Stories about nature

Some Seoul searching: Paris, New York, Chicago have their charm but Seoul has my heart

Whenever I’ve heard people plan vacations, Seoul, South Korea has never been part of the conversation. Maybe because of the language barrier or simply because it’s so underrated, but Pakistanis in general don’t consider Seoul a place to vacation in. This is why when I found out I’d be going to Seoul for a journalism conference, I was a little cautious. I did not know what to expect and since I didn’t anyone who had been there, I wasn’t sure how much I’d like it. However, after spending eight days in the city, Seoul easily tops my favourite cities. Paris, New York, Chicago have ...

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High BMI and low stamina could not stop me from making that hike

This is going to take a while. I’m still processing my feelings after spending three nights in the middle of a local forest managed by Forest, Wildlife and Fisheries Department of Pakistan. There is so much that needs to be expressed because you cannot sum your experience up in a hashtag when it comes to the profoundness brought by nature. In comparison to other people, a sedentary lifestyle and a higher body mass index (BMI) barely helps you when climbing a few stairs or performing day-to-day physical tasks without experiencing fatigue. Walking for a few minutes seems like a never-ending task ...

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What is the language of rain?

Like all mutinies, it begins as a whisper in the air. The sky turns tar-black as the dark clouds, ominous and threatening, negotiate an evil conspiracy… A coup against the sun. I hear a tapping on the window, announcing a much awaited arrival. Rain floats in gentle waves, as if gravity is a soft music from the Earth, a sweet seducing serenade. People run for cover; umbrellas are opened, temporary shades are sought, as the clouds spit out their beads of water. Puddles begin plinking, as the drops huddle in groups. Monsoon dew dances on the darkening pavement, as I hear the murmuring ...

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It’s been 50 years to ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ and it’s still a futuristic masterpiece

It is not an easy film to watch. But Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is a film that you must watch. It was released 50 years ago and is considered a landmark film. But how do you watch it? There is little dialogue in the film and some of the best lines are spoken by HAL, that ominous and mysterious computer that takes over controls of the spaceship. I first watched this movie in the mid-80s in Karachi. Video shops and Videocassette recorders (VCR) were in vogue and 26-inch TVs were considered ‘large’. I had heard of A Space Odyssey as a great science fiction ...

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Kumrat: Pakistan’s magical valley that will keep a part of you, until you return again

Kumrat is a newly explored valley in Upper Dir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), which became a popular tourist destination after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader, Imran Khan, showed up there to boost tourism in the province. While a group of friends and I were chalking out a plan to explore the northern areas of the country this summer, we too decided to visit Kumrat in light of its growing popularity. Our journey started from Mansehra, and we travelled through Battagram and Shangla to reach Swat. Given our arduous itinerary due to the time spent in Mansehra, Malam Jabba and Kalam, ...

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Chitral’s natural beauty can stun anyone into silence

When I was going to Chitral to cover the aftermath of the Shandur Polo Festival 2016, I had no idea what the region had in store for me. When you have space for one story from a region that is generally under-represented, it is inevitable that the most appalling one wins placement. There is so much more to Chitral than just forced marriages and floods. Whether you are strolling in a bazaar or sitting on a hill overlooking Tirich Mir from the royal abode of the mehtar, the city and its people will force you to extend your trip. The ...

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The day Lascaux cried

The first light of dawn was setting on nature’s various wonders and the tribe of Shamosis was waking up to the incessant chirping of early-morning birds. The water in the nearby lake stood motionless. Serenity prevailed: nature reigned supreme, humanity remained at peace. The Shamosis had been travelling for the past six months now without a stop. Usually, Closett used to initiate a gathering of elders whenever an area was discovered fit for encampment but the last such gathering had been a long time ago, when they had left the territorial fringes of modern-day Turkey and entered what one today ...

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Today, Paris, we speak to you from Pakistan

The words terrorism and fundamentalism are popularly associated with Islam. Fear of Islam and the rise in anti-Muslim sentiments is no longer a topic of debate, but an overwhelming state of reality for many Muslims. The recent attacks in Paris have aggravated the sentiments of Islamophobia, which is a win-win situation for the groups carrying out these attacks. We were gutted by the brutal massacre that took place in Paris. First-hand accounts of the attacks are so chilling that it is impossible for us to sit back and not enter the conversation regarding terrorism and Islamophobia. Pakistan’s voice is crucial in ...

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The abandoned garden

A man sat in his garden, And he sat alone. He looked around, And thought back to the day, When he was new to the world and was making his way, When he had built this garden, he had promised himself, I will build this garden and my children will someday, Make it their own. So the man taught them to plant and to reap,  He gave them all they wanted, anything they could need. He taught them about family, About brotherhood, about loyalty. He said to them, standing tall and proud, Do what you must but this is your house. This garden is our family, So tend to it, you must. Nurture it, love it, But ...

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My bleeding heart for my bleeding Pakistan

Before I introduce myself, I would like to add a quote by one of my favourite human beings, Maya Angelou: “You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.” I am a visually impaired citizen of my beloved country, Pakistan, and this quote has a strong influence on me. I try to do good as much as possible and try to spread love and harmony by my actions. I have a ...

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