All Foods Lead to Karachi

The last time my sister came to Pakistan was 5 years ago. In five years, she’s missed the passing of several close relatives, two weddings and a newborn baby (18 days old). From among her friends, she’s missed three new births and another two weddings. She was more than excited at the thought of finally coming home, even if it was for just ten days.

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Giving Up Everything

January 20 marks the end of the month Rabi-ul-Awwal in the Islamic Calendar. Rabi-ul-Awwal literally means ‘the first month of Spring’, and is important to Muslims because the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday falls on the 12th of Rabi-ul-Awwal. The 12th is celebrated as our third major festival, or Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (Festival of the birth of the Prophet).

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Life Unplugged

About a month ago, I had a mishap with my laptop and was unplugged for almost a week. My old trusty MacBook Pro is on its last legs. Apparently the graphics card crashed and while the computer started up, the screen stayed black. And unlike older models, the graphics card on these macs is soldered on to the motherboard, so the whole motherboard had to be replaced.

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The Army Public School Responds

“I belong to a nation whose children scare the life out of you.
What a terrifying force you are, fighting with children…”

The children of Army Public School returned to school this week. This is their tribute to their fallen classmates.

Peshawar, December 16 2014.

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There should be squares in every city reserved for the public execution of the Taliban.

Let them swing.

Five hundred Taliban, mostly low-level soldiers, sit on Death Row in Rawalpindi. Five hundred out of thousands released because our weak judiciary was intimidated, or because our corrupt politicians consider them allies. Five years ago, when the shrine of Data Darbar was attacked by two suicide bombers, killing 42 pilgrims, Shahbaz Sharif stood on a public stage and whimpered, “why are you attacking us? We are one people.” For that statement alone, Shahbaz Sharif should also swing. It’s no coincidence that the Pakistan Army has not been allowed to conduct any operations in the Punjab against the various Lashkars operating with impunity in the province—they’re Shahbaz Sharif’s people, after all.

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Falling in Love with Urdu Poetry

In school, my Urdu was a widespread joke among my friends. My pronunciations aside, I was hopeless with sentence construction, which in Urdu is the opposite of the way a sentence is constructed in English. If I was to translate ‘she is sitting under a tree’ into Urdu, the correct structure would mean that it would read like this: ‘She tree under sitting is’. In Urdu, of course, that sounds perfect: ‘woh darakht kay neechay baithi hai’.

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The Real Fairy Tales

I have to admit that I really, really, enjoy reading fairy tales. Yesterday, my mother found an old tattered illustrated book (or what was left of it) of fairy tales in a box. The book had no cover (I am not sure what happened to it) and the frayed and curled edges barely held the pages together. It was obviously well-read, if not so well taken care of. I think (though without the cover, I can’t say for sure) that it was Mother Goose’s Fairy Tales, since it included Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella.

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The Introvert’s Guide to Social Affability

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I was so shy that I had difficulty looking anyone in the eye. I was a quiet mouse who took years to make friends and open up beyond a surface politeness. I hated (and still do) social occasions, or meeting new people. I rarely had anything to say and often couldn’t do more than smile awkwardly and mumble something incomprehensible. I had become so used to avoiding talking about myself that my first interview for a new school in Pakistan (I was 12) was an unmitigated disaster. I remember one of the teachers asking me to talk a little bit about myself and for several minutes, I sat there in front of 4 teachers in complete silence. My tongue was heavy and my mind blank, because talking about myself was something I almost never did. Luckily, that was the only school that required an interview. Needless to say, I didn’t get in there.

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