Stories about words

Equidistant dots

He picked up his notebook, and he saw that it was filled with equidistant dots, page after page. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...

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Do we really know our national anthem?

In celebration of Independence Day, we went around asking people to recite the national anthem. As we went about trying to instill a patriotic fervour amongst the people by making them sing the national anthem, we were not surprised that many were overtaken by either shyness or disinterest as they shrugged us away and walked off. But, for the rest that did take part, it was amusing that a vast majority fumbled on the words – making the experience as adorable as it was cringe-worthy (for all of us). There were only a handful who we can confidently claim knew ...

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Sensationalism over ethics, what happened to journalism?

A picture is worth a thousand words, but what if those words are untrue or misrepresent the truth? From the time print journalism made its advent, news organisations have realised the importance of the supplementary support offered to text by an image, even if it had to be a sketch or a caricature. However, with the development of photojournalism as a niche field, imagery started competing for space with words to tell a story. Sometimes, pictures told the whole story, whilst others complemented a story by supporting, embellishing and enhancing it. Things went out of synch when the editorial staff’s choice of the ...

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Series 2: “The Djinn” Part 3 Written in blood

One day, I showed a letter to Hercules which my grandmother found in a drawer of this house.  It was dated June 1942. “Dearest Lily, It’s been a while since I wrote. The cook was away and we were at the club every day because nothing can persuade me to cook in this heat. All stoves are wretched of course, but these ones much more so. My respect for Indian haunches increases whenever I see our cook, all 200 pounds of him squatting at that blazing furnace for hours doing whatever it is one does with kedgerees and curries. And then if you please, ...

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The spectacular, Oscar de la Renta

Gentlemen, gallant, extraordinary. These are the words which come to mind when Oscar de la Renta is mentioned. A man so great, he could make ordinary women feel extraordinary in his creations. With an experience in fashion which would be any budding designers dream résumé, Mr de la Renta was born in Santo Domingo in the early 30s. He moved to Spain at the age of 19 where he worked with Balenciaga, followed by an offer to work at Christian Dior. He turned down the proposition to work at Lanvin for two years, eventually making his way to America. In the land of ...

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No need to run for your lives, there is no tsunami coming our way

Hate me if you will, and I hate the sound of the words myself, but I have to say it. All the hype about Karachi being wiped off the face off the earth as a result of an earthquake measuring seven to eight on the Richter scale causing a tsunami is a big lie. Why do I say this, when the media is all abuzz with reports of a Tsunami warning simulation carried out under United Nations aegis and participated in by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD)? Because if a seven to eight strength earthquake radiates its waves to Karachi, from the Makran Trench, Karachi would have been ...

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After 67 year, we are still unprepared for rain

When it rains in Pakistan, the words of Ardeshir Cowasjee seem very pertinent: “Gutter tou bana nahi saktay, atom bomb banatay hain”. (They cannot even make a gutter but are making atom bombs). Rain, a blessing of nature (or should I say curse in disguise), has wreaked havoc in parts of Punjab and Kashmir. It has not only cost lives and casualties, but also led to the spread of water-borne diseases. These torrential rains have flooded areas where lands have been cleared, people have been displaced and livestock has been harmed. One wonders then whether authorities, such as the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Water and Sanitation ...

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Why Aitchison?

“Don’t you realise this behaviour is unbecoming of an Aitchisonian?” Mr Zafar Ahmad stared at me. Stress on the word Aitchisonian caused extra ripples of guilt. There is a reason Mr Zafar Ahmad, my housemaster, was stressing on the Aitchisonian angle; he knew it would make me feel like a downcast in my own eyes. And it did. Both of us knew I would not repeat that adventure at least. Aitchison College is in the spotlight these days. Pakistani press is not alone this time because The Guardian, one of the leading British dailies, has also covered the latest issue surrounding the institution’s policy regarding ...

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Beauty

 “What is beauty, father?” “What do you think?” “I don’t know. I look at this glass in front of us and my eyes spot the reflected light from the glass on the table, and I’m baffled by these patterns, by this beauty which is perfectly still, perfectly independent, and calm.” “So, is beauty only in still and independent objects?” “I don’t think so. When I see the sea or the water inside this glass if it were to be shaken wildly, my eyes start to float along the waves, and I’m once again mesmerised by the water’s endless movement, its indifference, its power, and ...

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My beloved daughter, do not weep when I am gone

To my beloved Daughter, It seems that today may be my last day on earth, my last day with my family, my last day with you. Today, I managed to get a chance to reflect on all that I have done in my life as a father. It has been pretty interesting, in my opinion. I leave to you my final memories as I prepare for my transition into the life hereafter. The first time I held you in my arms and saw your smile, sweetheart, I felt more blessed than you can ever imagination. I gazed at you, God’s marvellous creation, wondering if you ...

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