Stories published in July, 2016

If there is a third instalment of Independence Day, I hope the aliens win!

“Didn’t I promise you fireworks?” Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) asked his son after crashing the alien ship in Independence Day (1996) where he fought against the aliens with Jeff Goldblum. Director Roland Emmerich, however, had to wait 20 years before bringing similar fireworks onscreen in the form of a sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence. Reprising his role in Independence Day: Resurgence is Jeff Goldblum as David Levinson, a computer expert who played a pivotal role in defeating the aliens when they created havoc in the world. Back in 1996, he was accompanied by Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith). Jeff GoldblumPhoto: IMDb However, in the 2016 sequel, sharing the screen with Levinson ...

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It was entirely my fault

We had fought bitterly, And now, he is out like a light, But like countless other times, When morning comes, He’ll barely remember the fight, And how he almost came to blows, He won’t recall his cursing and yelling. When it will stop, there is no telling.   I know the children were listening, To the abuses and roars, Of their drunk father. Even through closed doors, It’s getting worse and worse, But I can’t pry him away, From the seductive horrors of the bottle, That coax and lure him, Into an infinite mindlessness every night.   Throwing caution to the wind, He has become oblivious, To the financial toll it’s taking, To the emotional fissures it’s making, But my agony and suffering, Is entirely my fault.   For marrying a man, Who had told ...

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What standards of justice should military courts in Pakistan adhere to?

Pakistan has been fighting an existential war against terrorists who have killed and maimed our people through vile acts of violence. The failure of the state to bring to justice and prosecute these terrorists through routine legal procedure led to the passing of the 21st Amendment to the constitution. The 21st Amendment paved the way for military courts to try individuals who either claim to be or are known to be part of a terrorist organisation using the name of religion or sect. The 21st Amendment was upheld by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a landmark judgment last year. It ...

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Removing Azhar Ali from the cricket team will result in a long-term loss

An out of favour batsman, who had remained in the shadows for long and was deemed surplus to requirement in the shorter formats, was, out of the blue, asked to lead a side. Not any ordinary side, but a side that was plagued with groups, seniority-‘juniority’ prejudices and a quota system that has seeped into our roots. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) gambled on Misbahul Haq when they not only brought him back into the Test side, but to the shock of many, made him captain. The gamble succeeded and Misbah went on to become the most successful captain in ...

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My love affair with language (barriers) in Beijing

Beijing is a heady place for a tourist who can’t speak Mandarin. This was the uncontrived truth that surfaced during long conversations with friends and extensive Google searches on what to expect from the metropolis. I had been warned that the city’s sights, sounds, smells and flavours would not appeal to me unless the pull of a common language could bind me to them. As my trepidation grew into sheer terror, I contemplated the possibility of learning a few words in Mandarin to placate my fears and fit into my new orbit. Before I had boarded the six-hour flight from Karachi ...

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Will Pakistan dance to Dance Kahani’s beat?

I remember the hype that Step Up (2006) brought with it when it was first released. For dance lovers and enthusiasts, this was a fresh wave of cinematic representation where new and unorthodox dancing styles were given centre-stage on mainstream media. Before this, the only hits this genre had managed to bring included musicals like Grease (1978) and Dirty Dancing (1987) or conventional dance movies like Save the Last Dance (2001) and Shall We Dance (2004). Of course, the Step Up trilogy further paved way for hits like Magic Mike (2012) and Black Swan (2010) which, though different in terms ...

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A special place in hell is not enough for women like these

Two or three days ago, a young woman was accosted by an older woman for ‘not wearing appropriate attire’. You can see what the poor young woman was wearing here. Not that that’s important. But, anyway.  This older woman harassed this young lady (who wanted her identity to be protected, so we’ll call her MJ) and continued to touch her despite her requests. She later threatened MJ, stating that she ‘knew her license plate’ and MJ threatened to lodge an FIR against her and eventually the woman’s husband, a seemingly more neutral fellow, managed to get his wife to apologise ...

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Did the EU referendum in Britain legitimise the voices of racism?

No one ever thought it would happen. All the polls, predictions and pundit conversations pointed to Britain clearly remaining within the EU.  So, it came as a seismic shock when the results revealed on Friday morning showed that the ‘leave EU’ campaign had actually succeeded by a very slim margin.  As dawn broke and the news spread throughout the country, the pound slipped to a 31-year low against the dollar, thus wiping off billions from banks and entrepreneurs’ balance sheets instantly. David Cameron proceeded to resign and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition also faced a no-confidence vote from ...

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Five variations of pakoras that are light on the taste, heavy on the waist!

The month of fasting (and over-eating) is progressing towards the end, but what makes this Ramazan more special is the fact that it is coinciding with monsoon. The clouds in Karachi seem ready to pour any moment now – please, God, please? Monsoon and Ramazan have nothing in common save for a garma garam (piping hot) plate of pakoras. This Pakistani staple is a must-have for iftar and any dastar-khuwan (dining table) is incomplete without a variation of this. The popularity of pakoras lies not only in their unique flavour profile but also in their affordability. Pakoras or Bhajiyas are ...

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Why is Karachi virtually paralysed every time it is ‘blessed’ with rains?

Go to any major city on the planet and you’ll find that heavy rains do not affect normal life in any way. Drive from Genting Mountain to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia in pouring rain (so heavy that you can’t see more than 10 feet ahead of you). No problem, business as usual. Roads don’t get damaged, the water doesn’t collect on the roads and in a few minutes the streets are miraculously empty of water. No power breakdowns either. No need to buy and maintain expensive generators to produce electricity whenever it drizzles because there are no power outages. The ...

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