What I Read in the Past Months

C8JrcZXVYAAdluC
Spring is welcomes by school children in Parachinar by launching Tree Plantation Campaign

Students’ future at stake as eight govt schools being razed surreptitiously [x]

The Death of a Sanitary Worker in Pakistan [x]

Britain: The End of a Fantasy by Fintain O’Toole [x]

Labour abuse: Is Khaadi’s ‘third-party vendor’ TexMark actually a Khaadi-owned operation? by Fawad Hasan [x]

Meet the man who played Barney the dinosaur by TechInsider [x]

C-ls6jsW0AA3b5B

Please Stop Serving Your Lattes Inside Produce by Tim Forster [x]

Just Give It 7 Seconds by Leah Backmann [x]

My last conversation with Aamir Zaki by Rafay Mahmood [x]

An Old Man at Ghora Chowk by Hafsa Khawaja [x]

When You Love Your Friend But Hate Her Social-Media Presence by Hayley Phelan [x]

DBEca54UMAA_EP1.jpg
Karachi by night – Zubeda Agha

Miley Cyrus Faces Rightful Backlash in Light of Past Cultural Appropriation by Michael Arceneaux [x]

Reversals in FATA by Afrasiab Khattak [x]

Consider the Mango (my favourite summer read) [x]

Cutting down trees for CPEC by Muhammad Sadaqat [x]

Pakistan to get its first online registry for heart stents by DAWN [x]

tumblr_ok9ar30TFz1w1th8fo2_1280
‘Rejection’ erasure poetry by Ben Aaron

You’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you by The Oatmeal [x]

No country for labour by Ammar Rashid [x]

I’m the human you left behind in the wreckage at Bahria Enclave by Marvi Sirmed [x]

Calm Down, It’s Just a Tote Bag by Mehreen Kasana [x]

SUBTEXT: MANIFESTO OF THE MAN-CHILD by Ahmer Naqvi [x]

DDNOmSsUMAA8Cq2.jpg
Pride and Eid-ul-Fitar coincided in 2017

What’s Wrong with Cultural Appropriation? These 9 Answers Reveal Its Harm by Maisha Z. Johnson [x]

Fear looms over Karachi’s Afghan Camp as harassment complaints persist by Saher Baloch [x]

The letters of Mikael Muhammad | Short love story [x] (safe to say that I cried)

The Reality That All Women Experience That Men Don’t Know About by Gretchen Kelly [x]

Life and death of a worker by Fahmida Riaz [x]

tumblr_op0go5aikz1s7e5k5o1_1280
A group of Jewish children with a teacher in Samarkand, 1910

Gwadar fisherfolk worry about One Belt One Road by Zofeen T Ebrahim [x]

Let’s discuss the Linguistic & Pragmatic use of the word “nigga” (A Twitter thread) [x]

Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter (MY FAVOURITE FANFICTION OMG) [x]

A YEAR OF GOOGLE & APPLE MAPS [x]

‘He Called and Asked for My Friend’s Number.’ Thoughts on Growing Up Behenji by Surthi Krishnan [x]

What Abortion in America Looks Like Right Now by Alexa Tsoulis-Reay [x]

 

pictures taken from [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x]

Book Review: Lord of The Flies

IMG_8571

In my secondary school we as a class used to finish a novel each year in our Literature period. In grade seven, LoTF was introduced to, and most of us including me finished it for the sake of passing our exams. Last year I stumbled upon a post on my Tumblr feed which sparked my interest in the book. And then I started to read more about the heavy symbolism present in it.

Sir William Golding set out to write a more realistic novel, by the way, using the same names for his main characters as Ballantyne did (although Golding’s characters are slightly younger). So, all the posts about Lord of the Flies showing the “human condition” insofar as it pertains to young middle-class British boys who grew up in a boarding house in the middle of the Cold War are correct. But I get the feeling that most people don’t realize that was the point of the novel.

Lord of the Flies was meant as a huge “fuck you” to the ingrained belief that English people are the most noble and wise of all people and thus incapable of descending into savagery. I doubt it was ever meant to be a sweeping generalized metaphor for the universal savage nature of humanity, and shame on the teachers who force that interpretation on their students.‘ [x]

IMG_8585

Anyway, eventually I bought a copy of LoTF last winter. My edition includes an introduction by Stephen King and I was reading it during my papers. It frankly, chilled me to the bone. The perverseness of human nature is on complete display in the introduction and it sets up a somber mood for the story following it.

Since I was picking up this novel again after a period of 8-9 years, the details were a bit hazy. Like I had forgotten how Piggy dies, and that a ‘littleun’ gets missing in the very start. Back in grade 7 I hadn’t quite understood how Simon met his death, I simply assumed he slipped from the mountain while it was raining. But all of that started coming back to me as I flipped through the pages and each time I could only manage to mouth ‘holy shit,’ because each act of violence seemed so utterly surreal to me.

Can I just say that Golding’s writing style is extremely impressionable? The way he describes littleuns vulnerability and dependence on the older boys hurt my heart. Roger and Maurice’s initial messing around with them foreshadows the harm littlun’s will eventually come under Jack’s rule because these older boys in the absence of ‘parents and school and policemen and the law’ understand their power and are lured into exercising it through violence, which was literally one of the main things they were surrounded with before landing on the island.

IMG_8592

The last 70 or so pages of LoTF were intense and gripping. I was remembering the deaths before actually coming across them. My eyes opened wide when i realized that Piggy’s head had shattered just like the conch. It felt like a final blow to the reminder of a civilization which the boys had left behind. And more horrifying than this was how the boys were getting used to the deaths, the cold-blooded murders, taking them as part of life, as a part of establishing the order which they wanted.

Favourite quote: “Maybe,” he said hesitantly, “maybe there is a beast.” […] “What I mean is, maybe it’s only us.”

Book Rating: 4/5 stars.

Book Review: Life isn’t all ha ha hee hee by Meera Syal

In my one week off from school, I read around four books from my massive winter book haul. It was honestly so relaxing, to spend entire days lying in bed under the sunshine with the air conditioner switched on, reading and sleeping and then reading again. These four books were:

  • Life isn’t all ha ha hee hee by Meera Syal
  • Lord of The Flies by William Golding
  • The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (I read this for the 12th time so won’t be writing a review for it)

IMG_8572

Okay,  so the first book I read was: Life isn’t all ha ha hee hee by Meera Syal. I’ve already read a novel by Meera before, and she has a poignant writing style filled with hilarity here and there.

IMG_8584

In the aforementioned book of hers, Meera writes about 3 Indian women who are trying to manage their housework and jobs. She mentions the daily compromises these ladies have to make, the cultural restrictions and how hollow it eventually makes them.

Last but not the least, these women, Sunita, Tania and Chila are also living in fear from their spouses or men around them. There has been an incident where a desi wife demanded divorce and got custody of her children but the husband in a fit of passion locks himself and their kids inside the car and sets fire to it. Sunita and Chila constantly are reminded of this in order to not overstep the set boundaries; while Tania battles with her past, remembering her father’s moods and how her mother tip-toed around them, fiercely promising to herself that she won’t end up like such desi wives.

And this is exactly why I don’t understand how people could term it, ‘spicy, hilarious and sad,’ or ‘page-turning comedy’ when there was an overall theme of horror looming around the heads of these three women, reminding us that if they make one fatal move, something really bad would happen. And it does happen, in the very end, but these three make through it by standing up for each other; establishing an even larger theme of love, friendship and betrayal.

IMG_8588

My exact thoughts about this book are penned down by a Goodread’s user:

‘I didn’t write a review before, but reading others’ I felt I had to respond. I thought it was a bit offensive that people labeled this light–just because it’s about women’s lives doesn’t mean it’s light at all. Do you call death, infidelity, social injustice, etc. light? In fact, I think this contains quite a meaningful examination of a lot of important issues (diaspora, women’s roles, the intersection of cultures and generations) and is really complex and beautifully written. Don’t even get me started on those who called it “chick lit.” While I find that term problematic enough, I can appreciate the type of book generally named in that category; yet this is definitely not part of that group. This is literature, pure and simple.’

Favourite quote from the book: 
‘After all, any man who can’t meet you without bringing his parents along is hardly the type to make your heart sprout wings and dance the tango.’

Favourite paragraph from the book:
‘Ask most of my girlfriends, ranging in hue from tinted copper to Dravidian blue-black; between them they run business empires, save lives on operating tables, mould and develop young minds, trade in non-existent commodities with shouting barrow boys, kick ass across courtrooms and computer screens. In the outside world, they fly on home-grown wings. Then they reach their front doors and forget it all. The step over the threshold, the Armani suit shrinks and crumples away, the pencil skirt feels blowsy and tight, the head bows, the shoulders sag, within a minute they are basting and baking and burning fingers over a hot griddle, they are soothing children and saying sorry, bathing in-laws and burning with guilt, packing lunch-boxes and pouring oil over choppy waters, telling everyone who will listen they don’t mind, wondering why they left their minds next to muddy wellies and pile of junk mail in the front porch.’

Book Rating:
4/5 stars