Sunday, October 1, 2017

On sexism and humor!

“A woman is the biggest enemy of a woman”, is a rather popular claim that is made by men and women alike in serious and casual conversations. I not only find it false but to an extent, absurd. If I were to read too much between the lines, I would say it is a conspiracy to divide and rule by the ruling powers of patriarchy. 

For me my biggest allies, confidants, cheerleaders and friends have been women in shape of relatives, mentors, colleagues and friends. That is not to say men have not played a role in shaping who I am today- they have and I am grateful to them. 

The matter of the fact is that we find people at workplaces, family gatherings, social get-togethers and other places who are sincere, helping, friendly & encouraging and we also find people who are deceiving, manipulative and leg pullers. These people can belong to any gender and it is wrong to stereotype and popularize claims like ‘woman against a woman’. Because if anything economic progression, even more true in the context of a country like Pakistan, would only transpire when men and women both work together. It is not a hidden fact that there is a massive gap in that ratio right now and it can only be achieved if an environment of inclusion is created where sometimes special arrangements are necessary; having an open mind and heart towards making such efforts successful is what can lead to a progressive society. 

So I would urge my friends to:
  1. Embrace diversity, do not resist it.
  2. If you are a (privileged) male in Pakistan, please do not assume you know everything pertaining to female or minority challenges. And resist the temptation to jump to judgements and solutions. Follow the lead of inclusive (male) leaders to be a role model and a cheer leader for inclusion.
  3. Support your colleagues that belong to a minority group.
  4. Making a sexist comment in a humorous conversation does not take away the negative connotation of that comment. Please refrain from such conversations. 
  5. Women, especially privileged women, be an even stronger ally of women and other genders. More voices at the table make them louder. 

We only go far, together!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ramzan Diary

Turning the volume up of the catchy Panjabi beat playing on the radio, I catch sight of the beggar on the road side eating. Idiot! who does he think he is for eating so shamelessly in broad day light, on such a busy road, on a hot Ramdan day. I observe as he takes another bite of that... what the hell is he eating? Disgusting! I almost get out of my car to give him a piece of me.. only if it wasn't this hot. But I won’t let that ruin my mood and I turn the radio louder.
Its 12 PM now, seven hours to go before I could break the fast and enjoy that last dose I have left. Last iftar before the wife returns from her trip.
Ahhh.. Today is a slow day at work. It could have been faster if “miss-perfect” choose to stay in her kitchen instead of making my life miserable by being on my team. She gets it so easy with the diversity quota but my superior intelligence wins at the end of the day. She is fine, nonetheless.
Such a long day! I should take a prayer break. That's a good idea. It will make me look good and kill some time too. Walking towards the mosque I hear someone calling my name “wait bhai”, it sounds like the tea boy. Why is he calling me? I turn around and find him waving and catching up to me. Oh God! Is he going to start walking with me? I hope no one sees us together. Now he wants to chat too.. I am sure he will ask for money any minute now. These people are best kept at a distance. Here we go, there is the sick mother. Before he says anymore I give him 100 rupees to shut up. He smiles and puts the money in his pocket.
At office I feel so proud to be among the few fasting. Poor colleagues of mine, I feel for them for having to miss out on all the blessings of this holy month. Not everyone can manage the workload and still fast- I understand how bad they feel about not fasting and I feel very proud of myself for fasting. They all know I fast, I made it very clear when they were making a plan to watch that film during the fast.
Time to go home. I thought this time would never come. I hope that shia does not ask me for ride again. He should at least care for the month. Phew! Seat belt on, AC on, music on, good to go. Oh! Is that Mr. Adam of XYZ corporation that I see entering the office building? They still have that opening in Sales. Looks like the day has not ended after all. I could beat him if I take the stairs. Lucky me- we run into each other at the elevator. This is my opportunity to pitch to him. Quick introduction, name throwing and right down to praising him and XYZ. He seems flattered. Its okay that he ran out of business cards, I give him mine. Leaving the elevator; he says good-bye. I know he is impressed and with that I press the lobby button on the elevator. That is how it is done; short and sweet. I feel butterflies in my stomach for such a perfect elevator pitch! I wish my supervisor could see me in action. Or may be not.
I should go home, take a shower and nap before the fast breaks. Eat the nuggets fried to perfection, fruit mix and chicken patties.

Today was a good day; I gave charity and offered a prayer in mosque. God rewarded me by presenting a job opportunity at XYZ. God is kind and merciful, indeed.

* This is a satirical writing