Stories about failure

I wanted to be a doctor my whole life but ended up doing BBA, and life changed

As a child, I always wanted to pursue medicine. I was the kid who would memorise the names of bones from a skeleton drawn in her book and tell her dad about this achievement. Medicine was my passion from the start. As a teenager, I wanted to do something substantial in life and my goal was to be an independent woman like my mother. Working hard had become both a passion and a liability to achieve what I always wanted to do. But last year, when the time for admissions into medical colleges came, things didn’t play out so well. And ...

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Unable to get your desired band score in IELTS? Fret not and follow these tips!

One late evening, a student came down to my office, wanting to join my International English Language Testing System (IELTS) class. This young lady told me how she had given her IELTS for the second time but she knew her performance was not upto the mark and hence, she was not expecting the band score she required; despite paying Rs54000 for the course itself. On the day of the exam, she woke up at 5:30am, and had a healthy breakfast with a mug of coffee to make sure she wouldn’t feel drowsy in front of the speaking examiner. However, I could see ...

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Why I teach my daughter to raise her hand

Upon her return home from school, I asked my daughter whether or not she raises her hand in class, to which she replied,  “Yes mom, I did,” she said. “In fact, I raise my hand all the time now, even when I am not sure if I have the right answer.” I can’t describe how proud I am that my daughter raises her hand to speak up. Not being sure of the answer is fine by me, as long as she takes a risk and tries anyway. On the contrary, I would be a little upset if she would not engage and ...

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Breaking the Curfew since 1989

“Respect for law is dying. The whole system of justice is breaking down… nobody wants a good police force as then, they would become subject to the law”. This is Karachi in the 1980s, as described by a senior police official in the book, Breaking the Curfew, published in 1989. It was written by Emma Duncan, a journalist for The Economist, during her escapade to Pakistan in the late ‘80s. The Karachi sketched in the book, when compared to the Karachi of today, sounds more like Zurich, as our elders recall. The saddest part is that the symptoms were there for all to see even then, ...

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Relax Pakistan! Obama’s trip to India will not jeopardise Pak-US relations

Obama is finally in India for his second official visit since he commenced his second term in the office. The visit is important for various reasons. First and foremost, due to its powerful symbolism: Obama is the first US president visiting India, twice. Secondly, an American president’s presence at the Republic Day of the world’s largest democracy also sends a very powerful message. But there are some serious questions occupying the minds of those in India and Pakistan. Will the visit prove to be just a theatrical trip of smiles and handshakes or can India really get something out of the guest who is left with just two years ...

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It’s okay to be a failure

Two years ago I had a breakthrough in life; I failed my finals. It was my first experience of failing in a major way; and my teachers and peers were not helpful. They would judge me and taunt me, and at times, pity me as well. But I was never the loser, ever. How did I, being an exemplary student all my life, fail the exams and become the lowest of the low? Nobody had even taught me how to handle a situation like this. I was left broken, and since I did not know what to do, it disturbed further two ...

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Can a Muslim be buried next to a non-Muslim?

My father-in-law, Abdullah Khadim Husain or ‘Abbu’ as we called him, suddenly died of heart failure a couple of months ago while visiting one of his children in Virginia. Although he did have a history of heart disease, he was apparently in good health, which is why his demise came as a total shock. Since most of his children now reside in the US, it was decided to bury him at the National Memorial Park in Falls Church, Virginia instead of taking the body back to Pakistan, and so the burial arrangements were made. The question, however, came up as to what ...

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Lemon squares with a sprinkle of Ali Zafar please!

Born and bred in good ol’ Lahore, this Lahori munda has done us proud in many fields. His claim to fame is painting, singing, dancing and acting. With his adverts zapped nationwide on billboards and television channels, singing and dancing to his own composition, Ali Zafar goes around painting the town yellow and red. Shuffling between the neighbouring Indian film industry, local adverts and composing albums, he is a busy man, yet he was kind enough to take my call whilst driving back home from his dentist appointment. Given the lack of time and opportunities to meet him, I managed a ‘lightning round’ with him ...

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It’s our own damn fault!

After an attack on Jinnah International Airport just two days ago, you would think we have some practice in dealing with the situation. We don’t; in fact, we just keep getting better at failure. The second attack takes place at the ASF training camp, which is in close proximity to the high-alert, already bruised airport. The events that followed post breaking the news were something to see, perhaps as a training manual for What-Not-To-Do-In-An-Emergency-For-The-Second-Time. Within minutes you felt like you were actually there as reporters tried to take us foot by foot with the commandos holding weapons. It began with a few ...

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Are you failing at being a parent?

I recently came across an article which listed ten common parenting mistakes. It got me thinking about my own parenting skills, or lack thereof. The insecurity about parenting most likely stemmed from my biases that were challenged by that article. I think parenting is made out to be harder than it actually is or should be. The point I’m really trying to make is that in parenting misperceptions are amplified. The so called mistakes simply reflect on the struggle that exists within all of us as human beings, compounded by the fact that we, as parents, are liable to err. The conflict ...

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