the great escape

I look around and eye the **exit** my great escape, the red flashing sign, the word EXIT, written up, loud and clear, I eye it. And I make a run for it. The two hosts grab me before I even take a step, each with one arm locked into mine, they **crack a joke** about me, the audience laughs. They hand me a metal statuette, I hold it --the heaviest thing I’ve ever held on to-- it falls through the stage, through the wooden floor, with me holding tightly onto it, through and through. “Ladies and gentlemen we just witnessed **a great escape** for the first time in the history of this event, has the winner escaped in such a dramatic fashion, and without giving a speech either.”

Wednesday, May 12

Load-Shedding Re-Dux (a supplement for Dawn Blog readers)

Alright so this is a supplemental reprise to the post on the Dawn Blog for all you people reading it till the end and going like.. 'Hmm I wonder what this Asif Akhtar blogs about at'. So here's the whole deal with this capitalizing on load-shedding business proposition for all you entrepreneurial types, and anyone else questioning the logic of a post-electric world where Pakistanis rid of their dependence on electricity would rise to the challenge of leading the world into a self-sufficient existence as a global human society.

When I said in my blog on Dawn that we need to start getting used to no power, I really wasn't joking. If we take things seriously, we can develop an acoustic-lifestyle-rehab industry which could well become our leading national export in the post-energy world of the future. We could set up lifestyle re-hab clincs in all parts of the world. Think of all those extremely wired people out there and the withdrawal symptoms they'll experience once the electricity runs out. They'll be running around bumping in walls without their iPhones and their fancy gadgets, no longer able to find the number of the Pizza place down the street, or update their status on social networking sites at a whim. Chaos will be everywhere, like one of those end of the world movies.

It will be our job as well adjusted Pakistanis to tell the world that its okay to be unplugged (post-rehab services will be offered at an additional charge). And of course at that point things couldn't be better for us. There will be new markets for adaptation culture forming all around the world. For a change people will be looking at our model of retrograde development. We will be the next big thing that hit the world since the toaster! And while the rest of the world is out looking for a solution to the power problem, we'd be light-years ahead with our cultural adaptation to life without energy and electronics. We'd have innovations like cooling our walls with dung chapatis, and the cooling effects of lassi or the herbal calmness of falsa juice on our side.

Now don't go around thinking this cultural adaptation nonsense is some kind of quippy joke put in to temporarily amuse your bored internet-ridden minds. This is serious stuff. Why would someone even think that the idea of living without electricity is absurd. Its not like people haven't been doing it for millennias prior to our sorry modern technological existence. Our ancestors in the subcontinent used to live without home appliances or air-conditioning. Its a shame we never bothered to preserve the architectural wonder which made buildings cool during the day time and warm at night. Of course after bearing centuries of heat we'd culturally adapted to doing things a certain way. Even the British were quick to realize the effectiveness of these cultural norms so they adapted their own administrational architecture to that aesthetic bringing you places like the GPO in Lahore. Sadly though your average Defence villa would suffocate without electricity in the summer and would spew out a mass of sweat and flesh if left un-airconditioned for a little over an hour.

This is the time to think out of the box. Instead of cursing and moaning about there being no light, maybe we should take a more constructive approach to our problems and try to come up with solutions that are socially viable ways of dealing with the issue. Airconditioning and the luxuries of modern technological life are for suckers. Time to turn your computer off, clear your head of all the televison commercials that are jarring up your consciousness and go for a nice long relaxing stroll to think about things a little more deeply. One thing's for sure. The future is straight ahead.

This is a supplemental reprise to the blog posted on titled Moving Beyond the Megawatt

Friday, April 16

Two Poems

The By-Election

Hear-ye! Hear-ye!
Extra! Extra!
The news is out there
for all to wear
like a sweaty revelation
an almost sudden realization
like a seething ejaculation:
La-dies and Gen-ital-men!
..Satan has won.. 
the by-election!
a land slide ride
to cease all authority
with an absolute majority
in a silent auction..
all the blue votes lay
ratteling in a red box. 
 Prophets and pundits
complain and speculate
arch-angles resign enmass
in a flush of roaring outrage!
Campaign groupies celebrate
and decorate the stage
as God auto-self-destructs
imploding in an aweful bout 
of ironically vainful vain
and eternal emphatic shame..

Joining us today..
Live! from J-Day..
our Correspondent:
"Thank you transpondent,
the jury is out today
and faithful all despondent
as the Lord quips
in a short-but-sweet
victory speech,
'Wh-at is tha po-int
of staging a battle
of Goood v. Ev-il?
Wh-a-t is the poi-nt!?
of right, wrong, pleasure, and sin
if bo-oring were always to win??'
Crowd bursts out into laughter,
masses cheer in vileful rapture... 
- texts to be subjugated
- commandments subverted
- values all inverted
- new clauses to be insterted
- all apostles terminated
- the obedient excommunicated
- scoundrels to be cannonized
- and faithful all deamonized 
Parliment and cabintets 
lay dead and disolved
as a new day has dawned
another old chapter 
finally re-opened
and politikal future
has changed forever
history to be rewritten
and repeatedly overwritten,
with bottles of red ink,
provided by our sponsor,
and major campaign funder,
The Everlasting Ink Drink..
Your correspondent,
reporting live, today
from the scene at J-Day..
Back to you Transpondent?"

Stay tuned now,
and hang around
for a fresh round
of devlishly seductive,
and completley addictive
refreshing and entertaining
**A Mellenia-Long Commercial-Break**
inducing you to buy more
of all the stuff 
we've sold you before
followed (if you survive)
by Larry King Live!
where joining us
is a pannel of experts
of Good-Bad, Good-Evil,
welcoming you all to 
this fair festival called "Hell"
with an engaging discussion 
on the future of Divinity
for the rest of eternity...
Thank you for staying and watching,
and don't even think of switching
...this is of course...
Your One And Only Source
of News, Views, and Information
--Your Favorite Transmission--
--On All of Hell-a-Vision--

in this
and completely
mass of the prevalent,
ever-slow lengthening of the
s h a d o w  o f   t h e   f u t u r e
further into that eternal dusk of days
days, brutal, senseless days to come forever...

Grips your gaze as it succumbs to that mouth
of the cave of the old man of the mountain--
mouth-wide-open in awe-gripping-encaptivation
flashes of debaucherous pleasures of all flavors
allure of that sinful pit of all those lesser gods
gaping deep into the realm of the fantastical
in a haze of smoke, the eternity of the moment  
careless words softly whispered into the mind
always around to envelop entice and remind
deceptive embraces of bodily fragrances--
memory-flashbacks from countless unlived lives 
switch it on with a smile
live a little, breathe a little
The blue flame of life blinks on in a flash of all colors!
The box sits and emits.. an absurd pandemonium
transmissions of wavelengths, and frequencies
tuning in and out of each other, streaming
into the mass of nerves inside my head
coming together in images, sounds
-- immediately recognizable
shapes and syllables --
deep into the voids of
of imagery woven through
words, words draped in images
brilliant visages of endless carnage
having to want -salacious--dreaming-
wanting to have and wanting some more.
mindless impulses filled with carnal cravings
broadcast LIVE from the gutters of man-made filth..
seeping deeper and deeper into the layers of thought. 

Numbs the body, numbs the mind, gobbled in haste
and swallowed down, the chains of endless excess
rung-by-rung, blood-sweat-toil-sweat-blood-toil--
all the fetters of bleeding-killing-sweating-drilling
excreting out my remains and all else that is left-
all gulped up, washed down with a sweet flood of oil 
a synapses suddenly snaps
an axon cracks open
"You were waiting for this all along, weren't you?"
slip into me now.. a slip of the mind like a slip of
the donge... slide into me.. deep down into me
so I can be torn apart and be bled away utterly
in peace, because the lights are out and I am 
sweating beads that trickle down the lids and
sting my eyes. I am only alive, I will leave politely...  
I promise. Just wait a while, let the mahogany
night fill up within me, and all around me..
(only a meager part of it), simply able to
completely be drowned in perception
awe-stricken in its entirety
appreciating all of it
as it ever-so-slowly
all of