Stories published in January, 2014

I am jealous of the US, and have every right to be

It was freezing outside. I did not have a ride and had to walk all the way home on a chilly winter evening. However, at that moment, the cold did not matter. Nothing did. My mind was troubled, and my conscience was not at peace. And that is all that mattered. Earlier that day, I had given a presentation about Pakistan in my high school. As a youth ambassador to the US, my presentation was supposed to be about ‘what’ Pakistan was. In an effort to portray the positive side of my country to a people who are all too often ...

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Prince Faisal’s visit to Pakistan

“I have not come here for any sort of deal with regards to the former president, Pervez Musharraf,” Prince Faisal declared to the media. He was sick and tired of these countless questions about his supposed involvement to get Musharraf out. He simply did not care – he wasn’t even sure why he was in this godforsaken country. The king and some advisors had decided that he had to go, and so he was here, just a man who was going to shake some hands, smile to the cameras, have some whiskey and go back. Even the two days he had to ...

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Mirror mirror on the wall, why has Pakistan’s rowing team been forgotten by all?

“Did you know that Pakistani rowers made it to the Olympic selection event in 2013?” Almost choking on my tea, I burst out laughing at my friend’s question. Regaining my composure, I replied, “Pakistani rowers? Olympics? We don’t have rowers, much less international level rowers! Stop joking and let me drink my tea in peace.” Unfazed, she said: “Surprising isn’t it? But it is true. If you don’t believe me, try googling it and it will give you a list of our young rowers who made it to Uzbekistan in 2013.” So I did google ‘rowing in Pakistan’. Not only did I find the list of ...

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Eid Miladun Nabi: Creating commotion in the name of love

My slumber was abruptly bothered as if I was suffering from sleep apnea. Irritated, I stretched out my hand for my mobile phone. It read 2am and it was a bitterly cold night. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, it suddenly dawned on me that I was disturbed by Ashiqan-e-Rasool. It has increasingly become a fashion to celebrate Eid Miladun Nabi in an extremely disquieting way that no sane human being would appreciate. Of course, those who perform these irritatingly annoying tasks would not agree with me and might even deem my statement to be sacrilegious but I beg you to think ...

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Moving out of a joint family isn’t as easy as it sounds

The desire to hold the rein is one thing, to actually command it is another. At most social gatherings, we often find women complaining about how miserable their lives are and how their in-laws who live with them keep putting hurdles in their way. They usually sum up their tale of woe by saying, “Apni marzi se banda mar bhi nahi sakta hai” (You can’t even die at your own will) What they don’t realise is that the much desired independence from the in-laws leads to a massive increase in responsibilities. My wife and I were enamoured with the idea of moving out to a house arranged to our ...

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My friend was killed in the Quetta blasts last year…I still await justice

January 10, 2014 marked the first anniversary of the Alamdar Road blast in Quetta, where over 100 people were killed and more than 169 injured in a twin blast. The explosion took place near a snooker club where a suicide bomber detonated the bomb at approximately 8:50pm in the evening. When the first blast took place, a large group of people reached the area in order to rescue and help the victims. However, after about 10 minutes, another blast took place at the same location – this time it was a bomb which was remote detonated in a car nearby. The second blast ...

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The Australian Open men’s singles: With such big stars, who will walk away with the cup?

After the break following a fascinating 2013, tennis resumes in earnest next week in Melbourne at the first of the four Grand Slams. The Australian Open provides the perfect venue for the sport’s big stars to make their bids for glory and may well decide how the rest of the season pans out. Here’s my take on the prospects of the major contenders Down Under: 1. Rafael Nadal Reigning as the world’s No 1, Nadal made a remarkable comeback from a knee injury last year, winning the French and US Opens on his way to reclaiming the number one spot from Novak ...

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Are the days of joint families over?

A family unit in its traditional form consists of grandparents, all their children, their children’s wives and their grandchildren all living harmoniously under one roof. If carried out properly, it can serve as a very warm, welcoming and homely environment which encourages cooperation, understanding, love and patience.  The joint family system has been depicted in several dramas and movies, and at a certain point in my life, I was a huge supporter of it. However, I no longer think a joint family system serves a useful purpose and actually lacks the warmth and affability that it once possessed. Don’t get me wrong! I am not ...

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Pakistani housewives and the economy: Converting rupees to dollars… for handbags

A couple of days ago I was confronted by an alarming fact. I was sitting with a group of housewives and was told that every month, 30% of those present, converted their pin money into US dollars every month. I was so surprised that I blurted, “But why do you do that?” One of the housewives replied very innocently, “Well, every year when we go on holiday, I buy myself a handbag. Recently, I realised that the value of the dollar is going up and I end up paying more PKR for a handbag each year. So now I just convert my savings into US dollars each month.” What ...

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Seafood cravings: Lemon drizzled grilled fish steak, served with lightly spiced jumbo prawns on pesto fettuccine

Grilling is one of those techniques of cooking that preserve the nutrition, is quick and brings out food that is visually pleasant and tastes superb. This method seals the juices and flavours of the meat inside, leaving it flaky and crispy with mouth-watering grill marks on the outside but juicy and moist on the inside. A stove top griller is the best thing that happened to me. Since I cook a limited quantity of meals, the one made by Prestige is good enough to cook a grilled meal for four. During the winter chill, inviting your friends for an outdoor grilled meal ...

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