Stories about shalwar kameez

It was meant to be, yet it wasn’t

On this beautiful summer morning in the Sultan Khel village, everything was in bloom. Flowers lazily tumbled along the pathways, butterflies and bees buzzed at blossoms, and the spindly green trees rose impossibly high into the clouds. For this day, Noor chose a pale lilac shalwar kameez strewn with floral embroidery, and wore her sparkly new golden heels underneath. Her black hair cascaded down her back in waves, and her big brown eyes twinkled. Noor looked beautiful – a vision to behold. No wonder all the village boys were after her. She opened the windows of her room, and breathed a lungful of ...

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No country for Kiki challenge: Forget corruption, ‘goras’ dancing with our flag is the bigger problem

The entire world is familiar with the rather infamous ‘Kiki challenge’ by now. It is yet another one of those social media influenced fads, readily embraced by the younger generation, along with celebrities of course, and involves dancing on the song In My Feelings by Drake. However, one particular challenge landed both a vlogger and the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in trouble, and left Pakistanis wondering – why? Eva zu Beck is a Polish tourist and vlogger currently on a world tour, who recently filmed herself doing the Kiki challenge in collaboration with PIA; the latter being eager to promote ...

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Will Priyanka Chopra’s Baywatch help normalise swimsuits for Indians?

I was 13-years-old when I first watched an episode of Baywatch. All the boys at school had been talking about the show in hushed tones. They said it was very B-Y, a term they used to describe a bikini-clad woman. The B referred to the bikini top and the Y referred to the bikini bottom. I was in ninth standard, and my mother had decided we would get cable only after my 10th standard board exams. Also, parents in general did not want teenagers to watch a lot of shows on cable TV back then to curb “western” influence. I watched ...

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Dear Abba, I’m sorry

Dear Abba, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for crying profusely when you held me in your arms for the first time, and stopped sulking as soon as you kissed my forehead and handed me over to Ammi. I had just opened my eyes in this world, and I was unsure of your love. I was your first son, but somehow was always more connected to Ammi. I’m sorry for the time when you picked a crying me up from my cot, held me in your arms, wearing your crisp, trademark double-pocketed shalwar kameez, early in the morning ready to go to work, and I drenched you ...

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If you are a Matric student, you are ‘too local’ for a job in Pakistan

“You have a confused identity. Aren’t you from Paki-land? It seems like you’re ashamed of your roots… haha” Those words used to infuriate me. I used to think to myself, “what do they know? I fluently speak my mother tongue at home!” But I guess that wasn’t enough to prove that I am a proud Pakistani. England was home, but it had its set of challenges. I was constantly questioned on why I prefer cod and chips over chicken curry, why I prefer wearing jeans over shalwar kameez and so on. It used to aggravate me. And post 9/11 it only got worse. The questions had now turned ...

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I am Pakistani, just like you. Except we’re not the same

Edmonton like many other metropolitan cities is an interesting blend of people of various nationalities, race, religion and creed. Walk around in the neighbourhood or enjoy the lazy summer sunshine in a park and you will be struck with a variety of people and languages you hear. The same exotic sampling of populations is present in schools, which gives children a wonderful opportunity to not only mingle or learn about various cultures but also to accept their differences and forge friendships out of their own communities at a very young age. It was a special day for the children of a small elementary school in Edmonton. They had ...

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How can France assume the basis of our choices?

The dupatta has been around in our part of the world for thousands of years. The word itself is of Sanskrit origin, ‘du’ meaning ‘two’ and ‘patta’ referring to a strip of cloth. In ancient times it was worn as a symbol of modesty as part of an outfit that was comprised of three pieces and, as centuries passed, it became part of the cultural, religious norms in this region – not just for Muslims but also Hindus and Sikhs who cover their heads when walking into a religious building. These days it is worn by many young girls as ...

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I had to wait over a year for a journalist visa to India

May 5, 2016 On the phone, the clerk is confused. “I’m calling about my visa status,” I tell him, and he asks a standard question – “When did you submit the application?” “May 5, 2015,” I say, reciting the date American-style. He pauses as though he’s only heard the first part. In the silence, I can almost hear him thinking, “May 5th? But that’s today.” It’s not. I applied for a journalist visa from the Indian government one year ago. The consulate in my hometown, Chicago, has gone from estimating a two week wait to one month, then three months to no particular date. The latest ...

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I was not allowed to enter Memon Mosque in Karachi, because I am a woman

A beautiful combination of chaos and serenity: yes, you are now in the most picturesque area of Karachi. An extension of Saddar town escalates towards the lighthouse, a grandiose Memon Mosque situated along the way. I had always seen this huge structure of reds while passing my route to college. I found myself thoroughly intrigued by the long bearded men who would come out of the high floral grilled gate in flocks of white kurtas and shalwars rolled up. A knack for photography has always had me attracted towards architecture that has history attached to it. One fine summer afternoon, following the hues of ...

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She tasted his voice in her coffee – Artificial sweeteners

It was a Tweety colouring book, as thin as her finger nail. Tweety’s yellow was being swallowed by the bright red background. On the corners, a shy baby blue hovered as if it was scared to be noticed. Tweety’s hands were on his hips. His face was contorted into a cheeky wink. The boy waved it at her from his place at the footpath. She sipped on her coffee and stared straight ahead. He took a few steps closer and waved the book again. Tweety’s giant yellow head blurred. The red and yellow spilled into one another. The baby blue slipped from ...

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