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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We will spread the colours of Basant thousands of miles away from home

It may not be a national holiday in South Asia, but the advent of Basant (spring) is certainly celebrated there in all its yellow glory, whether it is in Pakistan, Bangladesh or India. The colour yellow can be associated with the blooming fields of mustard which paint the plains from Punjab all the way to Bengal. One of the many passions that this season excites is kite flying. Even if one cannot differentiate between a patang, guddi or tukkal (types of kites) kite, it is okay because Basant is all about enjoying yourself. It also passes any religious and ethnic lines in the region, making it the perfect blend of spirit and fun. ...

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Remembering Junaid Jamshed: The life you’d die for and the death you’d live for

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to title this article ‘the life you’d die for’ or ‘the death you’d live for’, as both of these phrases aptly emulate the life and death of Junaid Jamshed. He lived in a way one wishes to live and died the way one yearns to. If you conduct a quick dip-stick test and ask people how they would like to live their lives, they would not hesitate to respond with “happy, famous, rich and reputable”. When asked the question, “How would you like to die?” many would say that they would want to be remembered as ...

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Dear thin people, I think we need to have a talk

I am five-foot-four, 125 pounds. My measurements are 36-28-38. I wear size medium shirts, size seven jeans, and (in case you were wondering) size eight shoes. I have never walked into a clothing store unable to find items in my size. I have never been asked to pay more for a seat on an airplane. I have never had someone dismiss me as a dating prospect based on my body type, nor had someone scoff, openly, while watching me eat french fries in public. I have never experienced a doctor dismissing my concerns with a “lose weight, feel great” remedy. And I can open an article with my ...

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Why the ‘C’ word scares the hell out of people

Does the word ‘commitment’ freak you out? Perhaps it conjures up images of lifetime imprisonment without the option of parole. Maybe it sounds like a rabbit in a trap, enslaved to a woman with her fancies and whims forever, or maybe it sounds like a deer caught in the headlights of a car? Obviously, you are scared of the ‘C’ word or possess an irrational fear for it. In short, you are commitment-phobic. What is commitment-phobia? Coined in 1987 in the renowned self-help book ‘Men Who Can’t Love‘, commitment-phobia is a flash of fright that restrains a person from progressing to the next step of a relationship ...

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An open letter to the Karachiites painting the city red

Dear Karachi, Ptooey! Did you know that’s onomatopoeia? A written sound, in other words. Or more precisely, per the Merriam-Webster dictionary: “The naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (as buzz, hiss).” Ptooey! That’s the commonest written version of the sound that is presumably made when you spit. Why presumably, you ask. Well, because the esteemed composers of the dictionary obviously did not travel to our city prior to drafting that onomatopoeia. Why do I say that? Simple. Have you ever spat on a wall here? You don’t have to. You don’t need to. Simply look around and you will observe ...

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My teachers refused to teach me because they “weren’t in the mood”

When I joined my high school, my fluency in Urdu sucked. My accent, vocabulary and my pronunciation of the language was so bad that when it was my turn to recite anything, the whole class would burst out laughing. My teacher never said anything to me and only corrected me where I was wrong. He would smile and tell me to go on. On some occasions, he would make sure I was the one who read out loud. Never once did I ever feel threatened or discouraged. Over the period of two years, my Urdu improved and my vocabulary got so much better ...

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