Stories published in February, 2016

It is not okay to compromise on abuse, even if you’re married!

“Admi hay, esay tou keray ga.” (He’s a man, so he’s bound to behave like this). I must have been five when I overheard my mother say this to a female relative. I had probably heard it before but was too young to remember. Last week, a shocking report by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) revealed that 53 per cent of teenage girls in Pakistan believe that their partner hitting them is justified and  girls aged 15-19 believed refusing sex was an acceptable reason for wives to be beaten by their husbands. This is not surprising but it is painfully tragic. In our country ...

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President Barack Obama is probably the best president America has ever had

After listening to the debate of prospective presidential candidates, from the Democratic and Republican parties, one can’t fail to notice the stark difference in their leadership styles with the present incumbent. President Obama presents a dignified image, a vision backed with impeccable integrity coupled with great communication skills. Perhaps, these qualities are enough to set him apart from the aspiring candidates. Although, it would be too early to assess his performance as the president, since he will be demitting from his position in January 2017. Regardless, one can’t resist the temptation of revealing a scorecard of his achievements and failures during his two terms tenure. Obama’s inclusive ...

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H is for Hawk and B is for Brilliant

Helen Macdonald’s searing and savagely beautiful memoir, H is for Hawk, is a unique and sublime meditation on loss and identity. On its surface, H is for Hawk is essentially a vibrant and mesmerising account of taming and training of a young female goshawk, however, the premise and the depths of Macdonald’s sumptuous writing make this book go far and beyond the realms of traditional nature writing. It is a book that encompasses various literary traditions to create a reading experience that is as heart-warming as it is heart-stopping.  At the beginning of the book we meet Macdonald who is in her thirties ...

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Why was Pakistan’s performance at the South Asian Games 2016 so bad?

When it comes to multi-country, multi-discipline sporting events, the South Asian Games come pretty low in the pecking order. Let alone the rest of the world, even the participating countries give it very limited attention. Given the abysmal state of sports in the region, and the mediocre standards on display, this neglect hardly comes up as a surprise. In fact, in a stereotypical reflection of the chaotic ‘South Asian’ way, the staging of these games has often faced cancellations or delays of a few years. The 2016 edition, hosted in the Indian cities of Guwahati and Shillong concluded recently. As expected, ...

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Listening to the whispers of merging black holes

A little over a billion years ago, two black holes were orbiting each other somewhere in a galaxy far, far away. At this time, life on Earth had just found a successful way to include more than one cell in a body. Indifferent to the happenings on the Earth, these black holes were locked in a spiral of death. One black hole had mass equivalent to 36 Suns. The other was 29 times as massive as our Sun. Nature had already sealed their fates. With a sudden gasp, the two black holes merged into one. This larger black hole had ...

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You know your state is failing if the poor pay taxes and the rich don’t

Skimming through the newspaper a few days ago, I read a front page news piece which shocked me. The piece stated that the elites are not paying taxes and that our tax system favours the rich. The shock was not at the findings of the Tax Reforms Commission (TRC) rather it was at the fact that it took the TRC a year and a half, and millions of rupees in research, to report something everyone knew from the beginning. When we already live in a system which promotes elitism and rewards it, why are we so surprised at the economic endorsements of this ...

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When he questioned them about the genocide, they gave him The Look of Silence

The Look of Silence is a documentary which depicts the remains of the Indonesian genocide that took place in 1965, brutally murdering thousands of communists or anyone who opposed the army regime. Adi Rukun, who plays the brother of a man who was murdered during the genocide, has the unique privilege to confront the masterminds behind the massacre and put his nightmares to rest once and for all. The Look of Silence is a spiritual sequel to Joshua Oppenheimer’s previous masterwork The Act of Killing (2013), which portrayed the massacre through the perpetrator’s perspective. Honestly, this film is clearly not ...

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Are Pakistani brides actually ready to pay up to Rs66,000 for one night’s wedding makeup?

Everywhere in the world, winter comes with chilly days and hot chocolate but in Pakistan it brings along wedding season. It is my friend’s wedding this season also and as all the wedding plans were materialising, the last thing on my friend’s mind was her makeup costs. Unfortunately, amidst all the instructions and warnings that were pouring down from the whole family regarding clothes, food, set-up, no one addressed the skyrocketing costs of salons these days. Searching for the right place was rather easy; making peace with the costs of the right place was not. We came across the rates of Natasha Salon’s, Shamain, Bina Khan and ...

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Why are we blaming Japan for whaling and not Iceland?

Post World War II Japan was starving. The country had lost two cities – Hiroshima and Nagasaki – to atomic bombs and over 1.74 million Japanese servicemen and one million citizens. The Japanese people had lost everything and their hunger was compounded by a disastrous harvest and the fragile chaotic economy. The devastating effects led the Japanese to commercially pursue a tradition dating back to 10,000 BC – whaling. In 1947, whale meat made up almost half of all animal protein consumed by the country. Nearly 20 years later, whales continued to make up nearly one-quarter of the Japanese diet. ...

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Deadpool is unapologetic, in your face and fantastic!

Directed by Tim Miller, Deadpool is an American anti-superhero movie based on the popular Marvel Comics character, Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds). It is a story of Marvel’s most peculiar, nonconforming and atypical hero. Wade Wilson plays the protagonist and the story line of the movie revolves around him trying to win back his former girlfriend, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). The initial scenes of the movie focus on Wade meeting the love of his life. Everything seems to working out fine, up until he is diagnosed with cancer. During this point in time, he’s approached by an individual who promises him he can ...

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