Rubber & Pencil

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From that time I was born I am doing mistakes and still I never hesitate to do so. Maybe this is in my instinct. Sometimes I feel sorry for doing this but mostly before I feel sorry you come to help me out without any hesitation. People never own such culprits who do mistakes or sins consistently but you are the one who own me with all of my mischief and never had regret.

 

Pencils always do mistakes but rubber is always there to erase those mistakes by touring itself into pieces. Whenever pencil makes a mistake rubber gets hurt but vanish those mistakes in no time. This is a fact that rubber never ever mind this. Even one day rubber is gone and bestowed its life on the pencil with a glowing face. Pencil still remains there but exchange old rubber with a new rubber.

Eraser

 

 

 

Parents are like rubber. They are always there to erase child’s mistake. Mold its behavior to seek education of what is wrong and what is right. They tend to manage and inform child to work in between those lines which are accurate. Parents educate their child to not to go beyond those lines and if he goes beyond those lines they erase that error and ask him to write it again until he can write. They keep on assisting us until they take their last breath like rubber.

 

We exchange our old rubbers with new ones i.e. our spouse take the place of our parents. We forget those rubbers who initially educated us. As for now we do less mistakes but never give credit to them who demolished in demolishing our mistakes.

 

World’s Oldest City

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I still remember when I was playing with my cousin and my father called me on our land line and I picked up the phone. I started shouting with joy and my mother and sister were shocked. My father told me that we will be going to Damascus in three days. It was very pleasant shock for me. My aunt lives there and this was a surprise by my father. My summer vacations were just started so I was mentally free and relaxed. We left for Karachi with a Pakistani airline. The flight was delayed as of the reputation of our airlines. We have to take Iran Air’s flight from Karachi so we were much tensed. We reached after an hour of our scheduled time. We rushed towards our flight and as soon as we reached there the plane flew. We reached Tehran in three hours. And we had to stay for three hours for the next flight. At that time there were no direct flights from Pakistan to Syria. We ate Persian Chalu Kabab and zarishk rice from Tehran International Airport. Kabab were made up of lamb meat and were made on coal flame. Zarish is a traditional food of Persia.

Belly Dancer in the open air Arabic restaurant

Belly Dancer in the open air Arabic restaurant

After spending three hours we moved to our new flight that took us to Syrian capital Damascus in five hours. It was a huge airport and its structure was like a massive tent. Our aunt was present there to receive us who took us to the new Damascus where she lives. After having some rest we planned to go out for the dinner. Our aunt and uncle took us to a traditional restaurant near their house. We tasted Arab food for the very first time. They cooked whole lamb on flames with minute spices. They cut lamb and put boiled rice in it and then sew it to serve. The interior was very catchy. We sat on hand made carpets. It was an open air restaurant and I enjoyed a lot. While we were eating a belly dancer was dancing in the middle of the restaurant.

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Out side Bab Ul Saghir in Damascus.

Second day we planned to visit wall city of Damascus. Damascus is said to be the world’s most ancient city ever developed. Those remains of pre Christ era are still there. All of the religions have some sort of affiliation with Damascus. Ancient area is still extremely beautiful. Unlike wall city of Lahore they preserved almost every bit of it. There was very pleasing light effect which they used. Even the street lights of inner Damascus took us to a whole new world. Damascus is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the known world and the Umayyad mosque stands on a site that has been considered sacred ground from at least three thousand years. We visited Umayyad mosque which was synagogue and church before respectively. There was a tomb of Prophet Yahiya in the mosque. The Umayyad mosque is still one of the most impressive sites in the Islamic world, with a grand courtyard and specious prayer hall. Some of the original eight’s century mosaics still remain on the north outer space of the transept, under the gable, on the arcades and the back of west portico and on the arches of vestibule. They minarets date from the time of Al Waleed with some reconstruction around 1340 and 1488. The minaret in the south eastern corner is called the minaret of Jesus because of a tradition that this is where Jesus will appear before day of judgment. The upper portion of the ceiling was made up of gold foil. It had huge ceiling with so many pillars. There were marvelous wooden work and carving on the walls and doors. The main gate of the mosque is still made up of silver and wood which is supposed to be thousand year ago. Upper portion of pillars had gold coverings, chandeliers of primitive Arab style gave the royal effect if the place.

Soq al Hamidia

Soq al Hamidia

We visited a church and a synagogue in the old Damascus as well because majority of the population of Damascus was of Christians and Jews. We also visited the tomb of prophet’s granddaughter and daughter of lady Fatima and Ali , Zainab in the nearby area of Damascus. Her shrine’s tomb was made up of pure gold. Our aunt told us about the prestige and the holiness of that place.

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Traditional Syrian Swarma

We also visited the hill stations near Damascus. We enjoyed hiking there as well. Long range of mountain was looking epic at the sunset till the border of Lebanon. The tomb of Prophet Adam’s son, Abel was also there on the mountain. This was the first murder of human race.

We bought some Syrian antiques from the most famous market which they called souq ul hamidia and ate there tradition Shuwarama. One another worth watching place was chapel of Saint Paul in Damascus. It had biblical relation and a very sacred place for Christians.

We spend fifteen unforgettable days in Damascus.

Gold Plated walls of Ummayd  Mosque

Gold Plated walls of Ummayd Mosque

So They Live, Who Dare

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So many are the attempts to make

So many dreams will have to break

The heart of stone, in the long run

In hailing storm, in sweating sun

So many promises that lie

So many wishes will have to die

The life in hardship never ends

The strength or firmness never bends

So much of the past to forget

So many are the plans to set

The life looks as the river flows

Passing past, as the wind blows

So many are the breaking tears

So many are the shaking fears

Which masks the eye wet

Which makes the soul regret

So “aspire for excellence” you believe

So decide! you will never give in

Promise all dark days you will bear

Saying this “So they live who dare!”

 

Inspired by this beautiful time-lapse, please do watch the video!

Sky-High

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I hurled across the road , took a leap of faith and jumped high in the air. I was touching the skies , I was in the air and what I had in my hand was a string. Euphoria had stricken , how ? It was my hand it had a string , I had caught it it had managed to get hold of the loose end of the string hissing across the ground. I was flying a kite , I had caught one. The feeling cannot be exasperated in words I was deluded with this love for over six years and now my adrenaline jumped to astounding heights. Blood was flowing faster than in my fingers , as I pulled the string. The sense of achievement at first with getting hold of the kite and then , the way I controlled it’s every direction.Image

There was more to follow , I wasn’t the only one who was commanding a warrior in the skies , there were hundreds of these glittering entities ruling the skies. Yes kites , kites , kites here there everywhere.
Basant was being celebrated after years my memories had faded and I had lost hope of ever commanding the skies again but today the unimaginable has happened. Lucky was a word too less to describe my feelings. Passing by a park in the capital and a banner with basant written on it what were the odds I would be able to see it in an unknown city park my car and jump into the celebrations.

The Selfie Syndrome

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By Feroz Qadri

 

According to the Oxford English dictionary, the term selfie refers to ‘A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website’. Simple enough, yes. But here I will discuss the intricacies of the selfie syndrome; the wave of narcissism and YOLOing that has consumed our generation. From Oscar host Ellen Degeneres and her possy, to biker boys one-wheeling in liberty, people all over the world seem to be hooked on to this phenomenon.

Let us first look at selfies in terms of practicality. What if all ten friends insist on being in the picture? Fair enough. Selfie zindabad. This is justified not only in terms of practicality but also in terms of social acceptability. But when a single loner, sitting idly decides to take a selfie, things become incredibly, utterly sad. The adjusting of a fat face to show off a nonexistent jaw line, twisting a bulbous blob of a nose for a narrower version, a shockingly sleazy pouty lip that really no one finds attractive; these are all contrived versions of ourselves that do not even exist.

The point of a selfie is to make it seem as though it was a natural and spontaneous take, yet ironically it is the most contrived of portraits. What is interesting to note is that even the ugliest of selfies have been carefully and meticulously planned to the tee. There is not an iota of naturalness or candidness in these takes. The ones below are examples:

An otherwise handsome and perfectly symmetrical-faced Sheru looking cross eyed and slightly constipated.

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A forlorn looking Feroz looking off into the distance searchingly with an open-mouthed Tyra Banks pout that looks downright gay.

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A suited booted Musti raises his eyebrows for a bit of swag perhaps. Going for a smooth look, he accidentally ends up with a constipated one.

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Strawberry Fields

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ImageAnd in that void, I swayed. To the beauty of the moment that embraced me. The breeze of silent whispers that softly hit my drums like a soft love song sung behind closed doors and thick walls. And as I closed my eyes, and breathed stronger till my nose converged within itself, I let my worries out through a whiff of air that escaped my mouth. And I was there..

I walked through the garden, sunlit green. Rose kissed trees smiling at me, reaching out for an embrace.

‘Can you walk here to me?’, I asked.

And they swayed their head in melancholy. How unfair life is, isn’t it? To build a desire you simply can not please? Their roots held them back, so I could see. Like most of you, and I, him and she. So I walked to her, so tall and pink and green. And as I melted into the bark of the tree, her twiggy arms encircled me. And as I let go, all dusty and pink, she gave me a strawberry which made me think..

I wonder how she knew I wanted one, so juicy and sweet?

As I treaded on the infinite stone path that didn’t seem to end, I held the strawberry in my hand. And pondered if I hadn’t walked to the tree, if my desire to have one would be in vain? That would’ve been a shame..

So I looked at the vultures that orbited me, and I gulped down the berry before they could see.

My berry, my berry, all mine” was all I could think..

And as the berry struggled through my pipe, and bounced inside me, my vision became clearer and I could finally see. Did the sun just become brighter, or is it just me? I thought to myself..

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The sun indeed was livelier, the veins of the flowers pursed like a lady’s lips to kiss her beloved, the grass became younger than I last remembered..

It was a breakthrough, that much I could see. Closed doors opened, visions got clearer, things started to unravel.. And did life suddenly make more sense that it ever did to me?

And as I stared at the gold butterfly that sat on my nose, and flapped its wings to synchronize with my lashes, the voices called out to me.

Wake up, wake up, have you fallen asleep?’.

I felt a tug on my arm, though I could not see. And I reached out to the branch of the tree, to save me. The pull became stronger, and as I let out a scream.. The butterfly turned to dust, the tree fell apart, the sun deceased. The darkness sucked me in through a straw I didn’t fit in to, but such is darkness, and such it has always been..


 

Inspiration:

 

Vertigo

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Come here.

Sit.

 

How did we get here? When we stopped looking for monsters underneath our beds, and started looking for them within and around?

Don’t make a sound. They’re listening.

 

Did you check for the ones hidden beneath the sheets of your bed? The ones that hold you close on a winter’s night, warm their bodies, until summer arrives? Did you hunt them down?

 

How did we get here? When dreams stretched longer than a night, and reality came a bit too soon..but still too late?

Open your eyes.

 

Do you want me to pinch you now, so you know what is true and that which is not? But didn’t you ask for that pinch when nothing seemed real? I believe you felt the pinch too late, my dear. Wait..

How did we get here?

 

Are you out of colors, yet again? The black, the blue, the green, the grey.

Prick your finger with a needle sharp, and paint your wall with blood so dark..

Wrap it with a chain and lock, not a door this time..

Remember the last knock?

 

Nothing is true, did I tell you not? Not the words spoken, or the purple rock.  God died in all the battles that were fought, the devil crawled out of him, I kid you not..

 

A sweet demise this shall be one, a revival, a reform? Or maybe none..

A cliff you’re standing on, yes, right there..

 

Wait..

How did we get here?

 


 

Inspiration:

 

News Package: Slum Life in Winters

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This is our News Package project for Online Journalism Course. Slum life for these nomads is even more difficult for in the harsh winters than usual. Already fighting with lack of food and provisions, winters wages an added battle with the cold. We entered into their world and to take a glimpse into their life.

Production Team:
Kashmala Amin Khan

Rabia Khawar

Fatima Ebadat

Sara Mahmood 

Asiya Shoaib

 

The Other Side of Lahore

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A pictorial assignment on various street vendors in Lahore.

Quite often, amidst our menial worries and small problems, we tend to forget that there are people in the world who have bigger problems than us. While our problems concentrate around finding the perfect outfit for a birthday party or getting an A grade, there exist those who don’t even know whether they’ll have food on the table the next day. These people have a whole family to support on a measly income that ranges from 3,000 to 5,000 a month.

This post is dedicated to the street vendors in Lahore and all over Pakistan, who work tirelessly to give us delicious street food and some wonderful products that we wouldn’t be able to spend a day without.