Stories about passengers

In between the waves

“Please inform them in Lahore.” “Sure, Baba. Have a safe journey.” She said after tucking him into the window seat. ‘Seat #2’ it said in black. She was glad it was in the front. He won’t have to walk too much to get off. “Tell them that I’ll be there by 8:45pm.” “Sure, Baba.” She hugged him and ended up hugging part of the seat. She went to stand with her mother. The mother and daughter walked to the other side of the bus. Two eyes followed them, and as the bus made his daughter and granddaughter momentarily disappear, he brought his eyes to ...

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The evening train

The evening train, breathless, reaches its destination, The station, bleak and empty, resembles the soul of a dead poet, He drinks the unimaginative cup of tea until all that’s left is the glass, humiliating him with his own reflection, The road ahead is fearful, yet hopeful. The passengers, sound asleep, still glow under the fluorescent lights above them, The towns outside, pass by his eyes in a brief second, reminiscent of his entire existence succumbing to a single moment of clarity, His thoughts still clinging to the ultimate battle of life and death, and during all this torture, all he can think about is, The aisle that still illuminates. The sun ...

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Passengers: An absurd cliche of a film

Why do good actors choose bad projects? That is the biggest mystery that runs through Passengers, a clunky sci-fi vehicle that can neither justify nor make the most of the star power at its helm. The film is set aboard the Starship Avalon, an interstellar star-liner that is on a voyage from an overpopulated earth to the colony world of Homestead II. Its 5000 passengers and 258 crew members are in hibernation, and are set to spend 120 years in suspended animation before they are awakened upon reaching their new home. Chris Pratt in Passengers (2016).Photo: IMDb But a malfunction ...

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Light lunchboxes

His daughter knocked on his door; only once. It was time for work and her school. He got up, stretching here and there, listening as individual muscles came out of slumber. After he was ready, he headed to the kitchen and opened the fridge. Each item appeared to be dripping. The electricity had been out throughout the night. He reached for the night’s leftovers and packed their lunch, first for her, and then for himself. She came to the kitchen shortly after. She was well-aware of her father’s strategies and how she ended up getting more of the leftovers. However she used to silently weigh ...

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Why isn’t anything being done about the 10,000 ghost madrassas in Sindh?

Sindh, the southern province of Pakistan, has always been an epicentre of progressive political parties which keep a close check over the spread of religious militancy and violent extremism in their constituencies. Even though Sindh has been a secular and progressive region, where Sufi traditions have never let the militant mind-set prevail, the province still supports tens of thousands of madrassas (Islamic religious schools). There’s just one problem: many of these supposed madrassas don’t actually exist. A meeting, between the officials of Sindh, held in May at the chief minister’s house in the provincial capital of Karachi, was told by the inspector general ...

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I was on a bus in Karachi when a “helpful” lady tried to steal my belongings

Standing alone in a bus makes you feel like a lone ranger. A lone ranger surrounded by Hannibal’s brutal army. It frightens you to the core and you want the crowd to disperse as soon as possible. As a daily commuter, I’m used to travelling in packed buses in Karachi. On one of these days, I was waiting for a passenger to get off so I could take their seat. But unfortunately, I missed the opportunity of grabbing the seat as two other female passengers, tall and broad in built, were standing on either side of the seats, ready to sit down. It seemed ...

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Yes, Senator Rehman Malik, you deserved to be booted off that plane!

There are times when something you dream of actually happens, like Senator Rehman Malik getting booted off that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight. Had anyone else been booted off this way it might not have had the same impact, but with Rehman Malik… it’s like being presented with a large, a very large, box of chocolates, a complete set of Harry Potter books (which are amazingly yet to be read), and a tonne of ice cream all at one go! Oh joy! My salams to the gentleman who took that stand. May you live long in a genuinely better Pakistan, with my prayers for ...

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You realise you’re in a Pakistani flight when…

The sky is dark and you’re airborne, eyes transfixed on the entertainment system. Suddenly the plane takes a gravitational drop downwards, and then picks itself up a second later. The lights in the airplane go up, and the seatbelt sign appears. The flight attendant, passing through the plane, requests all passengers to remain seated, pull up their seats in an upright position and avoid heading to the lavatory for a few seconds. Most of the passengers follow none of these instructions. Welcome to an international flight carrying Pakistani passengers. Air travel isn’t the most comfortable thing in the flight, especially over long distances, unless of ...

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Malaysian Airlines MH17: Let’s put an end to aviation tragedies

On July 17, 1996, a Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight 800, operated on a Boeing 747, exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near New York soon after it took off from John F Kennedy Airport. The flight was bound for Rome with a short stopover at Paris. The incident killed all 212 passengers and 18 crew members aboard. This was the third largest air crash incident of that year, after the Garuda Indonesia Flight 865 crash, in which 272 people died, and the Saudi-Kazakhstan mid-air collision over Chakdari, India, in which 349 people lost their lives. The remains of the ...

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Mayday mayday, our daredevil pilot wants to fly through a thunderstorm!

Thai Air may have a very good air worthiness record both for their fleet and the flying staff. Being a Thai Air passenger on several occasions I have had no bad memories until I flew back to Islamabad on March 17th, 2014 from Manila via Bangkok. Thai Air is probably one of the few foreign airlines that still maintain daily flights from three cities in Pakistan; all western airlines including Singapore Airlines stopped flying into Pakistan for various reasons, almost a decade ago, Thai Air has been providing that necessary bridge to keep Pakistan connected to Asia. By making a code-share agreement ...

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