Pakistan after 13 months of Imran Khan’s rule


In late 2018 PTI (Pakistan tehrik e insaf) was the majority party in the general elections. Before that, during the five years 2013-2018 Nawaz Sharif’s party PMLN had won the elections and he was the prime minister of Pakistan. He couldn’t complete his term as the Supreme court of Pakistan ruled him a liar and a dishonest man who amassed illicit wealth during his long years of rule. Proofs of his ill gotten money are scattered all over the world in the form of large properties in England and elsewhere. As a prime minister he was proud to have the residence permit (aqama) issued by UAE which showed him as an employee of Emirates. No other ruling head in the world ever held such permits while ruling his own country but his priorities were different and all converged upon building an empire for his children and family. He has two sons and a daughter, Maryam Safdar who lives with him along with her family.

Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Safdar, Hussain Nawaz (son) and Hassan Nawaz (son).

It was this political backdrop in which Imran Khan was sworn in as the 22nd prime minister of Pakistan. People of Pakistan were enthralled at the idea of change which Mr. Khan has promised them. The long years of rule by Sharifs (from 1981 to 2018) in which the whole country was drowned in debts and loans just because the lust and greed of this family didn’t know any limits. This mega corruption became a way of life and destroyed the very fabric of society which used to have some respect for ethics and honesty in day to day dealings.

Imran Khan took over as 22nd prime minister of Pakistan in 2018.

First 100 days of Mr. Khan were uneventful and he and his chosen ministers kept saying on TV and print media that their hard work should not be judged in such a short time. Public at large carried so much hatred for the rotten system of corruption that they agreed to give them more time and now (as of October 2019) 13 months have gone since Imran Khan took oath as the premier. After the passage of first 100 days Khan told his followers that he and his team needs at least six months to straighten up the affairs of the state. Perhaps he didn’t realize that making such promises is going to be a futile effort as in the past 4 decades the society has been converted into small groups and clans and feuds. Land grabbing (qabza mafia) and monetary corruption became the everyday routine under the Zardari and Sharif’s rule and people were not ready to become honest overnight. Even the judiciary has become corrupt with the passage of time. People are very angry that in spite of the fact that major corruption cases has been proved against the former rulers, Nawaz Sharif, his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif and former president and party chief, Asif Ali Zardari, yet nothing could be done to take back the money from them. On the other hand courts (specially Lahore and Islamabad high courts) have liberally granted bails to this corrupt mafia which resulted in them having fun time in their palaces and mansions and least bothered about the number of corruption cases against them. One supreme court judge while writing about the corruption and dishonesty of Mr. Nawaz Sharif even commented that these people resemble a Sicilian mafia.

Similarly their properties abroad are the source of hatred for local population yet Pakistan government and judiciary could do nothing about them. There were tall claims by Imran Khan’s chosen few that they will snatch all their wealth back to the people of Pakistan but nothing was done in this direction which has angered the people and added to their helplessness in the face of blatant lies and stubbornness of past rulers.

Imran Khan with the president of Iran on his recent visit to Iran

The bitterness in the public has increased manifold in the past months due to the extremely poor performance of Imran Khan and his economic team in controlling the prices of daily commodities and with the ever increasing taxes imposed by the IMF (International monetary Fund) treaties. A previous hardliner of the PTI and a close associate of Imran Khan, Mr. Asad Umar was sacked and removed from a cabinet position as people were getting restless due to the prices and taxes which are breaking their backs and the middle class is rapidly disappearing. More and more people are getting poor as the bills for electricity are rising almost every month and common man has failed to understand this whole phenomenon.

Imran Khan is very happy that he is now an internationally acclaimed statesman as perhaps USA and KSA have assigned the job of an intermediary between Iran and KSA. What he fails to realize is that people of Pakistan are not bothered about the Iran-Saudi tussle and care more for the 3 decent meals per day for themselves and their families. Pakistan is rapidly going down in an abysmal economic collapse and almost everyone is now telling others that Mr. Khan is totally clueless about his role as prime minister and his team of ‘experts’ is worthless when compared with the sky rocketing prices within this time span of 13 months. Ever increasing utility bills and taxes are only adding to the misery of the common man.

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Pakistan: Conflict of Kashmir with India.


A brief introduction to the problem:

The first Muslim ruler came to Sindh (now Pakistan) in 712 A.D. From that day till 1857 A.D India was ruled by Muslim rule. Generally they maintained peace and there were hardly any forced conversions to their religion. That is one reason such large numbers of Hindus, Buddhists, Jain, and Christians were able to follow their religion and traditions freely. After the war of independence in 1857 the British ruled India till 1947 when the whole country was divided into India and Pakistan.

The map of Pakistan and India (combined with borders which are in place since 1947).

In undivided India there were many princely states ruled by autonomous or semi autonomous rulers recognized by the British.

The Kashmir dispute dates from 1947. The partition of the Indian sub-continent along religious lines led to the formation of India and Pakistan.

In theory, these princely states had the option of deciding which country to join, or of remaining independent. In practice, the restive population of each province proved decisive. The states with Hindu majority opted to join India and Pakistan has no objection even though there were some associated with borders of Pakistan.

Although many princes wanted to be “independent” (which would have meant hereditary monarchies and no hope for democracy) they had to succumb to their people’s protests which turned violent in many provinces.

Because of its location, Kashmir could choose to join either India or Pakistan. Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Kashmir, was Hindu while most of his subjects were Muslim. As the majority population was Muslim, they wanted to join Pakistan. Moreover most of the rivers of Pakistan has their origin in Kashmir and it was natural for Pakistan to want it to be its part. The Hindu ruler of Kashmir fled to India and Indian forces occupied Kashmir against the wishes of its citizens and that has led to a series of conflicts between the two countries.
In 1947 after fleeing to India Hari Singh appealed to the Indian government for military assistance and fled to India. He signed the Instrument of Accession, ceding Kashmir to India on October 26, 1947.

Indian and Pakistani forces thus fought their first war over Kashmir in 1947-48. India referred the dispute to the United Nations on 1 January. In a resolution dated August 13, 1948, the UN asked Pakistan to remove its troops, after which India was also to withdraw the bulk of its forces.

Once this happened, a “free and fair” plebiscite was to be held to allow the Kashmiri people to decide their future. That promise by India was never kept and now the people of Indian occupied Kashmir are rising for freedom. India has more than 750,000 army troops in India with killing of innocent freedom fighter going on in every district.

In recent years India has started to built huge dams on the origins of the rivers who flow in Pakistan and are the only cause of its fertile plains. This is against all human norms and against the Indus water treaty signed by both countries back in 1960’s.

At present India has control of 45% of the area of the former Princely State of Jammu andKashmir (Jammu, Kashmir Valley, Ladakh and Siachen Glacier); Siachen glacier was supposed to be no-man’s but in 1984 India invaded it and took control of this area to which Pakistan responded and sent its troops there. This war is still going on and is called the highest war in the world.

At present Pakistan controls 35% of the region (Gilgit–Baltistan and Azad Kashmir). China administers 20% (Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract) of the state since 1962. About 45% is under Indian occupation called Jammu-Kashmir.

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How do people raise kids in the West and in the East.


parenting

When I talked to Alice her son James was not home. I inquired about him and I came to know that as he is 19 now he was uncomfortable living with his mother so he has gone to another city in USA for work and lives there. She also added that he now has a girl friend and is happy. After talking to many other parents and reading I realized that after turning 18, it is some sort of a sin to live with parents in the West (America, Europe, Canada etc).

Aslam is now 32 and lives with his parents in Lahore, Pakistan. He is married with two kids. His wife has differences with in-laws but she doesn’t want to live alone either. Millions of boys are living like this in Asia. I don’t include girls as they get married and live with their respective in-laws.

I remember a young girl about 25, in USA who writes a blog regularly and who in her introduction says that her widowed mother has re-married, her sisters and brothers are all married and since she has a chronic illness and lives with her family, she is the only one not getting laid. Apparently getting laid is a big problem in the West. Not that in Asia and the East in general young don’t want sex but its contained within the norms of family, faith and society.

By writing these lines its not intended to prove which group of parents is doing good and which region has lousy parenthood practices.  Both West and East has good and bad points when it comes to rearing the young ones.

In most of the Asian, African and middle Eastern countries poverty plays an important role in child rearing customs. With poverty I mean not having a house or residential place of ones own, no means of transportation, not enough food and abject illiteracy. The corruption in third world countries led to some families of ruling elite get their kids (and grand kids) quality education and top jobs in the West or in countries of their origin. It is common to hear that in Asia, Africa and middle East somebody has ruled for more than 25 or 35 years while it is unheard of in the developed world where democracy has strong roots and people at the helm of affairs are held responsible and punished if an irregularity is seen. The result is that in most countries of the East there is no long term planning in educational fields and the children are not given education which in turn makes the future generations also poor. Their parents are too busy making two ends meet and they prefer to have two working hands instead of a college degree after a long unproductive time. Having educated parents like in the West plays an important role in rearing the young ones. The parents of the developed world are (almost) all educated and read a lot when a child is born in the family. They know the do’s and don’t s of the parenthood. They know when to seek help when needed. When a child falls ill, they take him to the doctor. In poor countries or so called developing nations the average parents are not educated. They trust in centuries old practice of taking care of kids. There is hardly any role of emotional well being of a child. Instead the father or the father figure in the family is supposed to be the strict-at-all-times while the mother is the giver of everything from food to well being of the child.

In most of the poor countries religion and ritualistic practices are all the stuff parents are equipped with. When a young ones falls ill, there is no health care facility near them. So they are forced to depend on the local hakim (a quack who has been trained in the field of medicine through ages of accumulated knowledge) or a 10th grade so-called doctor who only knows the names of Aspirin and a few antibiotics. Steroids are given in every minor illness even. Its a miracle that children in these countries survive. Please note that the infant and maternal mortality rates are highest in these countries.

In Asian and other countries parents provide a very strong financial and emotional hard shell to their young ones. No matter what age they reach, they know they have parents at home and family around them which will always take their side. When Aslam was 18 he took admission in a university for his masters class. After post graduation he got a decent job and then they married him. Not for a single day he thought he can live without them. Nor his parents ever wish that their son live separately. Here is a very prominent difference between the two child rearing customs. We can argue that in developed countries children are given freedom but we should not forget that children in the West later develop depression frequently and suicide rate is much higher than in the poor countries.

Not only the children live with their parents for their lifetime but they in turn take care of them when they grow old and its not considered an unpleasant duty. They do it with all their heart. Perhaps that is the reason that there are hardly any old people homes or nursing homes in these cultures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ten (10) characteristics of empty men and women.


We are all empty at times. Being empty is not derogatory at all and does not mean you are not useful. Useful to yourself and to others. Emptiness simply means scarce use of or no upper story. Of course these men and women have an (almost) fully developed brain inside their heads which is measured in grams like everyone of us have this mass of protoplasm. But is brain just another measurement like temperature and weight which can be gauged by means of tools? After all brain is much more than a few grams of tissue and we need to fill it with our experiences. It however depends greatly what are those experiences and how deep is our yearning for learning. Education does play an important part in its growth. Empty people fill it with very shallow and superficial stuff and then claim they have a ‘know it all’ brain. That is where things get askew.

 

1. Empty people are mostly concerned about themselves only. They start the conversation with “I or me” and end it at the same note. During talking they hardly ever think about the content. They ride on impulses and therefore whatever they talk about is mostly gibberish and lacks in solid content.

emptiness

2. They have very selective memories. Their past is full of insignificant (not for them) and random learning processes. For example if in grade 6 their colleague told them that she has seen pigeons pooping on a window sill, they will repeat it after doing graduation at any random point and leave the listener bewildered about its reference. Element of suddenness is the hall mark of their talk.

3. They are mostly concerned about their shoes and clothes. Hours or even days are short when it comes to their choice and description of these items. They firmly believe if something goes wrong with these things, life will stop but for others. They will continue to flourish however. In this choice of clothes and shoes they give all the importance to the newness of the fashion market. They, somehow, must grab every new fashion regardless of the fact that they can afford it or not.

4. They don’t know how to speak softly. Always loud, they firmly believe that the pitch of their voice is a big argument in itself. In a sedate environment it is quite often that the only voice (loud) you hear is their yelling or shouting. They believe that if they talk in a soft tone, others will not be impressed by them.

being empty

5. They believe in argument but they don’t believe in reason. Quickly and without thinking they will convert any segment of daily talk into an argument of their choice and then start yelling. The proverb, think before you speak, is not in their vocabulary.

6. They believe they are the king or queen of the universe and rest of the population was created to obey them. If they happen to be a worker, they spend their lives lamenting that why someone else is the boss. In a work environment they live to see that their activities (all of them including the visits to the wash room) are all conveyed to their boss who should always think that in the work area there is no body else capable of swift raises and promotions.

7. They talk incessantly.  But when it comes to content, well, that is another matter. They are capable of talking only about people (or their shoes and clothes). They are not capable of talking about events or ideas.

8. They are always full of complaints. A faith keeps them alive that the world has been very cruel to them and that they deserve a better life, in home or office. The result is that they believe they are the only perfect humans on earth.

9. They make fun of other people in their absence. They will ridicule the other person for his/her appearance, color, habits, the way they converse, clothes he/she wears, even nails. Its inevitable that they find flaws and above mentioned and other areas of daily life. They will appear real cool in front of these people and act very polite but as soon as they meet another person, they start telling him how inferior is the person they just met.

10. Empty men and women are ingrates. They will never acknowledge if someone has been kind to them or did a favor. When talking about something in this area, they will always downplay the guy who helped them. Their main premise is that they are the perfect human beings and nobody ever helped them nor they would need help at any time in future.

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Profile of a poor family in Pakistan


(Names and places are real like poverty. In one US$ you get approximately 100 rupees).
Tufail and Razia got married some 30 years ago. At that time they lived in Kasur. They both belonged to poor families and when I asked about it they were not hesitant in telling me that they didn’t have any fancy dreams about a happy life. It was a sin to think of a comfortable life. That is how poor Pakistanis live in villages (mostly) and in big cities.

kasur foods

Like their village dwellers they were also not educated (there are usually no schools in villages and if there are some, they charge large amounts of money which the villagers can’t afford then there are schools in public sector which don’t charge much but they don’t teach either) the  only education they got was from the molvi (prayer leader) of the nearby mosque who taught them how to read Arabic alphabets and some verses of Quran. Within one year they had a son. Tufail’s father was a laborer (called kammi in Pakistan which means a worker of low existence). These kammis are not paid a salary but are given wheat and other edibles as approved by the big landlords who employ these people to keep them entertained and work in their household. The zamindar or big landlord is like a god to these people and they spend their lives according to whatever they think is ‘good’ for them. Worse case scenario of slavery in 21st century.

After Shoki was born, Tufail was taken seriously ill. His father spent all his belongings and got him admitted in the ‘big’ hospital in the city (the district head quarter hospital with basic health facilities but no medicines or even decent lab tests as a rule). He had ‘sugar’  (Diabetes mellitus) and the entire village ‘knew’ there is no cure for it. Razia had a sister in law who was working as household maid in nearby Lahore (provincial capital of Punjab). Razia was pregnant again and in next three years they had two more kids. Both daughters.

Tufail himself was not a craftsman or skilled laborer and too weak to work as a farm hand. There was nothing to eat and the joint family system couldn’t support them. Razia’s sister in law told her to come to Lahore and she did that. They landed in a upper middle class neighborhood and Razia was hired as a maid for Rs. 500.00 per month. Insulin for her husband took 400.00 per month and three kids were growing up fast. She was given a one room ‘quarter’ in the house where she worked. For electricity and gas Rs. 100.00 were deducted by her employers. Her three kids were now placed in nearby houses as servants. They were from 5 to 7 years old and could only help the ‘begum sahib’ (landlady) to the extent that her babies were kept busy. Physical beating was a rule whenever a toy or a kitchen utensil was broken by these kids and they also started to help in washing and laundry. Total monthly income of the family was now 900.00 rupees. For an estimated price of essential commodities this table can help you visualize how much this 900.00 is:

Flour (the staple food which is used to make bread three times a day): Rupees 300.00 per 10 kg (20 pounds, the family needs 40 kg or 80 pounds of flour per month).

Rice: 100.00 Rs / Kg (2 pounds). Monthly use: 10 kg or 20 pounds (Rs. 1000).

Eggs: Rs. 10 each (they don’t eat eggs. Breakfast is leftover bread and tea.

Milk: 2 pounds (1 kg ) daily @ Rs. 50.00 per kg.

Meat: Poultry: 200.00 / kg or 2 pounds

Beef: 250.00 / kg or 2 pounds (result: They don’t eat meat).

Edible oil: 150.00 Rs. / 2 pounds.

Utility bills are not included as for 100.00 Rs. the ‘quarter’ owners don’t want anything more from the family.

When they get sick, they have to buy the medicine which is very costly. Medical attention can be had for Rs. 20.00 from a government hospital but they have to commute and spend an entire day and that costs money. So they prefer to stay ill or go to the nearby pharmacy which sells all the drugs and prescribes for their illness by someone who has passed grade 10 education. They cannot think of having vacations and can’t afford TV or schools. The eldest son was sent to a handicraft center where he earns Rs. 600.00 per month. He got married 3 years ago and now has 2 sons. The younger daughters were married off similarly when they reached 14 or 15. After getting married the girls found husbands who didn’t make more than a few thousand rupees and thus they are also working as maids in various houses to make the ends meet. There is another, youngest boy who goes to a government school where there is nominal fee of Rs. 50.00 per month but he has to buy all the books and stationary from his own pocket which is again a burden on family income. There is no social security to help them (and there are thousands of such rural families working in the posh houses of big cities). Their boys who remain uneducated, tend to either fall to drugs or crime or more recently resort to violence in the form of terrorist groups. But before becoming big they constitute small mafias which extract protection money from the local vendors and carry illegal weapons with them. Police have no mercy for these lesser people. Whenever there is a theft or burglary, their men are always the first suspects and beaten mercilessly in the process as there is no body to talk to the local police station in-charge who operates on ‘power and sifarish’ (approach & reference of a powerful man).

This story continues like this in millions of households across Pakistan and it does not have an end as the misery keeps on growing while the people in power corridors are themselves busy in making money and buying palaces in England and Dubai. Law has lost its place from this land and it has become a painful gulf between the very rich and very poor. Lack of a literate middle class which is vanishing rapidly is even more painful to observe.

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PAKISTAN – as of October 2017.


Three months have passed since the historic supreme court judgment on 28th July 2017 which declared that the prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif is not honest and credible since he be removed from his office. There was no public out cry as everybody knew that Sharifs have done nothing but amass huge wealth in their 30 year rule over the country. They constructed some roads in their majority province, Punjab but nothing was done in the domains of education, health care or even clean drinking water. The younger Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif who is the chief minister of the largest province, Punjab madly persuaded his mega schemes for transport but in the same province patients died of unavailability of medicines. In the largest cardio-vascular hospital in the city of Lahore, patients with Coronary artery disease were given two years time for a bypass operation while he spent billions of rupees on local train project. His utterly failed schemes which were supposed to revolutionize the economy were Yellow cab scheme, Danish schools, and Cheap roti scheme. Billions were spent on these projects and they yielded nothing for the poor. PMLN cronies got all the benefits and they were clamped officially.

Derawar-Fort,-Bahawalpur,-Punjab

The camp of the ruling party (PMLN) is now busy to malign judiciary and military because they firmly believe that these two institutions are behind the supreme court decision. Fortunately for Pakistan the public does not believe in the thesis of PMLN. They are fully aware of the corruption scandals of Sharifs which were first came to international lime light by the Panama papers.

The second and third place political parties, PTI (Pakistan tehrik e insaf) and PPP (Pakistan peoples party) are trying their best to fill the vacuum. The one province which has been the source of power for Sharifs has a cultural set up in which people don’t choose leaders but gods. In a recently concluded by elections in NA 120 the PMLN candidate won because they generously distributed money, cell phones and jobs. What we are observing is the sad demise of integrity and merit from Pakistan. When the public is ready to be sold for a few thousand bucks, there is no room for quality or honesty. It looks as if the people have accepted that the political leadership is allowed to earn billions and that they are above the law.

 

On 19th October 2017, the NAB (National accountability bureau) judge, Bashir Ahmad formally indicted Maryam Nawaz Sharif (who incidentally is the de facto prime minister of the country and the daughter of Nawaz Sharif), her husband, Captain retired Safdar and Nawaz Sharif. There was no public out cry seen outside the NAB court in Islamabad and the proceedings progressed peacefully.  All of them have pleaded not guilty and now the nation will wait for the court proceedings while Sharifs will try their best to malign the institutions because they love to claim that there is some conspiracy going on against them. They, however, fail to tell the people of Pakistan that what magic wand they had which made them billionaires after coming to power 30 years ago.

 

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Freshly Pressed Ideas: (Not a manual for being freshly pressed).


1. Photography: Use the lens to capture the following.

A bicycle or its parts. Any other machine / machinery parts are also FP worthy. So take heed and give importance to the old parts lying in and around your dwelling. A favorite is a very old (read ancient) automobile. The likes of a T model and Volkswagen photographed at oblique angles with rust showing as decor are strongly recommended. Fungus growth is to be considered an added advantage, provided your shots highlight it.

A passage/ street/ residential block/ sea or riverside etc. and what grows out there like ground nuts and sweet potatoes (which are not seen on the ground hence the whole charm of photographing them).

A flower or its parts. Flower containers are somehow not popular.

A bridge or its parts (like what is it like under the bridge). Little bit of water can be included to increase the marks (if there are such in deciding a FP blog).

Try to capture the abstract like Wind, Breeze, Sounds etc.

Decorations on festive occasions.

2. Prose (remember poetry as such finds it very difficult to find place in the freshly pressed elite club).

Preparing a meal.

Thinking of preparing a meal.

Talk about a movie you don’t want to watch.

Talk about a set of movies you don’t want to watch.

Latest fight between husband and wife (read girlfriend / boyfriend if you don’t like the nomenclature).

How you avoided a fight with your girlfriend / boyfriend.

Teething problems of your dog.

Travel & / or visit to an exotic place (exotic means outside America). This account will encourage the Americans to have sympathy for those ‘poor’ people / their system of living & they would feel great. You get freshly pressed.

Wear an old dress and talk about it (want be sure of getting freshly pressed: get a corresponding photograph also).

Numbered account of your recent visit to your in-laws who gave you a very cold shoulder.

Lists: Like a list of activities which you never plan to do or a list of things which you actually did but the neighbors called the police.

Sketches are popular. You can be FP if you can draw like a 2nd grader. Cruder the sketches, more FP’able they become. Like you can sketch your cat’s maternity leave and see it getting popular in no time (or till the kittens become grand parents – who knows).

1. FP = Freshly Pressed.

2. … This list is not complete and cannot be completed. New ideas will keep on coming. So keep on waiting for them and add yours, please. Till then good luck with the dreams of getting freshly pressed.

3. No matter what your FP’ed blog contain, rest assured that there will be hundred of keen followers and like-ers who will shower you with even keen (read absurd) comments as it provides them with the only chance of getting noticed.

A step behind being freshly pressed. Image courtesy:eu.fotolia.com

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How the time flies. How it stops when it’s a holiday.


I do not make ‘to do’ lists. They scare me as I know I would not be able to place tick marks on at least 90% of the listed items. Remaining 10% to me are never so important and therefore can be comfortably left alone. Without much (a)do.

I had a wonderful holiday time when ammi (Urdu for mom) was alive. She was my angel and she was a god when it came to taking care of me. On a holiday she would even ask the maids to stop talking loudly as I used to sleep till late. With late it means till it was lunch time or just before that. The normal utensil friction in the kitchen, the running tap water, the phish phish of insect killer spray, the grrrlp grrrlp of whirling washing machine – everything would come to a standstill because ammi would not allow any of this. She truly and magnanimously and selflessly loved me.

It was very early morning when all the tubes and lines attached to her stopped working all of a sudden and the monitors at her bedside showed a deep, silent, aggrieved, straight and lifeless line. My mornings and life had changed for ever. That also was very early in the morning, around 5 am and it was a Sunday.

Now I get up around 6 and head straight to kitchen to make a cup of tea. Somehow I believe it is rejuvenating and has the capacity to soothe my aching body and soul. Good thing about a holiday is there is no hurry to get to work. So I make that one cup and let the remaining water in the kettle so that to make another one and another one if my hunger or thirst for tea wasn’t quenched. My tiny study is usually clean as the maid gives some last-minute cleaning touches before leaving at night. The unwritten agreement is that on a Sunday I ‘ll not wake her up before 10 am. But by that time most of my ‘work’ is already finished.

Thankfully being fussy about eating is not a problem for me anymore. Frankly eating too much and being super choosy about what is for lunch/ diner is out of life (and believe me it makes life much easier). One realizes how much time and energy is spent daily basis on the selection of food items and mode of cooking /baking in an attempt to make sure that everyone leaves the dining table happy. Resorting to simple, basic foods is a blessing I have now. Though I shudder at how rudely choosy I was in this arena. For the past few years newspapers also have lost their ‘newness’ and charm, if you may call it. Rape, crime, war, terror, war on terror, killing of innocent people and calling it collateral damage, large ads of movies and gossip about movie stars is the stuff newspapers are made of. Sprinkle politics here and there and see your holiday morning destroyed and shredded.

Subtract breakfast and newspaper and you will suddenly realize how rich you are having so much of time. Problem with lot of time is humans want to spend it and on a holiday I am at a loss. I switch on the computer and avoid seeing the clock on the wall facing me. Then I get up and try to find a nail and hammer to place the clock behind me. One or two hours later I succeed in the first project of the morning and am ready for the 3rd cup of tea. And I am thinking of the remaining (almost) 20 hours of the holiday with clock now fixed at my back wall and nothing to do in sight. Should I be using to-do chits then? I wonder. There is silence to deal with when you don’t have anything else to do and it deepens into the crevices of soul.

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On getting up in the morning with a severe headache.


Severe headache getting up in the morning

Around 6 a.m. it is dark outside. The morning is crisp and clean with the breeze full of winter’s coolness. It is customary to give compliments to the morning otherwise there is nothing crisp about it as far as I am concerned. My son was up much before me as he has a term exam or whatever they call it in the university. The moment I tried to lift my head from the pillow I gave out a cry. “Idhar aao” (come here in Urdu). Hamza ran to me and held my head in his hands. He is now used to this exercise. When ever I have this headache, and it is always severe, he is the only one who consoles and cajoles me and tries to soothe me. Soothing helps sometimes. But the machinery inside the head continues to churn out pain in the form of … no, in every conceivable form. From large boulders of shattering pain to subtle needles of piercing agony. And there is no noise in the room. All this noise comes from within my head which by now is making me retch and vomit. “ulti kar lo” (please throw out) says Hamza while rubbing my nape and shoulders. He knows my headache get better if I vomit. But today morning it was different. There was an element of vertigo along with this excruciating pain and I was sick to the pit of my stomach. “Nahi ati tau kya karun” (if it doesn’t happen, what can I do), I shouted back. He kept quiet knowing too well that my temper takes a very deep plunge with the headache.

In the meantime Tahira comes downstairs. She is the maid who lives upstairs. Immediately she goes to the kitchen to make tea, following her morning ritual. That made me more furious. “STOP IT. STOP THIS NOISE. YOU WILL KILL ME”. I was trying to shout with authority but knew that my voice is trembling and she would be giggling behind the closed doors of kitchen. Even she is aware of my weaknesses during such pain and that is surely not a very pleasant thought for one who is suffering.

Tea came. My agony doubled. I wanted to take a few sips in the hope (and oh how I hoped this pain to get better) that it will soothe me but the clanking of utensils made it worse. Even when sugar was being mixed in the tea cup I almost shouted, ‘please leave it as such, I can live without this much sugar for one day’, it angered people around me (read my wife who does not need any valid situation to be angry), and it made me suffer more as I understood that none of them is trying to understand my agony. On top of that and on top of my head it seemed that many thousand animals with sharp claws are running in a stampede, literally crushing each and every nerve fiber in my brain and head. It was just like in the Disney movie, The lion king and hyenas are a perfect simile to the horde of animals making me suffer. As a doctor I learned that brain tissue is insensitive to pain. So this terrible pain (which has slowly taken the shape of added throbbing now) must be due to blood vessels and other tissues above the brain. Who wants to think of etiology when your head is being crushed at a hammering pace?

It gets worse with the help around

Finally, I took a sip of tea and glared at everyone in the room. My eyes must be very red and scary as the maid pointed out, ‘Bhai jan (elder brother) you must sleep a little, lack of sleep does this to you’. You know, when one is in pain, any advice is like a flesh or brain substance tearing weapon and I was struck with it with full force. ‘If I chose to sleep, who will go to work’ was my very (un)friendly mumbling back which I of course wished to sound like a real threat like command. There was silence inside the room but the headache was getting worst. My head was splitting and my temples throbbed as if there is some rattling steel furnace running at full speed inside my scalp.

Pounding headache with no relief in sight

After two or three sips of tea I objected to the degree of temperature and was told in a whisper that I don’t usually like lukewarm or cold tea. The poor gal who uttered those careful words never thought they will ignite me. At this point I was almost trembling with anger (more with pain but I would use anger to make me less guilty). ‘So I am not entitled to a less hot tea when I am dying with torture!’ was my calculated response. Though all calculations cease to exist in one’s mind when one of these headaches sound the war trumpet, knowing too well that they will win. Humans always lose this battle.

Two Aspirins and one Valium later I was slightly drowsy and Hamza hurriedly took advantage of the situation and started to press my shoulders and back. In a dreamy state I could feel the pain leaving me through my pores and I inhaled deeply. I am sure everyone saw it and took it as a sign to switch off all the lights and tip toe out of the room. Twenty five minutes later I suddenly got up with the residual pain like a stretching elastic band around my head but I could get up and go to office.

Posted in Disease, Headache, Migraine, Pain, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2. How do I know the Dengue fever has become dangerous? Dengue in Lahore: Serious symptoms.


Dengue fever can become very serious if the element of hemorrhage sets in. If the following symptoms are observed, take immediate steps.

SYMPTOMS:

1. Abdominal pain

2. Persistent vomitting

3. Weakness, increasing sleepiness

4. Cold sweats

5. Shortness of breath

6. Dark color urine

7. Lot of drinking fluids but very low urinary output.

If you or any body near you is found to have these symptoms, NEVER wait and IMMEDIATELY take the patient to the nearest emergency hospital. Any time spent at home will be wasted and can be fatal.

For more information a helpline by the government of Punjab has been set up. You can try this number: 0800-99000 (toll free).

Posted in CurrentAffairs, Dengue Fever, Lahore, Pain, Pakistan, Viral fever | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment