Everyone is hiding something. Hiding from the change, from the repercussions of what might turn against your way, what might not work, if circumstances go beyond your control. The phobia creeps up in your spine and hits back right when the results are about to surface.

Worse, you fear taking responsibilities, or dread accountability of your project plan, and cower from asking questions or reassurance when needed. We cocoon ourselves in a never ending nexus of ‘problems’ that we assume could overtake us by storm.

We’re lucky enough that the things we used to fear don’t happen so often any more, so now we fear feelings.

We will rationalize in extraordinary ways to avoid coming out of the phobia.

My standpoint: When in doubt, do not look into the hiding places. Face it.



In Pursuit of Happiness

It’s early winter morning here in Dubai. My alarm finally gives up on me as I endlessly hit down the snooze button and crib into the sodomy of my warm bed. Of course, it’s another day at work and no matter how many excuses and pledges my heart wants to make in order to avoid work, there is hardly anything that can salvage me from this morning frenzy. I frisk around looking for my cell phone and pull the covers from my head. As I squint through the Twitter timeline, all I see is people ranting about how their “agency life” and work places.

I don’t blame people for doing what they’re doing. It’s not their fault. Perhaps, each one of us was programmed that way. Contrary to what makes us happy, each one of us is thoroughly convinced on trodding ourselves on the path to happiness.

It comes down to this: only people can have ethics. Ethics, as in, doing the right thing for the community even though it might not benefit you or your company financially. Pointing to the numbers (or to the boss) is an easy refuge for someone who would like to duck the issue, but the fork in the road is really clear. You either do work you are proud of, or you work to make the maximum amount of money. (It would be nice if those overlapped every time, but they rarely do).

I worry that we absolve ourselves of responsibility when we talk about business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Corporations are collections of people, and we ought to insist that those people (that would be us) do the right thing. Business is too powerful for us to leave our humanity at the door of the office. It’s not business, it’s personal.



A friend of mine with whom I used to carpool with every morning has flown back to his country, and I was all whiny about the fact that I had to board some public transport early in the morning. For a moment I didn’t realize that had it been in my native land, where public transportation is worse than deplorable, things could have just swung out of control and I would have landed at the office at least an hour late.

The things that happened to me this morning aren’t really novel to me. Each one of us has experienced this at least once in our lives. But then, it’s human nature to recalibrate. But maybe it’s worth fighting that off, for an hour or even a day. We live in a world that’s hetero, uneven, and worst of all, unfair.

For some good bunch of reasons it’s okay that way. Embrace it. You don’t get creative once everything is okay. In fact, we are creative because everything isn’t okay.

If today isn’t the way it was supposed to be, what else could it have possibly been? Recalibrate and you’ll discover a universe of possibilities.


Storytelling in Marketing

Over the years, I have seen multiple brand getting stumped for the sole reason that they took up an ongoing convention as part of the “story” that they benign to tell to their audience. The truth is that your consumer isn’t just good enough to make rational decisions. Most brands would usually succumb to an emotional idea of trying to resonate it with a fad that may have little to do with their true brand identity. If you truly want your idea to resonate, you need to reach out both intellectually and emotionally. Most of us are aware of the story of the Classic Coke. The disaster only occurred as a consequence of the irrelevance of the dichotomy that marketers assumed to be an issue for the audience at that point in time. So how do you build up a story for your audience? How do you learn to create better? How do you innovate a story when every individual on earth is unique to help him find a space between your story? The answer doesn’t lie in the innovation alone. It lies in the collective confidence in the possibility of innovation. It lies in deriving the possibilities of what and how your plot is being delivered and how your customers can derive their own story out of it. Find that unique spot in your brand identity. Help your consumer identify here he lies amidst all the content that he is being hammered with each day. That’s because your consumer’s brain is wired that way. You write memos, to-do lists, shopping lists and what not: And when you don’t remember what you ought to do, you go back to your list, because apparently our brains don’t process number that very well. We tell our peers stories, because we love to share our experiences. That’s the same things with your brands: when you tell people a great story, they can relate themselves in the same situation – just because great experiences are memorable.

Movie Review: Moor

Abnegation: Self sacrifice – usually done for a greater good (cause of humanity, self, nation etc.)

Imagine yourself on the crossroads of three pivotal life choices: choosing your future prospects; making an abnegation for your own morals and principles; or becoming a philanthropic nationalist that could change the lives of your fellow countrymen for good.

What would you choose?

Tough choice, right?

This is precisely what Jami’s new movie Moor is all about. Shot in an epic picturesque local railway station in Baluchistan, the flick is all about how Wahid Lala (Waheed Sheikh) grapples with the accidental (read: melodramatic) death of his wife (Palwasha, played by Samiya Mumtaz) and his childhood, as well as his chastised morals and principles in the face of his son (Shaz Khan), who is benign to moral sodomy in the cosmopolitan life of Karachi.

As for Wahid, the challenges don’t just end up here. He has his ongoing tussle with his moral turpitude for the sake of his brother who seems promising in delivering a covetous livelihood, yet obliges him to abnegate his nationalistic integrity and love for his railway station.

While the storyline and punch lines are crafted immaculately to give you goosebumps and question your (self proclaimed) righteousness, the nexus is thoroughly complex, and at times too esoteric (for the local audience). There is little doubt that this is something only Jami could pull off within a couple of hours of screening.

On the other hand, as the movie is set to showcase on the big screen at major cinemas across Pakistan on the Independence Day, you can certainly expect your nationalism to kick in, even if you have an iota of patriotism to linger on.

What you should look for?

The movie is an epic example of flawless direction, script, dialogue delivery, cinematography and cast selection. You would hardly find a local film production that meets such high standards. Bolstered by decades of experience of both the cast and its crew, the epic saga of Waleed’s chimera has been depicted in the primmest fashion.

While Waheed, Samiya and Abdul Qadir have done an amazing job with their roles, we could have expected much out of the protagonist Shaz Khan, who is stumped by his dwarf experience on his movie debut.

Truth be told, the movie possesses a strong potential to turn you teary-eyed at the most cataclysmic moments, and also condemn you to scrutinize your nationalism before making any decision that lies on the nexus of personal and national interests.

What you shouldn’t expect?

If you are someone who is a fan of gloss, glamour and “entertainment”, back off right now. This movie is certainly NOT for you!

Though it’s undeniable that Jami’s picturization of our railway demise is slick, but with a few insequential blows, peppered with a couple of thrills in the action sequences, it ultimately comes up short. The audience is left to fill up the gaps in the storyline, which if deliberated, could have accentuated the plot of the movie.

As with most desi movies, the plot appears dragged, and one could predict moments where the producers could have edited the sections that do little justice to the movie – apart from making it a little soporific.

In as much as you can leave a movie saying “man, this cast, music and direction were terrific,” you might just not end up calling Moor something of a blockbuster success.

Overall Movie Rating: 8 out of 10.

Humiliating Ourselves

On May 17, 2015, some innuendos about an indigenous incorporation in an American newspaper invoked havoc over the digital media. Instrumented by an American investigative journalist, the article incriminated the organisation of issuing illicit degrees and certificates. Ignited by the impasse, the FIA officials raided the organisation and impeached it for impiety, ignobility and irreverence of international litigations. The implausible implication took the whole nation by storm. Backed by some incorrigible and incredulous history, the incognito ‘I.T’ Company was found out to be an iniquitous incubation center for harbouring illegitimate business affairs.

For others, it invigorated an invidious importune to insult, impeach and cast an irrevocable damage on the so-called, iconoclastic “World’s Leading Information Technology” company. At at the same time, it iced the culture of yellow journalism and bolstered the inscrutable insularity of media houses in the country. The speculators, on the other hand, had imbibed the incense of the inadvertent incident of the impeachment of the parent company of the “Pakistan’s Largest Media Group”, Bol.

In the recent realm of affairs, imbibed by Axact’s impresario, the infiltrate inflicted yet another damage: this time, the wife of an indiscreet political infigurement, Imran Khan for her insidious involvement in having her issue degree issued from an illicit organisation.

Amidst this imbroglio, my intention is not to overwhelm you with my rather esoteric ‘I’ riddled grandiloquent verbiage, but to identify the missing impache – the ever immune, and forever insolent – “I”.

Had we been particular about identifying and indemnifying the our social and moral architecture; had we been anticipative of our moral impeachment before we pointed out fingers at other “corrupt” souls, we could have avoided this arduous ignominy and backlash.

So the next time you make some harrowing allegations, make sure you have scrutinised your moral self: your ill-judged, ill-disposed “I” before humiliating this nation.

Obstreperously maverick vagabond