All posts by Hina Safdar

Not a muggle.Social media loving, Tech savy mom of two. Food, Fashion, Lifestyle, Tourism, Karachi, Current affairs, Photography, Movies, Health and education is what I like to blog about.

#SayItWithASmile to be a millionaire

Lays Pakistan has always been my favorite when it comes to engaging campaigns and innovative ideas to get customers hooked to the product apart from the taste of it. I bet you can’t eat one is the most apt tagline when you think about lays. Lays as a brand has grown with millennials and catered to their approach in unique style. From engaging Messi and Wasim Bhai TVC to last year’s Lays #PassASmile fever with so many cash giveaways, the brand is definitely a consumer favorite. 

Good news is that they’re back this season with another quite engaging campaign called #SayItWithASmile. Watch the latest TVC of lays Pakistan featuring none other than Shahid Afridi who grabbed some lays to spread smiles. 

There are times when we all want to smile in a different way. Like when you’re watching movies with close friends or siblings and there’s a horror scene during which you want to terrify your most darpook sibling, you’ll need a vampire smile. Hehehe. I am so sure she/he’ll be hell scared but will also enjoy the smile. It is kinda new Bhaoo lol. 

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Lays has brought 25 unique smiles belonging to multiple movie characters/genres to let your creativity flow.  Add smile flavor to any situation with new Lays packs and have fun. With these filmy, comical and movie character smiles, you can create fun situations at odd times. 

Win It with a Smile:

To make every lays consumer a happy consumer there’s not just smile packs. Lays Win It with a Smile promo has also been launched by the brand to make sure every customer stays happy for long. 

What you can win? 

  • Samsung S7 Edge Smartphone(Daily) OMG! 
  • 1 million rupees (Weekly) OMG +OMG. 

How You can win?

  • Buy lays Smile packs. 
  • Make someone smile. 
  • Scratch the promo code on the back of the Lays Smiles pack. 
  • Send promo code in SMS to 9005. 
  • 1 SMS counts as an entry. 
  • Wait for the lucky draw. 
  • Get lucky and Keep Saying It With A Smile!

Don’t forget to pray for me that atleast I win something. Won’t mind a phone over a million rupees or both, maybe. Good luck to you too. 

#GiveBack a precious memory to your mom this mothers day

Every year just when Mother’s day is around the corner, you’ll find so many tempting deals and discounts. However, the best presents has to be the personalized ones rather than buying something on discounts. You/your mom will cherish a personalized gift for a long time. 

Mother’s Day this year falls on 14th May which means it is high time to get something for Mom. While on Facebook I’ve stumbled upon TCS Sentiments contest post with a touching line that says, “It’s time to #GiveBack the things that she gave up for you”. I was so touched that I can’t stop myself checking out what TCS sentiments is offering. It is all about the connect a brand makes with you. 

Mothers Day #GiveBack campaign

BTW, there’s a contest still running on their Facebook page to share an image recreating a memory when your mom gifted you something. You can win a shopping spree by TCS Sentiments. So do participate coz winners are being announced everyday. Check TCS Sentiments Facebook page for more details. 

While listing down the best personalized things that you can get for mom this mother’s day, I’ve narrowed down my choices to this wonderful box by Tang via TCS Sentiments with 20% off if I pay through Jazz Cash. It’s a win win situation. 

The best personalized gift it is coz you can send a message to mom in a bottle. We often can’t describe our love for mom and this is the best way to do it. 

Don’t shy away from sharing your emotions and Gift her the best out there. The box won’t cost you much but your mom is going to cherish the memory it will create for a long time. 

Biryani, Aaloo aur parrosi 

Biryani main Aaloo Hona chahiae k nahi? Lahore main achi Biryani milti bhi hai k Nahi? Aap apnay parrosi se Khana share kartay hyn k Nahi? The queries have become legendary and center of debate soon after a Chinese lady took a crash course to make perfect chicken biryani with Shan spice mix. Wallah. Kiya Biryani bnai thi behan ne. SubhanAllah. 

It all started with CPEC when a Chinese engineer landed in Lahore for work purposes and his lonely wife decided to bond with her neighbors over food. In a touching tale of food bringing people closer, shan plays the hero part. Watch it all happen here. 

Shan Foods has hit the right chords just like last year. The TVC soon after its release took social media with a storm to become a viral sensation. Chinese Biryani Baaji became everyone’s favorite parrosan with flood of memes and so many comments that every brand crave for on digital. Everyone was (and still) talking about Shan #KhaanaWithParosi ad. The revival of parrosi bethaks and how important it is to know each other is the need of the time. Look at some of the social media commentary on the core message of sharing Biryani, putting Aaloo or not and meeting neighbors.  

Sharing food has always been part of our culture. I’ve grown up watching my mom sharing meals with the neighbors quite often. Be it some fancy food like Biryani, Saag, Karrhi or be it everyday food items like sabzi and achaar. Mom use to always feed our part time maid too. My grandfather was a farmer and he use to send us multiple sacks of potatoes every year. We call it best part of the year as we get unlimited supply of fries at home and use to bike around with dad to share potatoes among relatives and neighbors. Good old times.

On a bigger level we see many Khaana ghars and dastarkwaan sharing food with the deserving ones in every city. Then there’s massive food sharing drives during the Holy month of Ramzan every year. Sending Khajla pheeni to your loved ones mark beginning of Ramzan Sharif and then Khwan of Iftaar items covered with beautiful cloth piece is part of our lives too. 

Times have changed. In today’s fast moving world we don’t even have time for ourselves often. Some of us might also not know or met people in out neighborhoods for any reason. In such times shan Foods has surely struck a chord among masses with the theme of sharing and caring for your near and dear people, be it neighbors, colleagues or relatives. Let’s take some time out for people around you and bonding over some food. How about some Biryani just for the sake of having good time? 

Go ahead. Make something delicious and share it with your neighbors. You’ll feel good too. 

#IsbLF – 5th Islamabad literature festival 

I truly believe that a man is known by the company he keeps (and the books he read). To ignite the passion of reading among masses literature festivals are happening for quite a few years now. Despite being labeled as elitist event, I believe that literature festivals follow free entry policy which gives access to everyone and this claim is totally invalid. Having said that we do need more discussions in our own language including regional languages to promote literature more. 

Islamabad’s 5th literature festival was the talk of the town with so many interesting sessions and packed halls of Margala hotel. The festival features a line-up of around 150 leading Pakistani and international authors, academics, journalists and artists along with exhibitions, book fair and a scrumptious food court. The 3 day long festival was organized by Oxford University Press (OUP) while this year the event was sponsored by Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), AWAAZ, Tapal, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Goethe Institute, Embassy of France and Embassy of Italy. 

#IsbLF Day 1:

Addressing the inaugural session, OUP MD Ameena Saiyid said, 

“Our goal is to make reading a pleasurable activity for young and old, men and women. We are aware that engaging and appealing books can entice children into the golden web of readership, promote creativity and imagination, and kindle hope for a more inspired and accomplished Pakistani generation in the future. This year popular personalities of 8 countries including Germany, France, Canada, Singapore and Italy will participate”, she said, adding ‘that this year we are celebrating 70 years of Pakistan at the 5th Islamabad Literature Festival.’

The keynote addresses on day 1 were followed by a performance by Amna Mawaz Khan, one of the few classical dancers in Pakistan who specialise in Bharatnatyam. She dedicated her performance to Mashal Khan, a student beaten to death in Mardan and talked about how no one came to his aid. She and Imran Nafees Siddiqui performed to Habib Jalib’s zulm rahe aur aman bhi ho as the tribute followed by Tillana, a Bharatnatyam piece by Indu Mitha. 

After the inaugural some other sessions were held on interesting topics – Judiciary and the common man had Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, Afrasiab Khattak, and Bushra Gohar while the session was moderated by Mujahid Barelvi; a conversation between Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro and Elisa Iori was held on heritage and social mobilization in post-conflict reality; Prison Narratives, a book by Akhtar Baloch held the complete attention of the audience.  Renowned writer Mohammad Hanif discussed the burden of a translator for searching appropriate words while writing. 

#IsbLF Day2:

Thousands of literature lovers throng ILF on the second day marking remarkable success for a large number of interactive sessions, dialogues, performances and literary activities. 

On the second day of ILF, Fasi Zaka moderated a session “Preparing the Citizens of Tomorrow:  Are we Succeeding or Failing?” The session was held to critique the current education provision in Pakistan. Featuring participants like educationist Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Nadia Naviwala, Shahid Siddiqui, and Ishrat Husain. 

Reema Abbasi moderated a session Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan, a nostalgic search for historic monuments and temples eroded by time which included the author Amardeep Singh and columnist F.S. Aijazuddin. At the start of the session, Mr Singh spoke about how he came to write his book, after which the session was named. Calling himself an “accidental author”, Mr Singh said he was never destined to be in academia and spent 25 some years in the financial sector. But, he said, the history of the subcontinent was always “simmering inside” him. He credited his parents, who were from Muzaffarabad and Abbottabad but moved to Uttar Pradesh after partition, for telling him about what they had left behind in their native regions.

To discuss the core issue of water, a special session titled “Where has all the Water gone? was well attended. Experts and concerned citizens Nisar A. Memon, Kaiser Bengali, and Aaron Mulvany debated the water crisis in Pakistan which was moderated by Rina Saeed Khan”. A Performance by Nimra Bucha and Sarmad Khoosat on readings from Amrita Pritam and Sahir Ludhianvi’s poetry focusing on their unique vision and elusive, unspoken romance was also featured on the second day of ILF. Attendance in the hall was reflective of the people’s interest.

“Gender Violence, Law, and Power in Pakistan focusing on feminists’ struggle for justice and equal rights” was held in which Nafisa Shah, Sherry Rehman, and Ijaz Shafi Gilani participated with moderator Samar Minallah Khan.  PPP MNA Sherry Rehman lamented that the state has gradually been losing its monopoly on violence, which allows others to take up arms and “lynch women and innocent students”. She said that in the 70s and 80s religion and politics were tied together, which resulted in murderous consequences for women and minorities who continue to suffer in Pakistan today. Marginalized groups have suffered from the “privatization of justice”, resulting from the Qisas and Diyat laws introduced by General Zia-ul-Haq.

‘Rail Kahaani’ presented by Zambeel Dramatic Readings was based on short stories of railway journeys written by different authors. These were presented by Shama Askari, Asma Mundrawala, Saife Hasan, and Fawad Khan. 

Qasim Yaqoob moderated the session “Mohabbat aur Dehshat Gardi: Aaj ka Urdu Adab” which included Hameed Shahid, Irfan Urfi, and Ravish Nadim. A special session on poetry of Ifitkhar Arif was also held in which Iftikhar Arif had a detailed conversation with Harris Khalique and Asif Farrukhi while the session was chaired by Zehra Nigah. 

To discuss the women’s issues in politics, AWAZ program presented a special session “Women and Excluded Groups in Political Parties and Legislative Bodies” in which Marvi Sirmed, Zafarullah Khan, and Bushra Gohar delved on issues along with the moderator Shirin Gul. Ms Sirmed’s study found that special wings within political parties have become the main way in which women and minorities are invited to participate. However, these special wings led to a “ghetto-isation” of these groups and do not translate into real decision-making power.

A session “English Poetry: The International Muse” was also featured on the second day which included Blaine Marchand, Harris Khalique, Waqas Khwaja, Azka Khan, and Orooj e Zafar,  the session was moderated by Ilona Yusuf. 

Several new books including Pakistan ki Tehzeeb o Saqafat by Kishwar Naheed, Hybrid Tapestries: The Development of Pakistani Literature in English by Muneeza Shamsie, Learning to Live with the Bomb: Pakistan: 1998–2016 by Naeem Salik, Hyat-e-Shayr and Sur Mandal ka Raj by Ali Akbar Natiq, How Pakistan Got Divided by Maj Gen (R) Rao Farman Ali and The Arts and Crafts of Hunza Valley in Pakistan: Living Traditions in the Karakoram by Jurgen Wasim Frembgen were also launched on the second day. 

ILF also hosted an amazing Mushaira (poetry recitation) which was moderated by Shakeel Jazib.  Leading poets from the twin cities and other parts of Pakistan including Kishwar Naheed, Iftikhar Arif, Imran Aami, Saeed Shaariq, Saeed Ahmad, Qamar Raza Shahzad, Harris Khalique, Ali Akbar Natiq, Manzar Naqvi, Zia ul Hassan, Akhtar Usman, Sarwat Mohiuddin, Qasim Yaqoob, Rehman Faris, and Nasira Zuberi read from their writings.

#IsbLF Day 3:

Closing ceremony of the fifth ILF held on the last day which was addressed by Ameena Saiyid and Asif Farrukhi and key note speakers including Iftikhar Arif, Omar Shahid Hamid, and Nafisa Shah. ILF will end with a classical dance performance by Shayma Saiyid. 

While addressing the closing session, OUP MD Ameena Saiyid said that 

“As this festival comes to its end, I hope that, each of us will have found his or her knowledge added to, or viewpoint altered, in some way or the other. This is a unique kind of event, one that does not leave anyone unaffected”. She further said that ILF will bring more and more colors in the future. This ILF has focused on Partition and Independence as this is the 70th year of Pakistan’s creation. At Oxford University Press, we are celebrating this important year by publishing 70 books on Pakistan, its literature, history, culture, sports, economics and as many disciplines and subjects as we can. We call this series the Platinum Series, she added. Before I close, I need to express my thanks to the representatives of the media for their interest and enthusiasm. My thanks are due to all our partners and co-sponsors who shared in making this occasion a success. 

Renowned poet Iftikhar Arif praised the ILF organizers for a unique gathering of intellectuals, poets, writers and journalists under a roof to have detailed discussions on a variety of topics including literature, politics and current affairs. Literature could become the major tool to achieve positive societal changes, he further added. 

Last day of ILF was dominated by renowned artist Anwer Maqsood as he had a session “Uljhay Suljhay Anwar” which included the author (his wife)  Imrana Maqsood, Hoori Noorani and Sarmad Khoosat. A house-full at the session presented a huge tribute to the living legend. 

President Azad Kashmir Sardar Mohammad Masood Khan participated in the session “Kashmir: Two Sides to a Question The future of a dispute: Is a solution possible?” along with A.G. Noorani, and Riaz H. Khokhar while the session was moderated by Harris Khalique. Nasim Zehra had a conversation with Sherry Rehman on “Can politicians and media be on the same side”.

In another session “Murder between the covers: Crime Fiction, two crime writers Omar Shahid Hamid, Sabyn Javeri discussed their creative journey” with moderator Shehryar Fazli. A writer’s job is not to provide answers but to ask questions,” explained Javeri, whose novel ‘Nobody Killed Her’ was launched earlier this year. Talking about her book, she said that it was not about one particular personality. Rather, she had crafted her story by piecing together details about women leaders in many different countries of the region. To a question whether being a police officer had benefitted or influenced his work, Hamid said each of his three books was based on themes or stories which he had come across during the course of his professional career.

Harris Khalique’s book Crimson Papers: Reflections on Struggle, Suffering, and Creativity in Pakistan was also discussed in a session with Navid Shahzad, Afrasiab Khattak, Harris Khalique, and Rasul Bakhsh Rais.

Social Media aspects were also talked about and “New strategies for creativity and change” were discussed between Adnan Khan Kakar, Leena Hashir, Moeed Pirzada, and Slimane Zeghidour while Wajahat Masood moderated the session. The speakers discussed some positive changes and challenge the social media is bringing about in our society, especially with regards to its ‘misuse’. They suggested that social media had grown to become a defining voice building an alternative narrative to the controlled conventional media.  Television anchor Moeed Pirzada, while tracing the rise of social media, said that since conventional media was controlled by the ruling elite and presented a limited reflection of the public’s view, the easy access to social media had given everyone the opportunity to raise their voice.

On the ever popular Dastangoi based on Ismat Aapa aur Unki Kahanian from Ismat Chughtai’s Kaghazi hai Pairahan and her short stories ‘Chirri ki Dukki’ and ‘Amar Bail’ had the audience fighting for space. NAPA’s Fawad Khan, Syed Meesum Naqvi and Bakhtawar Mazhar had the complete attention of the audience. Ms Mazhar depicted Ismat Chugtai’s life with her vividly ingenious monologue, her expressively resounding voice that was layered with subtle innuendos. She offered variety of touching feminist, comic passages, and intensely dramatic questioning of societal customs while staying true to every detail of Ismat Chugtai’s life.

In another session on ‘70 Years of Pakistan: A Reflection on Pakistan’s History’ with Sayeed Hasan Khan and Ishrat Husain, moderated by Arfa Sayeda Zehra, Dr Arfa began the session by expanding on the topic: “70 years of Pakistan, meaning 70 years of our unawareness. In one way 70 years of remaining ignorant of our perceptiveness and sense; in another 70 years spent futilely searching for new meanings and explanations for ourselves. I believe that without the past there is no future. History is experience which teaches us to make choices, to compete, and to compare, which are invaluable skills.”

The session ‘Will Technology Influence Music?’ featured Noori’s Ali Noor, Rakae Jamil, Masuma Anwar, Akbar Yezdani and moderator Taimur Rahman. Starting off the session, Laal spokesperson Mr Rahman said technology has always impacted the arts and music. Mr Noor said technology has become paramount for live performances which are complicated, because artists need to be able to hear themselves to play well. “For me, the biggest problem was the people who were providing sound and technology in Pakistan had nothing to do with music. They were people who were doing car rentals and began new businesses renting sound equipment,” he said.

Renowned journalists Zarrar Khuhro, Wusatullah Khan and Mubashir Zaidi from the TV program Zara Hut Kay answered the questions and comments from the audience on the last day of ILF as well. Nimra Bucha moderated a session “Small Screen Intimacy and Big Screen Splendour” along with participants Samina Ahmed, Rehan Sheikh, Seema Taher Khan, and Sultana Siddiqui.

A one-man mushaira conducted by Syed Nusrat Ali, an unassuming management consultant and motivational speaker who stole the show on the final day of ILF. The jam-packed audience was treated to a side-splitting performance by the accomplished mimic, who impersonated the style of more than two dozen of the biggest names in Urdu literature. All that is, except Ahmed Faraz. “I can’t do it the way he did it, because it would ruin the beauty of the verses for you,” he told his audience when hecklers requested him to recite something by arguably the greatest of the modern Urdu poets.

On its last day, ILF also hosted many book launches including Intikhab: Khalida Hussain compiled by Asif Farrukhi, Intikhab: Masood Ashar compiled by Asif Farrukhi, The Aleph Review-Taufiq Rafat: Defining the Pakistani Idiom, Teesra Qadam by Nasira Zuberi and The Corporate Governance Landscape of Pakistan by Sadia Khan, and Kalaam e Aarifaan by Hasan Aziz.  

The closing ceremony of ILF was followed by an enthralling dance performance by Shayma Saiyid which was widely acknowledged by the audience. She dedicated her performance to Mashal Khan, a student beaten to death in Mardan. The increasing number of participants in all halls, in the corridors and food-court is testimony to the fact that the ILF is a popular event now.

See you next year bookoholics. 

#ComedyMasala 2 with Alonzo Bodden and Eli Nicolas in Karachi 

Making people happy and let them laugh their hearts out is not an easy task but stand up comedians can do such wonders with their wit and words. They made it look like a dream to have the best time of your life laughing and just being entertained. The good news is that International comedians Alonzo Bodden and Eli Nicolas are coming to entertain us in Karachi coming week. Yass!! You heard that right. 

Comedy masala’s first edition happened in February and it was an amazing event. The second edition of Comedy masal is featuring Alonzo Bodden – The Season 3 WINNER of the Hit NBC TV Show ‘Last Comic Standing’. Alonzo is a Rockstar comedy veteran and has been seen on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”, “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”, “The Keenen Ivory Wayans” show, “Scary Movie 4” as well as NBC, Showtime & VHI. 

Supporting Alonzo, as opening act, is California native ELI NICOLAS (from Fox TV’s “Laughs”) who is one of the fastest rising stars on the LA comedy circuit, and has performed at world famous clubs like Laugh Factory, The Comedy Store & The Improv. Comedy masala will be hosted by Comedy Masala founder & Pakistani comedian, UMAR RANA.

This is going to be for the first time in Pakistan that International comedians are performing. Make sure we all receive them with warmth and attend the event. Events like this featuring international artists will bring softer image of Pakistan and conveys a message to the world that we’re a peaceful and loving nation. 

How you can attend Comedy Masala? 

Log onto comedy Masala website to book your tickets or call 021 – 3890 9914 for free delivery to your doorstep. (Limited seats as this time the show is going to be exclusive one). 

Ticket price: Rs 3000

For all the event updates join comedy masala event page. 

Don’t be disheartened if you’re not in Karachi because comedy masala shows will be coming to Lahore and Islamabad soon. Till then, let Karachi enjoy. 

Future shows of Comedy Masala 

Incase you’ve missed February comedy masala and couldn’t get tickets for April one, you have chances for CM July and later on. Save the dates. 

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