Chauburji

  • 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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  • TThe term ‘Pecking Order’ is defined as ‘a hierarchy of status seen among members of a group of people or animals’. The term originated from an ‘order of precedence’ established amongst hens and roosters, during feeding time. I am witness to this precedence every ...

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  • TMany years ago, a very popular television series showcased fictional stories about unexplained and frightening experiences that befell individuals. While the series was the product of a superbly imaginative brain, it appeared to have drawn inspiration from actual events that randomly occur around ...

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  • TRetiring from professional life and crossing the threshold into the category known as ‘Senior Citizen’ is like sailing into uncharted waters. After decades of following a nine to five routine (which may extend in many cases to a nine to nine one), the ‘senior citizen’ finds ...

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  • TLike many things in our life time, pushed into oblivion by modernization and western influence, language too has borne its share of forgotten words and idioms that have almost become extinct. It was last year that my grandnephew, who studies in a totally anglicized school, where the day begins with ...

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  • TI met him on the sets of a film starring Darpan and Shamim Ara in Shahnoor Studios somewhere in the late nineteen fifties. I then witnessed the Lehri magic as, with a totally deadpan expression, he said something that sent the whole film crew into convulsive laughter. For the next thirty minutes I ...

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  • TMy heart began pumping adrenaline in huge amounts as four identically clad horsemen charged headlong across a grass covered field measuring 300 by 160 yards, swinging long mallet like ‘sticks’ in a bid to maneuver a hard wooden ball into the goal, while an equal number of equally adept ...

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  • TWhen I retired from a successful career more than two decades ago to enter into another one, I realized rather belatedly that there were two critical duties as a parent and head of the family that I had not been able to accomplish. I also acknowledged with dismay that my principles, which had ...

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  • TLast week, rummaging through my rather disorganized study, I came across a lined foolscap sheet with half faded writing. As I recognized the document, I was transported back in time to a remote Dak Bungalow in Central Punjab, where the leading light from a nearby village, under the erroneous ...

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