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Category Archives: Life as a Karachite

A new day, a new year.

Hello there, its been a while.

2011 has ended and like every passing year, it seems only yesterday when it came our way.
For me, 2011 brought a lot of great experiences and some difficult times too. The year started with an incredible experience that was Harvard Model United Nations 2011 and ended with an opportunity to be part of a Live Q&A session with the one who claims to bring about a ‘tsunami’, the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf [PTI]. Imran Khan came to the Institute of Business Administration on 23rd December 2011 perhaps in an attempt to garner further support and answer a few questions. Ironically the show’s name was ‘To the Point’ and unfortunately he was the opposite of that. I will be talking about this experience and Imran Khan’s political aspirations soon. From tomorrow I have my final exams of my first semester, hopefully it’ll be a breeze.

My blogging sadly took a back seat due to the hectic college days, yet I hope to blog more often in 2012.
Here’s a small yet interesting video about the year 2011. Have a look.
Happy New Year folks!

 

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Life as a Karachite

 

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Facebook: Cupcakes, creeps and cousins.

Facebook: Cupcakes, creeps and cousins.

Okay this one is pretty simple.

Facebook needs no introduction [right?], it’s the brain child of the Harvard drop-out Mark Zuckerburg who named it after a small book given to freshmen which introduces them to college mates. Cool idea. So what does Facebook offer an average Karachiite like me?

  • Unwanted messages [read: frandships and no this is not a typo]:

Observe a specimen; [my mom got this-Yes she is one facebook ^__^]                                                     Hi, how are you? You look pretty, really in your dp:):):) Can we be friends..I am a decent guy. This is my number 0333….

  • Information about every bored-creative-girl-making-cupcakes-for-money

Facebook has allowed everybody with the ability to put their skills to the use. This is actually something really productive and worthwhile as any business can be set up and promoted easily. I’ve come across things such as re-embellished kola puris, handmade clutches, copywriting business and some astonishing while some weird-looking cupcakes.

Yes i'd like my face on it. NOT.

  • Khandaani scoop

Not that I’m interested in who attended my aunts-relatives’-friends’ wedding or who is going to be the next bhabhi or what my uncle’s craving. A little too much to digest. But yes, having a massive family helps you build a massive ‘list of friends’. Good luck maintaining your privacy settings!

  • Stranger syndrome

This is the most relevant in my life at the moment.

I am a freshman in college, two weeks later I’m flooded with friend requests. Many were names I hear during the attendance roll call but can barely match them with faces. The worst part is that this is now the new approach to adjusting or socializing for that matter. Not blaming the guys, I know some weird girls too and so this applies to both genders: ‘Don’t add a complete stranger. This applies to all those you have never said hi to and never will. Thanks’.

  • LCF

Has your best friend uploaded a new dp*? Or are the wedding pictures up by the time you reached home? If no, your safe.If yes, welcome to the LCF : Like Comments Fight. You see facebook is presumed to depict your social standing and popularity, which is why the hippest party will have the most comments. or the best dp** [which of course will be taken by a DSLR*** camera] will have enough likes to amaze you. are you winning the LCF?

*Dp: Display picture or profile picture is the assumed best and most edited picture of any individual. you will come across ones with model-like poses, intense pack up and unusual ‘glow’.

** Dp yet again. Think fast.

**** DSLR: The expensive looking black camera which everyones carrying one with or with photgraphic skills.Yup thats it.

 

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Here comes Eid!

Its eid, here’s my take on the festival.

Every year there is one special month called Ramzan [read previous post for details]. Throughout the month all Muslims around the world (have to) fast which is one of the pillars our religion, Islam.

Abstaining from food and drink from dawn to dusk is our way to achieve God’s blessings. The real message behind fasting is to develop enough restraint in ourselves to stay away from things that harm us and others. Not to mention that everybody throughout the country sits with their families, eat at the very same time. This is what Pakistan needs right now.

On a personal note, I was at home throughout the holy month. No school, no college, no tests or exams. Sleeping, eating and praying were on my to-do list. Sadly sleeping dominated all three. And blogging took a back seat ^__^

It seems that the month always starts on a slow note yet ends quickly. However towards its end it brings a lot of shopping sprees and finally with eid comes ‘eidi’ aka money for which all kids are dying for. Mehndi, bangles, late night shopping, lots of mithais and sheer korma are the highlights of Eid-ul-fitr. So enjoy these three days with friends and family.

Here are five things to do this eid:

 1. Visit you relatives:

Yes you have to meet the aunties even though you can’t stand them.Go to those once in a year family affairs to remember the names and faces of those estranged family/ friends. Common, its eid.

2. Limit the Sleep:

You’ve caught up with enough sleep throughout Ramzan, so get your lazy self out of bed and make an effort to offer the eid namaz, catch up with relatives and don’t order food at home, go outside!

3. Give Eidi:

So give your younger siblings, nieces and nephews some eidi to share the love. Money is not the only way give out cupcakes,gifts or hobnob cookies [YUM].

4. Remember the unfortunate :

Whether it’s the flower girl on the street or your maid’s kids, share something personal with them.its their smile that will you inner happiness.

5.Make it count :

I’ve experienced this myself. Every eid is diiferent.with more and mor families moving out of pakistan you will not be sharing eid with the same faces everyday. So make sure to enjoy this eid to the fullest for you never know your job or your marital status may take you places.

So that’s it folks, Enjoy yourselves with food and fun!

Eid mubarak to you and your families!

Love,

GFK.


 
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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Life as a Karachite

 

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Ramazan and Karachi.

Ramzaan Mubarak to everyone!

With the conflicting moon sighting out of the way, let’s all welcome the holiest and perhaps the most unifying month for all Muslims, that time of the year again where all of us are in high spirits and feel closer to Islam.

These thirty days are not only special, they are meant to teach us and guide us. They’re challenging and clearly not just about ‘starving’ rather about abstinence and patience. Loving and remembering the Creator and feeling closer to Him.

Well then. I won’t sermonize any more for I don’t consider myself superior in any way with knowledge or spirituality and I also believe faith is a very personal thing.

So l literally loves Ramzan! And I think Karachi does too. Let me give you what goes around the city during the holy month.

Firstly, Yes, there IS the obvious reason of having two very special meals introduced to us Hungry Karachiites ,the Sehri and Iftari. Only during this time can you gobble down fried food almost everyday, get special requests happily accepted by mommy and enjoy Quality [eating together] time with family and friends.

So before the fast and the macho-style feast is the all night cricket matches that are neither bound by a decent place or age limit. Only after the ringtones go off, do the ‘players’ return home for the grandiose meal.

Sehri is never complete without the careful planning carried out by mothers and wives to make sure to wake up on time for the preparation to the last food gulping seconds which are justified on the grounds of the HEAVY menu, including Parhathas, omelets, Allo ki katliyan, lassi , yogurt, chai and basically everything that you can find from Burns Road to Boat Basin. And then with the fajr azaan soothing all minds and bringing the tummies to the rescue, the city sleeps. Well not really, the students don’t really have much time to sleep, neither do the working class. Just the ladies and the laziest.

So the days go by differently for everyone, and given the diversity in this city it’s not possible to cover everybody.

First and foremost are the seriously-religious people who offer all their prayers in the mosques, are regular in their tarawees, recite the Quran and are engaged in all the religious activities. Try not to cross their way.

Next are the newly-religious people, they are the ones who may slack throughout the year but will be on their Best behavior during this month, be it the ‘careful’ use of words to the break in the staring sessions at malls.

“the 9 to 5 guy”, basically the office guys who dread the snack-less afternoons at the office. I really feel for them since their condition can be understood when they are on their back home, Roaring away.

recently-relieved phal wala, [fruit sellers]. I have a soft corner for these guys, during Ramzan they easily sell everything at double price.Well, my mom isn’t happy about that.

Then there are those living on the edge ; the tailors aka the Darzis. These are the guys who get the traumatized by the ladies [read: Aunties] to get their clothes on time with the perfect sleeves,length,hemline..you get the point.

The Iftar Primetime. Everybody is happy. Somehow politics takes a back seat and the food shows are everywhere! How can they do this to all the Rozedars? Please lets not talk so much about pakoras. Please Zubeida Apa. Please.

The Aunties. They’re pre-Ramzan preparations are clearly visible at every Iftar party around town, with their Designer Lawns, high heels and covered heads [It’s ramzan-remember?]. They’re already fretting about their Eid dress and how it’s getting harder to manage their busy schedules. *Sigh*

No matter who we are, let’s make the most of this month.

So happy Fasting & Feasting!

P.s I’m confused- whats the right way to write:

Ramazan? Ramadhan? Ramzan?

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Life as a Karachite

 

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Summer of twenty eleven.

Always hope for the unattainable, something close to perfection. Vision the cloud with the shiniest silver lining there can ever be, always see your glass half full with the yummiest mango smoothie which gives you an instant burst of delight and is the cause of many festivals and dances in the plain of Punjab. Why not hope for a drop of rain everyday and be overjoyed when your meteorology department informs you of an upcoming gush. Sigh. I think I was born in the wrong city or the wrong country perhaps, maybe I was meant for a wetter place.

Nevertheless the point is that I am an optimist, maybe not by definition nor according to my mother. Maybe its just that I hope to get what I want, that’s an optimistic outlook right ?

So when I was going through the torturous months of Apr to first week of June studying, learning,running from one tuition to the other and basically stuffing my mind and my mouth out of stress, I always envisioned the perfect summers. Believing that my summers will begin with utmost satisfaction and relief on the day of my last exam and bloom with the late nights and later afternoons. Completing my delicate bubble of hope were the uncountable outings with friends and family.

But like on many occasions, an optimist is left wondering whether too much was asked for? My summers turned out to be same old, with a few differences. Observe.

  • None of my first cousins is getting married this summer which has deprived me of so many encounters and experiences. For instance the numerous nerve-wracking visits to the tailor, the quest to beat the newcomers with our awesome [ read: lacking creativity] dances. Sigh! So many enriching experiences missed.
  • Light or Dark? The ongoing hide and seek with electricity has been consistent in its nature. With the ‘planned power cuts’  visiting twice and thrice a day, the melodious growl of the generator has become a vital part of our lives.
  • University apps. Local universities play a huge role this summer. Start by applying, then hope to clear their specialized test, if your lucky come by for an interview. Then Wait. Meanwhile dread and fret about your future. Simple right ?
  • Food. The only thing that is great about summers is that you have enough time to relish your food without worrying about being late for class. Be it the seasonal mangoes [yes, I’ve mentioned them before], indulging in the pay less-eat more deals that are bound to make you fat or the favourite chocolate ice-cream with two toppings, chocolate chips and chocolate vermicelli. Yes, I had to say chocolate that many times.
So that’s basically it. I’ve also recovered from my writer’s block, hoping to connect more. Till the next post, enjoy your feasts!
 
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Posted by on July 7, 2011 in Life as a Karachite

 

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Because Its my Birthday.

Yes. Today is my birthday, my 19th.

Feels good to be the birthday girl, but its my last year as a teenager. The shield of being a carefree, taking-everything-for-granted period is at its end. What lies ahead are greater challenges yet greater opportunities.The past year has been amazing, i’ve learnt so much and grown so much. But why start the coming year and anything for that matter with pessimism and fear, although teenage years are most definitely the BEST years of one’s life. But it’s best to hope for a bigger and better future.

On that note, Happy Birthday To Me!

I'm 19. I can't believe it.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Life as a Karachite, Ramblings

 

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Harvard Model United Nations

An Unreal Experience.

It seemed impossible, every step of the way. I was selected as part of a ten member delegation which was to represent The Lyceum School and Pakistan at the Annual Harvard Model United Nations 2011. It seemed impossible then.

I had four days as my deadline to submit my passport and interestingly not only was my passport expired, I was without an NIC card too which had brought the entire process to a standstill. I still remember my numerous visits to the newly opened NADRA office which was apparently made for the business class who could get their Id cards in a week [with additional price of course] but for me, a week was too long. I went through the process which I’d always imagined to be a very interesting one with rather confusion, fret and stress. I could give you the details further, which are very amusing [my online data was transferred to Islamabad without my fingerprints and hence I went through the process again.YEAH. and did I mention Eid holidays were in two days? ] yet too many for this blog!

I held the invitation letter from Harvard University with my name on it and I just thought, ‘WOW’. Everybody would say the same thing to me, this is too big an opportunity to miss so don’t let the problems get in your way. But it was my mother who said to me that if God wants to me to go there I will get there, no matter what.

And soon after, things started falling in place. I now had my passport ready and although I was separated from my team during the visa application, I got the date before them. It was the 13th of December and a three-hour delay, I was called for my interview which went smoothly. I had been issued a five-year multiple visa.

Now all that was left was getting the money to get there. Half of the team needed sponsorships and in this day and age when businesses are barely covering their costs, asking them to sponsor students who promote the soft imagine of Pakistan on such a platform all seemed very noble but not profitable. And so fellows, this is one major roadblock. But like I said, everything was meant to be and so happened. After a number of unsuccessful meetings, no call backs, rich people being out-of-town, we finally collected enough amount to fly, travel, eat and drink in Boston.

Our flight was in transitions, from Bahrain to London and then Boston. Travelling for almost thirty-two hours was excruciating at times, tiring yet extremely fun and memorable.

However I knew nothing would go as expected and that every step of the way new surprises would be waiting. This soon became true when after a smooth flight from Bahrain to London, when we were informed that our flight was cancelled due to excessive snow. Luckily we were transferred to British Airways with just one hour’s delay but unluckily leaving us without our excessively packed luggage. This was just one day before the conference. So naturally we were freaking out.

The day of the conference arrived and still no luggage. Some were now off to shop to the most luxurious Nubury Street while the rest of us were suffocating with stress, preparing last-minute speeches and trying to calm our nerves.

So about the conference and what is model united nations ?

Model United Nations is simply a simulation of the actual United Nations which is an international body that brings together over 180 countries, giving each country a platform to express their view and their concerns over global issues. The United Nations has numerous ‘organs’ which classifies these issues into political, social  and humanitarian. The most highlighted being the Disarmament and International Security Council [DISEC], International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] and the Security Council among many others.

On similar grounds the Model United Nations has students taking on the roles of ‘delegates’ who are assigned countries and committees. Based on the country that one receives, we have to understand the dynamics o that country, understand its foreign policy objectives and then form our basis on the issue at hand. The next task is align with your allies and be diplomatic enough to convince everyone with your views and then pass a resolution, which is a formal document which states the problem and the solutions.

Harvard Model United Nations is organized by Harvard University, one of the most prestigious institutions  of the world. It gathers students from all around the world, with  3000 students from 37 countries taking part this year.  The conference was held at the Sheraton Hotel, Boston and was spread over four days, entailed around thirty hours of heated debates and discussions.

The Lyceum School was assigned ‘Kazakhstan’ and I was part of a special ‘Summit on Globalization’ in which the topics of Local Entrepreneurship and Flow of Capital, Information and resources were discussed. What an amazing experience it was, competing and working together with students my age, from all around the world.

MUNing requires thinking on your feet, being alert and attentive, negotiating , coming up with new ideas, bloc-ing, writing working papers and resolutions and coping with politics that may turn nasty any time. And with consistent hard work, perseverance, patience and dedication we managed to not just survive the conference but attain accolades too. With four out of eight team members winning awards, we had done it. We had represented Pakistan and our School on such a huge platform , reaching this far despite the many hurdles, yet never giving up.

After the conference we then went around the city of Boston, the highlight of the tour was of course, Harvard University which mesmerized us with its glory and beauty which was enhanced manifolds by the snowfall. A visit was also paid to the Harvard Book Store aka The Coop which with its magnificence and ambience, left me in awe.

The Coop

One of the many things that I was extremely excited about was yes, the Snow. For I’ve always been insanely inspired by it and had never gotten the chance to see it. And so when I reached Boston, densely covered in snow, everything seemed so soothing and mesmerizing, one of the many things on my wish list was complete.

And thus a team which started off with members without an NIC card, two passports, an expired visa and no sponsorship money was able to land in Boston even though all odds were against them. Achieving all this would have never been possible, had the team not stuck together as a family in good, bad and the worse.

There are a lot of people’s prayers and efforts that made it possible for me and the team to make it this far.Nothing would have been possible without the support of our parents, our school, our friends and family. So Thankyou everyone!

The Team

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in Life as a Karachite

 

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