Stories about Toronto

When Cynthia Ritchie exposed Pakistan exactly as every Pakistani has known it for 70 years

It is interesting how there are times when despite your passionate avowals of the virtues of being unbiased and uninvolved, taking sides becomes a moral obligation and a strategic necessity. When you find love on your left and hate on your right, you can no longer be a bystander on the aisle of nonchalance and call yourself righteous. Photo:Sarwar Mushtaq Lies create fear and fear fuels hate. Perhaps clichéd and simplistic, but that is my only explanation for people hating people they have never met or known. With the interminable narrative of fear we are bombarded with day ...

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Pakistan may be poor, but it has a rich culture – much richer than any country in the west

As I grew up in the 90s, every couple of months I would see my mom and dad pack up their bags and go on official tours around the world; America, Europe, you name it. My sister and I would eagerly await their return, not because we wanted to see our parents, but because we wanted to open up their suitcases full of goodies. They would be stuffed with clothes, toys, chocolates and things that we apparently couldn’t buy in Pakistan. We would wear these international clothes with pride and we felt “better” than everyone else, because we had ...

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Maria Toorpakai’s life sings like a Khaled Hosseini novel

Cut off my locks….my pretty black locks…. Throw away my frocks….my pretty bright frocks…. I will ditch my bangles and my dainty shoes…. I will run as a boy and let myself loose…. They will spare my life if I turn into a boy… And if I remain a girl, they will kill my joy… Birds of a feather flock together. But if you aim to fly high, you have to leave the flock first. Such a bird is Maria Toorpakai. Her life is nothing short of a Khaled Hosseini’s novel; the war struck her home town, the high profile political family and the strangest dream ...

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Don’t blame Islam for terrorism

We immigrated to Canada fourteen years ago. It was the year that affected world peace in the worst way possible; it was the year 9/11 happened. A bunch of suicide bombers claiming to be “Muslims” hijacked a plane that eventually crashed into the Twin Towers. Hundreds of people lost their precious lives and many families were left to live with a hole in their hearts without their loved ones. There have been many conspiracy theories about this incident, some claiming it to be an inside job, however what emerged as a result of the horrific incident is a term, ...

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Following the evolution of biryani, all the way to New York City

Derived from the Persian word ‘Birian’, biryani is a spicy rice and meat dish which is prepared by mixing layers of rice, meat, tomatoes, fried onions, spices, and food colour. Biryani making is an art – one has to know how long rice should be cooked for, before it can be arranged in layers along with the meat and tomatoes. The rice can become soggy if boiled excessively, or even remain undercooked if not boiled for an appropriate amount of time. All biryani lovers take their biryani very seriously. They feel irked if the biryani isn’t yellow enough or if there’s no ...

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Justin Trudeau, 43, is prime minister. Um, what have I done with my life?

Currently topping my lengthy list of “middle-class problems”– right up there with “depilate more assiduously” and “pay car insurance”– is the issue of how best to deal with the fact that Justin Trudeau, a man only 31-and-a-half-years my senior, is about to become prime minister of Canada. I’m not sad about it. I’m delighted – for my country, for him, for the beautiful, beaming Sophie with her yoga-sculpted curves and wavy hair in a fashionable shade of “bronde” (half brown, half blonde). I’m happy for their three kids – the girl, the boy and the cherubic, bright-eyed baby. I imagine them ...

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University of Toronto – “It’s the dream man!”

They walked quietly together, letting the traffic build conversation for them. The streetlights flooded the roads but they still found it difficult to see. The cars zoomed past them without a care in the world. The tall apartments in the surroundings made them feel miniature, like two toys in a room filled with giant furniture. Beneath these towering buildings were shops lined up together, from wall to wall. People went in and came out from these shops like ants. Life unfolded around these two, as they walked silently on the side of the road. Their uniforms faded and their ties loose; ...

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She was my mistake

I stepped out of the air conditioned car, onto the street which seemed to have been paved with the heat of hell. In a matter of seconds, my sunglasses began to fog from within and I took them off. It seemed like the sun was a foot away from my head. I squinted and rubbed my eyes for a few seconds before my gaze began adjusting to the burning weather. It was a typical mid-summer afternoon in Karachi, but coming from a breezy city like Toronto, the air was suffocating. I walked straight towards the monstrous wooden doors, guarded by two security ...

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Shut up and listen to the music by Talal and Zoi

Drones, poverty and fundamentalism – these are often the things we hear on the news about Pakistan. But over the last two years, Pakistanis have brought home an Oscar, an Emmy, the Nobel Peace Prize, won second place in the Laugh Factory Funniest Person in the World competition and secured four places in the BBC 100 Women 2014 list. On a smaller scale, Pakistani contribution to local art, literature, fashion and music is everywhere. You just have to look. In Canada, Talal Chaudhry and Zohaib Bakhtyar are one of Toronto’s most talented duos on the electronic music scene. They are gaining international attention with their deep, melodic and ...

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Eid in Gaza

Can you imagine how it feels to see a dear one killed in front of your eyes, knowing that it is supposedly a happy day, a festive day? How does it feel to lose a beloved on or right before Eid? I can’t even imagine the pain. Unfortunately, the feeling is not like a moment in a dream which simply vanishes during disrupted sleep. It’s far more permanent. Countless days of just this – either being killed or seeing your loved ones die. The recurring situation seems to have no end. While sitting on the stairs outside our house during a ...

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