Once upon a time in Karachi

Playing Now: Yaad Karna – Vital Signs

Dull days, early off timings in Ramadan, restructuring at workplace and my first visit to another office’s library – i couldn’t find anything of interest; it was a library for work related books.

On my way back to exit, as i walked past the ramp near reception, i recalled, it was a place i met Mr. Harris the last time, some nine years ago – in that last, brief conversation, he suggested me to resign and move on!

Two people from another department, Harris and Ms. Maryam, joined us for two weeks training in Karachi in January 2007!

Meanwhile we, excluding the latter two who met us first time in Karachi, did everything modestly except studies and visited every famous site and restaurant in Karachi.

I still remember that Dominos cinnamon bread, Hamid and Tariq brought us, which we didn’t like very much and gave it to our senior Mr. S as a gesture of courtesy. We shouldn’t have done that, and i am sure, he didn’t consume it either – our poor tastes – if i can recall correctly, Dominos had yet to open in Islamabad.

Mr. I, another senior, forgot the lock combination for his suitcase. He told us the combination was changed by a poltergeist, with whom, he already had a couple of similar encounters. We believed him and respected him even more for his mysterious interactions.

Mr Hamid, who settled straight for a big cup of black coffee, on our first night in Karachi in a coffee shop at Tariq Road – i remember, his face turned red as he sipped away his coffee and had a very hard time finishing it amid our jokes – making fun of him – he barely escaped passing out and made it to the last sip. I am certain he still remembers that cup of coffee.

Two weeks in Karachi passed very quickly. On our last day, we paid a visit to Hawke’s Bay. It was a courtesy of our HoD, who came from Islamabad for the closing ceremony.

And today, eleven years later, only three of us are still here, Mr. I, Hamid and I, while others, who accompanied us on that trip, including two folks from another department, have resigned over the course of time, certainly for a better future and life! And none of them is in contact with us today! Which is not so odd in this fast paced life!

Wondering, what became of our HoD?  He retired from service a few months ago! He was the chief selector in the interview panel who selected me for this job almost tweleve years ago!! Long time!!





حسين الجسمي – شرع السما

Two days ago, Iftar at the same place, like we did several times a year ago – the Officers Mess. And i hope to re-visit for another iftar – hopefully with colleagues. Only peaceful and lively place in the existing setup.

Almost finishing:  Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace

by Leon Panetta



And playing now another fabulous Arabic number:


As usual, bad days at workplace continue! Following words from Shakespeare’s Macbeth resound in my mind:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day.

I read those words many many years ago, in a book i no longer possess, and i regret losing it, but the impression they made was so strong i never forgot those lines.

The following latest Arabic song makes me feel good.

PS: And also, i think, a large bowl of corn flakes, with very hot milk and extra sugar, can make me feel better.

Enjoy the music!! 😉

The Monal Downtown, Islamabad

The other day we visited The Monal Downtown restaurant in Islamabad. Despite a couple of recommendations by the colleagues and friends, it was an utter disappointment in taste, quality and serving size – keeping in mind their unreasonably over-priced food menu.

It was an afternoon on a working day, with only a few empty tables, the restaurant wasn’t over crowded – the  ambience was calm and the music wasn’t loud enough to cause annoyance, and an initial wait time of ten minutes didn’t bother us much to get seated at a table of our choice. We took our time to order the food, anticipating a ‘great roast’! But, lo and behold:

The rice served on the table were cold, we had to send the dish back to the kitchen. A big negative for any restaurant.

Chicken chilli was too salty and spicy to be edible, a couple bites were quite enough to make us feel sick and throw up.

Burger patty was too ordinary in taste and a rejection straight away. We could have made far better at home. The food was not a true value for money.

The Chocolate Brownies were served in a bowl filled with dilute syrup of cocoa and water with a very little sugar in it! And obviously, it lacked the sweet punch. They didn’t even hesitate to save half a spoon of sugar in their dessert. It was their chef’s innovation and economy at best! Brave people!

Let me admit, lest i do the injustice to their generosity – the only things served generously on the table were this dilute watery syrup in the bowl and the food bill! 🙂

The purposefully sliced paper-thin beef steak, two tiny chicken wings, yes, only two, so tiny that I believed they were leftovers that should have been thrown in the bin, made me realize that food served on the table was merely a travesty of cherry-picked food descriptions in the menu card.

Even a giveaway food box doesn’t have such insignificant serving size. It made us feel really bad. We always prefer generous servings!!

We complained in writing and in person to one of their staff on the floor, who claimed to be their manager, but he was receptionist as we read from his service card, so we asked him to send for their manager, later their manager listened to us and apologised, but his service card was missing (Clever Stuff) and we doubted he was the manager!

With this bad first experience, it’s a no go place. And we don’t recommended at all.

All that we got was a regret not visiting the Burger King that day.

#Monal #Islamabad #Food




It is 1.42 am and  everybody is asleep. I have just returned to my bed after switching off the TV and heater, turning off the gas valve and checking the door locks. I am worried about how i would wake up after four hours to reach office in time.