Karachi Review: A Hustle Bustle Neighbourhood

 

If you want to know about Block-4, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi that is located in Pakistan, so here is the review which I did for Dawn publication

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Book Review: Karachi You’re Killing Me!

“It’s Karachi. It’s where life and love come to die. It has nothing.”

saba imtiaz

Photo by Author

The above line is an excerpt of Saba Imtiaz’s novel ‘Karachi You’re Killing Me’ which showcases a different world of Karachi. I remember that this novel was published in 2014 but I didn’t get the chance to read at that time. Recently it caught my attention when it was announced that Sonakshi Sinha’s next film Noor is based on Imtiaz novel. I just thought to give it a read.

Ayesha is a 28-year-old journalist with the gift of finding herself in absurd, often mind-boggling, situations. She lives in Karachi with her father and an arrogant cat who behaves like a sibling to her. She has a snobbish boss (Kamran) and her job becomes nightmarish as she struggles to keep up with her boss’s grueling schedule and demeaning demands (it kind of reminds me Miranda Priestly in Lauren Weisberger’s Devil Wears Prada). The only surviving factor which keeps her going in her gruesome job is lots of booze, cigarettes, and of course her 3 a.m. friends (Zara and Saad), who she could look up to for everything.

From interviewing designers, freed Guantanamo detainee to reporting on gang-wars, her brief is to cover almost everything that happens in Karachi.  Being a journalist is not easy in this conflicted area. Running from pillars to post, she stumbles upon many adversities which include the gunmen, near miss from death, starlets, and elite teenagers and who’s who of Karachi.

The book had a very Moni Mohsin’s ‘The Diary of a Social Butterfly’ and Helen Fielding’s ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary ‘ feel to it, filled with humour and a protagonist who you often found ranting about a city she loved and wanted to escape at the same time. It was inked with words that Pakistanis, especially Karachiites will understand instantly and conversations that simply leapt of the page because they honestly felt so real.

I have lived a major chunk of my life in Karachi and living here is nothing but a roller coaster ride. One will see a phenomenal diversity in this city which I don’t think one can find in other city. The city with its exuberance has a tendency to embrace every wanderer and seeking soul in its arms. It gives hopes and dreams to all those seekers who traveled to this place in hope to make it big in their lives.

Despite its vivacity, the city is a difficult place to live in especially for journalists. Interesting part of Imtiaz novel was her wittiness that enables readers to stomach out the horrendous details without grimacing.

“People tend to think living amid bombs and blood is inspiring. It isn’t. It just makes me feel exhausted with the sheer pressure of either trying to shrug it off like nothing happened or having to write about it-how many new ways can one come up with to write about blood and gore? A couple odd one-liners in the book cracked me up bad. This is not a story of terrorism or a mishap faced by the city but a feisty girl’s everyday story which is a concoction of lies, deceit, love, passion, hate, friendship, misfortunes and trust.” (Excerpt from Novel) 

The downside of the novel was having no real plot and a predictable story. At maximum, it appears like Ayesha’s memoirs on display and while they are interesting, one wonders if this would be all in the book which had an interesting enough premise to lead into a much bigger show. Nevertheless one does not lose interest, the sway appeal that one expected, especially with such a powerful title, isn’t quite there.

P.S. After reading this novel, I just wonder how Sonakshi would justify with the character of this novel.I am not optimist about Sinha playing Ayesha’s character as the novel has a tongue-in-cheek humour which I doubt Sinha would be able to pull it off.. For now let’s just wait till the cat comes out of the bag ( 2017 it is!)

 

Book Review: Diary of Social Butterfly

“And he said, ‘Go on, then, name one book you know well.’ And cool as a cucumber, I said, ‘Cheque book!”

 You probably would be laughing your head off after reading above-mentioned line, and must be wondering which novel is this!

moni mohsin 2So, the line is an extract from Moni Mohsin’s novel ‘The Diary of Social Butterfly’. The story revolves around Butterfly who is a socialite and main protagonist. She lives in  Lahore with her husband Janoo and her only son Kulchoo. No kidding these are the names of the characters.

The main attraction of this novel is Butterfly who is a typical wannabe socialite with her horrible English language. I remember I was reading in my office and I had to close down the book because I could not stop my frequent burst of laughter at her incorrect English.

According to Butterfly, she is the most well-educated, well-mannered and most generous person on earth. No one is like her.She lives in her own sweet world, surrounded by her like-minded friends. She just loves parties, fashion and gossips.

The novel covers the turmoil in Pakistan including militarization, 9/11, emergency, terrorist attacks, Benazir assassination and fundamental policies. However, Butterfly has no concern whatsoever.  Her interest in politics or literature is next to nothing.

Butterfly’s use of the English language is really interesting and throws up quite a few innuendos. The most hilarious one I found consists of Butterfly describing her mother-in-law’s (The Old bag’s) angina attack as vagina attack. Then to her husband’s (Janoo) metaphorically, she understands as stratospheric.

The novel is incredibly witty and hilarious but on the flip side, there is no plot or story and at times, the misspelling and bad grammar, really breaks the pace of the reading for the reader.

Caution: If you are a literature aficionado  so this is not for you.

I will rate this book 3 out of 5

Happy Reading everyone!

Time to Speak Out and Break the Taboo

 

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Need of the Time

Menstruation, also known as Periods is a regular natural cycle that occurs in the female reproductive system but girls particularly in Pakistan dread getting their periods. Unfortunately in Pakistan, menstruation is a hushed matter due to cultural constraints. Therefore, many girls face a lot of obstacles when it comes to sanitation.

According to UNICEF report, only 20 percent of girls have access to sanitary napkins in school whereas most of the girls reported that they can’t go to schools if they can’t find pads to wear or a toilet in which to change them in the school premises.  Girls also reported a lack of adequate facilities in school bathrooms while some schools don’t have running water so that girls can keep their hands and bodies clean while menstruating. There is a dire need to break the silence on this topic, so that millions of young girls every year don’t see their period as a disability, but a natural, normal part of their lives.

In a bid to break the stereotype associated with menstruation, the Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) campaign was launched by the MHM working group to increase awareness about sanitation and menstruation hygiene environment.

The day is observed on May 28 every year across the world aims at creating awareness to break taboos and myths around menstruation and to encourage women to overcome their hesitation about menses.

Every year, the theme is different and this year, the global theme of the day is “Menstruation Matters for Everyone, Everywhere.”

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Time to Speak Out

In Pakistan, a panel discussion was held which focused on how the health, education, and sanitation of adolescent girls are impacted by lack of proper MHM was organized. Panelists included government representatives from across the country that explored the much-needed solutions to tackle the taboo and associated problems that females’ especially young adolescent girls face.  The event was organized by the MHM Working Group, a coalition of humanitarian organizations working to champion menstrual hygiene rights in Pakistan.

Menstrual Hygiene Management remains a taboo in Pakistan which affects a woman’s self-esteem, health and education.

Young girls in Pakistan bare most of this brunt as they lack the knowledge and services to manage menstruation which in turn affects their learning experiences. Research reveals that marginalized girls can miss up to two to four consecutive days of schools every four weeks due to their periods. This of course has serious implications on their learning.

Women are the bringer of new life into the world, and periods are a part of that process. This is an attitude that we need to bring back into our conversations, but also our attitudes, towards all matters related to sexual and reproductive health. It is time that all sectors come together to break the silence around MHM by supporting strong policy implementation across all state levels.

 

 

Climate Change and Pakistan

Climate change is serious issue for Pakistan. Over the years, Pakistan has experienced severe weather patterns, killing countless people and wiping out acres of farmland across the country. Germanwatch, an international think tank, has warned that Pakistan is among the top 10 countries most at risk due to climate change.

Daily Times

Screenshot of Write-up-Source: Daily Times

Below is the link of my write-up where I have mentioned about repercussions of Climate Change in Pakistan and how can we counter this situation?

http://dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/15-May-16/climate-change-a-serious-issue-for-pakistan

Don’t Throw, Recycle It!

Earth Day is an annual event which is being observed worldwide on April 22, 2016. The reason behind celebrating this day is to create awareness about environmental protection and how can we contribute to the environment?

As a Pakistani and a Karachiite, I feel disheartened to see piles of garbage lying across the city.

As an individual, I try not to litter on the streets but my part is like a drop in the sea. What we need is a collective reform to counter this issue.

Recycling is a concept which is novice in Pakistan, however, it is happening around the world.

I have written an article about recycling and how can we do our bit!

Below the link for your review

http://dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/22-Apr-16/dont-throw-recycle-it

Happy Reading!

 

 

Irrevocable Loss in World of Laughter

Moin Akhtar--King of Comedy

People come and go but some remain in our heart forever and Moin Akhtar is one of them. There are some people who are a legend in itself. You may have never met them or even not have any sort of communication but their loss leaves a profound impact in our lives.
Same is true for the celebrity Moin Akhtar whose sudden departure has left a void in the heart of those who loved to watch him and this empty space could not be filled by anyone.

I have grown watching his shows like studio paune teen, loose talk, theatre shows and the first drama in which he played the character of Rozina, it was hilarious and no one could impersonate the character the way he did. His comic timing was perfect and he used to be involved in his character that you would not tell the difference. There are many people who followed his footsteps by imitating him but no one could reach to his caliber.

When I heard the news of his dead through news channels, I was in the state of bewilderment. A man who has spread the smile on the faces of so many people has left us with tearful eyes. We used to watch his shows with this confidence that if Moin is in this show it would definitely be a treat to watch. People who have worked with him felt bereaved on his loss and every actor praises him for his work and his nature as well.

He was an institution in himself but according to his latest interview which I watched in one of the morning shows where he replied that he is still in the learning process and he never thinks himself big. His words reflect the modesty in his personality even after being such a big star; he never flied high and always remained to the ground.

Four comedians demised last year; those people who brought joy are no more…Sad but true! In the world of cynicism and hatred, these were the people who bring laughter and joy to our lives and for a minute we would forget and enjoy the moment. He has been the icon for many generations and he will be remembered as great artist of Pakistan. May his soul rest in peace!