Stories published in December, 2014

Held by the CIA, a fictional account

Dear World, My father went missing while on a market errand three years ago. Our wait for him was endless. The law enforcement authorities were approached to find him. Days after filing a missing person report, we were contacted by someone in the government that he was in the custody of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and was fine. We were told that he’d return soon and was just being interrogated for something. I was just 10-years-old at the time. I hung on the hope that he’d be back in a few days. But those around me, especially my family, didn’t ...

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5 reasons Fawad Khan was the perfect choice for Republic

Jeremy Scott and Katy Perry are best friends. So are him and Miley Cyrus. Which is why, when they come out to his shows, people pay attention. Fashionistas and music lovers alike. It is when every pop star wears the colourful creations by these designers that the sales take height. And who doesn’t want to dress up like their idols, or at least have what they have? It’s the emotional branding that goes along with the choices Moschino makes for its brand, and it’s the perfect combo for everyone. All are happy. Jennifer Lawrence for Dior, Eddie Redmayne and Cara Delevingne for Burberry, and ...

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Aunty shaadi kara day gi

I am turning 26 next month. I see how aunties look at me at weddings and mehndis. Even for a guy, I seem on the tail end of the perfect shaadi age bracket. No longer am I the choicest meat at the supermarket; I fall somewhere between that and expired meat, which is then sold at cheaper prices. It seems ironic being compared to a piece of meat, the look in these aunties’ eyes gives me a window into feeling how girls feel going to Aashiana or Liberty market to buy the latest lawn print. Mehndis are no different than shopping malls for ...

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Where there’s India versus Australia, there’s controversy

Every time team India travels to Australia, the heat down under takes a hard toll on them, be it the 2007-08 infamous ‘monkey-gate’ episode or the 2011-12 Virat Kohli episode, when he showed the crowd his middle finger. Controversies are sure to hover over the Indian cricket team when they play down under. The ‘monkey-gate’ embroilment, during the Sydney Test, gained a lot of momentum, where Harbhajan Singh was charged for racially abusing Australia’s Andrew Symonds as a black monkey while Harbhajan refuted by saying he was just using ‘teri maa ki’ – which is an Indian slang phrase. Later, Matthew Hayden termed Harbhajan as an “obnoxious little weed” on ...

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If you are the US, you can get away with anything. Even torture.

States exist for their own well-being. They have their self-interests. Domestic and foreign policies define and dictate state acts and omissions on the world stage. In the post 9/11 order, state-to-state interaction has undergone an incredible amount of change with the entire gamut of international relations now at the mercy of a few role players. The United States of America, of course, holds the centre stage, in a global effort against the spread of religious fanaticism and waging a war on terrorism. That being said, the recently released report detailing the US Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) tactics of interrogation after September 11, ...

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What is the difference between an MQM strike and a PTI strike?

It’s that time again. The city’s roads are busy with protestors and crowds are congregating to listen to their political leader. TV anchors and websites of media houses are keeping everyone abreast of the latest happenings. There is a political strike, a protest march, in Karachi and we have been through plenty of those in past few decades. So much so that there is practically a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that we all follow. Stock up the night before, watch early news to check routes, head to work if we can, call home to say we are there safely, get told ...

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What happens after 1000 days?

Contagious peals of laughter dissolved the silence that my cameraman Wilson had requested in the small village hut made of clay and bush with a ceiling of dried palm leaves, as Sajida candidly described how she could feel her baby, expected to arrive in a few months, kicking inside her. She belongs to Muhammad Ali Jhokio, a village of about hundred households, approximately 15 kilometres from Thatta. There are many other villages in the 29 union councils where the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) is running the Stunting Prevention Project with the Sindh Department of Health. These efforts have become part of ...

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Gender roles and the ‘macho male’ complex in India

It is the year 2014 and much has changed in the world. Technology has made monumental strides towards advancement – today we can communicate with another person sitting across the globe with the mere touch of a button or the swipe of a finger. Medical and public health initiatives have worked synergistically to eliminate some of the most virulent diseases plaguing the human race, such as the polio virus in India. One can confidently state that “everything is subject to change” with respect to all arenas governing our lives. But despite these notable achievements, it is disconcerting to observe that our attitudes, ...

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Warming up the winters with Sooji ka Halwa and chai

Sooji (semolina) halwa was amongst the first few things I learnt to cook primarily because it took less time to cook and I loved its mild sweetness. I was never much of a halwa puri breakfast fan as the deep-fried puris don’t sit very well with my tummy. The halwa, however, if homemade, was my favourite with some tea during cold winter afternoons. Sooji halwa is especially cooked in Pakistan on Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) birthday and distributed amongst neighbours and poor households. Given the fact that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was born and passed away on the same day, the sweet halwa is cooked in the morning to mark the celebration of his birth. In the ...

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Sensationalism over ethics, what happened to journalism?

A picture is worth a thousand words, but what if those words are untrue or misrepresent the truth? From the time print journalism made its advent, news organisations have realised the importance of the supplementary support offered to text by an image, even if it had to be a sketch or a caricature. However, with the development of photojournalism as a niche field, imagery started competing for space with words to tell a story. Sometimes, pictures told the whole story, whilst others complemented a story by supporting, embellishing and enhancing it. Things went out of synch when the editorial staff’s choice of the ...

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