Water, water everywhere … but not a drop to drink!

March 24, 2019

water water everywhere

Recently there has been a lot of news about South Africa (Cape Town actually) running out of water soon.

I believe Pakistan – and Karachi especially – is almost in the same boat- international organizations have repeatedly been warning us about the impending water shortage, as soon as the coming decade.

There are many many articles on water saving but the government cannot do this on its own- we as citizens have to help out too.

Some basic water saving techniques which can PRACTICALLY be instituted are –

  1. Like Hawaii, the government should create water catchment areas for rain water – especially in Punjab and KP provinces;
  2. Water faucets can and should be changed to modern fittings/devices which save water. I saw a very very interesting concept at https://www.alteredcompany.com/ . Their water aerators/nozzles give a mist – they claim 98% water saving – giving you the same cleaning effects but at a fraction of the water wastage.
  3. Implement recycling “domestic” water for kitchen & clothes washing and things like swimming pools;
  4. Implement “Waste” water (from WC’s and urinals) recycling for gardens and exterior washings (can be used for washing cars, external patios, etc). Admiral Khawar showed us a fantastic recycling concept the Navy has started at Karsaz – I don’t see why can’t implement the same too;
  5. Mini DAMS is a must – starting from the north of Pakistan’s main rivers to as far south as possible, so that our fresh water does not drain into the sea and is instead used productively.  Some provinces have concerns that water from such dams would not be used equitably – but if Pakistan & India’s Indus Water Treaty of 1960 can withstand the “test of time”, I’m sure our own provinces can also reach a comprehensive, equitable & binding agreement;
  6. Implement drip irrigation for all our gardens and plants – if the Middle East countries can successfully operate such systems, it should be even easier for us to do!
  7. Tied to this, all water for gardening should be done after sunset;
  8. Domestic staff HAVE to be taught to conserve water (for that matter all our utilities);
  9. Let’s go back to school – literally – and immediately start teaching water saving to all nursery, kindergarten and primary school children!

What are your thoughts- how else can we PRACTICALLY help ourselves and how can the Government help us?

(Title courtesy “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge ; Photo courtesy of “Quotesbuddy.com”)

Common Sense has “left the building”!

March 15, 2019


(Image courtesy “https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwin9JW8qYPhAhWIzaQKHcY_CEAQjhx6BAgBEAM&url=https%3A%2F%2Fboldomatic.com%2Fview%2Fwriter-feed%2Fswag-fiir3&psig=AOvVaw22OoZgoM_sG5bt0ZPQKbzy&ust=1552711021351225”)

Does one really need to have “common sense” not to throw trash on the road from the car?  What about a car tail-gaiting a motorcycle?  How about when I take my mother in law to the Gym at the hospital and every single time, I open and close the physiotherapy door on my own with no one helping an attendant pushing a wheel chair – not the nurses walking by nor the people sitting inside!?  Hey, how about spitting beetle nut on the side of the stairs? OR, the worst, urinating on the side of the road?

Do we really need to be taught common courtesies – isn’t it ingrained in humans since we are born?  NO.  Thinking back, I realize, what I take as common sense now wasn’t perceived so then.  I mean, why should I litter my own city?  Why should I break the signal?  Why spit on the stairs?

So, the solution is going back to basics- EDUCATION & UPBRINGING … schools & family!

Not only do our schools need to teach common sense to children, starting from NURSERY; but these values need to be reinforced by the family too.  If one is taught as a child that – – – he/she should not defile the environment; should open doors for elders; should assist a wheelchair person; should not interrupt conversations (I’m good at doing this!) – – – that will stick to them like glue for the rest of their life!

So, the new generation needs to be taught (and reinforced) COMMON SENSE in their daily dealings in life and with humans, animals & our environment.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to welcome back common sense then.

(Thanks to my wife for editing this post first)

What’s Your Weakness 🤔!?

March 8, 2019


I am impatient, many times, and I do interrupt – especially when I try to finish someone else’s sentence (isn’t that annoying!) … not a good thing.   Short attention span!  What else … umm, let’s see … I tune off in a conversation!  When I can’t work further, I pack up and leave for home! … and I can go on and on.

However, when we’re interviewing candidates (and these are “Executive” level people), and my colleagues or I ask them about their weakness (and I still believe this is an important question … tell you why in a moment), answers range from –

  1. Oh, I can’t think of any off hand
  2. Honestly, I don’t have anything major
  3. Lies irritate me
  4. Impatient when the work isn’t done on time

(…and I can go on and on)

So, we’re human and does that makes us … perfect?  Errr, I don’t think so!

Don’t “lies” irritate or gall most of the 7 billion humans on Earth?

Generally, wouldn’t most people get irritated if the work assigned by them is not completed on time?

(On one skype interview, when I heard “I don’t have any”, I completely tuned off and that was the end of his candidature!)

I mean, these are not “weaknesses” per se, so why say it?  Why not be upfront and honest about your [personality] traits because [it] is going to be apparent to your bosses and peers within a week of joining!

If you have a short attention span or if you anger easily or if you like to do work yourself or you don’t delegate … why not say it honestly?  This is not a rhetorical question- I truly don’t know know why this happens (maybe it’s because I’ve always worked in the family business and never got on the job market)!

Why is this still an important question?  I believe it shows how communicable the candidate is – how open she is – how approachable she can be.  If she’s willing to share a character flaw, in my books, she’s worth taking on board because her open approach will benefit the team and her peers.  By mentioning your “weakness” one acknowledges we are human – and we are NEVER PERFECT.

Personally speaking, if your professional side is fine, I much prefer honesty up front rather than finding out a month later that you cannot take, say, criticism.

… as Commodus says in “Gladiator”, “It vexes me … I’m terribly vexed!

(Image credit- https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+your+weakness&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjgn8WT2fHgAhUBElAKHeViDLMQ_AUIDigB&biw=1422&bih=652#imgrc=sFBmXEqbT77SKM:)

…and the Gardens are Quiet!

March 4, 2019


So, the 10th Karachi Literature Festival (#KHILF) ended happily & successfully in spite of border tensions, transport disruptions and stoppages.

I found this event quite different from the previous eight KLFs I’ve been to (these last seven at Beach Luxury Hotel @beach_luxury itself) – it truly was targeting the “younger” literary mind!  You could tell with this by quality of the audiences – while I met so many of the associates and friends I have made over these eight years – there were newer & younger faces too.

Also, the authors who were presenting various topics and book launches were a younger lot.  I enjoyed Haris Khalique’s book launch on his poems – I never thought I would actually like poetry or prose but there were short poems aimed towards the humanitarian crisis around the world.

The Chief Minister of Sindh, Murad Ali Shah’s, presence (alongwith Dr Shamshad Ahmed) for Dr Ishrat’s Hussain’s book launch on the Sindh Economy was also an excellent intellectual discussion – where the Chief Minister, Dr Shamshad & Dr Ishrat giving specific, concise accounts of what’s needed, where we’ve failed, where we need to do more and the way forward.

The new advisory board of KLF working with OUP (Oxford University Press) has helped open the floor to a wider audience – and I think that success was apparent to see.

Good luck to OUP, future KLFs and all the literature & literary events all over the Country for the future- we need more of these in #Pakistan!

My family’s & my sincere thanks to the entire Hotel team for putting up excellent preparations for the 10th KLF!

… and now the Beach Luxury hotel needs to revert back to normal hotel operation mode (from an exciting weekend).



March 1, 2019

KLF 2019

Amid war hysteria between #India and #Pakistan, the #Karachi Literature Festival (https://oup.com.pk/klf-2019/) is ready to kick off this evening at @beach_luxury Hotel.

A decade ago, Oxford University Press Pakistan, alongwith the British Council, started this “little” thing called the Karachi Literature Festival, which has grown to over 200,000 people attending over 2½ days.

One common objective binds us all – KNOWLEDGE, as knowledge is what humans strive (or should) towards … NOT CONFLICT.  The people of Karachi – regardless of their religion, caste, creed, socio-economic background or domicile – rub shoulders with each other in a fantastic  environment which Karachi has not seen in decades!  Best of all, there are no restrictions, entry fees or barriers to entry.

I first attended the Karachi Literature Festival in 2012 and was blown away with the peace, tranquility and thirst for knowledge that Karachi’s citizens wanted.  This “thirst” continues to this very day.

Then, Karachi was in the midst of it’s own “turf” wars, internal strife and conflicts, yet THE SHOW MUST GO ON and that’s what the Karachi Literature Festival and society did.

Next year, in 2013, when it was first held at @Beach_Luxury Hotel, there was again trouble in the city – luckily after the Festival was over – but many authors couldn’t even get to the airport.  With the reps of Oxford Pakistan present, we all sat together at the Hotel, overlooking the #waters of the #Arabian #Sea, waiting for the conflict to end.  At the end, after midnight, a convoy left for the airport, where the authors and participants boarded their flights in the morning.

Oxford University Press & the Karachi Literature Festival was the initiator of many such literature & literary festivals all over the Country.

I truly commend Oxford University Press Pakistan, it’s Managing Director & Committee, executives & staff for their dedication to the Karachi Literature Festival through all the good days and bad.  If it wasn’t for their commitment, this would have closed down years ago in the face of repeated city conflicts and strife.

Klf map          KLF 2.jpg