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Lounge Loves By Sahar Iqbal

Luscious Signature Lipstick for beautiful lips The Luscious Signature Lipstick is a lightweight, yet velvety and rich colour formula that provides long wear and hydration for hours. The new lipsticks have been formulated with extra pigment for crisp, vivid and stunning colour results. Packaged in a stylish tube, enriched with Jojoba Oil which helps it glide on smoothly and is available in 16 soft-matte and shimmer shades. The lipsticks contain no animal-derived ingredients and are alcohol free. Sexy Hair Concepts A leading California-based, professional hair brand, Sexy Hair Concepts connects people around the world through the energy of creativity; self expression and education! Sexy Hair Concepts brings to life the irresistible experience of a sexier look and lifestyle. Always on the pulse of what’s new and hot, Sexy Hair has been producing high-quality hair care products for those in the professional beauty industry for over a decade. Today, stylists look to Sexy Hair for the latest and greatest products to achieve the hottest and trendiest looks. Select from a range of Big Sexy, Curly Sexy, Straight Sexy, Silky Sexy or Short Sexy - Sexy Hair has what you need to make your style rock! Sexy Hair Concepts is distributed in Pakistan by the Cosmo Group.

Crepe factory introduces something new For years, the term crepe has made people’s minds swirl with images of the romantic sidewalk cafes of Paris. A warm gentle breeze, a joyful ambience and a ready waiter are usually part of this picture. Now, you don’t have to travel to Europe to experience this French delight. You can experience it right here in Pakistan at The Original Crepe Factory! It is the first authentic French Creperie in Pakistan. In celebration of a Pakistani winning us the first Oscar, The Original Crepe Factory has launched the Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy crepes. In a truly patriotic spirit, the Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is white and green. The green is added through a touch of basil while the white comes from the white sauce chicken chunks are smothered in. Head over to The Original Crepe Factory to 20-C, 10th Commercial Street Off Khyaban-e-Shamsheer near Labels, Karachi to try out these crepes.

Kahaani-A must watch for the weekend Vidya Bagchi arrives in Kolkata from London to look for her missing husband. Seven months pregnant and alone in a festive city, she begins a relentless search for her husband. With nothing to rely on except fragments from her memories about him, all clues seem to reach a dead end when everyone tries to convince Vidya that her husband does not exist. She slowly realizes that nothing is what it seems. In a city soaked in lies, Vidya is determined to unravel the truth about her husband - for herself and her unborn child - even at the cost her own life. Vidya Balan has been receiving accolades of praise for this performance. Watch in your nearest cinemas!

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(Yet) Another Book on Pakistan

Still waiting for the moment one would open up a book on Pakistan and realize we’ve read something genuinely new. Until then, books like these would manage to keep us in the habit of reading – at best. “Another book on Pakistan, in the light of the recent chaos, needs no justification. It has become even more crucial than it had been previously to determine Pakistan’s foreign relations and its ‘special relationship’ with the United States after a long decade of the global war on terror and consequently Pakistan’s own war on terror. The importance of Pakistan’s place in the geostrategic game cannot be stressed enough.” –Usama Butt and Julian Schofield, “Pakistan: The US, Geopolitics and Grand Strategies”


By Natasha Shahid

n the above-given excerpt, the editors of this latest prized volume on Pakistan got it all right except for one thing: the part where they mistakenly term their ensemble of research papers a “book” – it could more accurately be termed a journal. Spread over two hundred and seventy-two odd pages, the volume comprises of eleven “chapters” – by all means separate papers in their own rights and not chapter-like enough to grant the end product any bit of continuity or cohesion that is such an essential feature of any good book – split superfluously into two parts namely “Pak-US relations” and “Pakistan’s foreign relations” – it’s almost as if it slipped the editors’ minds that the former is, I must tentatively believe, pretty much a part of the latter. Of the eleven papers (the reviewer must humbly be pardoned from calling the given divisions – complete with their own abstracts, introductions and conclusions – as “chapters”) six fall into the part that is

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The sad fact of the matter is that since the literary market is so over-saturated with books on the given subject that, try as one might, it is very hard to be excited over the discovery of an ounce worth of creative thought in a stone worth of random material “Pak-US (but not foreign) relations”: “Changing dynamics in the war on terror: the Islamic orientation of the Pakistani state and the Islamic reaction of the masses” by Usama Butt, “When realities collide: differing US-Pakistan threat perceptions” by Michael Rubin, “The influence of domestic politics on the making of US-Pakistan foreign policy” by Mariam Mufti, “Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States: a triangle of distrust” by Nasir Islam, “Pakistan’s quest for security and survival: US-Pakistan relations” by Shamshad Ahmad and, lastly, “USPakistan relations: the Af-Pak strategy and prospects of counter-terrorism cooperation”, by Ishtiaq Ahmed. The remaining five that are partitioned away as “Pakistan’s foreign relations” are: “Pakistan-China strategic relations, energy security and Pakistani counter-terror operations”, by Julian Schofield, “US-Pakistan relations in a regional perspective: shifting perspectives from the Arab Gulf and

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the role of the European Union”, by Christian Koch, “Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relations – an assessment”, by Gawdat Bhagat, “Pakistan and Iran: a relationship in search of meaning”, by Harsh V. Pant, and, lastly, “The nuclear question: nuclear security and the US and western concerns”, by Shaista Tabassum. Although not quite self-explanatory in nature, the titles of the papers themselves are reflective enough of their contents. What is rather disappointing is that none of the given titles hint at the existence of any bit of fresh perspective in the papers that they head; none that tell the reader at the first glance that they are in for something new. However, the disappointment is not quite unexpected: when a certain topic has been beaten up ten times over its maximum capacity to yield new conclusions, one is bound to come across the “same old” more often than not and left to yearn for the day he can say “Eureka!” once again.

Having said that, it must be clarified that the esteemed writers of these various papers are by no means blamed of being below par – indeed most of the papers are, as their resultant titles suggest, somewhat well-thought out and do indeed attempt at throwing fresh light at an old subject. Their efforts are hereby acknowledged. But the sad fact of the matter is that since the literary market is so over-saturated with books on the given subject that, try as one might, it is very hard to be excited over the discovery of an ounce worth of creative thought in a stone worth of random material. And that, too, at nearly one and a half grand – not quite a bargain if you ask me. Clichéd literature on the hotbed of Pakistan might sell like hotcakes in the western market, but to make a mark here in the country of their subject, it is high time writers pulled their socks up and gave us something truly substantial.


Existentialism vs Ambiguity

Mughaltay Mubalghay

By Mubarak Haider Publisher: Sanjh Publicaltions, Lahore Pages: 152; Price: Rs.200/-

Wujudiyyat (Existentialism) Compiler: Javed Iqbal Nadeem Publisher: Victory Book Bank, Lahore Pages: 279; Price: Rs.350/-

By Syed Afsar Sajid


xistentialism and ambiguity are two philosophicalcum-literary terms that have gained sufficient currency in the present age by increasingly engaging the attention of the modern reader in the wake of rapid paradigm shifts in its socio–cultural milieu (Cf. Jean Paul Sartre and William Empson). Despite the tenuous

inter-relationship existing between them, it would be instructive to group these together for proper appraisal. Wajudiyyat (Existentialism) Existentialism, essentially a 20th century concept, draws on the belief that ‘philosophical thinking begins with the human subject – not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual’. The starting point here is such an individual’s

‘existential attitude’ leading to ‘a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world’. Some existentialists are of the view that traditional philosophies, systematic or academic, are rather ‘abstract’ and unreflective of ‘concrete human experience’. Kierkegaard (1813-55), a Danish philosopher regarded as the exponent of existentialism, believed that individual enjoys freedom to lend meaning to

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his life in order to live it passionately and sincerely in the face of ‘existential obstacles and distractions’ like ‘despair, angst, absurdity, alienation, and boredom’. The importance of subjectivity is his recurrent theme and he believes that subjectivity is truth and truth subjectivity which is to say that truth is found in subjectivity because from the ethical perspective ‘how one acts is more important than any matter of fact’. Nietzsche (1844-1900), a German philosopher and co-pioneer of the existentialist movement, also focused on subjective human experience and not the objective truths of science and mathematics. Through his idea of “life affirmation”, he honestly questions ‘all doctrines that drain life’s expansive energies’ regardless of their wide social prevalence. Down the line, we have philosophers like Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-80) and Albert Camus (1913-60) who have treated the subject seminally or peripherally. Heidegger, a German, is known for his existentialist and phenomenological exploration of the ‘question of Being’. The French philosopher Sartre was another key figure in the philosophy of existentialism who believed that we are ‘condemned to be free’ and that ‘existence precedes essence’. Camus, his distinguished compatriot, explored the ‘Paradox of the Absurd’ (centred on ‘dualisms’ like happiness and sadness, dark and light, and life and death) in his philosophical writings as opposed to Kierkegaard who explains the unsoundness of certain truths preventing the individual from ‘reaching God rationally’ and Sartre who ‘recognizes the absurdity of the individual experience’. The present edition of the book (the first dates back to 1989)) carries well written articles on existentialism by different scholars and researchers related to the domain of philosophy. The work is meant to enlighten the reader on various aspects of the subject. In his foreword to the book, Prof. Shahid Hussain avers that existentialism is not just a philosophy but a movement focused on the individual and the enormous problems faced by him in the ordinary course of

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life. Other contributors to the book include learned academics like Prof. Javed Iqbal Nadeem, Prof. Fariduddin, Prof. Bakhtiar Hussain Siddiqi, Dr. Waheed Akhtar Ishrat, Dr. C. A. Qadir, Qazi Javed Hussain, Dr. Safdar Hussain Safdar, Dr. Muhammad Amin, Prof. Agha Muhammad Jalil-ur-Rahman and Dr. Asif Iqbal Khan. They have discussed existentialism at great length, and from different angles, highlighting its contemporaneity in relation to life and literature. Essays on Sartre and Heidegger, the two eminent protagonists of the existentialist philosophy, would serve to update the reader on the latest developments in the field besides some vital ancillary issues like death, existential phenomenology, education, ethics, literature, nothingness, estrangement and alienation, choice and commitment, dread, despair and nausea, discussed in other pieces. Thus it is an authentic but valuable book on a philosophical subject designed to stir the lay reader’s interest in the subject aside from the academic’s. Mughaltay Mubalghay Mubarak Haider is a noted intellectual, critic, and writer. His instant work deals with ‘ambiguity’ and ‘exaggeration’ as a flaw in literary or non-literary communication (or rhetoric) leading to misconceptions and misgivings detrimental to the growth of a healthy socio-political environment in our society. In common usage, ambiguity in a word or reference arises when it bears more than one possible meaning and thus ‘gives room for alternative reactions to the same piece of language’. Empson enumerates its seven types thus: i) A detail effective in several ways at once: two things said to be alike but with different properties, ii) Two or more alternative meanings fully resolved into one, iii) Two apparently unconnected meanings given in one word simultaneously, (iv) Alternative meanings combining to clarify a complicated state of mind in the author, (v) A fortunate confusion when the author is discovering his idea in the act of writing or not holding it in mind all at once, (vi) Forcing the reader to invent interpretations of a

contradictory or irrelevant statement in conflict with that of the author, and (vii) A full contradiction arising from two words that within context are opposites, causing a division in the author’s mind. An ambiguous word or sentence can be understood in two or more possible senses or ways. Lexical (in a single word) or structural (in a sentence or clause) ambiguity is a double-edged weapon in the context of a language, spoken or written. Either it tends to obscure the meaning or in the alternative, deepens its impact. Mubarak Haider’s thesis seems to derive its credibility and force from a semantic analysis of some common ambiguities and exaggerations occurring in the daily usage of spoken or written language here or elsewhere. He thinks that exaggeration arises from vanity, and ambiguity from lack of knowledge. Egocentrism in research and analysis leads to the acceptance of ambiguities and assumptions as formulae divorced from reason or logic. The author has attempted to explain and analyze inter alia the phenomena of theocracy and statecraft (alongwith its corollaries), piety, free media, sanctity of judiciary, western civilization, and secularism in the context of some harsh ground realities besetting our polity. It is assumed that language is a clear and literal vehicle for accurately communicating ideas but when language is used literally, misunderstandings are bound to arise causing a shift in meaning compounded by what is termed as the paradigm of complexity. Freud thought that ‘all meaning is only meaningful in reference to, and in distinction from, other meanings; there is no meaning in any stable or absolute sense. Meanings are multiple, changing and contextual’. Thus one would readily subscribe to the view of the celebrated journalist and writer Hameed Akhtar that we cannot achieve our national goals of progress and prosperity without dispensing with some conspicuous historical fallacies flowing from the ambiguities and exaggerations elaborated in this book.

What’s in a name!

Mariam Aftab talks about the importance of names in the shaping of our personalities. By Sahar Iqbal


‘Our names play a very important role in creating our persona, as they radiate some negative and positive vibes which directly form an aura around us. This aura either strengthens your qualities if these energetic vibes equal your personality or cause some major issues both in your fate and health.’

part from giving a person an identity, names also shape personalities and affect personal growth in ways both subtle and strange. But while some of us consciously realize it, others don’t spare it any thought. Traditionally, people believe that names influence a child’s personality. Why else would parents go to such pains in finding the perfect name for their unborn child? In past we always thought that our stars had a great influence on our personalities. They control our personal growth and the importance of our names cannot be ignored. Keeping this aspect in mind, I decided to do some research by talking face to face to an expert; I went to Maryam Aftab (the famous taro-card reader) and asked her different questions regarding influence of name on personalities. According to Maryam, ‘Our names play a very important role in creating our persona, as they radiate some negative and positive vibes which directly form an aura around us. This aura either strengthens your qualities if these energetic vibes equal your personality or cause some major issues both in your fate and health. For example whenever a child is born, he is attributed with different abilities, maybe a singer, an athlete, or an orator, through eastern taro spread, we can pinpoint his strength and negative points as well and choose a name that will enhance his performance with regard to his ability. Most of the Leo’s have anger issues as fire is the symbol of anger, so we always suggest a name with a softer image and spelling that can nullify his anger issues,’ she tells. ‘Your success can also be determined with the selection of your name, I’ll give you my personal example, originally I was born with the name Ayesha, which has given me all the strength of an athlete. I excelled in sports especially in golf. I was offered an Indian film at a very young age but that name caused a lot of health problems, as I am a Capricorn and my sign is earth and thus with the influence of my name my aura collected negative energies that gave me health issues. So, someone suggested my mother to change my name to Mariam as it has soft energies and rhythm. Surprisingly, I developed a sharp sixth sense and got rid of my health issues, narrates Mariam. Even the spellings of your name can also change your energies and fate, for example ‘Rema’ and ‘Mera’ have the same spellings but are completely different, so their fate is different too. I published two books with different spellings of my name; one book got huge success while the other is still lying in my store. So, we should not ignore the importance of names in our lives as they are one of the components that can make our personalities.

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Lounge issue no 77  

Lounge issue 77 for the web