Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Path Once Taken.

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Hard to believe now, but there was once a much better time. In the news today, among other things, what most disheartened me was the news of the bomb blast in Quetta targeting Shia Muslims returning from Iran. This news had the most impact on me, not because I belong to the sect, but rather because I too, a couple of years earlier had used the same route to travel to and from Iran.

Barely a teenager I accompanied my family consisting of 11 people in all to Quetta. Our bunch included my immediate family as well as an uncle and his family. There were young, there were old, religious, and not so but together we all set out.

Our plan was to visit Iran for pilgrimage to one of most sacred places for us, the Shrine of the 8th Imam Hazart Ali Raza (AS). The men of the family had taken time off from work, and so we were on a tight schedule. Therefore we refused to be a part of the ‘Kaflahs’ that usually take ignorant people like us to these revered places.

The 11 of us travelled to the beautiful city of Quetta without any fear. Another uncle being in the army, arranged for us, very comfortable lodgings in the army mess, where we spent the night merry-making and trying to write ‘Areezay’ – prayers on a piece of paper. With the adults all settled in for the night, us kids sat down to spill our deepest desires on that innocent paper, hoping that God could read our illegible handwritings.

The weird bunch in the once beautiful Quetta

I thought if I wrote mine in Urdu, I would get extra credit for trying and so we all penned away. While we refused to share our wishes, the general idea of what each wanted was there. Also because writing in Urdu, we each had to ask others how a particular word was spelt. And piecing together the entire wish wasn’t that hard.

The memorable night ended and the next day we set of to the bus stand to start our journey from Pakistan to Iran. The terrain was absolutely terrifying. The hills of the Chagai ranges so deserted I wondered how long if ever someone would take to find us if we got lost. There was absolutely no concept of a bus stand all the way from Quetta to Taftan. You had to be carrying food with you or else starve till you reach your destination. And don’t get me started on where people went ‘to relieve themselves’ on the way.

The terrifying terrain of Balochistan. On way to Taftan

There were however army checkpoints throughout. I know because my beloved uncle had made it sure that he received reports of the proceeding of his civilian family throughout the scary landscape. With numerous geography lessons from my mother going on in the background, to the loud Pushto songs the bus carrying me, went on its journey, unaware that many years later, people using the same pathway, for the same reason would be brutally murdered.

End of part one.

To be continued…..

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Online Shopping – Confession of an addict!

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Ever since I learnt about it, online shopping has become the bane of my existence!  The ease with which one can buy things online is unmatchable. While many people believed that online shopping in Pakistan cannot flourish, the numerous website operating within the country have proven them wrong.

I myself fell a victim to online last month, when a friend introduced me to a website selling high quality branded cosmetics. Going by the name ‘Just4Girls’ http://www.just4girls.pk/ this site is cosmetic heaven.. especially for people like me.

It took some serious effort on my part to make myself push the place order button, but once I did, there was no stopping me. I would add items to cart, fill in the details, but when the time came to place the final order, I always chickened out. But then I saw these gorgeous nail polishes from Beauty UK, being sold by Just4Girls at a discount, and instantly I was onboard.

Wild Child, Matte Top coat by Beauty UK from Just4Girls

I have since purchased four Color Studio Professional nail polishes from them, along with a matte top coat also from Beauty UK. I have also been eyeing the Sally Hansen cuticle remover which they are out of but I signed up to be notified as soon as it’s back in. (Yes you can do that).

Color Studio Professional from Just4Girls

The thing you gotta love most about online shopping is the facility of the things being delivered to your doorstop. You select things you want when you log onto the computer ‘pour passé le temps’. And soon enough they are arrive. The service by Just4Girls was highly satisfying. Providing cash on delivery services, my orders arrived within two days of my placing them.

A regular online shopper Atiya Abbas who hooked me to online shopping thinks online shopping is a great way to get your hands on brands it’s not possible to find in Pakistan. ‘I remember watching videos where people showed products and I thought I would have to make do with cheap and possibly dangerous substitutes available here. Not anymore.’ Here is a snapshot of Atiya’s haul from various online websites. Atiya is a frequent visitor of webpages like Splurge, International Makeup in Pakistan, Beauty Unleashed and Just4Girls.

Owl pendants from Splurge, China Glaze nailpolishes from International Make up in Pakistan, lipsticks from Just4Girls, blush from Beauty Unleashed.

Another customer new on the online shopping scene, Ayesha Ahmad swears by the snake ring she just bought online. A home based enterprise operating on Facebook ‘Dhanak’ sells various female products, from skin care items to jewellery. Branded products like body shop, Nyx, Avon etc are available from the page.

Snake Ring from Dhanak

Numerous pages such as Dhanak operate through Facebook. Pictures of things available through them are uploaded and interested customers can browse through these albums and place orders for what they like. I too purchased this beautiful pendant from Dhanak. However these pages do not offer cash on delivery services and payment has to be deposited in an account number provided by the owners before the products are delivered.

Pendant from Dhanak

I also chanced upon another webpage selling jewellery. Going by the name HAYA, this page is run by another woman entrepreneur. I preordered two necklaces I absolutely fell in with the minute I saw the pictures. Even though I suffer from some weird condition where wearing metal causes my skin to break out with crazy hives and rashes, I was still undeterred from buying these babies!

Necklace from HAYA

Necklace from HAYA

Where so many advantages of online shopping exist, there are also some disadvantages. As Ayesha recounts, she ordered a clutch from one such webpage online. The order was finalised and she deposited the money in the account. However when she received the clutch, she found out the color was brown and not black as she previously thought.

Issues like these will bug you no doubt, but look on the bright side. The birthday of my nephew was around the corner. Everybody gave him toys. I wanted to do something extra. I had recently come across a webpage selling custom made cushions with personalized messages and images. And viola, the idea for the perfect present. I got these lovely cushions made for my niece and nephew. Courtesy RTW Creations. They arrived within a week.

Personalized cushions from RTW Creation

This blog on online shopping cannot be complete without me mentioning my most prized possessions purchased online. Books. Yes. I admit I am a book worm. I have been looking for these everywhere but couldn’t find them. One visit to Liberty Books and delivered to my doorstep!

Books from Liberty Books

One of the coolest t-shirt brands to hit the country, Azad is already making a name for itself. Launched very recently quite a number of people have purchased their shirts. So when I had to buy my brother a present, guess where I headed? Online of course!

Azad T-shirt from IAmAzad

I also managed to get my hands on this Kajal by Rivaj from Eye Love Makeup So dark it is it makes me look like a raccoon! I still love it even though at times it seems I have been punched.

Kajal by Rivaj, Eye love Make up

Most of these pages do charge an additional fee for delivery. However Azad tees delivered through Blue Ex carried no extra charges, with cash on delivery! The is an entire online store available on the webpage with products ranging from tees, to branded lawn from Deepak Perwani all delivered to your house, with no shipping charges. Pay cash once your order is delivered.

All this I purchased in the month of May! Thank God I just got my paycheck. June watch out!

Bear with the poor quality photographs. I am a writer not a photographer!

Shopped anything online? Tell me.