Stories about college

Bombay slums: Dark, dingy and full of hope

Bombay (now known as Mumbai) enamours me like it has many people. While the plane lands over the city, you see a seamless mix of shanties and high rises. It is not so inconspicuous on the ground. Riding a local train from Santa Cruz to Malad East, I gazed at the best and the worst of living conditions of the people of Bombay. I was in the city to report on the raising real estate prices in the city’s slums. As I reached my destination in Dharavi, one of the largest slums in Asia, there was a strange sensation in my stomach ...

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When college ends and real life begins

I know you guys have already read a couple of blogs about graduation; the ones that elaborated in 10 points how, after passing out, the realisation dawns that the world out there is very evil and that college was pure bliss. While these writings surely had their utility, what they failed to encapsulate was the experience itself; the four years of loathing that magically turn into a bitter sweet feeling as the end approaches. I still remember an incident from freshman year when I complained to a teacher about the excessive workload and she said, with a smile reminiscent of days gone by, When you are ...

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It’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right, I hope you’ve had the time of your life

School is over. No, I don’t mean it’s over because of a strike or bomb blast. I mean it’s over in the sweetest, most beloved of ways the end of year party. Eighteen-year-olds from A-Level institutions across the city suddenly cleaned up, straightened their ties, and ironed their dupattas. Mascaras were lost and found, bathroom mirrors were overtaken, and poses were struck in airy gardens and sleek white studios. Jimmy’s and Dossani’s probably made a killing this week. And Facebook won’t let me forget it. Suddenly, everyone’s cover photo is that of them with their friends, eating halwa puri at Boat Basin ...

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Why you need to cut us some slack

Stress is hoping against hope that the History notes you have been reading till 1 am, with your brain telling you to go to sleep, will somehow show up on the examination paper tomorrow. Stress is a row of kids sitting in an examination room, suddenly turning around in their seats to laugh – nobody has any idea what the numbers swirling on the Math paper actually mean. Stress is the sleeplessness of many a youngster, whose parents expect them to churn out just as brilliant results as their older siblings have had done in their student life. Stress is trying to ...

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Infinity and beyond: Space exploration for Pakistan

July 21, 1969 was seen by many as the culmination of man’s evolution from a cave-inhabiting savage to an astronaut. That landing on the moon owed more to the imagination overdrive of the Western civilization than the technological advancements of the time. Looking at it from a purely economic point of view, it would be safe to say that space programs around the world have introduced spin-off technologies that have actually sped up human technological evolution and had a major impact on our daily lives. Now let us descend from the lofty heights of the western civilisation’s achievements in space and have ...

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‘No Baba, not her 18th birthday party, her wedding’

“Baba, I need to go to Mehek’s* mehndi tonight.” “Mehek’s sister?” “No, Mehek’s. As in, Mehek in my class.” My father lowers his newspaper, eyebrows raised. “Mehek in your class is getting married?” Yes, Mehek in my class is getting married. And I am cordially invited. Who gets married at 18? Apparently, a sizable chunk. I can easily produce a list of girls who have gotten married, will get married this year, or will be getting married in the next year or two. The list of girls whose possibility of getting engaged in the next year or two is exponentially higher. And this phenomenon is not ...

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Thoughts on Khayaban-e-Nowhere’s birthday

This week, Khayaban-e-Nowhere turns one. Some of you will applaud while others (particularly a segment of The Express Tribune’s online readership) will repeatedly smack their foreheads against a wall, wondering what the state of Pakistani English newspapers has come to. But we will come to that in just a bit. Khayaban-e-Nowhere has in its one year covered a strange multitude of topics. The great thing about Khayaban-e-Nowhere is that it has absolutely no particular regimen, plan or focus. It is essentially a writing space for anything under the sun. When you write about pretty much anything you begin to see ...

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Great grades mean nothing if you don’t have a chaperone – or a Y chromosome

Meet Maheen*: a hardworking final year A’ Level student. By hardworking, I mean that when Maheen received a B in Chemistry, having lost out by a mark, she stayed back in the library for hours on end every day for three weeks, to finally get an A in the finals. It’s that kind of hard work that translated into 14 As in her O’ Levels, seven of which were A*. Naturally, she had straight As in her AS Levels. She is the kind of girl that you assume will apply to the best colleges. But Maheen is not calling the ...

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13 Pakistanis you will meet in US colleges

This post refers mostly to the, gently put, “fresh off the boat” Pakistani students studying in the States. Some might be a mix of multiple categories, and some none. I’m not sure if the same kinds of Pakistani students are at every campus, but these are the ones I’ve come across on a few campuses across the States: 1) The Princess: So you may have been the best looking girl in your elite school’s class of 20 or so kids, but you’re pretty average looking on this campus of thousands of students. It might be time for a reality check… or ...

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What’s the worst thing that can happen in an examination hall?

What is the worst thing that can happen to you in an examination hall? That you are caught cheating? Or, that you prepared for the wrong exam? No. Of course those things are pretty bad, but the worst thing that can happen to you in an examination hall is to be sexually harassed by the invigilator. Picture this: you are busy thinking about some weird biology term or phenomenon that could ruin your grade if you jumble it up. You are drenched in sweat because the fans are out of order. The windows are broken so the sunlight pierces through and hits your ...

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