Stories published in October, 2014

I was hopeful today…

It was 6am when my alarm went off. I woke up to it, got off my bed, performed wuzu and then offered my prayers. At 6:30am, as usual, I decided to go out for a refreshing morning walk. It seemed like an ordinary morning – just like any other day. Whilst on my walk, my phone beeped informing me that I had received a text message from a friend of mine. The message greeted me “good morning” and read: “If you fail to achieve your dreams, change your ways but not your principles, as trees change their leaves, not their roots.” Instantly, a smile ...

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Two and a Half Men and my list of expectations from the final season

Two and a Half Men premieres its 12th and final season on October 30, 2014. Twelve seasons. Even comedy giants like Seinfeld and Friends didn’t make it this far, getting nine and ten seasons respectively, clearly showing how successfully this show has been received by the audience. A lot of the fame can be attributed to the star-studded cast the show has; with the controversial yet famous Charlie Sheen being in the lead role for the first eight seasons, to getting Ashton Kutcher taking over “the ashes” of Sheen. Meanwhile, many huge celebrities also made regular appearances on the show, some prominent ones being Sean Penn, Megan Fox, Steven Tyler and Mila Kunis. Despite the ups ...

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What if your daughter doesn’t want to be a ‘doctor bahu’?

In a recent conversation with a mother to little girls, I asked her what she had planned for her children with regards to their education. I was merely referring to school choices but she told me, quite categorically, “Matric, FSc and then straight to medical college!” It seemed quite standard a response for the desi mind-set, but I couldn’t help but wonder. What if they want to do something else? What if they want to grow up to be writers or study hieroglyphics or become physicists or God forbid, singers? What if they hate being doctors? What if they hate studying biology? What ...

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Will #HeForShe work for me, a man?

The recent HeForShe campaign by Emma Watson, the UN Women goodwill ambassador, has gained significant repertoire, with many men posting pictures on Twitter and Facebook with placards, articulating their support for the campaign. The campaign speaks against gender violence and inequality. It is particularly a feminist movement and although it realises the bias against men, it does little beyond recognition. Emma herself stated that: “The more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realised that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating.” There is indeed a need for gender equality, and abuse against either should be equally condemned. Women are mostly ...

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What were you doing with so much money at home, Edhi Sahib?

Sunday mornings are the laziest mornings of the week, when all one wants is to wake up to the smell of halwa puri and thick newspapers. However, this Sunday morning, Karachi woke up to the news of a robbery at the Edhi residence – house of Abdul Sattar Edhi and Bilquis Sattar Edhi and – headquarters to the Edhi Foundation, which was looted in broad daylight by unknown dacoits. This is surprising, yes. It should not have happened, I agree. But it happened. It happens all the time in Karachi. I’m just glad that the robbers had at least this much humanity left in them that they ...

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An Ángel to the rescue

August 28, 2014 was a heart-breaking day for many Real Madrid fans as well as for all the rival clubs of Manchester United and their fans. United’s signing of a world class winger and extremely skilled midfielder just boosted the confidence of the torn and broken football team. As soon as he joined the club, he proved he was worth the money the club paid for him. Ángel Fabián Di María Hernández, commonly known as Ángel Di María signed a five year contract on August 28, 2014 with one of the greatest, glorious and most successful clubs in English football history, Manchester United. ...

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A Pakistan for all seasons: Views of a Pakistani abroad

With each passing summer, I become increasingly weary upon hearing the same tired question, “But, are you sure you want to go back this year?” Whether the inquiry is presented by my father, a close friend, or even a concerned relative in Karachi, repetition has made it a mainstay in the uneasy arsenal of those who would oppose my annual visits to Pakistan. Do not misunderstand me – I understand their concern, one grounded in the unpredictable and often hostile socio-political climate of the nation. With the national and expatriate rumour mills alike saturated with horror stories about riots, home invasions, roadside robberies and ...

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What is Abdul Sattar Edhi going to do now?

There’s something about Abdul Sattar Edhi that makes Pakistanis feel safe… almost protected, like a child feels with a parent around. He is old and frail and sickly. But he is there. He is alive. And till he is alive, we have hope. We have hope that goodness prevails, and that there exist those we can look up to. With Edhi around, we have an elder. This August 14th, I happened to celebrate Pakistan’s Independence Day with children from the Edhi home who were attending an event held for them. “Edhi abbu got us these clothes for Youm-e-Azadi,” said a 14 year ...

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6 steps to becoming (more) successful brand builders in Pakistan

For this particular blog, I just want to focus on talent in Pakistan and its impact on brand building. Brands have become ubiquitous in Pakistan. Our ability to promote brands on TV, mobiles, hoardings, talk show coffee cups and so on has allowed organisations to simplify the process of building brand awareness, as long as you are willing to spend the cash. And there is clearly no dearth of advertisement cash in Pakistan. But whether you drive down Shahrah-e-Faisal or Lahore Defence Boulevard, after a mile of watching hoarding after hoarding with beautiful women staring down at you, the brand message gets easily lost. In fact, ...

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Winter delights and the heavenly gajar ka halwa

While growing up in Pakistan, gajar ka halwa was a winter staple in our home. Back then, carrots in Pakistan were a seasonal vegetable so Ammi made it regularly during winters as the new carrot crop would hit the market. These days, however, carrots are available all year round. But sticking to tradition, Ammi still makes gajar ka halwa only in the winters. This halwa is calorie-laden and heavy in nature as it is laboriously cooked for hours in full cream milk, ghee or butter and plenty of sugar. It is advised not to have it during summers when the mercury hits 40 degrees all across Pakistan as the heaviness ...

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