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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, November 27, 2010, , links to this post


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Syed Abulhassan Rizvi


posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, November 25, 2010, , links to this post

Curry in a Hurry

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Owais Mughal

If you think I am going to tell you a curry recipe' then you are mistaken. Even though there is lot of curry involved in this write-up but wait till I get to it. Let me build up the background first. Our home in Karachi has a cricket ground located next to it. Being a 'puraana chaawal'(seasoned rice) of the area, I became manager of this ground in early 90s. My duties included assigning the cricket ground to different local teams as well as arranging a match or two on special occasions.

Once I arranged a match for a neighborhood team but the local players didn't show up on time. After doing a typical eleventh hour calling and rounding-up of players, I was able to field a 'pakaR dhakaR XI' (rounded-up XI). It was a very colorful team in a sense that eleven players spoke at least five different languages and yet understood each other very well. In my view, that is what makes Karachi a true cosmopolitan city.
Ok, back to curry business. The match started smoothly, but wrinkle started to appear soon. At lunch break all the players gathered around me and demanded lunch. Some claimed that I owe them a lunch because they have done me a favor by coming to play to Federal-B-Area from far flung areas of the city such as North Nazimabad. Those familiar with Karachi geography may know that North Nazimabad is located right next to Federal-B-Area. Only a 30-feet wide drainage stream called ‘Gujjar Nala’ separates the two localities. Look at the image below. I've marked the location of the cricket ground and the 'Gujjar Nala' dividing Federal-B-Area with North Nazimabad.

Being outnumbered 1 to 13, I gave in to their demands. I was still a student so did not have money to buy 13 people any kind of lunch. Not even cheap 'bun-kababs'. So I walked inside home to see what was ready for my personal lunch. Nobody was home and my mother had cooked 'aaloo-shorba' (Potatoes with curry). It was of course not enough for 14 people. Since necessity is the mother of invention therefore I took a huge bowl out of closet and poured some curry in it. A quantity, that was just enough for 4 people. Then I filled up a jug with water and mixed it in the curry. Curry’s volume now increased by a few liters and its density decreased to become as thin as a soup. I then sent our 12th man to the nearby 'Gharib-Nawaz tandoor' (Poor people's clay Oven) to get a few ‘naan’ (flat round bread). 12th man was an aspiring young cricketer and in an aspiration to debut from our team soon, he happily went to get the 'naan'. Our team management used 12th man not only for on-ground services but off-ground services too. Long story short; when bread came; 14 people ate my specially prepared 'pani-shorba' (water-curry) without any complaint. I do however remember some of the remarks made at the occasion. They were a pure delight to hear such as this famous one coming right out of Urdu literature: 'kiya piddee aur kiya piddee ka shorba' (What little bird and its little curry)
Then there was a remark given in a complete state of denial and astonishment: 'ye kis cheez ki yakhni hai bhai? (What is this soup made of?)
Note: In an ideal world of culinary delights, a soup is supposed to be thinner than a curry.

Another: ‘ye to shorbay kay shorbay kaa shorbaa hai’ (This is an extract of an extract of an extract of a curry).
And yet another was when somebody called this curry as ‘lamba shorba’ (tall curry). The voices of dissent soon died down as getting free food was an incentive enough to shut up and eat whatever was available. To this day, whenever I remember this indigenous recipe' of mine, it makes me smile. Conclusion is that curry is such a form of food which can be diluted as needed and can be fed to a varied number of people ranging anywhere from 1 person to many (or any).

In the beginning I had mentioned that it is not going to be a curry recipe' write-up; but for the welfare of general public; may be I should key it down: Recipe' of Curry in a Hurry

1. Volume of already cooked curry (any kind): 100 ml only
2. Count the people available: x (say)
3. Empty glass of water: 1
4. Empty curry bowl: 1
5. Pour 100 ml curry in the empty curry bowl and pour a glass full of water into curry 'x' times.
6. 'ae-lo mazaydaar shorba tayyar hai' (lo-behold. tasty curry in a hurry; is ready)

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, November 25, 2010, , links to this post

In the memory of Parveen Shakar

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, November 24, 2010, , links to this post

Sanjh - collectors' delight

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I have been collecting greeting cards for many years now. My cards collection is one of my most cherished assets. Going through the cards I have received earlier in life gives me a great pleasure. What is stronger, whole-some and useful for life in later years than some good memories?What appeal me most in old cards are the messages - poetic, passionate, persuasive, comforting and or romantic - printed on cards (or hand written on some of them on some of them). Some of the cards in my collection are handmade and unique.

In modern times when people have already shifted to digital greetings via Internet and or mobile and I miss getting those cards, a friend has presented me a Sanjh set of 101 cards. Sanjh set has a very inspiring story behind it.

This is a story of how a team to caring people like (Zahraa Assad Saifullah and Zahra Mirza of RetroArts, Foaad Nizam of Danka, and Visual Artists Imran, Sajjad and Usman, Yaqoob of UOG) moved the artists to donate their art work to generate revenue to help victims of flood 2010. Sanjh team exhibited and sold the art work. Best thing is that they photographed each one of the paintings and printed in the farm of cards. The set is any collector's delight.

I want to share these cards with readers of Light Within and Logic is Variable.  Send me your postal address at and I will post you a card via snail mail {yes, I do use snail mail}.

posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, November 23, 2010, , links to this post

Top Ten Pakistani Blogs – 2010

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Once again it is time of the year when we have a closer look at the ever expanding Pakistan Blogsphere. As usual, we are asking you to recommend the best Pakistani blogs.

In Pakistan - the happening state - writing a blog is a great responsibility. Please show your appreciation for the best blogs (and bloggers) you have been following during the year. and  recommend them (all categories including political, personal, cats and dogs and more) Also indicate the new blogs (including your own) and new bloggers that have come up during the year and we might have missed them. Leave your recommendations in comment section here or send them to

Previous years’ best of Pakistan blogsphere:
Pak Blogsphere - Top Ten Blogs - 2009
Pak Blogsphere - Top Ten Blogs - 2008
Pak Blogsphere - Top Ten Blogs - 2007
Pak Blogsphere - Top Ten Blogs - 2006

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, November 19, 2010, , links to this post

Girl who is making the difference

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By Rao Dilshad Hussain

Nina Akbar, the CEO of Sukh Cha’n Wellness Club is a renowned business woman. Prior to launch Sukh Cha’n Wellness Club project, she had been successfully running restaurant chain of Salt’n Pepper for many years.

She has done her graduation from St Joseph College, Karachi. She actively participates in the NGO activities and organises walks for awareness about women’s rights.

She is planning to launch an NGO ‘Sukh Cha’n Trust’ in the near future to help the poor. Her are excerpts from interview with her:

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, November 09, 2010, , links to this post

Buddies from 55 PMA in Canada

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Thanks to Jamil Bravo


posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, November 03, 2010, , links to this post

Time to salvage Pakistan cricket

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By Rao Dilshad Hussain

The Pakistan cricket team during the three decades of 1970s to 90s had enjoyed the glorious period in time and all due to the presence of quality cricketers in the line-up with another five to six waiting in the pipeline to redeem their chances. And when the fresh entrants replaced those seniors it was quite hard for the left-outs to win their place back in the team. But this contemporary team is revolving around the same old bunch of cricketers because there are no players to replace the players of the likes of Younus Khan, Muhammad Yousuf, Shoaib Akhtar.

The Pakistan Cricket Board is still in hunt for a reliable opening pair since Aamer Sohail and Saeed Anwer said adieu to the game. Just Salman Butt showed some glimpses of quality of the late but his career is now at stake over spot-fixing allegations.

The Pakistan team since the greats have left been struck in the caldron of inconsistency. Looking at even the players of the recent past like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Inzamamul Haq etc they used to snatch win from the jaws of defeat. They were raw talents horned under the guidance of legends like Imran Khan and Javed Miandad. But that does not mean the Pakistan cricket has lost talent but it has lost direction. At a time when the cricket world has marked their replacement players for the coming decades, Pakistan cricket is still lingering on without proper planning. The International Cricket Councils recent directive might make the difference in Pakistan cricket discipline wise but there is still a lot of work required at the domestic level to meet the international standards.

The Pakistan team’s defeat ignites lot of criticism at all the forums but nothing fruitful has been done as yet at the domestic level which is the main source of any game.

After organizing a successful domestic T20 tournament at Lahore, it is the right time to salvage the Pakistan cricket. Watching the T20 Cup, the question arises despite having players of quality why Pakistan is not producing great bowlers, batsmen and in particular finger spinners.

The PCB needs to identify a talented under-19 player who should be prepared on the professional lines that has been the practice of the past. Take the example of PACO’s under-19 team that appeared into the domestic Under-19 tournament.

It produced many players who later played for Pakistan. These included players like Wasim Akram, Ijaz Ahmed and Saeed Anwar. It later it employed in a single day players like Aaqib Javed, Ata-ur-Rehman and Zahid Fazal. The then captain of PACO took the initiative. So it is understood that when players start professional cricket at young age, they can easily serve for Pakistan for about 15 to 18 years.

Another area the PCB needs to think about is the fast bowlers department. There was time when Imran Khan was leading bowlers like Wasim, Waqar, Aaqib Javed, Atta-ur-Rehman, Muhammad Zahid set up the pace attack and then came Shoaib Akhtar, who remained out of Pakistan cricket for one reason or the other. And for over the last two decades or so Pakistan is playing without a genuine fast bowler. Punjab produced most of the pacer but now it seems Pakistan main weapon is dying down and no attention is being given towards it.

Coming to spin bowling when during the 1980’s Pakistan used to have more than 10 left-arm off-spinners, including Iqbal Qasim, more than 12 off-break bowlers including Touseef Ahmed, Akram Raza and Mian Fayyaz, legendry Abdul Qadir and Mushtaq Ahmed filling up the domestic cricket. But the golden art of spin bowling is also vanishing and now there is not a single quality finger spinner seen operating in domestic cricket. And those who are playing have several flaws in then. Unfortunately there is no one in their clubs to fix their mistakes. 

All PCB is required to do is produce supporting wickets at domestic level and appoint coaches for every department of the game – bowling, spin and fast, batting and fielding - at regional level to identify talented players, remove their errors and make them available for further training at the National or Regional Cricket Academies. If proper steps were not taken now then the game would become stale like other sports.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, November 02, 2010, , links to this post

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