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".

Have you contracted the 2400-degree SAT fever?

“I abhor your loquaciousness” “Excuse me?” “Also, your use of rhetoric is highly un-lucid.” “You sound like your English General teacher.” “Shut up! I’m trying to… OK, test me again. What does tenacious mean?” Welcome to SAT fever, the kind hundreds of students across Karachi contract when preparing for the globally administered Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), an inescapable English and Mathematics trial by fire for anyone who wants to apply to American colleges and universities. If you haven’t registered yet, go crawl back under your rock. Your much-anticipated winter break now comes pre-packaged in a three-inch thick Princeton Review SAT preparatory book, guaranteed to get ...

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A-levels: Atom bombs, measurements and etymology

One of my best friends is half Sindhi and half Pathan, which means that she can kick, scream and yell in four different languages. How I wished I had her linguistic virtuosity at 9am one morning this week when I turned over my Physics paper to start the exam only to be lost for words. I had no one to blame but myself. This was the subject that involves flipping paper cones off the back of a ruler and going cross-eyed trying to determine the terminal velocity they achieve. In A’ Level Physics, tennis balls feel the need to fall ...

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Revelry for relief: Fiddling while Sindh sinks

The sensitivity of young people today should ideally never be gauged by the first question that comes to their minds when a bomb goes off in Karachi: Will there be school tomorrow? Instead, Karachi’s generation-next should be assessed on how much hard work, effort and time its members put into relief camps and charity distribution, placard holding and general running around they did in an effort to contribute to alleviating the pain of the people hit by the flooding this summer. There was a definite perception that young privileged girls and boys just live in their bubble on that side ...

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I heart Karachi until foreign university folk arrive

When I’m feeling bored, I put on my ‘I heart Khi’ tee-shirt with the little red heart against a black background. You can see the signs spray painted all over the city from Zamzama to Sharae Faisal. (The logo was the brainchild of the late artist Asim Butt). Whenever I put the tee-shirt on, I always feel slightly smug with the thought that I’m part of an 18-million people strong city. Thank you Pakistan Studies Geography. Last week though, that air of superiority came crashing down around my ears and in disgust I threw that tee-shirt into the back of ...

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December 6, 2010
TOPICS

No prizes for guessing what happens here

As if we don’t already have Facebook, BBM, MSN chat and Math class to catch up on the latest rubbish, school handed us another unique outlet on a silver platter. They constructed an indoor gym. This was the most exciting thing to have happened in the history of our games class since the last softball practice, when the new girl whammed into the pitcher in an attempt to get to first base. (Imagine two massive lorries in a head-on collision, but I digress.) The indoor gym! The culmination of years of effort to turn a “physical training” class into a class of ...

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Welcome to A’ Levels where school’s too cool for you

“Art tuitions?” Two heads shake somberly in unison at the prospect. “But I thought Art was…” “Don’t even think about saying it’s innate. It’s not.” Students across Karachi will unanimously testify that after-school makeup tuitions exist for every subject under the sun. But, this was the first time we had heard of someone taking tuitions for Art. Perhaps it was nervous backlash against one of the worst O’ Level Art results ever this year when the Cambridge International Examinations suddenly decided to give the Monets of my class Bs and Cs? Did we have to go to Art tuitions now because we suddenly ...

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The ‘boiizz’ are back in town

Before you start on your own sappy version of that fateful Wednesday, know that there are no greater patriots in the world than a bunch of A-level students. Nothing you say, not even worn-out stories of how you wept for the team, or how you’re actually related to Shahid Afridi, will compare to what we did for the Pakistan cricket team. We messed up our chemistry practical, that’s what we did. And sociology, and history, and math and anything else we should have been studying in those nine hours. We were glued to our screens and busy painting our faces, forgetting ...

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