Stories published in September, 2017

That radio was what he craved

6:56pm “Will I see you on Thursday?” “Yes!” She smiled and hugged him before exiting the car. As he drove away, he turned on the radio, and waited. FM100. “Welcome back, listeners!” That voice. Why did she say those words just when he turned on the radio? Did she know that he would be waiting to hear exactly that? He felt a strange form of pleasure, and embraced it quickly. Wholeheartedly. As the radio show progressed, he slowed down his car and parked it on the side of the road. And listened. As she spoke, rambled, ranted and laughed. He laughed with her, from the comfort ...

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How was I supposed to know about Dr Ruth Pfau, who she was or what she had done for my country?

On August 10, 2017 I heard about the demise of Dr Ruth Pfau. Within hours, social media was filled with condolence messages and appreciation posts for Dr Pfau’s efforts to counter leprosy in Pakistan. Prayers for Dr Ruth Pfua. "We shall remember you as Ambassador of humanity and for selfless services to the people of Pakistan. RIP", COAS. — Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) August 10, 2017 Saddened to learn of Dr Ruth Pfau's passing. Her spirit of selfless dedication leaves a void that will be difficult to fill. — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 10, 2017 Dr Ruth Pfau. Pakistani legend. Represented the pinnacle of human empathy ...

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BRICS declaration: What is China playing at exactly? Does it plan on cutting Pakistan loose?

Despite its recent defence of Pakistan against the United States on the issue of terrorism, China seems to have taken a surprising new turn on the issue. This week, the declaration adopted by Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) at their summit in Xiamen has not only condemned terrorism but also named three key Pakistan-based terrorist groups – the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT),  Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) –  in a larger list of terrorist groups responsible for violence and insecurity. Beginning with a condemnation of violence against “innocent Afghan nationals”, the declaration went on to firmly back the Afghan national government, ...

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So much for India’s democratic “freedom”

On September 5, 2017, at about 8:00 pm at night, three unidentified gunmen killed the noted writer, activist and fierce journalist, Gauri lankesh. This brutal murder sent shock waves across the country. Organised and cowardly assassinations of thinkers, writers, intellectuals, academicians and rationalists seem to be an emerging trend in today’s India. After India’s independence, Jawaharlal Nehru’s secular and pluralistic ideals shaped the nation’s ethos for around 60 odd years. These ideologies created a safe haven for journalists and activists. But in today’s India, everything is different. Journalists and activists fear for their lives every second of the day. Why should we point fingers at ...

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Will ‘Daddy’ glorify Arun Gawli’s crimes or his reformation from gangster to politician?

As a passionate movie fanatic, I am always on the lookout for upcoming movies. A few days ago, I came across the trailer for the Bollywood film Daddy. Based on a true story, Daddy explores the life of a gangster who reforms into a politician. Arjun Rampal, who is also one of the producers of the movie, plays the lead role of Arun Gawli, the gangster. Indian movies portraying gangsters from the underworld have always attracted an audience and Daddy is expected to meet the same fate. On another note, Rampal’s presence definitely adds to the hype of the film. Apart from Rampal, the cast also includes the South ...

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My Cousin Rachel: Get ready for emotion. For heartbreak. For curling your hands to the edge of seats because this movie has it all

A 19th century backdrop. An alluring dame. A naive Englishman. A thirst for revenge. This sets the premise for the romantic mystery, My Cousin Rachel, which is based on Daphne du Maurier’s 1951 novel. Get ready for emotion. For heartbreak. For curling your hands to the edge of seats because this movie has it all. The movie is breathtaking to say the least. It has a strong Gothic style that showcases the callous yet flirtatious leading lady Rachel Ashley (Rachel Weisz). Notting Hill (1999), Changing Lanes (2002) and Venus (2006) famed director and writer, Roger Michell’s latest emotional drama adaptation sparkles with intense grief, passion and excitement. Set in the 1830s in Cornwell, England, it is ...

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“Nothing will happen to you as long as you are in this car!”

Born and raised in Karachi, I take great pride in my city of lights. You’ll always find me in the middle of a heated argument (mostly with Lahoris) about why Karachi is the best city in Pakistan. What’s not to like about this place? Karachi has the best food, the best malls, the best people and we also have a beach. Take that Lahore! But it took me four years of living in Lahore to realise that Karachi, as ideal as it was in terms of food and other attractions, wasn’t the safest place to live. Karachiites know the rules of living in Karachi. Do not use ...

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Harvey was the daddy of all hurricanes, but is climate change solely to blame?

Recently, I was asked, “Aren’t you glad that you left Houston when you did?” In the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, perhaps that was a valid question, not an insensitive one. However, on further introspection, I realised that I was neither glad that I had left Houston when I did, nor could I wish that I was still there. Au contraire, I was pensive about family, friends and former work colleagues having to deal with this newest water-related calamity of Houston. That Houston is flood prone is not news to me. During my 15-year-long ‘sojourn’ in Houston, I had to deal with several flash ...

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Maria Sharapova, the phoenix who rose from the ashes, is still a force to be reckoned with

This might sound silly but the first thing that struck me about the Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova was not her technical or tactical prowess but in fact the ’grunt’ which was part and parcel of her game and particularly, the serve. Although grunting is normal to an extent in tennis, but when you crank it up to 100 decibels, it is bound to attract attention and this is precisely the reason why it caught my eye. Little did I know that this young lady will go on to become one of the finest players of all time. Young Sharapova Her interest in the ...

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Destroy what destroys you: While blood feuds flourish, justice takes a back seat in Pakistan

Suffering in a living hell due to the state’s failure to deliver justice, widows, orphans, bereft parents, brothers and sisters are the living victims of Pakistan’s blood feuds. Regrettably, blood that is shed to fulfil a primeval need for justice when it is late or denied does not inspire organised outrage. It is lethal vigilantism dressed in chivalric semantics that would leave the ghost in Hamlet decrying “murder most foul”. The unending bloodshed is perceived as murder rather than a murder condoning cultural practice worth challenging. Tragedies languish in solitude in the absence of a dedicated social movement. Prisons are filled with self-righteous murderers upholding ...

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