Stories about smoking

Because smoking damages a man’s lungs and ruins a woman’s honour

While universities around the world are trying to promote freedom of expression and invest in the development of their students, in the case of Pakistan, higher education institutions are stifling debate, cracking down on any independent thought and churning out automatons by the hundreds. For instance, they are more focused on wasting paper with unoriginal research papers, as former students of University of Engineering and Technology (UET) were recently caught plagiarising a whole paper verbatim and almost got away with having it published. International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) has stopped its students from celebrating Pakhtun culture day, while Punjab University arrested ...

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Addiction killed Mac Miller, and it wasn’t Ariana Grande’s ‘job’ to save him

I was on my way to work last week when I came across #MacMiller trending on Twitter. Confused regarding what that could be about, I scrolled through my Instagram and found numerous tributes to the 26-year-old rapper, only to confirm what I had already expected. Mac Miller’s death, caused due to an apparent overdose, came as a shock to many. Working as an entertainment journalist, the aforementioned incident ultimately became my priority for the morning. As I added testimonies and tributes from famous artists and celebrities in Hollywood, there was one that I, along with the rest of the ...

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Smoking kills, but so does patriarchy

What is the duty of a good brown woman? For most of our society, it’s ‘upholding traditional values’ – whether it’s the ideal bahu (daughter-in-law) in most TV dramas, desirable conservatism in Bollywood dynamics, or unsolicited advice from politicians. A 2017 Ipsos Global Trends report even reveals that 64% of Indians believe that a woman’s primary role is to be ‘a good mother and wife’. This burden of sanskar (values) and dutifulness then become a tool of oppression, of restriction. On the other hand, men have no such shackles, and end up having a monopoly on the social acceptability of ‘having fun’. There is a systematic curbing of women’s freedom to experience ...

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“Like father, like son”: Are you hitting, scolding your kids because they are turning into you?

Recently, my friend narrated a story to me which shook me to the core and instigated me to write this blog. A week ago, she witnessed a close relative of hers scolding and hitting his 10-year-old nephew over the fact that the child had started using abusive words in his day-to-day conversations. She added that the outrageous part of the scene was that the man is a habitual user of abusive words himself and was also reiterating offensive phrases while scolding the child over doing so. This is where it hit me yet again, how messed up we are as ...

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I am stationary, and Karachi is movement

Day 1 If I stared at the world around me, a few things would stare back. The clouds dancing in the iridescently blue sky, the sun shining in its eternal glow; maybe even the trees that stood amidst the streets of Karachi. The people are the only ones that won’t stare back. I long for the day where I can look at a person, and they’ll look back and we’ll have had a conversation; not with our lips, but with our eyes. It seems as if everyone is running somewhere. My mother is running to Khattak. My brother is running at ...

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Honour is our national shame, not Mahira Khan

It’s 2017, which means every day one wakes up to a new outrage on social media – it is simply the way of the world now. You pick a side and tweet incessantly until the next outrage-inducing news comes along. Now, normally, I try my best to act reasonable and get some facts before I join the outrage train, so imagine my surprise when I see pictures of Mahira Khan smoking with Ranbir Kapoor, and I immediately begin to judge her. How could I not? Did you see what she was wearing? My first thought was, ‘wow, what a lovely dress!’ What do we have to ...

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Hello, I am an Iftarholic and I have a few confessions to make

When Ramazan began, I told myself that I am going to use this opportunity to secure a place in heaven, to achieve a significant share of 72 hooris (nymphs) – the halal way of course – and lose some pounds off my protruding belly. Sadly, my pre-Ramazan resolutions faced the same fate as my new year resolutions do each year. Come Ramazan, the first roza to be precise, I found this insatiable, almost corrupting desire inside me to go crazy on the iftars. No matter who it was arranged by, no matter what the menu was, and no matter how tough the days were, I was thrown into this ‘hunger games’ type of a competition. ...

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An open letter to the Karachiites painting the city red

Dear Karachi, Ptooey! Did you know that’s onomatopoeia? A written sound, in other words. Or more precisely, per the Merriam-Webster dictionary: “The naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (as buzz, hiss).” Ptooey! That’s the commonest written version of the sound that is presumably made when you spit. Why presumably, you ask. Well, because the esteemed composers of the dictionary obviously did not travel to our city prior to drafting that onomatopoeia. Why do I say that? Simple. Have you ever spat on a wall here? You don’t have to. You don’t need to. Simply look around and you will observe ...

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The Infinite Miners

The wind is uncomfortable, almost biting, The souls, in all their agony, begin reciting, The unfinished walls, dripping with red paint, blood, The fences scream, but just like their lives, are stopped with a single brazen thud. The hands, gravelling aggressively, soon succumb to the sweat, The lips dry, swollen, and pink, are blessed with the smoke from the infinite cigarette, The ground beneath, shakes and trembles, just as their fragile grey bodies, Their shirts, dripping of the stench of a thousand dead rats, that they would, in all their magnificence, rather be. Their ghosts circle the hole in the ground, contemplating, Their chests, bare naked, just as the day they were ...

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She’s always busy texting or socialising: 10 ways to raise teens of this generation

“I have no clue who Sarmad chats with all night and is always late for college,” said a disgruntled mom of a 19-year-old. Another one complained, “Aaah they are all like this these days, I just can’t tolerate my daughters friends. I know they are bad company, but she just can’t stay away from them.” “My son is suffering from acute bronchitis from smoking shisha every single day after university,” one mom said sobbing with grief. An angry dad beat his son blue and black upon finding him watching porn on the computer, while Mrs Ahmed argues with her 18-year-old daughter on proper ...

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