Sonal Arshad Siraj

Sonal Arshad Siraj

A student of psychology and social sciences, who likes to eat and write in that order. She tweets @Sonal_arshad (twitter.com/Sonal_arshad?lang=en)

Despite criticism, Kangana Ranaut is back with Simran to prove that she’s the real queen of Bollywood

If someone can be trusted to pull off a stellar performance in a female-centric movie, it is definitely Kangana Ranaut. Ranaut has been one of those resilient actresses who can very well manage to carry a film solely on her shoulders. Despite controversies, criticism and poor performances by the rest of the cast, she has never failed to amaze us. Her movie Queen, for example, has been the best performance of her career, setting a precedent for contemporary actresses to follow. Her performance in Tanu Weds Manu Returns was also exemplary and overshadowed all the other actors in the film. Now in and as Simran, we ...

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Love at first Careem? Uh, no thanks, but perhaps Careem should focus on improving their existing services

There are two things Pakistani’s are unabashedly and unapologetically obsessed with – discounts and shaadi (marriage). By combining these two, I have to admit that Careem’s new rishta aunty service is quite genius. Or is it? No, I did not want to be woken up on a Wednesday morning (Wednesday being the most annoying day of the week) to Careem telling me my “rishta has arrived”. I honestly thought maybe I accidentally ordered a cab and the driver’s name is Rishta, Rishta Khan or something? My brain did not have the energy to solve this mystery, especially not on a Wednesday. When I got to work, ...

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Farewell, Mr Om Puri, you were our voice of peace and harmony

Our generation is in a strange place today.  While we are reminded every day that we must “adult”, grow up and face whatever is thrown at us, we are losing certain things that link us to our childhoods. In the form of raising our eyebrows incredulously as we watch people change, losing our loved ones, and listening to news of eminent figures leaving this world, figures we grow up listening to and watching on the television and behind the veils of cinemas. The year 2016 took away too much. Some passed on naturally, some were snatched away from us in ...

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A ‘taroo’s treat’ in Karachi

Before I begin, there is something I want to say: My wife is a stupid woman.  There I said it. I don’t know what goes on in that miniscule female brain of hers but she is really getting on my nerves now. I was leaving to hang out with my boys when she told me to take a water bottle with me. There’s a heat wave, she said, you’ll get dehydrated. “Bottle of water? What is wrong with you, woman? I am not a weak little girl. I am a man. A MAN.” I yelled and repeated for further reassurance to her and ...

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Girls don’t tell, boys don’t cry

His hands were hard, His voice was soft, His eyes were red, His teeth had rot, I tried to run, But he wouldn’t let me go, I tried again, But he just said no.   Then he smiled the most ugly smile, Don’t you know, you silly child? Girls don’t tell, And boys don’t cry.   Another push, another blow, He had me trapped, I could not go, One fine day, I’ll let you leave, Until that day you shall grieve, But what will you tell them, when you’re free?   He watched me as he made me lie, Girls don’t tell, And boys don’t cry.   He’s not here now, But he has me still, I dream his face, His ghastly grin, How his teeth had rot, How ...

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Dear Allah Mian, in 2050 I wish…

“Baba, what’s a beheading?” “Hmmm?” my father asked from behind the newspaper he was reading. I knew he wasn’t listening. “A beheading.” I repeated. Baba hastily put the paper down and looked at me. “Where did you hear that word?” he asked incredulously. “In the news. ‘Beheading of a girl in Afghanistan’. She was in my class, I mean, the same class as me. Class three.” “Mahnoor, I’ve told you to change the channel when such news appears, haven’t I?” Baba asked sternly. His face looked strange. He looked angry yet worried at the same time. “It wasn’t on TV Baba. It was on Facebook. I read the ...

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If you’re looking for a Tamasha – don’t watch this, if you’re looking for passion, this is your movie!

Watching the promo of Tamasha, I felt more than a little disappointed. Although I love Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, the promo was a little too much like Yeh Jawani Hai Dewaani or any other Bollywood chick flick. After a mind-boggling and goose bump-triggering film like Highway, a chick flick is not what I would expect from Imtiaz Ali, hence the disappointment. As a self-proclaimed writer myself, I have always looked up to Imtiaz Ali for his ability to write a simple story and turn it into something phenomenal on screen. Highway, I felt, was his magnum opus. So I decided not to judge Tamasha by its preview and give the movie a ...

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It was the night of Lailatul Qadr

It was the night of a thousand angels, a night of sins forgiven and a night of deeds untold. It was the night of Lailatul Qadr when she opened her eyes for the first time. “That’s what we’ll name her,” said her mother. The father smiled and announced his newborn daughter’s name to his wife, the hospital staff and into the ear of the child to be named, “Lailatul Qadr.” As her parents devoted themselves to worship, for it was the night of a thousand prayers, Lailatul Qadr, or Laila as she would come to be known, spent the entire night in her ...

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Hunger Games 2015: The chosen raan

It started right after I was born, the race. My parents pushed me into the running without as much as a heads up. I was competing for the position before my first “Behhh”. Their motive was clear, I had to be chosen. But I guess it’s only natural for them to want me slaughtered on Eid, after all they are my parents. And any respectable family wants their offspring to reach that level of achievement. My parents had their own milk business, so they never got the chance to be chosen as qurbani (sacrificial) animals. My sister had to stay alive to produce ...

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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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