Ayesha Fazlur Rahman

An Islamabad based education consultant and Fulbright Fellow from Harvard University. Fazal contributes to the Islamabad pages of The Express Tribune.

Pakistan’s underrated luxury brands

Pre-historic or post-modern, in peace or in trauma, human beings have always been inclined towards the creation of beauty and self-expression as means of their personal survival and identity. Modern Pakistanis, too, are heavily invested in the creation of tools of aesthetic indulgence; it’s a sound business enterprise as the need for pleasing surroundings and luxurious products is one that does not diminish; it hasn’t faltered since the Neanderthals wore pigment-stained seashell necklaces around their necks. It’s what we draw solace from in a world that has been consistently unpredictable. Brands are identity- national identity There are imported products and there are ...

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Fusion, friction and fashioning new fashion

We see the true spirit of democracy in fashion (if nowhere else) as men and women beat new paths to fashion in an expression of themselves and of the choice-ridden times that they live in. Everyone does their own thing, and fashion today is far from the stifling structure of yesteryears where to be fashionable meant to conform to fixed standards. Today, you can iron your hair to death or you can sport curls, awami is in as much as western and a fusion of the two is considered equally chic. Anything goes: Mixing fabrics No worries if a suit fabric is ...

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Living by the (in)laws

While the dinosaur mean mothers-in-law (MIL) and small-hearted daughters-in-law (DIL) still exist, they are on a fast road to extinction. Look around if you don’t believe me. Saas-bahu alliances are everywhere. They go shopping together, raise the new generation together, happily dividing work, giving and seeking advice and, most importantly, wishing each other well. Scope for horror In-law relations are laden with opportunities to create trouble. Watch any soap opera: one can eavesdrop, make hurtful comments, tell tales and just generally be committed to the (ig)noble objective of marring a marriage for the sheer joy of it. People (yes both men and ...

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Just say ‘I’m sorry’

Remember the time when your school teacher made you say sorry to a class fellow you got into a fight with, and it was he who had started it anyway! And then it all ended with your teacher saying, “Come on you two, shake hands now,” and you did shake hands. You made minimal hand contact with your erring buddy before quickly snatching away your hand. Perhaps you even rubbed your palm against your uniform trousers right after, just to signal to your rival that his dirty hand had now soiled yours too. But thank God that moment of making ...

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Lush language: new words for a new generation

Time is short. Life is full. Too much to share. Let’s micro-communicate. Say it all, in a few words. The new micro-lingo seems to be a word-conservation drive, where you pack a lot of meaning into a few catchy memorable words; this language sticks in the mind like no other. It’s entertainingly expressive, creatively concise and just flows fast and runs deep. Read on to see how. It’s where the punch is “I dined out at this new restaurant. What wah wah food they had there.” “I went to this concert. What wehshee music. Uff I loved it.” For the uninitiated in the ...

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Two thumbs up for Pakistani techies

The lack of success is somehow discussed and internalised more than the sweet taste of victory. But let’s sip this sweet nectar one sip at a time and savour it, just this once. The fastest brain in the world The world of information technology has found an abundance of fresh blood from the fertile Pakistani soil. The fastest brain in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records is Mamoon Tariq Khan, our very own wonder boy from Islamabad, now working on an inter-disciplinary IT solution to the problems of poverty and class divide through uniformed IT access from ...

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Pak-India semi-final: Life, liberty and the pursuit of sadness

April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. T S Eliot The Wasteland, 1922 Desire and hope can be painful, especially when hope is thwarted. Yet in sports defeat for either one of the sides is inevitable; I believe it can even lead to good things in life later on, like land turned fertile after a volcanic eruption. But I’d still want my side to win. In the wake of the World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan, what I am finding particularly, annoyingly, unendingly painful is the reactions that the defeat ...

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Harvesting rainwater to solve water problems

What better news to share in the season of spring than about the human effort to preserve the divine gift of water. Rainwater is the cleanest form of water, it has no biological contamination. It is fit for human consumption and, of course, irrigation. Happy serendipity In the 1980s, the locals in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) thought of putting rainwater to use by collecting it in whatever containers they had available. Unaware of a world where rain water harvesting was being done on a large scale through various organisations, these simple folk stumbled upon a simple solution to the complex ...

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Modern conservatives: Proud Muslims wear their faith

The Islamic dress code, the head-scarf for women and the facial hair for men no longer signify rigidity or old school thinking. They never did. Take a walk in the park and you will sense an independence of spirit. Many of those whom I observed were free of worrying about what others would think. They are attuned to a Higher Being that helps them be independent in their choices, creative and constructive in their professions and full of joy and nurturance in their relationships. In the park In the children’s play area in the F-9 Park, one often sees women working out on ...

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Revival of baithak culture

Those lamenting the loss of the Pak Tea House in Lahore, look around you. The baithak culture is back. Baithak: a place to sit, eat, share ideas, create change, and most importantly, a place to just be. The trend is not just to have a restaurant, a cinema or a book store, but to have an amalgam of these under one roof. They are not exclusive clubs but open houses, requiring no membership, nominal, if any, entrance fees and operating on a first come first serve basis. Designer outlets like Melange now house cafes on the side, as do art galleries like Nomad; similarly, ...

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