Meeting a ‘soul sister’ after 19 years

By Sukayna Kazmi

Growing up, my parents told me a lot of interesting things, like how I’m half-Indian and half-Pakistani or how I’m the first person in our family to pursue journalism, but nothing stopped me in my tracks — until this happened: “Did you know there’s a girl from our community who was born on the same day as you were, in the same hospital, and whose mum I know really well?,” asked my mum, as though she didn’t just drop a bomb that I basically have a supposed ‘twin’ I’ve never met in my life.

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How 2.5m Haj pilgrims communicated using just three Arabic words

By Sahim Salim

Aerial photographs of Islam’s holiest site, the Masjid Al Haram in Saudi Arabia, during the Haj season make for a stunning view. You can almost hear the buzz of millions of people as they are captured at their highest spiritual state. This year, somewhere in that sea of humanity, was me.

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On a Russian street, a Filipino tourist sang English ditties

By Keith Pereña

My friend knows a musician who can lend us a guitar for tomorrow,” my roommate Ksyusha said as our conversation about music turned into a plan for the following day. That same night, drenched in St Petersburg’s summer rain — we pulled out a guitar from an equally-soaked bag and my face lit up as I strummed into a song. The instrument wasn’t much — nylon strings and a small body won’t be heard out in the street but I just chalked that off as a lesson to bring my own guitar next time ’round. I played a total of three songs before we both dozed off for what we had planned for the next morning: Wake up early and perform along Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg’s main (read: touristy) avenue.

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Good luck trying to beat gaming paranoia at its own game

By Alvin R. Cabral

Over the previous weekend, in between the usual swinging from home and the office, there’s one daily fix I’ve had to fulfill: Zero in on a Pokémon and capture it. In Washington, meanwhile, the nerds and geeks on this side of the gaming world gathered for the annual Pokémon World Championships.

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How I nearly lost my dad during a getaway

By Tirtho Banerjee

Pacing through the buzzing bazaar — the hub of Pondicherry (Puducherry) — my mind was running riot with apprehensions. My eyes were desperately seeking to sight him in the milling crowd. It was over an hour now and my imagination had started feeding on the negatives. I thought, perhaps, he had gone a little too far into the sea and failed to make it back to the shore. Or maybe, he was hit by a speeding vehicle and could be languishing in a hospital.

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This year, I flew back with 29.05kgs and 34 books

By Purva Grover

My family takes pride in our ownership of an analogue weighing scale. We’re fit, but not obsessed with inches. So the scale has little to do with our fitness goals. It stays hidden under the bed throughout the year. Its occasional outing and pride moment arises when it’s time for me to make a return trip from New Delhi to Dubai. We brush the dust off the scale and realign the scale to ‘zero’. I am weighed. That’s the harsh step one. Next, I, the passenger, weigh myself again; this time holding my suitcase. We’re obsessed with grams (when flying), not inches.

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A city girl ‘healed’ by her very own heroes in a half-shell

By Karen Ann Monsy

Giant turtles have been on my must-see list ever since I first saw their pictures two years ago. But a trip to Galápagos island in the Seychelles, where these gentle beasts are endemic, was not forthcoming anytime soon. So, when a recent trip to Muscat threw the opportunity to potentially spot green sea turtles on the beaches of Sur in Oman — June being the month when they come to shore to lay eggs — I was all-in.

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