Life, Inductions and Nixor – An interview with Zarak Asim

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“If there was one person that I believe would take a bullet for Nixor, it would be Zarak Asim”.

These are the words that Sir Nadeem used to describe the individual I am about to interview today. Having spent almost 3 years at Nixor and seen its transformation, Zarak has indeed made his mark on this institution, all the while changing his life. So, with the Government inductions this weekend, I sat down with Zarak to talk about the inductions, Nixor, and his life.

NM: You have spent almost 4 years at this institution; tell us about the transformation you’ve seen at Nixor since you came here.

ZA: Since its inception in 2008, Nixor has without a doubt redefined the concept of A’level education in Pakistan. The question that perhaps comes to mind is what really constituted this phenomenal transformation? The answer to this lies in understanding the vision of this institute which helps to achieve its mission. That is, to produce leaders in the shape of good human beings. In very simple words, it is due to the constant pursuit to achieve this dream.

Apart from all this, what truly defines Nixor and this transformation is US, the people. What Nixor is today is because of the tireless efforts of every single person that has been associated with it. Nixor is basically a movement. A movement started by a few visionaries back in 2008 whose message, teaching and legacy has been passed down from one batch to another which will further continue and will, InshaAllah, very soon reflect in the wider community.

NM: How do you feel you’ve changed as a person since your first year at Nixor?

ZA: Life is a summation of valuable experiences. So throughout one’s life an individual seeks out opportunities to build up on his ‘experience’ which ultimately leads to personal growth. Nixor is perhaps the most amazing and the most valuable experience of my entire life. At Nixor, countless opportunities presented themselves and I tried my level best to learn from every single one. These valuable experiences that led to this internal transformation were not just in form of extracurricular activities or community service opportunities but also in form of friendship and social interactions. I can very easily say that these three years have completely changed me as an individual and have greatly helped me in moving closer to becoming the person I envision myself to be.

People sometimes wonder why, if we are allocated the same amount of time and opportunities to achieve similar goals, why do the results differ for different people. The key here is to be solely focused on being the best that you can be. If you try beating everyone else then you’ll never really be able to realize your true potential because you will always be in the need to prove yourself to be better than everyone else. But the day you forget about what others do or think about you and only focus on yourself, your own abilities and potential, then that will be the day when things will change; the battle will not be with anyone but you. And once you start trying to be the best you can be, that is when things will turn around for you because this is the only way that you will be able to achieve true personal growth.

NM: With the Government inductions soon, I bet a lot of people think of it as a rat race or a battle of the fittest or simply, a competition. What are your views on that?

ZA: No matter how much one may not want for such perspectives to rise, some people do end up seeing Government inductions as a competition. History is a testament to the fact that those who end up making the concept a “survival of the fittest” or a rat race end up getting the short end of the stick. The reason this problem arises in the first place is due to completely misunderstanding the concept of Nixor Student Government (NSG). To be as brief and concise as possible, the NSG is nothing more than a public service. A few misconceptions revolve around thinking of the NSG as a means to popularity or a means to increasing ones influence. The position will only give you perhaps a few seconds of fame but after that you are on your own. Every second of everyday people will scrutinize your every move. It’s like constantly living under the microscope. You will be expected to put the needs of 1400 people before yours and every act and every decision of yours will revolve around making the lives of the Nixor community much better.

So for all those out there, who see the NSG as a means to gain something beyond personal growth and the satisfaction of helping others- I hate to break it to you but you are looking in the wrong place.

NM: what do you think are the characteristics required in a government member according to you?

ZA: The answer to this question may vary from person to person as each one of us may have our own perception of the ‘ideal’ Government member.

NM: Okay so this question is a long shot and I may not get an answer but I’ll still ask- what are your predictions for the first inductions?

ZA: Well, there are a few things which I believe should remain a surprise. So you’ll get your answer this Saturday but I can tell you this that countless hours have gone into this and I am very confident that the result will be for the best.

NM: Okay so I saved the best question for last. Zarak Asim’s life at Nixor. Please tell us about your 4 years here and your whole journey.

ZA: As I said before, my journey here at Nixor has been nothing short of a miracle. It all started back in 2011 when I came here as a student of the batch of 2013. The transition from being an O’ level student to a Shark took very little time thanks to the amazing seniors and administrators here. I began working for Adopt An Orphanage and Nixor Logistics and continued with these entities throughout the year; however, I volunteered for other entities and at any other events that came my way. Things went pretty well for me except in terms of my studies- I couldn’t prioritize properly and unfortunately ended up with extremely poor grades. This was perhaps one of the biggest setbacks that I have ever encountered and due to my poor academic performance I missed out on many valuable opportunities.

But due to the amazing support and guidance that I got from my parents and Sir Nadeem I regained my confidence in myself and took the difficult decision to repeat my AS year all over again and Allhamdulilah, it proved to be one of the best decisions of my life. Once my academics were on track, everything else seemed to fall in place. From there onwards by the grace of Allah, everything that I set out to achieve, I managed to. To be very honest it wasn’t due to any miracle or the fact that I am super talented because quite frankly, I am as average as they can get. All this happened because I never gave up. I always believed in myself and in my Lord and I knew that as long as my intentions were pure and I gave it my best then good things would happen. You don’t have to make a title or a post your aim because if you do then the reason why you work and what you work for loses its true purpose and then it all becomes void and all your efforts are in vain. So I won’t sit here today and recall all the posts, achievements and recognition I received because it never really has been about them. Everything that I did was in order to positively impact the lives of the people around me and for the purpose of personal growth and the fact that you and your team have given me the respect and honor, which I might not deserve, to take part in this interview is a realization enough that at least I was on the right track.
The journey doesn’t end here though- it’s just the beginning. Not just for me, but for all my class mates, my friends and our juniors. Now the real challenge begins. Now we will see whether everything that we learnt over the course of these few years has really molded us into the responsible citizens that we were set out to be- whether we have truly become the leaders who will steer this nation to becoming what it was envisioned to be.

NM: Describe your experience at Nixor, in just one word.

ZA: That is hard. But if I had to choose one word, it would be unbelievable.

NM: Do you have any last comments for our readers?

ZA: First of all I want to thank you and your team for giving me this honor and respect.
To my batch mates, I just want to say that it has been on hell of a ride and I sincerely hope that all of us take away something positive from these years here at Nixor and are able to positively impact the lives that we touch.
To the Class of 2015: I hope that WE, your seniors were able to teach you a few good things and were able to convey the message and teachings of those before us and were able to make you understand what Nixor means and what it stands for. I hope that all of you will do an even better job than us and be able to pass on this legacy to your predecessors. Always remember that life does not start and end with YOU. Think beyond yourself, because honestly the true joy in life is to be able to live for others.

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House of Dreams Water Carnival 2014

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When the words “water carnival” appear on your screen while scrolling down on one of the many social media sites, and then finding out that it’s happening in your city, you’re bound to get a little excited. After all, such things don’t come along as frequently as we’d like now do they?

However the thought comes to mind that spending time and money on personal entertainment seems a bit frivolous, selfish even. But will this be the case for Nixor’s House of Dreams Carnival? Absolutely not, because this time, you’re not spending for just yourself, you’re spending for those who need it.

Nixor College presents the House of Dreams Water Carnival 2014, where it caters to young students from all over Karachi to unwind and enjoy themselves in the best way possible- doing something that will make you feel good inside and out.

A bit skeptic? Quizzical even? I mean, how is that even possible?

The HoD Carnival is not there to showcase the efforts of Nixor Corporate’s entities or display Nixor Student Government’s skill in managing events, but it’s about giving you the chance to reach out and do something for someone‘s benefit for a change. And if this is accomplished by giving you the time of your life, what more could be asked? The funds generated from this event although do raise a significant profit to the entities investing their time and money into it, a large percentage of the proceeds go to various NGOs and non-profit organizations whose goal is nothing more than to help those who deserve it.

And what stands in the way of you and a day of getting drenched in icy cold water? Well, nothing more than a ticket during any of the three sessions throughout the entire course of the day. So fasten your seat belts and brace yourselves folks for some whiplashing water-themed rides – which are not, for the record, inflatable baby pools. From the Atomic Bomb that will catapult you in the cool depths of the clear water to the Zip Slide that will literally send you zipping through the air, to the Dunk Tank that will plunge your friends in freezing water, the HoD has it all.  Challenge your bravery by having a walk around the Haunted House and try out the delicacies from corn on the cob to fries at the various stalls put up by Nixor Corporate’s projects and entities. There’s something for everyone that’ll definitely put a smile on your face at the end of the day.

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So join us on the 1st of February 2014 and make memories that you’ll treasure for a lifetime; we’ll be waiting with open arms.

Pakistan International Airlines: The Descending Flight through History – Ihsan Arsalan

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It is the summer of 1991, and Mr. Jameel is boarding his flight en route to Karachi. He proudly views his national carrier from the waiting lounge of Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The clock strikes half past three, and they peacefully go and sit in their comfortable aircraft. The signature merry music and the hospitable crew welcome them. The ambiance and the lighting of the aircraft are truly breathtaking, and Mr. Jameel is delighted to see it.

One of the female flight attendants welcomes him, “Assalam-ulaikum Sir! Let me see your boarding pass. Your seat is D20; have a safe journey!”

He settles in his seat and feels a wave of relaxation take over as his feet are welcomed by the spacious leg room. The captain makes his introductory announcement, “Welcome to Pakistan International Airlines Flight 518. I’m your Captain Mohammad Khan. We’ll be taking off shortly and will cruise at an altitude of thirty-six thousand feet; we hope you have an amazing journey!”
Moments later the aircraft taxies, and the in-flight safety video plays on the personal television screens. The aircraft engine roars to life and the plane smoothly takes off. Mr. Jameel looks around, noticing other passengers getting ready to reach their destinations too.

They finally reach their cruise altitude, and the flight attendants start handing the passengers the first meal of the flight: an entrée of scrumptious Pakistani biryani, served with raita and garden salad. Mr. Jameel devours the food, the whole aura of the aircraft already making him feel at home. The flight crosses the Atlantic, flies over Europe and through the Middle East, while the in-flight entertainment keeps Mr. Jameel hooked to a classic Al Pacino flick. He puts his relaxed head back, and feels sleep greet his softly shutting eyelids. Now the plane is on its final approach to Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport. The plane aligns itself to the runway and makes a successful landing. Upon reaching its designated gate, PIA memorabilia is distributed among the passengers.

The gate opens. Mr. Jameel walks down the stairs and finally steps on the ground of his beloved country, breathing in the damp morning breeze of Karachi after fifteen years. He enters the terminal to see the familiar architecture and high-spirited airport staff. While he waits for his luggage to arrive, he looks back and realizes how the national carrier made his journey worthwhile; the service, the hospitality of the staff, the delightful traditional food, all were a pure reflection of Pakistan in that one jet. He thought how he could have chosen to fly with British Airways, but he chose PIA instead, because it offered a blend of competence and patriotism.

This was the story of a patriotic passenger returning home after fifteen years from a foreign land, and how, choosing to travel with his national airline was the best decision he made at that time. There used to be a time when even people from nationalities like the United States of America and Great Britain used to prefer PIA as their top travel option. PIA was at its glorious peak during that time, but as the years passed, the conditions of this prestigious organization began to deteriorate at a fast rate. Let us delve into the history of this majestic carrier and look through its triumphs and successes, investigating as to why, when and how this airline started meeting the fate it did not deserve.

Pakistan International Airline, as we know it, was established as ‘Orient Airways’, registered in Calcutta on 23 October, 1946. In February 1947, the airline bought three DC-3 airplanes from a company in Texas, and obtained a license to fly in May of the same year. When Pakistan came into being, Orient Airways conducted the charitable task of executing relief operations for the people who were migrating to the new land. In 1955, the government proposed that the new airline ‘Pakistan International Airlines,’ be merged with Orient Airways. The newly formed airline not only served domestic routes, but also international routes with its newly purchased Lockheed aircrafts. This was a major milestone in the history of Pakistan International Airlines.

In the year 1959, the appointment of Air Marshal Nur Khan as the Managing Director of PIA constituted the era of massive triumph for the beloved national carrier. The airline acquired Boeing 707 which was the gem of the jet age from Pan Am and became the first airline in Asia to behold such a technology. PIA started its first route across the Atlantic Ocean in 1961 from The John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. In the same year, we proudly made the shortest duration flight from Karachi to London, which still stands as a world record. In 1964, PIA was the first airline in the world to fly to Communist China; this proved to mark the beginning of friendly diplomatic relations with People’s Republic of China. In the 1970’s, PIA launched The Pakistan International Airlines Cargo, and operated it on a wide variety of routes.

In the 1980’s and 90’s, PIA acquired Airbus A300’s, A310’s and Boeing 737’s, making it the first Asian Airline to have a diverse fleet. In late 1987 and early 1988, services to Malé and Toronto were introduced. In 1989. Later, PIA included the Queen of Skies Boeing 747’s into the fleet which were purchased from Cathay Pacific. PIA also became world’s first airline to introduce in-flight entertainment system.

In the 2000’s, PIA started the replacement of its Fokker Aircrafts with Aerospatiale ATR-42’s which would operate on short-range routes. In 2006 PIA acquired Boeing’s finest creations, the Boeing 777 jets. These were wide body jets crafted to cover long distances, such as the Karachi to Toronto non-stop route; this made PIA the first Asian Airline to soar 777’s into the skies. The airline went on to conduct the first longest non-stop flight across the world in one of their Boeing 777’s – setting a fresh world record.

As history is a series of marvels and tragedies, the national carrier also went through rough times owing to some extremely morose aviation disasters .PIA flight 705 crashed on approach to Cairo’s international Airport in 1965, on its maiden flight to Egypt. The cause of the unfortunate crash was the unusual and untimely descent which resulted in a collision. Now a memorial tablet is placed at the mass grave in Cairo for those who died on this flight .On another episode, PIA flight 268 crashed on its approach to Kathmandu airport in Nepal. This marked PIA’s greatest disaster as the flight was host to international tourists and resulted in the tragic loss of 167 lives.

In recent years, PIA has been victim to Pakistan’s transitioning economy and negative political scenario, resulting in its disproportionate dive into a sea of major loss. In addition to this, the European Union ban on PIA’s Boeing 747-300’s was a big economic blow for the airline; it was placed due to the unsafe conditions of the planes. This organization in particular was marred with massive economic corruption, leading to a total decline of the commendable image it once had — the time when international travelers used to prefer travelling with this airline.

The current condition of this airline reflects a sad period of decline. This is largely due to the chaotic political climate in Pakistan. The politicians are marred with corruption; and in their greed for acquiring stacks of money, they ignore the airline which serves the whole nation no matter what. The economic transition of the country has played a major role in crippling the very basis of the airline. The problem does not only lie within the higher authorities, but also within the staff working on normal designations, who they have contaminated the organization by conducting acts of insincerity.

The image of the airline has rapidly gone low in the eyes of Pakistanis, and they now choose to travel via international airlines, such as Emirates, Qatar Airways and Thai Airways. What they fail to realize is that it was because PIA, that these airlines are functioning today; it was PIA who helped set-up these airlines, and assisted them to such an extent that they even leased their aircrafts to them. People fail to recognize the fact that it will be their dedication to this airline, which will truly help improve the conditions of PIA. This dedication, at the very best, needs to be in the form of travelling with PIA and promoting it.

It is time that the current government begins a rigorous change in the administrative system and recruits people who will look after the airline in all operational slots, inclusive of Finance, Operations and Management. The government needs to allot a greater share of budget to the airline’s improvement. There is a need to revive and inculcate loyalty towards the airline, starting from the Board of Directors to the pilots, and even to the janitorial staff who are responsible for cleaning the aircrafts after the flights. The Directors need to ensure the maintenance of the aircrafts by regulating their operations, so that aircrafts which work on long range routes are not wasted on short routes like Karachi to Lahore. A transformation is required to improve the ambiance of the plane, and introduction of the in-flight entertainment services are a must in order to provide passengers with the comfort for which they pay. Indeed, the populace understands that although achieving all of these goals is a daunting task, it is not an impossible one. What the nation advises the government is to embark on this journey of transformation.

Mr. Jameel travelled via one of PIA’s most revenue-generating routes in history which was terminated a few years ago due to the negligence of people.

My dream is to see PIA aircrafts spreading their wings wide again, and covering all the long and short distance routes with glamour. Nonetheless, being a patriot and an aviation enthusiast, my love for this airline will always remain the same. Seeing the recent administrational developments, I hope that our beloved national carrier will return to its former glory.

In the end it will always be ‘PIA: Great People to Fly With!’.

Written By: Ihsan Arsalan

Weapons: Unexpected Saviours? – Hafsa Zarnab

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There once used to be a time when the aphorism ‘Human lives are priceless.’ used to be meaningful. But, a few years ago, when I read an article on Ismail Gulgee’s murder, I knew that the aphorism could now only be concluded as a myth. Why would a calligrapher get killed?

There saunters about a Jack the Ripper in every street, every night. Each one of us is always surrounded by a cloud of risks we are compelled to take heavy-heartedly when stepping out of our comfort zones. But God forbid we were to take any measures to counter those risks. Getting caught red-handed with a pocket revolver at a security check down the lane at night by those thugs enrobed as officials is another dilemma you are forced to embrace unless you bribe yourself free.
You would probably turn a deaf ear to the message within this curt piece of writing.

The urgency of the message could have only be felt by the 23 year old Chanty Woodman who was raped and stabbed to death by Cesar Barone, Richard Speck’s victims or the 37 innocent lives put down by the all-time famous Zodiac Killer. If these victims would have been given authorization to a pocket revolver, they would have probably seen the best in store for them.

Any citizen, who does not have a criminal record, should be permitted to carry a weapon. But that does not at all imply to going around carrying a grenade or rocket launchers – no one, not even your loved ones would venture your way! A decent pocket revolver, light and easy-to-use, can be a person’s best companion when travelling down Lyari’s streets at night.

Written By:Hafsa Zarnab

The Five Day Capsule

By: Aman Rehan

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So essentially what do capsules do? They help you cope with something for a specific time, and eventually wear out.

Of course, every capsule has powdery ingredients inside it, and for the Nixor Debating Team, the ingredients were quite unique. A question which everyone asks: How can members of the debating Team go through exhausting training sessions, pull all nighters to research and yet have the capacity to enjoy themselves, that too under immense pressure to perform? The LUMS Model United Nations (herein referred to as LUMUN’) is truly the most prestigious and challenging Model United Nations in Pakistan, so what keeps the Nixor Debating Team going throughout the five days of the conference? Given the various distractions (yes, the usual distractions for the restless youth) which exist in Lahore and the beautiful campus of LUMS? The answer is simple; it’s the five day capsule, with its miraculous ingredients.

But wait, what’s the five day capsule?

I am sure, dear reader that you are in a very confused state of mind at the moment. Therefore, I have undertaken the duty to do the universe a favor by answering all these questions.

Imagine three to four hours of intense training sessions revolving around the problems of the world and how you’ll solve them, four days a week. Tiring? Yes it is. Everyone loathed the ‘worst delegate’ award, and the ‘best delegate’ award, although immaterial, was everyone’s aim because of the inner satisfaction it brought. So you see, we had sufficient motivation to bring our A game even to the training sessions. Our coach, Sir Nadir, gave us brutally honest critique and it seemed our lives revolved around LUMUN(I found myself doodling a caricature of me receiving a ‘best delegate’ shield during physics class. I am normal, I swear). However, the training sessions were not dry at all, there were many light moments and a lot of ‘LUMUN jokes’ originated as well. One of these was bucking each other up by the phrase ‘Boy, bas tu hee hai!’

I am sure; some of the questions have been answered already. The next ingredient is teamwork. It’s a cliche, but cliches are cliches for a reason, it’s because they are tried and tested, and they usually work. Team spirit is something which has been imprinted on the heart and mind of every member of the debate team. It exists in many forms. Our seniors helped us wholeheartedly, to such an extent that at times, it seemed sacrificial on their part. I had the misfortune of having my mattress stolen in the girl’s dorm at LUMS. Luckily, my fellow debate team roommates came to the rescue and joined their mattresses to make room for me. No one from Nixor Debating was ever seen researching alone in the computer lab because we researched together. If someone was done with their work, they would research for someone else. You could never venture into the foggy roads and trees at LUMS alone (unless you wanted to, that’s another case), because there was always someone from the NDT to share the walk with you, and give you moral support.

Helping each other look, shall we say, ‘presentable’ for committee sessions was part of team spirit . It is when my friend was picking out shirts for the next day and asked “Aman, is this shirt ‘diplomatic’”? that’s when I discovered a new category of clothing. Our captains gave us motivational speeches which made everyone go ‘heyyy’(another debate team joke) and the solidarity was so evident that a person from another school, who happened to be a spectator of one of them said “I hate my team”. Breakfast and dinner used to be two times of the day when the team ate, laughed, and momentarily forgot about the stress of the day, and how tired they really are.

Soon the closing ceremony took place, the announcements of awards. It’s one of those paradoxical things which we all dread, but wait anxiously for. We were on the edge of our seats for every committee which was announced. Tears were shed, and leaps of joy were made. We were tied together so strongly, that even if a member won, he wouldn’t be completely happy. It sounds unreasonable, doesn’t it? But it’s only because even in times of victory, there is only momentary ecstasy and then the thought of team members who lost invaded one’s mind. We could not win best delegation, but we looked around the LUMS sports complex, where the closing ceremony was held and vowed that we’ll be back next year, with a vengeance.

Now that you have read the crux of this article, I am sure you have come across many ingredients in the five day capsule. Motivation, dedication and solidarity, all of these had been crammed into the capsule, so that the debate team is able to survive the five exhaustively exhilarating days of LUMUN. I shall ink up now, and hopefully I’ll be able to write another article for all you inquisitive minds out there.

Nixor College ranked second at LUMUN, and we are currently the best debate team in Karachi.

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photo credits: Danish Rahman

A Master’s Right, The Servant’s Plight – Rabab Ahsan

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Imagine a life where you are no longer the person who dines on a fine table three times a day, who sleeps in a bed that is as soft as a dream, and relaxes on couches that are luxuriant and stately. In fact you are the person that sets the table and does the dishes after, who makes the bed and does the laundry, who sits on the cold hard floor while others laze on sofas; imagine a life where you are the “help”. Truthfully, it is a life nobody would want, including the ones who live it, but why is this life so repulsive? Is it perhaps because of the tasks that a maid is charged with, or that on the grass-root level the status our maids are awarded is downright derogatory, and no one wants to be part of a group which is so demeaned? Unquestionably the answer lies within the latter.

Racism died decades ago (not) and sadly, society dividing differentials still thrive in this modern era. The color of your skin and by extension your ethnicity might not set you apart as often as it did before, but it’s still there and your social status nearly always does. While we treat all employees respectfully and equally and maintain a careful employer-employee relationship, these pleasantries suddenly go amiss when it comes to the help our households. Many people might disagree and venture to say that they treat their maids the best they can. I disagree. It should be remembered that even in the old times, a slave wearing a collar of gold was still at the core level a slave. Treating an individual well does not mean awarding it necessary or unnecessary gifts, it means that you see them equal to yourself, and that you by no means treat or perceive them lesser beings. It is but a fact that many households take care of the help that work for them, and award them accordingly at any occasion they might find feasible, but is that enough? Is that not like throwing treats to a caged animal to make it grow complacent until the next round of gifts? If we truly identify the “maids of our society” equal to us, than we would ask them to sit on chairs not on the floor, we will talk to them as cordially as we would to a person of our own financial stature, in a nutshell we would stop treating them like lesser humans.

It is sad that on account of theft, our maids are the first to be blamed, what is even more derogatory is that some people offer only leftovers to these people who might have cooked entire luxurious meals for them. To understand this matter further I wanted to probe deeper in the “help’s” psyche, hence I interviewed my own maid.

Q: Why do you sit on the floor while your employers don’t?
A: They are above us. We sit on the floor in order to pay our respects to them.

Q: Why do you think they are above you?
A: They are educated; our jobs are tied to them and so are our loyalties.

Q: Have you ever been a victim of violence practiced by your employers?
A: No, but some of my relatives have been.

Q: Would you work for people who beat you?
A: Depends on my financial stability.

My short conversation with her not only revealed a maids way of thinking but uncovered the social practices and ideologies that have created the unbalanced equilibrium of our society. The illiterate, and more specifically, the poor of our society consider themselves below those who had access to good education. In their opinion the literate ones know better how to act and behave in every way of life, which means their conduct is not only better but correct. I ask you, is it their fault that they have considered the rich and literate above them? Have we not contributed significantly in stemming these ideas more strongly? Do our actions not accentuate that we are by some false standard better than these maids who help make our house a cleaner, better place every day?

Some households in our society go as far as beating their help due to an often unintentional mistake. Even though these cases are rare, they exist primarily because the maids are unaware of their rights and the fact that they deserve as equal a place in this society as anybody else. Being illiterate has become their curse and this awareness is the root cause why they consider the rich and educated above them. They might be illiterate and unaware but what is our excuse?

We live in a country where only half of the population is educated and even less are rich or stable, the majority that decides the fate of this country every five years is the same group that is ridden over every day. These people unknowingly trust us to be the better men, but we don’t have it in us to show them that in this world nobody is better than another. Their lack of knowledge is their excuse, but what is ours? Shouldn’t we correct this ideology the best we can? It is our seldom realized responsibility to emphasize to every individual, literate or not, that education creates enlightened minds, not better men.

It starts from the small things that people start considering themselves inferior and then it reaches a level where the same people stop considering themselves humans. Slavery didn’t start in a day nor did it spread in a blink of an eye, it was a slow plague that destroyed many innocent lives, a new epidemic faces us now. One which is beyond color and race, it is a different factor that divides us now and it is harder to breach. For this reason it is imperative that we start today, this second, and whenever we see a maid letting herself down, we teach her to pull herself up. The day we situate this society in equilibrium is the day many crimes die and we all become better men.

Written By: Rabab Ahsan

The Foodfather – Kulsoom Hisam

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I will make you a dish you can’t refuse

The aroma of biryani in the air, the sound of plates clinking as the waiter serves mouthwatering
platters to customers with great precision and excellence. The clang of ice as it hits the glasses
filled with soft drinks, the ultimate dive into the delicious food while the devourer fears
committing the crime of gluttony, feeling like Hannibal Lecter yet knowing that at that time,
everything is perfect, despite the fact that Pakistan has numerous security issues and the media
and newspapers are overflowing with gruesome photographs and heart wrenching stories of
murders, revolts and mutiny. At that time, he is happy… until someone takes a bite from his
bowl.

The food business is probably one of the few businesses that is highly successful in Pakistan.
Every business has an enemy/haters who charge successful tycoons and big-time operators
with fraud and corruption. But food? Not at all. After a tiring day of work in the office or in
school a smile lights up on the faces of men, women and children as they pass by a food street
that invites them with a delicious aroma of Desi food and they decide to have a nice hot plate
of nihari.

A famous food street in Karachi is Burns Road (read: Buns Road, the typical Desi style) which
is renowned for its traditional food offerings such as Biryani, Karahi, Dhaga Kabab, Fry Kabab,
Nihari, Bun Kabab, Haleem and fried finger fish. Sweet specialties include Kheer, Rabri, Ras
Malai, Ras Gulay, Lassi, Dahi Bara and Halwa Puri. Regardless of the fact that Burns Road is
considered a highly polluted, unclean area, the mindset of Pakistanis to ignore the dirt and filth
and joyfully have a plate of nihari with naan is miraculously striking. Clearly, man’s love for
food trumps his fear of ill health and acts as a revulsion from eating in a polluted street where
stray cats and dogs walk by and beggars plead for food. A Pakistani’s audacity, decisiveness and
steadfastness, along with their passion for food should never be underestimated.

In addition to Burns Road, Ghaffar kai kabab are probably the most loved and delicious kababs
ever. Karachiites are seen to plunge into the Malai Boti, Reshmi Kabab, Chicken Tikka and
other specialties of Abdul Ghaffar. Available near Tariq Road and Port Grand – another one of
Karachi’s most recent and popular foodstreets. Abdul Ghaffar Kabab House has a flourishing
business. When all fails, you can always become a kababchi. Cook good food, and people will
love you.Other than desi food, Pakistan houses many restaurants with all kinds of food ranging from
Pakistani to American to Chinese to Thai to Lebanese and the list goes on. In the posh areas of
Defence and Clifton, numerous fancy restaurants and cafes are present and many are springing
up. Ginsoy, a Chinese restaurant on Khayaban-e-Shehbaz in Defence is a fine example of a
lavish diner with tantalizing food. (Remember to order Crispy Beijing Beef and Cherry Chilli
Chicken). Abaan, a Lebanese Restaurant on Khayaban-e-Jami, also Defence, houses some of the
most delectable and mouthwatering Lebanese dishes such as Shawarma, Hummus, etc. Cafes
such as Espresso, Café Zouk and Café Le Grand are famous attractions for the youth.
Stalls filled with Gol Gappay, Makkai, Aloo Chaat and Gola Ganda are among the favourites of
the locals. Desi bistros like Sweet and Sour and Chatkharay contain all the spicy, zesty snacks. (If
you’re looking for a good Shwarma, Sweet and Sour is your place).

Who can overlook the passionate spirit of rozaidaars as they prepare for Iftari and Sehri in the
Holy month of Ramadan? From Aloo Samosas, to rolls, Pakorai, Dahi Barai, to lip-smacking
and appetizing Sehri. Midnight deals at Pizza Hut and other fast-food joints. We thank them for
making us wake up at 4am in the morning with ease or someone would be spurting brains out
with a .44 Magnum like Clint Eastwood from Dirty Harry.

At fancy parties or grand wedding ceremonies, the food is impeccable. People of all sizes and
ages, be it a woman dressed in a fancy gharaara who takes hours to set her hair promising
herself not to eat much for the sake of her clothes but waits impatiently, be it a man who
starved himself the whole day just to eat a lot at the wedding. Food is one thing, probably the
only thing at a shaadi (filled with old gossipmongers and rishta-mongers), men and women look
forward to. Even Rishta aunties forget targeting poor teens who try to ward off their hawk-like
eyes by pushing them in line for food with great valor and spirit.

Note to self: When conducting a seminar or dars, be sure to add a list of refreshments on the
invitation cards. A large horde of foodies will arrive at your doorstep, making your gathering a
success.
Long live all the zealous and hungry Pakistanis!

Written by Kulsoom Hisam