Archive for July, 2007

Science Ka Adda: Dr. Saad Shafqat

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Mysteries of the Brain: A Presentation and Talk by Dr. Saad Shafqat on 31st July 2007

Fact: The human brain weighs about 3 pounds
Fact: The human brain contains 100000000000 neurons, each having 1000 – 10000 synapses
Fact: The human brain is equipped to receive 100000000 pieces of information at any given moment

Constantly adapting and rewiring, the human brain is unique in our world, our solar system and even our galaxy. At T2F’s Science Ka Adda, discover how our study of the brain has evolved from reading the shape of the head to today’s Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging techniques. Dr. Saad Shafqat will share fascinating insights into the human brain that came from patients who could ‘understand, but not speak’ and ‘speak, but not understand’, as well as others who ‘weren’t themselves anymore’, following injury to their brains.

What is personality? What is consciousness? Is the brain just a really powerful computer? Are we merely chemicals or do we have a soul?

Join us at T2F’s second Science Ka Adda as Dr. Saad Shafqat unravels the mysteries of that little thing inside our heads.

Dr. Saad Shafqatsaadshafqat.jpg

Dr. Saad Shafqat is Associate Professor of Neurology at Aga Khan University (AKU), Karachi. He obtained an MBBS from AKU in 1988, a PhD in Neuroscience form Duke University in 1994, and specialized as a neurologist from Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital in 1999.

The recipient of the 2006 Leadership Award of the Pakistan Society of Neurology, Dr. Shaqfat has authored over 30 scientific articles in leading medical journals. He is also a cricket writer/analyst, and in addition to contributing to Dawn and Cricinfo, co-authored Javed Miandad’s best selling autobiography: Cutting Edge. He also writes on social issues in the Dawn and Herald.

About T2F’s Science Ka Adda

Are you curious about the human genome project, but intimidated by ivory-tower scientists? Do you wonder whether the Big Bang actually happened? Is there life beyond earth? What happens when stars collide? What are the social implications of nanotechnology?

T2F’s Science Ka Adda, hosted by Zakir Thaver, is a platform for debate and discussion about science and how it impacts our lives. Join us, in an informal café setting, to discover new ideas in science and technology, interact with scientists, and satiate your curiosity.

Date: Tuesday, 31st July 2007

An Evening With Ardeshir Cowasjee

Friday, July 20th, 2007

T2F Presents Ardeshir Cowasjee on Friday 20th July 2007

Born in 1926, Ardeshir Cowasjee is one of Karachi’s oldest citizens. Join us at T2F for a session of story-telling, as Ardeshir takes us back in time, with his memories of the city of lights. ardeshir.jpgAlthough he is well known for his battles against the land mafia, this Thursday, Ardeshir will talk about the glory days of Karachi: communities, old families, the vibrant cultural scene, the ship he built, and a whole lot more. This is a unique opportunity to discover Karachi through the eyes of Ardeshir Cowasjee.

Born in Karachi, into the well-known Cowasjee Parsi (Zoroastrian) family, Ardeshir attended the Bai Virbaiji Soparivala Parsi High School (BVS) and graduated from DJ Science College, Karachi. Later, he joined his father, Rustom Fakirjee Cowasjee, in the family’s merchant shipping business, which was part of the Cowasjee Group. He married Nancy Dinshaw in 1953.

Read more about Ardeshir Cowasjee’s career on Wikipedia:

Date: Friday, 20th July 2007

The Tale of Tarot

Monday, July 16th, 2007

T2F Presents Jay Haque on Thursday, 16th August 2007

Tarot reader and specialist, Jay Haque will make a presentation on Tarot as an evolving cultural tarot.giftradition from its roots in 15th century Europe to its current position as a world-wide phenomenon. Jay’s talk will be an introduction to the nature and philosophy of Tarot and its intricate symbolism. He will also explore the fundamental questions which revolve around the tradition: Superstition or Rationale? Ignorance or Enlightenment? Magic or Science?

Using key figures in Tarot history, the tale of Tarot in its many guises will be revealed; following its long road from the hands of royalty, to gypsies, to occultists, to psychologists and finally, into the hands of the masses. Multiple perspectives will be approached including Jay’s personal responses and experiences in dealing with Tarot.

Date: Thursday, 16th August 2007

Modern Jazz Fusion on Friday the 13th

Friday, July 13th, 2007

T2F Presents An Evening of Modern Jazz Fusion Featuring Gumby and Abbas Premjee

Throw caution to the wind this Friday the 13th as a quartet of exceptionally talented musicians come together to present a fresh, new sound. Join us for a session of avant-garde improvisation with a multifaceted lineup:

Gumby on Drums
Abbas Premjee on Electric Guitar, Synth Guitar, and the Veena
John Saville on Electric Piano
Kamran Zafar on Bass

Date: Friday, 13th July 2007

Global Climate Change is Everyone’s Problem

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

Join Us at T2F on Sunday 8th July 2007 to Answer The Call

Live Earth is a 24-hour, 7-continent concert series taking place on 7/7/07 that will bring together more than 100 music artists and 2 billion people to trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis.


Live Earth marks the beginning of a multi-year campaign led by the Alliance for Climate Protection, The Climate Group and other international organizations to drive individuals, corporations and governments to take action to solve global warming. Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore is the Chair of the Alliance and Partner of Live Earth.

Join us at T2F on Sunday 8th July for a screening of “An Inconvenient Truth”, starring Al Gore, followed by a jam session featuring indie musicians including Faraz Haider and Humaira & Kenan. We will also provide you with information on how YOU can respond to the climate crisis.


Tune in to Radio 1 FM 91 on 8th July, from 11:00 am onwards for full and exclusive coverage of the Live Earth concerts.

T2F is grateful to Qasim Makkani (Spectrum | DYR) and Radio 1 FM 91 for volunteering to help out with this event.

Date: Sunday, 8th July 2007
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Screening of an Inconvenient Truth
8:45 pm – 10:00 pm: Live Music featuring Humaira & Kenan and Faraz Haider

Kyaa Hae, Kyoon Hae

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

Thank you to Metroblogging Karachi for forcing us to get the T2F blog going. Between carpenters, electricians, painters, and 42,069 tasks, it has been on the backburner for longer than we wanted. We also thought it best to get onto an independent soapbox to ramble on about the why’s and wherefore’s of The Second Floor just in case this post gets a bit too tangential and philosophical.

The Second Floor was born out of multiple desires and a few frustrations.

First up, this is not about making it big, raking in loads of cash, running a dukaan, or franchising a concept. The Second Floor is the first project of a non-profit organization called PeaceNiche (more about that dream later), and much, much, more than the coffee, it’s a platform for social change and activism. Having said that, we are intense coffee freaks and will be our own harshest critics; so the espresso better be consistently brilliant. We have always had a burning desire to set up a non-profit organization that combines passion, chutzpah, ethical business practice, technology, and the will to be a change agent. Here our some links from the website of our new media/technology company, b.i.t.s., which will provide insights into our temperament and business philosophy.

We have long bemoaned the lack of a vibrant civil society in Pakistan and recognize that people need to be provided spaces to speak up, engage with others, be intellectually challenged, and also to be entertained. We want The Second Floor to be a space for intelligent people to come hang out, share a point of view, talk about stuff that moves them, and to have fun. Hopefully, this will give rise to a community of creative, talented people with opinions, who will challenge the establishment and dare to make a difference.

As lovers of poetry, music, art, books, plus a boatload of other exciting things and, especially, of combining them with our love of technology – to which our team’s earlier CD-ROMs: 50 Years of Art in Pakistan and the much-acclaimed Faiz: Aaj Kay Naam bear witness – we were desperate for a public space where we could have small events such as readings, discussions, improv comedy, mashups, debates, and more. With nothing on offer, we decided to go ahead and throw some bricks and mortar together and create The Second Floor. So this is all quite selfish 😉

The thing about no blaring music is very, very serious. Music is in our blood but we need to hear ourselves think. We need to be able to have a conversation. There is a reason why people aren’t able to construct proper sentences anymore, “ummm, like, uhhh, you know, like whatever”, notwithstanding – the art of conversation is dead. Control has been handed over to plasma televisions and Justin Timberlake and we want to reclaim the space between our ears. Music will be selected carefully and will never be intrusive. It will be switched off if even one person wants it off. Everyone’s a stakeholder. How will we manage to make everyone happy? We don’t know – it’s up to all of us to make this work. When we have a music event, the music will be seriously loud. We’ll let you know in advance.

Is, as one of the bloggers has asked, Khayaban-e-Ittehad safe? It’s as safe as any other Karachi street or hotel basement. Is there parking? More than what’s available in Zamzama’s crowded alleyways. Maybe the street is not as well lit as it could be; something that plagues a number of roads in our city. Not much we can do about that but things can only get better. Why did we choose this location? (This may also answer the person who accused us of elitism and asked why we did not start it on the ‘other’ side.) Because b.i.t.s. is in the same building and it was convenient. We hope what we have on offer is compelling enough for you to keep coming back.

Quality. Yes, it’s true that most places start off with excellent service and great quality only to decline when the buzz dies down. We have been running b.i.t.s. for the last 7 years and started off with a 5 person team that grew to 22. However, soon enough, we realized that it’s incredibly difficult to find passionate team players who care about the details, about going beyond a veneer of superficiality. In the pursuit of growth, quality is often the first casualty, especially if you are in the business of creativity. We are now back to our original number of 5 people and only take on work that we want to; everyone’s much happier and clients keep coming back because they know we care. We have a history of taking action when it’s needed. The Second Floor works with a range of partners who have been carefully selected based on their track record for delivering quality products. If there are any quality issues, we should be the first to know, independently of our customers. If not, we deserve to have our butts kicked. Making everyone happy all the time is a fantasy but one can try. There will always be quibbles and people whom one won’t be able to please, but we urge you to be equal partners in this endeavor and help us work out the kinks rather than writing us off as touchy-feely tree huggers or big-business masquerading as socially responsible citizens.

The Second Floor is a WiFi zone. Internet access is free, courtesy Maxcom. Wireless signals will be brought to you by the Apple Airport Express. Laptops are welcome. It’s safe but do look after your stuff.

Smoking! A hugely unresolved matter. We would rather not allow smoking at The Second Floor but this will alienate a lot of potential visitors. We’ve had hugely varying reactions to this issue and we’re not sure how we will end up handling it. If only the Public Ordinance of 2002 that bans smoking in public places would be uniformly enacted across the country it would make life a lot easier. Can we form a pressure group and lobby for this to happen? Until then, there will be a separate area, of course.

Anyway, we’re here to give this a shot. It’s risky but we’re very, very excited and look forward to meeting a lot of interesting people along the way.

In Their Own Voice: Sehba Sarwar

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

T2F Presents Sehba Sarwar on Sunday, 5th August 2007

Karachi-born writer, poet, and essayist Sehba Sarwar will appear at T2F on Sunday to read new sehbasarwar.jpgpoems about Karachi, and selections from her first novel Black Wings (Alhamra Publishing, Islamabad). Sehba’s essays, poems and stories have been published in anthologies, newspapers and magazines in Pakistan, India and USA. Some of her recent work has appeared in the Alhamra Literary Magazine (Islamabad), And the World Changed (Women Unlimited, New Delhi) and in The News (Lahore). Her latest short story, A Sandstone Past, will appear this fall in a collection of short stories featuring Pakistani women writers (Harper Collins, New Delhi).

Based in Houston (USA) for the last fifteen years, Sehba has won three literary awards through the Houston Arts Alliance. Currently, she serves as Founding Director for Voices Breaking Boundaries, an activist arts organization. Over the years, Sehba has served as co-host of a Houston-based radio show on KPFT Pacifica 90.1 FM, appeared in readings and panels around the US, won awards for her writing, and has taught many writing workshops to adults and teenagers in Houston as well as in Karachi. She has been recognized for her writing and activism by: Karachi’s Dawn; Border Senses, an El Paso-based website; Living Smart, a Houston television show; and by other media outlets.

Most of Sehba’s formative years were at Karachi Grammar School where she took her O and A Levels, after which she went on to receive a BA from Mount Holyoke College and an MPA from the University of Texas at Austin. Her political consciousness was shaped by her working at The Star where she took a position after completing her A Levels and her bachelor’s degree. Mostly, though, she is influenced by her father, Dr. Mohammad Sarwar, who pioneered Karachi’s student movement during the fifties and was jailed for his work, and her mother, educator Zakia Sarwar, who is a forerunner for her work in English language instruction in Pakistan.

About “In Their Own Voice”

Poets and writers challenge norms, provide sanctuaries of escape, heal wounds, and take human consciousness to the next level. This series provides a platform to poets, writers, and storytellers to weave their magic.

Date: Sunday, 5th August 2007

In Their Own Voice: Attiya Dawood

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

Attiya Dawood: 1st July 2007

Bold, different, defiant, feminist — Attiya Dawood is an exciting voice in Sindhi poetry. attiya.jpgA voice suggesting new choices, drawing out of powerful relationships, hinting at elusive mysteries.

Attiya Dawood was born in Moledino Larik, a small village in district Naushero Feroz and she has been writing poetry since 1980. She has been hailed as the “most important feminist writer in Sindhi” by Shaikh Ayaz, who says “each and every poem is lustrous like a pearl”. Attiya Dawood is married to Abro, the painter and designer, and lives in Karachi. (Text Credit: Asif Farrukhi)

“Poetry for Attiya consists of fighting for a cause. A reader of poetry may have doubts about this sort of poetry but even then one may find it difficult to dismiss it as sheer propaganda. What attracts us here is a ring of sincerity and a feminine zeal for a cause”. Intizar Hussain

Join us at T2F on Sunday for a poetry reading, in Urdu, by Attiya Dawood and an exhibition of Abro’s paintings. Visit for more information about one of Pakistan’s leading activist poets.

Date: Sunday, 1st July 2007

Art Exhibition – The Image of Flame

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

An Exhibition of Contemporary Art by Activist Painter, K.B. Abro

Khuda Bux Abro was born in Hyderabad, in 1957, and has dabbled in every form of the visual arts. An activist to the core, Abro’s work deals with social themes and issues ranging from human rights to dictatorial regimes. “The Image of Flame” is an exhibition of paintings about social attitudes towards women in sub-continental culture and the myriad cruelties perpetrated against them, especially honor killing and discriminatory legislation against women.


An ardent supporter of free media, Abro’s illustrations, cartoons, posters, calligraphy, graphic design and paintings are now up on Flickr.

Date: Through July 2007