Stories published in December, 2011

A few good “F” words for the new year

The year 2011 sped by just like all the years before it. Glorious on many counts, it also had its downsides that come with the package of any given chunk of time. Standing in my balcony, braving the rare chilly Karachi winds against my face, I am taking inventory of the year gone by. Some unresolved resolutions are jumbled up in the knapsack of my mind while some new resolutions have also found their way in. ‘What are going to be my focal points in the year to come?’ I wonder. Somehow, a lot of ‘F’ words spring up in ...

Read Full Post

My blood runs thick and green

The problem starts as soon as I open my mouth. My ‘r’s roll out like a googlie, my ‘t’s sit heavy on the boundary and my ‘a’s are massive leg bys. I have to say two sentences and everyone’s on to me. Where is that lovely accent from? Oh, Pakistan! We wouldn’t have guessed. Where did you learn to speak English? Did you wear a burqa back in Pakistan? How many wives does your husband have? When you are trying to learn a new language, the first thing you want to know are the swear words- how to say sh–t in French, ...

Read Full Post

Defining moments of cricket in 2011

From cricketers being put in the slammer for spot-fixing to Shane Warne returning to play cricket – this year has seen it all. Here is my list of the top ten defining moments of cricket in 2011. 10) Ponting hands the reigns to Micheal Clarke It is hard to sympathize with Ponting considering that he is the captain who led his side to the most wins and has lifted the World Cup twice. But the writing was on the wall after the first Ashes defeat for Australia in 24 years, and the first time that a team had lost three matches by ...

Read Full Post

Adoption: Patience is truly a virtue

My wife and I have been married for almost five years now. Like many couples married this long, the yearning for parenthood – the most intense of all human emotions – soon over powered us too.We wanted a baby. We were longing, waiting, yearning for one. We had tried everything. We visited doctors in every city, and they all told us the same thing: “Nothing is wrong. You just need to be patient” But that is easier said than done. Friends and family were supportive, yes, but there were days when we couldn’t take it any more. All we could do, at the ...

Read Full Post

One year on at The Express Tribune

“It’s an alternate universe, we’re all vampires who work late into the night,” would be the first thing I’d hear from a would-be co-worker. The whimsical quip didn’t help much, so I made the plunge, not quite knowing what to expect. Clichéd as it may sound, what followed was nothing short of a life-changing experience. Not in my wildest dream had I anticipated what one year at The Express Tribune could potentially offer. A little dazed, I learnt the ropes slowly yet surely and made some wonderful friends along the way. Work is only part of the package. Perhaps what stands out the ...

Read Full Post

Abbottabad has more to offer than Osama bin Laden

Only months ago, whenever I had to tell anyone that I resided in Abbottabad, I was, more often than not, met with a catatonic pause. Apparently, only geography-buffs knew what this was and even less knew where this was. But then happened the notorious Bin Laden episode, and that spared us the agony of having to go through Abbottabad’s location every single time. However, the dimension of interrogation sported an altogether different angle. Many now seem curious as to what living in Abbottabad is like. ‘Isn’t it dangerous?’ ‘Are there other terrorists too?’ ‘Do you feel secure?’ These are some of the more common questions ...

Read Full Post

Christmas in Maryland

Ijazz Yousaf was born in a church in Anarkali, Lahore, the year of Pakistan’s birth. A resident of Maryland since the mid-80s, he has worked in a government job with mentally challenged citizens. Living in a suburb in Maryland with his wife and children, Yousaf  invited me to interview him and his family about their life in Pakistan and Christmas preparations. As we stand in his front yard, surveying the twinkling lights of the Christmas decorations in the garden, he says: “ It was a different time, no one cared what your religion was.” In a year when the blasphemy law has ...

Read Full Post

Ruttie’s love letter to Jinnah

This blog post is dedicated to Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of our beloved country Pakistan. In light of Jinnah’s recent birthday, the media has been showing stories about his life, and newspapers are flooded with anecdotes regarding the Quaid. Having listened to the news and read up much about him, there is one story in particular that has touched my heart. Our enigmatic, charismatic leader has been very secretive about his private life, yet this story shows the depth of passion his wife had for him. I happened to stumble across the last love letter written to Jinnah by ...

Read Full Post

PTI: Too many cooks in the kitchen

As Imran Khan’s political movement gathers steam, the core-group driving it has grown exponentially. While the long-term effects of this increasing capacity remain unknown, the absorption of various core-groups is transforming the PTI from within. Politicians like Jehangir Tareen, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Makhdoom Javed Hashmi will transform the PTI in their own ways. While some will impact the organization positively others will stamp their own traits on Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. Group theory as defined by Mancur Olson in the 60s offers a unique perspective into the effect that divergent groups and individuals have on a core-group. Olson’s theory can help ...

Read Full Post

Predicament of journalists in Balochistan

Balochistan is often in the news because of its ongoing low-level insurgency, recovery of bullet-riddled bodies, explosions, target killings or the alleged presence of the so-called Quetta Shura. But very few people realise that the province has also become a very difficult place to work for journalists. In fact, ten journalists have lost their lives in the line of duty this year alone. Three of them lost their lives in explosions or after being caught in the crossfire, while the rest were killed in targeted attacks because of their professional work or perceived sympathies with the province’s suffering citizens. Recently, ...

Read Full Post