Stories about middle class

Heartening and poignant, ‘Hichki’ is a reminder that Rani Mukerji is one of the Bollywood ‘greats’

Rani Mukerji’s interesting new movie Hichki hit the theatres recently, and if there is one thing I’d say about her, it is that Mukerji has still got it! This is her first movie in four years, as she was last seen playing a leading role in Mardaani (2014), and yet she is the scene-stealer! If anything, the break proves that despite spending a few years away from the big screen, she still has the acumen to deliver a performance reminding us why she is one of the ‘greats’.  Directed by Sidharth P Malhotra and produced by Maneesh Sharma, Hichki focuses on Naina ...

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When giving your child quality education only costed Rs10

During the 1950s, I was studying in a missionary school (St Patrick’s). Many people in position of power have studied from the same school, such as a president, a prime minister, many army officers, government ministers and the famous Indian politician LK Advani. I still remember how the school fee at that time was only Rs10. But one day, in 1956 or thereabouts, the fee structure was changed. For some boys, the fee remained at Rs10, for some (like my brother and I) it was raised to Rs25, while the rest had to pay Rs37. Even though the school was ...

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Do our ministers really deserve a shameless 146% increase in salary?

I have to interact frequently with our tax collectors, and since our lawmakers don’t have to pay taxes, they have no idea of the torture the average businessman has to suffer. The following dialogue explains how the common man is taxed heavily and, since lawmakers don’t have to pay taxes, they thought it fit to increase their salaries recently: Tax collector: What do you do? Common man: I run a business. Tax collector: Well, pay professional tax then! What are you doing in your business? Common man: Selling goods. Tax collector: Pay sales tax then! From where are you getting your goods from? Common man: ...

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“Dry it out and destroy it”: Why Pakistan should be wary of Donald Trump

You have heard of him. The old guy in a crisp suit, flashy tie, wisps of blonde hair, who had multiple Miss Universe contestants by his side. The guy you would see on TV pointing fingers and saying “You’re fired” with a smug look on his face. Well, that smug face is looking at you now. Today, Donald Trump will mount the podium at the Republican Primary Debate hosted by CNN at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. He has traded in his television show for a shot at the Oval Office. The republican front-runner and presidential candidate was interviewed by Sarah Palin a few weeks ago on ...

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Punjab’s dominance is not because Punjabis are chauvinists

There is a common narrative that an overwhelming majority of Punjabis are chauvinistic and are always conspiring against the smaller provinces. In fact, it has become sort of a trend, particularly among some of the liberal journalists, to put all the blame on the Punjabis. I can understand the rationale behind it because that is a well-accepted narrative. Moreover, since the smaller provinces have complaints, therefore it becomes difficult to say anything in defence of the Punjabis for the fear of being called a ‘pseudo liberal’ or worst, a closet chauvinist. Some of the journalists just throw the word Punjabi chauvinism without even trying to justify ...

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The Jacks of society, stealing from the giants

“Start where you are. Distant fields always look greener, but opportunity lies right where you are. Take advantage of every opportunity of service.” – Robert Collier Case 1 Master Munna was a poor boy, small in stature, dumb in ways. His mother Aunty Munni kept telling him to mend his ways and start working in the village shops, but no, all Munna wanted was to loiter around the village, play with buntay (marbles), and waste his days. Then one day, Aunty Munni said that there was a job fair in the village that Munna must attend. He attended the fair, got a job ...

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My Eid in a different Pakistan

I hold the bills and hard earned cash Mentally calculating if I have any left For the new shoes my two sons want For Eid-ul-Adha. But I know I don’t.   My husband had told me quietly in the morning, “Get some good shoe polish. I’ll make the old shoes new. They won’t mind”. But I know they will.   Eid is no longer cheery and blithe, The celebration it used to be For the middle-classes. It has become an ordeal; A trial for the common man. A supreme, exhausting test of nerves, Agonising over where corners to cut, In order to salvage some percentage of festivity In the two Eids At least for our children.   It had never been this ...

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Pakistan budget 101: How comfortable does the future look?

Each family manages its affairs by assessing the financial health and consequently, deciding the expenditures correspondingly. Striving to balance between the present and future lifestyle, we all inadvertently end up ‘budgeting’ our lives to the best of our understanding. While we fail to criticise our individual budgeting misnomers, nonetheless, we anxiously wait for the honourable finance ministers to present the country’s financial outlay and shape our future every year. After all, the government bears the (ir) responsibility of our well-being, doesn’t it? Let us break the budget for the Fiscal Year 2014-15 in a crystallised form for us to pin-point the eventual impact ...

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If you blame Bilawal solely for the famine in Thar, then blame Imran for the suicide attacks in KP!

Ever since the Thar crises, I have seen a flurry of newspaper articles condemning Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and in fact, likening it to a party of Pharoahs. Many PPP haters have actually taken a sinister delight in the tragedy and have used it to find justifications for their hatred of PPP and also to further whip the public sentiments. I am not a Jiyala and hence it is not my job to come up with an apologetic defence for PPP. Any famine is partly an administrative failure and hence the incumbent government should face the heat. However, at the same ...

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Why was my mamoo killed?

The gunshot outside was deafening. The woman inside the house continued talking on the phone, thinking it was just one of those routine firing shots that are a norm in her area of residence. Moments later, there was a loud, insistent pounding on the door, accompanied with hysterical screams. Startled, the woman hung up and rushed outside in a panic. All she saw was red, a pool of red. She squinted, trying to see past the flood of human bodies. That is when she saw her husband, motionless, lying in the pool of red. It took her seconds to comprehend. ...

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