Stories published in June, 2015

Pakistanis’ love for the succulent kofta curry

The kofta curry, also known as the meatballs curry, is a sophisticated dish. It is not as most of us tend to believe, indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. Delicious meatball dishes and meat loafs can be found in various Middle-Eastern, central Asian, Turkish, and Mediterranean cuisines. There is no fixed size of meatballs; it varies from the size of an orange to the size of a golf ball. The word ‘kofta’ is derived from the classical Persian verb kōftan which means ‘to beat’ or to mince. Hence the grounded meat is mixed with a range of spices. Koftas can include variety of fillings, ...

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Some of us cannot afford the hijab of today

There is a school named The Clifton High School which is not in Karachi but in New Jersey, USA, and Abrar Shahin is a Muslim student of Palestinian descent who recently graduated from this school. Sincere congratulations and best wishes in her subsequent career to the young lady who appears to possess a strong sense of identity since her photograph shows her wearing a hijab, and who is about to present us with what I hope, a healthy debate. In the hormone-charged atmosphere of high schools, where girls dress quite revealingly, it takes conviction to cover your head with a scarf at ...

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Move over Pakistan vs India, there’s a new rivalry in town

With back-to-back victories on their home ground against Zimbabwe, Pakistan, and India, Bangladeshi cricket fans have witnessed some of the best days watching their team play. The fans would say that beating Zimbabwe was predictable, but victories against two big teams, Pakistan and India, are what matters most. Asia will not always solely be about India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. A Champions Trophy spot is confirmed for Bangladesh and now the battle is between one of the big teams to fight it out against West Indies for the last spot. Only a year and half ago, Bangladesh had failed to ...

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Are we really going to blame India for the heatwave?

The recent heat wave in Karachi that has claimed over a thousand lives is one more nail in our government’s coffin of negligence and its inability to deal with a crisis. It has also become the norm in the subcontinent to give public officials the opportunity to show just how mind-numbingly dumb they really are. In a recent statement, the Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan has said that the actual responsibility for the heat wave lies with the boogie across the border, India. He claims that coal-powered plants in Rajasthan, India could have contributed to the heat wave. The senator does not quote any scientific research to support his claim, ...

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Does one Iftar at the White House change anything for Muslims in the US?

Ever imagined life in a constant state of perpetual rush, whereby an individual is desperately trying to keep things together in an effort to please everyone, starting off with one thing but unable to ever finish any task before moving on to another, pulled in different directions and not knowing what the end objective is? Sounds like an exhausting and frustrating journey of a good natured guy, right? Indeed! This is how Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House has been – presiding over a fractured Washington and putting out wild fires one after the other, ending up aimlessly drifting without achieving ...

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Punjab is Pakistan and Pakistan is Punjab

As 83 mutilated corpses are found in Balochistan, I further lose hope in our crumbling system and the state. A state which has failed its citizens over and over again.  Every man with an empty head and fickle mind is trying to formulate his own creed and ideology. It is tantamount to saying, in the presence of various man-made beliefs, that it is hard to follow one ideology with zeal and enthusiasm. The case of Pakistan is verily the same. In Pakistan, people are blind followers of false narratives, whether enforced by the mighty army or by the corrupt and incompetent politicians. I pity the ...

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A city within a city, the magical walled city of Lahore

I grew up visiting nooks and corners of Lahore with my father as a weekend trip. From Lahore Fort to Data Darbar, streets of Bhati Gate to Anarkali food street, my father made sure that Lahore’s heritage was a major part of my upbringing. This urge to visit Lahore has been there in my heart ever since and I go out on the streets to replenish it every now and then. For more than a year, I have been going out to the walled city, talking to people, understanding their stories and clicking their portraits. I don’t consider myself a photographer, ...

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She’s always busy texting or socialising: 10 ways to raise teens of this generation

“I have no clue who Sarmad chats with all night and is always late for college,” said a disgruntled mom of a 19-year-old. Another one complained, “Aaah they are all like this these days, I just can’t tolerate my daughters friends. I know they are bad company, but she just can’t stay away from them.” “My son is suffering from acute bronchitis from smoking shisha every single day after university,” one mom said sobbing with grief. An angry dad beat his son blue and black upon finding him watching porn on the computer, while Mrs Ahmed argues with her 18-year-old daughter on proper ...

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How ‘3 Bahadur’ reminded me of my childhood heroes

After months of speculations, Pakistan has finally stepped into a new era by releasing its first animated movie called 3 Bahadur. Fortunately, I watched the premier of 3 Bahadur which was organised in Karachi, with the sole purpose to evaluate the movie for my children’s viewing. To my surprise, as I watched the movie, I started reminiscing over my own childhood. The time when my siblings and I used to read stories written by Ishtiaq Ahmed, an Urdu fiction writer famous for his spy and detective novels. Ahmed’s novel had three characters, who were students by the name of Mahmood, Farooq and Farzana. Hence I assume ...

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“After my relatives raped me 30-40 times, it didn’t hurt anymore”

“It’s been years. I don’t feel the pain in my vagina anymore.” “But why didn’t you tell anyone?” “I was shocked. Ma used to see me bleed, but she never did anything. So, I thought it’s something to be done regularly. I was 7 then. I am 20 now.” “Since then? Till you moved out? Every day?” “Almost, till I planned to move out.” As we were sipping on some nimbu chai (lemon tea), I looked into her eyes. She had no expressions. She didn’t really care much about it. I grabbed her pack of smokes. We shared one. I noticed a faint smile on her face. “You ...

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