Zaleela Apa: When failing your finals is the best option

Dear Zaleela Apa,

 

I’m in the seventh year of my four-year B.A. degree. If I pass all my exams next month, I might finally graduate. My whole family is looking forward to it. My mom says she’ll make sujji ka halwa and send it to the entire family, even to the phuppo she conveniently ‘forgets’ on Shab-e-Baraat. My dad is already getting his tailor to measure for a special sherwani he will wear to my convocation. He had given up hope and this will be as unexpected for him as the birth of my youngest brother.

But I’m afraid. Afraid of passing. What will I do after? My friends will get on with their lives and we’ll lose touch. My pocket money will stop as soon as my dad takes off his tailored sherwani. My girlfriend will get married to her older cousin who is completely his LLM. And on Eid when the relatives visit and find me at home, the question will go from “Beta still studying?” to “Beta still not working?”

I look at my GPA and it’s somehow lower than before I started university.

 

But who will hire me? My only work experience is opening the gate for the maid and fetching towels for my dada when he showers every third Wednesday of the month. Sometimes I think I’ll apply for a M.A. so I can delay all this for another year or two. But then I look at my GPA and it’s somehow lower than before I started university.

What should I do?

– Failing at Life

 

Dear Failure to Graduate,

 

I sympathize with the mental agony you must be going through right now. But rest assured, your problem is neither new nor unique. Statistically, every fourth child ever born in our households turns out to be a forgettable disappointment to his parents, community and country. Back in the old days when it was considered unnatural to have less than 13 children, this was the child whose age, name and existence fathers used to forget. This child had neither the smarts to be the family MBBS, nor the daring to smear the family name and be the reviled yet memorable black sheep. This child—lacking in wit, personality and character—is you.

Statistically, every fourth child ever born in our households turns out to be a forgettable disappointment to his parents, community and country.

I don’t mean to put you down. But you can’t go against statistics and God’s will. My advice to you is accept what you are and look at the bright side of your mediocrity. Shahrukh Khan, B.A. Economics, and perhaps the greatest of living actors, once said, “Success is not a good teacher. Failure makes you humble.” Your life has been one constant humbling experience. Stick to what you know best and without hesitation fail the finals again.

Stay humble.


Zaleela Apa is the Daily Fikar’s in-house expert on life. Her only passion is advising people on how to deal with life issues and maximize their happiness. Send your questions to Zaleela Apa at dailyfikar@gmail.com.


Insta Nani: The grandma of our times

Today for your daily dose of fikar, I have a juicy story absolutely slathered in drama, stereotypes, gossip and bashing said stereotypes with effortless grace.

With modernization at its peak, it’s no surprise it has managed to enfold not only the angsty, hormonal youths but the less hormonal, yet angsty elderly of our community as well! The Nani(s) and Dadi(s) of our generation are to be marvelled. For starters they haven’t your typical faces slathered in talcum powder, eyes hooded with surma stains like estranged pandas, giving sharmeelay poses in sepia-tinted photographs with itchy, karhai waley suits and gotay waley dupattey.

No, God forbid a flimsy piece of cloth hid their delicately streaked hair or they be seen without a brand label on their lively, printed kurtis. By God, they even beat the youngsters with their immaculate OOTD Instagram posts and clean, lipsticked lips.

These women are not particularly inclined to make you karak kahwah with palmsful of daar cheeni that makes your mouth feel as if you just made out with a tree. Nor are they the ones to say “Bismillah!” instinctively if someone stumbles, for of course their 21st century honed instincts immediately rely on a high-pitched “ohmygodareyouarright” if someone does fall.

Of course they may not have many totkas safely knotted in the corners of their dupattas (nor do they have many dupattas), but they do preach the benefits of organic food and veganism mostly through spamming you with infomercials and videos on WhatsApp.

Though we may miss the soft spoken tales, woven precariously with nostalgia and love that dripped down our purani Nani’s lips, we do not particularly dislike indulging in the gossip with her modern avatar about Salma who has been suspiciously spending a lot of time outdoors after her hubby leaves for work.

Anyway. No matter the era, we always love them so kudos to these new, revolutionary grandmas!


Sarah Saleem is a fried potato who potates most of the time but eventually takes out some time to write about the tyrannies of this world before dozing off to dream about potatoes again.  Find Sarah on Instagram (@sarahh.saleem).


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Op-Ed: Meri maasi kahan gai?

By: Sameena Talib
President, DHA (Karachi) Kitty Party Association

I just don’t know what to do anymore. Six maasis, four drivers and three cooks have just up and left in the last four months. Disappeared. No notice. Nothing.

And I’m not alone. I’ve talked to many other kitty party members and it’s the same everywhere. Five days ago, Mrs. Shahbaz’s driver dropped her off at her yoga class, and after waiting outside for just 4 hours took the car back home and disappeared. Poor Mrs. Shahbaz had to call her son to pick her up. He obviously wasn’t very happy being interrupted at Chaiwaala with his friends.

Two days ago, Mrs. Daulatwala was closely supervising her maasi cleaning the master bathroom. Just minutes later when Mrs. Daulatwala was taking a phone call, the maasi had vanished — gone. The floor was half mopped and the exhaust fan still running. Their guard swears he heard someone say, “mein huna ithe kama nahin kara sakadi.”

Just yesterday, Mrs. Khalid’s cook left for the market to apparently buy some vegetables and that was the last she saw of him. She had just told him about the fifty-four guests coming for dinner that evening — imagine being abandoned like that on such short notice.

It just makes no sense. Where are all these people? And why are they disappearing? Is there a kidnapping mafia targeting domestic servants?

My 12-year old daughter asked me if I was paying them enough. She read on the computer that low wages is the biggest reason for people leaving their jobs. I told my naive girl that nobody treats their servants better than I do. I give them a very fair tankha — but of course you have to negotiate or they’ll just run you around. My rule is to give them 3,000 rupay less than they ask for. Keeps them under control. Two years ago when my husband sold our London flat with a nice profit —- Alhumdulilah — I gave 750 rupay to all our naukar. I can’t pay them in pounds now can I? And anyway, we also had to buy our son Rashid a new Corolla for his birthday — all his friends had the latest one and I can’t see him upset.

And it’s not like we are giving them too much work. I only get my driver to do overtime when there are dawats to attend in the evening. Yes, last shaadi season was busier than usual, there was even a full five-day stretch of events. But I make sure to compensate them when that happens. I gave him a chocolate bar my sister brought for us from France when she visited last year and two of my lawn suits for his wife from before my daughter was born. I miss those suits.

This whole vanishing epidemic has nothing to do with us. But we are the ones suffering. I am on the phone all the time trying to find the next maasi, driver or cook. Every day it’s the same question, “Meri maasi kahan gai?”

Zaleela Apa advice: Dealing with parental pressure for marriage

Dear Zaleela Apa,

I am a 18-year old boy completing my O levels privately. I’m upset and writing to you because my parents are forcing me to get married. They say I’m good for nothing and should get hitched before I start looking any older. My dad told me that my age is the only thing going for me.

My mom wants me to marry my 44-year old cousin whom I’ve always thought of as an older sister and grew up calling aapi.

My mom wants me to marry my 44-year old cousin whom I’ve always thought of as an older sister and grew up calling aapi. I just don’t see her that way. Recently my parents sat me down and told me I’ll be marrying aapi in June and I should be glad any woman would agree to it, let alone one with aapi’s maturity and salary. Aapi’s two children—6 and 16—from her previous marriage, used to call me maamu but recently at Eid the youngest came up to me and asked, “Maamu, abu ban kay Eidi ziada do gay?”

On top of it, there’s a girl I love at my tuition centre. She loves me too but she’s the same age as me which means she won’t be settled for another few years. She’s also going abroad to study. My mom caught me talking to her under the comforter last night and got so angry that she threw my phone off the balcony. I’m just so upset and don’t know what to do.

— Young Male

Dear Young Male,

I’m sorry for your troubles. No one should be forced into making life decisions as big as these by anyone. That said, not all marriages are supposed to be love marriages and your parents want what’s best for you. The tuition girl is likely just stringing you on so it’s best to just forget that relationship and move on.

As for your aapi’s age, in our society everyone’s a sibling till we get married to one so I don’t think that’s much of an issue.

As for your aapi’s age, in our society everyone’s a sibling till we get married to one so I don’t think that’s much of an issue. Good luck with everything.


Zaleela Apa is the Daily Fikar’s in-house expert on life. Her only passion is advising people on how to deal with life issues and maximize their happiness. Send your questions to Zaleela Apa at dailyfikar@gmail.com.


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Rabri Shabri: An unexpected twist on a desi dessert

It has been a long standing dream of mine to refine the Pakistani dessert palette. And this week I’m lucky to see that dream being realized with the launch of Rabri Shabri. What is Rabri Shabri, you ask? Taking its place next to Burger Lab, Chai Wala and others, Rabri Shabri is the latest jewel on the Karachi contemporary food crown. I’m even tempted to say that it’s the crown jewel of the Karachi food scene. At Rabri Shabri, we bring a revolutionary new approach to the traditional rabri. While our full recipe is a closely guarded secret, I can say this much: it’s nothing like the rabri you’ve grown up eating. The Rabri Shabri rabri mashes the flavors of the famous Delhi Rabri House with the crispiness of Karachi Broast, the tang of limca, the bite of a plate of spicy Student Biryani, served with a hint of chilli garlic sauce.

So what are you still waiting for? Head on over to Rabri Shabri on Bukhari Commercial and treat your taste buds to a matka of delectable Rabri Shabri rabri. We guarantee it’s like nothing you’ve ever put in your mouth before.

  • Rashid Shabbir, Founder, CEO and President Rabri Shabri Ltd.

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