Yasir Pirzada's Blog

Its collection of columns of Yasir Pirzada

How Not to Harass a Woman

Yesterday I went to see one of my corporate friends who work for a multi national company. Wile waiting for him in his stylish office, I noticed that some kind of poster with the title “Code of Conduct” was fixed at the notice board. Since my favourite time pass is reading all kind of irrelevant stuff, I started reading that poster also. To my surprise, that was related to work ethics relating to interaction with woman at workplace. Some international NGO had drafted that code of conduct in line with the Protection against Harassment of Woman at the Workplace Act, 2010 and got it printed in the poster size. The poster was in bulleted form and some of the points were really interesting, e.g. it stated that it is inappropriate to praise the beauty of a female colleague, to call her in an indecent manner by saying “tum” or “tu”, to give her sarcastic remarks like “we all are afraid of you” or “hum to khadim hein aap key”, to visit her office and pass demeaning comments like “at last you thought of calling me” or “yad a gayi aap ko”, to offer tea or meal, to demand her mobile number without any cogent reason, giving her “missed calls”, thank her unnecessarily or show undue courtesy etc.

While I was still going through that stringent code, my friend entered with his female colleague (Salma, fake name but how original!). Both of them were cracking jokes and appeared to be quite frank…..rather “unnecessarily” frank. My friend introduced me to her colleague and then immediately he offered her coffee which she accepted with a big smile. “Violation of code number one”, I thought. During the coffee session, my friend praised the elegance and beauty of her colleague and every time he did that, Salma blushed and I marked in my mind, “violation number two”. After finishing the coffee, my friend cracked some more jokes (not quite indecent) which Salma enjoyed by laughing loudly (undue frankness, hence, again a violation, this time number three); and then she left with the statement that she would join us again during the lunch. This was violation number 5, I calculated.

Immediately after she left, I told my friend that he was guilty of misconduct within the meaning “Protection against Harassment of Woman at the Workplace Act, 2010”.

“How come?” my friend asked amusingly?

“Because during the whole meeting with your female colleague, you violated this Code of Conduct which is displayed right in front of you”, I said in a firm voice, “you not only praised her beauty but also offered her tea, exchanged jokes with her and became unnecessarily frank which is harassment within the meaning of this Code!”

My friend listened to me patiently and then suddenly laughed screamingly. His non serious attitude annoyed me a bit but I kept my cool. Seeing my seriousness, he put brakes on his laughter and said,” You are mistaken dear. Haven’t you noticed that during the meeting, Salma was enjoying my company, infact, when she left; she said she would be having lunch with me which I didn’t even offer to her. So how can you say that I violated some kind of code?”

“It’s written there on the wall….”

“Yes, it’s written but it is applicable in the situation where you do all this without the consent of the woman!”

“You mean if you do it with her consent, then its ok?” I asked in a surprising tone.

“Perfectly ok and if you have any doubt about it please read the definition of harassment given in the Harassment Act. It says any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors or other verbal or written communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature or sexually demeaning attitudes, causing interference with work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile offensive work environment, or the attempt to punish the complainant for refusal to comply to such a request or is made a condition for employment.” My friend read the definition verbatim from the Act which was being displayed on his laptop.

“I think you are twisting the definition just to….”

“Hold on…..before you judge me; let me tell you an interesting phenomenon. When this code of conduct was initially adopted by our company, I followed it religiously. I stopped praising Salma, stopped offering her any tea or coffee, what to talk of lunch, stopped sending her funny sms etc. And you know what happened? She got furious. She said that I was deliberately ignoring her and she was quite upset with my attitude. And when I resumed all this, she became normal again.”

“Well, you are interpreting it in a wrong way. You guys are friends so probably you both have different set of ethics between you….but…….”

“But few minutes ago you were charging me with the Harassment Act?” My friend again interrupted me and this time I had no answer. Seeing me speechless, my friend laughed again and said, “for the sake of the argument, if I accept that all what you are saying comes under the definition of sexual harassment, then please allow me to say that every man on this planet is guilty of harassing woman in one way or the other during his lifetime, be it President Obama or late Osama!”

I kept quite and again started reading the Code of Conduct. Meanwhile my friend picked up the phone to call Salma just to remind her that it’s lunch time now!

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December 6, 2011 Posted by | Humor, Men, Satire, Society, Women | Leave a comment

Me and my Naseebo!

Last week I received a call from a university student who happened to be secretary of some literary society of his department. He wanted to invite me at a gathering being organized by that literary society in connection with their regular activity of having guest speakers to talk on various current issues. Since these kinds of gatherings involving group of young university students always excite me, I accepted the invitation without any hesitation. Being somewhat over cautious, however, I asked the host on what topic I am supposed to speak. The guy replied, “It’s your choice sir, anything under the sun, we have no problem!”

“Well, that sounds quite progressive. Ok then I will dilate upon the growing religious extremism in our society.” I suggested a topic off-the-cuff.

“Oh no sir, not on religion,” the guy replied hurriedly, “as you know religion is a very sensitive issue and people often get offended easily when we talk about it and we don’t want any kind of problem in our department.”

The response of the guy somewhat surprised me so I explained to him that I won’t touch the controversial issues, “I will just try to analyze the reasons of religious extremism, why we are facing the menace of sectarianism, intolerance towards other opposite sects and ….”

“Sir, why to indulge into this anyway,” the boy interrupted, “you are such an intelligent writer, why don’t you just leave religion aside and simply talk about anything else?” The compliment elevated my spirits so I decided not to argue with him on this account anymore.

“Ok then I will talk about the target killings in Karachi and will try to explain which political parties are behind these killings!” I proposed a political topic instead of religious.

“Oh my God, sir this is even more dangerous. You know when it comes to Karachi; the focus is automatically shifted to MQM so I am afraid we can’t afford this topic as well.”

“Ok ok, I understand that. Ummmm…..let me think…..ah….suicide bombings…..I am sure everybody is against these suicide attacks so I think this is the most appropriate topic for a fruitful discussion among young fellows like you.”

“How can you say that everybody is against these suicide bombers?” The guy said in an inquisitive tone, “I can introduce you to a number of students of our university who always justify these attacks on one pretext or the other. No sir, you cannot have any discussion on this issue. Please think of something else.”

“Suddenly you have made things quite difficult, my dear. Ok, what about army? I mean the role of army in politics and destabilizing democracy plus the Osama bin Laden affair and its aftermath….”

“I am sorry. Our faculty has advised us that we should not discuss army and judiciary in our proceedings. This is a no go area for us.” His tome was really apologetic this time.

“I wonder what the go go areas are?” I asked sarcastically.

“Well, rest is all open for you. As I said you can talk on any other issue…..”

“Yea…..any issue…except religion, except suicide bombings, except target killings, except army, except judiciary…that’s it or have I missed anything?”

“Your sense of humour is really amazing, sir. Yes, you missed a critical area i.e. criticism on university administration like VC, registrar, head of departments, faculty members, office bearers of union etc.” The guy almost stated the official policy of the university.

“No worries my dear, I won’t touch any of them not even your canteen boy. Ok why don’t you suggest something?”

“Ok let me think……ummmm……you can talk about growing prices of fruit and vegetables, dengue virus, role of tehsil Nazim in revamping the local drainage system……as I said everything under the sun.” The boy repeated his “liberal” stance.

“That’s so sweet of you……I couldn’t even think of these topics.” I again passed a sarcastic comment. “But let me suggest you something even better.”

“What’s that?” the guy asked in curiosity.

“Instead of inviting me, you should invite Naseebo Lal and listen to her mesmerizing songs. I can bet nobody would object to that, not even your VC.”

“Great idea….but…..there is one problem.”

“What’s that?”

“What has Naseebo Lal got to do with literature? After all we are running a literary society in the campus under which we are organizing this event so what can be the justification for having Naseebo Lal?”

“That’s no problem my dear. You can tell the authorities that Naseebo Lal will sing only those songs which are written by recognized poets so that comes under ‘piece of literature’ including the  song like ‘jadon sowan, mahi dey nerey howan, manji dey vich dang pherda’……after all these have been passed by the film censor board which is a government body so no issue!”

“Thanks a lot sir, you have solved a big problem. I will definitely recommend the society to invite Naseebo. But don’t you worry sir; we will invite you some other time.”

“That’s really sweet of you, best of luck with Naseebo.”

“Thanks and Good bye.”

December 6, 2011 Posted by | Humor, Media, Satire, Society | Leave a comment

Bill Gates baney ga Meera ka pati!

Several men are in the locker room of a golf club. A cell phone on a bench rings and a man engages the hands free speaker-function and begins to talk. Everyone else on the room stops to listen.

Man: Hello

Woman: Honey, it’s me. Are you at the club?

Man: yes

Woman: I am at the mall now and found this beautiful leather coat. It’s only $ 1,000. Is it ok if I buy it?

Man: Sure, go ahead if you like it much.

Woman: I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the new models. I saw one I really liked.

Man: How much?

Woman: $ 90,000.

Man: Ok, but for that price, I want it with all the options.

Woman: Great! Oh, and one more thing….the house I wanted last year is back on the market. They’re asking $ 950,000.

Man: well, then go ahead and give them an offer of $ 900,000. They will probably take it. If not, we can go the extra 50 thousand. It is really a pretty good price.

Woman: Ok, I’ll see you later! I love you so much!

Man: Bye! I love you, too.

The man hangs up. The other men in the locker are staring at him in astonishment, mouths agape….Then he smiles and asks, “Anyone know who this phone belongs to?”

My apologies first for narrating this lengthy joke verbatim but that’s surely worth it as after reading it, some questions instantly arose in my mind. First, how much time a woman like this would take to make her millionaire husband bankrupt? Second, will that woman still be happy from her man? Third, how such woman would react when her husband would not fulfill any one of her ‘farmayish’? Fourth, does such kind of husband really exist on earth? Last but not the least, which Lollywood actress you think is closer in character and style to such a woman?

Before answering question number one, let us presume the answer of the last question first as film star Meera. Since Meera is desperately looking for such a husband these days, she is our automatic choice for the character depicted in the above joke. Meera’s husband hunt is evident from her popular TV show “Kon banega Meera ka pati?” in which she (along with her mom obviously) scrupulously shortlists only those candidates who can afford her luxurious lifestyle rather than Meera ‘affording’ them! This is basic criterion that has been devised by Meera’s mom for shortlisting her potential son-in-law.

Coming back to the answer of the first question, that involves some mathematical calculations. In order to understand this arithmetic, let us imagine that such a woman, i.e. Meera is married to Bill Gates. Now Bill Gates is a person who earns $ 250 every second, that’s about $ 20 million a day and a whopping $ 7.8 billion a year. If we assume that he will live for another 35 years, he has to spend $ 6.78 million per day to finish all his wealth before he goes in his grave. This filthy rich man can bankrupt in two ways only: one, if Microsoft Windows’ users can claim $ 1 for every time their computers hang because of Microsoft Windows, Bill Gates will be bankrupt in 3 years; two, if Gates keeps his marriage with Meera for just one year. You can bet on that!

Answer to the second and third question is quite simple but at the same time intermingled. That woman (Meera) will be happy as long as her husband (Bill Gates) would keep on fulfilling her demands. When Meera would start getting a feeling that Gates is not paying any heed to her demands and he would be bankrupt soon, Meera would smartly say goodbye to him and start looking for a new husband, probably Warren Buffet this time. Regarding fourth question, we have already identified Bill Gates as the potential husband on earth but even Gates would find it hard to get going with such a demanding woman. Hence, we can safely conclude that no species as ‘perfect husband’ exits in this world.

Some of you may think that even Meera can’t make Gates bankrupt as the latter is unimaginably rich. For such innocent people, I would suggest that they should shake their memories and recall Meera’s ‘alleged’ husband Ateeq. When that guy claimed that he spent 30 million rupees to gift a house to Meera, a Pakistan business tycoon exclaimed in astonishment, ”What the hell…….why people spent millions on something that can be easily bought for a couple of lacs!” One can only guess what he is talking about!

December 6, 2011 Posted by | Satire | , , | Leave a comment