Stories published in June, 2018

My best friend committed suicide – they advised him to ‘pray’ the depression away

These last few days have been particularly rough. They have been rough because one of my dearest childhood friends committed suicide, and not on account of a drug-based overdose or a road traffic accident (two of the most common causes of young adult mortality in our country). No. My friend shot himself. Before you go on to think perhaps a serious religious intervention could have saved his life, please halt your train of misguided, impulsive, ‘fatwa’ styled reasoning. Don’t even go there. Because my friend was probably one of the most religiously devout persons I have ever come across. He prayed five times ...

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Are forced marriages a form of modern-day slavery?

In one of the old dictionaries I’ve been using since my school days, the definition for ‘forced marriage’ is: “A marriage in which one or both of the parties is married without his or her consent or against his or her will.” Growing up in Britain and in an Asian community, I’ve heard countless stories of young girls – at the young age of 16, even before they’ve received their exam results – being taken abroad for a ‘family holiday’, only to discover one evening that the very next day was their wedding. It even happened to one girl I ...

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‘Tis the season of mangoes and biryani: These delectable recipes will make your Eid extra festive!

Festival season marks an ebullient change in our otherwise monotonous lives. After a month of fasting, Eid is welcomed across the Muslim world all too enthusiastically, wherein food symbolises the various hues of happiness. Families and friends gather to cherish the festivities and amid this chirpy laughter and instances of celebratory spirit, food has a vital part to play. I bring you three such delectable and sumptuous recipes that are sure to win you all praises for your Eid feast! Chicken Handi Biryani Biryani is not just food but it is synonymous with life in our part of the world. It is ...

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For these 10 players, the 2018 FIFA World Cup could be their last shot at redemption

There are superstars and there are rising stars. There are seasoned veterans and there are hidden gems. Then there are those looking for a final chance at reviving their stagnating careers. The World Cup is a showcase for everyone and anyone but for some players, it is more about one last shot at salvaging their careers than aiming for the World Cup glory. But then again, things can go either way and players can find their careers sinking, if they exhibit poor performance in this tournament. In this list, let’s look at 10 players for whom this World Cup could ...

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Sorry PTI, but the game of elections is poised between PPP and PML-N

The stage is all set for the battle of the General Elections 2018, with all major political parties eyeing the throne. Though we are more than a month away from the big day, the three leading parties, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are all hoping to make the government in the centre as well as in their respective provinces. Given the dynamic circumstances of our political arena, it is almost impossible to predict a winner at this stage. Nonetheless, looking at the present situation, one can try to assess ...

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I run a private school in Islamabad, and here’s the truth behind summer school fees

Those who are all daggers against private schools and are celebrating the Islamabad High Court’s decision to stop private schools from charging a summer fee, can stop reading because a private school owner is writing this blog. But then again, it might be worthwhile for you to hear the other side’s perspective too. I find myself to be a very small player in the private school industry. A newbie, who perhaps four years ago might have been bashing private schools from the other side too. Today, I am here not to make a case for myself but for the Citys, Roots, ...

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“Are you a Muslim of Ramazan?”

The Holy month of Ramazan has been shadowing the heads of Muslims for a while now. This is the month of spirituality, in which Muslims have the chance to build their characters, renew their faith further, strengthen their relationship with Allah (swt), and truly follow the teachings of their faith. This month is believed to be the “spring season of good deeds”, for even small deeds done with a good intention carry a lot of weight. This is why during this month, Muslims try their level best to gain more and more rewards. One can only hope that our good deeds not ...

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“Allah Mian, thank you for not making me a rich person”

It was only early afternoon and the clear, dazzling sky, void of a single piece of cloud, was raining fire. There was still a week left of fasting before Eidul Fitr. Abdul wiped his hot face with his thick handkerchief as he walked back to the servant quarters at the far end of the palatial home, where he worked as a driver. He had unbuttoned his uniform shirt by the time he reached his quarters. “Assalam Alaikum,” his wife emerged from the other room. “Walaikum Assalam,” Abdul mumbled. “Please turn the fan on.” Sajida looked at him sympathetically. “It is on full,” she ...

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After all, killings of Kashmiri youth do not make it to primetime shows

A week ago, clashes erupted between Indian security forces and protestors just outside the Jamia Masjid Srinagar. What followed was scary, but was not happening for the first time. A police vehicle ran over two young boys; one was seriously injured and the other one, Qaiser Amin Bhat, died of his injuries at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) later on the same day. The incident was not something new; one such incident had already taken place in Srinagar earlier in the month, when a police vehicle ran over a youngster, Adil Ahmad Yadoo, killing him on the spot. Earlier, ...

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Blake Lively, infidelities, mysteries: Is ‘A Simple Favour’ the ‘Gone Girl’ of 2018?

Director cum screenwriter Paul Feig, renowned for his unforgettable comedies such as Bridesmaids (2011), Spy (2015) and Ghostbusters (2016), is back in Tinseltown to entice filmgoers. However, this time, he is ready to amaze his fans with an utterly diverse genre; yes, he is trying his hands at a film noir – a mystery thriller titled A Simple Favour. Based on Darcey Bell’s debut novel of the same name, both Bell and Feig utilised the anecdotal narration method to tell the chronicle through three main characters: Stephanie Ward, Emily Nelson and Sean Townsend. The teaser and the trailer both received positive response from ...

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