Stories published in November, 2018

Counselling survivors of rape: “Who will marry me if I’m not a virgin?”

It’s not easy to live life after being robbed of your sense of safety. The pain is multiplied when it reminds you of the helplessness you experienced. You cannot tell apart the physical hurt from the emotional and no amount of reassurance is enough when you know that no one can empathise with what you have been through. You find no comfort in their concern and the shoulders offered to lean on can never be enough. You’re startled by the touch of even your loved ones and it takes a great deal of time to remember that touch was ...

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There is a bluebird in my heart

This boy. He has refused to grow up. He is still stuck in the 80s in that small village of central Punjab. There. He is five and stubborn, still sitting on one of the two identical stones dug at the base of the haveli’s gigantic wooden gate’s posts. He seems to have become one with the stone. In 30 years, he has not moved; he has become immovable like the neem tree (Indian lilac) in the courtyard of the haveli. His Baba left this morning for Gilgit to join his unit there after a month-long leave. He saw him leaving in ...

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Should Pakistan Post be disbanded, privatised or revived?

Earlier in the year, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government tried to initiate a bid to privatise Pakistan Post, even running an advertisement in the papers. Dr Arif Alvi, simply a member of the opposition back then, criticised the government for this initiative, saying, “We want to know why the government is in a hurry to sell assets worth billions of rupees of the state-run Pakistan Post, which is giving huge revenue to the national exchequer.” The former ruling party argued that due to its 97,000 employees, the postal service was bringing in a loss between Rs7-8 billion per annum. However, ...

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Not even Aamir-Amitabh could save Thugs of Hindostan from sinking in deep waters of hollowness

Thugs of Hindostan, a period drama film, is directed and produced by Vijay Krishna Acharya and Aditya Chopra respectively. The film stars an ensemble cast including Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Katrina Kaif and Fatima Sana Shaikh playing key roles. Thugs of Hindostan is highly inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean. The film is set against the backdrop when the British East India Company started colonising the country. The British Company manages to annex Ranakpur by assassinating its ruler Mirza (Ronit Roy) and his son Aslam. The trusted Lieutenant of Mirza, Khudabaksh Azaad (Bachchan), flees from the British’s impending hegemony and takes along Mirza’s young ...

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Buying a used car? Here’s a guide to avoid scams and regret

After all the hard work and saving every penny, you are all set to buy your first car. You are now ready to say goodbye to the frantic public transport system or the unsafe two-wheeler. At this point, it is extremely important to take precaution to avoid wasting your hard earned money. Not everyone can afford the high cost of buying a new car, which is why most of the ambitious car buyers prefer to purchase used cars. Chances are that inexperienced buyers often become prey of tricky dealers and regret their decisions later. The steps listed in this guide ...

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Birthright citizenship is a constitutional right and cannot be taken away by mere election rhetoric

Donald Trump sure knows how to keep things exciting. Even as president, he keeps making statements to rile up his base and aggravate his opponents, making people outside the US wonder how a country’s leader can openly make such claims. Whether he truly believes in his own spiel or not, one thing is for certain – he is a marketing genius. He knows exactly what to say and who to say it to. Before the midterm elections, Trump revealed that his team is working on a legislation that will end birthright citizenship for babies born on US soil. Trump’s logic was that ...

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105 years later, Allama Iqbal’s Shikwa and Jawabe Shikwa are still raising significant existential questions

Kyun ziaan kaar banun, sood framosh rahoon Fikr-e-farda na karun, mahw-e-ghum-e-dosh rahoon Naale bulbul ke sunoon, aur hama tan gosh rahoon Hamnawa, main bhi koi gul hoon ke khamosh rahoon Jurrat aamoz miri taab-e-sakhun hai Mujh ko shikwa Allah se khakam badahan hai mujh ko (Why should I play the part of the loser and refrain from seeking what I can gain? Why shouldn’t I think of the future, instead of mourning the losses of the past? Why should I listen to the woes of the nightingale? My friend, I am not a flower who will remain silent It is truly my poetic ability that gives me the courage ...

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Will ‘Isn’t It Romantic’ be the ultimate ‘anti rom-com’ to end all romantic-comedies?

Imagine being stuck in a universe made up entirely of romantic comedy stereotypes. And to make things even worse, imagine if that universe was rated PG-13!  That’s the living hell Rebel Wilson’s character Natalie finds herself in as she wades through rom-com clichés in Isn’t It Romantic, a meta romantic comedy that’s on a mission to lampoon its own genre. It’s a premise somewhat akin to last year’s Amy Schumer starrer damp squib I Feel Pretty – a woman suffers a head injury, gets knocked out and wakes up in an alternate version of reality. But unlike the 2018 comedy, the ...

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Blue moon rising: 7 reasons why Manchester City will beat Manchester United

Benjani Mwaruwari’s debut goal at the 50th Munich air disaster anniversary derby game, Cristiano Ronaldo’s bizarre handball that led to a red card, Joe Hart’s memorable dash across the pitch to save Wayne Rooney’s 50-yarder, Michael Owen’s late winner, Rooney’s career-defining bicycle winner, City handing out a 6-1 thrashing, the “why always me” reveal courtesy of the enigmatic Mario Balotelli, Robin Van Persie’s stoppage time steal, Rio Ferdinand being hit by a coin, Marcus Rashford’s big moment, Marouane Fellaini’s head-butt, and Paul Pogba delaying City’s title party, are just some of the many memories I have on the thrilling Manchester ...

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Life after the British: If India can develop a thriving railway sector, why can’t Pakistan?

As a frequent traveller, whenever I visit another country my first preference is to take the train, and I have many reasons for doing so. Being an environmentalist, I am a conscious traveller, and railways have a smaller carbon footprint than other means of transportation. As a bonus, they also offer an enchanting and panoramic view of the countryside, which you are likely to never forget. Trains are also comfortable – you can book a private cabin and walk, stretch and even sleep in a real bed during your travel. If you’re traveling overnight, you don’t have to pay for a hotel ...

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