How I Met Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Dec05

How I Met Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

I never knew Nelson Mandela. Not personally though. All I knew was one, he was famous; two, he was the ex-president of South Africa; three, he worked hard for “something” and four, he was in a wheelchair due to “something”. Then last year out of the blue, Nelson Mandela died on December, 5th. I wasn’t shocked, nor saddened. How could I feel for someone I knew very less of? The social media was flooded that day with mourners across the globe, posting their condolences online, putting up covers of his pictures. I wondered how much they knew of the man. Did they talk about him often? Was he a friend? A role-model? Were they following up on his health? Were they praying in his last moments? I’d like to see one who did. So, still not knowing what to feel (and I still wonder if it’s necessary to actually feel something), I fired up my laptop and googled him. Trying to avoid the long, cumbersome text on Wikipedia, I came across his timeline just published by DAWN (thank heavens!). Year by year they stated Mandela’s activities from birth till death. Mandela turned out to be quite a man. He was a hero, known to many as Madiba, his Xhosa clan name. Nelson was the name given to him by his teacher at age 7. He had worked hard for the black community in South Africa, spoke against the Apartheid laws and had spent most of his time in jail. The longest being twenty-seven years in prison at which time his followers cried out to the government and it was a cry the authorities eventually bowed down to. Madiba was successful in all his efforts for the people and such racist laws were abolished once and for all. He was elected president in 1994, of course. I read through the whole article and all that came to my mind was as to how one man can go through so many hardships for the sake of the people. He was a hero among heroes. He had a voice and he made it his point in life to make himself heard. Throughout his imprisonment, he had rejected at least three conditional offers of release.[1] He was the right man at the right place at the right time. You might find it funny if I told you that I went about, “I could’ve worked to abolish Apartheid laws. Mandela you beat me to it.” However reality must be faced, that was a lot of jail time for me. So what happened next to him? He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He...

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Bachpan Ka December- A Review
Dec05

Bachpan Ka December- A Review

I have come to a conclusion. While English novels give a broader view into life, and (I must confess) make you an attractive nerd, the impact of lessons in Urdu novels is more deeply felt. Its like if your mom gave you a lifelong advice in English, it wouldn’t be as effective as in Urdu. Sarcasms are sharper and humor is more ridiculous. Hence everything that needs to be felt is more penetrating and decent in our native dialect. Sticking to the theme of this Blog of promoting what belongs to Pakistan, I decided to review a novel that I began reading in a hospital lounge with utter disinterest but by the time I finished it, a pile of unattended tasks awaited me. Never misconstrue seemingly odd books in a doctor’s waiting lounge. I must have read around 5 pages but they had me grasped so strongly that on my way back after the appointment, I stopped by a book store and bought it. Bachpan Ka December by Hashim Nadeem sets the story in Quetta where Decembers were thought to be very beautiful once upon a time, with conifers covered in snow and moonlight peaking through the clear frosted ice. The impersonal aspect of the book covers late 70’s through a little boys point of view and then late 80’s through a mature man’s. Its about Ebad, a kid who belongs to a mediocre background, his best friend “Raja” who was always thought to be a bad influence to him (we all have that one best friend who our parents don’t approve of) and “Wajjo” a crush bound to stay a crush forever. The writer’s choice of words is so illustrative that (if I was a painter) I could have painted down every page and If a drama is made on it, there would have been less input at recreating scenes from the book. The word-sketch is so definite and clear. Unlike most romantic novels, this one is pretty humorous. I was amazed to see how the speaker connected so well with his childhood memories and remembered every meticulous detail of his perception. There are immature sarcasms which make you laugh spontaneously over Addi’s innocence. The book talks about parental control, family politics and nosy neighbors. It then slowly evolves to the point where Addi wants to cling purposely to these irritating things, but finally its time for him to grow up and go to a cadet college. That’s where the second phase of his life starts. He shares with readers the reminiscence of this crucial chapter of his life. From the discouraging behavior of seniors to that one...

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