Through a Domestic lens: The Actual Pakistan

I recently came across a very well written article that highlighted the “other” side of Pakistan. (Link: The article had some very nice pictures. Being brought up on the streets of Nazimabad, the only Pakistan I ever knew was the one that was known as the middle class. So I naturally came to terms with the fact that many of the aforementioned pictures were too heavy for me to comprehend. Think of my middle class brain as a slow internet connection that only loads 25% of the ‘Pakistani Ufone Sexy Model Asma’ picture that some “friend” has sent you in an email. Moreover, as I read further into the article, I realized that the pictures were only the tip of the pen..err…iceberg. The article seemed to have been written in an entirely different language. I mean I could read the alphabets. My middle class school taught me that much. But the meaning behind these mystically alien words were beyond my cretin understanding. By the time I finished, I had fallen deep into a state of existential crisis. “What Pakistan is this?” “What Pakistan am I living in?” “Why is there no mention of a Suzuki Mehran in the article?” “HerbX Enlargement Pill 0333 – 1234567!” Questions and thoughts like these kept popping up in my head. Over the next few hours, I had lost my appetite, my sleep and missed 37 calls from my jaanu. But it had to stop. And so, I set out on a 15 minute adventure to understand the sorcery that I had just been a victim of. 17 minutes later, I realized the article was a load of shit. It was twisted, misleading and downright insulting. I wasn’t okay with the way Pakistan was being portrayed. What percentage of the population did the stories in the article represent? I’d tell you what. The size of the ingrown hair on my left nut. And so, I have compiled a humble list of images that portray what me and a majority of my middle classed associates (fancy word for janis, cousins, rishtedars and next gali ke cricket team) actually do. I might be wrong but the last time I checked, a huge chunk of us still had papa double roti for breakfast and the only time we had a macaroon was when our khala cooked Shan ke macaroni.


Ladies and gentleman, behold, the average Pakistani.


Pani Ke Shadeed Qillat


An average Pakistani kicks his tap after a 3 day long water shortage in Karachi. Even the water in the puddle on the street has dried up by now and so, the kick. July 2014

Bijli ke jugarein


Homemade electrician, average Pakistani tries to mess with the phases in his electric box. The kunda outside his house are in full support of his actions. Karachi Electric, however, will shortly be issuing an arrest warrant for him. Him and millions of others just like him. July, August, September, October, November, December, January, February, March, April, May, June of forever.

Gym and swimming. Lol.


Educationalist and bathroom model, average Pakistani standing next to the “pool” of water in his bathroom after an incredible workout provided by fixing the kunda outside his house. The water shortage has ended, BTW. For now.

Maid in Pakistan


The average Pakistani Middle class boy texts his friend asking for 20 rs balance while putting the ripoff Aquafina water bottle on the bottle stand. He is waiting for this job to end so he can have some water.

Chilling in room


The average Pakistani reads a magazine in his bedroom cum drawing room cum store room while having a nice cup of tea.

Getting ready


An average wardrobe before trying to get ready for a party (birthday) and not having a fucking clue about what to wear.



Doing pillates while fixing a bulb. Typical Pakistani El O El.

Hey man. I think my izaarhband is showing.


And finally, some climbing. The caption of this photo is a dilemma. This could either be the result of the Pakistani boy jumping into a house to fetch the cricket ball that his friend occidentally threw in or the same Pakistani boy trying to escape the house after being seen and caught by the uncle of the house who suspects the boy jumped in, bringing a rishta for the uncle’s Urdu science college going daughter. Eitherway, great exercise. The trainer cannot be seen in the picture though. That pussy has disappeared for good.


Brb. Going for tarawih now.


Myths About College, Movies Have Made You Believe


The word ‘college’ has been used throughout this article instead of ‘university’. Do not confuse it with an institute that helps you clear Intermediate.

Contrary to the hellish concept of high school gora movies have created for us, schools in Pakistan aren’t that bad. People are nice, the teachers aren’t all community college dropouts and bullies are relatively contained. There are always exceptions, obviously, but for every black boy rap crew drowning weak white boys in toilet water, we have a fat kid with a rich dad and for every bitchy cheerleader willing to go to any length to stay in the lead, we have a girl who gets good grades and has hair that smells pretty. But, since it’s so safe, it tends to get boring. Once again, our beloved Hollywood steps in and with the likes of American Pie and Project X, offers us the illusion of a post-school world with greener pastures and easier women. Enter the world of college. A place that promises everything your horny little face ever thought of digging itself into. You rush to get the admission forms and study hard to get in. But once you do, the bitter taste of realization spreads in your mouth like an STD in a college dorm and you are left with nothing but a box titled ‘Sigh’ and a tissue paper wet with fluids of questionable origins. Enter, college. For real.

  1. College does not get you laid: Every college based Hollywood movie has fed you with the illusion that no matter how uninteresting or physically unappealing you are, there are atleast a dozen girls ready to take away your virginity to places you’ve never imagined it to go to. Wrong. Unless you are willing to get out of your acne infested shell, the only action you are getting is a push while standing in the cafeteria waiting line.
  2. College girls are uncontrollable sluts with no moral code whatsoever: Despite the fashion obsessed pieces of art you get to see in class every day, you haven’t had the chance to get in anyone’s pants. That’s simply because most of these women hold somewhat strong values and although Hollywood HAS kind of influenced them enough to laugh at sex jokes and dance at night parties with you, they are going to end up getting engaged, or worse married, by the 6th semester anyway.
  3. You can party your way out of everything: You can’t. There’s a reason why an 8th semester senior is taking a 2nd semester course with you. And that too for the 3rd time.
  4. Nerds are losers who will never make it big in life: In all honesty, nerds are exactly the kind of people who will make it big in life and then diss your sorry little stud boy ass when you show up in their company for an entry level job interview.
  5. Back benchers are cool: They are. I absolutely agree with that, one hundred percent. What’s not cool is that the grades the teacher gives are directly related to his/her line of sight. So the first row gets A’s, the second row tends to get B’s and by the time the grade sheet reaches the last bench, all that’s left to be given is Ds and Fs.
  6. That one hot teacher might just be into you: Yeah no, she’s not. I get the obsession with cougars and MILFs. I also get where they come from. But long story short, the only man that this particular teacher’s going to make happy is her husband who she’s already had a couple of kids with. Sorry, guess getting a grade won’t be as easy as it was in Naughty America. And finally…
  7. I play football/cricket/music and I am a God: No, you are not. Neither is that one dude playing guitars in that Jal/EP cover band you find playing at every event the college hosts. Cheerleaders and groupies are low in supply since neither sport nor music or art pays enough to fund the glam trickling lifestyles of the soon to be married college hotties. On the other hand, that one dork who knows math seems to be spending a lot more time with eager females and Instagram shoots.

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Because screw you, chuppan chupai and screw you, baraf pani.

Yesterday, a friend and I were driving back home from another friend’s place and we spotted a bunch of individuals waving guns in the air. For a fraction of a minute, I hit the brakes and we practically shat our, carefully ironed, white shalwars, only to realize it was a bunch of kids playing with guns that, curses be on China, looked very, very real. All of a sudden it was funny. I mean a 3 foot tall human form waving 2 very big guns in the air and screaming at anything that resembles a possible “target”? It’s cute. Especially when you fall for it. But what I fell into, instead, was this constant state of frustration as I realized just how conveniently these kids were being exposed to the gun culture and how the sweet concept of Eidi that was once used to acquire icecream, gurya k baal and possibly chooran chatnis had now transformed into getting funds to “arm” yourself so you can “protect the hood”. Possible enemies: Moving cars, birds, stray dogs and colorful pedestrians. I managed to get a hold of one of these brats and he told me he needed the gun because, “hum jung-jung kheltay hein”. Now a lot of people tend to call me pessimistic. And maybe they aren’t exactly wrong but hey, this shit is 97 miles north of being “okay”. How is it that a child goes out with a lot of cash, gets a toy gun, “shoots” the whole world with it and then brings it home and manages to get away with it? Mom? Dad? Anyone give a damn? Even in the shittiest of Bollywood movies, the dying mother of the very violent, Suneil Shetti/Sanjay Dutt-ish, protagonist urges her son to keep his act together and be good, obviously referring to how it’s not okay to play “jung-jung” with the villain and his infinite stock of respawning henchmen. I don’t have kids, and so, obviously, I can’t be the right person to judge the general quality of parenting in our country but I do know when something is about to go terribly wrong and a kid brandishing a toy weapon and feeling happy about it is just not the kind of thing I am very optimistic about. With target killings and terrorist attacks and hate crimes and what not, the last thing we need is a child convinced in his head that it’s okay to carry a firearm and shoot your best friends with it.

Save yourself. Save the children.

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10 Things it’s time for Pakistanis to realize

I was born, raised and spoilt in Pakistan. It was fun. It gave me cricket, it brought me Polka and just when I thought all was well, it gave me World Cup, 1999. Even better were, and have always been, the people that populate this wonderful piece of land. Loving, caring, mysteriously dying, people with their hearts full of fire and their eyes full of dust. To cut it short, I’ve loved this country and have expressed that at multiple occasions This, however, shall not be one of them. Pakistani awam has had its share of crazies and that doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. Most of these behavioral fruit loops are annoying, overdone and worth punching people in the face for.

Following is a list of things I think the Pakistan awam SHOULD realize before it gets nuked in the gut for good.

  1. There is a maila in all of us. Though, there are different degrees of the extremeness with which we are compatible with it. Just because you don’t dance to Tamil songs or laugh at Umer Sharif, doesn’t mean you get to judge anyone else. Let it flow out of you and into the world. Ever seen a true maila? He is happy as fuck. Learn from that.
  2. There’s a reason our maadri zabaan is NOT English. And that’s probably why most of the people around you ( or some ) will not be good at it. If your father worked hard, got paid well and got you into a good school so you could speak and act the way you do now, doesn’t mean anyone else’s father didn’t try just as hard. When you judge a person on his English, you are judging a whole chain of elements, including his family, his father, his background and probably their lack of resources. Reham karo. Zalzala aya tau tum bhi sarak par ho gay.
  3. It’s one thing to shop at Sunday Market/Jumma Bazaar and another to glorify the fact that you did so. It’s pretty much a kabaari market for people who like a good deal and cheap clothes. Not so cool now, is it?
  4. Playing FIFA does NOT make you a gamer. Get over yourself.
  5. You’re a liar for telling your friend you won’t be late for class, a cheater for violating the traffic signal every morning and a big fat thief for stealing notes off the internet to complete your business research due next week. Stop pretending to be the Allah miyan ke gayein your amma thinks you are. Would really save us the trouble of fighting you over “Islam” on the internet.
  6. If you are a dead motorcyclist, chances are you were stupid enough to assume the main road was your naani ka sehan. Stop looking down on car/bus walas with all that hate. They have more of you to watch out for.
  7. Everything a motivational speaker tells you is a collection of words/phrases/quotes from books, movies, popular songs and sometimes indie porn movies. That collection is usually called “Life”. Stop paying 10,000 Rupees to learn how to live it. Leave your house and it would come to you naturally.
  8. The Lala in Shahid Afridi is similar to those childhood toys that spring up every now and then around the house and manage to give you a few smiles. Stop allowing people like me to take advantage of you by selling you crap with Lala’s face on it. Even Pepsi’s given up on him now.
  9. Just because you watched Batman, doesn’t mean you get an advantage over the countless years lonely geeks have put into reading comic books and getting fat in the process. Respect that, read a book and then enter a discussion.
  10. I congratulate you for trying to have a music career in Pakistan but Taher Shah just got viral and you will probably be covering his song in the years to come. Stop trying so hard, play your music and agree to the fact that you are eventually getting a desk job in a “marketing company”.
  11. Remember those days when you would get likes/comments on your status updates? Then you decided to put 3600 hashtags and no one ever came back? #TimeToTakeItEasyBro
  12. A girl who shows skin is not a slut. Because if that’s what we were doing, your bearded father has a bomb strapped to his chest.
  13. Bachi CBM ke ho ya IBA, kisi abba ke hay and Inshallah aik din apkay ghar bhi paida hogi. Thora khayal kro. Karma is a super, super bitch.
  14. Fat guys now have girlfriends and fat girls now get married. Start eating. Food was given to you, so you could stuff it down your throat. Shukar kar aur sehat bana.
  15. And finally, remember that one guy, back in the day, who would take his batting and then run home saying, “Ammi, bularahi hein”? Don’t be that guy. Neither literally nor metaphorically. We hated him then, we hate him now.

Yes. 15. I lied. Told you I am a proud Pakistani.

Teeanage Dreams

I grew up simple and I grew up good. I was brought up in a middle class house whose occupants had learned to be happy with what they had and had refused to become part of the rat race. My grandmother, who lived in an area 2 levels below the mid-middle class stereotype loved me very much, which is why I spent most of my childhood with her. Safe to say, I had aloo paratha for breakfast, played cricket insanely and watched cartoon network from 5 to 7 in the evening. Life was simple and I had no plans of complicating it. My sense of style sucked, I was honest and I gave no less of a fuck about what people thought about me. Then I grew up a bit and BANG, came teenage. Things started changing for me. I got into a relationship, started hitting the gym and my pants started getting tighter and my shirts shorter. Suddenly, I wanted to be cool and as I grew up realizing, it was okay to do so. Then I grew up some more and things got in the HOT TEENAGE ZONE. Girlfriend troubles started breaking out, I started getting low on cash ( Not that I had any before ), I started getting into bitch fights with friends and the mandatory teenage rebel  in me started waking up. Pretty soon, life was “bad”. And I did what I did best in response to it. I played video games, I played some cricket and I ate to my heart’s content. My girlfriend didn’t like that, so she started giving me more shit. My friends didn’t like that either, so they decided to add to that pile of shit. And my best response was to go home, get busy and not give a fuck. Life went on. I graduated from school, dumped my girlfriend and stopped talking to the friends altogether. A new phase began and I got busy and forgot to look back. Fast forward to the 2010s. Orkut happened, then Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the end of the fucking world. New stories sprung up all around me and this time, as much as I tried not to, I couldn’t help not care. It was in my face, the fiasco, the drama, the acquired lifestyles that kids were trying so hard to fit into. I remembered my days of teenage troubles and how I never thought of writing a fucking poem. I remember how crying was stupid and reasons for being “depressed” were things like the end of Alpha Bravo Charlie or Pakistan losing a match. I remember how the only reason I would be hurt was if someone kicked me in the gut or punched me in the face. Yes, that happened. What I saw was kids, well off kids, kids with resources, potential and decent parents, trying too hard to be sad. What could a 16 year old possibly be so depressed about that he decides to drink away his troubles? What could go so wrong with a 16 year old in her normal life (Other things remaining the same) that she decides to strip away her self esteem and brush it off with her waxed off body hair? What could possibly lead to a 16 year old putting up a Facebook picture with a caption “ You left me alone in the world to die “ and a </3 sign at the bottom? And then I realized, I knew the answer.

“The lack of a certain abba/amma ka danda”

We grew up tough because we were afraid. We knew that if we went home with our butt crack staring at the world, our parents would beat us the fuck out. We knew who to respect and when to talk and we sure as fuck knew our place. We had boundaries and we had a code. Everything had a spot. Family, muhalla, the playground and the only reason we didn’t go soft is because we had a mum or a dad or even a nani/nana, dadi/dada to keep us in line. We were strong, both in the head and in the gut and if we came home crying, our parents told us to walk it off. We liked to eat because it felt good and we spent time with our families because they mattered. Weight, height, clothes and penis size were issues never to be bothered with and the best way to deal with crushes was to giggle , grin and go about with our lives. We couldn’t stay up all night and we never asked for more. We had the same troubles, just simpler versions of them and our responses were good, normal and effortless. And that’s because we had a danda waiting somewhere in the house, counting the minutes before it could be unleashed on us again. Had our parents brought us up by saying yes to everything we asked them for and nodding and smiling every time we fucked up, there’s a high probability I would be sitting alone in my room masturbating, crying and thinking of popping my lawn mom’s sleeping pills to end it all because “she left me alone in the world to die”.

The Smallest Zombie Apocalypse in the world.

The sound of azaan echoed through the neighbourhood. The sun was about to set. Asif had been playing cricket for a couple of hours. Or atleast trying to. He had been feeling off since lunch break at school. The new brand of bottled water the canteen-wala had stocked his shelves with hadn’t exactly suited Asif’s already messed up stomach. He came home and walked slowly to the kitchen where amma was busy making chapatis for dinner. His face had gotten pale and his body had started to tremble. He gathered the courage to ask amma for help but all that came out was an inhuman groan. Amma turned around and looked at him. Her already hardened face had a frown. “Haan, tabyat hogae kharaab? Mana kia tha dhoop mein na khel cirkit. Ja ab, khambakht. Panadol kha aur so ja. Aur tu kar he kia sakta hay!” Asif nodded obediently and struggled towards the medicine cabinet. But before he could reach it, the world around him went dark.

Half an hour later, Asif had transformed into something that his mother would have easily labelled, “Shetani makhlooq”. But it was a bit too late for her to do that. Asif had already bitten his way through her neck. She, in turn, had “woken up” to bite Asif’s father who had just entered the house after a long day of work at the garment factory. Pretty soon, the whole neighbourhood was swarming with walking corpses of the ex-living inhabitants. News spread fast. The local masjid sent out a warning announcement which was loosely based around the concept of “jinnaat”, “azaab” and “iblees”. All hell broke loose.

Bilal was busy downloading porn on his second hand Pentium 3 when his loyal Nokia 1100 started to buzz. The screen said, “Bhai”. He picked it up and said salaam. The conversation that followed was pretty one sided and all Bilal did was nod his head. Minutes later he was out on the street, brandishing an old cricket bat. He was joined by a few of his muhallay k mates. They too had similar weapons at their disposal. “Scene on hay, bhai. Aaj tau khulla haath rakhna hay, maamay.”, exclaimed one of them in excitement. Bilal grinned in return.

Asif was no more. He was merely a block of decaying flesh walking around the now dead neighbourhood, jumping at the first chance of getting his gutka infested teeth into anything that moved. Every few seconds, he would run into someone from his muhalla. The local panw wala, the muhallay ke “aunty”. the corner walay baba and the college wali Munni. They would all stop for a few seconds, stare at each other and then walk away into random directions. The neighbourhood felt peaceful. The creatures walked quitely, like shadows in the night and rats under the floorboards. It was eerily beautiful. But like most things, it was short lived. “Maaro salon ko, bhen****!”, someone screamed and like an old clock turns into action, the neighbourhood came to life. Young, skinny, men came in from all directions swearing senselessly and carrying weapons of all sorts. Some had pipes. Others had knives. One of them even had a prosthetic leg. They were followed by older men, carrying guns and burning torches. “Jalaado, bhen****** ko!” Bhoon daalo”. Finally, came the news reporters. Everyone one of them screaming their channel’s name. It was crazy. The creatures, hundreds in numbers, were no match for the crazy mob that had done this drill before. They had been seasoned during the “loadshedding” riots, the “strike” riots, the “paani ke qillat” riots and the “burn all cng station” riots. They grinned and laughed and tore away the mindless creatures into several mindless pieces. Somewhere in the background, an old radio played, “Ay wattan k sajeelay jawaan…”

The sound of the Isha azaan echoed through the neighbourhood. Bilal and his friends were at the local chai dhaba sipping away at the brilliantly cooked doodh-patti. One of them cheerfully exclaimed, ” Abay, bachi ko tau fone krlay. Yahan say tau bach gaya, magar woh tau kacha chaba jayay ge.” Bilal grinned. His eye caught the view of the small TV at the counter. The news channel was reporting a disturbance in a small area of Karachi. He grinned again and looked away.