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‘Pandemonium Publications’ – Lahore’s first online literary magazine

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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.’

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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,
and sighs,
changes positions.

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.

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Entertainment

Lock-down is temporary but Father’s day is permanent

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He is the person who started working hard even before your birth to give you a safe space full of warmth and comfort. It is rightfully said that no person in this world would be happy to see you more successful than him except for your father.
A father is the first superhero in a child’s life, the one he\she would always look up to, for love guidance, goals and unlimited demands.

Since most of the major events are being celebrated in a situation of complete lockdown in the country, we have got some sweet and doable ideas to surprise your dads on this Father’s Day.

Throw A Lunch Party


Isn’t it true that most of the dads are foodies and they can never say no to a dish made by their kids? On this special day, make his favorite dishes. Pamper him the whole day and do not forget to prepare something sweet for the evening tea.

Origami Nuts In Collaboration With OvenCraft


Yummy in his tummy!!! Origami Nuts has designed this cute basket of sweet banana crumble bread in collaboration with Oven craft. The appearance is cute and is definitely a perfect pick to show love and dedication on this special day to your fathers.

Kitchen Kahani’s Breakfast

Almost every dad is a nihari lover and especially in this lockdown when we cannot go and dine out, Kitchen Kahani is offering  “Nashta with Abbu”. We are already melting at the name. You can order home-cooked beef Nihari to surprise your Abbus with a scrumptious desi nashta.

Customized Basket By Happy String

If your abba loves to eat junk, this can be an economical and a fancy present for him. Get his favorite chocolates and other edibles packed in a beautifully wrapped basket and brighten up your father’s mood with something sweet and salty.
Father’s Day DIY Cookie Kit


For young fathers, to have an interactive activity with small kids, Delish is offering customized DIY Cookie kits where you can make your own cookies with your kids while sitting at your home. Isn’t it a great yet adorably creative idea?

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Features

Imdaad- A Dire Necessity in this Global Pandemic

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Pakistan, as we know it, has a well-established reputation of being one of the most charitable nations. Having to face several natural disasters and a debilitating disease-induced economic crisis over the span of a year has greatly fueled our philanthropic efforts.

As we reflect upon the ongoing destruction being caused by the spread of the Coronavirus, our hearts are left shattered while our minds are perplexed.

The heart-rending reality kicks in: even if the virus doesn’t end more lives, hunger caused by unemployment surely will.

Meet Manahil Naveed, a 17-year-old who embarked on a journey to give back to the needy by founding her own charitable organization by the name of Imdaad.

Imdaad is a non-profit organization working against the clock to provide food and hygiene packages to families living beneath the poverty line in Lahore. So far, their team has managed to deliver these packages to more than 50 families in need. As they work solely off donations, the people of Pakistan have generously extended their hands to help Imdaad’s cause.

This is what she has to say:

“Tuning into the news every day and witnessing the number of cases rapidly grow along with the effects of this growth managed to create this undying feeling of sadness within me. Witnessing small businesses shutting down, I couldn’t help but be concerned about how the poverty-struck families of daily wage laborers would manage to find their next meal.”

While many of us want to help the needy during this pandemic, the majority are rightfully afraid to be in close proximity to others.

This is where Team Imdaad steps in. They bridge the gap between the generosity of potential donors and their fear of catching the virus by being around large groups of donees.

Using the best protective gear out there, Imdaad’s team buys and packages ration bags to ultimately be handed to the destitute, all while ensuring that each recipient is truly in need by asking trustworthy sources such as local heads and representatives of other NGOs.

We will end this piece on a little saying Manahil has used as Imdaad’s slogan: “Hamdardi Imaan hai.”

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Entertainment

Our Favorite Fashion Divas that have Evolved Over Time

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While reading the title, you must be thinking about the acting skills and how these ladies have made their name in the drama and film industry. But no, here we are talking about the fashion game of these actresses that have taken us all by surprise. Perking up their style statement and emerging as few of the finest actresses in terms of being glamorous and presentable, they have absolutely conquered the fashion world. 

These are our favorite Divas who have proved that working on oneself is never a selfish thing and this hard work can eventually help you in the long run.

 

Saboor Aly 

Starting from soaps and not so glamorous dramas, we never saw Saboor Aly dressing up as impressively as she does now. Probably, this is the social fashion awareness that some choose to pick and some don’t. And, we have to say that Saboor is doing quite well with her dress sense while earning a huge fan following at a great pace. She is one of those finest actresses who keep us hooked to their gram-game as something cool and happening just pops up out of nowhere anytime and any occasion.

 

Nausheen Shah 

Our fancy-pants; Nausheen Shah has instantly beefed up her fashion game and we cannot stop admiring her taste and style in whatever she wears. She has definitely come a long way. Also known for carrying bold statements just like in a recent awards show, her hairstyle was quite eccentric perfectly aligning with a blingy Hussain Rehar attire.

Sadia Ghaffar

Her vibrant tops, glowing face and quirky pants have got our attention and we, indisputably, give her the award of being the most stylish actress among the lot. This was never the scenario from the day she joined the Entertainment industry so, she came this far and has definitely grown into a woman who keeps herself up-to-date in every trend and fashion.

Iqra Aziz 

Our recent favorite bride, Iqra has polished herself over time and we love how effortlessly she carries every outfit in sheer grace and pizzazz. Recently, she has been appointed as the face of Al-Karam and this was all a result of gradual progress and immense effort she has put into building her powerful aura and strong-headed personality that beautifully harmonizes with her chic and classic sense of styling. 

Sonya Hussyn

 

If Sonya had a synonym, it would be the word “grace”. We love her for her impactful persona, the way she dresses up and the way she owns everything she wears with undying confidence. There are very few celebrities who have evolved to be steezy and sassy in a way that they know what they should actually wear. Unlike some who do not even know their body type. Sonya Hussyn proves that style is always within, you can improve with time but class remains constant.

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