Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Eid - Celebrity Q&A


The question: What is the most exciting/amusing/memorable thing you’ve ever done on Eid?

The answers:

Faiza Mujahid
Well, no specific memory as such. But when I was a kid I loved going to everyone for eidi and I had a little purse which was BRIGHT gold (it was so bright that it could actually make anyone blind!), but now all we get is “ab to tum log baray ho gaye ho”, so yeah, being old is no fun!

Rubina Ashraf
The most exciting part is that we travel to be with family, and we do this every Eid.

Naukhez Javed (Inteha)
Last year I spent my Eid with the flood victims in Mahmood Kot as the brand ambassador of the Foundation for Poor Souls where we distributed clothes and eidi amongst children. It was a very touching and emotional phase of my life and I consider it as the most memorable Eid to date.

Annie Khalid
I never do anything exciting on Eid. It’s just a good day with family and friends. I wear nice new clothes, and usually eat and socialise with family, and then spend the day sleeping.

Junaid Khan (Call)
I remember those early school days when we used to get eidi. I was so fond of action figures, so I used to buy WWE original action figures from eidi savings. I still have them all.
Adnan (Soch)
My most memorable Eid was eight years ago when my cousins and I got firecrackers (machis bomb) on Eid. I remember it was chaand raat and we were playing with them on our roof. All the guests and our parents were sleeping downstairs, and we dropped a cracker by mistake; everyone woke up with that tiny blast. It was so funny, but then we got scolded by our parents. Eid is always fun when your family is around.

- S.A.

Us Magazine, The News - 31st August, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011


book review

Book: A Stolen Life: A Memoir
Author: Jaycee Dugard
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2011)
Excerpt: “When we are inside the strange house, he takes off the blanket and instructs me to sit on the wicker sofa. He is a very tall man. He has very light blue eyes and brown hair that is thinning on the top a bit. His nose is kind of long and his skin is a bronze color. It looks like he spent too much time in the sun. He does not look like a bad guy. He looks like a normal guy. Like any ordinary guy you would see in everyday life. But he is not! He couldn’t be … could he? He shows me a black thing with metal ends that look sharp. He calls it a “stun gun” and he says he will use it again if I try to get away. He turns it on and I hear the strange zapping sound I heard before when my body would not work. The sofa I’m sitting on has a lot of cat hair. I look up and I see a cat sitting on a washing machine. The cat looks like a Himalayan Persian tortoiseshell and there is another one that looks like a very fat, tabby torty. I ask if I can pet them. He says if they come to me, then I can. One comes over and I give it a pet. Its hair feels silky and real. I think this cat is the only thing that feels real right now; everything else feels like a nightmare but this is too real to be a dream. The man says to follow him.”

While on her way to school on the morning of June 10th 1991, 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard was abducted by Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy Garrido. She would remain missing for the next 18 years – a time she would largely spend as a captive, while being physically and mentally abused by her kidnappers – and give birth to two children, before being discovered and rescued in 2009. Now a 31-year-old woman, Jaycee shares her story in A Stolen Life, a book that details the period she spent in captivity and how she is learning to rebuild her life following the traumatic events that stole her childhood.

The memoir sees the kidnap victim look back at everything that happened to her during the last two decades, starting from the day she was taken and winding up to her present-day life. Jaycee reveals the harrowing details of her life with Phillip Garrido and the abuse she was subjected to, presenting her thoughts, feelings, and confusion as she tries to survive the ordeal. She talks about living under daunting conditions in a concealed area in the backyard of the Garrido house, the births of her daughters, missing her family, the actions and behaviours of her kidnappers (including Nancy’s jealousy, and Phillip’s religious views and ideas), and helping them run a printing business; the book goes on to explain how she was discovered (after “two Berkeley cops saw something amiss” when Phillip took them all “to the parole office”), and reunited with her family, and culminates in her efforts to heal and move on. Also included are entries from her journal written between 1998 and 2007, as well as pages from Eclipse’s Journal, a diary she wrote about her cat Eclipse in 1993; being fond of animals, the writer mentions her pets in various parts of the book and discusses some of them in considerable detail.

The content of A Stolen Life, as you can imagine, is very difficult to read. All the horrific things that she endured at the hands of her deranged captor have been described in graphic detail, so the book is not for the faint of heart. It is a tale of hope and survival, but the details of all that was inflicted on her are explicit and disturbing, and hard to read. And while the author clearly isn’t a master of prose, this doesn’t take away from the interestingness of the book; the memoir gives the readers a chance to hear Jaycee’s actual voice, which is why the grammatical missteps seem almost inconsequential.

Overall, A Stolen Life offers a unique look at the nightmare that a kidnap victim had to endure, and the physical and psychological abuse she suffered, and how she is now working to “unravel the damage that was done to me and my family”. Her story is shocking and riveting, and it provides a voice not only to her but possibly many others like her.

- By Sameen Amer

The Express Tribune - 20th August, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Independence Day - Celebrity Q&A


The questions:

- What does independence mean to you?
- What do you think is the best way of celebrating Independence Day? And how do you plan to celebrate it?
- What is your favourite national/patriotic song?

The answers:

Sajid Ghafoor
- Independence: From an individual perspective, having the right to speak what I want to speak about, and do what I feel like doing and socialise with whomever I want to. Having said that, where there are rights there are duties too, so I know my limits are to speak but responsibly, act but in a fair manner and socialise but with the ones who won’t get me in trouble. So what I am saying is, everyone has the right to be independent and we should fight for it wherever these rights suffer, but still in a responsible manner, while being civil about it, as the rights we seek are based on the very same principles of responsibility.
- Independence Day: The best way is to go out on the streets, join in with other people, share smiles, raise flags and be happy. That’s the lighter side of it and we all watch it on our respective TV channels.  Though I am sure all those who created this country, if were present today, would not be happy at all. We got our independence in 1947 and at the expense of a lot of bloodshed on both sides. We should’ve learnt our major lesson right there. These days we are suffering politically, economically, and security-wise too. So where is that independence our forefathers fought for? Who is responsible for taking it all away from us? I think the Independence Day is a day to reflect upon how independent we actually are, and if not, what are the reasons and how can we move in the right direction without any major stops like we have been facing since 1947. Having said all this, long live Pakistan!
- Song: Dil Dil Pakistan by Vital Signs.

Junaid Khan
- Independence: Independence for me is freedom of speech and expression. I feel very proud of being a Pakistani as we are free to express our feelings, and as a musician I feel luckier as I can express my emotions through my voice and lyrics.
-  Independence Day: Ideally if you ask me, I would like to celebrate it by writing something for my country and sharing it with my fellow countrymen to show my love for the country.
- Song: My favourite would by Jazba-e-Junoon. I just love the expression and the feel the song has. It simply touches your soul.

Haroon Rashid
- Independence: It is a day of joy and celebration. A day when Pakistanis got the right to self determination. Muslims were no longer a minority.
- Independence Day: The best way to celebrate Independence Day is to wear the national dress, play patriotic songs loudly from your home stereo or car. Also it is a time to reflect on the state of the country and to see what each one of us as individuals can do.
- Song: Dil Se Main Ne Dekha Pakistan.

- Independence: Independence means that I safely and happily enjoy the freedom I have been given by the people who sacrificed their lives for giving us this chance of being free. It means to honour and understand the motive of the people because of which we actually call ourselves an independent, free nation.
- Independence Day: To reflect upon the immense struggle of the people who made independence possible, and try to comprehend the thought behind this struggle. And finally, trying to better my personality and become a stronger willed person by understanding this thought, this struggle and this motive.
-  Song: Kal Hamara Hai…because this is the spirit we need to build our today into the tomorrow we aim for.

Annie Khalid
- Independence: Independence and Independence Day is all about celebrating being Pakistani and it’s all the more fun when I’m abroad because when you see so many Pakistanis in a different country besides Pakistan uniting together, it’s just the best feeling in the world.
-  Independence Day: The best way to celebrate Independence Day is to completely cover yourself in green and white, and get together with friends, and go do something crazy. In England we used to paint our face and parade the streets dressed in our flag. So I think the best way is to flaunt Pakistan and flaunt your Pakistani-ness by going out.
- Song: I like Vital Sign’s Dil Dil Pakistan first and foremost. Then I like Junoon’s anthem; and recently it’s Call’s Hum Say Hai Yeh Zamana; that’s a really nice song too.

Atif Aslam
- Independence: Independence is a blessing and if you want to ask its real value, ask the people who are in war, who are in slavery, who do not have any right to follow their free will.
- Independence Day: The best way I believe is to live free and let others live freely. We should complete our tasks and duties rather than criticising others and limiting their freedom. I celebrate my independence the same way.
- Song: My favourite patriot songs are Hum Mustafavi Hain by Mehdi Zaheer, and Mera Paigham Pakistan by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sahib.

- S.A.

Us Magazine, The News - 12th August, 2011

Friday, August 05, 2011

Miles to Go

book review

Book: Miles to Go
Author: Miley Cyrus (with Hilary Liftin)
Genre: Autobiography

Celebrities find it imperative to tell the world all about their lives by penning a memoir (or by hiring a ghost writer to do it for them), sometimes because they really have an intriguing story to tell, but mostly because it translates into a big, fat paycheque. But when teenagers start publishing their autobiographies, it seems only logical to assign their motives to the latter; what profound life experiences could have befallen a 16 year old that would be interesting enough to warrant a 250 paged book? It was this curiosity that led me to Miles to Go, the autobiography of teen starlet Miley Cyrus, who gained global recognition after being cast in the lead role of the Disney sitcom Hannah Montana in 2006.

Published in 2009, the book sees the singer/actress tell the story of her journey to showbiz stardom, sharing memories and experiences about her life in Tennessee, her relationship with her family (including country singer dad Billy Ray Cyrus, mom Tish, and grandfather Ronald Ray Cyrus to whom the book is dedicated), being bullied in school, her feeling for ‘prince charming’ (who is widely, albeit unconfirmedly, believed to be Nick Jonas), auditioning for Hannah Montana, shooting the series, facing difficulties in getting along with a co-star, and celebrating her 16th birthday at Disneyland. Also, lists appear throughout the book that shed light on stuff like things that make her sad, people she can’t live without, places she wants to go, things she might be when she grows up, and stars she’d like to work with.

As a book, Miles to Go is a simple, adequately written work that is a fairly quick read. The content of the book not only present a look at the life of one of the most successful young stars of recent years, but also tries very hard to make the singer seem relatable to her fans, and draw lessons from each of her experience and stories, and if you are a tweenager who happens to be a Miley fan, then there are enough little bits of info in the book to make you positively giddy. If, however, you don’t fall in the book’s target demographic, then your opinion of it might differ greatly. To begin with, you probably won’t care that Miley likes oatmeal with ice cream or that she never wears blue and orange together, and then when she tries a little too hard to seem deep and insightful, you might find yourself being sceptical about what you read: is this really Miley’s voice? Or is this just what everyone wants her to say? Why does the person in the book contradict the girl portrayed in the media? Sure you get to know things about her by reading the book, but do you really get to know *her*?

So on the whole, your response to Miles to Go will depend largely on you, the reader. Miley fans will love it and cherish every little detail that the writer has to offer; her detractors will roll their eyes at the mere mention of its title and find its content cringe worthy; while neutral readers will probably take it for what it is: a guarded look into the life and rise to fame of a teenage star who is trying really, really hard to set forth a positive image, and who may appease diehard fans with this volume but probably should’ve waited a few more decades to write a book about her life so that the content could have been more substantial and its appeal a little wider.

- S.A.

Us Magazine, The News - 5th August, 2011