hey say that don't judge a book by its cover. This is so true for the book I have in hand at the moment. Not really a book, its actually a magazine; annual magazine to be exact.
CommuniCat 2009 was launched amid great hype at the NED Auditorium. There were sparks of maturity and professionalism, and gasps of amateur attempts. At one moment they looked spectacular in their confidence, style, lighting and visuals, at others, it was unbearable.
The start was special. Faisal Ahmed Jafri; a member of Team CommuniCat, gave an ideal start. As he galloped up and down the auditorium, he blew everyone away with the charisma, conviction and intent matching Mani's; and he did this in a soothing English accent; a rarity in Karachi.
Don't know their names, but theirs was a remarkable concept; at par with CNN, if not BBC.
He was asking simple questions from the Telecommunication crowd, like: "What is CommuniCat to you?", but the answers were often complicated and in grammatically poor English. Yet, with Faisal Ahmed Jafri, even that was a treat to the ears.
An announcement on stage: "We are proud to announce that the Vice Chancellor of NED University would start the proceedings fro the launch of CommuniCat 2009." Everybody cheered and clapped. Our Vice Chancellor, despite his feeble age, is a very charismatic person. His voice is a treat, it resembles that of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the father of the Nation.
A moments gap. Another piece of announcement, "This is to announce that the Vice Chancellor of NED University would arrive at the end of CommuniCat 2009 launch." What a mess. There was a hush of disappointed all over the hall.
Sohaib Tahir and Ms.Maham Khan, wearing the patriotic greens and white, took over. (Whatever Pakistan has to do with a Telecommunication's Magazine launch). Hitherto, the dressing, the delivery was fine, but Sohaib Tahir was not impressive. He sounded low on gas, and his Urdu accent for English didn't help either.
Click here for Team CommunicCat Photo
A refreshing change
Two orators from either side of the stage arrive with the start of a slide show, "The Making of CommuniCat 2009". Don't know their names, but it was a remarkable concept. Their presentation was at par with CNN, if not BBC.
They said that their first two attempts at launching the magazine had gone in vain. So they tried again, and were successful in launching the magazine on its second issue. There was a roar of claps.
The editor in chief of the magazine took over. He talked about the magazine, and their efforts in producing it. Whatever he said was spot on, but it was all in such a bored-down tone that no one bothered to applaud.
Then the Honourable Dean of Telecommunication Department, Professor was requested to share a few thoughts. From his awkward dressing, to his deplorable pronunciation, nothing was right. Sadly, he was a laughing stock; a matter of shame for Telecommunication's students. In his English, value became 'wallu', and two turned into a spitting 'thu'. Nevertheless, he had some facts to share:
- The Telecommunication Department is ISO 9000 certified.
- It has had 7 batches, out of which 3 have already graduated.
- The PEC recognition is pending, but is highly expected to come this year.
- There is a good demand of Telecommunication's engineers from Pakistan at places like Canada and the United States.
The ten minute speech end. It was like an hour of pain. A sigh of relief, like a crowd wave, passed around the hall.
Then the Dean aided by the Chief guest, officially launched the magazine by ribbon cutting. I couldn't get a glimpse because of the camera men (see picture to the right). Just look at the darkness. It looked like the last scene of a tragic opera.
A teacher of the Telecommunication department was next. This was a 180 degrees shift: Proper English, Cool walk, top notch dressing and an air of confidence. He had worked for Mobilink previously. So, lets call him Mr. Mobilink.
Mr. Mobilink began by saying that since he had a throat infection, he wouldn't speak for long. But when we started, he went on and on for 30 minutes. He was conveying the right point of seeing the potential in Telecommunication, but he was taking too long.
Actually the start was quite interesting. He talked about how bad the recession was, and how bad it would be for the telecommunication's industry. He asked us if we agreed. A boy stood up and said, "I don't agree with you." Everybody laughed at his foolishness. Mr. Mobilink asked him to explain his argument. He said, "Eighty percent of the foreign investment coming into Pakistan today is going into the Telecommunications industry. The industry is still going." A matter of seconds and the same people who called him foolish were clapping and cheering over his heroic reply.
The Vice Chancellor arrived, but wait a minute; wasn't he supposed to arrive at the end of the launch? Mr. Mobilink could have gone on and on about telecommunications and its potential, but the Vice Chancellor spoiled the show. Just a little more hunched than the last time I saw him, the Vice Chancellor climbed up stage and and began: "Whoever thought of the name, that is, CommuniCat, it is, indeed a very catchy name. I wish the magazine many successes in the years to come." The voice was clearly weak, no match for Mr. Jinnah's. I was really disappointed.
Nevertheless, he went on, "In the 1930s, when there was the Great Depression, my father said to me . . . .", after that I didn't get a word. It was as if he was talking in sleep; the voice dying out at the wrong moment.
1930s. Retirement, anybody.
A few more presentations, some reading efforts. Four twenty and the launching ceremony ended with an announcement by Faisal Ahmed Jafri , "Students, please be seated, as the VC and the Chief guest leave. The magazine shall be distributed once they leave."
The dignitaries left. No magazine. Another announcement, "The magazine shall be distributed at the counter. Please proceed to the counter." No this was mismanagement at its peak.
All in all, it was a good show. It had its ups, and it had its downs. I dream of launching my blog this way, someday.
The book was a souvenir for Telecom students only. Ali and I stood in line at the counter half scared, half excited; hoping to somehow get the magazine. The girl asked our roll numbers, Ali said 03, she scrolled the list looking for Roll Number 3, it was there. Ali got his copy of CommuniCat 2009. I was next. "Roll number 6", I said. She asked, "Second Year?", I nodded a yes to get my copy.
I decided to read and review the magazine, and place at at my blog. Also, I felt guilty of taking Roll Number 6's copy. It was his souvenir. I must return and review this magazine before it is too late.
About the author The author is a Second Year student in Urban Engineering. He is also the editor of this blog.
Were you present at the book launch?Share your thoughts then.
What are your thoughts about CommuniCat 2009?