Stories published in January, 2016

Series 2: “Checkmate” Part 6 Shhh… No one needs to know anything

It wasn’t long before we got serious enough to talk about getting engaged. We planned on going to the same college and then getting married after four years of undergraduate studies. We didn’t tell anyone and continued spending a lot of time together; more than we should have. Then Usman started hearing back from the colleges to which he had applied. As expected, he had been accepted into some of the very good ones like the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of Southern California (USC) in California, New York University (NYU) in New York, and Brown University ...

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Yes, adult colouring books do help

If you’re like most civilised people of contemporary times, the first thing you do upon waking up is check your phone to log onto Facebook. This means that by the time you’ve scrolled to the end of your newsfeed, your mind has a book worth of stimuli to process. These stimuli would typically include, several of your acquaintances getting hitched, a friends enrollment at a decent university overseas, a few gory pictures of a terrorist attack in some part of the world and if you’re lucky, a video of somebody yelling “Bright Karein”. By the time you’ve reached the bathroom to ...

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Karachi will, for time and memoriam, be divided along lines of caste and ethnicity

I find it rather problematic to fashion a semblance of a concrete structure from the conundrum that is Karachi’s metropolis. The metropolis I speak of comprises not of sky-scrapers and high-rise buildings that brush against the clouds and billboards lit with neon lights. On the contrary, the metropolis that harbours the heart of Pakistan lives and breathes, just like you and I. She breathes with the quivering, ragged gasps of an invalid. She inhales mouthfuls of air contaminated by generations of ignorance and growing dissent, and punctuated by the overpowering stench of rotting human remains. The city that once stood ...

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Are we losing our T20 matches due to Shahid Afridi’s captaincy?

Pakistan’s T20 Captain, Shahid Afridi, has decided to retire from international cricket altogether after the World T20 in March 2016. All he wants as his retirement present is a win for his team. But from the looks of things, Afridi’s retirement present seems like quite a feat to achieve. With an overall winning percentage of 47 per cent, Afridi should count himself lucky to be leading a team which has played more T20 internationals than any other team in the world. With these statistics in mind, it can be said that things do not seem to be looking up for our team. Over the past 12 ...

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Yes, President Obama, Pakistan will remain in turmoil thanks to you guys

Most analysts explain politics through the chessboard analogy. Let’s delve into it for a basic understanding, even though the analogy is self-explanatory. The chessboard lays out 16 pieces, eight special and eight simple (read infantry/grunts/poor youth from rural backgrounds/cannon fodder – take your pick). The aim of the game is to save your king and kill the opponent’s king and the analogy is that all politics is akin to the moves played out on a chessboard. I am, however, inclined to believe that this analogy no longer holds true, even though it still does give us a rudimentary idea of ...

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Why did my daughter always pick a petite doll with lustrous blonde hair?

It is pertinent for children to grow up with a realistic idea of beauty. I know and support this because being a mother of a five-year-old daughter; I have closely witnessed how the toys we choose and introduce to our children play a huge part in constructing their ideals of beauty. My daughter always picks a petite doll with blonde lustrous hair, and she roots for Maria Sharapova rather than Serena Williams during a tennis match. Perhaps, inadvertently, the toys I choose for her has begun to limit her idea of beauty and acceptance. Here, I would like to add another important observation ...

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When I met Heeru

While I was standing at the functioning Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plant in Mithi after getting a tour of the area, I was struck by the vastness of the Thar landscape. I wanted to get away from all the technical talk about water and go outside to immerse myself in that great expanse. It was a sunny Friday morning. I stepped outside to stretch my legs. The blazing sun was decked high in the azure sky. The dessert land was peppered with dusty green shrubs. I saw a couple of young Thari women, clinging to each other, like a flock of birds. ...

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6 things Saudi Arabia and Iran have in common

Saudi Arabia’s long and bitter history with Iran came to a boiling point recently when the Kingdom murdered Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on charges of treason after a farcical trial. For some time, the Saudis had indirectly indicated that Nimr al-Nimr was on Iran’s payroll. The late preacher, a fierce critic of the monarchy, ridiculed these claims. Although Nimr al-Nimr was a Saudi national, Iran strongly condemned the execution. Later, a Saudi embassy in Tehran was vandalised by Persians angrier than the ones defied by 300 Spartans. That Iran reacted so strongly did nothing to disprove any Nimr al-Nimr ...

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The Big Short: A Wall Street mockumentary

A story with multiple characters, the main one being Mark Baum (Steve Carell), about the world financial crisis in 2008 and highlights the greed, fraud and utter misery that occurred as a result of it. Miseries like unemployment, loss of housing, loss of pension, and the downfall of Wall Street firms. It starts off with the bombardment of finance related terminologies and people explaining the meaning of each term. The directors made this process entertaining by explaining it in unconventional ways; a memorable example of which was a scene when well-known chef and television show-host Anthony Bourdain talked about dumping ...

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Grandma: A breath of (witty) fresh air

Grandma is a wholesome American story of a young teenage girl who is pregnant and needs to get an abortion before sundown. Since her mother is not as understanding to this sensitive issue, she turns to her grandma (Lily Tomlin), a rebellious former hippie gay woman from the 70s. And together they embark on a journey to find cash for the abortion and quite possibly, uncovering some of the secrets from her past. Grandma is short, sweet, funny and doesn’t waste too much time on exposition. It is also a comedy that does not make light of teen pregnancy. The ...

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