The silence of the taboo: Why must I put my sanitary pads in a brown bag?

I was one of the most excited women in the newsroom when I heard Bollywood was making a movie tackling the taboo around menstruation called PadMan. As someone who detests censorship to the core, I thought perhaps now that the pad will be up on the silver screen, I will no longer be shamed for talking about periods openly, or for refusing to use the brown bag. But excitement didn’t last very long. Lo and behold! The Central Board of Film Censors banned PadMan in Pakistan. The details in the news were mind-blowing, a lot like how it feels when the uterus explodes and ...

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Karachi’s traffic making you pull your hair out? Here are 10 tips to make your travelling experience less confusing

Anyone who has had the luxury of experiencing the traffic in Karachi, will understand when I say there is a certain wisdom hidden in the chaos on the streets. Ultimately, if you’re super agile and a glass-half-full kind of person, you can not only live through the road rage-driven manslaughter attempts, but also learn countless life lessons in the meantime. When I was a young girl, my mom taught me to look in both directions before crossing a street. However, I would also always go outside with an adult, so there was never really the need to do the ‘looking’ ...

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“Girls expose their bodies only when they don’t have beautiful faces”

Recently, we touched a nadir in our short history; even though some might argue we were already there. In a city where the infamous tag of being the ‘rape capital’ has overridden its stature as the national capital of the largest democracy in the world, an eight-month-old baby was raped. A toddler, who perhaps could barely stand, let alone walk, was left in a pool of her blood by a relative who had offered to babysit her. Around the same time, a biology teacher in the city of Raipur offered her students some twisted advice about being female, allegedly telling them not to ...

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My hidden miscarriage left me broken and alone – while he moved on, happily

I waited too long to write this story. Allow me to introduce myself. First-generation South Asian Muslim, daughter of two hard-working parents who just wanted to provide the best life for their children. Born and raised in New York, it was confusing and difficult to balance ethnic culture with western culture, on top of balancing my faith in Islam. Even more importantly, it was difficult trying to establish myself as an opinionated woman in the very patriarchal culture, founded both in the western and South Asian culture. I was 15 when I first met him. Two years older, tall, smart, same ...

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Making my way through my father’s new home – the graveyard

Dear reader, you may recall my earlier piece where I detail my father’s catastrophic stroke. Dad made it home after a roller coaster of a hospital stay. He was on 24/7 nursing support for almost five weeks at home, and he needed that because half of his body was paralysed, while the other functional half tended to revolt or defy logic. For a strongly independent person to become completely dependent on home healthcare, a feeding tube and a urinary catheter, almost overnight, was understandably not easy for him. And yet, he seemed to be slowly but surely improving, and his neurologist ...

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In an age of weight watchers and surgeries, Vidya Balan proves that it is talent that counts

The Filmfare Awards 2018 took place recently, and Vidya Balan surprised no one by winning the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Female). No one that has seen Vidya act will question or challenge her win, but the award means more than just another win for a deserving actor. This is indeed a big win for the art and the artist, but it is also a big win for women and for body positivity. At a time where most Bollywood actresses are judged and appreciated more for their looks and their bodies than they are for their performances, this ...

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Yes, what Aziz Ansari did was wrong, but is it #MeToo?

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, we now have another star to add to the blacklist of men who have been accused by women: Aziz Ansari. It is a huge disappointment to say the least, not only to South Asians excited by positive representation in media or fans of Ansari’s comedy, but also to feminists and advocates of the #MeToo movement, of which Ansari, a self-proclaimed feminist, is part of. Ansari, who wore a Time’s Up pin at the Golden Globes as he accepted an award for his show, Master of None, counted himself amongst the people supporting ...

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I wanted to earn the ‘Lashari’ surname, and studying abroad in HEC Paris helped me achieve just that!

“Are you related to ‘the’ Lasharis?” This is an inquiry that follows the moment anyone is introduced to my full name. What I am really being asked is if I am in any way related to Kamran Lashari – my father, and arguably one of the most popular and respected bureaucrats in Pakistan, known for bringing innovation and zing to city development. Or perhaps they mean my eldest brother, Bilal Lashari, the country’s most successful and celebrated film director. Or do they mean Omar Lashari, my Cornell educated, financial analyst brother? This would always be a source of pride, if only ...

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From Donut Burger to Waffle Chicken, 6 inventions at Karachi Eat 2018 that made it worth the hassle!

Karachi Eat 2018 started and came to an end with a lot of hype, by being bigger than ever with over 100 food brands selling mouth-watering edibles. The event turned out to be the most hyped and crowded (and also rather elite) thus far – a good way to start 2018. Though social media was full of rants against the mismanagement and long queues, there were many who expressed complete satisfaction with everything, especially once they got in. It seemed as if the secret to happiness with the food festival lay in the timings of ones entrance. Those attending ...

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Seeking #JusticeForZainab in a land where mindset might change but inherent nature will not

We all saw Zainab’s funeral on our television screens. Some of us were there as well, witnessing her cold body wrapped in a white cloth with a green cloth bearing verses from the Holy Quran. Then we read the ticker on all news channels that informed us of her burial in a local graveyard. All of this compelled me to envisage the pre-Islamic age of ignorance of which one of the prime features was burying newborn girls alive. Many believe that both of these are two isomers of the same ignorance that comprises philistinism, unawareness, barbarism, inhumanity and ruthlessness. Although ...

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