Stories about youth

The great brain waste

In May last year an Australian embassy press release stated that more than 5,000 Pakistani students have chosen Australia as their destination to study. How many of these people actually go abroad to study? The answer is nil. Living in Australia, I can say that 99% of these so-called students are actually professionals and underachievers of society who go abroad to seek a better life. Let’s face it: who would want to live in a country where there is daily load shedding, nepotism, corruption, government ineptitude and terrorism, right? Although this Pakistani talent is moving out in search of greener pastures, the truth is that ...

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Meet Chota Jatt, the Pakistani superhero

My goal while making Chota Jatt was to provide the children of Pakistan with a character they could relate to. I wanted to give them a role model. Inspired by Lollywood movies from the 70s and Japanese Anime, Chota Jatt tells the story of the legend behind the man who inspired an entire movie genre (Maula Jatt), and highlights Pakistan’s rich culture. The character Chota Jatt uses his strength to fight for justice and to battle against corruption. The series will be high octane, action packed and hilarious. Currently, in Pakistan there is very little programming done for children, particularly those from the ...

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Another Imran Khan article that’s not about Musharraf’s rally. Sorry.

If Pakistan were a school and voters were the graduating class, then we’d know exactly where Musharraf would fit in. Musharraf would be the angry guy who sits at the front of each class and has a problem with things no one cares about, like the colour of the chalk the teacher uses. He would be a suck-up to everyone but his peers, and be like the head boy or prefect who gets the job done, but really, does anyone like him? His dog (his profile picture on Facebook) would probably be a lot more popular than he is. This was ...

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Botox, surgical revamping and the elixir of youth

Sequined, satined, bejeweled, and heavily perfumed, a female form came hurtling in my direction. “Oh Mariam, what a surprise! Where have you been all these years? Good to see you!” It was a classmate from medical college who had been in the United States for many years. She had recently relocated  so that her children could be eased into Pakistani culture and make the transition from west to east. “You look great. What have you done? ” I asked enthusiastically. “Nothing major really, just surgery around the eyes, collagen fillers around the mouth, and laser resurfacing on the skin. You know it’s a constant ...

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Why I let my children smoke

 “Amma, you’re very chalaak, sly and cunning too,” My son stood squarely in front of me, his face red with accusation, teenage angst writ large all over it. “Your whole reverse psychology business has made everything unexciting and boring for us. When my friends gather furtively behind an expansive leaf laden tree to share a smoke, I think to myself, big deal, I can do that at home too,” He relayed to me accusingly. “You were always enticing us with the choice of brands we should try, menthol or no menthol. At the same time telling us to make our own decisions and not be ...

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Is Imran Khan peaking too soon?

If there is one word that best describes Imran Khan, it is ‘gravitas’. Several years ago, I sat in on a meeting he had with the Woodrow Wilson Center’s president. As the Kaptaan thundered on about American drone strikes, one of the meeting’s female participants – who had earlier disclosed to me that she had long harbored a crush on Khan – suddenly spoke up. “I can’t believe I’m in the same room as Imran Khan!” she gushed. Khan’s towering frame stiffened. He paused, briefly regarded his admirer with a look of mild irritation, and then promptly returned to his anti-drone jeremiad ...

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How Imran Khan won me over

A fellow-volunteer at TCF (The Citizens Foundation) asked me the other day if I was going to the PTI rally. My first reaction was to laugh, and then wonder ‘Women go to political rallies?’ Perhaps what I really thought was ‘Do women like us go to political rallies?’ ‘Us’ being  shareef  (modest) and middle class, belonging to families who may have acquired almost-elite status over time, but who’s middle class values dictate that the arena for women’s political participation should be the family’s television lounge, not the uncertain grounds of Minar-e-Pakistan.  By the morning the momentum was clearly palpable on my Twitter timeline. I have ...

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Identity for sale

My fellow countrymen, everything in this country is for sale. Let me elaborate. Recently, my cousin completed his graduation and his family thought it was time to send the boy abroad for higher studies. My uncle, his father, got him all geared up with all the necessary files and documents, but little did he know he was in for a surprise. When they reached the passport office, they were told that there was a problem with my cousin’s identity card. The passport officials then directed them to the office of the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) where the real problem ...

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Lush language: new words for a new generation

Time is short. Life is full. Too much to share. Let’s micro-communicate. Say it all, in a few words. The new micro-lingo seems to be a word-conservation drive, where you pack a lot of meaning into a few catchy memorable words; this language sticks in the mind like no other. It’s entertainingly expressive, creatively concise and just flows fast and runs deep. Read on to see how. It’s where the punch is “I dined out at this new restaurant. What wah wah food they had there.” “I went to this concert. What wehshee music. Uff I loved it.” For the uninitiated in the ...

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Will the real Afridi please stand up?

* Anas Abbas contributed to this blog post. “I think I am a cricketer first and then a diplomat. I am an ambassador for Pakistan, so I should know what to say. I think it’s a great sign for both countries and sports, especially cricket always brings these two countries together.” So spoke Shahid Khan Afridi on the eve of the World Cup semi final against India. Mere days after winning the hearts of numerous Indian fans with his generous remarks after the semi final loss, Afridi struck out wildly when he went on record to lambast Indians on a TV talk show. “If I have ...

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