seema-bibi's-kioskUnaware of her surroundings, Seema Bibi is engrossed in separating decayed roses and tube-roses from the fresh ones and arranging them on a brown piece of cloth placed in front of her – Kohsar market, Islamabad.

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muhammad-amir (perfumer)

Muhammad Amir pours concentrated perfume oil into small bottles for customers at his fragrance shop in Jinnah Super market, Islamabad.

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“I wondered why people consider escapism so bad, even the escapism on display right then. At first it might appear unseemly, but in the end its lack of pretension gives it its own sort of beauty.” – Saadat Hasan Manto, Bombay Stories.

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Unlike regular barbershops where you hear beeping cell phones amid chitchat about life, politics and work, Abdul Rasheed’s quaint one-man setup, with faint sounds of rubab being played in the neighborhood, has a soothing effect on its customers – Saidpur Village, Islamabad.

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Safiullah sits majestically in his resplendent Mughal attire and reaches out to fetch a variety of colorful ingredients from the biggest dome-shaped paandaan (betel-leaf box) in South Asia.

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Navtej Johar, a Bharat Natyam exponent and leading choreographer from India mesmerized the Islamabad audience with one of the richest and the most difficult classical dance forms.

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