…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)

‘Keep Up with the Joneses’!

joneseslawnmower

July 12, 2019

We are an inquisitive nation and by extension an inquisitive people 😊!

Politically, we just cannot stop poking our [long] noses into others’ affairs … and more than that, commenting on the same.  We are ‘holier than thou’!

Locally, we must be part of the crowd – we just cannot mind our own business.

Socially, not only must we ‘keep up with the Joneses’ but we must comment on “them”, their life, clothes, dogs, cats and anything else we are inquisitive enough to bitch about.

We’ll stop to see an accident; we’ll mill around the affected; we’ll give our comments on who was right or wrong without even knowing anything about the incident; we’ll even pronounce judgement – all along with no relationship to affected parties concerned.  All because our voice must be heard above the din of another 50 onlookers with exactly the same purpose in mind 😊!

Oi people!!! … Get a life!  There’s more to life than inquiring into our neighbors’ comings and goings; the food they eat; their lifestyle; or who they meet.

We should get our own house in order … after all, there’s another countless tongues wagging at [against] us!

(Image sources- “www.cartoonstock.com”)

 

What does a government do for us? 🤔

Starfleet-Insignia.png

(Photo credit- “https://www.anovos.com/products/star-trek-starfleet-insignia-patch”)

June 14, 2019

According to “https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-government-definition-role-functions.html#transcriptHeader”, “Government, …, is the authority that sets rules for a society, helps its members relate to one another and to others, and keeps it running smoothly, securely, and peacefully”.

I, alongwith 6 billion others, will have 6 billion & 1 reasons on what a government’s role is in society.

… But, why do we exist?  Why are we living?  Why did “societies” and “cultures” crop up?

It is for the promotion of general welfare of those societies & cultures.  That’s what should be the purpose of any government and NOT a 20, 30, 40-page manifesto of the “ideal” society!!!  How much of these manifestos actually materialize in your country?

There is NO perfect society or government by a long shot.  However, I feel the county which comes closest to this 1-point “ideal” is Singapore!  The country has remained neutral; it looks after it’s citizens and residents; and their education & health policies are almost second to none!

If all governments, including here in Pakistan, were to use this one-point agenda (general welfare of its citizens) as it’s rallying call, I think all policies – domestic or international – would correctly flow from this.

Like Star Trek, eventually, the quest for the human race should be furthering “knowledge” and what humanity can eventually develop into!

 

“Fate Will Take What Fate Will Have”- William Somerset Maugham

June 6, 2019

Death

(Image source- https://www.wired.com/story/giving-open-source-projects-life-after-a-developers-death/)

People say there are only two finite things in this World- however, I believe there’s only one … DEATH.  Many of you may not agree but I do believe DEATH is the only certainty in the whole world.  Everything else is your destiny … and what you make of your life.

William Somerset Maugham’s last play, “Sheppey”, tells the story of Sheppey, an hairdresser, who believes he is a lucky man.  Maugham ends the play with an old Arabic Fable, where “DEATH” visits Sheppey; and in reply to Sheppey, tells the story of a merchant in Baghdad trying to escape death.  (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheppey_(play)).  Jeffrey Archer’s very first chapter, titled “Death Speaks” in his book “To Cut a Long Story Short”, requotes this very Fable.

Whatever our life and however good or evil we’ve lived it, in the end we just cannot escape the ONE certainty life has in store for us – our own DEATH.

We may be terminally sick, a building may fall on us, die in a war or an earthquake swallows us – nothing is by accident.  This was our fate, with the time and place written.

The only measure of comfort we may be able to get out of this certainty is how we die – the more violent, harder or painful may very well be a factor of how we lived our life.

So next time someone “good” dies – whether at a young or old age – I will try not to blame the so-called “cause” of the death or go in for a “blame game”; but look introspectively and try to reconcile that the person’s time had arrived.  Don’t blame yourself, nor the opposite person, nor the circumstances surrounding his death – this was meant to happen, at the time it happened and in the place it happened.

That’s all there is to it!

 

What’s the Time Please!?

(Photo credit- https://www.labmanager.com/leadership-and-staffing/2015/10/time-management-101#.XOZlwogzZnK)

May 30, 2019

Time Notes

In the 1980s, my two friends – #Shahrukh & #Shahveer – and I decided we’ll be on time for every party.  Guess what happened … we were the only three there at the appointed time!  What a riot … even the hosts weren’t around.

On average, we only have 657,000 hours in our lifetime – so why WHY NOT MANAGE TIME BETTER!?

Amongst my many idiosyncrasies, I hate being late and I hate waiting for latecomers – I get irritated; it vexes me (I love that term 😊); and it truly gets under my skin.

A close relative has an uncanny ability of turning up at a party just when the food is coming out or a minute earlier.  There has NEVER been a time when he has to wait for the food 😊.

Another close relative just cannot be at an appointment on time – even for his departing flight!  The one time I decided to trick him into going earlier by saying the flight was leaving 30 minutes earlier, was the only time he got to the airport on time … and the flight was delayed!  IRONY!!!

So what can one do-

  • Try putting your watch forward 15 minutes? However, your internal clock will smarten up almost immediately and you’ll know you have the additional 15 minutes available- and you’re back to square one;
  • You can have your partner nag the hell out of you to get out in time;
  • Your secretary can keep calling to pester you to go on time:

… OR, you can realize you only had 657,000 hours available (on average) in your lifetime – before the reaper comes calling – so make the most of it and DON’T BE LATE!

(Incidentally, we couldn’t fight the party system and Shahrukh, Shahveer & I were forced to (in the words of others) stop this ‘ridiculous’ behavior! 😊).

 

“The School of Hard Knocks”!

May 14, 2019

Persistence- Calvin Coolidge.jpeg

The attached Quote by the late President of USA aptly describes the resolve & determination my grandfather & family have shown over the last seven decades.

Over these decades, we have faced – and continue to do so – political problems, pressures & interferences; hotel politics; community politics; family crisis; business pressures; sports politics; monetary problems.  Is it because we are minorities?

My late grandfather, Dinshaw B Avari, was an orphan in Mumbai.  Himself learning under a lantern, my grandfather gave tuitions to pay his way through college, obtaining a B.Com from Bombay University.  He started his career in the Sun Life Assurance Co of Canada and in 1929 was sent to Karachi to open the Company’s office.  From this eventually led to the purchase of the Bristol Hotel in Karachi and the start of our family’s hospitality career.  When Beach Luxury Hotel opened in 1948, the property was requisitioned.  In Lahore in the 1950/60s, a new “scheme” by the Governor then, requisitioned our property for so-called public use.  Our Avari Towers Hotel in Karachi, absolutely ready for operations, remained closed for two years due to “competitor” politics…I can go on and on.

However, Calvin Coolidge’s Quote stands tall on our Office wall, as we have weathered the tides & onslaught against us…and survived…and grown … due to the persistence of my grandfather & father!

In the face of these challenges my grandfather used to quote “More things are wrought by prayers, than by man alone”.  There is no substitute for persistence and hard work … and Prayers and faith in God help you overcome such challenges and tribulations.

… and no school can ever teach you this!

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees

(Image source courtesy- https://www.google.com/search?q=profit&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjNmpuOvsfhAhUQlIsKHSlmDEYQ_AUIDigB&biw=1422&bih=652#imgrc=DgUdcZ0TJmCpBM:)

Profit doesn't grow on Trees

April 11, 2019

Business and family groups are defined by their philosophy and values under which they operate.

We have 4 core philosophies under which our family operate, one of which I’ll take up here –

We are in the business for profit BUT AT THE SAME TIME, we have a responsibility towards our employees & society.  It is our moral obligation to assist our employees where necessary.

Somehow, here, “profit” is a dirty word.  Why?

If we don’t make a profit, how can we plough our resources back into employee welfare & engagement and social uplift & charity!?

If we don’t make a profit, how can we support our own team members’ genuine issues and society’s charitable endeavors!?

We have a “womb to tomb” philosophy – that doesn’t mean we force “you to work till you drop”.  What it means is that for our Associate & Supervisory cadre, generally, we let them work till THEY want to retire.

Pakistan doesn’t have any safety net for retired people. What do old people do?  Where can they turn?  No government since inception has ever provided or supported them.  It is upto us to look after them – whether by extended employment or pension or medical or education.

But how can we do this if there is no PROFIT!