OCTOBER 2-8 2011
OCTOBER 2-8 2011
Cover Story 18 Scamsters, Skeeters and Suckers For some, the buzzing of the Aedes mosquito sounds like money in the bank
Features 24 Queen of the Jungle Veronique Ahmed opens her home and her heart to everything that walks, crawls and flies
Health 28 Daadi’s Diary Dodging dengue with a little help from Daadi
Green Thumb 30 Eastern Promises Give an exotic touch to your garden with citrusy lemongrass
Regulars 6 People & Parties: Out and about with Pakistan’s beautiful people 34 Reviews: What’s new in books and films 42 Ten Things I Hate About: Medical college
Magazine Editor: Zarrar Khuhro, Senior Sub-Editor: Batool Zehra, Sub-Editors: Ameer Hamza and Dilaira Mondegarian. 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
Ammar Belal and Aaminah Haq
Aaminah Sheikh and Mohib Mirza
Anoushey and Faizan
Ayyan OCTOBER 2-8 2011
Emu and Nabila
PHOTOS COURTESY CATALYST PR AND MARKETING
The 10th Lux Style Awards are held in Karachi
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Huma and Amir Adnan
Frieha Altaf Mahirah Khan
Kiran Aman OCTOBER 2-8 2011
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Maheen Khan and Shamaeel Ansari Mr and Mrs Asif Bilwani
Reema Ahmed Butt
Mr and Mrs Humayun Saeed
Natasha OCTOBER 2-8 2011
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Tapu and Amna
Mr and Mrs Shahood Alvi Savera Nadeem
Fayezah and Rizwanullah
Sabina Pasha OCTOBER 2-8 2011
PEOPLE & PARTIES
The Second LADIESFUND Entrepreneurship Conference is held in Karachi
Shahzad and Lubna Qureshi Sidra Iqbal
Murat Onart OCTOBER 2-8 2011
XXXX Nilofer Saeed
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Raaheen Mani and Reza Mirza
Tara Uzra Dawood OCTOBER 2-8 2011
Kevin Marakumi and Mary Vargas
Sameera Raja and Giuliana Grandi
Do you hear that distant buzzing noise? Listen carefully…it’s getting louder and louder In years past, it would just mean a little added irritation when trying to sleep and the possibility of some pretty annoying and itchy bites. But now, this buzzing is enough to send people into a blind panic, cause schools to shut down and push an entire government into an overdrive of efficiency. Well, scratch that last part. The rest is still true. The buzz in Lahore these days is that of the dengue carrying Aedes Aegypti mosquito, a tiny insect
who’s gotten at least as much coverage as Michael Mullen or Jalalludin Haqqani. It’s the tiny drone that no dharna can stop from stinging. The miniature terrorist no operation seems to be able to
control. Forget about Malik Ishaq or Mumtaz Qadri, in Lahore it’s the Aedes Aegypti who is public enemy number one.
Every corner of every street in every neighbourhood, now has one — if not several — wanted
posters/dengue awareness campaign banners. Most of these focus on dengue fever prevention, the correct diagnosis through blood cell tests and finally the recommended medication.
Across the city, posters advertising the dengue helpline have been plastered by the Punjab gov-
ernment to provide information about the disease and report any malpractice or overcharging by profiteers, who are proliferating at least as fast as the much-feared mosquito itself. Yes, for some
of our fellow citizens, the buzzing sounds less like a miniature chainsaw of doom and more like the sound of a tiny cash register clinging away, and the lingering aroma of pesticide that tickles our nostrils is like the crisp smell of freshly printed banknotes.
Yes, not everyone is on the losing end as far as the dengue outbreak is concerned — so let’s meet
some characters for whom the dengue outbreak is more boon than bane.
12 OCTOBER 2-8 2011
Smell-o-vision: Mosquitoes can smell the carbon dioxide you exhale from up to 75 feet away. Blood-sucking fiends: Considering the average intake of blood by a mosquito in a single bite, it would take approximately 1.5million mosquitoes to drain the average human body of its entire blood supply. Olympic worthy: Every year the small municipality of Pelkosenniemi, Finland, hosts the World Championship of Mosquito Killing. The competition is open to all who wish to enter. The aim is to kill as many mosquitoes with ones bare hands within a five minute period. The current record of 21 is held by Henri Pellonpää. Statuesque: The world’s largest mosquito has a wingspan of 15 feet! It is a sculpture in Komarno, Manitoba. The statue also acts as a weathervane, swivelling in the wind. Gender bias: Mosquitoes prefer women rather than men as their victims.
Gentlemen prefer blondes: So do mosquitoes! Brunettes play second fiddle. Chemical buzzers: The mosquito is like the American stealth helicopter; you only find out about it after it has left. When a mosquito bites, it injects a chemical into your bloodstream which reduces the pain of the bite and prevents the blood from clotting. Since the chemical causes a delayed response (itching), you can almost never catch the mosquito with its pants down. Mozilla: The world’s largest mosquito, Toxorhynchites speciosus, can grow up to 1.5 inches. Also known as mosquito hawks or mosquito eaters, the larvae of the Toxorhynchites prey on the larvae of other mosquitoes and it has been suggested that they should be introduced to other areas in order to fight dengue fever. Don’t worry; these giant mosquitoes prefer to feed on nectar, for now.
The ‘other’ doctors “If the government gives us a chance, we can make dengue disappear,” declares a confident Dr Khalid Mah-
mood, a homeopathic doctor who has been in the profession for 40 years. “The allopathic lobby is blocking our access to the chief minister. Since the health department officials are doctors themselves, they want to
publicise the pharmaceutical industry instead of us, as it spends a lot of money in lobbying for them,” he adds.
According to Mahmood, mainstream medical practitioners have no cure for dengue fever while his practice
not only guarantees a cure but also provides ongoing protection from the virus. “India had dengue and they dealt with it through homeopathy,” he claims. “It is a cheaper method and we charge the same price for every
medicine.” Certainly, the hundreds of patients thronging his office are testament to the fact that while the government may not believe his claims, there are many who do. And they are willing to pay good money for their peace of mind.
A second-generation homeopathic practitioner, Dr Mahmood says his medicines not only increase the blood
platelet count within a week, but also improve the immune system. “I have been seeing 8-10 dengue patients
daily and more and more people are coming to see me every day.” As proof of the efficacy of his treatment, the doctor claims that so far, none of his patients have died of dengue. “The government should realise that allopathic doctors have failed. It should look at other avenues to control this epidemic and we are ready to help,” he concludes.
The help Dr Mahmood is extending may or may not be effective, and the debate between allopathic and ho-
meopathic medicine is too vast to get into here. But several of his homeopathic colleagues are making claims
that frankly, are a little hard to swallow. Lahore’s Multan Road, otherwise known as homeopath central, is festooned with signs promising a dengue cure in three days, a claim that is untenable at best
Itchy and Scratchy: The size of the welt left behind by the mosquito is not related to the size of the mosquito or the amount of blood it has stolen from you. The size depends on your immune system’s reaction to the chemical injected by the mosquito. Buzz Lighthear: The buzzing sound produced by mosquitoes is between the musical pitches of D and F. Electric blue: Everyone has a bug zapper at home; it’s the box that emits the fluorescent blue light and makes a delightful little buzz every time a bug meets its doom. The problem is that it does more harm than good since it inadvertently kills insects that feed on mosquitoes. Remember, mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, not flashy lights. Sleeping monsters: Floodwater mosquito eggs can remain dormant for years, hatching only when they are covered in water. Although adult mosquitoes have an average lifespan of five months, it may take several months for a larva to develop into an adult in cold water.
13 19 OCTOBER 2-8 2011
A grave problem, even graver solutions Multan may have snagged the ‘city of saints’ title, but Lahore is still Lahore (Lahore Lahore aaye). Everyday, thousands of devotees flock to Lahore’s many shrines with their hopes and prayers. Some want a new job, others want to be blessed with children and, more and more, many just want protection from dengue.
Located in the heart of the city, the shrine of Shah Jamal is frequented by men, women and children who come here to be blessed.
You come to the main entrance after climbing a narrow flight of stairs that leads to a veranda where devotees pray, facing the tomb of Shah Jamal. Today, most of the supplicants are praying to be delivered from the scourge of dengue.
Shaukat Baba has been managing the affairs of the shrine for decades, and he believes that once you pray at the tomb here, dengue
will not affect you. “The salt here is blessed,” he says with a sage expression on his face. “Sprinkle it on your food, and whoever eats out of it will be protected,” he tells me in a tone that brooks no argument.
But that is not the only holy way of keeping the Aedes Aegypti at bay. “Eating the rose petals lying on the grave is also very helpful
in preventing and curing those infected,” continues Shaukat.
Seeing that he’s clearly impressed me with his grave words, he takes this opportunity to ask me for a donation for the shrine. “Two
hundred rupees will be good enough,” he says, as he disappears into a door next to the veranda after pocketing the cash. This door leads to the area where food for the shrine devotees is cooked. I am told a faith healer who gives out amulets can be found there but upon inquiry, I find that he is not feeling well today. Perhaps he found himself at the wrong end of a proboscis.
After a little while, a malnourished looking man in his late fifties comes and sits down beside me. Given the reverential looks the
assembled devotees are giving him, he’s clearly the Big Man of the shrine. “Don’t worry about dengue, you have come to the right
place,” he says. “Anyone who comes here and believes in our beloved saint is forever blessed and no harm can come to him.” He points to a papaya tree inside the shrine and tells me that crushing the leaves of this tree and drinking the liquid can cure dengue fever.
I leave the shrine feeling somewhat superior and haughty, chuckling at the simple beliefs of the shrine-goers. That is, until I reach
Lahore’s Mayo hospital. Here, handwritten notes and posters hang from the walls, instructing people to recite certain holy verses for
protection from dengue. The caption above the prayer always reads: “Prayer for safety from dengue”. It’s pretty much the same story
at the Ganga Ram hospital as well. I find myself in the middle of a flashback to one of the countless Bollywood movies I’ve seen, where the doctor removes his stethoscope and announces gravely: “Ab dawa nahin, dua ka waqt hai.”
Now many corporate offices are following the same practice, with notice boards displaying posters that instruct you how to save
yourself from the dengue “animal” by means of prayer. That’s not all, on Lahore’s Mall Road, Minhaj-ul-Quran International has set
up a relief goods camp for the victims of the flood in Sindh. At the camp a banner flutters proudly, offering a “free” prayer for dengue fever for those who make a donation.
Beware the bite! The tips that will save you a trip to the hospital and spare you the agony of lying on the bed helpless as people shove petals down your throat. Hold your breath Inhale and then hold your breath for as long as you can (perfect exercise for underwater diving as well) as mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide being released in the air and sense the presence of the living. Once you are locked on the radar you cannot prevent these bloodthirsty pests from invading your peace of mind. Bathe daily Care less for the water shortages and more for your well being; shower daily and spray yourself with deodorant whenever you spot those sweaty patches. This way you’ll attract more people and fewer mosquitoes. Say NO to exercise The next time your significant other scolds you for not exercising, you shall have the perfect excuse — mosquitoes attack moving, living and breathing objects. Rest those muscles and say goodbye to your gym buddies for a while. Don’t sweat it Avoid perspiration — mosquitoes are attracted to moisture and odours. No need to head outdoors when the sun is shining proudly above you as you 12 don’t want to draw in the mosquitoes by smelling unpleasant. OCTOBER 2-8 2011
Shop talk Most retailers have dedicated shelves for mosquito repellents — including sprays, lotions and coils — throughout the year but right now in Lahore, these shelves are mostly empty. Mosquito repellants have flown off the
shelves ever since dengue season began and shopkeepers say that anything that has the word ‘mosquito’ on it is bought instantly.
“All sorts of lotions, sprays, and electronic pest killers have flooded the market. But most shops have run
out of items and that is why when the stocks refill, we have to pay whatever prices the shopkeepers demand,” complains a buyer.
And those who can manage it, get their favourite products from other cities. “I looked all over Lahore for OFF!
[a mosquito repellant cream], but I couldn’t find it,” says designer Kamiyar Rokni. “Eventually I had to have my aunt send me a box from Karachi.”
While buyers protest the lack of a price control mechanism and supplies, shopkeepers are using the opportu-
nity to move merchandise that would ordinarily stay on the shelves for months. Imran, a store manager in Gar-
den Town, Lahore, says that cheaper Chinese products are an option many are availing. “Earlier we used to keep European and American bug zappers but now, at half the price of these, we are supplying Chinese machines. We end up selling at least two to three every day.” That’s quite something, considering they’d previously only
manage to sell one a month at best. This would be great news — if the machines worked. Unfortunately, not only are mosquitoes not attracted to the ultraviolet rays these machines emit, the zappers end up killing those bugs that in fact feed on mosquitoes.
Mosquito net sellers have also sprouted up across the city, with even roadside plant nurseries cashing in on
the demand and selling green nets as improvised mosquito protection. Again, that would be great except that nets need to be coated with insecticide to work. These aren’t.
Stay cool Mosquitoes can sense body heat, perhaps not from a distance but most certainly when they are a few yards away from you. If you don’t want your warmth to lure them in then stay cool, switch on that air conditioner and enjoy some ice cream. Light colours are in this season Bring on the khakis and white shirts to ward off the heat and mosquitoes. They are fond of dark colours, especially blue, so restock your wardrobe with light-coloured clothes. Strong perfumes are a bad choice Did you know that mosquitoes are attracted to floral scents? Well you do now so think twice before bathing yourself in the strongest perfume or cologne. Wear clean socks please According to scientific research mosquitoes love smelly feet, especially the bacteria that grows on human feet. An experiment was conducted by entomologist Daniel L Kline to lure mosquitoes with the help of dirty socks. It was successful; mosquitoes cannot resist the smell of 3-day-old socks. Need I tell you what to do now!
Capitalism: one, government: zero While enterprising Lahoris have been busy minting money, the government has been one, if not two steps behind. They started
a spraying campaign long after the time for preventative spraying had passed. They decided to let the EDO health go on a three
month holiday just as the outbreak began and now say that the virus will only be brought under control by mid-November — which is pretty much when falling temperatures cause the
Aedes to take an extended nap in any case. If nothing else, this
clinches the argument as to whether private enterprise is more efficient than public enterprise. a
13 OCTOBER 2-8 2011
queen of the
Veronique and the colour-coordinated snake
“So much for owning a snake as a pet,” I thought to myself as my hands shook while trying to balance a glass of water in one hand and trying to pet a three-foot corn snake with the other. It’s not that I have some kind of nervous disorder or a deep-rooted
snake phobia, but the effort of trying to act brave while the snake
writhed in my lap was proving to be quite difficult. With several pairs of eyes (human and otherwise) watching me expectantly, I forced a smile and stroked the beige scales while trying to give the snake an admiring, and decidedly unterrified look.
Afraid to lose sight of the snake in my lap, I momentarily
looked up to find Veronique Ahmed brandishing a bright green,
slender-bodied whip snake in her hands. Smiling through clenched teeth all I can think of is how much the colour of the
snake matches her outfit. Her friend’s son, Zarrar, had placed
his baby iguana on his shoulder; meanwhile her own son had come rushing down with a fly in his fly net to feed the Mexican redknee tarantula. Clearly, I was the odd one out here.
I was surrounded by zoophiles and people who religiously
watch the National Geographic channel and show absolutely no
fear being with creatures that would send many others shrieking
from the room. OCTOBER 2-8 2011
Some people like pets from a distance, for others their world revolves around them; Veronique is the ideal pet lover who shares her home with animals from all over the world
I was surrounded by zoophiles and people who religiously watch the National Geographic channel and show absolutely no fear being with creatures that would send many others shrieking from the room.
Best of friends
BY SAMIA SALEEM
PHOTOGRAPHS BY NEFER SEHGAL
I had first heard of Veronique from a colleague, who described
her as “the French lady who loves and owns a lot of pets.” Being a pet lover myself, I decided to pay her a visit. As I walked through
the gates of her large house, I was enthusiastically welcomed by a pack of dogs of all sizes with different hairstyles, who happily and curiously barked and frolicked around me. I contemplated my next move: should I take a step back or allow those four-legged
animals to proceed with their greetings? Finally, I reassured myself that they were harmless.
As I walked up the path towards her house, my attention
was drawn towards the empty cages in all corners of the house.
Except for the birds, all her pets spent their days outside their
cage. Far from keeping animals in captivity, she gave her pets an open space to adapt to and make their own. The dogs didn’t mind
the cats purring nearby; the geese didn’t mind the hamsters
and mice scurrying past them; and the tortoises and hedgehogs shared a shed.
Suddenly the phrase ‘animal kingdom’ took on a whole new
meaning. A motley crew of friendly-looking pets surrounded
me: two species of porcupines, several Persian and Siamese cats, seven species of tortoises, turtles, red foxes, mice, hamsters,
dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, exotic birds which included African OCTOBER 2-8 2011
I spy with my little eyes...
parrots, love birds, peacocks, pigeons, geese, ducks, flightless
birds like turkeys, hens and partridges and even fire and redknee tarantulas. A myriad of sounds reached my ears: dogs barked,
cats meowed, ducks quacked, pigeons cooed, love birds twittered Hawk Eye: Beware mice
and turkeys cackled. An animal symphony announced my arrival.
As I later learnt, Veronique has been collecting these pets ever
since she moved to Pakistan from France 20 years ago. From the number of species and breeds that were housed there, I gathered
that Veronique’s shopping list on foreign trips constituted animals instead of clothes and souvenirs. “I have carried pets
in my pockets and in my handbags,” she says sneakily. Her
dogs were of the rarest breed, from bulldogs to poodles, and her bunnies were handpicked from Thailand, Malaysia and Japan during the course of her tours. I must admit those bunnies were really cute.
As she spoke about her pets, I could see the love she reflected
in her eyes — a love which was reciprocated by them in kind.
While I accompanied her on her daily afternoon rounds, her
warm greetings were met with assuring replies from her pets. Pepsi, the bulldog puppy, lovingly trotted beside her enjoying
her undivided attention. Her favourite puppy, Dolly, ran out of the cage and twirled to tell her she wanted to be dressed up in her mini frock, goggles, shoes and cap and the angry look the snake threw her way convinced her that he wasn’t in the best of
moods, after which she tossed an extra cricket at him to brighten
him up. OCTOBER 2-8 2011
As she spoke about her pets, I could see the love she reflected in her eyes — a love which was reciprocated by them in kind
Longing to be loved
Too lazy for a foxtrot
“I cannot see any animal hungry or shelterless,” she says.
Seeing a wounded eagle perched on the hedge beside her parked
car, blind or otherwise disabled cats sauntering about and bandaged dogs limping along, I felt the truth of her words. These animals meant the world to her and they all deserved
to be loved unconditionally. I was so touched by her ‘Edhi of
animals’ approach that I instantly picked up one of the blind cats wandering about and gave it one of my rare cuddles.
As we approached the birdcage I heard someone speak.
Convinced that neither of us had uttered a word, I heard the voice once again: “Chotu anday nikalo!” As I turned, my gaze landed on a grey parrot who had just imitated his owner’s daily request in a heavy French accent.
As we walked past the bird cages, she informed me that she
had learnt the likes and dislikes of her pets over a period of time. “The cricket is a snake’s delicacy, iguanas love cockroaches and
“The cricket is a snake’s delicacy, iguanas love cockroaches and mice and flies are a good snack for all,”
mice and flies are a good snack for all,” she uttered in a matter-
of-fact manner. She proudly claimed that all her pets relished her homemade snack which comprised dried fruits, seeds and Pedigree dog food that she fed them in the evenings after a heavy lunch and breakfast of boiled chicken.
By the time I had seen all her pets my clothes showcased my trip
into the animal kingdom as my white shirt displayed paw marks of all shapes and sizes. I may have started out fearful of some of the
animals in Veronique’s pet kingdom, but by the end of my visit, I was so inspired by her passion for pets that I was determined to
rush off to her pet shop and pick out one to take home. a
OCTOBER 2-8 2011
daadi’s diary BY SAMAN NIZAMI
They may seem small and insignificant, merely a nuisance — but mosquitoes are deadly disease car carriers. They are responsible for spreading malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus and yellow fever, causing millions of deaths every year. Considering the current outbreak of dengue fever in Pakistan, it is best to guard against mosquito bites completely. Mother Nature provides us with all the natural repellents you need to protect your loved ones. Different repellents work with
varying effectiveness for different people due to individual body chemistry, so experiment a bit to find out what’s best for you.
First the basics: Wear loose, light-coloured clothing (To a mos-
quito, bright floral prints will make you look like a flower), and
avoid heavy floral or fruity fragrances. Mosquitoes find their prey through carbon dioxide emissions, so avoid exercising at dawn
and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Shower frequently
during the humid season to get rid of sweat, which is highly at at-
tractive to mosquitoes. Eliminate standing water sources — bird
baths, puddles, flower pots are a few of the obvious ones. Less obvious is your toilet bowl-keep the lid down!
Now let’s take a look at what Mother Nature has in her anti-
There are several plants with mosquito repelling properties.
They may be used as follows:
• Plant Plant them them around your home and garden to repel mosquitoes.
• Crush Crush a a few leaves to release oils and scatter around you, or rub on your clothes and skin to keep mosquitoes away.
• Plant Plant extracts extracts and oils can be added to lotions, and diluted with distilled water or carrier oils (olive oil, sunflower oil, al al-
mond oil, baby oil) for application to the skin. Add a few drops
of essential oil to ½ cup of carrier oil — just until you have a clear scent. Test the repellent on a small area first to ensure that you don’t have an allergic reaction to any of the ingredi ingredients
Lemongrass (Agan Ghaas): Soak one cup of chopped lemongrass
in two cups of water for a few hours, and store in a spray bottle. Spritz yourself and your surroundings every couple of hours.
28 OCTOBER 2-8 2011
Mint (Podina): Boil one tsp lemon juice and/or one
orange peel, and one tsp chopped mint leaves in one cup of water. Leave overnight. Strain, add
tainer. Apply a few drops on your skin to keep the mosquitoes away, and smell lovely too.
two tbsp carrier oil and store in a spray bottle.
Garlic (Lassan): Crush some garlic to extract about
ple of hours, you’ll love the fresh citrusy smell.
tilled water. Mix in some of the better smelling re-
Spritz yourself and your surroundings every cou-
Cloves (Laung): Hang crushed cloves in decorative
bags around the house. They’ll look pretty, smell nice and keep the mosquitoes away.
Neem: Fill a small non-flammable container
with Neem oil, and light up a wick (thick cotton thread immersed in the oil) for about 30 minutes in a closed room. The mosquitoes fly away when
four tbsp garlic juice, and mix with one cup of dispellents to make sure you don’t repel people too!
Vitamin B: Vitamin B is said to provide protection
against mosquitoes. I have been taking a supplement for the past three weeks and guess what?
No mosquito bites! Foods rich in vitamin B in-
clude eggs, beef, tuna, nuts, peas, beans, corns, oats and wholegrain bread.
the room is ventilated, otherwise they eventu-
Castor oil: Castor oil may be used undiluted on
on exposed body parts. Neem oil is most effective
some apple cider vinegar. Add it to your favourite
ally drop dead. Before going out, rub Neem oil
against malaria causing mosquitoes, especially when used in conjunction with coconut oil.
Fennel (Saunf): Mix one tbsp of fennel oil with one
cup of carrier oil or lotion and apply. Fennel powder may also be used for the same effect.
Cinnamon (Darcheeni): Cinnamon essential oil
can kill mosquitoes and larvae, but it is dangerous to use undiluted since it can severely irritate
the skin. To make safer, diluted cinnamon oil,
fill a glass jar with cinnamon sticks, and pour
skin. To combat the greasy texture, mix it with
lotion, sunscreen, shampoo or shower gel for pro-
tection against mosquitoes — it’s odourless, and is excellent for skin and hair too.
Lavender: Last time I went grocery shopping, I decided to get a lavender scented baby powder for
the kids, just for a change. My two-year-old is a mosquito magnet — she’d have eight to ten mosquito bites every day. Ever since I started using the lavender scented powder on her after baths and at bedtimes, she hasn’t had a single bite.
Combine two or more of these repellents for
in enough olive oil to cover the sticks. Secure the
longer lasting protection. Used individually, they
shaking the bottle every day to help release the
but, it’s well worth the extra effort to avoid put-
lid and leave in a sunny window for two weeks,
oils. Strain and store the oil in a clean glass con-
require reapplication every couple of hours — ting nasty chemicals on your skin. a
As with any other mode of treatment, the remedies need to be used regularly, at least three times a day, to gain full advantage. These remedies are equally effective for adults and children. Please use your own discretion when using these remedies for treating infants, and patients with allergies or pre-existing health conditions. This article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of your physician. Consult a doctor if symptoms persist.
29 OCTOBER 2-8 2011
GREEN THUMB If you read this week’s Daadi’s Diary, you’ll now know all about how to make natural mosquito repellants. Well, now we’re going to learn how to grow these miracle plants! In my previous column I showed you how to grow mint at home, but today we’re going to learn all about how to cultivate the exotic and versatile plant known as lemongrass.
eastern promises BY ZAHRA ALI
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citrates) is one of the staple ingredients in Asian cuisine, where it is used in everything from soups and curries to green teas. Lemongrass is a frost-tender perennial which can grow up to six feet tall and spread two-three feet wide. Its long, thin bright green leaves are packed with a dense citrus flavour. The stalk and leaves both contain a very distinct and strong aromatic oil called citral, which smells like — you guessed it — lemons! Now that lemony smell isn’t just refreshing, it also keeps away
hair follicles resulting in stronger teeth and less hairfall. In case of injuries, it helps in clotting blood quickly.
Lemongrass is valued for its antipyretic (fever-reducing) prop-
erties too. A few cups of lemongrass tea can bring down even
high fevers. Essential lemongrass oils and teas can also help you
recover from depression by uplifting the spirit thanks in no small part to its smell. It helps relieve muscular pains too.
Besides this, lemongrass oil also assists in treating nervous
disorders such as shaking hands or limbs, and lack of reflexes by strengthening and activating nerves.
There is good news for lactating mothers. Apart from the innu-
those tiny blood-sucking terrors we call mosquitoes. While some
merable reasons to include lemongrass in your diet, lemongrass
to-repelling benefit comes from its essential oil, which can work
the quality of milk produced but also increases the quantity.
feel that simply planting lemongrass is enough, the real mosquias an effective replacement for commercial insect repellents.
That’s not all. If you are someone who values organic over
chemical health and beauty products, lemongrass is just what
oil is also a popular galactagogue agent that not only improves However, you must not consume lemongrass if you know you are pregnant because it can lead to a miscarriage.
you need. Lemongrass essential oil is known for its antiseptic
Growing lemongrass in your garden
skin. It improves circulation, tones muscles, cures acne and neu-
and revitalising properties. It’s a perfect natural toner for your tralises oily skin.
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how to grow this miracle Lemongrass is hard to germinate from seed but if you are able
Its diuretic properties promote digestion, remove excess water
to get a few seedlings through germination you should be more
astringent, lemongrass strengthens the contraction of gums and
Spread the seeds in a small container filled with sand and com-
and toxins from the body and reduce swelling. Being an effective
30 OCTOBER 2-8 2011
post (70:30) and cover lightly with moist compost. Seal the pot
with a plastic bag to maintain the moisture and to control the
temperature. With a steady temperature of 20-22 degrees Centigrade, the seeds will germinate in 25-40 days. Fluctuating temperature will result in poor or failed germination.
When the seedlings are large enough to handle, transfer them
to individual pots and keep them in partial shade. Since these are
tropical plants, they will grow best in moist soil in a sunny spot. Gradually introduce your plants to full sun. Divide and rule Personally, I have never grown lemongrass from seeds. Instead, once a year, I divide the plants to propagate them. You can do
the same by buying a plant from a nursery. My plant was a pres-
ent from a friend and it turned out to be one of the best growing plants in my garden. The best time to propagate your plants by
dividing is in early spring or autumn. The plant can be separated
tight containers to use later.
them, carefully remove the entire plant from its pot and shake it
Freeze your herbs instead of drying
rate a stem along with its roots from the others and replant it.
ing the flavour and aroma. However, classic drying means that
and replanted as soon as it has developed strong roots. To divide
gently to loosen the soil but do not remove it all. Carefully sepa-
Drying is a classic way to store herbs for later use while preserv-
Take care of the new plant by watering it and keeping it under
you will lose the colour. Well, this handy technique lets you pre-
partial shade for a few weeks.
Lemongrass can be grown in pots or as a border in your gar-
serve the colour as well!
Pick fresh leaves of lemongrass, rinse properly and chop into
den. They will love a 12-14 inch container and occasional feed or
one inch pieces. Fill your ice cube trays with water and add a few
because of that they are virtually pest-free.
frozen in an ice-cube and can even be used to add zing to a cold
organic compost. The plants are insect repellents themselves and
Harvesting and beyond
cuttings in each. Most herbs (especially mint) look attractive drink.
You can also store lemongrass by making small packets of the
Summers will bring flowers to lemongrass that will soon produce
herb using butter paper and freezing it in an air tight container.
months old, you can start harvesting its leaves by cutting them
smells like lemon, cures uncountable illnesses, makes skin
hundreds of seeds that you can save. Once your plant is three from the bottom, just near the stem.
You can use them fresh or dry and you can store them in air-
Every garden should have this fantastic plant that tastes and
beautiful, reduces fat, makes teeth stronger and hair stunning, soothes senses, repels insects and makes the garden greener! a
31 OCTOBER 2-8 2011
kaptaan’s kahaani BY NADIR HASSAN
Unless your name is Jinnah, it takes a healthy amount of arrogance to write a book titled Pakistan: A Personal History. About as much arrogance as it would take to believe that you can lead an injuryplagued, out-of-form cricket team to a World Cup victory or that you can build a cancer hospital from scratch that provides free treatment to the poor. So let’s get this out there at the start and let’s not hold it against him: Imran Khan is a very arrogant man and he has good reason to be arrogant. Call it delusion or an excess of self-belief, this man has often set out to do the impossible and has usually achieved his stratospheric aims.
Imran won’t bowl anyone over with his prose stylings
This doesn’t mean that Imran can coherently pull off the triple mission of his latest book, which serves as an introductory history of the country, a memoir and a political manifesto. But no one will be reading this book to be dazzled by Imran the prose stylist; we just want to get a better understanding of how this cricket celebrity and philanthropist who had permanent ownership over the hearts of Pakistanis and the social scene of London ended up becoming a divisive right-wing politician. Imran is honest in admitting that an interest in politics and religion was sparked only after his cricket career was nearly at an end but the 34 roots of his worldview become apparent early on. Forget his subseOCTOBER 2-8 2011
quent activism against drone attacks and military operations, Imran is at heart a pastoral reactionary in the mould of poets like Philip Larkin. Even at a relatively young age, Imran says, he yearned for the open spaces of an uncluttered Zaman Park, fell in love with Hunza and now laments that the former has been urbanised and the latter has become a tourist trap. Again, Imran claims that he had no particular interest in religion till much later but the impressions he gives of his first visits to England show that the religious gene was always present. On his first visit to the country he laments how religious belief has been undermined by the twin evils of Darwin and Monty Python. To be a bit uncharitable, Imran’s own religious awakening can be seen as a sign of his naivety. A man by the name of Mian Bashir came into his life, offered a few predictions that came true and Imran suddenly became a devout Muslim. Introspection isn’t Imran’s strongest suit but a more plausible explanation might be that he simply needed a bit of a push to bring out the religious belief that was always inside him. Whatever the spur might have been, those who maintain that the playboy is simply posing as a man of prayer should have their minds changed by Imran’s heartfelt explanation of his awakening. The same sympathy should not extend to Imran Khan’s politics, which is based on a simplistic understanding of the country and is yet another sign of his naive nature. One charge that Imran should be exonerated of is that he is pro-Taliban. But he does downplay the Taliban threat by assuming that many of the militants are simply misguided Pakthuns who are simply fighting the US, and that once the imperialist power withdraws all will be well again. Where Imran is at his most irksome is when he mocks those who think the threat of Talibanisation is greater than drone attacks or military operations, as if the constant bombing of shrines, government buildings and mosques and the continued massacre of Shias is not something to be immensely worried about. Even when Imran is absolutely spot on, as when he laments the murder of Salmaan Taseer, and says that anyone who is a minority or is pro-ANP lives in fear of death, he then follows up with a false equivalence by claiming that people like him also have to suffer because they are labelled pro-Taliban. He also takes unnecessary potshots at NGOs, saying “They did nothing, as most were funded by Western donors.” Even those who disagree with Imran’s politics should never lose sight of that the fact that he is still one of the greatest living Pakistanis. As Imran documents the struggles he went through to make the Shaukat Khanum cancer hospital a reality, one realises that it is his doggedness, arrogance and refusal to bend to logic that have saved so many lives that would otherwise have been lost. And for that he deserves our gratitude. Available at Liberty Books for Rs995.
pitch perfect BY NM KHAN
It’s alright to be apprehensive of a book or movie that has the world gushing to the point that you imagine — nay expect — it to be the best thing since sliced bread. Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from The Goon Squad was that book from the moment it was released last year and gained a slew of followers in its conquest of the literary world. Listen to people who have read it and you would think that they have been through a life-changing experience. That kind of praise and critical acclaim is enough to put anyone off, especially when you hear that the author received the National Book Critics Circle Award, beating Johnathan Franzen, an author who really had America in a tizzy with Freedom. By all means, don’t touch anything that people claim will change your life if it has the words Paulo Coelho on it, but cast aside all your preconceived notions and read Egan’s novel and you won’t be disappointed. Here’s why: simply put, it’s excellently written, its characters are well-crafted and the shift back and forth in time as the story progresses is effortless. It provides great insight into contemporary America, especially the music industry: It shifts between present day New York and 1970s San Francisco and a somewhat sci-fi future, and features characters that make cameos in the past but are only given their due profile in the future. And Egan manages this without the novel (or is it a collection of short stories?) ever appearing disjointed. Then there’s the whole hullabaloo about the avant-garde nature of Goon Squad, in particular the chapter presented in a Power Point format that caused about a quarter of the gush-fest in reviews. It’s another irritant — the gushing, not the chapter — that should be ignored; it’s an innovative method to insert into fiction and is written in the future by a character’s teenage daughter. Speaking of characters, there’s the story of the writer Jules Jones who is imprisoned for his attempted rape of famed actress Kitty Jackson during an interview. You’d think that the piece, written in first person narrative by Jones describing the event and what is essentially his unravelling, would be anything but funny. But it’s near laugh-outloud hilarious, near because there’s a portion of your brain that’s resisting laughing about an act of sexual violence but you just can’t help it. (Incidentally, this chapter is one of the most quoted ones in print reviews of Goon Squad.) The title “goon squad” has nothing to do with mobsters. A character in the book says “Time is a goon, right? You gonna let the goon push you around?” The squad, in a loose manner of speaking, is the group of people Egan so eloquently writes about. Her characters, who are pushed around by time, some of whom interconnect and share their miseries, and others whose lives we get a peek into. All of them are impacted by time — certainly those in the music industry who partied with the original rock stars in the 1970s and are now forced to seek talent amongst a pool of digitally-enhanced and soulless, but
A kaleidoscopic tale exploring the relationship between music and growing up
brilliantly marketed, performers. It may appear that Egan is writing about a societal descent that is all too familiar, or is to be expected when dependency on technology reaches abnormal heights. We talk like we text, missing the dots on our i’s and what not — this is obvious but having said this, Egan’s writing reflects all the changes without reading like an anthropological discourse on how new media is destroying family time. A Visit from the Goon Squad is still about relationships and that is what engages us from the get go.
35 OCTOBER 2-8 2011
the wild west BY NOMAN ANSARI
With a goofy title and an endearingly silly premise, Cowboys and Aliens, a motion picture based on the 2006 graphic novel, may sound like a bad joke. It revolves around a bunch of cowboys who fend off an alien attack, while finding assistance from bandits, Apaches, and a sole survivor from another alien species. Although the movie comes across as simplistic, its action and fairly absorbing narrative make it worth a watch. Experienced actors like Keith Carradine, Clancy Brown and Walton Goggins have great screen presence and carry the narrative quite well, and performances by Olivia Wilde and Adam Beach are also more than adequate. The two actors who really steal the show are Daniel Craig (Jake Lonergan), who does a fine job of playing the pained heroic archetype and the seasoned Harrison Ford, who gives an excellent performance as the moody Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde. Both protagonists are given enough backstory to endear them to the audience: outlaw Jake displays vulnerability in his quest to determine the fate of his missing love and Colonel Woodrow shows himself to be a noble spirit, with his bark clearly worse than his bite. The gritty set and costume design coupled with the acting and narrative, give the movie a nostalgic level of credence as a Western.
The entertaining action sequences are aided by some excellent special effects. The aliens look quite interesting — amphibious bear-like creatures with slimy hand-like appendages that slither creepily out of their abdomens. If the film has a glaring weakness, it is that the storytelling takes an exaggerated Bollywood feel towards the end: supporting characters die, giving long mournful monologues before they depart, with dramatic music in the background. save the drama: supporting characters die left and right, giving long mournful While promoting the film, monologues before they depart. director John Favreau spoke of wanting “to make a serious mix of the Western styles of Sergio Leone and John Ford and ‘really scary’ science fiction like Alien and Predator.” While this movie doesn’t quite rise to the excellence of those genre classics, it does enough right in terms of plot and action, to qualify as an entertaining movie.
we’ll always have paris BY AMMARA KHAN
With its distinct dream-like quality, Midnight in Paris is probably the most satisfying Woody Allen film in decades. Questioning the authenticity of the present and the past, the movie features a journey through time — altering the life of the protagonist along the way. Cole Porter’s music acts a bridge between the ages, bringing the lasting impact of the past into the present and also amplifies the dreamlike cinematography of the film. Gil (Owen Wilson) is a Hollywood scriptwriter visiting France with his pretty but materialistic fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her arrogant right-wing parents. A true romantic, Gil idealises literary masters like Hemingway and Fitzgerald and hopes that Paris becomes his muse just as it was theirs. The couple accidently encounter Inez’s college boyfriend Paul (Michael Sheen) and his wife Carol (Nina Arianda) who are also visiting the country. Sheen is fabulously entertaining and annoying at the same time as he plays the part of a the pompous pseudo-intellectual Paul, who is always trying to upstage Gil. The story then takes a twist: at midnight Gil finds himself in the Paris of the roaring twenties where he meets the Fitzgeralds, Cole Porter, Hemingway and many other leading figures associated with 40 modernism. Slightly neurotic and helplessly nostalgic, Owen does a OCTOBER 2-8 2011
c’est magnifique: time travel in the city of lights
great job of capturing the confusion of it all. I should admit I wasn’t expecting him to be as brilliant as he turns out to be in this movie. Some people might point to the lack of originality and depth in the plot as a weakness but I find this light acceptance and repetition of the known quite pleasant. Woody Allen has crafted a movie that is unique with its perfect combination of comedy and the anxieties of a sensitive mind. It does not boast of its intellectualism and instead makes fun of the pedantic treatment of life. Hemingway’s description of Paris as a movable feast proves true yet again for Woody Allen and his career. a
10 things I hate about ... medical college
1 2 3 4 5
The superiority complex. Everyone who gets into
medical college thinks they’ve achieved the unachievable. They’ve gone where no man has gone before
— except, of course, the tens of thousands who have done so before them.
BY TARBIA HAMID
6 7 8 9 10
The competition. So then how do you leave your competi-
tors behind? Well, some seek the use of drugs — to help you stay up, sleep, relieve anxiety. Or you could fetch the
post-grad books that require four people just to haul out. You know, the ones the rest of the class has no idea even exist. Or you could always hide a little something on your person during exams. Did you think doctors can’t cheat?
Continuously being told you’re “the cream”. Even those
who realise that it’s not SUCH a big deal finally give in as the teachers brainwash them continuously with
lines like: “You’re the cream of the nation.” Or “You beat ten (fifteen, twenty) thousand people to make it here.” Sure, it’s an achievement to get one of the 200 or
so seats in your college, but don’t let it get to your head. The toppers. Toppers everywhere are annoying but wait till you meet these people. They will manipulate you, use you,
look down on you, lie to you — whatever gets them “the
marks”. They will ask questions long after class is over, but
before the teacher leaves so that you can’t leave... but will do so without using the microphone, so you can’t hear. And yes, they will always, always make you feel like an idiot.
The wannabes. They’ll act like they have no idea what’s being taught in college. They won’t take class-
es. They’ll pretend they don’t know the teachers. They’ll be present at every social event. And yet when
the result comes out, they’ll be, drumroll please… right behind the toppers. Oh and brace yourself for the oh-so-astonished look when the result is announced.
The bullies. They come in all shapes and sizes…and
genders. They can be quiet, loud, openly mean or ev-
er-so-innocent. Do not fall for the cute smiley ones. They’re the ones who’ll stab you in the back.
42 OCTOBER 2-8 2011
The teachers. They will spend half the lecture boasting about themselves, the prestigious profession, and how they sat on the same benches as students, pulling off
the same pranks. And when they realise they’ve wasted
half the time, they’ll try to cram the one-hour lecture into 30 minutes.
The teaching hospitals. My my, what lovely hospitals we
have. To call the OPDs a fish market would be the under-
statement of the century. One thing I can’t deny is that our senses sure get sharpened. Our eyes have now been
opened to shades of vomit unknown to man, not because we are being taught on the patient but because it happens to be lying on the floor. And we just stepped in it.
The status-conscious freaks. I always thought people
left their status at home when coming to college. But
there are people that will make friends based on status, Sit next to you based on status. Cheat from you based on status.
The stages. Every now and then (read 15-20 days) when
the teachers get bored, they arrange a ‘small’ test which
is conducted over 2-3 hours, depending on how annoyed they are at you, in an examination hall, under the supervision of examiners with proper question papers and
booklets of answer sheets. Yup, you get the whole deal. a