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Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

What shall follow below is a very short attempt at a book review of ‘ Welcome to advertising, now get lost’ by Omkar Sane.

Welcome to Advertising, now get lost – Front Cover 

Let me begin by giving a short background; it was friday evening. I was not looking forward to the long weekend ahead, so I took a walk to the local Liberty Books outlet near my apartment. The memories of the Karachi Book Club meeting quaint in my memories, I started browising through the shelves. I had little no or idea what I was looking for. “Surprise me” was my challenge to the books that lay dormant on the shelf, holding their thoughts tightly within their bindings. ‘Surprise Me!’ I challenged the books. Surprise me they did. I saw a rather colorful cover in b/w the shades of grey. Like a bride amongst the brides maid. The striking colors grappling at my vision, I slowly reached for it.

Now you must admit, the title isnt the easiest to read. The rather ‘retro’ cover art melds with the title, and it’s rather hard to actually figure out the name of the book! But notwithstanding all the gibersih, it struck me, this is the book chosen as Book of the Month – by the Karachi Book Club. Voila, problem solved. I had my pick. Now to delve into the delightful pages.

‘Acknowledgments are overrated’ thats where he begins. First impressions, this guy seems like a cocky 20 something, who thinks not acknowledging anyone is ‘Cool’ and ‘Funny’. I thought it was surprisingly immature. I cant even give him points for originality, because it seems an awful lot like forced slapstick humor. In fact, I wanted to say out loud -’ If your parents thought this was farcical, maybe they had a point’.

First bitter tastes in the mouth seem to appear. But to be fair, I don’t form a judgment. Maybe this book will ‘Surprise me’.
It’s followed by 2 prefaces by two ambiguous Indian men. Supposedly advertising gurus, but none of my concern. One even goes as far to say ‘The best thing I can say about this book is, I wish I had written it’. *cough*

I am sad to say, it does not get any better from there.   What I expected was a witty commentary on the Ad culture in India. Witty, humours, but with purpose. Sarcasm thrown in wouldn’t have hurt. What I got instead for the next 50 pages I managed to read through was something along these lines:

National Creative Director (NCD): So you have an idea?

Junior Creative: Yes sir, if we place the car…

NCD: Oh you mean like the Merceede’s I now own?

JC: Yes sir, so I was thinking if we place a car, like your Merceede’s,  against a hotel…

NCD: Oh you mean like the hotel i stayed at during my last visit to London?

JC: Yes.. exactly…

… Yes thats pretty much the content of the whole book. Each chapter is then diligently followed by a ‘quiz’ to check your knowledge each person plays, i.e. if you are the NCD you take credit for all the idea’s you’re juniors come up with. In essence you frack them over.

Now I might have been harsh in my judgements. But I do have a beef with wasting Rs 800 on a book that I cant even take seriously. Better idea would have been to have it as an article or a recurring column in a weekly paper or publication. It’s amazing you can write a whole book simply based on stupid imaginary dialogues and immature writing.

Yes I will probably burn this book if I manager to finish it. As a public service message. Please stay away from this book like a plague. And if you are one to like this book, then stay away from me for you are the plague.

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Ramadan Kareem

I am a day late in declaring this but, ‘Happy Ramzan’ my muslim brethern. Not that anyone reads my blog, but on the off chance, someone out there stumbles upon it, I want to make it clear, I am a Muslim. If not by choice and practice, then by birth. I particularly look forward to this month, gives me a reason to fix my bad habits and act more or less human. Others, shiver and tremble is fear, for  I assume they too are creatures of habit, but not welcome to change.

This year is different. I never remembered Ramzan to be this difficult. Or perhaps it’s the first fast that’s always the hardest. Or is it that I do my own cooking? Or is it that I was never a nicotine and caffeine addict? Modern luxuries, fast paced life have ruined my habits and made me into a raving addict of chemical kicks in the morning to get day started. Deprive me of my external influences and watch me fall apart; splitting headaches, terrible mood swings and lets not forget the general irritability and inability to function.

But, but … but, and I cant stress this enough;  Ramzan isn’t about getting over your addictions. It’s about getting closer to God, experiencing that spirituality that we so often ignore in our modern, fast paced, money chasing, ‘time is money’ life. Ramzan isnt a month or time for detox. It’s time for reflection and meditation.

‘Take it slow’ says God to us. ‘Take it slow and remember, what life is really about’.

Of course, neither of us listens. We, including myself, just go hungry and fight cravings all day. At sunset, we breathe a sigh of relief, indulging ourselves in gluttony.

‘How the hell can I think about God when I cant stop thinking about food/caffeine/nicotine’ Pick your poison, plug it in. There you have it. Staring at your own  reflection.

At the cost of sounding like a whinny baby, but this Ramzan, Eid, and 14th August, fly your flags in half mast; at least. In respect to those who have lost everything in the recent floods. A disastor greater then the tsunami in Bali, and the earthquake in Pakistan. If you cant go there, send them money, if you can send them money, pray for them. If you cant pray, think about them at the very least.

Here’s to the false hope, ‘This time it would be different’ , to silence the heart. But all in good spirit eh?

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Although, when i said to my self, let me try and write something meaningfull, i had a few idea’s in my head. Mainly after a conversation with Wad, i thought i’d write something pertaining to it. In either case Wad, this is dedicated to you. And to you Dad, coz you told me. Write something. This maybe not be published in the TFT, but i am making a sincere effort. And you; Dad, never asked for more. No matter what i churn out of my Medula Oblangatas, this post is dedicated to the both of you.

21 guns-Green Day to fuel my creative juices.

He asked me if i was happy. Moving to another city, miles from my home, family, living in an apartment with a stranger. I said i am content. I guess the answer is not that simple.

If i track back on the other posts i have written, on this blog, I start by ranting on about how i dont have a career or a job or no direction blah blah. Now i have all of those things. I have a job at a very good company. I am getting paid enough to keep a good lifestyle, and i am living on my own. Independent to make my own desicions. All that one could ask for? Or is it? Is it right for me?

Yes. It is. When i ask myself, ‘what would I be doing back home’. The answer, inevitably is i would be either thinking about all those things mentioned above. Sitting in the window ledge, wondering, and slowly killing my air bags in the process. Then i would eat, lay infront of the tv. Or sit on the internet. Nothing productive. So yes compared to that, this is a much better deal . Specially now since i got a good place to live in, and that gives me a peace of mind. I have a decent, no wait, an excellent place to come back to after a long days work.

Ofcourse then, the exercise of this blog is not to let the corporate world drown out the tiny voice in my head. The voice that drives me to question social norms, status quo, in short, that gives me that individuality that i pride myself so much for. My ego. The stack of books on my bed are to keep me grounded. I am not comfortable with money or power. They corrupt people. They are the eccense of the consumerism that is killing out society and our minds. A slow creeping death. The irony. I am part of  the machine that is driving that culture. The catch. I wont let it get to me. I think it was in some Islamic reference that i heard, ‘Life is a constant struggle’. And so it is. No one said its going to be easy.

I stayed at PC and Avari, all expenses paid when i first arrived in The City by the Sea. My first reaction when i arrived at the hotel, PC, was utter discomfort and conflict. I cant do this, i told myself. I dont deserve it, I dont feel comfartable with people running around me, picking up after me. Its inhumane. Its below human dignity to be a servant to another man. But i realized after a couple of days, thats their job. They might not have chosen to have smiles pasted on their faces and fullfill every ridiciolous demand that the guest makes. But it’s their job. It fills their stomach, and their wives and childrens. In the end, all that we should/ even maybe are judged for is if we made an honest living. With our head held up high. Even though these poor bastards cant hold their head high. They do make an honest living. For the sake of their families they bear it all. All i can do is make it easier for them. Hence I humbly passed my time at both the hotels. Always being polite. Always greeting the staff with a pleasant smile. Always being grounded and not forgetting, this is not my place. It is only but passing. I was hazed and disoriented but i managed to keep my head straight. That has been how i have been brought up.

If Ali had been in my place, and he was talking to you, Wad, he would suggest Islam as a source of comfort for your troubled self. So would my sister, Gol. I would too for that matter. Although there is much lacking from me in that front myself. I am yet to get a prayer mat in my new room. I dont believe in traditional religion and rituals maybe. But i have a strong belief in God. It is an utterly personal thing for me. Not to be worn on your sleeve or displayed in your beard and piousness in wearing your shalwar above your ankles. It comes as all forms of respect and love must. From the core of your existence. It is very personal.

When i first got the call for the job, i remember sitting infront of the tv, watching, horrified, the news of a bomb blast in Peshawer. This was the second time some close had been so close in proximity to the destruction. Rabia’s windows and doors were shattered by the blast. Before this, Feryal’s parents were inside Marriot when it blew up. I asked my self, my country is drowning in blood, and i am going to go and work in a comfartable office, with people who live in a different country. Their worlds are not touched by such things. Mine has been. Or i choose to make it a point to register such things. I cannot live in a comfartable bubble and pretend my world ends where the rest begins. Politics is something every person must have a say in. It touches us all. But my justification, right or wrong, time will be a judge of it, was that at that stage, a fresh gaduate with no job experience, no money of his own. What can i do? I know, this is the question that we all must learn to answer to make a difference. I was writing those days. And i wrote a piece on the carnage of the current civil war that i saw myself at Malakand, ‘Damage Control’. I strongly believe in the written word, and its power to bring about change. But my part is not done yet.

What do all these seemingly random threads of thoughts come down to? I strongly believe i am made for things that are beyond working in an office, day in and day out. I strongly believe there must be more to life, then simply the nihilistic circle of making and consuming. We are, by God, or my evolution, in possesion of a brain. Rather a mind, the abstract concept of the slobby organ on top. The abstract which learns to say ‘I’, ‘Me’, ‘Why’, ‘How’  ‘When’, and all those questions. We are after all the only animal to ask questions about our own origins and look into science and spirituality for answers. For me, i believe it is writing. The power of language to express complex human thought and emotion in a way that others perceive  it and comprehend it is just fascinating. Must’nt we all have a higher purpose? That is a void, that can be filled with religion or science or art or any other thing of your choosing. Or let your intellect sink into a ocean of numbness and debauchery untill the tiny voice in your head is silenced.  Stop waiting for someone to show you the way. Make your own path. Think of Chris Columbus, or Alexandar, or Amstrong and his team at NASA, or Watson and Crick, or closer to my own heart and home, Abdus Salaam. There are many battles out there waiting to be fought. Pick one and get on with it.

I have a strong temptation to send this to TFT now that is has crossed the thousand words mark.

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