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".

Why your daughter should watch Disney cartoons while she’s still four

Disney films will always hold a special place in the lives of those born in the 90s: we were the ones who would cry and clutch our fathers lest they go jump into a stampede a la Mufasa in The Lion King. So, recently, some friends and I decided to revisit our favourite Disney film — Mulan. Mulan is just your average Chinese girl who impersonates a man so she can join the army instead of her father. ‘Two thumbs up!’ promised the back of the DVD cover, and we sat down with popcorn and played the film. When it finished, there was ...

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March 23, 2011
TOPICS

Looks like we’re having kangaroo for dinner

Forget the fact that exams are less than two weeks away and that we don’t even have time to sleep or eat in our minutely worked-out study plans. Just know that when we look back at this moment in our lives, we won’t remember how voltmeters should be attached in a circuit, or why Napoleon failed in Russia – all we’ll remember is changing our Facebook profile pictures to Shahid Afridi and tying the national flag to the roof because Pakistan won against Australia after 19 years. That’s a world cup achievement in itself. Yet, no matter how many times ...

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Our izzat is attached to a cricket bat

“Twenty-eight in two overs.” “What the heck is wrong with the Bangladeshi bowlers?” “Commentators are asking the same thing. Now, should we order pizza or Chairman Mao?” “India will make 300 as usual and Bangladesh will only manage to get to 50, so let’s watch something else…” “You guys, shut up! Yes, hello, one Manchurian, two chowmeins — IT’S AN OUT!” This is how a typical conversation goes around world cup time. Some can be rather interesting though: “Check out the Bangladeshi captain’s shades!” “Poser, scene on.” “I’m sorry, but Bangladeshis can’t pose. They’re just not cool enough. They’re not even ‘kewl’, ok?” “Dude, you know what’s really ...

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Are we pointlessly Pakistani?

Globalisation is overdone. The role of the internet in our lives, is just as worse. Here we were scratching our heads over an idea for my computer project. The problem was that I had no topic restrictions. At least when something is assigned, you can complain and mope and call your teacher whatever you feel like for thinking up such a dismal topic. But then, at least you’re in the same boat as the 30 other people in your class. Picking out your own topic, however, calls into question your own creative and intellectual capabilities. That is a terrifying prospect. ...

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Sports Day for dummies

Stage 1: Identifying that it is Sports Day Notice perspiring students in the corridors and water bottles tanked and ready to go? Badges and T-shirts being passed out? A whole new array of running shoes? Welcome to sports fever. It hits two weeks to two months before the big day, so you had better not forget. Failing to understand the importance of Sports Day makes you a stain on your otherwise perfect class’s reputation, a piece of vermin to be immediately squelched underfoot. Alternately, if you are an athlete and know someone who shows no interest in sports, you either a) ...

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A Bakistani in Cairo

My Egypt moment wasn’t when the protests started or when they ended. It wasn’t during CNN’s live coverage, and it wasn’t in the 100 or so ‘Can this happen in Pakistan?’ discussions. It was when someone casually yelled out in the school corridor, “Hey Meiryum! Your hometown’s burning!” Cairo was my hometown. Tahrir Square was a 45-minute drive from my apartment. I lived in Cairo from the age of four till eight years – four years of my life. I was old enough to remember and store away memories and young enough to still understand nothing. My first day at the ...

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February 6, 2011
TOPICS

Surviving flight 304 with cake-boy

Karachi-wallay like to stereotype. We spin whole life stories around accessories and behaviour. Pants above ankle length? Member of an Islamist party. Pink iPhone case with matching nails? Definitely out of town, maybe a Lahori. So it was only fitting that when I boarded the PK304 to Lahore I was assigned the seat right out of a bad airplane movie: the one directly behind the bathroom, next to the mother with the howling baby. By that I don’t mean I’m going to start bashing PIA. Personally I like PIA, I like the spicy food and I think the schedule runs ...

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January 28, 2011
TOPICS

Row, row, row your boat, [not so] gently down to ‘Netty’ Jetty

This is a shout out to Sophia A. Sophia rows a boat. So do 15 other schools from all over Karachi who competed at the regatta at the Karachi Boat Club. But that’s not important right now. What’s important is that she rows a boat. And before she gets to that, she does this: “Oh my God. They train you like a dog. You have these squats, these endless jogs, and if you’re late you have pushups and then something called fishies. Imagine lying down and then trying to lift both your legs and your torso at the same time.” Fishies for ...

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How bad was your first day after winter break?

There’s pandemonium in the car as you put on your socks in last-minute uniform rituals that should have been performed at home. You try not to strangle yourself with your ID card as you are spat out from the car and propelled across the courtyard and through the chilly corridors. Your sweater was made for mild Karachi winters, not this 6 am Murree-like cold. “I made it,” you gasp as you hit the homeroom threshold. The class collapses in laughter. The teacher is comforting: “Beta, aur late aao, koi baat nahin.” It’s the first day after winter break. There are ...

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Pakistan (Studies) Zindabad!

“You know what really bothers me about India? Not their stupid ‘Incredible India’ slogan or their weird item songs or that ‘Licence to wear Black’ ad,” says a friend during Pakistan Studies class one day. “The Taj Mahal! Everybody wants to see it. It’s on every postcard. Even that stupid French guy wants to see it. It’s the first thing everyone wants to see!” When I ask why she’s bothered by the Taj Mahal, her answer is simple: “Because it’s really ours.” That is, Pakistan’s. Five years of Pakistan Studies class, hours of learning dates and battle names, of revising lists ...

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