Did someone say Biryani??

24 Oct
After too many good reviews, an article in Express Tribune and then too many tweets referring to that article, I pushed my friends last Sunday to finally eat at BOTS. We reached reading all the rave reviews. Unfortunately the people with me, both of them are not into sea food, which I realized after reaching there. 
The first thing I liked was the real Awami or say dhaba touch of the place. The chairs are set on the pavement, fully loaded with fresh air;) 
We ordered a boneless chicken biryani, Fish fried, chicken malai boti, aaloo dossa. The dossa was the first to come. I did not get to try because I wanted to keep my hunger alive for Biryani:) My friend who ordered liked the taste though but the texture somewhat lacked, to which I reminded that this is BIRYANI of the seas and you should have ordered what the specialty is.

Then came the fried fish-excellent texture, great taste and fresh! The chutneys that came were also perfect.

The biryani-ahhhhh. Though very different from the typical deghi biryani that we get at Student’s or Food Centre, it had a different taste; spicy enough for a jolt to the taste buds. It was fresh as were told it was just brought in right then. Hot and spicy  and of course delicious is the word.

I didn’t feel like trying the malai boti as I got too full of the biryani. Our server did mention that their specialty is the Prawn Biryani. I was also dying to try the Tsunami Prawns but like I wrote; my non-sea-food lover friends!! For sure I will be there with some who have a taste for sea food.

The best of all was as we finished, the owner of the place Syed Ali Raza Abidi, came to us and asked if everything was ok and if we liked the food. Personal touch matters-for sure. All in all a 4.5 score out of 5:) Worth all the reviews and tweets!!

Well I did make a mistake. While I was busy gulping all the biryani and fish in one go, I somehow forgot to click!! And that gives me even more reason to try BOTS again soon, that too for Prawn Biryani;of course photographs too!!


Candle vigil for Malala Yousafzai at Karachi Press club

12 Oct

Don’t wake us up!

11 Oct

Suddenly I see and hear every one talking about Malala Yousufzai.
As per Wikipedia, the dove-eyed Malala Yousafzai is a 14 year old girl, known for her civil right’s activism, especially in the field of women’s rights in the Swat Valley, where the Talibanregime has banned girls from attending school. She was Featured in NewsWeekPakistan’s 100 Women Who Matter in Apr 2012. This beacon of hope was shot in the head and neck on her way back from school on October 9 2012, by unidentified gunmen of Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan.
So is it about a girl being shot? Is it about a 14 year old activist being shot? Is it about someone being shot in Swat? Or is it about someone being shot by TTP?
With all my sympathies and prayers going out to the little girl with a mighty heart, I am yet to discover what all this razzmatazz is about. Of course I am not pointing out to the people who really are concerned for her well being, but come on. It isn’t unexpected. We all knew it was coming, one day or another. The question remains did we do anything to prevent this from happening? OR even more now that its done, has any measure been taken to stop it from happening again? Who should be held responsible- The gun (TTP) or the hands behind the gun (???)
But the story doesn’t actually start from here. It actually started way back, years back, or say ages back. Why go way too far. We still remember Rimsha Masih, a teenage girl who according to reports is suffering from Down’s syndrome and who was arrested by Pakistani police in August 2012 and who could face the death penalty for blasphemy for allegedly desecrating pages of the Quran (or a book containing verses from the Quran) by burning. To me, Hammad Malik and Imam Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti are also Taliban.
Or even closer are the 13 girls declared vani on Monday by a Jirga in Dera Bugti, Balochistan while settling a murder-related conflict between two tribes. Smells like Taliban doesn’t it? 
Laugh out loud… What kind of funny people are we?? For now we are busy making score every minute using the heinous act of attack on Malala. But it wont be long before we’ll forget Malala with the next crisis. Like all issues, it’ll lose the limelight, no lessons learnt! Nothing practical! We are sleeping-Please don’t disturb!!
Its not just Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan. Its basically a mindset in the name of religion; that actually is in contrast to the beautiful religion that we follow. That believes in beheading, killing and oppressing. That believes in forcing, looting, burning and detonating. Some are targeted because they want to learn, and educate themselves. Some because they are Shia or Sunni. Some because they refuse to cover their heads and some for not growing a beard. Some even because they refuse to follow, while some because they want to separate their paths. But majority of those targeted leave this world with only one question in mind: What was my fault? They are the victims of bomb blasts, target killings, blasphemy, drone attacks, vani, karo kari-and thus the one state of mind that rules this Mumlikat e Khudadaad today-The Talibaan state! Welcome to the Talibaan Pakistan!!
Just read this beautiful piece by Mohsin Naqvi. Happy reading!!
Koi sheher aisa basaon main
Meray bas main ho toa kabhi kahin
Koi sheher aisa basaon main
Jahan sach ko sach say ho waasta
Jahan jugnoo-on ko hawa dikhati ho raasta
Jahan chaand maand na ho kabhi
Jahan khusboo-on ko badalti rut se hasad na ho
Jahan khuwab aankhon main jagmagaain toa
Jism o jaan k sab he dareechon main tairgi ka guzar na ho
Koi raat aisi basar na ho
K basher ko apni khabar na ho
Jahan daagh daagh seher na ho
Jahan kashtiyan hon rawaan dawaan,
Toa samandaron main bhanwar na ho
Jahan barg o baar se ajnabi
Koi shaakh koi shajar na ho
Meray bas main ho toa kabhi kahin
Koi sheher aisa basaon main…

Muslims!! Really??

14 Sep

The facts behind the story of the offensive Muhammad movie keep coming out. And so does the violent violent attacks that continues as these lines are written. 

I do not doubt at all the existence of the movie or the intention behind it. I had been on the internet since morning and following all the tweets and Facebook updates. In my utmost anger and frustration, I strongly protest this and any such object that disrespect Islam or any other religion because that is what I’ve been taught as a Muslim. To respect my religion and others as well!

The matter however is of the way in which we protest. The attack on the US embassy in Libya, the further protests in other Muslim countries only have one thing in common: Violence, destruction, reaction! The mere act that identifies our weaknesses showing that we can be toys in any hand. What burning KFC that belongs to a fellow Muslim brother will do any harm to America? Think again!!

I fail to understand. May be because of our weak Iman and lack of education, we Muslims are the easiest to target. Anyone from anywhere can come and ignite us and our emotions in the name of Prophet, Islam, Mosque, Beard, Burqa just anything. Instead of burning our own properties, might as well first strengthen our belief and understanding of Islam. Protesting peacefully is our right….It is our weakness that makes us so defensive and lack of Iman that ignites us so easily. Top it up with lack of education and political benefits and Voila: The perfect recipe for destructive demonstrations by Muslims. Oh the Islamists, the radicals, the fundamentalists, the terrorists. We get these labels out of our own acts. If only we could focus more on being a Muslim first in our own self, just with the basics: offer prayers 5 times a day, offer Zakat, Fast, respect others and then set out to the outside. But the dilemma remains: we have a habit of trying to change the outside world first-that too by force. My beloved Prophet Muhammad did not win hearts of thousands by force. History is a witness. How then in his name can I forcefully make my point clear to the world with violence and destruction?? Change always start from within.

Think and reflect!!

But if you pardon and exonerate and forgive, Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
(Qur’an, 64: 14)

Asad Umar gets emotional for Pakistan – must watch

12 Sep

Living my life…..

12 Sep

As if being in Karachi wasn’t enough, add to it whole lot of food from around the world, bestest of company of people to remember every single moment and gallons of rain-That’s a special magical recipe one could use any time any where to brighten up any day or night.
PIA Boeing at Toronto Pearson International Terminal
I landed in Karachi after 5years 15 days 19 hours amidst scorching sun and humidity levels reaching 36degrees. Everyone before and during my 14 hours long, non stop flight kept trying to convince me that Pakistan specially Karachi is a mess, there is terrorism, there is street crimes, dirt, pollution, no electricity, unimaginable mehngai and what not…and that I am going to run back in maximum a month (Some even called it 10 days)….

Well the moment I landed at Quaid e Azam International Airport, Karachi, my heart skipped a beat. No literally it did! I looked outside the window and it felt like a scene out of the Johnny Depp starrer BLOW where he lands in Mexico for some drug trafficking.(Not that I matched his intentions in anyway:) I was confused-Let me say I wanted to feel at home being back in Karachi, however at the same time I wasn`t sure if I would. 

I got into the line at immigration looking at which I thought it would easily be another hour before I could finally get to the luggage belt. To my relief, I was offered an instant rescue by hiring a porter, who would push, pull, hurt, hit, drag, even slap any one to take me to the front of the row-just so he can get his money fast!!
Swiss Cheese & Mushroom burger at Hardees
Outside, the same sticky humid air hugged me, kissed me…..There is magic in this city…Or may be I only feel so because I have spent my life here….But I know a lot of people, in fact most people, who leave their birth place after ages and live happily ever after in one place or another…..For me, I could never pull myself out of the trance…..I’ve missed Karachi, every single day, that I lived away!
Shahrah e Faisal in rain
 My family told me that today was one of the hottest day after long. Ramadan has been cool and great but just today it was hot-May be it was mother nature’s way of giving me a jolt back to the reality. The moment I reached home, my cell phone started ringing….Yes my local Pakistani number…Thanks to my ever caring friends like Shakila, Sana, Anju, Aquil and my huge family who remembered I was in town now. My FB was also full of messages of those who didn’t have my number. Itni muhabbat aur kahan milegy??

The next day wasn’t any different. I’d planned (yes I really did) to go for some beauty routine-facial, mani and pedicure plus to buy some grocery stuff from the new local chains like Metro or Naheed and also to buy some trendy clothes from Zamzama for Eid.
Steak with Chardonnay sauce at Forty 4
 Not that I failed entirely. I managed to get a facial, reach the nearest Metro for some quick stroll across the aisles and finally picking up a little fight at the checkout counter and thats it. The heat wasn’t letting me move any single step more. So much for Zamzama or even Naheed’s!!

The whole day of Eid was spent confided in a room, with air conditioner and laptop. Thanks to KESC there was no load-shedding that day. The second day came. Barely eaten anything, I was still in the one Pakistani dress my sister got for me. That was the only one that would keep me cool. I waited for a friend to call as an escape-NO CALL!!

And then came the third day-Dressed in a 100% polyester chiffon dress, in full makeup, I landed at one of the Eid dawats at my uncles. By now, I was in full Pakistani swing.Garmi hay toa kia hua??

Today is my 26th day…Ahhhhh really?? My god….I am scared…Why is it passing so fast??? I have had a blast- From shopping at Bahadurabad for clothes to kachchay amrood, from Zahid’s Nihari to Forty 4, from Flamingo’s chaat to dhagay walay kebabs, from shopping in Hyperstar to Imtiaz, from endlessly and aimlessly driving just to stay out a little more, from Ahmer to Shakeela to Urooj to Prof. Moiz; from khala’s, phuphoo’s to tailors, from T20’s thrilling matches to the most beautiful rain in the world, I cant even count it all. The blessings are endless!! The joy is super! 
Crowd cheering in the Cricket stadium

To all those who warned me and still are warning that “Jub tumhari gaari gunpoint per snatch hogy toa pata chlega” (When your car will be snatched at gunpoint, you’ll know) or “Jub traffic main jaogy toa samajh aaega” (When you’ll go out in traffic you’ll know) or “Jub baarish k paani main gaari band hogy toa maza aaega” (When you’ll be stuck in the rain, you’ll enjoy then)-PLEASE STOP!!!
Karachi Beach

I have been driving in this crazy city with the craziest of drivers for about 2 weeks now. I am still fresh. I had a little diarrhea-I’m still energetic. I have been out thrice; I want to make it umpteen; I had been stuck in rain twice; I want more!

Nothing, absolutely nothing in the world can make me not like this city.This city gave me friends, family, education, knowledge, food, money, status, strength, confidence, charm, memories-simply myself!!

Karachi I am in love with you…all over again….

Chocolate Overdose

15 Aug

After two unsuccessful attempts, one because of getting tired after waiting for more than an hour, and second being late the next time assuming the wrong summer hours, I had almost gave up on ever being able to eat the most decadent and rich desserts I’ve had at Demetre’s. Until just yesterday all of a sudden, while planning a dinner, we thought of hitting the place once again.

On a Tuesday evening, the place was packed and we still had to wait a good 15 minutes to be seated. I asked my server to get me the most chocolatey dessert of all. She suggested Tongue Depressor. I would call it Chocolate overdose. Chocolate fudge icecream topped with fudge brownies chunks and chocolate sauce, sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar on top of a fresh, crisp Belgian waffle, fresh whipped cream on side. I was half way in my dessert when I felt I am full upto my throat. Thank heavens that I had already ordered a large cappuccino, which helped my gulp my dessert down. As I was reading someone has rightly mentioned that dont visit this place more than once a year. Or if you do then be prepared for Diabetes, Cholesterol and what not.

The waffle was amazingly crisp and soft at the same time. The ice cream a bitter chocolate flavor on spot, and the brownies were chewy to perfection. I just think that the whipped cream was a bit too much and wasn’t needed as such. Mine got wasted without being touched.

The other sinfully rich dessert was Black Velvet. The same list just with the addition of strawberry sauce which added a further fruity flavor to the other wise pure chocolate taste.

To top it all, when the bill came in I was pleasantly shocked to see ONLY $14 and few cents. I asked the server if she is sure its mine. She in complete confusion took it, read it, told me yes I am, then looked at our plates, checked the bill again and then nodded yes, its not yours.Of course as it was supposed to be way more than that for three dessert platters and a beverage.

Well a great experience…Its perfectly ok to drool….Enjoy!!