Stories published in October, 2010

15 stupid questions you’ll be asked at a job interview

Yesterday, I went for an interview at a software company, as I had applied for the position of a full-time writer. I was quite happy. I was supposed to reach the place at 3pm and I arrived at 2.45pm. The interview started and went on for about twenty minutes. This was not my first interview. I have been interviewed at several places. As the panel continues to ask me moronic question after moronic question, an idea for a blog post began to form in my mind.  I tried to make a list of the fifteen most stupid questions that interviewers ask you. The list ...

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The privilege to be hopeful

Every time Karachi bleeds, people scramble around looking for something to believe in. Once again, with 85 people dead in four days of violence, there are articles insisting that Karachi’s spirit, tolerance, pride and resilience will carry it through. Insisting that it will survive. Insisting that it will come out stronger. I want cling to hope as much as the next person, but as much as I appreciate optimistic articles, I’m getting tired of the sentimentalisation of Karachi and all its problems. People here aren’t resilient because of their fierce pride in their city. They’re resilient because they don’t have ...

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Islam and secularism: imagining new realities

Given the recent attacks on the shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi, questions about the nature of our society, politics and religiosity are being raised again. A rallying cry for secularism is being raised-and rightly so. Secularism and Secularisation Secularism is often confused with multiple concepts. The term ‘secularism’, in its semantic journey, has grown in association with ideas of modernity, humanism, rationalism and democracy. It has acquired diverse meanings in this process. Let’s make some basic distinctions. Secularism, as a political paradigm about the relation between political and religious institutions, is a valid and healthy discussion, especially in religious societies like Pakistan. The ...

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Corporate greed, sensationalism and an irresponsible media

“Exaggeration is truth that has lost its temper.” Khalil Gibran. We live in a world of exaggeration. A world blinded by megalomania. We are getting blinder every passing day. We are a case of collective schizophrenia. It is one of the most dangerous ailments of all, but are we the only ones that are blind. We are surely the damned ones. A sensationalist press, not an adversarial one Whenever something goes wrong in the world, we become the scapegoats. The international media paints Pakistanis as a people devoid of moral standards. The Pakistani media borrows this portrayal to strengthen the bias, giving ...

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Wanted: Trophy wife/millionaire husband

I have this strange habit of reading while sitting on the toilet. It doesn’t need to be anything in particular; as long as there are words to read, anything will do. In a hurry, I often pick up the nearest piece of newspaper on my way to the washroom. While that may sound gross to some, what I read in today’s early morning ritual is much more so. The reading of choice today was the last page of the classified section: the page that contains the “Matrimonial” segment. In the neatly divided “Bride”, “Groom”, and “Marriage Bureau” subcategories, were entries that ...

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Younus Khan is back

PCB finally took a U-turn on a decision which it shouldn’t have made in the first place. The inclusion of former test skipper Younis Khan in the Pakistan side for the series against South Africa is good news for a team that is surrounded by controversy. I never thought of Younis Khan as a legendary batsman who graced the game with his presence on the crease. Yet I have always admired the man for his passion for the game and his honesty.  Maybe that’s the only reason he has faced problems, because the system is corrupt to the core. Nevertheless, his ...

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I agree with Hillary Clinton: Make the wealthy pay

What right do the Americans have to dictate who we should and shouldn’t tax? After all, isn’t that our government’s job? But then again, who are we kidding? Our president and prime minister have paid fewer taxes than most of us on our first job. Ok, maybe that’s a bit exaggerated, but you get the point. When we take our begging bowl and roam the globe asking others to bail us out, it’s only fair to point fingers at our mansions with an impressive line-up of luxury cars and wardrobes full of handbags- each probably worth a white collar professional’s ...

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Supreme Court legitimising future rule of Bilawals, Hamzas

For the last year and a half, the government and judiciary seem to be involved in a very exclusive ball game. From the NRO to the judges’ notification case, the government has remained the Supreme Court’s main concern. Members of the PPP have been reported for the infamous $60million, threatened with Article 6 and a few have been called to court. In retaliation, the government has reminded the judiciary of its limits, accused it of victimising a single party and even tested the waters by reminding the judges of the ‘reality’ of the executive order. As the tug of war between the country’s ...

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Chhote Ustaad, Bigg Boss and reality of Indo-Pak relations

Indian television has suddenly seen a surge of Indo-Pak bonding in the last month. What started off as a peace-building initiative through music, by singers Sonu Nigam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in the form of Chhote Ustaad, seemed to set a trend. Bigg Boss 4 had two Pakistani artists on its show soon afterward. However, while the first was a novel, brilliant idea, the second I have a problem with. Chhote Ustaad, as we all know, had one Indian and one Pakistani singer team up and compete with 11 other such pairs of children. While Sonu Nigam and Rahat Fateh ...

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An open letter to Barack Obama

Dear President Obama, Hope you’re doing well. America seems to be on its way to progress. You took some bold steps in Afghanistan in the war on terror and supported Middle Eastern countries in their stance against Israel. Although it may be surprising coming from a Pakistani, I write to you with reference to your favouritism towards Israel. When you were elected I was told by many of my friends that you were not different from previous administrators, but I kept my faith in you. Now, I see that you continue to be a slave to US policy, just like previous presidents. With ...

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