Stories published in December, 2014

180 million hearts broken… again

Jallianwala. Dhaka. Quetta. North Waziristan. Peshawar. Places change but stories remain the same. That doesn’t make the heartbreak any more bearable. The unanswerable ‘why’ still looms over our heads. Why this? Why now? Why us? Today’s massacre in Peshawar reverberates throughout the country. I cannot even fathom what the parents of the children are going through but I write to tell them they are not alone, it is the least I can do. It is the least I can do to at least try to reach a level of catharsis which will make me feel capable of ever feeling again, which will make me ...

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#IllRideWithYou in Sydney and Pakistan

Australia woke up to one of the worst terrorist attacks in its contemporary history yesterday. A gun-toting extremist, Man Haron Moris, took people hostage at Lindt Café in the heart of Sydney’s Central Business District. Visuals of hostages pressed against windows holding black placards that read ‘There is no God but Allah (SWT) and Muhammad (PBUH) is his prophet’ were plastered all over TV channels and news sites. A black flag with white Arabic writing is held up in the window of the Lindt cafe in this still image taken from video from Australia’s Seven Network. Photo: ...

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Humanity dies as Peshawar bleeds

This morning, as I opened my social media newsfeed, I was left completely mortified. At around 11.45 am, news about five to six militants who had carried out an attack at the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar was all over my newsfeed. Alarm bells started going off in my head. I have friends whose children go to that school. Immediately, I thought of ringing them up. But then I stopped. A thousand thoughts went through my head in those few seconds – what if they didn’t know about the attack just yet? Would I be causing panic? What if I clog up ...

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Witnessing the rise of Modi’s Hindu state

You cannot live in an illusion forever. Reality does strike, sooner or later. And that is what is happening with Narendra Modi’s government in Delhi. The illusion that Modi would usher in a new era of modern and progressive governance is fast disappearing and giving way to a new realism. He led the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to a historic win this year with the promise of bringing a new era of economic and political reforms. Six months into power, India is still waiting to see the promised economic reforms. It is, however, witnessing an unravelling of regressive politics which the country has ...

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Pakistan versus India: Always controversial, always immature

I was unable to witness the last time Pakistan defeated India on home ground in the 1980s; I wasn’t there to see Pakistan’s flag hoisted in India after their defeat; and I wasn’t there to hear my national anthem sung on Indian soil. The only idea I had about our victory was through accounts of my elders, who were there when it happened – who were there to experience the adrenaline rush such a victory could bring. And I always felt like I had missed out on something huge. But after I witnessed Pakistan’s victory over India in the 2014 Hero Hockey Champions ...

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Should Pakistan apologise to Bangladesh?

Pakistanis celebrate December as the month in which the founder of the nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was born. December also brings back memories of the dark and stormy, the sad and painful memories of 1971 – the year in which the Eastern wing of the country, now Bangladesh, got severed from the Western, now the one and only, lost and lonely Pakistan. Going by the history books and talking to those who were conscious and aware of the circumstances at that time, one can gather that the decade of the 60s was agonising and turbulent for the people of Pakistan; characterised by an incessant ...

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Help, my husband is an addict!

I had always feared this to be the truth; I tried to tell myself I was over-reacting, that this was normal behaviour and nothing to be worried about. But now the proof is overwhelming, I can deny it no longer. I have tried to stop him many times, to stop him from his own destruction but it’s useless. Many nights I wake up and find my husband is not in bed. I follow the lights to the living room, and there he is, caught red-handed!  His eyes are bloodshot; he is tense, and irritated. Carefully, I go over, and tell him ...

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Red Riding Wolf, the child abuser

Red Riding Wolf  I once heard a storyteller say, it’s not about the story… for stories are all the same; it’s how you tell a story that makes it different. Today, we embark on the journey of telling you tales popularly heard and read as fairytales, folklore, plays, novels and poems and give you a new perspective on them – a little something to ponder upon. We take a popular read and bridge it to our surroundings; we play on the nuances, the implied reality between the lines, the obvious being told and the vague that is suggested. The idea behind this concept is to ...

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Aao Parhao – Jo Seekha Hai Wo Sekhao

As part of a remembrance to Robin Williams, I arranged a showing of Good Will Hunting and invited some school friends over. After the movie ended, one of them remarked on the critical role the protagonist’s teacher, Prof Gerald Lambeau (played by Stellan Skarsgård), a Fields Medal winner, and mentor  Sean Maguire (played by Robin Williams) had in his development. “We didn’t have anyone as dedicated as them. Not even close.” I had to disagree and thought back to an incident back in March 1991. The phone rang and my mother picked it up. “Hello, is this the home of Sibtain Naqvi?” a lady asked. My mother ...

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Dear Pakistan, let America and Saudi Arabia fight over oil prices because it works in your favour!

Oil prices are way down these days. Crude oil prices have fallen by more than $50 per barrel in international markets in the last six months. From $115 in the middle of June, 2014, the price of a barrel of crude oil has fallen to $65, as of the second week of December. On November 27, 2014, the prices took a definitive downward turn when Saudi Arabia – the largest and strongest member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) – refused to mitigate production. And since none of the other OPEC nations are cutting back, there isn’t a way to eliminate the current ...

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