Stories published in September, 2016

He can’t say what it’s called because he’s already forgotten

Dad That fact that the protagonist of today’s narrative happens to be dad doesn’t really surprise me. You see, he’s been quite unwell recently. He’s elderly – almost eighty, I believe, if you go by the date of birth on his passport. “My date of birth is inaccurate on that passport”, dad told me several years ago, which basically meant that he didn’t know his exact birth year. Neither did others around him. “In those times, the exact date of birth was imprecisely documented”, the others said. Regardless of his actual age, and semantics aside, dad is whom you would call ‘geriatric’ – very elderly, in simple English. “But ...

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Five songs that stole the show in Coke Studio season 9

It’s safe to say that Coke Studio season nine ended with a lot of hype, grandeur, and lavishness. Similar to its previous seasons, this season was a bag of mixed flavours. Some episodes were brilliant; some were ordinary, while others were below average. Therefore, with a total of seven episodes and 30 songs, here is my pick of the five best creations of the season. 5. Tu Kuja Man Kuja Finale Artist: Shiraz Uppal and Rafaqat Ali Khan Music Director: Shiraz Uppal Shiraz Uppal and Rafaqat Ali created a soulful kalam with a mesmerising chorus – that managed to win my heart. Usually a male duet with similar ...

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Blair Witch: Unoriginal and barely scary

Seventeen years ago, for better and worse, The Blair Witch Project (1999) changed the horror genre forever. On the plus side, it brought a new meaning to the term “viral marketing” by turning a $600,000 movie into a $248 million global hit – thanks largely in part to those viral online ads. On the other hand, it also gave birth to the found-footage genre, which represents just about the most uninspired and hackneyed conventions of filmmaking out there today. I must say, I’ve never cared for The Blair Witch Project, but having said that, I do understand that the film really struck a chord ...

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Building the Calais wall will only break bonds

The Franco-British Wall of Calais is set to overshadow the Gate of Calais immortalised in William Hogarth’s 1748 painting, the components of which can be seen in Calais today. The political leadership of the port City of Calais in northern France (population 126,395) believes that a wall extending a fence will effectually control the estimated 7000 plus refugee and migrant overflow concentrated in ‘The Jungle’ on its outskirts. Calais offers migrants a jumping off point in pursuit of the Great British dream, just a short hop of 33.1 km by tunnel or ferry across the English Channel. Her Majesty’s Home Office has decided to finance ...

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I am Pakistani, just like you. Except we’re not the same

Edmonton like many other metropolitan cities is an interesting blend of people of various nationalities, race, religion and creed. Walk around in the neighbourhood or enjoy the lazy summer sunshine in a park and you will be struck with a variety of people and languages you hear. The same exotic sampling of populations is present in schools, which gives children a wonderful opportunity to not only mingle or learn about various cultures but also to accept their differences and forge friendships out of their own communities at a very young age. It was a special day for the children of a small elementary school in Edmonton. They had ...

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Omran, we can all play together

He looks well. Well-dressed, well-fed and well-rested, his face is not covered in the debris of a house demolished by shrapnel. He sits in peace and quiet, not against a backdrop of blood-curdling screams of humans in pain or the earth-shattering sound of rockets hitting targets. His eyes sparkle, not with tears but with hope and promise. His aura reflects confidence that comes from living in a safe home not by living under the real threat of death every day. This is Alex from Scarsdale, New York, the subject of yet another emotionally moving video in which a child ...

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Imran Khan risks being on the wrong side of history

With the encirclement of the South China Sea having been completed by the US and her allies (Japan and Australia), the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has become crucial to China – more than Pakistan as well. India’s play on the other hand is not just post-Uri theatrics. With the recently acquired civilian nuclear technology and its offer to provide a base to Baloch separatists (Baramdagh Bugti citizenship case), it’s evident that our neighbours are willing to play hardball on behalf of the US, in order to up the ante on Pakistan. Add to this, the far from amiable attitude of our western neighbours (Afghanistan and Iran) ...

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Dear India, our actors don’t need Bollywood to become stars

Dear Soumyadipta Banerjee,   I don’t know if it’s the right thing to be writing you a letter, since you might be endorsing a cut-off of all sorts (of written collaborations between our countries) after so emphatically bashing the cultural ones. It might not even be the best time for you since I see your fellows are caught up in a frenzy of misjudging the Pakistani markings regarding the ammunition used in the Uri attacks. But I write to you because it’s necessary. You might not have singled out Fawad Khan in your letter but I evidently am addressing this to only you, ...

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Why Islamabad United’s victory celebration was a breath of fresh air

Our very own Internet darling, Momina Mustehsan, giving her thoughts on women empowerment, Shakeel Sheikh finally coming to terms with Misbahul Haq’s success, Ahmer Naqvi performing duties and no ‘bhabhi, bhabhi’ chants every time Shaneria Akram came on screen – Islamabad United’s celebratory match in Rawalpindi was a genuine celebration of things finally heading in the right direction – a celebration of cricket in Pakistan. Our grounds have been deprived of such jovial occasions for over past nine years because of one act of terror that refuses to detach itself from us. When plans for Pakistan Super League (PSL) were in its preliminary stages, it received ...

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On Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment

“My dear sir,” he began almost solemnly, “Poverty is no vice – that is the truth. I know that drunkenness is also no virtue, and that is even more so. But destitution, my dear sir, destitution is a vice, sir. In poverty you may still preserve the nobility of your inborn feelings, but in destitution no one ever does.” This turned out to be my second attempt at reading Crime and Punishment; the first attempt was brought to a sudden halt by a slight turn of events. As a result, this wreaked havoc on my vintage copy of Crime and Punishment – the one translated by Richard Pevear ...

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