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?”

Rs. 5000 wedding: The ultimate budget shaadi experience is here

A shaadi for just Rs. 5000? It sounds impossible, it sounds absurd, but it’s here. A revolutionary new start-up claims to have solved the most out-of-control problem facing Pakistanis today: expensive weddings.

Since it was launched last month, Sastay Dil Studios has given new meaning to ‘budget weddings’. But how does it even work?

The magic happens in a small studio in Clifton, Karachi. The bride and groom start with renting wedding costumes from the Sastay Dil catalogue for a small fee. The groom’s sherwani is shalwar-optional since the camera is positioned above the torso.

Once ready, the bride and groom, their parents and siblings are all seated on a small stage in front of a video camera which is streaming live to Facebook and YouTube. All other relatives, friends and guests are asked to attend via tuning in to the live stream. The video stream is free but commercial breaks are taken every 10 minutes.

An in-house complementary maulvi sahab is available to perform the Nikkah. But what about the traditional choaray post-Nikkah? Sastay Dil provides a solution: the bride’s father can send a Rs. 15 easyload to all the guests watching live. At the same time, a Western Union wire number flashes on the screen so the guests can also send in their love to the new couple.

What’s a desi wedding without the food? Included in the Sastay Dil package are five studio extras who walk on- and off-screen eating from plates full of biryani, mutton qorma, seekh kabab, raita and naan. The actors will enjoy their meals so much that the guests watching will have no doubt that no expense has been spared on food.

The whole event takes just about an hour and the studio runs up to seven weddings a day. Founder Jibran Makhlooq told Daily Fikar that Sastay Dil is already a roaring success. The studio has managed 72 weddings so far and is booked straight for the next three months.

“We started off in Karachi, but at this rate we’ll be expanding to Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Quetta very soon,” Makhlooq said. “We are getting so much love from the families that it’s just humbling.”

A final Sastay Dil invoice looks like this:

  • Guest Easyload: Rs. 3000 (Rs. 15 for 200 guests watching live)
  • Extras with food: Rs. 1000
  • Studio Rental: Rs. 500
  • Costume Rental: Rs. 500 (Rs. 450 without groom’s shalwar)

Total: Rs. 5000

So what are you still waiting for? Book your wedding with Sastay Dil today and save hundreds of thousands of rupees on all the things you can do without.

Sastay Dil for Sasti Shaadi.


Sana Mudeer is a former award-winning journalist who burned out early and now has to write for the Daily Fikar. Forced to return all her awards, she can now be found sulking around the office brooding over what could have been.


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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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IMF to Pakistan: Public urination tax will stabilize rupee-dollar rate

The IMF and World Bank have asked Pakistan to introduce a new public urination tax to stabilize the economy.

“We are confident this tax will help stabilize the rupee-dollar rate and lift the country of debt,” said IMF chief Bob Hope.

Zaheen Lota, an outdoor urination activist was outraged by the demand.

“Awaam ka pishaab bhi nai chora. Is mein se bhi le lo,” Lota said. “Nai chalay gi nai chalay gi—pishaab khori nai chalay gi [sic].”

Lota anger’s aside, several newspaper columnists have been asking where the people are supposed to go when there are so few public washrooms. Some said it’s not a urination tax but a ‘public ruination’ tax.

But Bob Hope responded by asking Pakistanis to look at outdoor urination as a public service.

“It’s a simple chain reaction,” he said. “You piss wherever you want, no restrictions, which is easy for you. You pay a small tax on it, which is good for the economy. Everyone wins.”


Amir Khabri is a staff reporter at the Daily Fikar. Brimming with more enthusiasm than talent, he strives to inform readers of the news that really matters. In his spare time he reads book covers and takes pictures of his neighbour’s dog. You can’t follow Amir anywhere because he detests social media.


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Defending the chappal: Controversial shoot part of Mother’s Day campaign

A recent chappal photo-shoot has come under fire for its misogynist overtones, but supporters now say it was part of a Mother’s Day ad campaign.

Fashion photographer Bae Zameer of Pakistan Fashion Tehreek said the shoot has been completely taken out of context.

“People are taking this completely the wrong way. The theme of the chappal shoot was ‘Maa Ki Khidmat’,” Zameer said. “If you look closely, the model on the floor is actually massaging a female leg. That’s supposed to represent her ammi’s foot in our new Maa Ki Khidmat chappal line.”

When asked why the woman was massaging a foot with the chappal still on, Zameer said that was to show the different ways the chappal could be used.

“The Maa Ki Khidmat chappal is good for walking, massaging and light beating. An ideal gift for Pakistani mothers and the shoot shows all these features in just a few pictures,” he said.

Other varieties in the Maa Ki Khidmat Chappal line.

Asked if the images could be taken the wrong such as a symbol of violence against women, Zameer got visibly upset.

“That is the close-minded nature of our society. Demeaning a mother-daughter relationship for a few likes and shares. Shame on you.”

The Maa Ki Khidmat chappal is now available across Pakistan with a 50% discount for those who recreate the infamous pose and post it online with #MaaKiKhidmat and #PariChappal.


Sana Mudeer is a former award-winning journalist who burned out early and now has to write for the Daily Fikar. Forced to return all her awards, she can now be found sulking around the office brooding over what could have been.


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Fighting injustice: Pakistani donkeys come together to form union

A historic vote by donkeys nationwide on Friday has led to the formation of the Dhobi ka Gadha Union Pakistan (DGU-P).

Dhobis took to the streets in protest as the vote passed and the police had to set up a barricade at Teen Talwar, Karachi. On one side, an emergency all-party dhobi conference was being held and on the other a huge mob of celebrating donkeys jammed the streets.

“It was pretty tense there for a while but our officers have been specially trained for these situations,” said sub-inspector Rao Khusdaar.

Asif Masroor, vice-president Sindh Dhobi Association called the donkeys’ union absurd, saying dhobis will not give in to threats and warned the government against intervening.

“This is a domestic issue and we will solve it there,” he said.

The donkeys, however, remain defiant. In a written statement to the media, DGU-P president Chupa Rustom presented the demands of the unionized donkeys.

DGU-P president Chupa Rustom has confirmed the donkeys will not back down unless all their demands are accepted. 

“Despite being one of the founding members of this country, donkeys have yet to receive the respect they deserve. Our demands are simple: a reserve seat for donkeys on every city council; a government-mandated two-day weekend for all donkeys; and the right to file an FIR against abusive owners. If these demands are not met in three days, we will call for a paiya-jaam hartaal and march on Islamabad,” the statement read.

The government has so far refused to comment but as the donkeys’ deadline approaches, tensions simmer on Pakistan’s roads.


Sana Mudeer is a former award-winning journalist who burned out early and now has to write for the Daily Fikar. Forced to return all her awards, she can now be found sulking around the office brooding over what could have been.


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Baray ho kar: A slap that shook the nation

A slap heard all over Rawalpindi has ignited a national debate and divided families and friends alike.

The now-famous slap occurred on a casual Tuesday evening when guests were visiting the Akhtar family. The yet unnamed guest aunty, asked 11-year old Bilal Akhtar, “Beta baray ho kar kya bano gay?”

Without missing a beat, Bilal replied, “Quaid-e-Azam ka khuwab banon ga, Iqbal ka parinda banon ga, quam ka sartaj banon ga, lekin aap kahein tou doctor ya engineer banjaon?”

Slap. Jameela Akhtar did not hesitate in putting her insolent son in line and forced him to apologize. But when news of the incident reached out, it led to an indignant outcry led by the nation’s youth.

Yasin Zubair, president Pakistan Youth Hifazati Association, went on several news channels to defend young Bilal.

“Yahan log kuch ban kar baray nai hotay. Aur baray ho kar kuch nai bantay. Tou bachon se aesay sawal kyun?” Zubair asked.

On social media, several celebrities changed their profile pictures to Bilal holding his cheek right after he was slapped. Some parents also broke rank and came forward in support of Bilal. One such parent is Bilal’s father, Nauman Akhtar. He appealed that people should stop being so worried about the future career of every child and teenager they come across.

“Bacha insan banjaye bari baat hai, aur kya chaiye?”


Amir Khabri is a staff reporter at the Daily Fikar. Brimming with more enthusiasm than talent, he strives to inform readers of the news that really matters. In his spare time he reads book covers and takes pictures of his neighbour’s dog. You can’t follow Amir anywhere because he detests social media.


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Protesting taxes: Hubul Watan Maaldar Society stages sit-in outside press club

Fifty members of the Hubul Watan Maaldar Society held a sit-in outside the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday to protest rising tax collection across the country.

According to Khalid Sherzada Luqman, society president, tax collection is an unfair burden on the country’s well to-do.

“My children go to private school. My ami goes to Aga Khan. So why should I pay for sarkari school and Jinnah Hospital?”

The anger is reflected across different sections of Pakistani society. Naeem Zahen Gul, a Lahore-based criminal defence barrister, pointed out that all the good work he and his colleagues do by taking money away from criminals is being undone by tax collection.

“We charge these people high rates to get them off serious charges like murder, robbery and corruption. But what’s the point of our public service if the government will just take away our halal rozi? We might as well start defending the poor and the innocents.”

At the press club sit-in, Mr. Luqman agreed that his business would do even better if the country rose economically but refused to accept tax collection as a solution.

“I wanted to take Mrs. Luqman to Hawaii for our 27th wedding anniversary. But after paying this year’s taxes we’ll be lucky if we go to Chaman,” he said. “It’s just not fair.”


Amir Khabri is a staff reporter at the Daily Fikar. Brimming with more enthusiasm than talent, he strives to inform readers of the news that really matters. In his spare time he reads book covers and takes pictures of his neighbour’s dog. You can’t follow Amir anywhere because he detests social media.


Like what you read? Giggled a little? Then share it with your friends on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram (@dailyfikar) for more laughs

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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Expo set to host first-ever Maa Da Ladla Conference

The first-ever Maa Da Ladla Conference is set to run from Feb. 7 to Feb 14 at the Karachi Expo centre in the new year.

The conference is being put together mostly by mothers who feel short changed when out rishta shopping for their sweet boys, according to Nasreen Jameela Begum, mother of three sweet boys between 29 and 37, and one of the event’s organizers.

Begum is particularly upset by several girls who’ve said no to her eldest son Yasir.

“So what if he has been divorced twice before? Yasu is a heera. I’d know, he’s my son. He only wants a 21 year-old with a mole on her right cheek.”

A number of mothers have also come together after recently being arrested and banned from campuses of various medical, dental and business colleges for rishta soliciting.

Zareena Bano was arrested from DOW Medical College earlier this year after over 45 female students complained against her for leering and repeatedly asking for their parents’ contact information.

“Is it not the duty of a mother to find the best possible bride for her son? Have I committed a sin? I know what I want and I’m not afraid to ask for it,” Bano said.

When asked about her son Dilbar, Bano said he is 29 years old and tries his best at whatever he does. Currently in the seventh year of his undergrad in England, he refuses to marry anyone but a doctor.

The event will also see a tech startup present its first live demonstration of their app ‘Bahu Swipe’ to the attending mothers. Bahu Swipe is being touted as Tinder for rishta searching and several mothers we interviewed were very excited about the concept. For girls they potentially like, the mothers can swipe right to set up a formal interview or simply swipe left on the others they’re not interested in.

Meena Chungi, another organizer, said the app will bring down the number of visits larka moms like her have to make by 60 per cent.

“Dekhiye ji, I’m a straight-forward woman. All I need is are a few details of the girl and a few good pictures from all the right angles,” Chungi said. “With Bahu Swipe I can cut down on the 342 home visits I’ve made just in the last two months, where honestly I’ve gained four kg eating all those shami kababs.”

Anticipation continues to grow for the 2019 Maa Da Ladla Conference and tickets have almost sold out. Over 2,300 mothers are expected to attend the first-ever edition of the event. Stay tuned as the Daily Fikar continues to bring you more coverage of the conference.


Sana Mudeer is a former award-winning journalist who burned out early and now has to write for the Daily Fikar. Forced to return all her awards, she can now be found sulking around the office brooding over what could have been.


Like what you read? Giggled a little? Then share it with your friends on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram (@dailyfikar) for more laughs