Stories about California

Time-travelling through history and losing myself in the ruins of Ephesus, Turkey

I wanted to end 2017 by surprising my parents with a visit, all the way from California, US to Mansehra, Pakistan. Travelling for 28 hours straight and showing up at my ancestral home in Mansehra, it took my father around three minutes to recognise me as his eldest son. Those three minutes started to get awkward, as I began to wonder if he had excommunicated me from the family tree. Instead, it turned out that he was just channelling his surprise by confusing me for my brother’s friend. However, this little awkward reunion wasn’t the only part of my trip ...

Read Full Post

If Pakistan can take action after the APS attack, what is stopping the US from stricter gun control laws after another school shooting?

On November 14th, the US faced another mass shooting at an elementary school in California. The shooter, identified as Kevin Jason Neal, killed his wife, shot his neighbours, attacked the school and drove by the area while shooting at motorists. He was responsible for five deaths and injuring 10, which included children. Eventually, he was killed by the police. This tragedy is one of the countless mass shooting incidents in the US that have escalated to a point where the country now leads the world in such mindless tragedies. Surprisingly as it is, the statistics surpass even that of countries like Pakistan that are rife with ...

Read Full Post

#KhadijaTheFighter: Democracy may have won yesterday but justice continues to lose

Khadija Siddiqi’s case and her bravery amidst all the chaos has continued to serve as a lesson for women to hold their heads up high and fight against injustice. A year later, her case is still going strong with the accused bringing forth the most absurd arguments out of desperation to win the case. Clearly, the only thing working in his favour is the power his father holds in the legal fraternity. Siddiqi, a law student at a local college, was stabbed 23 times in broad daylight on May 3, 2016 by 21-year-old Shah Hussain, the son of an influential lawyer, when she had ...

Read Full Post

We will spread the colours of Basant thousands of miles away from home

It may not be a national holiday in South Asia, but the advent of Basant (spring) is certainly celebrated there in all its yellow glory, whether it is in Pakistan, Bangladesh or India. The colour yellow can be associated with the blooming fields of mustard which paint the plains from Punjab all the way to Bengal. One of the many passions that this season excites is kite flying. Even if one cannot differentiate between a patang, guddi or tukkal (types of kites) kite, it is okay because Basant is all about enjoying yourself. It also passes any religious and ethnic lines in the region, making it the perfect blend of spirit and fun. ...

Read Full Post

Dear Malala Yousafzai, your Nobel Prize is not your ticket to Stanford

It is time for Malala Yousafzai to start considering colleges for the next phase of her education. However, here the queen of education seems to have run into a little snag. Though she has her eyes set on Stanford University in California among other institutions, Stanford has demanded that she demonstrate herself to be academically adept as per US standards for college admission. Not quite interested in her stature as the youngest Nobel Laureate, the university, which ranks number third in the world, has demanded Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores from Malala. SAT is a specialised test of academic skills in the areas of reading, writing, and math required for applying to admission ...

Read Full Post

Five stereotypes that ‘Devious Maids’ smartly shuns away

The comedy-drama series Devious Maids made its much anticipated return with the release of season three in June 2015. The show stars Roselyn Sanchez, Dania Ramirez, Ana Ortiz, Edy Ganem, and Judy Reyes as five Latina maids working for elitist families in Beverly Hills, California, with dreams and ambitions of their own. But these five women are not just cleaning floors or washing dishes for a living. Apparently they hold on to many dirty secrets of the families they work for. However, keeping the ‘devious’ element aside, I believe the show suppresses a number of stereotypes and clichés about Latinas that the writers indirectly try to enlighten ...

Read Full Post

#Justice4Feras: When the US police kills another innocent victim and no one cares

A 20-year-old Muslim graduate of El Camino Real Charter High School, named Feras Morad, was shot dead by the US police last Wednesday for ‘refusing’ to obey the officer’s instructions. Witnesses of the incident reported that the student had been high on ‘magic mushrooms’ for the first time at a party in Long Beach, California. Due to the effects of the drug, Morad jumped through the second floor window which created panic amongst his peers who informed the police out of concern for his safety. Upon arrival, the police tasered him and subsequently, shot him dead. The police stated that he had ...

Read Full Post

Is it a burden to have four daughters in a Pakistani society?

“Four daughters?” the woman asked, her eyes wide with a mix of horror, pity and fascination. Then, “Mashallah!” A sympathetic smile, followed by, “They are beautiful. May Allah (SWT) bless them with good kismet (fortune)” I can’t count how many times I have heard these sentences being said to my mother. Different women, same words, same connotations each time. For most of my life it did not bother me. I took it in stride. After all, it is a burden to have four daughters in a Pakistani society. To find an educated husband for them, to painstakingly accumulate their dowry, to train them in the art of keeping house; above all to ensure their ...

Read Full Post

Elliot Rodger: A product of the US government’s incompetence?

“You don’t think it’ll happen to your child, until it does.” This is what Richard Martinez stated in a press conference, despairing over the loss of his 20-year-old son, Christopher Martinez. A deranged individual – Elliot Rodger – who sought revenge from female university students for rejecting him, instigated a ruthless shooting spree on the streets of California, killing six people in cold blood, before committing suicide himself. To the sons and daughters of the ill-fated families, may their souls rest in eternal peace. These victims were unreasonably deprived of their right to live; they were killed without any reason. And their ...

Read Full Post

Nuclear weapons are not safe in the US

The world is once again taken aback by the news coming from print and electronic media about the safety and security of nuclear arsenals of the United States. The surprise is intensified because the US keeps warning other nuclear states about safety measures. The largest breach of security in US’s nuclear force took place on January 15, 2014, when 34 nuclear missile officers were implicated in a cheating scandal and were later stripped of their credentials. However, within a matter of 10 days the number of officers implicated reached 90, more than double of the original number. This means that more than one-third ...

Read Full Post