Stories about Skype

Today is Eid, and I want to be home, not abroad

For every other day of the year, deciding what to wear early morning would be a task in itself, but not today. A kurta is hanging in the corner of my wardrobe. The entire year, I pretended it wasn’t there, but not today. Today is Eid in New York. It begins by embracing a traditional outfit to feel somewhat closer to home. A shower early morning and as usual a rush to the mosque is the norm. While trying to beat traffic to catch Eid prayer, a call back home to my parents is my favourite part. Each year, my mom asks my ...

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No one paid heed to the strike call. Is MQM losing its grip on Karachi?

Not too long ago, at the call for a citywide strike from Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), Karachi would have launched into a panicked frenzy, storekeepers would have shut down their business, cars would have lined up at petrol pumps, even those with full tanks (because that’s how we roll), schools would have closed early leaving both children and their parents scrambling for home, roads, buses, and, cars would have become the victims of anonymous perpetrators, flowers would have wilted, young lovers would have cancelled their dates at the park, opting for Skype instead, housewives would have cooked strange tasting ...

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Why Eid in Dubai does not even compare to the Eid in Lahore

Having been raised in two Muslim countries, UAE and Pakistan, Eid has always been the festival of the year for me. I won’t lie, but from childhood till date, my favourite Eid has always been Eidul Fitr, in other words, Choti Eid. In Dubai, Eid was all about henna. Trust me, if you know the art of henna painting, cash in on your strengths and rush to Dubai. All the salons will be packed. In a country like UAE, where no one in their right mind can imagine having heaters, on the eve of Eid, you’ll find Arab women drying their henna painted ...

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Facebook vs reality: When unfriend and delete turns into divorce

During a casual social conversation, I stated, “It is always a sad incidence when marital relationships break.” A colleague smiled and said, “I have heard of three in the past month or so.” I have been hearing cases of separation and divorces almost every week now. Most of the couples breaking ties are under the age of 35 and had been married anywhere from 25 days to three years. I find myself totally shocked and frozen at what is happening in our society. This issue seems like a big threat to our family system. I can confidently claim that when I and the likes of me ...

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Why do religious clerics get away with sexual abuse?

For years we’ve made fun of the Catholic priests fondling with young ones. Their ghastly and heinous acts of insensitivity disgust our spirits and we all abhor such practices. I once stopped by and spoke to John Wojnowski, himself a victim, on Massachusetts Avenue, Washington DC, who has been protesting for years, trying to bring the world’s attention to the abusive ways of the clergy. He told me his appalling story of how a priest abused him during his childhood and how difficult it was for him to get over the traumatic event, something that scarred him psychologically for his entire ...

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The ‘Bara Bhai syndrome’ – taking one family at a time

Recently, an international journal of psychiatry published a report about a new disease – the ‘Bara Bhai Syndrome’. It was discovered during research workshops held in Pakistan and India. The hallmark of this disease has been described as an extreme preoccupation with the duty of providing care to the family, heightened sense of sacrifice and responsibility, feeling of guilt and premature ageing. While the disease has been found to be more rampant in South-East Asia, thousands of immigrants in developed countries have also tested positive for it. The disease typically affects the first-born male child. However, comparable symptoms can also be exhibited by the only ...

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Is cheating only physical?

Cheating on a partner or having an affair whilst being in a steady, committed relationship has been an area of interest to people for as long as one can trace back the history of humankind. Since the last decade, social scientists have been trying to understand the phenomenon of online affairs or ‘digital cheating’. Several studies focus on what they call the ‘AAA engine’ of online affairs – Affordability, Accessibility and Anonymity. Social media makes it more comfortable for people to share their fantasies and problems while sitting in the protection of their home or workplace. Several studies also show ...

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A Pakistan for all seasons: Views of a Pakistani abroad

With each passing summer, I become increasingly weary upon hearing the same tired question, “But, are you sure you want to go back this year?” Whether the inquiry is presented by my father, a close friend, or even a concerned relative in Karachi, repetition has made it a mainstay in the uneasy arsenal of those who would oppose my annual visits to Pakistan. Do not misunderstand me – I understand their concern, one grounded in the unpredictable and often hostile socio-political climate of the nation. With the national and expatriate rumour mills alike saturated with horror stories about riots, home invasions, roadside robberies and ...

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Talia, my Israeli friend

By the time two hundred people had been killed in Gaza, I had shared an array of articles and videos through my Facebook on the crisis at hand. I was not alone: every second Muslim was running their own CNN – minus those cute pet stories that came before each headline claiming the death of five more Palestinian kids (alongside that of a broken window in Israel). Every now and then, I would be the silent spectator of a post that supported Israel’s struggle to keep itself safe from rocket fire, “May God save us from these evil fanatics; their end is surely near!” It was Talia, ...

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A Pakistani, an Indian and the gentleman’s game!

It was 8:30 at night. Imran was sitting in his apartment in one of the posh areas of Dubai. Sprawled on the comfortable couch, he lazily switched channels on his 60-inch plasma TV while typing a text message to a friend on his cell phone. His iPad lay next to him, opened to The New York Times online page.  It was a typical evening in the life of a Generation Y executive surrounded by technology 24/7 until the familiar ring of an incoming Skype call jolted him out of his lethargic state. He looked at his watch and then ...

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