Stories about friends

The things you hear when you have cancer

I love the beach because it engages one in communion with the divine elements. I often stand at the beach and bury my feet in the sand. I joyfully delve into the sea and bask in the sun. Finally, I let myself be caressed by the whispering breeze. However, as I write this, the only thought running through my head is that I will never experience these four elements together again; that I will never be able to go back to my beloved Karachi’s beaches – that I am as good as gone. No family wants to hear what we were told the ...

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Look, he’s got a camera!

The other night I was out with friends for dinner at a restaurant when a famous TV chef and his entourage entered the restaurant. As everyone started filling their plates the cameraman turned on a dinky light. I looked around and saw the celebrity chefs weren’t the only ones who were being filmed. Everyone in the restaurant was — of course, without unanimous consent. Surprisingly, I seemed to be the only one who had a problem with this. Suddenly, there was a wave of excitement and another spell of filming and clicking — local celebrity Zubeida apa (I hate calling ...

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The Capital Vulture: The merits of being out of love in Islamabad

When it happens, when it’s the real deal, life morphs into a crooning Ella Fitzgerald tune- walk my way and a thousand violins begin to play. Everything is mysterious and new; Islamabad, reborn, feels less confining and the colours and foliage transport the love onto some Dionysian fantasy- all perfection and pleasure’s fair game. This, the good love everyone’s mad for that makes you feel safe and unbelievably attractive (it’s all those rushing endorphins pinching the cheeks). But I’m here to tell you it’s not worth it. Keep the lovers in different cities or countries, ideally, or just stay single. A ...

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‘How could you serve breakfast to a Hindu?’

Early one morning, a few days ago, I left my hometown Umerkot for Mirpurkhas with some friends. On the way we stopped for breakfast at a roadside cafe. What followed was an incident that left me shaken, although it involved no violence. While we were eating, a man with a long beard approached the café owner. We could clearly hear the conversation. He was telling the owner off for having served breakfast to us: “Tum Hinduon ko bhi nashta karwate ho?” (So, you serve breakfast to Hindus too?) The owner responded: “Kisi ke maathay pe likha hua nahi hota ki koi Hindu hai ya ...

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De-meriting the merit system

Pakistan is notorious for multiple reasons – ranging from terrorism to illiteracy and poverty. Recently, however, I feel that our merit system has seen a bit of a downturn. It seems that in the professional world, it’s all about who you know, not what you know. And for fresh graduates like myself, that is indeed quite demotivating. My friends and acquaintances will start with the: “my dad knows the head of HR at company XYZ so I’m going to be starting there from next month.” And i’ll wonder what relevance a social sciences degree will have in the finance department. Aah, ...

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A taste of Turkish delights

“I wish I did not know what I know,” was how Zulkof Ajer had me speechless for a while, after I asked him what he knew about Pakistan. It was dinner time at the Conrad Hotel in Istanbul on June 4, where we had gathered for a pre-consultation of the International Contact Group (ICG) on Afghanistan. Turkey and Norway hosted this meeting that was followed by a similar consultation among the officials from members of ICG i.e. USA, Japan, Germany, Afghanistan, Turkey, India and Pakistan. The waiter at the Monet Restaurant, an extremely pleasant personality, was curious about our nationality, and was ...

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Friends don’t let friends lose weight

“Oh my God! You have lost so much weight!” A shrill voice fell sharply on my sensitive ear drums, confirming my worst fear. My always-perfect friend stood there in all her glory, scrutinising my once-fat friend, who was no longer fat but quite slim. To be honest, her flab used to provide me with a sort of satisfaction, as I was a pound or two over my ideal weight (okay maybe five pounds, but you get the drift.) Eyeing my school friends who had now shed their gaucheness for a more refined look, with their flawless skin and designer outfits ...

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“Please help, I need some blood”

Have you ever had to look for blood? It is not a pleasant experience. Every day, in my clinical practice, I see patients and their families looking for blood. From heart surgery to C-Section, when patients are about to undergo a surgical procedure, their friends and family go through the painful exercise of finding blood that might be needed. And, these of course are the people who plan ahead. For some reason, patients are completely unprepared. When a loved one is in a car accident, there has been no time to arrange for blood beforehand. Or, for that matter ...

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Grad schools: Expensive education

‘Profit-making machines! That’s what these educational institutions have become’, I keep shouting out, sometimes to my friends, at times in my head. I just can’t stop cursing our top grad schools; they are so unaffordable, especially for the average income families. My frustration arises from the fact that our educational institutions have transformed into these lucrative profit-seeking businesses that leave ‘consumers’ (as they would call the ‘students’ in their business jargon) drained of their earnings and savings. I finished my undergrad programme almost a year back and now I’m hunting for grad schools in Pakistan. After having made my parents go ...

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Help! My Facebook page got hacked

Dear Miss Informed, Help! I am in love with a girl who doesn’t like me. We have been friends for four years and used to talk every day. She even knew that I loved her but she never liked me. However, recently she stopped talking to me because my Facebook account got hacked and the hacker tagged her in a relationship with me on my status. After this incident, she openly insulted me online and said that she always hated me and would never talk to me again. I love everything about her, and miss the good times I had with ...

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