One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Some Old Pages

These old pages have some autobiographical as well as some philosophical contents. Your thoughtful comments are most welcome. I hope you enjoy reading them... Cheers :)

@All rights are reserved

ISBN: 978-0-9844117-3-3

Table of Contents

Introduction 7

Life is a bunch of questions: 7

Silence Speaks; 8

US society: 8

No change around us despite our personal leaps: 9

We care about everything: 9

So what you lose? Nothing, so why not to try: 10

Reaching right audience is necessary to know the value of your works: 10

Life is becoming more meaningful: 11

Looking for post modernism: 12

Psychological Medicines; 12

Success versus character: 12

Self Reliance made us more interdependent: 13

We fear because of contradictions: 13

We all become sad by losing but: 14

Gaps aren’t intimidating but they are spaces for growth: 14

Tolerance is the space inside you: 14

Smarts and those acts as they are smart: 15

You got a magic box: 15

Freedom of imaginations is more important than freedom of speech: 15

Simplicity is an answer to complexity: 16

Fill in the gap strategy: 16

Smartness means compassion: 17

Local versus Global: 17

Power of Identity: 17

A brief description of Quetta: 17

Hazaras in Quetta: 18

Pashtoons in Quetta: 19

Baluchis in Quetta; 19

Punjabis and Urdu Speaking in Quetta: 19

Revisiting Power of identity; 20

Football matches between Algeria and Egypt: 20

Self Organizers: 21

Second hand and third knowledge: 21

Computers lie; 22

Google it; 23

Professional networking: 23

Black hole of times; 23

If Socrates were alive: 24

Addictions to iPods or music: 24

Sometimes buying for free and other buying nothing expensively: 24

Cats are terrorizing Dinosaurs and Dinosaurs are angry with that: 25

Pines are my soul-mates: 25

Changing colors of trees are sad: 26

Price of intellect: 26

Repeating words as timeline of residency: 27

Silence of night has an unspeakable beauty: 27

Fictionalization reveals the truth of imaginations: 27

Romance with Nature: 28

Mother Nature’s stories: 28

Halloween: 28

Flying kites or flying leaves: 29

Do unicellular organisms more terrifying than lion? 30

Gaps: 31

Hiding books: 31

Reading in bus: 32

USA? Things that few expect: 33

The taxi driver: 34

Wounded Dreams: 34

Disturbed soul or a naughty boy? 35

Philosophy still corrupts people; 36

Wishing the speed of Copepods: 37

Percentage of tolerance: 38

Heart of Asphalt 39

Ipod for Albert Einstein 39

Googling and old man response: 40

Mountains and water: 41

Modern Philanthropy or personal politics: 42

Thanksgiving, Eid-al-Adha and global warming: 43

Walls as symbols and evidences of ideological wars: 44

Change or Revival? 45

Generations of technology: 45

Fossilized history in map of USA; 46

Connectivity, Creativity and authenticity: 47

Old and new contrasting tips: 48

What will you do with ten million rupees? 49

Halal Food: 49

Why are you reading the book of this old guy? 50

Now I believe in Evolution: 51

The reach of toastmasters: 51

Technology affecting professions: 52

Algerian was not there: 52

A solution for Junk mails: 53

From preferences to need: 53

What is simplicity? 54

Taste: 54

Individualism is born out of mistrust 56

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Introduction

It is customary to base your travel experiences on events, places and events. I think this trend is going to be less appealing as you can google out places, events and people. What googling still lacks are feelings that you get, while moving across cultures. I decided to focus more on my feelings and perceptions rather than events and places (though you may find some of them here). An artist feeling is more artistic, a scientist’s more scientific and a philosopher’s feelings are more philosophical. I have a combination of them but as philosophy is dominant in my thinking process so my diary is more philosophical. When it comes to philosophy, there is no two minds agree on all and also there is no two minds disagree on all. Hence I expect that you will not agree with all and also you will not disagree with all and it is quite understandable. When one reads a book or a diary one expect to get answers. You will some answers from this diary but perhaps more questions, why?


Life is a bunch of questions:

For answering a question, I ended up with more questions. It seems that answers are a few clean spaces in mess of a practice book. If, I say that an individual is a practice notebook filled with questions written in random is not an exaggerated statement. Despite, our lives are in chronological order, our preferences, logic and knowledge interfere with order of events and make them messy. So we get confused to tell our stories or feelings in particular order. We have more questions in what to say or in what order presents our stories than answers. If we say that events in our lives are answers because we know them, it is as we claim that we know about global affairs because we read news or we watch news…. In fact we do not know about events in our lives. Instead we are aware of these events because we experience them and are part of them. Events, in our lives are questions that we seldom ask or better to say we fear to ask. I remember the sentence of Robert Camus, “I rebel therefore I am”. I feel that he wanted to say, “I question, therefore I am”. Questioning is like rebellion and only few dare to do so.

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Silence Speaks;

Silence, speaks but it only tells what you want to listen. You have a world view and pictures in your mind and you search these pictures in people. Most of our world views and imaginations are the results of fantasies through fiction either through movies, books, magazines or by objective reporting of news media. But the real experiences by real people change your perspectives or enrich your world views. I heard several times about cultural shocks, so I was prepared to see some of them. When you are ready and looking for something, it becomes more of observation and enriching experiences rather than shocks.

Over last one year (Since August 2009 to August 2010) my mental pictures of US has changed a lot but I am still living in silence. It is still silence that speaks. Before talking about what has changed in me it is better to have my feelings of US,


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US society:

If I want to define US in few words, I would say, two expressions, express it best, systematization and use of technology in systems. From education, businesses, politics, transport, housing to manufacturing and distribution almost everywhere you see the systematization and use of technology in it. I think this is best defines US. Everything else is secondary. Sure, this is an individualistic society but individualism works best because though having their own individual worlds are well connected through systems and technology. It makes life easy, adaptable and increase understanding. Both systems and technology are rational and reliable so it is trust on the system and technology that make people satisfy and fills the gaps of mistrusts based on racial or cultural differences.

It is a big and diverse country where everybody has created their personalized world linked with this growing systematized society. It is necessary to grow technologically otherwise your options will shrink. If I take a very familiar and obvious example, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple is a few representatives of Silicon Valley industries. Once large farm owners were among riches but now it is high-tech business owners or financiers who understand how system works and grow with growing technologies.

It is very famous example that nobody on the face of earth knows how to make a pencil. It is collaborations of a lot of expertise that make a pencil come into being. Systematization and use of technology in systems makes this individualistic country highly connected to each other and it is the make possible the arrival of new technologies and new industries. If I say it is one of the reasons of US progress, it would not be an exaggeration. Connectivity is not only makes sharing of ideas but also accesses easy customers and marketability. Another aspect is it has a spectator effect which makes people work and share even without any other reasons.

Once you become accustomed to living within a systematized society and use of technology, it becomes difficult to get out this world. All the people are not equally good in adapting systems and in use of technology and even in learning how to use them and incorporating in their lives. Still there are people who can’t afford technology. So it is why you see from one side the continuous success stories from Silicon Valley and crises in mortgage and health insurances. Both these two different pictures are related to a well functioning system and an ill-functioning system.

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No change around us despite our personal leaps:

There are no eye catching changes around us. Just our red maple grew bigger, A double sided bench is put in our apartment’s backyard by landowner so we could enjoy, eating, reading discussing and observing birds, squirrels, a skunk and a family of woodchucks, competition of insects and competitions of grass species. Fat cats are distractions who are always busy chasing squirrels and birds. Oh yes, one more addition. There are some bicycles added so we could wander around town especially going for shopping. It is all that have changed in our surrounding. However, there is a great leap in our lives. If I say it was a rebirth, it is a little exaggeration that can explain these changes better. I am sure I am not doing justice in describing these changes but at least you can figure out kind of changes,

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We care about everything:

We keep saying, “Who cares… I don’t care…. Why should I care about those non-senses...” Actually these expressions are show of level of concerns and care that we have. In fact we care about everything. We care about everything because we got more connected… Connections make things related to you and you feel them part of you. When your connections increase, you levels of concerns and cares also increase. Things become more relevant to your personal life.


So what you lose? Nothing, so why not to try:


If you look to works of great artists, writers and even great names in politics, economics and all field of life, you will good and bad works equally. However, it is the masterpieces and great works that people remembers because everybody looks for great works. It is almost impossible that your first work is a masterpiece. One learns and discovers him or herself in process of creative works. It takes time and efforts (may be failed efforts) to make your works reach to people. It requires courage and belief in self to present your works to people. I had works but I was not sure which way is best to present my works. One morning while waiting for bus I started discussing with a student in creative writings. I told him about my intentions to publish them but I also wanted to have control over my publications. I told him that I want to publish in ebook form but I am concerned about the reactions. He asked me, “So what you lose?” I replied, “Nothing”. “If you lose nothing so why you are not trying?” It was a big shift. Certainly, in trying, you will not lose anything but instead you will learn ways and gain confidence meanwhile. I don’t who has said this but it is really worth to share, “it is not much important what you gain but what you become”.


Reaching right audience is necessary to know the value of your works:

“Value” is really an important concept in everybody’s life. Whatever you do, you and others judge them as either they are valuable or not? By the collective values of your works you determine whether you are living a meaningful life or not? Certainly, everybody has their own interpretations of value. Some may say “valuable” works are works that you get pleasure from doing them. Other may say that “valuable” works are works that make world a better place to live. Some other people may say, “Valuable” works are works that pleases God. If you want to know the real value of your work, you need to reach right audience. If you ended up reaching wrong audience you will get negative responses and you may doubt of importance of works that you do. Let’s look at an example, If you are an artist and reach a fundamentalist group that believe works of arts is an act of idolatry, certainly they will call your works not only meaningless and invaluable but of doing sins. However, reaching a group of art loving people, you will get appreciations and encouragements. It was an obvious and easy example. Most of time we do not recognize our right audience and we reach wrong audience and their responses make us confuse. Before reacting or calling your works as invaluable you need to analyze who is saying what. You need to analyze your works as well as audience and the reasons for their response. It is not necessary that wrong audience is only wrong looking people. Sometime even liberal, well educated people may intentionally discourage you based on prejudices. You will never lose in analyzing your works and negative or positive responses of people.

It is not uncommon to reach individuals with negative mindsets. I still remember my encounter with one such person. I didn’t know much about writing world. I decided to reach a writer so I could get some preliminary information. I reach a practicing poet and told him about my collection of Aphorisms. He didn’t ask me about my work but instead ask me, “How much you are willing to spend for publication and advertisements”. I felt that the work itself is not important. What is important is the amount of money you spend. To me, a creative works is of prime importance. The publication and advertisements are secondary in nature. I decided to not spend a dime for publication and advertisements. I decided to go digital. If the works were readable and have some worth to spend time reading them, readers will find them anyway. Otherwise I am not going to lose anything. Most important is, saving you reaching wrong audience.

It is not just writing and creative works like arts but you can apply it to every works that you do in your life. Some works you just get pleasure like serving your parents or helping a stranger old man in need. Some works you learn in process and are an investment for your future. In some works you feel better like doing exercise or taking shower. Every kind of these works has value as they enrich your life and experiences and make your life more meaningful. There is not a single reason to judge the values, so before calling your works invaluable consider some of these things.

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Life is becoming more meaningful:

No doubt what we do in our lives is important for us and gives meaning to our lives. However, sometimes we think we feel we could do them better if we had certain opportunities or skills. I was valuing my ideas and writings at home also but I was feeling that I am not doing very well in organizing them and making them more meaningful. As I mentioned earlier two things that make US distinct is systematization and use of technology in systems. Certainly other developed countries are also doing the same but US is leader in this field. I am repeating again that Silicon Valley and Wall Street are proofs. Living in US means exposure to systems and use of technology and you become more organized, more systematized and more connected. It is increased the productivity of work and hence I should say, gave more meaning to my life.

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Looking for post modernism:

Being aware of influences of dominantly French philosophy, existentialism in US, from my day first of entering to US, I was looking for signs of post modernism. After a year, I concluded that there is no Post modernism in lives of people but it is just interpretations of philosophers that we live in post modern world. Meaning and purpose is relative. Every individual has its own judgments for meaning in life and it is what I call it, relative. Philosophers are compelled by their nature of subject to look for a common definition for meaning. When they failed to find it, or to make it so, they concluded that there is no meaning. It is as one says that because there is no common definition for life so life doesn’t exist. The same is true about gravity, energy, magnetism, black matter and so on.

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Psychological Medicines;

When individuals get sick, chemical and biochemical medicines are used to cure the diseases but when a nation gets sick there is no chemical and biochemical medicines. Then there comes psychological medicines. Psychological medicines are legends, stories, beliefs, interpretations and beliefs. US are very famous in having psychological medicines. American dreams and garages that established Silicon Valley and success stories of those who left college to pursue their dreams. Rituals and cultural festivals across nations are other examples of psychological medicines.

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Success versus character:

Some people make serious mistakes in thinking that it is only success that matters. Once, you succeed then you are free whatever you want to do. I think it is a mistake people realize when their carelessness starts harming their success. Yes success is important but success just makes you accepted but it is character that makes able to maintain your successes and get new ones. How, character determines, whether you are reliable or not. We know all that trust and reliability is key in trust and it determines the value of something. You can lose what your success has earned if you got a bad character. Building character along with success is making the foundation of growth, solid.


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Self Reliance made us more interdependent:

We think that we got more self-reliant in terms of daily life. We plan, do research, make schedule and try to make our lives better each day and enrich our everyday lives. Frankly, it is not self reliance but more interdependence. It is all because we are realizing importance of those small things that are key in keeping families intact and make family members comfortable and dynamic. It is a realization of importance of the roles that each family member plays. Simply, it is a realization of importance of teamwork. We work together to increase our achievements and there is no doubt that teams can achieve a goal much easier or in a better way than an individual. Family is the nucleus of any team we make throughout our lives. Self-reliance also got a new meaning after realization of roles other play in our lives. It makes you play an active role in teamwork and also play an active role in helping others to achieve their goals. In conclusion, self-reliance make us lead from within. Someone truly said that a leader is more dependant, because he or she needs followers in order to be a leader.


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We fear because of contradictions:

“There is nothing more important than knowledge and no knowledge is more important than knowledge of self” ……Socrates

Really, nobody could harm Socrates, neither in life nor in death because he knew himself. We fear because we know that we are a collection of contradictions and we don’t have enough courage to face and accept our contradictions. We try to hide our contradictions so we fear that we could mistakenly expose them. One of the reasons that people fear of expressing themselves is their fear of contradictions. Unless you do not accept them you will be able to detach parts of you that contradict with what you want to be.

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We all become sad by losing but:

We all become sad by losing but we all become happy by losing extra weight, bad habits, bad memories and anything that can harm us. So losing is not always bad and sometimes we want to lose. According to Socrates, “Wisdom is to know, what we do not need”. We know very well that what we do not need, harm us in one way or another but still we seek and collect we really do not need. Most of unnecessary things that we collect are out of excitement, wrong competitions, wrong comparisons and lack of research. Once we spend a fortune on these unnecessary items, we have hard time to convince ourselves to lose them. Certainly, we have spent a certain amount of our fortune to gain extra-weight but still we are ready to spend more fortune in losing them. Why we don’t think this way. Still I repeat the title of previous paragraph, “we fear because of contradictions..”

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Gaps aren’t intimidating but they are spaces for growth:


Though gaps amongst individuals are everywhere and are at all levels but it becomes more evident when you start living in a new place. The cultural gaps, language gap, educational gaps, financial gaps and so on appear out of sudden. Some may look to these gaps intimidating but I think on contrary they provide you space to grow faster. Sudden appearance of gaps means faster rate of growth and I am not exaggerating but it is proven in all whom I know and have talked to. The greater is the gap the greater is the space. However, if you think of them as intimidating, you may end up, giving up competing. My experience is, when there is gap, you have a privilege due to greater power of observations which can observe in depth because of your sensitivity and being conscious of difference. I am sure after filling the gaps you will not remain distinct but you become unique because of in depth observations.


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Tolerance is the space inside you:

How much we grow. There is no limit. One of the limits of growth is space. Tolerance is a space that we create inside. How much space is all depend on us. We have always the option of increasing space or decreasing it. Whenever you feel suffocation or there is no place for you, it is just the limit that you have shrunk your tolerance to. You need to increase your tolerance and comes by practice, acceptance, connectivity and awareness. Each of these increases the space inside you to grow your personality. On contrary, hastiness is in itself is a problem and do not expect, it can solve your problems or you grow quickly. Once again, growth needs space and tolerance creates space for it.

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Smarts and those acts as they are smart:

Some people are really smart and some act as they are smart. People who are acting as they are smart lack tolerance and are quick in showing their prejudices. Because these kinds of people can’t compete and face others so they try to stop or harm other. They mock, taunt, discourage and even try to irritate you. Smart people are tolerant, appreciate talents, respect and learn from smart people and meanwhile work very hard to be the best. They are too busy to involve themselves in trying to stop others progress. On contrary they coordinate and use others progress to increase their own potentials.

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You got a magic box:

Before getting intimidating by anything do not forget that you got a magic box that can do magical things. Yes! I am talking about brain that everybody carries over their shoulders. When we got panic we forget that we got a magic box. Similarly, when we wrongly give up we forget that we got a magic box. You can’t expect what will come out of this magic box. This magic box has always surprises for you so you can surprise people at any moment even when people think you have given up. Value this magic box and let this magic box have regular shows and surprise you and the world.


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Freedom of imaginations is more important than freedom of speech:

Have you heard of Einstein’s famous quote, “Imaginations is more important than knowledge”. When it comes to speech, you speak what you know or in other words it is the expression of your knowledge. So freedom of speech is actually freedom of knowledge. It is really important to have freedom of speech. There is no compromise on it but there is one more important freedom that we do not recognize it and that is freedom of imaginations. Remember, imagination is more important that knowledge because imagination is the real self. What I mean by freedom of imaginations? When people expect you to say something or express in way because of your race, religion, country of origin or culture, it means they are not accepting your freedom of imaginations. It shouldn’t be mixed with morality. Morality is rational feelings. By freedom of imaginations I mean, when people wants to define you or set rules for your expressions. I never followed the rules. It harmed me a lot, especially in exams and also in standardizing my writings but I still preferred to be out of rule as suited my imaginations.


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Simplicity is an answer to complexity:

Living in a joint family system I was not aware of a lot of things. A division of labor made things done easily and I had a lot free time to focus on my works and to not bother on a lot of issues to level of ignorance. Living away from family, I lost a lot of these privileges so life got a little complex. No, it is not true…things got simpler. Because it is our time and labor so we try to keep things simple and simplify our lives so we could save time and efforts. Does simplification means education? Yes to unnecessary things. But to necessary things, simplification means learning to do things effectively and quickly. Escaping from learning, make things more complex and difficult. Learning is to be more skillful, elegant and organized. Learning makes you able to do multitasking, doing multiple things at the same time.


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Fill in the gap strategy:

Despite of all these things, I never tried to over-schedule myself. I think this doesn’t work for creative people who have the problem of popping up ideas in any time and they have to work right away or most probably losing them. Instead of over scheduling, I have a strategy of what I call fill in the gaps. We have a lot of gaps between waking up, washing, preparing breakfast, during breakfast, taking lunch and dinner, waiting for bus, in bus, shopping, before going to sleep and so on. It is just your life style that determines how much gaps you have in between your routines. If you could keep your work in your PDA or Ipod or notebook or anything that suit your work I am sure it will increase your productivity. I value these gaps as American value garages that established Silicon Valley.


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Smartness means compassion:

It seems strange but I think it is true. Smartness means realization of richness of your personality and your life and you are not best in realizing these riches unless you don’t have compassion. Certainly, we are not rich and we struggle for a lot of things that we think we deserve to have them but still we can’t ignore the richness of our lives with skills, knowledge, health and courage that we can share. I think most of people have them all of these though with different proportions. Sometimes we ignore them because we lack compassion. If somebody has all this and lack compassion, I would say, he or she is clever but not smart, because he seeks other riches and ignore his.

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Local versus Global:

I was always enjoyed reading travelogues or watching documentaries about new places. But writing my own experiences were always difficult for me. I couldn’t convince myself to write my travelogue. I am not a much outgoing and traveling a lot person. Main reason for this habit is sticking firmly to purpose of works. Before investing my time and resources I make a lot of logical calculations (though not mathematical calculations. I have allergy to numbers).

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Power of Identity:

It is my second time that I am traveling to USA under cultural exchange program sponsored by Fulbright (All of my writings are my personal opinions and have no connection with Fulbright program). Growing in a city which is really distinct in terms of geography, culture, politics and economics, I was always aware of my understanding cultural identities and their importance in the psyche and behaviors of people. But I found the distinctness of Quetta has limited in having a global thinking despite of their global exposures and experiences. It is useful to learn some basic things about my city before understanding the power of identity.

A brief description of Quetta:

Quetta is the capital city of Baluchistan, the largest province of Pakistan in terms of area but the smallest province in terms of population. Quetta is the largest city of province. Quetta is very distinct city as it always used as a garrison because of its strategic position. This city connects Middle East via Iran to Central Asia through Afghanistan and also connects these two regions to South Asia. Being on high altitude and surrounded by mountains as walls circling a castle, this city looks like a large home to his dwellers, who can’t forget its distinctness of changing looks at different times of day and night. It was known as a little London, little Paris and its Alamdar road as little Tokyo. Whoever has accustomed to drinking fossilized water of Chiltan Limestone will find it hard to drink waters from other areas who take their waters from rivers, lakes or ponds.

Quetta is very close to Iran, Afghanistan and also famous port city Karachi and hence a large source of earning of people is trading between Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries of the world via Karachi Port. The Quetta city is filled with all sorts of imported goods from around the world so it is a best shopping city for all who visit this city. It has a railway line that is connected with South Asian railway line to Trans Caspian and European railway line through Iranian railway line (Iran has well developed railway line system which is connected to Europe though Turkish railways and to Central Asian countries via Azerbaijan.) It has a small international airport and also road networks to Iran, Afghanistan and large cities of Pakistan so traveling is easy either by road, rail or air (though it would be a rough travel as transpiration accommodations are not well developed and also may not be safe due to political tensions)

The most important aspect of Quetta is discrete distributions of ethnic populations, languages and cultures. Quetta has a segregated population. The main ethnic and lingual groups are Hazaras, Pashtoons, Baluchis, Punjabi and Urdu speaking people. Small pockets of other ethnicity and lingual groups are present broadly speaking, Kashmiries, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hindku speaking, Siraki speaking and Sindhis. All major religions (except Buddhism) have worship places and believers in the city. Majority is Muslim but there are significant population of Christians, Hindus, Sikh and famous ancient Persian religion Zarathustra. This lingual and religious diversity of Quetta made it a small globe but the discrete population distributions and strong feelings of identities have restricted Quetta dwellers to become global thinkers and make Quetta a cosmopolitan city that is natural for this city to be.

Hazaras in Quetta:

Among other ethnic and lingual group, Hazaras are distinct in terms of their history, ancestry, discipline, education, services, physical appearance, life styles, and achievements and at the same time facing discriminations and alienations and target killings. The Quetta has discrete Hazara population in what is famously known as Alamdar road (Little Tokyo) and Hazara Town. Hazaras in Pakistan are known as Chingizis as a signature of their relation to famous conquer Genghis Khan. This aspect of Hazaras caught the interest of historians and researchers. Hazaras are only remnants of large Mongolian army, outside of Mongolia. They were once, riding across a large part of world in three close continents of Asia, Africa and Europe. Though there is still debates and controversies about origins of Hazaras and their history but National Geographic’s Global gene project confirmed the genetic links of Hazaras with great Khan.
The Swedish Academy, which has picked the Nobel winner annually since 1901, said Thursday that Herta Mueller "who with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed."

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/oct/08/081811/herta-mueller-wins-2009-nobel-literature-prize/entertainment-books/

“Landscape of dispossessed” is what describes Hazaras well. Hazaras unique Mongolian features make them distinct and easily identifiable. This has brought pains and grieves of alienation and discrimination as well as a deep desire for survival and identity. As Herta Mueller was an alien and dispossessed in his homeland so are the Hazaras. They are alien in their own home countries. When their sufferings end? There is no sign of ease………………..

Pashtoons in Quetta:

Pashtoons are the largest ethnic group in the city. Their population stretch in other provinces of Pakistan also especially in North Western Frontier Province and across the border in Afghanistan. They are believed to be a missing tribe of Jews that has chosen the Suleiman mountain chain to reside. The name of mountain chain is also used as a proof of this point of view.

Baluchis in Quetta;

Baluchis, from which the province got its name live thinly on vast plains and mountainous areas which stretch in other provinces, especially Sindh and Punjab to across the border in Iran and to some extent in Afghanistan.

Punjabis and Urdu Speaking in Quetta:

Most of the Punjabi and Urdu speaking people are in government services and has a main role in education and administration of Province.

These four main ethnic groups are sensitive about their identities and live in distinct areas. It is what makes Quetta different from other cities. If you travel in city you can obviously see the cultural changes from home to facial features and languages.


Revisiting Power of identity;

Growing up in such a city, I always were thinking of myself as a well aware individual of the power of cultural identities but it all changed as I stepped in the Binghamton University. In a University you can see students from different nationalities and cultures easily adopting the American life styles. Are they unlearning their cultures? My experience says no. An Indian student based his presentation about the water problem in Indian Punjab. My Algerian friend is learning about the Westerners who helped in the freedom of Algeria. He had never heard of them in Algeria. He was amazed and was telling me with excitement, “Oh! I am learning about Algeria what I was not aware of in Algeria”. Another individual from Morocco was very excitedly arguing about the role of education in changing mindsets and perspectives and at the last told, “I love my monarch”. It was strange but I could understand his perspective. Though he favors democracy but it is the power of identity and feelings of attachments to his home country that make him love his monarch. Education has no match with love. Yes but education make you accept the diversification and thinking globally without detaching from your identity. In a plural society you learn a lot even without studies just by social interactions both about world around and about yourself. It is what really missing in Quetta. People are not ready to increase their level of acceptance for each other and hence a city that has to offer a lot for all and stand a cosmopolitan city in takes more than what it offers.

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Football matches between Algeria and Egypt:

There was a loud Arabic music in dining room and after some breaks the sound of cheers. I came out of room to see what is going on. My Algerian friend wearing Algerian Flag was watching football match on his laptop and the loud music related to Algerian win was playing on his mobile phone. His passion to football and his country was really watchable. He was jumping to cheer on occasions, appreciating his team from here (Who cares about visibility. All that speaks is passion). Sometime he become angry on comments of commentator and saying no it won’t be so. As match finished he opened the Skype and congratulating his friends and discussing the match. He was telling me with enthusiasm that when it is football match then people will go crazy. They torch the stadium on flames and he was showing me how people express themselves by torching fires in stadium. I had never experienced such a craze.


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Self Organizers:


Everyone use the devices like cell phones, iPods and laptops for different purposes but they are also working well as self organizer tools. Actually they are working like PDA (Personal Data Assistance). A shift in place increase the time crunch and it requires an individual to be more organized in order to be more productive. It remains no more an idea for me now but a daily usage. My cell phone alarms regularly at different intervals to notify me it time for the next task and the whole semester’s schedules are on the wall with important notices on desktop. A shift from loosely managed time to strictly managed time.

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Second hand and third knowledge:

Used items are sometimes a source of treasure. For example when the communist government collapsed in Afghanistan and Mujaheddin moved in Kabul, both people and Mujahidin started looted government buildings and rich family’s houses. The scenes of looting may not have captured as it was captured in Iraq (After collapse of Saddam’s regime). But soon after the books that were looted from Kabul were on the streets of Quetta and they were on sale. This second hand books looted from Kabul started a business of second hand books in Quetta. I used to visit regularly to buy the very precious books for a hundred or two rupees. At moments I got four book for a hundred rupees (1.2 US $). This second hand books were a source of treasure for me.

But what about second hand knowledge, it is useful and cheap though both in terms of time and money. But it does not satisfy for the first hand knowledge that is the regional creative work or the original research work. My roommate reading Plato’s works, always express his dissatisfaction by saying that he is not getting the original works. The original works were in Greek. When they were translated in Arabic they must have lost a lot meanings and charms and have added to them a lot of new meanings. The Arabic translations are second hand work. Later some works translated in Spanish and from Spanish into English. So the English translations are either third or fourth hand knowledge.

The same is true for me. When search for data, we are not going after books, as they are second hand knowledge, based on the original research works but to search for recent research works for the topic. Still one can’t find original knowledge in latest research paper and he has look to references and follow them till reach the original work in the past. The process requires patience but it is not boring as one gets a sense of history, amount of time, efforts and resources that were invested in getting those pieces of data. Besides appreciations of those works and contributors it makes you also to work and contribute.

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Computers lie;

I needed a digital pad so I searched the Wal-Mart and found item of my choice. Next afternoon, I went confidently to the counter of digital items and handed the sales man a piece of paper where all details of the digital pad was written. He nodded his hand, “We don’t have this item in our store”. I took back the paper and started looking myself. I was not ready to believe him. He must not be familiar with the digital pad. I didn’t find it despite of several rechecking. I went to another sales man. He looked to paper and told me, “I have not seen this item in store but let me ask another sales man. He is knows more than me. He may help us in finding it”. He went to the same sales man. He smiled to me and told, “You can’t find this item because we don’t have it.” “But I have searched the web and your website is saying that you have digital pad?” I replied him. “Computers lie” he smiled again.

I came home and this time searched RadioShack. I found the same item but with higher price. As I needed it so I decided to get it. I went to RadioShack but started searching myself. Again I didn’t find it. A representative came to me, “Can I help you?” I explained to him that what I wanted. To my surprise he was nodding, “No”. “But I have searched the web and your website is saying that you have this item?” “Sorry Sir! Our websites are not updated”

I found my digital pad in Staples so I forgot that computers lie. I wanted to transfer some money and again searched for western union. I found the closest to my room, got directions and come out of my room following direction. According to my map, the western union should be in Giant mart. I reached my destination but there wasn’t a giant mart but instead a Vietnamese restaurant. I told myself that I have to ask some locals. Maybe I couldn’t understand the map well. I asked a senior woman passing by. He looked to me and told, “Oh! You are very far from Giant mart. It is in Endicott.” “But I got directions from web and according to my map, there should be a giant mart here” “Oh! I am really sorry. The computers lie”. The elderly woman’s reply was the same as of the Wal-Mart’s sales man. “Computers tell lie” I whispered with myself. I can’t accept this. Let me check it again. I came back home and told my roommate. “We take I phone this time. It has a GPS and we will find the Giant mart.” I opened Google earth and started and started looking back to my map and the routes that I have followed. “We don’t need to go for Giant mall” I told him. “But why?”. “Because there is no Giant mall there, instead there is a Vietnamese restaurant.” Later we found that, it was used to be a giant mall but now it is converted to a Vietnamese restaurant. “Yes! Computers tell lie when they are not updated”.


Google it;

It is the phrase that you listen a lot and also stick to use it. Common daily tasks like making lists for your shopping, getting directions, comparing the prices and qualities, looking for events, preparing for your exams, reading news, etc all are what you are used to google. Googling is a real part of this global culture. So go on with your googles to more organize yourself and increase your productivity. But one point of caution, DON'T FOOL WITH ADVERTISEMENTS...........


Professional networking:

Internet has opened the door of a range of networking. You may be like me escaping from networks especially social networks but the trends of society make you to be part of it. I was never used to stick to internet. But here in school all announcements, courses, payments, contacts, grading and discussions, etc are done via educational networks and you need to regularly check them in order to update yourself. Networking becomes part of your life. Once you adapted the educational network then it comes, professional networks. In order to develop your career you need to be part of professional networks. Once you become addicted to networks you will ultimately join social networks. Using networks in internet is a test of an individual. You may lose a lot of precious time for nothing or you may use it to organize your knowledge, ideas and make your visible or work for a noble cause. Good luck with your networking.............................


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Black hole of times;

The most simple and daily tasks of life like food, clothing, transportation and communications, maintenance of rooms are subjects to a lot of products and advertisements and they are just eating time irresistibly that it is suitable to call it the black-hole of time. You make your best efforts to organize and manage your life to be more productive. At the end of the day you are exhausted and when you start analyze your whole day work you will find a lot of time has wasted out in unplanned daily routine work. You could do better and use your time doing more valuable work but still you have to survive and you need to be part of society. Survival cost your valuable time......................


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If Socrates were alive:


The question that puzzles me came from my roommate. Struggling with Plato's work and also with new environment he put this question to me, "If Socrates were alive and was living here, would he behave like the University students?" Their ears are hooked in iPods or Iphones, hearts are hooked in several girl friends or boyfriends and brains are hooked in professional developments. I had no answer but to laugh on his question. What would be the result of putting a great mind of history in a drone? Really I don't have a clue. But one thing is certain that Socrates would stop a lot of students and would make interesting dialogues with them and if Plato were following him then his greatest book entitled, "Drone".

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Addictions to iPods or music:

It seems that iPods and iphones made people stick to music. Large spaces of iPods and iphones required to fill up with music, videos, pictures etc. Even if you are very selective in what you hear and watch again the parasitic music, videos, pictures and texts make their way to your iPods, iphones, laptops and PCs. It is not addiction of music but addiction to these devices that part of popular culture. My roommate is saying that people are not following anybody. They even don't follow the devil. The devil is more organized and rational than people living in our age.


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Sometimes buying for free and other buying nothing expensively:

Here is the tricky side of the internet and advertisements. Sometimes you will shop for free for valuable products and services that really help you in your career buildings. It is called the age of plenty and you can find a lot of these if you have a little patience and head for search in. Similarly, you can find the same items with different prices. Sometimes an item makes you feel you really need it. You buy but find later that you could buy better one with even lower prices. And even worse you could buy items that you already had or you don't need them. It was just advertisements and plentiful that made you irrational in your choices and decisions and bought nothing very expensively. So what do you want to buy.....................


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Cats are terrorizing Dinosaurs and Dinosaurs are angry with that:

It is interesting to know that birds are live descendants of Dinosaurs. Here in our courtyard, there are a few tall and old pine trees along with other trees, shrub. Squirrels and birds are wandering on the trees and grasses. A black fat cat is always busy to hunt them but all in vain. Sitting beside the window, studying is also observing the hide and run plays of birds, squirrels and this cat. Knowing the birds are descendants of Dinosaurs this game becomes more interesting. I enjoy looking their games and thinking that Dinosaurs must not be happy that a cat is terrorizing their descendants. This anger is of no use because huge dominating Dinosaurs are out of play. Birds may need to reverse their evolutions? Perhaps yes.................


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Pines are my soul-mates:

At the evening coming back from University, I stand for a while under tall pines. A taller shadow of the pine on the opposite side and playing birds on their branches make these trees and spiritual inspirations for me. Actually pine trees are my soul-mates. When I was at age four I was admitted to school. The school is very large and had tall pine trees. It was my first interactions with pines, birds and cones of the pine. Later when I was wandering to explore my city, Quetta, again pines were main attraction. Pines were source of inspirations, a symbol of peace and pride and progress for me. They are tall like characters of great men a and proudly straight like innocence. These pines trees reconnect me to my childhood and a city that I born, raised and loved with its peace and tranquility but alas it is no more the same city.


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Changing colors of trees are sad:

Trees are started changing colors. Red colors are dominant. No doubt they are beautiful and some may love them but they make me sad. They remind me of target killings in Quetta. The leaves that are shed out of trees are disturbing me. They remind me of innocent people who are fall down for nothing. Barren trees remind of the families who are in pain for their fallen relatives. For sure spring will come next year but I don't know when it will be spring again in Quetta. God bless Quetta and save her residents from terror and terrorists...........


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Price of intellect:

Reading a blog on BBC Urdu was a really heart breaking for me. The title was, "Intellect of 25 Rupees. The author was making fun of the people who reads 10 Rs of Urdu news papers and 15 rupees English News papers. I know news papers don’t enhance intellect but one thing should be certain that books are also having their limits. A book is just more valid than a news paper and more than book is valid research papers that provide raw knowledge and the way knowledge is generated. But research papers have also their limits. The real source so intellect is thinking. No thinking is equal no intellect and thinking is not a thing that you put a dollar value for it. Now it is a trend that everything is getting dollar value. Dollar value for CO2 emissions, dollar value for your life style etc. But a dollar value for intellect is impossible. Karl Marx has less dollar value at his time but if he was alive today he would be invited to great universities to lecture on the current global economic recession. A lot of intellectuals are alive today who doesn't dollar value now but for sure people will praise them after their passing away. As it comes to the value of the opinions of those who are economically impoverished, I have a different experience in this regard. I got the best practical lessons not from big scientist’s teachers but from poor and unknown craftsmen. The stories of their lives and their analysis of human behaviors and nature were more practical and realistic than large analytical presentations of the academics, researchers and media persons. Mind your intellect.................


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Repeating words as timeline of residency:

It was a common experience for me to know the people's place or somewhat about their backgrounds by their choices of words or a set of words that they were using. But it works in a tribal system where people from a place or another or from a tribe or another have distinct set of words as their identity. Here I found repeating words as a time-line of residency. Individuals who comes from their country to study do not repeat distinct words but those who have grown up here (Binghamton) or have resided here for long times use a lot of (like, like..........just like....just like............or ummmmmm.............ummmmmmm or ,,,,,,,,uhhhhhhhh,......uhhhh). Not a complete sentence. Most of sentences are incomplete and spiced by like and just like. It smells like home.

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Silence of night has an unspeakable beauty:

Walking just for a few minutes down street at night when all speaking bodies are at sleep or at rest has an unspoken beauty. One realizes the beauty of silence. If this deep silences the flowers and dews speak. Fragrance of leaves and flowers especially in nights following a day of raining has unimaginable beauty or perhaps unexplainable beauty. I keep track of silence as it calms me down after a whole day of noises.........


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Fictionalization reveals the truth of imaginations:

Rationality has its place in quest for truth but it doesn't have the power of captivation than fictions have. Fiction got this power from imaginations. I am not philosophizing, the cultural tale but imaginations are dominating the rationality in this new ecosystem of digital world. The digital generations that are coming are more imaginative and imaginations have more meaning in their lives. Why? because they can digitalize, their imaginations. It is the capability and participation of imaginations in the daily lives that have transformed the positions of imaginations comparably to rationality. Is there any rationality in imaginations? Yes and we are discovering new levels of rationality in digitalized imaginations. People are doing great works with their pocket size devices, digital cameras, iphones, iPods and the easy to post and manage internet blogging. It is the passions of imaginations that speak in language of digital devices.

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Romance with Nature:

Streets and walkways were filled with yellow and red leaves and some of them flowing in rain water. The regular sounds of the raindrops on the umbrella over head and the sound of running shoes slapping running water under feet, dull vision with smog and silenced trees, buildings and streets made me feel that nature is taking bath. It was looking as cloud descended down to leather everything on earth and rain was washing everything. Walking through washing nature was amazing. It was first time that I hooked in my ear to ipod to listen to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. "I am the evening of the autumn and you are spring" and Assad Amanat Ali Khan, "When you come back home, who will recognize you". I wanted not to reach home and was walking slowly. It was not only taking bath of nature but a bath of my mind also. The first time I felt my head, heart and feet light and I enjoyed Binghamton's raining.


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Mother Nature’s stories:

Mother Nature that we know is 13.7 Billion years old but she doesn't look like an old lady. Still she has a lot of stories to tell. I was always interested to listen to late night real stories of Mother Nature that are actually her biography. In order to listen to her stories one need to learn the language she speaks. I took classes in evolution and ecology to have an understanding of her language. The story is interesting as she speaks of her dead children like trilobites and dinosaurs and also of hard times that her children have with her new born but naughty child named human. Next episode is coming soon..............................

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Halloween:


Pumpkins of with different faces carved in were frequent to see in front of most houses. I thought it is a craze of people to express themselves. Pumpkins are large, have a good color, thick skin and easy to cut so it is a good a choice for an artistic expression. In our ground a student in creative writing reside who have a Middle Eastern origin. Our letter box is attached near to his apartment's window so regularly go to check it. He also suspended a Dracula type skeleton covered in black scary clothes. I had no reason why he had done so. In our street some of homes were starting decorating with lamps and other putting large sized statues. On our way to University, A woman with her two children comes on bus. Her son was wearing Ninja clothing. His face was covered with a piece of black cloth and two swords crossing each others were attached to his bag. I was guessing that people are preparing for some occasion. On 30th October our teacher started his lecture by a picture of two carved pumpkins. One of the students sitting beside me told, "I am not impressed. It wasn't scary". Scary, Then I realized that people are not expressing their arts but they are trying to carve scary faces but why? I didn't know. I came out of class to cash my check. On bank there were two trays full of candy and the cashier woman was wearing a black hat of full of small faces.
Coming out of bank, I found some of the students wearing different kinds of costumes and masks. Reaching home I asked my roommate. He told me about Halloween celebrations that is marked the end of summer light part of year and entering dark and cold part of year or dead half of year. People wear masks and costumes to frighten the dark souls. He told me if the children visited him, we have to present them apple candies. I disagreed with him saying we will present them with fruits instead. The candies are sweet ghosts that will darken their teeth like coming another dark half of year.


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Flying kites or flying leaves:

As the cold days of autumn and winters were coming and wind were starting blowing hard it were times of start of holidays and flying kites. Flying kites, competing with others and waiting and running after freed kites were the charms of childhood. Hands and cheeks become blue violet in color due to cold but who care about cold. The passion of kites were more captivating than cold. Making fires and quarrels for kites and filling the walls of the room with kites were all the memories of childhood. Here standing at University's bus stop observing the flying colored leaves with blow of wind made me dream again those sweet days. It is a perfect day for kite flying and best place for it as it has a lot of small hills, sky is free of electricity wires and houses are in enough distance to not disturb you kite. Though the place and wind is perfect but the passion of childhood is not there so I was just enjoying flying leaves. Sitting next to window reading, I stood up and started looking outside. My roommate became curious and asked, "What is there?" "Nothing but just flying leaves" I replied him. He laughed and sits again on his studies. He might think that I have lost my mind but can't imagine my imaginations of seeing flying leaves.


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Do unicellular organisms more terrifying than lion?

We are get used to think of the lion as king of jungle or in other terms the king of animal kingdom but I don't remember that lions have ever got the media coverage as compared to microbes. The news that H1N1 pandemic is spreading fast across of the USA have terrified everyone who is tuned to news. University is updating the news related to its preventive measures and vaccination. The news that there are more people dying of swine flu in USA than other countries are also terrifying people. This is just a recent example among many others.
Human have domesticated some of unicellular organism by using them as medicines, helping in healing processes, food and helping in food processing but still human is helpless to the power of the unicellular organism. It is not just because they are too small to be seen by naked eyes but due to their ability to mutate and to develop new strains that are immune to medicines against them and are new to human's immune system so human are helpless in fighting them back. Who is the king of living organisms? Lions, Men, or unicellular organisms? We value men for their ability to adapt and shape their environments but unicellular organisms have brighter records than human. They lived anoxic earth and converted it into oxygenated earth or a lifeless earth into an earth full of life. They lived all mass extinctions and still living the changes that men are bringing. There are few organisms that have the capability to survive the changes that men are bringing but unicellular organisms are too plastic and creative in their adaptations that men have no match for them.

Reptiles are always inspiring our imaginations and also terrifying us. We search the terror in the rough skins, teethes and claws of the reptiles. But all these compositions are beautiful rather than dangerous. What makes reptiles terrifying is their tactics of preying. As they can't run for long times so they mostly ambush. It is ambush that makes them terrifying. The same is true for human. Why citizens are afraid of terrorists? It is not their appearances and even not their weapons but their tactics. They ambush to kill innocent and unaware citizen. It is the fear of untimely deaths that terrorize people. Otherwise we see people join army even in times of wars and we see people dying for saving others at hard times. It is not death that is terrifying but untimely death. Unicellular organisms are the real kings as they rule us, lions and all organisms in the animal kingdom and plant kingdoms and other living organism's kingdoms. As they are part of our cultures so I thought it is unjust to not describing them while every day we are concerned about them.

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Gaps:

Cultural gaps, generation gaps, distance gaps and time gaps are what we hear commonly. Yes! They are real. When I came to University I found that everyone is speaking English and wearing the same western clothes but still students come from different parts of world and with different cultures. You are careful in your speaking that expressions that you use comfortably in your traditions may be offensive for others. The same is true when you speak with an elder that you meet first time though he may belong to the same culture that you belong. But still there is a gap between generations. The expressions, trends and practices that are normal for young generations may be thought inappropriate or sometime offensive for older generations. Time is also a factor in creating gap. My uncle was my classmate. We were so close that we were thinking that no one can understand us as we two understood each other. He went to Italy and it is for several years that he has settled there. In last few days that we are in contact again thanks to Yahoo messenger and laptop's built in webcam and microphones, I was feeling that we are not the same persons as we were. We were not debating as we were used to but instead had formal discussions. It is the gap of time.

So it is not just cultures but also generations, time and distance that create gaps and differences. It is the first time that I resolved in myself that Samuel Huntington’s hypothesis of clash of civilizations is a wrong ideology to teach and preach. Samuel may have captured the minds for a while so he was a good political rhetorician but he was a bad teacher. Because he was teaching the differences that cultures, times, distances and generations have created. As differences could be learned so they also could be unlearned. Does our differences are important or our commonalities? We learn differences and commonalities. So it depends on teachings. Advocating differences will increase the gaps and advocating harmonies will decrease differences. Change is an attracting idea but it can be negative when we base our idea of change on differences and positive when we base our idea of change on harmonies then change becomes meaningful. It all depends on us what we teach to ourselves, advocate to others and pass to our children....................................


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Hiding books:

"In our country, the people try to base their success on others failures" "What do you mean?" I asked him. "It's all about the books. Teachers hide books from their students. Hiding books is denial to knowledge". I laughed, "Don't worry; it is a common habit in our countries. When I joined University, I couldn't find the books I wanted in the University's central library. I told my friends and they laughed at me. Later on, I discovered that students hide books related to the course in the shelves of other subjects. As university was allowing only two books to be issued for a month so students were hiding the books. It is not only the students but teachers were also involved in the process. Teachers were issuing important books and filling their offices with books (May for show off) and the books weren't available to students." I told him. "Even my very close friend that I was helping in his examination didn't return the reference book that I gave him to prepare for his exam". Teachers, students and even sometimes friends were denying knowledge by hiding books. I am really puzzled by this psyche. In an age of information where you can download books, articles, encyclopedic entries, video, audio, lectures notes, hiding books is just a down play with yourself".

My roommate seemed angry. "This is the difference. Here I just told my teacher that I am interested in these topics and next day he brought me books". I smiled, "Yes brother! You are right. I have the same experience. Last time, my fellow teachers collected that much book their mentors that they couldn't carry with themselves, so they cargo it to their homes". I added, "Though in our society competition means denial but still you can find generous people who really want to help in your studies. At A-ONE City High school, where I was teaching, I discussed a plan to build a library. Next day, my voice principal, Mr. Ali Aetimmadi, donated me with 150 reference books in mathematics and quantum physics from his personal library."
It was looking that he was not satisfied, "We should write about this issue. We shouldn't hide this habit under title of patriotism. It is not patriotism. Students and teachers should know that you can't compete is denying knowledge to your fellow students but by sharing them" I was in agreement with him; my agreement resulted in this entry. Some may don't like this entry by thinking that it is not good to expose your weaknesses or comparing your country with developed countries but I think my roommate is right. Exposing weaknesses is helping, eradicating them.

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Reading in bus:

It is only ten to fifteen minutes distance in bus from bus stop near at corner of our street to bus stop of University but quick readings in these twenty to half an hour of return bus ride shape the studies of the whole day. It may look normal to lot of people reading in bus stop and in buses but it was a strange culture back home. Reading at public places was a matter of show off (Strange?), so at the beginning it was difficult for me to read in bus. But as losing twenty to half of an hour was a great loss. I couldn't afford this great loss. It started to show great result. I have a habit of reading a lot at different angles of the same topic to get enough background and context of the topic so I could think differently from people in the field. It is the habit that I have developed over years. These short but quick reading times is helping me to organize my thoughts as well as study plan. Sometimes I get ideas, I make quick notes of them so as soon as I reach home start working on them. Don't stop reading even in public spaces is tradition that should be encouraged.......................................keep it up.

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USA? Things that few expect:

Cultural shocks, is a term that we heard a lot. It is also natural to experience a lot of unexpected experiences. It is common to all people who travel to places that are foreign for them. But there are experiences that break images and expectations that people have built over years either due to movies, news, TV shows or travelogues, pictures and tales about USA. The images from New York City are the mind of people coming to USA. They expect sky scrapers at their entrance to USA. But when find them in wooden apartments in woody neighborhood, they are shocked. No! This is not, USA. I still laugh remembering my roommate at first day we met. He was not able to make his mind to settle. I am supposed to be in USA and it is not USA. Later on when he found that his friends in other parts of USA, have the same experiences so he calm down. But still, he says, "Let's go to USA". By this he means to go to New York City. It was strange for me also to find that there are only few cities in USA that is like New York City and the rest are small spacious cities and villages’ at large distances. I don't like crowded places so this side of USA is attractive for me. The peace and tranquility of these small places is ideal for concentrating on studies and organizing ideas. So, I am in regular debate with him over this difference of likeness. I make joke of him by saying, "New York city looks to me like a pond full of different bacteria’s (Eutrophic pond)". He laughs and replies, "Yes! I am a bacterium." "Do you expect dates in the arctic? Or do you expect, penguins survive in Sahara desert?" "No" I replied. "So how do you expect me succeed out of city?" His arguments have weight, as he is a translator and it is necessary for a translator to live among crowd to know every aspect of life and the terminologies and street languages.

It is not limited to my roommate. In summer of 2007, we were in Boone, North Carolina. It is a beautiful small valley town. We went to Charlotte to visit the museum there. As we reached to vicinity of city and the tall buildings became visible, one of our colleagues shouted, "Yes! I am in USA" and we all laughed.

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The taxi driver:

When came out of Wal-Mart, it was dark and we were heavy, being tired and shopping bags. I was too tired to call to Taxi Company and wait for it. We took the first taxi we saw. As we sit in Taxi, I noticed that the taxi driver was too old. The curvature in his backbone make him small enough that for looking properly, he was continuously raise his whole body to see the street. I was terrified. We could have an accident. But he was a talkative driver and keeps talking with us. His name was Joseph (I changed the real name). What was strange for me that though he was too old he was going to marry a girl from Vietnam. He had eight children and a wife that abandoned him. He was advising us to have a family from Eastern country if you want to have a happy ending of you lives.

The bus was leaving University at 6:00 at morning. I called the taxi at 5:15 A.M. It was silent, cloudy and chilly cold morning. I was waiting outside of my apartment for taxi. As I sit in taxi, I found that the taxi driver an old lady. Driving taxi while the whole city is sleeping is a hard task but she was an old lady. Senior citizens have problems in every society and we can encounter them in every place. Maybe I am oversensitive to these issues. In Ali Abad, where my home is, a new trend of business was changing houses into markets and streets into bazaars. Coming out of your home, you would find yourself in Bazaar. Old men and ladies do not work in our society but they manage the family. One of the key task, they love is shopping for family. At evening streets were filled with middle age and old ladies shopping food items for their families. Looking to the shoppers you could easily, understand, how large the family is or what are their economical status. Looking to the shoppers of some poor ladies and their bargaining for having lower prices were really heartbreaking for me. It was an observation, that I always escaped to have but I couldn't resist as I couldn't ignore them.........A paragraph, advocating senior citizen......an important part of cultural tales, as I learnt a lot from them..........

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Wounded Dreams:

Wounded dreams are struggling for their survival. No one can tell that he is dreamless but people may mix between dream and life. Dreams are all that what human life is. It is customary to define human in terms of their intelligence but I look human in terms of their dreams. Human is dreamy and their dreams are their life. What has very deep connection is stories and stories do not neither define dreams nor tell about the origins of dreams but tell how characters in the story struggle with their dreams. A story in which the main character of story fails to get his or her dream or dreams is known as tragedy. USA is the land of dreams for millions of people around the world. But finding people in unsatisfied with their lives in the dream land of others make you think what the real issue is? Their stories feel like tragedy.
We all know that success, win, happiness and senses of fulfilling are less individualistic in their nature and they are eluded a lot and they are used interchangeably. So, people try to understand them to get them. What all guidelines to the success and happiness have in common is introducing you to a set of skills that they think important for you to get succeed. Yes, skills are necessary to be good at your tasks. But they don't give you your dreamy tasks. University or better to say, education in general teach you a set of skills that will help you in your life. Technologies are also there to help you to do tasks more skillfully and be more productive. Good education and good technologies mean good outputs. It is what USA provides, good education and technologies. Though these two facilities help you do your tasks but they are not cost-less. They cost by becoming themselves tasks. Earning and learning education and technologies along with earning a life cost you to the extent of ruining your dreams. It is the real issue that people coping with and sometimes are lost in the way. Learning what is not attached to your dreams is unlearning the dreams by ignoring them.

Ignored dreams do not die but they became part of the self. Self could be either black hole of dreams that absorb your dreams or it can be the white hole of dreams that generate dreams and make you energetic enough to run after your dreams. Dreams are the silent interaction between self and external world. Your dreams may be the victims of your identity, status or world views. But if your dreams are strong enough to survive enough these environments then they will be generate their real power in the form of creativity that will overcome all the weaknesses caused by lack of skills. I just want to say let the power of dreams work out their way. Giving priority to your dreams means letting your life go just like a story. Trying to define your dreams though make them good but common. Let your dreams speaks themselves. I can understand better that why stories are the core of every culture and cultural practices. Actually they are telling people, listen to your own story also and if possible shape the character of your story as you like it to be................

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Disturbed soul or a naughty boy?

Is it ears, brains or a heart that is on alert? I am not sure so I call it soul. Unwonted, I type BBC Urdu or BBC Farsi, to read any update related to any Urdu or Persian poet, writer or an artist. Even I prefer to read the news than to watch it in English. It is the thirst of Urdu and Persian that make me puzzle about myself. When I find Indian students speaking in Hindi, I like to talk to them in Hindi but I found that there are more than 24 official languages in India so students haven't inherited the sweetness and playful nature of Urdu are in literature created in India. So, there is not the fluency of Urdu that we read produced in Lakhnow or Delhi. I watched repeatedly, the Parveen Shakers’ uploaded poetry. I had not a strong preference for Parveen Shaker’s poetry but maybe because she studied here in USA for two years so she was familiar with environment here and I found its strong influence in her poetry. When I read, "Air was cold and there were your memories..............Heart was pleased and was it sad.............." Cold and Sadness is the dominant factor of the weather. Changing colors of leaves and their shedding along with cloudy sky compose the canvases in which violet and red imprison your soul.

In this weather reading Urdu and Persian looks like works as ice cream for a naughty boy so become busy with for a while. I analyzed this state of mind to know the main reasons and I concluded four basic reasons for this escaping behavior. Firstly, I am an unfamiliar with classic English men and women of letters. Secondly, we are mostly struggling with scientific language and terminologies which are mostly analytical. Thirdly, the rough language that people uses to express them. It is maybe degrading an international language. Fourth, I search a lot English expressions in writings and speaking that could express the feelings at least close to what we feel. I am in total failure. Urdu and Persian is rich in unique expressions, especially when it comes to human feelings. These expressions are like small fairies that come and unload heavy feelings that have made heart heavy. Reading, listening and expressing in Urdu and Persian make me light. Strange!!!!!!!!!! Yes it is strange that a language is so deeply embedded in my soul.


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Philosophy still corrupts people;

The practice of any negative things is called, corruption. Failure is also a negative point that all afraid and escape. Measurement of success and failures are growing to be economical in nature. If your works are earning a lot of wealth so it is called a successful career. But if works is not earning an acceptable sum of money so it will call a failure. Besides the measure of success and failures are relative. People always compare your achievements with others to rank you. Philosophy in its real sense is quest and love of truth that is very expensive in these days. The quest and love of truth will cost you time and thinking processes that you need to put earn a living. It will cost you failure. This kind of corruption is different from what is considered in the time of Socrates. Socrates was blamed of corrupting youth against accepted beliefs of Athens. Beliefs are not important these days and you can hear people making jokes by saying, "I have already reserved a place in hell, and so please don't discuss religion with me." Hence philosophy is unable to corrupt the beliefs as people are already changing the nature of their relations with beliefs. Beliefs are becoming more a matter of identity and culture than life codes. Yes! if you are infected by the germ of loving truth then philosophy is still corrupt as it will make you fail in accepted concept of success now a days.


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Wishing the speed of Copepods:

I had only five minutes to catch the bus and usually I leave my room five minutes earlier to not miss the bus. Missing bus means missing half an hour of class. This time I caught in a discussion and I wasted two minutes of crucial times but I thought I can still catch the bus by running. I ran but as reached at corner of street, the bus just left the stop. I missed the bus just by difference of two or three seconds. I waited twenty more minutes for another bus. Just few sentences cost me twenty minutes of lecture that was more important. Waiting for bus I was thinking for a speed wish list. Certainly, it is more preferable that speed wish list could be comparable to our present height and weight.

Copepod a 1 to 2 mm long aquatic arthropod (ocean and fresh water crustacean) is the fastest organism on the earth. Its speed is compared to an F-16 jet's speed. Copepod's speed is recorded as 500 its body lengths per second as compared to speed of F-16 Jet with an speed of 50 body lengths per second. Copepod flies 10 times of that of speed of a F-16 Jet in water which is 800 times more denser than air in which Jets, fly.

World's fastest man Usain Bolt's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usain_Bolt) speed is only roughly 6 body lengths per second. He adopted a cheetah at the Nairobi Animal Orphanage. Cheetah is commonly considered as fastest animal in the world. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8339000.stm). Cheetah's speed is 33-34 body lengths per second (120 Km/h). Copepod is a fastest organism on the earth beating all of these speed icons. But I don't think I would need the speed of copepod for saving 20 minutes of lecture as it would be very costly in terms of energy that it would requires for my body size......................

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Percentage of tolerance:

I- Tolerance in ecosystem:

a. Tolerance of bio-indicators:


Certain words function like alarms. Pollution and global warming are two famous terms that either one has some insight or not get alarmed by. Due to public focus new terminologies are marketed to get the share of the attentions to their concepts. Dollar values for consumptions and activities and carbon foot prints is some of the known marketing usage of terminologies. Though colored graphs, tables and large numbers are impressive but they are too large to be absorbed imperforate public understandings. Most of people are alarmed by news than scientific publications and researches. Media coverage and media based movements get public attention and participations by less understanding underlying issues.
But all the things are not so boring. There are biological indicators that can tell a lot about the quality of ecosystems. Algae, plants, trees, invertebrates, fishes are organisms who can tell you about status of an ecosystem. The presence or absence of certain organisms can tell you about the health of environments. Some organisms are very sensitive to pollution but others are highly tolerant to pollution. So presence or absence of an organism may be used as bio-indicators. It is fun to spend a day in a stream collecting organisms and observe the population distribution and observe their behavior. It is as you are counting the pulse of a stream and the nature of pulse to inquire about its health.


b. Environmental stressors:

Very few people think that how their activities are causing tensions and stress to organisms living in their neighborhood. US environmental protection agency listed four most serious aquatic stressors as, Habitat Alteration, Nutrients, Suspended and Bedded Sediments and Toxic Chemicals. Very few people may notice that leaves shed out of tree and draining by rain water into stream or river may work as a stressor to inhabitants of stream or following lake. People have more serious stresses that they could think of environmental stressors.


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Heart of Asphalt

Every day on my way to class I avoid to step onto an heart of asphalt that is drawn on the paved walk way. I don't know either this heart is drawn by student Romeo for his Juliet or a student Juliet has drawn for her Romeo? But it doesn't feel good that students don't respect the lover's emotions and walk on his or her heart of asphalt. I don't know what would Sigmund Freud think of looking to this heart? Certainly, love is an unconscious act. May be Freud was interested in the lover's dreams as dreams are sources of insight into desires. Lovers are too much dreamy so this lover could give sufficient load of works for psychoanalysis. May be Freud went to the schools and homes of this lover to investigate his or her childhood to find clues that were related to the drawings of heart of asphalt? Who knows?

Sometimes I wonder that what would be the face of psychology if Sigmund Freud were one of participants of "summer of Love"? What would he was thinking dancing and singing with those 100,000 youth who gathered at Haight-Ashbury of San Francisco? He would develop social psychology that could explain that how incoherent cultures would result in counterculture phenomenon?


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Ipod for Albert Einstein

It is famous that young Albert Einstein got a pocket compass from his father and he was puzzled with movements of magnet in it. Besides compass that he got from his father, he got a guitar from his mother. Similarly, when he was working in patent office, there was a clock and railway station near his office. Compass, guitar, clock and trains are what caught his imaginations. Looking to modern students hooked in the iPods and smart phones, I wonder, if the father of Albert Einstein were able to present young Albert with an ipod, what would he think of?
Instruments certainly effect the imaginations and thinking processes. What about Adolf Hitler? If he could receive an ipod in his childhood, what would be his psychological developments? I think he couldn't be much changed as he was an artist in his youth. Artists are very sensitive individuals. The sensitivity that Adolf had gave him psychological scars that he paid back to his time. IPods could keep him busy but couldn't help him heal off.

Instead of Adolf Hitler, ipod could affect Isaac Newton. It is famous about Isaac Newton that we was sitting under tree and was busy reading that an apple fall and hit his head. May be he was angry on apple and thought why apple didn't go up and it came down to hit my head? It was a start of a thought process that resulted into discovery of laws of motion. Really? If it is true then may be Einstein was a engine driver at railway, where he was observing daily the opposite engine's light approaching as it was coming with speed towards his engine and was passing it. It gave him an idea of relativity where railway station's clock had a prominent place. OK! Let's suppose that the legend of apple is true then if Isaac Newton was hooked in an ipod he would take the apple and make a bite out of it and then looking to apple's ipod and instead thinking why didn't apple go up and come down he would think, "May be the founders of apple Inc. (Steve and Wozniak) were sitting under a tree of apple and when apple hit the head of one of them, he may took the apple and made a bite in anger out of it. The apple was tasty so he forgave the apple and decided that this tasty apple would be the logo of their company". May be Isaac Newton would decide to prove that universe is like an apple that is half bitten.

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Googling and old man response:

The vast field was like a sports complex where you could find people of every age busy in sports of their interests. Here was a football match and some spectators were busy watching them and not with much distance another crowd was watching a cricket match. There in next crowd people were watching the cocks that were prepared for a cock fighting. Some middle age people were playing with throwing stones. Some youngsters were busy flying kites and here and there you could see some young people were struggling with their skills learning cycle and motorcycles.
Away from them were few old men sitting on a higher place busy with their talks and observing all these sports. As they were talking with each other, a young boy attracted their attention. He was taking the advantage of slope to steer the handle without paddling. It was an interesting observation as this young boy was committed to master and has not fallen down yet. This time the boy sit on seat of cycle he started paddling and cycle was running fast. The old men amused of his success and start clapping to appreciate his success. As they were clapping, the boy’s cycle climbed up a small lump of dirt and then disappeared. Where did boy go? All of them were observing but had no idea. After a while they decided to go and see the young boy. As they approached the lump they found a hole next to it and boy was inside it and was clearing his hands that became dirty with sewage drain. They wanted to help him that an old man approached them and told them, “please don’t help him. He is not hurt. It was just a lesson for him”. “A lesson for him? what do you mean?” “He is my grandson and for several days was arguing each other about learning experiences. He was arguing that time has changed. We don’t need to learn from our elders. All we need is available just by clicking. Googling is more reliable than our elder’s experiences. Though there is weight in his arguments but googling is just for getting information to do better the life lessons that elders teach. He was running too fast, so to teach him that by running too fast you may collapse and dirt yourself that always follows you in your whole life. It was a hand on teaching that he can’t find by googling”.


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Mountains and water:

Quetta is surrounded by a Chiltan limestone of Jurassic Age. It is a valley in the core of a large anticline fold and Chiltan limestone is a core the large fold. It is really fascinating to know that you are living in the core of a large fold or a simply a natural fort. The sharp peak of the mountains and also their large heights make them evident as a young a mountain chain that have not lost its flesh (its rocks have not eroded much) to time. Quetta lacks river or canal systems for irrigations and drinking water and it solely rely on the water that pumps out of the Chilton limestone. It is fossilized water that is preserved for 199-145 million years old. Growing by having a taste of Jurassic time water makes you think and rethink about your age. Total water body comprises 60% of body weight. More of than half of your body’s age is from 199-145 million years old that is older from most of the Dinosaurs.
Coming to Johnson City, the first thing that caught my eyes was small hilly mountains with more rounded peaks covered with heavy populations of trees. It was indication of old age. My first reaction was welcome to an even older age. But as soon as I crossed the Susquehanna River that is dividing the Binghamton city from Johnson City, I change my mind. No it is not OK, as soon my Jurassic old age blood has to be replaced by water of recent glaciations and precipitations. I started searching about Susquehanna River. According to the Wikipedia entry about geology of Susquehanna River, the river had established its course prior to Appalachian before the breaking of Pangaea. The river is 300 million years old that is older than Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic Ocean is formed by breaking apart of supercontinent Pangaea and 130 million years old. So the Susquehanna is twice as old as Atlantic. It is really fascinating. Now I have a deep appreciation and respect for Susquehanna River and despite the black sediment particles and fear of copepod in its water I still enjoy drinking the water of this old river that is the source of life and livelihood in this part of world. Dinosaurs didn’t see the flowers but Susquehanna survived to see both as well as us.


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Modern Philanthropy or personal politics:

The names like Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Muhammad Yunus, Bono and so on is well known to the world. They took different ways to the global fame that is ended in sustaining it through involvements in the global issues under title of philanthropy. Politics, business and technology are key among other fields. The role of Al Gore is in key in this regard as he compensated the political loss by philanthropic cause. After failure in 2008 vice presidential election, Sarah Palin is writing her story under title of “Going rogue”. She is on the right pathway that others have proved a way of sticking to success by manipulating the personal fame for an accepted way for all (philanthropy) to address the global issues. Working for global issues like hunger, poverty, disease, education and conflict resolving is a harmless way of doing global personal politics. I don’t know if the Sarah Palin will follow the same path or not but she can do it and it is the safest way to rise contrary to go for another presidential election.

Nelson Mandela’s group, The Elders (which include, include Gra├ža Michael, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jimmy Carter, Li Zhaoxing, Mary Robinson and Muhammad Yunus) to solve the world issues by the leadership and wisdom each one them proved in their lives is a very impressive in its structure as it include the world’s high profile leadership in it. Jimmy Carter’s center won him Nobel Peace Prize for year of 2002. Bill Clinton must be inspired and has followed the path of the former president by starting Clinton global initiative (CGI) in 2005. Al Gore’s smart move after 2000 presidential election, to not participate in 2004 and 2008 races but instead actively involving in global warming issues after 2004 won him Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 and a prominent position in global leadership. This move of Al Gore has changed the face of politics to introduce a parallel personal politics of global citizenship contrary to party politics of nation states. This move is not limited to the politicians but Businessmen like Bill Gates and musician Bono have also followed the same path.

Based on social units we can divide the politics in three categories of (i) personal politics (ii) family politics and (iii) party politics. In ancient times when there were hold of elders, tribal chiefs, kings and emperors on the politics so the family politics were the dominant politics, in which the family members of the kings were struggling for power in the court of king. In modern times however the family politics has gotten a new meaning. Now it means a battle field between feminist and religious institutions. Feminist is considering the head of family as political positions and arguing about rights of women to have this position. As Unemployment and insecure employments along increasing costs of educations and livings are weakening the family structures especially in large cities, it is also undermining the debate of family leadership. Poor declining family politics????

Party politics is famous in a period of nation states, where the parties are promoting a set of ideologies that they think can lead the nation towards progress and prosperity. Declining interests of people in ideologies and increasing rate of globalization is leading party politics towards a decline in favor of newly born personal politics or politics of global citizenship. Let’s see the decisions of coming times??????????


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Thanksgiving, Eid-al-Adha and global warming:

It is a coincidence that this year (2009), Eid al adha is the following day of thanksgiving. On Thursday (November, 26, 2009) it is thanksgiving and on Friday (November, 27, 2009) it is Eid al adha. Certainly, there is no real relation between these two events historically and culturally. But this year there is not only a relation of time but also in terms of discussion on global warming. In thanksgiving a large number of Turkeys will be killed to celebrate harvest season or survival of first settlers. In Eid al adha a large number of cattle will be sacrificed to follow the sacrifice offering of Prophet Ibrahim (P.B.U.H).
How many sacrifices?

I don't know exactly, how much but let consider the populations celebrating these event and have a clue of how much?

The population of Muslims is 1.57 billion. If we consider that one out of ten Muslim will sacrifice a cattle on Eid- al adha then 157 million cattle should be sacrificed on Eid. One can argue that a large population of Muslims is poor so it is impossible that one of ten Muslims could sacrifice. Again if one out of one thousand Muslim sacrifices on the Eid al adha, there should be 1.57 million cattle should be sacrifices. But this amount is far too low than the sacrifices made only in Mecca by Pilgrims. Every year, there are around 3 million pilgrims on the Hajj, and every pilgrim sacrifices a cattle. So only in Mecca there are 3 million sacrifices. Muslims in all countries make sacrifices on the Eid day.

On other hand the population of USA is 308 million people. If one out of ten US citizens sacrifice, Turkeys, then 30.8 million Turkeys should be killed. Even if one out of 100 US citizens cook a turkey then 3.8 million Turkeys should be killed on the Thanksgiving Day. It is almost equal to amount of cattle that are sacrificed in Mecca on Eid-al-adha.

The statistics is terrifying. But as we look it in the perspective of global warming, it presents a different picture. According FAO report, 18% of CO2 emission is caused by cattle and still the meat production doubled in a very short amount of time from 1999 to 2001. What will be the consequences if the same rate of production continued?

(http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448/index.html)

This side of picture is very dark. Let's look on other side of picture. According to the same news from FAO, the livelihood of 1.3 billion people is attached to livestock sector. Can world support this massive unemployment and cutting of production (livestock is 40% of agriculture output)? Certainly, not!

Actually, it is not the problem with increase in meat consumption and livestock but the way we are farming livestock. If we violate the natural laws then we have to pay the price. Cattles we enriching soils while grazing and were working as a carbon sink. In past and even in near past both wild grazers and domesticated grazers were migrating and enriching the soil to help grasses work as sinks. But by modern farming we have didn't research to keep live stock as a carbon sink but we have focused on increasing meat and dairy products. Now it is time to do research and find the ways to make the livestock a carbon sink. Some people naively suggest that if all go vegetarian we can save the earth. Even a school child who is familiar with food chain will disagree with this idea. Because he knows that if you disturb a component in food chain the whole chain will be disturbed.

What do you think about wetlands? Are they carbon sinks or carbon sources? Certainly, they are carbon sink. But it is interesting to know that newly constructed ponds, lakes and wetland work as a carbon source rather than carbon sink.


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Walls as symbols and evidences of ideological wars:

Wall of Berlin was dividing a city in two parts of Socialist Germany and Capitalist Germany. The collapse of this wall was considered as of end of cold war or ideological war between Socialists and Capitalists. Soon afterward Samuel Huntington presented his political theory of clash of civilization, in which he stressed that cultural war will replace the ideological war. Where is the evidence? Yes! There is visible evidence. A wall is dividing city of Jerusalem, a sign of cultural clashes between Muslims and Jews and another wall divides the city of Baghdad, a sign of cultural clashes Shiites and Sunnis. We can just hope that as collapse of wall of Berlin was considered the end of ideological war so will be the collapse of these two walls the end of cultural clashes between these religions and sects. But still it comes in mind what will be the next clashes?

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Change or Revival?

During presidential election of 2009, the appearance of Barrack Obama was not only change of face and identity but he come with the slogan of change and yes we can. I was interested in the slogan of change as I was curious to know the nature of “Change in 21st century”. As we all familiar that in previous century, “Change” was clearly defined and people were aware that what they are standing for. Change had ideological basis and the intellectuals affiliated with those ideologies were trying to explore new faces of the ideologies. So change had a philosophical basis and social engineering was the source of thinking and identity of intellectuals. Even science couldn’t prevent itself of the ideological divide. “Soviet Science” is an example of this ideological basis of social businesses.

In the last decade of previous century after collapse of Soviet Union and transitions of Chinese communist party toward more free market businesses, collapsed the ideological basis of change. The world was silent and change was dormant. As Barrack Obama based his presidential campaign on slogan of change, the entire world became excited. I was searching for a solid foundation for change. But it was all failure. After the dust of slogans of change settled and it was time for real work, the world changed replaced by revival. I am confused, what is the relation between change and revival? Does change means revival? If somebody has an answer, I like to hear…………………..


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Generations of technology:

I was talking to a man in his fifties about the technological advances and I told him, "The children that born in age of computer is called digital generation and our generation which saw the evolution of Personal computers and operating systems is called Aliens" He was almost shocked and asked me, "If your generation is alien that what about our generation?" I had no answer and I just laughed as his question amused me. After pondering on his question I got the answer. Our generation should be called, "the generation of Television". When we opened our eyes in this world we saw TV and the craze for TV dramas. TV burnt a lot of the food. As women become hypnotized by TV serials they were mostly forgetting the food that they left on stove. Everywhere were the talks about dramas and at time of show the whole family were silently watching TV serial. It all finished by introduction of Cable TV and internet. The generation before our generation should be called the "Generation of Radio". Though I myself have not observed the craze of radio but I have heard from elders about the craze of radio in their time.
OK! We have identified three generation of Radio, TV and computers. What are the next generations?

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Fossilized history in map of USA;

Map of USA tells you a lot about her history. It is rare in countries that have long histories. At first glance you note the clear difference in sizes of states in East and West. Eastern states are very small comparing with western states, especially the northeastern states. The reason is quiet understandable from map. The Eastern States are on the shores of Atlantic Ocean which has smaller routes compared to Pacific Ocean which is on the West. As first settlers were coming from east so Eastern States were the first to be inhabited. The Western and Southern states later on accreted to USA, so they are larger in sizes.

Besides sizes of states, the unique name of states also tells you a lot about her history. It is interesting to know that half of the names of the 50 states of USA have Indian origin. Most of them named after an Indian tribe. The first name that catch your eye is Indiana, means the land of Indians. Alabama, Iowa and Dakota are the names of Indian tribes and name, Arkansas is taken from Quapaw Indians. Massachusetts is the name of an Indian tribe that means, about great hill. Other states that got Indian names have interesting meanings. The meaning of Utah (People of mountains) is very close to my heart as Hazarajat, the land of Hazaras is also a mountainous area. Texas indicates the Red Indian, mean red people. Kansas means people of south wind and Illinois means tribes of superior men (Pride is the source of hope and integrity of every nation and national anthems mostly praises the greatness of nations). There are few states whose name is related to water. Minnesota has beautiful name, means Sky tinted water. Arizona means little spring as compared to Michigan that means Large Lake, Connecticut which means, beside the long tidal river and Ohio, means Great River. Mississippi means father of waters and truly depicts the Mississippi river that is second longest river in the USA, after Missouri river. Missouri means the town of large canoes (large pointed boats) which were sailing in the Missouri river. Nebraska means flat water, describing the Platte River which flows through Midwestern plains. Texas, means friends and Mexico means the place of Mexitli (an Aztec leader). Two states represents today’s USA, Alaska that means great land and Kentucky which means land of tomorrow.

After a large of number of Indian names, the English names dominate the map of USA, which shows the dominance of English Empire in the new land. Few states are named in the honor of Kings, Queen and Noblemen of English Empire, as follows, Georgia in after King George II, Caroline after Charles I, Maryland after Henrietta Maria, queen of Charles I, Virgin in honor of virgin queen, Pennsylvania, after Sir William Penn, New York after Duke of York and New Hampshire is named after the county of Hampshire in England.

Just English names, Spanish names indicate the influence of the Spain in that time. Spanish names, Nevada, means snowcapped, Montana, Means Mountain and Florida means feast of flowers. French names though rare but show up in Vermont means Green Mountain and Louisiana which has named in honor of Louis XIV of France.


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Connectivity, Creativity and authenticity:

Print media is in trouble. Print media is becoming endangered specie. Paid journalism is going to be part of museum. One may frequently hear these phrases. It all seems natural as new technologies are replacing older one. Journalism as a discipline and profession is not dying but it is evolving with emergence of new technologies. So I was not much interested in listening to this discussion, unless discussions of this kind also included authenticity, creativity and connectivity.

In a world, where mobility is increasing and people are traveling more and more, the addresses, contact numbers and even e mail numbers are changing. So connectivity is an issue. It was interesting to know that although individuals have changed their addresses, contact numbers and e mail addresses but they were found and accessed via their blogs and facebooks. It seems that those digital socializations have not only changed our relationships but also behaviors. We want to have multiple access and communication levels. Even with friends that we meet every day and talk face to face but we want them to e mail us, update their face book or blog. Digital friendship has totally different meaning than physical friendship. So we are creating a parallel personal world by creating a digital society we choose individuals by setting our privacy. We are observing a change in behavior by change in using tools.

It is not far, when Jane Goodall, changed the earlier distinction we set between human and animal based on tool making. Jane Goodall found that Chimps are making tools and using them in certain manners and also they understand and communicate their emotions. So we shifted our distinction one level higher by saying human is the only organism that can envision the future. Envisioning the future is easy when authentic information is available. With obscured information, the envisioning becomes more difficult task that a large population of human being loses the ability to envision well.

People believe that print media is more authentic than digital media. The reason is simple. It is easier to control the content and also verify them before they could reach to readers. Professional writers and editors are controlling the media. It is a plus point of print media. But it has a drawback also. Most of the time print media is inaccessible to great ideas so a lot of creativity dies out in invisibility. Contrary to print media, digital media empowered individuals to express themselves and blasted creativity. People are expressing and sharing knowledge with or without incentives. Though digital media is empowering creativity but it is making difficult to check the authenticity and it is weakening the envisioning future, the distinctive point of human from animals. It is really difficult to check the authenticity of contents. Even the rating, higher number of searching, visiting and comments of readers doesn't work.

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Old and new contrasting tips:


I met with two undergraduate friends that I have heard are frequent traveler. They must have few useful tools in planning my vacation. They gave me the web addresses of a few travel agencies that were offering great vacation offers that were included travel and accommodations at reasonable prices. Surely young generations before planning anything important search the internet to find some helpful information that could help them in decision makings. It is a normal habit but it becomes interesting when you get some tips from older generations. Discussing with a senior citizen about our vacation plans he gave us some amusing tips, “If you want to find a reasonable accommodation with reasonable prices, just the crew of the airplane. Because they travel a lot so they knew the suitable places. If you are driving and you feel hungry, look for trucks. Because truck drivers are traveling a lot, they know where good food with best offers is.” I burst in laughing by hearing these strange tips. He looked at me seriously and replied, “I am not joking. I am serious. These are my experiences and I do follow them.” When discussion moved to more suggestions, he said, “If you go to New York City, one way people get cheap accommodation is hostels. It is like jails. A single room has a lot of beds one over other on the wall. Yes! They are cheap but because different kinds of people using them frequently, so you may get skin diseases. I knew some students got lice from hostel in City. Instead I suggest going to New Jersey and finding a nice accommodation. It is close to city so you can easily travel to and forth”.

Listening to his tips, I was remembering our first days in shopping. My roommate was following locals while choosing items we needed. I was regularly telling him that instead of following people why you are not reading the ingredients and instructions and he was always arguing with me that locals are shopping for years and they knew best stuffs with reasonable prices. So following them in shopping is saving time and money. I am convinced that most of time it works but besides I found that majority of locals are not familiar well with their area. When you discuss with them about area and shopping choices you find that know what most of them don’t know.

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What will you do with ten million rupees?

Puzzles and solving puzzles are always fun. Using puzzles to teach is an old practice. One of the puzzles that really changed my perspective was asked by my mentor,
We were busy in work and all were silent. Then my mentor broke the silence and asked me, "If you get ten million rupees, what will you do with this amount of money?" Certainly, it was a question to learn about my psyche, so I became conscious and asked my mentor, "What you would suggest me to do?" He smiled and replied, "Well! Men are at their weakest point when they are at their peak and strongest when they are at their weakest point. If you suddenly, receive ten million rupees, then you are at your peak and it is the time that most likely makes big mistakes because you think of yourself a successful and expects that your every action will be successful. You may make quick decisions and even take risks. On other hand when you are weak because it is the matter of your survival so you think too much and work hard to make your survival possible. Here most of your efforts are based on your wisdom. Ok, as it goes for money, the amount doesn't matter but the way you are going to use it, matters. If you have a small amount of money then you have only one chance of investment and it is wiser not to get risk of putting yourself in a business that you are unfamiliar with. Yes if the amount of your money is large enough that you can divide it into two or more parts then you have more than one chance. Now you can invest one part of your money in a business that you are familiar with and you can take risk of going into businesses that you are not familiar with."

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Halal Food:

Food is a real concern when living outside of home country in general and Halal food specially. When you are invited you have to tell hosts that you will get vegetarian food. "Are you vegetarian?" is the first question you have to face. "No! I am not vegetarian but I will take meat that is properly prepared. We call it Halal and then you have to explain the Halal. When an animal digests the food that it has taken and it absorbs into blood. The blood enters into liver, where the amino acids (building parts of proteins OR protein converted into amino acids in stomach during digestion process) go through domination process. Separated amine group is converted into ammonia and because ammonia is toxic so it is converted into uric acid. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deamination). Besides ammonia blood also carries, hormones and other by products of metabolism and detoxification. It is good to look at list of blood component in this Wikipedia page. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_human_blood_components). These long lists of components make it undesirable to take blood as a diet.

One part of Halal food is to drain out as much blood as could be to make meat safer. Though it is the main condition but there are other things also to be considered and it is how the animals (cattle and chicken) are raised. The animals must not get meat, bone and blood as their diet. But in animal farms not only animals these components of part of their diet but hormones (especially female sex hormone estrogen) are injected to animals to get optimal growth rate by increasing food efficiency and muscle deposition (http://gpvec.unl.edu/griffin/ImplantSelUse-DDG-08.pdf).

Estrogen affects the girls and makes them reach puberty in early ages and it also affects boys to be more inclined towards feminine habits. Beside this, how estrogen will affect your brain? you can read it in the following page (http://www.karger.com/gazette/66/mcewen/art_05.htm). These all side effects make this way of rising animals’ not preferring though they are economical.

In order a meat become Halal, it is necessary the Halal animal is properly raised and properly prepared to avoided all these complications. It is really eye opening for most of the people who do not know the real reasons for Halal food. Halal meat doesn't mean taking unlimited meat in the diet. Imam Ali (A.S) says, "Don't make your stomach the graveyard of animals and if you don't get meat in your food for forty days you have to get it even by borrowing money for it". (The saying is not by exact wording).


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Why are you reading the book of this old guy?

My youngest brother who just passed fifth grade asked me, "What are you studying?" I replied him, "Evolution". He asked me again, "What is evolution?" I thought that I have to simplify the concept and relate it to a figure so I told him, "It is the book of Darwin". "Who is Darwin?" he asked. Now I had to introduce Darwin, "He was an old man with long white beard and mustache and bald head who was living 150 years ago" "Why you are not reading the books of young men who must have good looks?" "Well! The young good looking men are good to look but are not worthy to read."


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Now I believe in Evolution:

One of my friends who were not feeling easy with theory of biological evolution came to me and said, "Khuda dad! I now believe in the theory of that old man. What is the name of that man?" "Darwin" I replied. "Yes the theory of Darwin". "How you changed your mind to believe in evolution?" I asked him. "Because I found some people behave like animals so I reached in conclusion that that Darwin must be right in theorizing common descent." Though he came to conclusion from misbehaves but it was amusing for me that people come in conclusion from such odd experiences also.

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The reach of toastmasters:

For me, eating in public places was a really difficult task. I remember that whenever I was going to a hotel for a lunch or dinner, I would ask my father to bring food out of hotel because I didn't want people look at me while eating. If someone looking at me while eating, I would stop eating. It was the reason that despite of invitations I was avoiding attending events involved lunch or dinner. Though I made improvements during my teaching by introducing fruit-parties into my classes but it still these events were planned to my ease.
People expect cultural shock when going to a foreign country. In US, you will find students without uniforms and eating their breakfast, lunch and dinner in classroom. It was a real shock for me. How could one eat without offering to his friends, or eating while others are not? It was also strange to start eating a food which has a strong aroma so the whole class could smell it.

Today, we participated in a toastmaster club in the School of Management at 7 O'clock, morning time. So we had to take breakfast in meeting. Again the same feelings came back. Taking your breakfast in front of people while participants give speechs and evaluate speeches and voting. It is the first time, I felt about the reach of the toastmaster. It is not a program just for public speaking, improving listening skill, making better off communicative skills by removing filler words, approaching people, evaluating and managing ideas BUT it can reach to your behaviors. I ate with ease as I look at it as challenge or a culture acceptable to society.


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Technology affecting professions:

On Westlake, tunnel transit, Seattle, I saw a person playing the pipe. He was playing beautifully but nobody was giving attention to him. I started observing people, who were indifferent to his music. I found that most of the people's ears are hooked in their devices. If they are listening to their Iphones and IPods then the play of pipes will not reach their ear. I thought he has to change his method by changing technology. He is better to include some performances to his play in order to get attention of people.
It is not only the problem of a pipe players but also affecting the students and other professionals. Students have to include more visual aids and sometimes crazy things into serious topics in order to grab the attention. A large part of time is consumed in finding technologies and making yourself familiar with and also updating yourself. Your real works suffer a lot.

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Algerian was not there:

If you forget some of your belongings to a public place, it is rare opportunity to find it again. It depends on the price of the items, the longevity of your coming back etc. However, sometimes you hear interesting comparisons that worth mentioning. That night I was too tired and also hungry so I asked my friend that we have to buy food to take home. We took our food and while we were waiting for bus, started discussing. We got the bus to home. Bus was in midway to home when my friend told me that he has forgotten his food at bus stop. I told him to forget about it because till now somebody must have taken it. He laughed and replied, "No, the food is there because I didn't see any Algerian there." I was puzzled. We came out of bus and started walking back to bus stop. I asked him, "What do you mean by saying; food must be there because there is no Algerian." He laughed and told about his encounter with another friend in Germany. He had forgotten his camera or items like that in public place and he went back to the place, he found the camera still there so he was amazed and told about this to his friend. His friend laughed and told him, "Your camera was there because no Algerian was there". We reached bus stop and really food was there and nobody had taken it. My friend laughed and told me, "I told you that food must be there because I didn't see any Algerian there and you see we find it untouched".

Though in our event Algeria is symbolized because people were from there, but the truth is that all countries where law is not respected, poverty prevails and it is illogical to expect people to miss any opportunity. It is not the people who is responsible but the governments which do not enforce the law. When law is not respected, it doesn't matter how much resourceful a country is and how much strong the culture and hard working people it has, the opportunities will shrink. The main reason is mistrusts. When there is mistrust and less opportunity, you cannot expect people behave the same as people behave like those living in an environment of trust and abundance of opportunities.


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A solution for Junk mails:

Your mail box may look, like a trash of mails. Every day you may see postmen bringing bundles of mails to your mailbox. Most of these mails are advertisements and coupons. We talked about it to our neighbor and he told us an interesting story. A guy in Alaska ran out of money, so paying for heat was a problem for him. He started subscribing to a lot of websites and started receiving bundles of mails. He was using these mails to keep himself warm. I don’t know how much truth is there in this story but it sounds interesting.

It is not only junk mails but also extra-packaging that is burden on your trash. A woman was telling about a house in her neighborhood that becomes garbage due to packaging. An old retired couple was living in an apartment and was getting most of their daily needs through deliveries. One day the wife called 911 for a health emergency to her husband had. When medics arrived, they had difficulty in bringing out her husband out of load of packaging that was piled up everywhere. They complained and the police made it to clean their house of garbage. Again, I don't know the level of truth to story but it is amazing to note the level of trash and garbage that is produced every day. It is a real environmental and health issue that is needed serious considerations.

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From preferences to need:

As new products are filling the market and factories want to increase their share of the market they introduce new products in market. The diversity and abundance of products are increasing our choices. It is good, however there it is leading to bizarre trend of wasting much needed time, resources and earning free tensions. Replacing items by models and the craze for functions that you really don't need and they not going to benefit you are how these trends are working.
Choices are preferences at the beginning and once you got habitual of looking for new models and applications then it becomes habit, the habit of updating what is already functioning best. This craze becomes a real serious issue when spectator factors are involved. Once it becomes cultural and widespread then it becomes a need. If all have and are using an item and you are not using it, it feels and looks odd. It is cultural. When I analyze the new cultures we are adapting as new products are coming in, I see a lot of waste of time and resources that are needed for our goals in life. It is really unfortunate but some people get these artificial needs as part of their purpose instead of part of life. It is just waste of creativity, wasting your ability without any productivity.


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What is simplicity?

An argument used by creationist is the complexity of life. The evolutionary biologists have their answers but I was thinking of simplicity and I couldn't get it. Is there is something exist that we would call it simple. Let's have some example to clarify it. If we look into substance of things nothings seem simple. From DNA, organelles to cell, organs and behavior everything looks very complex. If we look to inorganic part of earth or even Universe, everything is made up of subatomic particles that are really complex again and even worst that we don’t know that nature of forces that govern these particles. We know the characters of gravity but we don’t know what gravity is? We know the characters of magnetism but we don't know what magnetism is?

If come to behavioral aspect of this issue and say what is easy? The answer is same. Nothing is easy. Let's explore it. When we want to say metaphorically that this task is easy, we say it is as easy as eating or drinking. Things like, eating, drinking, talking, walking are considered easy. However it is not true. These abilities have evolved over millions of years. Even if do not look from evolutionary perspective, they are not easy when we were babies. It took us years to learn them. So there is nothing as simple or easy but things that we are accustomed to or we have learnt and things that we don't.


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Taste:

A decade earlier, PTV (Pakistan Television) telecasted a series of talks by late Pakistani novelist and intellectual, Ishfaq Ahmed by the name of "Zavia". In one the program he explained of an easy experiment. He said, take two glasses of water and fill them with water. Read some verses of holy book on one. Now drink both of them and you will feel the differences of tastes in both waters.

Like every other nation who goes through process of urbanization, Hazaras are also going through massive process of urbanization. In the process of urbanization, one interesting point to note is the differences of behaviors and perceptions between two generations, e.g., those who are born in villages and migrated to cities and their children who are born and raised in cities. One difference that is related to current topic is of taste. Parents who are born in villages have developed a taste of dairy products, ghee of dairy products and dried meat and dairy products and also of village cuisines. On contrary, the children have developed tastes of industrial products. When some visitors bring food items from villages, the parents admire the tastes but children do not. Why is there a taste difference for same item in a single family?
Besides adaptations to a taste, it is also psychological as we mentioned in experiment for taste differences of water. One of my friends reminds me and everybody he meets of taste difference between organic and industrial products. When I search the sources of food and finding that both products are mass manufactured and chemicals are used in both products. What we call organic have grown in artificially fertilized lands, used pesticides and also used chemical preservatives for the preservations of products then what is the difference?

Psychology plays a vital role in determination of tastes. You may know "evil priest" of Russia, Rasputin who had a magical effects on son of emperor that was suffering from Hemophilia. Just his presence was giving a hope to Empress and the Prince.

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Individualism and segregation are tragedies of nation states:

Human societies have their tragedies. I think the source of these tragedies is mistrusts. Every mistrust has its own history. Here I look to two tragedies, individualism and segregation. The new nations which are more individualistic have more open societies, dynamic and progressive where human abilities flourish under an open competition. Better were if individualism were a matter of choice. Though it is desirable to successful, young and active parts of societies, it has also produced some wreckage for example; single mothers, homeless individuals and old age singles are just tragedies of individualism.
Similarly, the nation states who emerge out of colonization or balkanization of historic empires inherited segregated populations. People are segregated based on ethnicities, language, and religion. In some places an ethnic group is divided between two or more nation states (Kurds in Iraq, Turkey and Iran, Pashtoon in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Punjabis among India and Pakistan etc). Still other kind of segregation is city dwelling and village dwelling populations. What is the result of these segregations? Members of an ethnic group that live mostly in villages do not get the same level of access to education, health, trade, technologies and politics as those living in large cities. Though it is a natural process that there are more opportunities in large cities than small cities and villages but when a society is segregated, the communities compare their status with each other. Ethnic groups that live dominantly in villages feel discriminated. Their feelings become stronger and surface whenever there are natural, political or economical disasters.

A lot of human resources and potentials are wasted because of these segregations. People value more their identities and stick to traditions. They are slow in adapting change and globalizations. Sometimes they resist education, trade and participation in mainstream politics. Personal dreams and creativity are suffocated or silenced. Still there are efforts to reverse the progression already made or try to stop other ethnicities progress, through violence. This is another tragedy of segregated societies. The biggest tragedies in these societies are linking violence, destruction and resisting progress, to patriotism. My judgment is future generations will denounce these approaches when they feel they are very late in entering into a global competition. They do not change when timely and it will take time to become able to be part of global world. This time gap will not be without costs.


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Individualism is born out of mistrust

Individualism looks very attractive when you look from a philosophical perspective, rights of individuals, rights of ownership of their works, their ideas, their beliefs, their practices and private ownership of their properties etc. It seems very natural, almost natural liberty. Individuals not only own their successes but also failures. It is an environment of entrepreneurship. You may fall down several times but it is impossible that you stay down there. You rise and it is the spirit of struggle that make you keep up. Because, everybody is growing so there is no time to stay where you are. You have to grow. It is why, everybody seems busy and time crunched. Everybody's identity is his/her story of success and growth. The beauty of individualism is that, nobody laughs or taunts you because of your appearances or practices. You soar in this environment because you see an unimaginable diversity. Everybody experiments, because nobody cares about what other think. What matters are, either your experiments work or not. If it works, you will succeed and others benefit and learn. Your exposures to this diversity make you learn and you make more efforts to have your contribution in it. It is just your willingness that, how much you want to grow and learn. There is no limit to growth but your wish and capacity.

However, all is not so sweet and ideal. Individualism is actually born out of mistrust. Perhaps nobody has looked at it this way because nobody wants it this way. Individualism is close to my heart and I do not want it this way but I can't throw out my consistent observations (though I wish it could be wrong). Migrants are more individualistic than local people. It is human nature to feel insecure and do not trust stranger and strange. It is takes time to become familiar but still familiarity can’t fill biological and cultural gaps. You may not accept it in words but they speak in behaviors and attitudes. In addition because there are social, cultural and economical gap between settled people and migrants, it takes time to settle so individualism evolves in this gap time.

There is always a gap of capacities between individuals. In individualism, these gaps become more visible. The relations are mostly based on gains. Whenever, relations are out of win-win situation to win-lose situation, they break. It is hard to have win-win relationships in an open society so it is mostly break ups. Individuals are very careful in making relations and biggest concern is not to lose. There is a prevailing mistrust. Relation can’t sustain based on gains but on sacrifices. Individual’s response differs to individualistic environments. Individuals with artistic and creative nature who are very sensitive take it as an opportunity but it is also painful for them. They take it as an opportunity because here they can see human nature exposed out of cultural covers. It is painful for them as they feel the nonsense is unbearable. On the other side it is a great opportunity that lack artistic sensitivity. They see the mistrust as an opportunity to exercise their skills of playing around with others. They insulate their feelings under names of fun, skill and freedom. Nonsense is an art and it doesn’t matter who becomes what as long as there is a chance of gain and run.