Stories published in October, 2017

They say “women belong in the kitchen” – and that is exactly where I went, professionally

In 1929, Virginia Woolf raised questions that remain relevant about the lives of men and women today. She said, “In 100 years…women will have ceased to be the protected sex.” Adding that, “Logically, they will take part in all the activities and exertions that were once denied to them.” “Anything may happen when womanhood has ceased to be a protected occupation.” It all started with my love for food; mixing ingredients together to create a taste that will either blow your mind or your insides. I always saw my kitchen as a lab where I was the mad scientist working with different chemicals to create something that would not only ...

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Whether it’s ghosts, child traffickers or braid-choppers, the resilient people of Kashmir will continue to rise

It was the mid 90’s, winter had descended on Kashmir, and we had just had our dinner. Lately, dinner conversations had been just about one thing – the daeyn (feminine ghosts). The daeyn had recently arrived in Kashmir. Some would say they were from the jungles in Kupwara, while others said it was from the woods across the Line of Control (LoC) and was wreaking havoc in Kashmir. My uncle, in a hushed tone, informed my father of the latest victim of the daeyn’s attack – Samad Khan. Samad Khan, popularly known as Khan sahib, came from Islamabad in the Kashmir Valley and worked in the local mosque. ...

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Beatriz at Dinner: An impactful clash between race, social class and ideals

It’s a clash of personalities and perspectives as two very different people end up at the same gathering in Beatriz at dinner. The movie is from an odd but touching drama genre with an impressive cast and a terrific performance by its lead actress. The protagonist is Beatriz (Salma Hayek), a massage therapist and spiritual healer who works mainly with cancer patients at an alternative clinic. One of her private clients is the wealthy Kathy (Connie Britton), the mother of a Hodgkin’s survivor, Tara, who Beatriz helped during her cancer treatment and recovery.   After Beatriz is done with her massage session at Kathy’s posh residence, ...

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#PakvsSL: Pakistan has won 5/8 ODI matches so far, but it must not be complacent yet

Pakistan picked up from where they left in the first ODI against Sri Lanka after a triumphant International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy campaign. The men in green were clinical in all departments of the game as they strode towards a convincing win at the ‘Ring of Fire’ in Dubai. Pakistan’s commanding display in the first of a five-match ODI series was just the kind of response that Sarfraz Ahmed would have hoped from his side, after being whitewashed in the Test series at the hands of the Lankan side. Before the second ODI, it is apt to take a look ...

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Powerful sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein can get away with sexual harassment because our silence is their accomplice

I didn’t know who Harvey Weinstein was till I read the The New Yorker exposé on him. For those of you who live under the same rock as I do, he’s an Oscar-winning producer and the co-founder of Miramax. I read each and every victim’s story and felt disgusted to the core, but somehow I felt as if I had read these stories before, only this time the victims were different. The only common factor was a lecherous and sleazy man, making unwanted sexual overtures. My initial thoughts were, ‘why didn’t these women speak up earlier about these harrowing incidents’? I brought this up ...

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When hospital waste is disposed off in the Chitral River – because who cares, right?

A video recently became viral in which an official from the Chitral Health Department is seen disposing off a van full of hospital waste in the already ecologically threatened Chitral River. At a time when pollution and global warming is already causing environmental disasters, this video is yet another example to what extent humans are responsible for causing these disasters. Anyone in their right mind would know how lethal healthcare waste is, considering used medical instruments, especially needles, contain various types of bacteria and viruses. The healthcare waste generated from healthcare facilities is not only hazardous for the environment, but poses a serious threat to ...

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That night she became Riffat Bai and everything changed

“Kokhla chapha kay jumairaat ayi hay… jaira picchay murr kay wekkhay odhi shaamat aai hay… kokhla chapha kay jumairaat ayi hay… jaira picchay mur…” their chanting went on and on. (I have hidden the dupatta behind you on Thursday and if you turn your head around, you’ll be in trouble) She dragged herself from the pile in the corner. Steadying herself against the wall, she looked around for her cane. It was in the other corner of the room. She sat back down, sliding against the wall. The paint crackled as she moved, falling down the feeble wall. Holding herself against ...

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When vets in Pakistan have no remorse about losing or killing your pet because “animals don’t feel pain”

The issue I would like to address might not resonate with each and every one of you, but that does not and will not make it any less significant. I’m not a proponent of bringing others down or spoiling their reputation just because they made a mistake, but I believe one has to put their foot down at some point, if not to redeem the loss, then at least to prevent it from happening again. I was recently faced with a traumatising situation where I witnessed crudeness, insensitivity and unprofessionalism in the purest of forms. A few days ago, I admitted my cat ...

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A woman covered with a dupatta, unlike the covered lollipop, will never be covered enough

As I strolled out of Emporium Mall the other day and waited for my car, a street urchin approached me. Assuming she was going to ask for some money, I pretended not to see her, but then she did something shockingly out of the ordinary – she adjusted the dupatta on my chest, draping it in a manner so that my entire chest was now covered by a sheet of cloth. “Baaji, kitni pyari ho (you’re so pretty), but it doesn’t look good na”, she said, pointing to the men standing nearby. “All the brothers are looking at you. Look even I have my dupatta on ...

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Logan Lucky may not be as glamourous as the Ocean’s trilogy, but it is equally slick

Steven Soderbergh makes a triumphant comeback with Logan Lucky, a heist comedy that sees the acclaimed director return to filmmaking after a four-year hiatus from big screen ventures. The movie, his first directorial effort since 2013, follows the adventure of three siblings who are attempting to pull off a daring, elaborate robbery. Things aren’t going too well for the down-on-their-luck Logan family as the film commences. Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), a Southern, blue collar construction worker who once had a promising football career that was derailed by a knee injury, is fired from his job “for liability reasons involving insurance”. His brother, Clyde ...

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