Remembering my father, Salmaan Taseer, and his love for pranks on his 73rd birthday

At last I’m able to laugh about my father, Salmaan Taseer, and remember the good times without anger and sadness. More than six years after his death, I found myself at a dinner table with the company coiled in helpless laughter over my Abba’s stories. As today would be his 73rd birthday, I’m happy to share his light-hearted side and humour. Abba had the most wicked sense of humour. Friends, relatives or his children were not immune from his tricks, pranks and one-liners, and all who knew him will attest to his fun and vivacious side. He always managed to spontaneously highlight the comical side ...

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Maybe Humpty Dumpty was never meant to be put back together again

People believe falling makes you stronger. These people were clearly never witness to the Great Ski Hazard of 2002. Let me elaborate. I grew up in Canada. When I was in the fourth grade, my school had the bright idea to take a bunch of clueless, over-excited nine-year-olds on a ski trip. Naturally, I was ecstatic. At the time, I never thought twice about slipping and sliding down snow-covered hills with two measly pieces of wood stuck on my feet. I didn’t grasp just how daunting the prospect of skiing would be until I stepped off the bus at the resort. I remember my stomach ...

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Brace your wallets, Ramazan is coming

I first heard the story many years ago, and every year I hear it at least once.  Most Pakistanis are probably familiar with it, but it bears repeating, for those who’ve never heard it. It goes like this: In the early years of Islam, a preacher from a town sent his assistant to tell the people of a distant village in the mountains about Ramazan. He told them how they would have to get up before daybreak, eat food and drink water, then go without water and food until sunset, beginning with the appearance of the new moon and ending with the appearance of the ...

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This Ramazan, let’s make sure that converts are as much part of the faith as us

Ramazan and I are old friends. From a young age, mother would always let me stay up well into the night to fold samosas (fried dish with savoury filling) and fatayer (Middle Eastern meat pie) for the next day. For me, Ramazan means sleepy eyes, knowing smiles, and a month of eating on the floor with my family and praying with friends at the mosque I grew up in. More than anything, Ramazan means coming home – back to my community, back to my mama’s kitchen, and back to the One who sustains me. We are the lucky ones, those of us who have those deep traditions to fall ...

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Millennials and their “my life, my rules” approach

I started out early in the corporate world and I think that’s one of the reasons why I’ve always been motivated. But before I detail my torrid experience with Pakistan’s burgeoning youth, let me state for the record, these views do not represent all the youngsters in the country. This article is merely a reflection of what I have encountered in the field. When I began my first internship during my O’ level days, I did the usual; hang around the office at times, Facebook a lot and extensively read up on European football. I basically enjoyed myself, but there were some things my boss never ...

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Discovering Pakistan’s circumstantial craftsmen

After their father fell seriously ill, two brothers Rameez and Khurram devoted their lives towards pursuing his dream. Their mission was to open their own handicrafts’ shop as their father was fond of wood carving. Rameez, expressing his gratitude towards his father with a smile on his face, said, “I remember the words of my father very clearly. He said when you craft, you create and that creation is all yours. Not only is it satisfactory, it is magical.” The two brothers have set up their own shop in Saddar for over 30 years now. Khurram pointed towards his hands and added, “When a man works, the hands ...

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I was eight when my parents got divorced, and I’ve been broken ever since

We all come into this world pure and innocent; unknowing of its harsh realities. We do not know of pain, of grief, of anything really. Our worlds revolve around our parents and when they decide to part ways, our entire world is torn apart. I still don’t understand. It’s been 16 years since my parents got divorced; 16 years of unanswered questions. I was only eight-years-old when it happened, I was just a child, but still, I was expected to act mature and more sensible than a child my age should ever asked to be. My brother on the other hand, was only four-years-old ...

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Dear Pakistani universities, you cannot disrespect your students by infantilising them

We, the educated citizens of Pakistan, are concerned about the administrators of various universities and their obsession with the private social lives of their students, especially with regard to their inter-gender interactions. We are hereby compelled to issue the following notice, to address this disturbing phenomenon. To all university deans, chancellors, proctors, wardens, and administration officials, We thank you for upholding our long-valued tradition of lovingly blurring the line between an educator and a parent. In the light of the socio-political advances made over the past few decades, this paternalistic tradition has not only been rendered moot, but has become outright obnoxious. Parts of your campuses ...

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Don’t wait till Mother’s Day to tell your mother you love her

Standing helplessly beside my father’s bed, I watched as he breathed his last breath while holding my mother’s hand. My mother was devastated at that point in time but she was still strong. She was strong enough to reassure us that she will guide us through these tough times; strong enough to ensure us that she will be there for any obstacle we would ever have to face this point onwards. Time has proven that my confidence and trust in my mother was spot on. She is a remarkable lady with spiritual abilities; she always remained composed throughout everything and never let ...

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The title of the ‘ugliest’ species on earth goes to… us

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder – it is relative, it is virtue, it resides within one’s heart. Beauty is also kindness and love. But is it really? For all practical purposes, is it really? Lizzie Velasquez’s cyber bullying ordeal 10 years ago was living, breathing proof that all the oft-repeated phrases about beauty being a trait of deeper dimensions are nothing but falsehood. People who found her pictures online were unaware of her medical condition, a rare congenital disorder that prevents her from gaining any weight and expedites her aging process. They found her physical features queer to look at, hence the harsh judgment ensued. ...

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