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AUGUST 22-28 2010

Eating, Praying, Loving Julia Roberts talks about love, family and her new movie

JUNE 13-19 2010

JUNE 13-19 2010

AUGUST 22-28 2010

Cover Story 18 Eating, Praying, Loving Julia Roberts on the movie that took her around the world

Feature 22 Before You Say ‘Qubool Hai’ Tying the knot may involve getting tested for genetic disorders

Comment 29 Voyeur At Large Disasters and tragedies bring out the ‘best’ in journalists


Profile 26 The Good Doctor Naya Jeevan’s CEO talks about his new plan for Pakistan

Portfolio 30 Dekh Magar Pyar Se A closer look at art on wheels reveals a refined aesthetic


Up North & Personal 40 Paindoo Season Paindoos descend on the writer’s property

Review 36 What’s new in films and books

Regulars 6 People & Parties: Out and about with beautiful people 14 Tribune Questionnaire: Arieb Azhar on music and friendship 42 Parenting: Your kids may be everything you wish you weren’t 44 Horoscope: Shelley von Strunckel on your week ahead 46 Ten Things I Hate About: Twitter



Magazine Editor: Muna Khan, Features Editor: Faiza S Khan, Sub-Editor: Batool Zehra, Hamna Zubair Creative Team: Amna Iqbal, Jamal Khurshid, Essa Malik, Anam Haleem, Tariq Alvi, S Asif Ali, Sukayna Sadik Publisher: Bilal A Lakhani. Executive Editor: Muhammad Ziauddin. Editor: Kamal Siddiqi. For feedback and submissions: Printed by: Yaqeen Art Press (Pvt.) Ltd., Karachi

JUNE 13-19 2010


Click Lit

Fashion photographer Tapu Javeri launched his coffee table book Tapulicious.






AUGUST 22-28 2010


1. Rukaiya, Amin Gulgee, Shumayl and Frieha Altaf 2. Zara, Tapu & Laila 3. Munna Mushtaq, Ayaan, Ayaz Anis 4. Aamna and Neil 5. Sultana Siddiqui and Mehtab Rashidi 6. Zahlay with her husband 7. Marium and Iraj 8. Tara with Mr and Mrs Omran 9. Nasreen Bokutz 10. Mona J 11. Simi Khan with her mother 12. Uzra Dawood, Feeha, Fayezha and Tapu 13. Atiya Khan and Deepak Perwani 14. Bisma Rao and Junaid 15. Amean J 16. Farah Khan.

JUNE 13-19 2010






8 AUGUST 22-28 2010









9 AUGUST 22-28 2010


Fashion Forward

Farhan and Ambreen launched their Spring/Summer collection at Grandeur. 1. Neshmia, Frieha and Sabina Bawani 2. Ambreen and Farhan 3. Yasmeen, Neshmia and Jimmy Engineer 4. Abida 5. Nadia, Samir and Farhan 6. Farhan and Kanwal 7. Ambreen and Rubab 8. Tanvir, Kamran, Zeeshan, Ambreen and Umer 9. Azra 10. Frieha.



10 AUGUST 22-28 2010









11 AUGUST 22-28 2010


Night Life

Cafe La Vie opened in Karachi with a fashion show.

1. Urooj, Koni, Maya and Monica 2. Shany Sheikh 3. Zia Gurchani 4. Ali and Uzma 5. Maheen with a friend.



12 AUGUST 22-28 2010




Hollywood Glamour

Hollywood celebrities were out and about attending premieres and parties. 1. Sylvester Stallone, his daughters Scarlet Rose, Sophia Rose and Sistine Rose, and his wife Jennifer Flavin at a screening of The Expendables 2. Actors Javier Bardem and Julia Roberts attend the premiere of Eat Pray Love 3. Actress Christina Ricci arrives at the Blackberry Torch launch party 4. Actor Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister picks up Cindy Cowan, producer of The Expendables 5. Actor Ice Cube and actor Bow Wow attend the after party of Lottery Ticket.






13 AUGUST 22-28 2010


“I have stopped identifying with other people, but I’m still inspired by them” Arieb Azhar, whose video for Mere Des will be released next month, deplores laziness, admires a woman’s wisdom and despises a retired general who is not General Musharraf What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Which talent would you most like to have?

That my music is flowing effortlessly and reaching its mark,

The ability to write and dance.

melting hearts and bringing people together. What is your greatest fear? Becoming cynical and regretful with age. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Laziness. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Conceitedness. What is your greatest extravagance?

Whiling away time with friends doing nothing at all. What is your current state of mind? Sad and expectant. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? False charity. On what occasion do you lie? If I feel it will hurt the other person to know the truth. What do you most dislike about your appearance? My random patches of baldness. Which living person do you most despise? A retired general (not Musharraf). But I only know of him through the media. I have yet to see his human side. What is the quality you most like in a man? Gentleness.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Carrying emotional burdens longer than necessary. What do you consider your greatest achievement? My state of mind sometimes when I’m singing. Where would you most like to live? Anywhere where I’m surrounded by companions and music. What is your most treasured possession? Peace of mind. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? When a human being kills or sells off another human being. If you didn’t do your current job, what would you choose to do? Write, dance, direct and act. What is your most marked characteristic? My voice, I think. Who is your hero of fiction? Tom Bombadil from The Lord of the Rings book. Which historical figure do you most identify with? I have stopped “identifying” with other people, but I’m still inspired by them.

Who are your heroes in real life? Pathaney Khan, Fela Kuti, Victor Jara, Baba Bhulleh Shah, Bob Marley,Dostoevsky, Leonard Cohen... the list is endless.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

What is your greatest regret?


That I don’t have more fortitude and strength.

When and where were you happiest?

How many hours of loadshedding did you experience yesterday?

Touring with musician friends in Europe and Kyrgyzstan.

Yesterday the people at Wapda forgot about us, I think. We had no loadshedding! a

AUGUST 22-28 2010



JUNE 13-19 2010

JUNE 13-19 2010



There are times when even a pretty woman has to let herself go, and for Julia Roberts one of those moments came at a local pizzeria in Naples, Italy, during the making of her new film, Eat Pray Love. “I ate eight slices of pizza in 45 minutes,” Roberts recalls. “Sure,

the utter deliciousness of it wore off on Slice 7, but there I was, just wolfing it down for womankind across the globe.” Eight slices? Really?

“I was so excited to be in Naples that I had my character shove

an entire slice of pizza into her mouth during the first take,” Roberts explains, laughing. “I didn’t even know why. And there were several takes to go.”

If any of that pizza went to her hips, it’s not apparent on a

cool summer morning in Napa Valley, Calif., as the 42-year-old

actress settles in for an interview at a posh hotel. Arriving via a limousine, Roberts walks past a bar full of vacationing wine afi-

cionados who don’t look up as she passes, and sits down to talk about Eat Pray Love.

Looking willowy thin in black, pleated pants and a poufy,

white-silk Givenchy shirt, Roberts wears her hair dark and flowing over her thin face, and her smile is supersized.

The film, directed by Ryan Murphy and based on the best-

selling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert [opened in the US] on Aug. 13. Roberts plays Gilbert, who finds herself trapped in unhealthy habits after a painful divorce and decides to make a radical break

with her past, heading on an around-the-world trip that includes extended stays in Italy, India and Bali, where she respec-

tively learns to eat, to pray and to love again. Billy Crudup plays her ex, with Javier Bardem as Gilbert’s future husband, Felipe.

“I gained under 10 pounds for this movie,” Roberts says. “Let’s

set the record straight, because I’ve read it was much, much more.

“I packed on the pounds during the Italy part of the shoot,” she

AUGUST 22-28 2010

says, “but then people said, ‘Oh, you’ll lose it when you film in India.’”

She rolls her eyes.

“Somehow I didn’t get that memo,” she says.

It took a great deal of consideration, Roberts says, before she

signed on to Eat Pray Love.

“When I first had lunch with Ryan, I didn’t have any clue if I’d

actually do this project,” she recalls. “For starters, I’m a mother of three young children and this was a huge work load. This wasn’t just driving to Sony three days a week to shoot on a sound

stage. It was shooting around the world. I didn’t know if I could commit my family.

“And the other issue was Ryan Murphy, who sat there as the

most relaxed man in the world,” Roberts says. “I thought, ‘Who is this guy?’”

To her surprise, instead of giving her a hard sell, Murphy told

her that he didn’t want her to take the part unless she could jump in with both feet.

“He didn’t want me if I couldn’t give heart and soul,” the ac-

tress says. “And now I’m so glad I did the movie, because I leave it as in love with Ryan as I was on that first day.”

The two are, in fact, developing a new romantic comedy to

shoot next year.

The biggest selling point, however, was Gilbert’s memoir,

which — like millions of other women — Roberts had devoured when it first appeared.

“I read the book before it was hugely popular,” she says. “I’m

someone who is easily swayed. I’m always determined not to like something or to like it better than anyone else. When I heard

about this book, I didn’t wait for the buzz: I bought two copies and sent one to my best friend in Chicago. I said, ‘This seems special. Let’s read it together.’”

She decided to meet Gilbert herself only after she had sorted

out how she would play the character.

“I didn’t want to meet her until we got to the first location,

which was Rome,” Roberts says. “It was one of the smarter things I’ve done in the last four years. I knew Liz Gilbert on paper, from the book and the script, which is how it should be. I didn’t want

to fall too in love with her and try to be her. It was my job to interpret her as an actor.

“So I waited until we were too far in the process to change my


Though it increased the cost and the length of the shoot, Mur-

phy decided to recreate the arc of Gilbert’s journey, shooting the film in chronological order.

“For me it was a great luxury to shoot it the way it happened,”

Roberts says. “It was almost necessary for the emotional evolution. Plus you can’t start any movie in Bali and then leave!

“Seriously, it was important for us to create the steps Liz took AUGUST 22-28 2010

COVER STORY and understand exactly what she got from each part of her journey,” she says. “She needed this wisdom before she could move on.”

The trickiest part of that journey was the first step, in which

Gilbert ends what looks on the face of it to be a happy marriage.

There is no cheating, no abuse, no conflict — she has simply fallen out of love with her husband.

“More than anything else in the movie,” Roberts says, “that

had to feel real. There is often no right and no wrong in a relationship, and no one is right or wrong. Everyone is a little bit of both.”

The actress says that she can understand the search for true

love. As is well known, she was engaged to Kiefer Sutherland and to Dylan McDermott, and also had relationships with Liam Nee-

son and Benjamin Bratt, as well as a previous marriage to singer Lyle Lovett in 1993. They divorced in 1995, and since 2002 she has

been married to cameraman Danny Moder, father of 5-year-old twins Hazel and Phinnaeus and 3-year-old Henry.

“I wasn’t searching in the same urgent, persistent way as Liz

experienced,” Roberts says, “but I definitely knew that my life

needed to evolve until I found a place where I wanted to live in forever — which is the home I have now. I related to her searching and her perseverance.”

Her own search, she emphasises, is over.

“It’s great to finally get there,” she says, “to come home and

say, ‘Good. Everyone is here. We’re all good.’”

Roberts took her husband and their children to all the Eat Pray

Love locations, which wasn’t for the faint of heart.

“I had this 10-pound box I’ll call my mother’s pack,” the actress

recalls with a laugh. “It was filled with medicines and Tylenol

and Band-Aids and another nine pounds of snacks. One of my favorite bites in India was the granola bars I packed.”

The sights and experiences of India were not to be missed,


“There was an extraordinary village where all of the women

wore the most gorgeous, brightly coloured clothing,” Roberts re-

calls. “They were profoundly stunning. I asked and was told that these bright clothes were only for women who were married — if the husband passed away, then she had to take it all off.”

As for the local cuisine in Italy and Bali, well, it didn’t hurt her

efforts to gain a bit of weight for the role.

“I thought I’d hurt myself trying to get my jeans on,” Roberts

says with a laugh.

She agrees with Gilbert, she adds, that men don’t mind a few

extra pounds.

“I also believe that guys don’t care about what you look like na-

ked,” Roberts says with a laugh. “Anyway, that’s what dimmer switches are for!”


Her scenes with Bardem, who joined the company only when

it reached Bali, were among Roberts’ favourites in the film. AUGUST 22-28 2010

“I read the book before it was hugely popular. I’m someone who is easily swayed. I’m always determined not to like something or to like it better than anyone else. When I heard about this book, I didn’t wait for the buzz: I bought two copies and sent one to my best friend in Chicago. I said, ‘This seems special. Let’s read it together.’” “Working with Javier was like getting a puppy,” she says. “I’m

serious. I was settled into the role, and he came to the set with

so much enthusiasm like a puppy. Javier was like, ‘Let’s go read scenes! Let’s go talk! Let’s go over stuff!’ His excitement was actually contagious.”

Bardem was still fresh from No Country for Old Men (2007), in

which his performance as a stone-cold killer earned him an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor.

“I was terrified of No Country for Old Men,” Roberts admits. “One

day Javier pulled out a picture of himself as that character, and I jumped about 10 feet.”

The eating and loving get most of the attention in the film, but

praying is a big part of Gilbert’s story.

“It’s your job to figure out how to pray,” Roberts says thought-

fully. “I think you must relate to a creation that’s more than you, or you can’t accomplish other things in life. How you name it is

insignificant. What you’re doing to accomplish those prayers is what counts.” — New York Times Syndicated Services


21 AUGUST 22-28 2010


before you say


New amendments to the nikahnama prompt debate on whether couples should get themselves tested for genetic blood disorders before marrying 22 AUGUST 22-28 2010

When five-year-old Affifa goes to school she carries more than the burden of books on her shoulders. “My daughter was diagnosed with Thalassaemia, a blood disorder, at the age of three,” says Wajahat Ayaz, who works as an engineer at a leading power company in Karachi. Affifa’s problems are compounded not only by the fact that her

body generates an abnormal form of haemoglobin cells, but also

by her rare blood group, known as the Bombay blood type. Accord-

ing to Dr Saqib H Ansari, chief of the Thalassaemia programme

But so far the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly is the

only legislative body which has passed a bill making it mandatory for couples to carry out Thalassaemia and Hepatitis C tests

before the marriage takes place. The law does not ban couples from getting married if they find out they are both, for example, Thalassaemia minor carriers, but it gives them the advantage of

knowing what they’re getting into. Meanwhile, the Sindh Assembly has to date only passed a resolution urging the federal government to consider making such tests compulsory.

On July 08, 2010, the Punjab government’s Local Govern-

at the National Institute of Blood Diseases, there are only seven

ment and Community Development Department proposed eight

tients like Affifa survive on blood transfusions, but it becomes a

medical check-up reports prior to marriage. However, the amend-

known donors in the country who share this blood group. “Pahuge problem when one has a rare blood group because one can’t find matching donors,” Ansari says.

However, the little girl is lucky for now. Nuzhat, a woman of

40, is providing crucial life support for Affifa. “I will donate my

amendments to the nikahnama law; these included complete ments were criticised because of the caveat that the nikahnama

document must also be signed by the parents of the consenting adults and were consequently withdrawn.

Member of the National Assembly Sherry Rehman has strong-

blood to her as long as I live,” says Nuzhat. But what will happen

ly criticised the Punjab government’s move. Rehman fears the

Ayaz, who earns around Rs30,000 a month and spends close to

country. “Having parents sign the nikahnama would have meant

after that?

Rs10,000 of that on monthly treatments for his daughter, says

he can only pray that a miracle like Nuzhat will be around. However, that’s not the issue which torments him each day.

“If only I knew that we, the parents, would be the cause of her

illness,” laments Ayaz, without saying anything about what he

measure might increase the number of forced marriages in the the return of the wali system for women. The Lahore High Court

has a ruling against it,” she says. She added, however, that she was all for testing couples for disorders before marriage and would strongly advocate such a bill.

Meanwhile, Masood Alam, who is about to get married this

would have done had he known this fact beforehand.

year, voices another concern. He says that even if blood testing

from their parents. “If both parents are Thalassaemia minor —

vince families that it is a healthy measure. “I and my fiancée may

Thalassaemia is a genetic blood disorder which a child inherits

that is, they carry the disease but it is not active in their system

— there is a 25 per cent chance that their child will be a Thal-

assaemia major — an active patient –a 50 per cent chance that she will be a Thalassaemia minor and a 25 per cent chance that

everything will be normal,” says Ayesha Mehmood, the spokesperson for the Fight Against Thalassaemia (FAiTh). Also, if a Thalassaemia minor’s partner is normal, their children, in all likelihood, will be born free of the disorder.


before marriage becomes federal law, it would be hard to con-

agree, but our families might not want us to get tested because of social pressure and superstition,” Alam says.

Even Nuzhat, Affifa’s donor, says that girls in Pakistan already

face a lot of problems getting married and the proposed changes to the nikahnama law may become an added hurdle.

Dr Ansari proposes a solution. “We can follow the Iran model,

where the man is asked to get tested first,” he says, adding that the woman only need be tested if the man is found to be suffering from, for example, Thalassaemia minor.

Also, families can be convinced about the benefits of testing

Ayaz supports recent initiatives taken in certain provincial as-

with a little persuasion, says Shahzad Shah, who married in 2009

blood disorders like Thalassaemia, Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS in

told our families about the advantages, they themselves took us

semblies regarding the nikahnama law that advocates testing for

couples before they marry. He suggests the government should

make it mandatory to mention blood types on national identity cards so that potential donors can be identified.

150,000 10% people in Pakistan suffer from Thalassaemia major

of Pakistan’s population is believed to carry the gene

and got himself and his fiancée tested before marriage. “After we to get our blood tests done,” Shah says. He adds that today he is a proud father and his daughter has no genetic blood disorder.

Religious scholars say that while conducting blood tests is not

a necessity before marriage, according to Shariah law there is no

harm in doing so. Darul Uloom Karachi’s Mufti Asghar Rabbani and Jafferia Alliance’s Maulana Sheikh Hasan Salahuddin say

tests can help identify problems that an unborn child might face, because in the end, the child has to suffer the consequences. a

AUGUST 22-28 2010



JUNE 13-19 2010

JUNE 13-19 2010



good doctor Naya Jeevan seeks to protect low-income families with healthcare crises from slipping down the debt-vortex BY HAMNA ZUBAIR PHOTOS BY NOOR JAVERI

28 AUGUST 22-28 2010

Asher Hasan talks a lot. He’s a compelling speaker and he knows it. When we meet at his large, quiet home, his enthusiasm for his work and his life is unmistakable. Hasan is one of the three people behind Naya Jeevan, an organ-

isation that encourages MNCs, small and medium enterprises, schools and other entities to share the cost of their low-income

employees’ monthly health insurance payments, thereby subsidising healthcare for a deserving family.

Naya Jeevan was conceived in 2007 by Hasan and his partners

Irum Musharraf and Saad Tabani.

“Saad had the IT expertise. Irum was the risk-management ex-

“If I were to compare my life today with my life a few years ago, when I was making much more money, I can definitely say I’m happier now. I feel I belong here, and I feel I’m making a difference.”

pert. I provided the vision,” he says.

Hasan, who looks younger than his 38 years, was inspired by

the safety net health insurance provides in the US and wanted to

“get informal workers into the loop — waiters, maids, drivers... at least 40 million people.”

The scheme is underwritten by prominent insurance com-

panies Allianz EFU, IGI Insurance Limited and Asia Care. Each

beneficiary holds an insurance card that allows him or her access to a wide network of hospitals affiliated with these companies. In this way, Naya Jeevan aims to protect low-income families from drowning in debt when they are faced with a catastrophic healthcare crisis. As Hasan says, a single event like a stroke or a

cardiac arrest can set a low-income family back for generations, trapping them in a vicious cycle of poverty.

Hasan spent his younger years shuttling between the United

Kingdom and Pakistan, where his grandparents lived. His fam-

ily settled in Pakistan in 1983 following the death of his father.

The tragedy was followed by a new challenge — Hasan’s mother, who had been left in charge of the family’s finances, suddenly

had a nervous breakdown and was rendered incapable of looking after Hasan and his three sisters.

“We went from being very affluent to just getting by,” he says.

“There was this three and a half year period where I was surrounded by rich kids, but couldn’t participate in their activities. It was like being an outsider, which gave me a lot of empathy.”

“But I feel like that was destined to happen,” he adds. “I feel I

really had to do something to address this inequality.”

His notion of revamping Pakistan’s healthcare system led him

to quit a lucrative job in the bio-tech industry in the US and relocate to Pakistan, where he has been living for a year now. He says

people thought his eagerness to give up life in the US and move back to Pakistan for a dream was madness.

“Oh yeah, I get a lot of resistance from my family. Some of my

fiercest critics are my siblings,” he laughs. “They either think

I’ve become a raving lunatic or experiencing delusions of Gandhiism. The thought process of most people who resist the idea, or

my choice, is emblematic of the very problem that Pakistan is

faced with,” he says. “Skilled people who leave the country and AUGUST 22-28 2010


PROFILE are educated abroad either forget their responsibilities to this country, or become self-absorbed.”

In turn, Hasan doesn’t hide his disdain for people who live a

“cushy lifestyle”, despite living quite comfortably himself in Ka-

all the time, asking why we hadn’t signed on. If he hadn’t been that persistent, I don’t know if we would have made the commitment.”

Now that Espresso’s employees are covered by Naya Jeevan’s

rachi. When asked when he manages this in spite of running a

scheme, however, everyone can see the benefits.

operate he is amused by the question. Hasan explains, “I was for-

ance cover to treat kidney stones, a procedure which costs well

not-for-profit social enterprise that relies heavily on donations to tunate enough to have done fairly well in my career in the US. I was able to live off my savings for the last three years. Now we are

Khan says one of his employee’s wives recently claimed insur-

over Rs100,000.

If the employee hadn’t been insured, Khan says, he would have

better off, we have decent funding and can pay modest salaries.”

taken a loan to cover the medical cost. “And it would be difficult

18 people in the last few years, is compensated very well, because

a cycle of debt.”

Hasan says Naya Jeevan’s staff, which has grown from three to

“we want to tell people they can do well for themselves while do-

for them to pay off the loan,” Khan adds. “They would end up in “I would encourage people to not just focus on material acqui-

ing good for others.”

sition,” adds Hasan. “If I were to compare my life today with my

tional in 2009, after receiving support from the Draper Richards

definitely say I’m happier now. I feel I belong here, and I feel I’m

Though conceived in 2007, Naya Jeevan became fully opera-

Foundation and getting insurance underwriters on board.

Although the scheme’s premise is sound, Naya Jeevan cur-

life a few years ago, when I was making much more money, I can making a difference.” a

rently has only 2,000 card-carrying beneficiaries, with another 7,000 being processed, and Hasan admits that getting people to adopt a new system is challenging.

Irum Musharraf, Naya Jeevan’s co-founder and chief operating

officer is based in the US, and agrees that getting companies to “cut the cheque” is a challenge.

Musharraf says most people in Pakistan, especially low-income

employees, are unfamiliar with the concept of insurance. To this end, Musharraf says Naya Jeevan also conducts workshops with

a corporation’s low-income employees to make them aware of their rights and privileges as insurance holders.

However, Musharraf is optimistic about the future, as is

Hasan. The team is launching several new schemes soon, including a child-to child scheme that allows affluent children to share

in the cost of a low-income peer’s insurance, and Naya Jeevan’s founders say the initial struggle to get off the ground was worth it.

“In this age, you can dream the impossible and make it hap-

pen,” Musharraf says.

Hasan believes that he has identified several reasons for why

people are resistant to the concept. He cites inertia and selfishness as factors, and adds that most people are only interested in social causes that are in vogue. “It’s unfortunate that it has to be

“People who leave the country forget their responsibilities or become self-absorbed.”

done this way,” Hasan says. “But we have to identify a trendsetter in each sector, get them on board, and lure competitors on board through them.”


One such trendsetter is Espresso, the successful chain of coffee

Naya Jeevan was a member of the 2009 Clinton Global

Khan admits that it took him a while to sign on to Naya Je-

Naya Jeevan has also been shortlisted by the ILO-Microin-

He also says it was Hasan’s persistence that motivated him

funded grant of $500,000.

houses owned and run by Kamil Aziz Khan and his partners.

Initiative and has been awarded a TED India fellowship.

evan’s scheme, mainly because of bureaucratic delays.

surance Innovation Facility (MIF) for a Gates Foundation-

to adopt the insurance program in the end: “He used to call me AUGUST 22-28 2010


voyeur-at-large BY AA SHEIKH

As a veteran TV commentator with stints at both Expressive News and Gee-whiz News, not to mention KRY News and Yawn News, I jumped at the opportunity offered by the recent spate of tragedies in the country to interview firsthand the victims of these disasters. The idea was to offer my viewers insight

into the wretched lives of these devastated people and highlight the shameful lack of concern shown by every single agency and government functionary. It wasn’t easy. For five non-consecutive

days I had to do without my air-conditioned studio and most of

Him: Yes, I’m ruined!

Me: So how do you feel about it? Him: Sobs woefully.

Me: Wading into thigh-deep water, putting an arm around the farmer for the

proverbial dramatic effect/human touch. Viewers, as you can see, this man is devastated. He only has this half-drowned buffalo left. With more floods forecast, it too will soon perish. Buffalo: Moo!

Me: And the government is doing nothing, nothing about it!

3. Up in a makeshift relief camp near a ruined village some-

my make-up artists and image consultants. And then there was

where in K-P, amid families uprooted by the floods:

died. Nevertheless, true to the intrepid journalist that I claim

tion, and deplorable food supplies. Gesturing at the camera. Now

ventured forth and interviewed like mad. On-the-spot. For those

utter destruction, whole houses, all gone! Gone! Thrusting the mike in

this nasty business of getting my designer-wear wet and mudto be, and for maximum sensationalism and highest ratings, I who may have missed my coverage — because of load-shedding, floods, water-in-the-TV, drowning, electrocution, target-killing

or other routine causes — here are some excerpts from my outstanding efforts:

1. At the Karachi Airport following the Air Blue crash — talking

to a victim’s father:

Me: Do you know if your son miraculously survived or did he

perish horribly like the rest of them? Him: Mumbles, sobs.

Me: The situation here is dire. Crumbling tents, poor sanita-

if we can get a shot of the village behind me… yes… can you see, the faces of a bunch of kids. So how bad is it for you in this camp? Them:In jumbled Pashto-laced Urdu. Bad. Very bad.

Me: The conditions in the camp can cause outbreaks of deadly

diseases and severe mental trauma, especially among children. How do you feel about that?

Them: Bad. Very, very bad.

Me: You see viewers, it’s very bad! And the government is doing nothing, nothing about it!

4. In Karachi, deep in a violence-infested

Me: I mean, our Interior Minister said

neighbourhood, with a family mourning a

five people were rushed to a hospital,

young son:

Me: He was a mere boy, viewers. An

although, viewers — looking gravely and knowledgeably at the camera —

innocent who had nothing to do with

we know the chances of surviving

the murderers ravaging this once-glo-

such crashes are very, very slim.

rious city. He went to fetch groceries

Him: Sobs bitterly.

and got caught in a deadly crossfire

Me: There, there sir. I was won-

between rival gangs. What a terrible

dering if you could tell our viewers

twist of fate! To top it all off, he was

how dear your son was to you. And

the only bread-winner. Shoving the mike

how impossible it will be for you to

in the victim’s mother’s face. Do you feel re-

ever recover from this irrevocable loss.

sponsible for his death?

Him: He was… he was…

Me: Yes viewers, he was the eldest

son…such a tragedy! And the government is doing nothing, nothing about it!

2. Deep in flooded southern Punjab, talking

to a hapless half-naked farmer flanked by his barely-afloat buffalo:


Me: So this buffalo is all you have left?

AUGUST 22-28 2010

Her: Wails wildly.

Me: How many more mothers will wail to

the end of their days! Karachi is burning. And

the government is doing nothing, nothing about it!

These, readers, were just a few nuggets of my

highly professional and comprehensive coverage of recent tragedies. Stay tuned for more! a


dekh magar pyar say


Truck art in its entirety always

overwhelmed my visual palate. However, all I had to do to was to go closer to discover a

startlingly refined design aesthetic. The photo essay features a graphic designer’s day around Shirin Jinnah Colony, Karachi.



went looking for design elements within truck art and

came across a painted bouquet, and the images almost

ended up looking like a poster paint manual. What continues to amaze is the fact that

these artists, if they even call themselves that, are unaware

of the design phenomena that they have created.

30 AUGUST 22-28 2010

31 AUGUST 22-28 2010


Buri Nazar Wale, Tera Moonh Kala

32 AUGUST 22-28 2010

Z i d Majboori

Meri Hai

33 AUGUST 22-28 2010


Palat Kar Dekh Lay Zalim Tamana Hum Bhi Raktay Hain

34 AUGUST 22-28 2010

Fasla Rakh Warna Mohabbat Ho Jaye Gi

35 AUGUST 22-28 2010


featured review of the week

film pass the salt BY SAEED RAHMAN

OK, first a confession: I am a huge Angelina Jolie fan. I know, I know, some of you can’t stand her home-wrecking ways, and others find the adopting-a-child-from-every-continent routine bizarre and somewhat racist. I, however, find her one of the most exciting stars out there and am unapologetically besotted. In the ongoing feud between Team Aniston and Team Jolie, I’m perfectly clear on where I stand. I was excited to watch Salt not just for Jolie but also because of director Philip Noyce, responsible for Nicole Kidman’s Dead Calm, the poignant Rabbit Proof Fence, and The Quiet American. With these impeccable credentials, how, one wondered, could Salt miss? But miss it does and badly. The basic problem with this film is that it is a one-trick pony, that trick being Jolie participating in snazzy action sequences. While she’s pulled it off before in Tomb Raider, which was also high on action and meagre of plotline, Salt’s flimsy storyline is even more ludicrous and the action sequences that it so heavily relies on are simply not up to par. The novelty value of watching a woman inflict slickly-edited physical pain is simply not enough to work with. Jolie plays the eponymous Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent out of commission since her bad experience in North Korea. Salt now devotes herself to paperwork and lives with her arachnologist husband. Early on in the film we find out that Salt is actually a Russian sleeper agent and then that old tried and tested plot to kill the American president is trotted out, along with some malarkey about a bunker underneath the White House. It’s all very simple and easily resolved. Oh, and don’t let me forget the plan to bomb Mecca which is also foiled along the way. Salt was initially offered to Tom Cruise who turned it down to play another rogue agent in Knight and Day. Smart choice, Tom. Knight and Day might not have been a stellar offering but it’s a whole lot better than this dull, dreadful eye sore. Along the way, 36 Jolie changes hair colour (do you like your Angie blond or brunette? AUGUST 22-28 2010

bitter aftertaste Salt offers that old tried and tested plot to kill the American President

>> Those evil Ruskies: five thrillers that forgot the Cold War ended 1. Golden Eye 2. Eastern Promises 3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 4. Iron Man 2 5. The Bourne Supremacy <<

bland moves The stunt work in this film just looks clumsy, dated and trite

Tom Cruise turned it down to play another rogue agent in Knight and Day. Smart choice Tom. Knight and Day might not have been a stellar choice but it’s a whole lot better than this dull dreadful eyesore.

Take your pick.), steals many items of clothing, all of which fit as if they’d been tailor-made for her, and pouts at many a baddie. But these are just minor irritants. The real problems lie at Salt’s heart — namely, that it doesn’t have one. In lieu of this, it employs every cliché in the book and zealously devotes itself to insulting the intelligence of the average movie-going audience. With films like Inception out there, with myriad fantastical visual stunts, and gorgeous action choreography, the stunt work in this film just looks clumsy, dated and trite. Come on guys, we are paying money for this, you know! As for the writing, well, it’s abysmal. Leaden would be a compliment. Hollywood has produced action heroines that have been both smart and tough. The iconic Ridley played by Sigourney Weaver from the Alien series is one example. Even Jolie in Mr and Mrs Smith, though not really a characterisation for an actress to aspire to, was considerably more convincing than this. It also comes as a blow to Jolie die-hards such as myself, who enjoy her public image which tends towards subversive, rebellious and enigmatic. If Jolie and Noyce think their action figure heroine is anywhere near subversive they might want to check out Noomi Rapace in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Salander could kick Salt across a room and that’s something I’d pay to watch.

37 AUGUST 22-28 2010


film yes, prime minster BY MISHKA MURAD

Riveting, intriguing and thrilling, are not the words I would use for Roman Polanski’s latest offering The Ghost Writer. This is, after all, the man responsible for Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Pianist, and had I not known this was a Polanski film, I probably wouldn’t have guessed it. And the indifferent direction wasn’t even the worst of it, the leading actors left much to be desired. The Ghost Writer provided another opportunity for Pierce Brosnan to prove that he should be in some other line of work, and if he must persist in this, then for the love of God, please could he not attempt accents? The eponymous ghostwriter is Ewan McGregor, hired to edit and complete the memoirs of one Adam Lang, the former British Prime Minister. Lang has been accused of illegally detaining suspected terrorists and handing them over to the CIA for further investigation, and torture. Known simply as ‘The Ghost’, McGregor begins to uncover certain truths about the Prime Minister that put his own life in peril. There’s a twist coming up, you know, it’s dangled before you but the big revelation, which is neither big nor revealing enough occurs in the last five of an otherwise tortured 120 minute feature. But thankfully the twist is not the point, it is merely a gratuitous anti-climax; it is the socio-political commentary that keeps things chugging along, at an albeit lethargic pace. Lang , accused of a war crime, faces prosecution by the International Criminal Court, and the only way to avoid this is by being in a country that does not recognise the International Criminal Court’s authority. While there are several such countries, he chooses to stay in the US (which is indeed one of them). This is a story heard far too often today: a story of torture, allegations, victims and survivors, and the lack of ramifications the US faces. There is of course the irony of having this pointed out by Roman Polanski. If there was any doubt that former premier Tony Blair and his 38 special relationship with the bellicose US inspired this venture, the AUGUST 22-28 2010

chugging along the movie trudges along slowly and when it picks up, the twist does not seem worth the 115 minute wait fact that the actors engaged to play foreign secretary and secretary of state strongly resemble Robin Cook and Condoleeza Rice ought to settle the matter. The film is not just about Lang in his role as prime minister however; it is also about the private as well as the political, and both verdicts are damning. We are shown Adam Lang the husband and he’s no good at it. Neither he nor his wife Ruth (Olivia Williams) are faithful, both are unhappy and the corruption of compromise can be seen within and without. The movie trudges along slowly for what feels like an eternity, and when it picks up, it picks up just slightly. The twist did not seem worth the 115 minute wait, but, to give the devil his due, it makes for a beautifully crafted , thoughtful scene, a scene where Polanski’s presence looms large.

book the way we weren’t BY MAHVESH MURAD

David Nicholls’ One Day is meant to be an ‘it’ book for the summer. It’s meant to be funny, joyous and gleefully addictive. It is not. Instead, it’s an irritating, cloying look at two people who spend one (very uneventful) night together after graduating from university, and are somehow tied to each other for the next 20 odd years. Why are they tied to each other? Why do their paths cross again and again but never when they are ready to be with each other wholly, never when one is not irritated by the other? Why does it even matter, when it’s all so boring? While the narrative arc may jump back and forth along the timeline, it is never confusing or incoherent — it all makes perfect sense in terms of timing and the situations the characters find themselves in each time the writer visits them. But each meeting with these characters fails to be interesting or satisfying. There are humorous bits (though not enough), and generally things move along fast enough to make this a fairly quick read. Sadly, the entire thing is riddled with conversations that are simply just not worth recording. The two lead characters are both clichés. Emma is left-wing, politically astute and imagines her future to be hard, bright and focused. She is an NHS glasses wearing, earnest I-have-so-muchto-prove-about-how-little-I-care literature student who spends the larger part of the book stuck in dead-end jobs from a sad-sack travelling arts collective to a horrific Mexican fast food place. She makes half-hearted attempts to find jobs in publishing from which she is rejected, and she writes lengthy letters to Dexter, barely able to hide her bitterness and growing love for him. He, on the other hand, is a standard urban rich kid with no political leanings, no serious thoughts about his future and absolutely no interest in anything other than getting drunk and getting laid in as many countries as possible. She writes bad poetry, he sends postcards with a few words scribbled on them. Her love is yearning, his is nonexistent. She is always bitter, belittling and self deprecating

(this gets boring fast) and he is just too self involved to be anything other than self involved. Initially, it is easy to dislike the characters, but by a third of the way through the book it becomes clear that it is hard to even dislike them. They inspire supreme indifference. Nicholls attempts to examine the relationship between the leads, as well as their individual lives away from each other. Emma ends up teaching and settles into a relationship with an extremely unfunny stand up comedian who loves her in a way she will never love him. Dexter ends up hosting TV shows, snorting cocaine and dating vacuous models who never make him laugh the way Emma does. If the entire ‘will they get together, won’t they get together’ element is meant to create suspense and a more absorbing narrative then it is severely lacking. Both Emma and Dexter are at odds around each other, unsure how much of themselves they want to give. Each meeting results in some bickering, or resentment — both for the characters and for the reader as well. It is all very whiny, very grey and very British. And it is all very blah. Even for those who do not find the characters annoying or (even worse) can relate to them in some way will be forced to admit that Nicholls really does not deliver much of a punch. While many readers will find One Day a brisk summer read, they may well find that it leaves little behind once it is finished. a 39 AUGUST 22-28 2010

UP NORTH & PERSONAL A man, wearing a grubby, white, slept-in shalwar kameez, was marching up and down the narrow road over the garden wall in perfect imitation of a constipated chicken. Arms bent, elbows extended, jutting forward from waist up, striding six steps forward and then the same in reverse, turning purple in the face with effort. It looked

painful! Two more, one in a crumpled suit straining to contain him at the seams, the other in sloppy jeans and once white t-

paindoo Only lots of pluck — and a rifle — can keep paindoos at bay during the summer TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPH BY ZAHRAH NASIR

shirt, were halfway up the very tall, iron spiked side gate when

I finally paid attention to the insistent warning of my barking dogs.

“Hey!” I yelled at the two would-be intruders. “Get down from

there. This is private property.”

“Aah!” expelled the chicken. “I’m an estate agent, you’re the

gori and this property is for sale. They,’’ he pointed at the two rogues, “have come to buy it.”

“It isn’t for sale,” I told him in surprise.

“Yes it is,” he self-righteously insisted. “Open that gate and let

them in.”

“No. This is my property and it is not for sale so please go...


“It is for sale. I say so. Open the gate,” he squawked, testing my

patience to the limit in the process.

“Suno tum paindoo…it is not for sale. You two get down from

there before I do something about it.”

“Give me the key and I’ll open it,” the chicken declared. “Give it

to me now. You have to let them see the plot.”

Leaving my vantage point on the wall, I went inside the house,

returning seconds later with a rifle in one hand, cell phone in the other.

“Suno,” I angrily said through gritted teeth. “This is a rifle and

I will use it if you don’t go away. This property is not for sale. I

have phoned the police to come and arrest you for trying to break in. They are on their way right now. So…what is it to be?” I asked visibly slipping off the safety catch.

The hills prior to the invasion of the loathsomes

from Lahore to see this plot…let them in.”

the Mall in Murree. But the access road came and they, much to

slowly, with their hands in the air no less, backed off and va-

pression that every single piece of property in the locality is theirs

“But,” the chicken squawked. “They have come all the way I took steady aim… all three turned a sickly shade of green and,


‘Paindoo season’. It comes around every year and I loathe it.

The season opens around May and runs through until the end

of September with a little give and take at either end depending on the weather. Prior to the advent of road access five years ago, this obnoxious breed of person, mostly, for some unfathomable

reason, originating from Lahore and its environs, restricted


themselves to haunting ‘possible’ properties adjacent to the main

road on the other side of the mountain or parading up and down AUGUST 22-28 2010

my dismay, quickly followed. They, it appears, are under the imfor the asking and rarely admit defeat. In their book, everything

and everyone one has a price, a price which can, after downward negotiations in their favour, be met. They can be extremely stupid and insulting to boot.

Take the couple that Forest Gump delivered to my gate recent-

ly: “Madam, Madam,” he yelled as if the entire mountainside was on fire. “I have brought some guests.” The ‘guests’ were his not mine.

“They want to talk to you and look around your garden.”


“I’m sorry. This is private property, not a restaurant and I hap-

pen to be busy right now.”

“Oh, but I need you to tell me some things,” wailed the woman.

Noting Forest Gump’s dismay, he is a neighbour after all and

this is a very small community, I took a deep breath and said “Yes?”

“Aren’t you going to let us in first?” asked the brute, a man

used to getting his own way to judge by his attitude.

“No,” I replied before turning to his wife. “What do you want

to know?”

“Where do you come from? What are you doing here? How

many rooms are in your house? Where do you do your shopping? How many servants do you have? How much a month does it cost

to live here? What do you eat?” all rattled off at the speed of sound

as I raised my eyebrows at the awfulness of it all while her golfplaying husband leered on.

“I happen to be a Pakistani national,” I replied. “I live here. The

inside of my home is none of your business. I shop in the bazaar

like everyone else and the other questions you asked have absolutely nothing to do with you.”

“But...but…” she almost blubbered… “What do you eat?”

“Where I come from,” I told them both in no uncertain terms,

“We eat people like you!”

Naturally, the effort was wasted. It sailed completely over their

ignorant heads as if I hadn’t uttered a single word.

“You must be a Christian,” was the woman’s response. “And you must be Hindus,” was, to her shock, mine.

“No. No. No,” she screamed. “We are Muslim of course.”

At this point, a rather deflated Forest Gump decided that using

my presence to ensure a sale wasn’t a very good idea and, thankfully, escorted them out of my sight, the brute trailing behind still insisting that he wanted to see my garden.

This ‘brass not class’ brigade of ‘Johnny-cum-latelies’ are, on

the whole, totally devoid of manners. Expecting their money to

do their talking for them which, unfortunately, it does in their The couple, he overweight, badly dressed and somehow brut-

ish, she also overweight, decked out in all that glitters including the kind of gold jewellery more fitted to attending a wedding

than wandering round in the mountains, were complete strang-

own peculiar crowd and with servants, when it comes to communicating with ‘real’ people they are out of their depth, and quickly discover that putting their money where their mouth is, simply doesn’t hold water and certainly doesn’t equate with respect.

The amazing number of paindoos — the term is certainly not

ers to me but, initially at least, I was reasonably polite.

applicable to all Lahorites some of whom have impeccable man-


homes in the hills does make one wonder as to the real, above

“Hello!” I greeted them over the wall. “Did you want some-

“Yes,” replied the brute. “We are thinking of buying some land

off this man and he told us that a foreigner lives here so my wife

wanted to meet you. She has some questions. I want to see your garden. I will look around while you are making tea.” Making tea!

ners — who have enough wealth to invest in or construct holiday board, economic situation of the country.

Forest Gump meanwhile, is smiling all the way to the bank

while I curse him for the paindoo problems to come. I just hope

that he invests part of his windfall in a lawnmower so that he no longer needs to pester me for mine. a

AUGUST 22-28 2010




In Fear of Flying, the protagonist Isadora fantasises about having a child: “A very wise and witty little girl … a very independent little girl … with no toadying servility and no ingratiating seductiveness. A little girl who said what she meant and meant what she said. A little girl who was neither bitchy nor mealymouthed.”

active as any child his age, I know my son is in good health.

If the flaw in Isadora’s hopes is not immediately apparent, it

gence. Faced with a new situation, person, or object he is wan-

and possibly many of us who do not — have very definite ideas

that any interruption will crush him immediately. I can sense

is entirely understandable. Most of us who become parents —

of what we want our children to be like. In the zeal of pregnancy, I too harboured pious hopes for my child and stocked up on all manners of tactics from parenting guides to help my

parents unraveling as he grows from babyhood to boyhood. But

when I make his omelette in the morning it is with an extra dollop of butter and the hope that there is still something I can do to change him.

What worries me the most though is his nervous intelli-

tonly exuberant, hard to disengage, his energy at such a pitch the budding anxiety in his temperament and I wish he could be more stoic, not quite so high-strung.

Of course, the things I worry most about are those that I re-

bundle of joy develop. I was completely taken aback then when

gard as my own personal faults — the thinness, the anxiety

It flouts every notion of fairness when you think about it.

them replicated so faithfully in a new human being, who by

said bundle of joy arrived with — of all things — a personality.

You count on a new life to be exactly that; a sort of tabula rasa on which you get first dibs, a brand new baby for you to lov-

ingly nurture and mould into the perfect human being that you really just might have been yourself. Like any responsible par-

are traits that I have ingenuously passed on to him. And to see all rights, should have been born unhampered by any kind of

hang ups — to discover these hopelessly deterministic congenital failures in my child frightens me.

But I have to recognise my fears for what they are — my fears,

ent, I wanted to deposit little nuggets of wisdom in my baby,

not necessarily my child’s shortcomings. Every time I start

and through careful, patient parenting bestow a complete and

ask myself (or my husband) “Is he fine?” Usually, it is my hus-

instill good habits before he got the chance to develop bad ones, balanced personality on him.

What I didn’t count on though was that most of the time I

worrying excessively about something, I take a step back and band who will say emphatically that he is.

Ultimately, I have to remember that though he may have in-

would not be the architect of his personality but just the spec-

herited my personal defects, he also has the universal, human

me. Still, it’s hard not to feel responsible — almost culpable for

change what he doesn’t like about himself. And that is where

tator — and some time guide — as it naturally unfurled before many of his traits. Every time, for example, someone casually

remarks on how thin my two-year-old has become, I wince in-


His thinness is his body type, the DNA he inherited from his

wardly because somehow it is a failure on my part. Strong and AUGUST 22-28 2010

power to overcome them, to take stock of his weaknesses and

the real pride of being a parent comes in — not simply in ensuring that your child has no failings but in watching him rise above those he does. a

JUNE 13-19 2010


Aries Mar 20 – Apr 19 Allowing others to make pivotal decisions isn’t your style. But since you’ve no choice, back off and leave them to it. Actually, this is in your best interests because they’ll have the patience to deal with the demanding situations that only aggravate you. What’s more, with Mercury retrograde from today until September 12, and causing confusion in various obligations, you’ll have plenty to think about. Taurus Apr 20 – May 20 You may be sure what’s wise and right. Still, you’d best be prepared for a surprise. Things have changed

since you made certain decisions, enough that you may have to Shelley von Strunckel is an internationally acclaimed astrologer who created the first horoscope column for the London Sunday Times

abandon plans entirely and begin again. Initially this may seem a disaster. But as the unexpected twists triggered by the retrograde Mercury soon reveal, you’ve numerous options to consider, many far better than you conceived possible.

in 1992. A frequent lecturer, she writes daily, weekly and monthly horoscopes in publications around the world including South China Morning Post, The Gulf News, Tatler, French and Chinese Vogue and now The Express Tribune Magazine.

Gemini May 21 – Jun 20 As you already know, when your ruler Mercury is retrograde, while the world’s struggling with confusion, you also face numerous tedious personal doubts. But this cycle,

which begins today and continues until September 12, raises many questions about elements of your lifestyle and activities

out in the world that you’ve simply never addressed. While final decisions are unlikely, powerful insights give you the conviction to aim high.

Cancer Jun 21 – Jul 22 Unsettling as disputes about domestic or partnership matters may be, ultimately they’re about defining who’s responsible for what. The only problem is that with Mercury retrograde until September 12, defining issues and organising solutions is bound to take time. Understand that and instead of worrying about delays and seemingly pointless detours, you’ll recognise that in getting to the bottom of things, you’re resolving them for good. Leo Jul 23 – Aug 22 While you’d prefer to be frank about even sensitive issues, there are several you’ve been avoiding simply because you assume discussion will achieve nothing. However, work together with others to get to the bottom of the confusion that’s behind problems and you’ll be amazed what you learn. These insights, then, lead to solutions. Be patient, though, since even the cleverest must be regarded as tentative. Virgo Aug 23 – Sep 22 Ordinarily when Mercury is retrograde, as it is from today until September 12, you’re ready for the usual range of aggravating but minor errors. However, with it positioned in your sign and the circumstances you’re dealing with changing, those errors – which you’ll still encounter – could prove to be amazingly illuminating. The trick is to focus on gathering information, not


sorting out problems. That comes much later. AUGUST 22-28 2010

Libra Sep 23 – Oct 23 You always work hard to establish and maintain harmony. But with your ruler Venus actually meeting the courageous Mars today, you’re feeling especially responsible for keeping everybody happy. You’re not. This is about examining your life, goals and – most importantly – whether you’re content with the way things are going. And if you aren’t, changes give you the ideal opportunity to consider how you should alter your direction. Scorpio Oct 24 – Nov 21 ‘Choose your battles.’ Make this phrase

your motto and instead of fuming over apparent sleights or oth-

ers’ unscrupulous manoeuvres, you’ll investigate what’s behind

them. And, often, discover your assumptions were very much mistaken. This is partly due to drastic changes in circumstances. Add Mercury retrograde until September 12 and what you learn from asking a few questions won’t just be informative, it will transform your perspective.

Sagittarius Nov 22 – Dec 21 Because you regard a tentative decision as a compromise, when you commit, you do it wholeheartedly. Now, however, that will only get you in trouble. Between Mercury being retrograde until mid-September and revealing past errors, and your ruler Jupiter shifting signs in about two weeks, the foundation on which plans are made is changing. And often. Knowing that, explore and take chances - but avoid solid commitments.

Capricorn Dec 22 – Jan 19 You’d rather face and tackle a difficult

situation than live a lie. Yet you’ve either been ignoring the issues currently coming to light or hoped they’d resolve them-

selves. The problem is, they involve addressing personal matters which rouse exactly the feelings of vulnerability you’ve been trying to avoid. Only once you’re discussing these openly will you realise these are far more easily dealt with than you imagined.

Aquarius Jan 20 – Feb 19 For ages you’ve been trying to convince those you’re closest to on the domestic or professional front that certain issues are pressing. Now events show how right you were. Point this out, but stop there, since your ideas about putting things right may not be as wise as you think. The actual situations are changing dramatically, enough that any plans should be a joint effort. Pisces Feb 20 – Mar 20 Tuesday’s Pisces Full Moon may bring all

sorts of issues to a head. While it’s vital you discuss these, organising a plan to tackle them is another matter. Ordinarily you’d

welcome others’ eagerness to focus on achieving a solution. But

with the actual basis on which any changes would be made

For more information, to order personal charts and to download & listen to detailed audiocasts, visit

evolving rapidly, you’re better off discussing options and leaving


even simple decisions for later.

AUGUST 22-28 2010


10 things I hate about ...twitter

1 2 3 4 5


The mutual self-congratulation. Twitter users, or tweeters (see below), are the classic schoolyard bullies. Arrogant, opinionated and, above all, insecure. Once

someone decides that a certain user is ‘cool’, everyone else instantly jumps on the bandwagon.

6 7 8 9 10

The play-by-play commentary. Only the truly insane would follow a cricket match on Twitter when they could watch it on TV or follow live updates on Cricinfo.

Yet, whenever Pakistan is playing a match, people on Twitter feel the need to announce every wicket and boundary. Cricket commentary on Twitter is as incisive as that provided on TV by Rameez Raja.

The bastardisation of language. The New York Times re-

cently banned the use of the word ‘tweet’ in its hal-

lowed pages. They could add ‘re-tweet’, ‘tweeter’, ‘tweeple’ and ‘twibe’ to the list. As John Cleese pointed out, there is only one ‘tw’ word that should be used to describe these people: ‘twat’.

The creation of micro-celebrities. There was a reason a certain anchor was fired from his/her job and why that rent-an-analyst has enough time to update his Twitter

feed every 15 seconds. They weren’t particularly good at their jobs and need the accolades of the me-too crowd to feed their egos.

Mistaking 140 characters for political activism. Yes,

gang rape, flooding and drone strikes are bad. But railing against them in ALL-CAPS does not require courage.

I agree with myself. Being limited to 140 characters makes it impossible to start a good argument. Instead,

everyone just pats each other on the back for their wisdom and wit.


AUGUST 22-28 2010

Constant self-promotion. Congratulations, you have a blog. So does everyone else. If it was any good I would already be reading it.

Using the number of followers you have as a measure of self-worth. The only people more pathetic than you

are those who collect Facebook ‘friends’ the way Roger Federer collects tennis titles.

Its addictiveness: As any self-respecting voyeur knows,

there is nothing quite like getting a peek at all the disgusting habits and mannerisms that define humanity. And Twitter, which is exclusively populated by the dregs of humankind, is a voyeur’s dream.

Myself. Because Twitter is my crack cocaine and I need

a fix right now. a

JUNE 13-19 2010

JUNE 13-19 2010

The Express Tribune Magazine - August 22  

The Express Tribune Magazine for August 22nd 2010

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