Stories published in May, 2014

I want my daughter back

August 20, 2001 – Islamabad airport: I said ‘Khuda Hafiz’ to my 17-year-old daughter, my only child; she was on her way to college in the US. She had the honour of being accepted at Yale University on a full scholarship and like always she had done us proud once again. Tearfully, I hugged her and whispered in her ear, “Don’t come back.” Quick on the uptake, she smiled that sweet endearing smile of hers and shot back, “Abba, you have brought me up with the lesson to have a mind of my own.” She defied me continuously for four years; came back twice a year during ...

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Copy culture: Degree holders who can’t read or write

The youth, of any country, is always considered its greatest strength and an educated youth is an even stronger pillar for the state. However, these pillars cannot remain strong if young students start looking for shortcuts in their educational life. If such a situation does occur, a decline in a nation’s progress will be the inevitable result. Sadly, this process of decline is already in motion in Pakistan. Cheating culture is increasingly prevalent in our education system and it has become a pervasive phenomenon over here. Despite high claims and solemn promises, respective authorities have failed to curb the rampant and blatant cheating culture ...

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X-Men: Days of Future Past is the best X-Men movie yet!

Many people are comparing the newly released X-Men: Days of Future Past to Bryan Singer’s previous trilogy, which had hit the screens almost a decade ago. This comparison is kind of unfair, since the same visuals and special effects couldn’t possibly have been present in the early 2000s. What can be compared, however, is their entertainment level. And was the Days of Future Past better than the X-Men trilogy? Yes, by a record margin. The past few X-Men movies haven’t received the same international fame or attention as Marvel’s other movies have. Sure, The Wolverine did make amends for the ...

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Braille phones: Helping the blind connect with the world

It’s sad that even with the leaps and bounds mankind has made in technology, there are no special offerings for the disabled or the visually impaired. However, with the launch of a new phone by a British company called ‘OwnFone’, their dilemma with technology is finally over. This new cell phone uses a braille board and finger pads to communicate efficiently and  also includes the option of adding raised text so anyone, who can’t read braille, can still make a call.  Moreover, this wonder phone includes many common apps such as messaging and email services while some sets even have the option to play ...

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The nightmare that is my life

Confusion seemed to be everywhere. I shuffled out of bed, reassuring myself, blocking the sound of his voice from my head. Sprawled across the cold floor, shattered, I lay – for what seemed like hours, maybe even days. Uncomfortable in my own skin, I tossed and turned, desperate for comfort. I could hear the laughter, our wedding day, a new beginning… ha! What a joke! It’s a nightmare now; one that I relive every night and hide every day. Sometimes, I wonder why I even bother; nights like these are always sleepless. The cold bites into me as I lay alone, his ...

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Caught between conspiracies

Members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) have decided to show solidarity with their leader, Altaf Hussain, by demonstrating their street power on May 25, 2014 in Karachi. The MQM chief has been under investigation, for money laundering charges, in London for nearly a year now. Though the UK authorities have been unable to prove the charges with substantial evidence, for the time being, Altaf’s accounts have been frozen. Like any other political party, MQM’s major source of income is through donations, which it collects from its supporters locally and around the globe. Altaf  Hussain, the party chief who moved to ...

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Just because they are old, they don’t have a right to live?

“Five more minutes” I said to myself, while browsing my Facebook wall and going through the list of things-to-do in my head. It has become so hard to manage ones time these days. After snubbing my kids and finishing other tasks, I reluctantly called my mother for our routine morning talk and tried to keep it as short as possible. After a few minutes, as I shifted my legs restlessly and planned how to end the conversation, my mother came up with another ‘aur sunao’ (so tell me more) – which safely meant another 10 minutes. I sighed and continued with our ...

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Don’t worry Pakistani immigrant, the West will not treat you the way you treat your minorities

Migrating to a Western country has many perks. Considering Pakistan’s current situation, it’s quite natural for people to look for opportunities elsewhere, and migrating to a more developed country is usually one of the most sought-after solutions. Those who can avail it, almost always take the opportunity as soon as it presents itself. So, it is disheartening to see some of those very people crying wolf on the smallest of issues and basing it on the religion they belong to or the country they originate from. Here is an instance where I experienced such behaviour first-hand. One fine evening, I bumped into an acquaintance ...

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FIFA World Cup 2014: Pakistani footballs kicking it in Brazil

Although I like hockey and cricket a lot more than football, sometimes I wish I didn’t. Football fans have proven time and again how crazy, passionate and involved they are when it comes to their love for the game. I guess one of the major reasons why I, and many other Pakistanis like myself, are not so interested in football is because we do not have a national team that does well during world cups and brings back trophies. Pakistan ranks 159th in the FIFA’s World Ranking, which is a dismally low level, but with the recent success of the Pakistani team at the Street Child ...

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I am a Pakistani woman and I ain’t no damsel in distress

Our Pakistani dramas have a good fan following in Pakistan as well as abroad. Many of my friends, visiting from different countries, make sure to add DVDs of Pakistani dramas to their shopping list, every time they visit Pakistan. Our dramas have a sensibility that the ‘saas bahu’ (mother-in-law and daughter-in-law) feud-based Indian dramas lack. I personally believe that Indian dramas have no thought or concept behind them. However, the way Pakistani women are portrayed in our dramas is also objectionable. Let me describe the types of women you come across in our dramas. 1. The middle-class girl, who has a love interest within the ...

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