What I Read In The Past Couple of Months

AP APTOPIX Mideast Jordan Malala Refugees
Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai, 18, kicks the ball while playing soccer with Syrian refugee children during her visit to Azraq refugee camp in Jordan, Monday, July 13, 2015.  (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) 

Eid Mubarak to y’all! Please message me on where to deposit your Eidi.

The Silence About Mental Health In South Asian Culture Is Dangerous by Priya-Alika Elias [x]

49. [An essay on Edhi, I don’t know who the writer is] [x]

Dear Mom, Dad, Uncle, Auntie: Black Lives Matter to Us, Too by Mehreen Kasana [make copies and assist in translations, c’mon guys!] [x]

Loyola Study Reveals How HIV Enters Cell Nucleus [x]

On Saudi Arabia destroying historical structures. A compilation of references made by the awesome Zanab. [x]

Why Was A Prominent Muslim Musician Gunned Down In Pakistan? by Anastasia Tsioulcas [x]

Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design by Lloyd Alter [x]

I Don’t Regret My Abortion, But I Agree with Pro-Lifers on One Major Thing [x]

Apple Stole My Music. No, Seriously. by James Pinkstone [x]

BREXIT: what the heck does it all mean? [x]

Britain has voted to leave the EU – what happens next? by Patrick & Damien [x]

Brexit as Nostalgia for Empire by Nadine El-Enany [x]

Karachi’s heritage: Qawwal gali by Farahnaz Zahidi [x]

ھدایت نامہ برائے خواتین ،، by  Qari Hanif Dar [x]

It’s Time You Realize #AllLivesMatter Is Racist a compilation by Rachel Charlene Lewis [x]

The SRK Interview Part 2: ‘Every Actress Works 3 Times Harder, Gets Paid 10 Times Lesser’ by Ankur Pathak [x] Loved every bit of this.

The age of great Muslim scientists By Waseem Altaf [x]

Indians are never taught to talk to their parents as adults, and that’s a problem by Devang Pathak [x]

The Mystery of the Hardy Boys and the Invisible Authors by Daniel A. Gross [x]

Why are the baby boomers desperate to make millennials hate ourselves? by Eleanor Robertson [x]

The foul reign of the biological clock [x] (A long read)

A Very Queer Ramadan by Lamya H [x]

How to spot a militant: Pakistani army removes roofs in Waziristan [x]

Why a goat may stare at you with puppy dog eyes by Nsikan Akpan [x]

Who is Allowed to Protest? by Umair Javed [x]

Karachi’s catastrophic pollution of the sea is killing fish and threatening livelihoods [x]

The Toxic Masculinity of Salman Khan by Nishita Jha [x]

Waddup, Rainnn!

Hey, what’s up guys! [Dina Tokio’s voice]

My first semester’s result came out and I cleared all the papers, Alhumudlillah. Initially I couldn’t find my name in the list, so I started checking out the list which had roll numbers for the students who have to retake. I was quite calm because my expectations weren’t high but here I am, done with semester one! Good riddance.

It rained in Karachi earlier this week despite our utterly low hopes. All hail our love for cutting trees and planting ones which aren’t suitable for the environment. I certainly wasn’t going to give any Fs and showered my heart out despite the constant lightening.

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Since I am without cellphone these days, I have to resort to my dslr for taking pictures. It is great, the high quality pictures and all but the fact that I can’t edit them directly and have to use almost three devices to even upload a single picture on Instagram becomes a nuisance.

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Anyways, the showers happened in intervals which resulted in me eventually running out of rough clothes to wear. I wear extremely run down clothes at home, especially in summers, because they are so relaxing. So basically I would be running outside when the rain started, rushing back in when it stopped to take a shower and change again. I really expected Amee to lose it at this constant play but she was quite chill because rain in Karachi is next to a miracle. LOL.

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So that’s it for now. I would hopefully be doing a post on my first semester in medschool but right now I hardly have any free time. I lagged in reading Quran initially so I have tons of chapters piled up. And I have to revise the entire upper limb of Locomotor module which is so tiring. There is only one more week of holidays left which sucks since everybody else is having months and months to chill around except us medstudents.😦

Laut Kar Main Na Jaoun Ga Khaali

I am trying to make sense of the tributes and heartfelt posts by fellow bloggers to Amjad Sabri but my mind is unable to assimilate them. I hunger for closure, anything that’d help me deal with this loss but there’s a constant thought lurking in my mind, that these tributes have been written too soon.

As someone growing up in a Pakistani household, the constant exposure to Amjad Sabri’s qawwalis was the norm. Their presence was as unconscious as breathing, one might say. A daily necessity for some, or played during the times of joyous moments; especially after a long period of turmoils. I was, or i should say, am from the latter part of the group.

Back in grade 9, we’d sit in corridors singing Bhar De Joli when there was nothing else to do. During some of my happiest moments, Tajdar-e-Haram used to be played on repeat all night long because sometimes that was the only way i felt connected to God.

It is unbelievable that someone with a voice so pure, a voice that resonated with so, so many souls across the world has been silenced in a matter of seconds. Imagine feeling so utterly devoid of emotion except hatred, and even then, a hatred so great that you’d consecutively shoot 3 bullets into someone’s head who was revered by so many.

It should be remembered that Amjad Sabri was accused of blasphemy back in 2014 for his qawwalis; specifically for ‘Ali Ke Saath Hai Zahra Ki Shaadi.’ The outcome was inevitable. You may call me a cynic but who has ever survived blasphemy charges in this country? TTP claimed responsibility for the attack in a matter of hours and yet we still have people like Imran Khan funding amounts like 300 million to Dar ul Haqqania which is notorious for churning out extremists.

They are saying that thousands are gathered at Amjad Sabri’s house, that streets of Karachi are reverberating with his qawwalis, that bazaars have loudspeakers playing them. A heartfelt tribute being paid as the nation mourns.

The problem is, I don’t know what to do with this grief of mine. And deep inside me I know that I’ll get over this despair, I’ll be immune to it as time passes until another tragedy strikes.

I keep thinking about the 80% of population who gives no thought about blasphemy or religious differences but who is forced to listen to only these concepts in Friday’s sermon and madrassahs. People who are systemically brainwashed until they are unable to see a person from different sect or views, as a human, just like them. Who are victims of the personal biases of mullahs and politicians alike. And I know then that nothing will change.

As long as we people joke about those who don’t judge or make assumptions as extensively as we do, claiming that such a crowd will even let Dajjal pass by, we create an environment where murder and hate crimes are acceptable. It doesn’t matter if we don’t stand with the criminals, or that we condemn their actions, they know that a safe space has been established, that the punishment will be significantly lighter than what they deserve.

So to those who are TTP and Blasphemy Law apologists, to those who kept silent when atrocities were carried out, or continued to make excuses for the unpardonable behavior and prejudices among us, remember that you are responsible for today’s tragedy and the ones which will be carried out in future.

We’ve paid a heavy price for our prejudices, let’s hope that Amjad Sabri lives long enough in our hearts to eventually persuade us in making a change in a society from where even blessings shy away.

Who Will Be The Jelly Bean King?

Back when I was in nursery and stumbling over words, my school started the weekly library visits. They involved parents coming over in the last hour before home time and collecting up children from their respective sections and going to the library. Over there, parents and students would jointly select books to read and borrow for a week.

I don’t remember much of my first visit, I was four, but what does come back is the whole week which I spent practically memorizing the entire book about a child learning how to cook. I read that book more than two dozen of times. I was so ecstatic on finally being able to borrow a book and have it all for myself for a week. Naturally, you could say that I had fallen in love and developed an insatiable appetite for books.

Children’s books hold a special place in my heart; they are a way to reconnect with my childhood and more so ever because books for such age are so, so less in quantity or extremely expensive that they never are much available to the general populace.

So when a fellow blogger friend of mine put up a book written by her for kids aging from 2-4 years on Goodreads, I was over the moon with joy. I immediately asked for a preview and to my utter delight she sent a soft copy to me after a few days.

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Who Will Be The Next Jelly Bean King by Maryam Mirza, is a book with quirky poetry and vibrant colors. It automatically took me back to my kindergarten phase when such books were read aloud by our teachers in order to inspire us to write poems.

The story starts with Jelly Bean Kingdom stuck in gloom and despair. Its king is no more, and the rest of the Jelly Beans don’t know who to select as his successor.

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Obviously, we see some sneaky and sleazy jelly beans taking a go to the throne but the public shuns them immediately with justifications like, being vain or rude or even bossy. All the while, subtly teaching its young readers of the characteristics one should never adopt.

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The book is short enough to hold a child’s attention, and precise to make him or her understand what behavior isn’t liked at all or hurts other people. The illustrations are captivating, some made me laugh out loud.

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Here’s what I loved the most about this book:

  1. The poetry: indignant words from the public against the unworthy jelly beans which put them right into their place. Especially if the contestants were lying.
  2. The price: Immediately the government schools came into my mind. It can actually be bought in bulk and lent to children on weekly basis. You can find the book on Amazon over here.

When I got done reading, my cousin also aged four, instantly came into my mind. She loves getting involved in Ludo with us grownups, but tragically confuses the colors. So, red discs are being moved instead of yellow which makes it annoying and comical at the same time. I have a good mind of gifting this book with some jelly bean packets to her on her birthday!

Downton Abbey ft My Heart

I’m on a week’s break these days as my finals are finally over. They were exhausting and the fact that we hardly got a chance to prepare for them- they were right after the modules- makes it worse. Needless to say, I’m a overwhelmed to the state where at one point I couldn’t bear to get involved into anything which was related to heavy text. That’s where Downton Abbey and painting came.

Today we’ll be talking about the former.

It is so funny but when I look back to who I was two weeks ago, an entirely different picture of me arises. Yes, it all sounds quite a bit dramatic but Downton Abbey has altered me so much. I’m afraid I’ll never get over it. And this is a huge statement coming from someone who scoffs at fandoms. I don’t consider it a fandom craze right now but DA has been all what I’ve been thinking about lately.

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Here’s why Downton Abbey is worth watching:

  1. As y’all know, the period drama is set in pre and post-WWI time, I was dreading the amount of politics it may have involved. Because this was also the colonial era, with the British empire still having strong footing in Indian sub-continent. There are no remarks or whatsoever regarding the practices of British over that area regardless of the fact that the head of household is actually an Earl. It might seem silly but for someone whose predecessors’ lives have been shaped by the colonial rampage, it would’ve been extremely personal for me.
  2. All of the characters share the limelight. Be it Lady Mary or Anna or even Edith who for the most part of the drama is sidelined. It isn’t about only one person, rather it shows how the whole household deals with the war and the changed times it brings with it. I love how they all overcome their struggles, from Lord Grantham who starts an affair but speedily brings a stop to it or how Ms Pattmore helps Daisy deal with William and his marriage proposal.

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  3. I am on season 6 at the moment but there are constant reminders of how the characters have changed since season 1. We can see Lady Mary more confident of herself, whereas in season 1 she couldn’t even say ‘no’ and stand her ground on it with Kamal Pamuk. Or Edith, who’s the spiteful middle child but evolves into a caring person who has faith in her abilities. As Sybill marked in season 2, helping in the war changed Edith and everybody else, unlike Mary who still finds it difficult to sympathize because she was never involved in the war efforts until Matthew got injured.

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  4. The romance! Matthew and Mary were the best suited couple, where Matthew brought the best out of Mary. They really complimented each other which I don’t think is the case with Mary and Henry Talbot.
    I personally loved the uncertainty between the former couple during season 1 & 2. It was a change to see a couple take time to understand each other and come to terms that both of them won’t be happy with anyone else if one of them walked on the Earth. I hope I put that right. Lol.

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  5. I do appreciate the deaths. From William to Lady Sybill to Matthew. While Matthew’s presence was missed, I could do without the former two. Don’t call me heartless! It all taught the process of moving on, and how Robert and Cora dealt with their grief and marriage in turmoils at that period would reduce anyone to tears.

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  6. The Dowager Countess. Need i say any more? Maggie Smith appears to be in her element. From her tacky remarks to having an answer ready for everything, obviously makes her the life of the whole drama.

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  7. Obviously the casual banter between Dowager and Lady Isobel is something i looked forward to. It wasn’t nasty like Mary and Edith’s and actually helped both of the old ladies to see when they were wrong and evaluate their own actions.

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  8. Thomas! I loathed him initially but when he became a clean slate after being scammed, it wasn’t much fun. His one-liners are the best but his sneeky side takes the cake. I’d love to see more of him in the expected DA movie.

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So that’s a wrap!

I’d love to know who was your favourite character/part from DA in the comments!

What I Read This Month

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You attract what you’re ready for -dauvoire

Damn, Kashaf. Back at it again with a late post.

Sorry guys, medschool is stressing me out and i am not doing anything productive about it. Apart from that, I am taking a course on Marriage and Islam from Seeker’s Hub, so I tend to avoid any reading material as that itself is quite time consuming. But I am literally failing in handling my priorities. Being a grownup is so not on.

Khair, matti pao.

Let’s get started.


 

Hitchhiker’s guide to Panama Papers which every journalist is raving about and has caused the Iceland’s PM to resign (can i move to Iceland please?). Y’all can also check this short video  by Aj+ on why they matter.

While our politicians like Nawaz Sharif and the late Benzair Bhutto have billions stashed in offshore countries, our coolies at Cantt Station Karachi have been beaten, hospitalized and jailed for protesting against unfair wage theft. 

People of FATA protest against Frontier Crime Regulations (FCR) for denying the basic rights of appeal, to get an attorney and to provide an evidence. The land of pure loves to strip the north-west region from its rights. More about it over here.

2nd April is the Autism day but we as a nation and med-students remain blissfully ignorant about what Autism actually is and how to even respond to it. Here’s some more on our collective ignorance.

The Blasphemy Law Reading List by my good friend Saira Mahmood who has created a masterpost for all the dickheads who are pro-Qadri and want to wipe away all the minorities from our beloved Pakistan.

Ah, Persecution of Ahmedi Muslims in Pakistan (a masterpost by Zanab). Damn you, Kashaf for defaming Pakistan and threatening its integrity!

QueerMuslimProject is one of my favourite blogs on Tumblr; check out this heart-warming post! A+ on a discourse which we as Muslims so desperately need.

Your monthly reminder that Porn is one of the biggest and most harmful industries in the world, closely affiliated with human trafficking and drugs and alcohol abuse, causing rape between children, violence, beastiality and pedophilism and its fetishizing race, underage girls, trans people and lesbianism. Thought you should know. [x] (tw: sexual abuse)

The Fastfood Feminism of the Topless Femen by Mona Chollet.

Heer-Ranjha; the Story of Punjab’s First Feminist [x]

Surfing Beach Vendors in Bangladesh (these girls are such an inspiration, so much prayers and love for them) [x]

Rape Culture and Pocket Feminism brilliantly acknowledged by 18 year old Blythe Baird. More power to you, gurrlll.

How politeness conditioning can lead to confusion about sexual assault by Zosia Bielski. [x] V v important!

Pakistani women and harassment in public transports go hand-in-hand. A video to which anyone can relate to. [x] (Loving Sadia Khatri for this.)

Men Loiter, Women Cloister by Chaya Babu. So aptly put. So much love for y’all. [x]

Mental Illness & The Male Gaze. That unwavering, damnable male gaze. [x]

Gender imbalance in law by Reema Omar [x]

A DIY guide to removing images posted without your consent. Undox.Me.

Silvia Federici showing us the reality mirror very cruelly through her Wages Against Housework and male entitlement ft. capitalism. [For the record, I’ve only read the excerpt and will follow up with the whole essay after my finals.]

“It is a peculiarity of capitalists and the bourgeoisie to think that we workers have no culture.” [x]

(Which reminds me of J.K Rowling’s struggles before Harry Potter came into our lives; how people use her as inspiration and motivation while the fact remains forgotten that in this increasingly capitalistic culture, art is rarely appreciated or acknowledged. She will remain the only 1% who made it while authors like Enrique Ferrari continue to make ends meet through continuous labor.)

Another example of the side effects of lovely capitalism in America. Degrees don’t matter. Elite entitlement and etc. [x]

12 Ways Your Tax Dollars Were Squandered in Afghanistan [x]

Zaha Hadid, one of most talented architects, passed away last week at the age of 65. Going through her work, I was indeed in awe but couldn’t stop from thinking of the laborers and the rest of the working class involved in generating those famous buildings out of nothing. This post eloquently talks about my apprehensions regarding Zaha and her work.

On Sentimentality: A Critique of Humans of New York (extremely verbose but so, so good.) [x]

Harsingar (hashtage: Indian Erotica) by Amitava Kumar. (This reminded me of Manto.)

Above picture is from here [x].

Medschool ft My Perpetual Frown

I had been thinking about doing a medschool related post for quite sometime but I didn’t felt up to it for a couple of reasons:

a) It hadn’t been that long enough for me to have a basic opinion about it
b) Nobody I know blogs about their experiences which makes me reticent to do so

The main reason why I am blogging about it now is that I want to remember what it feels to be a freshie. Haha. But it’s kind of ironic considering how I don’t behave like a freshman at all. According to the stereotypes, I should be intrigued and super hyper about looking at cadavers, mold ridden organs and tumors, checking out blood pressure, joining all the societies and most of all, making new friends.

Instead, I am quite reserved. I skip labs (initially) and bunk school almost every week. I didn’t even attend the Welcome Party. Naturally, I don’t know many people from my batch (i know a lot of seniors), and already some think that I am too moody and full of attitude.

In my opinion, I have five whole years to get to know my batch mates. I see no point in becoming close friends with everybody immediately -because this is what we do to make this new environment comfortable for us- since it may end up in fights or gossips. I am being quite cynical over here however, this is what mostly happens. I guess my reticence to speak out in crowds makes people presume that i am pretentious? (At least this is what my now really good friends felt initially, haha)

Apart from the whole socializing dilemma, everything is pretty cool with JSMU. I always thought that government universities would be disorganized but JSMU is far from that. The teachers are quite good, we have seniors backing us up for almost everything, the labs are high tech, etc, etc. I am even part of one of the most prestigious societies, Patients Helping Hands!

We just got done with our Foundation Module. The exam pattern changed because JSMU believes -and rightly so- that BCQ’s don’t challenge the ability of a student’s understanding, so we have Short Essay Questions too, now. Also, examiners now concentrated on all aspects of medical studies instead of the usual Gross Anatomy, Histo and Embryo. I personally love the new changes. This doesn’t means that I aced my papers! I am pretty sure that I’ll not clear the Vivas and SEQ’s. Even though this test does not have much weight-age, I feel super bad. Since the start of the module, I worked quite hard on my notes (i am a visual learner) and kept up with all the classes regardless of bunking school. But in the last two weeks, I just wasted my time and didn’t review much. Hence, the horrible papers.

So this is how the past two months have been. I went into medicine for the sake of ingenuity and constant revelations, and it’s safe to say that I am enjoying myself, despite the perpetual frown on my face (and the severe lack of hot boys). LOL.

If there are any medstudents or freshmen following me, I’d love to know your thoughts!