Stories about luxury

Dhaba vs fine dining: A $60 meal at a Michelin star restaurant or a $2 meal fit for a Mughal emperor?

Known for the fresh sub-continental food they serve in an open air atmosphere, dhabas can be dubbed as local fast food joints that offer patrons tasty, traditional dishes at an affordable price. The word ‘dhaba’ has become so popular in fact, that both Indian and Pakistani restaurants abroad have adopted it as a part of their name. I grossly undervalued the economical and cheerful appeal of a dhaba until a few months ago, when visiting the land of gold souks and skyscrapers otherwise known as Dubai. I decided to go for dinner at a posh restaurant called Guilt. This of course ...

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Despite everything, I will still vote for PML-N

When I moved back to Pakistan after completing my undergraduate studies in the US, I was not a supporter of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). In fact, my newsfeed was flowing so much with remonstrations about the ‘Jangla Bus’ (Green Line Metro Bus) that it was hard to even contemplate that possibility. One day, I decided to test out this infamous bus service, from Model Town to Lahore Fort, expecting to witness how utterly senseless the project truly was. Handed a yellow plastic token, I entered through the turnstile and awaited my ride. It pulled in and the doors parted with a ...

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When you eat at an expensive restaurant, do you think of the poor?

A few days ago, a friend of mine got a job at a university and to celebrate the occasion, we decided to go out for dinner. Of course, it was going to be his treat. After a long debate over what to eat and where to go, we finally decided to have a buffet dinner at a restaurant close by. We decided the date and time and extended the invite to other friends as well. There were going to be seven of us. I lived in a hostel with another friend and so we decided to go together. We reached the ...

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When we were too poor to afford Blue Band margarine

I still remember the day that Blue Band margarine was introduced to Alamdar Bakery in my home-town of Quetta, Pakistan. The glossy silver packaging and the light blue printing stood out among all the other butter in the bakery’s refrigerator. However, I refrained from taking an interest in this new product since I was well aware that my parents would not be able to afford it. I continued to consume the inexpensive Liaquat Makkhan for breakfast even after the older brother of the baker recommended Blue Band with great zeal; I consoled myself by thinking that he was just trying to improve his sales. As the weeks ...

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Dubai: Look beyond the glitter to see the sorrow of migrant workers

Dubai has undergone a massive transformation, from a fishing and pearl diving centre on the shores of the gulf, to an ultra-modern city-state of today in a matter of just a few decades. Modern Dubai is a cosmopolitan society with a wide range of attractions. Its architecture is entering the realms of impossible construction and the sort of life of great opulence and grandeur it offers seems almost unrivaled. Dubai wished to undertake extremely interesting and intriguing projects in the past couple of years: Dubai Land – a vast landscape of leisure; Hydropolis – an underwater hotel; The Cloud – a city built ...

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Why must only the dead deserve attention?

In the past week of killings, arson and general mayhem witnessed in Karachi, many have raised a voice condemning the chaos that spread in the city following the murder of scores of its residents. Accusations and heated condemnations have been levelled, insinuations of gaining knowledge of the true perpetrators of these atrocities exchanged, and the general call for the ever-elusive ‘change’ raised in what has now become an abhorrently futile repetition of finger-pointing and ‘I told you so’s’. I, on the other hand, refuse to put up a false pretence of caring ...

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The warm smiles on their faces and things we take for granted

I was out shopping one day, when I was stopped in the parking lot of a super market by the sound of a dhol and voices of children singing. Right there, I saw a sight that warmed my heart and made me smile with genuine awe. A few children, between the ages of seven and eleven, clad in ragged clothes, in a condition that clearly said “deprived”, were sitting in a circle playing the dhol on the footpath. They had around them a few used boxes of KFC. Singing, laughing, and engaged in some cheerful discussion, these minors seemed oblivious to ...

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How a Land Cruiser can change your life

My dad had two childhood dreams. The first was to get a commission in the army. Providentially, he says, he became a doctor. His second dream was to own a Land Cruiser. We do not belong to the religious, feudal or political elite, so a Land Cruiser was no ordinary car for us. Imagine our surprise when my dad surprised parking a big, dark green, gigantic SUV outside our house a couple of weeks ago. He had fulfilled his childhood dream at last. The Land Cruiser didn’t look at all appropriate parked outside our humble home, especially because it had a Lakki ...

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They’re armed, dangerous and crazy about lawn!

Winter is nearly over in Karachi and I can already see billboards of Iman Ali modeling for lawn. This is just the beginning of the lawn madness in Karachi. Every year, designers hold exhibitions selling overpriced lawn where mobs of women claw and push each other to get the best pieces. Even if the prints are a big disappointment, women will still wait in long lines at exhibition venues. Aunties gone wild I made the mistake of attending one Gul Ahmed lawn exhibition. While I was standing at the counter, a middle-aged aunty came and pushed me from behind because I had asked the ...

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Love is more than roses: The legends behind Valentine’s day

It’s the same old story every Valentine’s Day. Red things plastered everywhere, sales, advertisements and the omnipresence of hearts. As sentimental music lulls the senses over candlelit tables where love struck eyes caress each other in banal and repetitive gestures, the voice of reason within me asks, “What the hell is wrong with us?” If someone told me February 14 was the day that fat cats from Hallmark and flower tycoons from around the world gather to toast their Dom Perignon and light their cigars with $100 bills to celebrate the world’s stupidity, I wouldn’t be surprised. It is one of ...

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