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Could anything be more exciting than living in Pakistan right now? By Fareeha Qayoom

Could anything be more exciting than living in Pakistan right now?

By Fareeha Qayoom



ou’re probably familiar with the story of the tortoise and the hare? Well, I was the hare the other day…I was invited to this business (Iftari) dinner and the timing was 6:00 PM sharp. Well, I was on the main Boulevard at Readings between 4:30-6:00 pm and I thought I could make it to Freddy’s in five minutes flat…no big deal. Well, I was wrong…Unfortunately, I had to finish this book I had started…so it was 6:15 by the time I left Readings…


It took me a better part of an hour to get from Pizza Hut to Freddy’s on MM Alam Road – a twenty five meter dash which takes about three minutes drive normally in a car… A couple of times I called my hosts and told them I felt like going home because I was stuck in a traffic jam and there was no parking space to be had for miles – could they please excuse me? – I am not exaggerating when I tell you, the cars were backed up till Liberty…(I am talking about Thursday, August 25, 2011…) eventually, I ended up parking across Hussain Square – and walking down to Freddy’s because they insisted that I wasn’t excused and I better turn up – by the time I got there,  my nerves were so frazzled that it took me 4 glasses of water and one glass of orange juice to really simmer down….I also broke my fast about 30-45 minutes late!

Boston - Copley Square: The Tortoise and the Hare
Photo by wallyg

Next day, we had planned a girls day out- strictly between friends…I told them that we should not try Gulberg for this particular GT – it was an exercise in futility. I also advised my friends to reserve a table if we were planning to visit a restaurant on MM Alam road…well, my friends didn’t take me all that seriously…they thought I was over reacting or something…however, luckily we were on MM Alam Road by 5:00 PM. There was a quite a crowd gathering up between Pizza Hut and Hardees even at this time…


There was an Iftari deal at Hardees – 3 burgers for 333 each…we decided to go for that one…we parked the car but we couldn’t go inside. The restaurant was closed till 6:00 pm. We decided to walk to nearest shopping plaza and explore the place – we had an hour to kill after all. We were back by 5:45. My friend thought we should go to Nandos…PKR 600 was not all that bad a deal either…By this time, our car was blocked and the parking was full. …At this point it was too late to change our minds…

burger at hardees

We were waiting for another friend to join us…she was late. She suggested on the phone that we should try a different restaurant – she suggested Veranda…hmmm. Again, we told her, it was too late. This was it. She better join us at Hardees. We had already missed our boat and if we changed our minds now, we would probably miss this one too…

It was beyond scary. Remember that Pepsi ad? It was worse than that… By six they opened up the doors – it was one long line of people…we sent one friend to bag us a place while the two of us joined the line to wait our turn. At one point, my friend told me to hold our place while she went out and checked out how things were at Nandos…she was back in 10 with a long face. Nandos was full up too…finally, a couple of minutes before Iftari, our turn came and we paid and picked up our token. It was quite a crazy crowd. One man even shouted at the top of his lungs “You shut up.” I don’t know what that was all about…it gave everyone quite a pause…

jalapeno burger at hardees

We got our food around 7:30 pm. By this time, we were full up on Coca Cola- I couldn’t even finish my burger because the liquid refreshment was sloshing my insides like a crazy lurching boat. It was so noisy and crowded that you couldn’t hear yourself think. So I suggested that we drop by at a friend’s office after dinner for tea and a little conversation…Another bad idea. There was a power outage and they don’t have a UPS for after hours so we decided to park our cars at her office and cross over to Readings…thirty minutes of fun and conversation and we were ready to leave for our homes…it was 9:00 PM. That small island of time at Readings café sort of made up for all that crazy time at Hardees, the noise pollution, the delay and the headache…even the food didn’t taste all that great…normally, I like their Jalapeno chicken burger just fine but it tasted kind of bland that day and the coke tasted funny too even though, I had three refills…


All in all, quite a night; next year, we probably will try a quiet coffee bar…but the way things are going, I guess the coffee bars would be crazy places to visit between Ramadan as well…anyway, just another average evening in Pakistan…It wouldn’t be Pakistan if it wasn’t so exciting living here…! 😀

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Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of and former print editions of The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review (tkfr), a trade newsletter for the textile and apparel industry of Pakistan. In short, Publisher, editor, and a blogger. In addition, she has served as Managing Editor of MIT Technology Review Pakistan, print and web editions (2015-16). Total of 7 editions were published under her leadership by ITU, Punjab's first public technology university under the license of MIT Technology Review (USA). She has also managed Value Mag in the same capacity, a real estate and lifestyle magazine for Value TV - 2008-9. Published freelancer for The News on Sunday 1994-96. Fareeha has over 21 years of solid management experience – of managing brands (like Harley Davidson, Munsingwear, Chaps, Chaps Ralph Lauren etc.,), Retailers (like Target, Mervyns, Kohl's, Marks and Spencer etc.,), customers (VPs, Product Managers, Unit Managers, and Buyers), and products (apparel - woven, knits, men's, women's, children's, Print and online publishing units), projects, teams, and processes, information, content, and data, staff, vendors, and time. Versatile and adaptable with international exposure, communication and language skills (oral and written), and a consistent track record of achieving company targets and objectives, plus a MA in Political Science from Punjab University, a MSc in Economics from La Salle University, Louisiana, USA, and a BA in Economics from Kinnaird College for Women.

1 Comment

  1. More reading?

    Hardees – Jalapeno Chicken Burger
    Hardee’s is amazing. Yes, their items are definitely a bit pricey, but you really do get a higher quality meal when you choose them rather than McDonald’s or Burger King. They have large, steakhouse-style fries that taste purely like potato, but have an extra kick to ‘em.

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