Stories published in May, 2014

Lip smacking Gobi Manchurian and songs that take you back in time…

“Ajeeb dastaan hai yeh Kahan shuroo kahan khatam Yeh manzilein hain kaunsee Na who samajh sakey na hum” (What an odd story this is Where does it start and where does it end What are these destinations Neither could they understand nor I) Songs always take me away into a labyrinth of memories. They bridge the hazy connections, remind us of those deep associations, complete the euphoria, and let us relive the lovely and not so lovely moments with people, places and the past. One such song that I recently heard took me back to Singapore, to a friend who introduced us to a ‘desi’ Indian Chinese restaurant ...

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Of celebrity sex tapes and right to privacy

Meera has been in the news for all the wrong reasons; her every word is dissected, every move analysed and every action judged. So when an alleged sex tape with her now ex fiancé Captain Naveed became a collection in everyone’s mobile phones, the reaction was nothing startling. Most blamed it as a desperate publicity stunt to nourish a floundering career and some empathised with the trauma the ‘leak’ may have caused to the couple. Mubashir Luqman dedicated a show on this alleged sex tape that added fuel to the fire. But debate on another pertinent question was absent in ...

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He helped me in so many ways and he didn’t even know it

Like all Karachiites, I love indulging in our local delights – bun kebabs, milk shakes and the famous Tutti Frutti ice cream have all been my childhood favourites. Every birthday, I remember begging my dad to take me to Sindhi Muslim so I could binge on all my favourite foods. I still remember sitting in the back seat with mom and dad sitting upfront, enjoying a plate of scrumptious bun kebabs, when I noticed a physically challenged man manoeuvring through the crowd with a tower of tissue boxes in his arms. He didn’t beg anyone to buy one, instead he would ...

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A vaccine a day…

I have heard her say, She fears for him, for his fleeting eyes, For his silent voice, He has built some walls A tad too thick and far too long. He has escaped from this world and now he lives within, Surrounded by his opacity, she yearns to hear him, She says, one of these days, he will talk, he will shout She is sure, the storm, that is brewing inside him, will be let out, She is afraid, before it consumes him, she wants him to consume her, With his head against the ground, with his nonsensical articulations, Bouncing off the walls, she just wants to hear him talk, ...

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PCB selection committee: Out with the old, in with the ‘not-so-old’

Most people will agree that Pakistan cricket has produced countless greats over the past 60 years; from Hanif Muhammad to Shahid Afridi (or Younis Khan, for those who will argue on Afridi), our history is filled with top class players. Most people will also agree that cricket has changed a lot over the past 15 years, so much so that one fails to understand how something can change so rapidly. The sport has moved away from the dull and boring Test matches, which would end after five days (sometimes, without any definite win), and has become more exciting with the advent of One Day International ...

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Not every Hindu or Muslim is an extremist, Mr Nayyar

This piece has been written with reference to senior Indian journalist Mr Kuldip Nayar’s article ‘Communal Politics and India’s election’ in this newspaper. As a humanist, I genuinely wish Pakistan the very best in the context of development and I have cited some pieces by liberal Pakistani intellectuals and made some statements about Pakistan in this article only in the spirit of constructive criticism. While I deeply respect Mr Nayar and share his commitment to India’s pluralistic ethos, and I have written a book aimed at addressing and dispelling anti-Muslim prejudices in the Indian context, and have written articles critical of Narendra Modi and the BJP, I ...

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Agriculture is our golden goose; don’t kill her, my dear Industrialists

The projection of economic growth as something evil, that benefits only the rich, is wrong. Even so, equally erroneous is taking the GDP number for a sacrosanct symbol of sure-fire prosperity for all. Praise is due to the government’s economic team for various improvements in the macro-economy: five per cent growth in first quarter (Q1), about 10 per cent appreciation in the rupee within three months, and excellent performance of the stock market – all reflect recovery. Yet, how these gains are shared with the neediest of the needy remains to be seen – and only this should be taken as being an encompassing yardstick of success. Historically, Pakistan’s ...

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Facing disabilities: Until we do something about it, no one will

Having a disability does not necessarily make you worse off; it simply means you have to do things differently. However, it is sad to say, our society is plagued with ignorance when it comes to meeting the needs of mentally or physically challenged people. A blind eye is turned towards the needs of these people and because of this ignorance we do not realise the fact that most of the public places lack the basic necessities, such as ramps, integral for the physically challenged. Apart from this, very few schools exist for children with developmental delays. In a social setup like this, it is ...

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What makes Pakistan a great country

Flip through our TV channels, skim through our newspapers and scan through a dozen latest international reports on indicators of some sort and they will all give you only a few reasons to be happy about our country. In fact, if you do this long enough, you’ll probably start noticing initial symptoms of prolonged depression. Are there any problems of the world that this nation has been spared off? Floods, drought, earthquakes, terrorism, corruption, infant mortality, diseases, illiteracy, sectarian conflicts, ethnic disputes, border disputes, domestic violence, water scarcity, electricity shortages, gang wars and what not. It’s tragic and scary. But there is a flip ...

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Would Batman be able to survive in Pakistan?

Batman is a muscular and charismatic character, created by DC Comics, who has a large fan base and millions of followers. His mysterious moves and unique costumes have become a symbol of power. His persona demands reverence. In other words, he is probably one of the best action heroes ever created. Now imagine, what would happen if our government decides to hire Batman for his ‘services’? The increasing crime rates in Pakistan warrant a superhero, no doubt about that. However, would Batman be able to use his extraordinary powers to stop con artists and terrorists from creating more mayhem? Do you think Batman ...

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