Published 4th March 2014 in The Express Tribune (e-paper version here)
“The guys showed a lot of character,” said a less-than-coherent Kohli, swiveling round and round in his post-game chair. “If you compare the experience of our team with their team, it’s massive. Huge,” he said, and swiveled some more. But if the Pakistani cricket experience is defined by sheer lunacy, then yes, the Indian side has a long way to go.
For once, and it really is just this once, the stats are too good to pass up. India had slammed a big 245 in Sharjah, and it was 245 runs that it piled on again in Dhaka. The margin of victory in ‘86 was the closest for any Indo-Pak battle royale. Last Sunday’s was the second-closest.
That still doesn’t cover the cleanest comparison: the visual of Shahid Afridi clobbering R Ashwin with two sixes off the last over, Pakistan’s Miandad Moment 2.0.
Published 28th January 2014 in The Express Tribune (e-paper version here)
Ever hear about the meowing nuns? If a book from 1844 is to be believed, a nun in a French convent started meowing like, well, a cat. It wasn’t long before the other nuns began joining in. Soon enough, all the nuns were meowing in this choir from hell.
This being the Middle Ages, and cats considered close to the Devil, panic hit. The army (who else) was brought in to ‘save the sanctity’ of the convent. This they did — with rods and whips — and the nuns swore to meow no more.
Published 24th January 2014 in The News International (e-paper version here)
In Jewish myth, a golem is a monster made of clay. Legend has it that a rabbi fashioned one from the fresh soil of a riverbank to protect his people from the Romans. Many a golem story follows, but the theme stays tragic: the creature protects the Jews, the creator loses control of its creation, and the golem runs rampage.
One such story goes, ‘When the Gaon (Jewish scholar) saw that the Golem was growing larger and larger, he feared that the Golem would destroy the universe. He then removed the Holy Name that was embedded on (the Golem’s) forehead, causing him to disintegrate and return to dust.’
Ariel Sharon was Zionism’s own plus-sized golem, well on his way to wrecking the universe before a coma turned him back to dust. But by the time Sharon finally crumbled, it was too late. The dream of a Jewish democracy had turned into the nightmare of Greater Israel.
Consumption defined Ariel Sharon. Nothing sated him. Like the monster from lore, Sharon couldn’t stop himself from eating – food or land. A boulder of a man, Sharon was famously ashamed of his weight. But as with his lust for ‘living space’ – a term straight from the Nazis’ dictionary – his appetites ultimately consumed him.
Published 14th January 2014 in The Express Tribune (e-paper version here)
Sixty-six years since Pakistan’s birth, January 6 saw its first-ever suicide attack… on a school building. An adult male showed up at the gate with a bomb strapped over his sick heart, and tried to murder 2,000 children inside. For being Shia.
Numb in the face though we’ve become, consider for a second what that means. The killer isn’t a freedom fighter crying occupation. He’s not a teenager hiding behind lax gun laws. He’s not motivated by money, in fact, he’s not motivated by anything in this world at all.
This isn’t about terror. This isn’t about whether wars on terror are ours or theirs. This is about sectarian cleansing: a cancer that has spread from the plains of the south to the mountains of the north. This sickness was born in Southern Punjab, and over the past 30 years has gone national.
Published 7th January 2014 in The Express Tribune (e-paper version here)
He’s hard to look at, Geert Wilders. A set of mean little eyes makes one think of dead fish. They sit under a mane of Heseltine hair, bleached with peroxide. It’s only when people get beyond the grey eyes and frozen blonde tips that they pay attention to what Wilders has to say. And what he has to say isn’t pretty either.