Stories published in August, 2013

Don’t hate me because I am beautiful

Azaan’s over. Everyone has gone back to their rooms. The street’s a mess. I smile as a jalebi floats in a puddle nearby. People rarely treat food with respect anymore. I take out a cigarette and begin to light it. Bloody cigarettes; they’ve started costing me more than my clients pay me to begin with! One of the girls, Razia, walks out the curtain-door and sits next to me. My lighter isn’t working again! Damn it! God bless Razia for handing me hers. We both stretch our legs over the stairs, lean back and take long drawls of our cigarettes. We barely ...

Read Full Post

Katoora Lake: An awe-inspiring spectacle of beauty

Katoora Lake (also called Jaz Dand) is situated in the Lamoti Valley of Upper Dir, KPK at an altitude of 11,500 ft approximately. Most of the time, this lake is surrounded by high mountains covered with snow. The best season to visit it is August/September. However, June and July are also good months for a tour, if you are prepared for random monsoon showers. The level of difficulty for trekking in the area may be considered ‘moderate’ for regular trekkers/hikers. Moderate weather, fresh air and stunning views – a winning combination. Photo: Murtaza Mahmud Travel towards Jaz ...

Read Full Post

Alpine Skiing and the two Pakistanis who made a new record!

Imagine yourself clipped into a pair of 216cm downhill skis, pushing out of the start and flying at 145km/h down a steep, icy slope. Imagine the snow conditions ranging from bulletproof ice to slushy ruts and the terrain ranging from a near cliff to flat ground all in the same breadth. It’s not an easy task to confront a tsunami of challenges that Alpine skiing throws at you. Alpine skiing, also known as downhill skiing, is the sport of sliding down snow-covered hills on skis with fixed-heel bindings. Sounds scary? Well, it is! Photo: Pakistan Adventure Tours and Expeditions ...

Read Full Post

When a child grows up in Lyari

Ferjal Hussain is just three-years-old. I love him a lot. He doesn’t eat or sleep well when I am out of the city. I don’t allow him to go out and play with his contemporaries — though he does insist. We both play at home. I sing him folk songs and share with him the good stories I know. Sometimes, I recite Shah Latif and Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s couplets. He likes ‘lab pe aati hai dua banke tamanna meri.’ I dislike the environment with which he interacts — the abusive language, playing in the narrow streets and the habit of ...

Read Full Post

This Eid I just want Santa Claus!

Eid Mubarak everyone! I am sure all of you are enjoying the day today – eating scrumptious food, wearing gorgeous new clothes, visiting your family and friends and then, obviously, eagerly awaiting your Eidi. What fun. After all, this is what Eid is all about. Unfortunately, not all of us will be celebrating Eid the traditional way. There was a time, a few years ago, when shops on Chaand Raat would be bustling with men and women frantically getting their last minute Eid errands completed. Every store had a bigger, brighter sign exclaiming it was giving a better discount than ...

Read Full Post

Breastfeeding: Taboo or must-do?

“Sorry, what?” I asked, absolutely shocked. “Yes, madam, my doctor told me that my breast milk is poisonous and not suitable for the baby, and that is the reason she is sick all the time. I even got my milk tested as per my doctor’s instructions and it was indeed poisonous,” said the mother of a six-month-old, shrunken-eyed Maryam. The child was diagnosed as a classic case of third degree malnutrition and marasmus. I was taken by surprise. I had never ever heard of a healthy, physically fit woman like her producing poisonous milk; needless to say, I was extremely curious to ...

Read Full Post

Celebrating Eidul Fitr: Same sentiments, different places

“Haw, it must be so boring spending Eid away from home!” This is something I have heard on more than one occasion throughout my life: elders of the family pitying those who have left home, particularly for ‘non-Muslim’ countries. As a child, it made me imagine a horrible picture of life abroad where Ramazan would be spent in dark lonely corners, having no halwa on Eid Miladun Nabi, and no one to check out your new crisp dress on Eidul Fitr. The reality, however, is far from that, and I realised this as I grew up. Working for a news organisation literally opened ...

Read Full Post

Cricketers, follow Imran Farhat’s example and find the right father-in-law!

After having read the famous quote, “A man in love is incomplete until he is married. Then he’s finished”, I realised how untrue this was in case of Mr Imran Farhat. No one could finish him ever since he got married and once again, our superhero is back! Imran Farhat has successfully made another comeback into the Pakistani cricket team. This time, I am comparing his return to that of Mr Aamir Liaquat’s epic comeback to his home TV channel. Both have certainly inscribed their marks among the masses, due to their common talent of making comebacks. Mr Liaquat relishes a ...

Read Full Post

Eid spread: Coconut and kulfa dreams

The much awaited feasting time of the year has finally arrived! Congratulations to all of you brave people out there for being patient through Ramazan. Now, it’s time to let loose and give in to your cravings. While your Eid trolley may have the essential Eid items (sandwhiches, kababs, cake), there are always recipes you can try out that will impress your friends and family. Read on to see these dessert recipes that are sure to win you tonnes of praise from your loved ones. Kulfa inspired, crunchy delight Ingredients: 1. 2 cups milk. 2. One cardamom. 3. 2-3 strands of saffron. 4. Condensed milk 2tbsp. 5. Corn ...

Read Full Post

Before and after: Chaand raat in the city of lights isn’t the same

Chaand Raat, 1995 Lights, camera, action, food! After thirty days spent in prayer, fasting and being on our best behavior, Chaand Raat is finally here. Our emotions about this joyous night vary from excitement to contentment and relief to gratitude. It’s time to let loose, put on your favourite henna design, iron your spanking new clothes, and paint the town red with family and friends. The city shines with colourful qumqumay (small light bulbs), while the roads are flooded with cars blasting loud songs in celebration. Women gear up in glittery outfits and put on matching bangles; then go out to shop for ...

Read Full Post