Stories published in August, 2014

Imran Khan’s fall from grace

Before I begin, let me confess to my deep love and respect for Imran Khan. His politics, his social work and his cricketing skills have shaped Pakistani society for good or for worse and as a member of a generation that grew up idealising Khan, it almost hurts to see him slip up like this. The Imran Khan, I grew up admiring was the Imran Khan of principles; a voice of sanity in an insane world, a voice of reason, discussion and dialogue. His passion infused a sense of passion; his words and mannerism defied the new profession he had ...

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Stop blaming the mother for everything!

The city of Jhang is well known to most Pakistanis due to its affiliation with the Heer Ranjha legend. Located on the east bank of the River Chenab, Jhang has produced people of immense worth, the list of whom is topped by the sole Nobel Laureate of the country, Dr Abdus Salam. However, not many Pakistanis are aware of the head-shaping tradition that originates from this part of Punjab. Having spent a considerable time of my life in my paternal city, Jhang, I’ve witnessed one practice that hasn’t changed the slightest over the course of time: the exercise of shaping a newborn’s head. The locals ...

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Humans of poverty

This piece is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. “Hello, I have this page, where I take pictures of people and share something about them, a thought, a quote, an opinion, an anecdote, whatever you are willing to offer.” “Okay, so…” “So can I take a picture and ask you a question?” “Sure, go ahead, but make it quick.” “Cool… hmm… so I was wondering, what is your saddest memory?” “Haha, I see you are pretty clever for your age. You know which will sell more – and a eunuch’s saddest memory will definitely have more depth to it than any happy moments, ...

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Tyrant: A ‘modern day Arabian Game of Thrones’?

After Prisoners of War, upon which the much acclaimed TV series Homeland is based on, prominent screenwriter and director, Gideon Raff brings us Tyrant. Set in present day civil-war-torn and fictional Middle Eastern country of Abbudin, it tells the story of the main protagonist Barry or Bassam Al Fayeed (Adam Rayner), son of the ruler of Abbudin. Because he never got along or agreed with the policies of his father, who ruled the country with an iron fist, he moved to the United States to pursue higher education in medicine and also to distance himself from the politics of his country and family. ...

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Super Sarfaraz

In an era where wicket-keepers have become the mainstays of their respective batting line-ups around the world, Pakistan continues to languish at the lowest end of the production line of wicket-keeper and batsman all-rounder. The last wicket-keeper to score a Test century for Pakistan before today was Kamran Akmal, who achieved this feat at Karachi’s National Stadium five years ago. And now, the jinx has finally been broken by the newest member of the exalted street fighter’s club in Karachi – Sarfaraz Ahmed. Sarfaraz is playing in his eighth Test and these matches have spread over four and a half years which ...

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‘You listen to music? Oh boy, you’re definitely going to hell!’

“You listen to songs, oh boy! You’re definitely going to hell.” No, this pronouncement was not received by me from an adult, neither from any religious preacher or maulvi, but from my eight-year-old nephew, who looked at me with disgust because he had seen a guitar, a piano and headphones in my room. His words froze me for a moment, not because they seemed harsh but because they came from an eight-year-old, who was taught intolerance towards those who do not seem to be on the right track by the source of his learning. In that moment I stood in shock, having been ...

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Remembering Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: The man who gave life to qawwali

There are some voices which are dependent on words in order to get heard and appreciated, and then there are those, self-sufficing ones, upon which words cease to exist – the unsurpassed ones. Words perish and what remains is the triad of voice, revelation and a standstill universe. Such is the case with Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. His voice has transcended the realm of words. “I am a peddler, wandering and roaming from one village to another, in the lanes of cities, in the countries of the world, offering the message of peace, wishing to continue to do so all ...

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Is having ‘brown’ skin, in Australia, a crime?

Ali, 26, was lying unconscious on the concrete footpath outside a busy train station on King’s Street, Sydney. His mouth was bleeding profusely and his eyes were bruised and swollen, while his friends made frantic phone calls to the police and emergency services. Within 10 minutes, the police and paramedics were at the scene, applying first aid. As he regained consciousness and looked around, he realised that his attacker had fled the scene and he was surrounded by the emergency staff. Before this incident happened that day, Ali was partying with friends on a Friday night on King’s Street – the party hub of ...

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Depression is not an ‘abnormality’

Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society changed my life forever. Before the movie, I had no idea what I wanted do with my life. Some days I wanted to be a doctor, on others I’d aspire for whichever career was my elder sister’s favourite at the time. But as the credits rolled in at the end of the film; I knew I wanted to be ‘Mr Keating’ and connect with people the way Williams’ character had. I wanted to teach and perhaps be able to influence my students’ lives the way Williams had done in the movie. Without realising it, across oceans and ...

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Liverpool may have lost Suarez but will they lose the Premier League title too?

We are only a day away from the kick-off of the most watched football league. Yes, I’m referring to none other than the Barclays Premier League, which returns to your screens for the 2014-2015 season. Unlike other football leagues, where the title race is mainly between two or three teams, this league has five to six teams competing for the title. This summer transfer window has seen some of the biggest signings made by English clubs for their upcoming season. Some have been filling in the gaps left by departed players while others have been busy building up some real ...

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