Friday, November 27, 2009


I am a florist. My flower shop is located in one of the finest hotels in the metropolis. There are some 20 shops in the main lobby of the hotel and my shop is centrally located and well placed among other shops of gourmet, articles & souvenir, Afghani rugs & carpets, jewelry, travel agency, book & magazines and perfumery outlet.

A question might come to your mind that why did I opt for the profession of floristry or floral trade as my source for livelihood? Well, while doing my MBA from a local university, my favorite subject was entrepreneurship. Aaliya was also the reason to have interest in entrepreneurship as we first time met in the class of the said subject. Later we decided two things before the closure of our final semester; first we will marry soon after the completion of our MBA and second I will not do any job and will start my own business. Our final project on setting flower shop was the reason to join this business. And for the last 9 years I am in this business.

My shop ‘Jamal’s flower shop’ is one of the most famous flower shop in town for its floral arrangements in vases, bowls, baskets or other containers, or making bouquets and compositions from cut flowers, foliages, herbs, ornamental grasses and other botanical materials. It’s really a form of art. Knowing how to cut, treat, and arrange flowers and other stock plants so they will remain fresh as long as possible as per requirements and expectations of the customers for the various occasions ranging from birthdays to anniversaries and from wedding sessions to seasonal greetings.

The flowers sold in florist shops typically represent the varieties abundantly available in the season but also include blossoms flown in from around the world. Basic varieties include gulab, motia, gainda, tulips, orchids and lilies. Fashion sometimes plays a role in floristry and I have to maintain enough stocks for the flower that everyone needs to buy.

But you know besides bloom days one has to face gloom days too. Apart from all the blissful years of robust growth I am standing at the point of uncertainty and business recession. With political and social chaos in the country and frequent suicide attacks the hotel industry is in doldrums. The hotel’s lobby which remains crowded with tourists & visitors almost throughout the year is looking deserted and barren. This is not only my shop which is suffering economically we all shop owners are facing the deepening crises.

For the last three days hardly any visitor came to the shop for flowers. Though I am a seller of hope & bliss but each day my flowers are getting dry and dead awaiting their buyers. It’s a really painful phenomenon to dispose of decomposed and dried flower arrangements. Increasing burdened expenses and low revenues giving its toll on my pocket. Today I remained open for the whole day and managed to sell only two bouquets. Upon closure of the shop my mind was hopeless to find solution for electricity bill payment, rent of the shop, my son’s english medium school’s two months’ voucher, daughter’s milk and likewise list of expenditures.

I reached home as a warrior who lost everything in the battle field. Aaliya welcomed me like any other day at home. My son and daughter met me with loud out slogans of “Abbu aa gaye”. I went into the bed room and dropped my whole body to the nearby sofa. Aaliya, the pacifier, was there to listen everything. She comprehended all my miseries without any verbal communication and said: ‘I know you, you are extremely good in business, you are honest and dedicated, you sell happiness and delight to the people and you know God is with those who distribute bliss & pleasure to its mankind. Have faith in God! App pereshan na hon everything will be fine!’

I saw the assurance and confidence in the Aaliya’s eyes. With Aaliya as my wife I felt like the most lucky man on earth. The ‘Hope’ somewhere inside me has been rejuvenated by my shareek-e-hayat. I looked at my ever encouraging Aaliya. She gave me inspiring smile and I got enough strength to reopen the shop tomorrow with same zeal and enthusiasm.

Adam’s dream of having Eve’s companionship seems to be materialized and I once again opened my flower shop with the same set of floral arrangements, the aroma and fragrance in the air in the search of selling hopes to my prospective customers.

P.S: With this King Sheheryar asked Princess Shahrzad if he got success in selling flowers the other day. In hope of living another day Shahrzad smiled and replied gracefully, “Hazoor! Iss ka zikar agli nashist main ho ga” (My Lord! I will let you know this in the next sitting)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Complete KYC requirements!

She looked at the cheque received through Admin Officer. The cheque was crossed “Account payees only” in favour of Hajira Bibi amounting to PKR 283,450/-. Her eyes watered and the wording of the cheque got jumbled. Two months earlier her only son died while serving on duty in a suicide attack by an ‘unknown’ suicide bomber. He was serving as government employee in Elite Force, Punjab Police and cheque was the payment for accumulated funds & end benefits. Admin Officer also told her the ‘good news’ that she will receive pension of PKR 3,130/- per month for his son.

Hajira Bibi has been through a lot of turbulent times in her life cycle. She migrated to Lahore from Ferozepur, India in 1947 and was one of the very few survivors in the family when other members were brutally butchered by Sikh rebellions. She was married to Mairaj Din who was a local street vendor. Life for Hajira Bibi was not a bed of roses since Mairaj Din’s earning was meager and insufficient to cover the very basic necessities.

After Mairaj Din’s death, her son was the only asset she had. With loss of life of her son she lost every thing. She gathered all her energies and efforts and went to a local bank branch around 8 K.M away from her poor home by changing two wagons for opening of an account for respective credit of cheque.

An officer sitting at the front desk was recently trained on KYC & AML (Know Your Customer & Anti Money Laundering) measures to be adapted to curb any illicit, illegitimate placement, layering and integration of funds as defined under Financial Action task Force (FATF) recommendations and SBP Prudential Regulations on KYC & AML measures.

At the front desk that officer told her: O Khala je! You know only cheque in hand is not enough to open an account. You have to fulfill KYC & AML requirements. Bring your Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) in original, attested copy of CNIC and list of documents required to open a pension account. He handed over the list along with the account opening form.

Hajira Bibi looked at the officer, at the cheque in her hand, list of documents & account opening form. She has yet to prove her identity to be known for customer due diligence.

(All the Characters in the above mentioned story are imaginary & fictional work and resemblance to any actual incident is merely coincidence for which blog-writer is not responsible)