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Saaz and Namaz

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I was driving my way to home last evening when Hassan called. “Where are you?”

“In the car” was my reply.

Roll paratha khanay ka mood hai?

Kha laitay hein!

Hassan paused and I imagined his trademark wicked expression. “Khilanay kay baray mein kya khayal hai?

I chuckled. “Whatever happened to paying your own bills?”

After some random nonsense about trying to decide the venue, Hassan told me that he and Rehan were on their way to the Jinnah Super Market, and they will be waiting there for me.

I must admit that when I had first heard of a roll paratha, I had found the idea to be quite funny. Mainly because it was a brilliant idea. It only replaced the regular bun of a burger with a paratha, but that gave it such a desi touch that people couldn’t help feeling a certain fondness towards it. I must also admit that despite thinking that roll paratha is a nifty idea, I have never really enjoyed it other than just on a couple of occasions. Maybe I am one of those people who always admire but never fully appreciate.

When I reached Jinnah Super Market, the sun was about to set in the western horizon. Hassan and Rehan were sitting around a table in the “eating area” — a sort of open-air place with benches and chairs and tables — and were listening to the constant growls of an electricity generator. Somehow, if you don’t hear the sound of generators when you are outside these days, you feel like you are missing something, no matter how irritating it might be.

Across the road on my right was a plaza, which sported on its first floor the wide glass wall (or huge glass window, if you prefer) of Pakistan Electronics, a “music” shop famous for its display of musical instruments, specially guitars. I had once visited this shop with Talha. He had been saving money for buying an acoustic guitar, and I tagged along with him because he needed a driver and some “moral support”. I lived in Rawalpindi back then, and both Talha and I had just a vague idea about Islamabad and its markets. Thankfully, when we asked a young man if we had reached Jinnah Super Market or just Super Market, he told us that we were at Jinnah Super. Finding Pakistan Electronics was then a relatively easy job. The trip back home, I am sure, was quite a sight: It’s not every day that you see two teenagers riding a Suzuki 100 motorbike, with a guitar wedged between them in a box that looked more like a miniature coffin than a guitar case.

Winamp sometimes tells me that Jon Bon Jovi’s guitar lies bleeding in his arms. I always try telling back that Talha’s guitar lies broken under his bed.

Anyway, last evening when I was looking at Pakistan Electronics and the row of guitars that was displayed in its glass window, I remembered my visit and smiled silently. I was about to mention it to Hassan and Rehan when I noticed something else.

A middle-aged man, dressed in the familiar dark blue uniform of private security guards, came into the frame of that glass window. He was holding a prayer mat in his hands. He paused, probably to take his shoes off, and then stretched that mat on the floor. As he raised his hands for saying takbeer, I saw that when he would prostrate, he would be right under the hanging guitars.

“Look at that, guys,” I said. “Saying prayer under shadow of guitars.”

Wah!” Hassan exclaimed. “Saaz bhi aur namaz bhi!

Deen bhi aur duniya bhi!” I added.

It was only this morning that I realized that the image of a man saying his prayer right under guitars will remain burnt into my memory for quite some time.


guitar, prayer, roll paratha

(Possibly) similar posts



Jul 10, 2008 at 5:12 pm

yeps, some images just take that place of their own in your mind

Wajahat Mateen

Jul 10, 2008 at 6:17 pm

Man, not only you have good visual memory but you surely know how to narrate it as well! fantastic article; thoroughly enjoyed reading it!


Jul 10, 2008 at 8:50 pm

They sure do!

Thank you, man! You just made my day. :)


Jul 11, 2008 at 1:52 am

Visualize….EATON….Chicken Cheese Roll…paratha…and the cheese ooozing out…YUMMY!!!!


Jul 12, 2008 at 12:07 am

ill say its just amazing..isnt it?
he mite not be fortunate enough like us to ‘decide’ where to work but he can definitely decide how to carry on with his religious duties.
great post!

No One

Jul 13, 2008 at 5:21 am

I like roll paratha too…

Nice post.



Jul 13, 2008 at 10:42 am

Cheese oozing out?! I have ruined enough shirts already, dude!

That’s what I like about blogging: people come and share amazing views! This one certainly hadn’t crossed my mind. Thanks for liking the post. :)

No One,
Ah, another roll paratha lover!

Dinky Mind

Jul 15, 2008 at 4:04 pm

*raises and waves arm* me too, me too loves paratha rolls :)

Sometimes the oil or the raita/chatney oozes out and ruins my clothes :(

but paratha rolls are very.very.yummy!!! I have them daily in my lunch…Yep, I’m a paratha freak! :D yummmmmmm


Jul 15, 2008 at 10:23 pm

well yeah…I remember spoiling a few shirts myself…but you have to agree that is delicious…


Jul 17, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Dinky Mind,
A daily paratha freak! Now that’s good. I’ll ask for your opinion whenever I’d need to try out a new kind of roll paratha, yes?

Spoiling shirts is delicious?! Oh, wait, you mean the paratha. Right.

By the way, is it just me, or did nobody really get past the roll paratha part (except just three people)? :???:


Jul 18, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Well I was honestly stuck at the parathas….I ve read it thrice now and thats where UTP stops….PARATHA!!!


Jul 19, 2008 at 7:56 pm

atleast i have read the entire post & i couldn’t agree more with your last statement..these days many of us are trying to keep balance b/w dunya & akhrat..i don’t know how we’re going to be successful in both of them or infact in any of them but still we’re trying & lets hope we do achieve some success.

p.s. i haven’t tried roll parathas otherwise like many other i wouldn’t have commented on anything else but them:S


Jul 20, 2008 at 8:33 am

Hmm. Right. Guess I should take care while including a food item in future updates!

An ILLuS|On,
Yes, let’s hope we do, because it surely is a struggle (even though it shouldn’t be). And that’s it: I am definitely taking care while including a food item in future updates!


Jul 20, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Now I’m missing Karachi and kabab rolls at KU…you narrate a nice tale but the image that was seared in my mind, after reading this post was that of a succulent double paratha kabab roll…i can even smell it…
please write some more about the first time experience of paratha roll or kabab roll…
i did read the whole post but can’t get past kabab rolls…what have you done now? I was soooooo happy in my resolve to let the parathas rest in peace but now I neeed to binge on ‘em.


Jul 20, 2008 at 7:44 pm

Also, I’ve come by here after ages and the new tinkering you did looks nice, sleek, neat!


Jul 20, 2008 at 9:23 pm

You said that you smiled silently..I am wondering how can you smile noisily? :) you certainly sketched the image very nicely through words..I can clearly see an aged gaurd offering his prayers under the hanging guitars…


Jul 20, 2008 at 11:46 pm

“Double” paratha kabab roll?! I have only had single ones yet. And I had never thought that something written by a person like me, who (according to gharwalas) eats only to stay alive, could make a person long for food. My first time experience was nothing special, though. The only interesting thing that happened was that the paratha was too damn elastic and my teeth had a hard time biting it off.

And thanks for liking the new layout. :)

*scratching my head* Now that you say it, “smiled silently” does seem strange. I was actually trying to translate زیرِ لب مسکراہٹ, but for that, “smiled slightly” would have been more appropriate. At the time of writing though, a silent smile just kinda felt… right.

And I am glad that my words could paint a clear picture for you. Welcome to Ulta Seedha. :)


Jul 21, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Why are guitars always bleeding or weeping? It’s so unfair, yeah? ;)

Waise I tried the rolls at Jinnah Super once when I went to Islamabad, didn’t like em much. But if you’re ever in Karachi, try Hot n Spicy or Silver Spoon! Top notch stuff I tell you!

Dinky Mind

Jul 21, 2008 at 2:04 pm

I can have paratha 3 times a day…which means I usually have parathas three times a day :D

Oh yeah, try Karachi ka hot n spicy wala roll (garlic mayo wala) muu mein paani aaying? :P its reallly berry berry yummy :)


Jul 22, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Maybe all songwriters are sick of guitars or something. ;) And yes, there are better places in Islamabad for roll parathas; though I should be the last person to be asked about them!

Dinky Mind,
Meray munh mein itni jaldi pani nahin aya karta! :P


Jul 23, 2008 at 5:44 am

in karachi your roll parathas are just called rolls!

And there’s a pakistan electronics here too at khadda market, which is also a music store owned by the same guy who owns the islamabad wala. Idhar bhee the dealer’s son is a maulvi, who also happens to be a complete idiot/jerk! :D

btw, nice blog!


Jul 23, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Didn’t know that Karachiites are that fond of roll parathas! That Khadda Market looks like it’s some auto-workshop market (though in Islamabad we have an auto-workshop hub named Sitara Market! :D ). And thanks!

unaiza nasim

Jul 24, 2008 at 12:50 am

umm sab choro, roll yummmmmmmmmy!
iman mujh ko rokay hay :P roll mujh ko khainchay hay:)


Jul 24, 2008 at 1:47 pm

iman mujay rokay hai …. roll mujay ,,,, haha

nice story!


Jul 25, 2008 at 10:29 am

Roll parathay kaisay thay? Gol market kay ?


Jul 25, 2008 at 10:30 am

Ghalib must be feeling so elated in his grave! :D



Jul 25, 2008 at 10:32 am

And sitara market’s called khadda market too, in here~


Jul 25, 2008 at 10:49 am

Roll parathay koi itnay khaas nahin thay. Bas bhook lagi thi, iss liyay kha gaya! And thanks for confirming about Khadda Market — I wasn’t sure if that and Sitara Market were the same. (Been rough to your car, by the way? :P )


Jul 25, 2008 at 6:14 pm

Strange. Run-of-the-mill. But strange.


Jul 25, 2008 at 9:07 pm

Amazing how ordinary things can be strange, huh? :)


Jul 26, 2008 at 5:14 pm

You are great with words, and I’ve this clear image of the scene in my head but still, that man praying under the guitars would’ve made a great picture. You should keep a camera with you all the time… or keep a friend with you all the time who keeps a camera all the time.. :P

And you try our university dhabaa’s rolls… yumlicious!


Jul 27, 2008 at 1:26 pm

I wish I had a camera with me at that time. And yes, I agree, I really should keep a camera (or a friend with a camera :P ) with me. The problem, however, is the lack of funds for me to buy a camera at first place; and in the friend’s case… well, never mind about that!

As for the dhabaa‘s rolls, I am sure they are good. Everything that they cook at those dhabaas is good!


Jul 27, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Precisely. That’s why life’s better without the added drama.


Jul 28, 2008 at 3:02 am

I hope you have the required fund soon then.. :D Or a friend..well, let’s not mind about that!

Our uni’s dhabaa is called Mr.Dhabaa. It became Mr.Dhabaa from Dhabaa after an accident.A gas cylinder blew up one day. Terrible accident it was but nobody was hurt, thankfully. :) Dhabaa was re-made and was given a title too. I do talk rubbish at times.

Dinky Mind

Jul 28, 2008 at 2:49 pm

Saadat bhai, its time to update!!!!

Is update muzakkar or mo’annas? :P


Jul 28, 2008 at 9:02 pm

True. Life has all the drama it needs already. But still.

Yes, I am hoping that too. And that gas cylinder accident must have been terrible, though I am also wondering why after that particular accident the dhaaba was renamed as Mr. Dhaaba. Are you implying something there? :P (Don’t worry about talking rubbish, though. I do the same.)

Dinky Mind,
Meri taraf tau update muzakkar hi hua karta hai. :P I am hoping it will happen soon.

Dinky Mind

Jul 30, 2008 at 9:47 am

That’s why I wrote that statement in English – no chakkar of muzakkar or mo’annas :D

And how long is your “soon”? :P


Jul 30, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Imagine…Cineplex and praying in an alcove above which everywhere the bright big posters of movies and cartoons are hanging….:-)….Makes me think we can’t balk of doing what is mandatory just because of the inappropriateness of a time or place :-) ….God doesn’t only SEE he FEELs beyond the obvious!!

btw very nicley written :-) and P.S. Some paratha rolls are really yummy maybe u got to come to Karachi to taste a good one:-)


Jul 30, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Dinky Mind,
“Soon” will be soon enough. :P There was this one time when I said to an old teacher of mine, “Sorry, mein thorra late ho gaya“, after arriving a whole 30 minutes late. He replied by saying, “Aap apnay ‘thorray’ ko thorra kam kijiyay!“. :D

R. Sameem,
Now that is interesting! The inappropriateness of place in the case of that man might not be huge, but what you are saying has got me thinking now. :) Thanks for liking it, and welcome to Ulta Seedha. And sure, if/when I am in Karachi, I’ll be trying the rolls!


Aug 1, 2008 at 3:59 pm

10th July this post….and now waiting for 10th august…if you write monthly…

if you every quarter then probably waiting till 10th October…if you write half yearly…then 10th Jan…

other wise at year end 10th July 2009…or is ti going to be in the next decade…my mind calculator stops here…


Aug 1, 2008 at 6:43 pm

As UTP nicely pointed it out..kindly update :P


Aug 3, 2008 at 6:51 am

UTP and Lubz,
Update posted! Though I am sure you have learnt something about updating habits at Ulta Seedha. :D


Aug 3, 2008 at 7:32 pm

cool post!:D
update more often …


Aug 4, 2008 at 7:31 pm

Thanks, and welcome. :) And trust me, I try to update more often; I really do!


Aug 12, 2008 at 10:00 pm

Mr. Dhabaa… because it got a face-lift.. =)


Aug 14, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Well, in that case, I guess it’s fine!


Mar 23, 2009 at 9:11 am

Interesting post…I loved reading it. The everyday things that make one think…really cool.


Mar 25, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Thank you. :)

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