Stories about memories

Pakistan and India should celebrate independence from the British – not from each other

Sometime back I ran into an elderly man at work. Since I live in an area of Canada that is densely populated with immigrants from Indian Punjab, I knew the gentleman was from India. After I was done helping him out, he looked at my name-tag and asked me what part of India I was from. I told him I was from Pakistan, not India. A wide smile appeared on his face, and he asked me what city of Pakistan I belonged to. After I mentioned that I was from Lahore, his smile grew even wider as he got teary-eyed. ...

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Series 1: “Dreams of Lunacy” Part 1 Dreams

“Father, what do we live for?” “What do you mean?” “You came, you built a family, and now all that remains of you are pictures throughout the house, and memories scattered throughout your family and relatives. But slowly, the pictures will get old, packed in big forgotten cardboard boxes. And the memories will retreat further inside, as room for newer ones is made… So, then if life will wash away all of our efforts, why move in the first place?” “You have been to an eye specialist, right?” “Yes, but please don’t change the topic.” He smiles, and continues, “When the eye specialist has to decide ...

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Soufflé, the mango-licious way!

Mangoes, especially the luscious Chaunsa, evoke happy memories of sultry summer evenings with my late father when a mango mania of sorts would prevail over our home. A connoisseur of fine food, he would narrate numerous stories of the famous 19th century Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib’s love for mangoes as part of the ritual of devouring them. It is well-known that Ghalib’s love for mangoes took precedence over his love for poetry and this oft repeated anecdote about a donkey is my favourite; a close friend of Ghalib’s, who saw a donkey sniffing and then turning away from a heap ...

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My beloved daughter, do not weep when I am gone

To my beloved Daughter, It seems that today may be my last day on earth, my last day with my family, my last day with you. Today, I managed to get a chance to reflect on all that I have done in my life as a father. It has been pretty interesting, in my opinion. I leave to you my final memories as I prepare for my transition into the life hereafter. The first time I held you in my arms and saw your smile, sweetheart, I felt more blessed than you can ever imagination. I gazed at you, God’s marvellous creation, wondering if you ...

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In Pune: Beaten to death for sporting a beard

Five years ago, in 2009, I was in Pune on an assignment. There, I decided to stay with my college friend, a Muslim, for a couple of days, for I thought it would be a good opportunity to revive old memories and spend some quality time together. But, providence had something else in store for us. On a chilly, dank night while returning from a rotisserie on my friend’s motorcycle, we were stopped by a group of seven people with saffron headbands worn around their brows, armed with clubs, hockey sticks, knives and above all, a flag of a Hindu nationalist ...

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When I say Gouda you say Peppers, Gouda Peppers!

When I started making this spicy and aromatic appetiser with Gouda cheese, my mind naturally wandered off to the Netherlands. Gouda cheese is named after a city in the Netherlands where one of my oldest friends’ also lives. This friend and I have four things in common: adorable maternal grandparents, loads of grey hair, identical feet and the ability to eat insanely spicy food. I can’t reminisce enough when I think of all the times we’ve played in our grandmothers’ gardens, fought over home grown tangerines, turnips and carrots, made houses with wet sand, watched daffy duck cartoons, endlessly sang kya hua tera waada ...

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Terrorism ‘Bounces Back’: Apology not accepted!

We were all 14-years-old once and we remember those days with fond memories. All of us remember our carefree attitude towards life where the biggest worry in the world would be the result of our math test. I, like most 14-year-olds, would wake up for school, get ready and would be shovelling breakfast down my throat while the driver waited in the driveway. Take a moment to remember those memories. Turn the same page to October 2012, but in the life of Malala Yousafzai. She was just a student on her way to school in the battle ridden valleys of the ...

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Lip smacking Gobi Manchurian and songs that take you back in time…

“Ajeeb dastaan hai yeh Kahan shuroo kahan khatam Yeh manzilein hain kaunsee Na who samajh sakey na hum” (What an odd story this is Where does it start and where does it end What are these destinations Neither could they understand nor I) Songs always take me away into a labyrinth of memories. They bridge the hazy connections, remind us of those deep associations, complete the euphoria, and let us relive the lovely and not so lovely moments with people, places and the past. One such song that I recently heard took me back to Singapore, to a friend who introduced us to a ‘desi’ Indian Chinese restaurant ...

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He helped me in so many ways and he didn’t even know it

Like all Karachiites, I love indulging in our local delights – bun kebabs, milk shakes and the famous Tutti Frutti ice cream have all been my childhood favourites. Every birthday, I remember begging my dad to take me to Sindhi Muslim so I could binge on all my favourite foods. I still remember sitting in the back seat with mom and dad sitting upfront, enjoying a plate of scrumptious bun kebabs, when I noticed a physically challenged man manoeuvring through the crowd with a tower of tissue boxes in his arms. He didn’t beg anyone to buy one, instead he would ...

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Losing Ammi to Alzheimer’s bit by bit…

For my mother, who is leaving us bit by bit taking her memories along with her. But our memories of her will stay with us of a mother who loved us and cared for us always, like mothers everywhere. The writer, Jarod Kintz, once said, “Alzheimer not only steals from you, it steals the very thing you need to remember what’s been stolen.”  He indeed was right. That theft is exactly what causes the agitation that immobilises my mother. My mother has Alzheimer’s and she knows that there is something she cannot remember. But she cannot figure out what that something is and it tears her ...

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