December 27, 2017

I'm An Insta-Girl, In An Insta-World - Part 2

Image courtesy Google

Sunday, 4 December 2017

What a wasted Sunday! Sarah Shafi’s Harvey Nichols brunch? More like Debenham’s, frankly. Nisa — bloody pithoo —  claims Sarah spent forty bloody lakhs putting the whole bloody debacle together. Itni lut and no dessert table, no imported flowers, no giveaways even!? That could only mean one of three things — a) Sarah is a kanjoos makhichoos, b) Nisa is a total chaddoo, or c) Sarah was seriously swindled. My money’s on A and B, but I need to know what Mona and Mani think first. 

I just wish I hadn’t worn my new Zozo Kakar jora. The husband suggested I wear it to Talia’s chai next week. Like, repeat the outfit. Wear. It. Again. As if that troll, Fatoo, and her oaf of a sister would ever let me live it down. I will not be outclassed by some corrupt minister ki churail betiyan — I am an industrialist’s son’s first wife!

December 13, 2017

I'm An Insta-Girl, In An Insta-World - Part 1

This year, I’m ecstatic marking 5 years writing satire. I know this is the part where I’m supposed to humble-brag about my “journey”, but, ummm, no. I thought it’d be a lot more fun and fitting to celebrate my milestone with a tiny tribute to one of my greatest inspirations and South Asia’s most savage satirist — with razor-tongued wit and eerily precise observations, her words are effortlessly relatable and hilariously woven, and therein lies the magic of Moni Mohsin.   
Ever grateful for the guiding light!  
- Insha 

Image courtesy Google

Monday, November 28 2017


Heavy weekend! 

Friday night, Karachi, Farah Makhandani’s White Party, hosted at the beach chateau she snagged in the divorce settlement. Clever fox stuck it out just long enough to finish renovating the place. Three seconds later, Karim was kicked to the curb and she was cozying up with the Al-Hoor Cement waalon ka beta. Not that that wasn’t happening before. 

Challo, mitti pao, tay khana khao, right?

I wonder if Karim will finally crawl out of his closet?

Saturday, Jihad and Haya officially kicked off the season with their annual brunch in Bani Gala. Ufff, the views were stunning and the khana was just exquisite! Everything was imported, from Shams, but still. And, of course, all organic. Apparently, Haya is severely allergic to thelay ki sabzis.

Sunday, we were back home for the J.F. Kalandardin Polo Cup. Lately, Cheeni and her chumchees have been sporting feathery head-pieces to these events. Such a bunch of hoity-toity wannabe goris, I swear. But Annie said she might wear one. And Sam’s daughter has talked her into it too. That means, Bina’s definitely on board, so…you know. 

Now, I just hope that lazy murghi-wala shows up. The rest, the maid can figure out. Isn’t that why I pay her?

Wednesday, November 30 2017

Fittay moo!

Five cups of chai and my head is still splitting. Bloody pharmacist. Fazool mein switching out my standard cocktail with some new-fangled concoction, which, by the way, is total shit. Now he’s in some Cheechoo Ki Maliyan type pind for the next week, leaving me not-so-high and totally dry.

Bet you my Bottega he eats money to push this third-class maal on poor rich women like me. 

Thursday, December 1 2017

Ufff, is waqt I would give dus kaalay bakroon ki qurbani if it meant wearing zero make-up, slathering andaa-dahi in my hair, and taking a very long nap. I’d also kill to smother my face with chocolate cake, but none of this is going to happen. 

I mean, there’s no way I’m busting my teeka-diet. It was bloody torture trying to sneak my way into Nayna's squad and everyone knows how hyper-exclusive her B-Complex bashes are — gold-tipped syringes and all. Not a club I want to get kicked out of.

Waisay, whoever said “looks don’t matter,” is such a jhoot ki potli.  

Khair, shukar hai, I finally dug up that Bubbly woman’s number. You know, the one who takes care of this saryal pish-posh crowd’s blow-dry, threading type business? Kasam se, she is legendary, and I’m not just talking about the massage. Slip her a sizable tip and she slowly works oil into my hair while giving me a lascivious low-down on the upper-crust’s deepest, darkest dilemmas. Sakoon mahol, tay mithay chowl!

Head to I'm An Insta-Girl, In An Insta-World - Part 2

October 10, 2017

For Old Time's Sake - Lahore's Most Nostalgic Hot-Spots

Remember Polka Parlor? I do, but not because the ice cream was OMG. Those back-lit photo-boards mounted high behind the counters featured my naughtiest frozen dairy dreams — a perfect Peach Melba, a beautiful banana split, a classic triple-scoop sundae topped with a cloud of whipped cream and a neon red maraschino cherry, and my holy grail, a huge watermelon, hollowed, carved, and filled with a million tiny scoops of ice cream — all a bunch of cruel lies. Dude, my frickin’ fantasy monster-melon wasn’t even on the menu...

Still, mention the name and I can’t help smiling, because, really, disappointing dessert was but a trivial detail, an annoying distraction, if you will, in a day that included a trip to the holy land of extreme 90’s-kid fun, Amusement Arcade!

You know the one I’m talking about — that musty basement that offered a grand total of 3 thrilling fun-time activities, including the iconic heart-thumping dodge-em cars with dubious brakes and long, bendy antennas that crackled and sparked against that wire-cage roofing. That lingering smell of hot metal was oddly satisfying. The mechanical horse-race felt as intense as the Kentucky Derby, beads of sweat forming on our foreheads as we screamed our lungs sore until the shrill buzzer finally ended the game. A mix of excited shrieks and disappointed groans always followed. And the pièce de résistance — the mildly shady and definitely moldy room known as the “Shooting Gallery.” Nobody ever won the game,but we all played anyway, just to get the creepy old cowboy to half-rise out of his creaky rocking chair and lift his lame shotgun to squirt water at us. 

After an hour of so of this daredevil awesomeness, the gang of cousins, and whichever Khala had been conned into watching the kids for the afternoon, descended on Polka Parlor and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Food is a powerful, emotional affair, folks. Not convinced? Hit up these five nostalgic Lahori hotspots and we guarantee some serious feels!


Literally, eat ANY of Gino’s pizzas and it’ll take you straight back to every cool kid’s childhood birthday or last-day-of-school party you’ve ever been to. Yes, the dough is still thick and bread-y and the sauce is still oddly sweet and, no, there’s no epic stringiness to the cheese — it sits in one waxy, congealed sheet on the top, just like always — and it’s still so, so delicious. Nothing beats kick-butt kiddie party food.

March 11, 2017

Road Runner's Secret Service

Road Runner
Phone: 0334 1310131 (OR) 0334 1311131
You can also find Road Runner on Facebook & Instagram

On a scale of 1 to Immobile Lout, how lazy are you? If you’re tipping towards stationary lump, a killer delivery service is a godsend. That’s why Road Runner rules the hearts of hermits all over Lahore. Aside from the fact that they’ll deliver pretty much anything — a winter blanket dropped off at your doorstep? Hell yeah — the service is speedy, the charges are reasonable, and, when you’re in no mood to step out, they’ll happily to trek all over the city for you. 

Near-instant gratification and almost zero hassle, I was sold the second Road Runner launched. More recently, though, they’ve got me hooked on to their latest secret service.

Ready? Okay. Hold on to your undies, because Road Runner had set up an in-house kitchen and they’re knocking out some of the most delicious Khao Suey in town. The chicken coconut curry is creamy, the noodles are tender, topped with a small mountain of crispy onions, a generous sprinkle fiery chili flakes, sliced scallions, and a big squeeze of fresh, zingy lemon juice — cozy night in a bowl, babies!

Literally, Road Runner, just take ALL of my money! Take all of eeeetttt!

For your chance to WIN A FREE KHAO SUEY MEAL FOR TWO FROM ROAD RUNNER*, don’t forget to enter The Road Runner Giveaway, happening on Facebook and Instagram. Giveaway starts on Saturday, 11 March, 2017 and closes Thursday, 16 March 2017 at 11:59 pm (PST).

* Prize generously sponsored by Road Runner

March 1, 2017

Lahore, THIS Is Why You Need To Grocery Shop Online!

I don’t know about you, but it took me decades to become a grocery shopping ninja. 

Through the pre-adulting wonder years, it was as easy as arriving at Al-Fatah, grabbing a Shezan mango and some Super Crisps, and watching Nano slice and dice her way through the entire ordeal like some supermarket sensei. 

The golden days of college entailed an obscene diet of dorm food, bean and cheese burritos and, once a week, cooking a massive, mostly desi meal to share with a horde of hungry friends, but pulling that off literally a no-brainer — hitch a ride to the nearest Indian store, pick up Shaan masalas, buy ingredients listed on the backs of those boxes. Boom. Done. 

And then I got married…*dun dun duuuuun*…and shit hitteth the fan. 

Basically, after moving in, like a good ghareloo bahu (and an A-grade idiot), I offered to take over the sauda-stocking scenario. I probably should’ve stopped to consider that a) I’d never gone grocery shopping on such a massive scale and b) I had no idea what these people shopped for, but, no, I was a fool in love. My mother-in-law resolved the latter dilemma by handing me a three-page (back and front) list scrawled in Urdu. Bullets of sweat broke out. I dialed in my besties for back-up and almost half the day later, we wrapped up an expedition that can only be described as waging war with over-zealous, jiu-jitsu trained aunties battling it out in a Game of Thrones: Ghee Edition. 

Between then and now, I’ve tried more than a couple of “systems” to make the entire process less painful — Excel sheets, streamlined lists, highlighting old receipts, memorizing the layout of my favorite grocery store, hefty tips — but about a year and a half ago I called it quits. Not because I’m a quitter, FFS, but because Allah Mian loves me and some genius launched 24/, Lahore’s first full-scale online grocery shopping app and website.

THIS is a goddamn revolution, folks!

Not only do they carry thousands of products from all of my go-to brands — from grocery items (including fruits and veggies), to toiletries, to cleaning supplies, to pet food, and pretty much everything in between — 24/Seven also has an awesome bakery section courtesy of Kitchen Cuisine and fresh, organic produce from Nadoz Greenz. Wikka, wikka, whaaaaa!

No lies, Lahore, this isn’t just a grocery shopping game-changer — it’s literally the answer to all my domestic house-wifey prayers and here’s why you need to hop on this gravy train, like, right now.

Convenience, Duh: You mean I can lounge in my ugliest nightie, sip chai with some light Justin Bieber playing in the background, shop at ungodly hours sans the kids, and buy a mountain of Doritos without being stared down by judgey, organic-only yoga moms? Why would anyone say no to that?

Zero Hassle: No traffic, no crowds, no lines, no tipping 10 cashiers because even though they didn’t do jack they said, “slalaikum, baji.”

February 20, 2017

Is Awesamosas Really THAT Awesome?

Address: CSD Cavalry Masood Anwari Rd Lahore
Phone: 0332 8707390
You can also find Awesamosas on Facebook & Instagram
What’s the Sub-Continent’s most epic contribution to the world of deep-fried food? The samosa, obviously! Don’t argue with that, unless you’re up for a duel to the death. Garam samosa,thandi Coke — heaven is a place on earth, lovers.

Of course, reinventing traditional excellence, especially the carb-y kind involving soft, spiced potatoes smushed inside deep-fried triangular pockets of crusty, salty dough, is a tall order, but gutsy duo Daniyal Noorani and Seemi Sani of Awesamosas don’t seem fazed. 

Probably because they know that we know that those caramelized onion samosas are the bomb and every sensible citizen in the world would cease to acknowledge graham crackers if they could find chocolate and marshmallows melting inside a toasty samosa wrapper.

Chalkboards scrawled with menus, a 3-step ordering system, and their very own quirky lingo — burgers are served shareefana (easy on the sauce) or loose (animal style) and their chai is dubbed Khoobsoora-Tea — Awesamosas has got the cozy, casual, dhabba thing down. And, yes, the food is lick-the-bowl uh-mayzing, You can find more delicious details here, here, here, and here. Or, you could ditch the literature and live your best life by wrapping your maw around a spicy, sauced-up pulled-beef samosa burger with a side of herb-salted fries and a Reese’s a la mode.

You can thank me later.

But is serving decent grub in a cute cafe enough to cut it in Pakistan’s hyper-competitive food industry?

Probably not. 

February 6, 2017

The Cafe Upstairs: Casual Cool Is Finally Back

ADDRESS: 11 C Main Jail Road, Gulberg, Lahore
PHONE: (042) 35776774
You can also find The Cafe Upstairs on Facebook & Instagram

Think of a meal out in the Lahore and it’s not unusual for the mind wander to straight to the hotspots lining the city’s famed M.M. Alam Road. But let that thought linger for a second and let the reality of braving claustrophobic chaos and bumper-to-bumper traffic sink in…yeah, it’s all downhill from there. See, for the occasional special occasion, that kind of madness is totally worth it, but, on an average day, being cocooned from the buzz and bustle and having a bite in peace is positively blissful. 

So, where do you go to get away from it all? Right to The Cafe Upstairs, of course! Quietly tucked away off Jail Road, the ambiance is casual, the space is flooded with natural light, and the menu is constantly evolving. — that’s what you call hitting all the right notes. 

The Cafe Upstairs hits all the right notes AND offers plenty of options for every kind of appetite. 

For a light lunch, split some heat-packed Wasabi Prawns and a Classic Cheesesteak with a buddy and life’s all good. Keep the fries and coleslaw for yourself, obviously. 

Ravenous? Start with the Beet & Feta Napoleon, a delicious pairing of salt and subtle sweetness, followed by a classic Margherita pizza topped generously with melting mozzarella and fresh basil. The Bird’s Eye Chili Chicken Stir-fry is also a winner. Round it all out with a warm Bread & Butter Pudding made with croissants that are baked in-house and served with a divine toffee caramel sauce. 

P.S. don’t forget the Macchiato.

The Cafe Upstairs
ADDRESS: 11 C Main Jail Road, Gulberg, Lahore
PHONE: (042) 35776774
You can also find The Cafe Upstairs on Facebook & Instagram