Thursday, 7 May 2015

The Power of Repetition

Repetition helps you master things. When we perform a task again and again, we get the knack of doing it right with more ease.

Repetition helps you achieve big goals. If you get stuck, try again and again till you finally succeed in attaining your objective.

Repetition creates habits. If you repeat tasks often enough, you get the hang of it, and the task becomes more and more automatic.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Dedicated to my Friends

I am rich because I have many loved ones around, thankfully. And I am even richer because I have a multitude of good friends around the world!

A big THANKS to all my friends! :)

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Be Grateful



Be THANKFUL, even for the little things.

Monday, 4 May 2015

The Metro Bus Ride

One Sunday morning, I dragged my husband to take me to Minar-e-Pakistan via Lahore's Metro Bus. I wanted to ride the much hyped bus venture before it was subject to atrocities of misuse.

Lahore Metro BusI was fascinated by the construction of the Metro Bus infrastructure. The system has been built with great care and insight. Metro stations have been built above, below, and parallel to the accompanying road network. Even the opening and closing of the Metro bus doors have been meticulously coordinated with the opening and closing of the Metro station doors. There are, however, certain shortcomings.

The Elevated Metro Bus Track near Minar-e-Pakistan LahoreFor one, I did not appreciate the coin system, and wondered why they had not initiated the card system instead with a card to top up the credit.

To ride the Metro Bus, people need to purchase coins for every one-way journey. Currently, it costs one coin worth Rs. 40 to ride any length of one-way journey via the Metro Bus. Since the Pakistani populace is well-acquainted with mobile phone technology and phone credit options, I believe introducing the card system shouldn't be too difficult for the masses to comprehend.

To date, the government has been subsidising the project by charging a flat fare for every XYZ metres journey travelled. Such subsidies have prevailed for over two years now since the project's commencement in February 2013. These munificent discounts - though appealing in the short term - could have dreadful impacts on the project's sustainability and viability in the long run.

I also found the bus service to be pretty time consuming as it halts at every Metro bus station every few hundred metres away. However, I do understand that public transport is usually a tad slower in an attempt to offer more convenience and accessibility to the masses.

Metro Bus Lahore Stations
The worst part is the congested reality of the buses, even though the congested reality incredibly depicts the true, sad face of poverty, populousness, and lack of education in Pakistan. I feel that the congestion and 'consequences associated with congestion' would deter some users from considering the Metro Bus over other available means of transport.

However, there is room for improvement if a greater number of buses or larger bus sizes are managed. Moreover, there is an urgent need to implement a fair bus fare so that people are consciously made accountable for the length of journey they ride.

In a nutshell, the Metro Bus venture is a pretty commendable effort that extends a neat and well-managed bus service to the masses who do not have the resources to afford and experience quality transport. Yet, the project needs to be urgently secured by taking appropriate steps crucial for the project's long term viability and sustainability.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

NIKAH - The Real Marriage

My mehndi, shaadi, and walima functions were hosted in extravagant marriage halls with flamboyant dresses, lavish foods, and ornate decorations. These were mostly in line with the wishes of my family and inlaws alike, perhaps to simultaneously satisfy societal expectations.

However, I insisted in organising the most essential part of my wedding, the Nikah ceremony in a mosque on a holy Friday before the other wedding celebrations commenced.

Adorned with prayers and blessings to start a happy married life, I was touched by the simplicity and purity of the Nikah rituals. Moreover, my tender spiritual faith in Fridays - inculcated by my grandmoms and mom - instigated me to pledge my companionship journey on the mega blessed day of the week (according to Islamic traditions).

I revere the sanctity of the marriage henceforth announced, and hereby pronounce Nikah to be the real marriage ceremony amidst the amalgamation of ostentatiously displayed events.

To this day, I celebrate my wedding anniversary on the date of my Nikah. However, my dad tends to differ as he considers my rukhsati day - the day I left my parents to join my husband - to be my true wedding anniversary.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Lack of Direct Transport Facilities to the Federal Capital

On one side, Islamabad is envied to be the pampered city of elitist government officials and foreign expats. On the other hand, the city receives dismal respect as a transport destination when it comes to transport facilities like airports, railway stations, and intercity bus rides.

Ironically, there was no airport or railway station envisioned for Islamabad when the planned city was built in 1960. Only the existent airport and railway facilities in the adjacent twin city, Rawalpindi were revamped to serve the capital as well.

Moreover, major bus services - though commendably thriving and serving by connecting major cities of Pakistan - continue to disappoint Islamabad's populace as they fail to provide uninterrupted bus service to Islamabad. For instance, even the celebrated Daewoo bus service does not drop passengers directly to Islamabad, ending its official journey till Rawalpindi leaving Islamabad passengers waiting for the next Daewoo shuttle to transport them to the federal capital.

These transport constraints pose inconvenience for the inhabitants of Islamabad. I pledge concerned authorities to take notice of the grievances of the populace, and promote direct transport facilities to Islamabad.

Saturday, 28 March 2015


Quick, action-driven.

Mix of spice and vice.

Well-made and well-directed.

Good acting.

Appropriate casting.

Heavy game plot.

Commendable timing and twists.

Pleasant chunks of comedy.

Not too vulgar or obscene.

Though extreme, abrupt violence.

Captivating till the very end.

PS: And this movie poster has creatively included all members of the cast including the Yellow Mustang!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Discrimination against Pakistani Educational Qualifications

Apparently, some universities around the world still do not know about the reformation of Pakistan's undergraduate programs from 2-year Bachelor programs to 4-year Bachelor programs. Consequently, they do not value certain 4-year Bachelors programs from Pakistan unlike they value 4-year Bachelor programs from other countries.

Below is a set of snapshots reproduced from an International Students Admission Guide for Master's programs by a reputable Canadian university:

Discrimination against Pakistani Educational Qualifications

The information stated therein indicates that the institution finds applicants with 4 years Bachelor degrees from India, Nepal, Namibia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Lesotho, Jordan, Kenya, Oman, Iraq, Israel, Ireland, Kuwait, Palestine, Oman, New Zealand, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Yemen, Zambia, and several other countries to be eligible for admission into its Master's programs if they meet the minimum overall standing.

However, ironically, the institution does not give the same weightage to a similar 4 years Bachelor degree from Pakistan. In fact, their website specifically states the following for Pakistan: "Bachelor plus Master OR B.Pharm, MBBS, B.Tech, B. Computer Science, B.Eng, B.Sc in Engineering, BArch (4 years)".

This implies that for Pakistan's educational qualifications, only a 4 years Bachelor technical degree like Engineering, B.Tech, MBBS, Computer Science, Pharmacy, or Architecture will be eligible for graduate admission. However, if an applicant has a non-technical Bachelors degree (no number of years specified), then the applicant should submit both a Bachelors transcript and a Masters transcript with the application documents.

Surprisingly, they do not acknowledge that a 4 years Bachelor program (BSc Honors) in Mathematics from one of the top-most universities of Pakistan, Lahore University of Management Sciences is a technical degree or meets their preliminary requirements for admission into a graduate field of study.

In view of this apparent discrimination between international evaluation of Bachelors programs from Pakistan and those from other countries, I feel that there is an honest lack of information about Pakistan's robust 4-year undergraduate programs.

To resolve this concern, I would strongly encourage educational institutions in Pakistan to:
1) communicate to their international counterparts the change from 2-year Bachelors programs to 4-year Bachelor programs in Pakistan, and
2) urge their international counterparts to re-assess Pakistan's 4-year Bachelors programs, and consequently revise admission criteria for applicants from Pakistan.

I believe that resolving such issues could facilitate Pakistani students in obtaining higher education oversees, and simultaneously improve the image of Pakistani educational qualifications in the international market.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Change Your Perspective

"I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way."

(Robin Williams - Dead Poet's Society)

Saturday, 21 March 2015

A Comfortable Silence

A Comfortable Silence
Image courtesy:

"Silence draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking." (Nicholas Sparks)
"Someone you can talk to and share silence with is a rare breed." (Sonya T.)
"He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words." (Elbert Hubbard)

Friday, 20 March 2015

A Tribute to Shahid Afridi

A Tribute to Shahid AfridiShahid Afridi is like the assertive Pakistani bahu (daughter-in-law), who is popular among her in-laws for her ebullient nature and ostentatious displays.

She has the knack of alluring people with her flamboyant appearances and charming aura. Even though she does not know it all, she can make people believe that she is good at everything. People admire her vivacity and vocalness, and appreciate her ability to become the life of the party.

People who are moved by such pomp and show will typically overlook the simple bahu who quietly and diligently delivers her duties with care and responsibility. Moreover, since a humble person would not extravagantly showcase her work contributions or flatter her onlookers to win their admiration, the latter does not receive due appreciation or respect.

In a similar way, people who are moved by pomp and show have always associated Pakistan's cricket team with Shahid Afridi even though several great, distinguished players have served the team with humility, integrity, and persistently good  performances beside him.

Afridi has influenced Pakistan's cricket team to a massive extent, but sadly not in a healthy way. No matter how poorly he performed, he has always been celebrated and cheered. However, as Afridi has been repeatedly lauded for his erratic and often regretful performances, motivation of the rest of the team suffered as the actual contributors received sparse encouragement from the audience.

Today, as Pakistan exited the World Cup 2015 with a distressful defeat against Australia, Afridi retires from cricket according to his earlier statement (Reference:

Finally a reason to celebrate even after a lost match and a lost World Cup!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Personalised Internet

Today, when I swiped my phone, I smiled :)

Google was wishing me Happy Birthday with a pretty cupcake to top my day!

Later when I opened my Chrome browser, Google greeted me with a personalised greeting: "Happy Birthday Sarah!" 
It appeared as I hovered the cursor over the ornate image reproduced above!

It is amazing and freaky how close and personal the internet is becoming with our private lives! 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Bravo Team Green!

Bravo Team Green - Pakistan
7 March 2015's match between Pakistan and South Africa was simply outstanding. Loved it! What a brave and commendable performance by the Pakistani cricket team! And an entertaining and exciting show for the audience.

Luckily, South Africa asked us to bat first after they won the toss. Perhaps they thought they'd bowl us out for a low score, and secure an easy win. Pakistan, however, proved them wrong, and in fact surprised most people by winning a crucially important game against a notably tough opponent.

The evening before the Pakistan-West Indies match, I thought that if Pakistan won the toss, there would be some chance for us to win the game. Of course, I candidly assumed we would logically opt to bat first.

Since as long as I can remember, Pakistan has lost most games of cricket when it has chased a total, be it large or small. For one, our batsmen - though undesirably undependable - play relatively better when they start the game. Secondly, our bowling side has the enigmatic knack of taking wickets, and limiting the other side before they reach the posted score.

However, on 21 Feb 2015, I was sad to see Pakistan bowl the first innings against the West Indies. The mere fact implied that our team was very likely to have a rough and tough game. Later, I was shocked to find that Pakistan had won the toss, and for some inexplicable reason, chosen to bowl first.

"How could they win the toss, and intentionally choose to lose such a crucial game!" I couldn't believe it, and still regret that toss decision.

Nonetheless, with Pakistan's progressing performances, I am happy to see the green team regain its confidence and 'success glory' after two initial consecutive defeats in the big tournament.

I have been following cricket for more than a decade now, and have repeatedly acknowledged Pakistan's cricket team to be a close representative of Pakistan and its people. Broadly speaking, the team has the following traits:
  • Lack of unification and team spirit
  • Big dreams but no intelligent game plan
  • Unpredictable and undependable nature
  • High energies, spontaneity, and erratic performances
  • Individual contributions instead of zealous teamwork 
  • Lack of organisation and direction
  • Casual and non-professional attitude
  • Lack of determination and committed action
  • Occasionally outstanding but consistently confused
  • Lack of confidence and self-esteem
  • Skilled but not bold, able but not consistent
  • Lack of cohesion and stability
  • Insecure and lacking self-confidence
  • Seeking reassurance from others to reaffirm self abilities
  • Hoping for a miracle

Like many sports, cricket demands team work. The game is, of course, about good sportsmen - batsmen, bowlers, fielders - under the leadership of a robust captain. We have the skills, but we need to muster confidence, courage, commitment, and consistent team efforts to achieve our collective goals.

Lately, Misbah ul Haq has demonstrated to be a very able captain. I am particularly impressed by the way he handles stress, and doesn't take consequences of a dismal performance at heart. He rejoices and bucks up the team with the small 'victories' in a game, and stays calm and composed even when things are going the other way. This simple and stable captaincy seems to be a productive and healthy change for Pakistan's cricket team.

Our next match will be against Ireland on 15 March 2015. In light of the 'toss theory' applicable to our team, if we bat first, we stand a hopeful chance of winning the game. However, with the confidence that we have mustered with our recent strategic wins, if we are required to bowl and chase, we will still be high-spirited and focused to be the winning team.

Bravo team green!