Chauburji

  • TIt was a routine September morning for Pakistanis. In Lahore, people went about their business with no inkling of events taking place at the border with India. There was however some speculation in the public as residents living along roads leading towards Wagah and Burki, reported hearing, what ...

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  • TWhile driving to work, I stopped at the red light on Jinnah Avenue watching a pair of beggars moving from vehicle to vehicle towards my direction. One of them appeared to have an amputated arm, while the other was using a single crutch to hobble along. As they drew closer, I was reminded of a ...

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  • TAccording to Will Rogers, “There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works”. Forty five years of married life has convinced me that the genius, who coined the phrase needs to be awarded a specially constituted Nobel Prize for ‘Marital Wisdom’. It is also my ...

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  • TMy paternal grandmother, who passed away suddenly at the ripe old age of ninety six in 1964 was a repository of historical events that shaped the Subcontinent in the pre Independence era. Born in 1868, she told us the story of how her husband’s wedding procession had to travel from Delhi to ...

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  • TI have just returned from a happily satisfying activity i.e. monsoon tree plantation. I am satisfied, since my children and grandchildren, in fact my entire family added, twelve more trees to the millions being planted all over the country. My happiness stems from what I witnessed at the planting ...

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  • TWe called him Chacha Amin and that was it since we were of an age, wherein ethnicity, background or origin were of no consequence and life was just fun and frolic far away from schoolbooks and discipline. He would wait for us every afternoon with his string of ponies, near the bus depot (known as ...

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  • TI am deviating from the customary thread of Sunday’s column, because it will be a futile exercise to detach myself from on-going events. Millions living in the ‘Land of the Pure’ as well as Pakistanis living abroad, have been engulfed in a wave of euphoria mixed with the resolve ...

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  • TI once saw a movie that featured a scarecrow and his bunch of friends, who sing and dance through a magical land called Oz. I was recently reminded of the story, while driving through a rural stretch of the road between Okara and Lahore. My journeys through such areas invariably awaken the rustic ...

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  • TThere are some people in my family who, if they had the choice, would eat everything branded, out of a sealed can or bag bought from their favourite grocery outlet. In my reckoning, these kin of mine are suffering from an unhealthy mind-set and missing a culinary adventure with real flavours; ...

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  • TLast Thursday, dark clouds began piling up on the horizon and a cool (almost chilly) wind shooed away clinging heat untypical of the Federal Capital. This was the type of weather that triggers the footloose gene in my family. Being no exception, I donned my tracksuit and joggers to head for the ...

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  • TIt sits on Minerva’s forearm, a symbol of the Roman Goddess of Wisdom and Strategic Warfare (represented as Athena in Greek Mythology), yet in our reckoning, it is a bird representing ruin, desolation and in some instances buffoonery. This mindset has perhaps been created by the ...

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  • THe was a permanent fixture next to the Lawrence Garden near the Open Air Theatre entrance on Lawrence Road. In true Lahori tradition we had adopted him as our permanent source of ‘gol gappay’. It was perhaps the quality of the spicy, sour liquid or ‘pani’ (an accessory ...

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  • TAs summer approaches in the Subcontinent, eagerness mounts amongst people in anticipation of a royal arrival, a King amongst fruits - the Mango. Belonging to the cashew family Anacardiaceae (surprised?), Mangoes are native to South Asia, from where, the generically common variety Mangifera Indica ...

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  • TI have been rather blessed with the fact that a very large part of my professional career was spent in areas away from big population centers. I thoroughly enjoyed these tenures as they totally resonated with my love for a simple, rustic and ‘close to nature’ way of life. My family and ...

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  • TIt was the summer of 1973 and the plains were sweltering under the burning rays of the sun. For the residents of the city, barring the affluent ones with air conditioning, the only source of keeping cool was perhaps a dip in the river, but even this historic stream appeared to have capitulated ...

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  • TLying in bed staring up at the night sky, I have fond memories of my mother pointing out, what appeared to be just some stars. I can clearly recall her soft voice as telling me how these celestial bodies tinged with a little imagination could become shapes of creatures and heroes. Her index finger ...

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  • TI have an old friend, who loses his marbles at the approach of a thunder storm. As dark threatening clouds appear over the horizon, he drops everything he is engaged in and rushes out to his verandah, where he sits gazing rapturously as the distant lightning draws closer and closer, until the sky ...

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  • TRummaging through the disorder in my study, I stumbled upon an old audio cassette covered with dust. With machines, which could play back this form of recording almost extinct in most households (mine being no exception), I was able to locate one device with the ‘mali’ next door. ...

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  • TAs one drives from Havelian to Abbottabad and reaches the point where the road begins winding up the mountain to this wonderful destination, one is apt to overlook a shrine like structure on the left, because of new construction around it. This is ‘Khotay di Kabar’ or the ‘Grave ...

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  • TI remember the oft quoted story about how a skeptic was confronted by a man on a lonely road and asked if he believed in ghosts, “no, I don’t” said the skeptic. “That’s fine with me”, said the stranger and disappeared into thin air. As far as I am concerned, ...

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  • TI am writing this week’s piece, while watching a cricket match in Islamabad. Cricket is one game that generates indescribable passion amongst the people of the Subcontinent and one finds venues packed with spectators for whom winning or losing becomes almost a matter of ‘life and ...

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  • TVisitors to my humble abode are often fascinated by my library, a room that my better half calls ‘Kabaar Khana’ because of the disorder that reigns therein. This fascination stems because of my passion for collecting everything (yes everything) written by my favorite authors. My special ...

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  • TI am sitting in my favorite room, surrounded by books and the wonderful aroma of printed paper and tobacco smoke. The window of my study overlooks a pine covered valley with a fair sized village nestling in its lap. It is almost sundown and lazy columns of smoke are already rising in the still air ...

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  • TIn my footloose ramblings around the Federal Capital and beyond, I have stumbled across some interesting and ‘hair raising’ tales of ‘things that go bump in the night’. Nestling amongst the Murree foothills is a beautiful piece of God’s earth with a wonderful view of ...

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  • TAnother spring is upon us with all its glorious manifestations. In my reckoning, it is the human brain that first detects subtle changes in the air, heralding the departure of winter and releasing hormones that trigger a ‘good’ feeling. As the sap begins to flow in members of the flora ...

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  • TSome years ago I visited a spot near Lahore in response to an invitation from an old colleague, who had decided to spend retirement in the rustic surroundings of his native village. In accordance with arrangements I parked the car near an ancient water tank overshadowed by what must have been a ...

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  • TMy family has a long history of moving to the hills during the summer season. We don’t indulge in this luxury now since the reason for doing so is no more amongst us. This annual migration was due, not to any display of affluence, but necessity - as my late mother suffered from acute asthma ...

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  • TWatching an expanding healthy population of tiny sun birds in my garden always reminds me of the childhood tale of ‘Podna and Podni’. Now ‘The Podnas’ are members of the feathered family, who remain tiny even when fully grown. Members of my generation were raised on stories ...

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  • TIt is often said that ‘he who hasn’t seen Lahore, has not been born’. I have the privilege of being a thoroughbred son of what was once the ‘City of Gardens’. With the maternal side of my family hailing from inside the old walled quarter, I was born, educated and ...

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  • THave you ever heard your name being called in moments of peaceful solitude, only to discover that there was no one around or did you see a flash of movement in your peripheral vision, discovering upon investigation that there was no one there? Many years ago, the ‘chowkidar’ detailed to ...

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