Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I have a dream

The life is full complexities. But I have a dream that one day, all of us in general, and our country in particular will make these complexities very simple. 

To begin with, I have a dream that our milkman will not add any water to the milk. I know they need to make some living too but why can’t they go for honest earning rather than poison the masses?

 I have a dream that a poor individual, with a family of 5 or 6, who is earning only Rs. 6000 per month, who have an electricity bill worth of Rs. 5000, will be able to pay his bill without going through any more sufferings. 

I have a dream that a fresh graduate from a university, who is very ambitious and wants to make his own mark in this world, will be able to get a fine job of his choice on merit without any family connections and references. 

I have a dream that our society gets out of this protocol mania in this country. No wonder everybody wants to get to the top and they remain at the top whether they are performing or not. That is why nobody from the government resigns or leaves the post with so many accidents and mishaps happening around us. Nobody takes the responsibility of anything here. 

I have a dream that all of our citizens respect and obey the law. Well, this is a difficult one. But the fact is the law is not only for the poor. Everybody is accountable for their actions no matter who you are. 

I have a dream that we make education and learning one of our top priorities in this country. We have huge libraries and learning centers in every city of this country. The rewards are tremendous for the scholars. We make this country one of the learning hubs in the world. We build and develop our own Harvard, MIT, Yale etc right here. We get the best brains of the world right here to excel in their fields.

I have a dream that this is the ultimate peaceful country of the world. Anybody living in this country can feel safe and sound here. Their families, belongings, businesses are safe and protected. Nobody is scared or threatened to live, the way they want to live. 

I have a dream that our country is not always seen as an ‘irritant’ in the world. May be, the world needs to adjust their focus too. Our country is always blamed for things which we have no knowledge off. We are always the ‘scapegoat’. Maybe, they need to examine themselves too, before pointing fingers at us.

Finally, I have a dream that we can make this a world a better place to live for our generations to come. Why do we always have to make things difficult? Let’s just get on with living and spend our time peacefully. Is it too much to ask for? In the end, nothing will matter anyway.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cricket - We Love You

In a country like Pakistan, cricket is not just a game, it is a passion. This game is not only men’s game, our women, children, young and old; everybody loves it, every breath of their lives, especially when the game is being played. 

This game was created by the English and it is played and popular in places where they ruled for well over two centuries. It is generally called a ‘Gentleman’s game’. The reasons could be traced back to its creation that it was originated by the English elite. The game's dress, rules, conduct and almost everything else, which is associated with the game, are quite sophisticated. 

Before the creation of Pakistan, there was a sub-continent cricket team. And after the creation of Pakistan, the young country entered into this arena and made its name early on with its talent and hard work and some early notable successes. Over the years, Pakistan cricket teams have seen many ups and downs in their cricketing history anywhere from beating the great teams like England and India on their own turfs to getting bowled on the lowest One Day International (ODI) scores, and not to mention the match fixing scandals. Our nation is quite glued with their TVs when any international cricket game is played and the fervor rises infinitely when cricket is being played against India. Initially, our Sharjah fixtures were quite popular with them. 

Many of our cricketers made their name in cricket while performing on many important occasions. Among the most remembered are Abdul Hafeez Kardar, our first captain, Hanif Mohammad, the great ‘little master’, Mushtaq Muhammad, Javed Miandad for his famous ‘Sharjah sixer’, our 1992 World Cup hero Wasim Akram and most importantly our legendary captain Imran Khan. 

Despite of lacking cricket facilities and infrastructure in our country, we have an enormous young talent in every aspect of the game. Our kids in this country are so passionate and lover of this game that they manage to find a bat and a ball, with something else used as wickets and a small pitch and start playing this game with any number of individuals available at the time. Interestingly, many of our players came from the streets to play for the national team. So there is talent available in the country and the selectors only have to look at the right places to spot them.

Pakistan has made its name in cricket on all levels including ODI, Test Matches and now in Twenty twenty format. Pakistan has also managed to win 1992 ODI World cup and most recently, the twenty twenty world cup. Our team is considered one of the most ‘Unpredictable’ cricket teams in the world. On its day, Pakistan’s team can beat the best team in the world and on some days, it could lose against the most minion team in the world too. The ‘unpredictable’ nature of our team keeps our opponents on edge. Either way, we love this game and for that reason, expect our team to win against any opponent they are playing. And our team understands our emotions and feelings of the nation and they do their best on the field.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Getting Out of the Debt (ii)

My first case of debt was credit card debt, and the interest rates are unbelievably high. The next type of debt which people take these are for buying vehicles. There is a car leasing as well as financing option. Car leasing is one in which you purchase a car and make monthly installments to the company. This leasing option is for certain number of years and there is a limit to the number of kilometers or miles one could drive per year. And once that time limit has expired, the car should be returned back to the car leasing company. This time limit ranges from, say, three years to five years. So, all in all, nothing gained except for the ‘guilty pleasures’ of the fresh fragrance of the leather of the new luxury car and driving ‘round town for a small period of time. However, the money lost in paying monthly installments for that car and after returning it to the lot, means nothing was gained in leasing for all that time. 
Another option is financing a car, which means after making monthly installments for 3 to 5 years, one could own the car once all the payments have been satisfied. This is a doable option but it is also a very expensive one. The interest rates are quite high. And what I have seen is after driving ‘that’ brand new car for a few years after financing, the driving gets old, and the ‘dream’ car also gets old. And the individual also would like to change the car, may be before the financing time period is over. 
So, one has to really think through taking any of these routes before going for any of these options. Paying for the car out-right still outweighs any of the above options. One should always strive to pay for the car right away. That way, things will be more realistic. If you can afford a small car, buy a small car. And if you can afford a bigger sedan, then pay for that car. But when you lease or finance, you are just trying to live in your dreams by paying huge interest payments. Interest payments are the cost of living in your dreams. So get out of your dreams and be realistic. That way, all your savings are not going to the leasing or financing company. 
Initially, it would seem like you have gone broke with paying right away with cash for the car, but you have really secured your future and will save so much more by not paying any monthly installments for the car. Not to mention, that one has to consider the high premiums for the car insurance because the leasing or financing companies would require the buyer to protect their ‘asset’. Second, the buyer will be responsible for normal wear and tear of the car. So there are huge financial implications in these deals.
So I think the moral of the story is that if you have the money to purchase a car, that is great and go ahead buy the car, which you can afford, sooner rather than later. But if you are thinking of getting yourself in one of these debts, take your time and think through it. Try to wait and save money for some time for a car and then buy it. A lot of money will be saved by not paying interest payments to the leasing or financing companies. Not to mention, you will have a lot of quality time to spend with your loved ones, not getting worried about paying the monthly payments and will be securing your future too.