Category Archives: Second Year – Taken up by a storm

Too many extra curricular events and activities.

Of Humair Ishtiaq, Yasir Pirzada and 50 Minute

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Lying forgotten in the myriad of folders was this blog, which i’m finally publishing….

Today, Sunday September 4th, 2011, Humair Ishtiaq and Yasir Pirzada did what 50 minute hadn’t been able to do. And that is, compelled me to write a blog about the Pakistani Youth. Well yes, I can understand your confusion about the title but all will unfold as this article progresses.

Three oft-repeated statements,

 “Percentage of youth in Pakistan is an astounding 63%…!”

“Pakistan is full of talent.”

“Now the future of Pakistan lies in the hands of the youth…!”

These statements fill us with content that all is not lost and somehow, someone somewhere will brandish a magic wand and fix all the problems of Pakistan and that someone will definitely be from among the talented youth of Pakistan!

Aaah if only wishes could come true!

Muhammad Amir

English: Ali Moeen Nawazish's portrait while s...

English: Ali Moeen Nawazish’s portrait while sitting in living room. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, let’s talk about the huge chunk of our 170 million population: The youth. There was a time when this 63% brought a huge smile on my face and my eyes shone with pride and hope. I always thought about Ali Moeen Nawazish and his great 23 As feat. I recounted with joy how Muhammad Amir was making world records at only 17. Not to forget those young singers performing brilliantly in Indian Singing shows: Sara Raza Khan and Shujat Ali Khan to name a few. These names popped in my mind because I recently attended the Eid special show of 50 minute where the above mentioned sang beautifully and literally won me over. Anyhow the point was that thinking about all the talent that our youth has and then the 63% figure, I was always hopeful until I read the following piece by Humair Ishtiaq in today’s Sunday magazine,

“On the global list of median age, there are 55 countries that have a population even younger than that of Pakistan. As many as 46 of them happen to be African. Among the remaining 9, there are four each in the Middle East and Latin America in addition to Afghanistan.

If youth on it own could do much, Uganda should have been the current superpower of the world for the median age of its population is merely 15 years. And, for good measure, it would have faced tough competition coming from Niger and Mali which have corresponding figures of 15.2 and 15.8 years. But they are economic and political non-entities. Because they are unable to educate the young, who then find it convenient to spend time in the wilderness of a lawless existence. We are naturally, much better off than these ill-fated countries, but if downwards is our only direction, it is only a matter of time when we may get bracketed together.”

An eye opener sure it was. Nations prosper because they possess certain traits like a sense of social responsibility and conscience not because of the high percentage of directionless youth that it has!

Nations prosper because of the calm and dignity that they possess even when faced with crisis whether in the form of natural disasters or economic depressions. China refused to take any foreign aid after the massive earthquake which left thousands dead and millions displaced. Similarly after being shaken by a 9.2 magnitude earthquake, the Japanese displayed immense calm and composure. On the contrary what do we see in Pakistan? Billions flowing in as aid, corruption in millions and so all are unhappy with the government. Media does the emotional reporting and increases its ratings. No doubt, a lot of Pakistanis come forward to help the victims but for how long? The intial few weeks, there’s the hustle and bustle of activity but then the poor people are left to fend for their own. Where are we erring? The successive earthquakes and floods have taught us nothing. We are back to point zero after every such calamity.

Nations prosper because of their ability and training to face hardships. Nations learn from their past mistakes. Have we ever done that? No lessons taken at all from either the military dictatorships or the feeble democracies. No increase in education budgets at the cost of defense. Why are we not learning that education is the solution of all problems? Quality education at all levels will give us insightful leaders and politicians. It will eradicate the menace of poverty and terrorism. It will create awareness among people about their rights and duties. It will create an atmosphere of tolerance where people are not prosecuted against on religious or ethnic basis as is now happening in Pakistan.

And most importantly, it will decrease unemployment and the associated crime rate because meaningful education teaches you the skill to make a living even with no investment at all. (This may sound very foolish, but I have examples where the creative mind was more than enough to create employment opportunities. More on that later). So the bottomline is that we must train ourselves to join the rank of the developed countries and not just say empty slogans. It’s said a slogan kills thinking for 30 years so we must not spend the next 30 years saying that our youth is talented and so Pakistan will get fixed itself overnight when this youth comes to power! Instead we must take positive steps to bring a change!

Nations prosper because of their grace and order. You must’ve met that English babu who went abroad in the 60s and 70s to earn bread and butter but has returned to Pakistan after his retirement. All his sentences begin with, “When I was in England…” and then there’s a long list of virtues that the English possess. They make queues. They consider honking rude. They don’t litter in public places and neither do they let anyone else litter. They follow the traffic rules. They are punctual. Their Police is not corrupt. Their democracy is transparent. Their leaders are accountable and so on and so forth. However that same English babu, when in Pakistan would take pride in deliberately throwing that used tissue paper out of the moving car; he would make sure that he never stops at any traffic lights. Why? Because this is home sweet home. Nobody here, follows rules so why should he? Besides what difference would it make if one person paid the taxes? There are a million others who simply waive them and several million who do corruption with the revenue generated. We are a nation with a dead conscience. We pride in breaking rules and then boast of our not-so-holy deeds. How easy it is for our Interior Minister to say, the situation in Balochistan is not as bad as that of Karachi. Only a few people die or go missing everyday in the former whereas the latter has become a battlefield. What a comparison to give?! We listen blandly to news of deaths, suicide attacks, abductions and bomb blasts and then switch the channel saying, ‘That’s nothing new.’ Excessive and in-depth reporting has made us insensitive.

Then what’s the solution? We need to step up to the challenges at hand. There’s a dire need for awareness among the entire population about the importance of social responsibility. We must stop the blame game specifically blaming the government for all ills because, bitter as it may sound, we are an equal party in the gloomy, dismal condition of our beloved country. We as citizens of the state have certain duties which we are not fulfilling at all. How many of us have ever taken part in community service? Picking up that garbage pile outside our houses; shoveling away water after heavy rains; teaching poor children for free; joining social welfare organizations without the tag of an ‘internship’; helping the poor in long term sustainable ways rather than the short term charity ( teaching people how to catch the fish rather than buying them fishes everyday ); spreading the message of peace and love through our writings, debates, discussions or whichever platform we have; sponsoring children for quality education and there are countless other ways to make a difference. The question arises, are we willing to do so? And then the long list of excuses starts…

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What goes around, comes around!

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With changing times, values are changing as well. Sometimes, for the better, at others, for the worse. Here is a fictional story depicting the stark realities of the 21st century in which old parents are being increasingly abandoned by their children. Now it depends on us whether we follow the herd or decide for ourselves what is right and what is not.

P.S. This short story was published in the annual Magazine of King Edward Medical University: KEMCOL 2011.

“They can not run away will all my gold and money…! I will not let them! After all I’m the daughter of Major Pasha and the wife of Justice Mahmood…! Do they think me weak? Do they?” Mrs Mahmood was now getting highly agitated while she explained her situation to a renowned neurologist of the country.

No, she wasn’t mentally challenged. Her only problem was that she still lived in the past. Her father had died 10 years ago and her husband was now a retired justice. So she was as weak as a person next door who had a simple salaried job and had no ‘contacts’ with higher ups to get their menial jobs done in a blink of the eye. She had to stand in a line like all others for her passport to be made. She couldn’t threaten the traffic police with job dismissals on giving her a chalaan. The ‘kitty party’ aunties didn’t come to her house as often as they did before perhaps because they felt it was better to spend time with some influential people rather than an ‘old’ useless couple who had been deserted even by their very own children.

Aaah children! This was still a very sore topic for Mrs. Mahmood. She couldn’t come to terms with the fact that her own ‘Hammad’ and ‘Abdullah’ were no more hers. They had married of their own choices and then settled abroad. It had been five years since she had seen the face of her youngest one. She had heard that he had a son and a daughter…! Her grandchildren! How she longed to touch them! To get a glimpse of them! Perhaps they resembled her or her husband! She often dreamt that they had come to visit her but her dream always remained that…a dream!

Dreaming to see her grandchildren! Who would’ve thought it would come to this? That wasn’t how she had brought up her children! She had always taught them to respect their elders and never hurt anyone’s feelings. And not just by words but also by actions. Mr. Mahmood’s parents had always stayed at their house and she had gone to all pains to make them comfortable and happy. They had died content with their daughter in law. Hadn’t Hammad and Abdullah seen this? Then how could they even think of cutting off completely from their parents? At this old age, when all they wanted was to see the happy faces of their children and grandchildren! The cruel sons had deprived them even of this small happiness.

Why? What had gone wrong? She could never get this answer. She had pondered on it for years. First, blaming her job for being the reason that she hadn’t been able to give quality time to her kids. Then, accusing her husband for sending them off to the States at a very young age. And lastly, the Western values of polarized families that were being taken up by the new generation.

But she had never been able to blame her sons! After all, they were her blood. She firmly believed that they would come back. Her love would bring them back. She didn’t want to believe anything else. Weeks turned into months and months into years without any sign of them. Thus she was forced to believe that she really had been abandoned. Life became listless and purposeless.

This harsh fact was too hard to digest for Mrs. Mahmood. Her moods started changing. Sometimes she talked so much and so irrelevantly that the servants were bored to death listening to her. She was always irritable. Even her husband was unable to pacify her.

When matters became worse, he decided to take her to a neurologist. And there she was now. “Mrs. Mahmood! No one will run away with your gold. And ofcourse you’re not weak. Just try to relax yourself.” The doctor addressed his patient gently. “Relax? These servants are such a pain! They never listen to me even if I beat them up.” The doctor raised his eyebrows at the mention of physical aggression. This case was more complicated than he’d thought. “Doctor sahab! My wife also shows this unbridled passion for shopping. I can understand it is common for women but this is something more! Last week she bought a dozen unstitched dresses of the same design saying that she was buying them for her niece’s wedding. That niece is only 4 years old!” Mr. Mahmood explained. After much discussion, the end result was the same as is after every visit to a doctor. The doctor prescribed a bunch of medicines, told the patient to take some rest and re visit after 2 weeks.

For the next 2 weeks, giving medicines to Mrs. Mahmood became a huge ritual for the entire household i.e. half a dozen servants and Mr. Mahmood. At first, she’d refuse point blank from taking the medicines at all. If she were coerced, she’d become highly violent. Then after much pleading and persistent pestering, she’d give in. Sometimes, her will power proved too strong for all of them and she’d succeed in not taking the medicines.

And with this, the 2 weeks were over and they were back at the doctor’s. This time the doctor prescribed heavy dosage of sedatives to calm her down. She was then too sleepy all the time not even getting up to take meals. She’d dose off even when she was made to sit. Mr. Mahmood was greatly worried.

After consultation with some of his friends, he decided to change the doctor. Then during the course of treatment, it was discovered that neurological disorders ran in Mrs. Mahmood’s family. Her father had had a nervous breakdown after his son’s death. Her distant aunt had also faced a similar fate. And now it seemed like she was headed the same way. But there was a difference. She had the means to live but no meaning to live for. And so her health status continued to decline.

When no medicines could cure her, the doctor decided to hospitalize her. That is when Mr. Mahmood tried to get in touch with his sons but could find no trace of them. What a pity it was!

World indeed had become too fast paced. Children no longer had time for their parents; the same parents whose entire lives had revolved around their children. He still remembered the day when his eldest son was born. He and his wife had been so ecstatic. They distributed sweets in the entire neighborhood. Their newborn was the apple of their eyes. They could never let him out of their sights. Mr. Mahmood worked day and night to ensure a bright future for him. They had so many plans for him. All of which were shattered one by one.

And now the last straw, their mother was on her deathbed, and there was no sign of either Hammad or Abdullah! And so Mrs. Mahmood died quietly one day. Her last wish had been to see her sons for one last time. Unfortunately, that wish remained unfulfilled. Her sons were too busy with their own lives.

50 YEARS LATER

He was thirsty. He wanted to ask someone for water but there was no one around. Well, no one who could get him water. All the people were too old like him. They were all dependent on others for their petty needs. Yes, he was living in an old home. He had been abandoned by his wife and kids when they felt he was no longer of any use to them. Much like he had once done with his parents.

aaah! His parents! These days he remembered his mom a lot. She often came in his dreams, saying, “Hammad! My dear son! Where are you? Come to me…” He wished he could turn back the wheels of life. Just to get a glimpse of his parents. Just to talk to them once. Just to say once, “MA, I’m sorry…!” But alas, it was too late. Too late!

Dengue in Schools

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So all educational institutions in Lahore have been closed down for 10 days starting from 15th September due to the deadly Dengue

Woaah…go back…All institutions? NO, no, no…not All…there’s one left and that is none other than King Edward Medical University…well yes, somehow it’s thought that we the kemcolians are made of thicker skin so dengue can’t affect us and thus no holidays for us at all…! Today, even UHS delayed the profs of all medical colleges but the administration of KE still didn’t budge….!

Seriously, it’s no laughing matter at all…! The dengue epidemic is a very serious one and more so in the present local conditions when dozens of people are dying daily around us. Therefore keeping all this in mind the Punjab Government had declared official holidays…I wonder why KE is not following this order…

Am i losing it?

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By Farkhanda Qaiser

OH it’s that dreaded time of the year…cell phones switched off, rooms locked, tables overflowing with books and me sleeping on my bed. Gosh…! What’s wrong with me? Why am I such an outcast? Just when all medical students and especially my fellow 2nd year kemcolians are busy cramming their text books…I’m busy catching up my sleep. And trust me, my sleeping habits have become so healthy, its not even funny! I sleep for 12 hours straight at night…and then doze off with my biochemistry books in my hands after every few minutes during the day

And what’s worse, it’s not even normal restful sleep. It’s that dreadful, restless “Rapid eye movement” sleep filled with nightmares of my impending doom – the Professional Part II…Oh God help me!

And phew! I just finished writing my shortest post yet on this blog!

Motivational session – Project Report

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By Farkhanda Qaiser

Background:

Society of Academic and Research Development (SARD) took an initiative to educate the young kemcolians about the importance of social responsibility by organizing an interactive motivational session, ‘Magic with Medicine.’ This event was held in collaboration with the School of Leadership (SoL) – established on July 1st, 2002 in Karachi but with an outreach all over Pakistan. SoL aims to stimulate conscious endeavor for people to discover and utilize their unquestionable ability to elevate their lives.

Objectives:

The purpose was to motivate the youth to become responsible citizens. If every individual starts doing his own duty then a conscientious society is formed where the rights of all are protected. The name ‘magic with medicine’ was chosen because the case study was taken as medical profession. The young doctors would be encouraged to spread the magic of love and humanity through their medical practice. Moreover, they would be taught the tools to become responsible, skilful and better doctors.

Speaker:

The Senior Associate of School of Leadership, Mr. Umair Jaliawala was especially flown in from Karachi for this motivational session. Mr. Jaliawala has trained over 30, 000 individuals from corporate, education, and development and public sectors. He immediately relaxes his audience, guards down, receptive to learning, before he shakes their paradigms again. His sessions are a roller-coaster journey of change, exercises/games, questions, quotes, challenges and realizations.

Staff president:

The Staff president of SARD, Professor Dr. Riaz Ahmad Warraich provided his moral support in organizing this mega event.

President SARD:

Ahsan Jahangir (4th Year)

Project director:

Farkhanda Qaiser (2nd Year)

Project team:

The project managers, Rabia Zia, Shafaq Tabassum, Iqra Ahmad, Haris bin Akhter and M. Ijaz worked very hard in holding this event.

The project assistants, Hajira Iftikhar, Rameez Irshad, Isna Batool, Humaira Sarfraz, Mohammad Bilal, Namra Tauqir, Nimrah Siddique and Anum Asad helped in announcements and promotion.

The project organizers, Shahbano, Laiba Khalid, Iqra Saeed, Seemab Touqir, Saman Goraya, Mahym Mansoor, Saira Afzal, Aushna Rasool, Mirrah Mushtaq, Maimoona Mohsin, Reema Anjum, Noor Tariq and Zara Naveed carried out hall management.

Sponsors:

This event was sponsored by Qavi Engineers and Dynamic Packaging. The major expenses were the air ticket of the speaker, banners, refreshments and certificates.

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This event was a huge success largely due to the immense publicity that had been carried out by the entire project team. Word was spread through sms, social media (facebook, twitter, linked in, google plus, danka.pk – Pakistan’s events guide), chart papers, flyers all over university and hospital and last but not the least announcements in all classes.Notices were pasted in all wards of Mayo Hospital to publicize this session:

 4 surgical units

 4 medical units

 Urology

 Dermatology

 Psychiatry

 Orthopedics

 OPD

Date: Monday, 1st August 2011

Venue: KEMU auditorium

Chief guests:

Staff President, Prof. Dr. Riaz Ahmed Warraich and Event Sponsor, Dynamic Packaging represented by Mr. Waqas Ashraf.

Event proceedings:

The event started at 10:30 AM. The auditorium was overflowing with students, majority of whom were kemcolians however around 40 students from other schools, colleges and universities were also present. (Superior College, Beaconhouse School, University of Central Punjab, Lahore School of Economics, Kinnaird College and many others) The programme was inaugurated by the recitation of the Holy Quran by Muhammad Fahad (2nd year). Then the event host, Farkhanda Qaiser (2nd Year) shed some light on the past achievements of SARD and also the objectives of this session. After that, the speaker, Mr. Umair Jaliawala was called on stage to begin his talk. He used audio-visual content, discussion and exercises to grab the attention of the over 350 audience jam packed in the small auditorium of KE. There were 3 stages of this session.

Stage 1: Getting Involved:

In this, Mr. Jaliawala captured the attention of everyone through exercises and examples. He explained the strength of determination and will in achieving one’s goals by citing the examples of Abdus Sattar Edhi, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Jahangir Khan. These legends started small but their thinking was not small. Their goals were huge and so was their dedication. However there is no gain without pain. This concept was elaborated by comparing with the long duration of time and pain that body builders undergo to make strong, muscular bodies. Then an activity was carried out that surprised and puzzled everyone. The speaker told all the participants to get up from their chairs and TRY to pick them up. All of them picked up the chairs. However, Mr. Jaliawala kept on insisting that do not actually pick up the chairs, rather try to pick up the chairs. And so some of the people started to pretend as if the chairs were really heavy and they were trying to pick them up. But still they were unable to please Mr. Jaliawala who finally explained that there is no such thing as trying. Either you do something or you don’t. And you can’t blame anyone else for how your life is because you yourself are capable of making all the decisions.

Stage 2: Benchmarks

After the audience had become involved and were now actually hanging on to every word, then Mr. Jaliawala moved onto the case study of Japan. In March 2011, there was a Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami which wrecked havoc in the entire country. However, the exceptional calm and dignity that the Japanese displayed in this time of crisis was remarkable. The characteristics that make nations successful were then elaborated upon in detail. Some of them were ability, grace, order, sacrifice, tenderness, training, responsible media and conscience.

Stage 3: Be responsible

Once the basic requirements had sunk in then the point was driven home by motivational videos from Dr. Patch Adams and Tedtalks. Throughout the session, there was a lot of interaction with the students which maintained their interest and piqued their curiosity. Never once did anyone leave the auditorium rather more people kept pouring in despite the fact that no more chairs were unoccupied. They were content to even sit on the floor to listen to this great motivational session and get motivated. Their enthusiasm was evident from the oft-repeated applause that punctuated the talk of Mr. Jaliawala.

At the end of this session, a shield-presenting ceremony was held. The Staff President presented a shield of appreciation to the speaker, Mr. Umair Jaliawala and the representative of the Event Sponsor – Dynamic Packaging – Mr. Waqas Ashraf. Then the SARD president gave the shield to Prof. Dr. Riaz Ahmed Warraich who’d been the chief guest and had attended the entire session.

After this ceremony, all the participants were given refreshments. The certificates were given one week later. This event was also given media coverage by waqt news, shama tv and ARY news.