Stories published in February, 2011

23 O level A’s: My success story

I am not a genius as many may believe; I do not have god gifted intelligence. But I do have vast knowledge. And more than anything else, I am hard working. I was never really considered a bookworm in school, because I engaged in activities that are part of student life. I play the guitar, and have won trophies for football. I was an active debater and secured six “best delegate” awards at the Model United Nations and also won trophies in parliamentary style debating. It was quite difficult to balance my social life with my studies and extracurricular activities, ...

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Scandalous Islamabad: Facebook’s gossip vultures

On an idle Sunday afternoon spent eating pizza and chatting with my sisters-in-law, I was introduced to ‘Scandalous Islamabad’. In case you don’t know what it is, ‘Scandalous Islamabad’ is a Facebook group inspired by American TV show Gossip Girl (remember the mysterious “And who am I? That’s one secret I’ll never tell. You know you love me xoxo Gossip Girl?”) Currently, this Facebook group has a following of almost 5,000 people. The grapevine is active The group that was created in January this year keeps disappearing and reappearing. Apparently, this is because they got hacked. There is a post on their ...

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What really goes on in the Sindh Assembly

In June 2010, legislators from the Sindh Assembly zealously thumped their desks after passing a bill for the establishment of the “Sindh Revenue Board” to collect sales tax on services. While covering the story, I was surprised to know that a majority of legislators were not even aware of the bill’s significance; they didn’t know the difference between tax on services and tax on goods. One of the MPAs went on to say, “We have no idea about the bill; it is enough that we have supported it.” And I can assure these were the exact words of the lawmaker, who ...

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Time for Pakistan cricket to finally move on

On June 7, 2009 a love affair began. Pakistan cricket had supposedly found its new darling, its poster boy and its next big hero. But Mohammad Amir returned with disappointing the figures 3-0-31-1. The Oval witnessed England thrashing Pakistan in a round-robin match of the second T20 World Cup. However, onlookers and experts predicted a bright future for this young lad from the outskirts of Rawalpindi. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. On February 5, 2011 the International Cricket Council tribunal announced sanctions of 10, 7 and 5 years for Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and the young prodigy, the ...

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Egypt unrest: Where now from here?

As we go into the twelfth day of protests in Egypt, the only authority left in the country seems to be the people themselves. They have spoken and they will not be silenced till their demands are met. However, the fundamental changes to Egypt and the region’s political landscape are yet to be determined. Who will take over and where do we go from here? Similar to Iran’s Shah Mohammad Reza Pehalvi, President Hosni Mubarak served as a friendly arbitrator of US relations and strained Israeli relations in the Middle East. To establish the future direction, ignoring US interests would ...

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Karachi Lit Fest: Liberalising the liberals

“And if the festival is attended predominantly by people from one part of town,” said co-organiser Asif Farrukhi in his opening address, “so what?” Really – so what? Even if the venue had been more central, the odds are that people from across the bridge wouldn’t have turned out in throngs. It is people from ‘this side of the bridge’ who generally attend these literary or literary-ish events, and the Carlton Hotel, however ill-appointed its halls, was a terribly convenient venue for the Defense crowd. At least the rooms and auditoriums were overflowing with enthusiasts. No, I am not going to make snide ...

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Valentine’s Day is a scam!

Disclaimer: I am single and not looking for a relationship at the moment. I may sound like a bitter party pooper, but I am not. The following views are my own and I do not mean to ruin anything for you. I dread February 14 every year because it turns normal people into lovesick, drooling idiots. It is, however, refreshing to know that some people aren’t big fans of this stupid day. Maybe I hate Valentine’s Day because every Tom, Dick and Harry goes overboard to celebrate it. Has love been locked up in some closet for 364 days a ...

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Remembering the old Coffee House

Not a day goes by without somebody in the media asking me about the goings on at the Coffee House or the afternoons and evenings at the Tea House. But everybody seems to be interested only in the patrons. Wonder if anybody at all is interested in the people who waited on them and how they survived and thrived in the midst of writers, intellectuals, artists and journalists. For I am reminded today of a Coffee House waiter. Once India Coffee House closed down, Munshi Ji, moved on to Zelin’s Coffee House. After Zelin’s too had closed down I once asked ...

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Money 101: When cash ruins relationships

Amir and Kyran are college buddies; they shared the proverbial dhabay ki chai during their skint student days and were quite comfortable sharing their monetary (or lack of) woes. Three years after graduation, Amir is a rising star in a leading investment bank and Kyran is a do-gooder in the non-profit sector working for the betterment of Pakistani women. Sheer finances have managed to complicate this relationship which has survived difficult parents, three break ups, erratic bosses and so on. Kyran’s income is roughly half of what Amir takes home. While she does enjoy going to fancy restaurants once in a while, ...

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The banned trio and the unjust punishment

The troubled trio involved in the spot-fixing case has finally received a verdict that has ruined their cricketing careers – a severe but expected decision. Cricket fans had earlier speculated that Mohammad Amir would be cleared to play with a penalty or short ban but the five year ban has put a big question mark on his career and in the minds of cricket fans. The bans imposed on 26-year-old Salman Butt and 28-year-old Mohammed Asif have as good as finished their careers; 10 and 7 year bans mean that at this age, they have a rare chance of making a ...

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