Stories about home

When a child grows up in Lyari

Ferjal Hussain is just three-years-old. I love him a lot. He doesn’t eat or sleep well when I am out of the city. I don’t allow him to go out and play with his contemporaries — though he does insist. We both play at home. I sing him folk songs and share with him the good stories I know. Sometimes, I recite Shah Latif and Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s couplets. He likes ‘lab pe aati hai dua banke tamanna meri.’ I dislike the environment with which he interacts — the abusive language, playing in the narrow streets and the habit of ...

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The home advantage: What is Pakistan missing out on?

The concept of ‘home advantage’ in sport is often under played. Many might not be aware of the difference that it makes whether a team is playing at home or away, however, to put it simply – it makes a huge difference. Sadly, our cricket team has been playing without this advantage for the past four years. On average, a team wins more of its matches at home in every sport. MS Dhoni, as of 2012, had won at least 89% of his Test matches at home and around 33% away. Such differences in home and away records are across the ...

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Yorkshire: Where trays are ‘chrays’ and water is ‘wa-er’

One day, on our way home from school, my son asked me why English boys pronounce jacket potato as ‘jakei po-A-o.’ I didn’t have an appropriate, grammatical explanation for this very rational question. However, what I do know now is that north east England is famous for its English accent and is commonly referred to as the “drop T area”. Locals here conveniently forget to pronounce the alphabet ‘T’ while conversing. So, words such as ‘bottle’ become ‘bo—el’ and water become ‘wa—er’. Albeit, this might sound entertaining and funny, it can be a real nuisance for immigrants like myself. When I ...

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You will always be ‘home’, Pakistan

My heart has been aching since the past week. Day one: I unpacked my suitcases. Day two: I put away the laundry. Day three: I packed lunch for my kids. Day four and five flew by. But, it’s still there. That hollow throbbing ache, it’s in that same spot where I think my heart is meant to be. And it refuses to go. My seven-year-old daughter has asked me at least two dozen times, “Why don’t we live in Pakistan?” Today my three-year old son told me, “Your house is boring Mama, I want to go to Pakistan.” Their questions don’t help my pain. ...

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My sister: Always the apple of my eye

My sister and I, like a lot of other siblings, have a love-hate relationship. We can be the best of friends at times but can also turn into the worst of enemies. We still don’t hug or even shake hands when we see each other after a long time. Yet, the smiles on our faces are enough for both of us to understand how much we’ve missed each other. She is probably the most energetic and witty person I’ve known. She truly is the life and soul of our house. I still remember when she went off to medical school ...

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How my heart pines for home

It was barely six months ago that, my wife and I walked through the immigration desk at Karachi’s Jinnah Terminal en route to Europe. Having moved out of Pakistan almost four years ago in search of a better future, I am now used to the whole drill. The pre-travel jitters are all but drowned by the overwhelming emotions of having to leave your folks behind, yet the prospect of getting away from all the insecurities that plague this country fill you with a strange vigour. Strange because this vigour does not last long and within a few months you start to ...

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Is literary guidance in Pakistan comparable to the US?

I had never been to upstate New York before, and the whole idea of attending a writers’ conference at a liberal arts college ten hours away from my home in Michigan seemed daunting. I didn’t know what to expect. I was intimidated, to say the least. I have been residing in America for the past two years only, and I still consider my poetry in English to be deeply Pakistani; I believe it will take me some time until I fully adopt the American idioms. As my father drove us through the gorgeous green hills of upstate, I was filled ...

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Left to die in an old age home

In her article for The Express Tribune, reporter Rabia Ali wrote: How an elderly Mehmooda Begum was left at an old home is heart breaking. Tired of eating porridge which was served to her every day, she decided to cook food for herself one day. The daal she made got her a black eye and a forceful admission to the old people’s center by her son. As Mehmooda recalls her story, miles away from her family at the largest old home of the city, her lips quiver and her kohl-lined eyes fill up with tears. Her youngest son, and his wife, ...

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The tough New Yorkers of Lahore

I moved to Lahore from my home town of Faisalabad, to pursue higher education at the Government College University. Although I didn’t know it then, Lahore was to be my home for a very long time. My MBA years flew by when I lived in the university hostel. My needs were simple; I wanted nothing more than the 15 x 15 cubicle that I shared with a room-mate. There were no air-conditioners in the summer, no heaters in the winter, no maids to do my laundry, and no home-cooked food. Yet, I survived. Even though the winters were bitterly cold in Lahore, my room was ...

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Karachi violence: What teenagers think

Amidst the violence and turmoil Karachi has witnessed recently, the youth of our nation has not remained silent. Below are the opinions of three teenagers on how they feel about the current situation in Karachi. Natasha Faisal “Four killed as a wave of violence haunts Karachi” read a headline of the nine o’clock news bulletin. I felt terror as the newscaster went on in a monotonous tone. We have formed a shield around ourselves and no matter how many bullets shower over this shield, we stay unscathed, thanking god for the protection he has provided us with. “All the shops will remain closed ...

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