Stories published in January, 2018

With Mr Mercedes, Stephen King makes us scared of every day events and items

If you are into the kind of crime thrillers in which you find yourself gradually developing a soft spot for the homicidal anti-hero; so much so, that you start hoping that he doesn’t get caught, then Mr Mercedes is just the series for you. Based on Stephen King’s best-seller of the same name, the 10-part adaptation hits a little too close to home with multiple recent real life cases of vehicular terrorism occuring throughout the globe. The show kicks off with an incident when a silver Mercedes, driven by a man in a clown mask rams into a powerless crowd waiting outside a convention ...

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Hindi cannot be the national language because India’s unity is shaped by its coloniser’s English language

Earlier this month, a very significant debate took place in the Lok Sabha of India between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor. The debate was regarding making Hindi an official language at the United Nations (UN). Swaraj, in reply to a question on what steps the government is taking in making Hindi an official language at the UN, said the government is doing its best in creating a consensus among other countries to accept it. She said that the government of India is willing to spend not just 40 but even 400 crores in ...

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Why was Bilalwal Bhutto Zardari, a politician, sharing his limited views on “fake news” and journalism when he knows nothing about it?

By now, the news of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s short, yet significant trip to Davos has reached the ears of every Pakistani. However, not many are aware of the discussions or sessions that he has both co-hosted and participated in as a panellist. The only people who applauded his views which he shared at the World Economic Forum (WEF) were his party loyalists, who seem to revere everything that revolves around the young Bhutto, whether it is his flawed Urdu or raw opinions on his opponents, which are marvelously sugarcoated by his flamboyance and soft English accent. This charisma is ...

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Shadab Khan, Pakistan cricket’s 19-year-old wonder boy

After making a half-cooked meal, I put on the highlights of the 2017 Champions Trophy final to help distract myself and get through with dinner that seemed eatable at best. “One minute down! The next minute up!” exclaimed Nasir Hussain on commentary as I swallowed another bite. I paused and played the moment when Virat Kohli was trumped, again. That particular instance in the match was electrifying, and in the centre of this synergy of the Pakistan cricket team was an 19-year-old Shadab Khan. He had managed to catch a ball that was harder than the catch attempt made by his senior ...

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156 young, defenceless women versus ONE paedophile in a white coat

The past year has been a daunting one for men in positions of power. You had the ousting of Roger Ailes, the former head of Fox News, who had been accused of sexual harassment, then the ousting of Bill O’Reilly, an incendiary anchor on Fox News, known for his vitriolic hatred against anyone who basically wasn’t white. This was followed by the explosive revelations made against Harvey Weinstein, the CEO of the Weinstein Company, one of the most influential movie producers in Hollywood.  Add to this another name: Larry Nassar, a doctor by day and a paedophile by night. His ...

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Padmaavat is daring, honest and soul-stirring, and belongs to Ranveer Singh through and through

Padmaavat has been one of the most controversial movies to be released in recent memory. Right from the time its shooting began, it has been plagued by protests and disruption. This hostile reception of the movie is not entirely surprising, given that for some Indians, it invokes the memory of an extremely traumatic time in their history. Interestingly, it is not known for sure whether events actually unfolded the way they were portrayed in the poem, Padmavat, which happens to be inspiration for the film. Yet, with the almost divine status enjoyed by Rani Padmini in certain communities, a magnum opus ...

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Ignorance is bliss!

My friend, I do not wish to know, And I’m in no mood, To think of global warming, Or pesticides in food.   Hardwood forests in decline, Endangered pink frogs. Salt or freshwater wetlands, Fast vanishing bogs. Illiteracy, hunger, AIDS, Tsunami, hurricane. Inflation or unemployment, Worrying is in vain.   Dwindling water resources, Or poaching elephants. By God, I’ve no patience for, Futile raves and rants. Let others lead the world from front, For admirable feat. I’ll lead the horde from behind, To a hasty retreat!   I love my unawareness, Ah! Ignorance is bliss! Don’t interrupt my cricket game, I don’t want to ...

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For a nation surviving on dharnas, Pakistan does not know how, when or what to protest

On January 17th, with the attendance and acceptance of Imran Khan and Asif Ali Zardari, two of the most powerful men in Pakistani politics, Tahirul Qadri boldly declared the collective opposition push towards ‘an end of the Sharif Sultanate’. Before the protest demonstration of thousands amassed in Lahore, the Pakistani news cycle had been dominated by the abduction, rape and murder of Zainab, a seven-year-old girl from Kasur. Zainab did come up in the speeches at the protest. It is perhaps retrospectively a good thing that she often only came up as a side-note, for when she was discussed, she was weaponised by the leaders to call ...

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Did Padmaavat’s content even matter in the end?

The year is 1303 AD. We are in the lush scrub jungle of Mewar, which surrounds the Chittorgarh Fort watered by the rains from previous months, and are witnessing Sultan Alauddin Khilji lay siege. Much that exists here in 1303 will cease to exist in the year 2018. A pride of Asiatic Lions are witnessed moving further away from the rough and tumble of the scene of battle, disappearing from our view. By 2018, they would have disappeared from Mewar entirely. The mind’s eye, however, looks for someone who is conspicuous despite her absence. And yet, by 2018, the Mewar of 1303 ...

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Who got the better end of the Sanchez-Mkhitaryan swap deal – the Red Devils or the Gunners?

There are times when I actually wonder what is it that football fans truly consider as the most essential facet of the game they oh so fervently claim to love. Is it really the sport itself that fuels their passion? There was a time when an actual football match was the real deal while player transfers were just a very tiny part of the whole equation. But now it seems like the exact opposite is true. The current generation might find this a little hard to believe, but having a fixed period of time every year for players to transfer ...

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