Quiet By Day, Bustling By Night

On May 3, 2018, my review of Block 7, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi Pakistan was published in Dawn Newspaper. Below is the article which was printed and also I am adding link of the article as well as the snapshot (if you want to see how this place looks)IMG_20180504_175729

A decade ago, Block 7, Gulshan-e-Iqbal was a quiet neighbourhood characterised by large houses, tree-lined roads and a handful of grocery stores. Over the years, things have changed; plenty of apartment complexes have been established there, in addition to restaurants and commercial pockets.

A serene neighbourhood… If you drive through Block 7, you will see plenty of well-maintained houses built along quiet lanes. Several educational institutions, such as schools and training institutes dot the neighbourhood, as do commercial pockets where grocery stores and banks have a presence. Recreational avenues are limited to a few parks; these include Shaheed Inquilab Family Park, which has walking and jogging tracks, as well as a football pitch. The lesser known Jamshed Ansari Family and Al-Huda Parks are equally popular.

An emerging food street… In addition to apartment buildings, several supermarkets, retail stores and dining avenues have been established along Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani Road recently. Al Jannat Zaiqa and Jan Shinwari Restaurant are the go-to places for desi food such as chicken tikkas, malai boti and karahi. Other popular restaurants include Sizzlers Café & Grill, which is especially well-known for its steaks, burgers and sandwiches, and ChopSoy, which specialises in Chinese food. Several fast-food joints have a presence, including Bovi Chic, KFC and Pizza Hut. Their presence ensures that Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani Road is bustling with activity in the evenings and at night.

The real estate take… Block 7 is completely built-up; vacant plots are not available. Residential property options include apartments and houses. Houses on the main roads are increasingly being repurposed to serve as commercial enterprises such as schools, salons and fitness centres. Commercial property options include standalone shops and retail space in low-rise buildings. Property is in high demand; prices increase by 15 to 18% every year while rentals go up by eight to 10%.

 In a nutshell… Despite increasing commercialisation, Block 7, for the most part, remains a tranquil neighbourhood, mainly because most of the recently established stores and restaurants there are located along the major thoroughfares it is surrounded by.

Link: https://epaper.dawn.com/Advt.php?StoryImage=06_05_2018_808_003

https://epaper.dawn.com/?page=06_05_2018_808

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Meat One Campaign ‘The Meat Experts’

Writing in one of the finest magazines of marketing and advertising, Aurora, has been a great experience. The article which I am sharing here is my second one for the magazine. It is about the campaign that Meat One, the premium brand of Al Shaheer Foods, launched in July, that aimed at repositioning the brand.

Below is the link of my article that I wrote for this campaign. The article is based on an interview with the brand and agency teams.

http://aurora.dawn.com/news/1142377/for-the-love-of-meat-one

 

Desi Beauty Remedies For Hair And Skin

For a glowing skin or lusty hair, go for the desi beauty ingredients.

Ubtan, sandalwood are a few of the ingredients that add radiance on your face.

Amla, reetha and shikakai are best for your hair as it not only makes your hair shiny but also add volume to it

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To read, please click link below:

http://epaper.dawn.com/Advt.php?StoryImage=13_08_2017_816_002

http://epaper.dawn.com/?page=13_08_2017_816

Happy Reading!

Asia’s First Lightweight Formula Racing Car

A group of engineering students from NED University of Science And Technology was awarded the Breakthrough Award at Formula Student Annual Competition 2017. The award was for their formula racing car, which is believed to be Asia’s first lightweight formula racing car.

Here is the link to read more about this car:

http://epaper.dawn.com/Advt.php?StoryImage=20_08_2017_811_001

http://epaper.dawn.com/?page=20_08_2017_811

lightweight car

Tempting Dates Desserts

The lush, dark brown, dates or khajoor, are considered the nutritional powerhouse. Rich in carbohydrates, fibre, potassium and essential vitamins, the dates offer a host of health benefits. The good news is that eating dates daily will help keep your energy level high throughout the day.

Here are three delectable ways to add this miracle fruit to your diet:

Dates and cashew vegan balls. Soak the dried dates (de-seeded) in water for one hour. date-and-cashew-ballsAdd cashew nuts, grated coconut, coconut oil and a pinch of salt to a food processor. Blend into a sticky mixture. Then take small scoops of the mixture on your palms, and roll to form balls. Place these balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate for at least one hour. Serve it chilled. This energy booster is the perfect snack to nibble on in your daily routine.

Date biscuit roll. To make a delicious roll, first add butter to the saucepan and melt it. date.biscuts.rollThen add sugar and de-seeded dates to the butter and cook while stirring, until the glaze has thickened. Turn off the heat, and then add egg and crushed biscuits to the mixture. Shape into a roll and wrap in a foil, and then chill overnight. Slice the roll into small pieces and serve with an ice-cream scoop or with a light drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Date pancakes. If you are tired of eating paratha and omelet in breakfast, go for date pancakes. Mix refined flour with baking powder, sugar and egg yolk. Dilute the mixture date-pancakeswith water to form a thick batter and keep aside for half an hour. Now make small patties with the ground dates. Heat a non-stick pan and drop in two spoonfuls of the batter to form mini pancakes. Place a date patty on one pancake and quickly cover it with the second pancake. Cook till golden brown and then serve it with hot glass of milk chocolate.

 

Karachi Review: A Hustle Bustle Neighbourhood

 

If you want to know about Block-4, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi that is located in Pakistan, so here is the review which I did for Dawn publication

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Book Review: Norwegian Wood

“No truth can cure the sorrow you feel from losing a loved one”

Sad but true!

I have never read a book like this, which is so depressing. The novel is

Norwegian Wood

Photo by writer

about young people who have to deal with vicissitudes of life. It seems that the transition into adulthood seems stressful. It talks about youngsters who fail to make transitions and life takes its toll, forcing them to end their lives.

The story revolves around three main protagonists: Toru Watanabe, Naoko and Midori.

Watanabe was the central character and flipping through the pages of the novel, you come across his emotional tale of growing up, his learning to accept responsibility for his actions and his ability to deal with loss and rejection. He lost his friend Kizuki, who committed suicide in high school. Toru, later on, went to Tokyo to pursue his studies. There he met Naoko (Kizuki’s girlfriend)

Naoko was sensitive and vulnerable, definitely influenced by the people around her. She lost both a sister and her boyfriend Kizuki  as they gave up their lives. Afterwards, she developed a romantic relationship with Toru. However, she knew she has psychological problems, and therefore checked herself into a mountain retreat.

Her letters to Toru was a depiction of sudden enthusiasm of youth, followed by capricious silences and sometimes philosophical musings.

While Toru and Naoko were having a beautiful bond, the complication arouse when Midori stepped in. Midori was the opposite of Naoko, she was outspoken and an optimistic soul. She was audacious to express her fondness for Watanabe.

Delving into Midori’s life, she had her own struggles to face. But she is not a pessimist, and therefore, she refused an easy way out to her struggles. To see her perspective about life, there is one quote which I want to share here:

“You know how they’ve got these cookie assortments, and you like some but you don’t like others? And you eat up all the ones you like, and the only ones left are the ones you don’t like so much? I always think about that when something painful comes up. ‘Now I just have to polish these off, and everything will be OK’. Life is a box of cookies.” 

Other exception was Reiko, an older woman, who became best friend of Naoko in mountain sanatorium. She was the one who gave the kernels of wisdom that Toru gets to keep after all his emotional journey in the novel.

“Death is not the opposite of life but an innate part of life”

The novel is set in Japan in the late 1960s, which were the most politically chaotic period in Japan. Like in USA and Europe, Japan witnessed its share of sexual revolution, radical socialist movements, and anti-Vietnam War protests, etc.

NorwegianThe title of the novel is inspired by The Beatles song ‘Norwegian Wood’. Murakami’s obsession with western classics and music is reflected in the countless references to Beatles numbers like “Yesterday”, “Michelle”, “Something”, Bach, Mozart, Scarlatti and literary works of Joseph Conrad, Fitzgerald, Thomas Mann, Karl Marx and so on.

The novel’s structure looks like reading someone’s personal journal. There are some moments of touching sadness, but that’s all the book is really, just moments of sadness strung together.

This is my first foray to Haruki Murakami’s world, though it is not his best work , however, Murakami’s writing is subtle and beautiful. I am sure that the other book of Murakami (Wind-up Bird Chronicle) in my reading list will be much better than this one.

I rate this novel 4/5