A father, a daughter, and the tug of being in three places at once

The only certain thing in this life is death. I learnt that very early on in life. It was one evening back in 1995, the time on my watch had stopped at 7:35pm. It was a Tuesday, February 28th, to be exact. That was when time rendered still for my father. And for me. I was only a teenager. My father had been ill for a few days and the doctors had put it off as a mere cold. I still remember the day before it happened, my sister and I were at a local pharmacy and decided to get some over ...

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Dear Centaurus Mall, forcing single males to pay a non-refundable fee of Rs500 is elitist and offensive

Centaurus Mall has once again fired shots at the lowly invaders of its ‘family-oriented’ atmosphere. I fear this will only get worse. Frustrated social media users have posted images of Rs500 entry tickets to Centaurus, applicable only to single male visitors. Unlike older entry coupons, these tickets are neither refundable nor adjustable with purchases inside the mall. #Boycott #Centaurus_MallAbsolutely ridiculous! Centaurus used to charge 300 previously which was adjustable. They're… Posted by Islamabad~~~Rain~~~Music~~~Walk~~~Perfect Combination on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 It appears that the management of Centaurus has done nothing that is not within the class-warfare guidelines of Islamabad – the face of Pakistan’s elite ...

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How was I supposed to know about Dr Ruth Pfau, who she was or what she had done for my country?

On August 10, 2017 I heard about the demise of Dr Ruth Pfau. Within hours, social media was filled with condolence messages and appreciation posts for Dr Pfau’s efforts to counter leprosy in Pakistan. Prayers for Dr Ruth Pfua. "We shall remember you as Ambassador of humanity and for selfless services to the people of Pakistan. RIP", COAS. — Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) August 10, 2017 Saddened to learn of Dr Ruth Pfau's passing. Her spirit of selfless dedication leaves a void that will be difficult to fill. — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 10, 2017 Dr Ruth Pfau. Pakistani legend. Represented the pinnacle of human empathy ...

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“Nothing will happen to you as long as you are in this car!”

Born and raised in Karachi, I take great pride in my city of lights. You’ll always find me in the middle of a heated argument (mostly with Lahoris) about why Karachi is the best city in Pakistan. What’s not to like about this place? Karachi has the best food, the best malls, the best people and we also have a beach. Take that Lahore! But it took me four years of living in Lahore to realise that Karachi, as ideal as it was in terms of food and other attractions, wasn’t the safest place to live. Karachiites know the rules of living in Karachi. Do not use ...

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Gowhar, the nun-e-phol of Kashmir, and the ruthless killing machine that is the Indian CRPF

He was amongst the younger children. I remember him as a frail boy with prominent cheekbones. When he would smile, the dent in his cheeks would turn into a dimple. Whenever we would play cricket in the field and needed to toss, he would toss the bat up in the air with excitement and say, “Akh, ze, tra!” (One, two, three!) Being one of the younger children in the neighbourhood meant that Gowhar often got to play du taraf (both sides). For us, the older boys, children such as Gowhar were called nun-e-phol (a chunk of salt). It is an intriguing word in Kashmiri children’s vocabulary. ...

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10 reasons why we have a love-hate relationship with Eidul Azha

It’s that time of the year again – mutton lovers rejoice. Wish I could say the same but sadly, I am not a mutton lover and I am not rejoicing. But for those of you that are – let’s talk about what makes this Eidul Azha so great and not so great at the same time… 1.An endless supply of food Every Eid, I think that is the ultimate goal. How much food can I consume and how fast? Are you ready? One, two, three, let’s go… Me trying to hide my addiction to food in front of guests: Me once they leave: 2.The endless relatives ...

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What the fat, Aunty ji?

Full disclosure: I was slim some time ago. It happened slowly. I kept gaining weight over the last couple of years, until suddenly one day I was not thin anymore. The factors were pretty much the same as anyone else’s. An intense love for food. Cheese is the only thing I would call bae. Maybe even brownies! An equally intense dislike for exercise (I would rather curl up on the couch and read). In my case, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder in which gaining weight is easier than losing it, among other more serious repercussions. I was blissfully unaware of my weight until ...

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Twines and toilet paper will not do: Sanitary supplies should be a necessity, not a luxury

I was studying at a public school and was in grade 11 when it happened. One day. I went to school without any underwear on and I got my period. Studying at one of the largest government colleges for girls in Islamabad, you would think that they would be able to help you in a situation like this. However, their ‘help’ came in the form of offering me a piece of twine and a toilet paper roll. They suggested that I fold in the toilet paper and the twine would hold it in. That was just one day of menstruation in my ...

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With friends like Ali Abrar’s, who needs enemies?

Recently, a video has gone viral across Pakistani social media. It shows what appears to be a good-natured young man standing on the edge of a few rocks while staring naively at a stream. Here, his ‘friends’ egg him on to take a plunge and swim across the river to the other side. The problem with the challenge can be clearly seen in the boy’s eyes – the current is moving quite rapidly, with hidden dangers lying under the water, and unless he’s Superman, he’ll be in trouble. But peer pressure is a funny thing. It can initiate anyone into an ill-advised decision in ...

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From the ‘Eidul Filter’ photo to the ‘#WokeUpLikeThis’ selfie, now you can nail the perfect rishta picture

If there’s one thing Pakistan is passionate about aside from chai, the Panama leaks and commenting on someone’s weight, it is rishtas. The rishta aunty is probably Pakistan’s third most popular profession – after doctors and engineers, of course – who are incidentally prime candidates for the rishta hunter. So if you’re looking for a rishta, please read the extremely serious plan below which clearly highlights how your life will transition from behuda (indecent) to shaadi shuda (married). The Eidul Filter photo: Eid is a great time to bond with family, collect eidi, and appreciate the joy brought on by sheer korma, right? Wrong. If ...

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