Karachi Photo Blog

Monday, February 24, 2014

If only dogs could read [August 2012]

Monday, February 17, 2014

Homeland Security boat at St Thomas marine terminal [August 2012]

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fruit stand [August 2012]

Saturday, February 08, 2014

'Theater in the Time of Jihad'

Partial performance of ‘Burqavaganza’, a play originally produced by the Ajoka Theatre in Pakistan [http://ajoka.org.pk/] followed by a short documentary about Ajoka’s thirty years in business, and a Q&A session with the prominent Pakistani playwright Shahid Nadeem, made up the program dubbed ‘'Theater in the Time of Jihad: A Conversation with Playwright Shahid Nadeem with Excerpts from ‘Burqavaganza’".  The event, sponsored by Stanford’s Center for South Asia and held on Friday, February 7, at the Roble Hall Theatre of the Stanford University, was attended by over sixty people.

MC Burqa Bibi: Pamela Rosin
Haseena: Radhika Rao
Khoobroo: Amit Sharma
Mulla 1: Abhishek Das
Mulla 2: Nandini Minocha
Police Officer: Molly Shaiken
Hijab Hashmi: Pamela Rosin
Burqa Brigade Commander: Mariam Saeed
Burqa Bin Batin, world’s most wanted terrorist: Omar Sahak
Minister for Burqa Affairs: Omar Sahak
Chambelli, the hijra (transexual): Rann Shinar

Good directors don’t feel constrained by the written play.  Brilliant directors-- in the interest of jazzing up the play--feel free to make changes to the write-up.  And that was exactly what director Vidhu Singh did with the latest performance of Burqavaganza.  Remember the fake sign language interpreter at Mandela’s funeral?  Many were enraged because whatever hand gestures that charlatan made did not have any meaning in the official sign language.  But for others the fake interpreter’s act was pure entertainment; they were amused by his fakery—no matter how somber a speech, that conman could come up with random hand gestures that appeared to go well with the words.  Obviously inspired by the impostor at the Mandela funeral, Vidhu added a sign interpreter to the speech delivered by the Chief Minister of Burqa Affairs in one segment of Burqavaganza.  Imagine a serious speech given on piety and the need to avoid sex and other immoral acts, and imagine the speech being sign-interpreted by a burqa-clad hijra!  The act was hilarious and definitely the most entertaining part of the show.

An audio of Shahid Nadeem of Ajoka Theater at Stanford, and a Q&A session with Audrey Truschke is here:

See the program description and information about the playwright here:

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Face-off with the Homeland Security

Had planned to send it from Kuta, two days ago.
This has been a regular show.  Since 911, every time he comes back from an overseas trip, at the immigration counter he is asked a few questions about his travels and then advised to go to ‘the room at the end’.  In that room he is interrogated about the countries and the cities he visited in the latest trip.  The interview is not too long and the interrogators are courteous—at least, ostensibly—but he still feels bad about this.  Why him?  Why the humiliation of this extra interview when others in his company are being ushered out of the arrival hall?  Is it not nomal discrimination? [Yes, that is his word-coining at work—nomal discrimination (he defines it as an act of discrimination based on a person’s name) rhymes with racial discrimination].  Under what law only he—and others fitting the ‘profile’—are stopped and interrogated in this manner?  What are his options when asked to go the ‘room at the end’?
Now his Rosa Parks moment has come.  This time around he is going to refuse to cooperate with the Homeland Security.  He is going to ask them to treat him like they treat everyone else.
So, Friends and Family, if he does not come out of SFO by 1300 on Wednesday, February 5—he is landing at 1020—do get concerned and ask the Homeland Security about where he is being detained.
But left Kuta in a hurry and did not get a chance to send this note to the loved ones.
And guess what?  It did not happen this time.  He was let go without being asked to go to the ‘room at the end’?  Why no interrogation this time?  Was it because he was very friendly with the immigration officer and told him that he had arrived earlier than his departure time (left Hong Kong at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, and arrived at 10:20 am the same day)?  Was it because the immigration officer was Hispanic?  Was it because someone has done a background check on him and he has been removed from the list of ‘suspects’?  Don’t know.  But he is very happy to have avoided the humiliation.

Photo shows Kuta Memorial for the 2002 bombing victims—the bombing site is to the left of the monument, across the street (the site is now used as a parking lot).