JANUARY 26-FEBRUARY 1 2014
heat The men who play with fire in order to save others
JANUARY 26-FEBRUARY 1 2014
Pakistan on the field
Red heat The men who play with fire in order to save others COVER PHOTO CREDIT: AYESHA MIR
We list the top ten Pakistani-origin footballers playing abroad and their achievements
The world on your plate Can globalised menus make thoughtful world citizens out of us all?
6 People & Parties: Out and about 36
with beautiful people Review: Books and Movies 42 Health: In clear sight
Magazine In-charge: Sarah Munir and Sub-Editors: Dilaira Mondegarian and Manahyl Khan Creative Team: Amna Iqbal, Essa Malik, Jamal Khurshid, Samra Aamir, Kiran Shahid, Munira Abbas, S Asif Ali & Talha Ahmed Khan Publisher: Bilal A Lakhani. Executive Editor: Muhammad Ziauddin. Editor: Kamal Siddiqi For feedback and submissions: email@example.com Twitter: @ETribuneMag & Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ETribuneMag Printed: firstname.lastname@example.org
PEOPLE & PARTIES
an and Nav
m and Anum
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Uzma Nadeem and Saadia Kamran
PHOTO COURTESY BY TAKELL
Giordano opens its retail outlet in Dolmen Mall, Karachi
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Rose and Yildrim
i ula and Mouzam Abbas
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Marvi and Eh
PHOTO COURTESY BY TAKELL
Nashra, Ramsha and Am
PEOPLE & PARTIES
a and Saba
Asra Ellahi and Uzma Rao
ry liha Chaudha
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Arooj Gulzar and Hina Salman
PHOTO COUR BILAL MUKHTAR EVENTS
Nabeel & Aqeel introduce their line of perfumes at their flagship Store
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Ayesha Ahsan and Maryam Yaqoob Rachael
Uzma with a friend
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PHOTO COUR BILAL MUKHTAR EVENTS
Sana and Sumera
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Sana and Za
and M Zam, Sabeen
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Sara Sabeen, Akash Ali and Jazmin
PHOTO COURTESY AKASH MEDIA GROUP
FUTURE Brand Store launches in four cities
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Tahoora and Sabeen
Mr and Mrs Raza Ahma
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PHOTO COURTESY AKASH MEDIA GROUP
Zara Shah and Moosa
PEOPLE & PARTIES
and Saira H
Eram and Sarah
daf Ahm Sadia and Sa
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Shezeen Ali and Sherry
PHOTO COURTESY AAMIR MAZHAR
Khadijah Shah of Elan displays her collection at Ensemble, UAE
RED The men who play with fire in order to save others BY NOMAN ANSARI DESIGN BY JAMAL KHURSHID
They run into buildings when other people are running out, often understaffed, underpaid, and tight on resources. But the real misfortune is that when they finally show up to a fire emergency, these heroes are often disrespected, abused, and beaten. “At times, when we arrive on scene, they curse at us, hysterically demanding what took us so long,” says senior fire truck driver Abdullah in an emotional voice. He adds humbly, “But you know, that’s their right. It is their property that is in flames so they have a right to be emotional. But they should also realise [that] we are beings of Allah.” PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/ EXPRESS
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Abdullah has been driving fire trucks and fighting fire for as long as he can remember. Often, he is the first to respond. His grandfatherly beard and heartwarming smile soften the blow of the difficult tales he has to share, but his twinkling eyes carry a burden his pleasant demeanor cannot hide. “I am so glad you are hearing our side of the story. I am so glad someone is,” he says for the umpteenth time. The statement is coming from a man who has a lot to say but is not often heard.
A flaming battle Mohammad has been a firefighter for over 24 years. A humble man with a shy smile, it takes some prodding to open him up. “I don’t know why I do this. I guess I just have a desire to save lives and be of public service and [the zeal] comes from the heart and my Creator. I don’t think I am brave.” “He is being modest,” chimes in Saeed Jadoon, the fire chief of Karachi Port Trust (KPT). “Once he was in the hospital, recovering from an out-of-control fire he had been fighting. When he came to [work], he put his equipment back on, and rushed back to join his colleagues. There is never any shortage of courage. In fact, for some of our firefighters [even] their facial hair has caught fire.” Although Mohammad and Abdullah’s beards have never caught fire, they do carry numerous scars. “There are various scars on my body from the job over the years, but some of the deepest cuts are the ones you can’t see,” adds Abdullah. While Abdullah struggles to regain his composure, Jadoon breaks the silence. “Only these boys can tell you their experiences from the field, but sometimes they are treated really poorly. Once, after conducting a rescue operation, they were short on drinking water, and they went to a nearby house to ask for a drink, but they were refused.” “They told us that only if we brought our own cup, would they give us water. We were lower than servants,” adds Abdullah. “It was as if they were afraid that if we touched their bottles, they would get infected.” Mohammed adds that in cases where they are unable to save the property, people turn violent. They are often grabbed by their necks and pulled out of their vehicles. And amid all this panic, they are also forced to guard their equipment. “There is so much chaos during an emergency, and at a time when every firefighter and every resource we carry is priceless, we have to leave someone at the vehicle to guard our equipment because
In cases where the firemen are unable to save the property, people turn violent. They are often grabbed by their necks and pulled out of their vehicles. And amid all this panic, they are also forced to guard their equipment.
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Fire brigade workers protest at Civic Center, Karachi. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/ EXPRESS
Firefighters in Karachi struggle to rescue people from the factory fire that killed over 300 people. PHOTO: REUTERS
A fireman tries to extinguish a factory fire on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 in Lahore. PHOTO: REUTERS
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invariably, hooligans try to steal from us.” The duo were also on duty in 2009, fighting the fire at Bolton Market in Karachi, where over 10,000 shops were caught in an inferno and over 30,000 people lost their livelihood. “When we first saw the horrific fire from a distance, I prayed to Allah,” says Abdullah. During the efforts to contain the fire, many people vented their frustration on the rescue workers, including the senior driver. “I was punched and slapped so many times that day, and the police had abandoned us. First, they came to get us and told us they would escort us, but when the mob showed up, they completely deserted us,” Abdullah says. In such situations, the firemen had no other option but to fight back.“Yet, my heard bled for them and I could understand their misery. They were all screaming ‘Where were you? What took you so long?’” For Abdullah, the answers are frustrating, and his experience as a driver has taught him a lot. “One of the biggest problems is our own citizens. When a fire truck has its sirens flashing, horn blaring, and is moving at breakneck speed towards an emergency, other drivers take advantage.” Like a school of fish that attaches itself to a whale, motorcycles, rickshaws, and cars selfishly stick to the sides of large emergency vehicles so as that they too can hurriedly get through traffic. This naturally slows a fire truck down. Worse still are the long traffic jams, which cause hold-ups. Compounding the problem are the Uturns which have been closed on long stretches of road to combat congestion. “If I wish to simply go somewhere which is five minutes away, because of all the cuts that have been closed, my route is now longer. Now I have to take the overhead bridge and lots of turns which have turned a five-minute distance into a 45-minute one!” Perhaps what Abdullah also realises, but will not say, is that Karachi is woefully short on firefighting resources. According to a study conducted by MBA students at the Institute of Business Administration, of the 206 fire stations the port city needs to effectively to deal with hazards, there are only 22. The study also finds that in a comparison with London (adjusted for population), Karachi falls short by 10,000 safety personnel. In Punjab, however, the situation is much better as such emergencies are handled by Rescue 1122 which offers ambulance, rescue, fire and community safety ser-
vices. The public emergency service boasts an infrastructure in all 36 districts of Punjab, and claims to be the largest humanitarian service of Pakistan that has helped over 2,326,211 victims so far. The service, which is considered better organised and funded, is gradually finding grounds in other provinces such as Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as well.
In the heat of the moment When an emergency call comes in to dispatch, a yellow light fills the station after which the firefighters snap into action. Immediately, a written notice is quickly filled out so there is a record of the emergency, after which the fire bell rings and the responders determine the nature and location of the call. Other stations are also notified in case support is needed, and the fire trucks, carrying at least seven firefighters are sent off immediately. According to Jadoon, the whole process takes 60 seconds, and one look at the sparklingly clean and well-organised KPT fire department is enough to verify that statement. Jadoon explains that the fire trucks are checked three times a day for resources, including water, foam, diesel, and the firefighters are on standby so that they always meet the 60-seconds golden rule. In spite of this, time delays result in a loss of life, often for the strangest of reasons. “There was a fire nearby where two lives were lost because cellular networks had been shut down due to terror threats. It was a terrible tragedy, and they didn’t have a landline and only cellphones, so they couldn’t call us. In the end, someone came to our station on foot to notify us, which wasted a total of 30 priceless minutes.” Jadoon argues that many of the obstacles can be tackled with the right resources. Fire bikes for instance would provide much better access to the narrow lanes. “We would also love to have some helicopters. If the top few fire departments in the city were armed with emergency choppers, they would make a world of a difference.”
Of the 206 fire stations the port city needs to effectively to deal with hazards, there are only 22 and compared to London, Karachi falls short by 10,000 safety personnel.
A bumpy ride Jadoon is every bit a firefighter, from his demeanor, to his passion for the subject, to his cellphone’s ringtone, which is the sound of a siren remixed with some electronic music. He chose this line of work when his air force career didn’t work out. As a consequence, he threw himself into this danger-
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COVER STORY “People don’t want to call emergency lines because they don’t want their cell phone numbers to become part of the complaint. Unfortunately, our own public knows the American emergency number of 911, but few know of our own national emergency numbers Fire chief of Karachi Port Trust, Saeed Jadoon
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ous vocation, and hasn’t looked back since. Today, he carries over thirty years of experience, countless specialised trainings and a published book to his name. He also interacts regularly with fire departments in the US, whom he admires for their professionalism, work ethic and strong public relations. Jadoon clarifies that his station responds to fire emergency situations only 10% of the time, while 90% are taken care of by rescue missions. But Karachi firefighters are in constant danger. “From 2001 there have been 30 firefighter deaths in the city,” he adds. Apart from being exposed to immense risks on the field, a Harvard study also shows that firefighters face a 100% higher risk of death from heart attacks due to the strenuous nature of their job. Jadoon also feels that fire hazards are not taken seriously enough as a problem on a state level. “We have spent all these resources on the war on terror. But what about fire? Fire is a natural terrorist. Fire kills.” The city does not have fire hydrants, which becomes a problem in many situations. The lack of safety protocols amongst ordinary citizens aggravates the problem further. “There is no culture of fire extinguishers. Having such equipment at home or in your car would give one a lot of mental peace.” He adds that the only people with the right fire safety attitude are the multinational companies who follow international standards. Private owners and government offices are far behind. “The key is to control the fire before it has the luxury of time to become a threat. What people should understand is that having one fire extinguisher in your hand is worth having two fire trucks on the way.” Pakistan also needs an official safety law, which does not exist so far. Fire safety in vehicles also leaves a lot to be desired, especially when it comes to CNG cars. “It is like carrying a volcano. Nowhere in the world is CNG used like this, and it should be kept in a vertical and not horizontal position,” says Jadoon. “It is a rocket that could go 40 feet in the air.” For a city that has grown exponentially in a short period of time, there are countless electrical fires each year. Telephone wires are used to carry huge electrical loads which often lead to fires. Meanwhile, small old buildings, which were designed with a certain electrical load in mind, have been turned into huge apartments without the proper system upgrades which can be quite dangerous too.
Surprisingly, one of the reasons fire departments are late to respond to emergencies is because no one actually bothers to complain. “Our public is a little reluctant because of litigation. People don’t want to call emergency lines because they don’t want their cell phone numbers to become part of the complaint. In the USA, letters of appreciation are given to those who aid in these situations, and we need to similarly bring the public on our side. Unfortunately, our own public knows the American emergency number of 911, but few know of our own national emergency numbers,” he says. Fire departments are also often accused of selling expensive resources, such as foam to earn money on the side, leaving responders empty-handed during emergencies. As a retort to this, Jadoon displays his station’s storage room, which boasts many barrels of foam available to the KPT fire department in case of an emergency. Similarly, at times they are also accused of charging an unfair fee for services rendered, thus profiteering from tragedy. Jadoon is adamant that this isn’t true. He admits that KPT is one of the few fire stations that make a profit but not at the expense of others. “There are people who say that we deliberately ignore hazardous situations so that we can profit from it later, and this is not true. We are always vigilant, often remedying situations in the area before it could lead to a loss of life.”
Firefighter Bashir at the Saddar fire station, Karachi. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS
Firefighters struggling to extinguish a fire that erupted in a garment factory in Karachi on September 11, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS
Soldier on The challenges of the profession outweigh the return by a far mile, but for these flame whisperers, it is the only life they know. M. Yousuf, the station house office at KPT fire station realises that the job is a tough one but takes pride in his team’s dedication. “Recently, during Eid, there was a fire nearby where we had to break a wall to reach the hazard and it took many hours to control the situation. In the end we were unable to spend Eid with our children, but for us, duty comes first.” Noman Ansari is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to several publications. He tweets @Pugnate
Rescue operation at the garment factory in Karachi. PHOTO: AFP
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We list the top ten Pakistani-origin footballers playing abroad and their achievements BY SHAHRUKH SOHAIL DESIGN BY ASIF ALI
Despite being a small fish in the world of football, Pakistan has a vibrant diaspora of footballers playing across Europe and Asia. While some have starred for the Pakistan national team already, others remain in the wings for a call-up in the future. ADIL NABI
(West Bromwich Albion, English Premier League)
(Boldklubberne Glostrup Albertslund BGA, Denmark series)
(Molde FK, Tippeligaen Norway)
ZESH REHMAN (Pahang FA, Malaysian Super League)
GHAYAS HAYAS ZAH ZAHID HID
Pakistan has been searching for Premier League class at the international level and Adil Nabi could be just what the Pak Shaheens need. Adil graduated from the Hawthorns Academy and was on the Premier League bench last season but an injury during preseason training has kept him out of action so far. The attacker is expected to return in March and although he holds high ambitions of playing for England, extremely stiff competition may be a hurdle. A longer international career with Pakistan is a likelier possibility.
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(Vålerenga, Vålerenga, Tipp Tippeligaen eligaen Norway) orway)
Ghayas is also of Pakistani origin and is currently involved with the first team as he looks to cement his place at Ullevaal Stadion. Besides being on professional terms with Vålerenga, Ghayas has also played for the Norway U-19s.
Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Etzaz has become a regular with Molde and has scored some fantastic goals for the Norwegian title contenders as well. Having become the first Pakistani-origin player to have played in the UEFA Europa League, Etzaz has ambitions of making it to a major football club in Europe. After having played for the Manchester United Academy previously and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as his mentor, one can only wonder if Etzaz would be coming to England once again.
Arguably the most high-profile player to play for Pakistan, Zesh made headlines as he made his debut in the 2005 SAFF Championship at Fulham. Although club commitments have prevented him from having a real impact on the international stage, the center-back returned to action in 2013 and starred in the SAFF Championship and later captained Pakistan during the Philippines Peace Cup in October, 2013.
Pakistan’s prayers were answered in 2011 when Yousuf Butt made his debut in the qualifying round for the 2012 Olympics against Malaysia. The talented shot-stopper had been on the radar of the Pakistan Football Federation before but due to technical issues, he was unable to join the Asian Games squad for China in 2010. Nonetheless, since then Yousuf has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in South Asia and is known as ‘The Wall’ by fans and ‘man-of-thematch’ by officials.
N THE FIELD SAMI MALIK (FC Energie Cottbus, 2nd Bundesliga)
NABIL ASLAM (AC Horsens, Danish 1st Division)
MOHAMMAD ALI (BK Avarta, Danish 2nd Division)
The former FC Copenhagen striker has already been capped by Pakistan after making his debut in a friendly match against Singapore. Deemed as a superb find by the coaches, Ali nailed his place as a first-choice after impressing fans with his dribbling abilities during the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup qualifiers in March, 2013. Due to an injury, Ali missed the 2013 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship in Nepal but returned to feature in the Philippines Peace Cup in October where his skills earned Pakistan a credible win over the Chinese Taipei national football team.
(Fremad Amagar, Danish 2nd Division)
Fondly known to fans as ‘the Sniper’ or ‘Hit man’, Hassan has been Pakistan’s main goal threat since his debut and has already scored three goals in 12 appearances. And when the former FC Nordsjælland player is not bagging goals, his match-winning tactics have come in handy for the Pak Shaheens.
Sami won the U-16 Bundesliga with Hertha Berlin and later joined Eintracht Braunschweig before jumping ship to FC Energie Cottbus. Nonetheless, the attacker is highly rated by the Pakistani scouts in Germany and he could be fast-tracked to the Under-22 Pakistan team next year if the coaches decide to call him up for the AFC Under 22 Qualifiers in June, 2014.
(Vålerenga, Tippeligaen Norway)
Having recently turned professional with the Norwegian giants, Ali Iqbal is a potential star for the future and could be seen in Pakistani colours. The talented youngster came through the ranks at Vålerenga Academy, where a number of fellow Pakistanis have also come through.
Nabil has already expressed interest in representing Pakistan at the international level and only missed out on the SAFF Championship due to incomplete required documents. Nonetheless, the defender brings heaps of experience to the pitch and having played in the UEFA Europa League with Horsens, his potential center-back pairing with Zesh Rehman is one which fans anticipate eagerly.
As these players make waves internationally, Pakistanis both home and abroad are proud of their hard work and dedication to the sport. Here is to hoping we can nurture similar talent at home as well and continue leaving a green mark on the field. Shahrukh Sohail is the chief editor of FootballPakistan.com, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UNODC Global Youth Initiative and an aspiring entrepreneur. He tweets @ShahrukhSohail7 JANUARY 26-FEBRUARY 1 2014
Can globalised menus make thoughtful world citizens out of us all? TEXT AND PHOTOS BY NUZHAT SAADIA SIDDIQI
The world on your plate
Food connoisseurs in Lahore will always debate what came me first: the GoGo Restaurant club sandwich or the beef burger from om Mini Market. But decades after our taste buds were first tentatively introduced roduced to MSG-enhanced Chinese food, the argument has now gone beyond b the o basics of deciding what’s best when it comes to eating out. ages on, on n, The fight about the best food available still rages estion but the hungry warriors don’t just question adai the authenticity and taste of Muhammadai nihari or phajjey ke paye, or who made the infamous ‘broast’ first. The people of he Lahore now debate who serves the re best sushi and sashimi, where to procure the best udon,, whether the rocket leavess e in the steak salad at The o Deli are in perfect ratio to the meat and whetherr the red colour in a red vel-m vet cake should come from beetroots or from a bottle,, re e and so on and so forth. We’re a an more aware about world food than a aste world affairs, and many are hoping for our taste buds to lead us to peace and knowledge.
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Caprese Salad and Paperdelle.
Sesame Seed crusted fish. Hot and cold mezzeh platter.
Chef Ahmed Cheema, the owner and head showman of Andaaz restaurant, agrees. Located behind the Badshahi Mosque, Andaaz is the go-to place for lovers of unique food who also try to impress foreign guests by taking them to the rooftop restaurant. “People go to restaurants to eat their fancy,” says Ahmed. “They want magic on their plate and we give it to them.” Ahmed’s restaurant has become synonymous with innovation where special menus are created around seasonal produce, special occasions, and holidays. This year, Ahmed is literally chasing after his idols by creating one-off menus based on the recipes of world famous chefs and authors. “It’s exciting and a bit risky as well. More than 30% of our customers agree with wi our menu choices and never come back. don’t agree fo ocus on o the 70% who do.” But we focus spe ecial menu that the chef created for Christmas The special b seen see on the restaurant’s website. While many can still be restauran nts just ju suffice with putting up a few dated decrestaurants C orations at Christmas time, Ahmed goes all out to celth he holiday h ebrate the with panache. The menu from last in nclu year includes Pepper Water, Prawn Jalfrazie, Fish Croquetttes Mint Cottage Cheese Barbecued, Whole Pot quettes, Roa ast Chicken, Railway Lamb Curry, Brinjal VinRoast da alo Broccolli Fogarth, Daal Curry, Yellow Codaloo, cco conut Rice and the perfect Christmas cake fini ished off with ginger wine. The chef’s love for re-creating historic South Asian recipes hints at the menu’s inspiration coming from prePartition Christmas traditions in the subcontinent. “Christmas is always a special time so we revive a few old favourites from the vault. People love that we do this each year with a n 33 new twist.” JANUARY 26-FEBRUARY 1 2014
FEATURE Everyone comes together at a table to eat; what that table contains can lead to friendship, trust and a more thoughtful world view Chef Giuliano Lamb Ouzi with Rice
Fresh vegetable platter
34 Shish Tawook JANUARY 26-FEBRUARY 1 2014
Breaded and pounded chicken breast Milanese style
Stretching beyond borders, the hospitality industry now attracts revenue in billions of rupees each year, sustaining a network of farmers, bakers, butchers, meat suppliers, fishmongers and food importers due to high demands. These, in turn, nurture international partnerships and collaborations that ensure adventurous food enthusiasts and chefs get what they want to create these global delicacies. One of the people doing just that is Sibtain Shafi, a local food importer who has also started dealing with local producers to supply to restaurants in the area. “The demand for ingredients such as kale, rocket, fresh mushrooms, avocados, artichokes, asparagus, calamari, seaweed, lobsters, kiwi fruit and star fruit has grown in the past decade or so, matching the media boom. The dish antenna brought us Khana Khazana on Zee TV, which showed the similarity of cuisine between India and Pakistan. But then there was also Yan Can Cook, which showed us what our cuisine could be. Now shows like Masterchef Australia have made chefs out of us all!” says Shafi. Sibtain’s recent foray into dealing with local farmers and fruit growers comes as a commitment to the environment. He says, “the longer a food item has to travel, the larger the impact on the environment. Growing locally to produce global style meals is an interesting concept that is catching up now.” A stylish reminder of this very fact was 7Up Chef’s Bonanza — a local event that travelled to Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, where the sponsor flew in international chefs to prepare and serve scrumptious dishes from Italian, Far East Asian, and Leba-
nese cuisines at famous local restaurants. Most of the ingredients used were local from fish to poultry to herbs and vegetables. The chefs, while interacting with local patrons, encouraged them to try new dishes and shun the contrite alternatives. “Fast food chains may catch our attention but it is good, healthy, hearty meals that capture our hearts,” insists Chef Giuliano, an executive chef in charge of 45 chefs involved in fine dining at the La Scuola di Serra restaurant in Italy. He was flown in by 7Up Chef’s Bonanza team to prepare meals in Lahore and Islamabad. “The transfer of cuisines is what is making world more exciting today,” he adds. “Just like Pakistan has welcomed Italian and many other world cuisines, the world is ready to embrace Pakistani and Mughal cuisines as well.” Chef Fazil from Malaysia at the same event agreed, adding that everyone comes together at a table to eat; what that table contains can lead to friendship, trust and a more thoughtful world view. Hira Anwar, a sociological scholar at the University of the Punjab, adds that it was spices that brought the East India Company to the sub-continent, and it was the chocolate and potatoes from ‘The New World’ that made European nations so adamant about colonising the Americas. Throughout history we find instances of cultural exchanges softened by adoption of food trends. Even the opening of Baloch and Peshawari restaurants in Punjab and Sindh city centers feels like a diplomatic step. These tentative forays into promoting cultural and traditional values of different regions and countries in Pakistan by enterprising food enthusiasts are of interest to researchers like Hira, who concludes with a smile, “our plates are now more well-traveled and more tolerant than we are. If only a bagel could teach us not to be anti-Semitic and a thaali could make us forget our wars!” Nuzhat Saadia Siddiqi is a Lahore-based writer and book hoarder. She tweets @guldaar
Selection of cold mezzeh
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Get Poppin’ A real story told with a dose of Disney magic BY DANYAL ADAM KHAN
One could argue that Saving Mr. Banks did not do as well at the box office as expected despite its great acting performances. Based on a true story about the interaction of P. L. Travers and Walt Disney over the production of Mary Poppins, the film touches upon several different aspects of artistic licence, creation, conflict and family. The story opens to a financially struggling P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) persuaded by her agent to travel from London to Los Angeles to negotiate the rights to her well-known children’s books: Mary Poppins. The enormously popular filmmaker and business magnate, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) has been adamantly pursuing Travers for 20 years to make a Mary Poppins film — because he promised his daughters that he would do so. Highlighting the cultural dissimilarities between England and America at the time, the difficult to please Travers finds herself in a two-week long meeting with Disney and his creative team in a city she is thoroughly disconcerted by. As Disney musters all his charm and enthusiasm to sell the idea to Travers, she remains inflexible and continues to clash with the team working on developing the script. The film beautifully portrays the importance any work of art holds for its creator and how resistant they can be to external influences. Calling Disney’s films as whimsy and unnecessarily fantastical, Travers continues to stylise Mary Poppins after her rigid personal vision and threatens to drop out of the project at every slightest hint of opposition. 36 34 Saving Mr. Banks plays out as a two-fold JANUARY 26-FEBRUARY 12-18 2014 1 2014
narrative, with one side of the story revolving around the Travers-Disney conflict; and the other exploring the childhood of the author, depicting her relationship with her loving, but alcoholic father, Travers Goff (Colin Farrell). As Travers’ early years in Australia are further tapped into, we see the impact left on her by the events that took place at that stage of her life. Be it the irresponsible unemployment of her father or the attempted suicide of her mother (Ruth Wilson), it was these events that she used as inspiration to draw up the magical characters in her books. The movie touches heavily upon the concept of a family and the importance it plays as an institution to shape our future. Saving Mr. Banks is a film about vision persevering against all odds. It is engaging to see both lead characters fight to assert re ea ati tive v their perspective. After constantt ccr creative age ge tto o rreach eacch clashes, the two ultimately manage akks of of his own wn n an understanding as Disney speaks so so ssoften often up childhood experiences, which also Travers. rformance Along with a decent acting performance e from the entire cast, it comes ass no surprise e to his rol olle that Tom Hanks has done justice role che ed once again. Emma Thompson matc matched ally Hanks’ performance while actually tasstic tiic superseding it in parts. With fantastic rs comedic timing, she takes Travers nabl na abl ble from being a witty but unreasonable n all impossibility, to a human we can empathise with. Colin Farrell cre-ated exactly the kind of balance g between sympathy and loathing
that his role called for and left viewers unsure as to how they felt about him till the end of the film. While generally receiving favourable reviews, Saving Mr. Banks has also been put down as a cheery marketing gimmick. Critics have called it a film about a corporation boasting of its own marvellousness and being more about making the sale than anything else, while the historical accuracy of the relationship between Travers and Disney has also been doubted by others. Having said that, Saving Mr. Banks could still be considered one of the better films of 2013. T Rating: Danyal Adam Khan is an actor, freelance writer and a journalist working at the Peshawar Desk at The Express Tribune. He tweets @DanyalAdamKhan
All roads lead home These Birds Walk will show you a new face of hope BY SHEHRIYAR KHAN
These Birds Walk is a hauntingly beautiful documentary that will leave you on the verge of tears --- despite your resolve to keep emotions intact. Co-directed by Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq, These Birds Walk sheds light on philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi’s role in the transitionary state experienced by abandoned children on the metropolitan streets of Karachi. Instead of stating the broader, more obvious facts such as Edhi holding the record for the largest private ambulance system in the world, the documentary concentrates on his individual impact on the people he helps. His selfness, his kindness and the generosity of his spirit overwhelm the viewer. Somewhere along the film, I stopped pretending I had something in my eye and let the tears roll. The 77-minute documentary film revolves around three cases — two JANUARY 26-FEBRUARY 1 2014
young boys who have run away from home and another who got lost. There is Omar who constantly takes off from his house and Sher Ali, a victim of child abuse who seeks refuge under the open skies, which he finds safer. Finally there is Mahmood, the young prayer leader who pins all hope and faith into finding his way back home. Omar’s resilience is overwhelming, giving a glimpse into what it is like to grow and survive on the streets of a megacity. His constant attempts to put up a tough front with statements like, “Hit me as much as you can, I won’t shed more than one tear” make you realise that once on the streets, there are no rules to the game. Connecting these three young boys is Asad, a young ambulance driver working for The Edhi Foundation, who is torn between transporting corpses
(for which he gets a commission) versus transporting runaway children. The film touches you as you see Asad’s kindness and the comfort he offers the distressed children he comes across. For Asad, these children’s problems are a welcome distraction from his own woes. Taking his role seriously, Asad takes a liking to Sher Ali, offering him a permanent place at the Edhi Home and a job with a promise of keeping him safe from physical abuse. Filled with childish hope, the boys are each other’s companions and confidantes. Possibly one of the most jarring scenes of the movie is when Omar and Sher Ali silently bury their faces in their hands because they want to go home. Along with scenes that leave a mark on your mind, this film holds a special meaning for someone from Karachi. The landmarks (Native Jetty bridge,
Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s mazaar and the beach) pinch you with a sense of belonging as well as disappointment because of the number of barricades, metal detectors and security precautions that clutter the city now. Despite the unwelcome changes and hardships of the megacity, the filmmakers capture the spirit of Karachi beautifully as well as the impact of the relentless work that Edhi does on a regular basis. Though Pakistanis hope for a Nobel Prize for Edhi, after this film, you would realise that people like him probably don’t need one. These Birds Walk is currently playing across different cities in the United States. Rating: Shehriyar Khan is a part-time urban planning student in Los Angeles. JANUARY 26-FEBRUARY 1 2014
Winter Is Coming Frozen will melt your heart with its well-developed plot and magical execution BY SAMRA MUSLIM
Since its worldwide release in November 2013, Frozen has grossed around $714 million in box office revenue, won the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards in the ‘Best Animated Feature Film’ category and has bagged two Oscar nominations — accolades that are enough to make one wonder what this Walt Disney musical is all about? Frozen is Disney’s re-work of the eternal Hans Christian Andersen story The Snow Queen into a magical and musical fairy tale. In a place called Arendelle, two sisters of royal heritage live a splendid life, until one day the older sister Elsa (Idina Mendez) has difficulty controlling her cytokinesis (the ability to create and control ice and snow) which ultimately strikes her younger sister Anna (Kristen Bell) and puts her in danger. The royal parents do what any Disney par-
Oscar Trivia: • If Frozen wins Best Animated Feature category, it will be the first win for Walt Disney Animation Studio since the award category was introduced in 2001. • Disney’s sister studio PIXAR, who is absent in the category in 2014 has won seven out of past 12 Oscars given for the Best Animated Feature category. • Frozen is competing with independently produced foreign films in the Best Animated Feature category such as Japan’s The Wind Rises and GKids’ French-Belgian entry Ernest & Celestine at the Oscars • If Best Original Song nominee Robert Lopez, who co-wrote the tune Let It Go for Frozen, wins an Oscar this year, he will Egot — join the exclusive club of 11 people to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. JANUARY 26-FEBRUARY 1 2014
ent would, and lock her up in her bedroom keeping her superpower a secret. When a wintry temper tantrum leads to disaster, Elsa is banished from the kingdom for her cold weather Midas touch. Cast out into the cold, she heads off into the mountains where she builds herself a lonely castle. Meanwhile, the winter-wonderland that she has left in her wake turns out to be permanent. This sets her sister Anna off into the frozen wilderness to bring her back. Her sidekicks include a hunky guide named Kristoff, his reindeer and a living snowman named Olaf. What ensues is a tragic mishap that pushes them and others to discover what love can really do. Frozen is a visual treat. The technical perfection is remarkable and the small details make it beautiful. Every scene is mind-
boggling, in a good way. One of my favourite settings was the stunning ice palace and watching the magic made me feel like a child again. The Norwegian influences are wonderful and are one with the story. The atmosphere, architecture and organic richness are fascinating. It almost felt like it was a real piece of history and is worth seeing in 3D. Frozen is also an incredibly touching story with fantastic musical numbers, that will have you singing along. The score is magnificent, the texture, the harmony and the melody flow effortlessly and is a character in itself. Frozen is not a simplistic protagonist versus antagonist story but a complicated mix of issues and resolutions that each character provides. There’s the outgoing, carefree Anna; the caring, protective and reserved older sister Elsa; the cool, good-hearted Kristoff; the suave, gentlemanly Prince Hans; and the pure-hearted Olaf. Each character brings something to the table, which is what sets the movie apart. Out of all the characters, it is Elsa’s persona that keeps you hooked. Her character is complex and sympathetic and deserved to be explored even further. Instead the story revolves more around the relationship of the two sisters and Anna who is the typical, feisty, charming Disney heroine and her love trysts — instead of the alluring Elsa. This movie has something that everyone will enjoy — the romance, the family bond, actionpacked adventure, fantasy and comedy. The twists are enjoyable and catch you off guard. You are guaranteed to leave the theater feeling like you are walking on clouds. Rating: Samra Muslim is a digital marketing professional, an avid reader and a movie buff. She tweets @samramuslim
Breaking the silence The story of a city that has been held hostage for too long BY ZEHRA ABID
Karachi’s truths can perhaps best — or only — be told in fiction. And Omar Shahid Hamid’s The Prisoner takes the liberty of fiction to tell the story of the city in a way that most of us can only share with a few trusted friends in a closed room. The Prisoner revolves around the city’s biggest political party ‘UF’ that is controlled by a ‘Don’ who lives in New York. Don is referred to as only that — with a capital ‘D’ throughout the book. The Don’s ‘ward boys’ rule the land, piling up bodies, extorting money from residents, raping, torturing, and ho holding the city hostage ove over one ‘long-distance phone ccall’. The m main plot revolves around the kidnapping of an Ame American journalist Jon Friedla Friedland and the pressure the Pak Pakistani government is put unde under by the US over his recovery. Only one man has the sourc sources to trace Friedland, a se senior police officer A Akbar Khan, who is in
jail and despised by the UF for his role in the operation against the party. The debut novel is a fascinating read of the city and the nexus between the intelligence, military, police and political forces in Karachi, and the rise of outfits as added vultures of opportunity. The two main characters, Constantine and Akbar Khan, differ on the crucial point of extrajudicial killings. While Constantine looks up to Akbar for his competence and courage, he stands opposed to killings in police custody. Both Akbar and Constantine make strong points for their perspectives and the beauty of the novel lies in its ability to eschew hero worship. All characters have their weaknesses and the strongest of people are not presented as saints. The pressure on the police officer is expressed by some supporting characters, some of whom only make an appearance once. An aged inspector, speaking in defence of Akbar Khan’s arrest and murder of a UF worker, says, “Every Friday, we line up on this same ground to say funeral prayers for our colleagues. I have borne the weight of too many coffins to remain silent now.” The book then depicts the frustration and anger of police officers caught between the ugly realities of violence. The writer himself
has served in the police force for 12 years and lost his father to targeted violence in the city. Omar Shahid has also been targeted during his service and was injured in 2010 when his office was attacked. The crime thriller will be all too recognisable for the people of Karachi and anyone familiar with how the city functions. Easy parallels can be drawn between the fictional characters and their real-life counterparts, as well as incidents. The book also manages to describe the friction between different class structures and cultural variation between elite localities and the majority of the city. The fast-paced debut novel is one of the most honest and courageous pieces of writing about Karachi’s recent past. It is a book for the weary citizens of Karachi who have been silenced for too long, who have spent their lives paying extortionists, who grew up knowing what the words ‘gunny sacks’ and ‘body bags’ meant and who could surely use some space to speak out against the decades of violence they have been subjected to. T Published by Pan MacMillan India, the book is available for Rs716. Zehra Abid is part of the editorial team at The Express Tribune. She tweets @zehra_abid4 JANUARY 26-FEBRUARY 1 2014
In clear sight The preparation The approved age of the patient for this procedure is 18 years and above. However, it is important that the eye sight number has stabilised for over one year, which ensures that the number will not return. In some cases, the eyesight weakens again over the years because of poor care or ageing but another minor procedure can be performed to correct that. The patient is also asked to stop wearing contact lenses usually for one and in some cases six weeks prior to the surgery. “Contact lenses in a normal case should be completely avoided for the last five days before the surgery,” advises Dr Aziz Ali, an ophthalmologist at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital in Karachi. Some contact lenses can hinder the oxygen absorption of the cornea which results in an increase in the size of the blood vessels. Even with modern RGP and soft silicone oxygen-absorbing lenses, the patients are advised to not over wear them. This surgery can be a bit costly, ranging from Rs40,ooo to Rs50,000 so the patient needs to be aware about it beforehand.
Post-operative care Dr Jamshed Anklesaria recommends three days of complete rest without leaving the house, minimal use of the phone and watching television. “It is important to stay indoors because dirt and dust which is very typical of Pakistani weather can cause infections and sunlight can stress or harm the sight. Also it is important to make sure to never rub your eyes, splash water or move around an area where you can bump into people and hurt your eyes. Even at home.” Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and lubricating eye drops are given to the patients to put in the weeks that follow and the patients are asked to rest. Sleep goggles are also sometimes given to prevent rubbing your eyes during sleep.
A hassle-free procedure can make your eye sight as good as new BY NOREEN MUMTAZ DESIGN BY TALHA AHMED KHAN
The days of struggling with spectacles and contact lenses may be behind us. Lasik — a short and painless procedure can now restore your vision to its original crystal clear form. But here are some things you need to know:
The operative procedure 1. Creating the flap: A soft corneal suction ring is applied to keep the eye in place after which a flap is created using a mechanical microkeratome or a femtosecond laser. A hinge is left at one end of this flap. The flap is folded back, revealing the stroma, the middle section of the cornea. The process of lifting and folding back of the flap can sometimes be uncomfortable. 2. Laser remodeling: The revealed stroma is treated with a laser that vaporises the tissue in a finely controlled manner without damaging the adjacent stroma. No burning with heat or actual cutting is required to ablate the tissue. 3. Repositioning the flap: After the cornea is reshaped so that it can properly focus light onto the retina, the cornea flap is put back in place and the surgery is complete.
Risks Patients usually associate starbursts, ghosting and halos with lasik. However, these are more closely related to pupil size and thanks to high advancement Lasik rarely causes this. These are all conditions that are related to the eye sight and are not corrected by glasses but rather by eye drops and minor procedures. Many times the patients have these conditions even before the surgery.
Noreen Mumtaz is a student at the Limkokwing University, Malaysia. JANUARY 26-FEBRUARY 1 2014