Stories published in May, 2014

When I say Gouda you say Peppers, Gouda Peppers!

When I started making this spicy and aromatic appetiser with Gouda cheese, my mind naturally wandered off to the Netherlands. Gouda cheese is named after a city in the Netherlands where one of my oldest friends’ also lives. This friend and I have four things in common: adorable maternal grandparents, loads of grey hair, identical feet and the ability to eat insanely spicy food. I can’t reminisce enough when I think of all the times we’ve played in our grandmothers’ gardens, fought over home grown tangerines, turnips and carrots, made houses with wet sand, watched daffy duck cartoons, endlessly sang kya hua tera waada ...

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Meera ji’s age conundrum: It is time for our actresses to grow up!

It is evident that, in today’s day and age, women become very sensitive when it comes to discussing matters of ‘age’. Some become defensive, while others become emotionally distraught. Yesterday, a friend of mine shared a video with me on Facebook, and what a surprising video that turned out to be! In the clip, Meera is seen clarifying speculations about her age. She says, “My age has always been a very complicated matter and ‘Googles’ also portrays my age incorrectly, even my date of birth. I was born on May 12 but ‘Googles’ shows otherwise. But for now all I ...

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If she can walk around in skin-tight clothes, why can’t I wear my veil?

Many people believe that the Islamic veil represents extremism, that it is a symbol of oppressing women. In April 2011, we saw France becoming the first European nation to ban the wearing of the veil in public. Several other countries, like Germany, Italy and Belgium among others, took inspiration from France and passed legislations banning the ‘hijab’. The irony is that even in the so-called Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a few schools forbid the wearing of the veil. Ayman Mobin, a straight A’s student in O/A Levels and now a medicine student at Dow Medical College recalled, “The director of Karachi Grammar School ...

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Will Louis van Gaal bring back Sir Alex Ferguson’s legacy?

Now that the euphoria of Louis van Gaal’s appointment as Manchester United’s new manager has evaporated, it is worth assessing the scale of the task he has at hand. After seeing the club encounter their worst run of form in a generation, the ruling Glazer family and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward decided to sack the hapless David Moyes. After weeks of speculation of his appointment, Van Gaal was finally confirmed as the new manager on May 19, 2014. However, he has plenty of work to do to bring the recently displaced English champions back to where they belong. Ryan Giggs (R) and David ...

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The South Korean president did not ‘condemn’ the ferry accident, she apologised for it

About a month and a half ago, a group of students and teachers left their school for a field trip; hundreds of excited students were part of this trip, they were headed to a popular island resort at Jeju. However, when they returned, the group was short of 300 people, mostly students – students who had drowned at sea. Yes, I am talking about the South Korean ferry accident that took place on April 16, 2014, when a 6,825-tonne Sewol, with 476 people on board, sank near the country’s southern coast. Can you even imagine the loss the parents of those children must ...

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A note to the school back-bencher

Dear Back-bencher, How are you? I hope you are doing well. I really wish this from the bottom of my heart. Let me start by saying how sorry I am to judge you. I remember that time in school, when I was a snob and you were the guy who teased everyone, including myself. I was wrong to react the way I did towards your attitude towards life. I would secretly smirk when teachers would scold you. And I know I didn’t even talk to you, but I tried my best to be nice to you, simple because I felt sorry for you. You ...

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“Har kala rasha”: Hujra, a fading Pakhtun tradition

There are many characteristics of Pakhtun culture and a hujra is one of them. In fact, it is considered to be the most important part of Pakhtun culture. A hujra can be loosely translated as a social club. From the western mountainous terrains of Pakistan to the heart of Afghanistan to anywhere in the world where Pakhtuns live, there exists the hujra. Exclusively for the male population, a hujra plays host to various aspects of the social life of Pakhtun society – from resolving community disputes to wedding ceremonies. However, the very existence of this age-old tradition is now threatened due to modernisation and Western democracy. Purpose of a hujra A typical hujra is owned and run ...

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I rise, I am the dream and the hope of the slave – Maya Angelou

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou A great soul has left us. Everyone is saddened by the passing of one of the most celebrated poet, writer, teacher, artist, dancer, director and civil rights activist, Dr Maya Angelou, who died on May 28, 2014, at the age of 86. People will never forget how Angelou made them feel. Poet, critic and scholar Joanne M Braxton remembers her as “America’s most visible black female auto biographer”. To me, when I think of Angelou ...

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Maya Angelou – An enlightened glow in the world of literature

When I read the news about Maya Angelou’s death yesterday, I felt a small ache in my heart. Our world lost another great laureate this year, Gabriel Garcia Marquez being the first. Angelou’s work is commendable. For me, she was a woman who had seen all facades of life and with her vast intellect, she enriched our literary world. She has published seven autobiographies and various books of poetry. Her books give a deep insight to her childhood and early adult experiences. Her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in 1969 which was a narrative of her life till she ...

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My love affair with Sindhri mangoes

Yesterday, I tasted my first mango of the season. It was like falling in love all over again. I was sitting on an elaborate dastarkhwan on a 10th floor apartment’s spacious balcony in inner Karachi. “Saroli is the most amazing mango, is it not?” asked the elderly host. I sheepishly begged to differ. I am a biased Sindhri lover. Every year, the sweltering May heat that becomes unbearable as June comes closer, is a blessing for Mango lovers. “Ramazan will be unbearably hot this year. But chalo, at least there will be mangoes in the fruit chaat.” This sentiment resonates inside so many of us. And of all varieties of this ...

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