Stories about tea

Remembering Musadiq Sanwal ‘Aik pyali chai’

 “I really don’t know how to play the sitaar,” I said. To which he asked if I knew how to feel. I realised then that first impressions are deceptive in most cases. I had walked into my music lesson on a Sunday afternoon to find a man with salt-and-pepper hair perched comfortably in the lounge. I had dismissed him as I struggled with the complexity of the various instruments around me. When he nonchalantly handed me the sitaar, I was convinced that he had made a mistake. But he had not. I had. I had missed the sharp glint of humour in his eyes that I would later realise was ...

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Mirror mirror on the wall, why has Pakistan’s rowing team been forgotten by all?

“Did you know that Pakistani rowers made it to the Olympic selection event in 2013?” Almost choking on my tea, I burst out laughing at my friend’s question. Regaining my composure, I replied, “Pakistani rowers? Olympics? We don’t have rowers, much less international level rowers! Stop joking and let me drink my tea in peace.” Unfazed, she said: “Surprising isn’t it? But it is true. If you don’t believe me, try googling it and it will give you a list of our young rowers who made it to Uzbekistan in 2013.” So I did google ‘rowing in Pakistan’. Not only did I find the list of ...

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Six of my favourite experiences while getting lost in the magical world of Turkey!

In my earlier blog, I wrote about the influx of Turkish dramas on Pakistani television channels. Ever since Urdu 1’s Ishq-e-Mamnoon shot to fame there has been no looking back. In fact, the Pakistani audience has been literally swept off their feet. For me, this was followed by a desire to appreciate the wonderful Turkish culture in person. While making travel plans with four of my friends we unanimously agreed on Turkey as our vacation destination. Our plan was to have an adventurous backpacking sort of trip for nine days and we set out with our ambitious itinerary. I am glad to say that our trip ...

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10 reasons why you should NOT marry a Pakistani man

1. ‘Ammi jaan’ – the famous monster-in… I mean mother-in-law. She is the idolised queen of the domestic domain, ‘lovingly’ referred to as Ammi jaan.  Her precise duties can vary from lovingly criticising you in front of your husband, taunting you with scathing remarks while your husband is not around and haunting you in the middle of the night, even in the privacy of your own bedroom! She will not forgive you for the smallest of mistakes and enjoys watching you squirm in your chair, embarrassed. She will not allow you to change anything in the house, even though the ‘you’re just like my daughter’ ...

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A doctor’s worst nightmare

It had been a pretty gruelling 30 hours. Her hands shook as she poured out a cup of tea for herself and tried to relax. Four patients had been admitted with final stage liver disease, the previous night. Two of them had died during the night, despite all efforts at resuscitation. One was recovering after suffering a massive bout of vomiting blood and the fourth was in a coma, but she was hopeful he would come out of it. Half of her night had been spent explaining the dismal prognosis of de-compensated liver disease to the patients’ relatives and attendants, and ...

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At Roadside Café: Three cups of tea and a gunshot

When I used to go horse riding I learnt that whenever you fall off a horse you have to immediately pick yourself up and get back on or you will develop a fear for life. The truth is on the outside I seemed determined but after falling nine times it got to my head and gave me a bit of insecurity. I mean do you know how irritating untrained and unpredictable horses can be? Karachi I feel is the same; yes we are resilient but we are lying to ourselves if we say that it doesn’t eat at your nerves one ...

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Hues of peace in Kashmiri tea

Some time back, I was watching an interview of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Yasin Malik on a local news chanel. The host kept probing the Kashmiri leader about his new ‘non-violence freedom movement’ in Kashmir despite Yasin Malik’s violent past history. Will this movement work and why did it become non-violent now after almost 18 years of being so active? My personal interest in the programme came from being indoctrinated since childhood (from Zia’s state media) that ‘Kashmir is an integral part of Pakistan’ and that ‘Kashmir will one day become Pakistan’ (because it was always ‘meant’ to be). ...

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In search of a tea house

Being an army officer’s daughter, I have seen many cities in Pakistan. To say that I have been exposed to various cultures however, would be wrong as the only culture I have an understanding of is that of the army. Most of my adult life however, I have been in Islamabad. Islamabad is the closest it gets to any city being my home. There’s something about the Margallas, the wide clean roads, the neatly laid shopping malls, the winter mornings and the summer afternoons in Islamabad that is so familiar, so comforting. Just recently I had a chance to live in ...

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Don’t ask, don’t tell

Summers in Lahore are not a cup of tea for us Karachiites. Here in Karachi your face is perpetually damp with humidity. Come Lahore, there’s no sweat, parched lips and your throat’s begging for fluids. Naturally, flights in this disapproving season are not a merry affair. But as I collect my luggage and walk towards the small office to rent a cab back home, the only soothing thought is lying down in bed and feeling at home. However, my cab driver seems to be oblivious to the testing surrounding conditions. He is hyperactive. He flashes me a warm smile. I ...

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Smells like revolution, but not in Pakistan

I recently visited Egypt with friends. Our trip started in Luxor (once known as the city of Thebes) where we gazed in awe at some of the wonders of the ancient world. We munched on falafels, sipped on mint tea, smoked shisha, and sailed along the Nile. We drove along the Sinai coast, snorkelled in the Red Sea, and sunbathed in Sharm el Sheikh. In the metropolis of Cairo we shopped at the Khan el Khalili market, visited the Egyptian Museum, and made difficult dinner choices from an array of international cuisines. We had a fantastic time – good ...

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