Stories about Canada

Pakistan just doesn’t feel like home

“I have and always will live in Canada.” Well, that was the plan until two years ago when all my plans, my vision for life – everything changed suddenly and rapidly. Quite unexpectedly, I had to make new plans, which included living in Pakistan. My eyes still closed I enjoyed the crisp, cool weather and tried to decipher whether the heating was on or not. As I pulled the pillow over my face to block the sunlight, I decided that the heating had to be on. After all, November in Toronto was never cool; it was freezing. This thought led me to the far less ...

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Malala would be better off living in Canada

Jon Stewart was not wrong when in his late night The Daily Show, he offered to adopt Malala Yousafzai. He was highly impressed by this child’s advocacy for education and  for him, it looked like a great deal.  It’s easier to raise a precocious child who is adamant to educate herself even after being persecuted by evil forces, as compared to many other kids in the US who play hooky on attending school.  However, Stewart did not know that his ‘adoption wish’ might come in handy for the brave girl. As the dust will settle in and normalcy will prevail, the question ...

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Why I will never return to the USA

After a year of travelling, I had planned a last, short trip. I was going to take the train from Montreal to New Orleans. The travels I had been undertaking earlier this year had brought me to places that were meant to form the background of my second novel. This trip however was for my dad. A trumpet player, he loved New Orleans and had died a year ago. It felt like the first sensible trip I undertook this year. I had been searching for ways to forget about the last hours at his deathbed. He had been ill for ...

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Battling winter in Canada: How I miss Karachi’s winter season!

As soon as winter begins to peek in from the corner, daily talks also change from summer and spring to winter and snow. Discussions start revolving around jackets, scarves, cardigans, and sometimes, even hats. This is Canada. With each year being a new challenge, every winter day tells a different story. The early signs of winter here typically are chilled, rapid windy days and cold nights. Normally, people detest this, but some romantics look forward to this weather, after all its the best time to cuddle up and keep warm. The sound of the fallen rust and yellow maple leaves and the changing colours of ...

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Singing the national anthem in a tank top: Worthy of abuse?

The true face of people shows on the internet. Online anonymity has something thrilling about it which makes you say whatever you really want to. Unfortunately, some people (even while not being anonymous) say the cruelest, more hateful things on social media. I tend to always feel a little depressed after going through the comments sections of public posts on Facebook. I know that it is ‘only the internet’ and I need to have thicker skin; still, some things leave me wondering what the people of my country have become. A few days ago, I stumbled upon a video on Facebook. Around ...

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Yes, thunderstorms in Toronto can take you back to Lahore

Pakistan is notorious for a lot of things. However, electricity shortage continues to stand out from the gruesome front runners that are security threats and economic disparity. These are the perfect ingredients to derail any sane mind but a Pakistanis’.  All hell may literally break loose in Pakistan, but pick any common person from a crowd and there is always room for more in the snake pit; for more morsels in their hearty appetites for despair. Maybe because they have no other choice. Maybe because they are built that way. ‘Human Play-Doh’ is what I’d like to call them. You ...

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You will always be ‘home’, Pakistan

My heart has been aching since the past week. Day one: I unpacked my suitcases. Day two: I put away the laundry. Day three: I packed lunch for my kids. Day four and five flew by. But, it’s still there. That hollow throbbing ache, it’s in that same spot where I think my heart is meant to be. And it refuses to go. My seven-year-old daughter has asked me at least two dozen times, “Why don’t we live in Pakistan?” Today my three-year old son told me, “Your house is boring Mama, I want to go to Pakistan.” Their questions don’t help my pain. ...

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Dear HEC, your degree attestation process is a nightmare

Getting a degree attested – sounds like a simple enough task, doesn’t it? Turns out, it can be an absolutely maddening task, trust me. I had been trying to apply for a visa to Canada, and as part of the process, I traveled to Islamabad from Peshawar to get my Bachelor’s degree attested. This is a necessary step for everyone who wants to apply for a visa to the US and Canada and even for those who are seeking jobs within Pakistan. Before leaving Peshawar, I went through all the necessary requirements listed on the Higher Education Commission (HEC) website. 8:00am I arrived at the HEC office ...

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Want to move abroad? Think again!

The life of a middle class Pakistani immigrant overseas is gravely misunderstood by both the people in the immigrant’s homeland and the people in the country to which the immigrant has emigrated. There are a couple of (read: many) things that are immediately dismissed once it is mentioned that a person is a Pakistani living abroad. For one, it is often forgotten that moving abroad means starting over– from scratch. From waiting at the airport for eight hours because of a miscalculation in hotel costs, to renting a basement for immediate accommodation, to living in the basement for approximately six years until you can afford ...

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For Tahirul Qadri, it’s a win

The revolution is over. Democracy is saved. Islamabad the green will become even greener, thanks to all the fertiliser. The ‘padri’ is now very much a player. The ‘former’ government is now a coalition partner, the ‘yazeedis’ are now buddies and Karbala, it seems, came with a conference-ready container. Bad jokes and highly inappropriate references aside (hey, they started it), we can breathe a collective sigh of relief that it all ended without violence because, for a while there, it all looked very touch and go. I’m also glad that the army kept its boots off, and didn’t tip the balance ...

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