Review :Cake -Have a Slice,please.

Cake

Asim  Abbasi’s dazzling drama film cake is what Pakistani Cinema needs right now. It delivers a breathtaking performance by some of the big screen giants of our film industry. Cake stunningly captures the attention of its audience from the opening, something I have not experienced with a Pakistani film before no matter how startling it was. Notably, we can all relate to Amna sheik’s and Sanam Saeed’s adorable sibling bickering and the frequent jaunty family banter we are shown in the film. The road to Pakistan’s cinema revival is bursting with some films making it successfully to the end line whereas others just fall short down the road. Cake successfully makes it to the former category. With the exclusion of any unappealing item number, imperceptive saas-bahu drama, and awkward college romance from the film shows, you can still make do with a good flick, given you have a strong and exhilarating storyline and wonderful actors.

Muhammad Ahmed and Beo Rana Zafar are the toppings of the cake, it won’t be wrong to label them as the string that holds the movie together. For once, It was nice to see a loving, frank, and healthy husband-wife relationship. The daughters are brought up in an open and liberal environment with a lot of freedom(every Pakistani girl’s dream). Adnan Malik’s surreal performance dazzles the cinema-goers.

As for you all, have a slice of the“cake”, please?.

Stop with the Self-Help Books Please.

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A Couple of months ago I convinced myself to read a self-help book. No, I wasn’t depressed or unhappy for that matter. Truth be told, my life has always been messy and kinda sorta chaotic (maybe?). But you don’t read books for that, do you? And If I’m being honest, I wanted approved guidelines that would, most probably, lead me to the land of bliss and triumph. A small part of me did want some kind of endorsement from within the book, that whatever I was doing with my life was okay and that I don’t need to have everything figured out. After all, isn’t admiration what we all are after? And that is when I came across Gretchen Rubin’s The happiness project. A good read, no doubt, but one that alas, didn’t work for me and millions other. Because halfway through the book it felt like I was reading an instruction booklet on happiness. To be happy you need to do this, you need to avoid that if you want to be happy. There were certain things I was supposed to do that would lead me to the happiness sanctuary. No, I don’t want to start a blog. Which later on, I did but it has nothing to do with Gretchen Rubin or her book. It felt like I was just dragging myself to finish each chapter and scrutinize my own life with respect to the book’s instructions
Here’s the thing, most self-help books are written from the author’s perspective and their own life experiences which are different from ours. We can learn from them but we can never associate those experiences with what we are going through. Every human views life and everything that comes with it differently. So in a way, such authors project their experience, knowledge, and solutions onto us expecting us to tackle life in a such and such way, which in real life is never the case. Experiencing something yourself and then applying it in your life is the way to go. And since when reading self-help manuals has ever solved everything? In the case of Gretchen’s book, the author stressed on completing certain tasks to contend oneself. Do stuff, be silly, create something that wasn’t there before, and launch a blog, show up etcetera. Trust me keeping a food diary is the last thing a person going through depression would do. There are tasks assigned each month that need to be fulfilled. Midway through the book, I realized what a waste of money it was, and like the crappy friend and an avid book-gifter I am, I gave it to another fellow human being. May he extract some wisdom out of it.
A few months after this poignant episode a friend recommended me Mark Manson’s The subtle art of not giving a f***. I had heard about it, but with what happened with Rubin’s book I was a little hesitant in reading it. Finally, after weeks of pondering over whether I should succumb to it or give it up, I eventually drove myself to the bookstore and got this marvel. Why do I call it a marvel? Because It really is not a self-help (which I have come to hate now) or a motivation book or a book that makes you go from being meager to your most amazing self, it simply is about the f**** you should give and the f**** you shouldn’t give and where should all f**** be given. It’s all about prioritizing your f**** and that’s why it is worth every penny in your pocket. He brilliantly captures the personal fears, the rift between expectation and reality, and what it feels like living a bleak end. I knew I was going to cherish this one forever when he said: “The path to happiness is a path full of shit heaps and shame”.The book tells you to sort out your priorities and that you need to let go of certain useless things. Concerning yourself over little mindless distractions of life is probably why you’re never and will never be happy. It’s simple as that.
If anyone out there is looking for a good time and some laughs, please give this book a try. Mark Manson is brutally honest about everything that happens in life.

Act Smart :Start Budgeting Now.

The budget is such a cool word I don’t know why it is used in a  negative way. It literally makes your life so much easier. There’s a misconception that budget limits your freedom to spend money I think, it rather gives you the freedom to spend your money where it should be spent. You just need to see where your money is going? where should you be spending money?. It is an efficient and effective way to control your income. The following are some tips I’ve shared with you guys on how to develop an effective budget scheme.

  • collect all of your financial statements like bills, bank statements, statements concerning your income.
  • Write down your income(monthly) record the total income your making from all sources.
  • Record down your expenses .make two categories fixed and variable. Under fixed write down all the fixed expenditures like electricity bills, gas bills, petrol bill, newspaper bill, gardening bill, telephone and internet bills, your kids’ monthly fees, monthly grocery bill. These are the important and fixed  expenditures and you pay them in a fixed amount. Under variable expenses, you can list personal shopping bills, money spent on entertainment activities, money sent on gifts, grocery(it is not under fixed expenses), etc.
  • Separately total your fixed and variable expenses. If your income is greater than fixed bills you’re already going good. If the left amount is smaller than variable expenses that mean you’re probably spending too much money on entertainment or personal shopping.
  • Either cut down /spend less on variable entities or prioritize your variable entities. Is buying expensive gifts really important for you? Buying more/expensive clothes can be minimized. You can get a lot of good things in sales. Here in Pakistan, there is a grand sale at the end of every season so you could easily buy clothes, accessories, shoes and use them when the season arrives. There are also discounts on products. Do your grocery according to the number of people in your household.
  • Assign a certain amount to the entities in variable expenses according to your income.
  • It’s worthwhile to mention that always assign a certain amount for savings. How you can do that? After fulfilling or recording down the fixed expenses take some amount out of your income for monthly saving. The rest amount should then be spent on variable entities. It all, again, depends on how you manage your variable expenses.
  • Keep going through your budget after a week. You can change it according to your income and needs.
  • An important thing to mention in the end is that people tend to forget that you need to separate your wants from needs. Needs come first so you need to give them a priority and after that, you can go for your wants.

Control Your Anxiety.

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Anxiety is real and so are the resulting panic attacks but it is definitely something that you can control with time. Almost everyone has experienced anxiety but when it elevates to a certain level it eventually causes panic Attacks and people may develop what we call anxiety disorder and depression which interferes with their normal life. But as I have said earlier, and as someone who has experienced panic Attacks with mild depression, you can overcome this ailment. Here are a few tips I’m sharing from my experience which may help you with coping with this disease but as a heads up please do consult someone professional or you may even talk to a family member or friend.

  • Pull your shoulders back while experiencing anxiety you may want to hunch over and place your head between your knees drawing your body forward but remember you need to take control of your chest and mind so straighten up your upper body and read point 2.
  • Breath in and out. Breathe in the air from your nose and let it out through your mouth .keep doing it until you feel a bit better.
  •  You may know this already (I think it’s called reflexology)my grandma actually told me that during an anxiety attack press the thumb of your left hand on the flashy part between your right-hand thumb and index finger.
  • Put your right hand on your heart and do part 2.
  • Have a good diet. I have actually cut down my caffeine and tea intake. Caffeine mostly. I’ve Included fruits in my diet which I would, previously, take in short supply. I started taking carrot juice because of its health and skin benefits.
  • Having a sound sleep is important. During my research on anxiety, I came to know that health was linked to stress and well-being. Maintaining a healthy body and a healthy mind is important if you want to take over your panics.I started exercising three times a week.
  • My cause of anxiety, for the most part, was due to overthinking and taking stress over every detail of my life.I had developed a pattern of panicking and stressing over little things. So what did I do? I simply Stopped Stressing Over. Once anxiety takes its toll on your life you need to do everything in your POWER to stop it from doing so. I still stress a bit, it is something I just can’t shake off, but it certainly is not causing me anxiety or harming my life in any way. Besides little stress is good, right?
  • Meditation helps a lot. Take an hour or two to just sit and close your eyes and don’t think about anything. Don’t think about the future or past or a missed opportunity, just indulge yourself in the present moment and do point 2.
  • Last , but definitely not the least, take professional help. There is no shame in talking to your loved ones about it. If anything, they will help you cope with anxiety and stress. Medications may also help you control your depression. Don’t stop talking to your family/friends/doctor about it.

25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years.

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From rejection to appreciation to failure to success life is full of ups and downs.While traumatic and bad situations are inevitable ,we can at least learn from them and keep a positive outlook in our life.

I have faced a lot in these 25 years and now when I look back at all the happenings in my life ,i’m grateful ,to say the least,for all the experience it had to offer me.This is life .It is never going to be a bed of roses .It is a mixture of all the bad and the good .

So here are the 25 things I’ve learned in the 25 years of my life.

  1. People will judge you no matter what you do so don’t take everything to heart .
  2. You don’t always have to say “YES” to everything.
  3. There is power in saying “NO” .Use it whenever you feel like saying it.
  4. Talking helps in every situation.It is an amazing therapy.Even when the situation gets worst don’t ever stop talking about it.
  5. Depression is real.Do not take it lightly.Seek help .Talk to family or a close Friend or a professional but please talk about and seek help.
  6. Being Bold is Good .There’s power in it.
  7. Money does not always bring you happiness but it does help you out of sticky spots.
  8. Save some money.Keep it for whatever may fall upon you in future.
  9. Makeup is an expression of self-esteem.
  10. DO NOT EVER touch your pimples.Touching acne will lead to scars and indentations.!
  11. There is an underrated elegance in simplicity.
  12. Apple is such an amazing fruit .It has so much health benefits .and it is great for your skin and is a natural breath freshener.
  13. Once in a while go for a physical change .Cut your hair or get a different hairstyle.Change your attire.It is bound to make you feel good .
  14. People crave every little detail of your life so don’t take every word and everything seriously(Unless it is for your own good).
  15. Every once in a while (Unless it is your daily routine already)write about what you’re feeling,What you’re going through and read after you’ve written it all.It’s good to read your perspective of what you are going through in life.
  16. Applying toothpaste will minimize the pimple in no time but will cause redness and rash.
  17. Having a simple /Budget wedding and saving the money for honeymoon and travels is such a magnificent idea.
  18. Organizing your room and closet is such a relief .It will make you happy to look at the clutter-free room .
  19. A funny and a good personality over looks ANYTIME.
  20. Being weird is totally fine .In fact it is such an amazing personality trait.In the words of Ed Sheeran “Being wonderful is such an amazing thing”.
  21. Panic Attack is a mind game.you can own it with a few helpful tips .
  22. Budgeting always helps.
  23. It is the parents’ respectability to provide their kids with basic necessities. You are not doing them any favors.
  24. Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily.
  25. Some things in life you just can’t control.Please don’t stress over them and don’t think of them as your failure.

Cozy up with these two books this month

If you hail from sub-Continent you might have had read tearing and nerve-racking tales of partition or saw films or T.V dramas made on the historic separation of India.Our knowledge of partition comes from curriculum or historic books but those books merely provide an academic background of the partition and the political struggle for it.There is a drastic need to turn to partition stories based on real lifeamazing

to learn what the people of both countries went through during the chaos.

Two amazing Pakistani female authors Khadija Mastoor and Altaf Fatima depict in their novels the characters’ lives before and after partition.In my previous post I’ve mentioned both novels but just let me go ahead and say that while you are cozying up to heaters with a cup of coffee or tea and pondering what book you should read next please try these.Both writers have portrayed a realistic description of events and have put forward string female protagonists that are not only independent in their perceptions and actions but also have been pushed into circumstances that help build their characters.In Altaf fatima’s Dastak na doGaiti” is looked down upon as spoiled by her family , because she shuns the social norms of her aristocratic family .Her out of the way acts of kindness (towards her less fortunate family members and servants) land her in hot waters with her family especially her mother.Amid all the family drama a Muslim-Chinese vendor views her as a headstrong ,innocent  and a kind girl and eventually falls in love with her.Gaiti reminds him of home and everything dear to him.At the end of the book Gaiti makes amend with her situation once she and her mother settle in Pakistan after fleeing from their home in India once the riots break out.Seeing her hapless situation she morally and mentally matures.

In the khadija mastoor’ book Alia too is thrown into unprecedented situations that evolve her character but unlike Gaiti she doesn’t marry and feels remorse, at last ,to have not accepted true love when she had the chance.

Aangan : Urdu Novel Review

Aangan is Khadija Mastoor’s brilliant chef-d’oeuvre depicting love, hatred, memories, and what is meant to be and eventually cost to be patriotic, amid cries of independence in India. I fell in love with partition period books when I read Altaf Fatima’s Dastak na do. The Book portrayed a realistic account of the love, hate, and social issues of an influential family living in India and follows their distinctive lives amid pre-partition riots and post-partition crises. Never did I think that something as deep and pure as “ Dastak na do “ would move me s much. Altaf Fatima having seen the turmoil unfold in India herself writes with such raw emotions and passion it is like you are witnessing those times yourself. Fast-forward to a year later and I came across Khadija Mstoor’s “Aangan” and Boy what a marvel it is. The novel sets forth heartbreaking stories of love, family-loss, joy, the cost of freedom, and eventually what it means to be free. Love for a separate homeland forced many families to devastating goodbyes.

Aangan-By-Khadija-Mastoor

The book follows the life of “Alia “ a Muslim girl who had to take care of her mother and make do with whatever circumstances they were in, after the tragic deaths of her father and older sister. Her sister’s suicide over heartache left bitter resentment for “woman man love ” in her heart. The writer creates a strong narrative of Alia’s life and what it meant to live amid the independence movement and the bitter chaos in the street. I loved that Khadija Mastoor molded Alia into a headstrong independent woman owing to the circumstances she was thrown into. The heartache she carried due to her sister’s and father’s suicide shunned away from any moves and attention she got from her ardent and fiery cousin “Jameel”.The ending, satisfactory or deplorable, justifies Alia’s self-discovery.
Fans of the book would be pleased to know that a drama series is being made on the book. The production is currently going so it’s a bit early to say something but we have the scoop on who’s starring in the series! Mawra Hoccaine will play the leading lady Alia. On 31st December Mawra posted a picture on Instagram which confirms that she’d be playing the role of Alia.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BdX7xjzl-CP/?hl=en&taken-by=mawrellous
Another actor who managed to make the cut in the series is the amazing Ahsan Khan.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BbJrNcUAVAl/?hl=en&taken-by=khanahsanofficial
We hope the series lives up to the expectations. We all have high high hopes for the series.:)