Stories about workplace

Did you just call me a “bhangi”?

It happened again; this time in a closed setting with a small group of people. We were just a bunch of colleagues having fun, most of who will probably have a good laugh and forget about it in within the hour. But will I forget it so soon? My past experiences, the history of which is entrenched into my memory, remind me that perhaps this will not be so easily forgotten. I believe the last time something like this happened was back in school, during my O’ levels; then too, between a group of friends. I don’t seem to remember ...

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He flashed his private parts at her and told her that raping her would please him – no big deal, right?

The other day, I was randomly scrolling through Facebook when I came across a long post by girl who had been harassed on her way to work by a guy on a bike who flashed his private parts at her. So common, right? Let us just keep scrolling, my brain hinted. There was a video attached to the post as well, and it automatically began playing before I could scroll past it. As I watched the video, I realised that the car looked oddly familiar, and then I realised that the girl was in fact my own sister. I ...

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Light lunchboxes

His daughter knocked on his door; only once. It was time for work and her school. He got up, stretching here and there, listening as individual muscles came out of slumber. After he was ready, he headed to the kitchen and opened the fridge. Each item appeared to be dripping. The electricity had been out throughout the night. He reached for the night’s leftovers and packed their lunch, first for her, and then for himself. She came to the kitchen shortly after. She was well-aware of her father’s strategies and how she ended up getting more of the leftovers. However she used to silently weigh ...

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Mommy tips: How to raise a mini activist

When we hear the word “activist”, we immediately think of khadi clad, jhola carrying men and women braving water cannons and lathi charges. But an activist is one who campaigns for social change of any kind, someone who identifies the rot in society and speaks about it. There are various degrees of activism and similarly various ways of showing dissent. Thomas Jefferson said, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” and any thriving society needs such voices. Such conscientious persons are not born but raised. One might feel that preteens are too young to grapple the socio-political dynamics of a complex society, ...

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How the corporate sector turned me into a hypocrite

To become a part of the corporate world had always been my dream, and ever since my graduation, it had become my vision to enter this grand realm and use my knowledge to cater to its needs. However, it did not take me long to understand that my vision was better as a dream than as a reality, and these are the reasons why. As planned, a month after my graduation, I joined a renowned multinational to kick-start my career. Everything was looking glorious to me, as if it could not possibly get any better than this – the office, the environment, ...

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When your husband is also a reporter

By tying the knot with a fellow reporter next month, who is equally passionate about work as I am; I would be committing myself to journalism for life, and surely for eternity. This means that arguments and discussions between a husband and wife might entail, ‘I didn’t like your intro!’ or ‘Why didn’t you add colour to your story’ or ‘Your question in the press conference was really dumb’. This implies that the happy moments between a husband and a wife would be basking in the glory of having one’s story printed on the front page of the newspaper, and smiling endlessly to the positive feedback ...

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The woes of the student-working life

Five months ago when I joined this organisation I assured myself that managing a full-time job along with studies won’t be anything that I will not be able to do. While working in a newspaper can have its perks, the worst thing that happens to you is you never see the light of day – literally. Working late hours the only thing a sub-editor does is sleep in the morning and in my case attend classes in the morning. These past months have been the best and worst so far. Despite the fact that I have dreamily looked at teachers, not been ...

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Sexual harassment: Stop whining and do something about it!

“Where are you, ‘baby’? I am waiting.” No, this is not an SMS from someone’s fiancé, husband or boyfriend. This was sent by a colleague to another colleague of mine. After a few minutes of disbelief, she was engulfed by anger and replied, “Are you in your senses? What kind of an SMS is that?” To her utter astonishment his reply was: “Err.. Is mein kia tha?” (What was wrong in that SMS?) The reply indicated how casually men take their behaviour towards the fairer sex. No, I do not want to re-emphasise here how often we have to face difficult workplace situations. No, I ...

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I refuse to lose my religion!

What about the rest of us? Meaning the living; those of us who have to make a living, those who have to get to work despite knowing that there is a fair chance we might get shot at for not showing enough solidarity. How do you express solidarity through violence for a system that is about peace in times of chaos, anyway? I was supposed to be angry today. I was, still am. I am fuming, in fact, because I work for a newspaper and part of my job is to be at work come hell or high water. I managed to do ...

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Harassment doesn’t stop us

A recent news story published in The Express Tribune reported a female traffic warden in Lahore who had to get transferred from road duty after she was groped by a man on a motorbike. She said:  “I cried at the CTO’s office and he ordered me transferred to the Ticketing Branch. The same thing happened to several other wardens.” The idea of including female traffic wardens in to the field was to make society a safer place for women. Officers thought that once the commuters saw a lady in charge, they would behave themselves. Unfortunately, that was not the case. It is ...

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