Before the Dawn

The darkest hour is just before the dawn.”


It is 4:18 am this moment, and the only light I see is this slowly filling space on my screen.

It has been a long day. It has rather been a series of long days since quite some time.

I haven’t been feeling so well lately, either; both physically, and mentally. The past few months have been dull and bleak, yet eventful as heck.

I cleared my degree for medicine and I am officially a doctor now, Alhamdolillah. (well, that’s old news, been over three months)
I joined a charity school as an English teacher as a substitute for my friend and ended up working there for two months, earning oodles of divine memories with my kids that I won’t ever forget, iA.
I had planned on continuing with the job unless one fine day, I am interrupted from my very rare power naps by a call from SIUT’s HR office, calling me over as an elective student for the month of April.
Overwhelmed with joy as I would be, I started off my journey at Pakistan’s biggest kidney related tertiary care hospital that provides quality healthcare and kidney transplants for free.

As a medical graduate who is pretty much an airhead at the first few days of the rotation, this new journey came out to be pretty enlightening.
I learned that not all the members of the white coat clan are devils in disguise, but came across dozens of doctors with great compassion. You had to preserve the moment I saw Dr. Adib Rizvi for the very first time, at a few steps’ distance, in the Operation Room, greeting me with the warmest of smiles in the sweetest of words. The reason I love this particular hospital is this very man- the man who pledged on not letting them die simply because they can’t afford to live. The man who maybe had a desire so pure to aid the feeble that The Almighty just had to blow life in his dream. I had an exhilarating desire to see him live, to see him work, just so I don’t lose the compassion I had burning within as a doctor. And his presence didn’t disappoint me one bit. It flamed my passion to serve the humanity, and got me another friend, and a mentor I know I can count on.

The very same day, I found out that my real-life idol, Dr. Najeeb Naimatullah- my mother’s doctor throughout her cancer treatment, also works at SIUT. Last I had seen his name was at Shaukat Khanum’s website and all I had known was that he had left Aga Khan Hospital as a consultant almost 7 years ago.
I had never seen him, for I was just 14 when my mother was battling against an aggressive lymphoma and I was never told of the facts about her disease or treatment progression and was only allowed visits either during the visiting hours or when one of the doctors or someone from the immediate family had to politely ask me to meet my mother for the last time, expecting a fall in her life status any instant. All I know is, that this doctor had always been gentle to my mother during the course of her disease and had offered his best weapons to help her win the war against cancer. I had loved him ever since. The day I found out he and I are working in the same place, I was definitely on cloud nine.

The red letter day finally arrived, I had my posting at the oncology clinic which, I had heard, he was supposed to chief.
I was excited to see him yet fragile as ever as the sore and aching memories of my mother’s last months kept bombarding my head.

And finally, as I stood in my cubicle waiting for a senior consultant’s remarks over my patient, a face neared my radius- a face so calm and dervish-like, illuminating with wisdom and acumen.
My heart instantly screamed it was him!
And it was. For a few hours, I tried my hardest to keep myself composed but the moment I found him alone, I just couldn’t glue myself together any longer.
I wept. I thanked him for treating my mother with utmost zeal and wept again.
I told him how I want to pursue medical oncology in the years to follow and be another Dr. Najeeb.
I emptied my heart out- what had been hidden for almost 9 years now, and ever since, working with him seeing how he interacts with patients had made respect for him increase to a hundred folds.
He, and his oncology team, keep noticing my yearning and they’ve seen me stay after work at the onco wards and out patient clinics just to learn and absorb as much as I can; support from them has been commendable! I can’t thank Allah enough for placing me here.

Where it’s all rainbows and butterflies and the time of life at SIUT, I also end up strengthening my rather biased opinion on the majority of the y chromosome being complete mysteries. Medical hierarchy isn’t the coolest ladder to fit in in a system like ours. I have learnt that men will always objectify women based on their color and curves, and I have learnt that the only wise decision a girl can make is to always draw a fine line around her, because a few walls for everyone doesn’t hurt anyone.

 

It’s 7:22 am right now, and I realize I had passed out in the maze of the words above, and now, the only light I see is everywhere but within.

They tell me I have got some fire in myself.
The sad part is, instead of burning in itself, it is burning me in itself.

I must not be ashes, not so soon;
in nights like those, I must shine like a moon.

Big Thick Burgerz spreading some #BigThickSmiles at the Karachi Eat Food Festival

Frere Hall, Karachi, had transformed into a heaven on Earth last week as foodies from all across K-town showed up at the most awaited festival of the year- Karachi Eat Food Festival. With over 90 eateries from Karachi, both corporate and home-based, the three-day festival was a perfect blend of entertainment, fun and food (LOTS OF IT,yes!) for the much distressed Karachiites.

While most of the bistros came up with innovative recipes with rather steep tags, Big Thick Burgerz stepped forward as a socially responsible corporate brand and came up with the #BigThickSmiles Campaign. They not only offered upto 40% discount on their entire menu (ANY burger for Rs.220, yep that’s true!) but also pledged to feed a street kid with an equally delish meal on hitting a threshold of ten burgers each.

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Building on the concept of ‘since it’s ‘Karachi Eat’, no one should sleep hungry’, the brand representative Adil Awan stated, “You see a lot of people from the upper and middle class enjoying the best of Karachi food at this festival. Brands make money, people get entertainment and somehow in our frivolities we tend to forget about the underprivileged.” According to Adil, #BigThickSmiles is about one brand trying to give back to the community in a small way.

I visited the Karachi Eat on Friday and Saturday both and was pleased to find people pooling in their share to contribute to the Big Thick Smiles campaign. Saw a gentleman donating cash separately to be added to the donated burgers account and even saw a lady buy burgers for the kids selling balloons in the capacity.

Speaking of the taste itself, I tried the California Mushroom Burger in beef and was served within fifteen minutes of the order placement. The patty was grilled to perfection and was juicy and tender- just the way I like it. Although, a little bit of tanginess would’ve complemented the mushroom sauce and would’ve been cherry on top! The jalapeno burger was a hands down a hit!

A live sales board was also being updated so people could see how many burgers are being sold and could keep tabs on the donation count. The buyers were also getting discount vouchers for their next dine-in at the Big Thick Burgerz so it was a win-win in all ways!

And hey, look! Here’s my discount voucher confirmation.
Guess who’s heading over to the Big Thick Burgerz this Saturday?😉

Connect with this awesome Burger Joint from Karachi right here!

Twitter.com/BigThickBurgerz
Facebook.com/BigThickBurgerz
Instagram.com/BigThickBurgerz

Pakistani Cinema to witness Fawad Khan as Alamgir in #AlbelaRahi

Karachi; 24th January 2016: Fog Catcher Films, a sister concern of Stimulus Productions, has announced what can be tipped to be the next blockbuster of the Pakistani cinema industry, Albela Rahi – a film on the epic tale of once an ordinary man, Alamgir, who rose to be the iconic Pop star of Pakistan and the one who pioneered the pop music genre in Pakistan.

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It has been revealed that the lead actor playing the legendary pop singer is none other than Fawad Khan, Pakistan’s leading heartthrob and superstar. The 34-year-old actor who has been a true sensation in the television and film industry of Pakistan and India is perfect for this role having been a seasoned musician himself. Fawad Khan made his cinematic debut in 2007 and has come a long way since then, making his Bollywood debut in Shashanka Ghosh’s Khoobsurat opposite Sonam Kapoor. According to an insider, although Fawad is very selective when it comes to signing a film, he fell in love with the script and the story of Albela Rahi and has been on-board since day one!

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The plot revolves around Alamgir and his struggles, his journey from East to West Pakistan and how he brought a wave of pop music along with him. Alamgir with his vigorous style of singing and stage performance brought a fresh breath of air to the Pakistani music industry in the early 1970’s. He introduced Urdu pop music and became an instant hit with his song ‘Albela Rahi’.

With an original script, a legendary protagonist together with Fawad Khan as the male lead, ‘Albela Rahi’ – Fog Catcher’s debut film shows immense potential of being a huge critical and commercial success.

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The idea behind ALBELA RAHI

It was a fine chilly night of December 2013 when Sultan Ghani Afzal and Faisal Hashmi were sitting in the Stimulus office when suddenly it dawned on them that it was high time they made a film! It was always Sultan’s dream to make a film on someone who has left behind a legacy and changed the music industry forever. When it came down to deciding the protagonist, Alamgir – the legend who pioneered pop music in Pakistan was the ultimate front-runner! And so began the journey of Project Charlie – their code name for this film.

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Project Charlie has finally been launched today as “Albela Rahi” and they are very proud of the fact that this is the first time a film is being made on a legendary pop icon of Pakistan. The idea has been polished for the past two years, the script rewritten and refined to the core and a great deal of effort made to bring it to where it is today.

“Although the concept of this film is a novel one in itself, we wanted to ensure that every other aspect of it is nothing short of being spectacular. Enter Fawad Khan – who we believe is the perfect actor to play Alamgir and carry on his legacy. We are very pleased to have Fawad on board since day one when we had shared with him the idea and script of Albela Rahi,” said Sultan Ghani Afzal.

Commenting about the living legend himself, Faisal Hashmi commented, “We are immensely grateful to the legendary Alamgir for embarking on this journey with us to tell his life’s story through Albela Rahi. We respect him with all our hearts and cannot wait for the world to see how he transformed the Pakistani music scene with his majestic wave of Urdu pop and burning flair for stage performance.”

 

The company might be new but the people behind it are veterans in the production industry of Pakistan. Sultan Ghani Afzal – the CEO of Fog Catcher Films along with Faisal Hashmi – the CEO of Stimulus Group of Companies, the makers of ALBELA RAHI have had the experience of producing over 200 TV commercials in the past six years. They have that burning passion and commitment to the film which will make it the next blockbuster of the Pakistani film industry!

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For more information, please visit:

https://www.facebook.com/AlbelaRahiFilm

https://twitter.com/Albela_Rahi_

https://www.instagram.com/albela_rahi_

Lifewares by Interwood- Karachi Store Launch

Interwood Mobel, a name synonymous with quality on a budget, recently launched their latest flagship store, Lifewares in Dolmen Mall, Clifton Karachi.

Lifewares by Interwood, encapsulates your personal style into the interior of your home and projects itself as a brand that caters to the needs of anyone looking to spruce up their house. Products range from flooring to home, kids, and, home décor which are available at reasonable and affordable prices, making them easily accessible to everyone.

Set beautifully, the store is a masterpiece in itself with something to attract and delight the customer no matter where the eye looks. The simple yet elegant aesthetics of each furniture piece available creates the right tone of comfort and coziness, making it impossible not to picture your ideal home as you walk from one corner to the next.

To commemorate this joyous occasion, a two day activity was held at Dolmen Mall, Clifton to keep the audience engaged.

Booths were set up at various locations around the mall featuring different products available where people were given the chance to win amazing prizes from Lifewares simply by taking a selfie at the booth and sharing it on their social media platforms with the hashtag, #MyLifewares.

By far the most popular activity was the Be Our Next Model competition, which took place at Dolmen’s main atrium. With professional photographers available, the booth was styled as a beautiful living room and participants not only took home framed memories but  5 lucky winners with the best photographs will be selected and featured on Lifeware’s billboards as their next model!

Bloggers and Key Opinion Leaders were also engaged and given an exclusive tour of the store to further promote the launch over their digital platforms.

Brand Manager of Lifewares, Amna Umair, shares the vision for their brand, “The idea of ‘Lifewares by Interwood’ is to not only sell a product to our customers but a whole experience, a while concept. We want to make it a top of mind brand for people looking for doing up or revamping their homes where they not only get the convenience but also something to suit every budget.  Very soon you will be seeing us in every mall and market places, so we are accessible to just about everyone”

To further aid their customers, Interwood has recently revamped their website giving their audience the convenience of shopping online

Oh and here’s what  I got as a present from the team.:)

Head over to the Facebook Page Lifewares By Interwood and stay tuned to the latest offers from the daddy of decor!😉

 

 

Some Kapray shopping..

The past decade has been a milestone in Pakistani fashion industry. With the rise of an era of online shopping and birth of a billion brands, we can all witness an escalation in the style standards of us Pakistanis. Big names with bigger price tags had always had their fair share of masses but it’s always good to see new names in the market reaching out for more.

But what’s better is the fact that a lot of entrepreneurs are investing in our very own national language. Did you notice the recent shift to brand names from fancy French and Shakespearean English to khaalis salees Urdu? From Daraz and almari to lootlo and what not, Shaggy Paul is predicting a courier service named Daakiya as well!😉 Looks like this the recent secret recipe for success and undoubtedly it works!

Welcoming another addition to this family, we now have a Karachi-based fast fashion brand with the name – Kapray!

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With their first flagship store launched on the 5th of July ’15 at the Dolmen Mall, Clifton; Karachi walas now have another store for their unending quest for the best of kapray. Cherry on top – it’s not just kapray at kapray, Kapray has a wide variety of the entire family’s trend needs. Covering four categories, Men, Women, Kids and Home, Kapray has clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, bedding and home essentials as well.

Mr. Faisal Rahim Saya, CEO of Kapray shares his idea behind the brand, “My vision was to create a brand that could not only compete with, but out do the international brands that everyone looks forward to in Pakistan. I wanted to raise the fashion quotient along with the standards of quality that is being offered to the Pakistani consumer today. We plan to launch at a few other cities across Pakistan later this year. So, it’s fashion that is both admirable and approachable.”

And he certainly seems to have achieved that. Kapray is not just your local shop at the mall- it’s a mega project with new collections every 2 weeks! Living up to it’s promise, the brand delivers fast fashion and the latest trends at market-competitive prices. It’s pretty much a one-stop shop for all your fashion needs!

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Speaking of the store itself, I was invited at the launch and I personally fell for the precision given to the details of the outlet’s interior.

Starting off with the men’s section, from denim to die for to the desi shalwar qameez, I found the collection quite decent. Not to forget the recent obsession over shoes, this section had the best casual shoes and eye-catchy loafers!

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Moving further to the ladies section, it featured both stitched and unstitched lawn and cotton, along with silks to ease your picks for semi-formals. The bags and shoes were equally good, with T-straps and V-straps taking over the summers and baggy totes and satchels targeting the fashion frenzic ladies.

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What held me glued for quite sometime was the kids section! Spent most of the time near the girls section because I was confused what to buy for yours truly’s niece. The girls section had chiffon, georgette and silk beautifully crafted to stylish frocks and tops. Unlike the other big names in kids fashion, Kapray really worked hard on the girls line and gets a 5/5 rating from my end.

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Kapray Home featured bedding and towels and was a neatly done segment. They also had a jewelry display just beside it. The necklaces and pendants had a tribal dominance and were a bit too funky for my choice hence I moved forward to my favourite part- SCARVES! At a tag of PKR 990, the scarves were in soft viscose, a perfect wear for summers! I look forward for more designs in the coming weeks since there were limited options at the launch.

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If you’re going through the shopaholics itch right now, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to drop by the mega store at DMC, Clifton. You’ll find a mini eden just beside Sana Safinaz at the first floor.

Happy shopping!

For more information on #Kapray, visit:
Facebook.com/kaprayonline
Twitter.com/Kapray_online
Instagram.com/kaprayonline

Event Management: Raka
Advertising: Red Art Communications
Media & PR: Take II
Digital Marketing & PR: The Digital Factory

The #InnerGlow Magic Shots by Ponds

Of all the instant pills of happiness, getting an unexpected compliment is my favorite! Since I am the giver clan, I equally like giving compliments as much as I love receiving them. One fine day, @PondsPk held a mini competition on their Twitter account on which I had to compliment a friend – stating the obvious, I chose to brighten Afrin’s day. Gladly, lady luck cherry-picked me as the winner and I managed to bag Ponds freebies for myself and Afrin.

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Got back home to a nicely wrapped Ponds White Beauty Facewash and Cream and instantly chose to give the mini mystics a shot. Being home to a combination skin gets challenging in the weather these days so I experiment with only a few tried and tested names. Ponds, being one of the most reliable brands was a safe pick so I promptly gave my dirt-laden face a therapy. A wee bit of the facewash, whoa bits of lather; splash splash and bam! Skin so smooth, it was as good as my daily cleanser from TBS. Since the everyday hustle and bustle at the hospital effortlessly slurps the glow from my face, the facewash and daycream duo was an instant hit!

To share my views, I was invited to the Ponds Bloggers Meet later that week. Hosted by Alishba Yousuf, the former Ponds girl, the evening was glitzed and glammed in all the pretty shades of white and pink along with the prettier ladies from the blogoverse.

The meet and greet session was all about breaking stereotypes of confining beauty to the clichéd fair-toned skin. Rabia Abdullah, Assistant Brand Manager Ponds Pakistan (and the lovely lady in the picture below) glimpsed through the magic potion of the White beauty range and said;
“Good skin is not just about fair complexion but also about freshness and the glow. The GenWhite technology is part of our ongoing efforts to contribute towards Pakistani women looking good, feeling good and getting the most out of their lives.”

Rabia Abdullah stuns in white and pink!

Rabia Abdullah stuns in white and pink!

And that’s what the Ponds Range is all about! We discussed how it’s not ‘fairness’ that defines beauty but the confidence and strength within that makes a woman beautiful! After all, it’s all about unblocking your #InnerGlow!

My girls!

My girls!

Nida Mughal sharing her reviews of the Ponds White Beauty Range

Nida Mughal sharing her reviews of the Ponds White Beauty Range

Myself, doing what I do best. Chirp, chirp!

Myself, doing what I do best. Chirp, chirp!

Followed by reviews from Nida Mughal and yours truly, we then moved forward to some innovative activities that none other than the brains at Creative Chaos could think of! From uncovering the Ponds Wall brick-by-brick to passing on the Ponds Legacy further to more pretty women, the event ended with some great food and even better gift hampers!

The #InnerGlow pretty much radiating from the oh so delicious food as well! xD

The #InnerGlow pretty much radiating from the oh so delicious food as well! xD

Yaad reh jane walay alfaaz.

I was about to brag about the incident mentioned below on twitter (since it has been my rant shelter 24/7) but just for a change, I felt like giving it a concrete locus on my webspace. So here’s what just happened;

11:30pm, just about twenty minutes ago, the doorball rang. My father and I were together in the living room, with him glued to the TV screen and myself to the laptop, I reached out to the entrance just to find it was the lady who lives a floor below ours. She had made Haleem and had come with a papa-bear-full pot (if that’s a word?) for me- talk about almost midnight surprises!

She’s quite a generous Memon lady (mentioning her community to break a stereotype against memons of being miser) and loves me a little too much. Whenever she hears my steps banging against the staircase of our apartments early in the morning as I leave for a walk or to the university, or when I am sluggishly climbing my way up from a long day’s work, she always gets to the main door of her house and never forgets to give me her blessings. I’ve rarely come across ladies as sweet as her. And guess what made me write this entire post out of the blue?

The lady left on the following note as dad and I walked to the door,

“Logon kay tou betay bhi aisay nahi hotay jesi Abbas bhai, apki betiyaan hain..”

(And yes, she was pointing at me.)

I HAVE LIVED.
*wipes her tears of joy as she ends this post*