KARACHI: After Friday prayers, hundreds of people gathered at Sultan Masjid in Defence Housing Authority (DHA) to attend the funeral prayers for Zubaida Tariq, a television personality and chef, known as Zubaida Apa. She was laid to rest at a graveyard in DHA’s Phase VII.
Zubaida Apa passed away late on Friday night after suffering a heart attack. Her funeral was attended by politicians, writers, poets, TV personalities and, of course, her family.
A familiar face for everyone who watched TV in Pakistan, Zubaida Apa served as a cooking mentor to thousands of people who learned to cook by watching her show ‘Hum Masala’. She also appeared in several other TV programmes.
"She never took a course at a university or institute to learn how to cook. I think cooking was a small thing for apa because she was a mentor for everything,” said Parvez Ishtiaque, the head of the Hum Masala show and someone who had worked with Zubaida Apa for six years. "Her persona was that of a guardian, teacher and strong woman in terms of guiding people, especially women, on how to live a successful life," he said. "She often advised people how to resolve their day to day problems."
Zubaida Apa came into the limelight in the late 1990s due to her recipes and famous home remedies or ‘totkas’. A working woman till the end, she had a popular cooking show, ‘Handi’, and appeared on several TV shows as an expert guest.
7 useful totkay from Zubaida Apa's book of remedies
Zubaida Apa was to appear on a morning show on Friday. "She suffered from heart problems four months ago and four stents were placed through a cardiac angiogram. She used to work with us every weekend,"Ishtiaque said, adding that after her heart problems emerged she became weaker.
"A day before her death, I spoke to her and discussed the programme. She left us suddenly, creating a vacuum that can never be filled," he said.
Born to an Urdu-speaking family in Hyderabad Deccan, India in 1945, she migrated to Pakistan along with her family when she was just two years old. She was the second youngest child amongst 10 siblings, all of whom excelled in different fields. But Zubaida Apa chose to pursue a career in cooking. Her siblings include the late playwright Fatima Surayya Bajiya and poetess Zehra Nigah. Her brother Anwar Maqsood is one of the leading satirists in the country and sister is Sughra Kazim, a bridal clothing designer famously known as Mrs Kazmi.
At the young age of 21, Zubaida Apa married her first cousin, Tariq Maqsood. "Zubaida Apa used to tell us that she started cooking at the age of 50," said Hameed Bhutto, chairperson of the Sindh Fankar Welfare Trust. "Apa's mother asked her to concentrate on her education rather than cooking," he recalled, adding that she first started cooking when she and her husband arranged parties at their home.
End of an era: Nation mourns Zubaida Apa's demise
Among other things, Zubaida Apa would guide her captive audience on how to lose weight, make ones hair softer, make homemade yogurt and get rid of bedbugs, among a host of other issues. She was infamous for her beauty advice.
She is survived by her husband, son and daughter, along with thousands of fans across the country who will mourn her loss.