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.

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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.

Ten Questions

1. When you are trying to be different and everyone else is trying to be different too, aren’t you actually trying to be the same?

2. When we say something is exactly two feet long, are we sure it is less than 2.00000001 and more than 1.99999999 feet? If not, aren’t all measurements actually estimates?

3. Can it ever be empirically proven that something does not exist?

4. When protests against violence turn violent, aren’t the protestors protesting against themselves?

5. If someone claims that he does not care about the society and wants the society to praise him for this, isn’t he negating his own claim?

6. If you imagine the world exactly as it is, are you living in the real or the imaginary world?

7. Can reports that claim there are Weapons of Mass Destruction in a country, when in fact there aren’t any, be called ‘Intelligence’ Reports?

8. Is a person intolerant if he cannot tolerate intolerance?

9. Why don’t languages have different words for different things? (Why turn right, that answer is right, human rights, pagan rites??) I mean there are infinite possible words, aren’t there?

10. Why did I include this question? Couldn’t I have just changed the title to nine questions? And why is this called ten questions anyway, when there is actually more than one question at serial no.2, 9 and 10?

Sentences you will never see on Facebook

1. ABC and millions of other people have started using THEIR BRAINS

2. Rulers and people are now friends.

3. Mrs. XYZ likes her husband and 14 other men.

4. Mr. XYZ hates his wife and 14 other men.

5. Some application is requesting that you don’t let it access your private information because it is dangerous and idiotic.

6. List of people you might know but not give a shit about.

7. Status: What important or meaningful thing that makes some sense is on your mind?

8. Meera likes (and understands) Nietzsche and 10 other philosophers.

9. Someone you have never heard of has commented on a photo of a stranger that one of your friends was tagged in and you had absolutely nothing better to do than comment on it earlier.

10. Satan is now friends with the President and 500 other politicians.

People you should never watch a movie with

1. Someone who has watched the movie before and is a compulsive spoiler who keeps telling you what’s going to happen next.

2. Someone who has watched the movie before and is not a compulsive spoiler but keeps saying, “watch what happens next” or “look, look this is a good one” as if you were looking somewhere else.

3. Someone who does not like watching movies or likes it only so he could criticize everything in them as if he was Oliver Stone’s lost twin.

4. Someone who is not good at listening or does not understand the language well and keeps asking you “What! What did he just say?”

5. Someone who is too proud of being good at listening or knowing the language and keeps telling you what he just said.

6. Someone who eats during the movie and makes such loud crunching sounds that no one knows what he just said.

7. Someone who is continuously reminded of similar events in his own life by different scenes of the movie and wants to share his great experience with everyone.

8. Someone who wanted to watch another movie and keeps telling you how that would have been better.

9. Someone who is too dumb to understand the jokes or twists in the script and makes you feel silly when you are laughing or being surprised.

10. Someone who is having too much fun watching the movie and not only disturbs you but makes you pity him for having such a sad life.

Ten reasons why I want change

The political parties that have ruled the country for so long

1. Are centered on one personality and there is absolutely no chance of anyone else becoming the leader / president / chairperson until that personality is alive.

2. Mainly consist of individuals who are either the same old politicians that have been destroying this country or new ones who are so unknown that one fears if they would be even worse.

3. Have numerous factions / groups within them that make one wonder about their ability to do anything positive since they can’t even get along with each other.

4. Make such tall claims in their campaigns that it is extremely improbable, if not impossible, that any human can achieve them.

5. Use derogatory language in their election campaign with slogans that are solely focused on making some other person / party look bad.

6. Cry foul whenever they lose elections and act as if some hidden power is always conspiring against them.

7. Try to prove that their failures were immaterial and inconsequential.

8. Exaggerate their successes beyond imagination.

9. Try to create an impression that they are the only ones serious about improving the condition of the people while all other parties / individuals are just in politics on some vile agenda.

10. Keep harping on about their past successes even if they have no relevance with the issues that face the country now.

And I am still waiting for change