Meiryum Ali

Meiryum Ali

A freshman at an ivy league school who writes a weekly national column in The Express Tribune called "Khayaban-e-Nowhere".

LUMUN or competitions that turn into a losing game

Two weeks ago, Jinnah International airport was deluged by nervous yet excited parents. “Kya aap ki beti bhi LUMUN ja rahi he?” (is your daughter going to LUMUN too?) they cried as they bumped into each other. School teams kept arriving in jam-packed buses, students streamed through security checks in their uniforms and blazers. They were headed for Lahore University of Management Sciences Model United Nations, an endeavour that consists of night-long research marathons on different countries, eating too much at Hardees, and chilling out at the free concerts. It is also incidentally a convergence of some of the country’s brightest, sharpest ...

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Another Imran Khan article that’s not about Musharraf’s rally. Sorry.

If Pakistan were a school and voters were the graduating class, then we’d know exactly where Musharraf would fit in. Musharraf would be the angry guy who sits at the front of each class and has a problem with things no one cares about, like the colour of the chalk the teacher uses. He would be a suck-up to everyone but his peers, and be like the head boy or prefect who gets the job done, but really, does anyone like him? His dog (his profile picture on Facebook) would probably be a lot more popular than he is. This was ...

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This year, I need to get in to college

This is what most reporters, bloggers and conscientious people will worry about in the year 2012 – Imran Khan, terrorism, Pak-US ties and Afghanistan. And this is what a certain demographic of 17 to 18-year-olds across the country will care about in the year 2012 – college. And yeah, Imran Khan, he’s a cool guy. It is now January 2 and the biggest firework or patakha that anyone this age can face is a blank Word document for a college essay. Today, I know the following – the admission dates for the Institute of Business Administration, the zipcode of various locations in Karachi ...

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Who let the dogs out?

The puppy is six weeks old. She has black fur all round except for a little white mark on her neck. She likes to drop her food on the ground before attempting to eat it. If she likes you, she will bite your foot. Her owner, my friend, is madly in love with her new pet. I spent the evening at her house playing fetch with her Rottweiler puppy and went inside to wash my hands. And that’s when she says: “You should probably do wuzu (ablution) you know.” The tap water is running, I have soap in one hand. “Sorry?” I ...

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‘No Baba, not her 18th birthday party, her wedding’

“Baba, I need to go to Mehek’s* mehndi tonight.” “Mehek’s sister?” “No, Mehek’s. As in, Mehek in my class.” My father lowers his newspaper, eyebrows raised. “Mehek in your class is getting married?” Yes, Mehek in my class is getting married. And I am cordially invited. Who gets married at 18? Apparently, a sizable chunk. I can easily produce a list of girls who have gotten married, will get married this year, or will be getting married in the next year or two. The list of girls whose possibility of getting engaged in the next year or two is exponentially higher. And this phenomenon is not ...

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Thoughts on Khayaban-e-Nowhere’s birthday

This week, Khayaban-e-Nowhere turns one. Some of you will applaud while others (particularly a segment of The Express Tribune’s online readership) will repeatedly smack their foreheads against a wall, wondering what the state of Pakistani English newspapers has come to. But we will come to that in just a bit. Khayaban-e-Nowhere has in its one year covered a strange multitude of topics. The great thing about Khayaban-e-Nowhere is that it has absolutely no particular regimen, plan or focus. It is essentially a writing space for anything under the sun. When you write about pretty much anything you begin to see ...

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Warning! The PTA might not approve of this bakwas

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has decided to ban the word ‘bakwaas’ (nonsense). Let me say this right here – that is such bakwaas. It has also banned the word Jesus Christ. There go Merry Christmas messages to Christian friends. There goes, now that I think about it, this particular conversation I found in my phone: “Hey I heard you were ill – did you really faint in Chemistry class today?” “Jesus, how fast does news spread around school anyway? I am feeling much better.” To be honest though, I am not that fussed. Stranger, inexplicable things have happened. Facebook, for instance was banned ...

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Of goats and Imran Khan

This article is not about Eid and neither is it about Imran Khan. Life is not characterized by events, but by people’s reactions to events. Reaction No. 1: Two men on motorcycles, with goats in tow, were stopped by policemen on the road. The motorcycles were checked, the men were checked and the goats were checked too. That’s the scene that a friend Ahmed was witness to as his own goat-free car whizzed by somewhere in DHA. “They were goats, for god’s sake! Just goats!” Point. Reaction No. 2: Another friend, Amna, ‘likes’ the Facebook group “I was alive when Pakistan was waking up”, ...

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Speaking imperfectly among the perfect

She said “core”. Not “choir” but “core”. The person she said it to was perplexed for a minute, before it dawned on them that the word “choir” had been mangled. As the story made the rounds in school, for a little while, everyone listened, chuckled and was amused by the girl who said core not choir. It was an easy enough mistake to make in a country where English is not a first language for many. It was cruel and mean-spirited to make fun of that girl. Some people would argue that they were just school kids. But would you ...

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Charity clubs: Everybody’s got a plan

There are six people seated around a table, each with paper and pencil in hand. There’s the quiet hum of an air conditioner and the rustle of paper and a serious, practical kind of silence in the air. A paper with questions listed on it is passed around the table for verification- these questions are to be asked in the interview conducted by these six people. Someone giggles, which is immediately cut short with “Seriously, please.” Is this a top secret board meeting of a corporation? Has someone died? No, it’s a meeting of a few 17 and 18-year-olds… ...

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