Stories about monsoon

Balochistan is thirsty for a drop of water – what will it take for Pakistan to notice?

It is no secret that Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province, is facing a chronic water shortage issue and has been experiencing severe droughts for decades. Water is one of the basic necessities of life, fundamental for the existence of life to begin with, and without it we will all cease to exist. And yet the province is moving closer towards becoming a land without water. At least seven small and large rivers flow across Balochistan, from which the Hingol River (the longest river in the province) covers a length of 560 kilometres. Despite the flow of these seven rivers, Balochistan is in ...

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What is the language of rain?

Like all mutinies, it begins as a whisper in the air. The sky turns tar-black as the dark clouds, ominous and threatening, negotiate an evil conspiracy… A coup against the sun. I hear a tapping on the window, announcing a much awaited arrival. Rain floats in gentle waves, as if gravity is a soft music from the Earth, a sweet seducing serenade. People run for cover; umbrellas are opened, temporary shades are sought, as the clouds spit out their beads of water. Puddles begin plinking, as the drops huddle in groups. Monsoon dew dances on the darkening pavement, as I hear the murmuring ...

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If Lahore couldn’t handle the rains, what hope does Karachi have?

Karachi has a love-hate relationship with the monsoon season. While Karachiites long for rain throughout the year, we shudder at the very thought of prolonged downpour, flooding, destruction and power outages that are inevitably associated with it. The last time this city truly got to enjoy the rainy season was during Mustafa Kamal’s tenure, when despite drains heavily clogged with rainwater – especially the Gujjar Nala and Neher-e-Khayyam – alternate drainage arrangements were made and the citizens were spared the entire rain-related trauma. Things are much, much different now. With monsoon rains that are imminent and expected any day now, infrastructure ...

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Kinnaird College: This moment of freedom is all these girls will ever have

My first and most recent memories of Kinnaird College for women involve torrential downpours; the first week of my first semester as a freshman in the Honour’s program and then this week as I visited the college to collect my degree. This was my last piece of official business with my alma mater as a student, I took the time to tread over all my old haunts, and imprint images of the soaking grounds firmly in my mind. As its horticulture society never tires of reminding the students, Kinnaird boasts one of the most beautiful (award-winning) campuses in the country and a visit ...

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Five variations of pakoras that are light on the taste, heavy on the waist!

The month of fasting (and over-eating) is progressing towards the end, but what makes this Ramazan more special is the fact that it is coinciding with monsoon. The clouds in Karachi seem ready to pour any moment now – please, God, please? Monsoon and Ramazan have nothing in common save for a garma garam (piping hot) plate of pakoras. This Pakistani staple is a must-have for iftar and any dastar-khuwan (dining table) is incomplete without a variation of this. The popularity of pakoras lies not only in their unique flavour profile but also in their affordability. Pakoras or Bhajiyas are ...

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After 67 year, we are still unprepared for rain

When it rains in Pakistan, the words of Ardeshir Cowasjee seem very pertinent: “Gutter tou bana nahi saktay, atom bomb banatay hain”. (They cannot even make a gutter but are making atom bombs). Rain, a blessing of nature (or should I say curse in disguise), has wreaked havoc in parts of Punjab and Kashmir. It has not only cost lives and casualties, but also led to the spread of water-borne diseases. These torrential rains have flooded areas where lands have been cleared, people have been displaced and livestock has been harmed. One wonders then whether authorities, such as the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Water and Sanitation ...

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Preparing for Ramazan with potato stuffed samosas and a spoonful of green mango chutney

Like the rest of the world, few foods are associated with certain events and seasons and in Pakistan, it is no different. Like Kashmiri Chai, which is an integral part of the food menu during wedding festivities in the winter season, gulab jamuns and ladoos are served to celebrate joyous occasions, samosay and pakoray are served with fiery chutneys when the monsoons open up the heavens above to give us a little reprieve from the hellish summers in Pakistan. Our love for samosas, however, doesn’t end with the monsoon season. In fact, samosas take centre stage during the month of fasting – Ramazan. No iftar table is complete without vegetable or minced meat samosay, served with various types of chutneys. While ...

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Monsoon rains in Karachi: Forget your cars, bring out the boats

This Saturday seemed like any other ordinary day to me and I continued my day as usual; the sky was not very clear, but I never anticipated the havoc that was to soon come my way. The weather forecast stated that some areas in Karachi were in for heavy rainfall. Since I am a Pakistani, however, I conveniently chose to dismiss what I heard on the news and decided to manage my day just as any other; I drove out with my mother for her routine dialysis. After almost four hours, I was welcomed by all that I was warned about ...

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The tears of twenty million people

As we moved in to the second decade of the 21st century, we left behind one that was filled with world altering events. Unprecedented disasters like the Pacific-Asian tsunami in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina eight months later, devastated communities like never before. We welcomed 2010 with cautious optimism, but again, nature took its cruel course. Pakistan was shattered by two catastrophic floods in 2010 and 2011 that killed thousands, uprooted millions and caused billions of rupees of infrastructural damage. Entire communities and acres of land were lost in a flash. The 2010 floods, which were the more destructive of the ...

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Once upon a monsoon in Khulna

“Sit still, Shona!” yelled an agitated Tara, washing her younger sister’s feet, “I will pour this water on your head if you move your feet again!” “I am NOT Shona,” protested Naina, who was now six-years-old and did not like her childish nickname very much. “Leave me alone. Mashima washes my feet better than you, anyway. Somebody help me! Didi is trying to drown me!” she yelped. The 400 yard house echoed with Naina’s routine bellows. Everybody knew that her daily tantrum had begun. Mashima – otherwise indifferent to Naina’s behaviour – told her to be quiet. “Shut up! Can you not ...

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