Stories published in October, 2012

My brother has Down Syndrome, not a contagious disease

Coming from a closely knit family, it was a tradition for all of us to personally go and receive any relative coming to Karachi, at the airport. My aunt was expected and all of us including my youngest brother, who is a special child, suffering from Down Syndrome, went down to receive her. On our way back from the airport, we decided to stop at a restaurant to enjoy some family time. The restaurant was jam packed with people, as it was a weekend. Mostly families from the colonies nearby were there with their kids. We led my brother to ...

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We don’t owe Afghanistan anything

I was studying for a sociology exam when my driver entered my lounge. He immediately asked me to turn on the TV. The first thing that struck my mind was that there had been another bomb blast in Karachi. Fortunately, he only wanted to watch the India versus Afghanistan cricket match. I asked him, You’re a Sindhi. What do you have to do with Afghans? He meekly replied, Sahib, they are our brothers, whereas India is our enemy. I switched off the TV but couldn’t stop thinking about what he had said. Really? Had he just naively been believing all this time that Afghanistan was a friend? The ...

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Spoiler alert: The Casual Vacancy: Rowling shines again

JK Rowling has done it again. Her new novel The Casual Vacancy is a magnificently written piece of literature and one, which will be hotly debated in the coming months. Its language is salacious, its prose is incisive and its delivery is forceful. By writing The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling has made it clear that her range is not limited to writing fantasy novels only. The Casual Vacancy is the story of a little, apparently peaceful, English village of Pagford, whose façade of calm and serenity actually conceals an ongoing war between its inhabitants. The novel begins with the death of ...

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Cry over a charred cinema but not a dead human being?

The six cinemas that were torched during the rather ill-fated Ishq-e-Rasool Day, marked the decline of cultural tolerance in Pakistan. However, going by news coverage of that day, it seemed that this incident was more important than anything else that happened. However, there was another side to the story, too. The sun that went down on Ishq-e-Rasool day, held as a mark of protest against an anti-Islam video, took away many other things along with it; including 26 lives — lives which did not spark a debate in the news media. One can posit that these 26 lives belonged to ...

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Karachi Crafter’s Expo: Pakistanis are a talented bunch!

On September 30, 2012, Pakistan witnessed its first ever ‘Crafter’s Expo’ at the Royal Rodale Club, Karachi. It was organised by Varah Musavvir, owner and designer at ‘Firefly’ (an online page which retails hand made products). The venue held about 60 booths, each one bought for a small amount of money by those who had seized crafting as a hobby or by people who had taken it to the next level as entrepreneurs. The event was a massive success with many people pouring in to the event all day. It gave a remarkable opportunity to crafters to showcase their talents and to ...

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Homesick: I miss home, I miss Pakistan

I knew I was going to miss Pakistan; I had a feeling I’d crave the food, yearn for cricket, mope after the people and just generally be homesick after spending some time abroad. Coming to the US for college was, however, my personal choice and being here has been nothing short of amazing. The homesickness kicked in, but it is very different from what I thought it would be. It is hard to explain the ways in which I miss Pakistan. I miss the daily drive to and from school and the topsy-turvy hills I would stare at along the ...

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A bounty calling for murder is not Islam, Mr Bilour!

Not too long ago, the trailer of a film called Innocence of Muslims was released on the internet that hurt the sentiments of Muslims around the world. The content of the film was vile and offensive, and it was clear that the only purpose it had been made in the first place was to elicit some sort of negative reaction from the Muslim population. Muslims around the world expressed their displeasure through various means. Many took to Facebook and other social media. Some made drastic gains creating misleading photographs such as fallen cinemas that had apparently suffered the wrath of God, ...

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Do you realise how damaging protesting is to the economy?

Another Friday, another protest. This week, much like last, Aabpara remained empty, except for the few adventurous shoppers who were willing to risk the excitement of walking amid religiously-inspired protesters, the same kind of protesters who did so much damage to other Muslims’ lives and property last week. After last week’s disaster, the peaceful lawyers’ march to the embassy to present a resolution of condemnation was a welcome change, although I still think burning flags accomplished nothing. Peaceful or not, protests, or even rumours, have seemingly become enough to instil fear in the hearts of small business owners in areas favoured ...

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What’s with the meek surrender, team Pakistan?

It’s not the defeat itself, rather the manner of it that is often so demoralising.  As a nation we are desperately short of good news, and for most people a cricketing victory represents the only source of bliss and contentment in a life full of anxiety and despair. There was a time when hockey and squash along with cricket provided an ample cause for national celebration. The likes of Jahangir, Jansher, Samiullah, Hassan Sardar, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad kept Pakistan’s flag flying high at the world stage, and irrespective of the political, social and economic crisis’s at home, a ...

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