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It was so depressing. The worst time that I heard this song, I had the tape on auto reverse, and I was up all night cramming for a Chemistry exam the next morning, which I had completely neglected. The combination of the exam, my lack of sleep, my general state of unhappiness about Janice, and this song — all these combined to create one of the most memorably miserable nights of my life.

Thanks Paul! In our final year, there was an amazing development. Janice finally fell into my arms. I always knew it would happen!

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I always knew that I was the one for her. It was just before Christmas, snow was thick on the ground, the end of semester was approaching, and I had persuaded Janice to have dinner with me. She agreed, and it went incredibly well. We ended up in her room afterwards, and she let me kiss her — quite a lot. As I walked away from my first such experience, I was absolutely elated. Janice was my girlfriend! The next morning, I went to see her, to plan our day together. It didn't go quite as I expected.


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She was as cold as ice. It was just a bit of fun. We were NOT in a relationship. Why did I always have to take things so seriously? I tried to salvage some self-esteem, but it was a lost cause. As I stumbled outside, it was snowing heavily. I wandered around campus in a daze, not really sure what I was doing. In one of the campus shops, this song which I'd never heard before — it was brand new was playing, and the words caught my attention.

The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West by Imran Ahmad, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

The singer lamented that, last Christmas, he had given his heart to his beloved, and she had given it away the very next day. That was exactly how I felt!


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This song seemed to be speaking directly to me. Milton also introduced me to the music of Joni Mitchell. And this is my favorite Joni song.


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It's so upbeat — whenever I want to give myself some kind of mental boost, I sing it to myself not out loud, fortunately. From an early age I knew that I wasn't free. I had so many cultural and religious constraints placed upon me, that I envied the regular people, who seemed to be able to do whatever they wanted.

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Of course, this isn't necessarily a good thing — there should be a comfortable middle ground between utter depravity and relentless self-denial. I never felt that I could study whatever I really wanted to and enjoyed ie liberal arts , and I knew that there were rigid constraints on who I could marry. And I rationalized this, made it acceptable in my mind, by having a disparaging attitude to these liberal, western freedoms. It's taken me decades to set myself free and accept the joy and responsibility that comes with personal freedom. Back in college days, I had ended up studying Chemistry, which I didn't really enjoy, but when it came to my final exams, I knew I had to excel — or face a bleak, under-achieving future.

For once in my life, I totally focused on those exams, to the exclusion of all else, and I sung "Free Man in Paris" to myself as I walked to the exam hall.

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Just the other day, I was having a video-Skype conversation with Milton. I might even meet him, if he happens to be there. But I may not have much to say to him — after all, what do we have in common? I've just been so deeply in love recently, and now she's run away and left me heartbroken. How could Paul Simon possibly relate to that? They need not. A thriving industry feeds off of ignorance about weight-related issues. And when health and happiness become collateral damage in the mad dash for the finish line, it is time to alter the game plan. Since she labels the struggle with weight loss a tamasha spectacle at the very outset, r….

By Afrah Jamal February 11, These outrageous statistics may be one of the reasons the documentary was banned from the mainstream media. That and its primary premise — the plight of the fallen women — would prompt the conservatives to howl with dismay before scurrying off to bury any evidence in the backyard along with other bodies.

The expedition to the underworld with the unfortunate progeny and the hapless…. By Afrah Jamal August 31, Written many moons ago when i was an Asst. Ed with Social Pages. Upon observing IAF Hunters exiting after an unsuccessful air strike over Sargodha, Alam sets off in hot pursuit of the enemy formation. Both deliciously funny and deeply insightful, The Perfect Gentleman is a beguiling multi-layered memoir that has touched hearts all over the world Imran Ahmad. You're getting a free audiobook. Click to Try Audible Free.

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