Stories published in October, 2015

The Bell Jar: Remembering Sylvia Plath on her 83rd birthday

Had there been a cure for clinical depression, had spouses never possessed the tendency to stray, had life not held the quality to extinguish will and soul long before their expiration date, then perhaps fate would have been kinder to the Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Sylvia Plath and she would be celebrating her 73rd birthday this year on October 27th. Born in Massachusetts in 1932, Sylvia Plath was Smith College alum and a Fulbright Scholar at Newham College, Cambridge University. Inspired by Auden and Joyce, she became iconic in American literature with the publication of her collections of poems, The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel, and ...

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Well Hello there, Adele: Play, relate, repeat

For most people, when it comes to crowning a contemporary pop music diva, there are fewer choices other than Beyonce and Taylor Swift. Or maybe even Lady Gaga. But for me, there has always been only one contemporary pop-queen and she very recently launched her new single, Hello. Adele is that one singer in recent past about whom I have rarely ever heard a negative comment. People are either in love with her or are indifferent to her – but no one hates her. And even those who are indifferent can’t help but increase the volume whenever her songs come on the radio or ...

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11 tips to help you win the Humphrey Fellowship

The Hubert H Humphrey Fellowship is a lifetime opportunity for any mid-career professional looking to hone their skills. It also prepares them for leadership roles in their respective fields. The fellowship is tailor-made for professionals as it provides them with great exposure to professional development activities, such as field trips, workshops, seminars and one-on-one appointments with the experts in the field. Besides professional enhancement, accomplished fellows from diverse fields are brought and placed in 16 American universities. With every passing year, the number of fellows from Pakistan keeps growing. Ten to 20 fellows from all walks of life are sent to the US each year to enrich ...

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Pakistan has laws against rape and adultery, but what about incest?

Writing about the sexual abuse of a little girl is hard. Writing about the little girl’s incestuous relationship resulting in years of rape at the hands of her father is harder. In all the history of humankind, all societies have considered incest abhorrent, shameful and worthy of criminal sanction. But skirting around the uncomfortable topic of incest comes hand-in-hand with its social sanction. And in no place is incest slipped under the proverbial rug so eagerly as it is in the shame and honour based culture of Pakistan. This is because in a shame and honour based culture, the shameful action of one ...

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Is Maryam Nawaz gearing up to be the next prime minister of Pakistan?

On October 22nd, the former US First Lady and current Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, survived an 11-hour long congressional hearing pushing her closer to the Oval Office. The same day, Justin Trudeau, the son of former Canadian Premier, Pierre Trudeau, began his takeover of power in Ottawa, Canada. On that very day, just shy of her 42nd birthday, another political heir made her global debut standing next to Michelle Obama in the eastern wing of the White House.  This woman is Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of Pakistan’s incumbent third time Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, who has announced a commitment to educate more girls in her country. The fact ...

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#ProfileForPeace defeats the mind games Shiv Sena tried to play by using Malala

Sometimes it is easy to forget the bond between Pakistan and India. Growing up in the Middle East, I had a number of Indian friends, and there was never an ounce of animosity between us, except of course, during a Pakistan-India cricket match. During one of these events, the passive aggressive jokes were as bare knuckled as they could get. We took great pleasure in beating the Indian cricket team during matches at Sharjah, while they enjoyed returning the favour at World Cup events. But even during these hot moments, empathy somehow found its way. After Pakistan was decisively beaten by India ...

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Ditch Santorini’s beaches and Mykonos’s party life, Athens is the place to be

When you hear that someone in their mid-20s has travelled to Greece, one immediately imagines them lying on a sandy beach surrounded by the pristine waters of Santorini or thinks of them dancing to their heart’s content to the tunes of the world’s best DJs on the party island of Mykonos. But those are not the destinations my friends and I chose for our four-day get-away to Greece. Our city of choice was Athens, the birthplace of democracy.  Named after the Greek God Athena, and one of the oldest cities of the world, Athens was not just a treat historically and ...

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Has the world forgotten Muslim contributions to humanity’s progress?

This speech makes one simple proposition –  learn to distinguish between extremist radicals operating on a grotesque and inhumane interpretation of Islam, and the 1.6 billion other Muslims who show, day in and day out, the vitality and robustness of the message of peace and harmony engrained in the teachings of the last Prophet (PBUH). Scaremongering and racially-charged stereotypes perpetuated by the constant fixation of popular media on ‘Islamic’ terrorism and ‘Muslim’ violence, supposedly inevitable by-products of the faith, has allowed images of savagery to overshadow, and crowd out the voices and experiences of the vast majority of practicing Muslims. Those quick to call extremist ...

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I took a roadtrip from Karachi to Muzaffarabad and discovered real Pakistan

Pakistan is a land of plains, plateaus, mountains and a rich cultural heritage. It also has an abundance of fruits and vegetables; an abundance which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. If marketed appropriately, Pakistan’s treasures can attract a multitude of tourists. This summer, I had the opportunity of taking a road trip from Karachi to Islamabad and then Muzaffarabad, allowing me to be stunned by Pakistan’s beauty first hand. Guava Cart at Phool Nagar, near Multan. Road trips are fun but can be extremely exhausting and require a lot of planning. Drivers must be well rested, your car should be ...

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Show some respect – Muharram ‘holidays’ are not an opportunity to have fun

It was yet another mid-term exam for the management course and I was filling in my answer sheet at a rapid speed while trying to put forward my best handwriting. Although I was still tired from my hectic schedule in the last couple of days and was feeling a bit tired and drowsy. However, due to the fact that I have been good at rote learning due to my medical school days, the exam proved to be a piece of cake. Frankly, I had it all covered well before the schedule for the exams was announced. As I was handing ...

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