Stories published in March, 2014

Under-16 Rugby World cup: Open your eyes Pakistan, talent for sports other than cricket exist!

Pakistanis are quite cricket crazy and of course, hockey enjoys some fan following, being the national sport. In recent years, even football has made forays into the Pakistani sporting arena. However, bring up rugby and you will still get blank looks from most Pakistanis. In Pakistan, not too many people are familiar with the sport of rugby in spite of the fact that this sport has many enthusiasts all over the world. But things seem to be changing gradually. For the first time ever, nine rugby players from a private school’s rugby team in Faisalabad have been chosen to represent Pakistan in the under-16 Rugby World Cup this month. ...

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Watching Carl Sagan’s documentary ‘Cosmos’ changed my life!

It was sudden. It was unexpected. I was in grade nine when my life took a dramatic turn. Like many of my peers at school, I was planning on pursuing electrical or computer engineering at NED University of Engineering and Technology. My father is an engineer and so is my eldest brother. The path seemed to have been laid out. But then, on a fateful night, Cosmos got aired on Pakistan Television (PTV) and by the time the first episode ended, I had decided to become an astronomer. In less than an hour, a science poet from Brooklyn had fundamentally altered the trajectory of my ...

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If India supports freedom in Crimea, why not in Kashmir?

Over the past week after the Russian annexation of Crimea, global politics have completely changed. The annexation which took place after a controversial ‘referendum’ shows that the aspirations of people are more powerful than politically drawn borders. Yet, many political observers see the Russian backing of the referendum as damage control after Moscow lost its ally in former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych after many weeks of protests. India which is an important and old time ally of Russia, faces a new predicament and a new set of worries after the Crimean annexation, the dilemma being, do they back Russia – their oldest friend – or oppose it? ...

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More than just cancer

I stared at him, not being able to comprehend what he had just said. Had I heard correctly? Was he really saying what I had just heard? Did those words really come out of his mouth? Tears started welling up in my eyes and my hands started trembling. I felt as if the whole world had just come to a halt. I looked at the person sitting next to me, equally astonished. What is this? My doctor had just told me that I had stage three cancer and that I would require surgery urgently to stop the cancer from spreading even further in my body. I just could not accept ...

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Can you be beautiful as you age? The media says ‘No!’

Beauty has always been tantamount to youth but the frenzy of confining beauty to the fleeting time zone of youth is a recent phenomenon. Media and the cosmetic industry have played a great role in weaving and reinforcing this youth-centric narrative of beauty. Beauty is youth An anti-ageing cream heralds, “Look up to ten years younger.” And that too at the age of 32! The catch here is that the woman is 32-years-old and the gravest matter of concern for her is the growing indifference of her man due to her dull skin. The irony is that the man, no less than a Greek god, is ...

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Four Pakistani conspiracy theories that are less fictitious than you’d think

Last year, Pakistani journalist Nadeem F Paracha published an article titled Malala: The real story (with evidence) on the website of Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper. The article argued that schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was shot not by the Pakistani Taliban but by the CIA – and with blanks. The shooting had been completely staged. The triggerman? Robert De Niro “posing as an Uzbek homeopath”. Paracha was clearly satirising Pakistani conspiracy theories but some of his countrymen took him quite literally. One obscure newspaper, The Lahore Times, even published an article which was later removed from its website, reporting Paracha’s article as fact. Dawn eventually posted a disclaimer noting that the article was fictitious. One ...

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Bangladesh’s foreign flags ban: So much for democracy

With the commencement of March 2014, the stage was all set for the race to win the trophy, for a sport that is religiously followed in this part of the world. Yes, it was time for the T20 World Cup to start, which is currently taking place in Bangladesh. Despite all apprehensions and uncertainties, up till the eve of March 25, 2014, the championship boat was sailing in the right direction. However, the on-going event has been plunged into an unnecessary controversy. An unpleasant situation arose after the issuance of a statement by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), whereby a ban was imposed on the locals ...

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I am a Sunni and I married a Shia

It would be safe to say that I never really believed in love, despite having read a million romance novels, watching the necessary romantic comedies and having the requisite number of crushes during my teen years. I guess you could blame my convent education, my formative years being in the influence of feminists. I prescribed to the theory, ‘A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle’. I was a love-cynic at best and mighty proud of it. I could never understand how some girls could fawn over the opposite sex, fall helplessly head-over-heels and tie the knot at times to ...

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Her: Would you date a computer software?

If I were to describe the movie Her in one word, my choice would be ‘disturbing’. I use this word deliberately because of the fact that I was actually able to relate to the movie and just this alone was frightening. I recognised Theodore’s (Joaquin Phoenix) behaviour as irrational and somewhat ludicrous, but I understood his need; this is what scared me. Her plays on the primal human need of intimacy. In a very poetically beautiful way, it provides the lonely and depressed Theodore with a companion who is a perfect emotional fit for him, but has a crucial flaw. Photo: IMDb This ...

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Do I have to become Muslim to survive in Pakistan?

While leaving for the Krishna Temple in Lalkurti, there was only one thing on my mind. I remembered an incident during my university days back in 2005 when one of my teachers, while analysing the news of preaching Islam to our non-Muslim sportsmen, said that these fanatics should leave Islam out of the game. He went on to say that if they had players from religious minorities on the team, it would only help create a softer image of Pakistan in front of the world. With this thought in mind, I entered the temple. I looked around for a tomb but ...

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