A strange thing has occurred – anything with * works – but the second you hit, all hell breaks loose. Nothing opens. I kid you not, and I’m wondering whether Pakistan’s government has imposed the blogging ban all over again? Anyone knowing anything about this, feel free to email me and let me know. This is ridiculous, otherwise.

With great difficulty, I’ve landed here, into the posting of things.

(ETA: Nothing was wrong: blogspot was misbehaving and apparently, that’s usual. Tragic. Google’s definitely the new Microsoft).

Ramadhan’s started tonight, with our first fast tomorrow although it’s started for Muslims based in America, so if you’re a Muslim and you’re reading this blog, wherever you are in the world, Ramadhan Mubarik (“congratulations on the start of the holy month”, although it seems so small when it’s translated).

And now, I should come up with something really productive since I really have no idea when I’ll be able to login again (if this blogspot love/hate relationship stands to continue indefinitely).

The Addams Family recently wrapped up production, although I’m not sure what the response was. Since very few of my circle actually bothered to turn up, I’m thinking it might not have been all that great. But that’s only a prediction, not fact, so don’t quote me on this.

A steady stream of traffic has been coming our way, courtesy of this blog, so maybe this is turning out to be a good idea after all. However, one suggestion: you could drop a comment at either the blog or the site, regarding your thoughts and opinions on it. Who knows? We might implement one of your thoughtful suggestions. I think I should put up news about our site on the site too, from time to time. At least let people know what’s happening, for those who don’t frequent this blog as much.

Among the theatrical production houses, a common stream of thought seems to be propagating like fire: the development of Islamabad’s first theater for theatrical productions. It’s true: we do need one, it sure would compensate for the limited seating Islamabad Club (bless it) currently offers. The problem with plays here, is that the commercial/advertising partners seem intent on making as much money (read: sell as many tickets as humanely possible) for a given show, so the result is, if you don’t queue up early, you might have bought the same priced seat, but have to sit on a stair or worse, stand. My line has always been: stretch the shows out for longer if necessary, and sell only the amount of tickets as there are seats. What’s the point, if you’re getting no value for money in terms of comfort? It isn’t fair at all. You pay, you should get what you pay for. It is that simple, and corporations in other countries recognize this. Sophistication (like corruption), begins at the very top.

Besides, I feel we’ve had enough adaptations and we should be ready for a little creative maturity and start developing original works of art. How long are we going to stay within the shadow of Hollywood, and not step into our own limelight? But really, how much can we take living off the creativity of others, is the far bigger question. I mean, enough is enough already, no? Real, original productions with real, original messages and real, original humor. “Real, original” being the watchwords in the sentence, apparently.

A desi writer member and friend, feels that creating an original play takes a lot of courage, which is natural. Or is the indirect point she’s making that we don’t possess any truly courageous talents in the country? Could be, but I disagree. I believe we’ve got the talent in the right sectors, but no one knows it yet, and why may I ask? Why aren’t more people stepping forward? And I don’t mean the people who think they can write, but the ones that know they can and do a good job of it? Why aren’t the truly talented playwrights really getting out there, and showing something to the world? Sure, another desi writer and friend and now producer, director and playwright, Osman Khalid Butt, with his house The Living Picture Productions, is out there but he’s just one person in a multitude of so many. I run a writer’s website, I interact with these talented individuals on a daily basis. My question is simple: why aren’t more of them out there? Why not show some confidence and pride in your work? Strive to be different; don’t feed on existing material. Create your own.

Besides the writing of things, we need serious, strong, committed actors not students right out of school or college or worse, working in other fields. They always end up with musical toned, pretentious, one-dimensional portrayals of otherwise, very interesting characters. Theater should be pursued as a dedicated field in our country.

How else are we going to spread the word?

The only way is up, people. Let’s not slow ourselves down, here.


That’s the title of a story I’m hankering after. Note the word usage – “hankering” because I haven’t got anywhere yet – throws my last post into a tizzy, doesn’t it? I’ve got a nine hour work day, which comprises mostly of sitting before my laptop, doing market research and trends, and then writing about it. So at the end of the day, you’d much prefer not spending any more time with the widescreens of this world. Hypocritical, I know.

The problem isn’t with the idea – I’ve got it all nailed down – I’ve got the two leads and their lives all planned out…okay, mostly, not completely but still. And now of course, my time table’s changing after tomorrow – Friday, I’ll be reporting for work at 6.30 am. Yes, you read right. But we’re off at 2.30 pm so something needs to be said. No sleep after sehr, then eh? Worse things have happened. I’ll live.

But back to this elusive idea – the story appeals to me – it picks up on the emotional underbelly, which for anyone who has ever read my past stories, knows I love. It isn’t just the darkness that’s drawing (while simultaneously repelling) me closer each day, it’s the wealth of emotions I’ll be dealing with. And of course, the families and their protagonists are from backgrounds I understand and to a degree, can empathize with.

And after pushing away my trademark conversation dialog: dry, witty, sarcastic – I’m finding myself being drawn back. Though, let’s face it: I’m good at it. I like looking at life through unfocused lenses – it’s like looking at the world through the bottom of a glass – I like the skewed, distorted images transmitted back. That may be the reason the darkness of things so attracts me, because here’s a fact: it’s so much more fascinating to write about. How much can you write about happiness and birds chirping? The evil, dark side of our emotions are so much easier. No? Am I the only one seeing the complexities, here?

I suppose, to put it simplistically: the psychological and anthropological aspects of it are what really attract me.

I think we each have the capacity to commit something truly heinous, but the right blend of time, circumstance and the fortification of our relationships is what stops us. I also believe that the root of all evil, lies in society and the lack of understanding it affords to the lesser fortunate, and if we are to truly realize that in every walk of life, we should at least try to understand. The only way I can understand, or at least live through their lives (from my own perspective, of course – the writer’s perspective inevitably seeps in – or if it doesn’t, that’s just another thing I need to learn), is to write about it. Sure, it might not be something I know, but we often need to step out of our comfort zones to straighten the crookedness in our worlds, to get a broader experience and perspective.

Choose to be broadminded.

I’ve said time and again, that the perspective and changes my work affords me, are unparalleled and have forced me to alter my opinions and mind on things I observed with rigidity, to the surprise of family and friends. And yes, I can be torn sometimes between following what’s right and what’s expected, but that’s only human.

But I believe in justice, in finding the truth no matter how unfavorable or ungainly it might be and my journey often takes me to places (both personal and social) I wouldn’t be able to traverse otherwise. So I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, in the hopes that I will continue to find answers.

Maybe someday I’ll write those socio-religio-politico stories everyone thinks I’m in the midst of, but until then.

Now, all I need to do is move past this first line…