Stories about guilt

Why Aitchison?

“Don’t you realise this behaviour is unbecoming of an Aitchisonian?” Mr Zafar Ahmad stared at me. Stress on the word Aitchisonian caused extra ripples of guilt. There is a reason Mr Zafar Ahmad, my housemaster, was stressing on the Aitchisonian angle; he knew it would make me feel like a downcast in my own eyes. And it did. Both of us knew I would not repeat that adventure at least. Aitchison College is in the spotlight these days. Pakistani press is not alone this time because The Guardian, one of the leading British dailies, has also covered the latest issue surrounding the institution’s policy regarding ...

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Confessions of a liar

I’m sorry but I had to impress you. I had to put up my best act to make sure you fall for it, compare me to other men you knew and conclude that I am the best. I always felt inferior to you. People around you made me feel vulnerable and insecure. There was an aura of romance and sensuality about you, I was bare. You were beautiful, I wasn’t. You had friends, I had responsibilities. You had money, I had dreams. Can I blame my insecurities for what I did? I felt I had to compete to get you and so I decided to cheat. Will you take that as a genuine ...

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Are the days of joint families over?

A family unit in its traditional form consists of grandparents, all their children, their children’s wives and their grandchildren all living harmoniously under one roof. If carried out properly, it can serve as a very warm, welcoming and homely environment which encourages cooperation, understanding, love and patience.  The joint family system has been depicted in several dramas and movies, and at a certain point in my life, I was a huge supporter of it. However, I no longer think a joint family system serves a useful purpose and actually lacks the warmth and affability that it once possessed. Don’t get me wrong! I am not ...

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Pakistan: Where Dr Aafia Siddiqui is a hero and Malala, a villain

He bravely stood up against a confusing blasphemy law that was often misused to target minorities, yet after his assassination, we indulged in the irrelevant details of Salmaan Taseer’s private life, while showering his killer, Mumtaz Qadri, with rose petals. Perhaps learning of Salmaan Taseer’s ‘westernised’ lifestyle helped us vilify him as a puppet of the west, and relieved us of any guilt. Yes, we are Pakistan – a nation with confused priorities. We are a nation where Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan is hailed as a hero who singlehandedly brought nuclear capability to the country, yet we barely acknowledge the murky details of ...

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My selfish desire to not be a stereotype

At the documentary production company where I worked over the summer, one of our ongoing projects was a film about four Senegalese teenagers chosen to come to the U.S. on basketball scholarships.  At the end of the film, the boys return to Senegal, and one of them says, “We were the lucky ones. Now it’s our turn to give back.” “Ah, that noble, selfless spirit!” my boss once remarked with an ironic laugh, as we had just finished watching a fresh cut of the film. “Isn’t that just so African?” “No,” I thought to myself, slightly annoyed at her levity. “There’s nothing ...

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Sharing links is not ‘helping’

So, The Express Tribune decided to run a report on all the fantastic mobilisation that is being witnessed online toward helping out flood victims. Wow. So, before I start ranting about this topic, let me first say that there are a few online voices who are making a genuine difference by coordinating efforts and collecting funds, and that is commendable. But then there is everyone else (and you know who I’m talking about); the other 90 per cent of armchair Twitterati and time-pass Facebook people who are busy sharing links and decrying the ‘awful floods’ and doing absolutely nothing to help. So ...

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