Stories published in February, 2013

Revolution is in the air

I watch the electronic window, In the corner of my room, I see the cricketer promise, An exit from this doom, I see the cleric swing his fist, Throwing curses everywhere, Inhale the winds of change for, Revolution is in the air! I watch the men in charge, Giving excuses for this state, I notice in the anchor’s tone, Frequencies of distaste, I see the opposition complain, As if they really care, Inhale the winds of change for, Revolution is in the air! I see my streets burn, In the fire of mistrust, I see the protesters yelling, As they burn another bus, Behind which the owner stands, Asking if this is fair, Inhale ...

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What makes a complete woman?

One of my teenage students stopped me on my way to class, sniffling and holding back the torrent of tears, desperate for help. She said she wished to end her life because, ‘Everyone hates me and makes fun of me because I am ugly and I am not feminine enough’. The girl was a brainy, hardworking young lady; one who would score excellent grades but suffered terrible pressure from peers because she did not dress or wax or style her hair like other girls her age did. I was revolted by our collective inability to accept human beings as they are without ...

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UEFA Champions League returns: Here are the predictions!

February has started, which means the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League, the biggest club competition in the world, is less than a fortnight away. Out of 32, the remaining 16 teams will resume their quest for glory with all of them having only one target in their minds, that is to reach the final at Wembley on May 25 and then to be crowned as Champions of Europe. No disrespect to the group stages of the tournament, but the real thrill and excitement starts once the competition enters its knockout stages. And like always this year’s draw has put ...

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Education is not just about how many As you score

Recently, the British Education Secretary announced that students starting their A’ levels in England from fall 2015, will return to the previous system of an “all or nothing” exam at the end of two years of study. Eventually, these changes will not only impact exams in England, but will also trickle into tweaks to the manner in which Cambridge International Examinations and EdExcel International exams are organised. It is still not clear whether Wales and Northern Ireland will adopt these changes; Scotland has a separate system. The current system of units or modules has been criticised for allowing examination retakes and grade inflation. ...

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It’s not the hijab, it’s the attitude that bothers me

Legend has it that when the clock strikes midnight, a terrifying army of beasts awaken who call themselves “The Westernsteins.” They comb our cities, with the sole mission of shaming and persecuting women who wear hijabs or traditional conservative clothing. Such was the terror of Westernsteins that families across Pakistan forbade their women to leave their homes without donning skinny jeans and spaghetti-strap tops. The flame of hope had ostensibly been extinguished, when the nation decided to fight back with a passionate campaign to promote hijab. The dream was that one day women would be able to wear hijabs as freely as they get ...

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Shahrukh Khan’s fear is our fear

In the ‘90s when Yusuf Khan received the Nishan-e-Imtiaz— the highest civilian award of Pakistan— right wing Hindu groups led by Shiv Sena and covertly supported by its ideological brothers, protested and vehemently questioned Khan’s loyalty to India. He was declared a Pakistani agent not a pride of the nation who has won laurels for his works all over the world. There were many in India at that time who did not know that Yusuf Khan is actually Dilip Kumar, the popular superstar of the Bombay film industry. India and the world accepted him and lauded him for his acting ...

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Chicken teriyaki: A burst of authentic Japanese flavours

Contrary to the much prevailing opinion that Japanese food looks so exquisite to eat and too difficult to cook, numerous dishes can be prepared easily without following any hard and fast rule. I have learned during my Japanese cooking classes that some flavours, tapestry of textures, colour, and methods distinguish Japanese cooking from other exotic cuisines. Strong-tasting seasoning and highly-flavoured sauces are not mostly used; still dishes look extravagant and taste sensational. Apart from sushi and tempura, ‘teriyaki chicken’ is another very popular dish among non-Japanese cultures. However, the fact is most people still don’t fully understand the term ‘teriyaki style’. Teriyaki is ...

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Why the UN fails humanity in Kashmir

Kashmir is an open-air cemetery sprinkled with corpses of hopes and dreams, ambition and laughter, on which government officials shovel piles of “investigations” to hide the truth of long-standing crises. There are over 500,000 Indian troops patrolling the Kashmir Valley. It is the most militarised zone in the world, bearing the highest soldier-to-civilian ratio for any given territory. In the past twenty years, thousands of Kashmiris have disappeared, over 70,000 have died (only since 1990), and countless women and children have become orphans and widows. New graveyards flourish in Srinagar, with epitaphs that bear the journey of resistance. The inscription on the ...

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Apparently ‘Pakistani’ in French means ‘terrorist’

I experienced it again yesterday; I re-lived what it feels like to be accused – accused when you don’t even know why you are being charged. Again, I lived through the humiliation of someone pointing his finger at me and saying,  “Hey you… You look like a terrorist.” The temperature in Lille was cold; six degrees below the freezing point, to be exact. The behaviour of the four men around me was colder. I had noticed them the moment I had gotten off the train that had brought me back to Lille from Paris. I thought that I was being over imaginative ...

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Mr Jamshed, please don’t preach

I grew up listening to Junaid Jamshed songs, from when he was in Vital Signs, to the time he went solo. Yes, I was one of the big fans. Most of us were shocked to see him take a 180 degree turn when he suddenly stopped making music, but with time we accepted it. It was only recently that I heard him talk about his beliefs in a morning talk show – and felt no appreciation for my favourite artist. While going through TV channels at night to watch something interesting, I came across a channel showing a rerun of ...

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