Stories published in July, 2012

She left me on my wedding day

We had been together since forever. I always respected her and cared for her feelings. It was a perfect relationship between us. I still can’t live without her. Whenever she’d get angry, she would stop talking for a couple of hours; my whole body would go tense and I would sweat like crazy after. She had given me light all my life. Sometimes she mysteriously disappeared but always came back to me. A couple of days ago, she went missing for a good two days. I called her house many times, but there was no answer. I found out that she had been ...

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Corruption is middle-class morality

While millions of Pakistanis expressed their astonishment and dissatisfaction with the election of Raja Pervez Ashraf as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan on June 22, the news didn’t come to me as a shock at all. Raja Pervez Ashraf has been widely criticised; the new prime minister has been labelled in the media as “Raja Rental” because of the kickbacks he is alleged to have taken being the water and power minister. An investigation to which, by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), is still in progress against him. History is riddled with examples of corrupt politicians being rehabilitated. Ayub Khan disqualified politicians who were later placed in ministerial offices. ...

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Unwillingly obsessed

Amir* is an A’ Level student. Today is the 24th of the month and also his birthday. He has turned 18 today but does not remember the last time he was happy and not aggravated by someone or something. It’s not his fault that he is black and blue but people do not recognise this. He is active and healthy around people but also absent at the same time – internally absent. He refers to his ‘problem’ as the ‘black dog’. His family is getting ready to celebrate his birthday, but Amir has confined himself to his room. He is checking the floor, ...

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At Espresso: Religion on a caffeine high

So the other day I went to pray at a local mosque, when I realised that it was time for my coffee, which I religiously consume at regular intervals throughout the day. Naturally, I asked the local Imam how I could find a deliciously hot cup of Joe in the premises, when he politely told me that I was out of luck since I was in a house of prayer, and not a coffee shop. My love for the beverage clouded my judgement, and I initially thought he was jesting. When I tried to make things easier on him by ...

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Dreams of the elders of Pakistan

It was late in the afternoon when I arrived at his house. Islamabad was going through one of its worst spells of heat but as I was shown in, the antechamber was cool and the drawing room cooler still. I was informed by his caretaker that he was sleeping and would be joining shortly after Asar. I nodded and took a seat, waiting. The room was decorated with black and white pictures that I could make out were well before my time, some on the wall and others on cabinets and tables. Except for him, a considerably younger him, ...

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If Burma won’t take them why won’t you, Bangladesh?

The calamitous ordeal of the Rohingya community of Myanmar has received woefully inadequate media coverage over the years despite having been declared one of the most hectored, tyrannized and aggrieved tribal minorities in the world by the United Nations. This observable fact can be unswervingly attributed to the thought-out recalcitrance of the media oligopolists to underlining the copious atrocities being committed against Muslims in different parts of the world in general as part of a ploy to legitimize the ongoing war on terrorism. For decades these ill-fated people have been shunned, browbeaten and subjected to ghastly physical and emotional abuse ...

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How I learnt to appreciate Ramazan- by hitting the mall

You’re kidding yourself if you don’t sometimes see Ramazan as a month of blatant consumerism. From humungous iftars with endless samosas, to the last-minute orders for Eid clothes to chaand raat lights and mehndi stalls – people will clearly be dishing out the cash. This traditional yearly boom is even more evident now when you realise there’s a new, very different kind of consumerism springing up. And the best example of that is certain mall at Seaview, Karachi. This past summer, Dolmen Mall has been invaded by ‘the youth’. Some Saturdays all you can see everywhere are 15-year-olds walking around aimlessly ...

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Cocktail: More misses than hits

Indian cinema developed a young, urban audience which was receptive to hip films post Dil Chahta Hai. Trendy music, trendy fashion, trendy plots and trendy urban settings became the new blockbuster recipe. Be it Hum Tum, Salaam Namaste, Wake Up Sid, or Rockstar, these movies were all targeted towards the above mentioned segment of cinema-goers. Saif Ali Khan and Ranbir Kapoor became stars of the multiplex audience through starring in these movies, while the Khans, Ajay Devgan and Akshay Kumar remained the superstars of the masses. Cocktail is another film that caters to the modern, hip audience.  It has the same cast and believe ...

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Olympic footballs: Proudly made in Sialkot

Throughout the history of football world cups and other major FIFA events, the world has seen one brand deliver the most astounding soccer balls, carved to perfection and tested in adverse conditions to exceed all FIFA standards for an ‘Official Match Ball’. Yes, we’re talking about the German brand, Adidas. But what lies behind the Adidas logo on these soccer gems is the sweat and blood of hard-working rural women, belonging to the city of Sialkot, Pakistan – an effort concealed in disguise, under a dangerous quilt of consumerism. Till the advent of the year 2000, Pakistan was making 75% of all the soccer ...

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PTF’s lax attitude is Aisam’s Olympic loss

“It’s great Pakistani sprinters and swimmers are going to the Olympics. I wish Aisam could have made it too,” a friend had lamented about Aisamul Haq Qureshi’s miss on the tennis wild card entry. It’s true; while sprinters, swimmers, shooters and our glory-faded hockey team still get a chance to perform at the Olympics, for Aisam, probably the most successful Pakistani athlete in individual sport this year, maybe the saying “hard work always pays” doesn’t hold true. I’ve spoken to Aisam regularly regarding different tournaments in his quest to book a place in London. Having seen firsthand the effort he put in, ...

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