Stories about human life

‘A Horse Walks into a Bar’ and ‘Judas’: Two riveting masterpieces from Israel to the world

‘A Horse Walks into a Bar’ by David Grossman Dov Greenstein, the stand-up comedian at the centre of David Grossman’s quirky and ravishing new novel ‘A Horse Walks into a Bar’ confesses: “It’s a pretty pathetic form of entertainment, let’s be honest.” But whether his jokes are drab or stirring, whacky or offensive, this book, as austere as it is hilarious, never loses sight of the earnestness of its authors undulating vision and ambition even while casually masquerading as a comic novel. Spanning a single evening and set in a chic nightclub in Netanya, a small town in Israel, the novel tells the story of the stand-up ...

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Today the blissful innocence of the Ramazans of my youth is far gone

Growing up, my family treated the start of Ramazan like the start of a new year. From an early age we were told not to view the thirty days as deprivation from food, water, and basic human vices like gossiping. Instead we were taught to view Ramazan as a sublime and peaceful month which would heighten our spiritual growth and instil in us forgiveness, patience, resilience, and compassion for the less fortunate. I remember these early years of Ramazan as a time of simplicity, safety and fun. As our prayers increased, so did our post-iftar socialising. As we retreated inwards spiritually we ...

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Hillsborough Inquest: At the end of the storm is a golden sky!

Twenty seven years in waiting and finally justice is served. That’s one hell of an extensive period of time, right? And that is precisely how long it took for truth to unfold in one of the longest inquests in the British legal history. On April 15, 1989, thousands of fans went to watch their beloved team play a football match out of which 96 never came back home. Anyone who is acquainted with me knows I am a diehard Liverpool supporter and have been so ever since I was a kid. 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster.Photo: BBC Back ...

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Shame on you, Manchester United fans!

Imagine ourselves hosting India in a significant cricket world cup fixture at the Gaddafi amidst an electric atmosphere. The green caps are chasing a relatively easier target with consummate ease, pinning the blue shirts completely against the proverbial wall with an exhilarating display on the pitch. Our arch rivals have all but lost the match in their heads, with Dhoni and company, praying for an external intervention to somehow save their collective back sides. Intrusion arrives, but not in the form of rain. Instead, vile chants regarding the Army Public School massacre start pouring down from the travelling support. If that had ...

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7 times future predictions caught our attention but failed to happen!

Recently, a Bulgaria born clairvoyant Baba Vanga made head lines in newspapers all over the globe because she foresaw an invasion of Europe by Muslim extremists (most probably by Islamic State – ISIS) in 2016. The blind prophetess, who is also known as Nostradamus of Balkans, further predicted that there will be use of catastrophic chemical warfare against Europeans in this war which would lead to the creation of an Islamic caliphate by 2043. She even claimed that Rome will be the epicentre of the new Muslim political-religious rule. Baba VangaPhoto: YouTube This is not the first time ...

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Balochistan 3: Pakistan’s dirty little closet full of skeletons

In the aftermath of Sabeen Mahmud’s murder, essentially right after the cancellation of the LUMS talk, a large number of people voiced their anger against those who tried to highlight state abuses in Balochistan.  Mama Qadeer, in particular, came under fire but people vocal about the issue were also accused of being traitorous, or at least of lacking patriotism, or colluding with separatists or, well, you get the idea. The groups under fire have expressed shock over the reaction they have faced. All they were trying to do was highlight the basics – human rights violations, human life itself. Human life, in theory, should be the foremost concern of ...

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Can access to a toilet prevent rape?

The recent spate of rapes in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India has left everyone horrified. Along with the typical reactions from politicians and international agencies that accompany such heinous crimes, the link between lack of access to toilets and increased risk of rape, in particular, has received considerable attention in the national and international media. While the focus on the need for better sanitation is encouraging, I find it somewhat intriguing because neither the problem nor its consequences are ‘new’. In fact, it is one of the most fundamental requirements for any human being and therefore needs to be a constant priority ...

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Get out of the way, you pedestrians!

Although driving anywhere in the world is an amalgamation of knowledge and respect of traffic rules and a good command over ones reflexes. In Pakistan it is a different ball game altogether. Not only do you have to possess nerves of steel but also reflexes that can be pushed beyond normal human abilities.  Since there is complete disregard for traffic regulations as well as no sanctity for human life and property. Our attitude on the roads, and almost everywhere else, is utterly deplorable. Every time I get behind the wheel I face 4×4’s with tinted glasses, guards sporting handlebar moustaches and toting guns (with muzzles pointing at ...

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Karachi is blasphemous, Lahore is not

If blasphemy is defined as ‘irreverent behaviour towards anything sacred’, Karachi is blasphemous; a city where something as sacred as human life is irreverently and disdainfully extinguished. As January limped to a close, three health workers administering anti-polio drops to children were shot dead. Bullet-ridden bodies of three young men were discovered and a police officer was gunned down in a suspected targeted attack. And yet, it is in Karachi, much more so than in Lahore, that a bastion of sharafat (respectability) is present; it is here that strangers smile at you, people say thank you for services rendered or stand aside and allow you to pass. In this ...

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For the Baloch who are missing and others who will be too

I cried for days when my cat died. But I was better off than my little cousin whose dog got kidnapped. We still wonder if Toffee, who came as a puppy 13 years ago, is alive. We wonder if she is given food on time. If she is safe.  Whenever she comes to mind, in our hearts we hope that she died too. Think about how you feel when your child gets late from school and you don’t know where your baby is, think about how you feel when you lose a pet, and then imagine what families of missing persons ...

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