Jan 30, 2013


By Ilsa Rashid

Directed Writing:
I lay on a mattress of steel, writhing in pain that gnawed, not on my body, but my conscience. The cold of the mattress reminded me that this agony and this loneliness were all real.
How much longer must I endure such suffering? When shall I join those innocent ones? The ones that I snatched away from their families, like a stubborn child seizes another’s possession.
I saw their faces float affront my eyes, on the walls of the cell, mocking me. The embarrassment, the guilt of it drove me insane! I remember, as clearly as I saw the turnkey sleeping on a chair behind the bars that I had killed. How many, I do not remember.
The turnkey parted his eyes slightly and said,
“Do you need anything?”
“Death,” I replied.
“Might as well learn to kill time too. You’re not going anywhere anytime soon,” he stated flatly.

Comparative Analysis:
Both, the given passage and my passage, are written in first person singular and are monologues by a person responsible for a series of murders.

Both passages have the same purpose: to show the murder’s agony. ‘Agony,' ‘miserable,' ‘parched’ and ‘terror’ are words that the given passage uses. My passage uses ‘pain’, ‘suffering’, and ‘gnawed’. All these words describe the character’s experience in the prison and create a mood of tension and, sometimes, sympathy. Throughout the passages, the tone of the speaker is that of guilt and restlessness. This is illustrated by the questions in line 5 in my passage these questions evoke sympathy in the reader as they help form a connection with the prisoner.

The given passage uses long sentences and exclamations to show the frustration and helplessness of the prisoner. The given passage uses thus exclamation in line 21, whereas I have emulated this technique in line 10 and 11.

The given passage uses a simile in line 22 where the renewed torture is compared to ‘the turning of the wheel.’ ‘Like a stubborn child’ is the simile that I have used to describe his act of murder.

The given passage repeatedly mentions how the prisoner can’t differentiate reality from a dream, as in line 4, 24 and 47. I have also shown a sense of disbelief and confusion in line 13, where the prisoner does not remember how many he has killed.

Both passages make use of dialogue where a person asks the prisoner a question. ‘Are you better now, sir?’ in the given passage and “Do you need anything?’ in mine. Also, both passages make use of sarcasm: in line 42 in the given passage and line 17-18 in my passage, where the remarks of the outsider hurt the prisoner. This evokes sympathy for the prisoner.

“Gaolers, turnkeys, bolts” is a triad used in the given passage. This creates a sense of pity for the prisoner as it is a list of boring things and people. However, I have not used this technique.

Jan 29, 2013


By Ilsa Rashid

I thought I heard a dull scraping beneath the floorboards.
“Must be that rat again,” I thought to myself, and switched the channel to Star Movies. ‘Scream’ was about to begin. I crossed my legs on the couch and rested my legs on the cushion.
‘Nothing better than a good horror movie on a Saturday night,’ I smiled.

I was nearly asleep halfway through the movie.
‘Who takes two hours to open a closet door? Horror movies aren’t the same anymore,’ I yawned.

I heard the scraping sound again now, louder this time. It was more like a knocking sound now. Not only did it grow louder, I sensed it moving closer too.
The girl in the film crept towards the closet.
I inched towards the edge of the sofa.
The girl reached out for the knob on the door.
I bent to peek under the sofa.

And then we saw it.

Writhing in pain, silently, was a cat so black that its body blended against the black sofa. All that was visible were its eyes; wide, neon and still. Without a sound, as if choking on a bone, it became very stiff, like stone.

A wave of nausea and terror washed over me and trembling I ran out of the room, leaving the television switched on. With sweaty palms and a breath too fast, I entered the bathroom and threw up today’s lunch. But I wasn’t able to expel the image glued on to my mental screen: the pale green eyes, wide with fear. I reached for the tap, when the light bulb flickered. Flickered again. And went out.

After colliding into the sink, the tub and the door I managed to find the door knob. It wouldn’t open. I wiped my palms off my pants and tried again. I pulled. I pulled harder. It didn’t budge.
‘Breathe,’ I told myself, but to no avail. Air came to me in shorter gasps by the minute.
Frantically, I kicked the door. It smoothly opened wide.
‘Of course!’ I patted my self, laughing half heartedly.

Milky moonlight from through the windows lit the house. I stood tight against the wall opposite to my bed, with my own breath being the only sound in the room. And the rustle of the leaves outside. I shut my eyes and told myself I was being paranoid.

Swinging the door to my room open, I swiftly made my way to the kitchen. The door creaked shut behind me. I had trouble finding a candle but after a lot of tripping and stumbling, I lit one. As parched as I was, I dared not approach the fridge. As I tiptoed into the lounge, I fell back in my feet and screamed in horror. A giant, dark figure, in the shape of man lurched towards me. I collided against the wall, the candle fell from between my fingers and the monster disappeared. An embarrassingly long moment later, I lit the candle and began to walk towards my own shadow again.
‘At least I’m not alone,’ I shrugged, half hoping I was wrong.

I crawled up on the couch again, sensing the stiffness of the corpse that lay under me.
My mouth tasted like vomit. Now that my eyes had adjusted to the blue light that filled the room, I bent to set the candle on the table before me. The candle was still in my hands when the power returned and the television switched on along with the fan.

I sighed with relief and looked up at the television. The movie was ending. The girl held a candle in a dark room. She walked smoothly towards the camera, as if floating. Her face, white as snow, covered the entire screen. I watched my lips slightly apart, eyes wide open, candle wax dripping on hands as they shivered. Ten slender fingers appeared on the screen from behind her and circled around the nape of her neck.

Both of our candles fell.

Holding my breath, I brought my trembling hands to my neck and felt eight knuckles tightening around me. 

Jan 28, 2013

Anger: Calming the monster inside us!

By Hiba Fatima

Have you ever felt so angry at someone that you imagined killing them in the most brutal way you can? Have you ever been so frustrated, so exasperated, that all you ever wanted to do was to scream? Every teenager has felt this way at one point in their life or another. That's okay. Sometimes, people are just inviting you to high-five them. In the face. With a chair.

Says Mrs. Shernaz Darrah, Principal of Beaconhouse School System, Karachi, "It is alarming how I've been observing countless incidents of bullying at the school. Most of it primarily stems from the high school section."

Mr. Mehdiali Dharamsey, English Language teacher of the eleventh grade, further added, "My students- they are volatile. A discussion metomorphisises into an argument, an argument into a scuffle, and a scuffle into chaos."

That's what happens when you let anger culminate inside you. It cloud your judgement and may even force you to make decisions you will regret. Sarah Shahid, 19, told Top of the Pops magazine, "I ran away from home last year because I was seething mad at my mum for confiscating my cellphone. I came back three days later, but in those three days, I realized just how stupid I had been. My anger motivated me to act in the most destructive ways."

So what do we do about this crimson monster called anger?
We close our eyes, take a deep breath and tell him to calm down. There are many ways in which you can vent out your feelings without being violent or irrational. One great way to do this is through art. Painting a blank canvas with the colours of our choice actually helps us express our feelings. Sughra Azeem, an art teacher from Beaconhouse, told us how students automatically picked colours like red, orange and even black when painting while angry. "It helps you with intellectual development as well as anger management." she said.

You could write your feelings down in a journal. Mad at your friend, sibling or teacher? Write a poem about it. Perform it with all your emotion. Let your anger stimulate the creative juices in your mind to flow. If you love doing so, you might just be a slam poet!

If you really can't do anything but hit something when you're angry, then listen to this story of John Green, 17, from Sean Covey's book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers". Green, whenever he was furious, would escape to the basement of his house. He would pick up a hockey stick and a ball and hit the bare walls of the room for as long as it took to vapourise his anger. "Doing so did wonders for me." Green says. "I found a way to manage my anger, without hurting my family with the rudeness I usually showed." You could join Karate classes if you likes Mr. Green's story!

Another way to pacify yourself is by performing yoga. "Yoga requires so much attention that your mind is actually vacated of grief and anger because it is so focused on your posture." Ms. Maliha Subzwari, a yoga instructor at Body Beats, Karachi, told TP magazine.

Having greater control over your emotions makes you a more pro-active person. When you're angry, you're also confused. You focus on problems, not solutions. Solutions that your mind cannot emulate while your judgement is clouded. Every little thing other people do annoys you. That's why it's so important to learn how to manage your anger. Next time you're angry, try Dr. Fiza Shah's idea, "Breathe deeply, press your forefingers against your temples and just pretend to scream, with your mouth agape but voice silent." You'll feel lighter, happier and satisfied. All this because of one thing: anger management.

Jan 27, 2013

Should Abortion be Legalized?

By Humza Jami

Abortion is the medical act of terminating pregnancy by removing an embryo or a fetus from the uterus of a woman’s body. The status quo for abortion being legal varies from country to country. The general trend lies with extremely religious states, including but not limited to the Holy See and Saudi Arabia, resorting to actions such as the cancellation of doctor’s licenses if they perform abortion on grounds other than being the absolute last resort. The absolute last resort implies that the mother’s life is at risk in this scenario.

The side of the argument which in particular fights the case of abortion not being legalized bases their cases on two distinct but intertwining lines. Firstly, they talk about the social and cultural backlash associated with abortion. The social backlash is more or less associated with the labeling of mothers who have undergone abortion as a metaphorical “black sheep” of society. Why and how does this* happen you may ask? They get alienated. They are branded similar to the unfortunate souls who have had miscarriages. They are labeled impure or dirty; having compromised their chastity for the sake of pleasure and getting away with it by simply prancing off to a clinic. The mother starts getting disowned by her own medieval mindset relatives. She becomes the butt of all gossip mongers’ fresh stories. This is absolutely preposterous they argue, and it’s not fair for abortion to be legalized at all as it opens the door for any woman to undergo the treatment and be subject to discrimination from society as a result.

Secondly, they argue that abortion takes away the life of an unborn child, albeit in the form of a fetus. The fetus being an unborn child has rights according to this belief, and it deserves to live its own life, regardless of the precarious circumstances surrounding its conception and hypothetical birth. The call it murder and call those who oppose executions but support abortion hypocrites. According to this belief, human life has begun for the fetus, which is illustrated by “it” being referred to as a person, rather than the “fetus” in speech. When a pregnant woman feels a kick within her belly, she doesn’t say that the “fetus” kicked, but she says that the baby kicked. The baby is a human being, life has begun for it, and it deserves to be given a shot at life is a brief summation of their argument. They believe that even if the parents can’t afford to raise the child, there are a fair amount of adoption schemes and foster homes present to take care of the baby.

Now coming towards what the supporters of the legalization of abortion have to say for themselves, they base their arguments on two primary heads. First comes with the right of the mother having a choice of whatever she wants to do with her own body. The rights of the mother must be prioritized in this case as she is already alive and there are a number of possible complications that could occur with the fetus. The mother might have tried and used every form of sexual protection available to mankind if it was a recreational activity which impregnated her, but that does not mean that she is forced to give birth. After all, if any man can choose leave any of their sexual excursions without any scars that might haunt them for the rest of their lives, why does a woman have carry around a child in her womb for nine months as a one? Why does a woman have to suffer changes to her body which she might not welcome? Is she any less of a human being that she isn’t giving a chance to opt out of it? And it is pleasing to see in this light that legislation does exist, even the strictest of countries, it is permissible to abort if the mother’s life is at stake. If it can be used a last resort in EXTREME situations, does it actually quantify being completely legalized? A large majority out rightly say yes. And yes, legalizing it applies the broader principal of the freedom of choice to the case too, which I believe is an inalienable human right.

Now the second line of argument which people present in favor of legalizing abortion, which concerns permitting abortion in the case of rape. Rape is one of the most terrifying and horrendous things a woman can go through, and a child born of rape would haunt her for the rest of her life. Consider it this way, scars heal, but a child carried around by a woman inside her womb for nine months will be an everlasting symbol of the torture she underwent. And it automatically falls in line of social backlash, a bastard born out of rape would again be labeled as a black sheep, be alienated from society, be the butt of gossip. And again, legalizing abortion for these cases can prevent a bastard from being born, and all of this can and will be prevented.

To conclude, I consider that the arguments against legalizing abortion are flawed in respect as the mother’s rights have to be compromised to ensure that the rights of the fetus are safeguarded. Also, there is social backlash associated with both sides of the argument, with some relief being provided in abortion is in the end legalized. And it is for this reason I would be proud be the chief proposer for the legalization of abortion ANY day. 

Jan 26, 2013

Abortion Essay

By Aleena Kazi

Mother Teresa was known to have said, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” Have you ever asked yourself why this is the case? Why is it that a child must be aborted in order for one to live a happy life? Is it not possible to live that life with the child growing in your womb? Is getting rid of it the only way? No, it is not. I for one believe that abortion is wrong and it should not be legalized.

I completely support the fact that a woman should be allowed to choose whether she wants a child or not but the time to choose should be before she has conceived, not after it. I do understand that some women are not given a choice in the case of rape but the woman does not have to abort the child she conceives. The fact that she has been raped cannot be changed. It is done and there is no going back. Aborting her illegitimate child will not save her the humiliation. I believe that she can give birth to the child and if she still feels the need to get rid of it, she can give it up for adoption. No child is unwanted. There would be the argument of physical and emotional pain if this were done but it must not be forgotten that abortion would also yield the same rotten fruit. In fact it would be much more painful as it will cause future problems in giving birth. Abortion will not only kill the baby, it will also harm the mother.

Some people say that there is no point in banning abortion. Why? Because people do it anyway in unhygienic conditions. This way the lives of the women are more in jeopardy. So by legalizing abortion there would be less danger to the woman’s life. This is true but by legalizing abortion it would be granting permission to end countless lives. Quite a few people would get abortion for ridiculous reasons such as conceiving a girl instead of a boy and some men might even force their wives into getting an abortion at times. I do agree that this would happen even if abortion was banned, in illegal conditions, but the number of such cases would be less. If there were a law against it, it would discourage some to go through with this process, if not all. It is said that a bird in hand is better than two in the bush. It is better to have less such cases than more.

The most vital reason as to why I believe that abortion should not be legalized is that to abort a child is to take a life. If you kill someone you are called a murderer but why isn’t the same title used when you abort a baby? It is the same act. An unborn child is still a child. The very second a woman conceives, she brings a new life into the world. Just like you want to be given chances at worldly things you should give the child growing in your womb a chance at life. Who are you to decide whether someone should live or die? Everyone has a right to live and you are no one to snatch away that right from an unborn, innocent baby. It is a living, human being! Aborting a child is murder! It is a crime. The child can feel the pain after a certain month, if it is being aborted. Has it ever occurred to those of you who get their children aborted, what happens to their remains once they’ve been removed? Many a times, the fetuses are thrown into dumpsters where cats, mice and birds eat them. Does that not make you wince?

As Ronald Reagan said, “I notice that all of the people who support abortion are already born.” What if your parents ever told you they once thought of aborting you? How would that make you feel? It isn’t really fair because you’ve already been born. It is also morally and religiously wrong to end a life. You speak of humanity but where is the humanity when it comes to killing a defenseless child? I firmly believe that the taking of innocent lives is not acceptable and that there should be laws preventing such a cruel process.