Friday, September 29, 2006

Quakeflections: A year has passed

Cheezy? That's just too bad. Read on below

Moving on to the subject matter at hand...The earthquake in Pakistan/India (October 8th, 2005) is nearing its first anniversary.

The irony of an anniversary strikes me. People celebrate, people mourn...people think about things from all sorts of angles, yet what is it that they really think about?

Do you remember the feeling we all had when the ground started shaking? I can because it woke me up. I remember I was sleeping and as I got up to go towards the bathroom arch, I could barely walk 3 feet without falling down.

No balance. No stability. No traction.

My friend Sahir (also affectionately known as Seri), was in town from Isb yesterday and crashed at my place. We chatted about the quake relief days as though it was an episode in our past of more than 10 years. In the heat of the moment, I thought of my boy Sunny, working his hide off in the US, and gave him a buzz. We all chatted with im for a few and the conversation inadvertently ended up discussing the earthquake.

As it happens, Seri and I were together the night we drove to Balakot (the first night after the quake) and remembered how we spoke of this being his 1st and last trip up because of the toll relief work can take on you and me saying how I could keep doing this my whole life.

Today he is a successful logistics guru, while I work for a non-profit investment fund that puts money in to socially sustainable and scalable development projects (for those of you who are clueless...we ( provide rich peoples services and products etc that are exlusively for the wealthy, to the poorest of the poor. I guess one can say that we were right and we were wrong.

So, what have we learned in this past year? That natural disasters occur only to shake people's faith and get them on the right track? At what cost? the lives of hundreds of thousands? I'd recommend not including religion in the whole realm and just taking it for what it is...a terrible act of nature causing the displacement of millions in a place where land is abundantly scarce.

The Earthquake of October 8th, 2005 was a terrible happening and we should continue to strive for ways to help. Giving money may not be the answer. Laying a brick for a house is, however, a step in the right direction.

I also heard about some book on FM 89 (our partners in kind who helped us gain support from the public during our days of gallantry in the mountains) written by a US returnee (a girl with a very soft voice) titled, "8:50 A.M" - Go check it out...apparently it's a job well done. Proceeds go to The Edhi Foundation and The Citizens Foundation.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Her sister ran but she stuck around for a quick shoot

Kids at play in the rain, stopped for a quick hello

The beautiful and colorful women of the desert

Old Pundit Jee at a 100 yr old Mandar

Movin around

So a time comes in everyones life when they must pack their bags and head out, challenge the world and live independently.

I took a job with the Acumen Fund as a Portfolio analyst/consultant, working on projects that have a social impact, develop a sustainable business that is scalable, ultimately helping reduce poverty levels in Pakistan. My project is based in Tharparkar - the desert that no one knows about, talks about or even cares about. This is not a generalization, but more a realization and it reflects on the time that Pakistan and India seperated in 1947, during which time the people of Thar had no clue about the events happening because they were always so cut off.

Unilever, Pakistan, has done significant work in Thar - providing water accessibility to communities and other such facilities that help provide basic needs.

Anyway - so I have had an awesome time so far, although the hassle of moving in to a new place, setting it up and dealing with the bullshit of people you need to get very essential things done from and the amount of money involved from bribes to "added service costs" etc.

But lo and behold, finally I have moved in and am slowly settling down. I have had friends coming over a few times to help break in the place and so far it seems to be going well. The only real issue is that the building comprises of families and I am one of two bachelors living there. Decent as we may be (who the hell am I kidding), it is still difficult because you have to be conscious of noise levels etc. Your friends may not give a shit, and frankly they don't have to, but it all comes down to the resident.

Apparently there was talk that I had the "wrong kind of women" coming over...they are quite hilarious because the people complaining about this, i found out through a reliable source, are actually engaging in those lude acts and want a piece of what they believe I am getting. Unfortunately, sad as it may be, I am not interested in that because I have the best thing in the world with this chick (you know who you are you georgeous print maker you) and ain't nothin changing that.

I wonder now if anyone is actually even reading my blog. It is mostly my fault cause I never took the time to update for the longest period, but I'm trying to post every once in a while. You guys should check out the older posts like Dying Diety and such to get an idea of how philosophical I really tend to be.

Some pictures of my trip to Thar follow, along with the view from my apartment balcony.

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