Indus Script – Holy Grail of Undeciphered Scripts

One of the world’s oldest cultures is known as Indus Valley civilization. A culture that was far more advanced than we give it credit today. For instance, 5,000 years ago they had cities built on a grid based system. A water distribution system to homes and most remarkably, a citywide sanitation system, world’s first, which allowed people to use the bathroom in their homes.

The society was well ahead of its times, and thousands of years before Greeks or Romans had something similar. The remains of their cities can be found all over present day Pakistan. The most famous of them is Moenjodaro. A city worth rivaling the best ancient world left for us to wonder.

The civilization also left behind remnants of their long forgotten language, the Indus Script. Today, scientists around the world are trying to use technology to resolve its mysteries and share with us what they said in those few tablets, seals and signposts that we have gathered.

This video shows one such effort of how they are getting closer to an answer. It is one of the greatest language puzzles of all time and a Holy Grail of undecipherable scripts.

Greg Mortenson – You are still my hero

Greg Mortenson - a saint among usCBS may have taken a few potshots at you to improve their sagging TV ratings. Jon Krakauer: might have gotten his 15 minutes of fame that he has been so desparately seeking to improve his profile (and possibly make his next book a best seller). But in reality none of this changes the fact, that for the better part of last 20 years you have dedicated your life to building hundreds of schools in the most remote and forgotten parts of the war ravaged world.

It also does not change the fact, that your schools were the first education that anyone has received in in generations, especially the girls.

It also does not change the fact, that your books have inspired countless people, to think for others rather than themselves for the better good of humanity.

Your actions, have inspired a whole new generation of philanthropists and social entrepreneurs who are out there trying to play their part in making this world a better place.

While CBS’s tabloid journalism might try to derail your noble mission to educate the poor of the world, it does not change the fact that each day another child comes home better educated than his parents. Each day, a girl learns the meaning of life and her rights as a human being which sadly her mother missed out by being kept illiterate.

While the CBS investigative team (Andy Court, Kevin Livelli and Maria Usman) has never left the comfort of their homes to visit any war torn regions, nor have they gone and lived among the poorest of the poor. They certainly do not know the meaning of poverty, uneducation and powerless lives. They are probably just seeking cheap publicity to further their journalistic careers. Today, they take a pot shot at you, tomorrow, they might go after Nelson Mandela.

Dr Greg, you are our hero and you will remain one no matter what. What you have done for the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan is unique and angelic. May God give you reward in this life and hereafter for your good deeds.

Moin Akhter – Greatest Comedy Act of our Times

Moin AkhterThe greatest comedian ever to have been born in South Asia (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) played his last act today. Moin Akhter died today in Karachi, Pakistan when he suffered his second heart attack. He was 61.

I still remember with fond memories, when as a kid, I used to hear audio tapes of stand up comedy acts of Moin Akhter. Even to an 7 year old, he was funny. Really funny. My mom would put on the tapes to amuse us all. Not just the kids, but even 70 year olds could not stop but laugh at his jokes.

He was a big hit across the Indo-Pak subcontinent drawing in large audiences wherever he performed. Even some of his memorable  jokes made their way into Bollywood cinema and acted in the films by the greats like Amitabachan and Dharmindara.

He made it big on stage, as a stand up comedian traveling worldwide and entertaining people of all ages. His jokes were always family friendly and never crossed the border into what one may consider “Adult only” audience.

He respected his peers and elders and encouraged youngsters to make a name for himself. Moin Akhter was a truly gifted person. And he used it to perfection in every field he worked.

I share here a link to one of his memorable program on PTV in 1980s where we see him take on a banter with some of the greatest contemporaries of their time.

http://youtu.be/aT7enljEJsE

Comedy cannot be the same without him.

May Allah rest his soul in peace.

Best Paratha Kabaab in Islamabad

If you truly want to enjoy your paratha, kabaabs and tikkas then you will have to earn it. And what best way to earn then to hike up the Margalla Hills via Trail #3. And we suggest hiking up with a near empty stomach to build up that appetite.

This weekend, Qasim and I did just that. With almost starving stomaches, and only mineral water to sustain us through our journey, we began our ascent of the Margalla Hills. The hills, as any Islamabadi will tell you, are the most beautiful feature of the capital city of Pakistan. They dot the North Western side and run through the length of the city. To one side, they extend and grow all the way to Murree, the picturesque and tourist town up into the Himalayan Mountain range, and on the other side protrude into the fertile Potohar valley.

Trail#3 begins at around 600 meters above sea level in Sector F-6 adjacent to Shalimar Cricket ground and reaches the height of 1100meters near the village of Pir Sohawa up on the hills. The trail is 5.5 Km long and criss crosses through some of the most beautiful, natural and serene surroundings.

Qasim on Trail 3

Qasim on Trail 3

This Sunday, the weather cooperated. After many days of rains and clouds, there was a welcome break as sun shone through making the day extremely good for hiking. We got there a little after midday and after light stretching exercises began our ascend. As we went up, the sounds of the city muffled away to make room for chirping birds, and whispering leaves in the mild wind. Occasionally, one may run across a monkey on the trail, but otherwise, it is just nature and you moving along nice broad path up the hill.

This Sunday there was an unusually large crowd out for a hike. But not many folks prefer to climb all the way. Most of the hikers usually turn back half way up the path. But this Sunday, we were determined to go all the way to enjoy our meal.

It took us a pleasant two hours to reach the village of Pir Sohawa at the top of the mountain. Once there, we immediately made our way to the Capital Viewpoint restaurant to fill our starving stomaches. After quickly occupying a bunch of seats we ordered our favorite Parathas, kabaabs and chicken tikka treat. Capital Viewpoint has been serving some of the most delicious meals since its inception in early 1990s. And after hiking for so long, it was worth the wait. We literally gobbled down a couple of tikkas and dozen seikh kabaabs in a matter of minutes. The hunger inside us was too much and we wanted second helpings but only resisted as we had another hour of descend planned.

So if you really want to enjoy your tikkas at Pir Sohawa, we suggest take Trail #3. You will not regret it.