Stories published in May, 2011

Gurhamba: A refreshing drink for the summer

Cold juices and fresh fruits are what we await when the summer is around the corner with mangoes being the most wanted fruit. Ripened or un-ripened, mangoes are love! With raw mangoes, we make pickles and chutneys, and what I discovered lately, Gurhamba too – in other words, keiri ka sherbat. ‘Gurh’ means ‘sugar’ and ‘amba’ means ‘ambi,’ (raw mango). Gurh-amba is a delicious sweet and sour drink which is very good for the summers – raw mango pulp blended with ice and sugar – absolutely delicious. I searched for its authentic recipe, but my efforts were in vain. Then, my sister-in-law, ...

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10 terrific traits of the average Pakistani

This piece is not based on empirical data. Not even on a wide array of anecdotal data. This is just one person remarking on her observations over the course of her relatively short life. And, of course, the term “average” is employed pretty loosely here since the true “average” Pakistani is busy making ends meet and incapable of reading such self-indulgent articles. So of course, I mean the average person among the English-newspaper reading segment of society. I hope this serves as a sufficiently verbose disclaimer. 1. Our warmth: I was halfway through the journey on a PIA flight back ...

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The Capital Vulture: Diplomatic Enclave party culture – The bitter truth

The lot of us pitiful Islooites who are used to night life elsewhere will attest that, come Saturday, a deep panic sets in. Has anyone made a plan? What if no one does anything? It’s happened before. However if you’ve got an invite to any one (or all) of the smorgasbord of embassy associated clubs – you’re on the list and maybe you invite a friend along – you’re all set for the weekend. You can politely refuse other invitations with a wry smile; say you’re, unfortunately, going to the _______ Club. Sorry, man, just can’t make it. But at the end ...

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The choice is ours to make

When I go out reporting I come across politicians and bureaucrats sitting in chilled rooms but agitated over the post-OBL scenario. At the same time I also get to meet members of the general public who vent anger at the current state of affairs and seek to interpret the information we provide them through our media outlets 24/7. Needless to say, it’s not just the chopping of trees that has made the city hotter but there are certain policies that our mighty establishment pursued since the 1980s, which have certainly added to this heat and it is now becoming unbearable. With ...

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Manal al-Sharif: The caged bird also sings

“It is not a revolution, it is not a plot, it is not a gathering and it is not a protest — we are only requesting to drive our cars.” The above message was posted on one of the many groups which have sprouted on Facebook supporting Manal al-Sharif’s brave initiative. An IT security consultant at ARAMCO, the biggest oil company in Saudi Arabia, Manal al-Sharif is a brilliant, sophisticated woman asking for something that should have been a given: driving her own car. The House of Saud Saudi Arabia has largely been immune to the revolutions sweeping the region. The discontented Shia minority in ...

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To Pakistani media: Stop spouting homophobic hatred

Right from the outset, I want to state in no uncertain terms that homophobia infuriates me to no end. Whether or not one agrees, it is a natural proclivity and/or a conscious choice, the state has no business regulating sexual expression and practice between consenting adults. There are far more pressing matters for the government to spend its budget on than policing what people do in private. Having said that, I understand that lawmakers in Pakistan will not remedy homophobic laws because the majority of the citizens would oppose such a move. I’m not naïve enough to believe we’ll follow ...

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Kalma Chowk, you will be remembered

A lot of criticism is in the air about the “fall of the Kalma chowk” as if it is the fall of the Pakistan economy. Many people, all of a sudden seem to have loads of memories associated with Kalma chowk – which were probably made while staring at it, waiting to get across the signal. Protests, SMS’ and even Facebook pages have been made and dedicated to the discussion over the loss of this beautiful piece of architecture. The government’s personal interest in building the flyover is a by-product of the discussion. This is a perfect example for why I support ...

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My cousin Yaser isn’t dead

A month after Yaser (better known as Lieutenant Syed Yaser Abbas Shaheed) lost his wallet, he received a letter along with his identity card. It was an apology from the guy who had stolen it. He wrote that it was the dire need for money that had forced him to steal, that he was really ashamed and would return him the amount if and when his circumstances changed. I’m sure that though his feelings of remorse would have grown now that Yaser has left, the letter writer can draw some comfort from the fact that he had at least apologised. But ...

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Life on the balcony

The number of apartments is growing with increasing population. More buildings usually means less green spaces and a greyer city. Nonetheless, living in an apartment must not keep you away from having a healthy green space. Even small spaces such as a balcony can become a rewarding and refreshing garden of your own. All you need is some planning. What do you want from your garden? Ask yourself, which type of garden you would like to walk into each day? This mostly depends on the space, sun, wind exposure and the irrigation system. But first thing is first. Weight management: Firstly, find ...

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Corporate memories after marriage

If I look back on the three years of my hardcore corporate life, I remember nothing – nothing but the fact that I was busy and going insane. I remember the times I would look up from my cubicle for some blood circulation and see faces staring at screens that stared back in anticipation — or the times I would look up and my big fat boss would be staring down at me, eyebrow raised with questions mounted on the royal arch. There were a few moments that provided a semblance of real life, like coming back home and sleeping, or ...

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