Stories published in July, 2012

Stuffed chicken breast with pineapple sauce the Salt n’ Pepper way!

Stuffed chicken breast with pineapple sauce is a dish served at Salt n’ Pepper (SNP) in Lahore. It brings back a lot of fond memories from my postgraduate days. I associate this phenomenal recipe with some of the happiest times in my life.  I happened to visit Lahore a few months ago and luckily, SNP was just around the corner from where I was staying. Needless to say, this restaurant was my first stop after a long and tiring day of travel. As I took my seat, I couldn’t help but reminisce all the good times I had had with my friends. ...

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Najiba: Murdered amidst cheers of ‘God is Great’

In 2001, when President Bush said it was ‘time for war,’ he ignored what Winston  Churchill observed over a century ago during the British struggles in the Northwest Frontier. He had said: ‘time in this area is measured in decades, not months or years. It’s a concept that doesn’t always come easy to Westerners.’ While Americans are growing fed up with the seemingly endless expense and carnage, Taliban youth are living an ideal life with a motorbike, long hair, an AK 47, and a holy cause to fight for. They are actively imposing a reign of terror in Afghanistan. US ...

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Unfathomable is He

When I was a kid, The mere existence of God, A being so Mighty, so Big, That it lived up in the skies, Far away from my tiny little world, Used to make my head spin. It still makes my head spin today. I still do not know how to understand Him, Or find Him. I do not claim to be a religious person, I rarely pray. Yet, there is something about being around nature, That makes me feel close to Him. It is a holy experience for me. For me, prayer is, sitting under a tree. Feeling the scales of an old weathered ...

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What exactly is a Hindu rasm anyway?

Recently, a friend of mine shared a small story about a “dholki” where friends and family had gotten together to sing and dance and celebrate an upcoming wedding of a dear one. During the festivities, a member of the gathering, who was quite uncomfortable, got up and qualified the event as a “Hindu’ana rasm” (Hindu ritual). This, obviously, was followed by whispers amongst the guests, looks of outrage and blatant stares. Almost all of us have heard this statement at some point in our lives. There are many in our society who deem certain activities or wedding related rituals as being anything ...

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Ghambar: Parsi-style Thanksgiving

Come summer and the Zoroastrian community is buzzing with excitement, in anticipation of ghambar, a Parsi thanksgiving feast. Everyone is eager to know which residential compound is going to host the first event and whose arrangements are going to be better than the others. For most of you who don’t know, if you see lots of Zoroastrians assembled together to share a meal and smell papeta ma gosht and dhansak chawal (traditional Parsi delcacies) being served, then it is safe to assume that you’re at aghambar. Among sounds of heavy, melodious laughter, you’ll hear an occasional “thoru aur nakho”, a Parsi dialogue instructing the waiter to ...

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Farida Afridi: Killed in broad daylight

Being a working woman and especially having a Pakhtun family background, it is quite disturbing for me to see that society is still not ready to accept women’s empowerment. This is especially so for the conservative Pakhtun community. The lack of respect does not stop here. A woman, who anxiously awaited to be posted in a no-go area to serve those women and children of her community who have no access to basic rights and do not know how to raise their voices for these rights, was killed on the road in broad daylight. The assassination of Farida Afridi, who was ...

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Af-Pak relations: Brothers at war

The Soviet war, the Taliban regime, 9/11, and now the 2014 pull out. Yes, we are talking about Afghanistan, a country that has provided  justification to the US geopolitics for interventions outside the US, and fed the world media for over three decades. Ironically though, Pakistan has played the facilitator all through ─ hosted and trained Afghan mujahideen, and also sheltered over 3.5 million Afghan refugees for over two decades. One major question that boggles many minds is why, despite the material and political sacrifice and socio-political suffering, does Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan continue to draw negative publicity. Why do our relations with ...

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Is an exam more important than your life?

It was the first day of the new school year. The morning assembly was about to begin and I saw one of my former classmates crying fervidly while surrounded by a group of students. Upon inquiry I discovered that she had failed the year and was repeating the previous grade. This heartbreaking scene is forever etched in my memory. During my school years, the most dreaded word one could imagine was the word ‘fail’. No matter how confident I was in my performance there was still this unconquerable fear of hearing or seeing the word ‘fail’ on the day of results. The funny ...

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Stop texting me, I forgive you all!

After a long day, I hit the sack early and turned my cell phone off to sleep peacefully. Following the usual routine, I checked my mobile the first thing in the morning. I was amazed to see the gazillion text messages that I had received in just one night. I was all set to read about some juicy news, guessing that maybe a friend had a fight or the exam result was out early. While my mind was still examining other possibilities, I started to read the text messages. The anticipation cooled instantly as I read my colleague’s message that ...

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Federer ends Wimbledon with a bang!

Sometimes even the bare statistics can be enough to tell the entire story. With this four-set victory over Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final, Roger Federer won an astonishing 17th grand slam, three more than any other man in the history of the game. He also tied Pete Sampras’ record in winning his seventh Wimbledon and, in two weeks’ time, will overtake Sampras for the most weeks spent at number one– an  unbelievable 286 weeks at the top of the rankings; with Andre Agassi being the only player to have reached the pinnacle of the rankings at a more advanced age. ...

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