Stories published in May, 2014

Dog people are more lovable and cat people are mostly single

A few days back, I met a friend to congratulate her on her engagement. Though her happiness was visible through her expressions, her demeanour indicated that something was bothering her. Upon my inquiry, she started to vent out her worries. “My only fear is that he keeps dogs and I keep cats,” she said. Initially, I thought she was merely jesting, to which she clarified, “No, I really am worried about this”. Her anxiety made me wonder if this difference of preference in pets really mattered that much. I mean, surely, if you keep a pet, it only shows your love for animals, ...

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Just because she’s saying ‘no’ doesn’t mean she’s doing ‘nakhras’!

Sheryl Sandberg makes an impressive argument against the use of the word ‘bossy’, which is often used pejoratively to describe assertive women with ‘executive leadership skills’. In Indo-Pak vernacular, there’s another word far worthier of being thrown before the social media’s firing squad. The word ‘nakhra’ is more formally used for ‘coquetry’, but in common usage it refers to a stubborn refusal to submit. In each sense, it is used almost exclusively for women, who are referred to as nakhraybaaz. There are many scenarios I can describe where this word is used as a cudgel against women, but I’ll make use of a ...

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I was told I was being deported but not that I had AIDS

After the polio vaccination restrictions placed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Pakistan, the country is likely to face another restriction in the future. This could be due to an increasing numbers of HIV positive patients in the country. The main reason behind this increase is the growing number of Pakistanis who are being deported back to their country because they are HIV positive. “It’s entirely my fault; I am the sole reason my wife and son are inflicted with this disease” These words were spoken by an ill-fated AIDS patient, Naveed, who was deported from Dubai in 2012 when he was ...

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Musical chairs: Who will lead the PCB?

In Pakistan, summers are always colourful. Especially during the months of May, June and July when schools are off and people are on their semester breaks, cities are filled with summer camp programmes, outings, picnics and gastronomic delicacies. Pakistan cricket also seems to be enjoying the summer fling in full throttle by engaging in many games, though none of them are outdoor ones. Recently, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)’s famous game of musical chairs has made many headlines and caught the attention of different groups. This game started way back in May 2013 in the aftermath of Pakistan’s general elections, when the newly ...

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I am an Indian and I strongly condemn the attack on Ali Hassan Raza

There is an ancient Hindu saying, ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam’, which means that the entire world is one family. This saying needs to be revisited, keeping in mind recent events that have taken place in our subcontinent. Sure, there may be antagonism between countries at a political level but that is no justification for attacking innocent civilians on the basis of their nationality, or for that matter, their race, religion or the likes. We, Indians and Pakistanis, undoubtedly have a lot in common with each other. We are ethnically the same, we speak the same languages, have similar attire and cuisine and have a long, ...

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Don’t blame the youth for Sulaiman Lashari’s murder

A walk along this city’s empty streets is not an easy one. It has become customary to bathe the city streets in blood every day. The time is not far when graveyards will no longer be accommodating. Once known as the city of lights, it is only death, nowadays, that has the last laugh here. In this city, the recent cold-blooded murder of Sulaiman Lashari, a young boy, at the hands of another young boy, Salman Abro, is a horrific shocker. Unfortunately, this incident is not the first of its kind. In the recent past, murders at the hands of youngsters have attracted a lot of ...

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Is the food we eat killing us?

The current National Nutrition Survey data is an eye opener for the Pakistani population. A healthy population is phenomenal towards building a strong nation and unfortunately we are one of the unhealthiest countries in the world. The numbers in this video are alarming. Besides the community outreach program and the mass level healthy eating campaign, it is time for each one of us to rethink our food choices. We have to bring about changes and shifts in our food intake and the food we cook and fill up our plates with. These little changes can trigger positive outcomes for the whole nation. Here is ...

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Khan sahib and the PTI cheer leading squad

In the political rhetoric of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), analyses of class and institutions are conspicuous by their absence. PTI has simplified the complex political-economic debate into the good-guys-versus-bad-guys anecdote.  In PTI’s dictionary, good guys are those who are ‘honest’ and bad guys are those who do ‘corruption’ as pastime; all the trouble in which Pakistan finds itself today is because ‘bad’ guys rule the country. And PTI is very clear on this – bad guys are either from PML-N or PPP, period. PTI loves to note that the hereditary chain of command in the power structure of the major political parties’ namely, the PPP ...

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Let’s tell our children the truth for once

Let’s not keep sitting on a throne like flawless Gods and Goddesses in front of our children inside the iron fort of self-appraisal and narcissism. Let’s not be deluded by thinking that we all have heaven under our feet no matter what. Let’s not get carried away by the grandiosity associated with the parent role, as a role done doesn’t mean a role well done. So let’s muster up some courage and speak the truth for once at last. Let’s tell our kids that mothers not only bring new lives to earth, they also suffocate many before they can even ...

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Just 45 rupees

It was a warm sunny afternoon in Karachi and Ahsan was spending his summer vacations playing console games while relaxing on his favourite beanbag. His mother entered the room with the usual frown on her face, one that he expected every day. With a hint of annoyance in her tone, she questioned him, “Can you be a little productive during your vacations?” “Mom, it’s just the first week of my break”, he whined. “Take the car and get me these vegetables”, she ordered, handing him the list. “But Mom, I need to finish this game before the electricity goes!” he explained. “Fine, then you’re not getting biryani for lunch”, ...

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