tom, [heuristic analysis check] and harry


i’m pretty sure we all know the guy who designed the parental control tool for the kaspersky security thingy on your computer. this is the kid who sniggered like an idiot when you read allama iqbal’s shair

palatna, jhapatna, palat ker jhapatna
lahoo garm rakhnay ka hai eik bahana

in a comprehension passage titled warzish ke fawaid back in your fifth grade urdu class. he grew up to be the teen who thought beavis and butthead were the modern day p. g. wodehouse. at age 22, he was born again and joined the hizb-ul-tahreer and swore to rid the world of all lewdness and impropriety.

which is why my kaspersky’s parental control had issues with a wikipedia search for emily dickinson.

if you didn’t get it, i’m certainly not explaining it.


when i was a teen, which let’s admit it, wasn’t exactly last week; being cool wasn’t something you needed a twenty year plan for. oversized teeshirts, baggy jeans, nike bandannas and an ability to quote eminem could do it if a propensity to wear flannel shirts and carve “kurt cobain lives” on school desks  or pronouncing yves saint laurent the way they do on ftv didn’t. and all that was required only if you couldn’t wing through with a fake american accent.

then some twerp made cable tv affordable and what was available only to the elite became mundane and everyday.

so the heretofore cool people had to come up with a new way of being cool. they commissioned a bunch of indus valley students (who we all know get a better gpa if their name is pashmina jade khanzada than shaheen sheikh) to come up with a cool thing and that’s how the current culture of idiotic names in pakiland was born.

in case you’ve lost me, let me take you a little way back in history.

if you are my age your mom has a good chance of being a razia, zubeida, zehra, rabia or saadia. or something from more or less the same genre. meaning that if it doesn’t have a meaning like peace or gift or honorable or decency; then its probably the name of some historical character who embodies all those virtues and more besides.

on the other hand, if you are my age and have kids, your daughter is like to be named something as out-of-the-box as you can possibly come up with – like tamara or manizeh or aabgeenay or mishghan or even scheherzade. bottom line, you ensure that whether or not you know the meaning, the name is sufficiently rare enough that your kid has no chance of ever finding a key-chain with her name on it at some souvenier shop in murree. and if your parents are enough of an influence to have a say in the naming of your kid and recommend something more orthodox like zainab or fatima you’ll probably ruin her life by getting it spelt as xeneb or phatimah on her birth certificate.

(people, you know who you are)

but that was then and this is now. obviously most people aren’t happy enough at the idea of having cool kids if their parents were uncool. they want to be cool themselves. and so if you’re a mukarram and want to be cool, you become mike. or like the asghar and naheed couple i met a few months back who go by oscar and nancy and explain this idiocy (my word, not theirs) is beyond my comprehension (their word, not mine) as i am “not from the states”. well, maybe not.

but i am cool enough to spell my zill-e-ilahi with an x. nyah na na na na.


while it is not true that i ever took hallucinogens or was committed to a mental health institution for schizophrenia, there is nonetheless a grain of truth in the statement that i once thought i could sing. of course, having a voice that nostalgically emulates the crows of karachi at their best does not help to a very great extent. and the fact that someone reminded me of sajjad ali on friday night meant that throughout all of saturday’s aimless dubai drive my companions were subjected to my rendition of his cult classic, bolo bolo. which means that my sore throat is nothing compared to their sore ears.


in other exciting news i found a bunyan tree in abu dhabi. it is quite rightly looking (and, i suspect, feeling) ridiculous in the middle of the desert.

yes i have no idea why i wrote this blogpost. boredom and a listerine high will do that to you.


6 Responses to “tom, [heuristic analysis check] and harry”

  1. 1 Saeed

    if Huckleberry is now not unwashed, is he still Huckleberry..?& if he is, then why is Huckleberry talking of banyan trees…?(instead of, say, willows..?)

    & incase ur wondering whether that was boredom induced (or listerine, or whatever it is that cool people smoke nowadaws), let me tell you that it’s just because I survived the cyclone(Aila)rain/storm yesterday…& no, I didn’t actually say “cyclone aila re”, I was merely referring to the fact that the cyclone (for some unfathomable reason) has been christened “Aila”…

    But, really, “Pashmina Jade Khanzada”?!

  2. 2 abbas

    in all fairness, naming my son was hard. first of all had to come up with a shia name. that in itself is hard enough. then coming up one in shia’s that is also used by bohra’s. that in itself is much harder. then had to come up with one that hasn’t already been used by a halai. that was the hardest bit. (especially since my wife and mother are born halai’s) and to top if off have to make sure the gora’s could pronounce it. the name khozema or zulqarnain wouldn’t have worked too well there. don’t knock it till you try it. but i agree there really aren’t very many excuses for the designer names.

  3. @ saeed: an exaggeration. but a mild one. 🙂

    @ halai: your situation is a difficult one. there have to be 393 halais whom i can name and i’m sure you can come up with at least another 5,000. that really limits the options. but there are millions of pakis who don’t share the same handicap and the only pronunciation they ahve to worry about is the bengali maasi who will call zulfiqar, julfiqar if you follow my drift. 🙂 fortunately i dont have any kids myself and can merrily criticize the rest of the world till my time of reckoning comes. 🙂

  4. This isn’t your fault in the least, nor can I explain it, but for some reason I am reading your blog entries in the voice of the father, from the movie Brick Lane based on the book. This does not say anything about the content of your blog, which I find entertaining and humorous.

  5. @ sophister: i’m trying to think of a witty comeback but i am severely handicapped by the fact that i have never heard of brick lane, the movie (based on the book) and consequently am not familiar with the paternal figure featured therein and/or his sound effects. however, if you do wish to attach a narrator’s voice to my posts, my vocal chords strike the centre point between donald duck and luciano pavarotti. hope that helps.

  6. 6 abbas

    oh btw, you forgot the cool new hyphenized marital-premarital surnames.

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