Stories published in January, 2014

In the mood for some ‘disco chai’? Here is how the dhaba’s in Karachi do it!

Dhaba – a roadside restaurant of sorts – originates from the Indian Punjabi culture. It typically consists of a structure made from mud and wooden planks with charpais and the occasional hookah strewn around.  A dhaba’s tea is always adored among the local Pakistanis. PHOTO: MAANSAL STUDIOS/ FILE Desi food and ethnic props give these rickety restaurants their rustic environment. Dhabas are a reminder of a simple way of life that has been lost in the mundane affairs of our materialistic society. The dhaba culture has been prevalent throughout Pakistan, particularly in Karachi. And I have seen a shift in the function and status of dhabas from being an ...

Read Full Post

Remembering Musadiq Sanwal ‘Aik pyali chai’

 “I really don’t know how to play the sitaar,” I said. To which he asked if I knew how to feel. I realised then that first impressions are deceptive in most cases. I had walked into my music lesson on a Sunday afternoon to find a man with salt-and-pepper hair perched comfortably in the lounge. I had dismissed him as I struggled with the complexity of the various instruments around me. When he nonchalantly handed me the sitaar, I was convinced that he had made a mistake. But he had not. I had. I had missed the sharp glint of humour in his eyes that I would later realise was ...

Read Full Post

ZA Bhutto was put on trial, why not Musharraf?

There is no doubt that Pakistan has suffered at the hands of corrupt politicians since its very inception. These politicians came and led the state to ruin, forcing/enabling the military to intervene on multiple occasions. This ultimately led to a nation where martial law governed for more than half of its life. However, our history shows that these military coups were never successful for the country. Many wonder if these military dictatorships were more beneficial for Pakistan or for the foreign policies of the US. After all, General Ziaul Haq served the US and that helped the country, or so we thought until much ...

Read Full Post

Can a woman only choose one – hijab or a successful career?

Not too long ago, the hijab was considered a choice; a woman’s right if she wanted it to be. Today, not only is it a source of contention and a consistently hot topic of debate, it is considered a form of subjugation. In all honesty, I cannot comprehend how or why the hijab seems like such a hindrance, especially when only some women wear it in our country. Whether these hijab arguments stem from abhorrence, fear or just narrow-mindedness, I do not know. What I do know is that we argue about it behind a very subjective definition of ‘liberalism’. These ‘liberals’ ...

Read Full Post

Ronaldo won the Ballon D’Or but Messi deserved it!

Cristiano Ronaldo won the fourth 2013 FIFA Ballon D’Or and he rightly deserved it. The types of performances he showed last year have been, without a doubt, extraordinary. The fact that in terms of performance statistics, he outscored the other two contenders to top the charts makes his case very strong. If he had failed this time, the credibility of Ballon D’Or would have been seriously questioned. In the end, it was a good result for football in general. However, the result doesn’t reflect accurately on who the best footballer in the world is. People have made all sorts of arguments in favour of ...

Read Full Post

Karachi is the lover, the tormentor: Mysterious, dark and hurt

It’s human nature to desire that which is not in your grasp, love which will always remain unrequited and stress about matters that are not in your hands. The worst part is that we know this. And yet it doesn’t matter. Despite this, certain things are bound to catch our attention, making us fall in love so that it’s impossible for us to simply move on, and accept the stark reality of our existence. A small break, sometime apart, a little space can of course prove healthy for our minds as well our hearts. However, our basic instinct always remains an instinct ...

Read Full Post

The myth of Musharraf’s ‘economic boom’ needs to die

A recent article ‘Have you forgotten all that Musharraf did for you, Pakistan?’ by Mr Rafay bin Ali regurgitates a popular myth – dictatorship is better for Pakistan’s economy. The author uses cross-regime comparisons based on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) size to argue that Pervez Musharraf was the best thing that ever happened to Pakistan’s economy. Like all myths, this fable is also sustained by a crafty combination of truth and fiction. But it crumbles once we separate the flimsy truth from the falsehood that it conceals. To do this, we must analyse the methodological flaws in the framework used by the ...

Read Full Post

Why are we being cut off from independent Pakistani films?

In the last few months, screenings of movies with a strong Pakistani connection has surged in the United States. It has been culturally very exciting and rewarding to watch these fantastic films and afterwards attend interactive sessions with their directors and crew-members.  Saving Face, These Birds Walk, Without Shepherd, The Waves, Night Life, Lamha (Seedlings), The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Zinda Bhaag, Torn, Wounds of Waziristan, Good Morning Karachi and Anima State were presented at different film festivals in the United States. A few also went into commercial distribution. While movies like Waar and Main Hoon Shahid Afridi did create a buzz in the Pakistani cinema market, most of the internationally released movies were overlooked by the mainstream Pakistani media. What ...

Read Full Post

I am a woman and I can carry my own luggage, thank you

An airport can be a good starting point to begin learning about the culture of any country. Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport is much the same. I was motivated to write about this seemingly trivial topic because of the sheer frustration that I felt on arriving at this airport. The experience left me wildly exasperated, and what I am about to give you is a microscopic account on the matter to make you understand my ordeal. After a 12-hour flight from Canada, as I was making my way towards the baggage collection point, I saw a string of porters looking out for potential ...

Read Full Post

Frozen: Disney’s classic magic combined with love and snow

Disney is known for producing animated movies that last a lifetime. They have stories people can instantly connect with, and such is the case with Disney’s Frozen. Warning: Beware of spoilers! Disney’s 53rd movie and the biggest ever UK grosser, Frozen, is about Elsa (Idina Menzel), the Snow Queen of Arendelle, who can create snow and has the power to freeze anything and everything. Fearing that she will hurt someone with her powers, her parents, the king and queen of Arendelle, keep her confined in her room away from harm’s way. Elsa, the Snow Queen of Arendelle.Source: IMDb Her coronation ceremony ...

Read Full Post