Stories published in January, 2016

Dr Abdus Salam and all the wrong choices Pakistan made

What does it take to be a genius? The other day this thought struck me. Is it the environment that nurtures the genius or does nature simply endow certain individuals with a special gene? Maybe both propositions have merits of their own, but for the time being, let’s drop the latter. Let’s suppose there are no chosen ones, there are no saviours. The idea of saviours arises when we start to believe in pseudo-science and seek miracles to solve our problems. But mind it, Aladdin’s lamp or magic wands don’t exist in the practical world. The only magic that works is the labour ...

Read Full Post

In Pakistan, if you support the Indian cricket team, you will be arrested

I’ve long protested the Indian state’s stern actions against Kashmiri activists and other citizens for hoisting the Pakistani flag or singing the Pakistani anthem. Then something happened in Okara, Pakistan, that left me feeling oddly hypocritical, badly disarmed, and somewhat embarrassed. A few days ago, a 22-year-old Pakistani tailor raised an Indian flag over the roof of his house in a small Punjabi village. Umar Daraz, a cricket enthusiast, sewed the tricolour banner in his own little shop, ostensibly as a symbol of admiration for the Indian cricket team – particularly, Virat Kohli. His patriotic neighbours were displeased. Umar refused to remove ...

Read Full Post

What if the Holocaust and Palestinian genocide had not happened?

Some 11 million lives, six million Jews and five million non-Jews would have lived, World War II would never have taken place, Israeli settlements in Palestine, the consequent Palestinian genocide would have been averted and perhaps 9/11 would not have happened, had one man been vocal on time. The only man besides Hitler in a position to alter the course of history was Pope Pius XII of the Vatican, who chose not to utter a single word of condemnation for Hitler’s war, although he reportedly publically lamented the cruelty of war and loss of millions of lives. When Hitler and ...

Read Full Post

Have you visited the Wall of Kindness in Karachi?

As I was scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed I saw a post about the Walls of Kindness in Iran. The post had thousands of views, shares and comments. Naturally, I wasn’t the only one who was inspired by these acts of altruism. People have been leaving jackets and scarves for the poor who can’t afford warm clothes in the winter. Photo: AP Photo: AP Photo: AP Iranian volunteer Mohammad Esmaeil Khosroabadi, right, donates a sandwich to a needy man at a street charity hut in southern Tehran, ...

Read Full Post

Has Manchester United fallen from grace?

The great Manchester United, a club which has won a record; 13 titles in the Premier League era that hasn’t been equalled by any other team to date,  achieved under the managerial reign of the imperious Alex Ferguson, who arguably is, the best manager in the history of professional sports. In the title run-in, his teams were always competing if not winning the Barclays Premier League (BPL) crown. Photo: Reuters When he announced his retirement in 2013, the football world was left in shock and knew one of the greatest football minds would be bidding farewell to the club he transformed ...

Read Full Post

Clouds of Sils Maria: This film gives ‘art films’ a bad name

So after hearing so much praise for months, I finally had the chance to see Clouds of Sils Maria; a film which was a festival darling and stars Juliette Binoche. As the film begins, it slowly comes as a realisation that it is more in love with its content than telling an actual interesting story. After being offered to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous 20 years earlier, Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) goes back to her past – to the celebrity lifestyle that she despises so much – along with her assistant, Valentine played by Kristen ...

Read Full Post

And the Oscar goes to…

The 88th Academy Awards are nearly a month away. The nominations have been announced, the snubs have been snubbed and the finger-pointing hashtags have been tweeted. This can only mean that it’s high time we get down to discussing who will and should win on Hollywood’s biggest night. This year around all the nominations in the Best Picture category were decent in their own way, but a valid argument does arise; regardless of the movies not being mediocre, most of them weren’t great enough to be part of the line-up. Here’s my ranking of eight films vying for the Best Picture Oscar ...

Read Full Post

So last week we went to the Karachi Eat Food Court at the Frere Mall

As a city, Karachi yearns for entertainment. Unfortunately, the only entertainment we seem to think of in this part of the country surrounds itself around food. Now, no one’s saying food is a bad thing – I mean being a Karachiite automatically means you are an inherent foodie. But when you combine food and a festival together, your expectations automatically rise. Since the past two years, Karachi has been hosting what is called the Karachi Eat Food Festival. This consists of lots of different (already established) restaurants coming together in a big beautiful lawn at Frere Hall, with a stage ...

Read Full Post

So who should talk to the 20-somethings about contraception?

They can curse in each other’s presence, break traffic signals in unison and smoke together, and they may at times act macho and show off their romantic escapades. But young men, like their elders, do not readily open up about reproductive issues. Parents or teachers do not discuss subjects of a sensitive nature with them. While it is the same with adolescent and young women, they are comparatively more open to confiding in each other and getting guidance. But it seems the world may be in for a change in attitude. Young men, all over the world, are stepping up to take ...

Read Full Post

No Action Plan

This poem is dedicated to all the martyrs of Pakistan who have lost their lives at the hands of terrorists, especially the martyrs of Army Public School (APS) and Bacha Khan University.   Is naye zamanay mein Roz naya charcha hota hai Khoon ki holi hoti hai Phir naya parcha hota hai No Action Plan bhi bantay hain Phir naya kharcha hota hai   (In today’s day and age, A new commotion is raised everyday, Holi is played with blood, New papers are filed, No Action Plans are also made, And to top it off, there is more expenditure.)   Pehle bhi sirf tasveerain theen Aaj bhi mehaz taqreerain hain Siyasi laffazi pehle bhi thi Aaj bhi kuch ...

Read Full Post