Stories published in February, 2013

Afghan Burgers: A moody cook’s way to success

I am a moody cook who lazes around as much as possible before entering the kitchen. I would rather resort to last night’s leftovers than make something from scratch. Thus, when I actually make the effort and get my apron on, it certainly is a big deal. And the biggest motivation that is leading me to share this easy to make recipe was the never ending “wows” and “yums” by my family members that came with every bite. It all started after a chat with a friend living in Islamabad who could not help talking about Afghan burgers that he ...

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Tired of cricket? Try gulli danda, pitthu or baander killa!

Growing up in the streets of Punjab, we enjoyed playing popular sports such as cricket, hockey and football, but the real flavour of street games was in our local folk games. This piece is dedicated to all those who have played any of these games in their childhood and I hope it serves as a pleasant trip down memory lane.  Baander killa: The name might sound funny and the game actually looks so too, but it isn’t funny for one person – the baander (we’ll get to that in a bit). Every participant of the game takes his shoes off and places them ...

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Being a dual national does not make Tahirul Qadri a traitor

Most Pakistani’s would have loved that scene in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ where Cat-woman tells the Batman to run away, having given Gotham everything and owing it nothing more, to which he replies that he had not given the city everything yet. It reinforces that long held belief that the true Pakistani will never abandon his country, especially for sunnier climes of life security, income security, food security and pretty much every domestically nonexistent security one can imagine. Reared on the pop-rhetoric of ‘Be Pakistani, buy Pakistani’ and other self-aggrandising slogans, we subconsciously detest the idea of our human resource flying ...

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Item songs and flirting with danger

Item songs have an interesting history. Our parents still remember item numbers such as, Eena meena deeka and Kaho ji tum kya kya khareedo gaay from the 50s for their catchy tunes, interesting lyrics and non-situational placement in films. The trend continued in the 50s with hits like Main kaa karoon Ram mujhey Buddha mil gaya and Honton pe aisi baat. These were songs with all the characteristics of a good item number except one – they were not cheesy. In the 60s, the situation began to change when sexual themes were introduced in item songs. Aa jaane-jaan, piya tu ab to aaja and Raat baaqi were called trendsetters in such content. The ...

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Why butcher the English language? Just speak in Urdu

Walking towards the Select mart at the petrol pump today, I saw a sign on the wall that read “Select Gate” with an arrow pointing towards the right. It took me a while to figure out that they really meant that the door (the “gate”) was to the right. The writers of this sign may be excused for being uneducated people who are unfamiliar with the English language. Being an avid reader and a writer, however, like Henry Higgins, I am particularly sensitive to the abuse of the English language, especially when it comes from someone who really should know ...

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North Korea’s third nuclear test: Will the after-effects be in their favour?

North Korea’s third nuclear test has put the tiny, virtually isolated nation back on the map. The recent test did not come as a surprise as satellite reconnaissance had shown high activity at its Punggye-ri testing site, which happens to be only 100km from the Chinese border. The test took place at 12pm local time and was conducted one kilometre under the ground. The resultant explosion produced an earthquake between the magnitude of 4.7 and 5.2. The blast was reported to be more powerful than the previous nuclear tests conducted in 2006 and 2009. The Russian defence ministry believes that the yield ...

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What is love?

Love is want. Love is need. Love is impossibly imperfect. Love always pays the bills on time but forgets your anniversary. It gets you frozen yogurt on the way home but leaves it in the car. It refuses to change the baby’s diaper but spends hours rocking the baby to sleep. It doesn’t write you poems or give romantic speeches but when you’re sad, it suddenly says that one right thing. It rarely thinks to buy you flowers but always thinks to plug your phone into the charger at night. Love tries. Love is forgiving. Love lets you get away with a lot. It ...

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Sights and sounds of Valentine’s day in Pakistan

Valentine’s day is here! Love it or hate it, live in Pakistan or England, you cannot ignore Valentine’s day. I am not too big on this ‘day of lovers’, and it has nothing to do with my relationship status – I’m just not very festive. Be it Eid or Valentine’s, my day is usually spent reading a book or watching South Park re-runs. The observations I’ve made about the past few Valentine’s days in Pakistan have made it a fun day for me  — there are these particular characters you meet and things you hear and experiences that just leave you ...

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Am I normal?

My parents think I repress my feelings . They say that I need to be more assertive and understand that my feelings count. If they knew the degree to which my brain has gone haywire, they would probably search for the nearest asylum to chuck me into. They say that I have not been honest with them, so I should either start talking or be prepared for weekly sessions with a shrink. Cruel, isn’t it? All I did was hide my monthly report card which showed my poor academic performance and questioned my intelligence quotient. It isn’t the most uncommon thing to do, but ...

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The chubby drone

A favourite lyric of mine is by octogenarian soul man  BB King in a ditty called Better Not Look Down.  He describes a beautiful woman walking by “If the arrows from cupid’s bow, that had  passed through her heart, had been sticking out of her body  she would have looked like a porcupine.”  It may not be Gulzar but I love it. Most straight thinking people wouldn’t trust a low flying chubby child firing random shots down to earth with a bow and arrow but there’s nothing like tradition to fly in the face of logic. Cupid (for it is he) is ...

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