Culture, Posts, Travel

Jobaid, the caffeine maestro

During my first couple of days in Dubai, I just couldn’t seem to find chai.


Nope not Indian masala chai but REGULAR chai.
I asked an Indian couple at Starbucks if they had a recommendation but Starbuck’s chai latte is pretty icky.
This chaiaholic needed some plain chai.
I love my coffee but chai eases the nerves without leaving a bitter taste.
Along comes Jobaid, a young Bengali that worked at Filli’s cafe.
I was so happy I actually asked him to be part of my 100 strangers project. He complied even though he drew a blank when I said ‘Internet’.
For the rest of my trip, I’d drop by Filli’s cafe no matter where I was and this dude served me the best chai every time.
Culture, Posts

Pakistani Fuel, Chai

If there’s one thing that truly fuels Pakistanis, it HAS to be chai.
Life just revolves around it. Unlike prime time TV ads, we don’t dance around when chai is served. But chai definitely makes people come closer. No matter who you meet or where you meet them, you’ll most definitely be offered chai. No social gathering is complete without it.
The best chai is served at dhabas i.e. road side shacks intended mostly for truckers. Don’t worry about the hygiene of the place, the dirtier it is the better the flavor. I don’t remember the last time I got sick from eating/drinking at a dhaba. But many times from a finer restaurant.
Indian masala chai, is pretty different and happens to be an acquired taste for most Pakistanis. Ours is simpler, and to my surprise, a British friend told me it tasted just like English tea.
If you ask ex-pat Pakistanis to list the things they miss about home, chai will definitely be one of them.
With that, I’ll sign off as I take my last sip of chai.
Culture, Posts, Travel

You Are Not Immune

What do you do in 45 Celsius heat?

You take a dip in a pond.

I was out surveying villages that had been affected by the floods. My pickup truck had air-conditioning and stepping out was an instant jolt to the senses. But I didn’t complain much, I like the summer heat.

The pond was dirty and my driver could see that I wanted to take a dip too and warned me.

‘You’re gonna develop rashes all over your body’ he said.

I envied the kid in ways, his body was accustomed to the crazy germs in the water making him immune to skin troubles.

His glowing skin withstood the sun’s rays. The melanin in mine simply darkened me like a toast that over lasted it’s stay in the toaster.

Such is life, you can’t have it all.

September is here, my hometown Quetta’s cooling down after an abnormally hot summer. But I love the heat. It saddens me to see the mercury drop, a reminder of the bitterly cold winter to come.

Culture, Posts, Travel

People in Motion, For the Love of Dance

Language poses a gigantic barrier when it comes to exploring new cultures.

Dance, on the other hand shatters such barriers.

This non-verbal storytelling medium, channels emotions to the point where you can just about escape reality.

Not everyone can dance and very few fail to see the message the dancers communicate.

I feel sorry for both.