Thanks for Pushing My Car!

While driving back from work on Saturday, I came across a human barrier on the Expressway. A group of 6 to 8 men walked onto the road, held hands, and stopped all the cars from passing through. I saw the group early enough to slow the car far away from them, but in my panic to turn the car around, I let go of the clutch and the car stopped suddenly. At that moment all I could see was the end. I knew that was it for me. I was convinced those men had large weapons and they were going to shoot me.

With no other choice but to face what was happening ahead of me, I looked up. At the cost of sounding completely insensitive, I will admit that I was relieved when I saw the reason for the road block. Some of the men were carrying a casket, while others were blocking the cars so that the procession could cross the road smoothly. If I wasn’t alone in the car I would have laughed out loud at the ridiculous thoughts I had just moments earlier.

As soon as the men started clearing away, the cars behind me started honking. Everyone was in a rush to leave. My car, however, was in no hurry. The moody old machine refused to start.

While trying to  think of who to call for help, I looked to my left. A Domino’s rider was right beside my car and he must have noticed that my car was not starting because without a word, he parked his bike on the side, climbed off it, and offered to push the car. I gladly accepted his offer!

He pushed the car and while doing so another man came to help. Five minutes later the car started and I was merrily on my way back home!

Had it not been for the Domino’s rider, I don’t know how long I would have had to wait before help arrived. The wait would still be fine, if only it wasn’t for the terrifying thought of armed men lurking around every corner of the city waiting for their chance to pounce on unguarded citizens and rob them!

In my haste to leave, I forgot to ask the rider his name. But I know that I will never forget what he did for me! And because of him, Domino’s just earned itself a very loyal customer!

Thank You, Mr. Rider, you just proved that chivalry is not completely dead!!

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Burgers Don’t Discriminate…Boys Do!

Last week I decided that I want to be treated like a girl forever.

My car needed a wipe down, but being a girl, I decided that the task of cleaning my own car was beneath me. I felt no guilt or reluctance when I asked my husband to quickly wipe the car down for me before I could take it to work that morning. He didn’t question this and did what was asked of him, thanks to the awesome rules of Pakistani society that lean more towards the comfort of women than men.

Then two days ago, my husband told me he was going out for burgers with the ‘boys.’

” I want a burger too, Mustafa.” I whined. “We’re getting real burgers tonight. You won’t like them… I’ll take you out some other time.” Came his highly sexist reply.

This obviously stirred the feminist in me and I demanded that he take me with him and ditch the boys. I’d show him that girls can enjoy a hearty beef burger just as much as the next macho man. For some reason, he found this funny, but I guess he had some faith in my healthy appetite because he finally agreed!

His agreement somehow turned into a challenge and we started listing down possible eating arenas.

While I was trying to come up with a place with smaller burgers just in case I ended up not finishing the whole thing, my husband was intent on finding a place with the biggest, meanest beef burgers.

He decided on TGIF. I couldn’t argue since a) he was driving and b) I didn’t want to sound weak.

We reached TGIF and I studied their new range of Angus beef burgers. I gulped. My husband grinned. With a barely contained smile he ordered a Tennessee Beef Burger for himself and a Mushroom Beef Burger for me.

Then we waited for the burgers to arrive.

We were served two very large burgers with a 7 ounce patty each. Not being a huge fan of beef, I couldn’t help but feel slightly apprehensive about the size of the burgers, but having accepted the challenge and needing to prove the power of women, I sucked it up and dug in.

tenessee

The Tennessee Beef Burger with a special sauce on the side.

mushroom

Mushroom Onion Swiss Burger

I honestly cannot say what got me through the entire burger. I don’t know if it was the taste of the burger, the quality of the meat, the juicy beef patty that was cooked to perfection, or merely the need to prove myself to ‘man’kind, but I finished the entire thing.

And I was proud of myself.

So was Mustafa, I think, when he wasn’t busy frowning over his loss.

So two days ago, I decided that I do not want to be treated like a girl all the time. I want to be treated like an equal when it comes to enjoying food, independence and freedom, but when it’s time to get my hands dirty, I’d rather hide behind the pink veil of femininity. No one can deny the perks of being a woman in Karachi, but it’s when these perks become obstacles that I start questioning the norms of society.

Nevertheless, our society allows me and others like me to enjoy the best of both worlds without coming across as selfish or wrong. So I guess I’ll just leave it at that and when I meet an obstacle along the way, well, I guess I’ll just cross that bridge when I get there.

Are You on Survival Mode?

Driving on a small two-way road, a car with high beams switched on renders me partially blind for a moment, and I cannot help but wonder why the driver is so insensitive. Perhaps it’s because he forgot to switch the extra lights off, or maybe he couldn’t care less about the discomfort he’s causing others. It could also be that the driver genuinely needed the lights. I can’t be sure. But when I see more than a few pairs of beams flashing on cars passing by, I can’t help but conclude that people in Karachi are insensitive.

Being selfish is one thing, but being clueless about everyone else’s discomfort is worse. And that’s what’s happening to us.

Each day we do so many things to prove how selfish we have become. We take our time getting dressed for a party because we decided that we will reach late. We don’t need to think about what this means for the hosts and their plans to serve dinner at a particular time. Neither do we care about how much further this will push a child’s bedtime because we don’t have kids to worry about. We just do what suits us at the time.

“I need to reach work before my boss arrives or else he will fire me!!” So we take a wrong turn and speed away, leaving in our wake complete chaos for someone else to sort out. “I just need to grab two things from the supermarket and I’ll be back in a minute!” And we double park our car, blocking another and causing someone great inconvenience.

“Excuse me, I’m ready to order.” We cut into the line at the counter because we know what we want to eat. We conveniently ignore the long line at the counter and people waiting for their turns, warranting nothing but angry glares and frustrated customers.

Do we do any of this out of spite or on purpose? I’d like to believe not. I think each of us is on auto-pilot, doing what is best for our own selves, following the basic rule of ‘survival of the fittest.’ Every single day we do so many things that aren’t right, but we do it anyway because we don’t even realize that our actions may have unpleasant consequences for others.

I’d like to think that Karachiites are simply on Survival Mode, and acting on instincts rather than anything else. A moment of realization might help us all to check our actions before we cause trouble for anyone else.

It’s the little things like emptying food trays in the trash can after a meal, not pushing your friends out of a selfie, driving in the middle lane if we’re going to drive slow, and being conscious about our general surroundings that can help us switch off our survival mode for a while and become more responsible citizens of Karachi.

7 Things to Try This Weekend!

Did you notice that most of your weekend plans begin with and end on where you want to eat? If there is one thing that Karachiites are good at, it’s eating out! With such an eclectic mix of food places in the city, one can never really run out of options. However, if you want to break away from the routine of eating at your regular restaurants, then here are some of the things you can try out this weekend:

  1. The Beach
    Beach

    Contrary to popular belief, the beach is great for a lot more than just boring family picnics or drinking/smoking up with friends. When you have an entire day planned at the beach but blue bottles lie lined up on the shore like soul-sucking zombies, there is only one thing to do; EAT! There are so many interesting ways to enjoy food at the beach. Try this for example, take marinated goat legs to the beach. Wrap them nice and tight in foil, dig a deep hole in the sand and layer it with stones and burning hot coals. Place the foiled goat leg in the hole, cover it up with stones and sand and wait for it to slowly cook. Dig out the cooked legs and enjoy with
    raita salaaaad!

  2. Go Fishing
    fishing

    I have always been fascinated with the idea of hunting. Call me romantic, but the thrill of adventure mixed with unknown dangers and the glorious moment of victory when one finally hunts down their prey, has had me intrigued since I was a child. I guess that’s why I enjoy fishing so much. You should try fishing in Karachi too! You can rent a boat from Kemari early Sunday morning. The boat comes with fishing equipment and a kitchen, so you can catch your fish and eat it too while enjoying a serene boat-ride in the ocean!

  3. Chill at a mall
    the mall 2

    Karachi’s malls don’t hold a candle against international malls, but Dolmen Mall Clifton definitely comes close. Walking around the mall, peeking into shops and spending hours admiring clothes and accessories never gets old for a girl. But if it isn’t a girls’ night out, then try Air Hockey at Sinbad. You can order your meal at the food court and play a game or two while your meal gets prepared! The best part about Air Hockey? The worse you are at the game, the more enjoyable it becomes! (Warning: the game may cause abdominal cramps and swollen throat glands due to uncontrollable laughter and incessant screaming.)
  4. Try the new Cafe
    old cafes

    Since you know you are going to make your plans around food, why don’t you try the newest cafe that opened up in Defence. Which one? It doesn’t matter, there are bound to be at least five new cafes that you haven’t tried yet.
  5. Also try the older ones
    fine dine

    If you want to enjoy a quiet, delicious meal with your partner, your best bet would be to visit one of the nicer restaurants in Karachi. Pompei, Pantry, Rowtisserie, and Cafe Flo are some of my favorites and I’ve heard good reviews about The East End too. Here you can enjoy a hearty meal with some semblance of peace and quiet, and go back to work on Monday bathed in the afterglow of the decadent meal you enjoyed the night before!
  6. Burns Road’s Food Fest
    burns road 2

    If there aren’t enough weddings this month and you’re craving some traditional Pakistani food, then Burns Road is the place to be. It’s cramped for space and you can never find a place to park, but that just adds to the whole experience of eating there! Make it an adventure; park the car far away from your destination, walk down the road and eat at the restaurant instead of inside your car! It feels great, you’ll see.
  7. Then there’s always Pizza
    pizza

    When all else fails, order Pizza! I’ve had great experience with Dominos and Broadway and I can always count on them to deliver hot and cheesy pizzas on time! And what can be better than a hot pizza with a delicious movie?

So this weekend make plans to try something new and share your experiences!