Stories published in August, 2015

Fantastic Four: When Fox Films tries to play Marvel and fails miserably

Fantastic Four starts with the same wonder and enchantment as films from my 80s’ childhood, like The Extra Terrestrial (ET) and The Goonies, but swiftly loses any further similarities to these classics and succumbs to an overly simplistic action-based plot that fails to take stock of what is important here – the characters (ironic seeing as this reboot is meant to be an origins story). As with many prequels, we think we are here to understand a little more about what drives these superheroes we have come to love while also exploring a journey that we should already feel a part of but instead we don’t get to fill in the ...

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The Cult of Sarfraz Ahmed – Doing more harm than good

It started during the World Cup 2015. What was first a dialogue from an extremely popular and recent Indian movie, took over nearly all Pakistani TV stations. It was simply inescapable. Any news channel you surfed through, you would hear it, “Sarfraz dhoka nahin day ga!” (Sarfraz won’t betray you!) Photo: Reuters In the midst of an inauspicious start to the World Cup campaign and the team management’s baffling decision to persist with the woefully out of form Nasir Jamshed, a state of frenzy engulfed the nation over the perceived injustice done with Sarfraz Ahmed, Pakistan’s hero of the previous ...

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Would you put your parents in such nursing homes?

Young people are prone to say all kinds of nonsensical things. I remember a ridiculous incident fairly well when I was a teenager myself. It was raining, there was a lot of car trouble and two of our relatives and my own family piled into one car to attend a chaleeswaan (40th day after a funeral). I was hungry, tired and disliked those relatives with whom we had to share our car with for the two-hour ride. “Why do we do these chaleeswans?” I had grumbled. “Please don’t do it for me when I die.” My parents chuckled, “Aise naheen kehte beta!” (Don’t say such things!”) I grumbled even more, “I ...

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As a Kashmiri, I ask, will my scars ever heal?

When people talk about the effects of conflict on the psyche of the youth in Kashmir, I automatically recall my experiences in a conflict-ridden Kashmir as well. With every passing murder of innocent youths in the area – such as the recent killing of Khalid Muzaffar in the North-Kashmir area of Tral, or the earlier case of the Pathribal and Machil fake encounter –  I wonder how I could have been in their place or could have ended up taking arms against the perpetrators to avenge the pain inflicted upon us. So here I am, writing my story, a story which nearly every Kashmiri can relate to. I ...

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Do we want to continue eating at unhygienic food outlets?

The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) Facebook page has become the new talk of the town as on an average, every second day they are providing updates accompanied with shocking images of restaurants, bakeries and food vendors being sealed or fined due to unhygienic conditions. The PFA might have been set up in 2011 by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to ensure that clean and hygienic food is made available for the people living in the province, but it really sprang into action since Ayesha Mumtaz has taken over its command a few months ago. Her actions have stirred up a debate about hygiene at food outlets mainly ...

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The violated rose, sickened by an invisible worm

It was midnight. She had appeared out of nowhere, like her unknown and forgotten birth, and signalled him to stop. He stopped unintentionally.  She was young. Her long hair fell down to her shoulders, blustery and wild, darkened by the bleak night. She was clad in rather revealing clothes, and despite the resisting cold, she was not shivering. He was driving back to his flat after wandering the cold desolate roads of Islamabad, when all of a sudden she emerged from the dark hedge along the pavement opposite to Islamabad club. “Sahab, want company?” she inquired charmingly. He was engrossed. “Yes,” he replied indecisively. “Do ...

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India’s nuclear program was aimed at China, not Pakistan

August 6, 1945 started as a normal Monday morning in the bustling city of Hiroshima, with people going about their daily activities as per usual. Just as the clock struck quarter past eight, all activity was brought to an abrupt end at the behest of the Enola Gay. A giant mushroom cloud dwarfed the city of Hiroshima, and swept it clean of life with an immense shock of energy. Almost 68 years after this tragic yet inevitable scene of death, destruction and devastation, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf demonstrated his chronic condition of dementia by once again bullying India. “We have not made the atomic ...

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Before Naya Pakistan, there is a Nayi PTI in the making

I am one of the few people who do not see the Judicial Commission’s (JC) report as Imran Khan’s or Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) defeat. Although Imran’s allegations of organised and planned rigging have been rejected, for lack of evidence, the report seems to agree that the general elections 2013 were largely irregular. The report is now in and is a public document. For the first time in Pakistan’s history, an election has been audited as a whole. The resulting conclusions have exposed most of the irregularities that have, since decades, created opportunity for electoral malpractices. This has provided the parliament and the state with a real opportunity to rid our system of these ...

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Healthy, simple and scrumptious, try this roasted lemon chicken in au jus

For majority of us, one of our resolutions is to go on a healthy diet and reduce weight. The recipe today consists of roast chicken, balanced with a few simple ingredients with hardly any oil added. Along with mint lemonade that I’ve named ‘Le-Mint’, it complements the dish and leaves us feeling refreshed. So let’s get on it, shall we? For starters, you will have to marinade the chicken. Ingredients: Lime juice – 50 ml Honey – 1 tbsp Thyme – 2 tsp (finely chopped or use dry thyme) Rosemary – 2 tsp (finely chopped or use dry rosemary) Salt – adjust to taste Ground pepper – adjust to ...

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Five reasons not to miss the Ashes clash

Cricket is a cranky game. It does not get along with anyone, not even the best. Australia can relate to that more than anyone else. Stepping into England with all the momentum, they were the favourites, full of aplomb. Five-zero in the last Ashes encounter, two-zero against India earlier this year, two-zero against West Indies in the Caribbean. Winning came naturally and effortlessly to the Aussies. And then they landed in Cardiff. Since then onwards, it has been a spectacular series, a roller-coaster ride indeed. It has defied what most of us had prophesied at the start – England at Cardiff, Australia at Lord’s, England at Edgbaston. [caption id="" ...

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