Stories about Saddar

Discovering Pakistan’s circumstantial craftsmen

After their father fell seriously ill, two brothers Rameez and Khurram devoted their lives towards pursuing his dream. Their mission was to open their own handicrafts’ shop as their father was fond of wood carving. Rameez, expressing his gratitude towards his father with a smile on his face, said, “I remember the words of my father very clearly. He said when you craft, you create and that creation is all yours. Not only is it satisfactory, it is magical.” The two brothers have set up their own shop in Saddar for over 30 years now. Khurram pointed towards his hands and added, “When a man works, the hands ...

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Thank you Abba, for making me the woman I am

It’s been almost nine years since Abba left us. I have written much about Ammi since then, about how she did not take his going so well, about her dementia. But I have somehow avoided writing about my father. Perhaps there is too much to write and it is difficult, even for someone like me, for whom words come easy. In the last few years of his life, his health was flailing and he knew. He started to wrap things up, though he loved life and fought for it till the end. In that twilight phase, what came up repeatedly was ...

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You forced me to break the law, Qaim Ali Shah!

I’m not the kind of person who speeds through a red light, even if the drivers of vehicles behind me honk loudly enough to wake up the dead. I have a healthy respect for the law. So, when my son was deprived of his smart phone and 10 thousand rupees last month, I advised him to immediately report the crime to the police and the CPLC. He smiled indulgently, saying that once you go to the cops they will never let you rest in peace and you’ll have to pay them a handsome amount to stop hounding you. I don’t blame him. The cops in Karachi ...

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A curious Muslim boy’s love for Christmas in Karachi

As a first grader, there are a few things that cause wonderment and excitement, and for me, the sight of a huge green decorated tree was right up there. It was just before the winter break and as I walked into the corridor in front of the classes, I saw it. To a six-year-old, the six feet tree looked impossibly large and beautiful bedecked with colourful balls, luminescent stars, tiny boxes that promised much and what looked to be real snow. And goodness, was that candy cane on the branches! I looked back at my father who smiled and quickly slipped ...

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The case of stolen side mirrors and stereo systems

Fahad Ahmed, a banker by profession, was provided a company-maintained car by his employer. After having upgraded from a two-wheeler and now commuting in luxury, this brand new 1300cc vehicle was the car of his dreams. Little did he know that soon he would be coming under tremendous stress, just in order to keep this car safe from various criminals, roaming the streets of Karachi. It was a Sunday and Fahad had gone to his in-laws for dinner with his wife and two kids. After attending to the social call and exchanging farewell, the family returned to their brand new ...

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Following the evolution of biryani, all the way to New York City

Derived from the Persian word ‘Birian’, biryani is a spicy rice and meat dish which is prepared by mixing layers of rice, meat, tomatoes, fried onions, spices, and food colour. Biryani making is an art – one has to know how long rice should be cooked for, before it can be arranged in layers along with the meat and tomatoes. The rice can become soggy if boiled excessively, or even remain undercooked if not boiled for an appropriate amount of time. All biryani lovers take their biryani very seriously. They feel irked if the biryani isn’t yellow enough or if there’s no ...

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Seventy-eight rupees

It was my neighbour who suggested I should go to them. She said it was my last hope. “Where are we going Amma?” my six-year-old asked me over the sound of the rickshaw. “Just someplace,” I said dismissively. What was I to tell her? That we were going to a place that was my ‘last hope’. It was her last hope too. The rickshaw driver stopped in front of an old, small building in the midst of noisy Saddar. With a heavy heart, I paid him Rs200, what we had agreed on. How would we go back? Maybe the NGO people could lend us money. When we walked inside ...

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No need to run for your lives, there is no tsunami coming our way

Hate me if you will, and I hate the sound of the words myself, but I have to say it. All the hype about Karachi being wiped off the face off the earth as a result of an earthquake measuring seven to eight on the Richter scale causing a tsunami is a big lie. Why do I say this, when the media is all abuzz with reports of a Tsunami warning simulation carried out under United Nations aegis and participated in by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD)? Because if a seven to eight strength earthquake radiates its waves to Karachi, from the Makran Trench, Karachi would have been ...

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She embodies the spirit of the seas and the souls of the desert winds, viva Karachi!

The face of the Regal Chowk glows from behind the heavy makeup of smoke, grime and dust gathered from the decadent, yet utilitarian vanity of decades. It tries to shine through and reflect on the stories it wrote over the years; the story of sunshine and happiness; the story of grey skies and heady days when the sky almost fell with rain and anarchy; the story of limited affluence and large-heartedness; the story of the inhabitants and the tale of the dream and the dreamer. Yes, the Regal Chowk is privy to all that and more; and if you are lucky ...

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Let’s love Pakistan ─ a new resolution (III)

In September last year, I took up the challenge of making a list of 65 reasons why I love Pakistan—the poor, broken country I and everyone else I know takes for granted. The idea was simple, but its execution, not so much. Which is why it’s taken me all these months to come up with the third set in the series. With 26 reasons down, I now plan to complete the list in a number of quick and regular posts by August 14, 2012—Pakistan’s 65th Birthday. So, here goes, again. 16. Thanda Pakola Inspiringly green with a distinctively refreshing taste and smell, this ...

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