Stories about happiness

Amidst the cold, chilly world, their hearts were warm

The sweet smell of gingerbread cookies filled the chilly air in the crowded market on Christmas Eve. A choir of young men and women stood in lines, singing cheery Christmas carols in their melodious voices. They wore black robes over their dresses and held gold candles in the palm of their hands. Amidst the crowd, a lush evergreen conifer tree sat in the middle of the marketplace. Beautiful ornaments of all colours covered the tree and glittered under the dim light of the tiny fairy lights which twinkled in warm shades of yellow, red and green. To complete the look, a large ...

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A brave, untamed, reckless kind of love

She looked up at the swaying inferno over her head and wondered, ‘did the flame in my heart… set the trees on fire?’ A lazy chill creeped into the air. Not the bite of winter, just a nip to announce that a brand new season was at hand. A lonely streetlamp cast an artificial glow onto the French pavement, illuminating fallen leaves in a garish of warm yellow light. Twilight bathed the Seine as the streets of the most romantic city in the world gilded in gold. The walkway ahead of her twisted like a silk scarf; twirling, leading into the horizon. The ...

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A father’s ode to his daughter on her wedding

As I walked you down the aisle holding your hand, It reminded me of a time when I once waited at the other end, Eyes affixed on the beautiful bride approaching me, Counting each second for the perfect moment to engulf me, I never saw the pleading eyes of the person giving away my bride, Otherwise, I would have the consolation that this was a customary ride, With bitter happiness I saw your groom waiting to receive you, Watching you with love not even a quarter of what I have for you, My eyes moistened, my throat went dry, My heartbeat became faster as I resisted to cry, Pleading ...

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‘Tis the season of mangoes and biryani: These delectable recipes will make your Eid extra festive!

Festival season marks an ebullient change in our otherwise monotonous lives. After a month of fasting, Eid is welcomed across the Muslim world all too enthusiastically, wherein food symbolises the various hues of happiness. Families and friends gather to cherish the festivities and amid this chirpy laughter and instances of celebratory spirit, food has a vital part to play. I bring you three such delectable and sumptuous recipes that are sure to win you all praises for your Eid feast! Chicken Handi Biryani Biryani is not just food but it is synonymous with life in our part of the world. It is ...

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“Allah Mian, thank you for not making me a rich person”

It was only early afternoon and the clear, dazzling sky, void of a single piece of cloud, was raining fire. There was still a week left of fasting before Eidul Fitr. Abdul wiped his hot face with his thick handkerchief as he walked back to the servant quarters at the far end of the palatial home, where he worked as a driver. He had unbuttoned his uniform shirt by the time he reached his quarters. “Assalam Alaikum,” his wife emerged from the other room. “Walaikum Assalam,” Abdul mumbled. “Please turn the fan on.” Sajida looked at him sympathetically. “It is on full,” she ...

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I am stationary, and Karachi is movement

Day 1 If I stared at the world around me, a few things would stare back. The clouds dancing in the iridescently blue sky, the sun shining in its eternal glow; maybe even the trees that stood amidst the streets of Karachi. The people are the only ones that won’t stare back. I long for the day where I can look at a person, and they’ll look back and we’ll have had a conversation; not with our lips, but with our eyes. It seems as if everyone is running somewhere. My mother is running to Khattak. My brother is running at ...

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Dear Victoria’s Secret, does nothing really taste as good as skinny feels?

Dear Victoria’s Secret, When I was 10-years-old I wanted nothing more than to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel; I would spend hours prancing around in front of the mirror in my ‘sexiest’ high heels, practicing my cat walk and perfecting my hair flips. After the first few times that I was rejected by modelling agencies, I began to see myself through their eyes – the fat hanging off my bones, the gaps in my crooked smile and the emptiness between my thighs that would never be empty enough. As I grew up, this turned into an obsession – I needed to make myself ...

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Father’s Day: I wasn’t daddy’s little princess

One of my fondest memories of my father, more lovingly known as Abu Saleem, is when he would return home from Germany and I’d find him lying down right in the middle of the living room with everyone casually sitting around him because social norms were something he cared very little for. But what a treat it was to see him. I’d go running to place myself on top of his belly, for his body would serve as a regal mattress (in my five-year-old head). Taking advantage of this close proximity I would always ask him the same question, “Abu, how did you get that ...

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A Pakistani boy conversing with Grief

“When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” – Kahlil Gibran “Hi! It’s good to finally meet you.” Grief smiled, a very beautiful smile, actually; not at all broken, as the boy had wanted and imagined. But wait, what was that? Or who was that? There was something. Someone. Inside there. Inside that smile. Or maybe he was just imagining. “You look so different from how everyone describes you,” the boy remarked. “How am I described?” Grief asked, pleased by the boy’s honesty. Grief’s voice was so clear, not at all ...

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A Christmas feast even Santa wouldn’t forget!

Growing up watching Disney movies, and having lived in London, I have always loved the winter festivities surrounding Christmas. Christmas carols playing in restaurants, malls and shops gives a celebratory kick to the cold winters. Twinkling green pine, spruce or fir trees with fake snowflakes and buntings lit the hearts and house space of so many. The old age tradition of celebrating the winter solstice, red-cheeked Santa Claus, chariots, appreciative giveaways, culture specific dinners are all marks of peace, compassion, happiness and laughter. And that is exactly what we need right now! Globally, the need of the hour is huge chunks ...

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