Stories about elite

Social Media Mela or Twitterati kitty party?

Yesterday afternoon, I was at the Social Media Mela, (better known as SocMM12) at Avari Towers, Karachi. As I neared the hall where the particular session I had to attend was to be held, I heard they were running late ─ and fashionably so. When I first saw #SocMM12 trending on Twitter, I immediately thought of guns (let’s blame rap songs on the radio for this). When I found out what it really was and I took a look at the event guide online, I made a biased assumption; this wasn’t going to really be a broad-horizoned ‘social media’ mela; ...

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He who changed my life

I was part of the elite ─ the privileged, the damned. Yes, I was a part of those cadres of people who have dominated this country since its inception, crippling it in the nexus of nepotism and corruption. Fickle lives and distraught ambitions were what defined me in that period. Life was great or at least it felt to be so. All that changed on that fateful night. The night of March 3, 2005 changed who I was. It was around three in the night. Coming back from the usual late hangout with my friends, I stalled at the Atom Chowk, since the ...

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I would rather be the 99%

When my husband and I moved to the US,  we knew that it wasn’t for good. Contrary to everybody’s assumptions, we knew that we were going to return to Pakistan, at some point in the meandering, distant future. But we never imagined that it would be now, so suddenly, so unexpectedly, and under such sad circumstances. As I sit here in the study of my in-laws’ house in Lahore this sunny April afternoon, looking out on a sumptuous garden decked with purple petunias, crimson lilies, snow-white roses and bright bougainvillea, listening to the chipper of birds and the low chatter of servants in ...

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A sneak peak into Eidolon: A post-apocalyptic scenario

A great nuclear war has destroyed everything, turning planet Earth into nothing but a radioactive wasteland. Long-lost history of the world hangs around in thin air like a myth. Mankind has begun to believe that the world was always this grey. There are no more countries, no culture and no such thing as religion. But wait, I’m not narrating the script of some Steven Spielberg movie. This is the plot of my dream project, my comic– Eidolon, which means ‘an idealised person/thing or a phantom’. It was in 2007 when I, driven by my inspiration for art, started working on a ...

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Sights and sounds at the Karachi Literature Festival

Foreign correspondents like conjuring the “books, not bombs” angle to justify the expense of flying down to Karachi to hear a bunch of people talk about politics and their books (in that order). But at this year’s Karachi Literature Festival there were bombs everywhere. Pervez Hoodbhoy led a discussion on bombs of the nuclear kind, Ayesha Siddiqa lobbed a few verbal bombs in Anatol Lieven’s direction for not nursing sufficient hatred for the Pakistan Army while Mohammed Hanif even dropped the deadliest bomb of all: the F-bomb. I began my annual pilgrimage to the Karachi Literature Festival by making a mental ...

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Jaipur Literature Festival: Prisoner of a palace

An outsider who has never been part of the Jaipur Literature Festival wonders what goes on for four days in the Diggi Palace, a 16th century palace owned by one of the descendants of some nondescript feudal lords. The day starts with four different sessions on varied issues running parallel in four different venues, aptly named Mughal Durbar, Mughal Tent and so on. Before lunch, three such sessions are held and writers interact with moderator and audience. The same continues after the elaborate rich Rajasthani lunch and it ends at 6.30 pm. Then, the music session starts and soon after, the bar and ...

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We’re here, we’re queer, deal with it!

In 2003, Brazil brought the case for homosexual rights on the United Nations table, only to be derailed at the last minute by Muslim and African countries. Instead, amendments were introduced and approved for the removal of any reference to discrimination based on sexual orientation. My country, Pakistan, was the captain of Team Homophobe. It distributed a memo to the member states declaring that the approval of the recommendation would be: “A direct insult to 1.2 billion Muslims around the world.” This year, thanks to three abstentions, China being absent, Libya’s suspension and the efforts of South Africa to table the resolution again, it was ...

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30 rules for survival in Pakistan

The mammoth difference between the lifestyles, and opportunities, provided to the so called elite, and the average man living a hand-to-mouth life, in our country, is nothing new to us. If you wish to survive in this country, you have to climb on the bandwagon. And the following instruction will tell you exactly how to do that. Please follow them very carefully. In case anything goes wrong or you are left morally impaired or religiously handicapped, just die. 1.  If you are already filthy, and ridiculously rich, go directly to instruction number nine. 2.  If you do not think you can ever be ...

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Newsweek Pakistan: Shaking Pakistan with lipstick?

Newsweek Pakistan has outdone itself with its list of the 100 Women who shake Pakistan. I must concede, never has such an extraordinary list been created. Some of the women listed here have “shaken” Pakistan on such a grand scale that it’s a wonder they haven’t had a street named after them yet. The most commendable of the lot, also well known to all Pakistanis as our very own Estee Lauder is Mehrbano Sethi, who introduced Luscious Cosmetics in a country where makeup was largely unavailable. Let’s give her a round of applause, since her contribution to Pakistani womanhood is unparalleled. Incredibly, Sethi ...

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A coffee date with bored, rich people

So, I am vacationing in Karachi after a nightmare of a semester. A newlywed school friend called me up to ask if I’ll join in for a little coffee-table chatter at one of the dear little coffee-shops, with a bunch of dear little female acquaintances. The thought of a social detour which involves mingling with rich married girls my own age practically paralysed me. I protested, but the married friend seemed to have acquired newfound levels of determination. As I began to pity her husband, she arrived at my doorstep to bundle me in her car and whisk me off. An ...

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