Working with organisations and people at an early stage in life gives young people an edge over their peers
By Sidra Mahmood
‘I get easily bored, and to avoid boredom in these three months, I opted for summer internship’, says Shaiyanne Mall, 18, who has interned as teacher assistant at an O-Levels campus of a local school. This might be one of the many reasons that teenagers of Shaiyanne’s age might give if they are questioned as to why they choose internships during summer vacations when they might as well spend their time in a more laid back manner.
A general consensus among students is that they want to spend their time doing something that is constructive, and which will obviously help them to get admissions in schools and universities abroad where social work and extra-curricular activities are given precedence over mere grades. With peer pressure on the rise to get good grades, more merit certificates and a good job in their life later on, the students are of the opinion that these internships –no matter wherever they are offered – are helpful for the teenagers to hone such character skills that will help them in their professional lives later on.
‘These internships help the children to develop skills of assimilation and acceptance of opposition, says Dr. Nisar, a parent, and an ex-psychiatrist at Mayo Hospital. ‘Children at this age are over-charged with energy which should be channelised in constructive activities like social work or internships.’ Interestingly, parents and schools alike encourage this trend among teenagers these days.
To facilitate the students, generally in the last week of May and June of every year, guidance counsellors and parents as well, arrange a number of summer internships which are both career-oriented as well as aim at social work. Even in some schools where guidance counselling is either non-existent or new, some parents take the responsibility of seeking internships for their children themselves. “But the response from the parents is considerably lukewarm for volunteer work”, says Aqdas Aslam, the guidance counsellor at SICAS. “Parents are generally more encouraging when they know that their child will get paid for the internship, however, volunteer work is something that gets very little encouragement.”
Summer Internships generally range from a period of two to five weeks. Some internships are paid but there is a wide variety of volunteer work that is available to teenagers, since a lot of organisations do not want to take the risk of hiring inexperienced teenagers. Though most of the students spend their summer vacations in internships because they want to earn money for which they will not be accountable to their parents, their unanimous opinion is that they are doing internships because they want to acquire experience letters and certificates, and an opportunity to connect with a wider spectrum of people with whom otherwise they might not be able to communicate.
Places like the SOS, The Rising Sun, Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital, and The Fountain House encourage students to seek internships there, which “even though are not paid, are an opportunity for teenagers to be able to empathise with those people who need moral support to live through their traumatic lives,” in the opinion of Ali Naim, an A-levels student and an intern at the Fountain House.
It’s not about volunteer work alone, the ‘youth learn compassion’, is the belief of Haroon, another A- level student interning at The Rising Sun.
Besides hospitals and charity organisations, there are some excellent paid internship opportunities for high school students in their own schools. Aaron Edgar, 18, is an assistant to the arts teacher at Kids Kampus. When asked how teaching kindergarten students will help in professional skills, he says, “It is the experience that matters. Internship will help me to develop organisational skills,” say Usman Majid Rana, 18, who is working as an intern at a newspaper office. His job description is not what might appeal to many people as interesting as he has to sell subscriptions to readers but he says, “it is developing my communication skills; I now know better how to converse with unknown people.”
In Lahore, the general trend has veered towards students taking interest in such activities that will prove valuable in their career choices in future besides making their transcripts appear better.
The teenagers nowadays act with more far-sightedness than the previous generations, and as the competition to get better jobs, and consequently, a better life-style is almost at a cut-throat pace, these boys and girls have adapted themselves to work at institutions and organisations that help them to acquire experience.
“It is an important stepping stone to growing up”, says Nihal Abbas, 18, a student of A-level who has done an informal internship with lawyers by going to the High Court and Session’s Court. “This internship is not as formal as the others which are more organisation-based. ‘I might not become a lawyer or a judge later on but one never knows when I might get involved in issues that will lead me here, and I should be forearmed with knowledge about court proceedings.”
These internships are a further aid for students once they are over with their O and A-levels examinations as their extra-curricular efforts – specially summer internships – find a mention in their transcripts and recommendation letters. When the students apply to colleges and universities – locally as well as abroad – they are asked to submit a personal statement. This personal statement is supposed to reflect on not only their academic prowess, but is also supposed to reveal their individual abilities through dealings with people around them. The volunteer/social work and internships are one of the important recommendations when applying for admissions, as that shows that the candidate is capable of dealing with people from diverse backgrounds and is competent enough to take on challenges, if and when they arise at a work place.
By Moayyed Jafri
Identifying a strategic location at a swarmed crossing – negotiating your way through the mob in scorching, draining heat – all to get a place in the shade and then board a public bus. The odds are 0.8 million commuters and only 0.5 million seats.
This psy track of a Lahorite’s brain, looking to use public transport to get back home, is a result of the ever expanding transport department and squeezing transport infrastructure.
When the bus finally arrives, one cannot help thinking if it has made a trip to hell and back! The body of most of public transport buses are marked rather than painted, torn and ripped as if a giant beast has bitten chunks off them; they have a noise that can muffle the Big Bang!
Getting into the bus is not the end of the miseries of a commuter. If anything, all urban transport buses should have an ‘enter at your own risk’ disclaimer put upfront. Once onboard, the nerve racking stench welcomes with a puzzling job-at-hand of either finding whatever is left of the once-what-were-seats or spotting a breathable spot to stand.
You have another epic experience as you get to pay all sorts of different fares, sometimes owing to different operators and sometimes due to mere wit of the conductor.
The wretchedness of this system hits even harder if you happen to be a female. The practice of seating females next to the driver instead of exposing them to the insolent mob seated behind usually ends up serving other purposes.
From the traditional tongas to the weird motorcycle-rickshaws with the buses somewhere in between all this, the one thing constant in the city is lack of planned transport infrastructure.
The government has created and dismantled many a body but the monster of urban transport mismanagement seems way too big for anyone to tackle. We have the provincial secretariat in the city and a whole platoon of bureaucrats from planners to additional secretaries and the secretary who look over the provincial and local transport. While we have a stand alone Lahore Transport Company established for the urban public transport.
Currently there are around 325 buses operating in the city on 53 routes, operated by 12 different operators. These include First Bus which operates 109 buses, Chenab Metro Bus which currently does not have any bus on the road, Malik Bus Service operating 19, Daewoo City Bus employing 70, Baloch Transport Company 16, Askar (former New Khan), New Khan Metro 31, Bandial Bus Service 32, Makks Metro 8, Sial Bus Service seven, Prance Travelers five, Bajwa Travellers nine and Maas Transit nine.
There are 3500 wagons alongside these buses. In addition to these, there are almost innumerable motorcycle rickshaws, pick-up wagons and other illegal transport. Out of the 3500 wagons only 1700 are registered as legal public transport vehicles while 1800 are illegal.
The irony is that all departments are aware of this fact, yet they are sitting pretty over the lawlessness. The dearth of transport and the lack of investors interested in the transport business is due to the fact that the local government has failed to abolish the illegal transport which takes away the profitability of the business because of divided commuters.
While LTC vows to add 2000 buses to the city infrastructure, they too have little idea where these buses would come from.
Despite the court declaring motorcycle-rickshaws illegal, CDGL is auctioning stands to these vehicles every year. The LTC tried to counter this trend last year by directing against such lending of stands. However, majority of the stands kept operating unhindered. This year too CDGL has some 170 plus such stand tenders in the pipeline.
While all these complex management, planning and policy blunders keep haunting the city transport, oblivious to all this, common man, awaiting his ride back home can only curse his luck and feels humbled at the hands of many who are paid through his tax money and are ruling instead of serving.
TFSA film festival (Traveling Films South Asia) at the ‘Knowledge Factory’ till July 24. Films are shown on Fridays from 6pm-9pm.
Grand musical Avanti till July 31 (timings vary) in Hall 1, Alhamra, The Mall.
Model Town Soccer League ’11 match in Model Town E Block cricket ground on Sunday, July 24 at 6pm.
DJ Veron from London live. Sunday, July the 24th. The location is to be disclosed once the pass is bought.
Kids fitness competition till July 20 at Royal Palm Golf and Country Club from 11am to 8pm.
Some term shutdown holidays spoiler, some
believe nothing can dampen
By Arshad Shafiq
“There is nothing to enjoy except to wait for electricity when it will come or go. When it goes there is an atmosphere of sadness and when it comes there is a moment of joy. Now this has become the meaning of my holidays. Long hours of power loadshedding have spoiled my summer vacation. Some times I feel my long-awaited holidays are becoming burden on me. Now I am convinced that there should not be summer vacation at least when there is loadshedding in the country. It becomes very difficult to pass a hot summer day at home during loadshedding compared to in college. In college you have friends, café, library, computer lab and lawn to pass time and at home you have a cable or net to keep yourself busy, but 12-hour loadshedding in a day has made these things useless,” said a picnicker and student of Queen Mary College, Fatima Waseem, talking to The News on Sunday (TNS) at Bagh-e-Jinnah.
Another reveller says, “I love holidays, no matter we have power shutdown. There are hundreds of villages in Pakistan where there is no electricity but life does not end there. Summer holidays are a great opportunity for me to see my relatives in far-flung areas. We have family get-togethers which are impossible to hold during study time in school. So have fun and enjoy summer vacation.”
Monsoon is my favourite season. I believe you can enjoy this long rainy season only when you have long holidays. There is no time for rain. It can happen anytime. If it comes when you are in a classroom, how can you enjoy it. So, holidays are a blessing and electricity too. But you should not depend on electricity for enjoying summer vacation, says another person holidaying.
Loadshedding side-effects are not confined to business, daily works and studies alone, it spoils summer vacations. Every year students, their parents and teachers earnestly wait for summer vacation to go to their relatives or hill stations where they cannot go in other days. Monster of loadshedding follows them wherever they are in the country.
“I thought Karachi is the hardest hit by power shutdown. But even in Lahore, there is no respite from outages. Some times I feel there is more loadshedding in Lahore than in Karachi. Thank God, in Lahore weather is not as harsh as it is in Karachi. After every five or six days of heat spell, we have windstorms and light rains in Lahore, which turns the weather pleasant, said Professor Ilyas while talking to TNS. Professor Ilyas has come from Karachi with his family to meet his relatives in Lahore.
The professor took his family to Kalam in 1995. “This time my children are insisting to go to Swat but I am reluctant. So in any case whether it is loadshedding or terrorism, the masses are the losers,” he said.
“My mom always warns me against playing outdoors lest I have sunstroke. Tell me where I am to go. At home there is no electricity and out of it there is scorching heatPower outages are spoiling my summer vacation,” laments a class 8 student.
Talking to TNS, lecturer Samia Tariq says, “President Asif Ali Zardari says Pakistan is not the only country where loadshedding is observed. He says India and even UK observe electricity loadshedding. But my question to President is that how many people lose jobs and how many factories face closure in the wake of loadshedding in UK or India. India gives their farmers electricity on subsidised rate. I don’t think there is loadshedding in UK. Let suppose if there is loadshedding in UK, I believe it should not be as much as is in Pakistan. You can not justify your wrong policy or act by giving wrong examples. We should always follow good examples. Can President give me any example about any prime minister or politician of UK who has his foreign accounts after looting national money? Our country has plunged into darkness through rulers’ wrong policies. If we had built Kalabagh Dam, we would have not faced worst power crisis in the country.
Malik Ayaz, the man who played a pivotal role in turning the fate of Lahore, lies buried in an obscure tomb
By Haroon Khalid
Deep within the Shah Alami Gate, as the street begins to narrow, more in tune with the architectural tradition of the walled city, there is a small mosque, standing tall at the edge of the main road. This is the Rang Mahal Chowk. Within it there is a small structure with a dome, which covers the grave of Malik Ayaz, the famous Governor of Lahore, who is attributed with laying the foundation of the modern city of Lahore.
Ever since I came across his reference, in Naqoosh Lahore Number, as the pioneer of the walled city of Lahore, I had been meaning to pay a visit to his tomb.
So one Sunday, I along with my photographer friend, Sadaf Chughtai, who is doing her thesis on the Kasera Bazaar, near the tomb, visited it. The usually congested road of the Shah Alami Gate was deserted, with some budding cricketers displaying their cricketing skills on the street.
At the entrance, on the left side, is a brief history of the tomb and its occupant. A section also focuses on the controversy regarding the tomb. It points out that within some circles it is believed this tomb is not of Ayaz, however, the plaque draws references to historical records and ascertains this indeed is his grave. The section at the bottom of the plaque mentions that the Auqaf department, which looks at all the shrines and historical mosques of the country, replaced the old structure of the mosque next to the tomb in 1987.
Inside the structure of the tomb, a young man, with a black prayer cap, wearing traditional shalwar kameez and a small beard sat, oscillating sideways, reciting Arabic verses from the holy Quran. My presence didn’t distract him.
The mosque, within whose compound now the tomb stands is a huge structure compared to the tomb. A chart paper mentions the prayer times for all the ritual prayers on the front wall. There is also a calendar which includes other historical buildings and a digital clock. An air cooler is installed near the entrance that blasted at full speed. A bearded man in his early 40s, clad in sky blue shalwar kameez, lay in front of it, fast asleep.
I was rather disappointed to the see the unassuming structure of the tomb, of the man who played a pivotal role in turning the fate of this city. Perhaps, without his contribution Lahore would have continued to play the role of a peripheral city, and like Deepalpur or Kot Kamalia would have slowly faded away into obscurity. But that was not to be and after being brought on the political map of South-Asia, Lahore ended up playing an important political and cultural role in the subsequent centuries and continues to do so.
It is mentioned in Naqoosh Lahore Number that Ayaz was the favourite servant of his master Mahmud Ghaznavi, the first Muslim conqueror of Lahore. He is mention in a lot of books and poetry that were written at the time. A masnavi (a poetic form which describes a story, tradition or a legend) was written by a man called Zalli at that time, who says that in fact Ayaz and Ghaznavi were lovers. Other poets of that era also talk about the relationship between the two.
Such a relationship is likely to raise a few eyebrows today but at that time it was an accepted norm. There were quite a few Mughal nobles who had slave boys, who also provided them sexual services. Alongside it is also noted that he was a brave general.
About 700 years after Ghaznavi, during the reign of the puritanical Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, a historian by the name of Munshi Sujhan Rai Bhandari, in his book, Khalasa tul Tawarekh, claims Ayaz was originally from Kashmir. In another story mentioned in the Naqoosh it is said Ayaz was a slave boy who after his sale reached Badakhshan while Mahmud Ghaznavi was also present there. Through a trader he heard about the good looks of the young child and fell in love with him. Mahmud Ghaznavi purchased the boy.
In a book called Majalas Al Ashaaq, it is argued by Nazami Aruzi that Ayaz was a Turk which, according to the analysis of Naqoosh, is a plausible conjecture as Turkish slaves were being sold in India at that time.
After Ghaznavi’s death, his son Masood, made him the governor of Lahore. It was during this juncture that he laid the foundation of the modern city. Earlier, Lahore was a small fishermen city. He rebuilt the mud fort with a masonry structure.
A thriller with punches in Punjabi, English and Urdu
By Aamir Tariq
Mirrors Entertainment is a group of young determined students who have been in the world of entertainment for the last three years. It consists of students mainly in their A levels and thus has much more grasp on the youthful nation. The members have also been involved in productions of such events as the concert in the Planet Defense, the play ‘Twisted Avenues’, Ishq with a Twist and many other notable productions. It was a pleasant surprise when Lahore based amateur artists decided to entertain the audience this summer in collaboration with A&N productions.
In short, one could probably describe it as a summer production that left everyone spell bound. Based on Umair Ashfaq and Iqra Arshad’s script, ‘The Will’ took place on a two day roll from 13th to 14th July. The play was an hour thriller with punches in Punjabi, English and Urdu. Some effective and some were just over-done with predictable punch lines. None-the-less at times it seemed as if many of them had forgotten their blockings but the cover-up was amazingly put out by actors such as Zain Mohsin (Shurli Khan) who didn’t let the audience’s interest go away for a second.
The play kicks off with the entry of colonel’s lawyer (Nasir Malik) who asks the late Colonel’s servant Cynthia (Saba Awais) to call the people who helped the colonel during his life to select the ‘winner’ according to his will. The play then progresses with the entry of different people including George’s family, the hippy Brian and his brother and lastly with the entrance of TCS’s (Hamza Kamal) family representing a well settled Punjabi family from West Virginia.
After the introduction of Shurli Khan (a gay) and TCS – the play was interesting more than ever. With an amazing timing and chemistry on stage, the Pathan and Sardar combo was a treat to watch. Whether it was Hamza’s dance moves on ‘tu amber da taara’ or Zain Mohsin’s improvisation while the electricity went for more than a minute – it was yet another phenomenal performance by the duo. Though it’s been a while, Hamza is yet to perform a much serious role a role that is due on Hamza and a role that he can potentially pull-off with no hesitation. With the Colonel’s Will that asked them to stay a night at the haunted mansion, the person who would successfully spend a night shall be the winner according to his will.
The play centres on these families who try to pass the night peacefully by sleeping until they have an encounter with the ghost. One liner seemed to be the mantra of the play. Whether it was Dianne George’s (Eshah Shakeel) sarcasm or the exquisitely portrayed character of a ‘stuttering cool’ hipster by Hurr Ali Shah as Ted Pearson, the play was a fairly well team effort. Directed by Umair Ashfaq, the cast of the play included Saba Awais, Nasir Malik, Lumya Samdani, Mahnoor Haider, Eshah Shakeel, Hurr Ali Shah, Hamza Kamal, Furrukh Khan, Subhan Bhutta and Zain Mohsin.
With the ghost being perceived as a mere hallucination initially, it turns out that many didn’t believe in his existence. Though after their encounters, they are pretty sure of his presence. With George’s and TCS’s failed strategies to fight the ghost, Shurli khan is successful in grabbing the ghost who turns out to be the late colonel’s lawyer. By this point the audience is deeply engaged with the plot.
After the exposed lawyer gets them to believe that Cynthia is the deserving candidate and the true Winner of the Will, the rest of the cast leave the stage after thrashing the lawyer to the ground. With the rest of the families leaving the stage, Cynthia gets to be the winner of Colonel’s Will. Some of the audience is taken up by surprise when Cynthia tells the audience that she is lawyer’s (Nasir Malik) wife.
The play was witnessed by many notable critics including Omair Rana and Shehnaz Sheikh. On asking Omair Rana to comment on the play, he said, “it is encouraging that there are some young people out there channelling their energies towards theatre in spite of all the challenges however, we must strive to up the bar each time and set trends that we ought to”. None-the-less putting up a show for the Lahoris in the scorching July was good enough for the full house crowd on both the days. We could just say that theatre should continue to do what it has done for centuries – inspire people for the best!