Stories about culture

We’re being stalked by Ufone, Mobilink, Telenor et al!

While surfing through channels yesterday, I saw an ad about ‘talking’ and ‘shawking‘. For the umpteenth time, I realised we are being pushed into a culture of ‘talk more’. Have you ever noticed the plethora of telecommunication advertisements? They are everywhere. Switch on  the radio and the same advertisements are being aired, with their not-so-subtle offers to talk at the cheapest rates in the world. Open a newspaper and the big expensive adverts glare back at you. Lets not forget the huge billboards adorning the city. Its like the advertisement companies and the telecommunication business are following you everywhere. Even if by ...

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The realities of Bigg Boss, Wasim Akram and Pak-India relations

It never fails to amaze me how Pakistanis and Indians pretend to be indifferent to each other but keep their eyes and ears open for any tiny bit of news that might be floating about each other. There are countless people who we can thank for this. Let’s see, there’s the cricket teams, as no Pakistan-India conversation is complete without at least three mentions of the last match played or how unfair the Indian Premier League was for not letting any Pakistani play this time. That doesn’t mean India has ‘recognised’ the immense talent we have in the Green Land. They got ...

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Desi pseudo intellectualism for dummies

Intellectuals are usually considered the conscience of society and the upholders of values and ideals. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, we have an increasing rash of pseudo-intellectuals who are divorced from the realities of life even as they proclaim themselves to be sons of the soil. Intellectuals hate conformity (or so they constantly claim), but there are certain traits they display which shout “intellectual” even before a word is uttered. Coffee is a must, the blacker the better. Chain smokers gain automatic entry into this rarefied club, but eating at roadside khokhas (in order to feel at one with the masses) and ...

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Dr Aafia, Faisal Shahzad are not Pakistan’s heroes

The Faisal Shahzad case is a Western conspiracy, and I’m an idiot for not believing it. Why am I the idiot? Because when a US district judge passed the final sentence on the 31-year-old, condemning him to a lifetime imprisonment, I for one was glad that such a menace to society will stay behind bars until he dies. Somehow, I know that if I say this to my fellow Pakistanis, there will be little, if any, acquiescence. Mostly, I will get expressions of bemusement or disgust, as if I’ve uttered a swear word. That will be followed by long sermons on ...

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Burqa, babes and breast cancer

When I saw the video  of two women (one of them Muslim) walking around Paris veiled faces and bare legs, I couldn’t figure out what the purpose was. Yes, they want to bring attention to the burqa ban, but what is their stance on it? Regardless of whether I am for the ban or not my only thought was: well, they look silly, and the video certainly wouldn’t change my take on the matter. If their intention is to support freedom of dress, I suppose they are making a statement (along with creating a great photo op for everyone on ...

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Please don’t hurt me, Mr Policeman!

A couple of days back, I asked a friend if police checks made him feel safer in Karachi, a ‘vibrant’ city to say the least. He said no. While I thought the conversation had ended, a few seconds later he asked: “What sort of a stupid question is that? Have you never been stopped by them?” That got me thinking. The inefficiency and corruption of our police force has in fact turned into a joke – though unfortunately, it’s not a funny one for those at the receiving end: the citizens of Pakistan. Over the next few days, I asked many people ...

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Didn’t you know everyone hated you?

While social networking sites may have made their founders billionaires, they have created trouble for many of their users. Or I should say many users have created trouble for themselves and others around them. Social networking sites have become online gangster spots for many rebellious youngsters around the globe. They have even allowed  older people to act in a childish and immature way, causing problems for their families. This week Vivek High School in India suspended 16 students for starting a thread containing vile remarks against a female teacher.  It turns out that this is not the first time someone ...

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The lonely death of the protest song

It is often said that nations are at their strongest when faced with adversity, whether it be natural disaster or war. It’s supposed to bring out the best in everyone, a time when they decide to put aside all differences and unite for a common cause. During such times, however, the opposite is also true. While the general masses seeks guidance and unity under one cause, it provides an opportunity for the sly and corrupt to manipulate for their own benefit. It is during such times that we see the emergence of art forms depicting social problems which would otherwise ...

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The ghairat brigade

You may have come across them. They are at schools, colleges, offices and maybe even in your family. It seems they are every where, the protectors of our innocence the ghairat brigade. Caring Cousin A relative who often sports a beard, is a strong believer in Mullah rule,  fanaticism and a proud patriot. He uses social networks (mainly for cyber-stalking girls), but is offended by his female relatives using the same technology. His ghairat awakens. He warns females about the many evils of  “cyber boys.” University Brat He proudly roams around with three or more girls at a time but disapproves ...

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Welcome to the corporate jungle

All kinds of species dwell in a jungle called ‘the office.’ It is truly a miracle of God that coexistence of such contrasting creatures is possible. As we take a jungle safari, various kinds of creatures can be found busy in their rituals, often called “office life.” Some of these creatures are classified below. The hard workers These are usually the ones upon whom survival of the jungle depends. They are moderate in nature, mostly subtle in their approach towards life and mostly harmless to other living things that are around them. They prefer a calm, silent life without interfering in other ...

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