Stories about paris

Lemon squares with a sprinkle of Ali Zafar please!

Born and bred in good ol’ Lahore, this Lahori munda has done us proud in many fields. His claim to fame is painting, singing, dancing and acting. With his adverts zapped nationwide on billboards and television channels, singing and dancing to his own composition, Ali Zafar goes around painting the town yellow and red. Shuffling between the neighbouring Indian film industry, local adverts and composing albums, he is a busy man, yet he was kind enough to take my call whilst driving back home from his dentist appointment. Given the lack of time and opportunities to meet him, I managed a ‘lightning round’ with him ...

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Tennis 101: French Open 2014

Under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, the world’s best tennis players are battling it out for the second grand slam of the year. The 2014 tournament is the 113th edition which will be held at Stade, Roland Garros. Both men and women have been competing at the French open since 1897 with mixed double added in 1907. Last year, the ‘King of Clay’, Rafael Nadal defeated country man David Ferrer in straight sets to claim his eighth French Open title while Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova to claim the women’s title. This year’s French Open, however, ended up disappointing tennis fans when Serena ...

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Apparently ‘Pakistani’ in French means ‘terrorist’

I experienced it again yesterday; I re-lived what it feels like to be accused – accused when you don’t even know why you are being charged. Again, I lived through the humiliation of someone pointing his finger at me and saying,  “Hey you… You look like a terrorist.” The temperature in Lille was cold; six degrees below the freezing point, to be exact. The behaviour of the four men around me was colder. I had noticed them the moment I had gotten off the train that had brought me back to Lille from Paris. I thought that I was being over imaginative ...

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Some generalisations about the French just aren’t true

Before I left for Paris this January, a horde of advice was thrown at me from aunts, uncles, cousins, friends – almost everyone had an opinion on how I should handle living in France. I got all sorts of cautionary remarks such as: “Un se ziada dosti mat kerna, boht racist hain.” (Don’t be too friendly with them – they are very racist) I was repeatedly warned about the language barrier, and how the French are very arrogant about their language. A lot of friends advised me to learn some basic French before I left. “The French are very unfriendly and they won’t ...

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The Upper Crust: A taste of Paris in Karachi

I recently spent a great Sunday afternoon shooting sumptuous food, and tasting it at The Upper Crust. Located in the prestigious area of  Zamzama, this patisserie is a true treat for Karachiites and food lovers. Owner Hamid Ali Khan had invited me over to conduct a photoshoot at the bakery, and was generous enough to present us with a range of goodies to taste as we worked. Loaded with our heavy cameras, my partner and I clicked away at the mouth-watering food on offer. The Upper Crust has a tastefully decorated seating area with spectacular bakery shelves heaped with freshly baked goodies that include cakes, ...

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Accidents are not entertainment

It was a sunny afternoon in Paris, and my family and I were just stepping out of the glorious Sacré-Coeur basilica when our discussion on Romano-Byzantine architecture was cut short by the sight of an injured man lying on the stairs. I wasn’t precisely sure what had happened to him. All I knew was that he was breathing heavily and that there was blood streaming down his leg. The terrace was filled with tourists and worshipers, but only three people were sitting next to this wounded gentleman: one of them was a security officer; the second one, a female tourist who ...

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South Asia’s forgotten art: Dastangoi

The good thing about the internet is what it does to distance. It can bring the flavour of your des or watan (land) right to your apartment in London. Whilst I was on one of my random internet strolls one day, I chanced upon a clip of a recent Dastangoi event organized in Delhi. For those of you who don’t know, Dastangoi was a form of storytelling practised in Delhi and the Urdu speaking areas of the Indo-Gangetic plains. The concept was pretty simple. In the olden days, when the idiot box was still not invented, a Dastango (storyteller) would recite the tales of Amir Hamza and Tilism-e-Hoshruba, whilst his audience ...

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