Home Is Where The Heart Is…

corniche

Corniche, Abu Dhabi (Photo by writer)


It is said that the place where you are born always stay with you no matter where ever you go.

I think it’s true and this I felt when I went to my birth place after seven years. It was like I knew this place and the minute I arrived there; I got connected to everything around me. I felt I have reached home.


 

khaliydiyah

Al Khalidiyah Park (Photo by writer)


The park in the photo is Al Khalidiyah Park, which is in Abu Dhabi. This park has been there for many years. I remember my father used to take me and my sister after coming back from office. I still remember vividly how I and my sister would run on the garden. We would go on slide and see-saw which were the best rides for us in those times.

Fast forward to 2015, I am a grown up person. And I was happy to find a small part of my past in the present. This park, where I had laughed and played, still exists. Now, the play part was replaced by brisk walking and jogging. I spent time with my parents and enjoyed every, single moment over there.

Although I live in Karachi now, the city that has my heart is my birth place — Abu Dhabi.

khalidiyah

Photo by writer

I spent my initial years here, made wonderful and beautiful memories with my loved ones (read cousins), attended Junoon concert for the first time, danced on my cousin’s wedding, had a childhood crush, watched Bollywood movies on cinema, talked about our future plans with my cousins under the blanket, had my Aqiqah (Islamic tradition of the sacrifice of a sheep or goat on the occasion of a child’s birth and distribute the meat to the poor), birthdays and what not…

I bid adieu to my birth place long time but still it haunts me ( in a good way). Abu Dhabi has given me so much more than this which will always stay in my heart till my last breath. It’s goodbye for now till I see you again!

Have you ever felt like this for your birth place? If possible, share it in the comment section.

 

 

Advertisements

What Is So Great About Friday?

masjid nabwi

Photo by the writer

This photo is of Masjid-un-Nabwi in Madina. A place filled with tranquility and calmness. This is the beautiful gate of the mosque. It was a dream comes true when I and my parents prayed our Friday prayer here.

I have always loved Friday, the reason being the blessings which you receive on this day. The day is full of barakah and it only matters if you give importance to this day. I remember when I was in school; Friday was a weekend over here in Pakistan. I would wake up early and after my traditional breakfast of puri (unleavened deep-fried bread, originating from South Asia) and tea, I would take shower before Friday prayer, put on itar (scented perfume), and then I would pray. After prayer, we all would have a grand lunch. Those were good old days…

Now, there is no off on Friday, however, still I wake up early, take shower and then wear my nice clothes to work and I do use itar. This is the ritual I religiously follow even today as well.

For Muslims, Friday is a blessed day and we usually celebrate this day with religious fervour. We make sure to clean up nicely, go to mosque, listen Khutbah (Islamic sermon) and pray Namaz in congregation. It’s good if you also recite Surah Kahf and make sure to perform good deeds for example giving alms to poor and greeting strangers with a smile.

On a side note, do give some time to your parents because they are not getting young and you will regret it once you lose them.

 

Muhammad Junaid: “Love To Engage With People”

This interview I took when I was working in Geo TV in 2012. This interview was posted on Geovision website. I am sharing some chunks of the interview over here for my readers.

muhammad-junaid1Tall and impeccably dressed, he is currently one of the popular faces of Geo News who comes to your living room every other day. He does not like to be called Micheal Jackson, the other reason of fame among his fans for his resemblance to late pop singer. His charismatic persona is felt when he is around, he speaks his mind and inspires you by his eloquent speech. In the race of broadcasters, Muhammad Junaid is a breath of fresh air!

Born in Lahore, with a graduation degree in Journalism and Political Science, later trained by veteran broadcaster Poonam Sharma, Junaid joined Geo News on October 2009 after which there was no looking back. His potential to put on a congenial appearance even while reading heart-wrenching news is commendable. In short span of time, he has already proved himself by achieving a place in some of the top-notch news-casters.

Geo Vision provides you an opportunity to know more closely about your favorite news-anchor Muhammad Junaid who is in his own words; ‘love to relate with people’

Madiha Akhtar: Why you choose to be a news anchor?
Muhammad Junaid: It was coincidence or it was destined to be; but I love to connect with people and my job defines who I am.

MA: How did you enter the field of news anchoring?
MJ:
After my studies, I joined the field as Associate Producer but it was actually a screen test that turned out to be a path changer in my career. During training period, it was Poonam Sharma, who discovered my talent of an anchor and rest is just history.

MA: According to you, 3 qualities that are needed to become a successful news anchor?
MJ:
For me, they are (a) Sound knowledge (b) confidence and (c) ability to face the challenge.

MA: Do you think that looks are given more importance than knowledge for being an anchor…your take?
MJ:
I do not find myself good-looking, but that does not matter a bit because my job is to speak and speak well! It used to happen previously but in the recent times, you cannot be a news-anchor if you have no knowledge. It’s important for a broadcaster to have a worldwide awareness and of course know-how of the past events for the reference. The trend has changed with the challenges associated and if one only relies on looks, they will not be able to survive for long in the field.

junaid 1MA: Who is your inspiration in anchoring?
MJ:
Anderson Cooper, Riz Khan and from Pakistan, Talat Hussain all the way! These are some of the anchors that have inspired me.

MA: Give one positive and negative point of being a news anchor?
MJ:
For me, the positive point is that I can relate to people and my journalism is actually a way to connect with the masses. The drawback is to deliver news that people do not like to listen as it’s painful for instance suicide bombing, killing etcetera, though they don’t know that sometimes it is hard for me as well to read but I have to deliver no matter what are the circumstances because at the end of the day this is my job!

MA: While doing live bulletins, did you face any mishap?
MJ:
Yes, there was one such blunder which was embarrassing. I had to talk to former DG ISPR to gather information on any incident, during the call; I made a grave mistake of fumbling the DG rank. He was actually a Major General and instead I was calling him Major for 3 to 4 times which my control room also noted.

MA: Your most memorable moment while doing news bulletin?
MJ:
‘Long March of Lawyers’ in 2009 was one such coverage that I felt proud to lead. I was appreciated for my work and it was a day of achievement—one of the best moments which still lingers in my mind.

MA: Any news that made you speechless or gave goose bumps? How did you recover yourself?
MJ:
Nothing, so far but there was one time when I had a lack of concentration while I was giving the details of some survey; I felt really bad because I was unable to say anything and my job is to speak otherwise you are kicked out.

junaid 2

MA: What has been your favorite news that made your day?
MJ:
When Nasim Hameed, a Pakistani athlete won the title of fastest runner in South Asia, it was just great feeling.

MA: In our present lot of politicians, who do you think is the rational one?
MJ:
I can’t comment.

MA: Other than you, who is your favorite anchor in Geo TV?
MJ:
Danish Anis Sheikh.

MA: Are you a planner? What goals you want to set now?
MJ:
I do make plans, I think where I am today is just a starting point and my aim is to excel in field of broadcasting. Moreover, I want to earn respect through my profession and also want to be known as authentic journalist.

MA: How is your experience working with Geo till yet?
MJ:
One of the best experiences of my life, where I have learned a lot by facing challenges and major happenings that has been great so far.

MA: To your fans, what you want to say?
MJ:
Believe in yourself, never try to be over-confident and over-ambitious because humility is one of the keys to success.

 

Shopping, Food And Much More…

block 13 d 1

Photo by White Star

Accessible via Allama Shabbir Usmani Road, Block 13-D, Gulshan-e-Iqbal was established in the early 1970s. Over the years, the block has evolved from a sparsely populated residential area to a hub of commercial activity.

Thinking about jazzing up your home, consider heading to Block 13-D where several furniture and home stores are located. There you can find a wide range of dining tables, bookshelves, jhoolas, bed sets, vanity tables and cupboards. Not to mention, these furniture are also made-to-order.

One of the main attractions of these stores is the fact they offer reasonably priced wedding package deals for bridal furniture bedroom set – an ideal offer for newly married couples.

Other than furniture, you can also find a wide variety of stores dealing in curtains, carpets and mirrors to spruce up your home and that too on a budget.

There is plenty of choice in and around the neighbourhood when it comes to satisfying the appetite. For desi treats, head to Kashif Foods, Meerath Kabab, Baba Biryani Restaurant and Al-Shaikh Restaurant where you can devour kabab parathas, biryani, haleem, chicken tikka, gola kababas and paratha rolls.

Block 13 D.JPG

For fast food lovers, Pizza Point and Burger Lab are the go-to places where you can feast on delicious, juicy burgers and hot piping pizzas. And for those with a sweet tooth, a stop at Delhi Sweet Bakery is a must and grabs some fresh mithai, cakes and pastries on the go.

Walking through the neighbourhood, you will note the presence of well-maintained houses that have stood there for decades. Most of the houses located on the main road are increasingly repurposed and serve as commercial enterprises. An increasing number of banks, mosques, schools and wedding halls can also be found there, adding to the area’s appeal. Several grocery stores are located there, and cater residents’ daily requirements.

A few parks are also located in the vicinity where you can take a stroll or do mornings jog. In addition, Aladin Amusement Park, a popular recreational spot, is also few minutes’ drive away, where you can go with friends and family and enjoy rides on merry-go-round, ferris wheel, free fall, discovery, UFO ride, skater, bullet train, chairlift and many more.

If you are planning to buy a house in this area, do not give a second thought because this block has everything under the sun, be it parks, shops or eateries.

 

Book Review: Typically Tanya

typically tanya

Photo by the writer

While attending the Karachi book fair in December 2018, I went to one of the book stalls. There I saw a book with yellow bright cover and a girl with red shades and fonts, and I instantly decided to buy the novel.

Coming back from the book fair, I began reading this novel but then I shelved it because I didn’t find it interesting. At that time, I was only five pages in and I got bored. However, last weekend, I picked this novel again and honestly I finished it in one go. With few more pages in, the story starts making sense and believe it or not, I actually find it interesting.

To be fair, the story paints a dysfunctional setup which is why I decided to try it one more time. Living in Karachi and being a journalism student myself, it was nice to read about the other side of the bridge, which is surreptitious.

Taha Kehar, an author and journalist, is based in Karachi. Typically Tanya is his second work of fiction. The first I haven’t read it, but this novel revolves around young journalist Tanya Shaukat who is juggling her way through career, love, friends and family in a metropolitan city of Karachi.

typically tanya 1

Photo by the writer

She works in Karachi’s Daily Image newspaper as a sub editor. Her work requires her to edit the news reports filed by journalists or emailed by independent news agencies. She also writes and covers events which is assigned to her by her sleazy city editor Hassan. She is friends with Sonia and Hafiz. There are few tiny problems with her friends; her friend Sonia’s shaadi is called off and partly she blames Tanya for this as the protagonist got intimate with Sonia’s ex fiancé Saad in a drunken state. Whereas, Hafiz is someone who likes her but he is confused in his own emotions.

I also liked how Tanya’s relationship with Khirad (her colleague) developed. Though they are contemporaries, they understand each other very well, more than her friends.  Tanya’s mother is also lovable as she is full of drama and fun.

While reading this story, I felt that the writing is somewhat inspired by Saba Imtiaz’s Karachi You are Killing Me and Moni Mohsin. I like the way Kehar depicts a realistic picture about relationships, friends and workplace. The author has touched a few topics for example workplace harassment by the boss and how Tanya quits; media rule by male dominated scums, a gay man marrying to a woman because of family pressure; the blind love of Insafian for his party, and several others.

The writing is crisp and riveting which do not let you put down the book. Kehar’s knack of describing the mundane routine is exciting and funny. This book is a light read and for all those looking for something to take their minds off for a while, this one will surely not disappoint you.

I will rate this novel 3.5/5.

Book Review: I Have Lost My Way

i have lost my way

Photo by the writer

“They maybe complete strangers, with different lives and different problems, but there in that examination room they are measuring sadness the same way. They are measuring it in loss.”

The excerpt is taken from Gayle Forman’s latest novel ‘I have lost my way’. The novel is about friendships, taking chances and transforming your loss into your gain.

Has it ever happened with you that you are lost? By lost I don’t mean you lose your way to home; what I mean is that you are lost, you are at crossroads where you don’t know where to go from here. You are standing at the tipping point and you need a clue or hint from anyone any where so that you can find your pathway.

The story revolves around three young adults, Freya, Nathaniel and Harun, who have never met, find themselves in the same spot, connected to one accident in a park in New York City.  Even though they belong  from different backgrounds, different families and different lives; the only link that join them together is the quest for their identity and be content with who they are.

Freya, an up-and-coming singer, is hurt because she has lost her voice. She didn’t know what to do because this is the only thing she is good at. Harun has lost the love of his life. Nathaniel has lost the most important person to him, his father.

What is the instant connection is that all three are going through the grief in their lives. But there is also sense of fear in all of them. Freya is scared that what if she can never sing and she may lose her fans which she gains in a short time period. Harun is devoted to his family but feels the need to run away to be who he truly is, and Nathaniel has lived his whole life alone with his (mentally unstable) father who due to overdosing lost his life. He is here in New York all alone with a secret which I cannot share as it will reveal the end of the story.

The story takes place over the course of one day and is broken up with flashbacks that reveal how three teenagers have all lost something important to them. All three meet by coincidence, but they understand each other so well. And in a one day span, they have become each other’s strength; and a lighting guide for each other to help find their lost path.

I also like the diversity in the characters. Freya is a half-Ethiopian girl who has a complex relationship with her older sister, Sabrina. Harun, a Pakistani boy, is figuring out how to reconcile his sexuality with his family’s religion. He’s expected to marry a Muslim girl, but Harun is hopelessly in love with his ex-boyfriend, James. Nathaniel is blind in one eye and struggling with depression after his father’s death. All his life, Nathaniel has coped with his father’s strange childlike tendencies: his inability to live in reality and his insistence that they are a ‘fellowship of two like Frodo and Sam’ in The Lord of the Rings.

I finished this novel in two sittings and though it is slow at the start, it gains its pace after few pages. This is the first time I have read Gayle Forman and I would say she writes very well. Forman has touched on human emotion and connection; her writing is lyrical and riveting which keeps one hooked to the novel till the last page. Although this story targets young adults, I am sure young minds will love this novel and probably few adults like me as well.

I will rate this novel 3.5/5.

 

 

 

Movie Review: Pakistan’s Motorcycle Girl

motorcycle girlRecently, I got an opportunity to watch Pakistani movie ‘Motorcycle Girl’, which was released last year in April.

As the movie started, it was mentioned that the film is inspired by true events. Therefore saying that the movie was based on a young girl Zenith Irfan who made a record of travelling the dangerous terrains of Pakistan was not right. True that the movie’s protagonist name was Zenith but this movie was not only about her story. It was actually the story of every girl who wants to achieve something in their life and lives according to their own will. Zenith is played by Sohai. Zenith lives with her widowed mother and brother. She works in a service agency and her life revolves around home, job and her responsibilities.

What piques my interest is that the director And writer Adnan Sarwar has shown an ordinary girl who loves to live on her own terms but every day she is faced by challenges such as lecherous van wala who loves to annoy girls in her van, gender disparity at her workplace, marriage, and the most famous line log kya kehenge!

motorcycle girl 1

The reason she learns to drive a motorcycle in the movie is that she wants to avoid daily rebukes from her boss for being late. However, this is not digestible for her company. To add to her dismay, her boss takes away her idea and gives it to her colleague. She has a certain liking towards him but he makes her fun. This all breaks her and she decides to go for engagement with Zaffar (who was her dadi‘s favourite). And then she asks him to let her go for a trip to Khunjerab as she wants to fulfill her deceased father’s dream. After much deliberation, he lets her go. And then the journey starts. On her way, her mind changes. She becomes a different person.

I was impressed by the beautiful shots from Lahore to Khunjerab and exceptional acting of Sohai Abro . Despite few flaws, I got connected with the first scene. The emotions were beautiful and I also got teary-eyed on few scenes especially of father daughter relation. I think every girl should watch this movie because it shows that you can break the shackles and do anything only if you overcome your inner fear.

I rate this movie 3/5.