Stories about gossip

Meeting the stars and seeing the light

My colleagues envy me, my family wants to know all about them and my best friend urges me to share the juiciest off-the-record bits on celebrities that I interview. Yes, there are perks of being able to interview and write about celebs. You have to track them down, meet them face-to-face, interview them, and chat with them about their professional careers and about everything else under the sun. At first, it can be a little difficult to break the ice, but if you become cosy enough and if you have a little background knowledge about their career and area of ...

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Dolly bigmouth: Thumbs down for vulgartainment

Last year,  Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), following the directions given by our government, blocked over 1,600 words on SMS that were unethical or against the wider interest of our nation. Later, PTA blocked Twitter over blasphemous tweets for one day. PTA took such admirable action when it came to national interest, or shall we say our beloved government’s interest. Having said as much, I believe that the quality of programs aired on TV channels nowadays is far more poisonous than these banned words. For the last couple of days whenever I switch my television on, I find myself looking at either ...

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10 things nosy ‘Pak’ers love to ask

Do you ever get riled up by busybodies asking annoying questions to ‘place’ people in their social world? Well, here are some conveniently snappy answers we wish we could respond with (you might even get away with some of them if you did; sarcasm is often lost on the unwitting). 1. Have you found anyone eligible yet? Yes (enter Mashallah), I have won the marriage lottery! She/he is, Mashallah, loaded and divorced only thrice. 2. Who is your father?  He is Mian/Chaudhry (enter name) and owns (enter name of mill/bank). 3. What does your husband do? See answer number 2 please. 4. What village are you from? It doesn’t matter if you have never seen ...

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World Cup conspiracies: Bal Thackeray is an ISI agent

Everyone is talking about arch-rivals Pakistan and India facing each other in a World Cup semi-final on Wednesday. Here are a few golden statements that Pakistan cricket fans are making: Pakistan was given a place in the semi-final as a reward for releasing Raymond Davis. Reaching Mohali a week before the match is no good; the Pakistani players may get paid off. Indians are good at black magic – check out how their pundits throw amulets on the Mohali pitch. The Mohali pitch has been developed to assist the Indian players. Pakistanis will lose the match because they know the Indian crowd will beat the ...

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A tale of conspiracy: Why can’t we handle the truth?

Pakistanis welcome anything that rejects official explanations and prefer to adopt absurd theories. It’s no secret: we love conspiracy theories.  We love hearing about them, we love entertaining them and we love spreading them. Perhaps it’s a third world phenomenon, where we instinctively suspect our surroundings. Or perhaps, it’s just illiteracy and the fact that in our part of the world, people are easily duped into believing anything. Take any of the following incidents as an example: whether it’s piecing together Raymond Davis’ actions in Lahore, suspecting entrapment of our oh-so-innocent cricketers, screaming foul when Rahat was arrested in New Delhi, and even ...

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Scandalous Islamabad: Facebook’s gossip vultures

On an idle Sunday afternoon spent eating pizza and chatting with my sisters-in-law, I was introduced to ‘Scandalous Islamabad’. In case you don’t know what it is, ‘Scandalous Islamabad’ is a Facebook group inspired by American TV show Gossip Girl (remember the mysterious “And who am I? That’s one secret I’ll never tell. You know you love me xoxo Gossip Girl?”) Currently, this Facebook group has a following of almost 5,000 people. The grapevine is active The group that was created in January this year keeps disappearing and reappearing. Apparently, this is because they got hacked. There is a post on their ...

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What really goes on in the Sindh Assembly

In June 2010, legislators from the Sindh Assembly zealously thumped their desks after passing a bill for the establishment of the “Sindh Revenue Board” to collect sales tax on services. While covering the story, I was surprised to know that a majority of legislators were not even aware of the bill’s significance; they didn’t know the difference between tax on services and tax on goods. One of the MPAs went on to say, “We have no idea about the bill; it is enough that we have supported it.” And I can assure these were the exact words of the lawmaker, who ...

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KLF 2011: The good, bad and ugly

I roped in some friends from my English Literature class to tag along with me to the Karachi Literature Festival at the Carlton Hotel this weekend, and we witnessed some enlightening talks and poor event management.  We managed to catch the last bits of a talk on literature and extremism and therein began the bad. Noisy journos and social butterflies The talk was less of a discussion and more a press/socialite event with people standing around chatting to each other and cameramen rudely pushing their way around. Can someone please explain to me why journalists who were meant to cover the event ...

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Can we have more intelligent cricket stories, please?

For someone who loves the game of cricket, irrespective of which teams play, I must concede that covering cricket matches almost became an untenable career option for me. I joined journalism to be involved with the game I loved. Of course, like most aspiring cricket writers, I made a cardinal mistake about the way sports coverage functions – I assumed what I wrote would change the way things are perceived. However, that is not the reality. My initial perception of ‘changing the system’ with my work was soon shattered; I learned that it’s not just the content but how this content ...

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Fashion industry: The ugly world of pretty people

The fashion industry may look glamorous from the outside but it has some serious loopholes. It’s refreshing to see superstars air kissing at award shows and interviewing each other on morning TV shows and it may lead someone to think that this is the only industry in Pakistan where people actually get along. But this friendliness can turn pretty ugly if one knows the right amount of dirty secrets that surround this industry. What are some of these dirty secrets of the fashion industry? Primarily, there is a lot of nepotism and corruption in showbiz. I scratch your back In the Pakistani ...

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