The Blackout Crisis
Aug21

The Blackout Crisis

Waking up at three in the morning to fight off the miniscule Draculas is one of the many flustering things which we, Pakistanis, experience. As if the sweltering heat was not enough, the electricity monster, or as most of us know it, load shedding, has turned our live upside down. Pakistan, being a third world country, in encircled in rising fire of multitudinous problems; power crisis being the most profound one. The supply is around forty percent deficit of demand. To make it worse, no proper strategy or manifesto has been devised yet so as to abet it. Load shedding has always been an issue. It became central just recently because now it is also affecting upper and middle class as well. This power crisis has made thousands go homeless. Industries are as good as dead and the workers are unable to earn living wages, dying of hunger. With average of twelve to twenty hours period of blackouts per day, students spend most of their days dosing off. Those who are resolute enough to pursue knowledge, stay awake hoping against hope for miracle of electricity. Uninterrupted Power Supply, aka UPS, does not qualify for its name anymore, since it also breathes out its last electric breaths in a fraction of an hour. Meeting are scheduled and rescheduled around the load shedding hours. Even a toddler is deprived of sound sleep because of fans and air conditioners going idle every hour or so. Hospitals have suffered the worst blow. Scorching heat accompanied by incessant power cut offs makes already agitated patients go berserk.  And truth be told, doctors and paramedics are not bright and peachy in these given conditions either.    Masses have been ranting and wailing out to heavens, going on shutter-down strikes, raising slogans, pleading and begging, shamefully burning public property. Some even burnt down a whole ruddy train. But unfortunately the authorities have turned a deaf ear to this entire situation. To top it all, most of the administrative officials have made valedictory address to any shred of hope which was left.    All in all, we are entering the era of blackouts, of arrows and axes, of carriages, of lanterns and candles, the era of ‘Stone Age’. While every other nation around the world in taking forward strides toward progress and development, we, the Pakistanis, are pacing backwards. This abject quality of life and mortal peril is forcing our people to make an escape to the West, to serve those who ruled us for over a century. Not to mention the fact that they eye us as filthy terrorists. Pakistan, after its nuclear tests, emerged on...

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Colors of Taxali
Aug07

Colors of Taxali

Smell of spicy food, mixed with the odor of open sewage lingers all around you as you walk through tapered streets of the Taxali gate. Shops lit by colorful lights, cannot help but to catch your attention to them. The Taxali gate is not popularly known for its color, but otherwise known for the red light district it resides in its heart. Heera Mandi/Shahi Muhala as they call it popularly remains to taboo this area from rest of Lahore. As you walk deeper into the streets of taxali gate, the lights and glitter begins to diminish and more shadowed streets appear. Balconies are occupied by women, whose faces express that they have been standing in these balconies for everyday of their life. In Mughal era, heera mandi was famous for dancing and music. What pulled the noble and the aristocrats to these streets was the visual and musical treat, the culture that lingered through the air. It’s said that the nobles used send their children here to learn culture and etiquettes from these courtesan women. The famous historical character Ameeran or more popularly known as Umrao Jan was an example of the courtesan women who inhabited the streets of Heera mandi. It wasn’t originally called heera mandi, whereas it was named so by the Sikh emperor Ranjeet Singh, as a tribute to one of his ministers Heera Singh.   It was not until the establishment of British rule that these streets were polluted by brothels and prostitution. The East India company wanted leisure and entertainment for there officers who were living so far from their homes. So slowly they poisoned these streets and its culture and with passage of years it was all gone. But this is one part of the Taxali gate, but the colors of Taxali gate even today pull people to itself. The famous Phajja siri paya and shabuddin halwai are still a delight for food lovers from all over the world. The famous Pan of Taxali is still mouthwatering as it even was during the Mughal era. The famous sheikhpurian bazaar even today, a century later is till famous for hand made khusaaz. The say the best khusaaz of Pakistan are still made here. Also the Taxali hearts the best shops for musical instruments, which signify its traces to the rich musical and artistic culture it once had.  Heera mandi is one part of Taxali gate and its culture. But it will never diffuse the Colors of Taxali...

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