Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My eldest sister-in-law and her rules

I went to Canada, the first time ever and stayed with my in-laws just because my mother-in-laws was dying and my wife wanted to see her. The trip itself is an adventure in itself. After arriving in Toronto, I stayed one of my nephews. We were having a great time with his kids, who were playful and very loving. stayed for the first day with him.
Arriving at the Toronto airport was not as terrifying as we had been told, it was strange and shocking coming to a different country.Anyway that has nothing with the story. We only could stay for 2 days and 1 night, because my eldest sister-in-law Nishat wanted to take her house in Ottawa. It was the afternoon of the next day when she came over  in her car, to whisk us away to Ottawa. The road trip to Ottawa was deathly silent. My brother-in-law Azhar had a very grim face.  Some years back he had sent an e-mail saying that his mother-in-law was not welcome in his house, one of the reasons is because he spent years looking after his aged mother who had died only recently. He was fairly upset with his mother-in-law staying with him and was feeling worse when we came. He was not the least pleased.
 Nishat was the only talking actually behaving like a tourist guide for my wife. The road trip was very boring and I did not know that how horrible things would be when I would be when staying in Ottawa.
We were dropped off at Tarik, my brother-in-law's house,  because my mother-in-law was there. I entered the house and went in with my shoes and met her. Instead of Tarik of being welcoming and gracious, blew up in a fit of rage when was inside with my shoes on. I was taken aback, but said nothing. I talked with my mother-in-law, Nishat tells me to take my shoes off. All the years they have been at my place, I never said anything to them, I took off shoes . That did not change the fact that Tarik had nothing talk about with me. I stayed the day there and the evening at night he drove his mother back Nishat's house and stayed with no footwear in her house. There were separate slippers for the bathroom and toilet, they could not be brought out and put on different slippers when entering the room.
Azhar was not on speaking terms with me. Just went about grumbling or staying as far from as he could. What was supposed to be a fun trip slowly became the worse form of drudgery.  I went to another sister of my wife her husband has no grudges but has trouble staying awake and nods off every once in a while.  It was amazing that he can stay away on his drive to Toronto and back to Ottawa. So it was just miserable there as it was in Nishat's again the no shoes rule applied there.

Nishat was the first one to come to Canada way back in 1966. Her three brothers all came in the 1980s. All had stayed with Nishat, because there was no other place to live,  she taught them the rules of staying in Canada rather in Nishat's house. Everyone else adopted rules for their homes. Only when I visited my cousins there was a level of sanity there was no 'no footwear inside' rule.
Nishat behind all her smiles was a mean control freak. One of her brothers married a white Chritian Canadian, who refused to convert to Islam. Nishar refuses to see him and his wife and if they show up at her place, she hides somewhere and flatly tells them to leave. On this matter however Tarik and Musrat disagree  and welcomed them.
Tarik was interested in a similar woman, Nishat managed to sabotage that in a very cunning manner. Nishat's policy was not live and let live, it was live and let die.  She conspired to have him get married to a woman in Lahore. As they years worn Tarik and his wife became religious fanatics, something which perfectly well in Nishat's plans. Tarik's children indoctrinated in religion.
As it is said 'the best way to know people, is to live with them for a few days' and I did that. I spent two months in absolute  boredom. It does not matter what they did, what matters is how they went about doing things. the spirit with which they did it. 
It was not done with genuine enthusiasm, tney did it as a matter of routine, nothing else in very boring and stupid style. 
Coming back to Nishat, she refused to let her daughter Saika marry just anyone. Made it a point to get her married to a Muslim person at all costs. Blackmailing Saika, by saying that she would stop being her mother if she marries anyone other than whom she has decided.  It is evident that Nishat is completely insane.
Watching tv in any of the homes was out of the question. Tarik only watched sports and locked all the other channels because they were unIslamic. In Musrat's house most of the channels were locked only a handful very boring ones were on. In Nishat's house there was very old TV set where most of the channels were also locked up. So no talking, no TV, used the computer sparingly because it was looked down upon. It was boredom beyond belief.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Freedom of women or whatever

She left Pakistan when she was very little and settled in the USA. Her father had married an American woman. Her name is Alisha.when she became 18. Her father is my cousin, his sister tells me that Alisha is pregnant, she was not prepared to discuss it further.  I left it like that, the grapevine of my extended family started. There was lot of gossip going. The little details I could extract was that she was not married and was having a baby
For my extended family it was a shocker.
"How could she? She is not even married"  and so many questions like them. The more religiously zealous sounded as if they would kill her  if she was in Pakistan.  Several decades ago there was young woman who had come to Pakistan, because she had never seen her father's country. She had a six year old son. Every single day she would get furious calls from her father. One of the reasons he was upset was that the people who knew him would be shaming him for bringing up a daughter who is unmarried and has a son.
Marriage is the biggest priority.  There has to be a huge festival during the marriage and the daughter has to be disposed off to some guy she does not know  A monstrous facade.  Women are struggling for more freedom, struggling to assert their right over their body that it does not belong to anyone.
That is where society does not agree.A woman's body is everyone's property except herself. If she can do anything she likes with her body, it would ruin the cultural values.  Cultural values dictate that  sex is more sinful than lying, cheating, stealing and murder.
The most basic need is sex, but it is portrayed as a bad thing while every other crime does not carry the similar  stigma. If a woman claims absolute and complete ownership of her body, then those who resort to gang rape would not be doing so regularly. If a woman is told to be proud of her body and there is nothing ashamed to be a women, men will be reluctant to resort to rape. The reason they rape is because women are made to believe that they are subhuman and can be treated in any way they like.
A marriage is like telling that their daughter is having sex with their permission, do they not realise it makes sound like pimps. They have no right to tell their daughter about her marriage, whether she wants to or not. They have to let their responsibility ends when she is at an age in which can have sex by her own consent not what her parents tell her to do.  She can fall in love or out of it. No one can tell what she should wear or not wear.
Marriages take place with great fanfare, but divorces occur in secret as if it is shameful. Such should not be the case. A woman who is divorced or widowed is not considered eligible for re-marriage, in a specific category of society, however divorces are taking place more frequently, women have stopped  seeing themselves as unpaid servants of their husbands. They drop everything and divorce. Perhaps this will bring a welcome change in society.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Women smoking and drinking in Pakistan

http://sabbkuch.pk/bbc-documentary-smoking-pakistan/
Women smoking in Pakistan, may not be the last taboo, but it is an assertion by women that they are fed up of being pushed of being constantly pushed around and dominated. Though it is unhealthy yet  they are doing so  they have had it.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=women+buying+liquor+in+Pakistan+openly+video&FORM=VIRE3#view=detail&mid=036A7FD871A70F27F13A036A7FD871A70F27F13A

Women know the risks with respect to their behaviour, but the only way they can do is resort extremely shocking behaviour.   Internet cafes were fairly popular for dating, but a security camera caught some women some years back being intimate with their boyfriends. That turned into a huge scandal. One or two of them committed  suicide for dishonouring the family and should be ashamed of themselves.  The parents who lost their daughters, realised the mistake they made. The news of the suicides, had an impact. Parents saw the limitations in policing the activities of their daughters. They know there are certain things they can never prevent or control.
Many things were socially unacceptable like a women showing her face, talking to men who are not related to them. Appearing in public without the burk in  itself was at one time horrifying. There was a growing resentment amongst women about the attitude of women.
It was an uphill task for women but they are winning. The village mentality has not gone but it is losing its strength. Much of the mullah community is on the retreat, they are unable to deal with strong assertive women.
The state made a matter of policy to have absolute control and dominate women. But the state realising   that it is counterproductive.  But it will take sometime for it stop meddling in the affairs of women.
Officials travel abroad see women there and remain very quiet about everything they see and hear.The sheer hypocrisiy is that they do not women to enjoy the same freedom in Pakistan.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Religion and public matters in Pakistan


Here some issues pertaining to religion in Pakistan

  •  Noise Pollution: There are several mosques where I live. The  Azaans (call for prayer) via loudspeakers go on for over 30 minutes or more. Every mosque wants its 5 minutes of fame. Fortunately I do not living right next to one, but they are fairly close. The noise over hundred decibels enough to kill people or make their ears bleed. Each mosque tries be louder than the next.
    It is similar to the public transport people who want traffic ahead of them to move, they use very loud horns, the horns become louder so as to be the one to be heard over the others. As if that will help make the traffic move faster. or  other drivers ahead of them would move out of the way.    
    Many mosques recite the Koran so loudly that it can ruin anyone's sleep.The people who run the mosques have absolutely no consideration for the people in their neighbourhood. It is uncivilised, uncouth and stupid. Disturbing other people for fanatical religious reasons is unacceptable.
  • Lack of sense of sanitation:  The slaughtering of animals in residential areas causes filth, stench attracts flies and consequently results in the spread of diseases. It is disgusting but it is done fanatical fervour. To date no one accepts the idea of buy livestock and having it slaughtered in a slaughterhouse. People whose brain has stopped functioning do this, they do not realise the harm they are doing to the environment and to the people around them. It is extremely offensive.
  • Friday confusion: During General Zia's time, Friday made the weekend and Sunday was a working day. This went as long he could remain alive. This was changed. Sunday became the public holiday again. Many people continue to treat Friday as a public holiday, particularly shopkeepers, they work on Sundays. There is no standard and it is very confusing.
  • Absence of entertainment:  It is considered very pious to avoid any kind of entertainment. TV channels are on required to avoid show anything entertaining on religious occasions.The people do not want watch TV should not, why interfere in the affairs of other people?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Weird anti-social behaviour

I invited my wife's family for a get together. When they came, instead of sitting down to chat, rushed to where the TV was to watch a game.I have no interest whatsoever in the game. Even if I am, I will not watch a game when I am having a get together.
 I sat where I usually sit and talk with anyone who comes visiting.This time I was sitting alone - because the game was many times more interesting than my company.
Addiction to a game and not being interested in talking about anything is some kind of anti-social behaviour. Some kind of mental illness. 
Even if the people are family, there is such a thing as  courtesy and decorum. I suppose people who are anti-social  cannot understand that is, which they brush it  aside. Only after the game ended did they come over to sit. But that was temporary, dinner was served and they rushed to the table.
It was apparent they had no interested in talking with me whatsoever. I was feeling really sickened by this behaviour. It hurt. But they were not the least concerned about that. When I am expecting guests, I make sure I am dressed my best to receive. The do exact opposite. They are always under-dressed or wearing pajamas and are always glued to the TV.
I find such behaviour absolutely disgusting and intolerable. They choose be sickeningly informal. There is no interest in being formal. Being in their pajamas, not just wearing a vest  and pajama beneath - they call that being homely.  If they had their way they would remain like that all the time.
I would forgive that if they were communicative and willing to share their opinions and thoughts. They are not.They may know a lot, but are completely unwilling to speak. They do not talk and cannot talk. It becomes tedious sitting that way. When I make a comment instead of adding to what I have said, they simply repeat what I have said
Trying to talk with such people is to reward their rudeness. They are not prepared to talk and share. Such people do not deserve anything. The behaviour of the children of my wife's siblings crude and unsettling They cannot communicate verbally so they think it is amusing to pretend to wrestle be physical which completely unacceptable behaviour. It is stupid and insane. I will not longer have anything to do with them because of this..

Monday, October 07, 2013

The limits of social networking

Every 'social networking' site has some technical limits as to how many people can be on a single account.  For Twitter it is 3000 and Facebook it is 4000. Others may have their own. What is social networking for if it is limited in the number of people it can handle at a given time.  All these social networks are beginning  police all activity and censor a great deal.  The very purpose of social networking in itself self -defeating. Many people have stopped using them because there is nothing really going on. No drastic changes, no updates. Many people are on them for absolutely no reason at all. They are there, they have an account but never ever use it. They never bother to log in.
There are those who want to share what they are not liked by the owners of that social networking website and the people who using it.
The original social networking websites were myriad chat rooms and forums. People who liked the same things got together and shared whatever they had in common  with others.  That is how things should have remained. Social networking websites  tried to be all thing for everyone, ended up discovering that was impossible because are completely different and they are not lucky to find like minded people. Many people are locked out permanently because their tastes are different.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Mysterious kidnappings

Young students in their twenties are being kidnapped from Karachi and other cities. Though reports about these are kept secret, but with the frequency they are taking place, there is bound to be a leak  and people eventually get to know about this. But the question is who responsible and why is it happening.
There are no clear answers. But the people who get away by committing such crimes are obviously are very highly placed, they are virtually above the law. No one can arrest them, even though the evidence is overwhelmingly against them.
This is a new way to terrorise the people, it simply boils down to this. If the police and other law enforcement organisations are unable to prevent crime, the people would be forced to take up arms against those who murder, kidnap and steal.
Whatever the reasons for the kidnapping, is irrelevant, the people protecting the kidnappers will face the wrath of the people. No court, no judge is going to prosecute these criminals. There is a limit to suffering in silence and not telling anyone. The only solution is that people start killing and wounding criminals on a very large scale.
Only when the police and the judiciary become more afraid of the people than they are afraid of the criminals, then crimes will stop.The criminals - particularly the most powerful ones will not survive. They and their men would be buried en masse.