Stories published in April, 2016

Was Fawad Khan’s decision to play a homosexual a mistake?

Kapoor and Sons has garnered much success after its release, grossing over INR100 crore globally within just one week. But apart from its box-office triumph, the film has also received acclaim for bringing topics such as infidelity and homosexuality, once considered taboo, to the forefront of upper-middle class family dynamics.  Director Karan Johar must be given credit for cleverly casting an actor that women swoon over to break the stereotypical image of gay men in our society. However, it seems Fawad Khan may have committed to the movie before having completely thought it through; his effortless and convincing acting may have done wonders for ...

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Do you joke about “looking like a maasi” or “acting like a bhangi”?

I love what I do for a living. I love flaunting it and I proudly call it a part of my identity. Imagine if a part of your identity was a derogatory term used to cuss, insult or degrade someone? Imagine if the words “you look like a banker/teacher/accountant/marketer” generated feelings of disgust and repulsion. Back in college, I remember casually exclaiming, “maasi wali haalat hori hai” (I look like a maid) on my way to an exam, since I hadn’t changed my clothes nor brushed my hair. At the same time of my, rather crude, exclamation, one of the maids in the hostel ...

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These seven photographs vouch that Islamabad is the most beautiful city in Pakistan

There is immense beauty and perfection in all of God’s creations. Human beings, being His greatest creation have the capacity of creating beautiful things.  Fortunately, being a resident of Islamabad, I do not have to go too far to photograph artistic creations of nature. Whether it’s the lush greenery, the highland mountains, or the constructions that are the blend of classic and modern architecture; there is nothing one cannot find in the capital city, Islamabad. The planet is filled with the purest form of beauty which fills the eyes and heart of the average beholder. This beauty is an untiring ...

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Has my quest to find the best burger in Pakistan finally paid off?

My quest to find the best burger in Pakistan has taken me far and wide. From the lines at shacks to the experiments at labs, from the classics to the pretenders, the quickies to the gourmet, so far I had the Gouda cheese burger at Pantry as my number one pick but it may have been just ousted by an outsider. The Outpost BYOB lies out of plain sight. A small sign board marks its existence at the outskirts of Lahore. Even Google Maps struggled to find it leading my car into a merry-go-round and racking up my Uber bill for the ride. ...

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Why should a woman be shamed for being on her period?

I’ve been watching a recent debate unfold: students at a local university in Pakistan stuck sanitary napkins on the university walls with poignant quotes. As a woman, I admired the bravado of these students. Mainly because ever since we were kids, we’re told that since we are the ‘weaker/fairer’ sex, we shouldn’t: “Wear too much make-up”, “Wear a dupatta this way” “Wear such high heels”, “Don’t talk so loudly’, Oh yeah, and, “When on your period, channel your inner Jane Bond.” Maybe the men don’t get the whole psyche that’s inbuilt women from the age their periods start. The society has some sort of a state of ...

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A brainless hospital in Lahore hired a fake brain surgeon

Ms Maima worked as a neurosurgeon at one of Pakistan’s most prominent government hospitals at Punjab, Services Hospital Lahore. There, she worked on numerous patients, performing several brain surgeries for a period of eight months. One fine day, Professor Dr Rizwan Masood Butt, the head of the Neurosurgery Department, asked her routine questions during a medical round. To his alarm, she failed to answer properly. You see, Ms Maima, who had been working on the brains of patients at Pakistan’s second biggest hospital for so long, was actually a fake. Yes, this fake brain surgeon had outsmarted all the brainless people ...

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My final goodbye to Mirpur, my ancestral home

Today, I will visit the graves of all four of my grandparents. They are buried in Mirpur, Kashmir, where I am able to trace my unbroken lineage for at least 200 years. I have visited my ancestral village a total of 11 times since my birth in the UK, but I feel confident that this visit will be my last. Despite its immense natural beauty, the region of Mirpur suffers from a deep and insufferable moral decay, the likes of which I have never experienced elsewhere in the world. They are buried in Mirpur, Kashmir, where ...

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From terror to triumphs: Afghanistan’s scintillating rise in cricket

Let me tell you a bit about these men. The cricket bat is a two-year-olds’ play-toy once it meets their thick palms, and the ball once bludgeoned, stays bludgeoned. Even in defeats to big sides during recent world cups, such as South Africa in the 209 Wankhede game, they’ve succeeded in making powerful statements. Braving into cricket’s entertainment limelight from the war-torn turf of their native land, the team’s scintillating rise in cricket goes beyond just technical flaws and inexperience, to a developing world of enthusiasm, flair and competitiveness. Chasing 210 to win, Mohammad Shahzad scored ...

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Targeting beyond China: They took my family into custody to intimidate me

On March 27, Chinese police crashed my father’s 70th birthday party in China’s southwestern Sichuan Province. They accused my family of causing a forest fire the day before by lighting incense and burning paper as part of the annual tomb-sweeping festival to honour deceased relatives. Three of my siblings were summoned to the police station and found out quickly that they were not being detained over an arson charge. As an exiled Chinese journalist living in Germany, I had written an article in mid-March for Deutsche Welle criticising the Chinese government for “secretly kidnapping” a journalist, Jia Jia, in connection with a widely distributed open ...

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Eddie the Eagle is not just another biopic

Biopics are usually a pleasant watch and Eddie the Eagle can be said to be the same. Directed by Dexter Fletcher, Eddie the Eagle is a true story revolving around the British skier, Michael Edwards, famously known as Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards. He was the first person to represent England in the 1988 Olympics in the category of Ski jumping. Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards and Taron Egerton.Photo: IMDb Despite wearing leg braces as a child, Eddie (Taron Egerton) dreamt of competing in the Olympic Games. Doctors advised him not to engage physically strenuous activities, yet he persisted with training in pursuit of his dream. Taron ...

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