Izza Malik

Izza Malik

The author is a student at LUMS and runs a blog called Escaping Space. She is a budding human rights activist, a proud feminist, and aspires to become a novelist one day. She tweets @izzamalikk (twitter.com/izzamalikk)

A father’s gift on Eid

“Sahil, can I play with your goat?” Feroza asked nervously. “You can’t touch my goat,” Sahil’s face paled with anger. Feroza’s eyes were suddenly watery with tears. She bustled away, embarrassed. Sahil always treated her disdainfully, as if she were something unclean. He never let her close to his things. He always told her she was ugly and poor and that when he grew up, he wouldn’t let her live in his house. When Feroza was back in her room, she thought that if she had a goat of her own, she wouldn’t have had to ask Sahil. But Abba (father) had clearly told ...

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She waited for him, but she knew

Seher stood by the road, waiting for a rickshaw to appear and take her back home. A young girl stood next to her, quiet as a shadow, still as the summer air of Lahore. Seher didn’t know her but she could see the damage written all over her. She could read through her hard face and unsmiling demeanour. On the journey back home, she kept thinking about that girl.  Seher felt her head churning and the small of her back prickling with pain when she got back home. She was easily tired these days and her body ached more each day. ...

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Hear a mother’s heart

The sky was bathed in the flaming yellow rays of the sun. It was a bright sunny morning in Lahore. Shahbaz’s rickshaw broke down again in the middle of the road. The traffic broke into wild outbursts of car horns, and angry people growled and grumbled at him for disrupting the traffic flow. Shahbaz’s rickshaw was old now and rank with problems. If it stopped working one day, he wouldn’t even make as little money as he did now. The thought made him anxious. How would he provide for his wife and son if that happened? ‘I wish I could buy a ...

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He only did it for him

“You’re an old boy now, you’ll have to work. Azeem is a good man. He’ll take care of you and you’ll learn from him.” “Fine, Abba!” Talha could feel the disobedience stirring within him. Working at a furniture shop was the last thing he wanted to do, but he acquiesced to Abba’s decision. He knew Abba wouldn’t listen to him, even if he told him that he wanted to do other things in life. Better things. Later that night, as he wandered the streets, he thought how it wasn’t Abba’s fault. He was old now and needed someone else to take care ...

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When khudkushi became her only freedom

The sky was a pool of black ink, dusted with stars at midnight. Arsh looked out from the window — she saw many little streets sprawled out below. She had only known these streets from inside the walls of her room. She had never walked on them. She had never been under the open sky. She looked at these streets longingly. To her, these streets and everything else of the outside world was a distant dream. Arsh was thinking about him. He came again tonight. Her caramel skin flushed bright pink as he folded her into his arms. Her heart ...

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She was life whispered into poetry

The bright yellow rays of the sun spilled into the room. Kedar sat by the window of his room as he thought about Aizel — the woman he loved. Aizel was beautiful. Her dusky gold skin glimmered in the sunlight, her dark hair carelessly tumbled about her shoulders, and her dark brown eyes twinkled innocently. She was life whispered into poetry. Kedar could look into her eyes forever. Her eyes were profound— they encompassed all the beauty that there was in the world. And all that he saw within them, he put down in words. Aizel made him a writer. When he ...

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What if there really is no end?

It was a dark night, there were no stars or moon in the sky. A little boy was lost in a labyrinth of little streets. He ran from one street to another, and then to another, and then to another— there was no end. But there has to be an end. There’s always an end. He was unfaltering in his pursuit of finding an end. He was out of breath and felt sparks of searing pain in his legs, but he still ran. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.  His body screamed. He had been running for a long time. What if I had been wrong all along? ...

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When did they stop being a family?

The dark blue sky was aglow with a thousand shiny stars. “How pretty are the stars!” mused Mehnaz. She sat alone on the bench. No one was around, or at least, no one she could see. She took a cigarette out from her bag; it was the last one she had left. She searched for the lighter but couldn’t find it, so she kept rummaging through her bag until she finally concluded it wasn’t there. “Damn it!” Infuriated, she threw the cigarette on the grass, returning to her musing. A little while later, she picked it up and put it back in her bag. She ...

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The day the heavens shook

March 28, 2004 Azad Kashmir was a world of beauty, splendour, tall mountains and green trees. “Papa! I love Kashmir! Can’t we live here forever,” Jahanara said innocently. Majid only laughed in response. He didn’t want to upset his little daughter by telling her that couldn’t be. Majid was an army officer. He got posted to new cities every two years. So far, Kashmir had been Jahanara’s favourite place. But she was only 11-years-old and had yet to see and explore most of Pakistan. Apart from the breathtaking landscape of Kashmir, Jahanara loved the place because of Afsah. She was the same age as ...

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For Neelum, life was only just beginning

Neelum sat by the window as rain spilled from an ashen sky. From the window, she saw a little girl, almost the same age as herself, scuttling in the rain with her father. She laughed as rain poured over her and her eyes twinkled happily. Neelum watched the little girl scurry down the street, with her father holding her hand protectively. Tears pooled in the corners of her eyes, and she crawled back into her grief of being an orphan. It was night, and the sky was full of stars. Neelum’s parents still hadn’t come back home. She felt sick with apprehension. ...

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