Stories published in October, 2013

Why I chose Karachi University

Karachi University (KU) is to Karachi what Karachi is to Pakistan. I was the first member of my family to attend KU for a Bachelors degree and even after completing four years at the institution, I still get concerned queries from people wanting to know how I survived. It seems strange to me that KU appears like such a distant and uncharted territory to those who have never studied there; it is as if people from KU are aliens! Hence, I thought that I would shed some light on this mini universe for those who have never been here and ...

Read Full Post

Cruelty to animals is not ‘Living on the Edge’

I recently caught the season finale of Living on the Edge (aired on October 16, 2013) and was appalled by the animal abuse taking place in the show. For those unfamiliar with Living on the Edge, it is a reality TV show in which contestants are given various challenges to see who is the most ‘daring’. It is supposedly Pakistan’s ‘highest rated show amongst music channels’. While many critics consider the language and content to sometimes be in bad taste, my major objection is with the cruelty that the animals go through during these ‘dares’. In the grand finale, amongst other ...

Read Full Post

Bilawal, moulding the future politics of Pakistan: A PPP Jiyala’s analysis

By a curious exercise of logic some disgruntled man of yesterday used to have the temerity to question us that how a 19 years old Bilawal Bhutto Zardari may become the chairman? How a boy who lived his most of life in Dubai & United Kingdom may lead a party whose most of the workers are from the downtrodden class of Pakistan? How a Bilawal Bhutto Zardari may claim to be representative of the masses as he lacks command over speaking Urdu & neither he knows about the customs, traditions & taboos of a Pakistani society? These have been the ...

Read Full Post

Don’t lose focus team green, the Proteas are still the best!

Jubilant scenes were witnessed at Abu Dhabi last week, as Pakistan’s cricket enthusiasts had something to cheer about. A convincing seven wicket victory over the Proteas in the first Test is enough to wither the horrors of the Harare upset at the hands of Zimbabwe. The green shirts have always been like that. One bad game, a paranoid batting display and erratic bowling might lead many pundits to question the professional strength of a Pakistani side. Yet, on a different day, the same side may surprise, call it an upset or rising from the dust, or something else, the entire ...

Read Full Post

Childhood memories of India

In the early 80s my parents, who were both Indians, settled in Pakistan and got married. Yet, somehow they never left India behind and thus began our annual tradition of travelling to Rampur, India each summer. As toddlers, my siblings and I loved the feeling of crossing the Wagah Border. We used to grin and wave at the Sikhs guarding the border who stood there tall and proud, flaunting their grand horses. And how can I forget the petrichor as we passed by the vast, barren fields – it was truly beautiful. For my parents, India was a safe haven ...

Read Full Post

This is what ‘Pakistan’ means to me

Walking or driving around the streets of my country, I can never give words to the mix of feelings and emotions that I experience. Is it the sense of belonging, which I never feel anywhere else in the world? Is it patriotism which brings tears to my eyes whenever I see a little boy running around the streets with a giant Pakistan flag? Driving by the Mazar-e-Quaid waving flags. Photo: Muhammad Noman “Why do you like Pakistan so much?” “Why would you want to live here when everyone here wants to leave?” “What is so good about Pakistan?” These are ...

Read Full Post

Zubaida Khanum’s voice will live on forever in our hearts

Getting stuck in Karachi’s downtown traffic jam in the month of June is never pleasant and that jam was a brute. After an hour in the searing heat and the never ending snarl of cars, bikes and rickshaws I was on the verge of a breakdown when from the car radio came Zubaida Khanum’s lilting voice. The song was ‘Masti mein jhoom jhoom re’ from Noor Jehan’s classic ‘Koel’ and I was transported from the inferno to an idyll-like place because of the mellifluous song. The song, much like much of Zubaida Apa’s work, represented so much. It harked back to ...

Read Full Post

Why should Sindhi be taught in all schools of Sindh?

The Government of Sindh recently announced that it would ensure that private educational institutions offer Sindhi language as a separate subject. The announcement went on to state that schools refusing to offer Sindhi would be fined or even have their permits revoked.  This announcement has led to predictable outrage. Some have argued that students who attend private schools have no use for learning a language that is ‘only’ spoken within Sindh. On the other hand, children attending public schools, given their financial background also have little practical utility for studying the region’s native language. This, in itself, is a false assumption ...

Read Full Post

My visit to Aga Khan Hospital’s cancer ward

“The cells found are malignant and you are likely to have cancer.” On a visit to Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), a 43-year-old woman suffering from lymphoma cancer, told me that her first thoughts upon hearing these words were about chemotherapy. This was not surprising. Most cancer patients fear chemotherapy more than the disease itself. In fact, cancer patients absolutely dread the days scheduled for their chemo sessions. Chemotherapy and the will to survive The simplest and crudest definition of chemotherapy is poisoning an individual’s body with drugs that wipe out the malignant cancer cells while simultaneously re-producing healthy cells in the procedure. The ...

Read Full Post

Twitter, Facebook and Rap music are “klling da English lang”!

“LOL, LMFAO, Congo, TTYL” For those of us born before the 80s, this would probably seem like an alien language or could lead to the assumption that the sender of the message has gone nuts. Prepare yourself, my literate friends – this is the ‘new groove’. This is what they ‘dig’ these days. Apparently, abbreviations have become our friends and we don’t let any chance slip from using them. Unfortunately, some of these actually end up being more confusing than helpful and annoy the hell out of a lot of people, including myself. The younger generation has made a short form for everything they ...

Read Full Post