Stories published in April, 2014

Hey teacher, leave the kids alone!

Our childhood memories are often accompanied by words like ‘carefree days’, ‘playing in the sun’, ‘protected and loved’. Being picked up and spun around by loved ones or being pushed on a swing are memories that tend to stay with children throughout their life. However, sometimes I wonder if children today will collect memories in the same perspective? Sad though it is, I don’t think they will. With corporal punishment overshadowing their liveliness, it’s like a never-ending road trip with bad directions. Pakistan is among those few states where the method of beating children to discipline them is preferred and accepted ...

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What Maulana Sahib taught me and what I learnt from him…

“Hello, dear. How was your day?”  “Good, Mom,” replied Hina Khaleej as she walked into the house.  Her mother was washing dishes in the kitchen. She asked, “How is Jenny? Are you still mad at her?” Opening the refrigerator, Hina poked her head inside looking for something to eat and replied, “No, we’ve worked things out. Mom, I can’t wait for the picnic tomorrow. It will be so much fun! And I would’ve been so bored if Jenny and I hadn’t patched up.” Hina and Jenny had been best friends since kindergarten and although they fought quite often, their bond was unbreakable. They were ...

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Of Ghani’s greed and our gullibility

Greed is a disease that infects us all and there are plenty of scoundrels in Pakistan who take innocent people for a ride. However, as people have become more aware of these scams and are less gullible now, these lowlifes have evolved and become more sophisticated. What I will narrate below is perhaps one of the most high-tech and elaborated scams I have come across so far. I, myself, was about to fall prey to this fraudulent scheme and hence I know about its logistics first-hand. Fortunately, we had the common sense to understand, at an early stage, that something was wrong with the scheme ...

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U-19 World Cup: Is inconsistency part of Pakistani culture?

There are times when certain characteristics become symbolic of a particular country. That is, these characteristics are exhibited by the general masses as well as their leaders and institutions; hence it makes them part of a particular culture. For Pakistanis, I believe, that one characteristic is their utter lack of consistency. Albeit our politics, our economy, our policy-making or our sports, consistency has largely been absent for a greater period of time. In sports, our teams are widely known for being painfully inconsistent and this has become our reputation in the global arena. In the recently concluded Under-19 (U-19) World Cup, our young ...

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Did Hindu nationalists celebrate Gandhi’s murder?

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants the Indian National Congress (INC) to be derecognised by the Indian Election Commission. The Hindu nationalist leaders of this party were apparently infuriated over a speech made by Rahul Gandhi in Maharashtra last month during his whirlwind poll campaign wherein he accused the former’s ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), of being involved in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi. The 43-year-old said, “They killed Gandhi. RSS people shot Gandhi dead. And today their people (the BJP) talk about Gandhi. Sardar Patel was a Congress leader who has written clearly about RSS and today they (the ...

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‘How I Met Your Mother’ comes to an end but was it legendary?

On Monday, March 31 ‘How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM)’ aired its series finale, and boy was it an emotional moment for all of us. This means that no more of Lily, Marshall, Barney, Robin and Ted having a drink at MacLaren’s Pub, no more of Barney’s flirt spree, no more of Ted’s sometimes exciting, sometimes painfully boring quest for true love and no more of anything legen…wait for it…dary. Unfortunately, the finale didn’t pan out as per my expectations. It was an ‘okay-ish’ end to what truly was a great show. It didn’t quite feel like ‘How I Met Your Mother’ but rather ...

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Do you have the ‘Naik Perveen Syndrome’?

My list of friends on Facebook has increased quite dramatically since I got married. I am ‘added as a friend’ on a constant basis by most of the married women I have ever interacted with in my ‘youth’ or pre-marital days. But sadly or gladly, this drama isn’t one with a happy ending. It is sweet of them to count me in as a new member of the ‘married club’; all of them believe to be a part of the ‘my-married-life-fan-club’. My timeline has also dramatically shifted from ‘political’ posts to random quotes shared by the ‘Islamic Wife Club’, ‘I Love My Husband’, ...

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My grandmother: The unwanted martyr

Normally, when my friends would tell me how their grandparents passed away, they would speak of ill-health and chronic pain, which one would expect as consequences of old age. I would, however, always keep that information about my grandparents closed off from the rest of the world. It’s a topic of great sensitivity amongst my family and has always been brushed under the carpet by my mother, as a way of preventing tears from streaming down her otherwise stoic face. After all, it’s not particularly straightforward for me to discuss the fact that my maternal grandmother was blown up by a ...

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The day the Taliban attacked my father

Death is very different from finishing a novel; both symbolise the end of something, the emotional attachment to both is poles apart. One similarity, however, between the death of a good person and the end of a good novel is that both leave a mark on your life. It’s hard to realise the importance of some people, until one day you wake up to find out that those people are no more in your life. I understood this reality on June 26, 2013. It was a very strange, sad day for me and my family. The day started like any other. My father, a ...

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Matchmaking businesses: Wolves disguised in sheep clothing?

They say that ‘relationships are made in heaven’. But finding that ‘assigned better half’ on this earth is quite a daunting task. This chore becomes even more overwhelming when mothers of daughters approaching their twenties become apprehensive at being unable to find a good spouse for their daughters. And sometimes in their desperation, they eventually seek the help of matchmakers. Matchmaking in Pakistan is gradually gaining ground and turning into a money-making business. Getting their daughters married into a decent family is undeniably a glad tiding for any family. But the plethora of events and proceedings that precede the event are quite ...

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