Open up your mind and your potential reaches infinity…

Since time immemorial we are known for our spices. The westerners – the Portuguese, the French, the British all came to Indian subcontinent not for the intentions to rule us , but on a look out  for spices. India at that time was known as  the ‘spice heaven’ of the world..

And till now, we have maintained out appetite for spicy food. A little less masala in the Biryani and we complain it wasn’t delicious. Infact, we refuse to eat it.
Same is the case with our appetite for Masala news. WE LOVE SPICY NEWS , RELISH IT,  CHEW IT LONG IN OUR MOUTHS,  AND EVEN REGURGITATE IT with blogs after blogs. But any boring bland news we just swallow it like my son does to the tasteless vegetables.

Human rights group called HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, based in New York, way back in 1999 published a report that Pakistani women, 90% of them, are subjected to verbal, sexual, emotional, or physical abuse in their very homes. I remember seeing the news in various newspapers. But am sure it just went unnoticed–one,  that not many have the habit to read, two, it didnt come as a dramatic news on the TV tagged with a celebrity announcing it.

Yes we are a nation who  loves  to watch TV too and we love dramas the most.

When our dramas became boring with loaded intellect of Sania, Marina, Samina like dull boring women, we switched to watching STARPLUS from India–because they are more spicy.


So right was  Mehr Bukhari on a TV show just a day ago that,  “We are intellectually bankrupt, and hence we want media or the starlets to take the lead in reformation of the society.”

How many of us remember the name of a faceless girl Amina on whom acid was thrown on her face by her husband in Karachi a couple of years ago and YES she too protested a great deal and came in the media and was evenhighlighted by I A REHMAN, the director of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

But why should we?

Neither she was a starlet wearing sphagetti sleeves in front of a Mullah nor was IA Rehman a macho.

How many of us even can recognise the picture of Dr Shazia Khalid who was gang raped in Balochistan and that triggered the war between Pak army and Baloch tribes. Not a small issue.
Why the hell should we–she was not at all a Bigboss enterant. And she did protest too,  that too against the rapists, who we know who they are ,and then left to USA out of frustration and her safety. How many blogs came out on her–there were but not as many, I can bet.
But she never became the champion of the raped girls or symbol of oppression..

Yes Mukhtara Mai did become one. I am glad and I laud all of us for making her so- the media, the bloggers, the FB friends. We all made her the ‘hero’.  Not she herself. Exceptions are always there.

A  schoolgirl,  Kainat Soomro was gang raped at the age of 13. Four years later, today, she is still fighting for justice.
“Kainat Soomro should have stayed silent. After being battered and gang raped for four days her traditional, conservative village in rural Pakistan expected the 13-year-old girl to keep her story to herself. She refused.”

Writes Robin Crilly,   from Daily Telegraph on just 26 December, 2010. How many of us cross posted after reading it.  And this includes me too. I do not absolve myself from this indifference.

This is what a 13 year old Kainat said,
“This is what happens in Pakistan. Poor women have no chance. These men set the rules and think they know how to deal with these issues. They don’t.”
But who noticed?  Who called her a Warrior Princess? Who claimed that Kaanat is ‘me’?

And then just yesterday the DAWN blog by Shyma  highlighting the killing of a faceless SAIMA etc and addressing to the frenzy of the bloggers to ‘hot’ stuff.

And I waited for 24 hours with impatience to see how many of my FB friends, who went and crossposted Veena , went gaga over her courage and valour, will crosspost this. Not even ONE did. Yes not even ONE.

Who are we  kidding guys?

I can go endlessly with such cases who are loaded  with serious issues and serious struggles. But the point is again we are a masala loving nation. And we want masala, the hotter the better.

I was wondering for the last 24 hours as to what is wrong with my brain, my thinking. Did God assemble it wrong order when doing so. Why do I think ‘wierd’ from others, when all of us agree to one thing that this is extremism, bigotry, moral policing is wrong.

I too think Veena being moral policed is wrong but then why am I not being a veena wannabe.
Is it because I am old or I am jealous of her beauty. May be, subconciously.

I even love hot food. But why not hot news then?

Then suddenly I get a flash in my head in the middle of a very important presentation that I was doing for an international organisation begging them to pay their attention to the Maternal Mortality in Pakistan too, not just India or Bangladesh.

And then the reality flashed probably because I donot ever ever switch on to the never ending soaps that run on STAR PLUS. I am so feeble minded that I cant recall even one name.

To what extent am I blind will be obvious from this incident- when I ran into a ‘huge’ startlet who was a VIP for a fundraiser we had worked for–I just didnt place her and offered her a seat in the audience much to the offence of the organisers as well she herself.

Yes I donot watch Indian STARPLUS and that is my anomaly. I get it now to the peace of my mind. Hence,  I dont get the greatness in the two minutes screaming of a STARPLUS  heroine to a two minute moral policing for her.

But I love ‘hot’ food , please.

Ilmana Fasih



  1. Sohail Hashmi said:

    I broadly agree with the points that you are making except for the fact that the trend of increasingly being soft in the head is not a monopoly of the Pakistanis alone, we are fast reaching there, recall the time when all of pakistan watched pakistani dramas and large numbers in India did too, in the Palika Bazar in the Heart of New Delhi you could buy Pirated copies of those Pak TV dramas, the trnd has shifted now, we are producing more powerfully mindless dramas now than Pakistan and so the eye balls have shifted. We too have causes that become causes because of celebrety endorsements, this is like brand promotion.

    So you have no reasong to exult at your monopoly we, that is the Indian middle class with disposible incomes and redundant grey matter, are rapidly becoming as unconcerened with the lives of our compatriots as you are.

    One minor correction, This whole story that the europeans came to india to trade and then decided to colonise us since they were here seems a little far fetched to me.

    They came here to colonise us. the spiel about trade etc was the fig leaf that tey used to get harbour facilities on our shores.

    I am saying this because the only spices that we had in the southern region where the Europeans first arrived were the Cardamom and the Black Pepper.

    Nutmeg and mace originated in the indonesean archipelago,

    the best cinnamon has its roots probably in Srilanka, it is the inner bark of a tree, the one commonly used is the outer bark of a tree that grows in china and that is why its common name in the sub continent darchini, which is a corruption of the Arabic term Dar-al Chini – the bark from China, the Arbs got it from China and we got it from the Arabs, via central Asia,

    cloves are a native of the molucca islands in the indonisean archipelago, the first clove plants were probably introduced to India by the East India Company in the late 19th century and first planted in the Nilgiris.

    The hottest of all spices, the Chillies, originated in South America and were first introduced in India probably as late as the 17th century during Jahangir’s time.

    Cultivation on a large scale and acceptance as a regular ingrdient in our foods would have taken some more time. So the Hot Mughlai cuisine could not have evolved before the last days of the Mughals, till before that, the hottest spice we had were the black peppers.

    So much for our age old tradition of loving hot food, it is not even 300 years old.

    • Sohail Bhai, to get a comment from a stalwart like you is such an honour.
      Yes certainly I must not consider this unlightenment as only our (pak’s) monopoly–we are all going global in it too.

      And talking particularly about India, ever since the Multinational cosmetics/fashion industry ‘eyed’ the potential in the Indian market, suddenly the Indian girls went ‘pretty’ enough to be MISS WORLDs and MISS UNIVERSEs too .And hence the inspiration for millions in the neo-rich middle class
      This would make yet another spicy issue to blog.

      About your detailed info on spices was a great piece of learning for to me.

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