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A stranger in SaoPaolo. Grandpa and me. Podcast serial by Valueversity. Episode 26. Shariq Ali

Narration by: Shariq Ali
June 6, 2020
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Enjoy the discovery of Brazil with Pedro Alvares Cabral in this story. A country of Amazon river, rainforests and anaconda

 

 

 

Uncle Patel returned from a trip to Brazil last night. At the breakfast table, Grandpa, Yani Apa, and I were all excited to listen to his travelogue. Uncle said. From Dubai to Frankfurt and from there to Fortaleza Via São Paulo. It was twenty-eight hours from home. Finally, our plane managed to land in the misty morning. Fear of hitting Sao Paulo skyline turn out to be an illusion. All the passengers, including me, clapped and gave the pilot respectful applause. I waited for my luggage until the end. With utter disappointment, I finally went to the airline window. First, they apologized that my luggage has missed in Frankfurt. Then they gave me 150 US dollars and a bag as compensation. Fortaleza’s flight was five hours later. I sat on a bench in the waiting lounge and opened the bag. I found a T-shirt, shorts, socks and toiletry kit in the bag. I was about to lie down on the bench putting this bag under my head as a pillow. An old man wearing a long overcoat and an ancient-looking sailors cap came and sat beside me. He said to me. Will you be able to provide a stock of spices for loading on 13 ships? I sat up straight on the bench. The sleep was gone. Without hearing my answer, the stranger said. I am a Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvarez Cabral. My countryman, Vasco de Gama has returned after a successful spice trade trip from India. And now, six months later, I have the command of thirteen ships. My task is to establish Portuguese domination over this trade on the coasts of Asia and Africa. On our way to India, we have hoisted the Portuguese flag here on the fertile soil of South America. The stranger seemed so confident that I did not find it appropriate to refute. I continued the conversation and asked. How did you find this new colony? The stranger replied. Today, on this bright day of the fifteenth century, I can only guess. This will likely be the symbol of Portuguese greatness in coming times. We will get African slaves here to get cotton, tobacco and sugar from fertile land. And take all the goods to Portugal on ships. Then he paused and said to me. And why you are here? I said. There is a lot to explore in this largest country in South America. The main attraction for me is Amazon. The second largest river in the world. Four thousand miles long and fifteen miles wide. And its dense rainforest that produces 20% of the world’s oxygen. The largest gold hoard in the world in eighteenth-century attracted many adventurers. Who knows how many of them have fallen prey to the Anaconda? Oh, you are here Grandpa! I have searched for you all over the airport. The slim girl with the Portuguese imprint said as she joined us in the conversation. Then she turned to me and said. My apologies Gentleman. My grandfather’s memory is correct but a little misplaced in time. …. To be continued

ابتدا سے آج کل ، خوش آمدید، انشے سیریل ، پہلا انشا Beginning, today and tomorrow Podcast serial Episode 1 Welcome

Posted by: Shariq Ali
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This serial is a remarkable journey of mankind from the beginning to the possible future. Hiding in the caves till becoming the masters of the planet. And now the current and future threats to this unparalleled success. Join Tasaver Beg, Zainya and Jacob in their search for truth in the scenic background of Cambridgeshire

 

 

 

ابتدا سے آج کل ، خوش آمدید، انشے سیریل ، پہلا انشا ، شارق علی ، ویلیوورسٹی

آئیے آئیے. اپنی گاڑی اور رہائش کے لئے ساتھ لاے سامان سمیت بلا جھجھک اندر آ جائیے.  آپ کی شناخت کہانی پڑھنے اور سننے والے کی حیثیت سے ہوچکی ہے . اب میں یہ سترہ فٹ اونچا فولادی دروازہ آپ کی آمد کے لیے کھلوانے دیتا ھو ں۔ خوش آمدید . آپ کی آمد اور موسم بہارکا آغاز ایک ساتھ یہاں آے  ہیں . وہ دیکھیے دو فرلانگ لمبی بل کھاتی پگڈنڈی نما سڑک، جس کے ارد گرد سفید پھولوں سے لدی جھاڑیاں اور یکساں فاصلے پر لگے میپل کے بلند قامت درخت ہیں . اس ھرے بھرے سبزہ زار سے گزر کر جس میں ایک جھیل اور کئی ایکڑ پر پھیلا باغ بھی ہے ، ہمیں سولہویں صدی میں تعمیر شدہ سامنے نظر آتی محل نما عمارت تک پوھونچنا ھے۔ یہ ھے میڈنگلے ھال۔ ھماری رہائش گاہ ۔ کیمبرج شہر اور یونیورسٹی سے صرف چار میل دور . جی ہاں اس کہانی کے سلسلے کے دوران آپ کا قیام یہیں ہو گا۔  کیا کہا آپ نے؟  میرا تعلق شاہی خاندان سے؟  ارے نہیں جناب . میں تو کراچی سے یہاں کیمبرج میں پڑھنے آیا ھوا ایک عام سا طالب علم ھوں۔  میڈنگلے میں رہنے والے زیادہ تر لوگ میری ہی طرح کے طالبِ علم ہیں.  کچھ استاد اور تھوڑے سے ملازمین بھی۔ کانفرس ہال میں کبھی کبھار عالمی شہرت یافتہ دانشور بھی دکھائی دے جاتے ہیں. جن سے گپ شپ سوچ کے بہت سے در کھول دیتی ہے . یہاں کی تاریخی اور خوبصورت عمارت رہائشی کمروں ، ڈائننگ روم ، ہائی ٹیک لیب، اور کونفرننس ہال پر مشتمل ہے . ارد گرد لگے باوقار اور خوبصورت درخت اور سبزہ زار ہیں . ایک مصنوعی جھیل کے کنارے بنا بے حد حسین باغ بھی  . کیمبرج شہر اور یونیورسٹی بھی زیادہ دور نہیں . یہاں بسنے والے تمام کرداروں سے آپ کی جان پہچان دھیرے دھیرے ہو ہی جائے گی۔ لیکن کچھ لوگوں سے فوری تعارف ضروری ھے. ٹھیک کہا آپ نے۔ ابتدا مجھ ھی سے ھونی چاھیے۔ جی میں ھوں تصور بیگ۔ یہاں کیمبرج کے کنگز کالج میں انسانی تاریخ کا طالب علم۔ مصوری اور ادب میرے مشغلے ہیں۔ اور میرا ذہن ہر دم سوالوں سے پررہتا ہے . بالکل نہ گھبرایے جناب ۔ آپ سے گفتگو عام بول چال ہی کی زبان میں ھو گی۔ میرے کمرے سے دو کمرے دور میرا سب سے گہرا دوست رہتا ھے۔ جیکب ہاروی ۔ سنہرے بال ، لمبا قد ، متناسب جسم اور گہری سوچ رکھنے والا مقامی انگریز ،  ناموں کو مختصر کر دینا برطانوی رواج ہے . یہاں سب اسے جیک اور مجھے تص کہتے ہیں۔ جیک آرٹی فشل انٹیلیجنس میں پی ایچ ڈی کر رھا ھے۔ دوسری منزل کے کونے والا کمرہ جس کی کھڑکی کے بلکل سامنے آپ املتاس کا وہ حسین درخت دیکھ رہے ہیں . جی وہی جو لٹکتے ہوے دلکش پیلے پھولوں سے لدا ہوا ہے ۔ اس کمرے میں زینیا رہتی ہے۔ پھولوں بھرا لباس پہننے اور موسیقی کی شوقین.  زہین آنکھوں اور دلکش باتیں کرنے والی ہندوستانی ریاست گجرات سے یہاں پڑھنے آئ ہماری گہری دوست زن . وہ جنوبی ایشیا میں فن و ثقافت کے موضوع پر اپنا تھیسز مکمل کر رہی ہے۔ جیک کے کمرے کے ساتھ لگی ھای ٹیک لیب ہے جہاں ہم سب کا فیورٹ سائیکلو ھر دم موجود رہتا ہے۔ جی نہیں سائیکلو فلپائن سے آیا کوئی طالب علم نہیں ہے بلکہ وہ ایک سپر کمپیوٹر روبوٹ ھے۔ چلتا پھرتا اینسیکلوپیڈیا. پانچ فٹ اونچا۔ ھاتھوں پیروں اور نسبتاً مجھ آپ سے کہیں بڑا سر رکھنے والا سوپر کمپیوٹر روبوٹ۔ میں، جیک ، ذن اور سائیکلو اپنی مختصر سی دنیا میں بہت خوش رہتے ھیں۔ کبھی کبھار میری اور زن کی گہری دوستی اور ہمارے ملکوں کا آپس میں منفی تناؤ ہمارے خدشات اور اداسی میں اضافہ بھی کرتا ہے لیکن کبھی کبھار ہی . مجھے یقین ہے کہ آپ کا قیام بہت خوشگوار گزرے گا . ایسا نہیں کہ ہم اپنے اردگرد کے دوسرے لوگوں یا دلچسپیوں میں شامل نہیں ہوتے۔ لیکن جس کہانی کو سننے اور پڑھنے میں آپ دلچسپی رکھتے ہیں وہ ھم نوجوانوں  کے ذہنوں میں موجود سوالوں کے گرد گھومتی ھے۔ کائنات کی ابتدا اور انسانی ارتقا . تاریخ  کے پیچ و خم ، ایک منصفانہ دنیا کے قیام کی آرزو اور انسانی تہذیب کے مستقبل میں موجود ممکنہ خطرات کے گردگھومتے سوالات . ارے ہاں۔ میں آپ سے سائیکلو کے چیسٹ بیگ میں موجود ٹائم سپیکس کا ذکر کرنا تو بھول ہی گیا۔  یہ ورچوئل رئیلٹی چشمے پہننے والے کو ماضی یا حال میں موجود صورتحال اور مقام تک بلکہ امکانی مستقبل تک بھی مشاہداتی رسائی دیتے ھیں۔ ھے نا حیرت کی بات….. جاری ہے

Fare of a horse cart. Grandpa and me. Podcast serial by Valueversity. Episode 25

Posted by: Shariq Ali
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Grandpa talks about the evolution of a written text and current-day information explosion in this story

 

 

Grandpa was holding a book in his hands, and I was holding Kindle. He smiled and said to me. Without having a feel of turning the page on your fingers, how can you enjoy reading a book? While decorating flowers in vases, Yani Apa said. Mamdu is holding a library in his hands, not a book Grandpa. Then she asked me. How many books are there in your Kindle? I replied. Around fifteen hundred and dictionary extra. Place your finger on any word and here comes the meaning and detailed description. Grandpa said. No doubt, ideas are travelling at a high speed nowadays. And so cheap as well. Spreading information such as written text was never so easy and fast in the history of mankind as it is now. Please tell us about the evolution of written text Grandpa. I requested. He said. Verbal language is more ancient than written text. Body language and utterance of few meaningful sounds may have emerged earlier. The written text came much later. Thirty thousand years old paintings in the caves of Spain and France are the first written text of a kind. When ancient human evolved into groups. Need to prove ownership for the barter of things emerged. Hunt, crop, animal, or piece of land. The written text came into being because of this practical need. Archaeologists have discovered ownership plaques in Mesopotamia as old as 4000BC. Then evolved a picture language that was a straightforward drawing of things. Then manipulation and arrangement of shapes and pictures to create meaning. Finally, the alphabet associated with verbal sounds emerged. Mesopotamia, Babylonia, ancient River Nile. All civilizations have contributed to the evolution of alphabet and language. Yani Apa opened the window facing the lawn, a fresh breeze came in. Grandpa took a deep breath and said. The earliest evidence of writings is the name, Narmer. The first pharaoh of Egypt. Written on the clay cylinder in 3100 BC. Egyptians invented Papyrus around 2800 BC in Egypt. It reached Greece around 650 BC. Papyrus helped the start of proper book writing. Writings on silk textile began in China around 400BC. The creation of the Library of Alexandria in 295 BC was a great breakthrough. It preserved written knowledge. All ship’s anchoring at the port used to submit written material on board to the library. It was then transcribed, copied and preserved in the Alexandria library. Yani Apa handed over a hot cup of tea to grandpa and said. In the first century, the Chinese used a crude form of paper produced from the vegetable. Five hundred years later, the paper industry travelled from China to reach Japan. And finally, to South Asia. Then came the Gutenberg printing press revolution in 1439 AD. It spread the knowledge to the common man through printed books. And today’s world is a fascinating age of information explosion. Computers, digital communications and its foundation microchip has revolutionized current times. Information access, storage or its transfer in the form of text, pictures or sounds is so easy. And so cheap as well. As if someone is travelling on a spaceship and paying fare for the horse cart… To be continued

Walking on the sand. Grandpa and me. Podcast serial by Valueversity. Episode 24

Posted by: Shariq Ali
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Remembering a poet and a freedom fighter Ahmed Shamim

 

 

Room was comfortable and only lit by the fireplace. Grandpa, me and Yani Apa were watching our favourite videos turn by turn on the smart TV. Comments after each video were so amusing. On Yani Apa’s turn, we watched Ahmad Shamim’s poem sang by Nayara Noor. Lyrics and singing were so captivating. ” Once upon a time, we were adorable”. Once the video ended, I said. In this poem, I see the impression of childhood, but travelling on sand is nowhere. Then why its title is Moment of travel on the Sand? Grandpa said. Knowing a poet’s story makes it easier to understand the poem. Let’s begin then. I said. Grandpa said. At the time of partition, Ahmed Shamim was a talented student of Srinagar. He was also an active member of the Kashmir freedom movement. Because of the cruelty of Indian security forces, he had to leave his mother and family and come to Pakistan. First, he served as a freelance journalist in Azad Kashmir Radio. Later, he joined the information department. And promoted to the post of director. His poems never forgot the pain of leaving his mother and Kashmiri childhood. He sacrificed his happiness for the dream of independence. This grief is evident in his poetry. Yani Apa slowed down the heating a little and said. He was living as a paying guest with an elderly landlady in 1950 when he glimpsed Monira. She used to come to learn Qur’an from the landlady. A quiet and reflective girl. He liked her but could not express his feelings. He kept his silence and lost her. He then became a member of the Progressive Movement and suffered state violence. In 1961, by chance, he came across Monira again. This time love defeated the storm of social inequality and economic adversities. Monira writes in the preface of the book “Hava Nam Bar Ho” a compilation of the love letters of Ahmad Shamim to Monira. ” Mall Road was full of people all around us. We were walking along holding each other’s hands. As if we are creating a world of our own. Unbeknownst to anyone around us and the suffering of life. It felt like we had been together for centuries. As if our being and this moment are immortal. We are the universe. He was telling me. I am his dream. A girl who can endure great suffering “. Partition gave him another wound. In 1963, his mother passed away. He could not go back to Srinagar to attend her funeral. He thought strong Pakistan would guarantee the independence of Kashmir. He lost even this hope in 1971 after the fall of East Pakistan. On the night of Dhaka fall, he had his first heart attack. All the sacrifices seemed meaningless. In 1982, on his last interview for the radio, he says. Those who travel on the sand leaves no marks behind them. No clue for the coming generations. The strong winds erase even the footprints. And it becomes a meaningless journey to the unknown. His poem moment of the journey on the sand has many facets. These include a lost childhood, the grief of losing a mother. Broken dreams, and the meaningless struggle for the destination unknown. He laments his entire life in this poem. In 1982, another heart attack proved fatal… To be continued

Story of the storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. Grandpa and me. Podcast serial by Valueversity. Episode 23

Posted by: Shariq Ali
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His own childhood was immersed in deep poverty and deprivation.  But he wrote great stories of love, splendour, and the wonderment for children

 

 

I and Babul were sitting on the lawn bench under the apricot tree thinking about how to end our story in progress. Babul used to contribute with superb imagination. I was good at converting ideas into sentences. When these joint stories get published on the Kids Club website, we used to feel delighted. The thinking work on the new story was in progress. We never knew when Yani Apa came with picked flowers in a plate in her hand and sat beside us. As soon as Babul realized that Yani Apa is with us, he disappeared. When she took the paper from my hand, I also blushed. But then I felt reassured when I saw appreciation rather than ridicule in her expression. Babul also came along. When we all three completed the story together, Yani Apa said. Let’s hear the story of a storyteller today. He was born in Odense, Denmark in 1805. His mother was a maid and the father shoemaker. By the age of fourteen, he has tasted all the flavours of poverty. His parents wanted him to become a dressmaker and his passion was to become an actor in theatre. Finally, he managed to get his parent’s permission to go to Copenhagen to try his luck as an actor. He failed as an actor, then a singer and then a dancer, but remained associated with theatre as a writer. What about his education? Babul inquired. She replied. At the age of seventeen, an affluent gentleman helped him. He managed to resume and complete his education. His stories are more of fascinating oral narrations and not scholastic writings. Failing a few times in finding love, he remained a bachelor all his life. Most of his life, he travelled and lived as a guest with his rich friends. He made a lot of friends. His friendship with English novelist Charles Dickens is remarkable. The impressions of personal grief, loneliness, and sadness are evident in his stories. His characters and settings show the worlds of the poor and bourgeoisie. The concept and impression of the story emerge in different minds in different ways. As if they were not stories but poems. Like our Intizar Hussein, he reiterated the stories told by his grandma in his style. But most of the stories and characters are original. The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid are world-renown stories and characters. He felt embarrassed to write fairy tales. He could not have imagined that fairy tales are universal poetry. Adaptable to all cultures and languages. His first book could not have been more successful. With time, he gained a reputation as a novelist, playwright and a poet. Anderson’s contributions to world literature are his fairy tales. Almost all the languages and cultures of the world are familiar with his characters. Ugly duckling and the little mermaid are the household characters for children. Anderson departed from this world in Copenhagen in 1875… To be continued

Chinese wisdom. Confucius. Grandpa and me. Podcast serial by Valueversity. Episode 22

Posted by: Shariq Ali
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Story of the Uncrowned King of China. A philosopher whose sound bites of wisdom serve as a code of personal morality and handbook on government

 

 

The shortcut through the jungle was quite narrow. We had tons of small tree branches on both sides of the path and withered leaves under our boots. Babul was familiar with this shortcut and leading the way. Yani Apa wearing blue jeans, purple top and joggers was following him. Her beautiful long hair with a matching clip was moving like a pendulum on each step. I was following both at the back. Our destination was the lake where Grandpa and Uncle had been fishing since morning. I am sure you remember Babul? My best friend in Phoolbun who helps his parents in the fields. I felt good when Yani Apa and Babul became friends and liked each other. But now, it is a burden on my chest when I see her appreciating him when he swims or climbs trees faster than me. When the wilderness was clear, we started walking along. Yani Apa said to Babul. The passion for reading and writing can beat poverty. The story of poor Confucius born in China in 551 BC is a good example. He became an orphan when he was three. In those days, regular education was only available to the rich. He was a poor shepherd. He accompanied and served rich scholars during their journey to other cities. This was his learning and educational experience. He then got access to the Royal court and achieved further education. First became a secretary and then a prominent scholar. At the age of 23, he began educating others as a teacher. Then he became the judge of the city. When the crime rate went down, he became the Minister of Lu, a province of ancient China. Thus, the moral values and rule of law prevailed throughout the province. At the age of fifty-six, he travelled with his disciples to distant places to educate masses. Influence of his doctrines on Chinese culture from 200 BC to 1911 AD is very profound. When we reached the shores of the lake, Grandpa also came up and sat with us on the grass leaving his fishing rod behind. He said. Confucius did not leave any writings. But his disciples saved his teachings in the form of Analects in 400 BC. He never claimed to be a religious leader. Nor is his teaching any religion. He regards moral human conduct and personal dignity as the cornerstone of society. He says that rulers must become a role model to create a better society. They should be honest, obedient to rule of law, peaceful and able to make wise decisions. He considers discipline and ethics important. Even if people label and perceive us as naive. Confucian teachings still have some influence in present-day politics and system of government. His golden rule was to do what you expect from others. He left the world at the age of seventy-two… To be continued

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