Karachi Photo Blog

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Coup لوہار کی بغاوت اور اس کا انجام

This short animation film made in 2004 has been awaiting public screening for a long time.
Now that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has nullified the "agreement" between Nawaz Sharif and the present military government, thus giving Nawaz Sharif the chance to go back to Pakistan, I believe this film would really turn stale if it does not reach you right away. So, here it is.

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FOSA's 4th Annual South Asian Literary Evening Video

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Wajahat Ali (left) and an actor. Wajahat Ali's troupe performed staged reading of an excerpt from Ali's play "How to read 'Un-Wholly Warriors'."

Ahsan Sajjad read "The Origination Of The Musical Chair", a satire.

Saqib Mausoof read his memoir titled “The Dancing Girl Of Mohenjodaro”

Maheen Adamson read “Aik Ungal Ka Border" (in Urdu), one of the only two pieces written in a language other than English

“Fruits of Childhood” written by Mo Tejani was read by Saadia Mumtaz

Khawaja Ashraf read a short story titled “A Cup of Tea With Buddha”

Ijaz Syed read a piece written by Rinku Dutta--the commentary was titled "54, Chowringhee Lane."

Moazzam Sheikh emceed the program. He also read "Coming home", a poem written by Amina Khan.

Ramkumar Sridharan


FOSA's Fourth Annual South Asian Literary Evening

FOSA jointly celebrated the independence days of India and Pakistan by holding its Fourth Annual South Asian Literary Evening. The program was held at Milpitas Library Community Room on Saturday, August 25. A total of ten items including a poem, several pieces in prose, a staged-reading, one prevue, and a short film were presented.

Niranjan Parikh speaking at Pakistan Day gathering at Sunnyvale Baylands Park, on August 18

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Photo, courtesy of NDTV

Urdu writer Qurratulain Hyder passes away

Very sad news, and sadder still for me: in April I squandered the only chance to meet her. Shan-e-Panjab was making its final stops before entering Delhi. Whereas the train was delayed now that we were very close to our final destination, the arrival time in Delhi could be predicted with more accuracy. I called Qurratul Ain Hyder on the number I had from Dr. Asad. The call did not go through--I was told I did not have the correct number. Fortunately, I had Dr. Asad's cell number as well. I called him and jogged his memory on my email communication with him. He remembered, and was congenial, but he did not have any other number of Qurratul Ain Hyder besides the one he had given me via email. He knew where she lived and could give me that address. But I needed a telephone number. I had been told QAH was not too fond of meeting strangers. I wanted to talk to QAH first, assure her of my absolute love of her writing, of my conviction that 'Aag Ka Durya' was the greatest novel ever written in Urdu; and then ask her if she would be charitable to accord me audience. But none of this could happen till I had a working telephone number of Ms Hyder.
And then came a moment of weakness. I was there for just two days, and then there was that Taj Mahal that needed to be visited.
Yes, Ms Hyder is old and ailing, but she would be around for a while, and I will meet her in my next visit. I told myself.

Qurratul Ain Hyder, You touched countless through your writings, but left the world without meeting this die-hard fan of yours. He would still visit you at your grave, to shed a few tears, but it would have been a lot better had you stayed alive just a little longer.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sitting safe and aiming straight, from the Great Wall

Souvenir shops at Mutianyu

Monday, August 13, 2007

Goodbye, Nabila Rushdie

It is very hard to write obituaries of friends, and especially of friends who died your age. But I need to write this one. My friend Nabila Rushdie died of a heart attack in Karachi, a few days ago. She was a year senior to me at the NED University. There were so few girls at NED, they were all very popular among the male students. Nabila was especially so because besides being intelligent she was beauteous too. And a few students had also found out she was Salman Rushdie's sister; though this was nothing big in 1983 as Salman Rushdie at that time was not much known outside the literary circles.

After graduating from the NED University in Civil Engineering Nabila got her Masters from Stanford. But before going to Stanford she spent a brief time at UC Boulder. I met her in Boulder and we became very good friends. It was around that time that 'Satanic Verses' was published and Ayatollah Khomeini gave the infamous death fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Nabila feared for her life. She thought she might get killed by a zealot Iranian student on campus. She met with the President of the University and had her name officially changed to Zara Ahmed.

Getting to know her in Boulder and then later meeting her in California and then in Pakistan, I have a kaleidoscope of memories running through mind. My last information about her was that she was living in London. I had hoped to meet her there on a trip to or from Pakistan. I even had a mental image of an older Nabila I would see.

Being the youngest of her sisters and the only brother she must have been very close to her father. This I gathered the way she mourned his death many years after he was gone. Reading Satanic Verses I came across a part where the protagonist is visiting his terminally ill father; he lives there for a while and helps his father in everyday chores like shaving. The passage was too descriptive and detailed to be anything but biographical. That day when Nabila came back from her classes I asked her about the death of her father and if Salman was there with him in his final moments. She looked puzzled. I opened Satanic Verses at those pages and gave her the book to read. She read and started crying.

Why did Nabila Rushdie die so young, and in such utter loneliness? Was it because of her two failed marriages (the first one with Safwan Shah)? Did she die because there was no love for her to cling on to? Because the bitter memories of her past were far overwhelming than the best things life had offered her? Was she raised among people who had a fundamental flaw in their philosophy towards life? People who put too much emphasis on fame and fortune and forgot about the more fundamental things. People who never learned that when the reverberating applause finally dies, the limelight is turned off, and the curtains are drawn, the famous author, the beautiful actress, the billionaire, the popular leader, they all need to go home to their small circles of love with their dear ones firmly planted in. And if such a nest of warmth and affection is not there, no amount of wealth and fame can make up for the emptiness in their life.

I just searched Google. No links point to Nabila Rushdie’s existence…almost as if she left the world without a trace. But I won’t let you go like that, Nabila. You may rest in peace wherever you wish, but you would always stay alive on this blog.