Stories about New York

They killed my cousin. They killed a 9-year-old’s father.

If I were to believe any of the ‘feel-good, badly-designed’ inspirational quotes that go around cyberspace, I would tell myself that the best things somehow always are. Feel good, badly designed, that is. Why do I say this? Can you imagine seeing someone with their brains splattered across the hospital bed? You probably have not, but I have. Trust me, at that point, you don’t know what to think. You don’t think that it will be okay eventually. You don’t know whether to wail in grief or throw up. That someone happened to be my cousin’s husband. He was only 32-years-old and was the father of two young daughters. Well, at ...

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Why I will never return to the USA

After a year of travelling, I had planned a last, short trip. I was going to take the train from Montreal to New Orleans. The travels I had been undertaking earlier this year had brought me to places that were meant to form the background of my second novel. This trip however was for my dad. A trumpet player, he loved New Orleans and had died a year ago. It felt like the first sensible trip I undertook this year. I had been searching for ways to forget about the last hours at his deathbed. He had been ill for ...

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Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray, who will win the US Open?

As the tennis season nears its conclusion, attention turns to the boisterous city of New York, home to one the most unpredictable Grand Slam events – the US open Championships. Rapper Jay Z called New York the concrete jungle where dreams come true. For the tennis elite, the two weeks of the US open in New York is indeed all about chasing their dreams. The big four players of the tennis world, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are the usual suspects for this year’s US open crown. However the dynamics inside the big four are changing. Djokovic has hung on ...

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The hurricane diaries

RANIA NASIR NEW YORK: As Sandy passes through New York, everyone is trying to prep the best they can for her visit. Grocery stores have long lines, where soup, bread and water aisles are empty. A bunch of Facebook posts and memes have emerged pointing out how prepping for the storm in New York meant stocking up on wine and cheese rather than flashlights and water. Hurricane parties have started cropping up everywhere. I am just relieved to have this break after the midterms. What’s impressive and quite different from Pakistan is how fast information flows here. Students are getting separate emails from the ...

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Doctor Who – The madman with a big blue box: Can’t wait!

“I hate endings,” proclaimed the Doctor as he sat reading a book out loud to his companions Rory and Amy Pond, in a picturesque view of Central Park, New York; the city of a million stories. Sadly, that was what we got in the final adventure for the Ponds in The Angels Take Manhattan. But before we tumble down further into the wormhole world of “Doctor Who”, let me give you a little gist of the show itself.  BBC’s “Doctor Who” is the longest running science fiction television show in the world, which originally ran from 1963 until 1989, churned out a ...

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English Vinglish: Definitely a must-watch!

Yeh bar bar usse judge-mental keh raha hai, laiken mujhe toh bilkul theek lag rai hai. Mental, mental kyu keh raha hai phir? (He keeps calling her judgemental, but I think she looks perfectly normal. Why does he keep calling her mental, mental then?) These are the bewildered words of Shahi – a simple woman from India played by Sridevi in her comeback film English Vinglish – as she tries to follow an English movie on TV.  Made you smile didn’t they? Such is the tone of the entire movie – innocence and simplicity – under which lurks the very meaningful theme of ...

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I would rather be the 99%

When my husband and I moved to the US,  we knew that it wasn’t for good. Contrary to everybody’s assumptions, we knew that we were going to return to Pakistan, at some point in the meandering, distant future. But we never imagined that it would be now, so suddenly, so unexpectedly, and under such sad circumstances. As I sit here in the study of my in-laws’ house in Lahore this sunny April afternoon, looking out on a sumptuous garden decked with purple petunias, crimson lilies, snow-white roses and bright bougainvillea, listening to the chipper of birds and the low chatter of servants in ...

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At least I can quote Shakespeare

I am majoring in English literature. The statement in itself does not sound too dramatic, so let me provide some context:  I am a Pakistani immigrant, living in New York, majoring in English literature.  Still, if someone is yet to see what I am trying to explain, let me clarify. Being an English major has led to several distinct issues that I now have to contend with. The first issue is majoring in English while attending a business school. Imagine a well-respected business school. Now, imagine someone who is in that business school and is more interested in Mary Shelley ...

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The freedom to be

A friend from Lahore recently asked me: “What would you miss most about New York if you were to move back to Pakistan right now?” I thought about it for a few minutes. Unlike many Pakistanis living in the US I knew, I wasn’t particularly attached to this country, or to New York. To me,  it was just another city – a hard city, a cacophonous city, where bright lights and gleaming skyscrapers belied the darkness, the sadness, the grime and the poverty in the corners; where glamour, spectacle, a veneer of ethnic diversity thinly concealed the underlying greed and racism. I ...

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No, it is not time for gay rights in Pakistan

In the wake of the same-sex marriage bill passed by the New York Senate, a few people are supporting similar kind of rights for the (still closeted) gay community in Pakistan. In my view, it is disastrous to even think of it at this moment, for the following reasons: The gay community in the United States (US) achieved their current rights after decades of continuous social, political and legal struggle. Yet even today, several states including the US federal government do not recognise civil union/partnership. Some states permit civil unions but they don’t equalise those to marriage. According to public wishes, ...

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