Monday, 4 November 2013

Top 5 Cafes in Karachi

The onset of the 21st century saw a café culture explosion in the metropolitan that is parallel to the time of 1960s, when the city used to have an amazing night life. The implementation of Hudood Ordinance in 1980s took away the booming cafe culture, which only made its return under the last military regime.

These days, new cafes are popping up around the city nearly every day and are lacking any distinguishing feature, which can make them stand out. Based upon my experience and reviews, here the (current) top 5 cafes in Karachi:

5- Sattar Baksh

Not a personal favorite but according to reviews and hearsay, it is one of the ‘in’ places this season. The ambiance is no doubt great but the food is really overpriced; I mean who will pay Rs.300 (Rupees Three Hundred) for a Bun Kabab? For someone like me, value for money is equally (if not more) important than the ambiance or fancy names of dishes, therefore Sattar Baksh did not make it to my personal favorite place to eat at least.

4- Café Pink Cadillac

Although this café will not win any award on originality of its menu, the ambiance is truly novel and is not comparable to any other café out there. The food is a little overpriced compared to (Roasters or Arizona Grill) but considering the quality & quantity of the food, it is totally worth it. They took their name very seriously therefore the interior is designed based upon the pink theme and an actual Pink Cadillac is mostly parked outside its premise.

3- Euphoria

This cafe has the burgers to die and at a very reasonable price. The ambiance is not extraordinary but is good enough to have a decent outing with friends. If you are short on cash or really hungry, I would definitely recommend you to check this place out.

2- Bella Vita

This café is my favorite whenever I have a craving for something sweet. Bella Vita offers some of the most original flavors in ice-cream and is also in the business of producing their own magnum style bars. If you still have not visited this place, you are missing out on something really exotic.

1- Xanders

Whether you are pizza lover or in the mood of having Boba Tea, this place has it all. The food quality is amazing and the serving size is respectable (compared to other cafes located in the same line like Café Forty4. Majority of the times I have found this place to be jam packed and had to wait for a table. In terms of crowd, it is a ‘maila’ & ‘taru’ free zone. 

What do you think about these places? Did your favorite café made it to this list? 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


The rising middle class is a global phenomenon; it is often predicted by 2030, Asia will have two-thirds of world’s middle class. Urbanism is often associated with the middle class due to their numeric superiority. I think Urbanism is essentially the aspirations and values of the middle class, defined by the young generation of a country. Over the past decades, urbanism in Pakistan has gone through many transformations and varies from one city to another.

Since the onset of the last martial law, Karachi (along with other provincial capitals) have experienced a growth in leisure activities, such as an increase in eating out places, bowling explosion, and rise of shopping malls. This has caused a shift in the outing habits of youngsters, who were initially only used to visiting each other places or at most a guy group hangout at dhabas.

Mix gathering outings were always a problem because of lack of places where friends could have gone. Restaurants in the 1990s were mostly either international food franchises or family places like China Town; therefore not a lot of option was available. I still credit Park Towers as the pioneer mall which was somewhat built on international standards and was developed considering the aspiration of individuals belonging to all age groups. I still remember the food court being my favorite place to hang out with friends before other places popped up throughout the city.

The teenagers of 1990s used to rely on PTCL landline for keeping in contact with friends, and had to go through the awkward moments of parents picking up the phone. The whole day used to get spend by sitting in front of computer, chatting with friends on MSN messenger since there was no Whatsapp or Viber. There used to be a restriction and a concept of ‘odd timings’ between even best friends. Thanks to mobile phone revolution, ‘odd timings’ are nearly nonexistent.

We end up  having change of plans due to unpredictability of our daily lives; may be the class ends late (in university life), a plan with friends get extended or there is a late sitting at the office. We have a way of informing our loved ones using mobile phones; imagine what hassle a simple change of plan would have been in 1990s.    

May be the concept of good old days is just a myth that individuals like to tell. The way I see it, we are a lot better off now, with all the facilities and technology, than compared to all the previous eras.

Do you feel nostalgic about 1990s? Write back to me and share your thoughts about my blog.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Vampires - The good guys?

With the likes of Twilight, True Blood, and the famous Vampire Diaries, vampires have gone through a major image transformation from being the bad guy to every teenage girl’s fantasy. The transformation depicts the power of the social media by demonstrating how mythical creatures, always associated with dead, evil, and misfortune are now the ones saving the day. I won’t be surprise if people start sympathizing with the devil in the future.

I still remember reading Dracula (the original version of course) and shivers running down my spine. Vampires were never meant to be idolized or loved; instead they were an inherent force of evil, which the society had to fight for survival. The newer generation has almost shunned this image of vampires and has adopted a more liberal view towards them. Media had started changing the image of vampirism as early as 1970s with the release of Love at First Bite - one of the most horrible movies I have ever seen. The concept at that time did not proof to be popular and took nearly 2 decades to be accepted by the public.

If you were a teenage in late 1990s, you would be aware of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; yes it did all start from there, when our beloved vampire slayer fell in love with a vampire. The spinoff series Angel further established a soft corner for vampires amongst the masses. The image was further consolidated by the Blade Trilogy, which demonstrated that vampires can be good.

Apart from character transformation, vampires have also gained new powers, such as walking in the day light, glowing in the sun (hope no Twilight fans here) and even flying at will; with all these powers and ‘chick magnet’ properties, who would not like to be a vampire?

Vampires are not the only mythical creatures undergone a major transformation, we also have werewolf and witches in the same category. Witches were accepted by the media as good guys long before the others. Sometimes I wonder how the Europeans, alive during the Salem witch trials, would feel about series like Charmed or Bewitched.

The new image of vampires is here to stay, since it proved to be more popular with masses and does not restrict the writers to focus only on how to kill vampires (like all old movies and series early followed the same storyline with the death of the vampire antagonist in the end). The vampire fever is set to rise in temperature with the arrival of new shows (like The Originals) and movies in the near future.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

On Women Empowerment

You think I can’t take my decisions? Well I’ll show you I can. You think I’ll give in to women subjugation? I won’t. You believe you can dictate your terms. Guess what? You’re wrong. You think I am a 19th century girl dependent on you, lacking empowerment? You wish it were the case. You want me to be a conformist? I will show you I am a rebel. I can fight for myself. Vouch for myself. I can support myself.  

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Remembering those who remembered us!

They remembered us on the forefront, on the border at war, in the trenches, when they were facing a bullet, before their families, before their ambitions, their sweethearts, their kids, and most of all themselves. The breath we take at the moment is a blessing of these brave men who fought gallantly at the war front, to bestow us with the gift of independence again. Yes they saved the country for us, kept the mission of Jinnah alive. The only thing we can do now is remember them for a day, keeping aside our work for once. Even for just a moment; by celebrating Independence again perhaps.

Let’s not get into the debate of what they deserve because nothing is even closely worth a life. A few things that we can do for our national heroes can be:
  • Read about their lives and about how gallantly they fought
  • Read about Nishan-e-Haider and who it is awarded to. Why it is the highest degree military award
  •  Defend Pakistan in our own way, doing as little as we can to defend its cultural, national and historical identity in the global arena
  • Be a responsible citizen

And most of all that we can do is to understand and realize our responsibilities and later translating them into responsible actions. We should realize that even today thousands of gallant men, who put us before their family and friends, are fighting to protect us. Doing as little as just respecting the military (army, navy, airforce, rangers, etc) would be a tribute itself for our fallen heroes. Let’s not take independence and our breaths for granted and keep Pakistan’s existence alive on the globe. Let’s be Pakistanis again.

A tribute to all our national heroes!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Where Would I Rather Be?

“When we were kids, we couldn't wait to grow up. Now that we are grown up, we realize that wounded knees and broken toys were better than wounded emotions and broken hearts!”

As I started growing up, this world became more and more of a cruel complex place. The place where innocents are brutally murdered, rapes are common, bomb blasts and drones are quotidian breaking news, child abuse and molestation is the trend, and stereotyping is a fashion. ‘This is not the kind of world my parents told me about. No fairytales here exist. No girl is a Barbie, a Cinderella or a Snow White’, I thought. ‘Contemporary times are not what I dreamed of when the Alice in me saw the Wonderland’. So where would I rather be? What would I do? Where is it in the world that I would find solace? Caves? Perhaps. But only a moron would want to go back in the Stone Ages. An island? That wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever either. Under water? Not like evil creatures don’t dwell either.

Realizing the fact that there is nowhere real I can go, where I bury my head (well I’m no ostrich) and keep myself aloof from the unjust happenings of this world; I can say I want to go back in my childhood.

I want to go back to that time when in stories shooting someone shed no blood, when my father used to sing me ‘All things bright andbeautiful’, ‘Sohni Dharti’ and ‘Dosti’ type sweet songs, when I could slurp not just the noodles but tea and everyone would find it cute, when I could wear a beautiful stitched frock and everyone would compliment me. I would rather dwell in my childhood than being a part of this grown up and mature yet fake and ruthless world. I would rather be in a dream where everything looks like a fairytale and hope no one wakes me up. I would rather be in that wondrous world of magic where I can turn everything into gold.

They say the bubble of fantasies bursts as soon as you get reality checks and reality is better than fiction, but if this is reality, I would rather be in a fantasy world – a world where justice prevails, discrimination is extinct and humanity is the one and only value.

There's no shortcut to success or you are a moron, if you think so!

Because of the distance that scientists had to travel from point A to point B, one fine day, they described the shortest distance from and to, to the respective points. And *bam*; there came the displacement. Now before you start thinking that I am a geek who gets curious over apples falling on my head from the tree, I would like to make a few points. This was in a totally distinct yet significant frame of reference which was not connected to science through any magnetic or electric force of attraction. The nucleus of the initiation of this discussion was the fact that people believe there are shortcuts to success, which in all ways is a philosophical debate (not that I haven’t emphasized on that earlier :p). So when asked how I feel about the phenomenon, this is the logical argument that I came up with.

Another logical point of discussion here is the existence of elevators in the buildings and staircases. And after pondering over the argument further, I asked people why they take elevators when stairs are there. All answers had two words ‘faster’ and ‘easier’ (though some obese fat ass morons responded with ‘free exercise equipment’, missing the crux of the conversation). Nonetheless, it was obvious that shortcuts exist and they give you the same end results as the longer ways. And even in that case some attention seeking conventional goofs responded with ‘But hard work always pays off’!

Other supporting clauses: the advent and exponential growth of the fast food industry, updated softwares and processors, replacement of buttons with zips :p etc. etc.

Anyhow, concluding the discussion with one argument: Time is money. And money if invested well gives great returns. Shortcuts might be risky, but they may give magnanimous results within no time following simple rule of risk and return. And I believe the world revolves around smart individuals who know how to optimize resources (of which time is the most essential indubitably) and get spectacularly prolific results out of them.

One piece of advice: Be smart. Work under pressure. Discover yourself. Be successful!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Creative Chaos: Where Work and Fun Converge

Promoting good organizational cultures is not only a responsibility of organizations but also becomes inevitable when employee satisfaction and motivation come in play. Luckily a few contemporary evolving companies like Creative Chaos (my employer fortunately :D and I’m not sugar coating) understand the importance of employee interaction and thus arrange leisure activities for increasing socializing opportunities for its employees. After the great triumph of the movie night at Atrium to watch ‘Now You See Me’, Club Chaos decided to organize an iftar + dinner hang out scene for its employees.

Arena Club and Resort because of its entertainment area and Rangoli was chosen as the venue being a one-stop shop. Bowling had never been more fun in the past. With teams of two and individual players, the bowling area at Arena was looking like a fish market (only in the crowded sense). Those who aren’t big fans of playing, sat back cheering for their colleagues.

The iftar + dinner buffet had over 20 dishes. The iftar began with serving Rooh Afza and tea at each table and the fried items consisted of samosay, rolls and pakoray in addition to chana chaat, fruit chaat and dahi barey.  After a few moments the dinner was served which had everything from fried rice and gravies to Pakistani and Continental food including handi, biryani, chapli kabab, fried fish and prawns etc. Even the dessert bar had ice cream, trifles and puddings.

The event was very well planned with the van service at discretion and it ended even better than our expectations. A lot of memorable photos were clicked and long lasting connections made. Thanks Team Creative Chaos and the management for the best professional hang out ever. 

Monday, 15 July 2013

Le Coolness-Jet Ski found its way to Karachi

Karachi has its own way of attracting its residents. Whenever the city is running out of entertainment stuff someone volunteers to step up and calls ‘Challenge Accepted’ (Barney Stinson style) and bestows the city with some great entertainment. After the restaurants and amusement parks came the cinemas, followed by cafes and now the city is exploiting its shore and the boon of water to provide exciting stuff to people.

These kinds of activities are especially becoming popular in the urban dwellings of the city. The Defense Housing Authority Phase 8 with its line of alluring restaurants located near the Do Darya side has built the reputation of generating great business. Savor, an eatery located in Phase 8, a little aloof from the rest of the chain started offering boating and other water sports like Banana Boating, Para Sailing, Water skiing etc. in the Gizri Lake and the Bundle Island. After the tremendous triumph of the introduction of these, the managers saw Jet Skiing as a lucrative opportunity and decided to introduce the sport for water lovers. Savor thus took away the title of being the pioneer in introducing Jet Skiing in Karachi. Madeen Kalia, the owner of Jet Ski Karachi, explained how this was an untapped market and how he sees its demand growing exponentially in the next few months.

I happened to be the first one to try out the sport in Karachi a couple of days ago and I’m still at a dearth of words to describe the feeling; a feeling so mesmerizing that I got transferred to a totally different world. As much as I am scared of water and keep my distance from it, when I first heard about it coming to Karachi, a force so irresistible compelled me to go for it. The moment I stepped my foot into the motor and took off was the moment I felt I was floating over water. The experience connected me to nature so brilliantly that I couldn’t come out of the euphoric state for quite some time.

As much as I would like to keep talking about the experience, I believe now comes the time to answer some technical questions. The place has Five Yamaha Jet Skis ranging from 700cc to 800cc ones and can go at 60 to 70 km/hour in terms of speed. The managers understand that safety feature is the most important concern for all and thus have the hand cuffs type keys and life jackets at their disposal for the riders. The boats have the capacity of 2 to 3 people at a time depending on their weights and have experts to ride and even rescue people through a life motor boat available at all times.

‘The best time for jet skiing is when the waves are at high tides’, said the manager Mr. Ismail, who had been the National Champion for Wind Surfing for the past 12 years.

With all questions answered, I opine that Jet Skiing can prove to be a very different experience for you, if you are a fun-loving adventurous person and are on the lookout for some different leisure activities within the city. For more details and further queries, you can visit the Facebook page of Jet Ski Karachi, the link of which is Happy exploring! :)

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Creative Chaos CTO Receives Award for Inventing a Mass Transit Touch and Pay Solution

Umair Aziz - Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of Creative Chaos, a leading technology consultancy, recently received the 1st Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Achievement Award for inventing and developing a state of the art NFC (near field communication) based fare collection system for mass-transit.

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, in the presence of distinguished business leaders, presented the medal to Mr. Aziz at a ceremony held in Karachi.

The system is called bPass and is currently being piloted in Kuwait, Jordan & Sharjah.

The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industries (FPCCI) is the apex body of trade and industry of Pakistan. FPCCI servers as the bridge between the Government and the Private Sector and its membership covers 48 Chambers and 96 Associations.

The FPCCI achievement awards recognize and honor the dedicated individuals and enterprises of Pakistani origin that have made sustained and lasting contribution at the in economic and socio-economic development of the Country and helped build its image and thus rendered all Pakistanis proud.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Animal Guilt Still Alive! Is Human Conscience too?

It so happened that a few days back my dad was watching a documentary on Animal Planet about a lioness in a zoo who had given birth to a bunch of cubs recently. The flesh tearing carnivorous mammal had attacked a deer or buffalo female who was expecting. The prey gave birth to its offspring while she was being attacked. The lioness out of guilt of turning an innocent new born animal into an orphan took it along and cared for it for several years. Fed it, nourished it, and blessed it with motherly love. The deer’s (or buffalo’s) kid now plays with the cubs.

The deer’s kid got a home. Did a human orphan ever? We’ve killed people, rendered them shelterless, fatherless and hopeless in this world at the mercy of other barbarians, who if won’t kill them will take full advantage of them, turn them into beggars who will be drugged throughout their lives, barter them off for good like they’re objects, pull out their organs and sell them off to make money or rape the orphan shelterless girl who later would be accused of Zina and sentenced to stoning. And most of us even while not killing them are playing a part in this injustice. When we choose to not even condemn such things, we let these barbarians continue with their inhumane acts and let them butcher our people. Is our conscience dead? Are we any better than those murderers? Perhaps! But we certainly are worse off than a carnivorous flesh devouring lioness, who will shadow an animal that its cubs and itself can most certainly feast on, but chooses not to. 

Friday, 4 January 2013

Bored? Make your time Text-citing! :D

When they say necessity is the mother of invention, they say it right. Vacations and uncalled for holidays suck the hell out of us and when peaks of boredom are reached that is when creative geniuses like me (okay maybe that’s an exaggeration :p) devise certain text games and tricks that entertain us momentarily. Try these if your phone is the only resource you have and KESC management is being unbearably retarded as usual! :p

1.       The name game: Try naming everything you and your text friend have with a human name. I named my tooth brush Gerry after the actor from the movie’ P.S. I love You’ and my male friend named his Holly. It was fun (for us at least). You can try this with your phones, spectacles, soap even parts of the body, if you are somewhat naughty that is :p This will crack you up even when you use any of these things the next time.

2.       Randomness: Send out random texts pretending as if you’re replying to someone and send it to someone who is least expecting it. And see what responses you get. I sent this text along with my peeps to a male friend who wore pink striped shirt a day before “the moron thought he looked like a hero. Whattay gay!’ and he knew how nasty we were and could get. Try sending ‘I love you too’ to your boyfriend/girlfriend, if they’re too clingy or insecure and scare the hell out of them. Be mean for a change if you already aren’t.

3.       Union of words: Send half broken words, prefixes or suffixes to your friends and ask them to complete the words. You can do the same with phrases or create sequences out of a word.

4.       The first word: Ask your text mate to reply instantly with the first word that comes into his/her mind when they see or listen to the word that you give them. Accelerated pace is the secret of success in this one.

5.       The ‘kiss one, fuck one and marry one’: Pick up 3 mutual friends belonging to the opposite sex (or the same gender if you wish :p) and ask your friend to place one against each of these. Add more categories like kill one, flirt with one or bitch slap one and add friends accordingly.

6.       The what if?: Give your friend hypothetical or real life situations and ask them what they could have done or would do in those. Being creative will do the trick! J

7.       Questions and questions: Ask your friend a simple question and keep forming and asking questions building up to the responses that come from them. It is extremely annoying for them but quite fun for you if you know how to play. :D

Kill boredom before it kills you! Enjoy :D