Greetings!

This page is intended to provide the reader an insight into the functionality of a perpetually whimsical mind.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Today's Achievements - Talking Point

Let us go over what I have accomplished today. I was supposed to attend a class at 9:30 in the morning, but by the time I woke up, half the day had passed. Yep, it was 12:00 pm. I had lost half the day to sleep. What a waste it has been so far. I unwillingly got out of bed, washed my face, brushed my teeth, had a glass of some berry flavoured juice along with some cake. I then surfed the net until about 45 minutes before I had to get to work. I took a shower, spent 15 minutes messing around with my hair and finally got to work about 37 minutes late. I've been sitting here doing absolutely nothing but listening to some music all the while listening to these two co-workers chit chat about WOW non-stop. I've tried increasing the volume up to a level where they can clearly hear the song and even though they can't understand what the singer is saying, since it's in urdu, it doesn't really seem to matter for them. They have continued to blabber about being a warlock and "fearing" the rogues off the cliff in a duel. At this point I only wish I was a warlock so I could chew their heads off.

Anyway, so far, I expect to have done most of the work for the rest of the day. Therefore, I'm not looking for a particularly exciting finish to the day. It's time now to head off from work back to home, drink some tea, watch some TV or surf a little more, have dinner, come back for one more class, go back home, and fall asleep. Wait, I forgot to mention an important task I have yet to complete, which may quite easily be the highlight of the day. I may walk over to Vons across the street to buy some chocolate. I'm out.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Evolution through self-belief - Sports

At the end of an extremely unsuccessful world cup and a humiliating exit by the Pakistani team, changes at a higher level and ultimately within the team were long due. A whole batch of senior players had been holding the team together for over a decade now, with some memorable victories, and some unpleasant ones. It seemed now, after such an embarrassing exodus from the World Cup that it was time to rejuvenate the team with some young blood. The senior members of the team had been playing on based on past performances and no one seemed to be clicking for the team anymore. The team was greeted with a flurry of accusations and pleas of a revolution within the PCB. With such a widespread appeal from the Pakistani public and extensive criticism from not just local cricket gurus, but even foreign think thanks, it was time to bring about a major change.

A new selection committee was appointed under Aamir Sohail, former Pakistani opening batsman to ensure that the team would recover quickly from their world cup defeat. Members of the selection committee included Saleem Yousuf, Shoaib Muhammad, Farukh Zaman and Shafiq Ahmed. Furthermore, Richard Pybus, then coach of the Pakistani team was sacked and replaced by Javed Miandad while Rashid Latif who had announced his retirement from Test cricket, was appointed to lead the newly reformed side. Eight of the senior members of the team were dropped out of the team, and it was up to the inexperienced boys to represent their country.

They didn’t start off too well, but gradually learnt the rewarding virtues of teamwork. Soon after, Pakistan hosted a series against a inexperienced, yet talented Bangladesh side and claimed a series whitewash of 3-0 in the Test matches, and 5-0 in the ODIs. This considerably boosted the morale of the youngster, but as always, there are always tradeoffs. The series ended with Latif being banned for 5 ODIs, while Javed Miandad was fired once again and replaced with Englishman Bob Woolmer, which came as a complete surprise to everyone, since he was expected to coach the side until April 2005. Inzamam was appointed as the captain of this volatile team, and was expected to bring out the best from this talented, young batch.

In 2004, the PCB hosted a home series against India and after a lot of debate and questions of security, the Indian side was to finally complete a tour of Pakistan after 15 years; history was in the making. The series was won by the Indians, but history had been written. The ice had been broken and the Indian side received enormous coverage by the media at home and abroad, and they returned home as celebrated heroes. Even though Pakistan had lost the test series by 2-1, and the ODI series by 3-2, the fact that they came so close to victory considerably bolstered their belief in themselves.

The following tour of Australia saw Pakistan losing out to a formidable Australian test side by 3-0. This time however, it was a totally different side that the Australians were facing. An energetic and spirited young team, who gave it everything and at times even troubled a very unrelenting and groomed Australian test side.

The next challenge that awaited Pakistan was a tour of India after many years. The Pakistani side was under immense pressure this time around since they had already suffered a series defeat at home the year before. A relatively and inexperienced side was selected for the tour and according the media reports, this was the weakest Pakistani side ever to play India. The strength-void that was created between the two teams was possibly also due to the fact that India is currently regarded to have the strongest batting lineup in test and one day cricket. The likes of Sehwag, who can be destructive to say the least, Tendulkar, who needs no introduction, Ganguly, with close to 10,000 runs in both, test and one days, and many more to face an under-strength Pakistani bowling. It was widely expected for India to comfortably seal the series in both the test matches as well as the ODIs.

India put up a magnificent performance in the first test match, only to be equaled by some brave batting by Abdul Razzaq and Kamran Akmal to end the match with a draw. India, not satisfied by a less than mediocre performance, decided to give it their best. A great effort by most of their batsmen, and some excellent, restrictive bowling spells saw India take the game away from Pakistan comfortably. The third and final match was the deciding match for the rest of the series. Huge contributions from Inzamam and Younis Khan ensured that India would never really bother the Pakistanis too much.

Although the morale was sky high in the Pakistani dressing room, the Indians started the ODI series with two consecutive and comprehensive victories against a frail Pakistani bowling attack. Thereafter, the Pakistanis never showed complacency and never allowed India a moment to breath, and prevailed in four consecutive games as they wrapped up a series win by 4-2. The mood in the Pakistani dressing room was ecstatic to say the least. They had achieved what their predecessors could never imagine, a huge victory against a much stronger Indian side. They will now go to West Indies with a strong sense of self-confidence with an enormous victory behind them.

The morale of the story is, with hard work, commitment, proper channeling of talent, and faith in the ability to crush the opposition, no matter how big the challenge may be, can lead to fabulous victories such as the one we all have experienced over the last few days. After an unsatisfactory performance in the 2003 World Cup in England, the Pakistani team stands tall, heads up high within a matter of two years. Such is the power of unity and hard work, and of course, divine assistance by the omnipotent and All-powerful Allah.

A Perennial Propaganda - Perspective

The series between Pakistan and India had long been awaited by fans of cricket on both sides of the border. It started off to a great start, with the Indians putting in some truly commendable cricket. The first test ended in a tie, as the Pakistani team somehow managed to draw a game that was expected to be won by the Indians. They gained a comprehensive victory over Pakistan in the second test however, and it was expected by most that India would take the test series away from Pakistan. However, the Pakistani youngsters showed their opponents what they are made of, and in the face of enormous pressure, outplayed India at their own game. Inzamam and Younis Khan along with the support of a few others, managed some big scores and drew the series by 1-1.

Once the one day series commenced, the Indians notched up two extremely convincing victories. Until that point, many Indians believed that the series would favor the Indians and that the Pakistanis would hardly manage one victory in the ODI series. After the third and fourth matches were won by Pakistan, the Indians did what they are best at; they raised the 'Match fixing' card to discredit the amazing Pakistani performances. They began predicting that Pakistan would win the 5th ODI match too, following an Indian victory to level the series and please the Indian fans since the last victory would belong to the Indians. In addition, to prove their position, they pointed out the fact that there would be 6 encounters, which is quite an odd number of matches to be played, since there is a great chance for a series draw. The fact that the two teams would play 6 ODI matches never bothered anyone until Pakistan won the 3rd and the 4th ODIs in succession.

Once Pakistan snatched the 5th ODI away from India, supporters of the Indian team (and some pessimistic Pakistani fans, unfortunately) were absolutely positive that India would win the last match to draw the series, which would be a good addition to a series of tit-for-tat moves in the field of politics to buttress the peace relations between the two nations. To their horror, the Pakistani side disproved all the negativity that was being pelted at them, defying all predictions against them, and took the series away from the home side in what turned out to be a fantastic display of all round team effort.

With Pakistan winning the series, the Indian fans have found a new version of the 'match fixing' propaganda. It is now believed that India hosted the series right about the time when Indo-Pak relations are at a crucial stage, when President Musharraf would be invited to India and be greeted by an Indian loss (Not a Pakistani victory) in the game of cricket. This is how enthusiastic the Indians are towards peace. This is a sign of friendship, they say. To them I say, what was that the Indian fans did at Jamshedpur and again at Delhi? Is this the type of friendship in which you are interested? I would respect a defeated opponent who would accept his/her defeat with grace, than an opponent who would blame his/her loss on external factors.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Gwadar: A Foreseeable Metropolitan - News

Goodness gracious me! Have my eyes deceived me or is the government serious about the construction of "The Platinum City" in Gwadar? There will always be doubts in the mind of Pakistanis whenever the government proposes to take a major step towards national improvement. I don't blame them either, since they have every reason to do so because of the deceptive and inconsistent propositions by our mercurial government in the past.



An impression of the proposed Platinum City, Gwadar


In any case, without getting my hands too deep in to politics, I just wanted to share this marvellous project that the government of Pakistan has undertaken. It has been titled: "Platinum City", for some reason of which I am unaware. The only reasoning for the choice of that title that I can contemplate is that the word 'platinum' is generally associated with superiority over the rest. For instance, with most major credit cards, customers are promoted upwards from being a 'Silver' to a 'Gold' , and finally to a 'Platinum' cardholder.

I'm absolutely positive some of the readers are assuming I haven't rested enough, hence the senseless blabbering. Reverting back to the subject of discussion, I thought it would be appropriate to post a sample picture of the proposed Platinum City, along with the official website for this grandiose project. I pray and sincerely hope that this dream materializes in to reality with all the stunning beauty and fabulous architecture as portrayed by the words and images of the planners. Click the link below to visit the official website for the mega project, or simply click on the image above to visit the "Vision Gwadar" website.

Platinum City

A 15-minute meal - Recipe

Hello folks, being a student myself, I realize the importance of time (Not too many would agree with that) and hence I have discovered a great dish, which can be prepared within 20 minutes. Yes, I realize the title reads: "A 15-minute dish", but it was only meant to attract attention. I've been mimicing corporate advertising - a type of advertising cluttered with obvious lies and deceit, but one which stirs great hype and major revenues. Getting back to our quickly preparable recipe, I'd like to mention that I didn't actually invent it completely. A friend once cooked something similar to it, and I thought it could use a couple of more ingredients to make it taste even better. So here we are:

Ingredients:

2 pieces of whole chicken breast
1 packet of mixed vegetables (Peas, Corn and Carrot, for example)
1 packet of any Shan masala/spice (Preferably Meat and Vegetable masala/spice)
1 big pinch of ground black pepper
1/4 cup of oil (I prefer olive oil)
1/3 portion of a pita bread/arabic bread (Optional)
1/3 of your attention, at least (Mandatory)

Method of preparation:

Take a pan, a pot, a saucer, a cooker; basically whatever you have available, preferably a container made from some sort of conductive metal (No, clay is not a metal). Pour the oil in to the pan and place it on a medium-hot flame until it is sufficiently warm. Then, slide the chicken (Off the plate) in to the pan and let it fry for about 3 minutes while constantly stirring it. Make sure you don't burn the chicken. In fact, once the chicken has turned white, (from it's initial pink shade) add about 1/3 of the vegetables to the chicken. Next, add about 1/3 portion of the masala/spice (If you're using Shan Masala) along with some black pepper (Ideally, whatever suits your taste. Alternatively, you may call your mother and/or sister for advice.) to the chicken vegetable curry. Then, add 1/3 - 1/2 cup of water to the curry. Cover and cook on medium-high flame for about 8 - 10 minutes or until the water has mostly, but not completely evaporated.

If you plan on adding bits of pita bread to your delicious 'feast', add them right before most of the water has evaporated. Cover and let it cook for another 5 minutes on low flame until most of the water has evaporated, and voila! Your luncheon/dinner is ready to be consumed! You can also chop up some cucumbers and lettuce alongside to provide you with the extra nutritious and vital "raw-greens" for the day. I hope you guys will enjoy it as much as I did. It is a little dry, but it's healthy and can be prepared within no time at all. Bon appetitie!

P.S. I think it'll take you longer to read through my needless rambling than it will, to prepare the aforementioned dish.

A Silent Giant Awakens - Sports


Mahendra Dhoni raises his bat
after scoring his maiden century


He is known to some as "Dashing Dhoni", because of his charming looks. Looks however, do not play a major role on the ground, and Dhoni clearly understands that. He showed the world just why he was brought in to the side and even after scoring a mediocre 26 runs in 5 innings, he was retained in the side, and for good reason. On the 5th of March, 2005, he played an innings that will be remembered by cricket lovers across the globe. He hammered 148 runs off just 123 balls, smashing 15 fours and 4 massive sixes in his maiden century.

In response, the already under strength Pakistani bowling had absolutely no answer to Dhoni's excellent knock. He was finally sent back to the pavillion by Mohammad Hafeez, but not before he had made his mark in international cricket. This youngster has a long way to go, but he has given his side just what they needed, a wicket keeper capable of batting as magnificiently as he did in the 2nd ODI at Visakhapatnam.

Image Courtesy of BBC News.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A tribute to a phenomenon - A tribute

I am referring to the Pope, yes. He was a great man indeed, and his death has surely saddened millions. At the same time, it was probably a good thing since it relieved him from his painful state of illness. Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla, was the first non-Italian Pope to claim Papacy since the 15th century. He was a kind, generous, and a noble man. He was a man of peace, and rigorously opposed to all violent ideologies and promoted and greatly helped interfaith relations.

He wanted see the Catholic faith evolve in to a prominent religion in the world, without introducing major modifications in the faith, which would prompt an outcry from the more conservative followers. He preached love and coexistence, and was a moral human, something the "left wing" people would never understand. He will forever be remembered as a pious and revolutionary man who left his mark in the hearts and minds of millions or across the globe, and rest assured, it won't be just the Catholics.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Thanks Ganguly - Humor

Behind maggi 2 minutes noodles pack:

Step 1: boil one cup of water
Step 2: as soon as ganguly goes for batting, put the noodles in the boiled water and add the tastemaker.
Step 3: stir till ganguly is on the field.
Step 4: As soon as ganguly is back in pavilion, your noodles ready to eat

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Shoiab Akhtar admits Ganguly is faster and quicker than him. "I haven't seen any one get out so fast. Man, I envy his speed. I am quick but he is quickest.", he says. "I think I should now cut my runup short when I bowl to him. Or else, he might be gone when I am halfway thru my run up."