Stories about nostalgia

10 things I miss about PTV

Some of you might be too young to remember, but in the not-so-distant past, there was a time when we had just one TV channel, Pakistan Television (PTV). This lone channel, too, did not air all day. In fact, it started at around 4 pm and almost always ended before midnight. We have come a long way since then as Pakistani media has grown into a huge industry. Undoubtedly, this has many advantages in terms of opportunity and exposure. But sometimes I can’t help but feel terribly nostalgic. I miss the simpler days of PTV.  Here’s a list of things about the ...

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Old movies and how cool they are

Call me old-school, call me outdated, but one of my ideas of fun family entertainment is watching classic movies. My sheer fondness for these movies is both appreciated and made fun of by people my age. I developed this fondness early on, when my dad made me watch Citizen Kane. Citizen Kane, he told me, is considered the Mount Everest of Hollywood classics along with Gone With The Wind and Casablanca, or in simple words, the greatest of the greatest. Back then I was completely uninterested in watching something in black and white since it clearly implied being old-fashioned (or so I thought). As a little ...

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Pakistan: ‘We carved a truth out of the game of lies’

Today is August 14, 2011. An overwhelming majority of Pakistan and India whose minds have been indoctrinated by state-sponsored-distorted text books of history are celebrating the day as “the 64th freedom day” but this red letter day stings my heart when I hear the account of history from my elders. These people are not ready to agree with the historical background presented by Chaudhry Mohammad Ali in his book The Emergence of Pakistan. While presenting the logic behind the differences between Hindus and Muslims which led to the severance of India Ch. Mohammad Ali writes: “They have mixed but never fused: they ...

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Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows, Pottermore and saying good bye

Indeed, it all ends here as millions around the world unwillingly let go of a rope that for the last fourteen years has allowed us to descend– nay, apparate – into the most fantastical, timeless world ever to have been conjured (pun intended). Last Thursday author JK Rowling joined the Harry Potter cast in Britain, fictional home of Potter’s mystical world of magic, to promote the final film in the seven-film series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two. The cast, transformed from mousey-haired, ambrosial little children into chic, downright dapper young adults, spent hours mingling with fans as they ...

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Moin Akhtar: Laughter through genius

Making people laugh is serious business. Moin Akhtar taught me that when I was six-years-old. He was performing live at a family wedding I was being forced to attend (at that age you are forced to do pretty much everything). I remember being quite thrilled that the man who makes me laugh on TV was there in real life, performing on stage. Positioning myself right in front, I got to watch him transform from character to character with just a well aimed hunch of the shoulder or lilt of the accent, all with rapid fire ability. His big closer for the ...

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Kate and William: Reliving a fairytale

July 29, 1981: Diana weds Charles Here’s a poignant early childhood memory: I was a chubby, short-haired girl, clutching my Lady Diana paper doll (a gift from my mother) in one hand and a milk bottle in the other, while rapturously watching Cinderella’s wedding to her prince, live on television. That’s who I thought Lady Di Spencer was back then, in her romantic, trailing ivory dress. I gazed at a gloriously beautiful Cinderella, her tiara glittering as she waved from a fairytale carriage, replete with white horses and liveried attendants, alongside a prince in full regalia. I half expected my fairytale ...

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What I witnessed in Bangladesh

I would like to use this platform to address some of the comments received on my opinion editorial about my experience in Dhaka at the cricket World Cup quarter-final that Pakistan played against West Indies. Firstly, I would like to admit that what I saw of Bangladesh was only a microcosm of the country – I spent less than three days and only went around Dhaka. If someone told me they went to Pakistan and only saw a bit of Islamabad, I would say, “Well you haven’t really seen the country now, have you? There is so much more the ...

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A Bakistani in Cairo

My Egypt moment wasn’t when the protests started or when they ended. It wasn’t during CNN’s live coverage, and it wasn’t in the 100 or so ‘Can this happen in Pakistan?’ discussions. It was when someone casually yelled out in the school corridor, “Hey Meiryum! Your hometown’s burning!” Cairo was my hometown. Tahrir Square was a 45-minute drive from my apartment. I lived in Cairo from the age of four till eight years – four years of my life. I was old enough to remember and store away memories and young enough to still understand nothing. My first day at the ...

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Remembering the old Coffee House

Not a day goes by without somebody in the media asking me about the goings on at the Coffee House or the afternoons and evenings at the Tea House. But everybody seems to be interested only in the patrons. Wonder if anybody at all is interested in the people who waited on them and how they survived and thrived in the midst of writers, intellectuals, artists and journalists. For I am reminded today of a Coffee House waiter. Once India Coffee House closed down, Munshi Ji, moved on to Zelin’s Coffee House. After Zelin’s too had closed down I once asked ...

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1947: A teenager’s memories of Independence

After all these years I can still smell the stench of death and half burnt timber. I still see mountains of rubble as if it was August 1947 in Lahore. I was 13 years old, tense and worried. I could see columns of smoke rising over the city’s rooftops. Speculations were ripe. They said Lahore was going to be a part of Pakistan but the inclusion of Gurdaspur, the area where my relatives lived,  was doubtful. I did not know what would happen to the rest of the Muslims all over India. My own relatives lived in East Punjab, and I anxiously ...

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