Stories published in August, 2016

“I hate materialistic people, beta, but I love my designer clothes”

Whilst travelling from Doha to London, I had a 60-year-old Pakistani aunty sitting next to me on my flight. To be honest, it was a rather pleasant surprise to find another Pakistani on board. What came next was a surprise, but not a pleasant one. She began talking to me. Incessantly. Without any breaks. She started off by telling me that she is from a rich business family in Karachi and handed me her husband’s business card right after. She went on to tell me that her only son, who lives in England, recently got divorced. She let me in on the nitty-gritty details about how ...

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Abbas Kiarostami: The moment of truth

1979 was the year that marked the beginning of a new era for Iran. It was the year when Ayatollah Khomeini came into power and the Islamic Revolution was going to pave a new way for Iran. Many Iranians were unsure what to make of it or what the future of Iranian Art was going to turn out to be. Some artists and filmmakers decided to flee the country, while others felt they might lose their identity if they were to bloom anywhere else other than on Iranian soil. Abbas Kiarostami was one of those artists who decided to stay back and ...

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The newest way to con passengers on public buses: Target the older women

Getting a seat in a crowded bus is a small victory that one may celebrate in their heart, but if the person seated next to you is stern looking and constantly stares at you for no apparent reason, this victory might turn into uneasiness. At that point, all one wishes for is for time to go by as quickly as possible. However, I have a way out of it; every time I sit next to someone, I give them a slight smile to the person seated next to me. Last night, while on a bus, I smiled at an old lady whom I had ...

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Oman’s inspiring cricket journey

Oman’s meteoric rise in international cricket took the world by surprise, much like Afghanistan’s. It all began during the Asian Cricket Council T20 Cup. Relentless prayers back home finally went answered in 2014 as Afghanistan took on the big names in the Asia Cup. Photo AFP Oman entered the World T20 2016 qualifier as the underdog, was ranked 16th in the world and was up against some of the Associate heavyweights. With nothing to lose, Oman played for the thrill of the game. After suffering an early defeat at the hands of Kenya, Oman went on to beat the much experienced Netherlands, Afghanistan and ...

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The World Wide Web of terrorist infrastructure

The past 12 months have been a difficult period for many around the world. If before it was possible to believe that terrorist attacks were rare and isolated incidents aimed specifically at those Western powers that intervene militarily in troubled majority Muslim territories, that theory no longer stacks up. The wave of attacks over the past year has been thick, fast and brutal and it has targeted countries across Europe, the Middle East and Asia for reasons wider than simple military revenge. Since the start of August alone, there have been three vicious attacks in countries outside the western states ...

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Is papri chaat really healthy?

Who doesn’t love chaat? All those gorgeous chutneys and crunchy things cascading over boiled chickpeas and potatoes! Of course once you add all those sugary chutneys, deep fried papris, sev and everything else to a humble bowl of chickpeas and potatoes you aren’t exactly left with something that’s healthy. Maybe that’s not the point, maybe chaat isn’t supposed to be healthy. What if it can be though? Enter my Mexican tortilla papri chaat. So why a Mexican tortilla papri chaat? I loved the idea of these flavours and this spin on a popular desi dish. I think it’s because growing up quesada’s and nachos ...

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Would you be able to sleep at night knowing your daughter is being subjected to violence at that very moment?

The recent murder cases of Samia Shahid and Qandeel Baloch, both victims of ‘honour killing,’ put yet another question mark on our resolve to fight violence against women. Such cases also serve to rejuvenate the controversial debate that societies tend to tolerate violence against women which, in turn, leads to more violence against women. For me, before being acquainted with data on countries where such beliefs persist, it was unimaginable that some women think domestic violence is acceptable. I think most readers would be surprised to know that wife beating, the most common form of domestic violence, is not just a norm in most countries, but also found acceptable ...

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“Young woman, you’re quite attractive. Will you marry me?” asked the professor

It was during my student life that I heard some of the most scandalous stories involving female medical students and senior doctors. I didn’t take them seriously at first; my mind refused to believe that depravity of such magnitude existed around me. I was naïve and obviously wasn’t looking in the right places; perhaps it was because I wanted to keep believing that my fraternity was incapable of the horrors I had heard of. After becoming a part of the system, I had to eventually face reality. The stories were true. The perpetrators were seemingly normal individuals, who had happy families and multiple children. But ...

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Would you buy your children a Malala inspired Bratz doll?

Nothing in our world happens without meaning or impact. In every moment, we absorb different forms of energy from whatever our surroundings hold, especially in the tender stage of childhood. Toys, for one, might simply be seen as objects children play with, but is there a chance that they too have a deeper meaning and effect on the minds and personalities of minors?  Toys also play a part in implementing gender roles – we all have seen little girls playing with dolls, and boys being given toy cars or guns to play with. I, myself, was fond of dolls as a child ...

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Here’s Pakistan, raw and real, through the lens of a smartphone

Three months, Rs250,000, and a backpack, what does that get you? Memories for a lifetime. From Gwadar to Khunjerab Pass – I made it to over a hundred sites travelling solo, hitchhiking and using public transport. What started out as a desire to get away from the day-to-day ordinariness of life, turned into a journey encompassing cities, towns, plains, forests, deserts, mountains and beaches. I managed to explore all four provinces and territories, all the while meeting some of the most wonderful people from all walks of life. I was hosted by old friends in certain places and places where I had no ...

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