Stories published in February, 2017

From Dagh Dehlvi to Ghalib: My journey towards understanding Atta Shad

A few days after his death, I came across the news in an old newspaper: “Renowned poet and writer Atta Shad passed away last night”.  It was not news for me. Anyone could die, so did Shad. I didn’t even bother to read the news piece in detail and instead put the newspaper aside. At that time, I was a teenager and had recently developed a taste for poetry. And if you expect Shad to strike the chord of a teenager, you would be terribly wrong. And if somehow a teenager did manage to read his poetry, his words would disappoint you, as ...

Read Full Post

Balu Mahi brought the Pakistani out in me

Recently, Pakistan’s movie industry has been going through the process of transforming and restructuring itself. Primarily related to this change is an alteration in movie production. The era of the “gandasa” (a wooden pole) and “horse-riding dhoti-wearing heroes” is over or at least diluted to some extent. This is the time to fill the big screen with colours, fun, and relationships backed by practical stories that resonate with our society. Balu Mahi offers an assortment of feel-good moments, comic relief, and songs along with heart-warming moments between Bilal (Osman Khalid Butt) and Mahi (Ainy Jaffri). It started off slowly, and ...

Read Full Post

Will the real liberal please stand up?

The recently held Karachi Literature Festival 2017 was a hub alright. But a hub of what? What it stands for, ideally, is not just celebrating books and authors, but also to serve as a hub for Pakistan’s beautiful minds that allow critical thinking and are truly progressive. Literature and the arts, on such forums, are designed to allow an open inflow and outflow of thoughts and ideas, and an exchange of not just narrative but also counter narrative. One counterfoil session of the KLF 2017 was introduced as a discussion on conflict-resolution through art and enterprise. One of Pakistan’s well ...

Read Full Post

This Valentine’s Day, single or taken, try out these tasty treats

Valentine’s Day is back again. Shops and restaurants are all decked in red. Street vendors with heart-shaped balloons and red roses can be seen in every nook and cranny. It is my personal belief that this day does not have to be about couples alone as it has mostly been made out to be. All the single people out there do not have to go underground for the day. It can be an ideal way to spend a non-public holiday with your family and friends. I will take this opportunity to admit I am not big on celebrating all the love ...

Read Full Post

Series 7: Dada Baba and me Part 3 ‘The downward spiral’

Dada Baba’s funeral was carried out with immense honour and respect. I still do not remember clearly who did all the arrangements, where the money came from, who did what and why. All I was aware of was the fact that, for the first time in my life, I was alone. The only person whose life and presence I took for granted, the person of immense grit and strength, my father, my best friend, my mentor, and practically speaking ‘my entire life’ had left me alone. In between a large gathering of black suits, white shalwar kameez, flowing tears, distant whispers, heavy hearts, and ...

Read Full Post

Aftermath: “I’d like for someone to say that they are sorry for killing my family”

Anyone would agree to the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger – a bodybuilding icon, an action hero and a true international star – is one of Hollywood’s biggest success stories. He has been successful not only in winning the hearts of many generations by his famous quote “Hasta La Vista, baby” from Terminator, but also by winning the votes of the people and becoming the 38th Governor of California. However, one thing Arnie has not been able to achieve is praise for his acting skills. But that might change in the coming few months. The trailer of his upcoming movie,  Aftermath, co-starring Scoot McNairy and Maggie ...

Read Full Post

Why does the state structure and narrative unfairly favour Punjab?

The selective way of presenting history in Pakistan conveniently ignores the fact that at the time of the country’s creation, there were two large movements which were sometimes contrasting and sometimes overlapping. The first was primarily centred on the Muslim identity and tried to actually bargain a better position for its bearers. This movement though ended up in carving a separate homeland for the Muslims but did not have a strong separatist thrust, at least in the beginning. However, the Islamic identity itself was not the only identity taken up by the Muslims as strong ethnic nationalist tendencies existed particularly in ...

Read Full Post

Definitely not a Mast Qalandar start to Lahore’s PSL season

If you are a Lahore Qalandar fan, the defeat at the hands of Quetta Gladiators will be a tough pill to swallow simply due to the fact that the Qalandars were the dominating force for the majority of the match. Having won the toss on a sunny afternoon in Dubai, Brendon McCullum could not have asked for a better start from his bowlers as the Gladiators were reeling, at one stage, on 83 for six. Had it not been for Rilee Rossouw, who amassed 60 off 47 balls, the Gladiators would have been in all sorts of trouble and would ...

Read Full Post

Why, in Pakistan, being a full-time beauty blogger will never count as an actual career

It’s been four months since I started blogging. I’m a doctor by profession and even though it’s been a while, I still haven’t found the courage to tell anyone (apart from a handful of people) that I’ve taken up full-time blogging in another profession. It’s because I know what they all will say. I spend hours writing, editing, and finalising my blogs, yet somehow no one actually takes what I do seriously. I literally put my heart and soul into every post I put up. I hate answering the question, ‘How much do you earn?’ I earn nothing; I can’t because I’m a blogger ...

Read Full Post

In four years, PTI did more to restore faith in democracy than PML-N or PPP did in decades

Whether Imran Khan wins the 2018 General Elections or not, he has given to our democracy what he gave to his down-and-out team during the World Cup of 1992, and to millions of despairing cancer patients across Pakistan – hope. If we move the clocks back to the last quarter of 2011, we can distinctly recall the sense of utter frustration that was prevalent in the country. People had voted for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) with great expectations to get the nation back on its democratic footing. Unfortunately, Asif Ali Zardari and company wasted this golden opportunity to strengthen the transition to democracy. In fact, they made a mockery of the ...

Read Full Post