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X2 A tranquil dining

space for fine cuisine


he first thing you notice when you reach X2 are the wide trees over-arching the furnished patio and the brick-lined walkways. Upon entering the premises, one notices the ample dining space on different levels, which has a degree of openness and doesn’t feel congested or crowded, even when it’s almost full. The mounted artwork on the grey walls with dim lighting further accentuates the semblance of tranquility. It is apparent that careful thought has gone into the aesthetics of X2 which serves contemporary Pan Asian cuisine.

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No stranger to the restaurant business, the owners previously owned the iconic Xinhua restaurant in the nineties which introduced Chinese fine dining in Lahore. In the month of Ramazan, almost every restaurant has an iftar deal with an array of food lined up at the buffet table and X2 was no different. However, before I saw the food, I instantly noticed and appreciated that they served small glasses of Aab e zam zam along with dates on our table to open our fast. The gesture may seem small but it did enhance the overall experience. The iftar featured spring rolls, fish fingers, spicy honey wings, chicken wonton, sandwiches along with

chaat and pakoras for us desis who can never think of opening our fast without these two essentials. My favourite was the fish which was well seasoned and served with a tangy tartar sauce. The wanton and spring rolls were light and fresh; perfect finger food for iftar while the honeyed chicken wings were slightly too sweet for my palate. Dinner is served fifteen to twenty minutes after iftar during which I had the chance to speak to the owner, Mrs. Andleeb Naweed about of the eatery. X2 envisions providing fine Pan Asian Cuisine with impeccable service in the city of Lahore and is probably the only restaurant in Lahore which features MSG free food. Stringent measures are taken for hygiene and with Mrs. Naweed present at X2 throughout operational hours she ensures that the service remains at a set standard. There is ample seating space for about 165 people and 24 more in the patio with separate space for families with children in the lower floor. X2 also has an executive dining room where seminars, conferences, meetings or a private party can be held making the restaurant accessible for all. Pan Asian cuisine consists of Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Malaysian/Indonesian cuisine and X2 has tried to amalgamate all four flavours in their menu.The menu includes typical Chinese dishes such as Chicken Manchurian & Chicken with Almonds, Thai spicy noodle, Japanese sushi and Malaysian curry laksa offering a wide variety of flavours to the palate. Dinner was a lavish affair with an array of salads, curries, rice & noodles. The salads were thankfully easy on the mayonnaise and refreshing after a long day. My favourite has to be the red curry chicken and the Thai stir fry vegetables which had me going for seconds. The aroma of the red curry chicken was reminiscent of hawker food found on the streets of Thailand with coconut milk and lots of spices. The prawns with Szechuan sauce were succulent and the Hunan style hot fish was delicious. Moving on to deserts which all looked rather tempting and consisted of the usual brownies, trifle, cakes and mouse. The diet mini cheese cakes were a nice end to the meal which spanned over one and half hours. Overall, the experience was a good one and will definitely have me going again to try the curry laksa and sushi after Ramazan. X2’s future plans include the opening of additional restaurants Patio@X2, Courtyard@ X2 and 102 Bistro making it a complete integrated food complex.

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Are Kids Entitled to their Privacy? By Zahra Ashtar


hen a mother is cleaning out her child’s room or putting away some clothes, the temptation to find out what she stumbled upon, such as certain school papers or an unlocked diary, can be very hard to resist, especially in times of concern. And what if, she actually found something worrying? 46 I August 04, 2013

When admitting to an invasion of privacy, she would be violating her child’s trust. In this day and time, technology holds more answers than a diary or a couple of papers. So it wouldn’t be surprising if you were one of those parents who occasionally wanders around snooping through your child’s Facebook account or read their latest texts to that kid you warned your child about? You may be inquisitive, but in terms of morality,

is this what you really want to teach your child – to snoop compared as opposed to a direct confrontation? The question is, are you helping or hurting your relationship with your child? Draw a line between invading your child’s privacy and protecting them. You spy, but call it ‘protecting’? It is true; parents ought to know what their children are up to but ‘checking on’ or ‘reviewing’ their private conversations might not be

the most positive signs of good parental engagement. Spying on your child’s internet or mobile activity may not be the best way to get information or reassurance. Stephanie Bourgeois, a New Jerseybased psychotherapist recommends that parents should sit down with their teenagers and have open discussions about their concerns, the dangers of the web, and their need to be involved. Accessing the internet and using mobile phones can put your child at risk of seeing rather inappropriate information or pictures, being a victim of cyber bullying, being contacted or manipulated by strangers, sharing personal information with the

public, sending or receiving sexually explicit films, images or messages of themselves or others, among other disturbing examples. Hence, your rather vigorous approach to be involved. You may be not fully convinced; you would rather still keep tabs on your child’s activity online - after all you are paying for their means of communication. Yes, that may be true, but in terms of morality, in terms of confrontation, how wrong are you as a parent? Though the internet may seem to cause more harm than benefit for your child at this point, it does not mean that the human race can do without the internet. It has become a necessity rather than a mere

choice; therefore your child simply cannot do without it. The internet can be greatly beneficial – from helping your children do research for homework to being connected to your family half way across the world on Facebook— all with a simply click of a button. To help keep your children safe online, talk to your them about the dangers posed by the internet, tell them what they should do if they become worried or concerned, explain that anything shared online or by mobile phone could end up being seen by anyone, understand what your child does online and know which websites they visit, but try to avoid the last possible resort – spying.

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Book Review: Happy Things in Sorrow Times

Re-writing the History of A Nation Syed Afsar Sajid

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ritically acclaimed author, Tehmina Durrani, recently launched her new book titled “Happy Things in Sorrow Times”; a tale of two children growing up in a war-stricken Afghanistan. Durrani gained prominence as a writer after the publication of her widely popular and controversial novel, “My Feudal Lord” that served as a behind-the-scenes exposé of the feudal system and her violent marriage to eminent politician, Mustafa Khar. In the years following her success, Durrani established herself as a women’s rights activist, highlighting many important cases such as that of acid victim, Fakhra Younus. Although, “Happy Things in Sorrow Times” broadly relates the trials and tribulations of a nation at war, it centers on a young girl, Basbaria who is estranged from the blitheness of childhood, growing up in kitchens lined with Kalashnikovs. Durrani relates her writing process in the prologue, explaining how her account of Afghanistan altered with time. The idea for her novel came from a couple of random entries in an old notebook of hers dating back to the time her family was exiled in London; during the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. By some curious stroke of chance, her notebook reemerged at key moments in Afghanistan’s recent history, compelling her to put her thoughts on paper. Contemplating about journey as a writer, Durrani admits “I thought my readers might be interested to know that although the final manuscript was delivered to my publisher twelve years ago, it too appeared and disappeared like the old notebook. It had a life of its own…an uncontrollable Afghan spirit that, at its own free will, at last agreed to become the book it was to be.” As a voice

of support for the “oppressed, the silenced and the shackled,” Durrani laments that the majority of Afghans have lived their entire lives in a state of war, yet nurturing and counseling the war child was never a part of the policy. Aiming to sketch an alternative to the media’s representation of Aghanistan, the story traces the footsteps of Basbaria and Sherkhan, evoking the empathy of the reader. Unlike the daily newsflashes that have left the modern audience numb and in many ways, resilient to violence, Durrani’s account of Afghanistan is refreshingly raw and personalized, exposing the collateral damage of a thirty-five year war. The heart-wrenching tale of the young protagonist, Basbaria, is set in a time when Soviet Tanks ran over the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan, decimated whole neighborhoods, silenced laughter and split families. The author’s writing skillfully combines the era’s politics with her own story telling prowess, Durrani, like any seasoned writer, engages multiple senses—the sight of lofty mountains, the sound of wailing infants and the feel of her dead mother’s silken frock are all used to convey Basbaria’s early plight. The reading experience is complemented by 38 simple yet thought provoking water color paintings done by Durrani herself. Despite the candor with which she writes and the simplicity of her language, the book cannot be dismissed as airy fiction; it is a text which challenges aged political and essentialist media narratives of Afghanistan. In a relatively short amount of space, Durrani manages to expose the trajectory of Afghan lives— the people, who stand tall as militants after the Great Game, were once as human as any of us. Durrani’s book is more than a mere story; it is a call to shift the paradigm of our global vision of Afghanistan.

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Lounge 4 August 2013  

Lounge 4 August 2013

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