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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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Entertainment

Steps towards a Plastic free Pakistan.

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Have you been wanting to go plastic free or at least reduce its usage but you don’t know how to get started or need a little push? Don’t worry, I have got your back with these seven easy tips and tricks to get you started!

  1. Start carrying a reusable water bottle with you everywhere and don’t buy one unless absolutely necessary. The earth will thank you and so will you wallet.
  2. Stop all usage of plastic bags and replace with reusable, non-plastic, earth-loving shopping bags. You can use a cloth bag, baskets, jute bags or get one stitched by your tailor. Get nice bags that you can even enjoy using. Take their care by washing them from time to time and keep them fresh.
  3. Switch out your usual plastic toothbrush with an eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush. Many non-plastic habits are hard to pick up. This one’s easy to make and stick to. None of the elements of a typical plastic toothbrush are biodegradable so they remain in our planet forever whereas bamboo brushes disintegrate into natural elements and leave no toxicity behind on the planet.
  4. If you are used to buying disposable drinks every day, get yourself a reusable straw or cup. The straws can fit in your work/school bag easily and the cups not only help you reduce plastic but look absolutely chic as well.
  5. Next time you are grocery shopping, pick pasta in the box instead of pasta in a bag. Choose cardboard over plastic bags. Paper products tend to biodegrade more easily without adding a lot of weight.
  6. There are a number of non-disposable options out there to cut down on period waste by using silicon cups to reusable pads. All these choices reduce incredible amount of packaging that most pads are encased in.
  7. Rethink about your food storage. Instead of using plastic zipper bags or cling wrap, why not use jars or glass containers or bees wax wraps to store food? When it comes to carryout, these types of containers can be reused instead of disposable ones.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • When buying anything new in plastic, stop & think if you can buy it in a non-plastic option – wooden cooking spoons, disposable plates.
  • If you use cling wrap at home regularly, buy bees wax wraps from stores like @codegreenpk
  • If you store food in containers at home, only buy new ones in glass, steel etc.
  • Some Instagram accounts where you can your plastic free supplies from: @codegreenpk, @keano-ru, @recircle.life, @trashitpk

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4 Facebook Groups with Great Initiatives that Serve Significant Purposes

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Old were the days when a review was not a “thing” and it was extremely difficult to get information about anything be it travel, food, medical issues or any problem related to everyday life. It was not common to have a forum where people would share their experiences directly with the public. Reading first-hand experiences was rare and forums like Quora and Yahoo Answers were considered the only reliable sources. 

Now, everything is available on the internet and is just a click away. But, should we rely on such sources to be authentic and true? It depends and varies from source to source. It also depends on who moderates the source and how.

When the trend of having groups on Facebook started, people only used it for fun, to gather at a place to talk and share jokes. At that time, a few were trying to utilize this source for a meaningful purpose and those people gave birth to some amazing groups that, now, have a huge following and are considered reliable sources for any information related to the subject matter of the group.

Now groups have become a popular and the safest space for like-minded people to congregate and discuss specific stuff- from hobbies to pets and celebrities.

If you are still living in the stone age or looking for answers to your riddles related to food, travel, pets, allergies, mental health, etc., these are the groups that are at your service with a meaningful purpose and a great initiative to help the masses through a direct communication and dissemination of information through various posts.

 

Foodies ‘R US

Created in 2013, now this group has over 95k followers. This is the place where you will find reviews about any restaurant. You name it and people will share their experiences. If you are a foodie, this is surely going to be your favorite group as it has all the solutions to deal with your appetite. Not only the masses, but this has also helped a lot of restaurateurs and home-based chefs with their businesses.

The founder of the group, Asad Sheikh says “I started this group 6 years ago for one reason only and that’s the passion for food. I just want to tell and guide people on what’s good out there to try and what’s good that our country has to offer. I don’t write bad reviews of any kind but that doesn’t mean that I have not had my share of bad food. Always try to highlight the good while telling owners of the restaurant about things that need improvement.

We all are ambassadors of our city or country and others who see our posts or reviews create an image of where we are from. Over the years Foodies ‘R Us has helped many people living out of city or out of country to pick the eateries when they visit Lahore Karachi or even Islamabad. The same passion was translated into encouraging home-based talent to post as much as they can and later encouraging them to turn this talent into a business.

Many small businesses have blossomed from this platform and we later encouraged them further to be part of our Coke Food Festival, giving them a face to face experience with their consumers.

We have never charged anyone to advertise on our platform and that’s the reason for the success of many small businesses.” 

Soul Sisters Pakistan

This group is home to 212K women who interact and share their issues and experiences related to health, relationships, feminism, networking, their moments of happiness, moments of suffering or any piece of advice related to the ongoing discussion. Not only this, through the group, women were able to find their long lost friends, online jobs, solutions to their problems and a lot more. This has become a safe place for them to talk about stuff they do not normally share publicly or are afraid to talk about. Anonymous posts have become the new trend to send your message across.

“In a culture where women are often silenced and their issues trivialized, I felt that we needed a space and people to talk to, other than their immediate family and friends; a space where we could give unbiased advice as a third person, for each other’s problems and a space where we could come together to share our stories, experienced and inspire each other.

And so in August 2013, Soul Sisters Pakistan was formed, and within months we were getting scores of requests to join the group as the concept of a safe space like this wasn’t so common back then! From discussing taboos to breaking stereotypes to providing legal aid and emotional support – the community has really made a mark and become a household name. It is also one of the 115 most impactful communities in the world, recognized, supported and trained by Facebook itself!- Kanwal Ahmed (the Founder)

The Travel Diary 

Earlier, it was extremely difficult to know about the experiences of people who travel. Now, you just have to post a query and hundreds will be there to assist you or guide you about a particular thing, food place, culture or about people of a certain country. All in all, this group is a complete package to know about anything related to a country. Founded in 2016 with more than 72K members, this group is a query-home for all travel enthusiasts.

 Mishaal Hashmi, the founder of the group says, “Traveling is something that is an innate part of me. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to travel, be exposed to cultures and people. As an adult, I’m even more fortunate to be able to share my passion with like-minded individuals, who share a similar passion. The idea to create the Travel Diary arose from my desire to share my travel experiences as well as gain wisdom from the experiences of others. Never in my dreams had I imagined my passion to take on such a gigantic form and for a forum such as The Travel Diary to exist is a humbling experience and a dream come true.”

Soul Brothers Pakistan 

Even though most of the posts are light-heart humor and user-generated content; the group generally talks about various topics including networking, recruitment, and counseling. Similarly, it talks about issues that surround the men’s ecosystem i.e. relationship, health, masculinity, and mental state. Moreover, It discusses these issues in depth through live talk sessions also known as #SBPGuyTalk, where group members from all walks of life come and discuss issues varying from Depression, Suicide, legal affairs, and health-related topics. Their popular segment #AnonymousSoulBrother is also widely used by members who seek suggestions and valuable insights on a variety of topics.

We identified a need where we could create a crowd-sourced platform for men which would offer a healthy support system for Pakistani brothers here and abroad.” – Danish Javed (Co-Founder) 

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Gawah Rehna: An Upcoming Film Glorifying The Past

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In dearth of enough content for the Pakistani Cinema and its audience, writer and director Tariq Mehmood, is ready to add something to make the numbers higher and give something different to the audience by going to floors with his first ever feature film Gawah Rehna in October this year.

Cast of this film includes Muhammad Qavi Khan, Ghana Ali, Emmad Irfani, Rabya Kulsoom, Rehan Nazim, Faisal Imtiaz and others. A Turkish actor Mert Sismanlar will also play a very important character in the film.

Talking at a presser in Karachi, Tariq Mehmood said that the film was based on a significant historical period of Khilafat Movement. The film depicts the era of 1920 when British rule was at its peak in the Sub-Continent while our forefathers defied the British rule and at the same time started a mass movement called the Khilafat Movement to help their Turkish brothers and sisters in their struggle against the imperial forces”

According to Mehmood, “Gawah Rehna pays rich tribute to the unsung heroes of our independence movement as well as to the brave Turkish nation. The film will be a source of further strengthening the people to people bonds between Pakistan and Turkey as it will tell Turkish audience what our forefathers went through while helping their Turkish brothers and sisters.”

Ghana Ali, one of the lead of the film said she could not tell much about her character but she loved the script that is why I couldn’t say no to it. She disclosed that her character in Gawah Rehna was the role that her father always wanted her to do that is why was more excited to be part of this film.

 She further said “I am very honoured to be the part of this film as I always wanted to do something that could educate our new generation. Gawah Rehna is a peep into the history and our youth will get to learn about the past struggles of the Muslims of Subcontinent.”

Ghana was sure that Gawah Rehna will give us an international recognition and will be appreciated because if its topic.

Emmad Irfani, another lead in the film, said, he felt lucky to be an actor and being an actor it was his responsibility to portray his character it its true sense.  

Talking about his character in the film Irfani said, “Gawah Rehna carries a very strong message. The film is about how to achieve your aim and to remain determine to get to your destination despite all challenges come in the way. My character is very challenging in the film which will go through many emotional and physical despair but will carry on his struggle to achieve the point (actually the ‘why’ of his life) that has been lost. The character will transform at that point.”

He further said that he was really looking forward to this project as he loved to take different types of roles for his professional growth.”

Veteran Muhammad Qavi Khan said we need more of these types of films where we can glorify our past struggles which further strengthens our  present cause like Kashmir issue and others where Muslims are oppressed and the target of violence.    

Gawah Rehna will be released in both Pakistan and Turkey as well as in other foreign markets in March next year.

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