Stories published in October, 2012

Does the EU deserve a Nobel Peace Prize?

The European Union (EU) has been recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the year 2012 recently ‘for bringing peace to a continent that tore itself apart in two world wars’. There is no doubt that a supra-national political framework such as EU has done a lot of good work in the past, but choosing the EU for a Nobel Peace Prize has been more of a motivational gesture. The Eurozone’s economic troubles have escalated to a point that an economic breakup of the organisation is being discussed by experts and diplomats. In these hard times, awarding this prize is only ...

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Too fat to fit in!

It’s a curious state to be at constant war with your own anatomy.  To perceive your body, as an unsightly prison, confining a thinner, much prettier person, struggling to burst out like an alien spawn. Obesity has a tendency to precipitate a sense of self-loathing which is so profound, that it begins to exact a toll on more than just one’s physical health. Despite the boundaries of political correctness ceaselessly contracting, most people still feel comfortable developing low opinions of people based simply on their weight. This is because in an average person’s mind, obesity is a condition that a person ...

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On a crisp autumn day

Lifted by crisp autumn wind, Whirl and eddy, And dance up on the ground.   They revel in their flight, To the trees that once beheld them. Some dry leaves, Move upwards, And the rest fall to the earth, Like broken dreams.   Their fall is subsumed, In the lament, Of the autumn wind.   “What makes them vibrate with pleasure? Who gives life to the broken leaves? A benign force in the world, Or a malevolent spirit,” Wonders my soul.   Seeing their joyous flight, My soul yearns, For a divine dance: A dance that lets it, Break shackles, Of earthly existence.   The soul longs passionately, Like a white-robed whirling dervish, Who with closed eyes, And extended arms, Seeks divine union.   The soul desires, To soar in the air: Light ...

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Guinness records: It’s about Pakistan, not politics!

Pakistan soared in to the international news once again on October 20, 21 and 22, but this time around it was a happy moment for everyone! We made it into the news for something positive and progressive. (Some kids run with the Pakistan flag prior to the record attempt in Lahore. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK) In a country that is so accustomed to digesting the news of target killing, honour killing, bomb blasts, terrorist attacks and drone strikes, the news of Pakistan setting a record after record brought nothing but moments of pure joy and national pride to us. Amidst all the sad ...

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Reasoning out September 21, 2012

Two months ago, chaos hit the country after a controversial video was publicised on the Internet and provoked some men to take to the streets, causing destruction to public property and endangering lives. I had the rare opportunity to interview bright, highly-motivated children studying in a school operated by The Citizens Foundation (TCF). The children attend an after-school programme called the Academic Achievement Programme, which provides guidance and helps students reinforce learning in the subjects of math and English. It was engaging and somewhat settling to read their responses to the questions I asked, despite the fact that most of them ...

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Yesterday’s urine bag, today’s plastic plate!

On February 9, nine sanitary workers were caught red-handed selling infected urine bags, empty glucose drips, used syringes, blood transfusion waste behind Shalamar Hospital, in Lahore. Instead of incinerating the infected disposables, they inserted them into a crusher installed on hospital premises and sold them for higher prices. The crushed infected plastics travel to plastic scrapyards, situated along Lahore’s Bund Road, and are further treated for making straws, plastic cutlery and dishes. The unhygienic practice has been going on for years as there is very little legal accountability of those engaging in acts of selling hospital waste. Shalamar Hospital is not the ...

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A true patriot lost with the demise of Chacha Pakistan

A man called ‘Chacha Pakistani’ was at the flag lowering ceremony at the Wagah border every single day of the year. The flag lowering ceremony, a ceremonial thumbing of the nose by the troops of India on one side and Pakistan on the other, has taken place at the Wagah border since 1959. Even though the contempt has since been toned down, it remains a sort of civil baring of the teeth on either side, or as Michael Palin described it, a ‘carefully choreographed contempt,’ of one neighbouring country for the other. Born Mehar Din ninety years ago, Chacha Pakistani moved ...

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Is Sur Kshetra in line with Aman Ki Asha or is it just Atif vs Asha?

Lights, camera, action! The music starts.  “Fateh suron ki, jeet sangeet ki!” (Triumph of melody, victory of music!) Yes, you might have guessed that I’m talking about “Sur Kshetra“, a music reality TV show where participants from India and Pakistan contest against each other. Each team brings six contestants from their respective countries to fight against each other in a singing competition. Their mentors are the sensational Atif Aslam (for team Pakistan) and Himesh Reshammiya (for team India). The jury members consists of Abida Parveen from Pakistan, Asha Bhosle from India and Runa Laila from Bangladesh. Their job is to mark the contestants either with ...

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If you jump off, you will fly, I promise!

Two years ago, I made the first most life-altering, high risk, and extremely indulgent decision of my adult life. For most of my life, all my life-decisions were sort of handed over to me and I had no choice but to follow their trajectory. But regardless of following all the right decisions and a path full of perfect daisies, I was still lost as lost can be. After a breakdown of Lindsay Lohan proportions, my drug of choice was chocolate ice-cream, I decided to actually do something about my situation. My decision was take up writing as a full time ...

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Endangering lives in the name of frugality

While navigating a puddle created by a neighbour washing his car, my mind was drawn to the capital’s civic agency’s plans to save water. Coming just days after a confounding power conservation plan, the water plan, while a bit more realistic, still leaves out a key element which has already been discussed at national level — water metering. The plan includes effective monitoring of leaks in the city’s water supply lines, imposition of fines on water wastage and raising awareness among residents on how to save water. While saving water is definitely an issue, seeing that half of the city’s ...

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