Stories published in May, 2015

“My medical degree brings all the parents to the yard” – A man’s perspective

The simple laws of supply and demand do not apply to a doctor bahu (daughter-in-law); no matter what the supply, there will still be a demand in Pakistan. It’s inelasticity of demand is more rigid than the worst brand of zarband you may buy from a street vendor. You can turn every eligible single woman in Pakistan into a doctor, and there would still be parents lining up around the block looking to marry their son to them. If Kelis was to make a pop song in Pakistan, it would be, “My medical degree brings all the parents to the yard and they are like our haq mehar’s  better ...

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Reham Khan tells women to “stop complaining” – As a man, allow me!

Reham Khan, in an interview for IndiaToday, advised women to “stop complaining”, and expressed her disapproval of their constant ‘whining’ and self-pitying. Perhaps I should try putting my male privilege to good use by whining on their behalf for a short while? The cover of IndiaToday featured a clichéd garden shot of Mrs Khan with her children; bound in a moment of sweet domestic bliss witnessed often in magazines, seldom in cooking oil commercials, and never in real life. Beneath the saccharine image, in bold white, are printed familiar words of conformity to the patriarchal system that drive Xanax sales ...

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In the name of Allah

I cheat, I lie, I give up on Him, I don’t even try, I swear, I disobey, I do wrong when I want my way. Then I cover my head, I bow and pray, In the name of Allah.   We smoke, we drink, Go as low as low can sink, We take, we steal, Disregard it as no big deal, Then down on our knees, we bow, we pray, In the name of Allah.   They claim it’s all for Him, in His name, When they kill and they burn, No remorse, no shame, Then they raise their hands, And bow to pray, In the name of ...

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#NA-125 election: Not much to celebrate for PML-N

Today, the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) suspended, not overturned, an election tribunal’s decision ordering fresh elections in NA-125, Lahore. Only a few days ago, this now suspended decision blew hot air into Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) deflating balloon. A few days before that, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) victory in Cantonment Boards Elections and a devastating loss in NA-246 by-elections had pushed PTI on the back foot. The lost fervour and vigour revived on May 4th, when Hamid Khan’s petition against Saad Rafique’s election was accepted. Imran Khan found his lost uncontrollable smile and confidence, PTI found life. Celebrations followed and continued ...

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Why is it acceptable for Indian companies to abuse Indian migrants in the Middle East?

In the southern coastal belt of India and the Malabar side, there has been an obsession among youngsters to flock to the Middle East for a better livelihood. The trend embarked in the late 60s, as a result of the oil boom in most parts of the Arab gulf region. With a shortage of labour force at home, the requirement for semi-skilled and highly-skilled labour from third world countries elevated and thus began the influx of thousands of workers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Initially, in the early 70s, Kuwait and Bahrain attracted huge labour force as massive oil extraction ...

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Is there any solution to Karachi’s trigger-happy muggers?

I sat there, bewildered; you expect it, consciously, yet subconsciously you believe you’ll be immune from it, somehow, by some grand scheme of the universe. Once the calm after the storm had washed over, it was replaced with a racing pulse and bouts of anger. Inadvertently, I uttered a curse directed at that hooded figure that only moments ago had stood in the figure of a knell beside me. After four years in Karachi, I somehow believed I had become equipped in the tools of avoiding being mugged. I barely used my phone while in the car or in public transport, ...

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The decadent and royal Shahi Tukra with a flavourful twist

Bread pudding is one of the most frugal yet comforting and heart-warming desserts ever created. Though most people choose simplicity with their addition of spice, it should be known that those creamy oozing layers of custard can do with and compliment any spice in the cabinet. Here I have used traditional saffron and cardamom. In my home in Pakistan, my nani (maternal grandmother) used to make Shahi Tukre every Sunday for lunch amongst the biryani and accompaniments. Even though it’s a heavy dessert, there are ways to make it more suitably lower in calories – use skimmed milk and less sugar – though ...

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Not all mothers deserve to be celebrated on Mother’s Day

When I was around seven-years-old, my mother forgot me at the imambargah for a brief moment of 10 minutes. Since there was a bunch of us and we were in multiple cars, she assumed that I was in another car other than the one she occupied. I remember being scared, very scared, and feeling unimportant since they forgot me behind, along with multiple thoughts running in my head about what will happen to me. Being the youngest of five, I always assumed that when it was time to take care of me, my mother just gave up after taking care of four ...

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Salman Khan case: We will eat grass, but still worship our stars

Indian law is not blind; it is a slave of the rich. The events that have unfolded in the last few days have exposed the age-old vices tormenting our country – favouritism and nepotism. It has been a disgrace and a mockery to the rule of law in India as the world carefully observed and laughed at the emerging superpower. One tweet read, “If Hitler had appealed to the Bombay High Court, he would have been a free man, free of all charges.” In a nutshell, Salman Khan’s recent verdict says it all about the Indian system – the rich and ...

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Being a mother is a job – One some can’t afford to pay for

Being a mother is the toughest job in the world. It requires immense patience, diligence and courage, in the course of moulding young souls into responsible individuals who will be capable of obtaining a livelihood one fine day. While the importance and due respect of any job shouldn’t be suppressed, we as a society are at a consistent risk of undermining – or worse ignoring – the role of mothers in our lives. “How do you kill time, staying at home all day?” This is the most frequently posed question to any mother who doesn’t pursue a career. The words fully serve the purpose of ...

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