Featured Writer Post 1!

I am addicted to reading. I guess I am a bit of a snob in my criticism when it comes to the quality of writing I enjoy, but that does not mean I don’t appreciate the effort put into the work. I am not the best of writers myself but I want to be, one day. And I am so grateful to everyone that has pushed me so far or read my work even if they hated it and had nothing nice to say 😀

So this is going to be a new category of posts. I am going to be featuring writers I come across in my extensive reading, in print or online. If I can manage it, I will have the writer themselves involved too so you, dear reader, can ask them what you like and they can answer your questions themselves! This way we can spread the word about talented writers and encourage them to keep going!

So the first article I would like to share with you is by a personal friend of mine. He says he doesn’t get enough time to start a blog of his own but does enjoy writing when he can. Here is his interesting take on the world (as it perhaps should have been):

A World Where Hate Doesn’t Exist?

by Shabaz Khan (Click link above to go to the original post)

1942, the world is under the siege of the Second World War, the bloodiest battles ever fought in the history of mankind? No actually, a middle aged Hitler and Teddy Roosevelt are having a cup of coffee in teddy’s living room. Their discussion is pointed at how the prevalent barter trade between the two countries is improving their economic output and how it can be further expanded to improve their respective motherlands and the mutual friendship that exists between the two. Let’s take things further back. Prophet Jesus is propagating a One God religion in the holiest of holies, the grand city of Jerusalem, and some Jews are open mindedly accepting his ideas and welcoming these new thoughts into their lives, while the older rabbis, if not accepting the apparently new Monotheistic notion, are not posing threats to Jesus’ life. But wait, who are the rabbis to decide what’s wrong and what’s not? Isn’t that the roman general’s job who’s been appointed by Caesar to govern that region, that would be a big NO because Caesar is not the emperor of Rome. Why you ask? Well, because Rome has a legislative body known as the nobles and a democratic form of ruler-ship not Caesar’s one man show, because Rome doesn’t quite understand what Civil wars are. Its peaceful boundaries are within the confines of the region now known as modern day Italy. Then who in the world has conquered Jerusalem? No body! That’s who!

India 1946; Jinnah has been appointed the President of the Islam oriented nation of India, this nation pretty much stretches from sharing its boundary with Iran to touching its border with the very friendly nation of China in the east. Indian politician Jawaharlal Nehru heartily embraced and congratulated Mr. Jinnah on this occasion. Whereas letters of appreciation were received from leaders all around the world, especially from Her Majesty in Britain who congratulated Jinnah on his new Presidency and showed gratitude for his services in establishing a mutually monitored and very strong economic system. But wait, how come India is an Islamic nation while for thousands of years it had practiced Hinduism? That’s because when Islamic scholars from the land of sands sailed to India to preach the beautiful way of life known as Islam, they were welcomed with cheers instead of rants, and flowers instead of spears, and so were their teachings, over the span of around almost 400 years, India has become a Muslim majority region and the Hindus that did not convert live peacefully with all their rights in the Muslim governed nation, and oh so peacefully because the British never tried to occupy the region in the cover of a trading company known as East India Trades. On the contrary the East India trading company is a very important and key factor in the trading system between the two countries, because both countries have so much to offer one another, for India is very rich in minerals and agriculture whereas England is a powerhouse in the Industrial sector.

Now let’s pick up the present day paper waiting for us on the porch and read what’s going on in the world these days in modern times. Bush, the most loved president after Ronald Reagan, and longtime friend Osama Bin Laden have been invited by Barrack Obama for dinner in the white house, this has been a sort of a return gesture on Obama’s part because earlier this month George W. had invited Obama to his luxurious house in Texas where he congratulated Obama on his on-going very successful term as President, and how well he was received all over the world considering he was only the “second” black President of USA, for the first one was Doctor Martin Luther King . This has been Obama’s second invitation to an important person in a month because just a couple of weeks ago, the Russian prime Minister was a guest at white house where they discussed the nuclear plans under progress, a joint venture of the two longtime allies. Not nuclear bombs! Nuclear plants for harnessing electricity. Such plants are being set-up by the two super-powers all over the world, especially some of the economically backward regions of Africa so that the world can be a better, brighter place. Japan is helping with its state of the art technology to help Korea in its irrigation problems. North Korea or South Korea you ask? Korea is just one country, there is no such thing as North or South Korea.

Sitting somewhere reading all that has been fore-mentioned, one can’t help but look around himself, what he or she will see are kids playing around, people walking on the side-walks with big smiles on their faces. Bearded people are not feared of but are respected, young ones can play without a fear because there’s no one to kidnap them, there’s no such thing as police, because there’s no such thing as criminals. Locks don’t exist because people find it rather easy to just walkout of their shops with a “closed” sign hanging on an unlocked door. Children go to schools instead of working on daily wages in factories because education is free. There’s not one person in this country that goes to sleep on an empty stomach or has to go to work on foot, because everyone has a well-established career and a car, this in-turn of the fact that corruption doesn’t exist. Observing the more abstract beauty of the world around one’s self, a grief stricken face is nowhere to be found, nor is a face that has a mask of anger or frown. There’s affection and love among people who are complete strangers to one another. How the old granny is helped across the street by a boy who has a smile on his face and asks or hopes for nothing in return but a smile back at him. How a pregnant woman carrying bags is helped by some person whom she does not know and who doesn’t know her, but he carries her bags to her doorstep and they exchange not money or any materialistic reward but the most beautiful of smiles and respect and affection in their eyes. When the window is broken accidentally by a ball gone astray, the old man comes out and being the sport that he is, gives the children their ball back with a big laugh and words that are not hate-filled but rather a story about how he used to break windows accidentally when he was their age. A place where something called a divorce lawyer doesn’t exist because people don’t know what in the world a divorce is, for all the couples have very deep feelings of love and care for their loved partners. Abortions, illiteracy, murder, prisons, corruption, theft, robberies, abandonment, betrayal, infidelity, lies, deceit, fraud, manipulation, heart-breaks and all other children of mother Hatred were never born in this paradise.

Before asking the author millions of questions on the utter ridicule and apparently insane abomination of a world he has described above, or questioning him on what is he trying to prove with all that he has mentioned, with a feel of anger and rage that might literally tear the writer to pieces. Ask yourself, why is it so hard for us to absorb such an idea, why does this whole depiction has an off feeling to us, why the hell do we feel that something is missing when we should be willing to walk for miles, work till there’s not a drop of blood left in our veins, or a breath of air remaining in our lungs to make a world that is even better than what has been depicted? Why not look around us and do everything that can be humanly done to make even a little difference to the atrocity of a world that we live in. Because since the day we were born, we have absorbed so much violence and hatred inside of us that we cannot fathom an idea of such sort. Our hearts and our minds have been filled with so much anger and frustration that we’d rather destroy any such idea instead of breaking a sweat working for it. All because all of the world, from the junior high bully, that takes away lunch money from other kids to our more sophisticated bullies who strip the world at large of all its valuables in the guise of ministers, presidents and other authoritative figures has been corrupted to its very core and we have no one but ourselves to blame. While they are doing each and everything in their power to rob people of all their money and valuables, the damage they are inflicting is far more catastrophic. They are vanishing tolerance, love and care among the masses in a pool of hatred, now that is a vanishing act more impressive than poor David Copperfield could ever imagine of pulling off. No, there were no tea parties in the period from 1939 to 1945 because millions of people were being slaughtered like their lives meant nothing, nations have waged war since the times of Noah with spears and swords to the present day in the form of nuclear arsenals, whether it be a well-planed conspiracy for achieving power or one man’s misled sense of self-righteousness that makes it okay for him to brand anyone with a beard as a terrorist. From the average fruit-seller sitting at the corner of our streets to the presidency that governs us, to our own selves, we are all criminals in one way or another, for if one really wants to achieve the kind of paradise, a depiction of which was but a mere try by the author to be presented, one must change his own self to the point where he is free of even the most minute of prejudice. For only then, is it possible to live in such a world, and for what it’s worth, an effort is due on everyone’s part.

Phew! I know it’s a long read but I hope you enjoy it! I am never one to ask for comments or likes or reblogs but please, please comment and give your own opinion on this one because Shahbaz Khan would greatly appreciate feedback and may even get involved with discussing the content of his article!

Moments of non-commital laziness

I envy those people, specially creative ones prone to flights of fancy, that still manage to stick to a schedule and meet every deadline. Some people just seem to have it all sorted where as there are times I get overwhelmed. I guess the problem is that, I want to do everything. I am 22 and it’s already starting to feel like I’ve wasted waaaay too much time of my life and really need to get a move on. When I usually state this concern, people say, well you are ONLY 22 and you still have a lot of time. Except these people don’t have the faintest clue of just how MUCH I want to do!

And so it comes to pass that, I stuck my leg into two different books (reviews coming soon, I promise) which include Courtesans by Katie Hickman, Josephine by Andrea Stuart, both of which are extremely descriptive and sumptuous, a fact that really made my imagination run wild. Then I have this blog, where I completely got lost in reading up all the lovely new posts from all the blogs I am subscribed to or following which meant I wasn’t doing any contributing myself. Furthermore, my father and I wanted to take our shared love of photography and film further by starting a collaborative channel on youtube. Yes, you read that right, Youtube!

Super exciting stuff except I still need to teach my father a few things about his camera, keeping in mind that I am fast running out of time before my “great move” to Malaysia in less than TEN DAYS! Phew… so much to do, so little time… and then I will have university to contend with as well from the 16th of July… I’m feeling exhausted already to be honest…

Feeling like I’m walking a thin line

To be fair, I must state, I wouldn’t want my life to be any other way. I love the excitement, the ups and downs and the constant swirl of technicolor that is my world. I love the changes, the way things around me move. My life is like a constantly changing painting and sometimes I do feel like I am drowning under it all. But hey, everyone gets that way.

Fabulous post from a fabulous blog

Via Lucis Photography

The Haute-Provence is Van Gogh country; immense blue skies, fierce mistral winds that blow constantly and a powerful sun that bakes colors into intensities that send artists running for their brushes. Van Gogh came here to try to paint the light; it is said by some that he went mad in the attempt. I understand that. It is all about the light here. Light takes the colors of our dreams and imaginations and magnifies them, wrapping them around the flowers, the olive trees, or anything in its path, transforming them with illusive patterns of light and shadow.

I’ve come to understand that it’s not really the churches we photograph. We really try to photograph the light. It’s the light that creates the spaces as it plays across the surface of the stone. Light gives dimension, power, beauty and, of course, color. If you stay in a church long enough you…

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The Dark Heart Of Pakistan? Thanks a helluva lot Times!

This post was shared on my facebook this morning and I believe it needs to reach more people. I am a Pakistani and proud to be one. I still carry the dreaded Green Passport that only recently went from being filled in by hand to computer readable. And that has never stopped me from traveling or pursuing my dreams and striving for my potential. Again and again I have met people that have applauded me, shown interest and always dealt with me with respect. People are not stupid and the media can say what it wants but it seems to forget that humans do have thinking capabilites of their own and eventually will question. I always get questions about how things are REALLY in Pakistan. Here I will share this post that may give you a clearer picture.

Cover of the Times issue in question

 

An Australian’s REBUTTAL to TIME Magazine’s story on Karachi.

The Editor, Time Magazine

Dear Editor,

I recently returned from a charitable trip to Pakistan, whereby I visited both Karachi and Islamabad. I spoke with several universities, key businesses, prominent business leaders and several religious people from all generations….

On the day I returned to the office, someone had placed your magazine (January 16, 2012), on my desk. I read with interest your article on Karachi and the city in doom. For a person to have just returned from the very same place that your magazine described was somewhat bizarre, so I read with great detail your writer (Andrew Marshall’s) account.

Let me begin by saying that I often flick through your magazine and find the articles of great interest, but on this particular day and this particular article, I found certain comments to be both one sided and indeed very negative. I say that because I saw a different Pakistan to what was portrayed in your article. I do not and will not comment on the political or religious problems that the country faces, but I will go so far as to say that not everything is as bad as the image that your magazine paints.

Sure there are deaths in the cities. Please show me a city in the world that is free from political fighting and unrest.

Sure there are differences in the political party opinions. Please show me a country in the world where the political parties agree.

Sure the innocent are suffering. Please show me a country in the world where wealth and power is equal and the innocent don’t suffer.

Sure corruption is in Pakistan. Please show me a country in the world that is corruption free.

My list could go on, but my point is that Pakistan does have problems…but so does every other country in the world in some way or another. However, in the case of ALL other nations, there are often good things to report and the media goes out of its way to promote these good things across the globe, whenever possible. The ridiculous amount of shootings in the USA is balanced off by the success of Google, Microsoft and Apple. The financial dilemmas of Greece are lost in the marketing of the Greek Islands as a holiday destination of choice. The child slave industry of India, is brushed under the carpet in favour of the nation’s growth in the global software boom. What I am trying to say, is that someone needs to look further into Pakistan and see that there are millions of great stories to write about, which would portray the country in a different light, to that what is being portrayed by your article.

When I was in Pakistan, I visited a towel manufacturing company (Alkaram Towels). They produced some $60million in export in 2011 and are aiming at $85million in 2012. A substantial increase in sales…in a recession I would remind you. The company was started by the current Chairman, Mr. Mehtab Chawla, at the tender age of nine, after his father passed away. Today the very man employs 3000 staff. Now that’s a story.
I visited universities of NED, Hamdard, Karachi, Szabist and NUST. The students are unbelievably intelligent. They spend their spare time developing APPS for android and apple. They are involved in cutting edge technology and no one in the world knows this. Why not send a reporter to Pakistan to look into this. Why not research good things in this nation, rather than just the bad things. At NUST (National Institution for Science and Technology – Islamabad)) there were 38,000 applications for medicine. There are only 83 seats for the medicine course on offer. The competition is unbelievable. In short it pushes the best to be even better. But the world doesn’t know this. Why? Because no one wants to report on it, or no one knows about it…or both!!

Please do not get me wrong. I understand that news is news, but it is high time that the western world stopped promoting these terrorists and political wars in Pakistan and started to write something that would help the nation. Something positive. If we really care about global partnerships and economic growth, then I suggest we try and give Pakistan a helping hand. There are 180 million people in Pakistan, 65% are under the age of 25. The youth of Pakistan is its strength.. it is like a sleeping giant. If you think that India is a booming nation. I suggest you stop a second and look at Pakistan. Given a little help from the western world, Pakistan can become a dominant economy. She doesn’t want aid and she doesn’t need money… she just wants the chance to be seen in a different light. I believe we have a fundamental obligation to assist. The only question is, who will reach out first.

Warmest regards,

Tony Lazaro
Managing Director
Rising Stars Management Group
Tel: 02 8824 7000
Fax: 02 8824 7766

 

To see the original Facebook link click here

 

I would greatly appreciate it if you spread this on YOUR facebook and reblog this post so that more people can know that there are two sides to every story. Pakistan is a country with a complex set of issues, there is no denying that. But we still live here, live out normal lives and do normal things like anyone would anywhere else in the world. Our Medical and Engineering schools are world renowned and our doctors and technicians are some of the best in the world. We have a rich culture, vast history and a visually stunning country and I for one, am DONE with hearing all the negativity about it.

A simple entry…

So I finished my last post and boy that took some effort! I realized I am still a bit of a duffer at this blog-linking-tech stuff whatever and it actually took a lot out of me to write it out, then I started to enjoy it because the blogs I nominated for the award really are deserving in my opinion. So all in all, it was well worth the effort to link each blog in the post then inform the writers that I’ve basically Tagged/nominated them as letting them know was part of the ritual.

Being nominated myself, I was very surprised and well chuffed about it, in fact I think I exclaimed out loud to myself in my silent room at 1am. I cant believe the amazing support I have gotten thus far considering I decided to try my luck by NOT telling my friends and family about The Penguin and The Machine, just to see how much response I could get and fingers crossed, would show me the true worth of what I do because hey, these people that would discover my blog themselves, they did not HAVE to like my posts, or give encouraging comments, and the biggest compliment of all, proceed to click that little FOLLOW button. They could have very well ignored my efforts as for all intents and purposes, I do not know these people personally hence they owe me nothing.

Which is what makes their support even more amazing! And you, right now reading this, I thank you for taking the time out!

So right now, it is 2:05 am and I am getting that headache you sometimes get when you spend too much time in the sun. But I just had to post this one last…stream of words 😀

Also, there has, as always, got to be at least SOME photographic element to a post of mine right? here goes:

These are my babies 😀

And my love goes out to…

So I began writing this blog not so very long ago and I didnt do much to promote it either. I could have asked all my friends to visit but I decided to try my luck and get some genuine feedback instead from those strangers that would randomly stumble across my blog one fine day. And here I am now, just under 30 posts and feeling well loved and truly motivated. I would like to mention http://crazytraintotinkytown.com/ for nominating me and being one of the first people to support me and encourage me here. Thank you so very much! Go see her blog, it happens to be one of my favorites and the one of the first ones i ever got hooked on!

So ill proceed to copy/paste the rules that come with accepting this nomination:

* Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post
* Share 7 things about yourself
* Nominate 15 or so bloggers you admire
* Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know

so here goes:

1) I read old books. Old hard bound/leather bound books make me happy. The mustier and dustier the better. I specially look for books that have addresses in them, written like “to my niece, from you aunt” with a date. My favorite buys include Paradise Lost, Collected works of Oscar Wilde and a Biography of Marquis de Sade (I know that last one is questionable but i have odd interests, I’ll admit).

2) I drink coke all the time. I am generally a health conscious person, but as my mom often says, there might as well be cola running through my veins…

3) When I feel depressed I watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer (guilty pleasure) or read Anne Rice, mostly because New Orleans is magical.

4) I re-watch films I adore hundreds of times, then speak in quotes with other fans of those films

5) I partially visit new places to eat local cuisine. Im a foodie but you wouldnt be able to tell by my tiny frame.

6) My cameras are my babies. I could skip food if it meant being able to pay for repairs on one…seriously.

7) My greatest fear is regretting not having made the most of my life.

Now time for my nominations! yayee! here goes

1. Robert Satafede Photography

2. Crazy Train to Tinky Town

3.Broken Light: A photography collective

4. Mumchic

5. Chasing Butterflies: Sunshine and Freedom

6. “You Know You’re Borderline When…”

7. Vintage Living

8. Bucket List Publications

9. Photo Nature Blog

10. SQUEEZING CREATIVITY

10. Click Garage

11. Well Spent Journey

12. Pajamasandmoney.com

13. Lucan Ranieri Photography

14.Where’s my T-back and Stories

15. WalkedThru

Now these blogs are in no particular order, and my choices were made based not only on the effort and quality of these blogs but a big hand was played by the writers that write them. They are lovely people that deserve to be read more and shared more and loved more and promoted more for their amazing efforts.

Once again, I would like to thank everyone that has shown support and love for what I have accomplished so far!