Film Club - KHAMOSH PANI / SILENT WATERS (2003) - Pakistan / France / Germany
Monday, 23 May 2022
Director: Sabiha Sumar
Screenplay: Sabiha Sumar & Paromita Vohra
Cast: Kirron Kher, Arshad Mahmood, Salman Shahid, Shilpa Shukla, Sarfaraz Ansari, Tanveer Ahmad, Zaheer Ahmed
Locarno Film Festival: Best Film / Best Actress (Kirron Kher)
A stirring and sad film about the rise of fundamentalism in1979, leading to intolerance, violence, and the reassertion of patriarchal control of women.
Middle-aged widow (Kirron Kher) gets by on her late husband’s pension and by teaching the Quran to young girls. Her 18-year-old son, Saleem (Aamir Malik), is a handsome, loafer who scoots off for secret rendezvous with his sweetheart, Zubeida (Shilpa Shukla), a teen from a much richer family. Nagged by Zubeida to get a job, Saleem drifts into the circle of some Islamic fundamentalists, joins their cause, and is soon harassing Sikhs who’ve been given permission to enter the country as pilgrims. The son's fundamentalist friends hear that his mother still has Sikh sympathies, and they pressure him to get her to publicly re-state her faith in Islam. However, flashbacks to the violent Partition hint that the boy's mother is hiding a secret even he doesn’t know.
The film is a strong indictment of the intolerance and the abuse of women caused by religious differences. It helps us to better appreciate the vulnerability of women during times of political crises ...
Hiking - KOTLI SATTIAN PHOFANDI TRACK TO PATRIATA
Sunday, 22 May 2022
Join us on a trail less hiked!
Patriata and Kotli Sattian on the eastern side of Murree Hills present some of the most beautiful places for exploring nature. Due to the close proximity to Murree which is the central point of activity for tourists, this area has fortunately remained less explored!
There is an old track that connects the Kotli Sattian to Patriata through the hills. The track passes through the Phofandi -a hill top near Kotli Sattian and on a clear day it presents spectacular views of the Himalayas in the East.
The coaster will drop us off at Burj - near Kotli Sattian- and pick us up at the Patriata top.
Hike Rating is Moderate with a distance of around 8Km.
Wear sturdy shoes; bring refreshments.
Special Programme/Cuisine - CULINARY TALES FROM BALUCHISTAN
Thursday, 19 May 2022
Book Launch & Presentation
'Focusing on the culinary is a fascinating way to explore a culture or country,food is a central strand in people's cultural inheritance.One of Nilofar Qazi's aims is to document this valuable and vulnerable part of her own heritage through traditional recipes.The writing at times reaches the same vertiginous splendour as the landscapes captured by her camera...' Claire Chambers
'Recipes carry memories of both love and greif...how does one sift through a lifetime of moments...'
This is an unusual collection of tales combining cookery, adventure, travel, heritage and exploration of Pakistan’s largest province with the tiniest of populations. Nilofer has traveled solo across the vast landscape of Balochistan collecting traditional recipes of incredible people who are the reservoir of Pakistan’s diversity. Foodmapping all the civilizational markers which are imbedded in what we savour!
Her personal perspective covers generations of her own family but also of the province’s histories. It is a rare window into a people, land and corner of Pakistan through food.
Culinary Tales from Balochistan is Nilofer Afridi Qazi first book published by Beaconbooks in the United Kingdom https://beaconbooks.net/shop/balochistan/ is the link to purchase your copy.
Cycling - A "SPECIAL" NIGHT RIDE AROUND ISLAMABAD!
Saturday, 14 May 2022
Check out Islamabad at night!
Its summer time and cycling at night gives a whole new perspective to the city, so step out and become part of the scene- an experience not to be missed !
For those of you interested in 'Comparative Cultures' coupled with a bit of adventure, this is an opportunity for you to check out what the Capital has to offer!
Route: Flower Market, Super Market, F-6 > Agha Khan Road > Marriott > Constitution Avenue > D Chowk Jinnah Avenue > Centaurus Chowk > Faisal Chowk > Faisal Masjid > Margalla Road > Rana Market > Jinnah Super > Super Market.
Adventure Club/ Archaeology – EXPLORE THE IMPRESSIVE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES OF SWAT VALLEY
Saturday, 14 May 2022
Two days/one night (14-15 May)
Swat is, without doubt ,one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in northern Pakistan. It has a rich historical past. Described as “Udyana” (the garden) in ancient Hindu epics, it is where (327 BC) Alexander the Great fought and won some of his major battles before crossing over to the plains of the five rivers. The famous Gandhara Buddhist civilization later flourished in this valley.
There are many remains of Buddhist stupas, monasteries, and settlements in lower Swat. The area is full of amazing archaeological sites in an environment still intact and dominated by the calm majesty of Mount Ilam.
In the area south of Barikot, in about 200 sq km, archeologists have documented more than 400 sites from proto-history to Islam.Under a joint venture, Italian ACT- Field School Project and Sustainable Tourism Foundation Pakistan is working jointly to promote community-based ecotourism in the area of Lower Swat Valley.
We have designed a very special two days archaeological exploration trip to lower Swat when the area looks beautiful with spring blossoms . Some easy hiking to reach the view points of archaeological sites is involved.Wear comfortable walking shoes and appropriate clothing. Detailed trip joining instructions will be issued to participants well in time.
Departure from Islamabad at 07:00 am
Travel on M-1 Motorway and onward to Swat Expressway
En-route commentary about sites of tourist interest.
-The archaeological site of Bazira near Barikot. (In 327 BC, Alexander the Great captured this city).
Lunch: (carry pack lunch/snacks)
Continue towards Mingora/Saidu Sharif
-Shingardar Stupa on the way
-Archaeological sites of Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi’s 11thcentury Mosque at Udegram
-Remains of Raja Gira’s Castle of Hindu Shahia period (short hike involved)
Arrival at Mingora/Saidu Sharif
-In the evening visit shops of handicrafts at Mingora.
Dinner and night stay at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel
-Swat Museum (one of the finest collections of Gandhara artifacts)
-Batkara Stupa (one of the main Buddhist Stupa built in this region)
Checkout from the hotel. Departure for return travel
-Galeghai cave and Buddha image on a rock along the road.
-Amluk-Dara Stupa (one of the most important sites of Buddhism in Swat)
Lunch: At Afghani Cuisine restaurant (Khorak Mahal) near Chakdara
Return travel to Islamabad
Estimated time of arrival of group at Islamabad: 7:00 pm
Gardening / Botanical Walks - PEACH PICKING!
Sunday, 8 May 2022
Join us for a delightful session at a beautiful farm located in the outskirts of Islamabad!
Peaches are predominantly harvested in Swat, but recently a few good varieties of peach trees have been introduced in the region of Islamabad. These are early fruiting varities which give fruit before the start of the monsoon season.We will be visiting a peach orchard in Islamabad to pluck fruit directly from the trees for a fresh tasting of the seasons offering! The farm specialises in growing peaches, apricots and citrus fruit, all grown and harvested using organic techniques. Other seasonal crops like garlic and onions are also grown on the farm.
Please note:Freshly picked peaches will also be available for sale at the farm.This is a self drive trip. The farm is located near the Chakshahzad farms. We will gather at a suitable venue nearby and drive in a convoy to the farm located 15 minutes away.The presentation will be followed by light refreshments.
Gardening / Botanical Walks - ORGANIC STRAWBERRY FRUIT PICKING!
Sunday, 24 April 2022
A family trip /self-drive
As winter gives way to spring, enjoy the outdoors and join us to pick some fresh organic strawberries. These will also be available for purchase. You will be able to hand pick strawberries and take them home.... and for those observing Ramzan, a perfect opportunity for making delicious ‘fruit chaat’ or strawberry milk shake for 'Iftari' ! If you have any special recipes, do share them with us!
📷This is also an opportunity to learn the technique of growing and taking care of strawberry plants in your own homes: site selection, growth habits, plant requirements, propagation and harvesting techniques will be discussed.
Film Club - PARADISE NOW (2005) - Palestine
Thursday, 14 April 2022
Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Screenplay: Hanu Abu-Assad, Bero Beyer & Pierre Hodgson
Cast: Lubna Azabel, Hamza Abu-Aiaash, Kais Nashif, Lutuf Nouasser, Ali Suliman, Mohammad Bustami, Ahmad Fares, Waleed On-Allah
Academy Award: Nomination for Best Foreign Film
Tense, thoughtful and emotional drama that is as absorbing as it is relevant.
Inside the mind of a Palestinian suicide bomber is this story which involves two days in the lives of Said (Kais Nashef) and Khaled (Ali Suliman), two Palestinians, garage mechanics and best friends, who are recruited to cross into Israel and blow themselves up. This thoughtfully constructed film attempts to examine why people would be driven to such extremes. The two men are not shown as fanatics. They prepare for their task as one would prepare for any difficult assignment. The organization that supports them provides training, encouragement, praise, shaves and haircuts, suits and ties, a ceremonial dinner, and a chance to make videos that will be shown on television.
Despite the grim nature of the story, the screenplay finds room for moments of black humour. Instead of a penetrating psychological study, the film is fashioned as a thriller. Conviction mingles with vacillation, and once an unexpected hitch in the suicide plan arises, all bets are off. The film continues to twist and turn until the very end, keeping us guessing as to what the would-be martyrs will do. Ultimately action speaks louder than words, even for men who walk softly but carry big sticks of dynamite.
Cycling - 'PRE SEHRI' RIDE AROUND ISLAMABAD -Discover Islamabad at its peak early morning, during Ramzan!
Saturday, 9 April 2022
Riding at night gives a whole new perspective to the city, so step out and become part of the scene- an experience not to be missed...and for those of you interested in 'Comparative Cultures' coupled with a bit of adventure, this is an opportunity for you to join in on our very special ‘Pre- Sehri’ ride!
‘Ramzan/Ramadan’ is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting , reflection and community. The annual observance of ‘Ramzan/Ramadan’ is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam[ and lasts twenty-nine to thirty days, from one sighting of the crescent moon to the next. Fasting from dawn to sunset is considered obligatory for all adult Muslims who are not acutely or chronically ill, travelling, elderly etc.
The predawn meal is referred to as ‘Sehri' and the evening meal that breaks the fast is called ‘Iftari'. Both periods are characterised by hustle and bustle. Homes & markets are a buzz with activilty and festivity!
For the more adventurous amongst you, we can even stop for a 'Sehri' break at a suitable place!
Film Club – IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (2000) - Hong Kong, China
Thursday, 7 April 2022
Director: Wong Kar-Wei
Screenplay: Wong Kar-Wei
Cast: Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Siu Ping-Lam, Tung Cho "Joe" Cheung, Rebecca Pan, Kelly Lai Chen, Man-Lei Chan
Cannes Film Festival: Best Actor - Tony Leung
Visually beautiful and emotionally moving film about an understated romance. The film provides profound and moving reflections on life's fundamentals as it takes on the themes of love, betrayal, loss, missed opportunities, memory, the brutality of time's passage and loneliness.
In 1962 British Hong Kong, Shanghai expatriates, a journalist (Tony Leung), and a secretary (Maggie Cheung) at a shipping company, rent rooms in adjacent apartments. Each has a spouse who works and often leaves them alone on overtime shifts. Although they are initially friendly to each other they grow closer as they realize that their spouses are having an affair. As time passes, they acknowledge that they have developed feelings for each other but are forced to keep their relationship platonic in order to do the 'correct thing'.
Stylish and very moving film is sumptuously mounted with gorgeous cinematography, sets and costumes. Both stars give superb performances in a film of stolen glances and fleeting touches, as they both master this quiet and chaste dance.