My TV viewing habits

This week Fandango asks us about our TV viewing habits.

I’ll answer these questions together instead of separately.

I live in Pakistan. And we have 4 TV sets in our home. One in the family lounge, and three in bedrooms. It’s not that we need so many TVs but when we upgrade to a newer model, instead of selling the old one at a fraction of the original cost, we put it in one of the bedrooms. The latest one was the one my husband bought for our bedroom when I had my surgery. He felt that I might need some entertainment because I’m almost bed-bound.

Before my surgery, I’d only watch a movie or a serial with my family, as family entertainment. I didn’t watch tv regularly as I preferred to blog. Now since I have too much time to kill I typically watch either a movie a day or a few episodes of some show that takes my fancy. I’d recommend “Blown away” as it’s a lot of fun and the episodes are about 25 minutes long.

I never watch the news if I have an option to walk away from it. All news is depressing and demoralizing. I don’t like live tv either as I don’t remember the times any show is aired. My entertainment of choice is Netflix as it’s the only platform that offers a variety of shows and movies that interest me. We do have Amazon prime here but it’s being aired from India so most of the content is Indian and not in Hindi that I understand but in regional languages, which I don’t.

I’m waiting when I’ll be able to go to a theater and watch the new Thor and Topgun movie. Perhaps the new Minions too.

In response to FPQ # 175, hosted by Fandango

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How long is too long?

This week Fandango asks us;

Do you have a preference with respect to the length of blog posts you read? Does the number of words in a post affect how you read it or even if you will read it? What is your average post length?

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I think what I could glean from my stats, my average post is 154 words long!

I was never a long content writer and with time my posts have become shorter on average. The main reason is that I mostly write poems and they are as a rule, short. And if I do write opinion posts, I try to keep them short and avoid repeating myself.

As far is reading long posts is concerned, it all depends on the subject matter of the post and how it grabs my attention! Also, the availability of time plays a big role in my ability to read long posts. Some stories, though long, are so interesting that I don’t even notice how long they are. But dry, sermon-type of posts aren’t my cup of tea and I usually skim through them. There is one notable exception to this and these are personal stories. I like to read when bloggers share their experiences and it is an opportunity to find a common shared issue or experience.

This post has 230 words!

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In response to FPQ # 174 , hosted by Fandango

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Where would I live?

This week Fandango provocatively asks;

If money were no object and you could live anywhere in the world, where would you want to go and why?

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The Lahore fort

Choosing where we live has to be viewed through a few considerations;

•Comfort

•Familiarity

•Money

•Social interactions

I am very comfortable in my own home, in the city I was born and uprooting myself at this age to live someplace else is not an appealing prospect.

I am familiar with my surroundings here, I know where to go if I want to buy something, watch a movie, or go just for a long drive with music blaring from my car speakers.

With the world economy in the state it is, money is tight everywhere, but living in Pakistan, life is not that expensive even now. If I compare prices in the USA to those in Pakistan, except the petrol/ gas prices, we still are way cheaper here. Our way of cooking is also such that we can eat more in less money.

The most important thing at my stage of life is social interaction with family and friends. And for all the C money in the world, I wouldn’t want to go and live in a place where my family isn’t around me or I cannot drop in a friend’s house for chitchat! This I think is a factor which would decide where I live.

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Written in response to FPQ # 176, hosted by Fandango

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Hiding one’s identity

This week Fandango asks us;

How do you feel about online anonymity? Do you believe that when people are hiding their real world identity, it encourages them to misbehave or to be offensive? Or does it allow people to reveal who they really are or possibly how they would choose to be and act all the time if they could?

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I blog under a pseudonym. I have revealed a lot of details about myself but not my real name.

When I started blogging it was an impulsive decision and I hadn’t given the matter much thought but I had heard of people getting harassed because of the opinions they share online. This made me use a version of name that’s similar to my name. And at first I kept everything about myself secret. My origin, my religion and where I live. Gradually I revealed a lot of details about myself, even shared my picture on my blog because I felt safe here.

Another reason for keeping my identity hidden was that I used to express my opinions about politics, especially Trump on my blog and I didn’t want any repercussions from that too. Being anonymous gave me the freedom to express my views openly without any fear of repercussions.

These were my reasons for keeping a part of my identity hidden. As for the first part of the question, do I think that people behave worse when their identity is hidden?

I don’t think this is the case for most of the people I’ve met here. Anyone who is going to be obnoxious will be irrespective of if they are using their real name or an alias.

Anonymity does give a sort of freedom but the true nature of the person behind the mask comes through sooner or later.

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Written in response to FPQ # 168, hosted by Fandango

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Revisited- Fandango’s Provocative Question #106

FandangorepostingAprilI’vealreadyansweredquestionIpostingresponse

FPQWelcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question.

Blogging is a medium of words. All of us who blog are wordsmiths. We use words almost exclusively to express ourselves, to tell our stories, to weave our tales, to write our poems, to help others to understand and possibly even appreciate our perspectives.

In the real world, words can take on different meanings depending on context, inflection, facial expressions, body language, and other countless factors. But in blogging, such visual cues are, for the most part, absent. Thus, the challenge of conveying your intended tone and the underlying meaning of what you write can be daunting. It gets down to the age-old writer’s dilemma. Is the content what matters, or how the content is portrayed or presented?

So, as we are all writers who use words to paint pictures, my provocative question is simply this:

In the context of blogging and writing, what do you think is more important: what you say or how you say it?

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I think this question is very pertinent to the bloggers. What we write is equally important as how we word it. Unless the language is very simple and the expression totally bald, it can be misconstrued by the reader in many instances.

For this very reason, I use simple language, stating what I want to say as clearly as possible. It is correct that I mostly write poetry and in a poem sometimes the meaning is lost in phrases. But I do try to be as concise as possible.

It does take a good writer to reach the heart and engage the mind of their readers all the time and I am not one of those. I have started writing my blog just above 2 years ago and am still learning to communicate well. But as most good writers advise, use as few words as possible and make the meaning clear.

I myself have experienced this issue that even after reading a post or poem many times, I wasn’t able to get a clear sense of what the writer is saying.

So my 2 cents worth of advice is to be as simple and clear as possible so that we can convey our thoughts and opinions without them being misunderstood.

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The future of the next generation?

This week Fandango asks;

Do you think, given everything that is going on in the world, that children born these days will have a worse or better life than their parents? Why do you feel that way?

I don’t know if our children’s children will have a better life or worse but definitely a challenging one. Most important resource that is in danger is clean water and then the clean air. The coming generations will have to turn around this situation that is currently prevailing. They will have to find ways to preserve the earth’s atmosphere and stop the pollution so that they can have clean water and air.

The answer is simple enough but people need the will to break free from the stranglehold of big money to implement it. Give up fossil fuel and turn to renewable energy.

The rest of the situations are ever changing and every generation has had its challenges. The socioeconomic and political scenarios are changing every decade of so and to the previous generation it seems like the end of the world, only to see the world rightening itself.

But if we don’t save our environment, the situation will be very dire indeed.

Written for FPQ # 160, hosted by Fandango

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The three things that really matters in life

This week the question from Fandango is;

If there are only three things in life that truly matter, what do you think they are and why did you choose those three?

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I must admit that this is a teaser, because how can I narrow it down to just three really important things! Let me try……

So if I put myself in the role of a parent advising my child, the three important things would be;

Faith and good values

Hard work and integrity

Kindness and generosity

I know these are more like six things but I think they are related to each other and so I’ve put them together.

For me, faith and good values are of primary importance. It is with strong faith that we start our journey in life. Faith to me means having unshakable faith in the existence of God and to follow the rules he has laid out for us, and that includes having good values upon which we build our lives and character.

Having a foundation of faith, the next important pre-requisite for a good life is success which cannot be achieved without hard work and integrity. Man or woman, whoever wants to succeed in life, needs to work hard with integrity.

Kindness and generosity are what make us good human beings. I cannot stress upon the importance of being kind, enough. When we are kind and generous to our fellow humans, our life is complete.

These are my three/ six important things in life.

Written for FPQ # 159, hosted by Fandango

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The best time and place to think

This week Fandango asks;

When and where do you do your best thinking? Why is that?

I do a lot of thinking when I’m alone. It could be while I’m walking, taking a shower or sitting in my comfy bed before sleeping.

I seriously cannot think clearly when I’m distracted by people around me talking, the tv blaring news, or something else. I also cannot think when I am required to pay attention to my surroundings, reply to queries or give my opinion. Here, by the term thinking, I mean serious contemplating topics like life end it’s complexities and of course my writing.

The time for thinking deep thoughts is anytime and all the time when I need to think. Solitude is the primary requirement. The reason is I think self-explanatory; I think to sort out my problems. I also think about writing ideas and at this time I want to be free from external stimulation so that I can concentrate on my ideas.

Thinking is a very useful activity. If more people thought before they acted our world would be a much better place.

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Written for FPQ # 158, hosted by Fandango

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Control or an illusion of control?

Photo Credit Sarah Whiley

This week Fandango asks;

Looking at your own situation, how much of your life is formed by things that are outside of your control versus things that are within your control? Please elaborate to the extent you feel comfortable.

I will start from my childhood. My mom passed away when I was six. This made a huge impact on my life and personality. This was something that was out of my control.

My father, a very loving and kind man raised all three of us siblings. He taught me great life values and gave us a good upbringing. It was also a draw of luck to have such a wonderful person as my parent.

I was gifted with an almost photographic memory and a good brain. I studied towards becoming a doctor, putting in as much hard work as I was capable of/ willing to. This I could say was in my control.

I got married during the fourth year of my med school. It was an arranged marriage with my consent. I had planned to finish my degree but again fate intervened and instead of a doctor, I became a mom. This part of my life was although destined, it was happening with my will so I’ll take responsibility for it.

I have three lovely, gifted children. All are intelligent, hardworking and great human beings. They have worked hard to achieve success in their professional lives. But even here external circumstances have played a role in which direction their life is headed.

I feel that though my character is formed by how I was raised, the values I was taught, and what I personally decided to adopt as my basic principles, where I am today is just a part of it. The rest comes from the circumstances of life.

To cut it short, we all are born with an independent will. Whatever path we choose, which decisions we make, we carry the onus of all those. However, where our life takes us is mostly due to circumstances beyond our control.

A famous Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib has said it so well;

*We take a ride in this ship of life
Seemingly in charge, but in reality, without power

(*Paraphrased)

So just like the image above, circumstances and decisions are stone piled on top of each other. What is important and is supported by our actions stays on the pile and others slide away.

Written for FPQ # 157, hosted by Fandango

Also included; Photo Challenge # 403

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Banning books and cancel culture

This week Fandango asks;

How do you feel about state and local school boards and other jurisdictions banning of classic books such as those I’ve listed? Under what circumstances, if any, do you feel that banning of such books is appropriate and justifiable?

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This is a form of censorship that we have seen in third-world countries when history is rewritten to suit those in power. Never could I imagine that an educated society could resort to this or accept it.

If these books were newly published ones containing hate speech, inciting violence, or were promoting racism, it might make some sense but these are classic books written with deep intellectual perspective. Moreover, these books have been in circulation for many many years. What makes them undesirable now?

I think people have gone too far with cancel culture. Anything is now fair game. Next, they will be banning Shakespeare and canceling Dante and Milton! Who is going to stop them from finding something offensive or uncomfortable in these books. And while they are at it, they should write their own version of “Clean literature”! Something in the line of communist/ Nazi propaganda. Everyone should be forced to read that and only that. That will be a complete dystopian scenario!

Reminds of the setup of “The man in the high castle”! Maybe a revolutionary movement is on the cards?

Written for FPQ # 156, hosted by Fandango

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