Stories about desi

Two years in Pakistan made me reconsider my values on parenting

A few years ago, a friend of mine sent me Khalil Gibran’s poem, On Children. Upon reading it, I remember my first thought being, ‘this guy probably didn’t have children of his own’. I was appalled at the things he suggested in his poem. Gibran wrote: “Your children are not your children, They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself, They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.” I got married at the age of 23, and exactly nine months later, I became the mother of a daughter who is ...

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Dhaba vs fine dining: A $60 meal at a Michelin star restaurant or a $2 meal fit for a Mughal emperor?

Known for the fresh sub-continental food they serve in an open air atmosphere, dhabas can be dubbed as local fast food joints that offer patrons tasty, traditional dishes at an affordable price. The word ‘dhaba’ has become so popular in fact, that both Indian and Pakistani restaurants abroad have adopted it as a part of their name. I grossly undervalued the economical and cheerful appeal of a dhaba until a few months ago, when visiting the land of gold souks and skyscrapers otherwise known as Dubai. I decided to go for dinner at a posh restaurant called Guilt. This of course ...

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Opening old wounds and Quader Mollah’s execution: What did Bangladesh accomplish?

About a week ago I was in New York on holiday and at some point got into a cab with a very chatty Bengali cab driver. His first question to me obviously, as all desi cab drivers in NY must ask, was where I’m from; the minute I responded he said to me in broken Urdu, “Oh! You come from the country that looted, raped, killed and tortured us for 24 years!”  I am used to being attacked like that; for the past three and a half years I have been married to a Bangladeshi and spend a lot ...

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This is what ‘Pakistan’ means to me

Walking or driving around the streets of my country, I can never give words to the mix of feelings and emotions that I experience. Is it the sense of belonging, which I never feel anywhere else in the world? Is it patriotism which brings tears to my eyes whenever I see a little boy running around the streets with a giant Pakistan flag? Driving by the Mazar-e-Quaid waving flags. Photo: Muhammad Noman “Why do you like Pakistan so much?” “Why would you want to live here when everyone here wants to leave?” “What is so good about Pakistan?” These are ...

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Craving GT Road dhaaba deliciousness? Try this channa daal

Whoever has travelled on the Grand Trunk (GT) road in Pakistan knows what a driver’s hotel or a manji hotel is. Four ideas are the usual elements which make up such a hotel; truck drivers, plenty of manjis (Punjabi for beds), karak doodh patti (strong milk-tea) and affordably epic desi food. These informal restaurants are where all the long haul trucks make in-between stops to eat, drink and rest before heading to another stretch of their tiring journeys. The GT road is South Asia’s oldest and longest road, originally built to link eastern and western regions of the subcontinent. The road was rebuilt by Sher Shah Suri in the 16th century. ...

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How not to run a Pakistani Students Association at an American college

Thanks to globalisation and a constant influx of immigrants and international students, all major colleges in America now have a Pakistani Student Association (PSA). Running a PSA is a unique, enthralling experience and is known to be a great remedy for a drama-free college life. Whether you are in Pakistan wondering what life is like abroad, or a Pakistani about to attend an American college, here is your short guide on how NOT to run a PSA at an American college. 1. Do not ignore the rishta prospects Most of the people in your organisation are not in for the love of Pakistan or its culture. All they really ...

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A short history of Pakistani Twitter trends

There are many reasons to like Twitter. Most of them have to do with the fact that your extended gharana is not on it, no one asks you to play Zyla Slingo or Farmville, most people you admired for their intellect are revealed as being quite boring, and then of course, there are Twitter trends. In fact, trending topics are a concept that is unique to Twitter. Witnessing one develop can be an exhilarating experience, as you watch it emerge organically and suddenly begin to snowball to gargantuan proportions. Factor in the usual outrage and the trolls, and it’s like ...

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Of cricket and Slims in the US

On September 30, Pakistan will play against India in a cricket match. As in any other life defining event such that this will be, I will spend my Sunday glued firmly to the television and dressed as if everything green and white in my cupboard threw up on me. I shall fight over the bowl of popcorn or chips passed along the row of friends as we alternate between offering shukranay ki namaaz every time Pakistan hits a six, and yelling slurs at the Indian team, everything from their hair to how they bat. Except for the fact that I’m not actually in ...

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‘Pack-is-tan’ stereotypes in the US

When I was 12-years-old, I visited my aunt in the US. During this trip, I tagged along with my cousin, who is barely older than me, to participate in a very American pastime: we hit the mall. There, we bumped into his desi American friend and I was introduced as the cousin from Pakistan. His friend turned to me and said, “Aap ko angrezi ata bhi hai? (Do you even know how to speak English?)” He enunciated every word loudly, as if I were deaf. I was 12, and this made me bristle with anger. “I’m not stupid,” I replied very stupidly. The boy ...

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How to live-tweet a wedding

Twitter has enabled news to be transmitted within mere seconds. Now, ordinary people are able to take part in the way information travels and even add their opinion to it. Recently, many have  started using this platform to describe an event with a constant flow of tweets. This practice is known as “live-tweeting.“ The phenomenon of live-tweeting was popularised during the Arab Spring. Since then, we have seen many an incident being live-tweeted. Whether it is the Osama bin Laden operation, Whitney Houston’s funeral, or even an abortion, live-tweeting is the new fad. So perfected is this practice that there even exist many guidelines on how ...

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