The words not spoken

He had slept without removing his shoes. His parents watched him as they stood in the doorway. They smiled, went towards him and took off his shoes, one by one, gently, as if each had a life of its own. But his socks were quite moist and his feet felt cold. She looked at her son with concern, but her husband calmly motioned her to sit. Both of them sat as she wiped his feet with her hands and a cloth, and tucked him neatly into a blanket.  She switched the lights off, and as darkness submerged the boy’s room, they returned ...

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Dear Diary, maybe someday I will look back and wonder – if only

Present day The old man sat down on his chair and flipped opened the diary he had found in the storage room. It was dusty. He focused his gaze on the first page and started to read. January 3, 2000 Dear Diary, I woke up at 6:30 this morning, as I had planned. It was a little early, but this way I could leave for school while Abu was asleep. My new cricket kit is beautiful, although I do think I might have paid too much for it. It’s also pretty hard to disguise it from Ami’s CCTV eyes when I am leaving ...

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Series 5 Finding salvation Part 3 ‘I am free’

“I am Parvinder Kor! I boarded this train when partition was announced in 1947! I never reached my destination. Our entire train didn’t. Ours was a small village near this station. As partition was declared, my village people decided to move quickly. I was going to be married that night, but our village was under attack and so we left for the station in a hurry. All the areas surrounding our village were Muslim majority areas. They started killing our people in retaliation of their own kin dying on the other side of the country. So we fled for our lives. Our father hurried us ...

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Anonymous

August 13th, 2005 Hello Baba, Somewhere between home and nowhere, I write to you yet another letter in my head that I will never send. But then my heart must talk to yours for me to go on. I arrived in Chaman couple of weeks ago. This is my beat. These days I work at a hotel at Chaman bypass near Bughra road as a waiter. Yes, as a waiter. It is essentially a driver hotel but all kind of travelers stop by to stretch on charpoys, rest a while and eat food. The place is spread over more than two canals, of ...

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Series 5 Finding salvation Part 2 ‘The bloody bride’

Read part one of the Finding Salvation series here. He could hear footsteps. It sounded as if someone was approaching but at a snail’s pace. This gave time for his heart to slow down. He stood hidden partly behind an old pillar. The silhouette came to light, whatever dim light was on at that time, and an old man came into view. Dragging his slight self by a cane, he slowly thudded his way towards a bench. Saleem saw him sit down on the bench, completely oblivious to his presence. The man took something out of his pocket. Trying to focus ...

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The eternal night in the valley of light

Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and could feel someone standing in the corner of my room. I was afraid of opening my eyes to find a Djinn or Khokh standing right there, staring at me, blankly. Eyes closed, I would crawl my hands on the wall, looking for the switch and turn the light on. I would then carefully scan all the corners of the room to make sure no one was around, staring at me through the darkness. But now things have changed. Sometimes – and that is very frequent now – I wake ...

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Series 5 Finding salvation Part 1 ‘Love allergy’

The old rickshaw came to a skidding halt in front of the station. He poked his head out and looked at the busy station in distress. Saleem hated noisy places. Paying the driver in change, he got off. He threw his backpack on his shoulder and hesitantly waded through the crowd squinting for the ticket booth. “This has to be oldest train station in this province!” He thought irritably wrinkling his nose at the touch and smell of other human beings. The stench was unbearably strong. What to say of the germs this crowd must be carrying around. After struggling for ...

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His shoes disgusted me

I was in the bus sitting next to him, trying hard to look away. I had never seen them so close – so broken before. Generally, the stitches were patterned, the shine was bright, and even when it was dull; they made the person complete, secure. But here, a small piece from the side was missing. There were threads that were coming out from the opposite side. I could see his brown sock and his foot was visible from a hole in it. And that sight – that incredibly normal sight of someone’s foot, but in a public setting, with ...

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“There will be no Eid here. Eid makes no difference to me”

“Eid makes no difference to me. I only wait for rain.” He answered. Standing under a rare tree shade Ali Murad Sathio waited for his turn to get water from the pump. Yes, it was true. He did not care for Eid – or any event, for that matter. It had been a few years since he stopped caring. Still, whenever someone mentioned Eid, his thoughts travelled back to the fateful Eid days, three-years-ago. His beautiful mother had prepared him for Eid day. She had managed to cook one sweet dish which was as delicious as the nectar of the heavens. Or at least that was how ...

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It was entirely my fault

We had fought bitterly, And now, he is out like a light, But like countless other times, When morning comes, He’ll barely remember the fight, And how he almost came to blows, He won’t recall his cursing and yelling. When it will stop, there is no telling.   I know the children were listening, To the abuses and roars, Of their drunk father. Even through closed doors, It’s getting worse and worse, But I can’t pry him away, From the seductive horrors of the bottle, That coax and lure him, Into an infinite mindlessness every night.   Throwing caution to the wind, He has become oblivious, To the financial toll it’s taking, To the emotional fissures it’s making, But my agony and suffering, Is entirely my fault.   For marrying a man, Who had told ...

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