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Bidding farewell to Game of Thrones

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MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD, turn away while you can.

Yesterday was the beginning of the end, as HBO’s Game of Thrones came to an end after nine long years of tears, heartbreak, murder, scheming and DRAGONS! Fans all around the world waited anxiously for the series to air but every week there was an array of mixed feelings in the air. People were quick to jump to conclusions, various prophecies (that never came true) were being discussed and theories about how the show will end were surely driving everyone NUTS!

After nearly a decade of loving and losing our beloved actors, yesterdays episode was sure to put the nail in the coffin. Calling it bittersweet would be an understatement. The episode starts with images of the aftermath of episode 5, Tyrion, Jon and a handful of men walk around the city and see what is left of the carnage done by Danny and her last living dragon. Tyrion makes his way to the basement of the Red Keep and finds Jamie and Cersei buried in stones. Not only was it a powerful scene as he cries next to their bodies but it is almost poetic how they left the world just as they entered it. A little underwhelming yes, but the directors were clearly on a time crunch!

Danny flies back to the remains of a burnt down Kings Landing to address her army and claim her victory. As she walks out and Drogon spreads his wings and the align behind her, her victory becomes realer than ever. Just the intensity of those few seconds lays the mood for the rest of the episode. BUT – she makes it pretty obvious that she won’t be stopping here. Her version of breaking the wheel included burning thousands of innocent men, women and children in all the seven kingdoms to create a NEW WORLD….

Tyrion of course is arrested for colluding behind her back but he just never stops with the talking does he? When Jon goes to see him in his cell, Jon quotes the Master Aemon to Tyrion ‘Love is the death of duty’ while trying to justify the path of destruction Danny is on. As usual, the master of words, Tyrion responds ‘and sometimes, duty is the death of love..’ – and this, this is the moment we know our hearts are about to shatter into a million morbid pieces, but we still hope. ALAS, the moment all of Danaerys’ fans feared (Including me) – Jon follows his duty which is the end of his love. He begins to reason with her, but realizes soon that she is too far gone. His conversation with Tyrion earlier was bound to stir the wheels in motion, one might argue that Tyrion was the mastermind behind it all. 

As he tells her one last time ‘you will be my Queen, now and always’ , he kisses her one last time before stabbing her straight in the heart. JAW DROPS NOW* Crying and panting begins. 

It felt almost disrespectful to give Danny a death so quick (Literally dies in under ten seconds). Years of conquering and fighting for the truth, breaker of chains, all lost in a matter of minutes behind a madness that she supposedly inherited from her ‘Mad King’ father. The predictability factor on how she’d die was too high, it’s like the writers were rushing through trying to end a series that changed the course of television, without realizing the magnitude of the affect it’d have on its audience. For most of the season it felt like they forgot to write any dialogue in the script. It left things unanswered, how could it not? There is only so much fans can presume by facial expressions – WE NEED MORE. The fans expected longer episodes yet we were met with long, boring and dragged silence in every episode of the final season.

The top moment for me at least was how Drogon reacted to Danny’s death. The way he nods her lifeless body and squeals, it truly makes you feel real emotion for a CGI dragon. Alas! He burns down the Iron Throne till it’s completely melted, so no one may sit on it ever again. The beauty of the moment lies in how we realize Drogon was always more than just a fire breathing monster, he was real, he understood it all and he burnt the very thing that led to this, in sheer agony. He then delicately takes her into his claw and flies away with the Mother of Dragons, one last time. However, I could argue an alternative ending here. Burning Jon instead would have made complete sense! Imagine Jon surviving the fire, since he is a true born Targayrean, the Unsullied and Dothraki see him emerge from the fires and bow down to their new king, the TRUE king! However, if there is one thing we have all learnt from George R.R Martin’s writing, seldom do our beloved characters get their happy endings.

The new council is formed and Tyrion’s fate is left to them. Greyworm demands his head of course, but even shackled in chains, Tyrion manages to convince the council to elect a new king. Behold the twist – instead of nominating the man he practically manipulated into killing the Queen because he is indeed the rightful heir, he nominate *DRUM ROLL* – Bran Stark, the three eyed raven. As a friend once predicted this to me nearly a decade ago, Bran the Broken, who sees all, cannot walk but has flown, was made king of the six kingdoms. Yes, six – Sansa Stark has made her fair share of mistakes and hasty decisions but managed to convince Bran that Winterfell would remain an independent kingdom like it had been always. QUEEN IN THE NORTH AYE! Arya Stark was off to explore the rest of the world, beyond the point where all maps end. My question still holds, is she the prince that was promised? Was she Azhor Ahai? What was the scene with the white horse, was it really an uber from Bran? Another thing we won’t know because THERE WERE NO DIALOGUES, just the incineration of beloved characters wasting away in scenes of the vaguest nature.

Despite Bran becoming King, Jon is not pardoned for all the times he saved humanity from the brink of extinction, instead is banished back to the Nights Watch where he may never take a wife, father a child or own any land. This was the worst thing they could have to Jons fans, we were devastated. His journey was long, painful and selfless yet he was tossed to the end of the world to remain guarding the realms of the very men who were ungrateful towards all his sacrifices. In the end we see Jon lead the wildings into the forest – don’t worry, Ghost was right next to him. Since dialogue was again the least of the writers concerns, what we assume at the end is that plants are growing out of under the snow, meaning winter is ending, and Jon is migrating his new people to other lands beyond the wall. Maybe that is where he’ll live at peace, with people who look up to him for guidance and leadership, somewhere he is appreciated. The end was too open leaving us with an abundance of possibilities and theories. The story felt rushed, if only there were four more episodes if not a whole season. The actors, the story, the cast and crew deserved that, and so did the audience. Instead of ending in due time, it felt almost as if eights years of buildup was snatched away abruptly in a handful of episodes. Fans all over the world were left disgruntled, they felt cheated but if you ask me, some of that anger is definitely misplaced. I think we’re all furious because something we loved has come to an end, characters that felt like family have been lost indefinitely to another universe and we’ll never know more or see them again. That in itself is bittersweet for me, but then what end isn’t?

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We hope you have an “On Sale and in your size” kind of a day, everyday

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The worst part of offline shopping is to see your favorite item on sale going out of stock for the reason of short spanned discounts and overcrowded stores. On top of that, it is extremely difficult to get your hands on a particular size right at the spot. 

Many of us are scared of online shopping, horrible return policies, and late deliveries. Thousands of scamming online portals have shaken our faith in cybershopping. But it is about time we started looking for reliable places that give us not just a hassle-free shopping experience but also help us stay within our allotted budget while offering quality products at the same time. 

 

Here comes this platform called Loot Sale. The main purpose of this Pakistan based E-commerce startup is to bridge the gap between the consumers’ want of constant discounts and retailers’ need for fast inventory turn-over. 

Its realistic motto “Pay Less, Shop More” is not just an ordinary line, in fact, it provides what it commits with its 24\7 sale that is available all day every day on most of the luxury brands. Accommodating to 220 million audiences of the 5th largest nation of the world: with over 75 fashion brands including BTW, Cross Stitch, Hop Scotch, Hush Puppies, LimeLight, Maria.B, Nishat, Orient, Stylo, The Linen Co, Zareen by Sapphire, just to name a few: everything on this website is at a mind-blowing discount. 

We still wonder how the man behind this initiative, CEO Malik Asad, came up with such a feasible and thoughtful idea. Known as an expert in the field of marketing and E-commerce having a strong finance background, he talked about his efficient business plan and shared, “Loot Sale’s goal is to build as a customer-centric brand, providing original products, offering a price-match guarantee and no-questions-asked return policy. The website has launched with an inventory of over 400,000 units, and stock is forecasted to list over 20 lac products showcasing 150 brands by the end of December 2020.” 

 

So, does that mean, more brands and more discounts?

 

Isn’t it kinda true that the word “Sale” makes everyone excited and happy? Not sure about you, but to us it definitely does. Thus, it is rightly quoted that every woman’s favorite line is “IT IS ON SALE”. And the best part about this digital marketplace is that the items are on sale 365 days of the year. 

In a time when the economy is declining and there is inflation all around the corner, we need more of such platforms. So, what are you waiting for? Go and check out this all in all paragon right now that is just one click away. 

 

 

 

 

 

www.instagram.com/loot.sale

www.facebook.com/lootsaleofficial

 

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Minaahil Umar- An Epitome of Grace and Grandeur

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Minahil, an architect by training, received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from the National College of Arts (NCA) in 2019. Before joining NCA, she studied at Lahore Grammer School where she pursued her interests in Art, Computer Science, and languages. Minahil’s work while at NCA revolved around Urban Architecture, particularly on reimagining South Asian cities.

Stunned by her eloquent talent for creating artistic visuals that are clearly visible through her work, we decided to catch up with the dedicated designer about her off-work routine.

What kind of a person Minaahil is when she is not working or designing?

Downtime is spent predominantly with family, especially my little angel daughter, truly a bundle of Joy.

What sparked your interest in fashion designing?

I’d always been observant and with the passage of time developed a firm understanding of fabric, designing, and color compatibility. I was already offering advice and guidance to friends, and it seemed only natural to take a step in this direction and introduce a revival in the Pakistani couture ecosystem.

Who has been your biggest inspiration from the fashion industry?
I have always been inspired by the originality of the idea or theme but if I have to pick a name — Coco Chanel tops the list; simple, elegant, and original.

Are you self taught or have you formally studied fashion? If so, from where?

The answer to this question is a bit more complex than a simple yes/no response. I didn’t major in fashion but went to what is without a doubt one of Pakistan’s best art schools – NCA that focused on our holistic development as artists. So, despite majoring in architecture, I received some form of training in a range of other arenas; fashion, theatre, music, and miniature art among other things.

 

How do you think Covid-19 has affected the world of couture? How has it affected your business?

COVID 19’s impact is rooted in its inherent uncertainty. We have experienced a massive disruption in our supply chains, have had to rework our workshops to ensure physical distancing, and developed alternative payment and delivery services.

When it comes to being an artist, what exactly are you most fascinated about that eventually becomes a part of your work of art?

They say ‘God lies in the details’. For me, details matter a lot. There’s a way to express yourself in depth which makes every piece truly unique. While I focus on depth and detail – my work at the same time is minimalistic.

Does this demotivate you that a strong lobby of designers has already been here and it is difficult to survive for a comparatively new designer?

I believe every designer has their own uniqueness and their work has its own charm. There’s no end to learning, whenever I see an artist whose work stands out, I connect with them, exchange ideas. To evolve, it’s so important to learn.

I believe firmly that I have in the past, and continue to prove myself by the quality of my work. Fear goes out of the window when you’re only competing with yourself for self-improvement.

What is your personal style statement?

I like to keep it simple, so a white kurta, jeans with a pair of khussas any day.

If you could dress up one famous face from anywhere in the world, who would it be?

Deepika Padukone for sure!

How do you manage to create a merge of contemporary and traditional at the same time while keeping the real essence of old-time charm alive?

Honoring your roots, feeling truly blessed to have a rich culture of native art, poetry, literature – grounds your ways of thinking. This grounding is the cornerstone of my work, and I strive for constant improvement drawing upon contemporary style. So, for me, it isn’t a challenge to capture the old-time charm alive. It is the tradition that fuels my passion for this line of work.

If not a designer, what would have been your career path?

I’d have been an architect, offering advisory services on urban development.

What were you most afraid of while entering into this business?

Keeping a balance between my family and work.

What one hurdle that you faced the most in this business?

I don’t think I have faced many hurdles, it has all been really smooth for me up till now.

What is one opportunity that you are impatiently waiting for?

Waiting for would probably not be the best way to describe it, I’d reframe your question a bit, if I may, and share the opportunities that I’m working towards.
1- I’m currently working towards expanding into North America. Currently researching on the best combination of digital platforms, comprehensive warehousing, and payment gateway development strategies to expand into North America and cater not only to the Pakistani diaspora but also to allies who admire South Asian designs and fabric.
2- Working towards transitioning into an ethical workplace, where raw materials are sourced via fair trade, safe and inclusive workspaces are provided, and staff is compensated and rewarded for the real value that they bring to the table. I firmly believe that the Karigars are the lifeline of any business and I hope to set a standard of fair compensation and inclusive workspace. We all know it’s about time, someone has to take the first step.

What are your further plans regarding your designs?
At this point I’m content with my creative expression, I’ve reached a position where the business is stable with a small but robust clientele. I wish to connect, learn, and be inspired by others who are doing work that’s similar to mine. We really are carving a niche, and it would be great to connect with likeminded people.

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Sidra Iqbal stresses upon the importance of education in Pakistan

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A well known T.V personality, PR practitioner, brand activist, and youth development advocate; we had a pensive conversation with Sidra Iqbal about the importance of education, the current situation, and her pivotal role in this sector.

As both a successful journalist and host, how would you describe the nature of your work in Pakistan?

 

In Pakistan, it is exciting and adventurous as a lot of these things are fairly new. I remember being a fresh undergraduate and the private media only opening up in Pakistan; so fast forward 10 years, I feel a lot of the values are still sort of evolving and there is a lot of work that happens on an ad-hoc basis. We are pressed for resources, we are pressed for sensitivity and ideas but that’s where the challenge and excitement is, and what really gets me going is that you can really make a difference in society with the avalanche of social media and this newfound freedom and power. It really is worthy to be behind the right cause, so I find it very exciting and adventurous.

Hosting a show, we see significant subjects regarding the future of Pakistan being addressed, do you feel that this representation brings light to serious matters adequately?

 

I feel they bring a lot of eyeballs and they bring a lot of attention to the problems. I’m not very keen and not very happy with the focus it brings on the solutions. I feel as a society they have become very pessimistic and we tend to just breathe and groove and sort of just allow ourselves to be mellow, but what we really need to do is be forward-looking, be optimistic and see we really don’t need the same kind of linear timeline mentality that a lot of people did. Even in our region, if we look at a number of South Asian countries, what they have done is they have actually made a complete turn-around change in their environment and society in one generation so I feel the same is possible for Pakistan but we are too focused on thinking, ‘Oh these problems will take a hundred years and perfect resources and a lot of political will to resolve’, I think that’s where the problem is.

Being an Ambassador for “IHope”, how was the response received regarding the discussion, which provided serious insights into the experiences of our youth in society?

 

I think as an ambassador of “IHope”, it was a fantastic opportunity for me to launch the initiative on International Youth Day. I think young people should realize that every crisis that they are presented with presents a hidden gift of compassion and of purpose, so I was very happy to learn that so many young people are motivated to actually give back and help people. In this pandemic they don’t feel that necessarily it’s a bad thing that they are stuck at home, they are devoted to compassion and to service to society; and IHope was a perfect opportunity for them. It was a call out to young people, whether they are in Pakistan or anywhere in the world to come and be a part of the community that would like to help people provide quality healthcare facilities to all.

 

Would community initiatives help create an environment where education and enlightenment can be accepted and therefore implemented for our children?

 

I think children all over the world are dreaming of a new world and it’s our responsibility as a society, as grownups, to provide them with those excellent opportunities. Personally, for me, I think two great pillars I really advocate for are Education and Healthcare. Once you educate a child and once you provide a household with quality health care, with hygiene, and you know the right to live, then there is no stopping there, because then you’re out of the survival mode. I feel that when children are told and they are demonstrated that all that they enjoy is not something that they are entitled to, in fact, what they need to do is be grateful for the benefits that they have. It does evoke a sense of compassion and service in them. So it’s a great initiative and it will go a long way in inculcating these values in children.

When in conversation with Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, a change in the education itself was emphasized. What manner of change do you feel would have a significant impact on the system itself?

 

I think to begin with technology, ICT is going to be very important, the curriculum all over the world is being upgraded. I’ll give you an example, that they say that the children who are in grade school right now, studies point out that 65% of these children are going to go into jobs and professions that have not been invented so that is a huge responsibility on the education system to actually prepare a child for a future that is unseen, unheard and probably unimaginable as well. When we were in school, there was no internet, there were no social media but somehow our education prepared us for it, now the same challenge lies before us and in much greater intensity. So, I feel what we need to change is first and foremost give a child the right to question. You can no longer just dictate a child, you should give a child in the Pakistani school system the right to question, the right to understand, and the right to sometimes even prove you wrong, so until and unless the teachers have the ability to unlearn and relearn, we can’t really update our education system.

Do intermediate students have an advantage over A-level students when applying for universities, with their average plus predicted grade as well as an additional 3% grace marks given?

 

Well to begin with, as an answer, I think no students in Pakistan had any advantage. Our education system is deeply fragmented, there are too many factions, there are too many things happening and I really congratulate the Government to have a serious intent behind making it a singular hybrid national curriculum. Of course, it comes with its own challenges. I can’t really pick sides because these are students who are all Pakistanis whether you are in A-Level schools, I can’t hold that against you, or whether you are a parent for matriculation or an intermediate exam that should not be your disadvantage. But yes, what I am calling for is that the Education Ministry has to make a decision, make policy measures and take strategic moves that benefit and ensure a level playing field for all. This grace mark issue is putting the A-level students at a disadvantage and I would appeal and strongly urge and petition to the Ministry of Education to look into its decision and how it’s having an impact on all.

Would a change in the implementation and execution of educational policies pave the way for a promising change in Pakistan regarding the future of our children who are still out of schools?

 

Of course, I mean if you look at numbers, it’s astonishing. 20 million children of school-going age in Pakistan are not going to school. Even if you look at provinces like KP, one out of every 4 girls of school-going age is not going to school and that is a glaring  25% of girls out of school.  How do you expect her to bring a knowledgeable, aware, opinionated, informed, and civilized generation if she herself does not have the ability to read and write, If she does not have literacy, does not have education, does not have open-mindedness? So, I feel if you really want to turn the future of Pakistan around, education has to be the cornerstone for it.

How can we do our bit in helping bring about a positive change for our young children in terms of opening the doors of opportunity?

 

I think it is about getting them to be trained in design thinking; presenting the problems as a creativity challenge and not as a dead end. A lot of times the kind of discourse that we are exposing our children to in social media on mainstream television is robbing them of their hope. We are telling them that nothing in Pakistan can be fixed and we are going down the dungeons, which is the furthest from reality. Even if you look around the region just during the COVID 19, India in the last 3 months has lost about 25% of their GDP, I mean that is a grave loss, job losses. Something is happening right in Pakistan whether you want to give the present Government the credit for it or not is entirely your call, but something is right and there is a lot to be hopeful about if we really want to give our children and the young people something it is that hope, that believes that you matter and better things are possible!

 

  1. And lastly, do you feel we are doing enough as a country, for our future in education?

 

Well, it’s 70 years of not doing enough, you can’t take a snapshot and say are we doing enough or not, there’s been a lot of water under the bridge, there’s a lot of things we haven’t done right for the years to come. Yes, we can take a corrective course but in order for that corrective course to fully bear fruit I think it will need about 7-10 years and I’m hopeful that if we make use of this window of opportunity, that would be a big turnaround for Pakistan

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