Faraz Talat

Faraz Talat

A medical doctor and bubble-wrap enthusiast from Rawalpindi, who writes mostly about science and social politics (and bubble-wrap). He tweets @FarazTalat (twitter.com/FarazTalat)

Federal minister of style: 4 great appearances by Faisal Vawda that nobody asked for

Pardon my political naivety, but who asked Mr Faisal Vawda to do anything more than his actual job as the minister of water resources? Regardless, we have been blessed with an impressive array of performances in Pakistan’s robust political theatre this year. It seems unjust to not acknowledge the many contributions of Vawda, who has worked hard to establish himself as more than just a federal minister. The greatest of these performances are being listed here for the convenience and amusement of our nation’s proudest patriots or theatre-enthusiasts. 1. The punisher Some may argue that it’s unusual for an armed federal minister ...

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Captain Marvel is merely a fun pit stop to a promising Endgame

Carol Danvers (played by Brie Larson) is a game-changing addition to Marvel’s superhero canon. One wonders why the movie does not feel as momentous as it should. There’s much to admire about Captain Marvel. It’s a cookie-cutter superhero film, but with a female lead as its primary variant. Carol as Captain Marvel is breathtakingly unique among the comic series’ women characters. Unlike Mystique, Black Widow or Jean Gray’s Dark Phoenix, there is no reference subtle or explicit to Carol’s sexuality or feminine guile. The blockbuster passes the oddly elusive Bechdel Test with flying colours – which means there are at least ...

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Gully Boy may be your first soul-shaking cinematic experience of 2019

It’s easy to forget that beneath the cultural sludge of mainstream hip hop marked by vanity and misogyny, there is a thoughtful undercurrent that gives meaning to the genre. Gully Boy is the cinematic acknowledgement of this important undercurrent. Gully Boy is a film best enjoyed without prior knowledge of its synopsis. Although generally considered a film about hip hop and rap battles, Gully Boy is a gritty commentary on class warfare. The gauntlet is thrown in its very first scene in which our protagonist – Murad, played by Ranveer Singh – lambasts mainstream rapping artists, who only appear interested ...

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#SahiwalEncounter: Is that all we are now, “human shields” and “collateral damage”?

I don’t intend for it to sound sensational, but there were four bullets in a 13-year-old child’s body that were paid for by our tax money. This would be an appropriate time to question our security policies. Four people were recently shot dead by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) personnel on a highway in the Sahiwal district. The incident resulted in the deaths of the driver and three members of a family, including both parents who have left behind three orphaned children. Counter Terrorism Deptt (CTD) opens fire on a car in Sahiwal and kills 4 people while 3 kids miraculously survive. ...

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Lights, camera, action: Faisal Vawda, the ‘hero’ we did not need

The heinous attack on the Chinese consulate brought many brave women and men of the police to the forefront, all earning well-deserved national admiration. However, Mr Faisal Vawda was not one of them. There is no reason that a tragedy like this should ever be eclipsed by a satirical side-show, but that is something with which we must now cope. Amidst the chaos at the consulate, appeared a hero that nobody had asked for, and nobody quite needed. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA, Vawda, arrived at the scene with a gun and a bulletproof vest. While media reporting on the Karachi terror ...

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A pizza-less Naya Pakistan: Cheese, the greatest villain in Pakistan’s economic tragicomedy

In the same month that the country discriminated against one of its economists for his religious beliefs, our cheese imports appear to have come under jeopardy. Coincidence? Certainly none of us expected karma to come knocking at our kitchen door so soon. When the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) assembled a few weeks ago, cheese was not expected to be revealed as the greatest villain in this economic tragicomedy. The session was held to discuss ways on how to avoid another International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout. No, 15th time is not the charm! It was in this session that an economist – who ...

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A Rs10 tip on a Rs4,000 bill is an insult, not a favour

Tipping is unique to the food industry. As a doctor, never once did a patient hand me an extra Rs20 note as a thank you for a good knee exam. The reason is that we expect a doctor to receive adequate compensation for his work through the bill alone. It was when I put down my stethoscope and took a hiatus, serving chai to paying customers at my own café, did I develop a greater appreciation for this art. Tipping persists in the food industry because we don’t expect the labour to be paid what they are due. Serving food ...

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We, the 99% non-VIP population, are important too

The Sindh High Court (SHC) Judge is a very important person. You can tell that he’s very important because he has a nice car that travels at disruptively high speed among a convoy of other large vehicles. It’s very important for us, the ordinary people, to acknowledge that the SHC Judge is an important man who makes important decisions for this country; for which we should all be grateful. My reaction to the menacing approach of a security protocol is the same as countless of my docile countrymen. We sigh, and give way to the baraat (crowd) of armed men as ...

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Why your husband might be gay

Allow me to get straight to the point. Homosexuality exists, and contrary to the mass media being dominated by heterosexual affairs, the ubiquity of same-gender attraction cannot be ignored. Yes, we need to talk about this. It’s difficult to say what percentage of the population is gay, because ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ are not distinct demographics. About 2.5% of the population may be exclusively gay, but realistically speaking, every person lies somewhere on the spectrum. For a long time, we’ve relied on what is known as the ‘Kinsey Scale’ – rating a person on a scale of one to six, with one being ‘attracted ...

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Do not accept praise for healthcare when you cannot accept blame for a woman giving birth outside your hospital, Shehbaz Sharif

They want to attribute this incident to a developing country’s poverty, meaning that it is nobody’s fault in particular. But I believe it is appropriate and needed for the public to shake its fist at the administration that has failed us all. No woman should have to bargain for shelter and basic healthcare while in labour. But that is what Sameera Bibi had to do at Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital in Raiwind. Sameera, the wife of a humble brick kiln worker, was refused obstetric care because there was seemingly no doctor available at the facility at that time. Knowing Shehbaz Sharif’s history with ...

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