Stories published in October, 2011

Here come the brides (in 6 inch heels)

Ladies and gentlemen, regal velvet, long trains, glittering mokesh, and breathtaking long lehnga shirts are the new trends for bridal wear this year. The Pantene Bridal Couture Week (BCW) 2011, took my breath away. Held by Style 360 the show featured designs by the biggest names of our fashion industry. It also brought to light a few Indian designers and some newcomers with fabulous talent. All in all, the night was packed with glamour and was couture at its very best. J&S did a wonderful job of decorating the waiting area. The theme was predominantly Grecian with textured velvet draping on the walls ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan vs Sri Lanka: May the best team win!

Pakistan will start yet another home series on neutral territory tomorrow as they take on Sri Lanka. This is the first bilateral series at a neutral territory between the two nations after the horrific attack on the visiting Sri Lankan team two years ago. It is going to be a full series with 3 tests, 5 ODIs and a one off T20 match between two almost evenly matched sides and should be an interesting encounter. Last time Pakistan played in the Middle East against South Africa the tests were a high-scoring draw. The test series  Both the teams are going through a ...

Read Full Post

East is East and West is West

Last week, I had mentioned a thought provoking article Shamim Hanfi read at the International Urdu Conference, particularly his citation of Firaq Gorakhpuri’s view that Asian literature is no match for the European literature produced since the Renaissance. Despite holding Firaq in high esteem I was unable to digest this. Firaq was a great poet as well as the kind of critic I quote a lot. However, he had also been a teacher of English literature and I thought this quote came from Professor Gorakhpuri and not Firaq the poet and critic. Many people I have heard from have been ...

Read Full Post

In desperate times, PML-N calls for desperate measures

Nawaz Sharif and the PML-N are going to use the issue of electricity to get back into power. In public, every member of the party has stayed on message: that the power shortage is a reflection and final indictment of the PPP’s terrible governance and has convinced the PML-N that the government must go immediately. In private, though, some members of the PML-N, while sticking to their talking points about the corruption and mismanagement of the PPP, admit that they hope to topple the PPP government before the Senate elections in March, to prevent the PPP from getting a majority ...

Read Full Post

In praise of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2011

In case you didn’t notice, it was the annual literary maelstrom last week. The Nobel Prize in Literature was handed to somebody, Tomas Tranströmer of Sweden. The announcement evoked a global response which entailed synchronised hair pulling, angry tweeting, cynical literary opining in the millions. On the whole, it turned out to be an entirely predictable show of hostility from a world of outraged readers. The ruling sentiments went something like this: “Oh right! So Roth/Murakami/Pynchon/Nadas/Adonis is going to lose out AGAIN to somebody I’ve not even heard of?” “Wait, are you saying, like, this guy Transformer-whatever, haha, his work is ...

Read Full Post

Video blog: Sentries of the coast

Across the Indus delta in Pakistan, at Keti Bundur, Siddiq Roonjha narrates the once prosperous economic history of the area However,  recent battles with cyclones and storms have seen his home inundated and his precious belongings lost. He blames all of this destruction on the reduction of mangrove plantations along the coastline.  Siddiq, speaks of a time when the mangrove trees were enough to offer shelter from rain and storms. Now, entire villages have flooded and many people along the coast have died since the natural bio-shields found in mangroves has been lost. Development has seen the 600,000 hectares of mangrove plantations reduced ...

Read Full Post

Namaaz: Not just a personal matter

Call me conservative, call me old, call me a buttoned-down bore or call me whatever you like – in the end I am the only one who can define my identity because I know what I am. I am not a very good Muslim and I don’t belong to a religious or extremist community. However, personally, I would be absolutely mortified to say “No, I don’t pray Jummah“. Once I too used to believe that prayers and religion were a personal matter but I have come to the conclusion that religion is very much shared and communal. Growing up, every Wednesdays after ...

Read Full Post

In conversation with Adil Omar, hip-hop’s ‘Paki Rambo’

Artist: Adil Omar  Video: Paki Rambo Genre: Hip-hop  Description: A cheeky take on Islamabad’s urban youth subculture. Vivid stylistic techniques are employed in this sardonic, yet playful, rendition of kitschy bad-boy behaviour. Contrasting social settings range from the Mercedes-lined driveway of a typically affluent home, to farcical GTs (hangouts) involving recreational substance abuse, persistent sexual harassment, and blood-streaked fistfights that epitomize the ‘wannabe gangsta’ mentality of the city’s seedy underbelly. Excerpt: “I bust quick in a sl**’s thick orange foundation I’m a foreign damnation at your borderline waitin’ Horrified Satan with an angel to punch ‘cuz all these cookie cutter f*****s be fakin’ the funk Yeah, uh, so ...

Read Full Post

Eid ironies

It’s customary for Eid greetings now to be accompanied by questions like what the day was like and how well the prayers went. Eidul Azha prompts an additional question about the sacrifice and remarks about prices that fall in the category of a general unhappiness with the times. Predictably, I get lots of telephone calls of this nature from Lahore and Islamabad. But because I also have friends in Delhi, Lucknow and Aligarh, there were some exchanges of the sort with them as well. But a friend in Delhi, whom I happened to ask whether or not he had said ...

Read Full Post

NA brawl: Left jab, upper cut

The two antagonistic tribes, face off in a habitat where they are forced to coexist, as viewers watch bemused, for the language spoken by this warring species is only decipherable to its own kind, and the experts who translate on television for the viewing audience. Like with communication between all primitive beings, misunderstandings can happen. Sometimes, these verbal squabbles lead to physical altercations, which don’t come as a surprise to those of us watching, because the aggressive body language on display betrays a deep seated level of animosity. On this particular instance, between the testosterone flowing opposing males, it starts with both ...

Read Full Post