Stories about birthday

Remembering Qalandar Momand: 3 short poems for the colossus of Pashto poetry

Qalandar Momand (1930-2003), whose 88th birthday fell yesterday, is regarded as an epoch-making and trend-setting personality in Pashto literature, journalism and politics in the 20th century. The most gifted of a generation that also includes contemporaries like Ajmal Khattak and Khatir Ghaznavi, Momand made his mark as an enlightened scholar, progressive writer, political thinker, social thinker, scientist, researcher and historian. It was thus rather unfortunate that Google chose to commemorate the late Urdu playwright Fatima Surayya Bajia – also born on September 1st  88 years ago –  with a Google Doodle, and not Momand; though the latter’s diverse contributions far outstrip the former, ...

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We don’t talk anymore…

“So what? What difference does it make if I didn’t tell you about this business trip? It’s only been two weeks since I have known myself!” he exclaimed, taking off his blazer and throwing it on the bed. “You have known for two weeks? Two weeks we have been living under the same roof? And in this entire time you didn’t think it was important for your wife to know you may be leaving for New York?” she questioned him, expecting a rational answer. “I am tired, and stressed at work, maybe it slipped my mind. Why are you overthinking about ...

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She was a precious little flower, wilted and withered

The morning was full of delicate light and cold puffs of wind spiralled around. The days weren’t dismal and grey anymore – they were sunshiny and bright. Summer had almost arrived. Yasmeen’s garden looked revived and bright, washed in pale yellow sunlight. Butterflies fluttered around the flowers and birds flew from tree to tree. It was a delight waking up to such a stunning sight on a Sunday morning. Yasmeen got out of the bed, took a shower and slipped into a white tee and blue jeans. She ate some breakfast and guzzled down a cup of tea. She then left the ...

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A crushed rose

She sat on the steps outside the kitchen door, stroking the stalk of a beautiful rose that she had plucked from the garden earlier that morning, with a faint smile playing across her lips. From here, Kola could gaze out over the gardens that fronted the houses with low walls separating them from one another. She sat there, mesmerised by the surrounding beauty and devouring the sights of the big houses in the neighbourhood, one of many luxuries which she had never had to herself. Kola had started working as a house cleaner at a very young age, following in ...

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I partied at 1am… with these delicious chocolate chip and peanut butter cupcakes!

I love birthdays, whether it’s mine (preferred) or anyone else’s. I get very excited – the countdown to the day type of excited. I’m basically five-years-old again with my level of excitement, but I figure it is one day of the year that is entirely yours, so enjoy it. Get as much as you can out of it and have fun with family and friends. So in the spirits of birthdays, a friend recently celebrated his 30th – big deal and all of that. It was a great reason to bake something delicious (though one doesn’t really need reasons to bake other ...

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Pakistan, a nation raised by ‘maids’ and ‘aayas’

During my last visit to Pakistan, I happened to attend a three-year-old’s birthday party. As the birthday boy belonged to the elite class of a capital city, the extravagance that met my eyes as I walked through the magnificent rust and copper gates, did not dazzle me at all. I was, however,  surprised to see a group of young girls, aged 10 to 15, dressed in obvious hand-me-downs standing near a bunch of little kids playing pat-a-cake. These girls matched the kids around them, both in number and jocundity. My host told me that the girls were the ‘maids’ of the invited ...

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137th birthday: What Allama Iqbal’s poetry has taught me so far

“Maqsood-e-hunar soz-e-hayat-e-abdi hai Ye ik nafas ya do nafas, misl-e-sharar kia” -Iqbal (The real aim of any form of art should be to develop the longing for an ultimate life. It’s not art if all it does is to spark the feelings for a moment or two and then subside – Iqbal) Iqbal’s poetry, beyond doubt, goes in line with the above definition of art (hunar). Though I am just beginning to discover Iqbal myself, it is indisputable that his poetry has proven to be a truly transforming force. Some of his verses had an unprecedented and enlightening impact on me, helping me become ...

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Politics and pink lipstick: The new-age Pakistani funeral

Recently, my father’s close friend passed away. Baba was extremely sad and didn’t have the strength to visit the family all by himself so I decided to accompany him. I reassured him by telling him that I would recite the Holy Quran while he condoled with the family. As I entered the apartment, I took off my chappals in a corner of the room where there was already a mound of different shapes and sizes of diamanté laden shoes. As promised, I took the Holy Quran and sat down next to a group of middle-aged, anorexic ladies who were dressed in expensive ...

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How thieves on a bus ruined my birthday

It is no secret that public buses are not safe. Speeding, overloading, harassment and reckless driving aside, the recent rise of robberies inside the vehicles while they are still moving has added to the reasons why one would feel unsafe while taking a bus. Previously, I had only heard stories of people being robbed by armed men who board these buses as passengers or by sneaky pickpockets who lure you into a hearty conversation while they pick your pocket unnoticed. A few days ago, I too fell victim to these robbers. I was heading to work in the afternoon on my usual ...

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Lights, joy, mithai: Eid Miladun Nabi in Pakistan

We call them ‘choti choti khushiyan.’ Forget all the troubles, hassle, inflation and terrorism which are rampant in our country, and take one day, one event, to celebrate. Today, it is Eid Miladun Nabi. The entire country is lit up and decorated. Even the ‘city of lights’ gets to see a lot of lights, despite the loadshedding. Taking advantage of the holiday, people meet old relatives, share food and sweets. Many even take their families to zoos and parks just to celebrate this beautiful day. As my friend would like to put it, the entire country goes ‘meetha meetha’. Being a shutterbug, I tried finding this ...

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