Stories about tea

Can the real American desi please stand up?

While Pakistani-Americans receive some notice in news because of their professional and social achievements, there are several amusing habits of desis which are hardly ever explored in the media. Noted writers like Kumail Nanjiani, Ayad Akthar and Mohsin Hamid have portrayed Pakistanis in America close to reality, but have missed some interesting facts about them. After living in the US for over a decade, I have observed several habits of American desis which distinguish us from other members of society. Mentioning them is not an attempt to stereotype all Pakistani Americans; it is, in a humorous way, my take on my ...

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We all know what divides India and Pakistan, but do you know what unites them?

When it comes to India and Pakistan, one comes across an array of academicians and scholars in western campuses with piles of research on the Kashmir problem, Siachen and Sir Creek. But one hardly comes across any serious initiative to explore what unites India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan are inheritors of a common civilisation and hence we have an ocean of shared heritage in literature, philosophy, music, food, and mysticism. These days, it seems we have completely forgotten the days when we regaled ourselves over the melodies of Noor Jehan, Mehdi Hasan, Ghulam Ali and Ataullah Khan Esakhelvi. Even the days ...

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From the diary of a cup of tea

Yes. Yes, it’s me, the cup of tea you never knew could have feelings right? But my head is so full of thoughts, God! (Yes, I’m not an atheist). It’s actually steaming. Glad I found this page to spill my thoughts over. It’s Ramazan and everyone has been craving me. Luckily, I find some peace from sehri till iftar. Phew! I need no introduction per se. I’m the most widely consumed and Pakistan’s most loved beverage (for any objections, see me after sehri time please). 99% of the time when the Pakistani populace consumes a hot caffeinated beverage, it’s me (it’s a Euromonitor International statistic) and the annual ...

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Chai please, it’s not coffee

It all started with the Nestle Nescafe advertisement. The obvious commercial interest was to drive the conversion from tea to coffee. That too, to an instant coffee mix. To me it looked more like a quick brazen attempt to drive convenience. Tea requires ritual and hard work to get the right cuppa. Instead go for an instant coffee mix, which will give you a quick strong fix. Notice no comparison of taste or tradition. This is the modern quintessential person, who has no time or interest in the softness of palette. He or she is in a hurry to fix it with a strong ...

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“So, what’s Pakistan like?”

The old man had the most startling blue eyes, the kind that glittered in a wizard-like way. He was a contractual worker fixing some room in the building where I work, and I met him in the kitchen over my morning coffee. He asked where I’m from and widened his eyes. He didn’t comment on how good my English is, but how American my accent is (which I take no offence or pride in – it’s not the two years of Master’s in St Louis but all those American movies and TV shows I watch). And then he asked me ...

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Biscoot and chai, anyone?

While browsing through the aisles at the local store, I came across a new kind of biscuit – LU’s Nan Khatai.  I was immediately transported down memory lane, to numerous childhood bakery trips for the much savoured, freshly baked version. While growing up, we have all relished khasta (crispy) nan khatais. And I am sure many of us still do. How did it end up in this part of the world? ‘Nan khatai‘ comes from the Persian word ‘Nan’ (bread) and ‘Khatai’ (‘Catai’ or ‘Cathay’, the older name for China), translating as ‘Bread of Cathay’. According to the ‘Hobson-Jobson Dictionary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian ...

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Dear Diary, maybe someday I will look back and wonder – if only

Present day The old man sat down on his chair and flipped opened the diary he had found in the storage room. It was dusty. He focused his gaze on the first page and started to read. January 3, 2000 Dear Diary, I woke up at 6:30 this morning, as I had planned. It was a little early, but this way I could leave for school while Abu was asleep. My new cricket kit is beautiful, although I do think I might have paid too much for it. It’s also pretty hard to disguise it from Ami’s CCTV eyes when I am leaving ...

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Why go to England when you can enjoy delicious buttery scones right here?

While most people mistake a scone with biscuits or a small cake, they will be surprised to know it is nothing like either of the two. A scone is a crumbly yet dense cake with a delectably rich and creamy flavour. A scone alone wonderfully represents the elegance of British culinary. Scones are best served with tea, and so when a friend of mine told me she’s coming over for some tea and a catch-up session, the first dish that came to my mind was of course, none other than scones. The best part about this appetising dish is that it can ...

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Planning to visit Istanbul? Here are 13 food items to entice your taste buds

On my visit to Istanbul, one of the main attractions of the city for me was the exquisite food. Their cuisines looked simple yet tasted amazing. It was mostly mild yet full of flavours. One could eat here for days and not miss the oily biryani and karhai back home. Therefore, here is a list of 13 food items which you must try if you ever visit Istanbul: 1. Doner Kebab Photo: Urooj Hussain This one is a no-brainer; there is not a thing which says Istanbul like freshly grilled Doner Kebabs. It’s by far the first thing that anyone tries as soon as they ...

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16 photos that prove India and Pakistan are just the same

Conflict isn’t the only thing common to India and Pakistan. We are just like neighbours who might quarrel but always have each other’s back. We are like neighbours who may not be too happy with the noisy parties the other throws but who would still like to be a part of each other’s happiness. This article is an attempt to focus on the everyday, the little things which unite us as a people. Forgive me if I come across as stating the obvious. But sometimes, the best of us tend to forget the obvious. And then it’s always good to remember, and to ...

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