Archive | Literature

Persistence of Memory

Posted on 07 July 2010 by .

I think, I live, I remember. Remembrance of pain and love. Of loving and not loving. Memory is like a maze. I run in all directions to find a way out. A labyrinth of past dreams. False memories. False desires…. I try to find pebbles that I recognize. Fragments of my own thoughts. But my own memory deceives me.

Sometimes I feel that I carry my dreams with my being. I walk with their burden and I melt with the heat of pain… Pain oozing through my own failures.. Slight redundant forgotten pain… But hot like a glass out of furnace ready to be shaped into a vase…

In those moments I am not me. I transform into an ancient monster of my older self. In those seldom minutes I try to shrink into my older self and wear the cloak of forgotten values. I knock on the doors of silent chambers to speak the obsolete words eaten by my present world. And then I remember her.

She is still here, in present, in my world. But she is no more what she used to be. The tale is before we ceased to forget the ties. Before we became what we are today. Before the hate and the malice. The fight and the anger. The story belongs to the age where laughter resembled the bells in the old temples of desire. In those days she was still magical, still her, still charming..

We would sit in redundant moments to nibble crumbs of knowledge. She would paint and I would watch. I would talk and she would listen. Stories of unknown lands.

She grew up in another age. Age where repression had a definition. Age where things were still black and white . Not like those colored lines on her canvas merging into indefinable colors. Colors without names and words. Shapes that cease to be shapes, senseless like water moving around a body still waiting to be formed. In those days painting was a crime. Painting what she paints. She paints desire on the canvas. Nude, alive desire. Now, we don’t sentence artists we just move them more towards the edge of the society.

She married well. Her husband was rich and ugly. Old money. He had an ugliness about him. A protruding stomach and a black soul. She abhorred both . His soul as well as his body. He was unable to fulfill the word desire. So she would sit and paint. She would paint those shapeless shapes. Before she painted me..

You are not Klimnt I had joked before she asked me to remove the last piece of clothing. I sat there in front of her aisle. Naked ..shameful and conscious. It was the first time that I noticed the black mole on the side of my hip. She painted it.That day I found a new me. A different me. It was like a golden revealing light that enters your own darkness. And you can look at yourself with another eye.

Shame .Guilt. Anger….

I felt cold, exposed and weak.. As if I were the glass doll and she would crack me with one stroke of her brush. I looked and smiled.

Her studio was our escape. She painted me red, she painted me pink and she painted me black..

I was mother, daughter and lover all at one time, she would remove each piece, paint me and bathe me..

Like a newborn still waiting to be shaped…

Before.. just before … that kiss…

It was still dawn. I was still covered. She moved looked into my eyes and pressed her lips against mine.

And then at that moment I broke into a thousand small pieces of glass on her studio floor.

Now she exists in present as only her and I exist in memory as me..

I lost myself that morning…Me ..I … Her…

I melted into some one else… Another being another person. Another life. I became her… And Then I became no one…

Now …nothing exist .. Except the persistence of our memories…

Author: Sarah Zahid

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This Article is Really Gay

Posted on 07 July 2010 by .

“Homosexuality is a very touchy subject, one that is especially taboo in the South Asian community.”- Really? I didn’t know that! Thank you for opening my eyes to this new and interesting fact Captain Obvious! Hey Billal, I just wanted to return the favor and let you know that the sky is blue, the sun is yellow, and Old Navy has great deals going on right now on all summer clothing. (I bought some really nice V-necks only $6.00).

ALRITE! I get it; maybe my point is a bit obvious, but I can assure you the rest of my article won’t be as predictable…BANANA! (It’s a start).  A great number of people think that homosexuality doesn’t exist, or that it’s some kind of disease. Many Republicans assume homosexuality is apart of a communist plot to destabilize America so Obama and the Arabs can take over. Well I’m here to debunk and dissect the false notions people hold about homosexuals, and homosexuality.

My friend Jasdeep uses the word “gay” as a negative synonym all the time, “that test was so gay”, “this pop-corn tastes gay”, “I wear glasses because my eyes are gay”, “I think that dude kissing that other dude might be gay”. Well, he might have a point on the last one, but you see the pattern. If I went to an online Thesaurus, typed in “gay” and hit search, here is what I would NOT find:

“Main Entry: gay

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: homosexual

Synonyms: difficulty (usually with tests), myopia (near sightedness), hyperopia (far sightedness), salty/unsalted (usually pertaining to popcorn)”

It’s so saddening how some people lack the intellectual capacity to use the appropriate word(s) to express their distaste. I swear to god, those people are so RETARDED!

Many people are under the impression that homosexuality is unnatural and thus should not be common in nature. There are many gay animals in the animal kingdom; I know what your thinking, the PEACOCK! And the FLAMINGO! You would think so, but apparently not. The dolphin (aka the gay shark) has been reported to participate in homosexual sex as well was non-reproductive sex. Many apes, including the famed Bonobo also regularly engage in homosexual sex. I bring up the example of animals because the same people who used to argue, “It doesn’t happen in nature” are now saying, “Well, we’re not animals”. That is completely untrue, we are animals, in fact we are the smartest animals on this planet. We as humans are so smart that we have the ability to make the irrational, rational. Tell me, when is the last time you heard of a homophobic dolphin?

Many also believe that homosexuality is a disease or sickness; these people are known collectively as “idiots”. To prove my point you can run a very simple test. Here’s one method; you miss a really big exam, and then you tell your Professor that the day prior to the exam you fell terribly Gay. While at the YMCA, Steven (a homosexual) sneezed on you, and his gay germs entered your straight body thus making you gay as well (temporarily of course). You spent the entire night prior to the exam walking a small dog, getting a $60.00 hair cut, and watching Lipstick Jungle (I did a google search, apparently they love it). But after 2 days, presumably the regular healing period, you feel fine. You then hand your Professor a Doctor’s note saying: Please excuse your name here; he/she was unable to write their exam due to “temporary acute homosexualitis” the main symptom of which is being fabulous (obviously). Now, if I was the Professor, I would pat you on the back and express my admiration for your courage, and bravery. There are indeed very few people in this world that would dare to publicly prove their stupidity in such concrete terms. To be fair, I say all this as a man who’s missed an exam, and has had to have a very long and awkward talk with the University councilor and the Dean.

My awkward life aside, many people (not just idiots) feel homosexuality is unnatural, and conversely many feel the same way about homophobia. It is very easy to demonize something you don’t fully understand, particularly something, which you feel, is so different, it borders on deviancy. Now I’m not here to preach at you, or force you to accept homosexuality as a norm. But what I would like to say to you is be a free thinker and don’t blindly accept the views of others as your own. Think independently, look at the facts, use your brain, and remember at the end of the day, these are human beings. As my friend Jasdeep would say, “Man, sometimes homophobia can be so gay.”


Where you can criticize, criticize, criticize, or compliment Billal. (That should be about the right ratio)

If you are a homosexual and you are going through a hard time, this site may help:

Author: Billal Sarwar

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Diversity is a Chinese Lesbian Wearing a Sari

Posted on 30 June 2010 by . defines “diversity” as the state or fact of being…blah, blah, blah. Who cares! I mean really! What kind of Canadian, especially a Torontonian goes to an online dictionary to find out the meaning of diversity? Scratch that, what kind of person in general starts anything off with, “The dictionary defines_______ as…” How little must these people know about their topics? I don’t need a dictionary to define diversity, in the same way I don’t need a dictionary to define a wedding or funeral. I know what these things are, I’ve experienced them, and some ten-word entry in an online dictionary isn’t going to change the way I feel. So I say f*** the mechanical definitions of the online dictionary, because this is what diversity means to me.

One of my friends asked me something interesting the other day, “YO B-LAL, is diversity a positive or negative thing?” Well, I replied, firstly it’s pronounced “bil-al”, and secondly, I’m not sure. It’s a strange question, sort of like asking if a chair is a positive or negative thing. Well, I guess sitting on a chair is quite nice, but getting beaten with one isn’t too much fun. Essentially, that means that the answer is your choice, the glass can be half empty or half full. Of course many people feel that their native culture is being diluted, and slowly slipping out of their grasp. They struggle to hold on to their traditions, and a way of life that was once familiar. What some of these people don’t understand is that even culture is time sensitive. The country you left 20 years ago is not the same country you will find today; things change, people change, and the world changes. And now I’m changing paragraphs.

So, am I saying that the people who stringently try to preserve their culture are doing wrong? Of course not, there is nothing wrong with trying to preserve your native culture. It’s the closest thing you have to being back home, or rather I should say the place you grew up. It’s something you want to show your children, “This is where I came from, this is a tiny bit of the life I used to have before I came to this country”. In a world that I feel is slowly becoming homogenized by globalization, it’s nice to know we have people who are fighting back against the Coco-Cola takeover. It’s because of people like this we have places like Chinatown, Kensington Market, and of course Little India (also my hip-hop name). These people, inadvertently (or not) contributed greatly to the diversity of Toronto, and Canada by first serving a community that was a home away from home.

Unlike the people I’ve discussed above, I’m not really a “conserver” of the culture; I’m the product of a new one. As the title of the paper suggests, I’m the “generation next.” I’m the Pakistani with chopsticks dipping samosas into wasabi. I grew up in diversity referring to it as normality, as is often the case. I guess the greatest advantage of this upbringing is that you begin to forget about the ethnicity of other people; it’s simply not something you consciously think about. To someone who was raised in diversity, race is simply subtext. One of my best friends is a Vietnamese guy named Tinh. When ever we go to lunch or visit each other I never think “this guy is Asian” even though he is. In my head, he’s just my friend Tinh. Of course this isn’t to say race is invisible, it stares you right in the face. From time to time Tinh and I will ask each other about our cultural customs, or practices. But for the most part we throw jokes at each other that acknowledge our ethnic minority-ism.  For example, yesterday I went to chill with Tinh and we ate some pizza.

Tinh: Why are you people always late? What happened this time, did you get a hole in the magic flying carpet?

Billal: Why are you always so early? This is two friends having lunch, not a corporate Japanese business meeting. Also, I’m not sure an Asian guy should be making driving jokes, no matter what the vehicle.

And then we laugh, unless someone takes it too far in which case we continue to eat in awkward, racist silence.

Ethnicity is what we commonly associate with diversity, which is of course true, but not all encompassing. While exploring Toronto I visited Church and Wellesley which is Toronto’s LGBT-oriented community. If you’re still not sure what I’m talking about, this neighborhood is also known as: the Gay Ghetto, the Gay village (which makes the residents village people), and my personal favorite, the Gaybourhood. Not to stereotype homosexuals, but the place looked fabulous. Also, I’ve never felt so attractive in my life, granted I was hit on by men and I’m straight, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right? It’s like the old saying goes; all the good ones are either taken, gay, or write for the South Asian Generation Next.

In essence, a true Canadian knows that diversity is the act of simultaneously being different, equal, and united. Diversity isn’t just watching both Hollywood and Bollywood movies. Diversity is Chinese lesbians wearing saris, and South Asians eating with chopsticks. It’s about making pizzas out of roti (don’t pretend like you haven’t tried), and dipping samosas into wasabi. It’s about participating, while allowing others to participate, and conserving, while at the same time changing. It’s about knowing that we are all Canadians and privileged to be so. Happy Birthday Canada!

Email: where you can send a diversity of compliments and complaints.

Author:Billal M. Sarwar

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FIFA: On the Field of Battle

Posted on 16 June 2010 by .

It’s that time of year again, when the city fills with so many flags you would think we had just turned into our very own UN. But don’t worry, this article isn’t about the boring UN, it’s about soccer, a much more admired international institution. Many people have said that if women ruled the world, there would be no wars. Opposingly, if I ruled the world there WOULD be wars. These wars would be fought on a soccer pitch, not a battlefield, using players instead of soldiers, and ball instead of bombs and guns.

And you know what? It seems that the world is catching up to my humanitarian level of conflict resolution; sort of… We haven’t stopped battling globally, BUT it does seem that FIFA is taking into account global turmoil/economics when devising which teams may face each other.

If you notice Japan and South Korea have been separated from North Korea possibly due to their conflicting pasts, and sadly present. However, the dispersal of the Asian teams may also reflect a need to keep the Asian Fifa market running. Kim Jong Il, the North Korean dictator/crazy person had announced that prior to the world cup he would only inform his citizens (prisoners) of Korea’s victories. If you’re a little bit confused about what I just said then you may not know that outside communication (internet, international newspapers) are banned in North Korea. It’s a shame North Korea ended up in the hardest group possible. It looks like Kim Jong Il will just have to tell his people that the World Cup was cancelled this year.

Also notice that all the African countries have been dispersed so they do not face one another. The logic behind this move is more economical than political. The host nation is African (South Africa), therefore Fifa wants to make sure all African teams have an edge in making in to the round of sixteen. Since inter-African travel is obviously cheaper than international travel, you are bound to make a higher profit from the Africans; this would be on top of other sales.  And let me tell you there definitely will be an African team in the round of sixteen; South Africa (host nation). As far as I know, in the history of Fifa the host nation has NEVER failed to advance to the round of sixteen (gamblers tip). Obviously this is another way to not only make sure local excitement for the cup stays high, but also to turn a higher profit and obviously boost the economy, although I’m sure how much Fifa cares about that.

But it looks like as South Asian’s we have been left out of all the fun; we’re on the sidelines and not in the arena where we belong. So, since there are no South Asian teams, which countries do we as South Asians support? The answer, as I have found is pretty eclectic. I support England, my cousin supports Germany, my brother likes Nigeria, and my friends would prefer South Africa, Cameroon or Ghana to win the cup. But let’s say, hypothetically, that a South Asian team did make it into the world cup. How would the rest of us feel? Would we support them, feel indifference, or want them to fail? As an Indian how would you feel if Pakistan got into the world cup and started parading around with their flags and honking their horns every time they won a match? Now my guess is you would say you’re indifferent. But come on, your only human, after you hear a car horn paired with a Pakistani flag enough times classical condition sets in, and you get annoyed. And really, why shouldn’t you? The countries of South Asia have a moderately conflicting past to say the least. But in the world cup “South Asia” doesn’t exist, it’s all about the individual country. No one ever cheers for the country right beside their own. Ireland won’t support England, Canada won’t support the USA, and India wouldn’t support Pakistan. To an extent the World cup is about National pride, and there is no way any country would ever support their biggest rival; and that’s fine.

In war, and in soccer, the only way you will ever unite two conflicting forces is to find a common enemy. And to that extent I hope one day that every single South Asian team does make it into the world cup. I would go a step further and say I would like us all to play as one team; “South-Asia United”. But most of all, it would be my preference to solve our problems on a field without guns and bombs. South Asia is 20% of the world’s population and 0% represented the world cup; that needs to change. Let’s put down the cricket bats, and use them as goal posts. It’s our time to take the stage.

Author: : BIlal Sarwer , I like compliments and complaints; maybe you can combine the 2 and tell me how good I am at being terrible.

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The worst wedding speech EVER!

Posted on 09 June 2010 by .

Ali and John have been best friends ever since college. Five years later Ali met Zarah and they decided to get married. John was asked by Ali to give a speech at this Pakistani wedding. John doesn’t bother doing his research or preparing because he figures he’s got this thing on lock down. What ensues is the worst best man speech ever given at a Desi wedding. Enjoy.

Aslamalakium you terrorists and women of oppression, haha, only kidding. I’m John, Ali’s best friend, and I will be your white infidel speaker for this evening. I would ask that you all please hold your applause and celebratory AK47 gunfire until after I’ve finished my speech. Remember to switch off your cell phones and detonators; we don’t want either going off and interrupting the wedding; I’m looking at you guy in the turban [points at the Imam]. Now when Ali told me he was marrying Zarah I was surprised. I thought these things were usually arranged, or at least there was some exchange of cattle and spices, but apparently not. Ali and Zarah have chosen to marry each other under the modern western principles of compatible income and similar attractiveness; “love” as they call it. When Ali first met Zarah he told me that she had the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen. [Crowd goes “awwww”] Ali must be a true gentleman, because I’m looking at Zarah right now, and the 2 spherical objects that pop out to me are definitely not her eyes. [The crowd gasps, except for one uncle who nods his head]

To be honest, I always thought that Ali might be a gay, or as you people would say, “someone who is a bachelor after 30” But then on June 8th, 2005 Ali started dating the most beautiful, funny, intelligent, and charming woman that I have ever met. [Zarah blushes and smiles]. But after Ali dumped that chick, he hooked up with Zarah! [Zarah’s jaw drops].

But enough about the bride, lets talk about the groom. You may not know this but Ali used to be a little bi-curious. But don’t worry Aunties and Uncles, from what I hear he’s satisfied that curiosity [Ali buries his face in his hands.] Now I know that Ali has a certain image in all our eyes. He’s the perfect son, the perfect gentleman, and a devout Muslim. But did you know Ali has a dark side? I’ve seen Ali eat bacon sandwiches, take the prophets name in vein, and do a line of cocaine off an Engineering text book. And let me tell you, that was one of the craziest bachelor parties ever! [Tries to hi5 Ali, who does not respond]

I would just like to say to Ali and Zara, may your marriage last longer than the national average of 7 years, and may your subsequent divorce be quick and painless without the need major legal intervention. Although if things do turn ugly during the settlement, I happen to know a guy who’s really good [Hands a business card to Ali].

Thank you, and stay classy Baghdad!

Author: Billal. M,Email: (I will respond to any questions, comments or proposals of marriage)

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A Damaged Desire

Posted on 02 June 2010 by .

I head out of my lonely apartment. The plant on my dining table is the only other sign of life in that enclosed space, but I like it that way. It’s a shoot dipped in a bottle of water, freeing me of the mundane worry of watering it every day. It just grows and gives me solace when I need it. I leave it there and think of ‘shopping therapy.’

The downtown streets in Toronto are quieter than expected. It’s middle of the afternoon and I love shopping at this hour, very few customers and no waiting lines. I keep on walking down Bloor Street until that Cashmere sweater catches my eye.

I stand outside that window staring at that thin waist, the long neck, and perfect curves, the touch of a smile, that small kissable mouth and those long fingers resting just above the hip. She is just perfect. A perfect doll staring right at me. She doesn’t move and I can admire her for as long as I like. And that Cashmere sweater, white and soft. Reminds me of the clouds that you stare at when flying in an airplane. I want to touch that sweater, or even better, I want it to hug my body.

I step inside the small boutique. The sales girl smiles at me, “Do you need help with anything?”

I want to shout, “Yes, I need help with fixing men. They are all damaged but I don’t know which shop to return them at” but I hold my thoughts back and force to smile as well, “I want that sweater,” I point at the manikin in the window.

“Oh, that’s the last piece left. We are going to have another shipment in about 2 days…” she starts explaining but I am not listening.

“I want THAT sweater,” I point at it again, “Not another one like that but EXACTLY that one.”

She stares at me speechless; scared of the fierce look I have on my face. She moves towards the manikin and after a few minutes of struggle, she hands me the sweater.

I hold it between my fingers. Feeling the soft cashmere, the cable design running from shoulders to the bottom. I admire the perfect cut and the V neckline that would define my shoulders and nicely caress my collarbones. I bring it close to my cheeks and close my eyes while lightly rubbing it across my face. I would have moaned with pleasure when her voice interrupted my thoughts, “The change rooms are that way.”

I follow her to the change rooms and in a few seconds I am staring at this stranger in the mirror wrapped in cashmere. The waist is not thin, the hips are not narrow and the neck is not long. This stranger is voluptuous and round. Curvy but not perfect. I turn slightly trying to have a glimpse of the back. The white cashmere is not hugging this body, it’s suffocating it. The cable design on this cashmere is tying her down, making her a prisoner. I stare at the slight love handles at the top of her hips, and think of the loveless life this stranger has.

I turn around and pull that white cashmere sweater off. I don’t deserve white or do I still? I question my pious nature. I stare at the blue marks on my exposed breasts. Sign of love, remnants of passion, marks of torture or self inflicted punishment? Reminder of a sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare? I just stare and run my fingertips over them. They still ache but not as bad as the heart does, yet I am not dead.

I cover myself, step out and hand that cashmere sweater to the sales girl. “Don’t you want it?” she asks me with a tempting tone.

“Do I?” I ask myself.

I stare at the sweater and I stare at myself. We both look perfect in our own space. I reply in negative, thinking about the image in the mirror.

On my way out, I slightly pause in front of the naked manikin. Her smile doesn’t seem real now. Her eyes are crying and not staring at me. They are staring at those three little child manikins in the window. She is sad, alone and worried. She wants her place in that window back and only the white cashmere can get her that.

I have stripped her naked. Her prefect figure is not admirable without the white cashmere sweater. I can sense her loss and I feel a pang of guilt. I turn slightly and whisper to the manikin, “He’s all yours.”

I step out of the shop and stare at the shining sun and the cloudless blue sky. I am happy that I am not a doll, and I don’t want the cables of that white cashmere to tie me down.

I don’t belong in that window and You are not my white cashmere sweater.

Author:Saniya Zahid

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Curse of a Rational Mind “ Simplifying Complexities or Complicating Simplicities?”

Posted on 26 May 2010 by .

She left his cave silently. As silently as he had brought her in. She couldn’t figure out the reasons for entering into that enclosure. ‘Claustrophobic,’ she remembered that about herself, yet she had walked into that small space, suffocating, closing in, sucking the life out of her.

She felt humiliation, anger, guilt, no desire, and certainly not love; or was it really love and expectations that had stirred those emotions in her soul and made her world go upside down?

She kept on walking, brisk walking, or was she running? In the darks of the night, hiding away from the world or running from her own questioning mind?

She took off her shoulder bag and threw it in no particular direction. It landed at the far end of the road with a thump. She didn’t care; she wanted to get rid of the weight. But was the backpack heavy or was it her conscience weighing heavily down on her?


Dead end.

Heavy breathing, her hands on her knees, bending down, trying to draw the air in, fearing that her life had come to an end.

All her mind could see was the mild street light, elongated shadows, her own sobs, sweat beads dropping on the rough road pavement, the smell of tar, construction, renovation, heavy machine sounds and her desperate tries to draw the air in. Was she drowning?

Her life needed reconstruction like those decade old roads, with potholes and grooves, she needed a touch of tar as well, to fill up those gaps, to reconstruct her damaged self.

She finally looked up, threw her head back, feeling helpless, she shouted out loud, “O Lord! Help this helpless soul!”

Then she laughed, the laugh of a madman. Was there even a god that cared, that listened? She didn’t believe in one.




No path to follow. No road to travel.

Carefree. Wasn’t that how the world referred to the confused like her?

To the ones who had no answers and just questions?

The ones who knew that knowledge was a curse.
The ones who knew that there was no definition of knowing.

The ones who searched for the truth while laughing at the irony of not even knowing what really describes ‘truth.’

What really was ‘reality’? The laws of nature, the physical world or just a mere rational thinking mind? The mind that Descartes argued for.



Churning wheels of the rusted philosophical mind.

Creaking sounds, squeaking louder and louder, production yet no produce.

Isn’t that what a philosophical mind is all about?

It’s active, always, yet there are no apparent results for the world to see, for the capitalists to make money from, for the politicians to chart out rules to follow.

There are no results, for this mind knows not that what results it seeks.

It’s a continuous journey, a never-ending road, with loneliness, no companion and no destination to arrive at.

Her legs gave in, she fell down, and she lied on her back. Staring at the starless night, trying to search for those stars hidden far away, dependent on the light to be visible. The stars that people once believed hold your destiny. If only she believed in one, if only her mind didn’t question ‘determinism’ and ‘free will.’ If only she was ignorant and could follow those black and white rules. If only she could.

She closed her eyes, hoping desperately for the sleep to take over.

Humming away in the middle of the night, begging the wind to bring simplicity back and take away the complexities. She lied there, humming sweetly, dissolving her voice, her spirit, her soul, away in the darks of the night. The darkness she believed would take over everything one day.

If only she knew if time was real or was time another illusion like her philosophy books argued.

If only she could simply feel and not think of the contradictions that drove her to madness.

If only she could know what love was.

If only she didn’t analyze what his touch meant.

If only she wouldn’t have run away, or was it inevitable after all.

If only she could simplify those things or accept them in their complexity.

If only she could…

Author: Saniya Zahid

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My Big Fat Desi WeddingMy Big Fat Desi Wedding

Posted on 26 May 2010 by .

Somewhere in Rawalpindi there is a seven-day affair and you have begun choosing your attire accordingly. It’s your mother’s cousin’s fraternal aunt’s sister in law’s wedding. And suddenly she’s very close family. If you are a local then this is your chance to make your mother’s aunt’s daughter in law’s neighbour’s teenage daughter look bad. Yes, she will be present too. Phone calls will fly across the globe and emails will go faster than CIA can tap them. If you were smarter you may have already searched up the potential groom on facebook. You will take a temporary job as an investigator and dig out the amount of his pay, his employer and maybe even, if he likes Atif Aslam better or Himesh Reshammiya. If he’s an NRP (Non-Resident Pakistani, because we copy everything from India including its terminology) he better prove it with his accent. If he says he’s from Canada but talks like he’s from Australia, he’s really from Sargodha. There will be a manja, at least two dholkis, a mehndi, the niqah, a reception and valima (after reception). There will be relatives from Islamabad flaunting their ‘new’ Deepak Parwani clothes, which have been circulating around the family for the last six months, worn by anyone who will fit. There will be Lahoris who will easily be set apart from the others, because they will not be found in the wedding hall. They’ll be in the food tent. There will be Karachittes who will act like they have arrived from a whole different country altogether. The residents from Defence Housing Authority will be difficult to communicate with, since Urdu and Hindi is still foreign for them. You will have the most trouble telling apart from Quettan guests and peeps from Pakhtoonkhwa (formerly North Frontier). The ones with naswar (local narcotic) and little boys are Pakhtoonis. If you weren’t invited at all, your entire generation has been severely insulted; even if you hadn’t even known the couple existed. By now as days get closer you have harassed your embroidery worker, cursed your jewellery designers and raped your tailor. But everything will be prepared in time, if you’re lucky then two hours prior to the event. The wedding venue will range from Pearl Continental Hotel to tents. The bigger, the better. Here you will meet relatives you never knew existed, and you wonder why in the world so many people have arrived, and so much food, and so much of everything.  Four hours into the wedding you’re hungry. Finally the bride arrives but you fail to recognize her under her makeup. It looks like she got ‘gangbanged by Crayola,’ the old expression comes back. An hour later the groom arrives fresh from Toni’s Hair Salon with arched eyebrows. It turns out he’s your father’s cousins’ husband’s best friend’s younger brother. Just when you were beginning to feel like its 1985 in Ethiopia, the food arrives. Rich in oil and fat but taste, you forget all about your recent commitment to healthy eating. After it is all over, you will have a collection of pictures in different poses, lots of criticism and even a belly pouch.  But most of all you have picked up some wedding tips for yourself, it turns out your mother found you a good rishta at the wedding reception. Now it’s your turn.

Author: Fatima Kazmi

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An Indian Cougar: Rita Sangha

Posted on 19 May 2010 by .

ME-OW! Cougars are attractive older women over the age of 35 who enjoy dating younger men, usually in their 20’s. This kind of dating behavior is becoming more acceptable in North American society; just look at Ashton Kutcher who married Demi Moore. Ashton went from being a single, good-looking, popular movie star, to marrying a woman 15 years his senior with 2 kids. Hey Ashton, life just called: YOU GOT PUNK’D. But on the other hand, Demi got exactly what she wanted; something shiny on the outside and hollow on the inside. Now if you’re an older woman, particularly a South Asian woman, you might be thinking, “BILLAL! I don’t care how empty his head is! I want my very own Shahid Kapoor!”  Well you’re in luck! (although I can’t say the same for Shahid). Forty year old cougar Rita Sangha, through her “cougar camp” teaches older women techniques to attract younger men (“cubs” as she calls them)

But why would an older woman prefer a younger man? According to Rita Sangha, older women are more comfortable with their sexuality, while younger men are better at performing sexually. By that logic one really wonders how older men get younger women, oh wait, that’s right, CASH! Moving on, Rita says that older men are less dynamic, boring, and have a jaded view of life. I’m not a Doctor, but these seem to be the classic symptoms of a condition known as a “marriage”.

Rita stresses these cougar-cub relationships can be more than just a matter of sexual fulfillment, and that some women have actually fallen in love and gotten married to their younger men. Rita says that she herself does not feel her own age, and actually has more in common with a generation 15-20 years younger. Admittedly, she is a serial cougar having dated a number of cubs, the youngest being 17 years old. Seven-teen may seem like a very tender age, but I’m sure this brave youth will recover from the “traumatic” experience.  Most men are offering him their support and condolences in the form of high-fives.

Now I don’t want you to get the wrong impression; Rita is a feminist at heart and sees herself as a role model. You have to keep in mind that the South Asian community is much more accepting of an older man dating a younger woman than the reverse. Due to her strong views and subsequent career path, Rita finds that she is an outcast in her own cultural community. She prefers not to attend South Asian functions as she quickly becomes a negative, albeit popular topic of conversation.

Rita views the trend of older women dating younger men as a shift in gender roles and power. She feels the South Asian community, as well was the community at large are still adjusting to this shift. Rita says she wants to help women realize that they have certain sexual desires, and that these desires are entirely natural. They shouldn’t cause you guilt, and you shouldn’t have to repress them to appease what she calls a “patriarchal society.”

As personal taste goes, Rita prefers NOT to date young South Asian men referring to them as “immature” (keeping in mind this is on top of being in their 20’s and male). As a young South Asian male I was insulted by that comment, however I then reread all the jokes in this article and decided that maybe, just maybe, she had a point.

On a side note, I personally think the word “cougar” is only associated with older, attractive, WHITE women. We as South Asians need our own way of branding older attractive women as predatory felines. I suggest we call South Asian cougars, “Tigers”, although this may cause unnecessary conflict if the “Tiger” in question happens to be Tamil. You generally run into a similar problem when you refer to Black cougars as “Black Panthers”. As for Asians, the term “Asian Cougar” is an oxy-moron as it is a demonstrable scientific fact that Asian people do not age.

Now for what you’ve been waiting for, here are some of Rita Sangha’s patented tips for getting a younger man:

1. Act like a doormat and you’ll end up on the floor. Never call him, never ask to see him, and never say you love him first. It’s essential to make a younger man think you have a busy life even if you don’t.

2. Never mother him.

3. Make the first move. There is no harm in approaching a younger guy in a bar. Why not try this pick-up line: “I think you should ask me out. This is a limited and exclusive offer.”

4. Get in touch with your sexual being. Visit a Sex shop or take up a sexy pastime like pole dancing.

If you would like to learn more about Rita Sangha visit her website, and join her “cougar camp” at:

Contact, criticize, converse, or even compliment Billal M. Sarwar at:

Author: Billal Sarwar

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Jinnah International

Posted on 12 May 2010 by .

At Pearson, Uncle Dardiwala sat with a passenger in the waiting lounge, the mister in an oversized tweed coat and unchi shalwar. Mr. Islamic shalwar sighed “we are forty minutes late for boarding; I hope the plane reaches in time. Uncle Dardiwala joked “array miyan, time chordo plane sahi jaga ponch jaye yahi bardi baat hai!” (Oh mister, forget time, the plane reaches the correct destination, itself is a big thing). I had to laugh with the uncle; travelling alone makes you want some company, however old or odd. Soon, horribly clad green shalwar kameezs with floral mismatched dupattas and caked with red lipstick, aunties greeted us. They showed us to our respective seats.

If your bladder does not cooperate avoid taking the window seats. The menu is a scam. It’s bigger than the illuminati. That over boiled rice and leftover korma pieces is not biriyani. Strange, I was expecting a ‘lohta’ in the washrooms; disappointment. Luggage was not a problem. Once it was, coming back, the conveyer belt came to a halt, cargo was shifted, suitcase by suitcase, manually. There is a very bad collection of movies, and not enough good songs. No stickers or souvenirs. There is gossip, clatter, smelly babies and duas among the plane turbulence. The relaxing chairs will give you osteoporosis if you sit for a few hours longer. When you land, be prepared to walk a mile to customs, see them straighten up as they glance at your blue passport, and wait a lifetime for your bags to come.

Don’t wear skinny jeans and put on your fake Gucci glasses. But when you reach the glass doors, you will feel the heat, smell the earth, and see the very unfamiliar, familiar faces. Welcome home. PIA flight PK 703 has landed in Karachi @ Jinnah International Airport.

Author: Fatima Kazmi

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