JULY 17-23 2011
Why Sit Still This Summer? ...When you can take a hike, climb a mountain or ride a horse! 22 REVIEWS
JULY 17-23 2011
Cover Story 22 Deosai: Anything but Plain A piece of paradise is closer than you think 26 Horse Whisperer This summer, horsing around with four-legged friends is a refreshing way to lose weight and have some fun 30 Ain’t No Mountain High Enough Before lacing up your trekking shoes, take a trial run on your treadmill
Feature 34 Punking it the Punkjabi Way Bumbu Sauce brings you Punk for the Pakistani palate
40 Roman Holiday When in Rome, have gelato like the Romans do
Positive Pakistani 42 Soaring High Aafia Haider’s passion for planes has set her apart from her peers
Up North and Personal 44 Out of Sight Zahrah’s budgie goes from loving mother to serial killer
Food 46 The Art of Sweet Banish the blues with these sweet treats
Regulars 6 People & Parties: Out and about with Pakistan’s beautiful people 50 Reviews: What’s new in films and books 54 Ten Things I Hate About: Certain aunties
Magazine Editor: Zarrar Khuhro, Senior Sub-Editor: Batool Zehra, Sub-Editor: Hamna Zubair. Creative Team: Amna Iqbal, Jamal Khurshid, Essa Malik, Anam Haleem, Tariq W Alvi, S Asif Ali, Samad Siddiqui, Mohsin Alam, Sukayna Sadik. Publisher: Bilal A Lakhani. Executive Editor: Muhammad Ziauddin. Editor: Kamal Siddiqi. For feedback and submissions: firstname.lastname@example.org 4
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Multitech launched Dunhill Customs at a new outlet in Karachi
Azfar, Fa Danish with an al rs A d an
Sadaf and Shani
Ehtasham and Maria JULY 17-23 2011
and Mohsi Tahsin Feroze gu a est Feroze with
PHOTOS BY ANIHTA HASHMANI, COURTESY TAKEII
JULY 10-16 2011
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Umar Sayeed and Zain
Muneera and Amir Lakhani
Mona J Kash Hussain
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PEOPLE & PARTIES
Markings Publishing launched Mrs Azra Syedâ€™s book in Karachi
d Aga and Mehreen Obai qi Sukaina Ta
Rukaiya Adamjee, Nieni Faisal and Maheen Karim
Jahanara Hai Rabia Hai and JULY 17-23 2011
Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy with daughter Amelia
PHOTOS COURTESY LOTUS AND PR
Nadia Hussain and Mehreen Durrani
JULY 10-16 2011
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Ambreen Hai and Minza Adamjee
Farhat Malik and Saba Obaid
Anisa Rashid Khan and Fareshteh Aslam
Hina Bayat Maleeha Shahzad Naqvi
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PEOPLE & PARTIES
Ammar Belal launched his womenâ€™s collection at Modeville in Islamabad
Zeenia, Sonia and Aila
Rabiya and Geeti Ansari
Ammar and Arsalan
Farrukh Seher and JULY 17-23 2011
Dure and Aisha
Joao and Erin
PHOTOS COURTESY OF VERVE
Archia, Zain ab, Ali and Sim ra
JULY 10-16 2011
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Sana and Sara
Ruby and M
Aiza and Maheen
Wajiha, Sonia an
Sana and Mariam
Sadia and Zafar JULY 17-23 2011
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deosai: anything but plain BY KARIM SHAH NIZARI
“Ahead lay the Deosai, an absolutely treeless wilderness of comparatively level country framed by minor peaks. It gives a unique impression of desolation” — Aleister Crowley The wide expanse of Deosai — only interrupted by occasional flower-beds and lakes — plays tricks on the eye of the traveler. As I approached the second highest plateau on Earth the clouds above appeared to be toucing the highlands and the hills seemed to be caving in on the plateau. Though as I stood in the midst of the Deosai plains, the sky above seemed higher than ever before and the mountain peaks studded the furthest possible 22 horizon. JULY 17-23 2011
23 JULY 17-23 2011
The famous occultist and mountaineer Aleister Crowley said,
â€œIt (Deosai) has a devilish reputation for inhospitalityâ€? and in-
deed, these high plains remain covered in beds of snow for most of the year save a few months of summer. Though summer nights too see layers of frost every now and then around the
lakes. Shunned by civilization, the sole human presence in the plains consists of travelers on foot crossing from Skardu to Astore during the short summer or occasional jeep-driven tourists. As snow begins to melt, few Gujar herders use this path to cross
regions with their sheep, goats and cattle. There are hardly any
permanent settlements in the area, though the air of desolation that surrounds this immense landscape gives it an aura of mystique if nothing else.
The Deosai Plains can be visited most reliably between early to
mid July and late September. It is also noted for sporadic windstorms that are certain to test the sturdiness of your tent. No-
where lower than 13,000 feet in altitude, the rolling grasslands
support no trees or shrubbery and the Deosaiâ€™s ruling denizens are scattered colonies of large marmots. Surrounded by snowcapped peaks of the Himalayas, these plains give a unique com-
bination of absolutely leveled ground and steepest of hills. It is not simply a plateau offering a scenic view of the mountains; it
is an immense stretch of land that has to be witnessed to be believed.
JULY 17-23 2011
We started our expedition to the plains from Skardu in our
small rectangular houses made of stones and logs. Continuing
Satpara nala, Burji lake and the exquisite Seosar lake. This was
finally had our first view of the majestic Nanga Parbat tower-
rugged jeep, along the road that lead up to Satpara lake through
a five to six days long trek which gave us an excellent panorama
of the central Karakoram range (including K2) and let us walk along the Deosai Plains. The route followed a valley just west of Satpara, crossed the 15,700 feet Burji lake, debouched onto the
down the valley, we entered a realm of tall, scattered pines and ing over the ridge to our left. We could not stand here for long though as we were still searching for the ideal spot for viewing the mountains.
We continued down the road to the mouth of Das Khirim
plains and circled back, following the seldom used road connect-
Gah, where it joined the main Astor River at the western base of
sure to do so only after you have trekked a few kilometers in the
us just a few miles to the west. At this ridge we could see the
ing Skardu and Astore. You could walk this route instead but be region and know how to plant your feet on steep terrains.
The view from here is once that has enthralled visitors for cen-
turies. In 1912 the English physician and hiker Ernest Neve when
writing about the Burji Lake said: “The view from here looking northward is one of the most magnificent in the whole of the Himalayas.” The same is true today.
This track eventually joined the rarely travelled road near a
Nanga Parbat. The 26,660 feet mountain was spread out before infamous Rupal valley at the southern base of the mountain. We scrambled down the hill in search of water and a flat piece of land
to pitch our tents. And then came the sight that made our entire
trip worthwhile … the spellbinding sunrise on the Nanga Parbat
seen from this steep, deserted hill. We sat there for a while, simply staring at this miracle of nature.
We then continued down the small trail on the hill to the fa-
rock cairn. We then followed the road across the 14,000 feet Cha-
mous Rupal Valley which eventually leads to the village of Ram-
that comprised the pass. Here we bid farewell to the compelling
connected India to Central Asia and Tibet. The Rupal Valley did
chor Pass, where a wide lake sparkled just before the high saddle Deosai and entered the Das Khirim Gah - a clear stream that drains into the Astor River. In the distance we could see forests
of mixed pine and a valley seeping into the first village, with its
pur - the hub of trade and culture during the 20th Century which
not disappoint my imagination. Surrounded by some of the world’s highest mountain faces, the valley is nothing short of a traveler’s dream ... but that is a story for another day! a
JULY 17-23 2011
Riding is a refreshing alternative to typical summer activities BY HAMNA ZUBAIR PHOTOGRAPHS BY NEFER SEHGAL
“When you’re able to mount a horse without stirrups, sit on him without a saddle and steer him without reins... that is true horsemanship, when you become one with the horse,” says Rafay Mehta, former professional polo player and co-founder of the Karachi Riding School.
straight ahead and communicate to the horse with your grip and
Becoming one with the horse is a distant dream for me,
mer polo players, and they teach children and adults alike how to
Donald on a lonely corner of Karachi’s Clifton beach. I always
professionally, some people just want to explore a unique activ-
though, as I sit astride a large brown quadruped called Macthought that the most difficult thing about horse riding would
be getting the horse to stop – I had envisioned hopelessly tugging
on the reins while the horse carried me halfway to Balochistan.
All around me, young boys and girls clamber onto horses and
slide off, dressed in riding boots and helmets. The Karachi Riding
School, run by Rafay and his brother Haseeb Mehta, has been in operation for about four years. Rafay and his brother are both for-
ride horses. Some people sign up because they want to play polo
ity, and I suppose some, like me, want to challenge their own notions of what constitutes acceptable adult behaviour.
Rafay says that horse riding is a tremendously underrated
Turns out, the actual challenge is getting the horse to move at
sport. “Horse riding improves the posture and confidence, is
powers of persuasion to kick MacDonald into high gear. I coo at
ture,” he says. “It is especially great for children who are shy or
all, and I spend my first ten minutes in the saddle using all my
the horse, nudge him, make kissy-noises at him, all to no avail. He just stands there flicking flies away with his ample mane, while Rafay stands chuckling a few feet from us.
actions that this is where you want to go.”
“The horse can tell what you’re thinking,” explains Rafay as
he begins to lead MacDonald around in a circle. “You have to look JULY 17-23 2011
great for overall fitness, and really allows you to get close to nawho have difficulty communicating.” Before I climbed onto MacDonald, a little boy with a speech impediment was riding him.
His mother, who was sitting under a little canopy erected for watchful parents, said she felt horse riding was helping build
his confidence and his ability to focus. The boy himself seemed
perfectly at home on the horse, and was busily shouting out in-
Rafay pointed out that I was gripping the saddle with both hands
feel more secure when you hold the saddle, but you’re supposed
structions to the patient animal, seemingly unaffected by his In Pakistan, according to Rafay, horse riding is also one of the
few ‘paying’ sports, meaning that polo players are decently remunerated. However, Rafay does concede that it is very expen-
rather than holding the reins. “Its instinct,” Rafay explains. “You to use your knees and thighs to grip the horse. That is what will prevent you from falling, and will also guide the horse.”
The preferred posture for horse riding is stomach in, shoulders
sive to train players and actually run a private riding school. A
back, and back straight. You’re also meant to keep your knees
most of which are bred locally.
rather than pointing your toes towards the sand like a ballerina.
huge amount of investment is needed to maintain the horses, The horses that canter around this deserted strip of sand seem
tucked firmly into the horse’s sides, and press your heels down It’s harder than it sounds. After strolling along the sand while
docile and well-behaved, though this shouldn’t fool you into
we chat, Rafay instructs the horse to trot, which leads to several
I ask whether there have been any injuries at the training school,
which really should be cushioned better. Having not yet devel-
thinking that horse riding is a sport for the faint of heart. When Rafay cheerfully replies that one student broke his arm in two
places after falling off a horse, and another dislocated his shoulder during his very first riding lesson. Rafay adds that most injuries occur when a rider is mounting a horse, or dismounting.
Luckily, I had little trouble getting on the horse, thanks to a
cement ‘step’ that was positioned next to MacDonald. And once
I had finally got him moving, I thought “Hm, this is easy,” until
minutes of being bounced painfully up and down in the saddle, oped the skill or the thigh muscles needed to hold myself aloft
in the saddle, I resign myself to my bruised fate, all the while
enviously watching Haseeb race across the beach in a proficient crouch on his speedy steed.
And though horse riding doesn’t look particularly strenuous – I
mean, the horse seems like he’s doing all the work – after I dismount my legs ache, and I feel like I have just been for a long
jog. No wonder horse riding has become the new celebrity fitness
trend of choice, with Madonna, Jodi Kidd, and even Kate Middleton um, jumping into the saddle.
So if you’re looking to take up a new sport that allows you to
enjoy open spaces and the company of horse and human alike, give riding a shot. A fair warning - dealing with the sore bottom that results, is your problem. a
<< Ready, Set, Go: Lessons at The Karachi Riding School cost about Rs600 for half an hour and Rs900 for an hour. In Lahore, riding lessons at offered at the Lahore Polo Club and a few other establishments, and in the capital, the Islamabad Club also offers riding lessons. >>
27 JULY 17-23 2011
ainâ€™t no mountain high enough Mountain climbing is the ultimate in high-adventure sport, but before you start trekking, do a trial run on your treadmill BY SAAD ZUBAIR
Wheezing and gasping, I stopped in my tracks, and sat down, scrambling for my bottle of water. I was attempting to make my way up the first ascent from Tarashing village towards the campsite at Herrligkoffer which would give our group a breathtaking view of the Southern Rupal face of the Nanga Parbat. Honestly, though, at that point, I wouldâ€™ve been perfectly happy to unroll my sleeping bag right where I sat. Thankfully, our trek leaders had dealt with such pansy-like behaviour before and they got me moving again.
Signing up for a 7-day trip through Gilgit-Baltistan up to Astore
and then on to the base of the 8,126 metre Nanga Parbat had been
a brilliant idea. Putting zero effort into getting in shape for the trek had been considerably less brilliant.
Our group of 29 adventurous souls had set out from Lahore on
the morning of May 20th. We were joined by other buses on different journeys up north. All together, the buses for all the trips
made up a convoy eight coasters long. We made our way North on
the GT Road, stopping only for food, diesel and bathroom breaks.
Come nightfall, we were well into the lesser mountains of the Hindu Kush.
Music in many different languages blared from each bus as we
got acquainted with the dramatic change in landscape. Around 4 am, we pulled into the PTDC motel in Besham and the human cargo of eight coasters spilled out and took over the motel. We made ourselves right at home: some of us, including me, lay down in the motel gardens overlooking the Indus River and destressed to the endless rushing of the great river, while others slept indoors. We awakened in a few hours by calls to an early breakfast so we could hit
the road and make good time on our second day of travelling. JULY 17-23 2011
While the second day’s journey had much more exquisite scen-
the Killer and we had felt the deceptively gentle result. I believe
and marvelling at the ruggedness of Gilgit’s valleys and moun-
ing and warning us, a warning that we would heed since we had
ery, it also had much poorer roads. We kept going up the KKH tainsides. We were now truly in a land of giants, where towering
peaks were visible to us in every direction, with vast expanses
that was the mountain’s way of saying hello. It was both welcomno intention of coming close to climbing that monster.
At night we sat around a blazing campfire eating instant noo-
of land stretching out from the edges of the Indus to the moun-
dles and soup with the cold air nipping at our backs. Some sang
We turned off the KKH and onto the Astore Valley Road and by
favourable target. When it got too cold to sit outside, I found my
tains’ rocky feet.
10 pm we arrived at Astore itself. Here we ate a much welcome
dinner and bid farewell to our faithful coaster and its fearless
while the rest joked and laughed at whoever presented the most tent and burrowed into my sleeping bag for the night.
The next morning brilliant golden sunshine was bouncing off
driver as the road ahead to Tarashing was only accessible by jeep.
the highest parts of Nanga Parbat and illuminating our camp.
we were greeted by one of the most beautiful and eerie sights I
out for the day’s trek. We were excited because that day we were
Two hours later we had arrived at our motel in Tarashing and
have ever seen. The massive Nanga Parbat looms over Tarashing
and that night the ice on the mountain was reflecting the faint starlight and moonlight so that the whole mountain seemed aglow.
In the morning we were ready to start our first day of trekking
towards the Killer Mountain. We loaded up our backpacks and set off out of the village and straight into our first ascent; the
We washed up in the icy stream flowing by our campsite and set
to cross a large glacier in order to get to our second campsite at Shaigiri. The glacier crossing was something special; there were pools of icy water in nooks and the going was quite slippery. The
scale of the glacier was quite staggering and it took us well over
an hour just to cross it although the locals could do it twice as fast as us.
The terrain after the glacier was varied; initially we were fol-
one that ground me unceremoniously to a halt. From that point
lowing paths along the green mountainside which brought us
the next 3 days. The simple pleasure of walking in the mountains
ately after the meadow we began walking through a sparse wood.
on, we were on the move during most of the daylight hours over and feeling your muscles working while breathing in the cool, thin and fresh air cannot be overstated. At the end of our first
day’s trek, after crossing small villages, harassing goats, being
down to a meadow peppered with dense grassy mounds. Immedi-
Most jarringly, after crossing the wood we came to a sort of semidesert wasteland filled with sand, rocks and coarse shrubbery.
Our third day of trekking was the longest as we had to retrace
harassed by each other and generally feeling like excitable little
the journey of the past two days; we had to trek from Shaigiri
The view from Herrligkoffer is of the South or Rupal face of
back to Tarashing. We all felt eager and battle-hardened by our
kids, we arrived at our first campsite at Herrligkoffer.
the mountain and it is truly magnificent. We set up camp and I crawled into the tent I would be sharing with 5 other boys to
change out of my sweat-infused trekking clothes. While I was struggling with my thermal underwear in the tent I heard a few
back to Herrligkoffer where we would stop for lunch and then
two days of trekking and that confidence showed as we walked on
with minimal breaks, completing our trek within 10 hours and arriving back at Tarashing well before sundown.
The feeling of elation and the intense sense of accomplishment
gasps and exclamations. I was curious but I didn’t think much
when I stepped back into the motel at Tarashing made everything
whipped through our camp. There had been an avalanche up on
trekkers faces that they felt exactly the same way. a
of it until 30 seconds later when a gigantic gush of freezing air
seem worthwhile. I could tell from the huge grins on my fellow
JULY 17-23 2011
The punk-rock band from the capital, known for its hit single “Mojambo,” has a candid tête-àtête with The Tribune Magazine
Who is Bumbu Sauce?
punking it the
BUMBU SAUCE: There are four of us — Colonel Bumbu for the guitars and vocals, Master Jee who plays the guitar, Jeevay Lal on the bass and Zakoota on drums.
It makes me happy to see a very diverse demographic in our fan
base. If we can bring everybody together under the Bumbu Sauce flag, we’ve accomplished a fair bit.
Why the anonymity? Will the pseudonyms ever wear off to reveal your
Since Bumbu Sauce seems to follow the DIY ethic of Punk to the utter
core, other than the live shows you have mentioned, how much has
MASTER JEE: Anonymity? Pseudonyms? Whaddiz?
radio and web assisted you guys in promoting your music?
COLONEL: We’re out there. We are playing live shows. Then peo-
warmed up to it gradually, once the RJs and programme directors
ZAKOOTA: Pseudonym? Isn’t that an anti-inflammatory cream?
ZAKOOTA: The internet reaction was immediate and radio
ple who attend our shows put our pictures and videos up online.
saw that it was the type of music that stayed with people and
More than that, we command a strong presence on radio — not
just songs but also interviews. We’re the opposite of anonymous. Some of our biggest influences in rock have used stage names and that’s actually pretty fun.
Bumbu Sauce is a totally new genre of punk rock, but its comical tilt makes that more difficult to define. What label would you give to your music? COLONEL: It’s come around for us naturally and so it’s hard to
define even for us. You’re right, in the Bistee Proof EP we didn’t go out to make any statements — and it turns out that is our big-
ZAKOOTA: Think of it as rock ‘n roll wearing a dhoti.
they wanted to hear it again. We were careful about the order in
which the songs on “Bistee Proof” were released. We weren’t go-
ing to just release everything simultaneously — it had to have a pattern. I think that groomed the fans to help understand where this band was coming from.
COLONEL: Technology has been key. It’s allowed us to bypass all the formalities and get our music straight to our fans. It’s been amazing to see the response so far. Really amazing. Bistee Proof
is our first EP and after the love that we’ve gotten, we can’t wait to put out an album because we know people want it. We know it because they tell us.
MASTER JEE: Web and radio have both been good.
What kind of fan following do you have?
The songs with lyrics that are a cross between Punjabi and English are
MASTER JEE: The best kind. Our fans are the ones who are as sick
more comical but “Jiggernaut”, despite its humorous lyrics, has more
of the mainstream as we are.
ent enough that it got a reaction instantly out of most people.
ZAKOOTA: The loosely described “genre” of our music was differJULY 17-23 2011
serious connotations. Did it reach out to global audiences? COLONEL: Serious? Oh please ... it has ninjas fighting with dog-
BY JAHANARA DAR
That’s the only guiding principle we’ve ever had with our music. If we can enjoy playing it and listening to it, it must be good
e punkjabi way gies who speak English and it involves catching fish in China.
jokes with their fans. We’ve all known each a very, very long
US, the UK, Canada ... all over the place.
event with a certain teacher in Class 9 and we’ll be laughing our
Still, it’s getting played on radio stations in New Zealand, the
ZAKOOTA: Some fans have come up with some pretty interesting
concepts about the song’s connotations. Take from it what you will.
MASTER JEE: We had recorded a version of that a couple of years ago and put it up on Youtube. It got a fair bit of attention back
then, The New York Times, The Guardian, and what not. That kind of
time. One of us will say a word that is connected to a certain butts off for the next 10 minutes straight. Then we’ll write a song
about it. Maybe it’s in Punjabi. Maybe it’s in English. Maybe it’s in both. Although I won’t deny that Punjabi lends itself rather fittingly to rock n’ roll.
MASTER JEE: It just happened. We write songs that we would en-
media attention really says a lot. All you need to do is mention
joy playing, and listening to. That’s the only guiding principle
start taking it seriously. That wasn’t why we wrote the song,
listening to it, it must be good. I think that formula works.
the T word in a song that makes absolutely no sense, and people
though. The song came together because we were all really, re-
we’ve ever had with our music. If we can enjoy playing it and COLONEL: It’s only when we got done recording and putting to-
ally happy that night. Just ecstatic to be in a band together. The
gether the EP that we started thinking about people listening to
was a bolt from the blue.
rooms, living rooms and cars. And that’s been by far the most
song did pretty well, I guess. But this song like most of our music
Did you have inkling Punjabi Rock, and that too purely humourous rock,
these songs — groups of friends singing along to it in their bedgratifying part of it.
would be a hit with the local Punjabis? Your music had an advantage be-
What was the journey from your personified experience of music to
cause the local who does not listen to rock for most of it is in English, can
the more professional one? What about the production of your music?
listen to you. Was that part of the plan or has it just happened?
COLONEL: We’ve played together for over a decade but we all had
ZAKOOTA: What Bumbu Sauce really does is share their inside
side musical projects. It was about three years ago that Master
JULY 17-23 2011
Jee and I got together to start sketching out fresh material and
tion or critique?
studio. We were put in touch with Nick Blagona who is a master
really supportive. Arieb Azhar, Haniya Aslam, Hamza Jaffery and
we wrote some new stuff and decided to go into the recording
COLONEL: Our friends who are in the music industry have been
Buddha of sound in Canada. His studio is on a native American
our peers have been great but from the old timers, no, we haven’t
reservation near Toronto. The reservations in North America are exactly like our Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
ZAKOOTA: Colonel and Masterjee had some cool ideas. When all of us sat down, it really starting coming together and we knew that
heard anything at all yet...
MASTER JEE: I think they’re still waiting for us to be embraced by toothpaste companies before they invest their ‘cool stock’ in us.
these tunes had to be recorded soon. We recorded at Jukasa Studios,
What are the future plans, or as it would be in the Bumbu mode,
sound and vocals. We ended up mastering with him as well.
What kind of criticism have you received for your music and from
amazing — we sold out T-shirts and CDs almost instantly. Now
with Nick Blagona at the helm. He did wonders with the drum
which quarters? ZAKOOTA: Mostly from people who don’t understand that this type of music but our take on that is, this kind of music doesn’t
have to make sense in their minds all the time. And that it doesn’t have to have a well measured out three-minute guitar
solo or intricate 3x7x5 drum beats to make it sound good. It’s feel-
good music man. Please relax, and chill out with us. Come on and Bumbu Jam.
MASTER JEE: Good music is good music. Who cares about criticism anyway? Definitely not a band who’s first EP is called ‘Bistee Proof’.
Punked in Pakistan
Have your predecessors in local rock ever sent some kind of apprecia-
took it to Zakoota and Jeevay Lal. It started coming together and
Though relatively new to Pakistan, punk music first invaded Western eardrums in the late 1970s as an extension of rock music. The word ‘punk’ conjures up images of unkempt musicians wearing outrageous clothes and sporting mohawks and any number of piercings, and certainly conformity is a big no-no when it comes to Punk music. Gone are the done-to-death themes of love and heartbreak, as no Punk musician worth his mohawk will be caught dead pining for his lost love to return to him The music industry in Pakistan saw a revival with the rise of the Vital Signs, while Junoon managed to fuse rock music with sufi lyrics. Since then, rock has been simmering, if not steaming, in Pakistan through the genre of Garage Rock or underground bands as well as fusion ventures by pop bands. Some bands that could be classified as Garage Rock are Malang Party, a boy band which manages to “growl” adequately and play its Blues perfectly. Then there are the Qayas boys, Poor JULY 17-23 2011
‘whaddiz’ the scene? We just played DesiFest in Toronto, Canada, the
largest South Asian festival in North America. The reaction was that the Space Shuttle Atlantis has had its final lift-off, (Yes, a delay would have dealt a blow to new Bumbu material … really!) we’re all getting together in a couple weeks to hash out some new
tunes. These new songs are mind-melting stuff. The band is fully in its comfort zone. Fans can expect nothing short of sheer Bumbuness. After last year’s winter tour, our fans have been wait-
ing very patiently for some shows. We’ve got invitations from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Faisalabad. I’m sure we’ll add a few more cities and we are looking to tour straight through the
country in the winter of 2011/2012. We want to layer this country in Bumbu Sauce, understand? Aho! a
Rich Boy and Co-Ven who have managed to attract rock fans as well as the media’s interest. But Punk has also come to Pakistan. In terms of popularity , Bumbu Sauce is the latest sensation in Pakistan’s punk scene. They sing in a language you could call Punglish (a cross between Punjabi and English) . Then there is the punk band The Kominas who have their origins in Pakistan but are stationed in Boston, US. Their music, too, is flavoured with an interesting fusion of Punjabi and English but instead of being labelled a Pakistani band, they are better known as a South Asian or ‘brown’ punk band since they have whipped in popular Bollywood songs and borrowed Naseebo Laal’s lyrics to punk them up and win fans in their Pakistani, Indian and foreign audiences. Seemingly tired of not just mainstream music but also of norms that govern music production, Bumbu Sauce has followed the DIY ethic of Punk and has distributed music on its own through social networking websites.
roman holiday When in Rome, have gelato like the Romans do.
Ice Ice Baby: various gelato flavours
A Googler of the highest order, I had prepared for this trip by researching for weeks so that I’d know what exactly my husband and I were going to see in Rome. The Colosseum? Check. The Forum? Done. The Pantheon? Roger that.
go by. While they sit there, musicians set up their instruments
Armed with a Roma Pass (which turned out to be a very good
Hollywood movies. The moment you see the massive structure,
tourist attractions. Additionally, the pass allowed us to hop on
sualise scenes from Gladiator. However, the Roman Forum looked
investment), we were able to bypass the long lines at the top
and off various buses and metros to get to our various destina-
tions. This was an adventure in itself — running after the buses and nearly having our fingers crushed by the closing doors. We
often found ourselves heading in the opposite direction from
and belt out covers of famous songs. Along these piazzas, there
are restaurants with outdoor seating, where mostly tourists have their meals, while soaking in the atmosphere of the city.
The Colosseum was as awe-inspiring as they show it to be in
you begin to imagine it at the peak of the Roman Empire and vimore like a pile of stones and the details of its past glory in the
guidebook failed to impress me — piles of stone we have plenty of in my hometown of Karachi.
This didn’t stop me from taking tons of pictures though. As is
where we wanted to go, only to be informed by a stranger that
every girl’s hope and dream, my husband did a very good job of
that was half the fun.
him to show he was also there.
the Colosseum was nowhere close to where we were — but then I played the part of a typical tourist by being smitten by the
taking good pictures, mainly of me with the occasional shot of But it’s at night that the city truly comes alive. One can spend
Pantheon, though it was not so much the interior of the place
hours sitting around a piazza or a fountain, listening to mu-
around the Pantheon was filled with people who had come to re-
breathtakingly detailed Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, depicting
that had me love-struck as the ambiance outside it. The piazza lax and socialise with their friends over drinks, after a long day
BY AIZA NASIR KHAN
at work. Come evening, the locals head towards piazzas to meet up with friends for more drinks and to simply watch the world JULY 17-23 2011
sic and having gelato. In the centre of the Piazza Navona is the
the four rivers, the Ganges, the Nile, the Danube and the Plate as men. The huge piazza is filled with artists, performers, dance troupes and vendors selling curios and souvenirs. Because I am
The Trevi fountian
Rome has only one drawback — it has made me hate pigeons with a vengeance The Colosseum gets a thumbs up
Pizza the way God intended to the front and in a fleeting mushy moment, threw coins in together and, of course, took lots of pictures.
The highlight of our trip was the culinary magic of Rome. We
tasted pizza as it is meant to be, sans the greasy, thick crust that kills the flavours. Every five minutes, we’d find ourselves facing a gelato shop, where rows of colourful flavours would mesmerise us. While the plain yoghurt could have been better, tiramisu, hazelnut, wild-berry and muffin turned out to be absolute favourites,
deliciously creamy and with chunks of fruit or chocolate finding
their way into your mouth. From austere nuns to savvy business-
men, we saw all kinds of Romans enjoying their gelato, walking
Rome's flying rats
along the streets with two scoops balanced precariously on their cone.
For the tourist, Rome has only one drawback — it has made me
such a fastidious shopper I had researched all the vendors and
hate pigeons with a vengeance. They are like flying rats, crawling
ings (gorgeous depictions of the Vatican City, the Colosseum and
you let them. They refuse to fly away even if you kick them. In
shops before I settled on a few souvenirs. These included oil paintthe Piazza Navona), miniatures of monuments, postcards, and
some cute fridge magnets. My better half's forlorn sighs only-
all over the place, ready to snatch food right out of your mouth if this regard, their Pakistan brethren are a lot more civilised.
Rome offers a lot to its tourists: food, ancient buildings, lively
spurred me on to buy even more!
piazzas and more food. As far as my husband and I are concerned,
feast for the eyes. As per custom, we managed to elbow our way
and one day call us back to the Eternal City.a
The jewel in Rome’s crown is the Trevi Fountain which is a
we hope the coins we threw in Trevi Fountain work their magic JULY 17-23 2011
POSITIVE PAKISTANIS PEOPLE
Despite people telling her she won’t be able to handle it, Aafia stood strong and continued on the unconventional career path she had chosen for herself. BY RAHAT KAMAL
As far back as she can remember Syeda Aafia Haider used to gaze at the planes that flew over her house, admiring their flight and wondering what kept them up. Little did she know that she would soon learn the inside-out of an aircraft, tweaking engines and fixing circuits. Aafia belongs to a conservative middle class family and was ex-
Aafia’s mother supported her from the get-go, and made sure
that her daughter did not give up. She had sacrificed her own ambitions after an early marriage and did not want the same for
her children. Knowing the kind of pressure her daughter would be subjected to, she found a clever way out.
“I figured that instead of waiting for her to do her intermedi-
pected to get married soon after completing her basic education.
ate, like most people, I would put her in her field of interest right
pursue a career in aviation. Not only did she have to convince her
for marriage started to pile up, she would have completed her
But by the time she was 16, Aafia was certain that she wanted to family about wanting to study further, her career choice was a particularly problematic matter as aviation is a male-dominated
the first and only girl to take up a certain course in an institute.
career. It is one thing to fight discrimination and prove that be-
ing a female makes one no less capable, it is quite another to be JULY 17-23 2011
after Matriculation exams, so that even before societal pressure course, and be in her specific vocation,” says Syeda Uroosa Naqvi, Aafia’s mother.
Right after her matriculation exams, Aafia enrolled for a di-
ploma in Aerospace and Avionics (B.Tech ND) at the ATS Training
It was also difficult for Aafia’s all-male classmates to accept her
as one of them. They used to bully her and tried to make her feel uncomfortable. But she found a way out to ignore all the bitter comments and stay strong — by concentrating on her studies. This, she says, was due to the encouragement and guidance she
got from her teachers. Gradually she earned the grudging respect of her classmates as well.
Aafia agrees that the field of aerospace and avionics is chal-
lenging for women, since it is taxing both mentally and physi-
cally. Aerospace involves all the mechanical engineering related to an aircraft and avionics is related to the electric and electronic systems of the plane. So it can involve arduous work like dis-
mantling engines and carrying and fixing heavy equipment, and there’s always a high chance of accidents. She recalls that
when she once accidently touched the engine fuel, it left her finger painful and swollen for a week. “Even lifting the tool box used to leave blisters on my hand, but when you have a passion
for something these things are merely pebbles in the way,” she says.
Although she strongly encourages other women to join the
field she cautions that it requires an element of toughness. “Any-
“Anyone taking up the tools of an aircraft engineer should be prepared for broken nails and grubby hands,” she adds with a giggle.
one taking up the tools of an aircraft engineer should be prepared for broken nails and grubby hands,” she adds with a giggle.
Now at the end of her course, Aafia says it was a challenging
period with many new experiences and hurdles though each challenge taught her how to tackle greater tribulations. Besides her diploma, she has also completed her Intermediate and is currently a trainee at an airline. After the completion of her
course, she will be joining as an aircraft trainee engineer and start studying for her license, after which she will be taking up
a career in avionics and be an aircraft maintenance engineer. It
is a job that requires a high degree of responsibility as it involves repairing, modifying and testing a range of electrical circuits,
electronic instruments and radio communications and certifying the airworthiness of an aircraft, she explains. A small misSchool accredited by Edexcel International, UK.
Initially, Aafia’s father was skeptical of her pursuing an edu-
take can cost lives. It is also a heavily male dominated profession in Pakistan, but she is ready to take up this challenge as well.
So what advice does she have for girls who want to blaze their
cation in aviation. He thought that Aafia would not be able to
own trails? “No matter how difficult any field might be, if you
again, Aafia’s mother and her own clear determination came
tion, you soon get support and respect from everyone around
cope with the strenuous work that the course required. But once through and her father relented.
Relatives and friends however, were another story. When
they learned that Aafia wanted to work in aviation, they were
shocked. When it emerged that she was the only girl in her class, they were scandalised. Naturally, they took the liberty of
cautioning her parents against the consequences. “She will frequently talk to boys”, “She won’t be shareef”, “She won’t get suit-
able marriage proposals” and “It’s best that she did something more feminine”, were some of the not-so-helpful suggestions.
have the support of your family, perseverance and determinayou, and the strength to reach your goal.”
Aafia’s story is a beacon of hope for all those women who are
bound by the restraints of society and who want to be able to go where few women have gone before. a
If you know of any people who have achieved something positive, either for themselves or for those around them, please mail us at magazine@ tribune.com.pk and help us share their story with the world. JULY 17-23 2011
UP NORTH AND PERSONAL
Zahrah’s budgie goes from loving mother to serial killer TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHS BY ZAHRAH NASIR
Monsoon mornings tend to be rather somnolent affairs: dull greenish-grey light distilled through tree branches is further diluted by the bedroom curtains. The underwater effect makes it impossible to discern
cannibal. Joe and her firstborn, Biggles, are, as far as I can tell,
peculiar lethargy in both humans and animals. Even the bird-
waiting for her next victim to emerge.
whether it’s 5 am or 10 am. The oppressive atmosphere instills a songs are muted.
he hears me up and about; Biggles flies from perch to swing to
food bowl in anticipation of breakfast. Mrs Joe, stomach full of pecked-to-pieces offspring, sits innocently on unhatched eggs, I think — not being a budgie psychologist, only ‘think’, mind
This was one such morning. Thunder vibrating through moun-
you — that Mrs Joe is jealous of Biggles. Before he arrived on the
finesse. All that was needed was a shrill scream and a murder…
ever, Biggles hatched out, was fed by both parents, grew at an
tains, valleys and forests added a Dickensian touch of theatrical both of which took place!
The scream was mine when I almost trod on the black scorpion
that had crawled in under the back door, seeking shelter from the approaching storm. The murder had been committed by Mrs
Joe, who has undergone a revolting transformation from loving
mother to serial killer. This feathered fiend is perpetually sitting on eggs, each perfect oval invisibly labeled ‘Breakfast’, ‘Lunch’
nonplussed. Joe whistles his usual morning greeting the second
and ‘Dinner’. Chicks periodically hatch out. Tiny, defenceless
Sméagols that Mrs Joe devours when my back is turned. She is a JULY 17-23 2011
scene, Joe and Mrs Joe were the perfect loving pair. Then, howastonishing rate and eventually emerged from the nesting pot so full of vim and vigour that he set their previously placid world
on its head. His days are full of trickery and flying escapades, every single movement accompanied by a running commen-
tary of whistles, squeaks and squawks. He scolds, curses and, more to the point, selfishly demands all of Joe’s attention. Mrs Joe is, therefore, neglected. She sits in the nesting pot planning
revenge — the revenge being to eat every new hatchling before it has the slightest chance of achieving competitor status. All
Household garbage dump.
Feeding pets isn’t something these people are prepared to do and this isn’t because they cannot afford to, they just won’t. Food is for people not for animals and birds.
rived for their English lesson on time, if they arrived at all. When they did, they wanted to gossip not learn and, in what was the
last straw, passed on a virulent form of viral pneumonia which
laid me low for weeks last summer. I scrambled up the muddy incline to her home, a neat and tidy stone affair with painted shutters over glassless windows and a total absence of indoor water.
Swathed in brilliant orange and white from the top of her head to her orange-painted toenails, she was vigorously scrubbing pots and pans with, of all things, a worn out toothbrush, under the
outside tap. This is her assigned chore, come rain or snow, yet it wouldn’t take much to extend the pipe right into the kitchen and put in a rudimentary drain.
“The parrot is round the back Aunty. Please go and have a look
at it while I finish off here.”
The parrot, actually a rose-ringed parakeet, sat forlornly by a
small heap of sweepings containing a minute amount of bajera and an awful lot of dirt. Unable to fly and unsteady on its feet,
its upper back and part of its stomach stark naked, the bird presented a sad spectacle. Its cage, glimpsed through the open door
of the store room it had been relegated to, contained neither food nor water. The bird was, I suspected, suffering from both hunger and thirst and wouldn’t be alive much longer unless something was done and done promptly.
“What’s wrong with it, Aunty?” the girl asked as she came
round the corner rearranging her head covering. “What are you feeding it?” I enquired.
“Oh it eats everything,” she assured me. “It eats the grass, bits
of wood and even tries to eat stones. I gave it some bajera the other day too.”
“It’s hungry,” I told her. “You need to feed it bajera, fruit and
is not well in the budgie cage. The cure, possibly, is to remove
Biggles from the family home, but this presents its own set of problems. If I put him in a cage on his own he will be miserable
as sin. I should first get him a companion but this means having
vegetables every day and it needs water to be available all the
time. It should have things like sunflower seeds as well and I’m sure it would enjoy a tomato.”
“Yes, Aunty,” she nodded. “I’ll get some.”
I knew she wouldn’t. Feeding pets isn’t something these peo-
two large cages on the window sill and there isn’t room. Well,
ple are prepared to do and this isn’t because they cannot afford
of light in the living room but come winter, one of the cages will
We stood watching the malnourished parrot for a moment or two
there is if I refrain from opening windows and can adjust to lack be too far from the fire and its inhabitants might freeze. Biggles,
it seems, will have to go and I hate the thought of parting with
him as he is the life and soul of the party. Maybe I should get rid
to, they just won’t. Food is for people not for animals and birds. and then she suddenly insisted, most vehemently, that we re-
turn to the other side of the house, and I immediately knew why.
The people in this area are extremely house proud: floors are
of Mrs Joe and simplify matters by keeping the two males but,
swept, furniture polished, mats taken out and shaken, bedding
would be cruel. Circles and roundabouts.
as long as garbage is outside and, preferably, out of sight, then
unlike some humans I can think of, budgies pair for life so that I was ruminating over the matter as I climbed up the moun-
tain, on my way to the nearest store, when a voice emerged from the undergrowth at the side of the path: “Aunty, Aunty. My uncle gave me a parrot two weeks ago and its feathers have fallen out. Please come and tell me what to do.”
It was one of my former students! ‘Former’ as the trio rarely ar-
aired almost every day. But cleanliness stops at the doorstep — so be it. Household refuse, largely consisting of ubiquitous plastic bags, empty plastic bottles and the like, is simply tossed in
the surrounding forest or, as in this case, an odiferous heap in a corner behind the house which visitors are not supposed to see.
Houses, like people, are designed to be viewed from the front not the rear. a
JULY 17-23 2011
the art of
BY POPPY AGHA
Banish the blues with these sweet treats
We never tire of eating meetha! And those of us who claim not to have a sweet tooth, like myself, grow up to be utterly fascinated by the concept of sweet. A good dessert is manna from the heavens and possesses the power to alleviate misery. I often wonder what it is: is it the sugars that enliven you and give you strength or is it magic?
I would like to go with the latter since cooking can be enchant-
ing, especially when you make something new. With the month of Ramazan coming up I usually get excited and try out new
recipes. What I tell my students is that half your work is done if you let inspiration lead the way. A great way to get going is to
use something you don’t like; the results are just so satisfying that you eventually end up loving what you cooked. I don’t like
bananas, so for me making something edible with bananas is a
great feat. The two recipes I created are all about using ingredients differently, and I also think there should be a low sweet option for those who can’t eat sweet e.g diabetics. Why leave any-
one out when you can create magic in your own kitchen! a JULY 17-23 2011
A great way to get going is to use something you don’t like; the results are just so satisfying that you eventually end up loving what you cooked
Banana cream bites Ingredients:
Sponge cake slices - 8 Bananas - 3
Cream - 1.5 packets
Sugar – 4 tablespoons - as a lovely alternative you can use brown sugar Method: Slice up the bananas and add in a pot along with the cream. Next, add in the sugar and cook till the cream thickens. Try not to break the bananas.
Next, place all the slices of cake in an oven dish and layer some of the banana mix onto each slice. Baked Pears A safe indulgence for those with diabetes and health issues.
Most Eid spreads often ignore the fact that a lot of people have sugar related problems. If you make this lovely dish for your
guests, it will be a great hit. Again, this is an alternative dessert to all the mithai we eat.
Sprinkle with a little sugar, about two to three pinches, and then cook in a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees for 12 minutes.
You can serve these bites hot or cold, and to make it even more
appetizing, you can add a scoop of vanilla ice cream at the
side. This will be a fantastic alternative to all the heavy sweets served at Eid.
Water- 1 litre
Sugar- 5 tablespoons- or 3 tablespoons of artificial sweetener Pears – 4-6 whole
Cinnamon- 2 sticks Method: Heat the water in the pan and add in the artificial sweetener or the sugar. Next, put in the pears and the cinnamon.
Leave to cook on a medium flame, till only a quarter of the water is left. This will take approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Take the pears out after 45 minutes. Leave the water to reduce
a little more, this will give you a lovely sheera, or sugar syrup. Serve with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar, and some of the sweet syrup. Again, this is optional.
47 JULY 17-23 2011
film eyre and now BY AMMARA KHAN
Just when you think you’ve seen all the Jane Eyre adaptations you possibly could, director Cary Fukunaga makes a solid film that will have audiences hooked despite their obvious familiarity with the story. Fukunaga mostly remains faithful to the novel, but chooses to start the movie from the middle of the narrative. In the opening scene we see Jane, played by rising star Mia Wasikowska, escaping from her room in Thornfield into the wilderness and encountering some kind strangers: St John Rivers (played by Jamie Bell) and his sisters Diana Rivers (Holliday Grainger) and Tamzin Merchant (Mary Rivers). In flashbacks, we come to know about Jane’s childhood as a free-spirited orphan living with her late Uncle Reed’s family. Then Mrs Reed sends her to the Lowood Institution. Surprisingly Fukunaga’s little experiment with the narrative structure works very well. It hooks the viewer and gives the adaptation a modern touch without spoiling the story. Moreover, the excellent cinematography creates an almost haunting effect on the screen. The main part of the story focuses on Jane’s first job as a governess at the estate of Thornfield and her infatuation with Edward Rochester, the mysterious master of the house. Orson Welles’ unforgettable acting as Rochester in the 1944 movie is no doubt the most powerful rendition of the character, making it all the more difficult for any other actor to do justice to this role. However, Welles’ superb performance also meant that he overshadowed Joan Fontaine, who played Jane Eyre in the movie. Marlon Brando had the same impact in A Street Car Named Desire, when he stole attention away from Blanche DuBois (Vivian Leigh) as a very strong Stanley Kowalski. When people watch these movies they watch Welles and Brando instead of Fontaine and Leigh who were supposed to be the main characters in the text. In Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre, Fassbender adds an element of sheer 48 masculine attraction to the cold wit and gothic demeanour of JULY 17-23 2011
plain jane Unlike previous incarnations, who made for very attractive Janes, Mia gives us the ‘small and plain’ Jane of Bronte’s novel. Rochester. Fassbender does not try to imitate anyone, and succeeds in leaving his individual mark on the character. More importantly, he does not overshadow Jane, the heroine of our story, and gives ample space to Wasikowska who does justice to the muchimagined Jane Eyre. Unlike previous incarnations of the character — including Fontaine and Charlotte Gainsbourg — who made for very attractive Janes, Mia gives us the Jane that is closest to the one portrayed so beautifully in the novel by Charlotte Bronte as ‘small and plain’. The chief attraction of the movie, undoutedly, remains Mia Wasikowska’s exceptional acting as Jane Eyre. Unadorned and unassuming, Mia’s unyielding posture and tight-lipped expressions portray Jane’s unwavering moral strength and her longing for independence. She has captured the chilling reality and resilient spirit of Jane in her splendid interpretation of this extraordinary character. This movie had me take up the novel after years and read it again. If you are a Jane Eyre fan you don’t want to miss this movie. a
book untold stories BY NM KHAN
I’m always surprised that avid Pakistani followers of South Asian literature missed Tahmima Anam, whose debut novel A Golden Age was, in a word, brilliant. This could be because most of the Pakistani readers I refer to were too busy tweeting about the rebirth/revival/re-something or the other of Pakistani literature so anything else just slipped through the cracks. The other possibility — and I find this hard to believe — but then I am known for ignoring inconvenient truths (Al Gore, I’m thinking of you), is that because Anam’s novels are set in Bangladesh, there may be some discomfort or disinterest in the subject matter as far as Pakistani readers are concerned. If that is the case — and I dare not think my compatriots could be so silly about a war we lost so very long ago — then that’s really very silly. If anything, Anam’s books are an important read — offering as they do a rare insight into the chaos and crisis that the state of Bangladesh was engulfed in almost from the moment of its birth. Anam’s novel is part of a trilogy set in the time leading up to the creation of Bangladesh and thereafter but A Good Muslim can also be read on its own. It picks up after A Golden Age, which was the story of a widow (Rehana Haque) and her two children Maya and Sohail set in the war that led to Bangladesh’s birth. In A Good Muslim we witness two homecomings: Sohail’s after the war and, seven years later, Maya’s who has been travelling the country as a “crusading doctor”. The relationship between the siblings is strained due to an ideological parting of ways: Sohail goes down the “religious route” whereas Maya remains a staunch atheist. They grapple with their past and try to contend with the realities their future may bring, both having witnessed gruesome death and destruction. In describing the newly-independent Bangladesh, Anam writes a brilliantly incisive and relevant analysis of the double standards 50 permeating society. Her descriptions of the yuppies, for instance, JULY 17-23 2011
inconvenient truths a rare insight into the chaos and crisis that the state of Bangladesh was engulfed in almost from the moment of its birth will resonate with us as the characters seem oh so familiar. But it is Sohail’s portrait which is the most disturbing — the revolutionary turned fundamentalist. This is Maya’s brother, her onetime rock who refuses to see the hypocrisies that Maya can see all around her. Both are stubborn in holding on to their principles — and it is those principles that clash in the powerful conclusion. The story of Sohail’s transformation into a chauvinist denialist is a tragic tale that is well told and one that, perhaps intentionally, evokes very little pity. But just because her brother has chosen a dark path does not make Maya good by default and her choices and beliefs are not judged as being better or worse than Sohail’s. It is a powerful and dark novel, with the tragedies of war, child abuse and illnesses woven into the plot. But somehow Anam manages to incorporate all these themes without making the novel too heavy a read. And that is the mark of a good author.
book spy games BY HUMA IMTIAZ
At his book launch in Washington, DC, David Ignatius had to repeatedly deny, in good humour and faith, that he could foresee the future. Reading Bloodmoney, his latest spy thriller set primarily in Pakistan, one wonders if Ignatius really does have a crystal ball in his basement. That, or perhaps even the most far-fetched fictional plot lines can become reality in this country. Bloodmoney begins with the vivid description of a drone strike, and from its ashes, rises the survivor: Omar, from Makeen. The other characters, like the ISI chief General Malik, and the fictional members of the CIA — Jeffrey Gertz, Sophie Marx, Cyril Hoffman — make for fascinating reading. Ignatius manages to grab the attention of the reader quite early on when he describes the fate of the CIA operative Howard Egan, and the sequence of incidents that seems to mirror to some extent the events of the Raymond Davis affair in Lahore earlier this year. Even though fictional, Bloodmoney details the double and, in some instances, triple-crossing games that both countries have been playing. From the Pakistani side, that involves maintaining links with militants to garner intelligence. The US sends in agents for covert activities that even the CIA station chief is unaware of. Mixed in with this is how the CIA funds its covert operations, a subject that Ignatius had said he had been interested in, considering the organisation’s budget is secret and taking care of agents is a costly affair. Despite a motley crew of characters that are each more intriguing than the one before (“is General Malik a depiction of General Kayani?” being a thought that crosses one’s mind often), it is really Omar, the professor, that one is left wanting to know the most about. A victim of a drone strike, a Pathan, a professor, and, to put it simply, a genius. Ignatius, who has visited Pakistan (including the tribal areas) before, has incorporated Pakistani idioms, curse words and cultural 52 nuances in his novel, which adds immense value to the book. But JULY 17-23 2011
crystal ball Even the most far-fetched fictional plot lines can become reality in Pakistan while Bloodmoney has all the essential ingredients to give the reader a rollicking ride, Ignatius loses the plot at the end. The novel crashes towards its bloody denouement, with a conclusion so ludicrous that even fantasy novel writers would wrinkle their noses in distaste. For those who follow the US-Pakistan relationship, or even have a semblance of an idea of how the intelligence chiefs operate in either country, it appears to be a fairy-tale ending of the worst kind. As a side note, Ignatius did say that he was going to send a copy of Bloodmoney to both General Kayani and General Pasha. One wonders what they think about the book at the GHQ. a
10 things I hate about ...certain aunties
1 2 3 4 5
Recommendations Inc. aunty: “Beta, why don’t you
wear brighter colours, pastel shades are for older people”, “Try fair and lovely- it does wonders for the Pakistani army, tum tou phir bhi haseen ho” and lastly, “You
should really go gyming more often beta, dekho zara” (points at tummy).
Information Inc. aunty: This aunty runs the real infor-
mation bureau of the city which is competent enough to put the ISI to shame. She has an uncanny ability of knowing who is studying where, doing what, doing
who, marrying (or not) who, vacationing where, dining where or hiring who. She will also make sure your family knows your whereabouts, just in case they missed it.
Marriage Inc. aunty: This particular aunty usually has a son nearing mid-20s and will be eyeing teenage
girls for wedlock. The showrooms that best serve the purpose are shaadis, darses, milaads, daawats and saalgiras though sometimes even a trip to the grocery store can
prove to be useful. Are you a mother with an eager son? You have exclusive rights to a shameless stare.
Mehangai inspection aunty: Every transaction made at
the fruit/doodh/murghi wala will be coupled with an ar-
gument with the trader as she badgers him for being solely responsible for the mehengai that has struck the
nation. The same aunty will buy exorbitantly-priced lawn from Gul Ahmed hardly an hour after its launch. But then who are we to compare food with fashion?
Don’t-call-me-aunty aunty: She is obsessed with being called something in specific like Mami or Khala or
Chaachi since aunty sounds like a vague term that only implies an age difference.
BY FATIMA RIZWAN
6 7 8 9 10
Why-don’t-you-meet-me aunty: She is fixated on repri-
manding those who don’t come visit them often. “Tum milti nahi ho!” is the first thing she will say when she
spots you hiding behind a detergent rack in the depart-
ment store. She will then leave with a vague invitation to her place which will sound like “Chalo, aana kabhi”.
The Yo-auntie: This one right here wants to be in on everything-cool. She has children under the ages of 12
and in order to understand her kids better she becomes one of them, quite literally. She can often be spotted playing musical chairs and wearing her hair in a skyhigh pony tail.
Tell-me-more aunty: Every conversation with her will culminate into a Q & A session. Where you’re working
and how much you’re being paid — it’s all in the job description of being the interviewee (read you). She is also
best friends with aunty #2 so make sure you’re awake during the rendezvous.
Protective aunty: Some aunties think that this world is
one big dragon plant which will snap at her children the moment they step out of their humble adobes. She will
call you to ask whether you are going to the field trip too
or if your parents are making you wear headgear or send-
ing a chaperon along at least. Don’t think too much into it though — “Uhhhh” is a response they’re used to hearing.
Khao-beta aunty: When going to this particularly persistent aunty’s house for dinner, be sure that you skip
breakfast, lunch and if possible, last night’s dinner be-
cause no matter how much you hog on to the food and simultaneously make sure she is in sight while you’re at it; she will keep refilling your plate. Be nice though, she only means well.
54 JULY 10-16 2011