Personal Space

Three days ago I was standing in line at my bank before the teller when he decided to take a little longer than he normally does. As I stood there waiting, a hand suddenly appeared from over my shoulder tapping the glass and telling him to hurry up, no response from the teller turned into another hand popping out from my side pushing a wad of notes and a bill underneath the glass. At this point I turned around and was shocked to see not some teenager but a respectable looking gent with glasses pressed up behind me who reacted most vehemently to my objection at him invading my personal space. In short he thought I was some Anglocised daft person who had funny ideas which were out of place in this country and that I should shove off to where I came from with such haughty thoughts.

Obviously the concept of personal space has been nonexistent in our society for the longest time. This is why women still feel uncomfortable going into  even slightly crowded places in this “Islamic” republic of ours and nobody thinks twice before interrogating whoever they feel for their status, financial or social or marital. The same exists online as well because to us social media means stalk media but what we do not get is that being behind a screen does not give anyone the right to act creepy even if they are. So for the sake of our collective sanity I thought I should impart a few pointers on what personal space means and how its sanctity should be protected.

If you are close enough for someone to know what you have had for the last meal, including the brand of your cigarettes as well as what deodorant you use or should use you are invading their personal space.

If someone can hear what you and your wife/gf/bf/lover like to say to each other while you are not together you are invading their personal space, I know public affection on the phone looks good in sitcoms but huddled together in a smelly elevator it gets a bit know digitally inappropriate.

If you are staring at someone’s posterior like a lion stares at a deer before he lunges you are invading their personal space.

If you are enquiring about someone’s (insert choice from marital, physical, financial, gender) status to their face without the slightest idea of how revolting or invasive it is yes you are invading their personal space.

If you smile at people creepily from across enclosed spaces like an elevator, a store room a taxi you are sharing or the bus whether you mean to or not you are invading their personal space.

If someone accepts you as their friend on a social media network like say Facebook, it does not mean they have given you the right to dive head first into any personal conversation they might be having with their “real friends” so when you make that snide remark about their ex/current/family/kid you are invading their personal space.

When you sms someone a joke a day it’s funny, when you do the same 30 times a day you are invading their personal space.

When the person you are standing next to clutches their wallet or purse, you are invading their personal space.

If someone is stepping back as you talk to them because you are spitting in their face, you are invading their personal space.

If you know the addresses of someone’s close relatives or the places they usually hangout in without you actually knowing them, you are invading their personal space.

If you show up at someone’s office and will not leave for the next five hours because you think you might learn something from them you are invading their personal space.

So if someone glares at you or snaps open a newspaper in front of their face or builds a wall of books on the library table you are sitting on or just does not like the feel of your breath on the back of their neck consider it natural because you buddy are at fault. Back off a bit once in a while, it will help you out in the long run.




Takmeele rooh

Us ki qandeel ke noor tale
Lehron pe jhoomte huaye
Momin jiye ja rahe hain
Halki halki moseeqi me
Baton ke pahar banate
Thori see piye ja ra hen
aur woh un ka rab is soch me hay
Ke me ne kis mitte se inhe bana dia

Farishton ko in ke samne jhuka dia
Ye tu meri hi shahkar me bethe musanif ko talash kiye ja rahe hain
Bus apni faniat me mast jiye ja rahen hain apni taskeen ke liye thori si piye ja rahen hain

Takmeele rooh kaise ho gi woh cheekthe hain ye dunya kaise kho gaye woh sochte hain
Aray agar rooh ka mamla hay tu sharab angrezi nahi eeman ki chahye
Agar mohabbat karni hay tu paymana dar ka nahi junoon ka chahye
Bas apni hi dagar me jiye ja rahen hain
Aur thori si piye ja rahen hay

Jo hosh hote huaye bhi behosh hay
Jo parda orh ke soche andhera kyun hay
Woh takmeele rooh kaise paye ga
Woh jannat ke maiwe kaise khaye ga
Duniya ke aish me gum jiye ja rahen hain
Aur thori se piye ja rahen hain


Twitvey – What to eat in Karachi

Twitveys are random surveys carried out by me on twitter. They often yield pretty interesting results :)

Question : What is your favourite thing to eat in Karachi?



@faisalkapadia Burns Road. Bhunay huay seekh kabab. Aaa Lahore! Kithhayy??


@faisalkapadia Delhi Javed Nihari


@faisalkapadia kata kat & mutton karhai – cafe laziz – burns road :)


@faisalkapadia Well if u like Nihari then Zahid ki Nihari-Burns Rd.; Sajji from any good shop there; Seekh/Boti Kababs, Tikka etc! *drools*


@faisalkapadia A1 Snacks or Hot n Spicy’s Chicken Garlic Mayo Rolls! :P


@faisalkapadia chaat from mehran spot yummy


@faisalkapadia Nihari. Burns Road. Cant name the place.


@faisalkapadia The karahi at pahar gunj, nazimabad?


@faisalkapadia The cold coffee from kaybees. Kicks Alaska Cofee from Dunkin Donuts ass.


Haleem RT @faisalkapadia: This impromptou survey will end in 10 mins what is the best thing to eat in #karachi in your opinion?? #pakistan


@faisalkapadia Afghani Tikka and Fried Prawns from BBQ Tonight.


@faisalkapadia Meeruth Keabab house zTipu sultan road


@faisalkapadia red apple ka kebab roll…yummy!!!


@faisalkapadia ghaffar ka green tikka aur kabab.


@faisalkapadia reshmi paneer handi from kbc, saddar Chicken makni from tandoori hut, boat basin Hunterbeef burger from hanifia


@faisalkapadia cafe bakra ki chaamp

So there ya go, feel free to follow these tweeple. They are as lively as their palate!!


Pk relief mission 5 report

Even though we had not gone back to shikarpur in two weeks the off roaders had kept in mind the SSGC degree college camp witnessed by us while we were on ground there. We contacted Mr Mukesh the pointman of this camp and found that the food situation there was getting desperate. This camp houses about 3000 people in the shape of about 300 registered and a 100 unregistered families at an average of 7-8 people each. Thus we prepared 500 food hampers (5 kg ata, 5 kg flour, 1 litre oil, 2 kg dal, 2 soaps)as well as 500 clothing hampers ( separate suits for male females and children plus shoes) for this school and along with this relief took 1500 additional food hampers and a truck of water  +15  medicine cartons when we set off on mission no 5 on the 3rd of September.

Along the way we experienced two tire shreds, and there is a reason why I am calling these shreds and not punctures. However each time we came to a halt, we were approached by the Highway police within minutes for assistance which was very polite and considerate. They also offered us Iftari but we made do with rotis and piaz/onionsand reached shikarpur around 9:30 pm.

We liaised with the school management and set up our staging area with our relief supplies ready while one team headed to the school to prepare lots of people in datsun vehicles and to bring them along with their SSGC ration cards to our distribution site. Upon arrival at site they were instructed to sit in single file and then we started releasing groups of 5 to the back gate where an offroader would check the registration card send them inside the staging area and another offroader would then recheck the no of people in the family (listed on card) and hand out hampers accordingly. These IDPS then proceeded to exit from the front gate and the process kept on going very smoothly till 330am until all 400 families had received aid.

Having exhausted ourselves fully we slept for the night and woke up at about 9am. We then set out to the civil hospital shikarpur, otherwise also known as district headquarters hospital. The conditions in the wards were overwhelmingly pathetic specially in the pediatric ward where there were about 5 kids to one bed. Most of them were suffering from gastro and chest infections and we started by handing over all the medicine we had brought to the hospital staff. We then decided to and handed over one food hamper per family of patientz as well, as most of them are the same IDP’s we had set out to serve. After we had completed each ward and covered all the families of all the patients we had a meeting with the E.D.O who gave us a list of medicines urgently required. We also distributed packets of flour and rice outside on hospital grounds as well as donated half a truck of aquafina water to this hospital.

At this point we were left with 1000 food hampers which we liaised with the U.N to guide to Sewan where we were told there was desperate need for supplies. The water we had left with us we took to the Hands camp in shikarpur and distributed there. Hands is an NGO we have found and personally visited camps off, which is doing brilliant work in a non obtrusive manner wherever we go.

Having finished with all our supplies we left shikarpur at around 820pm to arrive back in Karachi at 5am the next (sun morning) at sehri time. I think its important for aid convoys to know that there is no danger on the highway at night if you have 4-5 cars/jeeps in your convoy.

Our next target is to better the conditions (hygiene & medcare) of the pediatric ward in the civil hospital Karachi and get them better beds as well as medicine to keep the kids healthy. This will be our first step into the rehabilitation part of our relief work which we feel is apt given the waters are receding and people are starting to go back to their villages. Now they will need help in rebuilding their lives  and we plan to stand with them.

Pictures for this relief mission are available here

To donate to our cause please visit here or click the paypal widget on the right on this blog.

At this juncture we the Off roaders club has provided rations for more than one week to 32000 ppl in Sukkur Shikarpur & Sewan, ready to eat meals to 25000 people in Thatta & Hyderabad, 280  family tents (one tent holds 8 people) and water (1.5 litre) to the tune of 4 truck loads (one truck carrying 1000 cases of 1.5 x 6) bottles. We have also provided more than 20 cartons of medicines and are liaising with other people on ground for example Hands, Reflections & KRT to get help out to wherever it is needed as quickly as possible. We are assisted in this mission by not only our friends but BEHBUD association Karachi which is maintaining a seperate account for us where donations can be sent to as per link above.

Please note we do not want glory or fame, we are just private citizens of Pakistan who want to help and do it with our own hands.


Pk relief mission 2 report


On return after our first relief effort to Sukkur two weeks back we had several meetings amongst the core group of volunteers adopting a long term medical relief and rehabilitation strategy, however during the subsequent week we continued to receive urgent demands for help emanating from many of the inundated villages of Sukkur and Shikarpur

Thus in response to these pleas we embarked yet again on the 21st of August with a convoy of 8 trucks laden with relief goods of which seven were carrying relief hampers while one carried the load of a hundred tents accompanied by their donor. The convoy consisted of 7 cars and we made our way to Sukkur at around 5 pm passing through Hyderabad and Kotri which was slowly becoming inundated with flood water as the water levels had considerably increased since our first relief mission a week earlier.

Our staging area & warehouse was arranged by Taimur Mirza through the local MNA Agha Taimur located on the main Shikarpur – Sukkur link road.  We immediately offloaded our seven trucks of relief goods into this warehouse and with the help of the U.N coordination center in Sukkur dispatched the 100 tents to a PAF-managed IDP relief campsite on the Sukkur Bypass road

Day 1

The first night a few of our volunteers oversaw the construction of the 100 tents in the PAF enclave in an organized manner, the slow process continued the next three days and we ensured our constant presence at the site ensuring the construction to our total satisfaction.  Returning home late that night to our accommodations in Sukkur we hit the bed immediately preparing to start early the next day for distribution with the help of smaller hired datsuns pick-ups. The reason for taking datsuns was because the larger trucks could not be taken into the deeper areas of Essani, and other inundated villages which were being pointed out by the accompanying leader

Day 2

We left at 9am the next morning and after a short recon of the areas we were planning on distributing in, set off in two teams one led by Atif Ashraf and the other by Awab Alvi to different villages totally inundated by water, this place has been so remote that no food had reached for a couple of days, we were greeted with eager people anxious to get this aid and it is our estimate that we may have been successful in providing relief to over 500 families waiting in desperation.

Next we liaised with three NGO’s, first is a Karachi based school organization called Reflections who has rented houses in order to provide shelter in Shikarpur and Sukkur housing a large number of pregnant women and their children and are definitley doing a splendid job on the ground,  We also liaised with an NGO called Hands who is running quite a number of tent-cities around Kandkot, Jacobabad, Larkana, Shikarpur and Sukkur.  The third NGO also is a Karachi based organization run by a few Karachi based architects called Karachi Relief Trust.  All three organizations were thoroughly evaluated by us and were seen to be doing a genuine hard work on the ground and dservedly needed to be supported, we then dispatched a sizable quantity of relief hampers into their camps sites to augment their depleting food resources.

After accounting for these relief distribution we still had two datsuns full of relief supplies and three datsuns worth of water bottles left for handing out.  We ran a few sorties of water-bottle distribution along the highway passing these out to many thirsty people who under the scorching sun on roads of Shikarpur

Day 3

While doing water sorties the day earlier one of our team members Rehan Bandukda helped identify a school run by SSG&C, they had 1600 registered IDP families inside in squalid conditions. We visited this establishment with 2 datsuns of water and two datsuns of food hampers, we also had over 700 packets of ready to eat sheermal, milk and khajur packets all of which was quickly picked up by the residents of this camp.

As this distribution in schools was going on, two of our team members Nabil Jangda and Atif Ashraf seeing the dilapidated conditions in the area also ordered fresh cooked of dal and roti packets for 700 people which we then continued to distribute till 5pm despite our planned departure at 2pm which would have allowed us to traverse the National Highway during the daylight hours, but this last minute distribution had us running late, we finally got done by 5pm and headed for Karachi reaching home by 11:30 pm.  Reaching safe and sound, this last minute decision to feed another 700 people was well worth the inconvenience

As expected the on ground difficulties included extreme heat (48-50C) and a fluid situation of refugees settlements and their needs forced us to improvise on the ground practically making us come up with a new strategy at every puzzle. Gladly we had the mettle to make this happen on the spot. The overall security situation was also a lot riskier then we faced last week, in Sukkur as we were one of the first people to arrive back then, the towns are now littered with rioters, professional con men posing as NGO’s as well as political misfits of every variety out to make a fast buck. By the grace of god I am happy to claim we negotiated the various pitfalls with success. We may have stumbled but we did not fall!!

Our future plans are now being formulated and should revolve around supporting some genuine aid teams working on the ground in a long term basis augmenting with medical and rehabilitation requirements which we can possibly address


Pk flood relief mission 2 live

When we got back from our last distribution in sukkur we  had gained not just experience & pics but a lot of on field contacts, which will be useful in the 2nd distribution mission which starts tomorrow..err make that today in 5 hours.

The plan

To take 7 trucks of food/water hampers (3500)  & 1 truck of tents (100) and get them safely to pre planned areas and distribute in smaller hiluxes and suzukis after storage in staging area warehouse. Will also drop enough hampers at our established little tent enclave.

Route : National highway

Security provided by local contact in sukkur and Pak rangers on the way, very generous of them i might add.

Team consists off : Offroaders, volunteers, Behbud Karachi, & 70 Ex servicemen group, PYR Pakistan, FLP Pakistan, CIO Pakistan & P@SHA

The trucks are on their way, we are pumped up and the spirits are high, last time we had just two cars and nothing to hope for, this time our whole team is with us. We also plan to go further than shikarpur and have liaised with  Local DCO  Office as well as Reflection’s school team and more, to get as much help to as many needy as we possibly can.

We also plan to scout out a possible location for a future medical camp, when we say future it usually means next week  so here is to the team, lets gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!

You will be able to view and track me here via live gps updates, when i switch it on that is..

GPS tracking powered by

If that is not enough, you are either a blogger..or a dodgy..err no no then I recommend you hook into our live chatter box below where you can see our updates via twitter. Follow us and help us along our way, may god be with us all!!!


A battle against time

no images were found

As mentioned in my previous postOffroaders Pakistan and the Motor Rally club had been collecting funds for flood relief for the past two weeks in Karachi. We received a tremendous response and with around Rs. 2.5 million  donated to us, we loaded five trucks of food supplies as well as a truck full of tents and set out at 10:30 am on August 14.

Our initial plan was to go to Moro in Sindh, but due to local weather conditions not permitting and the dire need of food and supplies in Sukkur, we decided late Friday to take everything we had acquired and head to out to where we were needed the most.

This relief trip was unique since we constantly updated in real time via Twitter (@faisalkapadia & @drawab) and the entire trip was also covered by GPS updates.

Day 1

It took us approximately six-and-half hours to reach Sukkur and contrary to what we had been hearing on through different media outlets, the roads throughout the way were very well-policed and secure. We entered Sukkur around 5 p.m. and as we neared, thousands of people lined the roads, sleeping on both sides in the scorching heat, without any shelter or even charpais; women, children as well as the elderly and handicapped people lay along the street in the mud. Most of these people had migrated from Thul, Jacobabad, Shikarpur and Kashmore due to the incoming waters. It was really hard to digest the tragedy in front of our eyes as we unloaded the aid we had brought and proceeded to our camp which was set up with the help of local volunteers provided generously by Shehryar Meher. The Motor Rally team took the remaining trucks onwards to their camp near Shikarpur.

Once that was done and our iftari eaten in haste, we started setting up tents in our camp site and proceeded to do so till 2:30 a.m. We adopted the modus operandi of noting down ID card information as we gave out supplies to make sure that not more than one tent was given to one family so maximum people could get shelter. What was remarkable for us was that people whom we were providing relief to (some of them who hadn’t eaten a proper meal for a week) were very cooperative; they were only too happy to get any sort of help with shelter and it was quite a sight to see them standing in line as we handed out packets of biryani and water after which they settled into their tents for the night. Each tent sheltered up to eight people and thus with 500 people secure about three feet above ground level we finally called it a night.

Day 2

We arrived at the campsite at about 830am and found there were dozens of people not only from our tent enclave but from the surrounding areas as well. The crowd was so large and their need so great that we had to take the help of the local police to organise all of them into lines. At several points this morning our team of seven individuals considered stopping the provision of rations as we were repeatedly stormed by people desperate for any sort of relief. Still at no point during this very tough distribution process were we threatened by any of the refugees, it was just a matter of clear frustration and lack of adequate provisions that drove these people, they were not begging but merely trying to survive each day.

Till about 1130 a.m., we distributed close to 500 care packets that consisted of rice, oil, biscuits, water, salt and pulses. We also learnt the hard way that smaller packets would have been easier for the women and children to carry since ours were too heavy for them. We managed to split up the rations at the camp site but perhaps others organisations who are making similar care packets need to to keep this in mind.

We then left for Shikarpur where along the way we stopped to unload our last truck of rations into a mobile kitchen. Here they began preparing over 3000 rotis and began cooking rice and daal for the people traveling the route to Sukkur. The rest of the supplies were sent along with volunteers who manned the boats into the kacha areas in Shikarpur where there is about 4-5 feet of standing water and the people are cut off by road access. We also had a chance to go into lucky tehsil and survey firsthand the breach in the Indus minor, which is threatening Shikarpur with one million cusecs of water. Currently the army and the locals are considering total evacuation since there is talk that Shikarpur may not be able to make it in case fresh floods hit the area.

After return

For the last two days the 2nd part of our team MCP Club has been distributing relief all across the Kashmore area. They have now managed to distribute 1800 hampers on a per house as per need basis. Our next target is the collection of more funds for our next distribution mission. Thus please donate generously via the chip in widget you see to the right.

*We have been joined by PYR PakistanFLP and CIO Pakistan in our efforts. The Offroad team consisted of Nabil Jangda, Rehan Bandukda, Faraz Khan, Ali Khurshid, Imran Hussai, Dr Awab Alvi and Faisal Kapadia. For more information, go to our website


A version of this post was published on the Dawn blog at 16/8/2010


Pkfloods10: Flood Relief Campaign for Southern Pakistan

The earthquake’s  that hit Pakistan in 2005 and 2008  were regarded as the worst tragedy for the nation. Few have realized that the recent floods have in fact caused more damage then those earthquake’s did. As per latest reports official figures stand at 1600 dead and 12 million left homeless.

The Monsoon rains began  two weeks ago and have washed away roads, bridges and communications lines, hampering rescue efforts by aid organizations and the government. The downpours have grounded many aircraft trying to rescue people and ferry aid, including six helicopters manned by US troops on secondment from Afghanistan.

Currently 30,000 Pakistan Army troops are busy in rescue and relief efforts. Where as  the Earthquake of 2005 and 2008 and the IDP crisis were devastating,  unlike the Flooding they were contained within a geographic area. Flooding has been reported  from Kyhber-Pakthunkwa all they way down to Southern Punjab and  Sindh.

There is only so much the government and the armed forces can do in the face of such a massive disaster and so we as citizens have undertaken the mantle of trying to add our little drop to the ocean/

To that end, SA Relief operating under the aiegus of Paksef has joined hands with Motorclub of Pakistan, and  Off-Roaders Pakistan to collect funds for flood relief victims starting with  areas surrounding Moro, Sindh by distributing car packets.

Each care packet will contain 20 kg flour, 2 kg  dal, 1 kg oil,  and 3 kg rice,. Based on current market rates each packet will costs 920 PKR (Pakistani Rupees), that is around 13 USD (U.S. Dollars).

What  we need is your help in raising funds, please donate generously. Zakat is accepted as well.

Donations can be made one of two ways:

By depositing into MOTORSPORTS CLUB PAKISTAN account at Samba Bank Ltd. in Karachi. A/C#06500379349  or  ChipIn via  PayPal:

Online contributions are being collected by PAKISTAN SCIENCE & ENGINEERING FOUNDATION, a 501(c)(3) registered California based not-for-profit organization, EIN# 20-2950808. For info contact:

Cross-posted to: Teeth MaestroiFaqeerSiliconstaniSindhiyat


Demystifying Doobye

As I write this, I am sitting at the bottom of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The tallest building known to mankind looms over me like some sort of fantasy. In front of me is a dancing fountain and lights show the likes of which at least I have never seen. The building itself is clearly an architectural marvel, being almost a kilometre long – and if I am not wrong I can see several stories of swimming pools about halfway up. It’s quite mindboggling how this was achieved, but like other things in Dubai, even this ode to man’s desire seems hollow inside.

Don’t get me wrong. This is a fantastic city for those who can afford it, and for the last few days I have enjoyed it within the capacity of my pocket. But everywhere I go and everything I see seems a tad more awkward since the last time I was here two years ago. I am now able to notice even more of the cracks glossed over by the great armies of bling that are constantly at work here.

For instance, there are retina scans at the airport, which I have no idea how the security officials in their quota-assigned jobs use. The dreaded one-finger typing skills are on display everywhere, whether you go to a bank or check in and out of a hotel. There’s also a general disdain for anything or anyone from the Indian subcontinent. It’s like they see you and read the ‘labour’ stamp on your forehead. Want to settle here with a Pakistani passport? Good luck on the driving test. If you’ve got a blue or a red passport, then step right up, sir, and we will transfer your license and have you out of this inconvenience in about half an hour. Get the picture?

The local population I am told lives on the outskirts, preferring not to mingle with the riff raff that comprises the rest of us. I do not begrudge the locals anything because they have seen the meteoric rise and fall of this city in terms of both real estate and self-esteem. I can thus understand why they are slightly bitter about it all. The great shrines of commercialism they have built seem to have fallen short of resilience when it came to economic crunch time. This is apparent in the long queues of empty taxis standing everywhere one goes – last time I was here one had to call and wait for a taxi to arrive, and that too if the driver felt like going to your destination.

The number of abandoned and semi-finished projects that litter this city is also a reminder of the fact that the Emiratis opened up their homeland to everyone who wanted to come here, but failed to consider what they would bring with them.

I am not even going to bother to touch upon the labour laws – or more precisely the lack of them – at workplaces in Dubai. Here, bus stops are air-conditioned, but labourers are paid in monthly wages that amount to what it costs to stay in a decent hotel in this city for one night. However, much of this inequality is also due to the “friendly agents” working throughout countries like Pakistan, who engage in what is essentially slave labour and sell people into bondage for a few dirhams in commission. The workers’ passports remain with their employers once they arrive in the UAE, and they are not able to leave until their contracts are up.

These are the people who have built this mirage-like place with their sweat and blood. Sadly, their camps are hidden in safe places at the edge of the city, where no prying eyes can witness the squalor of their existence, which, like crime in this city, is ever-present but hushed up at the very instance of its display.


As published in the “DAWN BLOG” on 23/5/2010