Chauburji

  • TAnother winter is upon us and that too rather early. The weather and along with it, the seasons appear to have gone crazy. The Pundits of Doom say that the theory about the Mayan Calendar appears to be manifesting itself (if you do not know the Mayan Calendar thing, I shall write about it, one of ...

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  • TOur home on Lahore’s Queens Road was located on a strip of asphalt that offered many adventures to our band of ‘little rogues’. The three of us, the other two being Awais (who passed away before he could see the world as an adult) and Yusuf (whose elder brother was my senior in ...

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  • TThe history of Punjab’s capital city of Lahore, is replete with lore and legends, many of which have an aura of mystery surrounding them. If archeologists were to excavate the area that lies outside the walled city in any direction, they will find layer upon layer of architectural remains ...

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  • TWhen I started writing my Sunday piece more than a decade ago, I named the thread ‘Lahore – The Golden Years’. As time went by and my storehouse of tales from the city of my birth began to dwindle, I decided to expand the scope of my writing under the umbrella ‘Lahore and ...

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  • TMy friends tell me that if I had not taken up three careers, one of which was media, I would have spent a better part of my life as a vet or an animal right’s activist. I tend to agree with this notion since my love for four legged creatures and birds is something that is perhaps a part of my ...

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  • TI once wrote a piece on ‘clouds’ and thought that I would not write another story featuring this particular phenomenon in the sky. Little did I know that my fascination with, what appears to be a very common weather manifestation, would reach a point, where another ‘cloudy ...

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  • TStories of haunted houses is something that is commonplace, but there are paranormal events on record, which indicate that such activity is not restricted to brick and mortar structures, but can manifest itself in other objects too – objects such as trees. There is a three hundred year old ...

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  • 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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