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



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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4 easy DIY masks you need to try with your girlfriends this Summer



Summer 2019 is in full gear and if their is one thing all girls need – it’s to detox their skin in this sticky humid weather. Self care is essential to maintain glowing, acne-free skin. We’ve rounded up 5 Do-It-Yourself Face masks for you to try with your girlfriends this summer. Bask in the rich goodness of nutritious products working their magic, put on some music and RELAX!

  1. The Disprin Face Mask (YES, you read that right!)

Recommended to us by a friend, we were shocked at the results. If you want to achieve tighter skin and close down those pores, then apply this twice a week.

How to make it:

  • 2 tbsp Rice Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Disprin crushed
  • 1 tbsp Besan
  • 1 tbsp Yoghurt
  • Dash of Rose Water

Mix all ingredients in a bowl till it forms a paste. Apply to clean face, wait ten minutes and re-apply another layer. Let it stay another ten minutes and then gently scrub it off with water.

2. Oatmeal and vinegar mask

This mask will do wonders for you if you have oily skin. Apply once a week.

How to make it:

  • 3 tablespoons of oatmeal
  • ¼ cup of hot water
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

Wash your face with warm water to allow the pores to open up and remove and makeup. Pour the hot water onto your oatmeal and then combine it with honey. At the end, mix the vinegar and apply the mask while it is still warm. Rinse off after 15 minutes and then wash your face with cold water.

3. Citrus avocado mask

Avocados are somewhat an underdog of the fruit family with so many benefits. This mask is great for evening out pigmentation and adding a glow to your face. Apply twice a week

How to make it:

  • ½ of an avocado, mashed
  • ½ of a lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

This mask is super refreshing and will leave your face feeling smooth and skin tones evened out. Mix all the ingredients together and apply evenly to your face and neck. Rinse after 15 minutes and moisturize with your daily face cream (preferably NIVEA)

4. Chocolate Coffee Mask

Made from antioxidant-rich cocoa, chocolate has become known for its heart-healthy benefits. These beans are loaded with polyphenols, catechins, and flavonols, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the skin, increases blood flow to the skin, keeps the skin hydrated and maintains the skin’s elasticity.

How to make it:

  • 1 tsp of instant coffee
  • 1 tsp of cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • Plain yogurt (enough to make a smooth paste)

Sounds appetizing right? But don’t stuff your face just yet! Combine all ingredients and spread your mixture evenly on your clean, dry face. Avoid your eyes, eyebrows, hairline and lips when you apply your mask and keep it on for 15 minutes before washing it off to reveal more beautiful skin.

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ART Alert!



Escape Through Art II curated by Mahaa Malik. Featuring the brilliant artists from all over Pakistan!

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Weekly roundup



Here’s all the latest scoop you need on what’s been happening around town and across the globe. (June 8th – June 16th)

1 – It’s more than just a game – Fans around the world are tensely hoping the weather stays clear during the most anticipated World Cup 2019 clash between Pakistan and India 

2 – The newlyweds, Iman Ali and hubby Babar Bhatti are on their honeymoon in Istanbul 

3 – Photos of KP Minister of Information Shaukat Ali Yousafzai and his fellow officials sporting cat ears and whiskers went viral on Friday night after the social media team running the live broadcast on the official PTI KP Facebook page forgot to disable the cat filter

4 – Instagram accounts turn blue as people all around the world Standing in solidarity with the people of Sudan who are being forced to endure countless horrific atrocities

5 – North west turns 6!

6 – On Saturday, Notre Dame Cathedral held its first mass since the devastating fire that tore through the building two months ago on April 15.

7 – It has been seven years since the Ghazal King Mehdi Hassan passed away but his absence failed to fade away and his ghazals rule over many hearts even today

8 – Mawra Hocane met Rishi Kapoor in New York 

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