It’s been ages since I’ve written on this blog. Why? my non-existential readers may ask? well, because university takes a lot out of a person! From internships to classes, the summers were one huge blur that passed.

Well, I (guess) I am back to this blog for now!

So it’s the end of September, which means mid-terms are near and the journey to THESIS is closing in. This semester has been a potpourri of drama and concentration but one must move on, right? Well so let me tell you a little about this recent ‘adventure’ trip that I had…

So a group of around 22 people (Film students from SZABIST) left Karachi for this little town ‘Mithi’ in the heart of Sindh, Pakistan to make a documentary. The town itself though beautiful, is one of the most dull places I have ever visited! (The whole FRIGGIN town sleep at 9pm!) I, along with some of my closest friends thought this trip is going to be a great way to bond with everyone, which turned somewhat true. The road trip started quite nice as we sped to our destination, which was around 9 hours away from Karachi. From songs to gossips to endless snacking, we finally reached Mithi around evening.

Bags were unpacked, beds were chosen, the air conditioner was switched on (didn’t help) and then discussions about what to do next started. Little did I know, people (Who shall be called KarmasGonnaKickYourAsses from now on) didn’t even want me in that room, or hanging out with them! I being myself, (as always) tried to ignore all the short-comings, and we all left fake- happily for a Hindu prayer at a temple nearby!

The temple bells were truly amazing and it gave a peaceful atmosphere to all of us, as we shot video of the locals chanting their prayers and chants. The experience was so overpowering that I had lost myself into a trance, slowly moving my head left to right as they sang to the Hindu god, Shiv (A.K.A Mahadev). This was truly one experience each person must have, if they ever wondered why Hinduism has a mystique to it. As the prayer ended, we all received temple offerings (Prashad) and most of us happily ate it

Photo Courtesy: Zahra Salahuddin

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It was around 9 that we left for our guest house, but some of us wanted to stop over at the city centre (there wasn’t any). So after 15 minutes of finding nothing, we got to our guest house. A surprise was waiting for me though, the KarmasGonnaKickYourAsses made sure I’d want to move AWAY from them and hence, started being asses (as always), so long story short and a shower later, I packed my bags (again) and off to another room I go. I was glad I found out real faces though, even though it took me three years!

After a LOOOOOOOONG night, we all woke up early in the morning and started getting ready for our trip further into eastern Sindh, to a even smaller town called ‘Nagarparkar’.

Early morning in Mithi:

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This specific town holds more importance than Mithi, as it’s quite close to the Indian border. So after waking up at 6:30, by 8:30 we left for Nagar. The road between these two towns usually doesn’t take more than two hours but since I have such awesome luck, the roads were under construction and it took us JUST 4 hours! Long story short and a forced stopover at a army check-post later (remember film students? hence, many cameras, hence, confiscation!) we got into Nagarparkar district. Before getting into the town ‘Nagarparkar’ itself,

we had several other historic sites to visit. These sites I must say, were some of the most beautiful places one can find and are definitely the highlight of the whole trip. Our first stop was a 14th century Jain temple called Ghori. Not known to many, but this specific temple has a very important significance to the Jain religion, as it has been a temple built, destroyed and reboot a many times. The temple itself does not serve as a working temple, even though the locals assured us that it is.

Photo Courtesy: Zahra Salahuddin

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The temple was quite a unusual experience for me, as it felt like I had been here before. It made me feel almost nostalgic, yet I was sure I hadn’t even been near this site, but I guess that’s what old sites do to you? So after visiting Ghori we bid farewell to the temple and its beautiful structure and its even more wonderful Bhajan singers. Off to our next destination, Bhodisar Mosque. The Mosque itself had a very Hindu architecture, almost making one wonder if it was one of the many places that were converted into mosques post Islamic conquest. I was honestly too hot and tired to get out of the bus into the sweltering heat of the desert so I just took a little sneak-peak and I was back into the bus before some one can count 1..2…3 (seriously!)
So after some site visiting we finally headed to our destination, Nagarparkar.

Nagarparkar, had not much to offer but it seemed quite serene, with almost pre-historic mountains in the milieu. After a lethargic three hours rest, we all got into 4×4 safari jeeps for our next destination called Qasbo. We were all told Qasbo, is a small village just 10 minutes away, so we all jammed into three vehicles, each carrying 6-7 people. Here’s the best part, we never got to Qasbo. We were rather taken to a village called Chooriyo by our wonderful drivers. The village was right at the Indian-Pakistan Border near the Runn of Kutch, oh, and just ONE AND HALF HOUR AWAY! After a back-breaking (literally!) trip we got off our jeeps into Chooriyo. We had honestly thought, we were getting smuggled into India due to the crazy heat, vehicle fumes and crammed cattle like situation we were in!

The view, no doubt was incredible! With India on three sides of the border, one feels amazed looking at the neighbor to the east who were a part of until a few decades ago. The view from Chooriyo was only possible if one climbs up a temple, dedicated to Laxmi and Santoshi Mata (Hindu Goddesses) which had at-least a hundred steps up to the temple!

India in the distance

Photo courtesy: Zahra Salahuddin

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Sunset near the Indian border:

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Closing in on a sunset, and the town being a hour away at the least, we left Chooriyo. The whole trip to and fro Chooryio, had taken out the life from me! I was feeling sick, depressed, claustrophobic and crazy all at the same time! The desert really got to me. Thankfully, a hour later, we were back into Nagarparkar, and around 7:30 pm, we left back for Mithi.

Mithi didn’t seem like a dull old town to me anymore. The trip that I had just had, made me realize what blessings really are, and I must say, Mithi was truly a blessing in front of all the other places we had visited (which had no electricity, running water, or signs of technology). Almost everyone slept on our way back, as it had been around 12 hours or more since we had been awake!

Finally as we closed into our guest house, everyone woke up. Beds were quickly made and within a hour or so, most of us slept knowing this was the last night in Mithi, and tomorrow held even more travelling for us which would take us back to Karachi. Alarms rang early morning once again, and breakfast was served. A sunny side up and a glass of grape juice later, I got into the bus and the group bid their final goodbye’s to Mithi.

With stopovers in Umarkot (The local cultural shoppers paradise), we all filled our bags and emptied our pockets. The girls bought bangles, earrings and ethnic clothings, some guys bought ice creams while others got Naaras! (Indian style trouser trying mechanisms). So after this, we sped our way towards Karachi, with another stopover for a late lunch near Tando Allahyar at a gas station!

Photo-sessions!

Photo Courtesy: Zahra Salahuddin
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One and half hour of gluttony and photo-sessions later, we moved once again towards our final destination Karachi reaching in at around 9pm at night!

If I ever ask myself, If I’d even want to do this again? I’d probably have to say YES & NO! Yes, to all those wonderful people that supported me and made me realize what friends really are and how they can make any trip a wonderful experience. While a BIG NO, to the KarmasGonnaKickYourAsses, the crazy long travel and the melting heat! (Seriously only go if it’s raining!)

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So working with Instep Magazine, The News international, has its perks!  my celeb based articles are published. Feeling proud :)

http://magazine.thenews.com.pk/mag/detail_article.asp?id=5265&magId=11

Excerpt from the article:

Nicole Kidman adds another feather to her cap…or feet

By Shahjehan Saleem

Star of several academy award winning films and winner of numerous accolades, Nicole Kidman has been chosen as the newest face for the famous shoe design extraordinaire Jimmy Choo. Kidman isn’t a stranger to haute couture brands, as she has been featured in several advertisements with Chanel and Omega watches, to name a few.

The choice of Nicole Kidman as the face of the brand is a positive step for the brand as well as Kidman. Nicole has been previously seen in advertisements as an elegant and luxurious figure while Jimmy Choo’s latest collections have been labeled sexy and street smart. This decision can further promote Choo’s designs and can give them the sophisticated and luxurious edge the brand can profit from, while giving Kidman a more street smart charm.

The Australian superstar is known for her famous award winning roles, as well as her marriage to Tom Cruise, which ended allegedly over the latter’s involvement with the Church of Scientology. One of her most appealing roles was in the award winning musical Moulin Rouge for which she earned her second Golden Globe award.

Kidman’s style sense and film aesthetic intellect have helped her go places, as she has also been chosen as one of the jury members for one of the most coveted Palm d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival scheduled to be held from May 15 to 26. Nicole’s latest successes are helping her prove herself as an icon in Hollywood. Kidman is also very famous for her famously frozen into an ice sculpture face and the one time she had a powdery, white residue on her nose on a red carpet. People may have forgotten, but we haven’t!

The fashion industry as well as Kidman’s fans awaits the latest Jimmy Choo collection to see their diva in action this summer.

 

You could be a supporter of any political party in Pakistan. Ranging from PTI and PML-N with its huge fan following, to Communist parties hidden under the banner of socialism in interior Sindh and Punjab. This election will not just be a victory for the winning party but will be a victory for Pakistan. 

Pakistan has seen some of its worse conditions in the past decade or two, voting is one way to change it. It may not be a sudden change (and we don’t like waiting, usually.) but change can come gradually. It is quite interesting to see the speculations that we citizens have this time. This shows that people may have realized that voting with emotions get you nowhere and they’re ready to change their fates.

People argue that there will be no change whatsoever, whoever wins will be the same ol’. Well there is always possibility for that, I must say, but that does not mean we can not hope for something better? We haven’t noticed, but the change, is actually us. We have changed. These last five years gave us the chance to change, think smartly and voice our opinions

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So, as you and I head to the polling stations tomorrow, let’s not just think emotionally,let’s think smartly. Let’s think about our priorities, think about Pakistan’s priorities. Question the change, question ourselves.

This may sound too philosophical, but remember change maybe inevitable,but that hasn’t always been the case for us!

Good luck to all of us!

P.s here’s a list of all the places offering goodies in Karachi if you go vote!

A free sorbet from Lals Patisserie
A free coffee from Espresso
25% off on dinner at Ginsoy
Free cold coffee at Pie in the Sky (In addition the first 25 customers at ALL our outlets will get one of our new Chicken & Cheese sandwiches, upon showing your thumb!)
Free cocktail at Kahva
Free drinks at Latte Lounge
Free cookies from Neenis
Free green cake Pop from the Cakery
Free Shikanjabeen at Cafe Koel
Free dessert at The Lantern
Free Doodhpati Chai at Chai Master
15% off from Cafe Forty4
Free Burger of your CHOICE at @ GOOD BOYS HUNGRY HUT
Welcome drink, Free soft drink, Brownie, Spicy crispy fries LOG INN LOUNGE
Free Froyo worth 100 rupees from Berrylicious
Free Malt Kulfi at The Patio
Free Mint Lemonade and Crispy Fries at Cafe 76
Free Iced Coffee at Gloria Jeans
30% off to ALL PTI voters at GATEAU

;)

 

This song is an original production done by three students from Media Sciences SZABIST, namely, me, Zahra S. and Zaka B. The song describes the condition of Karachi from the point of view of a christian child’s longing for Christmas. It juxtaposes the feelings and conditions of Karachi & Christmas.
Enjoy!

Video  —  Posted: May 3, 2013 in Uncategorized
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With all that we see on news, it’s highly possible that you would be thinking about a bomb blast while you’re out somewhere, mobile theft when a motorbike is next to you on a signal or maybe even abuse if you see a policeman coming towards you. This unfortunately, sums up my day, everyday.

As a citizen of Karachi, I’ve already been desensitized over various topics but the fear of something happening to me or my family multiplies everyday. The fear isn’t just growing because of what I see on TV, it grows because of all the stories that I hear everyday! It feels like I’m getting closer and closer of having the same fate as those around me.

People often tell me:

“Oh tum kya baat kar rahe ho? Tum tou Defence se atay ho. Tumhe kya faraq parega?”

(Oh! What are you talking about? You’re from Defence, what does it matter for you?)

I often think to myself, are the stereotypes that deep-rooted in our society that we compare pain and suffering through the areas that we live in? Unfortunately, I think yes, we’re that insane these days.

Just take the example of the recent deaths of Hamza Ahmed & Shahzeb Khan, Their murders have been turned into a media fiasco and the reports that we see about them would highlight words like ‘Defence,Karachi’ and ‘Posh area’. So what if they lived in Defence? What changes? They were the same skin and bones like anyone else who dies in this metropolis. Why is it that when they’re discussed, they’re judged on the lives they had?

Hamza Ahmed and Shahzeb Khan, two of the recent murders attributed to gun culture. Courtesy of: In memory of Hamza Ahmed

Hamza Ahmed and Shahzeb Khan, two of the recent murders attributed to gun culture.
Courtesy of: In memory of Hamza Ahmed

Stereotyping is slowly becoming one of the many reasons of why we are living in a tyrannical society. We judge people and offer our condolences based on who they were, how they lived and WHERE they lived. It’s time that we realize how shallow we have become, and mourn for the humanity that is lost everyday in the city of no escape.

Independent musicians based in Karachi talk about their experiences in the music industry…

Video  —  Posted: April 25, 2013 in Uncategorized
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<a href=”How to bake Cheesecake Cookies!

Click on the pictures to see the whole process :)

Link  —  Posted: March 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

Video  —  Posted: March 8, 2013 in Uncategorized