Monthly Archives: July 2012

Lux Style Awards 2012

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Being a blogger sure has it perks. I recently enjoyed some of them after being invited to the Lux Style Awards 2012. I was of course the ‘social media’. Such a cool ring the term has to it.

Held at Expo centre Karachi on July 10th 2012, the star studded gala was everything you can think it to be. Over the top, glitzy, glamorous and numerous other adjectives ran through my mind. Being one of the few nerdy bloggers in the sea of ‘cool’ people, yes I thought of adjectives to describe the night later in my blog.

The trophy

While others posed and ‘cheesed’ for pictures, the nerd (me) was busy tweeting about how people posed and ‘cheesed’ for pictures. The Ponds waiting area, a perfect substitute to the play area at other venues kept the guests occupied as hour after hour passed by with no signs of the event starting. People took turns to ‘cheese’ yet again with two golden Ponds women, for whom one couldn’t help but feel sorry after a while.

The Golden Girls

Once the show started everything was forgotten. Ahmad Ali Butt was the host of the show, and pulled off quite a number of well maila jokes at other people’s expense. But of course it’s always funny when it’s about other people so I laughed away. (Did I mention I secretly love him now?)

The awards for the best film, actor and actress without doubt all went to the movie Bol. But that might have to do with the fact that Bol was the only movie made and nominated. End of story.

Recognizing the gems of the industry for the work they dedicated their life to is always heart warming. And the tribute paid to Ahmad Rushdie was no less. After being given the award for lifetime achievement, numerous celebrities grooved onstage to his beats. One of them was Faisal Qureshi. All those times I complained about him being the judge of a dance competition, I take that back. The guy can shake it indeed.

The performance

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy was also presented with a Special Appreciation Award, which she said meant more to her than the Emmy, since her work for the first time was appreciated at home.

The show had its share of highs and lows. My favourite moment was of course Ahmad Butt ramping it up on stage. The not so favourite moment included Sadia Imam trying to act cute while announcing the winner’s name.

The most awaited moment of the night came when Ali Zafar paid a tribute to the late Mehndi Hassan. His performance of the ever green hit ‘Mujhay Tum Nazr Say Girah Tou Rahay Ho’ will be remembered for a long time to come.

And the award goes to:

Best Film Bol by Shoaib Mansoor
Best Film Actor  Manzar Sehbai for Bol
Best Film Actress Humaima Malik for Bol
Lifetime Achievement Award Ahmed Rushdie
Special Appreciation Award Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
Best TV Actress  (Terrestrial) Sanam Baloch for ‘Sehra Teri Pyaas’
Best TV Actor (Terrestrial) Noman Ejaz for ‘Aao Kahani Buntay Hain’
Best TV Serial (Terrestrial Tera Pyar Nahi Bhoolay
Best TV Actor (Satellite) Faisal Qureshi for ‘Rog’
Best TV Actress (Satellite) Savera Nadeem for “Qaid-e-Tanhai’
Best TV Serial (Satellite) Mera Saeen
Best TV Writer Sameera Fazal for ‘Mera Naseeb’
Best TV Director Sarmad Khoosat for ‘Paani Jaisa Pyar’
Best Song of the Year ‘Woh Humsafar Tha’ by Quratul Ain Baloch
Best Original Soundtrack Woh Humsafar Tha
Best Music Video Director Adnan Malik for ‘Mera Bichra Yaar’
Best Music Album ‘Jhoom’ by Ali Zafar
Best Emerging Talent Bambu Sauce
Best Emerging Talent in Fashion Zaheer Abbas
Best Fashion Photographer Rizwanul Haq
Best Hair and Make-up Artist Nabila at N-Pro
Achievement in Fashion Design-Pret Kamiar Rokni
Achievement in Fashion Design-Luxury Pret Sania Maskatiya
Achievement in Fashion Design-Lawn Sana Safinaz
Best High Street Brand Khaadi
Best Menswear Designer Omar Farooq @ Republic
Lifetime Achievement Award Faiza Samee
Model of the Year (Female) Cybil Chowdhry
Model of the Year (Male) Abbas Jafri
Best Dressed Red Carpet Male Umair Tabani
Best Dressed Red Carpet Female Sanam Chaudhry
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The Path Once Take – part III

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The women in Iran are required by law to cover their heads. So accordingly we women prepared ourselves for the summer under long chaddars and scarves. My aunt borrowed some from another relative who had been to Iran earlier in the year, while my mum dug deep into her closet to find scarves and burqas from her trip to Saudia many years before.

Right on the border of Iran and Pakistan, the women each were handed a scarf or a chaddar, about to become our second skin for the entire month. And with our heads, forbidden to see the light of the day for a while, we entered Iran.

Reading this blog, some might think wow these people are religious. The truth I am ashamed to add is not quite so clear cut. It was the end of June when we set out on our journey. We kids saw it as a vacation ‘out of Pakistan’. The adults saw it as a way of bringing us, their hopelessly lost children a little towards the right path. And it was just that. A vacation ‘abroad’ with a little faith revival thrown in on a short budget.

What compelled me to share my story with you was the recent killings of Shias in Quetta who were on the same journey as I once was. Barely a week passed when another such incident occurred. Another group of people on their way through the same route were brutally massacred in Turbat. It is said that the notable humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi passed out after viewing the bodies of the deceased. Imagine the time for their families.

I made my journey sometime in 2003. I now wonder, what stopped these animals from this brutality then. Why now do they have such a free hand that they don’t hesitate killing dozens of people instantly? Who are these people and where are they hiding? What is making them kill another human being so mercilessly?

The saddest thing I have experienced while talking about the Shia Genocide is the generalization of the issue. Every time I talk about it, people tell me it is not just Shias who are being killed. No one is safe in Pakistan, everyone is being killed. I agree, but who is specifically being targeted? Who is being made to get down from a bus and shot point blank? And again who is being singled out for having slightly different beliefs. I agree no one is safe, but shoving the continuous ongoing massascre under the rug, will that help? The killers don’t generalize. They specifically target Shias, why cannot other people accept the fact that being a Shia in Pakistan is now almost a crime.

With absolutely no sense of accountability in Pakistan you get easily get away taking someone’s life. In fact it is now easier to kill someone and run away than getting your passport renewed. Dear reader, I ask nothing of you today. But if one day you hear of me being killed, at least have a heart and ask my killers what was my crime? Please do not think of it as just another loss of life in the deadliest countries of the world. And grant me the favor of recognizing the fact that I was killed because of my beliefs.

The Path Once Taken part II

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I thought it was the end of the world. No human in sight, except the tired fellow travelers on that bus. The fear of getting lost was there, for certain. Stories of robbers and thieves lying in wait for such travelers I had heard. But the idea of specifically being targeted and shot in the head had never occurred in my tiny inexperienced brain. But the signs of course were there.

About the Chagai range, one studies in Pakistan Studies. How rocky it is how difficult the terrain. What no text book tells you is that for miles and miles on those rocky hills chalked are the words ‘Kafir Kafir Shia Kafir’ Shia infidels. I kid you not. Go and see for yourself. Even though years have passed by since I crossed those hills, those cold cold words, still chill me to the bone.

We had decided to travel on our own. But on the way from Quetta, we met another family with the same intentions, also hailing from Karachi. They had made the same journey three times before, and hence they decided to ‘adopt’ us clueless beings.

After a grueling 12 hour bus ride we reached the last stop of Pakistan, Taftan. No not the sweet bread. The bus stopped at a rundown, almost haunted rest house greeting us with the picture of the Quaid. Jinnah in case you were wondering which.  Next to him were the words ‘Ghar se duur, ghar ke jesa’ (far from home, yet like home). Seriously where exactly did they think we lived?

Ghar se duur, ghar ke jesa.

As soon as people got down, there was a mad dash stampede towards the nearest restroom. We however were saved from being trampled once again by my uncle’s ‘connections’. Army vans ready to take us to the army mess were a sight for my sore eyes.

More than the breakfast of anda paratha, with halwa on the side, I was happy to find clean bathrooms. But soon, I had to say goodbye to my country and enter Iran. The customs took a while to shoo us all in. And then began the most exciting time of my life. The journey into Iran.

The bored little town of Mirjava welcomed us into oblivion. Deserted as far as the eye could see, my little group tired after the long bus ride braced themselves for what was to come. We van-pooled with another family and reached Zahaidan after two hours, from where another back breaking 22 hour travel awaited us. By now we had started resembling Robinson Crusoes shipwrecked on an island.

The oblivion

The fun however had just begun! The wonderful people of Iran can only speak one language. Persian. No Arabic, no Urdu, and don’t get me started on English. Therefore we were limited to sign language, which we weren’t really very good at. The funny thing was, even though nobody in Iran could read English, most of the billboards and sign boards were in English. What they indicated however was anybody’s guess.

Our stay in Iran spanned over three weeks, during which we experienced things we never thought we would. However never once did the thought of not making home alive entered our minds.

Roza of Imamzada Hazart Shah Azeem

We went about on our ziarats. Visited the beautiful tombs and shrines across the country. Spent a pretty scary night in Tehran where we also had a multi-lingual fight with one of the bus drivers. The shrines on their own were breath-taking. The most memorable one was the one of Imamzada Hazrat Shah Azeem. Located on top of a mountain in Iran, it was so high up that at one point even cars refused to go up. For the weak and the old, a donkey had to be hired while the rest had to walk.

my younger sister atop a donkey

End of part 2

To be continued.