Saba Khalid

Saba Khalid

A blogger for Rolling Stone magazine, a contributor to Kulturaustauch and Musikexpres, Saba is an Institute for Foreign Affairs (IFA) Cross Culture scholar for the year 2012 who also teaches creative writing to young aspiring writers. She blogs at www.thecityalive.com and can be found on instagram as @thecityalive

An innie in an outie’s world

Growing up, I was such a quiet child, especially compared to my loud, older sisters that my parents would often forget me. They sometimes failed to remember they had a third child. Once, they lost me at a supermarket and realised it when the store manager called. Had it not been for him, I’d be a feral child living in aisle six gorging on cereal and candy bars for the rest of my life. No offense to my parents, they just didn’t know what to do with a little person like me. Innately introverted Had someone explained to them that I was innately ...

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The key to happiness: Stand your ground

Whoever told me, happiness just magically comes your way, should’ve been tripped headfirst. Because it really doesn’t sneak up on you, it doesn’t tickle your toes and makes its way into your heart and head. Happiness is a 24/7 job, and a tough one at that. It’s a time-consuming process. A tantrum throwing toddler that constantly seeks your attention. Call ethereal happiness a self-created sand castle on your personal shore. Every now and then waves of grief and anger will constantly wash over it, and more often than not, strong winds of disappointment will topple it over, but you’ve got ...

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Let your children blossom

It’s funny that creativity is such a sought-after trait in today’s world but when we have it in our hands, playing in our backyards digging up the entire garden, getting Cs in math but making exquisite art pieces, or creating magical stories about old trees, we have absolutely no idea what to do with it. Worst yet, we fail to recognise it, nurture this difference, celebrate the genius. By reprimanding it, questioning it, assimilating it into the ordinary — we do the ultimate injustice — we steal someone’s talent or gift and intentionally kill it. What I’m talking about is ...

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Zamzama violence: Chivalry is not dead in Pakistan

Anyone who knows me well will tell you one thing about me. With the exception of my dad, I despise all men. More specifically, all Pakistani men. What good are they really? With cannibals, rapists, child molesters, bombers, kidnappers, abusers, honour killers populating the country, why bother depending on or trusting a man altogether? But recently, a certain event in my life forced me to do a complete 180 degree on my incredibly biased and extremist view. As a struggling writer and journalist, I spend countless hours at a shady coffee house on Zamzama swigging infinite cuppas in the pretense of writing. The ...

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Optimism: The silent killer of Pakistan

Pakistanis – we are chronic trusters – a nation of the blindest believers! There is something ingrained in our blood, sweat and tears that pushes us to splurge, smoke and swallow more than we should – to trust blindly in the same governments which have failed us not once but twice, and ally with countries that have continued to denounce, betray and beguile us. We wait patiently for saviours from amongst us hoping that they will do the cleaning up for us – each time, our self-proclaimed saviours kick us to the curb – incredibly disengaged from reality, hoping desperately that ...

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The best thing about an identity crisis

Exactly one year ago, on the very night I wrote this, I remember not being able to sleep. Such nights were common then. I would twist and turn for over five hours, lying in bed until finally, sleep would come. During those waking hours spent in bed I would cry. My anxiety attacks were so severe that I would fear I may die during the sleepless struggle. I knew I was on the precipice of a full-on identity crisis. In retrospect, I wonder now why I never bothered telling any family member or friend what was going on. Maybe, it was because I ...

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Is your conscience awake?

Recently, my dog Travis brought me home a little gift from his walk. As he proudly displayed in front of me the remains of what must’ve been a small white kitten, I screamed and ran in horror around the house. This, by the way, is the same dog that lovingly guards my one-year-old nephew and melts into licky fests when I come home from anywhere. After a while of frenzy, I had to forgive the old dog. It was years of biological conditioning combined with innate and learned behaviours that led to his offence. Cats were the enemy – it didn’t matter ...

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Are you afraid to be ordinary? Einstein wasn’t

My nephew Azlaan will turn one this year on May 3 and his entire life and career have already been sketched out for him by his parents, grandparents and even his aunt – me! Every day, while preparing his bath, his grandma smiles at his tiny little hands and passes her verdict: he will be a surgeon when he’s older. I disagree, he’ll be a writer. She frowns and tells me, “Of course not! Can’t you see, he has the fingers of a surgeon?” Nana jaan, on the other hand, wants him to be a finance guru like himself. And his parents ...

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