Stories about old

Karachi is the lover, the tormentor: Mysterious, dark and hurt

It’s human nature to desire that which is not in your grasp, love which will always remain unrequited and stress about matters that are not in your hands. The worst part is that we know this. And yet it doesn’t matter. Despite this, certain things are bound to catch our attention, making us fall in love so that it’s impossible for us to simply move on, and accept the stark reality of our existence. A small break, sometime apart, a little space can of course prove healthy for our minds as well our hearts. However, our basic instinct always remains an instinct ...

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Letter from a 10-year-old girl to ‘Admin Saab in Kay Pee Kay’

The following is a fictitious letter from a ten-year-old girl to the admin of the shelter house for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs):  Note from the Editor: This letter has not been edited so as to maintain the essence with which it was ...

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My grandmother supported me through everything…now it’s my turn

We have all had grandmothers who spoil and love us unconditionally. Although they teach us the same things that our parents teach us most of the time, we truly understand those lessons when they come from our grandparents. They are also the ultimate praying machines. And I know that I am not alone in saying that when our grandmothers pray for us, we usually believe that their prayers are bound to come true. “Hamara aur kaam hi kiya hai beta? Bas tum log ke liye duaein karna.” (What else are we supposed to do now, dear? Except for praying for you ...

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Shameful but true: Pakistan laws remain those of our British overlords

It sounds like something out of ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’. Pakistan, in the scheme of things, is a young country. But the laws which govern it are old. Very old. Consider, for example, the country’s criminal law known as the Pakistan Penal Code. It was enacted in 1860 by the British Raj, Lord Macaulay. It was earlier known as the Indian Penal Code but was renamed after the partition in 1947. It was considered as the Code of Criminal Procedure, the regulation which regulates the functioning of all criminal courts in Pakistan, which was enacted in 1898. Other laws include –           The ...

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A bus ride with a convict, a drug dealer and an old lady

Travelling can help an individual understand different aspects of society and it also gives one a clearer perspective about the world. Having said as much, when I left Lahore to visit my home town Sialkot, I did not have the faintest idea as to what was in store for me! I reached the terminal, just in time to board a bus leaving for Sialkot. The weather was pleasant, so I decided to travel in a non-air conditioned bus. Although I had never been in a non-air conditioned bus before, I thought that this would save me money and perhaps, I could enjoy the weather ...

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Vital Signs: The soundtrack of my memories

Talking to one of my old friends, my pal of 21 years, and sharing some pictures from 1994 to 1998 with him, something really interesting struck me. My memories have a soundtrack. In simple words, each time I think of my school and college life, I hear background music; beautiful melodies of the days gone by but fresh in my memory forever. And not surprisingly, all of them are from the one and only, Vital Signs. It was in the fall of 1987 or ’88 when I first heard Dil Dil Pakistan. A school friend came to me one morning during break-time with her fancy new ‘walkman’ (remember those? Such a ...

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Fehmida’s beloved companion

Sitting thoughtfully, he smiled for no obvious reason. Or perhaps his thoughts had wandered off, from the hardships of the past few weeks since he had lost his job to the call he had received this very morning. Taking his cell phone out, which he kept like a prized commodity, he looked at it with a constant yet distracted gaze. He had listened through it with intent when Abdul Kareem, an old friend of his, briefed him about a domestic servant’s job, for which he was to come meet Ms Fehmida.  There was hope for him at last. He would finally ...

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You won’t hire me because I am … old?

After leading an active life, I suddenly find myself ‘shelved’ because of the age factor. True we all come with a predetermined expiry date, but until that date and time comes, to be ‘shelved’ because of the age factor is difficult to accept. Trying to get a job is next to impossible simply because no one wants to employ an old person for a good salary when the employer can hire two for the price of one. So, years of experience that one banks on, is of no consequence, and all your contacts are in your age group, so what does one ...

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Landa bazaar: More than just poverty, heat and mud

At the heart of the cultural hub of Pakistan lies the decades old ‘Landa bazaar’. To some it is but a crowded alley of poverty and inexpensive counterfeits; to others, it is a source of sustainable livelihood that bridges the class divide through duplicity. To me, as a student of photojournalism, it is much more than the former or the latter. The bazaar is an important aspect of our diminishing culture; a sea of faces, a juxtaposition of the traditional and the contemporary, and a true depiction of what Pakistan is beyond the urban comforts. The colourful humdrum of Landa Bazaar. ...

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Soliloquy of an on-looker

The haze slowly cleared out and I regained consciousness. As I became aware of my existence, I gradually began to recall what had brought me here in the first place. My mind felt like an old desktop computer that had just been switched on – slow, dusty and rusty.  Words. Sounds. Noise. I began to recall a noise of some sort – indistinct, messy, and confusing. It sounded like several FM radio stations merged into one, with none of them being tuned on to the right frequency. Ouch, my ears hurt. Whatever the source of the sounds was, I concluded that it was from a ...

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