Stories published in August, 2011

Home-made cool, creamy falooda!

Nothing beats the heat better than a big glass of cool and creamy falooda! Now you can make some for you and your family within the privacy of your air-conditioned habitats (no leaving home – yipee!). A timeless classic, this recipe is a sure-shot hit amongst family and friends. As intimidating as it looks, it takes very little time and effort to prepare it. Ingredients (serves 5) 1 kg milk 5-6 tbsp sugar Few strands saffron 2-3 cardamoms (powdered or thinly chopped) 1 tsp agar-agar powder (China grass) 2 cups water Few drops food coloring (any color other than red) Few drops Essence (Rose or Strawberry) 1 pack of ...

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On being Pakistani

With 14th of August around the corner, festive fever is on the rise. Civic organizations, student groups, and social, electronic and print media are joining the swelling ranks of celebratory brigades. And that’s where some of the problems with ill-informed, obsessive nationalism begin. Have you been confused by invitations to ‘no ethnic identities welcome’ events? If yes, read on.   This past week, I received a few invitations for Independence Day walks and seminars. The proposition, ‘No Sindhi, No Punjabi, No Pathan, and No Balochi – Only Pakistani Welcome’ made them distasteful. Honestly, who’s left then? With the exception of a few citizens ...

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Dr Aamir Liaquat: Defamation of faith’s Dr Jekyll

Indeed, during the days of Ramazan nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and the frighteningly charming and inveigling presence of Aamir Liaquat on our TV screens. What do we know about Aamir Liaquat? We know Liaquat brews a stew of savagery and sophistication. In one fell swoop, he can sauté his guest. We saw this in 2008, when Asian Human Rights Commission filed a petition deeming Liaquat’s cajoling and coaxing as having led to the killing of two Ahmadis, Pakistan’s most persecuted minority. We know that his admirers come in all shapes, sizes, income brackets. We know that Liaquat ...

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An autistic boy in the classroom

Last year, a child named Omer* was enrolled in the class that I taught, in a well-recognized school, in Lahore. His parents, however, failed to inform me about the crucial information that Omer had a developmental disorder. He was autistic. The lack of this vital information resulted in confusion and stress, on my part, while dealing with Omer in a normal classroom learning environment – a fact that was equally painful to him. Often, due to his inability to follow regular instructions, he would sob hysterically with closed fists, tears streaming down his face, staring at me helplessly with pain ...

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Dear Bob Geldof, where are you?

Dear Bob Geldof, Where are you? Somalia is screwed. Famine has caused thousands of Somalis to leave their homes and head across the border to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, in hopes of receiving food and aid from international aid agencies. They are finding little help! The other day, on the news, I saw a woman who had to keep tying rope around her stomach to stop her hunger pangs so she could take care of her children. (I can’t remember if that was for Somalia or Pakistan). Starving refugees stand in line, hours on end, outside the Mogadishu’s Badbaado Camp kitchen, holding ...

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So what does a strike achieve?

I’m one of those employed people who get one day off a week. Naturally, plans are made beforehand and the day off is reserved a week in advance. So when suddenly, a political party gets off its ‘lazyboy’ couch and calls a shutter-down strike on that day, it messes up my hormones. Directing me to stay indoors to effectively put off scheduled doctor appointments to the next week is a pain, literally, let alone an inconvenience. But who is to explain to an old person — in excruciating pain — to hold it in for another day at least. Ok, so ...

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Aisee zameen aur aasmaan

Happy birthday, Pakistan. I hope you have good one. I hope the next 64 years of your life are completely uneventful and trust me when I say you need the rest. I thank you, I love you, I’ll get some schoolchildren to wave flags, look, what else do you expect me to say that hasn’t already been said by Ufone, Telenor, Habib Bank or Dalda oil? Well, I could sing to you instead. Singing translates to waking up at 7 am to belt out that national anthem, day in day out, all year long. It means staying back after school practising ...

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Breaking a record for Pak sar zameen

When the idea to break the world record for most people singing a national anthem was presented to me, my interest was instantaneously sparked. With factors such as ethnic and sectarian division raising havoc in the country, I saw this as an excellent opportunity to unite Pakistanis. This task, however, would not be an easy one. The current world record was held by India with more than 100,000 participants. On doing some research, though, we discovered that the Indian audience had sung “Vande Mataram” and had listed it as their national anthem. The Indian national anthem, however, is “Jana Gana Mana”. Thus, Abid ...

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August 15, 2011
 Javaria Kausar

YouTube craze: A girl with guts

Some called her daring, many admired her courage while some critics compared this opinionated little girl to a Bollywood movie character. Is it the circumstances in the country that made the girl in this viral video speak so bluntly, or is it the electronic media that’s giving even children reason to speak up against the government? I don’t know: all I know is I would never do such a thing publicly on a news channel. This little girl knows quite a lot about what is happening in Karachi – she mentions Qasba Colony and Rehman ...

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Beware: Dengue strikes again

Ten months ago dengue fever hit our cities. The outbreak was unprecedented in severity. In the blink of an eye there were hundreds of cases all over Lahore. Doctors and hospitals were caught completely off guard. Many doctors, including myself, were unfamiliar with dengue fever and how to manage it. As the ranks of patients swelled, the capacity of hospitals to care for them was quickly overwhelmed. Though no one will admit to it today, many hospitals in Lahore stopped accepting patients because they simply did not have the capability to take care of any more. Last year, desperate for platelet ...

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