel had shared the article from a reputable website, the story would’ve gotten viral.

Having said that, does turning down local media due to their unethical practices make me unpatriotic? I’m a tax paying and law-abiding CIVILIAN, if that isn’t considered patriotism then I don’t know what is. Not to mention, despite my good citizenship I get treated as third grade vermin every time a VIP’s entourage passes by me on the road, but that calls for a separate blog post.

Besides, we’re drawing the wrong comparisons!

How can you compare the martyrdom of the soil’s son with the suicide of a singer? One’s THE reason we have freedom to enjoy luxuries of life while the other helped us get through tough times. Sure the previous generations were more aware of whatever went on around them. But back then the whole family huddled next to the TV for the 9 o’ clock news and went to bed. They never feared being bombarded with sickening images of dead bodies daily. Not to mention, those were simpler times and people didn’t fear losing their lives because they belonged to a minority race or religious denomination. Things are more complicated to judge in a system gone awry.

The loss of life, regardless of faith or country of origin is plain sad. In the end, it’s the only thing that matters.

Culture, Posts, Travel

Emotions, a case of transcending international borders

A hero’s welcome

Spring 2015, I was at Ronald Reagan airport in Washington DC. It was tough waiting for my flight all the while curbing my excitement of the new adventures that awaited. All of a sudden, a bunch of people gathered at a gate near me, everyone in possession of the American flag in one form or the other. Turns out they were there to welcome the passengers on board the Honor Flight, a series of airplane trips carrying World War II veterans to memorial sites. The trip is funded by the Honor Flight Network, a non-profit geared towards keeping alive the gratitude towards war veterans. Continue reading “Emotions, a case of transcending international borders”

Culture, Posts

Sales and Marketing or Coercion and Harassment?

Photo Credit: amrelbasiony Flickr via Compfight cc


Hello there, have you tried out a new fragrance?’ says a smartly dressed lady at a kiosk in the mall.

The first thing that comes to your mind is ‘Why isn’t she on the cover page of Vogue?’ and then you’re just drawn towards what she’s trying to sell. Out of courtesy, you ask a few questions, sniff the fragrance, that she took the liberty to spray onto your wrist and work out an excuse to walk away.

I’m sure many of us have lost count of the times we’ve given our friends something and said, ‘Ah this salesperson down the street wanted me to buy this, I just helped them out. I think you can put it to better use’.

But with items taking up a bigger chunk of your wallet, how do you walk out courteously from the hands of a very consistent salesperson? Continue reading “Sales and Marketing or Coercion and Harassment?”

Culture, Posts

Stop Cutting Around Corners, a much-needed paradigm shift

Stuck in rush hour traffic and you notice a tiny car cutting in line only to come to a standstill, like everyone else. Even more frustrating is taking a U-turn and the oncoming traffic, especially people on two wheelers, just zigzag to pass before you. Carefully, you just alternate between the gas and brake pedals hoping to get into the lane. You wonder, in frustration, if they saved a few seconds at the expense of yours.

We’ve all been there and at times we are all guilty of such petty, yet frustrating, crimes.

Even if a good Samaritan ‘DOES’ stop to clear the passage, they give you a friendly gesture to let you know they’re actually helping you. You take a moment for the kindness to sink in and give an awkward nod or a wave before you make a move, expecting other zigzaggers not to bump into you.

I don’t see this as an attempt to save time, but just an effort to scratch an itch for not losing momentum, no one likes stopping and hence we have traffic lights.

Bump diggity

But not everything works like that. Continue reading “Stop Cutting Around Corners, a much-needed paradigm shift”

Culture, Posts, Travel

Enhance your travel experience by being more culturally receptive

What a waste!’ I exclaimed as my friend told me about someone’s trip to France.

They had been eating butter sandwiches all week, and said the best part of the trip was when they came across a Pakistani family who treated them to desi food and I was like, you went all the way to France to eat desi food?’ said my friend, as we fist bumped over an obvious ‘face palm’ moment.

‘I mean they could’ve tried halal foie gras’ I responded, sipping doodh pati chai from a cup, as my friend and I shook our heads in disappointment.

A quote from the famous writer, James Michener fits well in this situation:

Continue reading “Enhance your travel experience by being more culturally receptive”