Stories about stories

Dear Humans Of Pakistan, don’t make up fake stories, please!

One week after Humans Of New York (HONY) completed their series on Pakistan, Humans Of Pakistan (HOP) published a photograph of a woman named Sarah* sitting with her two young boys. As per Sarah’s narrative, her husband had left for a job offer abroad, two years after their marriage while she was expecting her first child. He left them for five years and came to see her and the children only twice, that even on her insistence. Eventually, Sarah learnt that her husband had remarried and no longer intended to come back or financially support her or their children. Hence, she decided to stand ...

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Lub pay aati hai dua bann kay tamanna meri

On December 16, 2014 The Express Tribune blogs desk received many submissions from grief stricken people from all over Pakistan. These people wanted to show their solidarity with the families of the victims. They wanted to mourn the deaths of the students and teachers from the Army Public School, who were brutally massacred by the TTP in Peshawar. Due to shortage of space, we were unable to accommodate many, but we understood that this was a traumatic event in which every Pakistani’s protest should be recorded. So, this post was created as a window for people to come together and ...

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‘The Wandering Falcon’: Understanding Balochistan, the literary way

Jamil Ahmad’s The Wandering Falcon cruised into my bucket list when it was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize and Commonwealth Book Prize, but that was not the sole reason for it clicking with me. It was the debut work of the author at the age of 78 and was written long before we mired our stream of consciousness by replacing people with numbers and empathy with stock language for the tribal people of Pakistan. Penned down some 34 years ago, the work of fiction has become extremely relevant to the current global situation rampant with discourse of convenience. The short stories shot to ...

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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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Losing Ammi to Alzheimer’s bit by bit…

For my mother, who is leaving us bit by bit taking her memories along with her. But our memories of her will stay with us of a mother who loved us and cared for us always, like mothers everywhere. The writer, Jarod Kintz, once said, “Alzheimer not only steals from you, it steals the very thing you need to remember what’s been stolen.”  He indeed was right. That theft is exactly what causes the agitation that immobilises my mother. My mother has Alzheimer’s and she knows that there is something she cannot remember. But she cannot figure out what that something is and it tears her ...

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I have ADHD and I love it!

Sitting in the backseat of my class, I somehow couldn’t bring myself to focus on the teacher’s lecture. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to focus; I was actually trying my best to do so. I kicked myself every day for not being able to focus properly. But the stories popping up in my head were far more amusing and interesting than the boring lectures on dog training sessions. When there were no stories popping up in my head, I would look outside the window and my mind would make private jokes about people roaming around outside in the school ...

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Whitewashing

Our names will never roll around their tongues, With the delicacy and finesse, Of the mothers who named us. After 14 hours of birth, Sweaty, sticky, spicy, sweet, tangy names with stories and secrets. Our names in foreign mouths Are like spices with unexpected Sharp thorny flavours, Spat out in discomfort, Pronounced with pain, And anglicised quickly like a cool drink of water.   So that Dureshawar becomes Rey, And my own name In my mouth Feels like a dry, flavourless biscuit. And they laugh when I can’t recognise Myself being announced at banquets. When I cannot recognise my placard On the table; When they demand I leave by the backdoor. It is always by my father’s name.   Our names will ...

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Paper-is-back: Reminiscing good ol’ tech-free times with Facebook

Stories do more than just entertain, they define us. Stories give meaning and context to what would otherwise be a collection of easily forgettable facts. They say behind every brand is a story and thus Facebook just started a new chapter of their fairy tale by launching a new app Paper. Facebook, a company which has gone from a dorm room conception to a $150 billion capitalisation, outshined the social media industry by introducing the new app that focuses on the idea of stories. Source: Itunes The app is available for download on iOS devices only. As I work in a paper-free ...

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Munawar Hassan, our fallen soldiers and citizens ARE martyrs

Some time ago a small, market town in England called Wootten Bassett attracted national and international media attention. The town was granted Royal Patronage and even US President Obama appreciated their actions. The people of Watton Basset showed honour and respect to their dead soldiers, who were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whenever the bodies of British troops were brought to an air force base and they passed through this town, the townsfolk showed their respect with spontaneous gestures; businesses stopped, passersby lined the pavements, taking off their hats and standing in silence. The honouring of the fallen soldiers by the people of ...

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Pregnant and tired? Don’t induce labour till you read this!

The minute I began showing with my first child, I was subject to horror stories about labour. I don’t know why, but there is something about a swelling belly that triggers an impulse in every woman to share crazy, sometimes obscene and often exceedingly horrific labour stories. I still remember going out for lunch with friends and leaving my meal untouched, as ugly tales involving forceps and vacuums unfolded. At my baby shower, the hottest topic of discussion was lengthy labour, and although I later encountered opposition to the epidural, some friends at the shower made it seem as if the pain-killing injection ...

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