A Smart Person's Weekend Reading

While wknd. has consistently featured global stalwarts, we have kept our ear to the ground and documented the social and cultural changes taking place in the country


Anamika Chatterjee

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Published: Tue 16 Apr 2024, 9:55 AM

Years ago, when Khaleej Times decided to come out with a weekend magazine, the idea was for it to serve a greater purpose than what most magazines in the region had been doing.

The UAE had been striving to become the lifestyle capital of the world, and the region needed a longform magazine to document the leaps the country had been making. At that time, as now, the market had its fair share of glossies. A weekend magazine that would come out from Brand Khaleej Times was meant to serve a different purpose — deep dive into stories and bring refreshing perspectives. wknd., first named Horizons, began its journey in 1987. There was even a phase when the magazine was called Weekend Woman. But the way it resonated en masse meant that it needed a title that would find an audience across cultures and gender and generations. And that's how wknd. was born.

While the newspaper, even in its earlier avatar, had been at the forefront of breaking news, wknd. took it upon itself to offer breaking views. And then came the digital age, and Khaleej Times began a journey of keeping its ear to the ground and reporting on stories that impacted daily lives of residents. Wknd., however, has continued to remain a spot for carefully thought-out dissections of pop culture moments in the region. Be it legendary artist M.F, Husain's favourite haunts in Dubai or Bikram Vohra's lighthearted takes on life as an expat, the magazine has always had something for everyone.

How does a magazine manage to remain an important part of a diaspora's lives? How does it manage to inspire curiosity and reading at a time when we are told attention spans are on a decline. Journalism can be a great leveller. The faster it goes, the more it creates need for thoughtful content. It is in the pages of this magazine that Hollywood actor Brian Cox has spoken at length about the problems of the woke generation. It is in wknd. that Sunita Williams recounted what it meant to go to space after losing a 'friend' Kalpana Chawla in a spaceflight accident. It is in this magazine that performance artist Marina Abramovic spoke about authenticity of art.

While wknd. has consistently featured global stalwarts, we have kept our ear to the ground and documented the social and cultural changes taking place in the country. Be it Sheikha Mozah bint Marwan Al Maktoum talking about her experience of becoming the first royal female pilot or a young arts impresario like Butheina Kazim talking about how cinema can shape the way people outside look at the Arab world, we have documented the most important conversations of our time. As a result, wknd. has stood the test of time in believing in the power of stories and the need to tell them to a considered readership.

Thanks a to(o)n

Over the years, Khaleej Times has set a tradition of engaging with readers at every level — be in through the print edition or the website or social media. One of our longest relationships has been through the comic strips and puzzles published daily in City Times. From Peanuts to Hagar, adults as well as children cannot get enough of the comic strips. On the other hand, our Cryptic Crossword and Quick Crossword are food for the mind. Every morning, before they start their day or consume the news, readers look out for these popular sections to engage their grey cells while having a hearty laugh with the cartoons. There was a time when a reader called us, heartbroken, after we briefly stopped Target, a fun, word-searching game appearing in City Times. "My day starts with Target and because you have discontinued the section, I somehow feel incomplete."

When a few more voices echoed a similar sentiment, we brought Target back on popular demand. That is the kind of relationship we have with our readers — we are part of their everyday journey.

— anamika@khaleejtimes.com

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