Tag Archives: Farkhanda Qaiser

Horror, Horror! Who is the cruelest person in the world?

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By Farkhanda Qaiser

Children paying homage to the young martyrs

Children paying homage to the young martyrs

I cannot describe the gut-wrenching massacre at the Army Public School, Peshawar nor can I make a politically or historically correct analysis about the losses suffered by Pakistan in the war against terror. I can only express my feelings as a common Pakistani citizen. In the past few days, I have gone from shock to horror to grief and then again to shock (as more pictures of the gruesome inhumane act were released on the electronic media).

Peace is the ONLY way forward

Peace is the ONLY way forward

All around me, I see people losing composure. Whether it is news reporters covering the ghastly incident or anchors on Television programs; little school going children or their parents, everyone is in tears! Ever since 2001, there have been above 14000 terrorist attacks in Pakistan in which almost 50,000 innocent people lost their lives but why has this reaction not come earlier? Why did we not shed tears on the merciless killings of Hazara Shias or those of Ahmadis or Christians? Or even of mosque-going Muslims? Or of Pakistani army and military forces? Why did we not realize at that point that we were dealing with monsters and not humans? I know why. Because we are a nation whose conscious is fast asleep and we need loud drum beating to wake up. Simple alarm bells are not enough for us. When the first terrorist attack was justified on the basis of sectarianism or superior knowledge of ‘Islam,’ that is when alarm bells should have gone off in our minds that something is not right. That is when we should have tried to put a stop to this senseless mindset. But we didn’t. We kept on waiting because the ‘terror’ had not yet reached our doorstep. We waited and that is why we have been brought to this black day of 16th December 2014.

When even schools are not safe

When even schools are not safe

That day teenage school going students lost their carefree attitude forever. Their school became a shooting spot where they were the hunted ones. However that is not why all of us are in mourning. No, we are too selfish for that. The reason our parents cry is because they feel that it could have been their ‘own’ kids. The reason why you and I cry is because we feel that it could easily have been ‘us’ instead of ‘them’. It could have been my friends whose dead bodies piled up on me would act as a shield for me. It could have been my favorite teacher who was burnt alive in front of me. It could have been your principal who preferred to die rather than save her own self. It could have been you hid under a bench and fearing the approaching black boots. Yes that is why we all bemoan. Because now we feel the ‘terror’ has truly reached our threshold.

We are terrified and we feel helpless. There is nothing we can do, our politicians are too corrupt and self-centered, we lament. Our borders are too porous to contain the foreign terrorists, we grumble. This is not our war, it has been enforced on us, we protest. We lament and grumble and protest. We point the accusatory finger at others. But did we realize that the remaining four fingers were pointing at our own selves? Oh, this is sure to raise a few eyebrows. How are we to blame, you ask.

We are to blame because we have failed to identify our enemy and even if identified, have taken too soft a stance on him. ‘He’ is the cruelest person in the world. He can finish nations like a rot eats wood. And if we fail to stop him now, then indeed he will finish us too. Every last one of us! Well, I know that Pakistan was created on 27th Ramazan and that it is only the second state after Madina that was acquired in the name of Islam. But even this ‘holy’ background will not save us. Because remember that

Khuda nay aaj tak us qoum ki haalat nahin badli jo qoum khud apni haalat na badlay

(God has never changed the fortunes of a nation that failed to turn the tide itself.)

This is one fact that we need to accept with all our hearts and minds. We will definitely and surely perish if we don’t stop this deadly enemy! So WAKE UP Pakistanis! This is the time for immediate action. We don’t have ‘7 days’ for an action plan.

No more Intolerance

No more Intolerance

   Our enemy is within us. He is the ‘mindset’ who believes that only he is practicing the right brand of Islam and the remaining people are infidels. He doesn’t stop here. He justifies killing people because they were not following his version of ‘Shariah.’ However we need to realize that this mindset did not occur over night. It evolved slowly. It started from the time when we became intolerant of people who were different from us whether in political or religious views. I see it every day when youngsters like me indulge in meaningless arguments on social media viciously attacking the opponents. I see it when every minor, harmless act is brutally subjected to scrutiny and questioned whether it’s Islamic or not. People ask what use is burning candles or keeping vigils when hundreds have died. Oh please, stop being so narrow minded! If you express your feelings about a tragedy by keeping a Facebook status or by turning your profile picture black, then so be it. If I express myself through a blog then why can’t I? If someone else tries to remember the innocent martyrs by lighting candles then what’s wrong with it? Islam is a religion for all times and all regions of the world. Do not limit it with your boxed thinking. And the best way to serve Islam is to learn about it so that you don’t besmirch it with your ignorance. So if you really want to do something to end terrorism in Pakistan then start by increasing knowledge about Islam. Read Quran and Hadith. Learn about the life events of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions. Only then would you realize the true values of our religion.

Another dimension of our defective thinking which has made us an intolerant nation is being judgmental about others. We are constantly judging people around us and passing our ‘expert’ opinion about whether they’d end up in paradise or hellfire. Please change this attitude now before it brings more destruction for us. Only Allah knows our ultimate resting place. There have been many incidences mentioned in Ahadith where extremely pious men were sent to hellfire because of some bad habit or other. Or apparently devious people were sent to paradise due to some hidden good attribute. Know this that we are not ‘all-knowing.’ We don’t know the intentions and all the life circumstances of ANY person (even if it’s someone very close to us). So if we don’t know this then we can’t pass the right judgment about anyone. Besides, it would be so much better to spend this energy and time trying to make ourselves better humans. Trust me; there is so much that needs to be done in this aspect that we would not have any time left for scrutinizing others’ actions!

Say no to hate speech

Say no to hate speech

While we change our mindset, we also need to be mindful of suspicious activities taking place around us. This was explained quite eloquently by the Interior Minister today. Finally our government has acknowledged that we are in a state of war. And no war can be won without the support of its citizens. If we become the eyes and ears of our law enforcement forces then no terrorist stands a chance against us. We should discourage and report hate speech wherever it’s being preached. We should monitor our neighborhoods and most importantly we should ask our leaders to openly condemn the enemy. There is no space left for soft mouthing. All terrorists need to be dealt with force. Enough is enough! Accountability is the best way to ensure justice in a society. Every individual must be held accountable for his deeds especially these monsters who claim to be righteous!

enough

However, even if the overall situation of the country appears dismal and hopeless, don’t lose hope. We have the best example from the young victims of the Peshawar attack. One such young boy with bullet wounds on his face said,

“Is umar me goli kha li hai. Ab kabhi goli se nahin darun ga.”

(I have been shot with bullets at this age. Now I will never be afraid of bullets!)

Other boys showed the determination to join Pakistan army and rid their country of all terrorists. If these traumatized adolescents have not lost hope then we have no excuse to be hopeless. Hard times befall all nations but only strong nations rise out of the ashes. Are we a strong nation?

 The author is a medical student.

 

 

 

 

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My take on Elections 2013 (Part 2)

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By Farkhanda Qaiser

Before the results of elections started pouring out, many people were anticipating large scale change in the national political scenario. I believe, changes did appear but not as expected.

Congratulations on Voting!

Congratulations on Voting!

Change # 1: In Punjab and KPK:

PTI was foreseen to sweep the province of Punjab and replace PML N to a large extent. This may have been due to unexpectedly large turnouts at PTI rallies in the last few months. However as the election results proved, the ground realities were diametrically opposite. PTI failed to impress a large portion of the Punjabi electorate and PML N was able to maintain its stronghold in many of its constituencies. Good governance by the previous Punjab Government; well thought-out distribution of tickets among electoral candidates by PML N and beraadri setup in rural areas were some of the causes for the success of Sharif Brothers in the largest province of the country.

However PTI did manage to turn the tables in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. ANP – which formed the preceding government in KPK – was almost if not completely wiped out from the political set up.  I think, gross blunders by ANP in the last few years took precedence over the revolutionary charm of PTI.

pak pie chart

Change # 2: In Sindh and Balochistan:

Even though PPP cried itself hoarse (via media campaigns) maligning its rival party i.e. PML N, it was unable to make its mark in the General Elections 2013. Whereas it had secured 50 seats from Punjab in National Assembly in 2008, it could only cling onto 1 seat this time around. This is the biggest revenge democracy could take! And every one of us, who voted in these elections, should pat themselves on the back for this huge reprisal of the ex-ruling party which was unable to deliver good governance and was rampantly corrupt. This is what happens to bad governments! Democracy rocks!

Nevertheless PPP was able to maintain its dominance in Sindh despite its dismal performance in power. This could be due to lack of alternative Sindhi political leaders; remnants of Bhutto-loyalists or jiyalas and emotional blackmailing of illiterates. Yet credit is also due to some PPP politicians like Dr. Fehmida Mirza who kept constantly in touch with locals of her constituency during her last tenure. Sometimes it’s very easy to please the simpletons of our country. All they require is the satisfaction that their leader visits them once every often and has not forgotten them. These voters are not concerned with the bigger picture of democracy, corruption, law and order situation or foreign relations. Hence, the slogan roti, kapra, makaan was engineered for these very commoners and was very popular.

The ruling powers also did not change in Karachi and Hyderabad. These are the citadels of MQM which it managed to keep under its control. Massive coverage was given on media channels regarding rigging in Karachi. Such was the hue and cry that ECP was forced to take action. Now it has been announced that re-polling would be conducted in 43 polling stations of NA-250 (of Karachi) within 10 days. This decision should be applauded as it would clear many doubts about the transparency of the elections 2013.

As far as Balochistan is concerned, no single party has emerged as a clear winner so it is still unclear that who will form the government in this province.

Change # 3: Comparatively Free and Fair Elections:

After the announcement of election results, protests erupted all over the country. These protesters complained of widespread rigging in the elections. Most of them belonged to the parties of PTI, MQM and JI. Lahore (particularly NA-125 where Hamid Khan of PTI lost to Khawaja Saad Rafique of PML N), Karachi, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Jhang and some areas of Balochistan are believed to be the shady areas of rigging.

fafen

During these processions, there have also been skirmishes between supporters of rival political parties. This is very sad and is highly reminiscent of the politics of 90’s when PML N and PPP were at each others’ necks. Therefore, I appeal to these educated elite of Pakistan not to indulge in such lowly activities. This country can’t afford any more political brawls. There is a dire need to start solving the problems with political consensus. A healthy opposition would serve as a watchdog so now is the time to move on. Get over the election results and celebrate the day that was!

However, having said that, there is no denying the fact that rigging did take place. According to an independent body called Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), there are clear evidences that elections in 49 polling stations (out of the 8000 observed by them) were rigged. This comes out to be a mere 0.6125 %…!  Well yes, rigging is bad but we must appreciate the fact that we’re living in a third-world country whose dictatorial history is longer than that of democracy. Our institutions are still young and inexperienced. These irregularities are due to mismanagement of the staff of ECP and not due to their ill-will. We should try to resolve the issues according to law. In this regard, PTI’s petition in Supreme Court is a welcome step. True, street politics is powerful and heady but we shouldn’t get carried away if there are alternatives. Other than rectifying the gross irregularities, the losing parties should accept defeat and congratulate the winners. This would create the much needed good will after the mudslinging during the elections!

 Change # 4: International Image:

After witnessing greater than 60% turnout in the General Elections 2013, I was sure that International community would no longer think of us as illiterate savages fit for dictatorship only. After all, these elections were the triumph not only of Pakistan but also of democracy. However the post-election protests and blame games are dampening the mood in the country and this is not a good omen for the successive 5 years. It is highly imperative for leadership of political parties to let by gone be gone and instruct their political workers to calm down. I’m hopeful that these good-will gestures will come one day. (Indeed, PTI will prove to be different than PPP and PML N of 90’s inshaAllah). Better late than never!

Change # 5: Democracy is the best revenge:

If nothing else, these elections have definitely fortified my belief in democracy.

Who would've thought that  tables would turn so violently?!

Who would’ve thought that tables would turn so violently?!

Democracy ensures that corrupt and bad politicians are one day shooed out of the parliament if they don’t mend their ways!

Abbreviations: PTI = Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, PML-N = Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, ANP = Awami National Party, KPK = Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, PPP = Pakistan Peoples’ Party, MQM = Muttahida Qaumi Movement, ECP = Election Commission of Pakistan, JI = Jamaat-e-Islaami, FAFEN = Free and Fair Election Network.

The YLC Saga Continues – Go Green – Day 2 (PART 1)

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This post was published in KELLOGS on 13/7/2011 and was appreciated by the motivational speakers Umair Jaliawala, Dr. Nadeem Abidi and many more who attended YLC 2011.

By Farkhanda Qaiser
Day 2: Environmental Leadership
6:30 AM Yoga exercise
8:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Understanding environmental degradation with Tofiq Pasha Mooraj
10:30 AM Panel discussion
11:30 AM Tea time
12:00 PM Shehzad Roy and Djuice Team
1:00 PM Lunch and Zohar Namaz
2:00 PM Activity time
3:00 PM Breakout sessions
4:30 PM Session with Dr. Nadeem Abidi
6:00 PM Asar Namaz
6:30 PM Corporate Kacheri
7:40 PM Maghrib Namaz
8:00 PM Environment friendly dinner and Isha Namaz
10:00 PM Breakout plays
11:00 PM Capacity Building with Sohail Zandani
Walking bare foot; silently raising hands instead of clapping and hooting; eating environment friendly food and doing khamoshi ka boycott, that’s what the YLCians did on day 2, the day of environmental leadership. A day that began as early as 6:30 AM. Unfortunately I was in too deep a slumber and slept all through breakfast as well. Much to my distress, later I was told by my teammates that I had missed an excellent session of yoga and an even better breakfast by the best chefs of Sheraton. So for me the day had started with plenty of guilt and anger at my lazy self. To add salt to my wounds, my sweet YF just shook his head to show his displeasure and not a single harsh word! God! Was I wallowing in self pity?! At that time, Tofiq Pasha Mooraj – The Environmental expert- was on stage and trust me he wasn’t making things any better for me. So, I got talking to a team mate who was very enthusiastic about joining army in the near future. Nevertheless, my Kemcolian germs would not let me rest. So I’d keep jotting down interesting points that I’d catch from Mr. Pasha’s discussion. I know he did say something about fossil fuels being limited and the fact that water conservation must be encouraged. But more than anything he said, my focus was on that cute grey pony tail of his. Pardon me for this insignificant observation but that grey lump of hair tied neatly into a few inch ponytail sure is a rare sight in Pakistan. My emphasis is on grey here! Okay I know I’m rambling but deal with it. I’m no environment freak so I would generally not even understand half the discussion that went on even If I had been listening. Yet, I do believe in cleanliness and no littering around. My friends and family are quite fed up of me as I even force them to tuck the garbage in their bags until they find a dust bin. But a little tidbit for the environment freaks, Mr. Pasha has had 30 years of experience in horticulture and water management. He has even introduced high revenue crops alongwith judicious use of water in different parts of Sindh. So he is something of a revolutionary in the green world. Do Google him out and learn about his various works. Get inspired. And get working!
Thankfully by this time, I had shaken off my sleep and was actively listening to and participating in the ongoing discussion. The representative of PSO was elaborating upon the new fuel – E 10 – that PSO had introduced to minimize environmental pollution. However, we, the youth of Pakistan would not buy anything so easily. We questioned him thoroughly on the quality of E 10, its price difference from the normal petroleum and how it would be environment friendly. Another panelist of this discussion was Mr. Rabnawaz, an American convert who had been living in Pakistan for almost a decade so he was aware of the ground realities. While answering one of the queries, he made an offhand remark that Pakistanis should stop consuming Chinese goods to penalize China for its non-environment friendly habits. I’m sure he was caught off-guard by the strong reaction that his remark evoked among the general audience. Many participants were of the view that America is a bigger contributor of global warming and pollution so if anyone must be boycotted economically, it must be America. Moreover Chinese goods are of much cheaper prices and thus their popularity among the majority of the poverty and inflation stricken Pakistanis. Therefore there is no way that we can support the ban of Chinese products. We must approach the developed countries on other platforms like UNFCCC to emphasize the importance of green measures. So overall this was a very fruitful and informative discussion that we had. It sure proved that the Pakistani Youth are very much aware of the world around them. They may be the products of the rote learning education system but they’ve certainly not limited themselves to their textbooks. The best thing about YLC was that it had stirred our inquisitive nature. I remember by the last day, there were so many people with questions that Kambha literally had to wrest the mic from them due to time constraint.
While the Q & A session was going on, I noticed that Shehzad Roy – the famous singer – quietly entered the hall and sat on one of the front chairs. His entrance had largely gone unnoticed as all were deeply engrossed in listening to Mr. Rabnawaz’s clarifications. I, on the other hand, had gone near the stage to take pictures of the speakers and thus knew that a renowned celebrity was now among us. It was very hard to contain myself from shouting out loud because I’ve been a huge fan of Shehzad Roy since time immemorial. I had grown up with his songs and could never in my wildest dreams, have imagined that I would one day see him live. Moreover I was deeply impressed by his humble entry and that too without shoes! (Remember we were celebrating bare feet and no noise pollution day) So as soon as the seat next to him was vacant, I jumped onto it, which made him jump too…! His innocent reaction made me smile and I thought I should apologize. But then my mouth went dry. All the million things that I’d wanted to say wouldn’t reach my lips. Even my vast debating experience could not come to my rescue. Just then, my friend whom I’d asked to take my picture with Shehzad Roy, popped up with the camera and asked us to say cheese…! Click! And my time with my dream celebrity was over! I was shoved away to make space for the long queue of awaiting fans with cameras. You see, now everyone in the hall knew about his presence. Not long after, he was called up on stage by Bilal Nazar Sibtain – one of the YLC champs. Mr. Roy was wearing a black djuice shirt with the slogan, “I’m Armed and Dangerous with my words and with my voice” written on the front. He had come as a brand ambassador of the djuice – khamoshi ka boycott – programme. So he also expressed his personal attachment to this programme and how this was much needed for the social conditions of Pakistan. He further said that he had been directly affected by the recurrent loadshedding which had blown up his costly musical instruments just a few days ago. Most importantly we came to know a fact that no amount of googling would have provided us. The fact that Mr. Roy usually wears torn socks! However luckily for him, that day his socks were perfectly whole. Then on audience demand, he also sang a few verses of his famous songs, ‘Tera mukhra’ and ‘Laga re.’ After that the participants who had been sponsored by djuice were given exclusive time with the legendary singer. All the others were turning green with envy and fighting with Maddy – a YF – who was guarding the gates. But as soon as the gates were opened, the more enthusiastic of us rushed forward only to find out that Shehzad Roy had left. But we weren’t ones to give up. We ran all through Sheraton, bare foot, to reach the entrance where some people were still taking pictures with him. Under normal conditions, we weren’t allowed to cross that doorstep but now was the time for extreme measures…! So we went for it and there we were, for the first time in our lives, standing on the pavement with no shoes, eagerly jumping to take photos with The Djuice guy aka Shehzad Roy. I had already taken a picture with him but my cousin hadn’t been able to so we had gone through all this exercise for her but sadly to no avail. Because just then, his car came and he had to leave! I really wish he had stood for just a few more seconds, but then I guess he must have some important place to go to as he had already been held up for quite some time. So I forgive you Mr. Shehzad Roy. I hope my cousin does too…! And all those people who hadn’t been able to capture him in their cameras do so as well.
Aah celebrity life must be so hard. You can’t seem to make everyone happy yet you try.

Thinking such heavy thoughts, we proceeded towards yet another delicious lunch. After lunch, Urooj Mazhar – another YLC champ – explained the ‘Tanzeem activity’ that we’d be doing now. In this activity, every team consisting of 20 members were required to stand on 4 chairs and a chartpaper placed on the ground. Not only were we to stand but also to move around and complete the circle without stepping on the carpet below. Our YFs were going to judge our progress. The activity did seem impossible but we believed that nothing is impossible if given enough time. So we began stacking the chairs in every possible formation to ensure that maximum number of people could stand on it and also move around. After that was the time for the balancing act. And finally to complete the circle in a disciplined way. And VIOLA… we had done it…! During this activity, we learned to trust our team mates that they’d not let us fall and if we did fall then there’d be lots of hands to catch us. This was faith. It taught us unity that we can achieve anything if we are united. And last but not the least; discipline is very important for success. So there you go, we had lived the YLC slogan, Imaan, Ittehad, Tanzeeem and Inqilaab…!

Over the (New) Moon

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This article was printed in US Magazine on 20/11/2009 in the section Reel Life.

I remember the day I got hold of New Moon, the second book of the Twilight saga. I was so deeply engrossed in this vampire love story that I missed voting for myself in the college elections. Thankfully I won so no regrets!

The credit for that simply goes to the author of the Twilight series, Stephanie Meyer, who has described the raw emotion in so much detail that you cry and feel the pain of the characters as if it were your own, you laugh and rejoice with them and you can’t stop thinking about them for days. It is as if the scenes are being played in your mind and you create your own movie version of the whole story. But for those with weaker imagination, Summit Entertainment has begun the filming of all four parts of the Twilight saga. The first movie in the series, Twilight, was released last November. It was an instant hit and debuted at #1 at the box office with $70 million.

The next installment in the series releases today. I’m not sure about its release date in Pakistan, but I hope it doesn’t take too long. The fans all over the world are eagerly waiting for the movie and to satiate those Twi-Hards who read Us magazine, I’ve written this exciting piece filled with tidbits about the movie, background information about the lead actors and their juicy comments about the experience called New Moon.

Storyline

Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is devastated by the abrupt departure of her vampire love, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) but her spirit is rekindled by her growing friendship with the irresistible Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). Suddenly she finds herself drawn into the world of the werewolves, ancestral enemies of the vampires, and finds her loyalties tested.

Stars

You’d be surprised to find out that Kristen Stewart who plays Bella is actually very similar in nature to Bella Swan. She hates undue attention and is in fact very shy! KStew wears brown lenses for the movie because she has green eyes whereas Bella is supposed to have chocolate brown eyes. And believe it or not, she is also a guitar player and singer. She reads novels by Charles Bukowski and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Her favourite books are East of Eden by John Steinbeck and The Stranger by Albert Camus. Wow! I sure am impressed by her various talents. So it turns out that all pretty ladies are not shallow. Well, I guess there’s still hope for me then (haha who am I kidding!). She says about New Moon, “It’s just a glorified, elaborate version of the worst breakup you’ve ever been through. All of a sudden you question everything. All of a sudden you know nothing and you’re dropped in the middle of a freezing cold ocean.”

Well, nobody could’ve summed it up better than KStew did.

Her lead co-star is Taylor Lautner portrayed as Jacob Black — the werewolf friend of Bella who cheers her up in the darkest period of her life. Taylor is a keen martial artist who has won many karate tournaments on local, national and international levels. In his spare time, Taylor loves playing football and baseball. Taylor was bitten by the acting bug when he was seven years old, after his martial arts instructor persuaded him to audition for a part in a Burger King ad in Los Angeles. Although he was unsuccessful, he enjoyed the experience so much that he told his parents he wanted to pursue a career in acting. In an attempt to keep the role for New Moon, Lautner weight-trained extensively and gained approximately 30 pounds because drastic physical changes occur in his character in New Moon.

He is very humble about his new found fame and says, “I think fans would love anybody who played Jacob. I’m just lucky to be the one who got the chance.”

The supporting role in New Moon is played by Robert Pattinson as the devastatingly handsome vampire, Edward Cullen. He appears in Bella’s dreams and has significant parts in the beginning and the end of the movie. As his workload has been lessened in this movie, Rob feels, “I don’t have to hold the movie or worry about the fans. I think I did it better without all those pressures.” Well, could he get any better?

Like Chace Crawford, Rob broke into the entertainment industry as a model. He has that pretty boy-model-y look to him — the wavy hair that begs to be styled, the sallow cheeks, the thick eyebrows. However, he has not always been like. “Up until I was 12 my sisters used to dress me up as a girl and introduce me as ‘Claudia’! Twelve was a turning point as I moved to a mixed school and then I became cool and discovered hair gel,” Pattinson shares

The Twilight hottie is an excellent musician and plays both the guitar and piano. He began taking piano lessons when he was three and started learning classical guitar when he was five. He also appeared on the soundtrack of Twilight with songs “Never Think”, which he co-wrote with Sam Bradley, and “Let Me Sign”, which was written by Marcus Foster and Bobby Long. “Music is my back-up plan if acting fails,” he says.

So here was a peek into the New Moon world. Hope you enjoyed it!

Altapete – 1st Year Class Diary

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This article was printed in Kemcol 2010, the official annual magazine of King Edward Medical University.

 

According to one senior: “1st year ROCKS…! You guys make me wish I was a part of your class!”

Yes, we are unique and very lively but our year began much like that of every 1st year. You guessed it right. Ragging! Boys were seen begging from girls; some were made bakras and sold to seniors for a meager amount; others got the rakhi tied on their arms and yes, of course, the ever famous climbing up on the roof of anatomy department followed by “KE mere baap ka hai, sab log nikal jao yahan se…!” chant and singing the song “Main uddi uddi jawan hawa day naal.”

As the 150th Sports week celebrations arrived, a group was always seen huddled in any nook or corner of KE vociferously arguing about the class theme which was finally decided to be ‘Pirates and Princesses’. The pirates wore the specially designed pirate hats and carried the artificial swords. The princesses were beautifully clad in gowns and frocks and made their entry amidst the loud cheering of boys and girls alike. Then there were sword fights, treasure hunts and of course photo shoots! Seniors were seen flocking to our stall to take pictures with our pirates and princesses! 1st year had made itself known…and with a bang!

A similar response was witnessed after the 1st year play, “Komplein kab phootain gi?” The hosts couldn’t help commending the fine acting of the young cast and the entire crowd encouraged them by hooting and screaming their lungs out!

It was also a day of revelations when we discovered the nimble athletes of our class. Among the boys, Haris Bilal, Abdul Rafay and Waqas Tariq won medals. Whereas among the girls, Suneeba, Sundas, Fatima tuz Zahra and I performed the same feat. Though these wins were not without the prayers of the rest of the class which actually performed an ijtamai dua for our success. Next up was the colour day in which we stood out by our purple dressing and decoration. Ma’am Zahra especially lauded us for our clever choice. More so, because we had hailed her advice by not wearing the dull black!

After the end of sports week, our class celebrated some days of its own. First up was the anti-valentine’s day by the boys. They all wore shalwar kameez and white topis and chanted slogans the entire day both in and outside the class rooms. It was definitely a sight to watch and enjoy. Another day was the funny theme cum mismatch day by the boys. Vests on top of shirts, shorts on trousers, ties on kameez, funny hats…and what not! The girls, however, believed in commemorating days of national significance like the 23rd March by wearing the Pakistani flag colors and tying green arm bands. Even Sir Shahid appreciated our patriotism! Lastly we celebrated the black day by donning black to depict our feelings of suffocation and boredom in the early months of MBBS.

And this brings us to our own class function! All credit goes to our CR, Taimur Haider who made this seemingly impossible task possible! However another first awaited us here! The arrival of the head of Basic Medical Sciences to such an event for the first time ever! As he had graced us with such an honor therefore we gave him standing ovations countless times so that he’d have a soft corner for us during the Profs. After the initial surprise, the dust settled down and the function proceeded normally. The highlights were the not-so-melodious singing of Haris longus, Sohail Waraich’s/Arafat Farooqi’s interview with the 5 most popular students of our class, the scam video of the boys made by the girls and of course the titles given to girls by boys and vice versa.

In the meantime, we experienced the ‘customary firsts’ attributed to the first year of MBBS:

The first time we saw a cadaver while hovering behind each other and then grew courageous enough to start dissection; the first time we touched a frog with bare hands and then smacked the daylights out of it; the first anatomy substage and our fear of the unknown; the first failure that gave rise to shock and denial on our part; the first time we were called ‘doctor saab’ and we ignored the voice thinking that someone else was being addressed, the first trip to al-Karim which was far from the last and the list goes on and on. All these firsts have left deep and far-lasting impacts on our minds and souls and have become an integral part of who we are: the cream of the nation, the best of the best, the Kemcolian batch 09-14!

On the other hand, there were some eccentricities which can only be linked to our batch; the fact that we were the first class to have anatomy, physiology and biochemistry modules at the start of every month! All our hue and cry at this atrocity fell on deaf ears and we were forced to appear for 18 modules along with 8 anatomy substages and 2 stages! (These facts and figures are valid till before the summer vacations) Then the elections and re-elections of CR and GR first under the supervision of Sir Zubair, then Ma’am Atiya. Both times, the girls voted for a day-scholar – Saira Afzal – to become the GR and so another Kemcolian tradition was broken (You see, because GR is usually a hostelite)

Now, we move on to the busiest session of KEMU, when all the societies become alive with vigour. While Ayesha Sikandar made her mark in the world of oratory, Zara Naveed broke into the literary scenario by winning all writing competitions. The 1st year dramatic society which is self-proclaimed as “komplein” also made its presence known by shooting 3 videos for the KAPS video competition. However the biggest success story of the year was the Bake Sale donation campaign held by SPWS. 1st year gave new meaning to this event by celebrating Ma’am Attiya’s birthday amid beautifully decorated lemonade and Gola stalls on cartwheels. Under the supervision of Humaira Sarfraz and Ammar Afzal, 1st year raised more than 80 grand and won the class trophy as well! Furthermore, some brilliant students from 1st year also participated in the National Science Olympiad held in LUMS aka Psi Fi ’10. They won laurels for KE by getting 3rd position in Diagnosis Dilemma and being the top 5 finalists in Tour de mind. The latter was a compulsory round for all the 200 or so teams from all over Pakistan. The competition was tough but we didn’t give up. Because we believe in Alta pete: Aim high!