Stories about nature

Chitral’s natural beauty can stun anyone into silence

When I was going to Chitral to cover the aftermath of the Shandur Polo Festival 2016, I had no idea what the region had in store for me. When you have space for one story from a region that is generally under-represented, it is inevitable that the most appalling one wins placement. There is so much more to Chitral than just forced marriages and floods. Whether you are strolling in a bazaar or sitting on a hill overlooking Tirich Mir from the royal abode of the mehtar, the city and its people will force you to extend your trip. The ...

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The day Lascaux cried

The first light of dawn was setting on nature’s various wonders and the tribe of Shamosis was waking up to the incessant chirping of early-morning birds. The water in the nearby lake stood motionless. Serenity prevailed: nature reigned supreme, humanity remained at peace. The Shamosis had been travelling for the past six months now without a stop. Usually, Closett used to initiate a gathering of elders whenever an area was discovered fit for encampment but the last such gathering had been a long time ago, when they had left the territorial fringes of modern-day Turkey and entered what one today ...

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Today, Paris, we speak to you from Pakistan

The words terrorism and fundamentalism are popularly associated with Islam. Fear of Islam and the rise in anti-Muslim sentiments is no longer a topic of debate, but an overwhelming state of reality for many Muslims. The recent attacks in Paris have aggravated the sentiments of Islamophobia, which is a win-win situation for the groups carrying out these attacks. We were gutted by the brutal massacre that took place in Paris. First-hand accounts of the attacks are so chilling that it is impossible for us to sit back and not enter the conversation regarding terrorism and Islamophobia. Pakistan’s voice is crucial in ...

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The abandoned garden

A man sat in his garden, And he sat alone. He looked around, And thought back to the day, When he was new to the world and was making his way, When he had built this garden, he had promised himself, I will build this garden and my children will someday, Make it their own. So the man taught them to plant and to reap,  He gave them all they wanted, anything they could need. He taught them about family, About brotherhood, about loyalty. He said to them, standing tall and proud, Do what you must but this is your house. This garden is our family, So tend to it, you must. Nurture it, love it, But ...

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My bleeding heart for my bleeding Pakistan

Before I introduce myself, I would like to add a quote by one of my favourite human beings, Maya Angelou: “You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.” I am a visually impaired citizen of my beloved country, Pakistan, and this quote has a strong influence on me. I try to do good as much as possible and try to spread love and harmony by my actions. I have a ...

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Don’t blame the men at home, when national leaders put women in boxes

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared that men and women are not equal, because this is against human nature, the two sexes being biologically different. He bashed at feminists who, according to him, do not understand the concept of motherhood and insisted on the primary and sole role of women being the caregivers. He has declared that every woman should have three children and proposed to limit abortions, morning-after pills and caesarean sections. Though it is accepted that a woman’s predominant role in life is that of a mother, she produces and raises a generation, she is the first institution for ...

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You

In the centre of a wave of silence, where I sit inside a shed, You are the tools that I have used to build this home. When people debate about You, You sneak into the smile that travels across my face. You are in the noise that is aroused but more so in the silence that follows. Because what is every word but a pointless effort to imitate the sweet pleasure which roams casually inside silence? Your name is constantly provoked in different forms, in different accents, and You are denied in different languages, in different ways. Lives are spent in defending ...

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Three Muslim films Pakistanis must watch

Pakistan might not have the best movie industry in the world but Muslim countries across the world have managed to spread some truly phenomenal messages and cultural insights through their films industries. The Iranian cinema’s popularity in European film festivals and their recent Oscar win, is but one example of Muslim cinema’s increasingly transforming and often very realistic nature. In light of that, here are three thought-provoking films from different Muslim film industries that are sure to leave you pondering upon the many facets of Islamic beliefs and Muslim cultures. They will also highlight the drastic parallelism between foreign Muslim societies and ...

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Scuba-diving, an experience of a lifetime

What can be a more frustrating start to a day, than to be stuck in heavy traffic for an hour, chasing endless deadlines and shuffling from meeting to meeting? Nothing. All of us go through these ups and downs that trigger bad days. One really can’t make time for themselves in this busy busy world! With such perplexities, our inner batteries need to be re-charged, once in a while. Going out for a walk, swimming at a breathtaking beach, feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin or even breathing fresh air is enough to achieve a little peace of mind in an otherwise busy life. Work ...

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The tree trunks of Cambridge and an old people’s home

I have always been an ardent admirer of trees. One of my earliest childhood memories is accompanying my elder sister to watch a parrot living inside an old tree trunk. Very stealthily, we used to approach the old tree, making sure we did not cripple dead leaves or twigs under our feet, thereby alerting the parrot of our visit. It was a surreal moment for me as a child; witnessing a tree being home to a bird, since before that I had only pictured birds either flying or preying upon insects from the ground. Ever since, I started keeping an eye ...

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