Stories published in November, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I – It’s the taking part that counts

A muttering, foetal Katniss Everdeen confronts us from within the dark underbelly of District 13 in the opening shots of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I catapulting us into an unequivocal new era for The Hunger Games saga. From these first scenes, the tone is set for a grittier exploration into the dirty tactics of war and the casualties suffered by those unwillingly swept up in its path. Set predominantly in the subterranean world of District 13 – once thought to have been annihilated by the Capitol – now the nucleus of Panem rebel activity, Mockingjay Part I is quite literally a world apart from the pageantry and spectacle ...

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Series 2: “The Djinn” Part 5 A child of fire

Hercules ‘filtered’ through the kitchen wall one day, but it was not his unconventional entrance or his massive djinn like physique on that occasion that made me stare at him blankly. It was that I was not used to seeing him anywhere except in the study. When I inquired so, he shrugged and walked around the kitchen, peering at the various appliances, finally stopping at the toaster. “What’s this?” I allowed myself to reflect briefly on the irony of someone as powerful as Hercules being stumped by a kitchen toaster before explaining and offering to toast some bread to demonstrate, but he took the slice of ...

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Don’t blame the men at home, when national leaders put women in boxes

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared that men and women are not equal, because this is against human nature, the two sexes being biologically different. He bashed at feminists who, according to him, do not understand the concept of motherhood and insisted on the primary and sole role of women being the caregivers. He has declared that every woman should have three children and proposed to limit abortions, morning-after pills and caesarean sections. Though it is accepted that a woman’s predominant role in life is that of a mother, she produces and raises a generation, she is the first institution for ...

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Davis Cup 2014: There is no beating Roger Federer

On Sunday, November 23, 2014, history was made for Switzerland by their most prolific and magnanimous sportsman Roger Federer, when he beat Richard Gasquet to give his team an unassailable lead of 3-1 in the tie, guaranteeing their maiden Davis Cup title. Federer’s reaction after his sublime drop shot was telling of how desperately he wanted to win this for his country and teammates. He had been criticised over the years, at times even by his compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka, of not committing enough to the Davis Cup. But all that was in the past and on the day of the win, they were primed to ...

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Should Musharraf’s prediction of a proxy war be taken seriously?

William Dalrymple, a British Historian, addressed the complexities of Indo-Pak proxy conflict quite effectively in his essay, A Deadly Triangle: Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. He discussed how their armies are caught up in an inevitable local and regional war shaped by both pre-existing and overlapping conflicts. And both regional powers, India and Pakistan, armed with nuclear weapons, pose an increased threat to regional peace and security of South Asia. Several US diplomats, the likes of Tom Pickering, James Dobbins and Bruce Riedel, have adverted upon hidden proxy games that Pakistan and India have been playing for a long time. Security analysts and army generals ...

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Ferguson, a window into our own cases of police brutality

I have been arrested. I have been handcuffed. I have been put in jail. I have had a police officer put a gun against my temple in the middle of the road in Defence. I have had a police officer threaten to indict me with charges of rape and murder if I do not give him money. There is no record of any of this because I never committed any crime. My “crimes” ranged from driving on the road at 2am to being in a car with a girl without possessing a ‘Nikkahnama’. I would not call them bribes, it was extortion. ...

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The Why Chromosome

When speaking to a friend of mine on how to treat a lady, I was fairly shocked to find that he hadn’t a clue, really.  There seems to be confusion – a dearth of clear ground rules. When it comes to women, here’s what you should and shouldn’t do.   You should not stare as she walks past, or call her as a cat; Regardless of how she’s dressed, or if she’s thin or fat. Do not undress them with your eyes. Bite your cheap retorts. It’s really no business of yours, if she’s wearing shorts. “She should have worn more modest clothes to avoid catcalls.” Instead, perhaps the men should ...

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Four things Imran Khan did right at the Larkana rally

With success of the massive public gathering in Larkana, Imran Khan has made a knock-on effect on Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Whilst everyone in the political arena was waiting for the outcome of this rally, many said it would be difficult for the cricketer-turned-politician to gain a foothold in Sindh – often considered the political backyard of the PPP; others were counting on his failure, hoping that this jalsa would be the cause of Imran’s fall. However, on the contrary, Imran made a very strong statement; a show of strength, attracting a healthy crowd at the Larkana rally and, therefore, creating a serious stir ...

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Did ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’ deserve the Man Booker Prize?

Richard Flanagan’s scintillating novel and winner of the coveted Man Booker Prize this year, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, is a classic love-war saga. Like any other brilliant work of war fiction, it manages to pull at every string in your heart and leaves no stone unturned doing so. However, camouflaged under the profound, morbid and harrowing depictions of war, lies a love story that is both ambiguous and lackadaisical. While trying to merge two extremely impactful themes of love and war, Flanagan makes the cut, very scarcely, to do justice to only one of them. Hence, although Flanagan’s novel is very ...

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Why isn’t Pakistan on Obama’s travel itinerary?

Ever wondered why Pakistan is made to play a second fiddle role when it comes to US handling South Asian affairs? It’s only been a few months since Narendra Modi took office as India’s prime minister but he’s already captured the imagination of the West. He’s treated like a superstar wherever he goes. His visit to the US back in September this year was a tremendous success. He created a superb rapport with US President Barack Obama and his administration, and won admirers all over the US. Obama is now scheduled to pay a visit to India and attend the Indian Republic Day celebrations in ...

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