Stories published in March, 2015

The Yemen I called home

Surrounded by mountains and hills, Sana’a, Yemen, is a strangely beautiful place. It had a distinct culture, one that originated thousands of years ago. It had the Old City, a walled area which is said to be over two thousand years old and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Sana’a – Old City. Photo: Mahwash Badar Old City gate. Photo: Mahwash Badar Yemen also has many other natural sites that have a lot of potential for tourism. It has a number of beaches – woefully forgotten at the moment – and many ...

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The World Cup XI who dominated the tournament

The 2015 ICC World Cup has finally come to a close as Michael Clarke’s go-getting Australian team bagged a fifth World Cup by giving Brendon McCullum’s spirited Kiwis a thrashing, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday. What was promised to be a closely fought contest (judging by the previous meeting between these two sides in the group stage), turned out to be a highly one sided affair as New Zealand was bowled out for a miserly 183 runs in 45 overs, courtesy of superior left-arm fast bowling by the Australian contingent. As expected, the men in gold attacked from the word go, chasing down the puny target in ...

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There is a difference between #MyChoice and #DeepikasChoice

Dear Deepika, I have been a fan of yours ever since you graced us with your presence on the big screen. When you spoke out against a national publication in your country, for misusing an inappropriate picture of you, I was with you. People thought it hypocritical, seeing that you are an actress who has time and again displayed skin as a part of your work in front of the camera. But the reluctant feminist inside me still defended your right to bash the publication. When you came out to the public and admitted to have gone through a phase of depression, I admired your strength and still ...

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The five things you got wrong about LUMS

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word LUMS?  Vulgarity, a bunch of pampered kids smoking cigarettes, elite class, narcissists, stuck-up teens, the high fee, the beautiful campus, its state of the art business school, a classic display of modernism? Probably an amalgamation of everything mentioned above. While some of these things are true and some highly exaggerated, a few are outright false. These misconstrued images of LUMS have been imprinted in our minds and I do not see many people questioning them. So I have decided to address these stereotypes about LUMS that have long occupied our ...

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Rupi Kaur: Staining a woman’s modesty on Instagram?

This week has seen Instagram caught in a furore about its decision to remove a controversial photograph of a woman, Rupi Kaur, who was lying on a bed fully clothed except for a bloodstain which showed on her pyjamas, indicating that she was menstruating. The girl involved in this fiasco is a self-proclaimed Canadian poet who took great offence to Instagram’s decision to remove the picture stating that she “bleeds every month to help make humankind a possibility”. She posted the picture again only for it to be deleted again but by then the picture had gone viral. In order ...

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Eating is the tried and tested way to lose weight

The idea of a perfect body, with the right curves and cuts, not only appeals to the fashion world but also to an increasingly demanding society like ours. While at one end, culinary crafts and exotic food are taking over the world, the other extreme is witnessing more and more aspiring young minds concentrating on maintaining a healthy, happy, and balanced lifestyle (one which comes sans grease and fat). Obesity can be the ultimate bane of one’s life; trust me, I speak from experience. From ‘desi totkas’ to promising detox programs, from the virtues of yoga to the death of ...

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We do not need ‘billis’ to flaunt our ‘jawani’ in Lollywood

After successfully objectifying women in the ‘100 glorious years of Indian cinema’, Bollywood now recognises its part in influencing commoners, what till now has been ‘a bad influence’. It took Bollywood God knows how many Jyoti Singhs to realise what a mess their sexist approach in cinema has caused in populous India. I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry that our neighbours are in trouble; our fellow women are not safe. But at the moment, I’m more concerned about how all this affects Pakistan. Our cinema is going through an interesting phase of its revival, but the same sexist approach has come to trouble us too. Recent ...

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Pakistan’s unstable, schizophrenic relation with Afghanistan

Pakistan and Afghanistan enjoy a ‘brotherly’ relationship that is nothing less than a theatre of the absurd. It has had its highs and lows and has had moments when people have scratched their heads and wondered about the emotionally unstable, schizophrenic handling of bilateral affairs by their erratic and volatile leaderships. With an extremely porous, almost non-existent border featuring a treacherous terrain of hills and rugged mountains standing between the two countries, the people of both lands have endured hard times since decades now. As if the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 70s was not enough with a massive influx of refugees spilling into Pakistan throughout the 80s, ...

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Mighty Kangaroos did what they do best – win World Cups

A record attendance of 93,013 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), an unbeaten opposition in front, nerves, anxiety, tension, stress and everything ready to break the concentration needed to focus on the job at hand. But how well did the mighty Aussies respond? They are called ‘mighty’ for a reason and they proved it with another feather in their cap; a record fifth World Cup title. It was a heartbreak for New Zealand. They played brilliant cricket right throughout the tournament but lost the match that mattered the most. But they have won many hearts. Photo: Reuters The ...

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Remembering Vincent Van Gogh on his 162nd birthday

Vincent Van Gogh once said,  “I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly’.” Today, his name needs no formal introduction. Everyone has heard of the 19th century iconic Dutch painter who established two significant artistic movements – Fauvism and Expressionism. He was the mastermind behind unrivalled, stunning masterworks such as The Potato Eaters (1885), The Red Vineyard (1888), Irises (1889), The Starry Night, and Wheat-field With Crows (1890). The Potato Eaters. Source: Van Gogh Gallery The Red Vineyard. Source: Van Gogh Gallery Irises. Source: Van Gogh Gallery Starry Night. Source: Van ...

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