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

Love Diary

31 May 2007: Bubbly, Yesterday was the most memorable day of my life. We were together for the whole day and promised that we will be together for the rest of our lives as well. Your beauty has captivated my heart and I have no hesitation in saying that you are the most charming girl I have ever seen. I had always dreamt for a lady like you.

18 June 2007: I simply can’t live without you Bubbly. You are such a stunning beauty that I have no words to express the mesmerizing effect of your personality on me. I feel myself in heavens when I am with you. Although I am not a poet, yet sometimes I feel like saying some verses for you.

06 July 2007: I have now decided that I will propose you formally through my parents as soon as I get a reasonable job. I know it’s hard to wait now for both of us but you will agree with me that these worldly things do matter a lot in our society. I have already started searching for the job and I promise that immediately after getting my firs salary, I will buy an engagement ring for you.

20 August 2007: You must be knowing how desperately I am looking for the job. This is a cruel world which doesn’t understand the feelings of two loving souls so we need to be patient. By the way, I have heard that your parents are looking for a match for you, is this true? Bubbly, I will die if I couldn’t get you, this is for sure.

29 October 2007: Why your parents are in so much hurry for your marriage? Can’t they wait for couple of years? Yes, I have got the job but right now my salary is not that handsome so I am just waiting for the right time when I will send my parents to you. Please persuade your parents that they must not make any hastily decision about your marriage.

04 January 2008: Bubbly, I have good news and a bad news. Good news is that finally I have got promotion and salary raise; and bad news is that I have been transferred to Karachi. I know I will be away from you but dear that is only a temporary period, I will be soon with you. Once I am back in Lahore, I will send my parents to you, this is a promise.

15 March 2008: Life is quite tough here in Karachi but thank God Saira is quite helpful. She works in our office and don’t worry we are just colleagues, nothing else. I am missing you here but can’t do much about it. This is the way life is but I still love you.

10 May 2008: Bubbly, I told you earlier that Saira and me are just friends and not more than that so why you are being so suspicious? I am sorry but this is typical womanish thinking and I hate it. I am struggling in the initial phase of my career and instead of being supportive you are casting doubts over my intentions? This is unfortunate for both of us.

03 August 2008: My organization is sending me to Malaysia for a training of 6 months. If I successfully pass out this training (which won’t be a problem for me), I will be posted there for further 2 years. I know that your parents have been in hurry for your marriage but I can’t do much about it. I wish you could understand my problems. And by the way, Bubbly, have you gained weight or what? You are looking a bit old in your recent pic which you have sent to me.

11 March 2011: Hey Bubbly it’s been ages since we communicated last time. I remember that I called you from Malaysia somewhere in 2008. Hope everything is fine at your end. Now I am back in Lahore and will try to see you soon.

12 April 2011: It is shocking news for me that you got married 2 years back and now you have a 6 months baby also. I can’t believe this. Remember you used to say that you can’t live without me and I am the man with whom you will spend your whole life and bla bla. What was all that? Did you find someone better than me or what? Love lost, I think!

19 April 2011: Thanks for blaming me for all that has happened in our lives. This was the last thing which was expected from you. I told you in the very beginning that career is very important for me but you never understood this. I have also now decided to get married. Saira is a very loving and caring lady and I am sure she will prove to be an ideal wife. Her father owns the company in which I work. God bless you, anyway!

April 28, 2011 Posted by | Dating, Humor, Men, Satire, Society, Women | Leave a comment

“Legal” Businesses

Some people think that making money in a country like Pakistan is an extremely difficult phenomenon. They are wrong. In a country where you can’t find pure milk, one can become rich just by supplying pure dairy products; where you can’t find quality education, one can become wealthy by opening a state of the art school; and where there is a scarcity of international standard hospitals, one can become a business tycoon in no time just by establishing a hospital filled with qualified doctors. If these ideas sound a bit difficult to implement due to shortage of initial capital or lack of expertise, you can still become millionaire by employing much less expensive techniques, e.g. by sensibly marketing weight loss drugs, face whitening lotions, hair removing/growing (whichever is applicable) ointments, anti aging creams and so on. Those who think that environment in Pakistan is not business friendly due to lawlessness, corruption and inefficient bureaucracy; they are terribly mistaken; the environment is extremely business friendly, thanks to lawlessness, corruption and inefficient bureaucracy. Let’s see, how!!!

We are living in a country, where you don’t have to pay taxes, infact whatever tax you collect as a withholding agent on behalf of the government, you can easily pocket it, nobody would ask; and if somebody asks, give him/her his due share and then enjoy the remaining bounty. This means that as a businessman, you can earn even the government share of taxes over and above your enormous profit. Is this possible without an inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy?

We are living in a country, where you don’t need to worry about any license fee or similar kind of useless stuff even if you are indulging in a health related business. You can easily advertise your tall claims about any incurable disease found on earth, experiment with the lives of the people, make lots of money and then get away with it. It doesn’t mean that there is no licensing or certification system in the country, it is working in papers but can be easily dealt with the “papers” having picture of our Quaid. Again these are all the blessings of an inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy, hats off to them.

We are living in a country where you don’t have to worry about consumer rights or stupid stuff like that. These are all western gimmicks not applicable in this part of the world. In whatever business you are, just keep your focus on money making and give a dam about consumer protection. Nobody would ever think of probing how chicken nuggets are made, how much clean is bottled water available in the market or what are the after effects of using weight loss drugs? In a country where on average hundreds of people die in Drone attacks, suicide bombings and target killings, who cares about unhealthy chicken nuggets, harmful drinking water and health injurious weight loss drugs? Surely this is possible only due to the prevailing lawlessness in the country, so just chill!!!

I always wonder why people indulge themselves in illegal businesses like dacoity, burglary, smuggling, drug trafficking or kidnapping for ransom etc. when we have so many “legal” business options available in our beloved country. The other day I came across a frustrated young guy who used to do the work of plumber in our locality. Since he was a skilled worker, he managed to make reasonable amount of money every month but somehow was not satisfied with that income due to his growing needs, thanks to all kinds of round the clock advertisements being run on our TV channels. I was shocked to learn that he had been held by the police on the charges of dacoity. When I inquired about the details of the incident, he told that he desperately wanted to increase his income so he thought of some easy way of doing it. The easiest plan which clicked to his mind was mobile phone snatching but unfortunately he failed in his first attempt and held by the police red handed. I really feel pity for him as he didn’t prove to be sensible enough to think of some “intelligent legal businesses” which I mentioned above. Had he started “curing” patients of hepatitis and other deadly diseases simply by giving life saving drugs to them in a clinic decorated with fake degrees and certificates, he would have become rich in no time; and no policeman or government official would have bothered about him!!!

So, those of you who are still double minded whether to do “legal” business in Pakistan or not, please don’t hesitate anymore. By the grace of God, we have a faulty system which will surely help you in making money beyond your imagination. It’s worth having a risk!!!

P.S. An important thing to keep in mind is that the government functionaries are well aware of all the “legal business practices” going on in their area of jurisdiction. They keep themselves ignorant only when they are “paid” to be ignorant; if you stop their “payment”, you will be flooded with all sorts of officials ranging from social security department to the department for protection of animal rights. So don’t take that risk.

April 28, 2011 Posted by | Humor, Satire, Society | Leave a comment

Choice between Million Dollars and a Beloved Partner

I have a simple question. If given a choice, what a woman would chose, a million dollars or a beloved partner? Although the question looks quite rudimentary in nature but the more I thought about it, the more complicated it turned out to be for me. And the difficulty in answering this plain and easy question is just because of the reason that I am not a woman!

In order to find an honest answer to this question, I conducted a small sample survey within my circle of friends, colleagues and relatives, both males and females. At the time of putting up the question, I also asked everybody to calculate exactly how much million dollars worth in terms of rupees so that they have fair idea what they will be getting “in lieu of” beloved partner!

The results of the “survey”, though not surprising, but were quite categorical. Almost ninety percent people said a woman would surely prefer a beloved partner while paltry ten percent were of the opinion that girls would be after million dollars. Needless to mention, all these ten percent were men.

When I was asking this question to my acquaintances, I came across some really interesting and intriguing observations also. The most intelligent observation came from a male who said, “When you give such a choice to a woman, it implicitly means that she had that beloved partner in her mind which exists in reality. So when a choice is given, she would definitely opt for her love, come what may. On the other hand, if the same choice is put before a woman who had not come across with her beloved partner yet, she may go for a million dollars.”

Another interesting response came from a female colleague who said, “I won’t tell the world about my beloved partner, will accept million dollars, and then give all the money to my love.”

“But why would you do that?” I asked with a bit of surprise. “I mean this is like going to Gujrat via Motorway!”

“No, this is because of the fact that he is already a beloved partner of someone else!” She answered with a loud laugh. Now that was something which I didn’t visualize while framing the question.

One can deduce even supplementary questions out of all this. For example, if this choice is given to a woman who is already living with a person whom she used to adore but that person is struggling in real life making both ends meet, would that lady accept a million dollars in lieu of her beloved partner? Or we can even flip the question. Think of woman who has just accepted million dollars as she didn’t have any beloved partner in her life. However, immediately after getting the money, she comes across with her dream man. Now a choice is given to her, whether she can retain money or she can forfeit her million dollars in order to get her love, what would she do? There is even a third situation which is a kind of paradox that has struck to my mind. Suppose the beloved partner of a woman is in dire need of money. When a choice is given to such a woman between love and money, she chooses money with an intention to bail out her beloved partner; however by exercising that option, she eventually looses her love as she had already availed the option of taking money. This is rather more philosophical than romantic.

As I said earlier, I am not in a position to make any guess of such “Indecent Proposals” but still I would incline to go by the “survey results”. A vast majority of the woman would surely kick the million bucks for their dream man.

Interestingly another million dollar question has just come to my mind. What a man would do in such a scenario? When I asked this question to the same intelligent male chauvinist, he laughingly said,” I would go for a million dollars and then find a woman of my choice.”

“Does it mean that woman have far more loving nature as compared to men who are mostly money minded?” I put across another question.

“Well yes,” he thought for a while, “but at the same time it also means that men are much wiser.” He laughed once again. Typical male, isn’t it?

Anyways, why to put any man or woman in such a difficult situation? Why not to ask for a dream life partner who already has half a million bucks if not full one million! Unfortunately that rarely happens. And that’s why we have to make difficult choices in life. But choices seem difficult only as long as we don’t have any set priorities. If we get our priorities clear, we won’t face any difficulty in making such choices!

March 30, 2011 Posted by | Dating, Humor, Men, Satire, Society, Women | Leave a comment