Friday, November 26, 2010

Shopping: One Woman's Pleasure Is Another Man's Hell

SHOP PHOBIA: All Men Have It!

I hate shopping. I hate the process. Electronics are cool, but when it comes to clothes and boring appliances, men and women have very different ideologies. The truth is that Men and women shop in very different manners. For starters women actually enjoy shopping, men on the other hand, find shopping to be enjoyable as a chain saw swinging dentist appointment...with the dentist in question being blind; Simply put, men will keep rescheduling for as long as feasibly possible.

For The Gals who Rather not go through Child Birth
Men require an iron clad reason to shop, usually when their female loved ones reallocate their wardrobe to the trash bin. Women shop on an impulse, albeit of the planned 'lets spend all day at the local stores just looking around' variety or the, I need new clothes because everyone has seen my wardrobe disorder, coupled with an infection of month old, twice worn clothes. Whenever possible, men are perfectly happy to let their female loved ones shop for them.We know you enjoy it, and you know we hate it.

Dunno what it is, but whats the harm in buying it? My Wallet Feels Heavy
Men, whose mothers and wives shy away from shopping for them, are drawn to one stop shopping solutions, if there was a mythical store where they could acquire a DVD player, Bare essential Clothes and a Bun Kebab, that would culminate in the perfect shopping experience. A Lassi would be nice too. Women have the tendency to work rather differently, preferring to visit as much shops as possible to evaluate the ware almost as if they fear the shops might suddenly close down.
Oh, yes, we love carrying your bags for you.
If a man skips a store on his shopping spree, he doesn't really care. On the other hand, a woman is devastated due to the minute possibility that the store may have re-stocked some new happening wardrobe since the last time she was in the store (in all likelihood the day before).

For women, shopping is an Olympic sport that combines finesse, debating, charm and the proverbial leave the store without buying anything. Men consider shopping a sport as well, however it's more akin to the 100 yard dash. The faster you get to the finishing line the better.

The Kind of Shopping Men are Happy to do with Women
Men will do all that is possible to prolong the use of their clothes to prevent future shopping. Whether it's keeping their clothes well, or simply being ambivalent to the presence of mildew and a healthy dose of patches (we were really excited when tatty clothing was 'in'). Women on the other hand, feel the necessity to discard their clothing with regularity. No self-respecting, straight man feels the urge to replenish his wardrobe on a seasonal basis. 

The Heavier the Bag the Tighter the Noose
When men are forced to shop, they tend to select items that will match their current wardrobe, women have the proclivity to buy items that require a whole new array of other items....the cycle is endless. Much to the joy of the consumer industry.

Haggling; Despite putting together complex mergers and acquisitions deals and negotiating multi-year contracts, very few men know how to haggle properly, one can attribute this to their general lack of experience and the general comatose state of mind Men are in while being dragged from store to store by their significant others. Men will very simple look at the price quoted, if it's considered fair they'll pay it.

An approximation of what a woman looks like when you deny her shopping rights
Across generations and hordes of crying shopkeepers lying in their wake, women have developed haggling into an art form worthy of Sadequain; Mind Boggling. Any layman lucky enough to properly observe a woman indulging in her dark art, the words 'Hostage Negotiator' come to mind.

Kim Kardashian Secretly Buying a Sweater for Gorilla Bananas
In addition women are hardly strangers to manipulation, my own little sister, in her early shopping days, once swooned when a jeweler quoted her a price for an item, proclaiming her poverty, once the gentle shop keeper pointed out that the substantial wad of rupees sticking out from her purse.

What do you $%&$ Mean Credit Limit!
She immediately switched tactics and questioned the man's honor for charging so much from a such a young girl. At which point, the jeweler realized that there was no winning the argument. He reluctantly brought the price down to more acceptable levels.....My sister was 9 years old at the time.

Haha, I'm pretty enough to make you go broke
A guy is far more likely to buy the cheapest possible clothing substitute and brag to his friends how little he paid for it (After adding a 20% discount on what he actually paid). A woman on the other hand, tends to shy away from such indecency but will, to her friends and husband aka financier, typically add 20% to her buying price, not to mention add a brand label.

The Good Kind of Shopping
Making Clothes: Men don't make clothes; they tend to have an affection with all things ready made. You give a man a chunk of cloth and he'll wonder if the shop keeper mistakenly thought that his customer either asked for new sheets or was preparing to go to hajj. Women on the other hand, like nothing better to get their hands on some kapra (cloth) and go to work on it; apparently 'fashion designer' is embedded in their genetic makeup.

Women, wherever possible will shop in packs, whenever a hostile negotiation over the price of tooth picks is ongoing, their team will either participate or look judgmentally at the said shopkeeper. It's a team effort. It's also a social factor and a way for womenfolk to bond. Men, shop alone, it's not an outing, it's a solo drive-by laden with as few receipts as humanly possible.

Getting Married for the Gifts
Shopping is a part of all of our lives, but for those who shop; Proceed with caution. Women Don't Mess Around....

A Typical Woman's Christmas List

A Version of this article appeared in the Printed Edition of the Dawn

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Farmers Against Agricultural Taxation Standing United (F.A.A.T.S.U)


To be a farmer in Pakistan is to reside in a financial paradise. You have government subsidized irrigation and electricity, your output has set government funded support prices ensuring healthy dependable profits (Thank you Pasco!)...particularly since the guys setting the prices are the farmers themselves.....and in a country of a 170 million hungry mouths, demand is never a problem. Career and profitability wise, life is good.

Because talking just got harder.....

Now, it has been well documented (by most of my professors and lady friends) that my mind tends to wander off (mind you, it rarely comes back in a sane state), and on such an occasion I contemplated a scenario where the noted hard hitting, hard talking, and soft drinking BBC show Hard Talk's Tim Sebastian ....would actually interview these esteemed group farmers, over their lack of taxable income. Farmers in Pakistan pay nil tax.

They call me Sebastian. Tim Sebastian. Like the Sex Symbol. Which also happens to be Me.

Note: Sorry Stephen Sackur, every time I see you, I think of much needed hair implants and Donald Trump's vagina. It's nothing personal. I just can't take your weirdly pitched voice seriously.

Stephen 'Everyone makes fun of my name' Sackur

The topic of discussion is a farm tax to help pay for the damages caused by the floods. Needless to say, the Farming community is not happy with such a scenario. Simply because once we start taxing agriculture even a little bit, they can tax it again later. Which is the real doomsday scenario. Hence, the creation of FAATSU! Farmers Against Agricultural Taxation Stand United! A league dedicated to the preservation of Farmers rights from breaking the law (that is not paying taxes) by simply not allowing agri-taxes to be put into play.

This is how my day dream went.

If we were rich, wouldn't we be using tractors?
Nice Glib talk on the state of the agricultural economy of Pakistan. Tenth Largest Output in the world, biggest source of employment blah blah, who cares. We get it. It's important, just like every other agricultural economy on the planet.

Tim Sebastian AKA Harder Talk: So Mr. Wack'em Vedera, It is FAATSU's position that this proposed farm tax is unfair, why do you feel that the farming community should continue to be exempt from paying taxes, as the government scrambles for sources of revenues? 

Wack'em Vedera: I am off the belief that our taxation system should not punish the poor. It may not seem it to you, but I am a poor man, even a 1% tax is too much of a hardship on me (he proclaims as he wipes the sweat off his forehead with his Solid Gold Rollex watch.)

I and the rest of the FAATSUs do much good for the country, we sow crops that people eat...well, we don't personally do it, but the guys that work for us do! Personally, I even collect Zakat from my employees, I am such an subservient muslim that I adjust and increase the amount every year for inflation, so by my last count I collect 68% of my workers salary and that goes straight to Charity.

Harder Talk with Classy British Cockney Accent: That's a rather tidy sum, How is that spent? Do you deposit it with the government or donate it to a foundation? Can you provide documentation to such effect?

Wack'em Vedera: No,no, those organizations are full of wasteful scoundrels, I take a trip every year with my family to perform Hajj (religious pilgrimage), and we stop by in Spain on the way, last year it was very tough, I had to sell some of my workers, their livers, kidney's and their first borns to raise funds for the Bentley I rented. RENTED. Naturally I can provide receipts for the hotels, flights, etc...the prostitutes might be tricky, those poor girls were Scottish after all, didn't understand a word of the Queens English.

Do you realize how mercilessly the Rich Zamindaars (Land Lords) mocked me when they realized I was renting as opposed to buying and then crashing it into a strip club like my family has done for generations? ooh, the shame. I was profoundly embarrassed, I shamed my village. Next year I'll have to buy two Bentley's and an F-16 just to get back on even footing. And my village will know pride again!

Harder Talk: You don't seem to be making any sacrifices, you took an opulent trip to Spain before going for an equally luxurious religious pilgrimage. What do you say to those, who contend that you are taking advantage of the sacrifices of your people and essentially manipulating them?

They called Regan the Great Communicator: They call us the Great Provider

Wack'em Vedera: Gora Saeeen (White Sir) That is completely ludicrious, I pride myself on the sacrifices I constantly make for my people, when my daughter got married the villagers from all over the region put a bit of money together, so naturally we didn't want to offend them and we ordered Mithai...from Switzerland, and ate the entire one sitting! We didn't share it with them or anything. It's been 6 months and I still have the taste of Swiss Chocolates out of my mouth. I don't even like sweets, I'm diabetic. but for the love of my people I gulped down every bar of brandy filled chocolate till I felt closer to God.

I don't slur, I slam down the beat yo!
Harder Talk: You mean drunk

We're Number One, We're Number One!
Wack'em Vedera: No, I mean closer to God, I couldn't even remember what happened the next morning. But I remember that through the haze I felt Almighty Allah's presence demanding that I take care of my people so I did!

Harder Talk:  What did you do?

Wack'em Vedera: Two things, firstly I gathered the closest several thousand people and had them build a sand castle city (Always wanted to be on Ripleys Believe it or Not) and secondly, in order to support the flood victims, I threw a flood relief party, it was a high class affair, the elite of elite were there. Almost 15 people showed up for a night of frivolity, Shakira performed, and I can tell you, her hips certainly don't lie.

We had Gordon Ramsay cook some Tikkas in a savory cockroach sauce, it was lovely. Inspirational even. Completely worth the very reasonable 1000 pounds a plate that it cost.

Harder Talk: How much money were you able to from this glorified party fundraiser?

Wack'em Vedera: Well, we actually ended up losing money, I never went to school, so my accounting skills were never good, I always believed that one ought to leave the Math to God. but I think it's important that we at least showed up and made our voices heard. Now all those rich people will feel shamed into doing their part, and it's all because of us! All hail FAATSUS!

Harder Talk: You must be joking.

Wack'em Vedera: I'm not, I even remember one of the guests telling the Playboy Bunny Models

Malnourished Women

how he had more than enough sugar to be all of her friends Sugar Daddy.

Harder Talk: How is that Charity?

Wack'em Vedera:
Have you seen how thin those poor girls are? They probably eat once a week. They are very needy. See he's going to give them free sugar, and we all know how expensive sugar has become, though that's because of the crazy Nauruans; Have you seen how fat they all are?  Besides, I think we've all agreed that our next benefit will be dedicated to those poor girls.

Nauru: Fattest People in the World. Respekt!
Harder Talk: I think I'm going to be sick. You're all unbelievably delusional not to mention insane.

Wack'em Vedera: Don't mention it, we're all just humble servants of our people. We strive to set an example for the coming generations on how survive in the midst of poverty. Would you like a crumpet, I just had it flown in from some quaint little island called Monaco, have you heard of it?

Shit, Now what? This takes forever to grow.

 The End.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Life is Beautiful: Unrelenting Optimism

I am proud to announce that I've solved all of our nation's problems. We don't need to reduce corruption, inflation, the energy deficit, mis-justice, unemployment or even street protests; we need to change ourselves and establish a life code of  'Unrelenting Optimism', by which we should always rejoice, even if it requires hallucinating the facts. Our problem is that we're all silly nitwit bunch of complainers. No matter how good life is, we just complain. It's an Olympic sport for us Pakistani's. What we need to eat some Mushrooms (the spiritual kind), open our eyes and realize that everything is actually great. Life is Beautiful.

Ever so often, someone dies or an election happens, and People stream onto the street. Now, it's popular misconception that mayhem is being cause but that really isn't the case, after all, they aren't aren't actually rioting on the streets, they are in fact throwing one big street party, its definitely more Eid than Tienanmen square. Those cars and vehicles are being burnt so that everyone can have a bonfire they can roast marshmallows and Chicken Tikkas on! there is nothing more festive than fires popping up across the city. How often is that you get to see the entire neighborhood out and about? It's such a blessing indeed!

Inflation is actually just the farmers way of trying to make everyone more health conscious. After all, Sugar, Meat and Dairy products are all very bad for health! The higher the prices, the less food a person consumes, the thinner they get and hence, a healthier (naturally better looking) population will emerge and it'll make nutritious choices; just like the North Koreans, don't they seem like a happy lot. how could we this blessed inflation see it for what it is? A national dieting drive!

Some like the whine about unemployment and how too many people don't have jobs. Now that's certainly misleading. Unemployment isn't a problem, it just means that the general populace has more time to spend with their families and 'find themselves', but we do care for those work obsessed folk; which is why Saturdays are off! We truly do live in Paradise!

The energy deficit doesn't mean that we should live in the dark, it not only helps the candle and generator industry, but by devoiding our lives of the internet, TV and fans, it also lets us appreciate the simpler things in life. Like a starry night as a drone powers on through to deliver it's next cache of bombs....completely for free!

Pakistan/US Relations: Just bribe us and get it over with.
Now many may mistake the relationship our nation has with our international friends aka the goras whom we affectionately call Obama, which is funny, because he's not gora, but we're too polite to say anything. Contrary to popular misconception, we're actually the best of friends. Infact they come over for sleep overs all the time, lend us money every so often, even though we never actually pay them back, they even look after our borders for us! Such silly news anchors we have, what more can one ask for in a friend?

Pakistan is AWESOME!; Ignore Anything Else I've Said to the Contrary.

The annual pillaging of the government's budget isn't corruption sucking the life blood out of Pakistan, it's actually a very smart investment for the future! The richer the political elite become, the bigger the scraps that fall from their table become. They are certainly better re-distributors of wealth than say the free market, they have an emotional stake in our country's people. We're so lucky!

The More Glasses the Merrier

Many people (blind conspiracy driven foreigner I'll bet), believe that Pakistan lacks a proper justice system, I say that they've completely mistaken. You see, we don't have a functional justice system that actually settles cases, because the powers that be have immense faith in the people of Pakistan to resolve our own problems. So what if it sometimes it allegedly get's out of hand. It's truly justice of the people.

Dealing With Inflation: Where there is a will, there is a Way!
Women have rights, plenty of rights, in fact I distinctly recall offering all women the right to come on over to my house clean the dishes, tidy up my room and make me a nice tasty meal (I prefer Lasagne), I'm sure all other Pakistani men are just as generous. We're an inviting lot you know! Almost to a fault, I daresay. We invited these Taliban chaps, and they like it here so much (duh, we're awesome...and tight), they decided to stay. Slumber parties for all!

Don't date Prudence! Prudence is Not Halal! YAY Overspending!
Government over spending, you see every once in a while, the world's economic powers would date a girl called 'Prudence', but since prudence is not a Muslim name (and is probably promiscuous as a result), we decided that it's in the best interest of the nation to shy away from her and over spend, just so that she doesn't get that idea that we're open to temptation. Besides, why would the most perfect Islamic state in all the lands, follow the fiscal example of the rest of the world? Sheer lunacy.

Optimism is believing these Girls are all 21 and have no STD's
Besides, the more we borrow to spend now, the harder our children will have to work in paying off our debt, and we as a society want nothing more than for our future generations to develop a strong work ethic. A bunch of Lazies they will never be!

Whilst others may share a different much less enjoyable reality, the world is really enjoyed by those eccentrics who choose to make the best of things, find joy even when the circumstances don't justify them. Anyone can be happy when the going is good, but to be happy when nothing works in one's favor – now that requires talent. And of course, unrelenting optimism; copious amounts of medication never hurt either.

A version of this piece was reluctantly published on