April 01-15-2020


To say that the last two weeks have been a rollercoaster ride will be a profound understatement. Coronavirus or COVID19 has drastically changed our lives, leading us to grapple with our changed reality. While many continue to argue that the virus isn’t nearly as fatal as other diseases we’ve battled in the past (such as Ebola), it’s still being compared to the deadly Spanish Flu Outbreak of 1918. The sheer rapidity with which Corona spreads, the fact that symptoms aren’t always visible and underprepared healthcare facilities around the world are what make this novel strain a formidable foe of humanity. Before I go any further, I’d like to thank the healthcare workers who’re tirelessly fighting this pandemic. True heroes certainly don’t wear capes!

Despite working around the clock themselves, they urge the general public to assist them by simply doing one thing: staying at home. As threatening as the virus may be, all it requires are the following basic actions to reduce the spread — or at least get it to a level that’s manageable for healthcare institutions. These are:

  1. Social distancing: even when at home, remain at least a couple of metres apart from others; if you must go out (while abiding curfew rules), ensure you’re not in close physical proximity to anyone.
  2. Wash your hands: this can’t be said enough; wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, especially before and after eating or drinking and intermittently throughout the day. Hand sanitisers also help.
  3. Don’t touch your face: the virus can enter your body through your mouth and nose.
  4. Protection when out: masks, gloves, sanitisers and social distancing.
  5. Isolate: if you feel symptoms, immediately quarantine yourself and stay away from family members; contact your doctor and see if a test is required.

All of this seems rather simple; however, people have had issues adjusting. Sometimes, a disease with seemingly basic precautions isn’t taken seriously by people. But I hope that by the time you read this, we’ll have made considerable efforts to #flattenthecurve. I exhort you to go online and look up this concept. In short, social distancing is an immense help in lowering the infection rate to a point that medical professionals can respond effectively.

Those who have adhered to all protocols, especially those who had the foresight to do so on their own before governmental intervention, must now be feeling symptoms of another nuisance: cabin fever. Being cooped up in one place for extended periods of time can make anyone start questioning their sanity. Anxiety, panic, irritability, ennui and a sense of doom — all or a combination of these can start to plague your mind. Since they say, a healthy mind can cope with a lot that’s thrown its way, I’ve compiled a list of things, based on my readings of several articles over the last couple of weeks that will hopefully help make your isolation bearable. These are all the things that I’ve personally been doing since my self-imposed isolation almost three weeks ago.

  1. Adopt a routine: in the new normal, your routine doesn’t have to be the same. You’re most likely working from home, which saves up a lot of commute time. You also get the opportunity to work in an environment that you can create yourself. However, do stick to a schedule, even if it doesn’t match your usual one. This allows some form of normalcy to remain in your life.
  2. Be creative: start painting, sing songs, dance around, write — anything and everything that allows you to express yourself.
  3. Stay fit: make sure staying at home doesn’t stop you from physically moving. While staying in a vegetative state might be appealing, do get up and move around a bit. It could be a full-blown workout, a yoga session, or just a walk outside (social distance is a must and keep the time limited, abiding by local laws). For mental exercises, read a book!
  4. Feel everything: there’s no right or wrong way to feel about this situation. Most of us have never experienced such distress before (hey, at least now the world can sympathise with the plight of Kashmiris and Palestinians). Get in touch with a therapist if you can or keep a journal. Just don’t feel guilty for feeling how you feel.
  5. Talk: reach out to your friends over social media and plan video calls. Talk to others, talk to your family. Don’t mentally and emotionally isolate yourself.
  6. Stay off the internet: don’t stay on the internet for too long. It’s a depressing place — now more than usual. Get your necessary information and then stay off blogs citing the end of the world (unless you’re into that). Otherwise, avoid the negativity. Cute animal videos are fine.

This is what I’m doing, except the last one. I’ve been on Twitter and Instagram a bit too much and hoping to cut back on the negative clickbait. Everything else I’m following on a daily basis and at the time of writing, it’s really helped. Nevertheless, as I stated, there’s no right or wrong way to navigate through this. As long as work obligations are met, you’re free to figure out your own response. Sleep all day, eat whatever you want — just do all it takes to be mentally and emotionally stable during this time. I’m cognisant of the fact that this is more challenging for some than others, especially those with pre-existing mental health issues or who live in abusive households. For those free of these concerns, do check up on your friends. Together — but physically apart — we’ll get through this.

Stay safe and #washyourhands

We’ve all been entranced by her melodic voice and have fallen in love with her bubbly personality. However, this fortnight Mehek Raza Rizvi speaks to the dynamic Aima Baig to know more about her passions, her plans for the future and life outside the limelight

How do you feel about the constant comparison made between you and Ariana Grande, particularly after your look at the opening ceremony of PSL 2020?

It doesn’t faze me at all. I love Ariana Grande; she’s immensely talented and has great style, so why would I mind the comparison? I don’t take the memes too seriously (although, I have to admit, some of them are quite funny), if they make people laugh, so be it. The only part that’s sad is people refusing to see me as human. There’s nothing out of the ordinary in being inspired by others, it’s natural.

A little birdie tells us you may have an interest in acting. Can we expect to see you in a movie or drama serial soon?

Tell me more about this birdie first! I’ve been offered some great opportunities from eminent production houses, but want to focus on growing more as a musician for now—this is more “me.” However, acting is something I definitely enjoy. I’ve done a lot of theatre during my undergrad in Film and Television. You never know what the future holds.

You’ve been very involved with Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC). Tell us about your work and why you feel so close to the cause.

Shaukat Khanum’s mission is very close to my heart; I don’t consider it to be work, I do it out of choice and take it very seriously. My own mother was a cancer patient and I’ve seen her endure chemo therapies, hair loss and surgeries for six long years. I’m happy that she’s in a better place now; knowing her suffering has come to an end gives me peace, but at the same time, I’m well aware of what it feels like to lose someone special to cancer.

I can relate to families who go through this process and the feeling cannot be put in words. Shaukat Khanum helped me heal by introducing me to so many survivors, including infants. I feel privileged to be a part of this organistaion and am thankful to all its contributions.

“The only part that’s sad is people refusing to see me as human. There’s nothing out of the ordinary in being inspired by others, it’s natural”

Your Father had a love for music, but was unable to pursue it professionally. Do you think that made your piqued your interest in the field?

My father had his own band in Dubai back in the day. He was definitely passionate about music, but my grandfather, a mechanical engineer himself, wanted his son to prioritise his education. He didn’t encourage his child’s musical aspirations and so, my father submitted.

I’ve witnessed my father’s talent throughout my childhood. He played different instruments and sang beautifully to me. I found him to be very inspirational and think I inherited my love for music from him. At just seven years of age, I knew I had it in me to pursue this professionally.

“I’ve been offered some great opportunities from eminent production houses, but want to focus on growing more as a musician for now—this is more ‘me’ ”

Tell us about your relationship with Shahbaz Shigri. Is marriage on the cards?

Shahbaz and I are best friends. We have shared interests; we love watching movies, hanging out with our friends and jamming together—he’s incredibly talented which makes it more fun. We’re both Pisces and vibe really well. He makes me feel very comfortable and at ease.

As for marriage, it’s something I want to think about in the future, but as of now, it’s not on the cards.

What’s Aima Baig like at home?

You need to spend a few days with me to know that. I’d like to warn you though, I have a tendency to influence people with my idleness—I do absolutely nothing when at home and you may end up doing the same!

My favourite thing to do at home is availing every opportunity I get to catch up on lost sleep. I’m constantly on the go otherwise, so feel this is the only thing lacking in my life. When I’m up though, I love spending quality time with family, jamming with my brother, watching movies, writing and playing games. I’m a gamer, that’s for sure.

“Knowing her suffering has come to an end gives me peace, but at the same time, I’m well aware of what it feels like to lose someone special to cancer” — Aima on her mother’s struggle with cancer

What are the pros and cons of having your family so involved in your work?

That’s a great question. The pros outweigh the cons. Everything’s based on trust. I can rely on family; if I’m ever feeling lazy, they remind me of the importance of hard work and how blessed. They push me to do better and keep me going. The only con is having no barriers; these are people you’ve grown up with, live with and so, they know you inside out.

Tell us about your future projects.

There are so many exciting things in the pipeline. I’m working on new songs—my own and some collaborations with other artists. This whole year is jam-packed, which overwhelms me at times, but I feel grateful.


What irks you most about social media?

Inconsiderate comments

Biggest pet peeve?

People munching loudly on their food or talking in a high-pitched voice.

Your biggest strengths?

My family and the people I love.

 Favourite ‘90s jam?

I was born in 1995. Music from the ‘90s reminds me of my childhood, but there’s no one particular song I can pick as a favourite.

Your personal style in three words?

Comfortable, tomboyish and casual

Last impulsive buy?

A pair of diamond rings.

Most prized possession?

My cats, especially Max.

What was the last lie you told?

I can’t really say, but there must be one.

One habit you have that annoys your family?

The fact that they barely get to see me.

Do you have a nick name?

So many: Amy, Emma, Amo and sometimes Baig. Not really a fan of these names though.

 A decision you regret?

Some songs I’ve agreed to sing. I never really wanted to, but went ahead with them anyway.

Your favourite quote from a movie?

“I’ll be back” from “The Terminator”

Words: Mehek Raza Rizvi

Photography: Adil Ishaq at Guddu Shani

Hair & makeup: Mansoor Khan at Guddu Shani

Videography: Furqan Bhatti at Guddu Shani

Art Direction & production: Guddu Shani

Coordination: Murrad Rahim at Guddu Shani

Styling: Mehek Raza Rizvi & Areesha Chaudhry

Stuck in a style rut? Let the experts give you a lesson in creating head-turning spring and summer outfits. This fortnight, So Kamal puts together seven looks on Mushk Kaleem to inspire your imagination

Wardrobe : So Kamal

Photography : Alee Hassan

Hair & makeup : Fatima Nasir

Model : Mushk Kaleem

Jewelry : ZELO & Jewelicious










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