Stories published in September, 2016

Will Magnificent Seven prove to be a worthy remake?

Hollywood’s obsession with remakes does not seem to be ending any time soon. The least we can hope for is that they at least bring something fresh to the films they are attempting to reinvent. With the fall movie season looming over us, one of the most anticipated films of the season is set to be released towards the end of this month, which actually happens to be a remake of a remake (originality in tinsel-town is in short demand these days); The Magnificent Seven.  Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Chris Pratt, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, ...

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Religion meets realpolitik

Centuries ago a group of people made their way towards Mecca. They were unarmed and wanted to go to the Kaaba for pilgrimage. In spite of a dispute between them and the citizens of Mecca, they hoped that the party controlling the Kaaba would allow honour the centuries old tradition and allow them and their sacrificial animals’ entry into the holy sanctuary. However, the tribe controlling the Kaaba had no such intention and using their hegemony for political gains they denied the pilgrims of their right to enter. This incident took place in 628 AD and the pilgrims comprised of ...

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Light lunchboxes

His daughter knocked on his door; only once. It was time for work and her school. He got up, stretching here and there, listening as individual muscles came out of slumber. After he was ready, he headed to the kitchen and opened the fridge. Each item appeared to be dripping. The electricity had been out throughout the night. He reached for the night’s leftovers and packed their lunch, first for her, and then for himself. She came to the kitchen shortly after. She was well-aware of her father’s strategies and how she ended up getting more of the leftovers. However she used to silently weigh ...

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The ones that could’ve been for Pakistan’s cricket team

The dilemma of selection is nothing new for Pakistani cricket. Our selectors have always had difficulties in choosing the right players for the right formats, and whilst some players went on to cement their place permanently in the team – others weren’t lucky enough to prolong their careers. One could argue that they were dropped rather unfortunately, and after being dropped, they somehow disappeared from the international arena. Here is a list of some promising players that could have been stars for the men in green. 4. Yasir Hameed In 2003, a young batsman emerged onto the international arena and broke records ...

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Do you know what ghag is?

For the Pakhtun people, the unwritten ethical code of Pashtunwali, dating to the pre-Islamic era, is as central to their lives as Islam. This can leave the Pakhtun people torn between religion and the culture of their people. One of the more deplorable ways in which this cultural-religious disconnect manifests is through the centuries old custom of ghag. Ghag, which roughly translates as ‘avaaz lagana’ or ‘to make something known’, is when a man announces his intention to marry a particular woman. The announcement can be done in many ways. Often a messenger is sent to the house of the ...

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The neglected and forgotten residents of Youhanabad, Lahore

My foot got stuck in the sewage, and closing my eyes I half prayed that it doesn’t consist of human waste. The groan from a friend watching from across the road, though, was enough to warrant a shudder from me. I had slipped and now was standing, ankle deep, in two days’ worth of rain water and human sewage. The terrifying part regarding this story is the repeated variation of this occurrence. My favourite part (yes, there was one) about these streets though, was covering our heads and making our way down the road to the rairiwala, the man who ...

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Can the world stop the Syrian chemical genocide?

My experiences in life and close encounters with death have taught me one extremely important lesson – politics, money and power don’t know any faith, humanity or values. All that matters in the end are geographical interests, control and money. People are disposable commodities – pawns in a dirty game where loyalties are suspect and human life is not sacred. Bashar al Assad is a leech of the highest order and the war that he has waged against his own people has only consolidated his hold on power. Despite a huge fuss the world powers supposedly committed to end the ...

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Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai: One of the better Pakistani movies of 2016

The Pakistani film industry was once known for great dialogues, amazing stories, and family-oriented dramas with significant entertainment value – that was between the 70s and 80s mostly. Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay will be hitting the cinema screens in Pakistan this Eid. The film is packed with nostalgic reminders of all the aforementioned elements. It is the second directorial venture of Anjum Shahzad (his first was Mah-e-Mir (2016)). It marks the film debut of the main leads, which include Sajal Ali, Feroze Khan and Jibrayl Ahmed. The story revolves around Zain (Feroze Khan) and Mahira (Sajal Ali) who accidently bump into each other. Their love ...

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I learned true parenting from a foster mother

I first saw her at my kid’s school; she stood out in the crowd, a beautiful brunette with hazel eyes, radiant smile and … a stroller full of babies. There were three kids; a boy and two girls. I asked her if the girls were twins. She said no; they were 11 months apart. She wasn’t their birth mum – she was fostering-to-adopt them. Being from a country where foster parenting is not a widely acclaimed subject, fostering-to-adopt piqued my interest. I wanted to get acquainted with her, and over the following months we did. We often met on school runs, while picking and dropping ...

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Donald Trump thrives because Americans now only care about themselves – not America

With the rise of Donald Trump and the politics of pandering to people’s baser instincts, the following question becomes more crucial; can the current wave of racism, anxiety and cultural despair in American society accelerate America’s decline? Of all the factors that are causing the decline, cultural despair and politics of cultural despair are the most threatening. America’s decline has been stirring quite a debate worldwide for a few decades now. This topic cannot be answered in a plain yes or no; rather it merits a multi-layered analysis. With the rise of the rest, the shade of this debate has gotten gloomier. Joseph Nye, in his ...

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