Revamping Morning Shows

Recently there was an article published online on why morning shows on Pakistani television are so horrible. From what the trend and high ratings show (god knows who decides the ratings) they have been on our screens to stay till the end of times. The divide is society is an interesting one. A lot of people hate these 9 to 11 shows while many more than ‘a lot’ are head over heels in love with everything about them.

Yes, these shows first thing in the morning are nauseating at times. They are way too loud and dramatic, almost echoing the prime time slot when the actual dramas go on air. Perhaps something light and subtle on the nerves would do the magic in terms of the style of hosts conducting the show. From how I see it, there are majorly two to three things as to why some of us see what is wrong with the morning shows- the number of morning shows, the lack of content and the lazy hosts.

Number one reason is the ‘number’ of morning shows that fill up the slot every single day on every single channel. The news channel of the same entertainment house will also have a pretty caked up celebrity doing the exact thing her colleague would be doing on the sister channel. When you have the same genre of shows on news, entertainment, cooking channels; one cannot expect to see much of a variety in the content of the shows. The plethora of shows means that there will be repetitiveness and there will be a feeling déjà vu again and again. How much content can you generate on a daily basis to attract the masses? Not to forget the same guests taking rounds on every channel. On average you would see Sahiba and Rambo as guests on one channel, then Sahiba appearing on another the very next day with her film star actor mother, and exactly two days later on her friend’s morning show. So there is excessive repetition of people on the shows.

The interesting thing is that this annoyance is only felt by the working men and women and not by the housewives or young women at home. Is it really so or do fans of these shows also find the shows to be superficial at times? Majority of the women really are big fans, they do not find any faults with these two hour long shows where celebrities are rather ineloquently talking away on issues that we could easily pass for. These issues which range from skin problems to weight gain, to bride to be’s dilemmas, to self grooming, to black magic and emotional outburst- well some of the things especially the DIYs and tootkas can now easily be followed on social media, Pinterest, Youtube and Dailymotion etc.

Majority of the middle aged housewives in Pakistan are not very internet pro; which means that accessing things online isn’t a daily routine for them. Whatever they watch on TV especially local channels is new to them. Whereas the more tech savvy or active social media users realize that the makeup techniques, the DIYs etc are all more or less picked up from the internet. Hence a few visits on these morning shows’ fan pages on FB reveal how much their audience loves them.

Coming back to the content of the shows, there are two aspects to it. The article referred to the misogynist producers and mindset, which are doing well at keeping women occupied with kitchen and clothes. I do agree with this. But part of the problem also lies with the hosts of these shows. Every morning show is being hosted by a known, successful and well liked celebrity/actress. It isn’t that they do not have a say when it comes to the content of the show. They have influence and aura enough to play a role in coming up with intelligent show content. However, it seems that most of them bask in the glory of being ‘working women’, balancing their married life but also ‘working very hard’. While they are busy enjoying getting all glam up for their morning shows, they are spending less time working on the content. The easy way is to invite people with dramatic stories of ‘saas bahu’ conflict, a black magic saga, designers with glittering clothes and jewelry, beauty experts, cooking experts, fitness experts, sometimes a religious and spiritual scholars, and last and definitely the least – the weddings on TV; all of these if you see are guests who will do the show themselves, they are the ones talking and providing all the content material while the host will add in her ‘oohhs’ and ‘aaahhs’ and a few tears. The emotions and tears must be genuine concerns on part of the show producers and hosts; the massive amount of same content makes the mornings seem like a drill, churning out money and glamour and fun time for the people on the screens only.

So what is the way out of these? Doesn’t seem like the trend and popularity for the morning shows are going to die out anytime soon. Also if anyone noticed that Geo Entertainment is bringing the pioneer of the morning show trend back Nadia Khan, could things change with that? Doubtful.

We accept it or not, as I mentioned before, there is audience out there who thoroughly enjoy what morning shows produce and they will not like it otherwise. Then there are potential audience who are off to work early or later till 9 am or so in the morning. They are the ones who seem to whine about the quality of content and rightly so but in voicing their dislike, in a way they look down upon the housewives and their intellect. Also a lot of men might be interested in watching some good TV content on weekends. Although there are a few shows on air on the weekends as well but their content, show pattern and topics discussed could be worked on. So why not start addressing the potential audience as well who want to enjoy a little something on TV other than the usual.

The way out of this is to reduce the number of morning shows and replace them with a bit serious content based programs. Instead of showcasing the same genre of morning shows on news channels as well, there is a need to restructure the pattern of the morning slots to set them apart from the entertainment based shows. It is easy to follow the examples of the morning shows on international news channels. Or we could turn a few pages back to the days of PTV’s morning shows that were done by the likes of Mustansar Husain Tarar. I m sure news channels will do rather well if their morning slots differ from their sister channels attracting a wide number of audience.


Thoughts and Book review of sorts on ‘Stealing from God’

Frank Turek wrote a very comprehensive and well argued book dissecting deep into the issues that bring atheists and theists at loggerheads. With themes like morality, evil, bad and good, the purpose of God in our lives etc have been dealt with an ease for everyone to understand along with quoting a number of theologians, philosophers and scientists both who are atheists and Christians. He is certainly well read when it comes to giving various arguments to back up his case and why God very much exists. So if you are a religious person, a theist, someone who finds that they are confronted with questions from atheists around you that you can’t seem to address or feel you too need to refresh your faith in God, that being who created this all, then this book is a good read. Although I m not a Christian, but the work of Frank Turek is relevant even if you are a Muslim, Christian or a Jew or simply a believer in an Intelligent Being who created us.

Following are the few things that I have been reflecting on which are especially from the chapter on morality, the idea of evil and good.

In the chapter of morality, the author first presents the incident of a girl’s abduction to make the case of atheists denial of objective moral values. Since atheists do not believe in the existence of God, Turek argues that they cannot then make their moral values when deny a set of objective morals set by a higher force. He talks on the issues of rape, murder and the Nazis to address the idea of justice and the lack of it. Richard Dawkins champions atheism and is of the view that there is no ultimate justice. To this Turek refutes that if there is no justice, there can’t be injustice either. Which means that you or I could commit one wrong after the other and say it is just a matter of opinion and not a matter of injustice or brutality.

For evil to exist, good has to be present and for good to exist, there has to be an Intelligent Being. The argument atheists give is that either God is wicked or that since evil exists in this world, how can there be a God who is passive to all wrong being done. Some also argue that since there is no Designer of this world, our universe is a result of natural forces only, good or bad, good or evil are no concepts. All of these are sensibly refuted by Turek in his book by the way of analogies.

Frank Turek says very aptly that “you don’t judge a religion or philosophy by its abuse, but by its truths.” This caught my attention by way of my being a Muslim and confronted almost every day with a finger being pointed at us and our religion (through media) for someone’s actions elsewhere. I find myself questioning why would someone commit a heinous crime on a large scale in the name of a religion. No matter how many arguments go forward from the Muslim community, no matter how good we are in our daily lives in our interactions( with people of other faiths, deists or atheists) but one act from an extremist hold us responsible for all the evil existing. Interestingly if the culprit turns out to be a while man or woman they are nothing but psychopaths with no relation to Christianity or atheism whatever so ever. There is a clean chit for them, they only psychologically ill which never happens to be the case with people who are unfortunately Muslims by name and origin but not by their practices.

Another interesting thing pointed out by the author is evidence that the number of crimes done by the people of faith over the past 500 years combined is less than the small number of atheists’ actions in the past few years.

The question that often bothers many of us is how does a good God let bad things happen to us. This is the question that atheists often raise as well. Richard Dawkins and Peter Singer, however, contradict their own statements when they opine that parents should have the right to murder their children even after they are born.

So why evil and bad things if there is a God? Again Turek reflected on a Q & A session he had with one of the students where he was presenting. The author said that for evil to stop completely, God would have to take our free will away. With that gone, Turek says, we will also lose our ability to love. Another interesting thing articulated well is that the bad things that happen not as a result of evil done by men but by natural disasters, we as humans learn from the effect of those happenings which brings us closer to our creator. The pain, the loss of someone or something sometimes awakens us to the existence of God.
Quoting from the book, C.S Lewis once said that sometimes people only look up when they are on their back. It is important to realise that God did not send us on this earth merely for pleasure but so that we can understand and know God. Again, how would we distinguish between pleasure if there was never pain or setbacks or loss. I would point out here that Quran also mentions in Surah Mulk that God made this place as a testing place for us to see who does good deeds.

Although there is a difference in Muslim concept of God being a Master and Christianity referring to God as a father, the good humored example does make a point when the author says that God is like a father and not a grandfather who pampers and spoil us out of love. There is a balance in His role, who wants us to learn from our successes and also sometimes from failure (which we could roughly define as pain or loss, injustice)

It may seem I m only quoting from and talking about the issue of morality. Needless to say there’s a lot from the evolutionary process, laws of logic, laws of intentionality, laws of causality and science that all need a mention. However, I will leave it for the readers to explore themselves.

Last but not the least, I would end my rather unexpectedly long post with an analogy of a man with a metal detector from chapter 6 of Science in the book. The guy with the metal detector denies there’s any rubber or plastic material around because his gadget didn’t detect it, little realising the gadget is made of rubber and plastic as well ! Dr Edward Feser identifies this man with the likes of Richard Dawkins who claim that all truth comes from science and if some things science cannot prove, they do not exist. With this point stems a number of other issues that have been discussed in detail in the book.

Interesting fact from the book: Did you know that the single celled Amoeba’s DNA has as much data/information equivalent to a 1000 Britannica Encyclopedia? So if this is not the working of a Designer, an Intelligent being who has existed forever, then who has?

Spend Less But Also Spend More

I have been thinking about things that we should spend less on in our lives. Usually the ‘spending less’ implies on how we spend our money. However, there are so many things we do in life, our habits, our daily routines that we need to spend less on. Here’s the list of what I mean by it and you will know.

Spend less on thinking about people, their negatives, their shortcomings. You have many of your own so refrain…
Spend less time picking your nose. It is gross.Period.
Spend less time sleeping. But that doesn’t mean one should stay up late. That is just unhealthy.
Spend less time in the loo/washroom. Yes I mean it, instead of pampering yourself in the washroom, keep deep breath outside.
Spend less energy worrying about just anything in life. Things eventually do fall into place and our worrying doesn’t contribute positively to it.
Spend less time watching TV. That includes Netflix, Youtube etc

Why not then have a list of things we should spend more on.

Spend more time praying
Spend more time feeling gratitude for being alive. Do not be tempted into thinking about why this specific person in your life is alive. They might be thinking the same about you.
Spend more time making memories with loved ones
Spend more time waking
Spend more energy feeling positive
Spend more time doing something creative. It could be anything. Try a new hobby every now and then.
Spend more time reading books
Spend more time reflecting on why you are alive
Spend more time outdoors than indoors, even if it’s just about being in your lawn or terrace

I would like to know what else could I add to these lists above.

The Lack of a Story

The story of our lives
Prancing around
To the beat of a clock’s needles
Tick tock, tick tock.

The story of our lives
Getting frozen in frames
In the choices of the many ‘apps’
Perfected from imperfections,

The story of our lives
Getting etched into the hashtags
Forever to be measured
By the angle of the shot.

The story of our lives
Interpreted through filters
Sepia perhaps too nostalgic?
Rainbow a tad bit gray.

The story of our lives
Split between head and heart
An ode to the dichotomy
To which we forever remain baffled.

A Little Movie Talk

I watched Forrest Gump last week.When it was originally released back in 1994 I wasn’t old enough to watch movies or understand them.So here are a few things I learnt/realized on watching Forrest Gump.

1/ I have to admit, this was one of the finest films I have seen in a while.
2/ Now I know who Amir Khan (Bollywood actor) copied/ got ‘inspired’ from for his acting ‘skills’ in his hyped up movie ‘PK’ which I haven’t yet watched to form an opinion. But I did see enough clips to do a Homer Simpson style ‘doh’ on yet another ‘inspirational’ dose that Amir Khan got from Hollywood.
3/ Tom Hanks knows how to act. I’m a fan again.
4/ It has been 21 years since the movie came out. wow.
5/ How to be a true friend like Gump was to Bubba.
6/ We should all love deeply, caring the least bit about getting hurt; which of course is a thing people with good IQ think way too much about. A sign of sanity or insanity? Gump maybe ‘dumb’ but he was a genius when it came to matters of love.
7/ Jenny sucked. Yes sometimes it’s so easy to judge characters.
8/ Mothers go to the end of this world to stick with their children.

Incredible moments of the movie:
When Gump starts playing table tennis and it takes him to China!
Gump and Bubba’s shrimp talk in Vietnam
Gump and Lieutenant Dan’s relation during their shrimp business
When Jenny tells Forrest he is the father of the child.He cries and asks if he is smart (fearing his child may turn out to be like him)
On getting rejected on the marriage proposal, Gump expresses that he might be dumb but that he knows what love is. ouch.

Final word: A heart wrenching story with funny moments with a tinge of sadness that lingers on as an afterthought. For the kids who were busy growing up back in 94 now is the time to watch Forrest Gump if you haven’t.

Memories Undone

I’m afraid of what I’ll find
In the pages held close
Between spines old and worn
But relax I tell myself
It’s just a bunch of memories
Just a bunch I say out loud
And I count till I know

Memories from times past
Of love and loss
Of wide smiles and knitted brows.
Memories tucked away
From times aimlessly imagined
Of places and people
That never existed
Except feebly coming alive
Into the folds of my mind
Playfully hiding
Between the heart beats

Today they sit inside
The pale rimmed pages
Like hair fallen out
Scattered on the floors
Unwanted and lifeless
Yet sacred to the heart



When I returned from my sojourn
They asked the expected
To which I replied
I was chilling on a star
A star they inquired?
Yes, the rooftop of a star I exclaimed.
A star so brilliant,
It bathed me in its grace.
The rooftop of a star?
Their voices rose in unison.
The arches of their eyebrows jumped.
Their eyes sparkled with a dash of bewilderment.
And the sound of curiosity,
That escaped their vocal codes,
Cracked the mirrors which hid them
Cracks so deep,
That would forever remain etched
Into the vanity of all affairs.