Monday, April 24, 2017

From Uncle to Baba Jee

Life has a speed perhaps faster than the speed of light. It seems moving at a slower pace but in fact it is zooming past at a much higher speed than we can actually feel.

From childhood to teenage the period is so short that when one start to enjoy it, it is almost half way though and over in a few years time - taking us into a bracket of life when small children start to call us uncles. And then the 'uncle' stage continues for a pretty long time - to our late 50s. And then graying of hair sets in  - taking us into a transitory period of life between uncle and the old.

I too have been enjoying the uncle stage for quite some time now even when my hair had become grey and mustaches almost white with a few black hair here and there. But still I was uncle.

But last night, my transitory stage came to an abrupt end. I was sitting in a store while my wife and son were busy shopping. Next to me were sitting a young father and her angel like doll baby girl, eating potato chips. While I was not actually looking it at her and was trying to find my wife and son, suddenly the doll touched my arm and in her sweet still learning voice said: Baba Jee, Baba Jee (or in other words Old Man, but with respect) !!

Well that was the first time anyone addressed me with Baba Jee - it was both amusing and interesting. I smiled at her who by then was again busy devouring on her pack of potato chips. When my wife and son came and I told them what had happened to my status and naturally they were all smiles. 

But her addressing me Baba Jee suddenly took me from the middle age to the beginning of old age, which made me wonder how swiftly the life has gone by and it has been two years since I stepped into my six decade age bracket - the last age bracket of my life which can abruptly end anytime. But till it happens, I intend to enjoy someone call me Baba Jee for it is both amusing and loving.

Photo: Pixabay
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A walk through historical Qissa Khawani Bazaar of Peshawar

Sometime back, I wrote a post about Raja Bazaar of Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Now I take you to yet another famous bazaars of Pakistan: The Qissa Khawani Bazaar of Peshawar city of Khyber Pakhtun Khwa province of Pakistan. 

Qissa Khawani Bazaar is a historic market place dating back to many centuries. No one really knows how old this part of Peshawar city is, but according to accounts by the locals, it was once the junction point of trade caravans coming to India from the northern Asian countries, resting and drinking the famous green tea of Peshawar.
The name Qissa (stories) Khawani (narration / telling) or simply the bazaar of story tellers originates from the fact that the people would listen to the stories and news from the incoming traders about other countries and lands beyond the mountain barriers or even the local stories by the professional stories. 

As per Wikipedia, Indian film actor Dilip Kumar was born in Qissa Khawani Bazaar on or about 11 December 1922, while actor Shah Rukh Khan's family still lives in the area. It was the site of the Qissa Khwani Bazaar massacre in 1930, when a large crowd of unarmed local protesters was crushed and fired upon by British armoured cars and soldiers. Four hundred locals were murdered in cold blood.

People or the story listeners would gather around the story tellers and sip famous aromatic green tea or 'qahwa' as it is called in the local language, taking small sips and listening to the stories. I wonder if the story tellers are still around, but the green tea is still served from the traditional brass brewers even today.

A few days back I was in Peshawar and decided to walk through the this historical bazaar of Peshawar and I was amazed to see the variety of commodities available in the main bazaar and countless small alleys inside. The bazaar is full of shoppers and buyers to buy anything from small household items to even spare parts of used cars.
Remains of old wooded balconies can still be seen from behind the newly made buildings 
Bank of Australasia was once a thriving bank which had its brancehs in many cities. Now only the plaque remains.
Gossiping while waiting for the customers or perhaps telling a story!!
Mobile SIMs for sale
Besides the traditional qahwa or the green tea, the bazaar is hub of all types of traditional foods of Peshawar. Since it was almost the lunch time, beef tikkas were being fried and fresh naans collected from the nearby tandoor or the bakery as can be seen in picture above and two below.
Freshly baked naans for the lunch
The long and narrow alleys where business thrives throughout the day
Donkey driven carts are still in use to carry goods
Traditional colourfull dresses for the woen and girls
The old building have taken a modern look - the front is all new but at the back the old buildings still hold on

It is not difficult to find the Qissa Khawani Bazaar as it is very close to many land marks of Peshawar like the famous Bala Hisar Fort, Mahabat Khan`s Mosque, Qasim Khan Mosque, Chritali Bazaar, Chowk Yadgar, Khyber Bazaar and Cunningham Clock Tower. Next time you visit Peshawar, do not miss to include Qissa Khawani Bazaar from your site sighting list - for it is the actual Peshawar!!

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Pakistan's Azhar scores three centuries in first Pink Ball test match

What a great day it was for Pakistan when its opener Azhar scored three centuries in the first ever pink-ball played test match at Dubai just now.

Pakistan playing its 400th test match, which is yet another milestone achievement in the cricket of Pakistan, Pakistan also becomes the first country to score a triple century.

Although no sooner did Azhar shot a four at 298 to earn his third century, the captain Misbah declared the innings at 579 for three to let the West Indians to show their muscles with the pink ball.

So well done Azhar  - you really earned laurels from across the globe for hitting tons with the pink ball. Azhar also becomes the fourth Pakistani player to have scored a triple century in a test match. Before him Hanif Muhammad, Inzamam ul Haq and Younis Kjan have held this distinction. 


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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Pakistan white washes 3-ODI series with West Indies

It was yet another repeat performance by the cricket team at Abu Dhabi today when they beat the West Indies consecutively for the third time to white wash the 3 ODI series 3-0.

Pakistan's Babar Azam also hit a consecutive third century today with 117 runs. He also scored centuries in the earlier two ODIs. Pakistan's Azhar also scored a ton (101 runs). This makes him the 8th batsman in the world to do so.

Winning the toss, Pakistan chose to bat and gave a target of 309 runs for the West Indies at the loss of 6 wickets in 50 overs. However, the entire West Indies team was shown the pavilion in mere 44 overs at 172. They lost by 136 runs.

Babar Azam was declared man of the match award which he rightly deserved. In Babar, Pakistan seems to found a new batsman for its future cricket, replacing old hands.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Volkswagen Beetle - Painted in Truck art of Pakistan

Volkswagen Beetle - Painted in Truck art of Pakistan: Well many would say what a Beetle is painted in truck art of Pakistan. But when one sees what truck art in Pakistan is, one tends to fall in love with it.
The truck art, on which I have already written two detailed posts (links given at the end of the post),is very unique art applied on the buses and trucks in Pakistan and makes these buses and trucks moving art galleries on roads of Pakistan right from the port city of Karachi to the northern areas of Pakistan.
And what is peculiar about this art is that it is done by almost illiterate roadside painters who choose the theme and type to be painted on the clients' vehicles. And when done, it gives an adorable look to the smiling driver's vehicle who drives off gleefully and proud of his colorful  possession.

Coming back to the Volkswagen Beetle and the truck art. I came across this marvel of artwork outside a famous eatery in F11, Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. Although the car is not in use anymore, it is parked in the parking lot lot to show off its vivid colours and various inscriptions written over it. So while my son went to buy something to eat, I took a number of snaps of the Beetle with my mobile phone camera.

The inscriptions are in Pakistan's national language Urdu and one really enjoys these as these are perfectly rhymed. I will translate these, but my friends who do not know Urdu may not enjoy the translation as translating these simple messages into English or any other language may not be possible to keep the charm.
 Even if there is no passenger, let the Prince go with speed 190
 Go with safety and under Allah's protection
 Prayer of a mother is like a breeze from Heavens

Continuing with the description, here is another one: Be Happy Always!!
 The number plate reads: Please come back while dispatching my request (to my lover perhaps)
 I go flying along with the blowing winds
 Japanese Doll!!
 Sweet heart of Gujjar ( a clan in Pakistan)
 Come someday to me heavily perfumed
 The vehicle is no less than a bomb, but the fare is very less (could not translate it any better) - but in Urdu it makes one smile as it is perfectly rhymed
 There is no price of one's hobby
Now this inscription is my favourite: Looks like Doli, but speeds like a bullet

Well yo may one day come to Pakistan and see for yourself its roads with moving truck art and enjoy the simple yet attractive colours, artwork and beautiful inscriptions. And by then you have learnt Urdu, your joy will be multiplied manifold.

The art has lovers internationally. In 2002, the Smithsonian Folk Festival had a truck brought from Karachi to Washington and got it decorated right there on the National Mall. As a talent scout for the festival’s Silk Road theme, truck aficionado Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, an anthropology professor at the University of Michigan and a top us scholar of Pakistani culture, chose the pair for their versatility in incorporating the country’s disparate styles of truck art. Their finished masterpiece, a 1976 Bedford, is now part of the Smithsonian’s permanent collection.

One bus was also decorated and plied on the roads of Melbourne Australia to participate in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006. Back in 2010,a Volkswagen Beetle was painted for a road journey to Germany. I wonder if this is the same vehicle!!

My previous posts on truck art:
Truck art - the ever rolling indigenous folk art
Amazing Truck Art of Pakistan
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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Moon and I

Those of my readers of my age and older who have been music enthusiasts in the 60s, specially the instrumentals, would remember names like The Ventures, Shadows, Herb Albpert, James Last, Paul Mauriat and perhaps Ron Goodwin. These are some of the musicians who made tremendous contribution to music and are still remembered. Of these all, I am going to talk of Ron Goodwin whose Music for an Arabian Night album is one one classic based on the Arabian music, specially Beirut.
I too had this LP and its melodies are still fresh in my minds. One of the best was Return to Paradise. But I am going to talk of another beautiful composition of Ron Goodwin: The Moon and I. Moon has always fascinated man since man came into existence and it still does. Many songs have been written describing one's lover with the moon - though no one would like his/her lover like a cratered moon surface, but its is the brightness that attracts man in a dark background.

Now don't expect me to be a musician of any kind to replicate Ron Goodwin's compositions. But I do am an armature photographer and taking moon shots is one of my passion. I am always on the lookout for an opportunity to capture moon and sometimes these shots do come up very well. 
The main reason for writing this post in fact is to share my moon shots to show how beautiful the moon looks like and why it fascinate people, specially the lovers. And there is no parallel of a moon shot when its in its full bloom - that is on its 14th day as can be seen below:
Now sir back and listen to Ron Goodwin's "Moon and I" and enjoy the photos that I have shared - these photos will create the mood to listen to this beautiful musical composition:

The photos above have been shot with my Sony DSC H2 camera

You may also find some of these photos/and my other photos on Flickr
Source of Music: Sainhaqq/Youtube
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pakistan tops ICC test cricket ranking

It is a great day for Pakistan to top the ICC test cricket ranking chart for the first time in its history - something that is more than securing a gold in the Olympics.

Pakistan secures 111 points after playing 25 matches and tops the ICC ranking chart with India at the second place with just one point less.

The ranking has been bettered by the superb performance of Pakistan cricket team during their 4 test series against England in their on going English tour. Well done team Pakistan.

Chart Courtesy ICC
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Pakistan beat England by 10 wickets at the Oval

It was a great day for Pakistan at the Oval when they beat England by 10 wickets to draw the series 2-2. Thus England missed an opportunity to win a series against Pakistan on its home grounds.

Pakistan just needed 42 runs to beat the hosts with superb performance of skipper Misbah and batsman Younis Khan. Younis (218) also became the second double-centurion of the series after Joe Root.

Younis Khan was declared man of the match while Misbah became a joint sharer of the man of the series award.While the batsmen played brilliantly, so did the bowlers bowled superbly, specially Wahaab Riz and Yasir.

Well done team Pakistan - a victory on the eve of independence day of Pakistan.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

I bought Google yesterday

Please do not take for nuts or something for saying that I bought 'Google' yesterday. Because I really mean it and I did buy google yesterday.

Let me tell you how - because I know you are still taking me as someone out of my minds or something. So please read this post till the end to find out whether I am OK or ...

Well this the season of humidity and rains and when it is not raining and sun is shinning, the weather become too humid and it makes difficult to breathe both for people and other living beings on or under the ground. Those over it find some shade and have a temporary escape from the sun, yet still sweating profusely due to timidity, the living beings living inside the surface are compelled to get out to breathe and find somewhere cool enough to sustain the weather.

One of these living beings are snakes - the dreaded crawlers that come out of their holes and try to find a cooler place. As this is also their breeding season, their offsprings, tiny and many, also are on the move and find the gap between doors to crawl inside the rather cold houses. 

Over the past many days, I have killed many such crawlers who were enjoying free hospitality under sofas and chairs, hidden from direct observation.

You may be wandering what Google has to do with the snakes and humidity. Well if you are still doubting my mental health for having bought Google, let me now reveal the secret.

Well yesterday my wife asked me to go buy Google - I momentarily thought she was asking me to Google and find an answer to the snake kiddies coming into our house. So I sat on my computer and tried to find some solutions. Seeing me not moving, she came and asked me as why I do not go and buy Google? Well I told her that I am trying to find the answer by Googling it. 

A smile came on her face and said, "I am not asking you to Google it on the net - go and buy Google from some store. And then it dawned on me what she meant by Google. She was asking me to buy 'GOOGAL' - a herb that when burnt on coal gives out smoke that repels snakes and other insects. So I went to an old shop selling Eastern herbs and bought Googal for Rs. 80 for 50 grams. The shopkeeper also advised my to buy 'Hermal' and leaves of 'Lehri' and burn these along with Googal and smoke the areas for frequent crawling places of snake kiddies.

Would it work, I do not for sure, but the fact remains that I bought Google or Googal yesterday for Rs. 80. Hows that!!

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