Stories published in October, 2015

More power to the women and less to the dupatta

Recently, I came across an article that seemed to propagate the indispensable role of ‘dupattas’ in our ‘cultural dress code’. I was amused by the fact that the article, which stressed on preserving Pakistani culture, began with an Indian song featured in the movie Barsaat, which was released in 1949. If I’m not mistaken, it was sung by the famous Lata Mangeshkar. So much for celebrating our own culture. What was most appalling about the article was the fact that it was propagating the idea that men stare, ogle, and gawk at women because they do not cover themselves up with dupattas. It quoted ...

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My time, I knew, hath now come

In lonely accomplishment, and crestfallen muse, I endeavoured to build my mind anew. To tamper emotion, and temper, and brute, I sought in Truth, that art known to few.   For knowledge to passion, is as water to flame, And lust ablaze, puts but the seeker to shame. These lessons I knew, in earnest since long, Experience foretold, of those ruined and gone.   Yet for man is to err, as thence proceeds that favour divine, I heard the priest sing so, “Atone son, and in wisdom, pine!”   The altar was heavy, the heath a growing damp, Incense belittled the air putrid, The dark faltered amidst a winnowing lamp.   In servitude I knelt, a ...

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The Mean Girls of Afghanistan

Recently, Afghan Americans tuned in to see the Instagram famous Afghan girl, Durrani Popal, an employee of DASH, the infamous clothing store owned by the Kardashian sisters. In the slew of Insta-famous-for-nothing girls, Durrani was given special attention from our community, for the sole fact that she was an Afghan, beautiful, and works for the Kardashians. There are only a handful of fashion and makeup Afghan gurus, and with her big beautiful blue eyes and amazing fashion sense, it’s easy to see why Afghan Americans were eager for her to shed positive light on her ethnic background. We all waited ...

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What the Ankara bombing means for Turkish politics and the West

As the Russian intervention in Syria intensifies the chaos in Turkey’s neighbourhood, Turkish politics are becoming more unstable. The two explosions that went off in the capital city of Ankara took place right across from the train station, a landmark soaked in republican symbolism. The bombing took a high toll on peaceful demonstrators, who were on their way to a central meeting place to protest the violence in the country and demand peace. A pair of shoes, belonging to a street vendor who was selling Turkish traditional bagel or simit, is placed at the bombing scene during a ...

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How can I complain about men staring at me when I’m not wearing my dupatta?

“Hawa mein urtaa jaaye mera laal dupatta malmal ka!” This takes me back to a cherished childhood memory. My twin sister and I would use Ammi’s dupattas and sing this song, while dancing clumsily on our spacious terrace, as the dupattas flew behind us in the air. A dupatta was once considered as an integral part of our dress code, specifically in the Indo-Pak subcontinent. The long, flowing scarves covered the women’s hair and chest, and were considered as a symbol of femininity. It used to differentiate our women from those belonging to the western society. Unfortunately, over the decades, the influx ...

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Canadian election: I finally saw the beauty of democracy and the power of the people

It is a strange night for me here in Toronto. The Canadian Federal Election just finished and it is calm. There are no cries claiming it was rigged. There are no complaints of ambush at polling stations. There are no premature victory speeches. Everything is quiet and peaceful. This all feels quite unusual to me. As a young Pakistani, I’m still not over the disastrous 2013 General Elections that were held in Pakistan. Yet, I’m already over the Canadian elections that took place merely a few hours ago. This sensation of closure has me feeling restless. I was following the Canadian ...

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If Pakistan boycotts the World Twenty20, it is only Pakistan that will suffer

We live in a time where our very existence is offensive to some people. It is hard to imagine how much cricket has been used as a weapon for political folly. It is absolutely outrageous that our team is in constant limbo, adjusting to whatever catastrophe will hit them next. Perhaps we are sensitive people, maybe our history has taught us the art of playing victim, but there is a general feeling of resentment underlying Pakistan cricket, a sense that we are treated like second-class citizens, a complete double standard when it comes to anything Pakistan related and the ...

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Will legalising homosexuality encourage incest?

(Authors note: Before forming judgment, I urge readers to read this article to the end.) After the United States Supreme Court legalised homosexual marriage across America, those in favour of equal LGBT rights showed their support across the world. Here in Pakistan, Facebook users had their profile pictures covered with a rainbow filter to show solidarity with the ruling. This upset many Pakistanis who are against homosexuality, including actor/intellectual Hamza Ali Abbasi, who feared mankind was now rolling down a slippery slope and that the backdoor to sexual deviations had been opened. For this article, I accepted questions from Pakistani Facebook users ...

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Is it fair for England to blame pitch conditions for their performance?

Historically, cricket pitches in Asia had the tag of ‘lifeless’ and ‘flat’ associated with them. They’re usually considered as batting paradises where scores of 500 are considered as decent and taking 20 wickets is akin to climbing Mount Everest. While this may be true in some cases, despite the notion that they’re flat, some non-Asian touring teams have often been found struggling in these batting-friendly conditions. Pitches on which Pakistan is able to score in excess of 500, touring parties like England and Australia have repeatedly been bundled out for less than 300. For instance, when both these teams were ...

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I am a Jew and he was my Muslim Uber driver

I walk out of my SAT test and turn on my phone. I see that four more Israelis have been stabbed. This has become our sad new normal. I then proceed to order an Uber taxi home. Within a minute, I get a text message saying that my driver, Muhammad is on his way. Muhammad, he must be Muslim, I thought. Maybe as an American Israeli, I should have hesitated, it wouldn’t really be unwarranted, would it? Regardless of the driver’s religion, I’m a five-foot tall, 17-year-old girl, getting into a taxi alone with a stranger. Instead though, I was optimistic — I’d ...

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