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DECEMBER 23-29 2012

BEING


DECEMBER 23-29 2012

Cover Story

20 Being Mr Jinnah If only we could preserve Jinnah’s principles as well as we’ve preserved his belongings

Features

28 Son of The Soil The story of Second Lieutenant Daniel Utarid, who gave his life defending the Quaid’s Pakistan

30 The Aligarh of Sindh Enter the hallowed halls of the Sindh Madressah and take a walk through Pakistan’s history

33 The Boy Band That Wasn’t Pakistani pranksters fool the city of Toronto!

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Travel

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36 A Ziarat to Ziarat Get out of the city and take a road trip to one of Balochistan’s hill stations

Regulars 6 People & Parties: Out and about with Pakistan’s beautiful people 40 Reviews: Offbeat Americana 42 Healthy Living: Spine Solutions

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Magazine Editor: Zarrar Khuhro, Senior Sub-Editor: Farahnaz Zahidi, Sub-Editors: Mifrah Haq, Ameer Hamza and Dilaira Mondegarian. Creative Team: Amna Iqbal, Jamal Khurshid, Essa Malik, Maha Haider, Faizan Dawood, Samra Aamir, Sanober Ahmed. Publisher: Bilal A Lakhani. Executive Editor: Muhammad Ziauddin. Editor: Kamal Siddiqi. For feedback and submissions: magazine@tribune.com.pk Printed: uniprint@unigraph.com


PEOPLE & PARTIES

Abeer Adeel

Gon Pacci restaurant launches in Karachi

Hina and Yasmin

Ali and Shahnawaz

1 Ali and Shahnawaz.JPG

Amna Ilyas, Laiqa Hasan and Fouzia Aman

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Ayesha Omar DECEMBER 23-29 2012

Bilal Mukhtar

PHOTOS COURTESY SAVVY PR AND EVENTS

Sanam and Jamie

Nadia Hussain and Mikaal


DECEMBER 23-29 2012


PEOPLE & PARTIES

Kiran and Sidra

Anam and Rameez

Fashion World Pakistan organises the Fashion Gala 2012 in Islamabad

Jasmin and Rameez

PHOTOS COURTESY FASHION WORLD PAKISTAN

Sara

Tamoor and Rishi

Wasik and Sidra Mahi

8 DECEMBER 23-29 2012

Mona


DECEMBER 23-29 2012


PEOPLE & PARTIES

Hannah

Lahore in e r ie m e r s Skyfall p d e is n a g r o i s a Pep and Islamab Fauzia

Nimra Butt

Fawad, Ikram, Ahmer, Zayad, Abdullah and Ahmad

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Nauman and Iqra DECEMBER 23-29 2012

Nida and Arsalan

PHOTOS COURTESY VERVE PR

Madeeha, Shahrukh, Qurat and Sidra

Rabia Butt


DECEMBER 23-29 2012


PEOPLE & PARTIES

PHOTOS COURTESY PITCH

Depilex Beauty Clinic and Institute officially announces its new status as City & Guilds training Centre in Hairdressing and Beauty in Lahore

Shammal and Redah Masarrat Misbah

Rashid and Sahar

PHOTOS COURTESY SAVVY PR AND EVENTS

Sharoona

Fahad and Alina

Brands Just Pret organises a ‘Lady of Luck’ event in Dubai

Naveen, Yusuf and Somaya

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Janie and Nazia DECEMBER 23-29 2012

Amena Farhan


DECEMBER 23-29 2012


PEOPLE & PARTIES

Special Children’s Educational Institute organises an event for special children in connection with the International Day for Persons with Intellectual Challenges in Karachi

Sanya Shan and Afreen Shiraz

PHOTOS COURTESY IDEAS EVENTS PR

Muiza and Sherbano

Nazia Malik and Kausar Ahmed

Meher Cowasjee and Saima Haq Sofia Naveed with a friend

Zaheer Abbas and Khalid Hussain

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Nadia Rehan and Muzna Ibrahim Nadia Faisal


DECEMBER 23-29 2012


PEOPLE & PARTIES

Samina Khawar Hayat

Aik Hunar Aik Nagar (AHAN) organises a fashion show in Lahore

Naila Ishtiaq

Mohsin Ali and Rana Noman

Saim and Natasha Amna Maqsood

Fawad and Fizza Ali

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Saima and Hamna DECEMBER 23-29 2012

Nuzhat and Fauzia

PHOTOS COURTESY SAVVY PR AND EVENTS

Natalia, Raza, Zainab and Shahzad


DECEMBER 23-29 2012


Asifa and Nabeel

Sarah

Amna Babar

Yawar and Rumessa

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Maliha

PHOTOS COURTESY SAVVY PR AND EVENTS

PEOPLE & PARTIES


DECEMBER 23-29 2012


COVER STORY One day, while driving past the Mazar-e-Quaid with my family, I heard my four year old son refer to it as the ‘White Masjid’. While a place of worship is certainly deserving of respect, and I did certainly feel a touch of parental pride at his budding deductive abilities, I felt the record had to be set straight. It was time my boy had an introductory meeting with the Quaid-i-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It was time Mr Jinnah became more than a mythical character from textbooks for my son. On the designated day of our formal visit to the Mazar, we paid our parking dues and our per-

person entry fees before proceeding to the main podium to pay our respects to the Quaid. Just before

ascending the steps, a pan-muddled voice stopped us and asked us to take our footwear off, out of

respect, and deposit it for safe custody — for a small charge, of course. For us commoners, there is a price to be paid for visiting the Quaid and an additional charge for being respectful to him. It’s

hardly a surprise of course; we have successfully commercialised the Great Leader — even his title

“Quaid-e-Azam” has been debased by us to the point where “Quaid-e-Azam ki sifarish” has become a

euphemism for bribery!

 From the Quaid’s tomb, we proceeded to visit those of some of his closest confidants, located

in a roofed hall besides the podium. These include his sister, Ms Fatima Jinnah, Shaheed-e-Millat

Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan and his wife Ra’na Liaqat Ali Khan, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar and

BEING

Nurul Amin. The fact that Ms Jinnah was a dental surgeon and Begum Ra’na Liaqat was the brains behind the All Pakistan Women’s Association provides a good deal of insight into the mindsets of the nation’s early leaders. Sardar Sahib was a Muslim League leader and his claim to fame should

be his achievements and services, not the common slogan “chalo chalo Nishtar park chalo” that we hear

whenever a political party organises a jalsa in the park named after him. Nurul Amin was another Muslim League personality from the Bengal and a thorough patriot. He was sworn in as the first and only Vice President of Pakistan on December 22, 1971. A case of too little and a tad too late, one might say.

The writing on Shaheed-e-Millat Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan’s grave is Urdu on one side and

Bengali on the other, while on that of his wife, Begum Ra’na Liaquat Ali Khan besides his, is Urdu

on one side and English on the other. Sometimes, seemingly minor details give away darker chapters of history that are usually brushed under the rug. One bitter December in 1971 is the difference

between the two graves. Not wanting to explain to a four year old the disappointments and horrors that surround the event, I made a quick exit from the hall before a question was raised regarding the script. How could I explain to my son this sad chapter of my nation’s history when I do not completely understand it myself?

The “Aiwan-e-Nawadirat-e-Quaid-i-Azam”, which is a formal name in Romanised Urdu for the

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Quaid-i-Azam Museum, located adajacent to the hall housing the other graves, is a must-see. One (Continued on page 24)

DECEMBER 23-29 2012


MR JINNAH BY ADIL MULKI

21 DECEMBER 23-29 2012


DECEMBER 23-29 2012


DECEMBER 23-29 2012


COVER STORY

This is what the Quaid’s bedroom looked like. The cane carelessly resting on the bed, it seems as if the great man has gone to get a drink of water and will be back any second. has to pay an additional little charge here for getting a better

glimpse into the life of the father of the nation — and judging by the upkeep of the museum, every paisa is worth it, many times over.

Unlike the Quaid’s principles, his belongings have been care-

fully preserved, after restoration where required, and placed in well-lit glass chambers. His collection of swords and firearms,

some of them hand-made gifts, is placed behind a protective metal cage. Although photography is not allowed inside the museum, I had negotiated a special permission as I was writing for the press — but as I was to find out, the protective glass, iron cage

and lighting in the hall is not designed to facilitate photography. Shields, mementos and gifts presented to the Quaid all reflect

the love and respect that he commanded over millions of hearts

from Bengal to Khyber. Also on display are beautiful items of per-

sonal use such as ivory napkin holders and a silver cigarette case. His collection of holy books includes one English translation of

the Qur’an with a commentary by A Yusuf Ali bound in black hard back, much like his books of law.

Silently looking back at the visitors from a glass case, is an

Imam Zamin with the Arabic text “Fi Amaan Allah” (In the safety of

Allah), written with zari which has faded over the decades. The Imam Zamin contains five one Rupee coins of the state of Hyder-

abad. A good biographical museum should be able to transport the visitor for a brief moment into the life of the personality it is dedicated to, regardless of location or time. The “Aiwan” does just that.

The place has a certain power. It seems as if the frail and grace-

ful man in the black and white pictures will step out of the twodimensional frames any minute, take a measured walk through

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his study, pick up a few books, select his favorite suit for the evening and move on. One has to pause and look in admiration at DECEMBER 23-29 2012

Treasures from history: Some of the Quaid’s personal momentos and belongings, including the Imam Zamin (left).


The Flying Lady: The Quaid’s Packard. Jinnah’s suits tailored in Europe and decorative pieces carved out of pure ivory.

his collection of custom-made designer accessories ranging from

engraved buttons to buckskin shoes.  His wardrobe, elegant and enviable included made to order suits stitched by the finest fashion houses of London and Paris. The letters “MAJ” were embroi-

dered on the inner side of some shirts’ collars. One handkerchief in particular caught my attention as it only had the letter “J” —

just the way Ruttie Jinnah used to lovingly call him. Was it a gift

from his beloved wife? We may never know. It is easy to imagine in this magical space that the fashionably dressed “J” would then

be driven off in one of the two vintage sedans — his private 1938 Packard in white and the official Black 1947 Cadillac.

Perhaps Mr. Jinnah would like to play golf today or else don his

Jodhpur trousers and fancy a horse ride? The man certainly had great taste in fashion, books, furniture, weapons — you name it, he had it. And along with a taste and an eye for the finer things

The man certainly had great taste in fashion, books, furniture, weapons — you name it, he had it. A taste and an eye for the finer things in life. Freedom is one of the finest things in life

in life, he had the unshakable resolve that helped carve out a nation.

Earlier during this visit, I had come across an old Chitrali lady

and her young son, looking for some change for a hundred rupee

note. They exchanged currency and pleasantries with me despite their broken Urdu. Later, inside the “Aiwan”, I saw them being

insolently reprimanded for attempting to take pictures. The son sheepishly pointed towards me clicking away with abandon and

I felt the need to walk over to him and explain that I was permitted to do so for a press assignment. Later, I had to prove my innocence to countless others before finally succumbing to my guilt and packing away my camera altogether. 

The Quaid’s personal life suffered because of his commitment

to larger causes. His first wife, Emibai Jinnah, died while he was

studying in the UK and little is known about her. While Ruttie

“Maryam” Jinnah is relatively well known, in the midst of events leading up to partition and what followed thereafter, she too did not enjoy the undivided attention of the Quaid, nor the public

spotlight she deserved. However, here in the museum, behind thick sheets of glass, the spot lights are definitely on her.

The recently deceased maestro Ardeshir Cowasjee, in a July

2000 piece, had expressed gratitude to the Zoroastrian commuDECEMBER 23-29 2012

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COVER STORY nity of Pakistan for conceiving, funding, planting “the Ruttie

Jinnah Grove” and “for handing over the completed garden to the

Quaid-i-Azam Mazar Managing Board in March 1999 for further and continued upkeep and maintenance”. I looked around on our

little walk to the podium but was unable to locate the clump of trees dedicated to Mrs. Jinnah. With my family in tow and the

mid-day heat sapping our strength, I did not search the huge

mausoleum grounds. Hence, inside the museum, I was pleasantly surprised to find a window dedicated to Ruttie Jinnah,

beautifully displaying some of the Quaid’s personal belongings amidst large pictures her.

Ruttie Jinnah died on February 20, 1929, on her 29th Birthday.

MC Chagla who was present at the funeral, writes in his book

Roses in December, “That was the only time when I found Jinnah betraying some shadow of human weakness: there were actually tears in his eyes. It was, indeed, a tragic sight to see someone so young and beautiful lying in the cold embrace of death.”

Also in the gallery are some pictures of Ms Dina Wadia, the

Quaid’s only child, whom Ruttie “Maryam” Jinnah gave birth

to. Ms Wadia almost shares her birthday with Pakistan, ie, the

night of 14th August, though she was born after midnight and hence technically on the 15th. She married Neville Wadia, a Parsi,

against Mr Jinnah’s wish, and thereafter her relationship with

her father became formal to the point that the Quaid addressed her as ‘Mrs Wadia’ in correspondence and she reciprocated by calling her father ‘Mr Jinnah’.

To be Jinnah was to be knowledge, grace, class, commitment

and above all sacrifice personified. Physically, the age worn designer shoes of the Quaid on display might be size 10, but the

ones we have to fill, as citizens of the nation he created, are much larger.

Clockwise from the left: The white Packard. The Quaid’s golf clubs. The dressing gown for more casual moments. Jodhpuri pants for horseriding.

26 DECEMBER 23-29 2012


DECEMBER 23-29 2012


FEATURE

Daniel

Utarid

A tale of heroism from the tragic conflict of 1971 BY AZAM MAIRAJ

28 DECEMBER 23-29 2012


It was the morning of December 13, 1971 in what was then East Pakistan. 19 year old Second Lieutenant Daniel Utarid and his company had just returned from the previous night’s war mission. The young lieutenant sat down to have breakfast served by a familiar batman, one he had known from his childhood. This was a rare moment of comfort at the time, for Pakistan was in the thick of battle.

was his uncle. He himself was born in the very land

Just then he received news: the enemy had at-

emy Kakul on November 13, 1971 — just when Paki-

was coming under serious pressure. The platoon had

47th PMA course and receiving a shield for best rifle

tacked a platoon of the 31 Punjab Battalion, and it already suffered casualties and was in dire need of

reinforcements. Second Lt Utarid immediately led

posted to Dhaka, where his wife gave birth to Daniel on February 16, 1952 at CMH Dhaka Hospital.

The family moved to Lahore on their next posting,

and Daniel decided to join the Pakistan Army after

completing his Junior Cambridge from Saint Anthony’s School. It was not surprising that he was fol-

lowing in his father’s footsteps, as he was brought up on a generous dose of patriotism at home.

He passed out from the Pakistan Military Acad-

stan was at the brink of war — after completing the marksmanship.

Given his passion for the infantry, his first priority

his men to the war front, and was fatally injured

was to join the Punjab Regiment. Second Lt Utarid

An army doctor who tried to save Utarid’s life by

self during the war for a very difficult front in the

while fending off the enemy assault.

removing the bullets from his chest chronicled this young soldier’s last moments in his notebook. As

his life bled out from his many wounds, his last

His last words were: “Give this bullet to my mother as a souvenir and tell her that I took it in my chest while defending my homeland.”

that he eventually died in. In 1950, his father was

words were a request: “Give this bullet to my mother as a souvenir and tell her that I took it in my chest while defending my homeland.”

And so the brave soldier laid down his life on 13th

December 1971, at the age of 19 years, 8 months and

27 days. Just a day later, 31 Punjab gave up its arms and retreated, and on December 16 the Pakistan Army signed the instrument of surrender in Dhaka.

Second Lt Utarid’s sacrifice may have seemingly

gone in vain, since it did not prevent Pakistan from splitting up, but he received accolades and praise

from his commanding officer, Lt Col Riaz Javed, who recommended him for the third highest award

proved his mettle in this when he volunteered himEast, where his uncle, then Captain Philip Utarid, was also fighting. His father, retired by now, was

engaged as a reserve soldier in fighting at Bimbhar,

Kashmir. On December 1, 1971, Second Lt Utarid was

deputed to 31 Punjab, which at the time was posted in Sylhet, East Pakistan. Later, his colleagues and commanding officer Lt Col Riaz Javed (retd) lauded him as a young man who was always ready for the

defence of his country and would enthusiastically

volunteer for fighting patrols. He would return to

his unit without so much as looking tired or overwhelmed by the horrors of the war, they would say.

It is fitting then, that this son of the soil at least

had the honour of being buried in a part of what was once the Quaid’s Pakistan.

Irrespective of where you stand on the divisive

of gallantry, the Sitara-e-Jurrat.

Bangladesh conflict, this Christian soldier’s sacri-

also bears his name, along with those of others who

vice to the nation from a soldier who did not see

The monument at the Punjab regimental centre

went down fighting for their country, as a martyr.

This young man had the blood of a soldier run-

ning through his veins: his father was Lt Arthur Emanuel Utarid (retd) and Lt Col Philip Utarid (retd)

fice deserves to be recognised as an invaluable serhimself as a minority, but a Pakistani. What would it take for the rest of us to accord his community the

same respect? Surely that would be more pleasing to his soul than any amount of plaques and awards.

Son OF the soil 29 DECEMBER 23-29 2012


FEATURE

the aligarh

of sindh

Ignored for more than a century, the Sindh Madressatul Islam’s journey from being a secondary boarding school to a public sector university is a tale that spans the history of Pakistan TEXT AND PHOTOS BY ANWER ABRO

The Sindh Madressatul Islam (SMI) boasts of an impressive list of alumni who have played key roles in the history of Pakistan. Quaid-i-Azam

Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Sir Abdullah Haroon, Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto, Sir Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah, Muhammad Ayub Khuhro, Mir Ghous Bux Bezinjo and Attaullah Mengal have all

studied at SMI. But its journey from a secondary boarding

school to a university was not an easy one. On the other side of the border, another premier Muslim educational

institute, Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia, became the Cen-

tral University of India just 68 years after its founding, the alma mater of the founder of Pakistan had to wait for more than a century before it attained university status.

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In 1885, Khan Bahadur Hassanally Effendi was inspired

DECEMBER 23-29 2012


education along with religious instruction. It was here that the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah studied from 1887 to 1892.

The Quaid returned once again to the halls of SMI in 1943, when he inaugurated college classes at his beloved alma mater. It

was during this period that prominent European academicians

including Sir Thomas Henry Vines served the institution as its principals.

1947 brought with it partition, and as the refugees from across

the border started pouring into Pakistan, it was SMI that rapidly converted its hostels into temporary residential rooms for them.

It was an ironic day in 1972, when even the Sindh Madressatul

Islam could not resist the advent of ‘Islamic Socialism’ and was

nationalised under Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. For two years it remained under the administrative control of the Sindh

Government but in 1974, it was handed over to the federal education ministry.

Eleven years later, on 1st September 1985, General Ziaul Haq

announced the restoration of college status for SMI, which had been taken away after nationalisation. Despite Zia’s promise, college status was actually withheld from SMI until 1994, when

Dr Mohammad Ali Shaikh became the Principal. He finally succeeded in elevating SMI to the college level with the help of the

then federal education minister, Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah in 1995, in the second government of Benazir Bhutto.

It was under the leadership of Dr Shaikh that the historic in-

stitution began to show signs of its former splendour. Over the years the beautiful stone walls had been covered by plaster, and by the efforts of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in promoting education

in the sub-continent and decided to open a similar institute for the Muslims of Sindh. Effendi selected a plot of land in Qafila

Seria (where SMI exists today) for the cause and inaugurated the Sindh Madressatul Islam on September 1, 1885. Modelled after

by utilising sand blasting techniques, the archaeological beauty

of the historic gothic-styled buildings was finally restored. New

computer laboratories were added, new books were purchased for the library and the auditorium was renovated. Secondary classes for girls were also introduced at this time.

Between 1997 and 1999, the then federal education minister,

the Aligarh Oriental College, it soon became the bastion of edu-

Mr Ghous Ali Shah took a special interest in SMI and formed a

The institute prided itself on imparting subsidised, modern

Ahmed Jalibi to prepare the charter and related material for the

cation in Sindh.

committee chaired by noted academician and intellectual Jameel DECEMBER 23-29 2012

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FEATURE proposed SMI University. In 2008, the Pakistan People’s Party came into power and picked up where the PML-N left off.

Finally on May 18, 2010, the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari,

the great grandson of Hassanally Effendi, attended the inaugural session of a National Conference on Jinnah, organised by the SMI at the Sindh Governor House and announced university status for

SMI along with a grant of 225 million rupees. The bill formally be-

queathing university status to SMI was unanimously passed from the Sindh Assembly in the form of an act on December 22, 2011. All

the elected members of the political parties lauded SMI for providing

It was an ironic day in 1972, when even the Sindh Madressatul Islam could not resist the advent of ‘Islamic Socialism’ and was nationalised under Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto quality education in Sindh since the 19th century.

Coming full circle, SMI is once again getting possession of its three

oldest buildings ie Hassanally House (built in 1909), Khairpur House

(built in 1912) and Sardar House (built in 1919), which are under the

control of the SM Science College. Historically, these buildings had

remained a part of the SMI up to 1972 but after nationalisation, the college section remained with the Sindh government and only the school section was under the control of federal education ministry.

Interestingly, these three buildings were the same ones which

housed both students and refugees for almost half a century. Now preparations are underway to welcome the first batch of students at

the SMI University in January 2013. With this, yet another genera-

tion will get the chance to live the motto of this legendary institute:

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“Enter to Learn, Go forth to Serve” DECEMBER 23-29 2012


FEATURE

the boy band

that wasn’t

When Pakistan’s top Boy Band, The Soup Boys showed up at the Toronto International Film Festival, the crowds went wild! The press wanted pictures, girls wanted autographs, and some of their jealous boyfriends possibly wanted to punch them in the face. What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of the Soup Boys? Well, read on… BY HAMMAD FASIH

Albert Einstein once said “reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” North American culture is wrapped in a never ending shroud of illusion. A keen eye can spot this. A sharp mind can deduce this. An entrepreneur can leverage this. However, a creative team can turn this illusion into a worldwide statement.

was buzzing with star fever as the likes of Kristen Stewart and

Enter The Soup Boys, an experimental marketing project that

a name, secured extra volunteers, and come up with a plan of

pranked an entire city into believing that an A-list boy band was

visiting Toronto from Pakistan for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). In fact, The Soup Boys were nothing more than a small group of friends with an idea to trick their city and have some fun while doing that.

The final weekend of TIFF was quickly approaching. The city

Ben Affleck descended upon the city. The timing for such an

event could not have been any more perfect. With the date set, our team had just less than 2 weeks to prepare for a celebrity takeover in downtown Toronto at Dundas Square. At this point

things began to move quickly. Within a week we had picked a location, acquired the equipment, developed a brand, created action.

Scouring liquidation stores for cheap equipment, we even went

as far as taping a dollar-store flashlight on to a defective and outdated news camera to add to the effect.

With less than a week remaining, the team began to practice

roles, develop back stories and create personalities. Bodyguards DECEMBER 23-29 2012

33


FEATURE practised how to immediately respond to situations while remaining at the beck and call of the word

“security”, while faux fan girls prepared their high pitched screams. Each supporting cast member worked

laboriously to fulfill one purpose: making these fake celebrities believable as a huge Pakistani boy band.

All signs pointed to a successful event. However, no event is without its moment of doubt; that second

of indecision that grips one member of the team. It can be caused randomly as events are so complex in nature that anything can go wrong at anytime.

Up to this point, the ‘reporters’ had practised their lines to perfection and as they began

to rehearse, one small overlooked factor started to become increasingly apparent. If people were going to lie about knowing “The Soup Boys” how would they be able to differentiate band members without knowing their names? Our supporting cast could only repeat a

band member’s name so often before it became

awkward. As the ramifications of this began to

spread, many began to doubt the effectiveness of the

entire plan. The realisation that the stunt would only

be compelling for five minutes before it died down

began to emerge.

But then a solution was found just as quickly. Why not

put words into other peoples’ mouths? The reporters,

instead of asking “who is your favourite member of the

soup boys?” could ask “what did you think of Danish’s

legendary guitar solo on their debut single?”

This removed the confusion that would otherwise have

lead to potentially awkward moments in interviews.

When an interviewee is so quick with his or her response

and so excited to comment on their favourite boy band, the

waiting crowd begins to fall deeper into the fantasy. The

congregations’ perceptions begin to shift, as the image of

the Soup Boys begins to gain even more depth.

Five minutes before the big ‘walk out’ the scene outside the doors was stagnant.

There was no hype, no crew, and no crowd. The media team moved into position right away. While setting up cameras and shouting instructions, we began to attract curious glances.

Soon people began to stop and stare.

The brave ones ventured over to ask what was going

on while the shy ones, the ones not yet sure of what

to make of this event, began to murmur amongst

themselves.

Before the question could be answered by our own

staff, who were too busy setting up the cameras for the

‘international celebrities’, bonafide onlookers began to

fill the curious ones in.

“They’re a boy band from Pakistan,” some yelled,

while others added, “They were trending on twitter

about coming to TIFF!”

34

The media crew even started to get frustrated by those

DECEMBER 23-29 2012


ambiance, the perfect counterweight, the perfect challenge that

“They’re a boy band from Pakistan,” some yelled, while others added, “They were trending on twitter about coming to TIFF!” stopping to stare as they were getting in the way. Reprimanded

like school children by their teacher, they moved off to the side

the eager crowd needed. No Justin Bieber or Donald Trump, is worth his salt without his haters.

However, these haters were no match for our professional team

members who had strategically placed two female accomplices

within the crowd. Their only job was to scream in anticipation; a small detail which was crucial to cement the hoax in the minds of the crowd.

One ear-splitting, crystal shattering scream marked our

arrival. The Soup Boys, escorted by security, began to emerge. Innumerable flashes of paparazzi cameras went off. The crowd

went into a frenzy, attracting more masses of people and

eventually creating a wall that halted traffic. Another scream as “The Soup Boys” wave to the ensuing crowd from the building and then… pandemonium.

The Soup Boys have become minor celebrities ever since, with

but remained completely stationary. The illusion was starting to

media outlets like blogTO, a web site about Toronto, and Breakfast

Accompanying the many fans was also a group of haters, who

programme, running their video footage. Their appearance on

work!

were convinced that The Soup Boys were nothing more than a band of tight jean wearing, Backstreet Boys knockoffs.

One frustrated bystander, clearly sick of waiting for our big

entrance, even exclaimed: “You know how these Rock Stars are, they make their own time!”

Another told his girlfriend: “What’s the point? They’re too big

to remember taking a photo with you.”

As his girlfriend broke through the crowd to get through to

Basim, I remembered Kanye West so accurately claiming “I love all my haters.” I too loved these haters. They created the perfect

Television, a Canadian morning news and entertainment Omni Television, a multilingual Canadian television system, is also imminent with talks underway. Their popularity has

been spreading so far and wide that ‘band members’ are being recognised by people on the street. “I was the grocery store and

the cashier recognised me,” says Naseem. Their reach is not only limited to Toronto with news pouring in that they have also been invited to pull the same stunt in Amsterdam and Hong Kong.

What started off as a prank has clearly evolved into something

even the pranksters didn’t anticipate. As Naseem says, “The Soup Boys are here to stay.”

DECEMBER 23-29 2012

35


TRAVEL

a ziarat

to ziarat Despite warnings and misgivings, the author and his family decide to get out of smoggy Karachi to breathe the fresh air of a Balochistan hill station BY HAFIZ MUZZAMMIL

The idea was just too risky. In fact, I was crazy to even think about going ahead with it. This is what I was told by just about each and every one of my

friends when I discussed with them my plans to take a family trip, with my wife and two kids in tow, to Ziarat. This is that

hill station in Balochistan famous for being the Quaid-i-Azam’s

health retreat in his last days of battling with tuberculosis. History aside, it’s also famous for its omnipresent junipers.

Ten years back, when I visited Quetta and Ziarat with a bunch

of college friends, I was given the same travel advisory. As a re-

36

sult of not paying heed to this advice, we survived just a few DECEMBER 23-29 2012


hours in the mountains and had to come down to Quetta — but only because of the killer December cold!

This time, however, I was going to be more careful about the timing of the

trip. Choosing November for the outing also meant that our winter wear inventory, lying idle in the attic for years, could now be utilised. We weren’t particularly interested in the main attractions of Ziarat — Jinnah’s Residency and the

junipers — but we really wanted to see the fabled autumn colours of the region

— a sight rarely witnessed in Karachi, which seems to have no seasons at all. My cousin from New York had shared pictures of colourful cherry blossoms blooming in his city during this season, which made me realise with a shock that fall colors do not appear only on seasonal lawn prints!

But my drive to make the trip was just too strong to be put down by any appre-

hensions. And I figured that if I take necessary precautions, it won’t be all that risky. And so convinced in this belief, I went ahead with the trip.

Plan ‘A’ was to do the 1,700 km roundtrip by car, which was then switched to

Plan ‘B’ of using public transport instead. This was because we didn’t want to

drive through the volatile Khuzdar city, located halfway between Karachi and Ziarat on the RCD highway. Priced above average, the overnight Al-Aziz coach to

Quetta was more comfortable than what we had expected and was comparable to the ones we rode around peninsular Malaysia. But it was the lack of en route

facilities, especially toilets, which made the long journey a bit inconvenient. We reached Quetta around sunrise, transferred to the Ziarat-bound wagon, and finally made it to the hill station before midday — safe and sound.

As we disembarked from the wagon, it felt like we had walked into a cold stor-

age, even though the sun shone on our heads unabatedly. What we found even

more amusing was that everyone we met was so worried about the law and order situation in Karachi and inquired rather innocently how we came out of the

bleeding metropolis alive! Funny that Karachiites think that Quetta is unsafe while locals in Quetta think that Karachi is way more dangerous.

From a tourist’s point of view, there is not much to do in Ziarat. But this was

exactly what we wanted to do: relax. There are a few exceptions though, and the Residency, where Jinnah spent his last days, is the most notewor-

thy. Gardens around the Residency

are the best maintained in the whole of Ziarat. We enjoyed our little pic-

nic there the next day as we watched the golden leaves falling off trees and

dancing in the air, making their way down to the ground. The rustling of the leaves produced a synchronised

whistling sound that broke the silence around us and announced the

coming of autumn. The sunshine was just perfect to replenish our Vitamin D levels; the air was as fresh

as it could be, presenting us with the

opportunity to purify our polluted ur-

banite lungs; the skies were so clear

Chances are you won’t die from a bomb blast in Quetta but will die of overeating thanks to Pashtun hospitality

and blue that we could see even the

DECEMBER 23-29 2012

37


TRAVEL moon in the brightest of afternoons!

The aesthetically designed wooden building in the background

was not just a testament to the architectural marvel of its cre-

ators, but it was also reminiscent of the colonial era. In its good old days, I thought to myself, this serene resort must have looked

over the East India Company’s rebellious northwestern frontiers towards Afghanistan and beyond.

Back in our cozy hotel room, our little angel found the gas

heater an object of interest while her younger accomplice struggled to deal with the many warm layers he wasn’t used to wear-

ing. At night, the barking sounds from the wild suggested that the jungle was not far away. In the bazaar the next day, we found people to be friendly and courteous — except for one pushy tout trying to sell rooms in his guesthouse to the only tourists

Funny that Karachiites think that Quetta is unsafe while locals in Quetta think that Karachi is way more dangerous

in town. Overall, the ambiance was laidback, peaceful, yet still

commercial and comparable to other mountain stations like Gilgit and Chitral. Most of the people appeared to be religious and

the active presence of religio-political parties was very visible on the streets. Surprisingly though, in this apparently conservative society, we saw many girls in uniforms coming out of schools, indicating that women literacy in this area may be on the rise.

I brought this up with my host, Abdus Samad Dotani, a local of

Ziarat who had invited us for a sumptuous luncheon and a trip to

his family farms in Kewas the next day. He replied that women from the previous generation, for instance his wife, were not lit-

erate at all, but he had made sure all his daughters received an

education. He said that more and more people were sending their daughters to school now, and believed that well over 50 per cent girls of his valley were receiving an education. The number of

female students is even higher in places where there are schools nearby, he claimed.

A trip to Ziarat is incomplete without visiting one of its fruit

valleys, and we were lucky that Dotani had arranged for us an outing at his family farm. The view from the village was one that

we had longed to see; it was full of colors: red, orange, yellow,

and green. Fat woolly sheep in black and white added to the rus-

ticity of the scenery. Our host had made sure that a few trees in his orchard were left laden with apples for his guests to pick (it

was the perfect opportunity for me to click away with my camera and capture the rustic village beauty that I could show off to my

cousin in New York!), while he also packed us a couple of cartons to take home. Chances are you won’t die from a bomb blast in Quetta but will die of overeating thanks to Pashtun hospitality!

After spending one more night in Ziarat, we began our long

journey back home. All the way, I kept imagining a future when

continuing the road trip all the way to Samarkand in Uzbekistan — another 1,500 km — would not be deemed too dangerous to

sanely undertake. Perhaps it won’t be long before I undertake

one, for I believe where there is a road there is a way. If you have

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the will, that is. DECEMBER 23-29 2012


REVIEW

down on the bayou BY ANTHONY GALLI

Loosely based on the one-act play Juicy and Delicious, Beasts of the Southern Wild is directed by Benh Zeitlin and centres around a bayou fishing community in Louisiana called “Bathtub,” cut off from the mainland by a levee wall. We intimately see how the other half live, narrated by an open-to-the-world six year old black girl named Hushpuppy. Her sense of unity with her surroundings allows her to feel a special bond with animals, listening to their heartbeats like a special code, and yet we also paradoxically sense how alone she is as she explores her world. While the voiceovers are, at times, a little difficult to understand, we gather that she has a father named Wink who is clearly a flawed man — short-tempered, impatient, and apparently has a heart condition or some medical problem. Yet, as abusive as he can be, he still loves Hushpuppy and in his own way has found his niche in this milieu. The first adult female we see gives Hushpuppy and other children a lecture about the reality of the natural world and its beastly imperative to eat or be eaten. We’re all meat, she informs them, which reminds me of the Woody Allen quip that nature is essentially one big lunch buffet. The kids learn about global warming and the melting of the polar ice caps, flooding coastlines, especially the swamps which they inhabit. The big event early on in the plot is an impending storm, confronting the residents with a choice to stay in Bathtub or flee, with most taking the safer option. The rest of the movie basically concerns itself with the storm’s aftermath, the survival of those who stayed put, and an eventual intervention by outsiders. The movie’s central themes — our dependence on nature and on each other, nostalgia for a way of life where we knew our place in the world, resilience, threats to the environment from our modern lifestyle and technology, the value of giving and forgiving — are exemplified best by Hushpuppy’s wisdom, by also by its inter- and intra-community dynamics. The first thing one notices is that while the film shows what is, in many respects, typical depictions of poor Americana, it’s one many of us seem to have forgotten still exists. These are not urban black youth living in a ghetto, blasting hip hop on their stereos, driving flashy cars, or playing basketball on blacktop in a concrete jungle, but a people who, despite being surrounded by the city and its intrusions, live organically (if that word is even in their vocabulary). This is not to say that the film is free of stereotypical characters found in older American lore, but it is good to remind us that many poor communities are still rural, and often remain invisible to modern pop culture. Bathtub is not strictly an African American community, as white and black live together seamlessly, with no hint of their racial 40 otherness. They’re all equal here, equally poor. DECEMBER 23-29 2012

The movie has been dubbed fantasy drama, although the literary genre known as magic realism seems more apt. At points its cinematography gives it a documentary feel, at other times perspectival and subjective in an almost Terrence Malick-esque style. The film has a pathos running through it that tempers any off-putting cleverness that its quick cuts, eccentric shots, and dialogue could engender in mainstream audiences. Zeitlin’s debut is quite impressive, and there is buzz that it’s an Oscar contender. Given a largely non-professional cast and crew, it’s hard to say whether that makes the high-quality performances all the more impressive, or just what Zeitlin was aiming for in his use of locals to depict locals. Tall-tales, poetic license, and idiom — the primordial heart of all mythology — stands as an almost lost art, amongst the “reality” shows, suburban sprawl, and technocratic uniformity of 21st century America. The charm of southern wit and old-fashioned story-telling, so well-captured in Big Fish, is more subtlely employed here, to good effect. With irreverent and kitschy internet memes like Chuck Norris, it’s important to remember that we once had folk heroes like John Henry.


suffer the children BY MAHVESH MURAD

Violent children are always disturbing. Perhaps it’s the idea of innocence lost so early that is frightening; perhaps because it is so unexpected to find very young children as perpetrators of vicious, bloody murders. Either way, extreme violence from a child as the premise for a book is enough to either entirely repulse or entirely put a reader in a trance, depending on how well it’s written. Liz Jensen, however, writes her latest book The Uninvited with precision fluidity, beginning with the protagonist’s recollection of “when a young child in butterfly pajamas slaughtered her grandmother with a nail-gun to the neck...No reason, no warning.” Narrated by Hesketh Lock, a consultant for a global troubleshooting company, the story follows a series of violent spates by children, and corporate sabotage by adults claiming they didn’t act of their own volition. Lock suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, which makes him incapable of lying or even imagining anything beyond the absolute empirical reality, and thus we are led to trust his account of the events. He explains, “My contract with the world holds that there are no secrets we can’t unlock, with persistence and time, because everything has a precedent.” Yet when his adorable stepson is shockingly found to be involved in a murder, forcing a sudden but clear shift in the paradigm he recognises, Lock is unable to remain a purely disengaged observer. It’s an odd book that relies on an unemotional “robot made of meat” narrator to tell its story, and it should be hard to relate to Lock, who tries to navigate society without understanding many of the social cues that people around him immediately pick up on. But it’s not, and this is a testament to Jensen’s simple and effective prose. It is a book with many frightening aspects — one being how easy it is to read and accept what is being suggested, because “whatever is shaking the foundations of the reality we know, it is something we have summoned.” All over the world these changeling children force global society and economy into ruin. Lock attempts to understand why children, after murdering their family members, appear to be retreating into a world of their own, a “world with no adults, no toilets, no fresh food, a world with its own landscape, and props, its minerals, its food sources, its rites and rituals, its gestural password, its hierarchies, its own unassailable imperatives.” The Uninvited is perfect cerebral horror — while there may be blood and violence, what is ultimately frightening is what the future holds for a “species in crisis: a species on the brink of collapse.”

As with some of Jensen’s previous books, The Uninvited too has elements of an eco-thriller, and of a prelude to dystopia, built from many different mythological cultures. There is the suggestion of the Gaia hypothesis — that everything in the world co-evolves with its environment — which leads to a frightening but highly probable future, because “human history is a juggernaut. If it’s to change direction, it must first come to a stop.” It makes this film a quiet, compact and a creepy little cautionary tale that is completely relevant to modern society.

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The Express Tribune Magazine - December 23