Stories published in February, 2014

Mixed Martial Arts: Pakistan versus Afghanistan – a ‘patriotically personal’ match!

In spite of there being many local wrestling akharas (training hall for martial artists) in Pakistan where desi pehlwan’s dish it out, as well as a number of martial arts schools, a match between the two different styles of fighters was never heard of in the country. Being a fan of full contact sports, I found the recent decline in martial arts, kabbadi and wrestling events to be very disappointing. Growing up, I was used to watching these three sports on national TV but then it all faded into oblivion. On the other hand, in the rest of the world a new full contact sport was on the rise ...

Read Full Post

Bajee: I only realised her importance after she left…

“Baba, Bajee…?” asks my two-year-old, rather inquisitively, each time I put him to sleep or wakes him up. Bajee, the nanny, had been with us since before our son’s birth and had recently left for her village in Punjab to get married there. My son didn’t take her departure very well and became frustrated. He would go about the house calling out for Bajee and looking for her. Putting him to bed became difficult and the worst thing was that he would keep getting up in the night to ensure that either me or my wife were present. Since then, he has not ...

Read Full Post

Doing hash? Think again

During the first week of January 2014, I was surprised to read three different news stories about marijuana – Washington became the first American state to legalise sale of marijuana for adult recreational uses, Sahiwal police seized a truck carrying hash worth 650 million rupees and Uruguay is now the first country in the world to legalise marijuana trade.  Usually, anti-narcotic laws are not strictly enforced in Pakistan when it is comes to hashish (hash) and other drugs of the same family including marijuana (charas), cannabis, weed, garda and bhang. These drugs are widely available in Pakistan and almost anyone who wants them can get them from a local ...

Read Full Post

Aao bacho sair karain tumko Pakistan ki: Not an ordinary nursery rhyme…

There is a very famous poem, by a very famous poet, written in a more hopeful and exuberant time. It has been set to wonderful, cheerful music and is taught to children everywhere. And in the video below, a child sings something that sounds very much like it. But listen carefully. The music has the same happy lilt, but the words are horribly different. So different, in fact, that a few people I showed this video to were seriously offended at what they consider to be a serious perversion of a great piece of art. The original poem and its English translation ...

Read Full Post

Neelam Ghar and Kasauti: Change is not always a good thing

Recently, I was flicking through the local channels when my fingers suddenly stopped on Pakistan Television (PTV) – our once-glorious national channel is now on permanent crutches, a tragic outcome of trying to keep up with modern trends. And amid such handicaps, there he was, the immortalised Mr Tariq Aziz, boisterously putting up questions of general knowledge. Agile and above 60, he would race towards an enthusiastic audience that could be cajoled into doing anything for him, from playing age-old games like musical chairs to participating in Urdu poetry competitions. One of his famous chants still echoed in the auditorium as ...

Read Full Post

Nuclear weapons are not safe in the US

The world is once again taken aback by the news coming from print and electronic media about the safety and security of nuclear arsenals of the United States. The surprise is intensified because the US keeps warning other nuclear states about safety measures. The largest breach of security in US’s nuclear force took place on January 15, 2014, when 34 nuclear missile officers were implicated in a cheating scandal and were later stripped of their credentials. However, within a matter of 10 days the number of officers implicated reached 90, more than double of the original number. This means that more than one-third ...

Read Full Post

48 Laws of Power: A con man’s guide to the big bad world

When I first read Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power, I found it difficult to decide whether the writer was being pragmatic or just plain evil. Take these two ‘Laws of Power’, discover each man’s thumbscrew (Law 33) and pose as a friend, work as a spy (Law 14). The wickedness of what Greene is suggesting will shock some, while others will appreciate the practicality of the book. Greene himself has said that he does not consider himself a genius, just a realist. In an interview with Dorian Lynskey of The Guardian for an article, he said, “I believe I described a reality that no other book tried to ...

Read Full Post

Welcome to the paradise on earth…

Welcome to the paradise on earth…  Welcome to the valley where rivers run red with the blood of innocent young men, Where a mother waits endlessly for her missing son to come back, Where a father shoulders the coffin of his teenage son. Photo: Haris Khan  Welcome to the paradise on earth… Welcome to the valley where the majestic mountains bow in sorrow, Where entire villages are gang raped by tyrants who crush the dreams of the nation under their boots, Where thousands of children are buried in unmarked graves,   Welcome to the paradise on earth… Welcome to the valley where freedom of speech is for ...

Read Full Post

Beware, antibiotics are not the answer to every disease

A few days back, I called a friend and found out that she was suffering from a sore throat, yet again. Being a pharmacist, people talk to me quite frequently about the medicines they have been taking. This particular friend was tackling her sore throat with Amoxicillin and had disregarded the need for a prescription. Recently, however, she complained to me that Amoxicillin doesn’t work for her anymore. The truth is that she is not the only one. Most people don’t understand the dreadful consequences of misusing antibiotics. A sore throat, runny nose and fever are all inevitable gifts of the winter season ...

Read Full Post

Don’t forget our police jawans, they are the real heroes!

I would like to thank everyone for spreading and sharing the word about Ibtihaj when he visited Karachi for his treatment. He was a little boy who ended up being a victim of terrorism. He smiled through his pain and misery and gave us hope. We rallied up behind him and celebrated him as a hero and rightfully so. However, there is a group of men in Pakistan who, by their very job description, fill in the category of heroes but they don’t get the adoration, love and respect. In these times, when we are at war or at least living in ...

Read Full Post