Book Review: Stephenie Meyer


If you are a fan of Twilight series and curious about Stephenie Meyer and how she came up with the idea of her novel. This book is for you.

This book also saves your time because a lot of things which have been mentioned in the book are taken from Meyer’s interviews. The chapter, where author mentioned about Forks where the protagonists of Twilight lived, is interesting. One of the best part is to know about the creative toil Meyer has to go through before becoming an accomplished novelist.

The downside of the book is its contradictions, incoherent lines and weak sentence structure. At times, it was boring and I had to skip a few pages to finish it off. There was also repetition which kind of ticked me off.

The author of this book, Marc Shapiro, who is known for writing biographies including the New York Times bestselling J.K Rowling: The Wizard behind Harry Porter, has not done a good job for this one.

It is disappointing and therefore I rate this book 2/5.


In Memory Of A Parsi Philanthropist



Located in Karachi, Jamshed Road was established in 1922. Stretching between M.A. Jinnah Road and Jail Road, most of the houses that once stood on Jamshed Road have been demolished and replaced by high-rise apartment complexes and commercial enterprises, such as auto repair workshops, banks and grocery stores.

Jamshed Road is named after Jamshed Nusserwanjee, a prominent Parsi philanthropist of his time. Fondly known as ‘the Builder of Modern Karachi’ Nusserwanjee was the first mayor of Karachi and the president of Karachi Municipality where he served for 12 years and transformed the city into a great and important metropolis. He also developed a first cooperative housing society (known as Jamshed Quarters) which is located there, catering to the city’s growing middle class. What is more is that he was a close friend of Mr Jinnah.

Jamshed 2As you drive down Jamshed Road, you will see remnants of small houses built in classic British colonial architecture. Not only that, once you step off the road, you will see quarter-like houses that were once used by the officers and government employees in the Raj period, one of them is known as 1865, which according to the residents, was used as a storage place for arms and ammunition by the British army .

jamshed-1.jpgJamshed Road is home to a string of desi cuisine, which offers biryani, haleem, nihari as well as samosas and pakorays. A few bakeries are also located there for lovers of all things sweet. Recreational avenues are limited to a few parks. However, if you go to the adjacent M.A. Jinnah Road there you will find several parks, educational institutions, healthcare facilities as well as shopping and recreational avenues, in addition to the well-known iconic Quaid’s mausoleum, Islamia College and TDF Ghar.

Although traffic, hustle bustle and rapid commercialisation can take its toll, Jamshed Road still retains its old-world charm.

A Popular Cultural Hotspot In Karachi


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If you want to experience a bit about the culture of old Karachi, consider heading to the Dawood Foundation Ghar located on M. A. Jinnah Road. This period house, built in 1930, was owned by a Hindu woman, Haribai Motiram, who sold it to Hanifabai Haji Gani (the founder of Hanifa Bai Hajiani Government Girls Secondary School) in 1948. The house was restored in August 2017 and turned into a public space.

Built on a 709 square-yard plot, the house is designed in a British colonial architectural style. It is a double storey building with six rooms and a rooftop. Painted in warm yellow colour, the house has ornamented columns, eaves and pitched windows. The doors are solid wood, with pigmented concrete tiles and mosaic pattern. tdf ghar 4tdf ghar 6As you enter the house, you see a veranda, covered with fruit trees of badam, imli and champa, and a two-foot projected balcony with curved baluster. From veranda, the door opens to the living room, which is now a museum for antiques artefacts and collectables including a Remington typewriter, vintage bookshelf, rotary dial telephone, an Anglo-Indian vanity dressing table (singhar), high-ceiling fans, chandeliers and chessboards, all this take you back to the pre partition era. The ground floor also has a documentary room where you can see movie clips of an old Karachi.

As you walk out from the living room, you will enter a courtyard where lies a beautifultdf ghar 8 Sehan Café – decorated with lanterns, marble-top tables and Irani bentwood chairs. Previously, it was an empty space used for vocational training for women in early 60s. The café offers chai and light snacks for the visitors, and on weekends serves traditional nashta; it is also an ideal place to enjoy with your friends or read a good book. The courtyard also features a kitchen and a bathroom, and it’s designed similar to the 1930s. Near the café, there is a staircase which displays photographs from the pre partition era. It leads to the first floor which has four rooms, known as Numaish rooms and are used for art exhibitions, workshops and seminars. Along with the museum and café, the most appealing spot of the building is its rooftop, which is embellished with hand-crafted tiles and offers a scenic view of the Quaid’s mausoleum.

TDFNearby TDG Ghar, you can find several amenities such as banks, car showrooms, educational institutes, hospitals and petrol pumps. A few eateries offering desi food also have a presence there for the residents and visitors. Plenty of shopping avenues are located within a 10-minute drive away and include stores that deal in homeware, fabric and furniture.

While this part of Karachi may not be the city’s trendiest, the presence of TDF Ghar makes it well-worth a visit.

Four Tips To Spend Less And Save More!

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Be it education, travelling, shopping or maintaining social lives, people spend more than they make. An increasing number of health experts believe that stress, especially financial stress directly affects people’s health and well-being. As a result, it’s no surprise that spending less and saving more is touted popular resolution this year.

Since 2018 is about to end, here are a four ways that will help you get on track financially:

Creating a budget. It’s important to keep a track of one’s cash flow, which means how much money coming in and going out. If you don’t have a budget, so it’s time to sit down and create a budget and work according to it. Some expenses are constant such as utility bills, groceries and conveyances charges, but there are unforeseen expenses such as wedding gifts or travelling. It is also possible to monitor your monthly and annual spending with the help of several free budgeting apps such as Hysab Kytab: Budgeting Expense and Saving Tracker as well as Moneypad (which can be downloaded on Android or iOS). This will make sure your money goes where you need it, instead of trickling away when you aren’t paying attention.

Shopping frenzy. Overspending is the worst enemy of your monthly budget and savings. The ongoing sale festivals are excellent distracters on a bad day, but these will leave a huge and permanent hole in your pocket. Impulsive shopping will buy you happiness for a limited time, but will deplete you of the most essential resource that can indeed help you on a rainy day. It’s also important to establish a difference between needs and wants during shopping.

Cutting down on eating out. If you are trying to save, dining out every weekend or twice a week will leave you with a zero balance in your account. So from now on, try to dine out just once a month or prepare a lavish meal for your friends and family at home, this is cost-effective and a healthier option. Another way to dine out economically is keep a track of all those eateries that offer family-size and mid-night deals.

Planning for a rainy day.  Medical emergencies, pricey expenditure and inflated utility bills can come at any time in life. After budgeting the daily expenses, keep a certain amount aside for a rainy day. If you have only one source of income, this is the time to make your passion or hobby into a profit. This will help you improve your income but also expand your emergency fund.

Beautify with Bottle Gourd


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Native to Asia and Africa, bottle gourd (colloquially known as lauki) may not be a choice of food for many people due to its bland taste. However, this green vegetable is increasingly gaining popularity among the fitness enthusiasts because of its high fibre content and low calories that help shed a few extra pounds, in addition to myriad health benefits. However, if you think that the bottle gourd is just a nutritional powerhouse, take a look at other benefits this versatile vegetable can provide in terms of beauty and healthcare.

  • Reinvigorates your skin. Prepare a mask by mixing chopped bottle gourd and cucumber with three tablespoons of yoghurt and gram flour; blend into a paste, apply for 20 minutes and then rinse off with water. You can use this face pack up to two times a week; the moisturising properties of vitamin E in this face pack will help remove dead skin cells, white heads and black heads, leaving your skin soft and supple. Also, if you want to remove tan lines and wrinkles, then rub the pulp of bottle gourd in a circular motion on your face and neck and leave it on for a few minutes twice a week.
  • Removes puffiness from your eyes. Take two round slices of refrigerated bottle gourd and place it on your eyes and relax for 20 minutes. Thanks to its high water content, this will help refresh your eyes and reduce the swelling around your eyes.
  • Boosts your hair health. Make a homemade hair pack with handful of chopped bottle gourd, two tablespoons of amla powder and few drops of olive oil and blend into a smooth paste. Apply on your hair strands for 35-40 minutes and then rinse off using regular shampoo. Doing this twice a week will make your hair glossy, strong and dandruff-free.
  • Cures your insomnia. Mix a few drops of bottle gourd juice with sesame oil and massage your scalp with this concoction regularly before going to bed; this will help you sleep better.

Rickshaw for differently abled individuals in Pakistan

Keeping in mind the predicament of people with disabilities, the Network of Organisation Working for People with Disabilities Pakistan (NOWPDP) launched a rickshaw project in first week of June. According to Amin Amir Andani, NOWPDP’s external engagement manager, “the primary objective of this project is to empower the differently abled individuals economically.

With this project, disabled people will be able to earn their own income and not be a burden on their families. Initially, the rickshaw project has started in Karachi and so far, five drivers are inducted by the organisation. Andani added that the organisation plans to hand over 100 more rickshaws to the disabled individuals by the end of this year.

The white retrofitted rickshaws have bird wings painted on the front. The four-seated rickshaws are fitted with a steering handle and they arerickshaw hand-controlled as the control of the gear, clutch and accelerator are all fixed to the steering handle while brake is an elevated lever. Other than that, all of the rickshaws are fitted with microphones, as the network will soon set up a call centre to coordinate between drivers and customers. Trakkar systems have been installed to help inform people at the office about their exact location. Each rickshaw also has a meter and they plan to fix the rates between Rs10 and 12 per kilometre. Andani further said that these retrofitted rickshaws are manufactured by Sazgar, the local rickshaw manufacturing company in Pakistan.

 Imran Ghanchi is the chief driver at NOWPDP who first started driving retrofitted rickshaw in 2012 when the organisation began their pilot project in 2012. It was with the help of polio stricken Ghanchi that the rickshaws were modified in accordance to the needs for the differently abled individuals.

 Before handing over the hand-controlled rickshaws, the organisation has trained individuals for three months. This includes learning about traffic rules and road signs as well as basic automotive repair. Andani is hopeful that these rickshaws will provide a sustainable mobility solution for differently abled individuals in the long run

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.