Stories published in December, 2015

Nehru and Jinnah had the same problem – their daughters loved men they did not approve of

Nehru and Jinnah had the same problem. Their daughters loved men they did not approve of. Children of ambitious fathers, Indira and Dina, both, carried their fathers’ hopes and lived with their mothers’ pain. They were daughters who were raised in the mould of the young English ladies their fathers had gone to school with. Jinnah’s daughter, Dina was born in Britain and, like Indira, went to school there. What the girls did not know was that it was all fine and dandy to wear modern ideas but you don’t go to bed in them. Both girls crossed the line and ...

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UAE’s National Day: Why are we celebrating a place like Dubai?

United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently celebrated its 44th National Day on December 2, 2015.  As expected, Pakistanis residing in the UAE took part in celebrations too. Pakistan’s fascination with Dubai, is not uncommon, or hard to understand. Dubai has always been positioned to be Middle East’s answer to the West’s glitz and glamour –skyscrapers galore, an economy that is home to global brands, and jobs that apparently promise a life from rags to riches – all in the pseudo comfort of supposedly Islamic settings. To the religious-minded, it offers Shariah Law and the comfort of being next door to Saudi Arabia, the self-proclaimed centre ...

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Fika on the Roof: ‘Pay what you want’ (but suffer the consequences, if you do not pay what we want)

Recently, food groups on Facebook have been abuzz with the ‘Pay what you want’ offer introduced by a restaurant in Karachi called Fika on the Roof. The offer was meant to inverse the power balance and tip the scale in favour of the consumer. With no recommended prices, the experiment was simple: put your money where your mouth is and pay what you think the food is worth. If nothing else, the growing consumer power would generate enough publicity for the restaurant to sustain any losses. A risk well worth taking, one assumes. With the advent of social media the popularity of food ...

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No, Mohammad Amir, your spot fixing wasn’t a ‘minor’ offence

Of the three cricketers convicted and punished in the infamous spot-fixing scandal, I felt sympathy only for Mohammad Amir, since the left-arm fasted bowler was the youngest of the trio, and quickly put himself (as probably advised by his lawyer) at the mercy of the courts. On the other hand, both senior bowler Mohammad Asif and skipper Salman Butt fought legal battles to the very end. In fact, Salman Butt shamelessly exploited the nation’s hearts on Pakistani news shows by claiming that there were conspiracies against him. Finally, after exhausting all good will and legal recourse, Butt came clean. This ...

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355 mass shootings in 340 days: We cannot ban guns, but we can control and regulate

In the spring of 2001, while in Copenhagen, I went to Gun Nation, an exhibit by British photojournalist Zed Nelson. Nelson’s opus, with book of same title, intertwined Americans’ love of weapons with carnage:  victims’ photos juxtaposed with images of domestic bliss, say, a man holding a pistol in one hand while cradling his infant in the other. Guns, mass shootings, and gang violence have been a part of America for decades. So why does every shooting generate incredulity in this Sisyphean landscape? Recently, on December 2, 2015, two heavily armed persons entered a community centre for the disabled in San Bernardino and killed at ...

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10 things overseas Pakistanis face upon their return to the homeland

This article is for someone who has spent a significant time away from Pakistan and returns to the homeland to experience culture, vivacity and a very unique country. No matter how much we may establish our lives abroad, there is such a wondrous pull that keeps us coming back for more.  So if you haven’t been back home for a while, start planning your trip because these are the 10 main things you have to look forward to upon your return. 1. The heat It doesn’t matter if you arrive in winters, as soon as that plane door opens, you are smacked in ...

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Why aren’t Pakistani men given paternity leave?

“We are pregnant.”   That is such a wonderful way of announcing the happy news that a couple is expecting a baby. While it is by natural default that the woman is destined to bear the bigger physical brunt by carrying the child to term and going through the delivery ordeal, there is no dearth of good daddies who take pride and ownership in the role. The more evolved men of today take the paternal instinct very seriously. They are involved in active parenting. And so many of them – like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg – want to spend some uninterrupted ...

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I’m not bragging, but this is one unforgettable chocolate cream pie

Most of the food I make has been inspired by the restaurants I visit. And rightly so! Isn’t it ideal when you recreate something you had at a restaurant and make it even better? I have had chocolate cream pie quite a few times, but all were, for lack of a better word, forgettable. None have stood out until I indulged in this one at a gastropub in Pasadena. The flavours were so complex and it wasn’t your typical chocolate cream pie by any means. So when I sought out to replicate the dessert at home, I went with my gut feeling. ...

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#IStandWithAhmadis, and so should you

Here in Pakistan, we often feel affronted by the mistreatment of the minorities overseas, we identify with racially, religiously, or culturally. Any occurrence of a mosque defiled, or a Muslim man or woman being abused in the West, is quickly shared across social media captioned with angry messages. This, of course, is fair enough. As someone who considers himself to be a member of this planet rather than defined by race or religion, I feel humanity should know no boundaries. That being said, it is difficult to fathom how the volume of our outrage is directly proportional to the distance of the ...

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Is George Bush responsible for creating ISIS? Not really

The bloody Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) onslaught has left us bewildered, slammed into a corner with little hope of return to peaceful times. Humanity has been blatantly pushed into an unprecedented, smouldering pit of fire that refuses to die down, butchering innocent masses simply trying to get through their days. While bringing to justice this portentous enemy may be an impossible adventure, clearly an axis of evil has descended upon us. All bets are off. Rules have been summarily dispatched out of the window. To every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction – doesn’t take a ...

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