Posts tagged ‘Pakistan’

June 7, 2018

Cafe De Pamir and what makes it special

by Khanum

بسم الله

Sleepy, sluggish, happy dreams. I woke up yawning from my deep slumber.  On my right was the new friend I had made on the trip, a girl from Abbotabbad. And on my left, was my mother. Curled up, and asleep like a baby. This was Hunza. I was at Cafe de Pamir. The morning was beautiful and unlike any other morning of my life, and despite my exhaustion, and fatigue screaming from every bone of my body including the muscles and the skin, I was too happy and euphoric for the morning. 

My first view of the day was probably the ceiling. The beautiful new ceiling. The ceiling? How silly it may sound and ordinary to mention, but when you are on vacation and in a different setting, the very minutest details become your  kham-khua ki khushi. The very new things, your reason for feeling blessed. And your senses, heightened enough to detect even the tiniest of the new flower outside your window, becoming your muse on the journey.

The fact that there could be bugs on the floor ( but there weren’t) where we had comfortably decided to sleep last night, did not bother me. There were bunker beds, four of them, but the main attraction of the room: the big windows, had us rolling with joy on the floor.

When I say rolling with joy, you have to picture euphoria. The euphoria upon getting a room with giant windows on two sides that open up to the mountain Rakaposhi on the right and, another giant mountain on the front. We definitely hadn’t seen it coming.

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June 6, 2018

The view from my window at Cafe De Pamir, Hunza پہلی صبح

by Khanum

بسم الله

Subh Bakhair .

Mere alarm ne wafadari nibhate hoye, kaan ke kareeb ghanti bajai. 

Aur kamal hi hogaya, ke mai uth bhi gai. Karwat le ker jab ird gird dekha, tou shuker hai khuda ka sab wesa hi tha jese pichli raat chora tha. Daayen janib, aik nai abottabadi saheli. Baayen janib, zaati reliable pyari Ammi.

Hunza main meri pehli subha, bilkul ese hi thi jese bachpan mai agle din eid ki khushi. Isi khushi ke maaray sari raat neend nahi ati thi. ‘Ammi thora aur khel lun bas?’

‘Ammi , please, thora aur naaye joote dekh lun bas?’  yahan tak ke thora aur thora aur kerte kerte, joote sath rakh ke sonay ki nobat aa jati thi. Sirf agle din ki khushi ki khatir.

Mere liye Cafe De Pamir mai, naaye joote tou nahi thay. Kyun ke wo mai Gilgit ki mitti zadda road pe already tor chuki thi. Likin us waqt, Hunza mai, naaya din mera muntzair zaror tha. Alhamdulillah. Aur isi khushi mai, mai ye bilkul bhool chuki thi, theek bachpan ki terhan ke meri neend poori nahi hui. Saath hi saath jism mai 24 ghanton ke safar ki badolat, dard naak khaliyaan bhi theen. Esi khalliyan ke jis ke baray mai ager mai eik poora mazmoon likhna chahun, tou likh sakti hun. Likin mai likhungi nahi. Don’t worry. Ek waja tou ye ke 24 ghante bayaan karna asaan nahi. Dosri waja ye ke agay jo hua, wo batanay ki zara mujhe jaldi hai. Utni hi jaldi, jitni jaldi mujhe us roz, wo din shuru kerne ki thi. Nir e haal mu.

Lehaza, khaliyon ko khushi se kabool karte hoye, mei foran se uth khari hui.

Allahu Akbar!

Subha subha uth ke pehla kaam tha bhaag kar khirki pe jana, mu bahir nikalna, aur ird gird ke paharon ko ankhain phar phar ker dekhna. Ye plan maine raat ko hi bana liya tha. Kamrey mai dakhil hote hi, hum teenon kamre ke munfarid nakshay pe khushi ke maaray aik dosarey se  takreeban eid hi mill rahe thay. Itni khushi. Itni khushi. Ke hum ne jhatt se samne ki bari bari teen khirkiyon ke neeche lagaye teen farshi bistron pe dairay jama liye. Un khirkiyon se aik bohat bara pahaar aur Hunza waadi ke ghar nazar aarahe thay. Pahar na door tha na kareeb. Subha shaam dhuan dhuan se badal nazar atay thay jese chai ki chenak se nikalti hui steam. Farak sirf itna tha ke chai garam hoti hai. Ye manzar thanda tha.

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Kamrey ki daayein janib bhi khirkiyaan theen, jis ki khas baat thi Rakaposhi pahar ka manzar. Ammi hazoor ne Rakaposhi wali side pe sona munasib samjha. Mai darmiyaan mai lait gai, aur Abottabaadi lerki/ safar ki dost, meri doosri janib.

Sab se behtreen jaga hum ne apne bhaari bags ko di. Ankhon ke samne, mu se door. 4 bunker beds per.

Zindagi aik dam haseen thi. Alhamdulillah. Zindagi aj bhi wesi hi haseen hai. Alhamdulillah. Mere zehan mai Cafe De Pamir ka ye manzir ab tak wese ka wesa hi maujood hai. Mujhe lagta hai shayad, mai abhi tak wapis nahi aii. Mai wahin hun. Thanday thanday asmaanon ke neeche, baray baray paharon ke darmiyaan. Jahan din bhi utne hi haseen hain jitni haseen raatain. Aur jahan main ne chand ko bullet speed se pahar ke peeche chupte dekha hai. Sach much. Jese wo bhi, agli subha jeene ki jaldi main ho.

April 15, 2014

Lunar Corona seen through my Baby Lens, April 2014

by Khanum

Behold! what you have often seen but probably didn’t knew what it was.  That’s Lunar Corona.

Lunar coronae are much more familiar than those around the sun. They are seen when the clouds are thin enough that each single corona light ray reaching the eye is scattered or diffracted by only one droplet. Of course, the whole corona is made by a great many droplets individually scattering the moonlight.

Sometimes as clouds pass over the moon the corona shrinks and swells as different sized droplets mould it. Small droplets make the largest coronae with aureoles a few moon diameters across.  — Source 

 

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December 17, 2013

Delicious Chicken Irani Boti at Bundu Khan & My Pakistani Sentiments.

by Khanum

Yesterday was girls day out.

My mother determined to take me out of my square room decided to lure me into fried finger fish trap. Because she was bored. And sick of cooking.

And trust me, its not really that easy to make me get out of my blanket and wash face with real water like water when its freezing cold in December. Not even shopping for new sneakers could shake me, but fish did. Somehow I got dressed. My sadness of nothing began to fade away.

In fact first I tried to make excuses to escape from this like look! omg! How foggy it is out there. But Mom is a mom for a reason you know. I wore blue she wore green and voila! After praying zuhr, I was on my way to eat fried fish from Bundu Khan. Mom had to make a stop at hyperstar to buy some bakery. It has got awesome bakery. Thats the only thing I like about that place. Other than that I hate the fact that hyperstar wouldn’t even let you drink anything inside the building. Even if you’re dying.

Anywho, I bought some of  my bakery stuff too. And the types of bread I got deserves a post on its on. I wanted to get baking utensils too but my budget was off already. So, happy and contended, I happily hopped my way to Bundu Khan because  I was simply in love with their fried fish until I met with a new cuisine.

Chicken Irani Boti (Grilled)

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Behold! The best chicken boti I have ever tasted (if my faulty memory serves me right). I swear I loved it! This is the dish which I have been introduced to by an Iranian I interviewd during my thesis days. He told me how Pakistan food is so spicy and how very nice and less spicy their food is. I got hold of their chicken tikka recipe and voila! I cooked it in summers but didn’t block it.

When I ordered fish finger, I had to order something more and new for my mother. She’s a high blood pressure patient and eating fish simply means high BP. So after thinking much, I narrowed down to Irani grilled chicken boti. I knew it would be something similar to the dish I had prepared at home but boy! Served with Naan this was even more delicious.

Before it got served, I forbade mom to taste any dish before I have photographed it to my heart’s content for blog. But the moment it got on table I forgot my own words and attacked the food. I was hungry. 😦

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Sunny sides of the dish:

It was juicy, soft and served hot. Very delicious indeed. 5/5.

Not so sunny sides of the dish: 

1- Quite Expensive. It was for Rs 800 and something. I could throw a chicken party at home with that much green paper. 2/5

2-  Freaking small portions. The moment I ordered it, I got worried about the amount of pieces they would serve. You want good amount of food in front of you when you’re hungry and also when you have paid alot to get it. Total 12 pieces didn’t please me at all. That too small ones.  3/5

And I have noticed it almost everywhere in Lahore now, that serving less in plate and charging more money for it has become like a fashion. What has gone wrong with Lahoris? We are not in France where serving less is about class and money! We are Pakistanis. We are hospitable people.We like to eat and we want to eat 24/7.  It’s better we stopped coping other race on table etiquette.

Anyway, There’s always a first time for everything…coming towards Friend Finger Fish.

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I love this dish. Its the best thing I like to eat when I’m having severe flu. But this time I was terribly disappointed by Bundu Khan.

Last time in March and then before that time even, Whenever I used to eat friend finger fish at Bundu Khan, it used to be served with sandwiches. As far as I remember. But okay, maybe I am mistaking it. However, Could I mistake the quality of crisp ? This time it was served rather soggy. Soft is good but only from the inside. If the crisp that is supposed to be on the outer layer is not there, I’m sorry! It’s not served fresh and right  from the fryer. It was nor served very hot as it used to be. Really disappointed and am sure going to try out this fish somewhere else now. No more Bundu Khan for me.

Sunny sides: Out of order.

Not so sunny sides: I paid Rs 720 for something I anticipated a lot but didn’t quite enjoy it.

Final Remarks. Naan is Rs. 40. I like to enjoy I like to spend on food and fun but I also know the value of money. Especially when I’m unemployed. The reason I concluded, that why we Pakistanis spend money on expensive restaurants is because there are no good recreational activities or alternatives for enjoyment available to us. I wish Lahore had open air cafes. And some places where I can take my mother and let her enjoy quality food with quality environment around without me worrying over ridiculous bills.

After all, You can be a millionaire, but that doesn’t mean being conscious of your spending is haram on you and spending carelessly is wajib.

No more dinning out for me for atleast 3 months! -__-

November 16, 2013

Outdoor Cafes in Lahore & Around the World

by Khanum

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Outdoor cafes are fun. 

Cultures of  various famous cities and the specific feeling attached to their environment is what attracts tourists towards them from around the world. Whether its Venice , the city made on Island or Paris, The city of Love. These are just two names I gave you. Of course there are plenty of different places you visited or plan to visit , or just dream about due to their specific nature. 

Let me tell you what I’m interested in when am thinking of a journey. Street food. And Outdoor Things. Yup!I dig for streets. Architectural beauties, Buildings and monuments are also of course significant for any fantastic place but let’s just say, cleaner streets and the vibrant walls of the city is what makes me go mad with awe. Definitely because that’s what I usually don’t get to see in here. That’s right. I meant Lahore. It’s about Charming, artistic and attractive Environment! It shouldn’t be like you have to eat in 5 stars always to value and praise the city and actually like its food and living quality. All the charm a city has to offer to tourists and its own citizens even, must be out there in the streets. Right there! Not in PC’s Bukhara or Avari’s  Buffet.

We have a phrase that goes like, “Jinney lahore ni wekhya O jamya e Ni” Loosely translated as If you haven’t seen Lahore, son! You haven’t even been born yet. We have a food street that’s dedicated to food and even though its a great thing but I never felt comfortable there. In fact I have some issues. Some things are super expensive there because that’s the only food street in Lahore. Secondly, It gets congested at times. Well more like all the time. Thirdly, Women usually get teased there. I mean, its more like a family oriented place. Its not a place where you can hangout with friends or hangout with even your brother. Plus The business there is opened at nights only I guess. No morning dining or fun. There are also come cafes I believe which are great to look at but way too expensive and confined to only areas like M.M Alam road, DHA and Gulberg etc. Moreover, they are hardly outdoor ones.

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What I’m saying is, Why such beautiful food active street  is confined to one big area. Why can’t we have outdoor cafes and restaurants all over the city? They might not work in Summers but hey, they can be fantastic during winters season! So….!

Dear people who plan all these city things,

Please upgrade the city to a fine food friendly and outdoor dinning one. If the government is buying Turkish dramas, regardless if they promote Asian Turkish Muslim side or European Turkish Muslim living styles, please pay attention to what’s really healthy for us Pakistanis and can be adopted as a cool living pattern. I mean, Outdoor cafes for instance. It would make people indulge in nice recreational activities, help them develop a taste for a “zauq dar” life, Enjoy food and who knows it may also develop a sense of cleanliness in them. I mean if they like it, they would at least stop throwing garbage on the streets and keep it clean.I have visited Istanbul and they have the coolest outdoor cafes which are not only economical but also make the streets , the bazaars, the entire city look so beautiful.

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Look at that! Such a tiny congested outdoor sitting setup but hey! Look how beautifully they are making use of the tiny space and giving you an opportunity to enjoy food in open air.

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Simply beautiful. Good place for any newly weds or even an old couple to enjoy an affordable romantic meal. (Why should only 5 star places provide romantic space?)

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Okay! Now that may not look like a romantic space but it’s at least still reasonable and pretty.

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And this one’s a beautiful place. You can look at the Eiffel tower standing tall at the left side. I wonder how lucky those people are who sat right there on those white chairs and enjoyed a beautiful evening, right beside a world famous Tower. Ahhhhh!

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Vibrant ! Mesmerizing ! Pretty !

Note: I donut own the pictures presented in this post.

September 22, 2012

Are you going to do something real and witty against THEM or just break your own legs here?

by Khanum

“Aram se bhaiii! watch out!”

“You watch out behan meri!! ”

“that’s my damn laptop ure tossing around like a toy! so you behave! and hey!!! get back here” , I shouted at him “where are you running?!”

“I gotta go out! its almost 3”,

“Tou?”

“They said if you can’t go out for the participation in the protest then you must stand outside of ur gate to mark your presence at exact 3pm. — and why are you laughing now?”

“Nothing”, I looked at the clock. It was almost 3 , right! I watched him go out and stay out for long long hours. Clock hit 3:10. And I watched him marching back in.

“Kia hua, why back so quick?” I asked as sadly I was not in the position to step out of home and observe the protest and its thundering at the crossroads nearby myself or even my cousin and his sincere participation in the act at our very own threshold.

“Nothing. kafi jaloos hai. more than 1500 people crossed by. More to follow.”

“But why you are back so early? bas hogaya?!” I asked not that I was trying to mock or anything. Its just you do time to time come to question the strange acts we are told to observe in the name of showing solidarity with the nation against the enemies. no?

“Han bas. or kia karta main.” he fell silent. We heard our elders talking on how good the old days were when youth participated in milaad shareef and none of this happened and so on and on. Right! But those people out there they were not there following the footsteps of any 2 year old kid who has no interest in the religion which meant again they were just trying to make a point that oh the youth did this and that and the rest of the elderly people are innocent.

And I thought some parhe likhe people who were angry at the blasphemy act were out there to I don’t know , peacefully walk the streets and “peacefully” show solidarity on condemning the person? but what did I see? ? ? Anyway. My cousin’s bara mouth and my bara mouth of course had to give them company. Again I am not trying to mock the old people but again I come to ask them time to time , we don’t stop you to arrange such milaads still? why dont u arrange then?or hand us the money we’ll do so!

“Bakwas mat kero tum bachey ! bigar gaye ho! zaban chalate ho!”

Okay.

“But this youtube ban is atleast nonsense. I need to download few things for thesis and –”

“Bohatt ACHA hua its banned! net ne fasad kia hua hai! You guys are just spoiled over net!”

Okay.

Light came back and soon I guess their opinions were altered. Or I don’t know. Me and my cousins for one were blown away. more than 10, I guess were killed in the protests and more than 40 injured according to Geo news. I really wished they hadn’t done this black day. It doesn’t mean that our love for prophet is gone if we dont protest or something like that but combating the enemy the most hated enemy like the way we did today is very very weird. If I cursed ANdres Seraano in my last post for coming up with a bizarre photography, I feel no regret in equally condemning the senseless acts of some people out there who were shouting like barbarians and did nothing good to show to the world how we love our prophet? I heard lots of banks got the anger of the people. They broke down ATM machines. Took out money. People died. This happened that happened and not to forget the youtube ban that is still there. I mean what are we trying to achieve this way? I swear When I woke up this morning I had no clear idea as to why the day is off. I asked someone at home and I was looked upon as if I am some person who really don’t understand the delicacy of the situation at hand. Not mocking my family either but I feel sometimes there is so much confusion that people don’t realise hating the enemy raising your voice against him is one thing and that is okay! I am not settling with that loony director myself  but showing your anger this indecent way where you’re just not making sense and depicting a scene on streets from the movie planet of the apes? What can I say? I just wasnt expecting them to order an off day where I know most of us just watched movies. I for one honestly did nothing conrete and just wasted my time at home. Its not like they gave us one day off so we could become more holy. If it was the intention then I guess we failed.

My last post was on how ill mannered , hypocrite and so Godless those  few christians are and how few Jews manage to conspire against us and why we should not expect them to behave well. That was one side of the coin. Sadly, the other isnt too neat either. I supported those who are angered at this. I am still with you people. But please people, don;t embarrass me kindly? Don’t embarrass your Prophet? Is this the way we were supposed to go tackling…

stop being super sensitive, over smart and witless people. WE NEED CONCRETE LAWS not pointless self destructive PROTESTS for God’s sake! Its gonna happen again and again unless we stop behaving like crying babies and do something solid.  I don’t reckon Jews go protesting this way when someone raises a finger on their sentiments with the holocaust thing!

And I don’t even feel like speaking on it anymore cause What’s the point? I don’t understand why do we even bother blog about it or shout “RECOGNIZE YOUR ENEMY RECOGNIZE PROPER AND THEN GO AHEAD AND SHOOT!” I mean really what’s the bloody point of all the rage all over the internet , people pouring in giving their opinions , bloggers lashing out each other! , targetting, loathing condemning, bickering!  if all we ever gonna do is bloody protest this indecent way,  and break our own legs what’s the point of even saying I am a Muslim then? You don’t break enemy by burning down ur ownself , you break the enemy with wisdom and logic! Really disappointed in today’s protest proceedings! All the net bans n cellular service cut and killing each other not gonna help  muslims… learn to behave and recognise who ur enemy is. U cudnt even touch that loony director! LOOK! what u have done.

God, kindly Help us!
Forgive us for we dont know how to fight for our Religion’s honour the right way anymore. The love is there for You still but we have become idiots when it comes to battling.

August 18, 2011

Korean Bibimbap

by Khanum

There are certain cuisines in the world which are first feasted with the eyes.  Easier to make but a bit hard to dish out. Bibimbap (as we know Koreans pronounce B as P ) is a Korean Signature dish – fit to the description above. It was first mentioned  in the Siuijeonseo, an anonymous cookbook from the late 19th century. The author of the cookbook is still unknown but is assumed to be a lady of the yangban – nobility during the Joseon dynasty. So it would not be wrong to say you are having a recipe of the royals.  The name it was given in the cookbook is 부븸밥  and is frequently prepared in Korean households even served on many airlines. And today, It was served at my own house in Lahore Pakistan 2011. Many Thanks to the lady of the yangban.

Click here to see for yourself , how much pride do the Koreans feel to own this dish and  what measures do they take to promote it worldwide.

How to Cook: Easy!

 The word Bibimbap literally means mixed meal. And luckily there are no hard and fast rules for its ingredients except for the boiled white rice. The bowl of rice is then topped with red chilli paste , mixed fried vegetables and meat. An egg is a must in the middle. Most Koreans do not fry it before eating. For them it may be easier to gallop it down but for some Asians including Koreans like us Pakistanis, that is a bit too much in the name of healthy food. It is upto you to place it fried or just use it raw and fresh. Add whatever vegetables you like with sesame oil. Bibimbap is also made of seafood. However – keep one thing in mind. Don’t mix different kinds of meat altogether. That is a big no-no for traditional Bibimbap. Only one kind of meat should go in. If you’re afraid of  lamb, use chicken. Do try it at home. It is one of those dishes where you’ll spend less time in cooking and double the time on its beautification process. Then in the end – all you just do is stir it up together.

Yes – we are nuts like that.