About Sahar Paliwala

Life's a bitch, until you die.

The World Doesn’t Owe You Any Favors

Your own misery and your own disillusionment are exactly that. YOUR OWN.

Disclaimer: Pointless rant alert.

Within my own (admittedly limited) scope of experience, I can say that this generation lives in a state of chronic dissatisfaction. It’s how we define ourselves. It’s how we feel comfortable. It’s like a second skin. Today I met a 24 year old who’s afraid he likes his job too much. I mean of course you can rationalize pretty much anything in your head if you wish. So sure, let’s agree that liking your job too much isn’t a great thing. He complained that it doesn’t leave time to do anything else. So I asked him what he wanted to make time for and guess what? He had no clue. He likes the IDEA of wanting to do something else, but he has no notion of what that is.

I feel like I want to wring his neck but then I stop dead in my tracks and think about if I’m really all that different. Probably not, if I’m being even a little honest. I think I like the glamour of the whole idea at times. But usually it’s just a default state of being. You get so comfortable being miserable that nothing else measures up. And don’t get me wrong, I AM comfortable. For instance, my day today was packed full with meeting friends, attending events, lunch, coffee, music.. the works. And I was very excited at the go but I had a constant nagging feeling that it would get fucked up somehow. Maybe that mindset is what caused it (self-fulfilling prophecy) but it did happen. And it’s almost a welcome feeling when it comes.

To me and every other discontented/ aimless/ frustrated individual out there, this quote from Reality Bites sums it up best:

“I mean, try at something for once in your life. Do something about it, but you know what? You better do it now, and you better do it fast, because the world doesn’t owe you any favors.”

So.. all I need now is a plan for the rest of my life.


25 Things You Should Know About Me

Nothing like the feeling that life has yet again punched you in the gut to get some good ol’ nostalgia rolling. I was just going through some old pictures and notes on Facebook and came across this gem from 5 years ago. Here it is, reproduced in all its glory:

25 Things You Should Know About Me:

1) I sometimes browse the Dawn epaper to look up old crosswords that I’ve previously missed doing and print them out.
2) I don’t understand why “dilemma” isn’t spelled d-i-l-e-m-n-a. That’s what I’d always always thought it was. And it makes more sense.
3) I want to sing “Anyone Else But You” by the Moldy Peaches or “Jackson” by Johnny Cash/June Carter as a duet with a guy of my choice.
4) I can’t make eye contact for too long.
5) I have psychic dreams sometimes. (Honest!)
6) I want to marry someone just slightly smarter than me.
7) The best place to get some perspective is the pot.
8) I can do the “Exorcist” bending backwards position and imitate the woman from “The Others” better than anyone else I know.
9) I got slapped by a psycho woman at a train station in another country when I was 12!
10) I can never miss people once they leave. I try sometimes if the people are important but I tend to forget very quickly.
11) I find it frustratingly hard to decide what food to order.
12) I think I’m really vain but I hide it very well.
13) I can’t stand watching people chew gum.
14) I think if Jeeves (the butler from P.G.Wodehouse’s Jeeves series) was president, Pakistan would be a super power.
15) Everyone needs to stop explaining jokes! And adding “Get it?” at the end. Please!
16) Strong jaw lines and big hands are such a big turn on.
17) I make a wish every time I see a single star next to the moon because it said so in a song I heard really long ago.
18) It took me an awfully long time to get this far.
19) I know almost the whole script of Reality Bites and Bridget Jones Diary by heart.
20) I can eat at least a small jar of peanut butter in a sitting.
21) I start to slur when I’ve been awake too long.
22) The Matrix made no sense to me. The second time around either.
23) I like math because the answers are specific.
24) Google and YouTube are God’s gifts to our generation.
25) If you roll your “R”s I will kill you.

Do It For the Kids

When they say “Oh, you never know what life throws at you”…believe them. If you think you’ve got a plan, chuck it out the window. Familiarity and routine are over rated anyway.

Almost exactly a year ago, I took what I then thought was the biggest decision of my life and decided to quit my 9 to 9 bank job. At the time it seemed like the “right thing to do” is all I’m gonna say about that. If anyone cares, read my unemployed rant here. Over the next few months I took a mini vacation, made a half hearted attempt at looking for a job overseas, got employed and summarily rejected job offers from several organizations, added a professional investment analyst qualification to my resume, and finally just parked my behind at home and called myself a “freelance writer” (much simpler to explain when people ask what you do). Several other disastrous almost jobs later, I landed up as a teacher and student counsellor. Go figure.

A recent run in with an old friend brings me to the subject of my current post. You want to do something, anything? Do It For the Kids.What I take that to mean is, don’t sit around smoking cigarette after cigarette, giving yourself reasons to do or not do something. Take the plunge, or don’t, but don’t waste another second of your life deciding. I could potentially spend months, perhaps even years, debating a decision or little or enormous consequences but I hardly ever do. Even deciding not to do it. So I, of course, write about it. (Haha, don’t even pretend you don’t love my humour)

Here’s what I have to say about that though: Why bother? Really, if you’re stringing yourself along well enough, don’t make a mess of it. There is always that infinitesimal chance that your effort will be worth it but then again, why gamble on those odds? Teacher, writer, analyst, wife, meh. Don’t take yourself too seriously. That’s why God invented 9GAG – best three hours before you drift off to sleep, guaranteed.

I leave you with this little gem. You’re welcome, world.

Momentary Lapse of Reason

The good news: I have taken the plunge and quit my job that had been making me unhappy for at least 2 out of the 4 years I’d been working there.

The bad news: I am in all out ape-shit-crazy panic mode. Well, not all the time. Mostly just between meals.

Case in point: I just decided to make myself a cup of coffee.

Should be easy:

  1. Blend coffee and sugar.
  2. Add boiling water and/or milk.
  3. Enjoy steaming cup of frothy Nescafe


In my head, I expected my coffee to look like this:


In reality it looked like a cross between dirty dishwater and gravy.

Aaaaand cue. Enter: moment of crisis.

What kind of 29 year old doesn’t know how to make a cup of coffee?

Maybe my mother’s right; I’m never gonna bag a man.

It’s not too late to change my mind and retract my resignation..

Mumble mumble incoherent self pity….

Aaaaand cue: fit of hysterical crying. For the stout of heart, here is my dishwater in all its glory.Image

Oh well. One less career option.

Choose Life

Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life…

Mark Renton – Trainspotting

Truer words were never spoken. As it happens I do need a new job as I’m facing a bit of a career crisis at the moment, if anyone cares. And a “fucking big television” “leisurewear” and “dental insurance” would be nice too. It’s Monday afternoon and I’m reflecting on life, wondering “who-am-I-and-where-is-life-headed”.

So.. then what? We have a series of problems, get over some and deal with a new set of problems? Move from job to job, settle down, buy a house, get married, have kids, grow old, die? I remember when I was 15, my grades were SO important to me. And now it’s a decade and a half later and that’s meaningless and a better job is THE most important thing. And then, when I’m 40, getting my kids into great schools will be the biggest deal. Is this a checklist and we keep ticking things off until there’s nothing left to tick off anymore?

I know this is a depressing rant but I really want to know if anyone has figured out their shit at all? I really want to know, who on God’s green earth has it all put together (and can we have some pointers please). I want to speak to someone whose written an inspirational quotes book and ask them WHERE their little gems came from. The “dance in the rain” and “live life in the moment” variety. What do you guys see that I don’t see because I am desperate to know. How do I live life in the moment? How do I stop stressing about the shitty job, and the marriage dilemma and the family drama?

Any thoughts? Any ideas? I am rotting away, so to speak, as we speak.

Money, it’s a gas!

Pink Floyd – Money

Tom Petty – Money becomes king

I could go on but we all get it. Y’all are rockstars and you hate the 9-5 charade, and we must stick to the man and yeah, corporates suck and rock and roll lives forever! Then again, Gilmour & Waters had an estimated net worth of $150 mn in 2011-12 leaving poor Petty with, dare I say it, a petty $75 million net worth in second place.

However, lets not jump the gun and start judging everyone and all okay. So they have money. Is it a crime? ‘Course not. But sometimes it’s just amazing what money will do to ya..

I’ll start with my favorite.

Kim Basinger

Here’s what happened: she was stuck in a traffic jam in some suburb in Georgia where she read a sign that said “If you lived here, you’d be home by now”. Apparently that idea really appealed to her and just that like Kim Basinger stops, parks and buys the whole damn town. Really. She-bought-the-whole-damn-town. Talk about a once in a lifetime sale!

L to R: Normal Kim, Crazy Kim

Apparently she wanted to turn it into a tourist attraction of sorts which never hit off so it later had to be sold off for a tenth of its price to help get Kim’s head out of her ass. And by that I mean settle the lawsuit she lost against some movie studio whose deal she backed out of 4 weeks before film release. Oh, and pay off her pissed off husband for an expensive divorce settlement. A town, sheesh! Couldn’t she shop for shoes and jewellery like normal women? Does a town even come under “Retail” therapy?

Mike Tyson

This is a kind of pathetic/sad story so I’ll try to make it as short as possible.

He liked women. A lot. Women like to spend. A lot. Women with celebrity husbands/ boyfriends with a net worth of upwards of $300mn like to spend even more. Celebrity children love spending too I imagine, as do celebrity lawyers. Throw in some pet tigers and shopping sprees for property (what is it with these celebs and buying towns?) and you have a massive lawsuit for bankruptcy.


Gee, didn’t see that coming. Anyway, he says he’s repented, seen the light and made a switch. The poor unfortunate soul lives from paycheck to paycheck now. You must be so proud Mike. Welcome to adulthood. There’s 7 billion of us, so might take a while to settle in and make yourself comfortable.

Michael Jackson

If I left Michael Jackson out of this I know he’d have been insulted. The man was a whopping $400 million in debt when he died. Congratulations Michael, water cooler aap ka howa. Bet he was like “So long suckers, kiss my chadees”. Because seriously, if he didn’t want to burden his family and friends with the $400 mn debt, he’d have left a note telling em where the emergency stash was hidden. Or instructions to auction off his records or awards or fake nails or something.

I’d say he’s probably forgiven though, if they’re even remotely included in the will anywhere. Pick any one of his properties say, the one with the two railway lines (wtf?), two helipads, an amusement park (those bastards really overcharge for rides at other parks, you really showed em Michael) it’s own fire department, a zoo..

MJ’s Neverland ranch

So right back at ya Roger Waters:

“Don’t gimme that do goody good bullshit.”

Woes of a Karachiite

Somebody asked me yesterday if my blog was politically motivated. I said no, of course not, since it isn’t. But let me make a sort of exception to that rule to rant about this nightmare of a city I live in.


This rant will be nothing but the disgruntled grumbling of a fed up citizen so if you’re in a happier and calmer mood, I would urge you to walk away (or navigate away, to be more technically precise).

Franklin Roosevelt said in his inaugural speech “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” and I feel that’s exactly what’s happening with us. A constant, nagging fear of the general situation.

“Halaat kharab ho gaye hain”

is all we hear. We dont know where or what. All we know is somewhere in Karachi somebody’s unloaded a brick-load of explosives or gunfire, a certain number of people have died and the rest of us have to scurry back home from school/work/point xyz as soon as we can. If we’re lucky traffic won’t be that terrible and it wont take more than an hour. If not, well what can you do? Show me a Karachiite who hasn’t been in a 3 hour traffic jam and I’ll show you a liar (either that or he/she’s a hermit. Or a bike wallah. Or just one lucky sonovabitch).

Last night I happened to venture into one of those frequently sighted CNG lines with my mom. Yes, those
blasted CNG lines causing the traffic jams. What possessed my mom to get into a CNG line at 11:15 pm is something only she can explain. We finally got our precious CNG around 12:30 am. I don’t suppose there’s anything enlightening I could say on this subject, so I’ll refrain. Other than the fact that In a weird way it was kind of humiliating. Like we are so far gone that they can slowly deprive us of basic necessities and all we can do is queue up and hope to get our hands on some.


Hardy har har. Being stuck in a CNG line for hours, so funny I got a stitch in my side. Lunch, omg this cartoonist is a hoot! Asshole.

After our CNG adventure, I came home and fell into an exhausted sleep and dreamt that I was jolted awake by gunshots which went on and on for what seemed like four or five minutes. After which hundreds of people came running out of buildings and houses like they were being driven away from it. I suppose I must’ve joined the crowd at some point although I don’t remember doing so. We all assembled in a large hall or tent somewhere and nobody had a clue about what was going on and frankly nobody seemed to care. It looked like people were quite used to it from what I gathered because nobody seemed surprised or bothered much. There were kids playing around within minutes of intense gunfire so I’m guessing this was a regular occurrence. I looked around for my family and friends and saw them loosely scattered around. My friend was there, crying on her mom’s shoulder about some boy! Another friend was there doing something trivial. Point is, nobody was bothered about why we were driven out of our homes in the middle of the night by these men with the guns and in my dream at least, I was the only one aware of this being an unusual or unacceptable occurrence. The overarching feeling was helplessness and a general
shrug-just-bear-with-it attitude. Eventually everyone scattered and left the tents and that was the end of it.

I woke up with a start at 6 am, sweat running down my face and the first thought that came to my head was “I hope I’m not psyhic”. As a Karachiite I have my usual share of stubborn pride in my city but who knows how long it can stand the test. Some of us are here because we have no choice, some because we have no place else to call home. Those with the means to do so are tch-tching on the situation in the country from the comfort of their new homes in another country. The rest of us are stuck here just trying to make it through.