Stories published in June, 2013

Disney World the Korean way: The magic of Lotte World!

“I don’t want the public to see the world they live in while they’re in the Park. I want them to feel that they’re in another world.” This approach made Mr Walt Disney come up with the idea of Disney World, a place I always wanted to visit but couldn’t. Little did I know that South Korea had a surprise in store for me in the form of “Lotte World”, or as I like to call it, the Korean Disney World. Being someone who has not let go of her inner child, I was more than happy to discover Lotte World. I just ...

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Man behind ‘Red-brick blocks’

The efforts of Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, famous not only for his street politics and outspoken nature, but also for his generosity towards educational institutions for girls in Rawalpindi, are laudable. The logic behind the presence of a Sheikh Rasheed Block at almost every school or college for girls in the constituency of NA-55 is not known to many, especially since these blocks aren’t found in any colleges for boys. Sheikh Rasheed won in the elections held this year. Sheikh Sahib mentioned at a prize distribution ceremony at Viqar-un-Nisa Post-Graduate College for Women a few years back that his colleague(s) brought several ...

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Zumba: Who knew losing weight could be fun?

The typical lifestyle of a typical Pakistani housewife is, in one word, sedentary. Our movements are limited to settling into air conditioned cars and hovering about our servants’ heads as we tell them how to do all the work. So, what do we do as we begin to see size-zero heroines and start worrying that our waists are beginning to attain their own zip codes? You walk into a Zumba class. I went in with a friend, moderately confused and totally self conscious. What was I going to do? How was I going to lose weight? Would I walk out feeling ten pounds lighter ...

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I was not meant for mediocrity, that’s why I did it…

Dragging himself through the doors, Ammar threw his bag against the wall and slumped his aching body face first onto his bed. As he heard the whirring of the fan above him, accompanied by a creaking noise every now and then, he began pondering upon the path of uncertainty his life was taking. His thoughts started drifting to three years ago – his cleaved discipline throughout high school, getting straight As, while adhering a bare minimum social life; taking part in committees, becoming the school prefect and then earning a scholarship to a prestigious college. He was what every mother nagged ...

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Meera ji won me over, with her English and her heart!

As a child and a youngster, I barely knew that there was more to life than using your proficiency in English as a status symbol. I was born and raised in a family where the accuracy of your English was the most important value. After an exhausting and detailed process of school selection, I was put in a schooling system that charged my parents a monthly fee exceeding grocery and food expenses for the entire house. The top family fact was repeated every other day for our benefit: “Ammi holds a Masters degree in English Literature!” Even around me, rich farmers wanted their offspring to ...

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Balochistan University bus attack: My best friend died the day he wanted to live his life!

After spending all day preparing for a party at my university, I slept very late. I could hardly wait for the next morning, when my classmates and I would finally be performing in the plays we had prepared for. We had parodies lined up and even a fashion show. The next morning was going to be fantastic, I thought. The fashion show was a party tradition of the computer science and computer engineering departments of the Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS). This time, upon my insistence, my friend Aqeel agreed to walk the ramp. After a ...

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I killed my unborn baby because I have too many

She had no remorse on her face as she sat in front of me sharing the story of her third induced abortion she had gotten done a few weeks earlier.  “I already have five children. I am working for your mother in Karachi. My family is in a village near Rajanpur. Who’d look after the baby?” said Sughra, my mother’s maid, when I asked her why she kept having abortions. “In my village, it’s a done thing baji. Every woman gets it done. All married women. The daai (midwife) takes Rs 300. She uses dawaai (medicines) or any sharp instrument. I nearly died in the second one, ...

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Dear doctors, what happened to your bedside manner?

Why do so many doctors here treat their patients like mindless cattle? Yes, I understand that doctors regularly treat relatively uneducated patients who may not be able to follow procedures or understand information. However, when a person comes along, clearly literate enough to make sense of what is happening, it is beyond me as to why doctors treat their questions or opinions with careless disdain, as if we have foregone the right to ask and respond by stepping into their domain. Fine, you find it difficult to keep me in the loop about what you are doing and how you arrived at your ...

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No cheese cheesecake: The weight-watcher’s dream dessert!

Cheesecake cravings are horribly inconvenient if you’re on a diet because this delicious dessert is as fattening as it is appetising.  Sometimes, you really wish you could have a bit without worrying about the huge calorie intake. Well, there is a solution to your dilemma – the yummy no cheese cheesecake! No cheese cheesecake has all the attributes of being the perfect cheesecake, except it is not made of deadly, heavy cream cheese. Its main ingredient is the much hyped Greek yoghurt. Greek yoghurt is a healthy high-protein, low-carb alternative to regular yoghurt. You can have it for breakfast with fresh fruit and ...

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Drone-fare: A clueless rant

As a Pakistani, it is safe to be ranting out against drones. However, if you happen to be an international relations graduate, you are often at loggerheads with your patriotism and reality. The question of legality concerning drones is a myriad of crisp talks and writings. The major issues encircling the drone debate, under international law’s spectrum, are questions regarding national sovereignty and targeted killings. It is common knowledge now (bless the Wikileaks!) that under the mutual agreement between the then US administration and former president Pervez Musharraf,  Islamabad was obliged to provide the relevant information for the predator drones to ...

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