We will spread the colours of Basant thousands of miles away from home

It may not be a national holiday in South Asia, but the advent of Basant (spring) is certainly celebrated there in all its yellow glory, whether it is in Pakistan, Bangladesh or India. The colour yellow can be associated with the blooming fields of mustard which paint the plains from Punjab all the way to Bengal. One of the many passions that this season excites is kite flying. Even if one cannot differentiate between a patang, guddi or tukkal (types of kites) kite, it is okay because Basant is all about enjoying yourself. It also passes any religious and ethnic lines in the region, making it the perfect blend of spirit and fun. ...

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Remembering Junaid Jamshed: The life you’d die for and the death you’d live for

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to title this article ‘the life you’d die for’ or ‘the death you’d live for’, as both of these phrases aptly emulate the life and death of Junaid Jamshed. He lived in a way one wishes to live and died the way one yearns to. If you conduct a quick dip-stick test and ask people how they would like to live their lives, they would not hesitate to respond with “happy, famous, rich and reputable”. When asked the question, “How would you like to die?” many would say that they would want to be remembered as ...

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Dear thin people, I think we need to have a talk

I am five-foot-four, 125 pounds. My measurements are 36-28-38. I wear size medium shirts, size seven jeans, and (in case you were wondering) size eight shoes. I have never walked into a clothing store unable to find items in my size. I have never been asked to pay more for a seat on an airplane. I have never had someone dismiss me as a dating prospect based on my body type, nor had someone scoff, openly, while watching me eat french fries in public. I have never experienced a doctor dismissing my concerns with a “lose weight, feel great” remedy. And I can open an article with my ...

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Why the ‘C’ word scares the hell out of people

Does the word ‘commitment’ freak you out? Perhaps it conjures up images of lifetime imprisonment without the option of parole. Maybe it sounds like a rabbit in a trap, enslaved to a woman with her fancies and whims forever, or maybe it sounds like a deer caught in the headlights of a car? Obviously, you are scared of the ‘C’ word or possess an irrational fear for it. In short, you are commitment-phobic. What is commitment-phobia? Coined in 1987 in the renowned self-help book ‘Men Who Can’t Love‘, commitment-phobia is a flash of fright that restrains a person from progressing to the next step of a relationship ...

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An open letter to the Karachiites painting the city red

Dear Karachi, Ptooey! Did you know that’s onomatopoeia? A written sound, in other words. Or more precisely, per the Merriam-Webster dictionary: “The naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (as buzz, hiss).” Ptooey! That’s the commonest written version of the sound that is presumably made when you spit. Why presumably, you ask. Well, because the esteemed composers of the dictionary obviously did not travel to our city prior to drafting that onomatopoeia. Why do I say that? Simple. Have you ever spat on a wall here? You don’t have to. You don’t need to. Simply look around and you will observe ...

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My teachers refused to teach me because they “weren’t in the mood”

When I joined my high school, my fluency in Urdu sucked. My accent, vocabulary and my pronunciation of the language was so bad that when it was my turn to recite anything, the whole class would burst out laughing. My teacher never said anything to me and only corrected me where I was wrong. He would smile and tell me to go on. On some occasions, he would make sure I was the one who read out loud. Never once did I ever feel threatened or discouraged. Over the period of two years, my Urdu improved and my vocabulary got so much better ...

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Remembering Dr Wahidur Rehman: Will tender hearts always be easy targets?

The compassionate souls who put eternity to effect; the nurturing spirits whose influence meets no end, yes, it is a tale as old as time. The enlivening faith in the pursuit ‘teachers are healers of the nation’; they preach to humanity the disciplines of wisdom and intellect, and bestow the power to transform hearts. Not only are they the shapers of society, but they also leave behind a legacy of shared love and life. Teachers have always been greatly revered in every society and with this come the heart-clenching bitter reality of the persecution of remarkable teachers, intellectuals and scientists. Those ...

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Dear Indians, why are we so unfair towards ‘dark’ girls?

Every day you’ll see tonnes of confessions by India’s dark girls (savli, tan, dusky or whatever you would like to call us in the milder version!) on different opinion blogs where they simply blurt out their deepest frustrations. Some have been rejected by their crush/lover, some were shamed by their potential in-laws, and some were even rejected during interviews only because of their colour. And India is not a racist country? Oh please! ‘Dusky beauty’ is something that my ears have been bombarded with ever since I was a teenager. Yeah, not just beauty but dusky beauty! And this is the reason why most of the ...

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The only nation where Malala Yousafzai is a contentious figure is her own

Of the numerous fault lines that exist in our society, none is as divisive as society’s opinion about Malala Yousafzai. A revered symbol of liberation and women empowerment across the world, sadly the only nation where she is a contentious figure is her own. But why would anyone have a negative opinion about a teenage girl who stood up to the Taliban and even took a bullet for her convictions?  In the following lines, I shall respond to some of the accusations presented against her by her critics. Perhaps the most pervasive sentiment observed is, “why only her”? The argument goes that Pakistan has lost more than 60,000 ...

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Dear Imran Khan, if you want justice for Mashal, then start with your councillor, Arif Mardan

I was pleasantly surprised to see Imran Khan visiting the parents of the slain student Mashal Khan, who was lynched for reasons which will perhaps never be known. 1. This morning I condoled with Mashal's family and was moved by their amazing courage and dignity pic.twitter.com/AkZFdqxyIp — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 18, 2017 So congratulations, Mr Imran, you knew that you would offend your coalition partners, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government by openly condemning the brutal murder of the innocent student. Even your chief minister, Pervez Khattak, said that there was no written or verbal proof of him committing blasphemy. ...

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