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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Oh…The Clean Clean (not) Streets of Karachi

Birth_Centenary_1986_of_Jamshed_Nusserwanjee_Mehta-Pakistan

August 30, 2019

I’m visiting “The Big Apple” … and it’s clean!

Jamshed Nusserwanji Mehta was the 1st Mayor of Karachi in 1933.  “…Karachi became the cleanest city in the East. Its broad streets, lights, sanitation and water system, … [ ] … spoke of the city’s progress” (https://www.dawn.com/news/649943/in-memoriam-jamshed-nusserwanji-the-builder-of-modern-karachi).  My grandfather told us how the Mayor ensured the streets were washed twice a day, which he personally supervised periodically.

Look at where we are now … ☹☹☹.  We can have all the latest, mechanized tools but there’s no “system” or “will”, so we might as well [continue] to live in the dark ages.

There is no reason Karachi cannot reclaim this glory.  I AM KARACHI (http://iamkarachi.org/), the social NGO, has proven that keeping city walls clean & painted with street art, ensures no vandalism or defacement of property.  In the same vein, once the city is cleaned & maintained by the Municipality, there is absolutely no reason why we will not maintain the same.  I am not justifying wrong actions but it’s only when our citizens see a clean city will we continue the practice … and there’s no rocket science involved.

Throw out all mechanical tools and go back to Jamshed Mehta’s simplicity – put idle bodies on the roads, give them a broom and bucket each and get them to deep clean the roads, the garbage bins, the nooks & crannies every night from midnight to 6am.  Put a garbage bin on EVERY alternate light pole; on every street corner; at every traffic signal – enabling people a means to throw their daily trash!  Through the day have roving street cleaners who will simply pick up large debris like cans, plastics, etc.  You will create EMPLOYMENT. 

You will give an honest day’s wage to the unemployed and a meaning to their lives.  Infant mortality will increase.  You will eradicate mosquitos, disease and other scourge of pollution.  These are not simply PR words – this can happen!

In return, we will get a clean city and healthy citizens. 

The Real Father of Karachi- https://www.dawn.com/news/1113332

Manora Lighthouse & St. Paul’s Church

August 21, 2019

We live in a City but hardly go to visit the sites therein…and Karachi has plenty to see!

So, off we went some years back to see Manora’s Lighthouse and St. Paul’s Church, both located in the Karachi Harbour and both which we pass regularly when sailing. 

This is not only the second oldest lighthouse (1889) of the British Raj but, we were told, ONLY one of two lighthouses in the WORLD which are still cranked by hand (and not battery operated).  The other lighthouse is apparently in Chennai, India.

There is still a lighthouse keeper … and every 50-odd minutes, he has to physically crank the lever that rotates the light, dusk to dawn!

Crank
Lighthouse steps

Hats off to the Karachi Port Trust in maintaining this iconic structure and the traditional art of operating the lighthouse successfully for the last 130 years.

The still-active 1865 Church, St. Paul’s, stands adjacent to the Lighthouse – and maintains a weekly Mass every Sunday for the Christian residents of Manora Island.

According to https://www.ibiblio.org/lighthouse/pak.htm, the British captured Manora in 1839 and made it their initial base of operations in what is now Pakistan.  The lighthouse & Church are located on the southeastern tip of the peninsula facing the Arabian Sea. 

Not only was this our first visit ever to both these legendary icons but a first for us on Manora Island itself.

Manora Island and Karachi Harbour