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GAME OF LAWNS Summer is Here

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On a cold February night while mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came across a lawn advertisement. The next insta post showed socialites wearing sleeveless lawn suits at a launch event. Now I see these same women smiling into the camera almost every hour featured in different elitist magazines and posts. I could have sworn they were wearing jackets and carrying designer bags just yesterday at a polo match.

For those of you not familiar with lawn it’s a fabric to be worn in summers. It’s the finest form of cotton weave which has a soft almost luxurious feel to it. Its comfortable, airy and breathable to give women (never heard of men wearing it) much needed respite from the sweltering heat.

Some of the top brands which are magically sold out at Cinderalla time on their prebooking dates are Elan, Sana Safinaz, Faraz Manan and Sobia Nazir.

 “Please take care of yourselves, don’t put yourselves or others in harm’s way, be happy and stay safe.” Khadija Shah, designer of Elan addressed her customers on Instagram, preparing them for the battle ahead.

Lines are formed outside flagship stores the day of the pre-booking only to be broken as soon as doors open. Social media gets flooded with videos of violent women destroying anything and everything that comes in their way. Salesmen scarred both emotionally and physically.

 “A furious customer smashed a salesman’s head,” said Tahir who works as a driver and was an eyewitness to the incident.

 The disgruntled man had queued up for Elan 3A since 6am. When he finally reached the salesman, he was told they had run out of stock.

Now why do a certain class of people, mostly educated, behave like this is beyond human comprehension. Pushing and shoving are considered milder forms of aggression when it comes to buying their chosen design.

There is method to this madness. First the social media campaigns start. Then you see pictures and videos of unbelievably tall and beautiful women with fair skin and European features wearing long shirts, flared trousers and flowing silk dupattas (long scarves worn traditionally in Pakistan). Some are basking in the sun on a cruise in Italy with their fluttering dupattas following them everywhere. Others lying on a sofa in a French palace and some staring blankly while walking in a forest. The designs and campaigns of different designer brands each year have started looking eerily like each other.

Then the catalogues come out. Hype is created and countdown to online pre-booking starts. Women look through endless pictures while holding their breath and write the codes to their favorite designs for pre-booking. Its status symbol and the race to wear it first rather than the love for lawn that drives sales. There is frenzy around this time. Girls try to ask their friends which one they will buy while casually mentioning they will not buy any designer lawn this season as not to disclose the codes of the suits they are trying to get.

I vowed not to get into the designer lawn trap but unfortunately succumbed to buying just one suit. When I went to collect it, I was approached by a middle-aged woman who took me to the side and started whispering that she had the ‘out of stock’ lawn joras. She handed out her number on a piece of paper and disappeared as swiftly as she had appeared.

Out of curiosity and partly because the design my mother liked was also the first to run out, I called that number to ask about availability. To my horror, the woman quoted almost double the price for the same suit! Talk about creating a business opportunity out of women’s desperation to wear their favorite design before their friends do.

Now I know, designer lawns are nowhere in the affordable range. Most are around Rs 7,000 for a three-piece suit which include unstitched fabric for a shirt and trouser, a dupatta and some random patches (with little to no information given where each patch belongs). But paying double of that seemed unreasonable and wrong.

If you thought the ordeal ends here, wait till you take this lawn suit for stitching. The otherwise friendly tailors during winter months start showing attitude during this season. The prized packet comes with a paper indicating contents in English (I wonder why not in Urdu) and a picture of a model wearing it. When you open it, random cloth pieces much like a jigsaw puzzle keep coming out. Surprisingly this baffles the customers, but the tailors exactly know what fits where. For their services, they charge exorbitantly. Appliques, patches, hem, trimmings, home delivery, stitching early are some of the add-ons included in the final stitching bill which is not meant for the light-hearted. Stitching costs can go up to Rs 3000 or more for a suit.

The Pakistani rupee hit an all-time low of around 146 against the dollar and further devaluation is expected. People are complaining about inflation and rising food prices but there is silence on the topic of exorbitant designer lawn prices. How can so many people afford something so expensive?

More and more textile mills are collaborating with designers to come up with their lawn collection each year. This year low-priced alternatives by coveted designer brands like Muzlin by Sana Safinaz and Zaha by Elan were seen in the market but not met with that much enthusiasm by the seasoned lawn buyers. The whole concept of designer lawn works on looking expensive and showing off otherwise the veterans of lawn like Al Karam, Gul Ahmed and Nishat Linen still have the softest and purest form of the fabric.

Lawn mania doesn’t end here. Now that Eid is around the corner, all the brands are coming out with their formal collection. Did I mention Volume II and III will follow?

The saga never ends…   Maha Shah is a freelance writer, journalist and HR professional who has worked for Google and Bloomberg and has lived in Jordan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Qatar and now Pakistan

By Maha Shah

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In conversation with Hamza Tanveer

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Setting the standards high with his impeccably charming looks

We had a short heart to heart conversation with this cutie Hamza Tanveer and we bet there is a lot you would love to read about him. Certainly, we are not afraid to say that he is already on the road of success to be the next sensation in town.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Hamza Tanveer. I’m a Vocalist and I’m one of the veterans of Nescafe Basement.

How did you get into Nescafé Basement?
Through LIVE auditions. Nescafe Basement held LIVE auditions for their Season 2 in my University (UCP) back in 2013. I was selected by Xulfi (Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan) as a Lead Vocalist. That was one lucky day of my life.

Before Nescafé Basement, how did you find out that there was a singer inside you?
I actually realized that when I got selected in Nescafe Basement LIVE auditions. Before that, I was just an introvert and more of a bathroom singer LOL. Also, I never took part in any College/University events as I was too shy to do so.

How did you all get together to produce music? Where did it start?
All the artists were selected from all over Pakistan through LIVE auditions. After that, we were called by Xulfi Bhai for our initial orientation at Nescafe Basement. There, we had our first musical jam and on our first attempt, we knew that we all were at the right place. Thanks to Xulfi bhai for mentoring us all these years. He unearthed and discovered the talent in me and motivated me to get what I could ever dream of.

Was it like you always wanted to be a singer?
No! My parents always wanted me to become an engineer. So, my focus was on my studies initially till Nescafe Basement happened. But music was within me. I used to sing it with my only friend who had a guitar. Music was always something I loved doing in my spare time and the passion grew stronger by time.

Has it become your full-time profession?
No! I tried to convince myself and my family…but considering financial issues, and other social problems, I couldn’t cope up with that! Now I do a job and also do the music side by side! Although I do hope that there may come a time in Pakistan when artists like me would be able to opt music as their full-time job.

How is your experience working as a group?
It has taught me a lot! I had no musical education/background before NB. So, for me, it was a great learning experience working with such a talented lot. We’ve not just made good music altogether but we’ve made long-lasting friendships also. For now, it’s everything I could ever ask for.

Are you intending to move towards Coke Studio?
Definitely, if I am ever given a chance and anything I can contribute to music with what I acquire, I’m up for it!

Who is your favorite Pakistani Singer/ your inspiration?
Considering genres that I sing or like, I can take all the names of legendary artists of Pakistan. Everyone’s been my inspiration as I grew up watching/listening to them on TV and wanted to be like them. 🙂
If you still insist, I’d say Mekaal Hassan Band, Shafqat Amanat Ali and Sajjad Ali are my favorites. 🙂

Considering your good looks, would you like to get into modeling or acting?
Acting, NO! Modeling can be done!

Other than music, what do you like to do the most?
Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat!

What’s your comfort blanket?
I enjoy spending time alone.

What is your relationship status?
Single for now!

If you could sing with one singer that is not alive, who would it be?
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Tell us about your future projects?
I’m working on my two new songs. I would share updates as I get done with everything.

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Hareem Farooq breaks the stereotypical image of a dulhan in the newly released trailer of Heer Maan Ja and we can’t wait for the movie now!

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By Hina Ghaffar

The megahit on-screen couple of Hareem Farooq and Ali Rehman Khan are back together in IRK Films & Arif Lakhani Films’ upcoming movie ‘Heer Maan Ja’, that’s all set to release worldwide this Eid-ul-Azha.
Knowing that the movie is a project from the super talented makers of Siyaah, Janaan and Parchi, we already couldn’t wait to the see what this movie will bring us. But after watching the electrifying trailer of the movie that has just been released, we are now completely on edge! Eid-ul-Azha can’t arrive sooner!

What a terrific visual! The trailer is a perfect glimpse of the epic roller-coaster ride Heer Maan Ja is expected to be! You can find romance, you can see action, and you can also find yourself smiling at the hilarious scenes from the movie! Also…how adorable does Hareem Farooq look in that stunning orange and pink lehenga? We honestly can’t take our eyes off of her!

Hareem seems to be breaking the image of all stereotypical brides with her peppy character in Heer Maan Ja. Heer is giving us the vibes of a runaway bride, however, that’s just a small part of the film. The first look of Heer Maan Ja divulges Hareem Farooq as the coolest bride ever. Has anyone noticed the silver sneakers she’s donning underneath?
Hareem’s character looks very different from Eman in Parchi! Heer seems like a very bubbly and lively character, standing next to a rather nervous-looking Kabir.

Heer Maan Ja is going to be a romantic comedy with a punch of laughter, emotions, thrill and action sequences. Featuring a stellar cast, exceptionally talented directors and a brilliant production team, Heer Maan Ja is going to fill our Bari Eid with a whole lot of entertainment.

‘A love story that has a past’ – and we wonder what past is that? The trailer makes us question quite a lot of things; why were they separated to begin with? Why does Heer look like a run-away bride? Why is Kabir asking her for forgiveness?

We can’t wait for the Bari Eid to find out now!

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First Hijab-wearing Character Appears in Marvel Cinematic Universe

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Actress Zoha Rahman is officially the first person to portray a hijab-wearing character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with her appearance in “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” Rahman plays a classmate and friend of Peter Parker (Spider-Man). Although she personally doesn’t wear a hijab, she nonetheless recognized the significance of her character in an interview with Teen Vogue: “I grew up without seeing someone like myself onscreen. And when I did start seeing representations in mainstream media, they were irresponsible and poor. I treated my role as a huge responsibility.”

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