Epitaph

Memories are sprung up again, like something thick emerging through the air, All the times our bicycles with broken rings crackled on through the friscalating sunset, in infinite happiness, All the times our worn out, unpolished shoes kept us out of the classroom talking for hours, All the times the eraser at the end of the scale lobbed into the free wind, showing who was more powerful,  All the times our collars were held in a grasping fist by our very own, All the times report cards were burnt to a crisp, in rebellion again all the mental oppression, All the times we came to ...

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I found magic

Unlike most dramatic beginnings, this one was a humble take-off. There were no signs that I was about to undertake the journey of my life. No early-morning itches, no accidents, no drums rolling and no divine calls. It was as if God wanted to take me by surprise. Mama had to visit Sehwan for some office work and I tagged along, simply for the sake of obliging her and out of my own curiosity. After a road trip of three hours, we finally reached our destination. At first, I felt no magic in the domes, the mausoleum or the city ...

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Series 7: Dada Baba and me Part 3 ‘The downward spiral’

Dada Baba’s funeral was carried out with immense honour and respect. I still do not remember clearly who did all the arrangements, where the money came from, who did what and why. All I was aware of was the fact that, for the first time in my life, I was alone. The only person whose life and presence I took for granted, the person of immense grit and strength, my father, my best friend, my mentor, and practically speaking ‘my entire life’ had left me alone. In between a large gathering of black suits, white shalwar kameez, flowing tears, distant whispers, heavy hearts, and ...

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The evening train

The evening train, breathless, reaches its destination, The station, bleak and empty, resembles the soul of a dead poet, He drinks the unimaginative cup of tea until all that’s left is the glass, humiliating him with his own reflection, The road ahead is fearful, yet hopeful. The passengers, sound asleep, still glow under the fluorescent lights above them, The towns outside, pass by his eyes in a brief second, reminiscent of his entire existence succumbing to a single moment of clarity, His thoughts still clinging to the ultimate battle of life and death, and during all this torture, all he can think about is, The aisle that still illuminates. The sun ...

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Series 7: Dada Baba and me Part 2 ‘Life’s gift of giving… and taking’

Thanks to Dada Baba, I had a bit of a charmed life. I had experienced enough in life to know what was true for other people but was still inexperienced to know what was true for me. Nothing too traumatic had happened to me. That is until one day I realised that the story of my life had been the calm before the storm all along. For the first time in over two decades, I wasn’t woken up by the cheerful voice of Dada Baba. Instead, I was woken up by his painful groans, coming from his room which was right ...

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A trial

If I were god, I would have put myself on trial first, and questioned my lack of a beating heart or the pain in my soul of the loss that humans suffer. Or the justice, I call my revenge – I caused on them which I could not script before the verdict against them for crimes against me. Yet I usher them as being grateful at trials of misery. And then to the hell-fires I would command them to go to instead as my decree of divinity to mute others as and when I will despite all knowing. For I am god, listening to none, commanding you to make a supplicant except for bringing the dead back to life. I seek forgiveness from myself, but I can’t, because conscience was not created in me, when I was made to be born ...

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Series 7: Dada Baba and me Part 1 ‘My life from my deathbed’

It was a sunny morning amid the typical mid-summer hustle and bustle on the roads of Punjab. The rays of the sun made their way into my eyes and pierced through my pupils, blinding me momentarily yet almost completely. I adjusted my sight, trying to squeeze my eyes to halt the enforced violation of my personal eyesight space by nature’s brightest star, as a bead of sweat trickled down from my forehead and into the wrinkles around my squeezed eyes. The bus engine roared, and the passengers moved around in unison on every bump. The elderly man next to ...

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A love story

Wedding celebrations are a long event in our family. Like any Pakistani family, we were knackered, relieved, and thankful on the last day of my sister’s wedding festivities. By the time all the guests left, we found ourselves nestled around the big boxes of sweets and presents in the wee hours of the night. My father in his preferred seat on the rocking chair. Everything looked in order as the living room was cradled by the slow December breeze of Karachi. I looked into Shereen’s eyes. We had been engaged for six months now. I was just about to ...

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The Infinite Miners

The wind is uncomfortable, almost biting, The souls, in all their agony, begin reciting, The unfinished walls, dripping with red paint, blood, The fences scream, but just like their lives, are stopped with a single brazen thud. The hands, gravelling aggressively, soon succumb to the sweat, The lips dry, swollen, and pink, are blessed with the smoke from the infinite cigarette, The ground beneath, shakes and trembles, just as their fragile grey bodies, Their shirts, dripping of the stench of a thousand dead rats, that they would, in all their magnificence, rather be. Their ghosts circle the hole in the ground, contemplating, Their chests, bare naked, just as the day they were ...

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A servant’s dream; to be like Chris Mukhtar

“Those who are silent when others are oppressed are guilty of oppression themselves.” – Imam Hussain (AS) “Let’s go from a shorter way today. Take the second left, next to the barber shop.” “Yes sir.” As they turned, a group of mud houses came in sight, where children seem to be playing the same games they were years ago. She smiled. She glued herself to the right window and tried to take in each expression as a car passed with two inquiring eyes. The car slowed down as the road suddenly thinned and her sight got stuck with an oddity. A house unlike any ...

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