Recalling innocent EID Memories from Childhood and trends of past!

Trends and behaviors have changed largely with Passage of time…Lets refresh ourselves and look back in EID trends back in 80’s and 90’s…

Sabar karo Sbar karo, Sabar bari cheez hai

Aaj chaand raat hai kal subha EID hai

Well this innocent shair must be acquainted to all of my fellows who lived in pre-social media and pre smart phone era. With the advent of Ramadan, there were all sorts of activities related to EID observed by us as children and things used to pace up with every passing Roza.

We used to exchange EID cards alongside small gifts inside the envelope.  I firmly remember Khan bhai roaming around in streets carrying a big stack of wood displaying all sorts of EID post cards each amount Rs.1. We used to spend hours and hours in selection of EID card for our social circle. The most famous and in demand card was Bandar wala Card displaying picture of naughty Black Gorilla. This was Marjory given to a naughty friend as an acceptance of his Khidmaat as being most notorious and funny of the whole lot of friends. Post cards carrying pictures in different poses of various filmstars were also in fashion mainly for the Shauqeen type people. There were post cards of our national heroes with likes of Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Saeed Anwar etc. I used to purchase these poses of cricketers and keep it with me as a token of my attachment to these Guys. Then there were cards showing religious places like as Khana-e-Kaaba and Masjid-e-Nabawi (S.A.W.) which was shared with descent and elderly friends and relatives. Some fellows who were good in drawing used to prepare colorful EID cards manually. One of my school-mate who was good in making characters of Ninja Turtles used to prepare such cards and sell in Rs.1 to the class fellows; an innocent thing remembered with smiles today.

People used to send hard copy paper EID cards to their relatives living in other cities/countries. The purchasing of these cards from book shops was a wonderful experience in itself. Descent and innovative cards were purchased for sending the relatives. This was the supreme class of EID cards for sending via Pakistan post. The purchased card type and amount spent largely depended upon the degree of relationship with particular person. Often mothers used to write letters to her parents who were distant and send it inside the envelope. Isay kehte hai AIKK TEER SE DO SHIKAAR!

As soon as the moon was sighted, little children used to roam in streets; singing various trendy lines with respect to EID. Last minute Chaand raat shopping was a big attraction ; getting cone Mehndi for our sisters. They used to spend hours and hours of decorating each others hands with Mehndi in a gathering filled with urgency, smiles and giggles. Bangles were purchased by women for themselves and for gifting others on EID day. Gift packages with EID cards and associated gifts were prepared on chand raat. This not only included for the close relatives but also for some good acquaintances in Gali/Muhalla.

On the EID day, Khan bhai used to come in the streets with gadgets of entertainment for the children. This included game Challa/rings to get prizes of luck with 5 attempts costing Rs.5. The prizes included toys, biscuits chocolates etc. I never played this game as my father defied my from this juwwa game. Another big attraction with Khan bhai was the Bulls eye game of hitting two balloons at a time with prize of Rs.5 and two attempts were given for Rs.1. We used to play this game but I was neither able to hit two balloons at a time nor the plastic statue soldiers laid in queue.  I felt disappointed and down after each attempt but later somebody told me “ke bhayya us Bandooq ki naal heee seedhi nahee hoti theee” Ahem Aheem, no further comments samajh jao bas

With the passage on time and rise of internet, we saw online trend of sending e-cards to friends and relatives around back in year 2000. This was a major shift in choices. We then used to go to online websites mainly 123greetings.com and EIDmubarak.com and then select most attractive and meaningful cards. This was in itself a time consuming activity while we select cards, background appearance and music for booking on tentative EID day. Then wait for the person to see the card and hit back with appreciative comments and thank you e-card.

With the clutch of social media and mobile technology, we are used to of greeting each other online and via sms. General state of peace of mind is also missing today in Pakistan. Old trends have slowly been discarded. Old ways are still used but mainly replaced by latest trends of online connections and wishes. But it is a pleasant surprise still today if somebody use old trends like hard copy paper EID cards for wishing each other. This not only refreshes memories of past but also induce a sense of care within each other. This time I am spending my EID abroad, but I definitely plan to revive some old trends for the next time celebrating EID in Pakistan. If you are there, it’s not bad to give it a try; definitely you will get only cheers and cheers in return!


This article was published at following, dated 26th July, 2014


Article No: 24

Ramadan Transmissions #23

An overview of ongoing Ramadan Transmissions in Pakistan

Are we doing justice with Ramadan???

And yes this is the latest ongoing trend in Pakistan after we have witnessed competitions between Drama Serial soaps and Morning Shows in past. You can spend the whole day easily while watching various Ramadan cum game shows right from Sehri upto Iftar time. But the million dollar question is that are these transmissions really serving the sole purpose and theme attached with this holy month?

Every lame person knows that this is a month of piety and self purification in which we spend most of our time doing Ibadat and acts of goodness. We abstain ourselves from distractions and try to be closer to Allah. Zakat and Khairat is done overwhelmingly to fulfill our religious obligations and helping those who deserve our attention.

The biggest disappointment is Amir Liaquat’s show in Pakistan Ramadan by Express News which leaves many of us with an unwanted feeling. Amir bhai showing All in All like attitude playing with emotions people. Attendees looking at him like the sole Messiah to get prizes, begging for tabs, mobiles and bikes…begging and persuading Amir bhai while closing their eyes to the Rehmat-e-bari spread in Ramadan…Amir bhai asking for Refreshing comedy shairi while people responding with ishqiya shari. Showing way biased behavior by blessing his sisters and humiliating his brothers; pardon me but the this difference in attitude is so evident in his show that one sometimes feel whether way he is conducting the show our trying to impress the female audience…Often wives are telling Amir Liaquat about their family problems and constraints in this live show (often begging for Bike) and their Husband is sitting besides her keeping his mouth shut and head down; why do not they educate people to only spread their hand in front of Allah and try to win Sawab and Prizes in Ramadan rather bowing in front of hosts of such shows…A very sarcastic video lately went viral on social media in which he is wadding a mango forcefully into the mouth of one of the participant…The biggest irony the background music for all this stupidity RAMAZAN RAMZAN HUM SAB KA PAKISTAN…mere waste of time with no spirituality, just using Ramadan as yet another tool for getting ratings and commercials…What a pity!

In contrast to Amir Liaquat’s messy circus, it’s really worthy to mention, Q and A sessions by Allama Kaukab Noorani sahib on Express news a really treat to watch and learn on different Islamic aspects. His cool and calm way with pretty smooth flow of address is really unmatched and is indeed serving great deal in this holy period of Ramadan.

ARY’s transmission is going much better as compared to above mentioned circus with Junaid Jamshed and Waseem Badami showing better character and motive. But the game show Jeeto Pakistan is somewhat of a disappointment. This game show started with two (2) days a week and went full fledge daily in Ramadan. I personally feel that if this was expanded due to Ramadan then the elements should have been revised by the program organizers as per status and taste of Ramadan. They could have added Islamic Quiz shows to distribute prizes. They could have arranged the competition of Qirat and Naat Khuwani. They could have initiated prizes on the good deeds of people relating to Islamic and Pakistani causes. But this touch is still missing while the game show is building each and every day. Even though the host has displayed a much better attitude and way of conduction as compared to other such game shows; I do not see any usefulness with respect to holy month of Ramadan. After spending good two hours with this game show what usefulness are we getting with respect to Ramadan?

PTV really stands tall among this ongoing mess and I personally liked the content and way of presentation with a descent host. Few days back I have a chance to watch a program in which “Akhuwwat” foundation’s Chief Mr. Amjad Saqib was invited and the host co-coordinated with in a very balanced manner throughout the course of program. He told us about his book and journey/working of his foundation which was very inspirational indeed. In the background, the Calligraphy competition was going on and prizes were being given based mainly on Islamic questions; attendees were showing much patient attitude. The prizes were less and show was less glamorous/rocky but the element of sooth and peace was there; I thought it was a very good effort indeed. May other channels could learn from grace and character often displayed by PTV…

Ramadan transmissions are also helping some genuine needy people through the generous Pakistanis around the world. People grab every opportunity to help the deprived through these shows which should be appreciated wholeheartedly. Knowledgeable Islamic questions are also helpful for the audience with sections of Naat and Qirat. Treating people with Sahri and Iftar is also a noble deed fulfilled during the transmissions.

The purpose of mentioning the above weakness is mainly to ponder if we are going in clash with Islamic teachings and soul of Ramadan. Are we doing justice with this holy month? Especially the way few programs are conduced in a haughty way should be curtailed. I wonder why people do not react to such behavior of hosts like Amir Liaquat?

Content is a key for fulfilling the sole purpose of Ramadan. Transmission time can be consumed in educating people with respect to our behaviors and societal obligations. Sessions of Tafseer-e-Quran can be initiated with programs on Seerat-e-Nabwi (S.A.W.). Scholars can guide people on how to get prizes from Allah (S.W.T.). Programs on Islamic trainings of house women can be started which would be a  revolutionary step. I have a very firm believe that if the TV owners realize the heavy responsibility on their shoulders and switch their attention from getting Ratings to a policy of Honesty/Justice; they will soon get the desired appreciation in all forms and that eternal satisfaction which is priceless…


This article was published at following, dated 24th July, 2014

Ramadan Transmissions

Article No: 23


How to develop an excellent signature???

“My journey of getting an Amazing signature”

During my childhood, I was always fascinated to see the elder people acknowledging various documents by signing them. Signatures were something else for me right from the beginning. And of course, there was always some sort of debate going on around as how one should develop his/her signature with a handful of suggestions and information. People having stylish English signatures were thought awesome and the one’s using Urdu was treated as Illiterate/out of fashion. Raised in such an atmosphere, today I will share my journey of developing my signature.

The very first and visible instance to encounter was our report card. In our school, it was a must to get parent’s signature on the results card within a week of result. So, we were used to of taking our school examination result to Abbu, who used to review it carefully, bestow some words of wisdom and finally sign the report card for re-submission in school. So this was an impressive exercise. “People having signature have loads of Wisdom and balanced lives”, I often thought while taking the signatures from Abbu. While many of my colleagues were too brave to do Jaali Sign instead of their parents; I could never find that courage within myself!

Cricket was our passion right from childhood as is for every other Pakistani kid. So in flurry of this passion, we used to waste a lot of time playing cricket; morning and evening in summer vacations. In order to contain us, my uncle told me a little story about a Guy who was a cricket freak. “His name was Akbar and he was just a mad lover of cricket. He was always playing cricket with least interest in studies. Waseem Akram was his ideal and he used to copy him in his play style. Akbar’s father used to advice him again and again regarding the importance of education but he hardly gave an ear to his opinion. One day Akbar managed to get an Autograph of Waseem Akram and proudly showed his father. His father just gave a pat to him and asked him to observe the Autograph which was given in English. He told him with utmost affection; Beta before becoming a successful cricketer, Waseem Akram became a good student and that’s why he is able to sign in English; same applies to you beta first take care of your studies and then you can run after your passion. Akbar understood the message and became a good student thereafter.” So my uncle was actually asking us to get serious in studies rather wasting time in cricket. This story was so touching. “Successful people are very good in their studies and able to sign in English” I thought deeply…

Then in free periods during school, we used to try different options of signature inking so many pages. Each friend tried to get most beautiful of signatures. During such exercises, I found out that some lucky alphabets have more beautiful signatures than the rest and my name’s S was one of them. Woow, I was so content knowing that. Then it was found out that one should make such a signature which is unique and nobody else in the world could copy it. So every now and then, I used to try different options to get ready for a Perfect signature for my future life. We used to help each other with different styles of signatures. I was so impressed by odd guys in the class who were full of ideas as regards to signature and became Gurus for us.

In Metric class, I somehow managed to get through with writing my simple name Sultan Shah in signature box of examination papers/cards. “I will make a good signature in Intermediate examination forms and college”, I thought. Meanwhile I went to one of my close acquaintance to get a guidance lecture on developing a good signature. “Beta, signature is always done in a single stroke without lifting your pen’s Nib; this is rule number 1. Secondly, there should be a straight line just beneath your signature and a DOT at the end of that line. Third important thing is the size of signature. Bigger size shows a confident and commanding personality and a small size depicts a lean and weak person” He told me all this and I was trying to memorize each thing to follow later on. “It’s a very scientific thing and psychologists may well analyze your personality by seeing your signature”…”Ahh how deep this all is proving out to be”, I thought for an instance. Nevertheless, I showed him various signatures which I had specially developed for my college life but he rejected all of them.“Your signature should be last name of Pir sahib we follow, apka signature tou yehi hoga beta”. “How could I know this thing?” a flash came in my mind. In short my friends, I finalized the last name of that Pir Sahib in English with a single stroke, big size, a line below the signature and a DOT at the end of that line. My signature was finalized!

I did that signature during my Intermediate college life. But soon I got myself into some more questions. People used to ask me what was the meaning of my signature and why I am not signing my own name. I used to explain them full science and logic behind my signature and they used to get impressed by the perfectly connected links behind my signature. I used to be a bit proud on my knowledge and sound approach. But honestly speaking friends I often used to ask myself “why am I signing name of this Pir Sahib instead of using my own name? This is my signature and I am doing it as regards to someone else’s thinking, why?” SShhhh…., I used to keep this WHY within myself!

Time was passing and I was about to get 18 years old; getting ready for making my NIC card. “I will do my own Genuine and Unique signature on my ID card with my own thinking; shall get rid of my confusions” I thought. So I prepared a final version of my own crafted signature with my own name Sultan shaped with some attractive curves difficult for anyone else to copy. Despite all this, Shahbaz was whispering in my ears: “Why do we not do our signatures in Urdu which is our national language? Why do we follow English everywhere?”Ahh, I slapped this thought and got ready for making my NIC.

So the given day, I went to Awami Markaz, Karachi for applying the National ID card for the first time. And when the time came for signing and the official asked me to sign. I do not know what happened to me at that time. I wrote a simple single stroke Sultan in Urdu and kept a line beneath it with a DOT at the end. When I came out and gathered my senses, I realized what blunder was committed. I was cursing myself to what I had done, how simple and easy anybody could copy this signature. And the biggest thing I did in Urdu. What a shame…But it was too late!

So thereafter, I somehow used to mange with that simple signature in Urdu for all communications. People still used to get surprised by the Urdu language and simplicity of my signature. But friends, let me tell you an amazing thing, I started observing a sense of applaud in the eyes of people who used to see my signature; many of them appreciated me of doing signature in Urdu, our national language. Some eyes said some unsaid words “Kaash hum ne bhee apna sign Urdu mein kiya hota, which is our identity and heritage”. One bank manager in UAE saw my signature and asked me, “woow this is your signature so simple”. “Yeah I know that it’s very very simple”, I replied. He said “No, I did not meant to mock you, actually I want to tell you one of our very rich client have his signature even easier than you”. Phhheewww I gained some confidence by this word. “Your signature is typically yours because nobody has such wavy shaky bad hand writing as yours” told one of my close friend laughingly. Hmmm, I never considered my bad hand writing which was indeed unique and difficult for anyone to just simply copy this signature of mine. Felt somewhat safe and relieved!

So in a nut shell, I gained confidence with this simple signature in Urdu and today I do it everywhere with pride. It keeps me connected to my national language, gives a sense of originality which could never be attained if I had signed in English. Everything is somehow linked and I can say proudly: “I may not change our hypocritical political and government system, but I can initiate CHANGE within my own domains; this is my very own signature in my own beloved Urdu language and the satisfaction is far beyond words”…


This article was published at following, dated 23rd July, 2014


Article No: 22