Stories published in October, 2013

When we were too poor to afford Blue Band margarine

I still remember the day that Blue Band margarine was introduced to Alamdar Bakery in my home-town of Quetta, Pakistan. The glossy silver packaging and the light blue printing stood out among all the other butter in the bakery’s refrigerator. However, I refrained from taking an interest in this new product since I was well aware that my parents would not be able to afford it. I continued to consume the inexpensive Liaquat Makkhan for breakfast even after the older brother of the baker recommended Blue Band with great zeal; I consoled myself by thinking that he was just trying to improve his sales. As the weeks ...

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40 things that Pakistani men hate to hear

We need to talk Do I look fat? Umm there’s this new store at the mall… I’m not hungry hungry, but I’ll share your garlic mayo fries. Why do you have to hang out with Fahad so much? Is he your boyfriend? Oh never mind, Yasir is just a friend. But I don’t get a good vibe from Ramsha so you better not talk to her. I’m not one of those girls. You’re just like a brother to me. *On the second date* some people are coming over tomorrow for my rishta, so I thought I should just let you know. If I ask you something, would you ...

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To survive at NADRA you must (not) obey the law?

NICOP and Smart NICOP facilities were started by NADRA in an attempt to assist overseas Pakistanis who send a considerable amount of their income to Pakistan and invest in the country despite the deplorable situation here. Here is the sad story of my pursuit to get this card.  My first attempt:  On October 20, 2013, I made my first attempt to acquire the Nicop. For that, I went to the Nadra office at Deans Trade Centre in Peshawar. After having spent two hours waiting in the queue at the token counter, I was told by the officer that the Nadra Dean Centre office did not accommodate applications for the ...

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Skimpy clothing in Saudi Arabia? If you’re in a compound, sure!

I remember watching a movie a couple of years ago, called Kingdom, the plot of which centred around an armed assault on a Saudi Aramco housing compound. For those who are not aware of the oil and gas industry, Saudi Aramco is a Saudi Arabian state-owned oil company, which has exclusive rights of oil extraction in the country. At the moment, Saudi Aramco is the biggest oil exporter in the world. The movie Kingdom was released in 2007 and that was my first exposure to the life-style followed in the housing compounds of this company. Last week I got a chance to actually visit a ...

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WWE’s Hell in a Cell: The good, the bad and the ugly

Hell in a Cell has been considered one of the most gruelling staple matches of all time, since its début in 1999. Although it has inspired many imitations, none have been able to replace the demonic steel cage that has shortened the careers of so many. What better month to ‘go to hell’ than October – the month of Halloween! Like most matches, this one also had its fair share of the ‘good, the bad and the downright ugly’. The Good Tag Team Division The titles were defended between the Rhodes Brothers – Cody Rhodes and Dustin ‘Goldust’ Rhodes – the Uso Brothers – ...

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Calling Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy ‘jahil’ can only happen in Pakistan

A few days ago, a fierce verbal battle took place between the guests on a talk show called “On The Front” hosted by Kamran Shahid. The bone of contention was the book called ‘I am Malala’ authored by the 16-year-old herself. The guest speakers included, Orya Maqbool, Ansar Abbasi, Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy and Zafar Hilaly. With regards to the topic at hand, the conversation began with Orya Maqbool and Ansar Abbasi giving their view on the book. Highly sensationalised words were used by the two, and common ground was reached with Malala being framed as offensive towards Islam. Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy interjected stating that he had ...

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A bus ride with a convict, a drug dealer and an old lady

Travelling can help an individual understand different aspects of society and it also gives one a clearer perspective about the world. Having said as much, when I left Lahore to visit my home town Sialkot, I did not have the faintest idea as to what was in store for me! I reached the terminal, just in time to board a bus leaving for Sialkot. The weather was pleasant, so I decided to travel in a non-air conditioned bus. Although I had never been in a non-air conditioned bus before, I thought that this would save me money and perhaps, I could enjoy the weather ...

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My mother in law’s chicken haandi recipe: The perfect dish for a casual dinner

My recent trip to Pakistan was directed towards Multan – a city which I had only visited once in the past during my childhood when we lived in Bahawalpur many years ago. I took this opportunity to roam around the city, to see what it had to offer. I did a lot of shopping too, from sohan halwa and multani chappals to blue pottery and the likes. What joy it was! As a kid I remember our house always had a continuous supply of Multan’s famous sohan halwa and Kushaab’s dooda. It was regularly served with tea and shami kebabs to ...

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8 hours of school and then tuition: Is your child learning anything?

I was quite disturbed to hear that Haroon Tariq – the student who secured 38 As in IGCSE – has opened up a tuition centre where he intends to offer paid tuition for O’ and A’ level subjects. It is indeed sad that such a brilliant mind is encouraging a trend like after school classes. This article by no means serves to undermine the accomplishments of the aforementioned student, but to highlight the implications of the overall growing trend of private tuition in Pakistan, whose endorsement by Haroon is pitiful. In my opinion, after-school tuition are a handicap, or put it more appropriately, an addiction for students. ...

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Five effective ways to rid you of your dandruff problem

Our skin constantly sheds dead cells without us even knowing. Usually these cells are not visible to us, as they are very minute. However, there are some dead cells which are annoyingly visible and we see them in the form of dandruff. As you know, dandruff is the shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp at an excessively fast rate. Many of us have faced issues with regards to this natural nuisance. So, how can one effectively eradicate dandruff? Here are a few tips: Getting the right shampoo Just because Kareena Kapoor endorses a particular brand, does not mean that shampoo will ...

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