If there are any Pakistani people following me, they’ll most likely know what I’m talking about. This is a review of the play titled ‘Siachen’ written by Anwar Maqsood.
I saw this play last night with my phuppi (father’ sister) and her friends at the PNCA.
The play began with each of the men bidding farewell to their loved ones. The soft spotlight surrounding them, with the rest of the stage in darkness foreshadows the darkness and danger of their lives ahead. I can’t lie, I did tear up. A mother sends her son off, reminding him that she is the mother of two martyrs already. After the men arrive at the camp, the satirical comedy of their lives begins.
The curtain lifts to reveal the camp at about 20,000 feet. A lone soldier is outside the igloo, communicating with the base. He is preparing to fire on the enemy. Amid the tragic sound effects, he reports that he has no time. He says ‘fear one Allah’ and aligns his sights. Yes, I was crying by now.
Before he can begin firing, his brother walks on the scene, calling him a dramatic fool. Upset that his brother has ruined the romantic tragedy he had planned, he stomps into the igloo. His brother climbs to the top of the mountain and stands watch.
His father appears and they hold a hilarious conversation, ending with the son asking the father why, if he was a figment of imagination, was there a cigarette missing from his packet.
A soldier zips the ‘saab’ up in the sleeping bag after being embarrassed while calling to his sweetheart in his sleep. The rest of soldiers mistake him for the enemy and beat him before he is let out.
The company lines up to pray. At the end of the prayer, the imam (saab) sits down and makes a dua’ (prayer to god). The dua’ is a hilarious one, which leaves the audience in stitches after his last comment, asking Allah ‘Khuda ka khouf karo!’ meaning ‘Fear God!’
An emotional scene ensues, in which one of the men breaks down after the namaz, yelling at the saab, calling him a liar and bursting into tears.
The soldiers banter with the unseen Indian army on the other side about cricket. The childish jibes and shouts make the audience roar with laughter. Eventually the captain breaks his men up. ‘Dar giya’ a childish insult meaning someone got scared or lost their nerve is thrown at him.
The Indian soldier does not come across as an enemy, as such, but more of a coward. He unsuccessfully pretends to be a Pakistani soldier who has been separated from his division.
He tries to keep up the pretence of being Pakistani, but his lack of knowledge of his captor’s homeland couples with the fact that he is speaking Hindi, not Urdu, are clearly a dead giveaway.
The play was really a masala, a blend of different genres. It was a perfect mix.
I must say, although this is best viewed in an on-stage live performance, I do heartily wish it was a movie if only so I could watch it over and over again. I would pay to see this masterpiece ten times over.
I would like to, in addition to my enthusiastic accolade yesterday, to virtually give a big hand to the Mr Anwar Maqsood for a fantastic play, the production team for making this all possible, and especially the cast for a truly tearjerking yet gut-busting performance.
With the third Captain America movie being released next year I though I'd do a little summary of my incredibly ungraceful fall into the Marvel fandom.
It all started when my uncle decided to show me 'Avengers Assemble'. I loved it. I remember seeing Cap for the first time. Nothing could have prepared me for what came next.
A few months later I was having a sleepover with my Khala. We decided to watch a movie and I really wanted to show her the Avengers. We watched and, well, what can I say? The rest is history. After many unattractive whale noises (chiefly from me) we watched Captain America The First Avenger, which I can assure you remains my favourite movie of all time.
My Khala and I are now proud Steve Rogers fans. The CACW trailer is something I anticipate with both hope and dread. When I look back on this turn of events...
Well, I'm just glad to be part of this lovely fandom. Fandoms are families and being a family means you don't sit alone at the mental hospital.
Here's a list of things not to say to alternatives. Hell, she could be dressed up as a frickin' doll for all I care. Don't say any of these things:
1. Why do you dress like that?
Why do you dress like that?
2. It's not good to dress like that, you know.
I have heard this many times, especially in islamic circles. Mostly from people I've never seen before. If you don't know the person, please don't try to give them advice. It's rude. And, if the person is dressed decently, your statement makes no sense.
3. Just generally acting uncomfortable when the person makes a statement about what they like.
You aren't the world authority on what's right and wrong, so shut up.
4. You would be so pretty if you wore different things! (or generally suggesting clothes you can easily see the person will hate. You're too obvious, so shut your pie hole.)
I look pretty by my standards! Stop telling me to 'be myself' if you're trying to change what I define as myself.
5. Do you worship satan? while you creepily try to stare into the depths of my soul
No, I worship one god just like you. Or did the scarf I'm wearing on my head lead you to believe that I sold my soul to the devil?
6. Don't wear that. People will think you worship the devil.
If I cared what people thought, I wouldn't dress like this, sweetheart.
7. Can you not wear those when you go out with me?
Can you not go out with me? Like, never?
8. Why don't you like pink/pastel/whatever the person thinks is pretty/?
It's okay if you've legitimately never seen a goth/punk/whatever. It's not okay if you have that uncomfortable grimace that makes you look like you're constipated. If I make you uncomfortable, stop calling me.
9. Are you one of those depressed emos?/Do you cut yourself?
Number one, that's stereotypical, because not all emos are 'depressed'/cut. Number two, even if I did, do you really think it's your business? Do you think one glance at me evaluates my entire character?
10. Wow! You're wearing colour! Does this mean you'll stop dressing like a freak?/Aren't you supposed to be all depressed?
Right now you're being a freak. Because you don't know when to shut up. I can wear whatever I want to and I should be able to do it without you going off like a fire siren every time I go out of my comfort zone.
Now, being alternative, I get a lot of stares in public. I don't mind so much and I'm mostly used to it. I know most people judge me by how I dress and that's part and parcel of being different. I can say, honestly, that when I look at someone, I form an opinion on them based on a cursory glance and that's a fact I've grown to be very ashamed of.
I travel a lot, so that means I see a lot of different people. People I form judgements subconsciously, whether I like it or not. Once, on a night flight from Bangkok to Islamabad, I was seated in front of a young gentleman.
He was definitely older than myself. Me, being a teenager, he looked to be around twenty to twenty five years of age. Mind you, I was decked out in my full (what I consider full, at least) punk attire. I was wearing a black abaya, the buttoned cuffs of which clearly displayed my leather spiked bracelets as well as a black scarf and denim waistcoat.
I was in no position judge anyone based on how they were dressed. And I did. I wish to god that I hadn't, but I did.
The aforementioned (pakistani) gentleman sitting behind me had his hair dyed a light shade of orange. He had a goatee and he was wearing a waistcoat over his shirt. I assumed that he must not be very religious. It was subconscious. I can't remember when the actual thought ran through my head. Maybe it didn't. But it was something there at the back of my mind.
I was tired, this was a transit from Singapore. I'd been travelling all day and would remain in the air for most of the night. I settled down to sleep. I heard snatched of the conversation between the man and his seat-mate. Later, I heard him quietly reciting the dua for travelling. Then the three quls. And then some other suras of the quran.
I was so ashamed. I'd really judged this man wrongly. He was, in all honesty, a better muslim than I was. I usually forget to recite the dua for travelling. Forget the dua for travelling, I forget to recite any of the duas I'm supposed to. I go on on and on about not judging me for how I look, yet I just wrongly formed an opinion of someone I'd never met, never talked to, never known.
Ever since then, I make a conscious effort to tell that little voice in the back of my head to shut up.
If you're reading this, stranger-who-I-judged, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have and you kind of made me revise my whole thinking process.
On this day, the 6th of September 2015 we look back on a day, unforgettable in the history of our nation. To day we celebrate the Golden Jubilee of our victory over India in 1965. Many martyrs were born in the war and today we pay homage to them.
These men willingly gave their lives so that we may live as we do today, a free Pakistan. A Pakistan on the road to bettering itself as a country, as one united brother hood, as one united nation. When I ponder over this day, long before I was born, I ponder over the fallen heroes of a time gone by, a time when my countrymen laid down their lives with the dream of a country where it's citizens were a committed people, one people.
I was standing in front of Fatimah Jinnah Park this morning, and at 11:30 I saw the first plane, a Mirage III blast over the horizon. The sonic boom that followed shook the very earth that the crowd stood on.
My father was snapping pictures as the Mushshak looped and barrel-rolled in the sky.
There was cheering as a formation of JF-17 Thunders appeared on the horizon. Looking at pictures of the planes later, I remembered a diary I kept when I was about 10 years old. The cover of the execise book actually commemorated the joint creation of the JF-17 Thunder with China.
The last, but truly the best part of the show was an army helicopter carrying 6 men beneath it. As we were driving away, we saw paratroopers, their shoots red and green trailing red and white smoke as they floated down from the sky.
It has always been Pakistan's practice to honour our Shuhada', as we did so today. We remember these men with a mixture of fondness and a fiery passion. A passion that we should remain committed to improving our country, that these me should not have died in vain.