Stories published in July, 2012

Azhar Ali: A crutch to a feeble batting contingent

The winter of 2009-10, brought public shame and disgrace to Pakistani cricket; the Aussies did not let us taste victory in any format, mainly due to the alleged in-house fighting. The tour was followed by bans and fines, which meant that Pakistan’s touring contingent to England was bereft of Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan for obvious reasons. Hence, the mantle of responsibility was on the feeble youngsters. Much to our delight, Shahid Afridi was made captain of all three formats, bringing him out of a self-imposed abeyance from Test matches. The Test team included some new faces like Umar Amin and ...

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Confessions of a Facebook ‘Like’ junkie

Hi, I am Ali- this is where you say “Hi Ali”- and I am a ‘Like-junkie.’ What is a ‘Like-junkie’ you ask? It’s quite obvious is it not? A ‘Like-junkie‘ is very much like a junkie, except they are not addicted to drugs, but rather to ‘Likes’ on Facebook. Now at this point you may either roll your eyes and laugh or you may go, “Oh no, not another lame piece on The Express Tribune…” You can do both of those things, but let me tell you this much, this is neither something to laugh at, nor is it something to ignore, for you might not ...

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Of patriarchy and virginity tests

Marriage is one issue that just never loses its appeal as a topic for family discussions, social forums, religious seminars and even news stories. This is one decision in life which is heavily loaded with expectations – mostly on the woman’s side. A few days ago, I came across a news story about Iraqi women facing court ordered virginity tests and thought to myself; what else will these misogynistic societies come up with next? Muslim countries appear to be overly obsessed with relations pertaining to the opposite sex and we regularly come across horror stories where naive youth gets killed in ...

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The doctor cannot see you today – he’s tired

Ever wondered if your doctor had a birthday party to attend? A valeema to go to? A bunch of kids at home wailing out in indignation because daddy hadn’t come home in time to take them to their favourite park? He would have, had he not received a call about a patient with a ruptured aneurysm. As a doctor, I have never met a surgeon who, at some point during the surgical procedure, did not envy the person sleeping soundly on the operating table in front of him. Barely more awake than the patient he operates upon, his tired mind races through the ...

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Please save me, Doctor

So, the doctors are protesting. What else is new in Pakistan? It’s just one endless protest after the other, is it not? Guilty as charged; I have become desensitised to the violence and injustice my poor country sees every single day. However, this particular protest did not go unnoticed by me for one simple reason. Innocent children died. The gravity of the YDA protest really hit me when my driver narrated a story to me this morning on my way to work. Very casually he asked me: Baji agar doctor apney mareez ko chor ke challa jata hai aur woh mar jata hai toh ...

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A Pakistani songs playlist for a foreign friend

It all started with a question. “This Columbian friend of mine is asking me about Pakistani music,” asked Ali,“What do I tell him?” I opened my mouth and shut it again. Columbian. Not Pakistani. Foreigner. Clueless. When you ask people to list their favourite Pakistani songs, they reach back to their taste honed over years, sometimes decades, depending on how old they are. Atif Aslam and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan are both gifts to mankind, depending on who you’re talking to. But this was about first impressions. What possible playlist could we make for this Columbian so that he’d be completely blown away? It ...

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Dr Seuss and the Mullah

At the mosque today, a man takes the pulpit. He warns us quite gravely that we are all culprits; Islam is the true religion, it would seem. The others seem destined to fail, in his dream.   So we’re told to convert them: The Christians and the Jews. The Pagans, the Buddhists, and the Brahmin Hindus. I take great offense at his words and inflection. Politely I stand, and I pose him a question.   “Don’t two rivers eventually reach the same sea? Are any of them really that different from me?” Calling me a “kafir”, he says I’m incorrect, And my sacrilege’s earned me a ticket to heck.   On what grounds am ...

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Teri Meri Kahaani: A series of monotonous events

Fancy a romantic Hindi flick? Go watch the latest Bollywood movie Teri Meri Kahaani, where the dashing Shahid Kapoor and the gorgeous Priyanka Chopra enliven the characters penned by Kunal Kohli. There are no guarantees, however, that this film will provide you with much entertainment though. Kunal Kohli has handled both hits and flops in his career as a filmmaker. Hum Tum and Fanaa are examples of Kohli’s extraordinary work to date. His new film, however, fails to deliver the same extraordinary brilliance. The confusing first impression Initially, the majority of the audience presumes that the story of Teri Meri ...

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The classic middle-class overachiever

At the age of 23, my indebtedness to Pakistan was inversely proportional to my progress in life. My mind was uncluttered and my ambitions were sky high.  The nation’s politics didn’t interest me; its understanding of religion was at loggers-head with my comprehension, its roads didn’t let me walk my walk; its dress code did more to accentuate a woman’s curves than it did to hide them, and its history didn’t have any role to play in my future. Moreover, despite my life-saving attempts, I could not bring myself to fall in love with a special someone either (something that kept my friends ...

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From Russia, with love

At a time when Pakistan and the United States are not enjoying good relations, due to stoppage of the Nato supply routes, Russia has come up with a plan to provide Pakistan financial and technical assistance, needed for its energy problems such as the Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iran (TAPI) pipeline project, the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline and the (CASA-1000) power import project. Is it a revival of relations between Pakistan and Russia to recover the trust lost during the war in Afghanistan in Ziaul Haq’s era? Whatever may be the reason; Russian cooperation with Pakistan will not only revive relations but will also balance ...

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