Category Archives: Media

Of Crazy Sales and Black Friday in Pakistan 

If there is one thing that makes me crave to buy designer lawn or pret wear, it has to be the magical word SALE. That’s how middle class I am. While going for shopping with my mom in my childhood, I use to wonder why the shops at Tariq Road has these buntings and banners mentioning Sale while it means to sell literally and we are here to buy anyway. Khair!! Samajh aa hi jaati hai time k saath.

Sale means discount and a good sale will become crazy if brands offer flat off of more than 20-30% on any occasion. Like the infamous Agha Noor and Sapphire sale where we have seen women fighting and even breaking the glass door to enter the shop. Both the brands has a history of offering flat 50% off on numerous occasions(which is great btw as a consumer). No wonder Sapphire is the pioneers of such in season huge discount wali sales in Pakistan. The rest of the brands soon joined the bandwagon. 

Agha Noor sale madness. Picture by @Rabeeyah

The most important question is, How fruitful these sales have been for the consumers or brands themselves? From consumer’s perspective I want to admit I didn’t know about Agha Noor as a brand at all before that Glass breaking video. So it worked. For Sapphire, they were the pioneers of fast fashion and flat sales. So a thumbs up here too. Great marketing but did the consumer got benefit of it? Of course!! Hundreds of women got their hands on clothes that won’t fit them or they literally don’t need from the sale and resell it on various pages of Facebook. It is  a win win situation for both public and brands. 

Recently, Khaadi opens doors of their largest store at Lucky One Mall with an irresistible offer of flat 40% off for 40hours and the hell broke loose. Hats off to the management that there weren’t any fights like Sapphire sales and door breaking entries like Agha Noor but the crowd did manage to make it look WTH. Pakistan’s biggest Mall with Khaadi’s largest store ever attracts the biggest crowd from the largest city of Pakistan and it is the moment Jis ne Gulshan ki Sarrkon pe breakain lagwa di. It was a crazy sale but public gets the most out of it. I am sure Gulshan and surrounding areas main now aunties have Khaadi clothing for the next 5 years stocked up.

As a consumer I just love these sales because iGhareeb. Never got the courage to be the part of instore madness. Obviously I don’t want myself to be filmed by the brands and then sharing it as a huge success video all over social media mocking every women. If you’re offering a crazy discount, expect crazy crowd. DEAL WITH IT. MANAGE IT. Instead of contemplating and demeaning customers by posting videos. If the brands can put a cap on pieces to be sold per person, then they might be able to decrease rush during crazy sales but then again, Pakistani Awaam has jugarr for everything. Online sale is what I am comfortable with and love to shop. The problem here is out of stock and gone with the wind kinda items. The pieces that you like won’t be available during sales or the order did not get through as happened with many, many a times. Brands need to sort things out too. 

  • So, Do I ever have something worthy from the online sale?
  • Yes. It was tough but yes, worth it. Yaaay!! Thanks to Bonanza Satrangi, Khaadi, Sana Safinaz, Daraz, Yayvo for the best sales last year. 
  • Do I ever want to be there in store during crazy sales? 
  • Well, Tbh yes, I want to but I couldn’t. Don’t want to die in a stampede. Allah maafi. 

Black Friday, The Western Sale phenomenon has made its way to Pakistani market with the debates over Friday being called black or white and lots more. Keeping it aside, it is for consumer’s benefit that every brand is now offering discounts be it by the name of black Friday or white Friday or blessed Friday etc. All hail daraz.pk for bringing the concept of Black Friday sales to Pakistan and making it big. Black Friday deals by most of the brands are already live or announced for the coming weekend but shop smartly guys. 

https://twitter.com/HariMirchein/status/932916631101206528
Tips to make the most of Sales:

  1. Subscribe to the newsletter of your favorite brands to get first hand knowledge of any sale. 
  2. Have Insomnia. Yes!! Because every online sale will begins at midnight and you’ll have to be checking it at a lightning fast speed. Warna miss. 
  3. Always look out for promotional vouchers or codes etc and payment partners. ECommerce sites like Daraz and Yayvo offers multiple payment options with additional discounts. 
  4. Save enough lol. Warna online shopping resist krna Barra mushkil hai boss. 
  5. Play it safe. Always double check prices and credibility of the website/brand you’re shopping from. 
  6. Start following me (hinasafi) and hashtag #SaleAlert on Twitter coz I post about sales often. Do share what you think about sales in Pakistan specifically black Friday. 

Happy Shopping and Saving!! 

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Of gol rotis and being #NotAFailure as a housewife

وہ کہتے ہیں کہ مرد کے دل کا راستہ اس کے معدے سے ہو کر گذرتا ہے اسی چکر میں ہماری عورتیں ساری عمر کچن میں محنت کرتی ہیں کے جانے کب دل تک رسائی ہو جائے.

Gol rotis have always been the standard for potential marriage proposals before the doctor bride craze. Women have always been under the radar for their cooking skills be it before marriage or after marriage life. Rishta aunties always use to ask, “khana wana bna leti hai?, silai karrhai aati hai?”. 

Recently I saw a tweet in which a newly wed doctor bride whatsapped her sister a picture of loki asking, “Ammi se poch isay bnatay kesay hain?”. It was kinda cute too but at the end of the day what we want from a woman is just good/cooked food and that too on time? 

I had an interesting tweet conversation about making gol rotis and the surprising part is men replying that they can make gol rotis too. 

There is much more to a woman than the food she makes for her family despite the traditional standard of perfection set for a woman. National Food’s recent ad campaign focuses on importance of sahulat for women to get sometime out making memories with family. The idea of #NotAFailure hits me right in the feels as I can so relate to it and I see it creating a good dialogue over social media. Love such ads which prompt healthy discussion. Specially the line when she says, “Kitchen main ghanton na lagaon tou kiya main fail hogai?”. 

I have been self employed since my college days as being from middle class you need to start earning as soon as possible. Being the eldest among my siblings and my forever love for food made me interested in cooking from school days. Whenever amma has cooked something I don’t like, I use to make my own portion of timatar rice or at least fries to have. When mom gets ill, I have to cook for the whole family and then I realize how important it is to have sahulat while cooking. Abba realized that I have problems in cooking for the whole family as my spice measurements weren’t perfect back then. He decided to help me with Spice mixes of National. I found my fairy God mother of cooking in the form of spice mix. Now I don’t have to worry about masala measurements and go again and again to amma asking ab kiya daalon? 

It’s been two decades now since I began my foodie kitchen journey. I have then stepped into professional life and then kids happen. Now is the time when I need sahulat the most and I have no shame in admitting that I rely on packet ka masala the most now. Specially the khandaan famous Qorma has its credit to National Foods. Sssshhhhh don’t tell my khandaan. 

No harm in finding yourself some me time or family time by getting an escape from kitchen while availing sahulat once in a blue moon. No need to miss on the Cricket matches you love because you have to cook for the family while they all are watching it Live. Either order food away or pre cook using spice mixes. Don’t miss out on the extra time ever. Never. 

Reh gai gol roti tou guess karain uskay liaye konsi sahulat hai? 

I watched #JabHarryMetSejal first day first show and I am disappointed 

I am Shah Rukh Khan fan. I just adore him. His charizma is unmatched, although I have grown up seeing him in movies on a VCR and later on TV mostly. Just few years back Indian movies started to release in Pakistan and I went to see SRK’s charismatic persona on 70mm for the first time in my life. The movie was “My name is Khan” and I loved it. Capri cinema’s audience was generous to clap, whistle and shout during his entry and performance. It was a memorable experience. As I am already his fan, the experience was of a lifetime for me. Afterwards his few other movies got released in Pakistan but I couldn’t manage to watch them in cinema because kids happen or some other issues.

Raees was his recent much awaited release but it couldn’t make it to Pakistani cinema despite Mahira Khan being in the lead. Sad indeed. Anyway, I was excited for Imtiaz Ali’s first venture with Shah Rukh Khan. As soon as the movie title was announced the buzz was the there. Although I didn’t like the title at all. Definitely because of the vibes it gave of previous Imtiaz Ali hit, Jab we met. 

I went for the first day first show of “Jab Harry Met Sejal” at Atrium cinema Karachi as a SRK fan for an experience of a lifetime with his fanclub, “SRK universe Pk”. The show was advanced booked and a housefull one. Families flocked to watch him on screen. 

I am disappointed because I was expecting something of standard and substance from the trio but all I can remember the movie for is Europe ki locations or SRK’s button down shirts exposing half of his tattoo on his shoulder and chest. What else will I remember? Maybe Safar main raha song or the cheese fries that I had after the movie. Did I enjoy? Yes coz his appearance made me smile, his Punjabi accent and dialogues were catchy and his persona always has a magical effect. Did I like the movie? Sigh….!!! What was that Imtiaz Ali? I can’t believe that it is actually a movie made by Imtiaz. There’s no character building, no relation of the protagonist with his ancestral town established or explained, Female lead (played by Anushka Sharma) impresses with her accent and antics but why was she forcing herself on him despite being engaged? The plot is so confusing that you’ll feel bored. 

Dear Shah Rukh Khan!! You were a heartthrob, you’re still one for many but we all should age gracefully. If red chillies or Gauri didn’t produce the film it might have a different impact I believe (I could be wrong but maybe). You were adorbs in Dear Zindagi, I loved you in fan (Fabulous fan act), Raees was cool too. JHMS wasn’t.

PS: I don’t review movies and this is not a movie review either.  

#AchayiBarhneDo – A meaningful TVC 

As a mom I know the struggle of raising kids and teaching them to be empathetic towards their siblings or friends. We are living in a digital age where such sensitive messages needs to be conveyed rather subtly to young minds so that they can learn the need of inclusivity. With Achayi Barhne do themed ad, BlueBand Pakistan has done a commendable job.

My kid paid attention to the message despite being so young while watching the ad. She was intrigued that why the kids started to play like that. I think I couldn’t have taught her what she has gained from watching it. That’s the power of visuals and storytelling. 

Blueband’s new TVC revolves around inclusivity theme where a bunch of kids can be seen showing empathy towards a differently-abled friend of theirs. Afterall, disability is not inability.  They all showed unity by playing volleyball one handedly so that their differently-abled friend can feel the fair play. Much needed message, not only for kids but us adults too who often forgets that such people around us need our support more than our sympathy. 

The reaction of the mom watching all this from far was as similar as mine while watching the TVC for the first time. I wanted my kids to be raised like that. I want them to be empathetic and kind. All the reasons to keep spreading goodness around. 

Hats off to the team behind the scenes for executing the message beautifully. Keeping the brand identity intact. In the end it all sums up, Achayi Barhne do aur bachon ko bhi. 

Karachi Literature Festival goes abroad for Fisrt #KLFLondon

Like art and music, literature knows no boundaries. For the past few years annual literature festivals have become a regular source of soul nourishment for us in Pakistan and it is great to see Karachi literature festival going abroad for the very first time to celebrate 70th anniversary of Pakistan. Lomdon’s Sounthbank center hosted first KLF in May and it was a packed house of literature and art enthusiasts. Oxford university press managed to portray soft image with success through KLF London. Produced by Oxford University Press (OUP) Pakistan, KLF was organized in collaboration with the Southbank Centre, Bloomsbury Pakistan (a research collective based in London), and Rukhsana Ahmed.

Celebrating contemporary Pakistan and its rich history and culture in the context of the 70th anniversary of the country’s foundation, the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) held at the Royal Festival Hall of the Southbank Centre, as a part of their annual festival Alchemy. Dubbed as Pakistan’s biggest literary event, the KLF brought together writers, scholars, and artists from diverse backgrounds, creative traditions, and academic disciplines to showcase contemporary Pakistani literature and writers. 

The audiences at the KLF were treated to a medley of around 20 parallel sessions encompassing talks, panel discussions, poetry readings, mushaira, and performances. A stellar cast of around 70 leading Pakistani-origin and international writers, scholars, critics, journalists, and artists participated in stimulating sessions covering a broad range of themes, ideas, and subjects pertaining to Pakistan’s literature, arts, and culture. A separate strand for children which included an immersive theatre piece by Jungly Jadoogars; an animated film by the artist Fauzia Minallah; storytelling by the children’s author, Shahbano Bilgrami; and sing-along songs by the veteran Pakistani musician, Khaled Anam, were also a part of the festival.

KLF London started off with the renowned novelist and journalist, Mohammed Hanif’s keynote address giving unique insights into Pakistan’s history, hopes, and dilemmas. Earlier, at the festival opening, Ameena Saiyid, KLF and Islamabad Literature Festival Founder and Director, Asif Farrukhi, KLF and Islamabad Literature Festival Founder, and Adrian Mellor, Managing Director, Asia Education, OUP, welcomed the guests and speakers. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK, Syed Ibn Abbas also spoke on the occasion.

Some of the sessions held early on in the day included ‘Transphobia and Misogyny’, a discussion on legislations around transgenders and women in Pakistan; ‘Reluctant Returners: Migrants, Refugees and Memories of the Homeland’ in which Kamila Shamsie, Qaisra Shahraz, and Mirza Waheed explored characters and fictions inspired by exile and displacement; and ‘Pakistani Renaissance? The Best in Cinema, Reportage, Theatre and Fashion’ with the television actor Atiqa Odho, filmmaker Faris Kermani, designer Maheen Khan, and journalist Cyril Almeida as speakers.

Taimur Rahman, Moni Mohsin, and H. M. Naqvi weighed up the challenge of portraying Pakistan’s gender and class divide in the session ‘Blaming the Elite: Class, Greed, and Gender in Contemporary Pakistan’. Educationists, entrepreneurs, and experts including Farid Panjwani, Ahmereen Reza, Mona Kasuri, and Ameena Saiyid were part of a stimulating panel discussion titled ‘Madrassas and Montessoris: Are Private Schools Keeping Madrassas at Bay?’ moderated by Nigham Shahid.

In a panel discussion titled ‘Against All Odds: The Price of Prosperity in Pakistan Today’ held later in the day, Shuja Nawaz, Maleeha Lodhi, Ishrat Husain, and Victoria Schofield analyzed geopolitical and internal challenges facing Pakistan. In the session ‘Urdu ki Zid Mai: At Loggerheads: Urdu vs English vs Regional Languages’ Basir Kazmi, Ishrat Afreen, and Harris Khalique, and Asif Farrukhi discussed if Urdu in Pakistan is under threat from English or the regional languages.

The evening sessions comprised thought-provoking discourses on ‘Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: Diaspora Pakistanis Caught in Post Brexit Hate-Storm’, with Ziauddin Sardar, Farooq Bajwa, and Iftikhar Malik debating the challenges faced by Pakistani diaspora in Europe; ‘Karachi: City of Lights and Gangs’ with Laurent Gayer, Nichola Khan, Mohammed Hanif, Sobia Ahmad Kaker, Omar Shahid Hamid, and Kamran Asdar Ali talking about the battle for Karachi and its resilience despite political conflicts; and ‘Tweeting for Social Change: How Social Media is Influencing the Political Scene’ in which Huma Yusuf,  Umber Khairi, and Umair Javed discussed the impact of social media on Pakistan’s political scene.

The highlight of the festival was the ‘Satrangi Mushaira’, which was an open mic session for Pakistan’s regional language poets to recite their latest offerings. Another session ‘In Their Own Words: Writers and Poets from Pakistan’, moderated by Muneeza Shamsie, featured poetry and prose readings by writers of Pakistani origin including Imtiaz Dharker, Aamer Hussein, and Zaffar Kunial. In ‘Partition Stories’ Nimra Bucha, Vayu Naidu, Shayma Saiyid, Amrit Kaur Lohia, and Sarah Ansari presented a medley of readings, film clips, recitals, dance and poetry about the Partition of India.

The evening came to a close by a kathak dance performance by Shayma Saiyid and a music concert by Khumariyaan, a Peshawar-based music band known for their fusion brand of Pashtun folk music. <!–

Sponsorship support to the KLF London was provided by Bestway, Arts Council England, Third World Quarterly magazine, Salt n Pepper restaurant, High Commission of Pakistan in London, South Asia Institute of the University of Texas at Austin, and The Pakistan Society.