Lahore based poet Afshan Shafi, after her recent success with the launch of her ‘Quiet Women’ – has launched her online literary magazine this April. Aided by journalist Amar Alam, who has studied English at Boston University and served as an editor at a national newspaper and at Libas International Magazine, is her partner in this new venture called ‘Pandemonium publications.’
Pandemonium publications will be launching soon with its first print chapbook, take us through the journey and what inspired you.
Amar Alam: The inspiration came from our own lives. This has been the most difficult thing we’ve ever done and I think the reason for that is that it’s so deeply personal. We’re both writers with BA’s in English literature, trying to find out place and our people in a city where there is no cohesive
unified publishing industry. There are so many people doing groundbreaking new things in lit (in all languages) but there is no cohesion. And for a real literary industry to emerge, creators, editors and publishers have to come together and work together. So we’re trying to create that sort of platform and be a unifying force. It’s a labour of love for us and we’re trying to create an inclusive, collaborative, safe space for writers and artists. And we have projects planned for every step of the creative process. From idea to first draft to publishing. ‘Trigger’ is the title for our first chapbook , a fitting tribute to the things that affect our collective and personal sensibilities.
We heard the idea of Pandemonium came out of from a writer’s workshop that you conducted. What was this workshop?
Afshan Shafi: We sent out a open call for submissions on numerous press channels a couple of months before we started. We received responses from O level students as well as people who were curious about the process of writing , itself. Most of our participants were not strictly writers and
were employed in disparate fields like psychiatry, law as well as visual arts. Each workshop was centered around either a literary technique or movement for example mimesis or echo poetry. We held a three hour workshop each weekend for around six months ending in January 2019. It was so exciting to see how all these people of widely divergent ages and professional backgrounds came together and really gave themselves over to the artistic process.
Explain how the ‘automatic writing’ works in a workshop, given the nature of the raw and personal writing process.
Afshan Shafi: Automatic writing is a technique which, historically, was heavily used by the surrealists to unlock the symbolism of the unconscious. We used to begin each session with around ten minutes of writing down whatever came into our minds , without any kind of conscious censorship. In automatism, every image, every observation must be written down as it emerges in the mind. We then used to read out each of our writings in front of the class. As expected, what came out was usually writing that exposed personal vulnerabilities. It was a new experience for most and some
participants would flare up or feel wounded and judged. With time people realized that being creative meant to continuously toe that tightrope between exposure and craft. There is so much power in talking about things that matter to us a community, or just as people.
Excerpt from ‘Trigger‘ – Ekphrasis by Meher Hasan
Cupid’s arrow is aimed at the voyeur
so he falls in love with the lovers.
He watches as they copulate
Undress each other with their words
Smiling with their eyes
Feet tangled, red toe to pink toe.
He’s never found love
He is a mere shadow
The skeleton of a skeleton
His toes are brown,
not toes made for love, but toes made to watch.
He is frowning with his eyes,
He squints at their skin,
It is only a matter of time, he thinks,
when they come together,
and the arrow smacks him right
in his cold, unblinking heart.
Meher Hasan is a student at LUMS and is a writer and part time model
What is the significance behind the name Pandemonium ?
Afshan Shafi: Strictly speaking ‘Pandemonium’ is defined as a place where ‘all demons live’. Coined by the poet John Milton in his classic text ‘ Paradise Lost’ , it has since been adapted for the modern age. For us it is a kind of good chaos, where we speak about the ‘demons’ that all of us harbor. We
aim to help people view their unconscious and the differences of their person with a bit more kindness and creativity.
Where do you see Pandemonium publications going in the future? Please tell us more about the online version that is currently under construction.
Amar Alam: We are a literary venture and not a journalistic one. That’s an important distinction. And as such we won’t be serializing anything. ‘Trigger’ is one of a kind. It’s a proceeding of our first workshop, which was the flint that started the fire. And we do want to keep print alive, so it was
important for us to start with a print proceeding. So while we will have new content on the website all the time, from a combination of submissions, commissions and our physical and digital workshops. We will also be putting out independent chapbooks and possibly other types of collections in the future. Anthologies have to have a flow, so they will be theme based and independent, rather than like a topical weekly or monthly magazine. Trigger is something that drove us to do all this. We didn’t approach the workshop as a content factory but the work and the raw intensity of people bearing their souls to each other was simply crying out to be immortalized.
Bridal Couture Week Day 1
The 17th edition of the biggest bridal show extravaganza, Bridal Couture Week (BCW).
Show one of the bridal extravaganza kicked off with Fahad Hussayn’s collection Labyagawachi trousseau bridal collection.
It was followed by Aisha Imran’s Shadi Mubarik in romantic hues for the charismatic classic bride.
The next was Almirah with its collection Ethnic Seams which drew its inspiration from the splendour and intimacy of Eastern art.
It was followed by Samsara Couture House’s Hayal, inspired from the tulip era in the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
Zonia Anwaar came next with her collection Zoella which was modern yet infused traditional techniques with her signature cuts for the young millennial brides.
Ziggi Menswear’s monochromatic collection Fana – ‘Annihilation of the Self’ which was constructed using luxe fabrics, rich embroideries and motifs inspired from Sufism.
Nitasha Bilal Haute Couture showcased Abooro with her vision of beautiful Mughal legacy, blending them with her revivalist techniques of kora dabka and was awarded the Pantene Rising Star for her beautiful debut collection.
Haris Shakeel who amalgamated embroideries with block and screen printing in his collection Ishq.
Next was Royal Tag’s very aristocratic menswear collection The Royal Ceremony, inspired by the majestic Syon House and Garden in London.
Day one came to an end with globally acclaimed master couturier Nilofer Shahid’s collection Dastaan e Firdaus.
Day one of the three-day bridal extravaganza had an amazing line-up of celebrities walking for the designers – the bhangra king Abrar Ul Haq walked for Fahad Hussayn and Minal Khan showcased for for Aisha Imran. The veteran actor Aijaz Aslam was show stopper for Almirah, while the undisputed queen of our entertainment industry, Saba Qamar graced the ramp for Samsara Couture House whereas Nausheen Shah walked for Zonia Anwaar. Noor Khan walked and ‘Soch The Band’ performed for Nitasha Bilal Haute Couture while Kinza Hashmi closed the show for Haris Shakeel.
The eternal Adnan Siddiqui walked the ramp for Royal Tag and Sarah Khan added allure to Nilofer Shahid’s timeless pieces.
5 Life Changing Habits to Improve your Weight-loss Potential
With ever-increasing trends of Keto, Banana, and GM diets, weight loss has become more of a trend instead of having a healthy lifestyle. As much as it is important to exercise and follow a proper diet schedule, we also need to closely monitor our everyday activities. It is mostly the habits that impede our weight loss process. If you are trying everything and still not losing weight; these are the habits you need to incorporate in your everyday routine to speed up your weight loss.
Proper water intake
There is no better fat and appetite killer than drinking a lot of water. Not only does it resolve your health concerns, but it also keeps your skin glowing and acne-free. Start drinking 8-10 glasses of water and you will witness a noticeable difference in your lifestyle and your weight loss journey as well. Another logic behind drinking water before every meal is to make oneself feel fuller so in order to reduce the calorie intake.
The worst habit that is firmly ingrained in our lifestyle is “no walk”. We have started depending on machines and helpers around us that eventually makes us lazy and takes away the activity time from our everyday exercise. The most helpful habit is to take steps after every task. Here is a way to incorporate this habit into your routine. Every time you need to pick up anything from a distance, get up and take it instead of asking someone to help you. Take the stairs instead of escalators or elevators. Third and the most important step is to stop using the phone to convey a message to someone. Instead, take steps and keep the healthy habit of walking in your routine.
Cut down on sugar
Even if you are working out every day but still taking sugar, it will prolong your weight loss process. However, if you cut out the sugar intake, the chances of losing weight will increase. Start with cutting sugar beverages, energy, and sports drinks. If you have a habit of eating a whole piece of dessert after food, cut the quantity. These baby steps will help you eliminate the sugary items from your diet completely.
No meals after 7 p.m.
Restrict your diet in the window of 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. because the lesser the number of hours in which you eat, the lesser will be the calorie intake. There is no as such strong evidence but only logical reasoning that calories you consume in the day get burnt up with the activities you do, whereas, the calories taken at night sit in your system and turn into fat.
7-9 hours sleep
Lack of sleep can cause you fatigue, which would result in low physical activity. If you take proper sleep, your metabolism works faster and your mood also remains fresh. Moreover, the study also says that you burn calories while you are sleeping. Apart from that, to have a healthy lifestyle, a proper sleeping pattern is quite essential. Sleep deprivation can ruin the whole schedule of the next day making you less motivated and more exhausted.
5 New Collections that Quickly Stole our Attention
Every now and then, we are on the lookout to find clothes that perfectly align with modern-day trends. Every single week, one or the other clothing brand comes up with a new collection. But, do they really offer something new, unique and up to the mark? This is a tricky question. One should not just wear a dress that has a brand tag but should go for comfortability and the variety that it offers. For us, the most appropriate style is the one done with experimentation or the one that brings something out of the box. Behind each collection, there should always be a vision to bring something new, quirky and fun to wear.
These are 5 new collections that we absolutely loved and they have all the elements of class and sass that you need to pull any event.
Shisha AW ‘19 by Zara Shahjahan
Adorned with dainty and minimal sheesha work, these basic attires paired along delicate organza dupattas are sewn with a fair share of subtle oomph and grace. Immersed in sophistication, Zara Shahjahan’s new collection has got an edge to fit in the aura of any sumptuous event.
“Across the subcontinent, shisha embroidery has grown to be a symbol of identity, with various and particular styles of embellishment adopted across regions and borders. At home, it is commonly associated with Sindh, Pakistan but it is a practice that spans across Asia and afar, including Eastern Sumatra. It is claimed that the technique was introduced by the Mughals in the 16th century to the Indian subcontinent, with the Persian term ‘shisheh’ transferring over to Urdu/Hindi. We continue to look towards references that feel like home at Zara Shahjahan, and this technique is one that is heavily employed in this collection, hence aptly named ‘Shisha’. Take a closer look.” – Zara Shahjahan
Shahnoor by Anum Hassan
Dainty, refreshing and quirky!!! Anum Hassan’s Shahnoor is a mix of charming and vivacious hues merged with lively patterns and coruscating details embedded in each outfit.
“Shahnoor means “royal glow”. I took the inspiration from my niece as her name is Shahnoor. So, the theme was to come up with bright and colorful patterns giving joyous vibes. To give it a subtle look, we have used darker tones as well. The main idea was to bring a range that is affordable for everyone. We have used a lot of stonework and threadwork on it. Its a fusion of tradition and modernity that goes very well with today’s trends.” – Anum Hassan
Lela AW’19 by Natasia Paul
We were totally awe-struck by Natasia Paul’s debut collection. This is probably a rare embodiment of classic and contemporary coming together on a plain canvas. Each piece radiates royalty with a sheer glam incorporating modern age captivating details. Whattay treat!!!
“Lela” is my first collection so goes without saying how special it is to me. The inspiration for “Lela” comes from gypsies around the world. I find the gypsy aesthetic quite appealing; it’s flamboyant, feminine and easy at the same time. They symbolise a nomadic lifestyle, freedom and progression. It feels like a wonderful fantasy as they’ve been able to escape from the hustling life that we have, but their reality is far from it.” – Natasia Paul
Saheli by Zainab Salman
Keeping in mind the erratic fashion trends, Zainab Salman’s new collection Saheli is a pure portrait of traditionality soused in elegance and exceptional craftsmanship.
“Our new Bridal Campaign “Saheli” is about celebrating our legacy, empowering our craft and sharing a precious bond with the people we love. The pieces exude the deeply rooted, old-world charm. This collection is a translation of passion and love from our craftsmen and their expertise of turning materials into heirlooms, that can be cherished for the generations to come – Every piece in this collection has been curated with a lot of care and a lot of attention has been given to the detailing.” – Zainab Salman
Noor-ul-Ain by Asifa Nabeel
Asifa Nabeel’s Noor-ul-ain creates magic with its fine craft and celebrates the glorious tradition with its vibrant hues, celestial cuts and magnificent embroidery put together in every outfit.
“This collection is a remembrance of the beautiful forgotten eras. We have brought rich palettes, golds and stunning embroideries to keep the old school glamour intact. It’s created for the people who cherish their past and are in love with their present. It’s a bridge between the past and present. It’s an old tale, called: Noor-al-Ain.” – Asifa Nabeel