Conducted by Fatmah Ahmed (Xpoze Magazine)
1. Name 3 things you can’t leave home without
My wallet, my pack of cigarettes and lots of prudence.
2. If one murder was legally and morally allowed, who would you rid the world of?
The guy who came up with the concept of reality shows.
3. The last book you read by a Pakistani author was.
‘Balochistan Nationalism: Its Origins & Development’ by Taj Muhammad Breseeg
4. What in your opinion could save Pakistan?
Lots of democracy and very little army.
5. If you had to make a mix-tape for someone special, what 3 songs would definitely make it to the list?
‘Echoes’ Pink Floyd; ‘Gorak Dhanda’ Nusrat Fathe Ali; ‘Musafir’ Vital Signs.
6. How do you unwind after a hard day’s work?
By reading and then reading a bit more.
7. Where should we expect to find you on a Saturday night?
At my mother’s place having a ball with my 1-year-old nephew – the light of my life!
8. Next year this same time you want to be?
Pretty much the same.
9. The one discovery/invention you wish you had made is.
The electric guitar.
10. If you could go back to the ’40s, which big-shot from the Pakistan Movement would you be and what would you do differently to steer today’s Pakistan in the right direction?
G M. Syed and I’ll make sure to stay with the Muslim League to keep it progressive, pluralistic and secular.
11. What’s the one domineering Pakistani trait that totally irks you and why?
False bravado that leads to some rather silly, in fact, some dangerous strains of delusion.
12. What’s the one Pakistani trait that makes you smile? Why?
The Pakistani wit! Certainly the sharpest in the region.
13. If you would introduce one law into the Pakistani legal system, what would it be and why?
A law to outlaw all those laws pitched against minorities and women.
14. If you were to retire tomorrow, where would you want to live and what would you want to spend your lazy days doing?
Comfortably tucked away in some forest of Scandinavia.
15. One big lesson you’ve learnt from life that you would instill into your children is.
I don’t have children, but I don’t mind instilling traits like reasonability, tolerance and the ability to laugh at oneself in other people’s children.
16. You would go gay for.
Sorry, but I’m too pretentiously macho to answer this question.
17. If you were a superhero, what special power would you have and what would your costume look like?
I would’ve loved to read faster than the speed of a bullet and as a costume wear special X-Ray glasses that could penetrate through the books’ subtext.
18. What’s the one trait you don’t but wish you had?
19. You wake up in the middle of the night to find your house engulfed in flames, what’s the one object you grab before running for your life?
My pack of cigarettes, even if it was a cigarette that actually caused the damn fire!
20. If someone somewhere made a movie about your life, who would you want to play your character?
Om Puri or maybe Nana Patekar.
21. What’s the one advice an older, wiser you would give to the younger, wilder you?
There’s a gap between one’s head and soul, kid. Do not fill this gap up with rage and anger and misplaced passions; rather appreciate it as a serene piece of space to float around in.
22. If you were the author of a column in a local newspaper, what would it be called and who would be its star subject-matter?
I already am a columnist with a column called ‘Smokers Corner’ (in DAWN) even though some call it the Cynics Bile.
23. If you had an opportunity to represent Pakistan internationally, how would you do it?
By introducing the world to our very own Murree Beer.
24. Have you experienced any ‘Proud Pakistani’ moment recently?
Recently I am really proud by the way the Pakistan cricket team is performing. Also, the song ‘Aalu Andey’ by Beyghairat Brigade was another proud moment for Pakistani wit and will to question established political and moral narratives.
25. What 5 Pakistani things would you want your foreign friends to experience?
Our food, mountains, beaches, contradictions and political rallies.
26. Inspiration or aspiration, what’s your driving force?
Inspiration, through and through.
27. What do you suggest Pakistanis should do to get their act together?
Stop acting, get real.
28. Your guilty pleasures/favorite indulgences
The Bee Gees, fart jokes … and Teletubbies.
29. You have been granted a 15 minute audience with the President of Pakistan, what is the first thing you would say to him and what advice would you give?
Sir, I respect you for standing up to a volley of four years worth of obsessive criticism and assorted examples of neurosis emanating from an animated hyper-ventilating media. Jeeay Bhutto!
30. What do you miss most about Pakistan’s good ol’ yesteryears?
I miss a more simpler sense of pride based on genuine achievements of yesteryears compared to today’s false pride based on a fat, resource-sucking military with a fatter bomb!
31. In your opinion, who is the contemporary face of Pakistan today?
Don’t know, but you wouldn’t find him or her on TV.
32. Best looking male/female in Pakistan
My nephew. And best looking female … errm … I’m really a tad too old for this, y’know.
33. JFK said, ‘Ask not what the country can do for you but what you can do for your country’, what has been your contribution to Pakistan as a concerned citizen?
That’s for Pakistan and history to decide. I just do my bit as a writer.
Published in Xpoze Magazine, Jan 2012