Stories published in October, 2018

The stone crushers of Taxila: Are we ready to lose pieces of our history and heritage?

Taxila valley, which lies just beyond the Margalla Hills bordering Islamabad, is a picturesque, rural place with sleepy villages nestled below its green hills. Located less than an hour’s drive from Islamabad, the area is famous for Khanpur Dam and a series of archaeological remains which were declared as world heritage sites by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) back in 1980. Ideally, Taxila should be preserved as a tourist destination steeped in history, but over the years, stone crushers (a machine used to break down large rocks into smaller rocks, gravel or rock dust) have been ...

Read Full Post

Venom is not just fun – it is fun on steroids

The year is 2014; Donald Trump is nowhere near your political radar, and in these simpler times, Sony Pictures is naïve enough to think The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be a big hit with critics and has the potential to earn a billion dollars at the box office. In an alternate universe, perhaps we would have remained in those simpler times, but reality often hits you like a bus. Contrary to high expectations, the film under-performed, which would have been obvious to anyone who actually saw The Amazing Spider-Man and was familiar with the dull Spider-Man we got in the ...

Read Full Post

The elusive and enigmatic First Lady of Pakistan

Imran Khan’s political gusto may have weathered several storms, but his penchant of collecting various wives over the years has been a constant source of amusement to his political opponents as well as voters in Pakistan. From his playboy days of yesteryear to his days of peddling a more Islamic demeanour, Imran’s wives have adapted to his constantly evolving personas. I was merely 12-years-old when I discovered Jemima Goldsmith was marrying Imran. I was in awe of a man who happened to snag a blushing, demure and outrageously beautiful daughter of a British billionaire. From watching their first interview together when ...

Read Full Post

Because ‘court is no place for women’

For most female legal practitioners in Pakistan, sexism and misogyny are an unavoidable occupational hazard. It usually begins during their very first job interview when they are asked questions that no male employee is asked and are actively discouraged from pursuing a career that they have worked hard to earn a degree in. “We don’t encourage women to go to court,” is what a partner at one of the biggest law firms in Lahore told a female colleague of mine during a job interview. You could be the most eloquent orator that this country has ever seen, and they’d ...

Read Full Post

When Tanushree Dutta said #MeToo but Bollywood didn’t care, because that stuff is only for movies

This is one real life story Bollywood will likely never make into a blockbuster, for after all, it involves one of their own. Actress Tanushree Dutta’s accusations of sexual harassment against veteran actor Nana Patekar have been met with diverse reactions within the industry, but the most deafening is the sound of silence by most of Bollywood’s bigwigs. On the one hand, some of those who have reacted should have just kept quiet. For instance, 66- year-old Shakti Kapoor, who himself has a dubious reputation, thought it was appropriate to joke about the matter. #WATCH:I don't know anything about this ...

Read Full Post

Khalil never drank, until he did…

If there was something everyone knew about Khalil, it was that he never drank. And if there was something one could say with even more surety, it was that he especially never drank before his night shift. But tonight he had found some refuge in a bottle; a shelter from the illness of his wife, the mounting hospital bills, and the regularly decreasing amount of money he brought home. However, the newly-wed couple who had hailed his cab for the night were ignorant to the gloss in his eyes and the slur in his speech, as they put their ...

Read Full Post

Men in Green vs Mighty Australia: Has Pakistan selected the best team for the job?

How do we even assess the embarrassing performance exhibited by Pakistan at the 2018 Asia Cup? If we briefly sum it up, we can definitely detect complacency, lack of mental durability and a mismanagement of human resources. Now, after its heart-wrenching exit from the event, Pakistan cricket’s next adventure is a two-match Test series against Australia, which starts tomorrow.  The Inzamamul Haq-led selection committee has announced a 17-member squad to face the team that ranks third in Test rankings. However, it seems the selection committee hasn’t learned from past mistakes and has picked players that are either inexperienced or unsuitable ...

Read Full Post

For how long will you blame the previous government for your failures, PTI?

It has been only seven weeks since the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government took over the reins of the country and it is already evident that the government, especially its finance minister, has no clue of the direction the economy is taking. It is, of course, the fault of the PTI leadership, who brainwashed its followers into believing that Imran Khan could change the face of Pakistan by eliminating corruption and recovering the looted money immediately after winning the elections. Perhaps the slogans were deliberate; Imran and his associates knew that it was impossible to achieve so much in such a ...

Read Full Post

Before you post that selfie on Insta, know that Penn Badgley is watching ‘You’

My latest TV obsession is as dark as it gets – a series based on the bestselling novel You, starring Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail and Shay Mitchell in the lead roles. This is Badgley’s second time experimenting with a negative character, as he previously exemplified the notorious gossip girl in Gossip Girl for six years. The premise of You revolves around Joe (Badgley), a bookstore manager who falls head over heels for a lousy writer, Beck (Lail). They say, looks can be deceiving, and this description rightly fits Joe’s erratic personality. Beck exchanges a few words with Joe while shopping for ...

Read Full Post

How Bill Cosby went from “America’s Dad” to #MeToo’s first victory

After I took my last exam at college, I walked towards the founder’s garden on campus and sat down on a wooden beach chair. I kicked my legs up and started working on my paper; the last one due before I was free for the summer. But amidst the heat and the groups of college students socialising, smoking or eating from food trucks, the letters ‘O’Connor’ gleamed and mocked me in the summer sun. Patrick O’Connor was the chair of the board of trustees at Temple University, a public college in Philadelphia, and a few months ago, O’Connor Plaza was renovated ...

Read Full Post