Farm … to Market

November  6, 2019

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elXGOeS8EUQ)

One of the best investments this Country ever made in the ‘90’s was development of the new Motorways in the Punjab.  Let’s analyze what it has produced-

  • Poverty- Whether it’s the “CPEC” development of roads network, rail links or other transport modes or it’s internally developed, tying city to city and province to province will uplift rural areas and give them access to commerce, trade, emergencies, etc.;
  • Commerce – you’ve shrunk the time, eased the availability and given smooth access to farmers and trade from their villages to large towns and cities;
  • Mobility- Punjab has become MOBILE.  With a maximum travel time of six hours, people can work in one city while their home is in another- very much like cities in USA;
  • Transport- network and infrastructure has increased and become better;
  • Employment- you’ve created new means of income & employment- whether new buses ply the motorways, staffing these buses or opportunities for shops, outlets, offices, etc. (more on this below*)
  • Tourism- you give immediate access to develop internal tourism opportunities (more on this below*).  This summer, my brother, sis-in-law and our families drove from Karachi to Nathiagali, in one of the best overland adventures they have had!

*Tourism & self-employment- Local towns, villages and populace on the road network should be helped & encouraged to put up small, clean, 2-3 star lodgings & cottages– the economy of that area is being developed indigenously.  Pakistani hospitality is one of the best the world has ever seen (but few can experience it in the face of negative publicity ☹).  You don’t need the “Avaris” and the “PCs” & “Serenas” – let it be the “Khan Motel” instead.  One, 10 room lodging will give DIRECT income & employment to a family of 5-7 people minimum; they in turn will employ others to help run the show; producers will sell food stuff, cleaning, linen and other items to these lodgings; the benefits go on down-stream and are never ending; and on & on.  The ancillary developments that take place are another story all together – shops , retails, malls, organized tours, etc.

(http://dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/416339-Motorway-opened-for-all-kinds-of-traffic)

There may be no international empirical evidence suggesting an increase in road networks necessarily helps an economy but I see actual, on-the-ground benefits we have gained in Pakistan.  If travel time between Karachi and Lahore can be reduced from almost 24 hours to 12 hours, what’s not to like?  If a series of motorways links the length and breadth of Pakistan, what’s wrong with that?

(As I post this, the new M7 – Multan to Sukkar- just opened!)

Raise Your Hand for … Alcohol

(Literally & figuratively, this is not meant to be a “dry” subject for a blog 😊)

‘Hello? I need a cab. I’m at a place called…um…looks like RAB or something.’ (cartoonstock.com)

October 31, 2019

Consumption of alcohol = fall into a stupor; Consumption of drugs = fall to your death!

I was told that one of the largest smuggling & illegal consumption of alcohol is in this region of the world … and it’s very believable!

We see this consumption around us– it’s a fact of life.  Why can’t the government and rulers over the last four decades see … accept … and monetize that? 

Our laws allow minority, permit-holders to purchase locally produced alcohol and it is taxed, which is fine.  However, far far more smuggled foreign alcohol is illegally sold and consumed (and not by minorities) – with no monetary benefit accruing to the government.  If our Governments stop policing so-called “moral values & virtues” of its citizens, the economic benefit to the Country is humungous!  

“There is a qualitative factor too- one of perception … that we are a progressive nation, a good place to live and work…” (https://cber.uark.edu/johnsonretailalcohol.pdf); and that the Country respects each person’s right to practice his/her religion as they individually choose (their “sins” are between them and God).

The government taxes local alcohol production; so why is importing – and taxing – foreign alcohol “haram”?  “Interest” on loans is considered “haram” – then why is it still paid on World Bank, IFC and other multilateral loans.  Let’s be pragmatic and collect revenues- not hypocritical and suffer socially, economically and morally. 

By allowing sale of higher-cost, imported alcohol with lower-cost, local production – one covers all social sectors of the population as per their income levels.

(p.s.- as is apparent, I’m not covering the negatives of alcohol consumption 😊)

…and the Naatak entertained us this weekend!

October 15, 2019

(In Gujrati, “Naatak” = “play”)

Mix Breed”, based on a Parsi family who have to face “intermarriage” issues, is a light portrayal of the real-world issues our Community is facing.   With double meanings and inflections, the cast (90% of whom learnt Gujrati “on the job”!) entertained the Gujrati speaking communities of Karachi.

The Script was written by Mrs Huzan Wadia, who has successfully acted & directed it in Mumbai; and selflessly extended the script on a gratis basis to Natalia Karanjia in Karachi, this play being the latter’s directorial debut.  Yay to Natalia!

This is what Karachi, and Pakistan, lacks- ENTERTAINMENT.  We have food & drink and ………… hmmmmm.  Play and theatre is picking up in Pakistan but to a very restricted market.  The mainstream citizens do not get to enjoy theatre on a regular basis- whether drama, comedy, musical.  Our cast explained to me the ‘power’ of theatre – they get their rush when the crowd reacts with them- it’s a powerful, intoxicating feeling; there are no second chances for a mistake; and when you make a mistake, you have to think on your feet and keep going.

In the 2000 decade our media was opened – creating a new source of employment – for budding theatre artists, actors, directors, writers, film makers, etc.  It’s a growth market but we have to create more facilities for this talent to be nurtured, taught, portrayed – AND WITH IT allowing us citizens to enjoy these productions and enriching our lives.  Kudos to the NAPAs, Arts Councils and other such facilities – but we need more!

(The naatak was sponsored by the 109 year-old Young Mazdyasnian Zoroastrian Association (YMZA) and the Karachi Parsi Anjuman- however it is not meant to be any endorsement or official or unofficial stance of the Anjuman, the YMZA or any individual thereof)

Avari Towers Hi-Tea – What To Expect?

Unum's Musings

I was invited to Avari Towers to partake in their newly launched Hi-Tea last week and I’ve been meaning to write about it since then.

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Avari Towers is now offering Hi-Tea in their Asia Live restaurant between 04:00 pm and 06:30 pm Monday to Saturday. Avari Towers used to host Hi-Tea way back in the day and I’m glad that they are offering it again.

So, coming to ambiance; Ambiance of Asia Live is pleasing. It’s a fine dining restaurant and meets all expectations. It’s the kind of place where you can go for date night as well take someone for a fancy treat or invite guests.

Food offered at Avari Towers Hi-Tea ranged from their delicious salads that I’m a big fan of to snacks like samosas and pakoras. Various kinds of sandwiches, channa chaat, dahi baray, daleem, fish fingers, pig in the blanket, Alfred penne pasta, vegetable chowmein…

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BEING BORN IN THE ‘60s!

Rotary Telephone

September 27, 2019

… does that make me old? I think not.

I can unequivocally state that my parents’ generation enjoyed the BEST times of Pakistan – no two ways about it.  However, my generation of the 1960s have evolved through one of the most INTERESTING and EXCITING periods of history – the TECHNOLOGY explosion.  I mean, we have first-hand witnessed –

  1. The change from rotary to touch button telephones;
  2. Analog to Digital services telephone services;
  3. The advent of the PERSONAL computer (my first computer was an IBM machine) in the early 1980s;
  4. Mobile phones – GSM, 3G, 4G, 5G … and all the future “G’s” that are to come;
  5. Laptops, sat phones, VOIP tech, skype, whats app, wechat, tablets;
  6. Newspapers to online news and RSS feeds;
  7. Print media to Social media;
  8. Reel cameras to Digital cameras- in fact, I found one such camera and asked my studio for a 36mm reel only to be told they’ve been discontinued 😊!  So, I’ve started scanning my old reels into digital photos for posterity;
  9. Vinyl records, cassette tapes, VHS & Beta to cloud based music & videos;
  10. Pen cameras, car cameras, CCTV – you name it … it’s out of the old “BOND” movies we used to see!
  11. We used pens & pencils but the latest tablet & phone technology uses a stylus and speech-to-written technology. 
  12. Amazon, Careem, Uber … the list goes on an on.

The generation of the ‘90s has grown up on digital … they never experienced non-digital communication!  It’s online movies, Netflix, cloud-based streaming movies, etc.  Yes, my kids come to the theatre but they don’t need a cable TV set up in their dorms anymore- they are quite content with seeing their content on their laptops.

However, I feel, what technology explosion we saw in the ‘90s was one of the most interesting a generation can witness – notwithstanding what is yet to come! –  and things are still evolving.

It’s only a matter of time when our thoughts will be transcribed to the written-word … I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s already here !

Vinyl Records- https://images.app.goo.gl/SkieMPX4KHK46qpC9

Potty Training Tips

MummyExpressions

Potty training is a process. In the journey of motherhood, a milestone we all feel proud that we’ve accomplished. (Truly, with all the effort, sometimes I feel we moms deserve a 🏆)

Here are a few tips I learnt while training my older son & now implementing with my younger one.

1. Start early- I feel a good age to start is around 1 when the child is more aware of his/her surroundings.

2. Get a good seat- You do not need a fancy seat with music & lights but yes you do need a seat which is padded & comfortable for your little ones tusshie. I prefer one that fits directly on the regular WC to avoid any messy incidents. After all who likes cleaning poop from a bowl?!

3. Half naked- when at home, let them roam around for awhile without any underwear for them to understand that…

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