The Desi Trollers

We as a nation have a lot of problems. Lack of education, poverty, inferiority complex (thank you colonialism), lack of understanding of religion and intolerance.

Now imagine, if people with these characteristics get their hands on a device and internet.

They become KEYBOARD JIHADIS.

Behind the safety of their screens , they think they are propagators and best ambassadors of their faith. Bullying , shaming and giving visuals of fire that await all the infidels consumes them and becomes their full day job.

So confident are these keyboard jihadist, that they can even tell by looking at your display picture whether some of us are headed for hell or not . I guess there is some scientific formula that involves variants like length of the shirt combined with subservience which can calculate where we stand with God.

Add Hijaab and Gol roti and Voila ! you have a direct entry to paradise. Please note that this formula only applies to women.

You must be wondering why I am linking religion to online trolling . All countries have them . No . Ours are a very special kind. Condescending and dipped with their so called understanding of religion . They shame you and appear righteous at the same. It requires a special skill. Not all of them have it. A normal troller will say ” U suck” , our desi troller would say you “You were raised badly , hell awaits you and no wonder you suck !

A week ago , there was a fatal crash of PK-8303. In this flight was a model named Zara Abid who passed away. And it was heart wrenching to see that some of them, didn’t even spare her. Her Insta page was flooded with hell filled sermons just because her lifestyle was not something they could digest.

One of the thing that worries me most is the intolerance in our country and how unacceptable it is to have a different view.

And this sometimes makes me a stranger to my own country.

PIA Crash – PK 8303

Sorry been MIA throughout Ramadan. Was zombie during the day and an owl by night. The past week has been extremely tragic with the PIA flight crashing in Karachi . The flight was hardly a minute away from the runway .

There are 2 survivors and remaining 97 passengers have all died. Just imagine , they were all travelling to reunite with their loved ones during COVID. It was a stressful flight as it is . But the thought of spending Eid with family together was worth the pain. While embarking on this flight, COVID must be one of their biggest worry. Must have taken all kind of precautions, prayed for everything to go well and the least expected thing happened.

Dying in a crash is a very painful death . We cannot even comprehend what they must have gone through in those last few minutes. Charred and unidentified bodies, missing remains, the families of the victims are tormented forever.

It turns out there were few people on this unfortunate flight who were friends with our friends. One of them is one of the survivors. He was seated towards the front exit, which saved his life. He says when the flight crashed, he blacked out. He landed on top of a car on his flight seat with his seat belt fastened. He was rushed to the hospital and was able to call home within an hour of the crash to tell his dad he had survived. He is home now and recovering from fractures.

There was another family who was returning with three kids. I have been told that at one time they were considering a road trip from Lahore to Karachi but then decided otherwise. The entire family passed away in the crash.

There is this video on Facebook which is going viral . A father lost his wife and 3 kids on this flight and he is begging the authorities to expedite DNA testing to identify bodies of his two children so they can rest with their mother. My heart just broke.

The father has just received a call from the authorities that they have identified the bodies of his two children. The father was so happy and jubilant and thanking everybody who supported him. This was literally heart shattering . I pray so hard to give this dad strength and to ease his pain. How can anyone sustain and survive so much pain?

My heart is getting heavy writing this. Why is life so difficult for some ? How can one even find a will to live after experiencing this kind of shock . One thing this pandemic has taught us how helpless we all are and how transient this life is. It is my faith which gives me hope and strength , otherwise I might have fallen into despair a long time back.

If you are reading this , please say a little prayer for the victims of the crash and their families. May they rest in peace.

Ramadan and the Nostalgia it brings…

The holy month of Ramadan is here. I pray this month is just not about fasting but also learning to be a better Muslim. I have so much to learn and yet get distracted by things that do not even matter!!

I worry that I am not setting the right example for my child. Sure, she sees me fasting and praying , but is it enough ? As a parent, it is such a big responsibility to pass on the right values and I feel kids learn most by observing . Seeing is believing.

I have grown up in a liberal enviroment yet with strong religious values. Ramadan was celebrated in a big way. Not big in terms of number of dishes on the table but spiritually. For instance, there was always someone dedicated to whom my mom sent an Iftar tray to . During the last 10 days of Ramadan , I would see both my parents silently praying and reading Quran in different corners of the house all night until Fajar and the regular things like charity and so on.

Now looking back , what I miss the most is when we all gathered near the TV at the time of Iftar dua and break fast together. My brother bringing samosas or something equally mouth watering on the way back from his office. The comfort of food, the banter and love for each other. What I wouldn’t give to have those times back. To have my parents healthier and younger.

This is the biggest ordeal of growing up. To see our loved ones age . No matter where you are and how comfortable you maybe, but seeing your loved ones getting older or sick and leaving for eternal abode takes a piece of you. I yearn to be a child again when I didn’t have to face this reality. Losing my dad , my mamoo( Uncle) and Khala (Aunt) in a year’s time , I feel a deep sense of loss each time I think about them, especially when I fly back home. I know it will never be the same again. But life goes on and you learn to cope with grief.

Now that I am a grown up, have my own family, it is my responsibility to make Ramadan as memorable as my parents did for me . Pass on the same values. And it is not easy. I pray that I have the strength and determination to make most of this blessed month and I carry it’s essence for the rest of the year . Ramadan Mubarak to all of you !

Home away from home #CoronaDiaries

Karachi is going under lockdown. This is a much needed step and I wish it was taken atleast a week back. Our people despite the media outrage and government pleas are not understanding the gravity of the situation.

While I am stuck in another continent, experiencing the initial panic of Corona , I am worried about my family back home . My mom, in-laws , uncles and aunts who are in a very vulnerable age bracket. My heads screams at the stupidity of our nation who have been brazenly socializing in spite all the warnings, and then feeling helpless about the state of healthcare of our nation . How are we going to overcome it ? May Allah has mercy on us . That’s all I can say right now.

The worrying thing being stuck in Nigeria is what If I get it ? The health care here too is very fragile and being in an unknown land, the thought of getting treated here seems like being sent off to jail.

I am trying to trick my mind and think positive but I just needed to express how I am feeling right now. I guess I should watch some Friends and life will be good again . It always does.

Small World – Nigerian Expats give back

To be born in a rich family is a privilege. Similarly, being born in a rich country is no different. However, one thing is constant regardless what your circumstances may be, the love for your mother and your motherland.

When people go to the foreign countries for better opportunities, it is easy to judge and believe you forgot your home country or love it any less. Trust me, no matter where you are , the love doesn’t go away. You get happy when your country prospers, sad when a tragedy strikes, frustrated when you see hopelessness and ecstatic when you win in any international sport. One experiences these extreme emotions only when there is a deep connection.

Small world is an annual charity event hosted by expats in Lagos. There are over 30 countries participating. The proceeds of this event go to charity. I had an opportunity to experience this event and was amazed by the patriotism of all the people there. Small World gives opportunity to expats to represent their countries , their culture and most importantly showcase their cuisine. There are live performances , music, overall a lively carnival which stretches all evening till around midnight.

Sampling food of countless countries and drinks is a sweet deal especially when it is for a good cause. So once you have bought the ticket to this event, everything inside is free which includes your food , drinks and entertainment. I can proudly say I tasted brownies of at least 3 countries 🙂 and they all tasted great . My personal favourite was an Israeli Chocolate dough like ball.

What really amazed me, is how my friends representing Pakistan worked tirelessly to put our best foot forward. They spent money , time, sweat and utter dedication to represent Pakistan in the best possible light. They prepared food for 100’s of people, decorations that they started preparing weeks in advance and organized everything from A-Z. Their generosity and hard work is commendable to say the least. And this goes for all the other nationalities as well. They were all proud ambassadors of their countries.

Small world (Established since 1996) is a great initiative to bring people together . It reminds us that we are all global citizens and how wonderful diversity can be. So if you are in town around this time next year, do come and show your support. You will not be disappointed.

Don’t Judge a Samosa by its Cover

Cravings and expat life goes hand in hand. We all have grown up with a certain style of food and flavors that we like and associate our memories with . Wherever we go , we try to find places that hits closest to home. So please don’t hate me if my taste buds don’t agree to your version of it.

We visited a desi restaurant this weekend and was quite happy to see samosa on the menu. Indian samosas have peas in it which I don’t like but being greedy, I had even made peace with that. After all beggars cannot be choosers!

So the samosa finally comes. It is hot and crispy from the outside and accompanied with a coriander chutney. Sigh, It is so instragram worthy!! So I am officially salivating inspite of the green peas which I am expecting inside.

So the big moment comes, I dip my crunchy samosa in the green chutney and take a bite. I taste potato and something else …. It is sweet… it is mushy…it is a RAISIN! I dropped the samosa like a hot potato. (Pun intended). Taking another bite was unimaginable. Almost like a betrayal to all the samosas I have ever eaten.

What I experienced then, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. So next time you are causally snacking on a samosa or just grabbing it from a random bakery , please don’t take them for granted. It is a blessing denied to many.

Meray Pass Tum Ho… The drama that broke the internet

This Pakistani drama broke the internet. Broke all records. The app of the channel crashed. The last 2 episodes were combined and showed in cinema. So if you have not seen this drama, let me share its key learnings;

1)Forgive men if they cheat to keep an upper hand. After all, boys will be boys. Their transgression is acceptable and forgivable.

2) However , if a woman cheats , it is a crime against mankind and entire motherhood. Quite similar to calling all Muslims terrorists but a white man with mental illness.

I enjoyed this drama until the dialogues became too theatrical and over the top and I couldn’t take any more hypocrisy. At the end of the day , it is just a drama, not to be taken seriously but unfortunately our society still operates by this sick logic . I just wonder when we will get free of this patriarchal mindset where women have to forgive adultery, expected to give up careers and if married, be treated like a house help/nurse instead of a partner .

We as a nation still has so many obstacles to overcome, and unfortunately, I don’t think education alone will solve this one.

Evolution of Education

Over the weekend I received an email from my daughter’s school. The starting of the email was so somber, words like ‘I regret to inform you…….’ that I embraced myself for the worst . Perhaps something happened to the teacher ?

It turned out that her teacher had to suddenly resign due to personal reasons. Over the next two days , there was discussion about smooth transition , finding a replacement which is best fit and most importantly emotional health of the children. And I found this so overwhelming. I am coming from a school which was very strict and rigid. We as students were mass produced like in factories. The constant strive for academic perfection. No one cared how we felt. It was all about the grades. I vividly remember in Year 10, a girl who got an A grade in her Board exam was treated like a pariah as the rest had passed with distinction. So even though she had gotten an A , it was just not good enough.

Education has evolved so much since our time. The focus now is on a well rounded personality instead only focusing on the academic aspect. There are many things which I feel were better in our times like simplicity and less materialism but the approach to education nowadays is hands down better and balanced.

Coming from Pakistan, things still get really competitive there. Imagine registering your child immediately after your delivery out of fear that he/she would not make it to the right school. And I am NOT exaggerating. Pakistani moms can only relate to this. I think we as parents should take a step back and ease off the pressure on our children. Learning to write your name at 2 and speaking a second language at age 3 is certainly not a benchmark for measuring intelligence.

We are becoming a country which is not going beyond the safety net of a Doctor , Engineer or MBA( that too as a compromise). We need entrepreneurs , artists, innovators and athletes . They are as important as any other field and our country direly needs them. Let the creativity flow and let your child explore and thrive besides academics as well. It is only when we shed our inhibitions or travel on a road less travelled, the most amazing things happen.

Harry & Meghan Moving to Pakistan

Not too long ago, news emerged of Harry and Meghan moving to Pakistan . Now we finally have more details coming forward. The family will be residing in Karachi. They have shortlisted posh Creek Vista as one of the options because of proximity to good schools and general feel of the place. Harry likes golf and Golf Club is 2 mins away. They don’t want the headache of electricity or gas load shedding , so Creek Vista seems like the perfect fit .

Though Archie is late for preschool registration but Preschool Plus has been very accommodating and have also assured the parents that Archie has a very good chance to get into Karachi Grammer school.

Harry has expressed interest to be part of Naya Pakistan and a position for Tourism Minister could be a possibility. With Pakistan being branded as top country to visit , this seems like a compelling strategy . Whereas, Meghan will be looking after Shaukat Khanam Karachi chapter.

The couple plans to spend summers in London or Canada because Karachi summers are horrible to to say the least and Meghan has no patience to get into the designer lawn frenzy which envelopes the country every summer.

Pakistan is very happy to host the royals . All the aunties have been hushed not to recommend whitening totkas/remedies to Meghan.

https://www.parhlo.com/queen-elizabeth-reveals-royal-couple-pakistan/

PS: If you haven’t had your coffee/Tea yet , this post is purely Satire .

A Letter To Dua Mangi

On 30th Nov., Dua Mangi was kidnapped while walking on a street in Karachi, Pakistan. She was in an apparently safer, affluent areas and walking by a tea café which she and her friends frequently visited. Out of nowhere, a car came and 4 men tried to shove her in the vehicle. Her friend Haris tried who tried to protect her was shot in the neck and is in a critical condition.  As per police, this is a case of personal enmity and revenge. I am not going to elaborate more on who may be behind it but I am great deeply disturbed by how people reacted to this horrendous crime.

So while there was a national outrage and nationwide protest, there were some internet trolls who did not miss an opportunity to victim shame.  Some of the comments were directed towards her attire. She was wearing jeans, she ASKED for it, Stepping out in the evening with a BOY!!!  She had it coming!  Character assassination and what not!

The same people who would sell their kidneys to live in the westernized society could not stop their vile comments about how a girl could actually walk on a road late evening with a boy wearing a western outfit. How dare a girl enjoy this independence aka moral corruption?

We live in society that has two extremes.  It’s the Islamic way or the highway. There is no in between. and If a person who tends to choose a different approach is condemned and justified to be attacked.

After almost a week, Dua has returned home today. And I hope people are kind and sympathetic to her. She has suffered enough already. Only God knows what she has been through and please don’t ask her about it if you even have an iota of humanity in you. Do not make her relive the trauma unless she is ready to share.

I hope Haris recovers soon and it gives your conscious some peace. Dear Dua, please leave this country soon. Our people are so caught up with internalized misogyny, they will not stop blaming you for what happened.

I wish we lived in a society which was less judgmental and hypocritical. By victim shaming, we are only justifying the acts of the criminal and giving them a free pass. I hope I get to see the day when our society learns to accept each other’s differences without pointing fingers at them. Be the difference be faith or a choice of attire. If ONLY we can live and let live.

 

https://www.dawn.com/news/1520963

https://www.geo.tv/latest/259772-dua-mangi-case-kidnappers-suspected-to-have-used-car-snatched-last-week