Shuntoo-Literacy rate vs. Cricket

“Conduct a survey. Give the general population a simple choice. Would they prefer the literacy rate in this country to rise to 100 per cent or would they rather have our cricket team win the World Cup? I won’t say anything, just ask them and you’ll know how serious they are about issues that you feel they are acutely aware of, but can’t solve since they are victims of circumstances.”~Shuntoo

Things I miss about PTV

1. Low Costs: No one needing more than one TV in the house since every member of the family did not want to watch a different channel.

2. The TV Lounge & the Family: The whole family in one room enjoying whatever was on. Believe it or not, the dads watched dramas, the kids watched news and the moms watched cartoons. It has never been the same again.

3. The No-Tension News: Which began with “Sadr-e-Mumlikat ne kaha”, continued to “Wazeer-e-Azam ne kaha” and ended somewhere around “Governor ne kaha”. No conspiracy theories, no stupid fights, no exaggerations, no anal-ysis, no taak shows, no tension.

4. Haseena Moeen, Amjad Islam Amjad and the like. I don’t know if these people still write for TV, if they do, I lose them somewhere in the crowd of channels.

5. No Remotes: And hence no continuous changing of channels and no feeling of extreme discomfort when somebody else had the remote.

6. Those creepy tunes: The soothing one that accompanies the PTV sign before the transmission began, that irritating tain tain before a live hockey match and others.

7. Underpaid Artistes: I might be wrong but somehow I feel that people who were paid peanuts, like Shoaib Hashmi, Shoaib Mansoor, Nusrat Thakur, Tariq Aziz were way better than the ones who are paid handsomely now but fail to deliver the same class of results.

8. Announcements: A pretty lady appearing on your screen before every program and telling you the name, writer, director, stars and sponsors of the show was somehow comforting. And Aaj ke program at the beginning of the transmission lent a sort of predictability to the proceedings.

9. Raag Rang: For lovers of classical music, this was a real treat. I don’t think any other channel these days airs any program on classical music. We have 50 more channels and lesser variety of programs.

10. Farman-e-Ilahi: This show, the last of the transmission, provided closure to the day. One could sleep early and not waste time looking at the TV (without watching anything) till three am. And though it seems hard to believe, in those days when someone asked ‘Anything interesting on TV late night today?’ the late night usually meant around ten p.m. not two a.m.

Copy Pasting Status

Please copy and paste this as your status if you know someone, or have heard of someone who knows someone that may know someone, who knows anyone. If you don’t know anyone, or even if you’ve heard of anyone that doesn’t know anyone who knows someone, then still copy this. Its important to spread the message. Oh, and the hearts. Don’t forget the hearts.

Shuntoo on Reformation

“Hey Shuntoo! You’ve gotta listen to this,” I knew how Shuntoo disapproved of me posting his views on facebook, but I had to tell him about this comment. Mainly because I loved it.
He didn’t say anything but looked at me with the tiniest bit of interest.

“Listen to this comment on my last post.” I explained and he kept looking at me. “I want you to respond to it.”
“Ok!” was all he said.

“Can shuntoo start from himself by not smoking and not exposing himself and others and environment to harmful effects of smoke?” I repeated the comment and waited for a response.

“Start what?” he asked

“That’s what the comment says.”

“But start what?”

“I guess start the change. The reformation of the society, I think.”

“What makes you think I give a crap about the society or its reformation?”

I didn’t know how to respond to that statement. So I decided to continue reading the comment.

“Can intellectuals like Shuntoo ……”

He began to laugh. “Intellectuals like Shuntoo!” he repeated and laughed again.

“Let me complete it at least. It says Can intellectuals like Shuntoo start taking some positive actions instead of talking?” I finished and looked at him.

“I am no intellectual. I don’t like to talk, mostly you make me talk. And I don’t give a crap about change or the society or your views.”

“But the writer of this comment does have a point.” I said

“Hmmm!” he said. Then he lit a cigarette, took a puff and blew smoke into the air. I kept looking at him expecting something.

After a while, he just said, “What? I gave you my response, I don’t give a …..” I said. “I know!”

Shuntoo on ‘believing on things that don’t exist’

“Hey! I was just looking at the list of Oscar nominees for this year. Where is Zinda Bhaag?”

Shuntoo just scoffed and continued to concentrate on the book in his hand.

“How can it be? We had everyone bragging about its nomination for Oscars and respectable NGOs claimed that it had been nominated at its screenings. Where is it?”

“It wasn’t nominated.” Shuntoo said putting the book aside and looking straight at me. He lit a Marlboro and continued, “it wasn’t nominated. It wasn’t even shortlisted. And all the claims that were made in the past three months were bull-crap, since the nominations weren’t even announced till last night.”


“Pakistanis are not the most talented people in the world.” Shuntoo continued.


“We are not so lucky to be at that stage.” He took a long puff of his cigarette. “We are worse than that. We live in a retarded idiot’s paradise. We believe in things that don’t exist to make ourselves feel better. We won’t appreciate the fact that movies like ZInda Bhaag, Bol and Waar show that with some effort we could make movies that could win an Oscar. No, we would rather believe that a movie already got that nomination and then feel all proud. We won’t say that with some effort we could become the best nation in the world. We would rather believe that we already are the best. We wouldn’t focus on how, with some effort, we could be better human beings. We would rather believe that we already are perfect human beings and spend our life trying to convince others.”


“So we prefer to make asses of ourselves than to make an effort.”


“And it’s hilarious.” He started laughing and the conversation ended.

Shuntoo on ‘living for yourself’

“It’s weird how everyone is doing whatever they are doing for someone else. Sportsmen play for their country. Men/Women make money for their children, work for their family. It’s as if living for yourself is something to be embarrassed about. Although living for yourself is the most logical existence. Get rid of this hypocrisy if you want to breathe. ” Shuntoo

Happy Birthday Zehra

When I am weak and need strength; when I feel lost and need a guide; when I am confused and need to find some sense in life; when I am scared and want reassurance; when I am alone and need company; when I am sad and need to smile; when I am about give up and need encouragement; when I am close to falling and need support; even when I am having a great day and need nothing more than a partner to share it with; in all these times I find you and it is always enough.

Happy Birthday Zehra! My strength, my guide, my sense in life, my reassurance, my company, my smile, my encouragement, my support, my partner! May you live a long and blessed life.

Ten Things about Pain

1. When life does not give me what I want, the fault might not lie with life, but with my expectations.

2. When I want something badly and do not get it, God invariably compensates for it by giving me something else, usually much better. I just have to make sure that my disappointment does not prevent me from noticing that.

3. Sometimes, when I got what I wanted, I realized that it was not as big a deal as I imagined it to be and the euphoria of success died away too soon. Mostly, the effort and the anxiety are way more enjoyable than the actual success.

4. What I got (or didn’t get) are things of the past. What I am and can be are things that drive me forward.

5. Ignoring or suppressing the pain does not help. It is okay to cry and get it out of your system. Sometimes all a pain requires from you is acknowledgement.

6. Convincing myself that nothing bad would ever happen is futile. Becoming the person who can transform any tragedy into an opportunity is much more fun.

7. When my brain tells me that I just cannot go on, I just need to tell my brain that I can. The brain gets tired and just needs a little rest, I need to empty it of all fears and thoughts and then fill it with what I want.

8. Courage does not mean that I don’t feel pain; it means that I don’t let it hamper my progress.

9. Failure to feel any pain is not valor; it is numbness and could signal a mental or physical malfunction.

10. Life is sometimes like a video game. When it gets hard, it just means that you have played well and have reached a higher level.

Things I learned from my mother

Depending on the kind of hand life deals us, we spend our lives fighting for survival, striving to make it big, trying to achieve something the world will remember us for etc. But if we just take a moment out of this mad race and reflect, maybe we will realize that this is not the only path available to us. There is a higher and apparently much easier option once we put our minds to it. Looking at my mother’s life, who lived an ordinary life in the most extraordinary manner, I have learnt that maybe all you need is the capacity to

1. Smile and laugh under all circumstances because no matter what problems lie before you, there are always more blessings than troubles. You just need to notice them once in a while.

2. Cry when you feel like without any inhibitions, especially before God. If He didn’t like people crying, he would not have created this emotion in the first place. Let it go when it becomes too much to bear, it’ll relax you and give you the strength to start afresh.

3. Provide a shoulder when someone else needs to cry. Some people just cannot make sense of things by themselves and they don’t need advice or lectures. All they require is an ear that is listening and a shoulder that doesn’t judge.

4. Always be there for others, whether it is an occasion for celebration or mourning or anything that is important to them. Don’t let your presence be a favor to them; be there as if it is their right. Let them trust you. That way, you are helping them even when you are away from them. Just the feeling that one can rely on someone makes problems less scary.

5. Never lose hope however big the troubles seem. Problems are never too big; it’s the person facing them who is sometimes too small.

6. Love everyone from the heart. Don’t just pretend. Love begets love and it makes life so much easier and fun.

7. Always be ready to listen. Take interest in the stuff being said just because it is important to the person who is talking.

8. Never complain. When someone treats you badly, treat him great in return. It may or may not make him realize his error but it will surely make you the greater person.

9. Be frank with God. He doesn’t mind crying or complaining or anything of the sort. Ask only Him for whatever you want. As for the rest of the world, don’t ask, just give.

10. Make sure that you are the source of good for everyone that comes to you. You will not succeed in pleasing everyone, but any enmity or displeasure would be because of misperceptions on the others’ part. You will sleep soundly at night and have no fears whatsoever.

Sounds easier said than done? Of course it is. But it does make more sense than to keep on trying to get richer and higher on the social food chain. And Amma made it look easy.

Don’t tell me it never happened…


1. You stared at a digital watch continuously in the last minute of the hour to catch the moment when all numbers changed at once?

2. You tried to control your pee and succeeded for hours, only to fail seconds before you got your pants off?

3. The cop signaled to the car behind you or right in front of you to stop and your heart sank, even though you weren’t doing anything wrong?

4. Your wife or parents or someone called and asked where you were, and you spontaneously lied, without any reason at all?

5. You met someone and couldn’t remember his/her name and kept making lame efforts to get him to tell it, like ‘how do you spell your name?’

6. You nodded your head when asked if you knew about something even when you had no idea what it was?

7. You told a story claiming it happened to someone you know, when actually you had just heard it from someone who claimed it had happened to someone he/she knew?

8. You laughed at a joke or a witty remark hiding the fact that you did not get it?

9. You did not recognize the voice on the phone but pretended that you did, all the while trying to recall the name?

10. You pressed ‘like’ on a status not because you liked it, but because you wanted people to see that you liked such stuff?