Stories published in March, 2015

8 things I wish I had never heard after being diagnosed with breast cancer

Pakistan has the highest rate of breast cancer among all Asian countries – one in nine Pakistani women will be diagnosed with this horrible disease. The diagnosis is a shock but the days after that are even harder to endure. I know this as I have lived through it. It has been almost a year since I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35, pregnant with my third child. I want to share here a few things that people said to me after hearing of my diagnosis, which I wish they never did, and I hope that any person going through what I did ...

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The good Pakistani wife

Amina sipped her tea as she noticed the new red flame like flowers that had bloomed on the Palash tree outside her window.  Spring had finally arrived. The days would become brighter. This should be a welcoming thought after the brutishly dark winter months. Instead, Amina worried. Her stomach wrought with anxiety. She bit the skin off her lips and tapped her slim fingers vigorously against the cup. Her husband was cheating. Introduced by their parents Amina and her husband, Ali, consented to marry because their match appeared correct; educated, good families and good looking. Amina felt lucky and knew women ...

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To Afridi, with love from India

As I sat down to write a tribute to Boom Boom, I wanted my typing to match the speed that Shahid Afridi played with all his life. But unlike his short cameos, my emotions and love for the cricketer got the better of me and it took me a lot of time to pour out my heart and feelings as I know that the charismatic Pathan will no longer be seen in the 50 overs game. I am from the generation of the late 90s, when cricket had gathered real pace and velocity, ODI cricket was scaling new heights and, ...

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The possessed Kiwis make it to their first World Cup final

South Africa beat New Zealand by six wickets and AB de Villiers is the man of the match for his unbeaten 89 off 85 balls. No, this is not the match result of the 2015 World Cup semi-final in Auckland; this happened back in October, 2014. AB de Villiers punches the ball into the off side, New Zealand v South Africa, 1st ODI, Mount Maunganui, October 21, 2014. Photo: AFP It was the first ODI’s result when the Proteas visited New Zealand for a three-match ODI series. The second ODI was won by de Villiers’s men by ...

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How can we stop our children from being radicalised by extremists?

I ask this question because all around me, our kids are being brainwashed by adults who are scared that Islam will disappear from the world if the younger generation is not trained to kill for the sake of religion. “Dada, you will not go to heaven if you do not keep a beard, Mehroze Khan Chacha told me”. “Nana, you should wear shalwar kameez when you go to the mosque, not jeans and T-shirt, Akmal driver Chacha says so.” “Dadi, you should not watch TV, Allah will punish you for it, our Quran teacher told us.” “Mummy, why don’t you wear a burqa, our Islamiat teacher says your prayers ...

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All that ‘Amreeki glitter’ may not be gold in Jackson Heights

George Bernard Shaw said: “Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.” It is true that life can be good, it can be tough and it can, most certainly, be unpredictable. It can take a person to a whole new world. Away from his or her country, away from their loved ones. The drama Jackson Heights, named after a neighbourhood in New York, beautifully depicted the life of a group of Pakistani immigrants. Aired on Urdu1, this particular drama struck a chord with me because of its storyline. Living in the US, it was refreshing to see this angle being taken – ...

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The birth of widows in conflict ridden Kashmir

In 2008 and 2010, Kashmir witnessed the most severe and popular anti-India movement leading to the death of more than 200 individuals, mostly teenagers. The decade’s old conflict has given birth to many widows and half-widows. The men who died in the Kashmir conflict can never come back, but their memories bring joy as well as pain to their families who are yearning to see their graves.  “Ro rahi hai yeh zameen, ro raha hai aasmaan.” (The earth is wailing, the sky is wailing) Three sisters in particular, Ruqaiya, Zarifa and Shamima, lost their husbands to this conflict and have been destined to live alone. But they did not ...

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Friends or Modern Family, which comedy genre do you like?

Before I start, let me first explain the two genres of comedy shows. There is the single-camera setup, which has no ‘laugh track’, similar to a regularly shot TV drama. And then there is the multi-camera setup, which is shot in front of a live audience and does have a ‘laugh track’, often contributed by the audience in front of whom it is filmed. However, as times are changing, more and more networks are shifting to extravagant yet easier ways of shooting comedies. And who can blame them? After all, when you have to shoot in front of an audience, you risk ...

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Pakistan, the Pied Piper to our children

“Everything depends on upbringing.” – Leo Tolstoy Case One My parents always give me what I want, and in the end, I win. I have been giving tantrums since I was born – at least that’s what I have been told. I always wanted something; either it was permission to go to a forbidden place, or permission to hang out with a forbidden person or permission to buy something forbidden. Yes, it was always one thing or the other with me. But somewhere along my years, I should have been stopped by the authority figures called parents, right? Why didn’t my parents ...

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What Netanyahu’s victory means for Palestinians

The latest chapter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict saw Benjamin Netanyahu winning a key March 17th election. The victory provided drama and controversy. Trailing in the polls a few days before the vote, he garnered accusations of racism by saying, “Arabs are coming out in droves to the polling stations. Leftist NGOs are busing them in.” He was also accused of breaking a promise regarding a two-state solution, as quoted in the New York Times, “I think that anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state today and evacuate lands is giving attack grounds to the radical Islam against the state of Israel.” Let’s examine. Netanyahu ...

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