Shuntoo on ‘Black Friday sale’ vs. feeding the hungry

“The money spent on this Black Friday weekend could feed all the hungry children in the world.” I read

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Shuntoo looked up from his magazine and asked.

“Nothing,” I explained. “Just reading a fact a friend posted on facebook. But if it is true, it is tragic isn’t it?” I knew I was stepping into dangerous territory but sometimes one feels like taking risks. Uttering such words in Shuntoo’s presence is bound to get you some adventure.

“Yes, it is tragic.” Shuntoo said with a smile. And I was taken aback. Had he agreed with me? More importantly, had he agreed with a facebook status? If that was true, this was a historic occasion.

“Really, you think so?” I had to make sure.

“Of course, it is. And at so many levels.”

“Will you explain?” I had to……..had to be sure

“Only because you ask. It is tragic that someone has posted this as a status for all the world to read without any knowledge of how many hungry children there are in the world, or how much exactly was spent on this Black Friday or what exact amount of money is needed to feed all those children. I mean, educated people saying such things is tragic.”

“How do you know? Maybe he knows the exact…….”

“Even if he does,” he didn’t let me complete, as usual, “and that is one of the biggest Ifs I have ever known, it is still tragic that he has either not realized, or chosen to ignore the fact that whereas one can easily spend money on Black Friday, there are a lot of complications if you decide to feed all the hungry children of the world. It is tragic that he was probably thinking about giving just one meal to all those children from this money, a huge task with all the logistics and stuff required; stuff that would cost many times more than the food.”

“Hmmmmm! But…..”

“And what about after that. Feeding all the children once and then letting them go hungry again…..till the next Black Friday?”

“I am sure he meant….” I couldn’t finish again
“He meant to write something that would generate responses like Ohhhhh and Ahhhhh and how sad and how terrible we are. Response from people who would then sign out and go have a dinner that costs thousands of rupees while hungry children roam outside their homes. It is tragic that we use such comments to enjoy the likes and responses. Whatever you do with your money or time, bacchay, there will always be someone telling you there was a better use for it. And they would be right. The time I have spent talking to you here could have been spent reading, or researching, or even praying. Does that mean that I should stop talking to you?”

“So, you think we should…..”

“I think if we are so concerned about the hungry children of the world, we should form an organization to help them or join one of the many organizations that already exist. Then we spend our time and money on it. We ask people for donations. And I am sure they will give, maybe even more than what they spent on Black Friday.”

“But……”

“That’s enough bacchay. At least one hungry child could have been fed in the time we wasted here, or the time people spent putting up crap on facebook or commenting on it or discussing it.”
I wonder

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Ten not so famous last words

1. What’s the worst that could happen?

2. Don’t be ridiculous. Of course it is edible.

3. Look Ma! No hands.

4. Doc! Are you sure this procedure is safe?

5. Hurray! We killed all the bastards!

6. Honey! Guess what speed we’re going at.

7. Yes, yes! Harder, harder!

8. Is that your husband?

9. It takes guts to do this, Losers!

10. Son! Watch…….and Learn!

Ten stupid questions people ask

Probably the most annoying are the stupid questions people keep asking.

1. They call you in the middle of the night and then ask “Did I disturb you?” For heaven’s sake man, even if I was not sleeping, you should be very sure that whatever I was doing, a call at that hour is disturbing.

2. You enter your house or office all drenched and they inquire “Is it raining?” What else did you think, Einstein? That I took a shower in my car?

3. Sitting in a restaurant, they would conveniently point to a dish on the menu and ask the waiter “Is this good?” What response do they expect from an employee of the same restaurant? He won’t say “No sir! That’s awful, the cook spits in it” even if that were the truth.

4. A friend of theirs is sobbing in a corner, and they would ask “Is something wrong?” I wonder if they ever hear a reply like “No no! I am just doing tear Yoga as part of my Kung Fu training.”

5. And their favourite seems to be the question they keep asking every kid they meet. “Mama acchhi hain ya Baba?” Give the kid a break man, I know there are too many dysfunctional families around but you don’t have to mess up the kid’s mind just because you don’t have anything more sensible to ask.

And then there are the completely unnecessary statements of the obvious.

6. “Ohh! It’s ten p.m.” Yes sir I am not blind and I can tell the time from a clock.

7. “It is so hot today.” Hmm! Really? I wouldn’t know, since I live in an air-conditioned hole in the ground.

8. “Light aa gayee” or even more irritating “Light chalee gayee!” I have not come from the Stone Age, I know what it means when the room suddenly goes dark or is lit up.

And Finally the totally illogical ways to start a sentence that are too common to tolerate now.

9. “I don’t think I should say this…” Then don’t say it na! Why can’t you trust your own thinking?

10. “Promise me you won’t mind” Now how can I make such a promise without knowing what you have to say. You could be about to say something indecent about my mother for all I know. Do you really think I decide to mind or not mind something before hearing it?

Ten conspiracies

People have always been fond of a little conspiracy and a little imagination and it is amazing to see the kind of things they come up with. I am sure you have all heard stuff like

1. The US government planned and executed the 9/11 attacks itself.

2. No person called Osama Bin Laden ever existed.

3. Asif Ali Zardari had Benazir Bhutto killed.

4. The world is going to end very soon.

5. Aliens from other planets have visited the Earth many times.

6. It is possible to turn lead into gold.

7. The CIA has future world maps in which Pakistan does not exist.

8. Dengue is the result of chemical warfare by the Jews and America.

9. Suicide bombers will be welcomed by numerous Hurs in paradise and all those who condemn them will rot in hell.

10. All elections in Pakistan and maybe the world are rigged by intelligence agencies.

I laugh like crazy when I think about the things people come up with, and I am scared shitless whenever I realize that I have absolutely no evidence to prove that any of these theories is not actually true. Huh?

Shuntoo on Indifference

“We have to put an end to this indifferent attitude. This attitude of indifference towards the actual problems within ourselves. This habit of making embarrassingly silly attempts to pose as great supporters of a revolution to change the circumstances for the better. This ignorance of ignorance. This attitude of denial. Denial to accept that we that we don’t know crap about what our current situation is or what exactly is meant by change for the better. We have to stop repeating ideas we heard or read somewhere without comprehending anything about them. We have to stop trying to impress morons even when we are succeeding. We have to improve ourselves. We have to realize that it is only ourselves that are in our control and what we do with ourselves is the clearest indication of how well we are equipped to bring about a change in whatever we will control. Yes sir, we have to change our mindsets.”~Shuntoo

Ten reflections-on Iqbal day

At a time when

1. The world is afraid to come to Pakistan, invest any amount of money or even play a game of cricket here

2. The lives and property of every citizen of Pakistan is under constant threat

3. Pakistan is 145th in the world in the Human Development Index

4. Pakistan is universally known as one of the most corrupt countries in the world

5. Pakistan has the 38th lowest per capita income and our performance on all other indicators is also dismal

6. The heads of Pakistan’s most powerful institutions are at loggerheads trying to decide who is stronger

7. Our leaders, having failed to address these problems, take pride in managing to get a huge crowd sing the national anthem and form the national flag to create records

8. Most Pakistanis cannot expect to get any sort of education or reasonable health facilities

9. Mafias control our south, militias control our north, and tyrants control our center

10. Girls and women in Pakistan are being killed by jirgas and religious fanatics

At this great time, let’s all take a day off and sleep, relax, chill. But for one moment somewhere, just one moment, think if there is some little thing we owe Iqbal?

Suggestion for ten additional holidays

We are a nation that is overly fond of holidays. Here are some suggestions to add a few more:

1. 18th June – Dependence Day – In memory of the first drone attack on Pakistani soil in 2004.

2. 16th May – Doctrine of Necessity Day – In memory of that landmark judgment in 1955 that legalized anything as long as it was backed by the soundest of rationales, i.e. military force.

3. 7th October – Army Day – In memory of that fateful first declaration of Martial Law in Pakistan by Sikandar Mirza, who interestingly, was not an army General himself.

4. 9th September – 10 Percent Day – To celebrate the beginning of the Presidency of our beloved leader.

5. 4th April – Democracy Day – To remember the hanging, in 1979, of the leader who according to his supporters is still alive and will suddenly start coming out of every house. Har ghar se niklay ga.

6. 17th September – Bhai Day – It’s the birthday of Altaf Bhai, is any further argument required?

7. 4th July – Defence Day – No its not just US independence, it is also the special day on which, in 1999, Mian Nawaz Sharif said sorry and agreed to withdraw troops from Kargil in order to defend his dignity and that of the nation.

8. 17th March – Sports Day – To ensure we do not forget how, in 2007, the Pakistan team miserably crashed out of the World Cup after just two matches, and lost the life of their coach and some pride.

9. 16th December – ½ Pakistan Day – Since we lost half of our country on this day in 1971.

10. 21st November – Science Day – This was the day in 1996 when Pakistan’s only Nobel laureate breathed his last in Oxford 22 years after leaving Pakistan after being declared a non-Muslim.

I don’t mind the fact that we have forgotten all that the ideology of Pakistan or Jinnah or Iqbal stood for. But I strongly suggest we start celebrating these days so that we don’t forget all this. If we cannot take pride and learn from our brilliant history, maybe we would be able to learn from our shameful history.