Stories published in October, 2011

Why you should not marry your cousin

Doctors are often looked up to, and it is common for people to ask for advice, suggestions and treatment. As a medical student, I have come across questions and situations that have alarmed me, however, I have never been overwhelmed. The story I heard on a flight from Lahore to Karachi particularly struck me. It concerned a woman’s struggle to bear children, a seemingly ordinary ordeal, magnified by the fact that she was married to her first cousin. I was sitting comfortably in an aisle seat when a man came by asking to exchange seats as he was sitting next to a ...

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Facebook Timeline: My life’s album!

The words “Wow”, and “Awesome”, took turns taking residence in my head as I first browsed through  ‘Facebook Timeline’, the upcoming Facebook user page revamp, scheduled to start rolling out in a few days. I was highly impressed by how a larger mish-mash of my personal information was presented to me in an attractive and intuitive package, and by how the new tools available to me were not only robust, but were placed exactly where I looked. So good was the design, in fact, that it took me less than a minute to master Facebook Timeline, which is a ...

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The freedom to be

A friend from Lahore recently asked me: “What would you miss most about New York if you were to move back to Pakistan right now?” I thought about it for a few minutes. Unlike many Pakistanis living in the US I knew, I wasn’t particularly attached to this country, or to New York. To me,  it was just another city – a hard city, a cacophonous city, where bright lights and gleaming skyscrapers belied the darkness, the sadness, the grime and the poverty in the corners; where glamour, spectacle, a veneer of ethnic diversity thinly concealed the underlying greed and racism. I ...

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The importance of voting

With the country facing major troubles from all directions, we all have an opinion and a solution to offer. However, the sine qua non of this matter is whether we are with or against the current proceedings and the administration; our opinions are only justified, or should only be justified if we vote. We live in a time where the entire country is extremely politicized. Whether we’re in our villages, homes, on the street, at work, on Facebook or on twitter, we are constantly discussing politics. This is irrespective of age, occupation or financial status. Although opinions differ significantly, I think ...

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Study abroad or not : Double standards of the young and smart

There is an excellent strategy to make anyone shut up during an anti-American rant, if they are 18 or younger, that is. Right in the middle of their ‘the United States of America (USA) is controlling the International Monetary Fund to turn us into beggars’ or ‘the USA is plotting with India to annihilate us’ speech, look these people straight in the eye, and very calmly say, yeah, that is great…so how was your Scholastic Aptitude Test? Someone once said that they would stop believing America was great when the immigration and visa lines outside US embassies start decreasing. I would ...

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A Pakistani love story

In this short film, Maheen Zia explores the dynamics of the business of love in Pakistan. The viewer is an eavesdropper on a casual conversation between an off-screen man and woman, who are engrossed in each others’s company. Through this very short clip, one gets insight in to the mentality of a typical Pakistani man. Although the video does not betray the faces of the man and woman in question, it adequately depicts their relationship though the short conversation shown. You can see more of Maheen Zia’s videos here. Do you have a video that you want to share with The Express Tribune readers? Submit your ...

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Pakistan’s confused liberators

Ours is a country full of right wing rebels, super rich humanists, revisionist progressives, delusional liberals and various other sorts of self-claiming messiahs. In one way or the other, all of these people who talk about reforms, peace, poverty eradication and national prosperity claim to have a solution for Pakistan’s deep-rooted problems in their own way. They sometimes chant about an unseen ‘true vision of Jinnah’s Pakistan’ and sometimes find relief in the rich cultural diversity of their history starting from the Indus Valley civilization. Despite their ideological differences, they stand united, or at least claim to stand united, against ...

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Shot over a game of volleyball

In January 1998, my family received a slightly incoherent call from an uncle. He didn’t make any sense when he said: “Bring all the cash you have.” An hour or two later, those words made sense. My cousin had been shot in Islamabad by one of his peers and his family needed money urgently to take care of matters. We did not tell his mother what happened but informed her that he had been in a fight and was injured. He was nineteen-years-old. The boy who shot him was 20. A court case, countless days of mourning, and many unanswered questions. Now, 13 years later ...

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The economic reality of US threats

There has been a wave of American threats of war against Pakistan if the latter does not take action against the Haqqani network reportedly operating from the Pak-Afghan border. There is, thus, widespread concern among already economically miserable and politically devastated Pakistanis if an open US-Pak war is about to take place or the current threats are another jugglery of the US to put forward a new do-more agenda. This distress among Pakistanis is feeding upon the ongoing discourse on local and international print and electronic media, and the latter are doing their jobs pretty well to fatten the fear. ...

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Dimple and Alexander

The movie Mere Brother ki Dulhan is full of twists and turns. In fact, it is so twisty that I am tempted to use the old chestnut that appears in about ninety-eight percent movie reviews in our papers: ‘a rollercoaster ride’ — except, this movie is really a donkey cart where the donkey routinely mistakes his own backside for his face. In the movie Katrina Kaif plays Dimple. But she’s not just any Dimple, she’s Dimple urf D, which means she’s free-spirited and spontaneous too. Someone who was born in London and bred there for 18 years before showing up ...

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