Saba Khalid

Saba Khalid

A blogger for Rolling Stone magazine, a contributor to Kulturaustauch and Musikexpres, Saba is an Institute for Foreign Affairs (IFA) Cross Culture scholar for the year 2012 who also teaches creative writing to young aspiring writers. She blogs at www.thecityalive.com and can be found on instagram as @thecityalive

Can writers ever be journalists?

The first lesson they gave me in my first fiction writing class at NYU was: find a wound, pluck it, pierce it, poke at it till it gushes out with so much blood you don’t know what to do with it. Now while you’re lying bleeding, drenched in your sordid sorrow and putrid pain, get a freaking pen from somewhere and write all that s*** down. Okay, they only said, “write from pain” – I’m improvising for effect. But when I apply the same theory to a feature story for The Express Tribune – before I can even get the name ...

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The seething red anger: Is it all worth it?

In the colourful spectrum of human emotions, my favourite has always been the seething, ugly, red one — anger. Every now and then, it’s good to feel like a steaming frying pan left on high heat for so long that it splatters off anything and everything you place on it — in strict rejection, in complete contempt or in painful helplessness. Trying to cook something in it will only produce something burnt and distorted. So you’ve got two choices: either turn off the heat completely or keep burning until nothing of it/you remains. I can’t stress how important that state of ...

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The problem with your writing is…

Over the last one year, I’ve heard the line, “the problem with your writing is… ” so many times that I’m starting to doubt that I even get my ABC’s right. Lately, the problem has been my excessive, overindulgent use of the first-person narrative, which apparently, is a complete no-no in the world of journalism. I can’t really blame anyone — when I get to writing, I get emotional. Whether the story is about something as frivolous as Veena Malik or as grim as target killings, I just have to incorporate my girly emotions, fall prey to the pretty adjectives ...

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Karachi Zoo: A threat to endangered animals?

The other day, my two-year old nephew would not let go of The Express Tribune. On the front page, there was a picture of a large white lion. While he didn’t understand the headline “South African white lions to land in Karachi”, he sat transfixed on the floor with the page and roared over and over again like he was the big bad Scar from The Lion King. Unfortunately, I could not be as ecstatic about the picture as my nephew. The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation imported these white lions at a price of Rs10 million. A glass enclosure is being built from a special ...

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Veena Malik: Why I love to hate and hate to love her

My fascination and repulsion with Veena started while I was working for the Life and Style pages. Our reporters would get the barest whiff of Veena – whether it was a broken meaningless sentence from her or some sleazy pictures that had appeared online – they’d pass it on to us. Sub-editors, like myself, would pad it up (some reluctantly others gladly) and make it into a full blown story. Within just a few seconds of uploading it, it would go viral – much to my dismay! At the time, it seemed wrong, unethical and a bit like cheap reporting. Six ...

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Trolling — the twisted hobby of some

Plato mentioned a parable from the fourth century, about a shepherd named Gyges who stumbled upon a ring that could render its wearer completely invisible. An invisible man like himself, of course, could not be held accountable. So, he seduced and plundered, proving that invisibility or anonymity can turn the most just of men into behaving rather unjustly. And that the ‘moral’ high ground is ridden mostly by those who are closely monitored, thereby proving that if one was to be left to their own devices, it would only result in complete anarchy. The wise Plato had somehow foreseen the digital ...

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Why women just aren’t funny

Humour is a funny thing. Take a man with a good sense of humour and combine it with a face that looks like his neck threw up on it and what you have is a ‘studmuffin’, who will have a bevy of beauties agreeing to throw their heads back for more than just laughing. But funny women, who may or may not be funny looking, never get the same response. Because ‘funniness’ is a trait that only men dominate. That’s a skill only men take pride in. Since there’s more value placed on being beautiful, women don’t mind falling into ...

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Three of everything

I knew it had been exactly three days since I had been lying under the covers exactly in the same position. I had gotten up exactly thrice to relieve myself. And for all these three days, I had woken once each day to eat three ounces of ice cream. Thrice I had checked the phone for the time.  And instead saw three missed calls from all three of my closest friends. Thrice I had changed my position to perfect the same position. Legs tightly tucked under my chest, face buried in my favourite pillow, and my back arched upwards facing ...

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The last few minutes on a crashing plane

They were headed for a destination; some for familiar places, others looking for new ventures. She must’ve been sitting on the aisle, slowly sipping a glass of coke, glancing at the in-flight entertainment every now and then. A toddler must’ve been on his first flight looking out the window amazed at the puffy white clouds outside his window. The crew may be behind the curtain, cracking jokes, stacking up food trays and fixing their attires. There might have a been a man in a suit, typing away corporate plans for his company for the next two quarters. A father may have ...

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Why women fight other women

The old adage, “Men can hurt my body, but women can scar my soul,” is one of those undeniable truths all women experience but most easily deny. Because isn’t it easier to blame men for all the injustice, inequality and viciousness we experience rather than assigning blame to our own kind, our own gender, our own sisters? But everywhere we turn, at home, in high schools and definitely at the workplace, women are knifing each other with their eyes, talking behind their backs, constantly judging and ridiculing each other, and metaphorically pushing each other around. Whether it’s the mother and daughter-in-law ...

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