Stories published in September, 2013

The Cuckoo’s Calling: Good under Robert Galbraith, excellent under JK Rowling

The Cuckoo’s Calling by author Robert Galbraith was doing an average business. Since April, 1500 copies had been sold, until it was leaked that the crime novel was actually written by none other than the queen herself, JK Rowling (JKR)! The leak propelled the novel to number one and reprints were ordered. Her fans (including me) was ecstatic and did all that we could to get our hands on The Cuckoo’s Calling. As it turned out, the book didn’t disappoint at all. However, JK Rowling has expressed her anger because she didn’t want her false identity as Robert Galbraith to be leaked to ...

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What do Pakistan and India share? No respect for women

They call us independent, free nations. Pakistan and India, after 60 odd years of being ruled by the white man, has been unable to break free of one acute problem: The white woman. Whether it is by selling our lovely brown women fairness creams and coloured lenses or by introducing at least one beautiful American/British girl into the storyline of your favourite drama/movie, the focus on the white woman is taking a slightly grotesque turn. The line between fascination and obsession is smudged as I go through the account of a CNN report where a female student from the University of Chicago talks about being groped, ...

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Fehmida’s beloved companion

Sitting thoughtfully, he smiled for no obvious reason. Or perhaps his thoughts had wandered off, from the hardships of the past few weeks since he had lost his job to the call he had received this very morning. Taking his cell phone out, which he kept like a prized commodity, he looked at it with a constant yet distracted gaze. He had listened through it with intent when Abdul Kareem, an old friend of his, briefed him about a domestic servant’s job, for which he was to come meet Ms Fehmida.  There was hope for him at last. He would finally ...

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Forgotten veterans: This is the story of Allah Ditta

His eyes reflect long nights of toil, tears and sweat. His posture and grey beard is telling of his age. His ID card announces his name – Allah Ditta. He is a security guard at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi. As I draw near, he greets me with a warm smile. Behind this calm facade is a story of great self-sacrifice, of dreams unfulfilled, of expectations unmet and a life unlived… During the blood-stained days of 1971, Allah Ditta was 19-years-old. Overflowing with a blend of youthful valour and the love of his fatherland, he joined the army and jumped ...

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Why there is no moral reason for the US to attack Syria

American inconsistency on the use of chemical weapons makes it difficult to convince a bunch of teenagers — much less the US Congress Mr Obama, you and I having a similar challenge: selling a military strike against Syria as a “moral imperative.” But we have different audiences. Your constituents come from all parts of the country; mine from different parts of the world. Yours are driven by myriad interests; mine are simply seeking justice. Yours are young and old; mine are mostly teenagers. You call yours, “the US Congress.” I call mine “the Younus family.” Mr Obama, my nephews and nieces, who live ...

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Wenger in, Wenger out and shake it all about

This summer wasn’t an easy time for Arsenal fans. The eight-year trophy drought had already cast doubts over Arsene Wenger’s ability to deliver silverware at the Emirates and there were thoughts if it was time for the French tactician to hang his boots. Fans turned against him and went so far as to call for his head. Arsenal’s lack of success coupled with their reluctance to spend money in the market over the past seasons had aggravated frustrations among its ranks and fans. With rival clubs dishing out Russian oil money and Arab capital to strengthen their squads, one thing was ...

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You won’t hire me because I am … old?

After leading an active life, I suddenly find myself ‘shelved’ because of the age factor. True we all come with a predetermined expiry date, but until that date and time comes, to be ‘shelved’ because of the age factor is difficult to accept. Trying to get a job is next to impossible simply because no one wants to employ an old person for a good salary when the employer can hire two for the price of one. So, years of experience that one banks on, is of no consequence, and all your contacts are in your age group, so what does one ...

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Chennai Express: A trainwreck of a masala film

Chennai Express is paisa vasool; shamelessly masala, no pretense otherwise. The locations are absolutely stunning, the item number is decent, the humour hits the spot more than twice in 2.5 hours. Deepika, her acting and her saris are perfect, and of course the jodi works (mostly because of her). The music is ok, not Vishal-Shehkar’s best work this year, however, the Rajnikanth tribute stands out. But for all the pluses the film gloriously fails in the sensibilities category. For a masala flick, it has two unexpected moments of intelligence. There was a good attempt at giving some depth to Rahul’s character (played by ...

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Hopeful: The story of my adopted disabled dog

The first time I saw Hopeful I was shocked. Could anything look so pitiful? I was expecting a healthy dog that just couldn’t use his hind legs but what I got was a bag of bones with a protruding vertebra and red raw bedsores where the bone was visible at places. He was encrusted with months, perhaps years of faeces and smelled like a whole coop of hens. What really got to me was the thick rusted chain that was looped around his neck. For God’s sake the dog couldn’t even drag himself a foot away and here they ...

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Gareth Bale’s name on the Real Madrid jersey is good news for fans everywhere

With the Bale transfer saga finally coming to an end, there is good news for all the Real Madrid fans out there, and if you’re a Tottenham Hotspur fan then bad news awaits you. Real Madrid has successfully signed the Tottenham player Gareth Bale for a record breaking fee of US$131.86 million (£86.9 million), completely overshadowing the previous record of US$126.84 million (£80 million) as fee for Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009. Never had I thought that Tottenham would let go of their star studded winger who had repeatedly given his best to the ...

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