Stories about safety

What a ‘great’ start to the New Year

Amongst the silence, a flash of light rose into the air, exploding into a colourful flower of glitter. It was followed by several other explosions that lit up the midnight sky. The crowd roared, screaming, “Happy New Year!” Music blasted in the background as people danced and cheered. They shared their New Year’s resolutions, as it was a beginning of a new chapter of their lives, where they had to decide if they wanted to be a new version of themselves and live life to its fullest, or just continue with their same old routines. Large LED hologram animals danced in the ...

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Reclaiming public space: Can it be a (wo)man’s world, too?

It was a Saturday night when it rained cats and dogs in Lahore. Cool breeze finally taking over the scorching heat made for an excuse to go out and enjoy to the fullest. With such a spectacular change in weather, it was compulsory for my husband and I to drive out into the city around midnight and be amused by the pleasant ambience. Even at that hour, roads were full of traffic. Trees were swirling in the gusty wind. Eateries along the road were jam-packed with people; after all, Lahoris are known to enjoy food like none other. Boys in groups ...

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The dark side of coal mining: We can walk in knowingly, but we never know if we’ll get to walk out

It was a hot and humid afternoon on August 13th. Tajak Khan, clad in a proper coal miner’s uniform, sat on the rough ground along with his four co-workers, 800 feet deep from the surface of the earth. They took a small break from the day-long digging inside a coal mine near district Harnai located in the northeast of Balochistan. It was around 4pm when a massive blast rocked the coal mine and nearby areas, Khan and his four companions got trapped inside and were never heard of again. Five dead bodies were recovered the next morning after a much-delayed rescue operation. In a coal mine ...

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My right hand is clean

Laughter. Running around. Two toddlers and a baby having a jolly good time. Favourite place, Nani ma’s home; the room with the large windows, letting in the afternoon sun, warm and friendly, dancing around the marble floor. One disgusting teenage boy. Around 14 or 15. With yellow teeth and a hideous laugh. Watching over the children as they play. Hired for the ‘supervision’ of the baby. Looking for an opportunity to strike. And then he found one. “Do you want to play with a new toy?” He asked the little girl, who was gleefully laughing as she chased her cousin around the room. She ...

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Will Facebook’s dating app be a dream come true for all the “fraandship” boys out there?

I have a new obsession; looking at memes on Instagram. Especially all the memes that spun out of nowhere after the Cambridge Analytica scandal are bound to make you smirk and think at the same time. Due to personal reasons, I had deliberately deleted my Facebook profile last year in October. I shared this profile with my husband for at least nine years, but he hardly used it and in the last three years, I wasn’t actively using Facebook either. So before all hell broke loose for Mark Zuckerberg, I had already decided that Facebook was probably too public, and it ...

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When PSL came to Karachi, and the city felt alive again

Not too long ago, the city of Karachi was the hub of fear. Residents constantly feared for the law and order situation, and people would think twice before stepping out at night. The festive nature inherent in the spirit of Karachi only made this situation tougher, as in light of growing terror, the festive mood and the lights of the city slowly faded away. Years ago, when the doors of the National Stadium finally closed as well, the people of Karachi eventually forgot what it feels like to turn the lights back on.   Until now. It definitely felt more like ...

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Why is it so easy to kidnap a child?

Imagine going through an abusive marriage while holding up to be an inspiration to your daughter simultaneously. Imagine your three-year-old daughter, your angel, being kidnapped by your very own husband and taken away to a country across the globe. Imagine doing everything you can in your power to get her back, yet failing at every turn. Imagine living for months without hearing any news of her, without knowing if she’s okay and being taken care of. Imagine her continuously crying profusely for her mother yet you’re unable to hold her in your arms and soothe her. This is what my friend, Nadia ...

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What is so ‘filthy’ and ‘unnatural’ about reproductive sex, Pakistan?

A close friend of mine recently had an STI (sexually transmitted infection) scare. Despite being in excruciating pain, she was scared to ask her husband how she got the infection. After a few days of discomfort and suffering, she consulted a doctor who put her mind to rest by confirming that she had a yeast infection because of diabetes. But during this whole episode, I was surprised to find out how ignorant she was about sexual health. First, she was adamant that she couldn’t get an STI from her husband because he was absolutely fine, which is irrelevant and factually incorrect because some STIs ...

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Is Uber in Pakistan risky or convenient?

Usually, rickshaws, as well as the older black and yellow taxis are available at every other street corner in Pakistan, and are effective in getting consumers from point A to point B, though the quality of service is far from ideal. The challenge in riding a rickshaw, especially for taller individuals, is reaching the destination with as few bruises and head injuries as possible, considering how adventurously the drivers of these open vehicles drive. Taxis, on the other hand, are a test for anyone with a fondness for personal hygiene. Sometimes the seats of these vehicles, which lack in air-conditioning, carry ...

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Why can’t we buckle up?

Pakistan’s television industry has seen from amazing times – when classics such as Dhoop Kinarey charmed viewers all around the country as well as across the border – to the not-so-amazing times, when aunties gathered around television screens for nothing better than ‘saas-bahu’ soaps. Fortunately, the growth in television productions has recently been phenomenal, with dozens of serials airing on the ever growing number of television channels in the country. As the entertainment industry expands, its impact on society surpasses the mere purpose of entertaining. It begins to highlight social issues and influences thinking and behaviour among the population. A ton of storytelling on Pakistani ...

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