How Laila saved Eid this year

“Could I hit him if he groped me again?” she thought to herself as she made a fist and punched thin air around her. Cursing under her breath, she returned to the pile of clothes she was rummaging through. She could hardly see anything inside the dark tent. Making a blind choice in the dark, she pulled out a piece of cloth and turned around to leave. She was about to miss her truck. Cautious as to not literally step on anyone’s toes, Laila hopped about the tent silently, avoiding crushing her family members who were still asleep. On her ...

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“Allah Mian, thank you for not making me a rich person”

It was only early afternoon and the clear, dazzling sky, void of a single piece of cloud, was raining fire. There was still a week left of fasting before Eidul Fitr. Abdul wiped his hot face with his thick handkerchief as he walked back to the servant quarters at the far end of the palatial home, where he worked as a driver. He had unbuttoned his uniform shirt by the time he reached his quarters. “Assalam Alaikum,” his wife emerged from the other room. “Walaikum Assalam,” Abdul mumbled. “Please turn the fan on.” Sajida looked at him sympathetically. “It is on full,” she ...

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Mehrbano’s dreams, Saleem’s desires

“Abba I don’t want to get married. I want to study and become a doctor. You can’t do this to me. Abba please!” “Be quiet!” “Abba, I promise I won’t disappoint you. Saleem goes to school too, why can’t I?” Abba struck Mehrbano full in the face. That stunned her into silence. She saw her father’s placid eyes scintillate with anger. His eyes unnerved her. His eyes made her feel like a small little girl again. Mehrbano’s defiance crumbled and she agreed to meet her suitor. Saleem was sweating profusely, as the sun beat down on him, relentless. He threaded his way through the ...

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A soldier, lost in translation

An endless wave of nothingness arrives: The storm, the red eye and the golden nose; The plunge of the people and the nosedives; Waving upon the wild cherry crossbows, The warm air in the engine cools me down, The colour changes; from black to nut-brown, The air foresees a mist from the western hallows; The tail of the behemoth creeps upon the shadows.   The jarring men wiry and scathing, Skin measled with scrawling screws; Itching toes rubbing against gunmetal swarf The ears bellow in the wailing sound, sucking the air from the atmosphere. The blades grumbled and crumbled against the flesh that trudged the gruntled wind, The brass that lent itself to ...

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It was time for Laila to go home

The autumnal sky was reddened by the setting sun. Laila gazed at it in admiration. In just a few hours, the sky would turn dark and it’ll be night. And Laila would finally escape her wretched, tormenting, miserable life. She felt all her fear and trepidation melt into thin air as the world around her slowly dyed into a deeper shade of scarlet. ‘A few more hours, and I’ll be gone from here, forever.’ A cool blue dawn broke over the village of Saleh Brohi. From her window, Laila saw the streets of Saleh Brohi sprawling out below. This place was where ...

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The woman with hands of gold

I always gushed about how my Mother’s hands were beautiful; though, all wonder had ceased as I realised… Her hands tenderly held my vulnerable self as I opened my eyes in this big-bad world; her face comforted me, there was an angel in this world Allah had sent me down to, I was in safe hands. Her hands determinedly raised me to my tiny feet, every time I fell to the ground in the attempt to walk; her will to support me still gives me strength from then till today. Her hands would swiftly push my swing as she pointed towards the ...

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We don’t talk anymore…

“So what? What difference does it make if I didn’t tell you about this business trip? It’s only been two weeks since I have known myself!” he exclaimed, taking off his blazer and throwing it on the bed. “You have known for two weeks? Two weeks we have been living under the same roof? And in this entire time you didn’t think it was important for your wife to know you may be leaving for New York?” she questioned him, expecting a rational answer. “I am tired, and stressed at work, maybe it slipped my mind. Why are you overthinking about ...

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She was a precious little flower, wilted and withered

The morning was full of delicate light and cold puffs of wind spiralled around. The days weren’t dismal and grey anymore – they were sunshiny and bright. Summer had almost arrived. Yasmeen’s garden looked revived and bright, washed in pale yellow sunlight. Butterflies fluttered around the flowers and birds flew from tree to tree. It was a delight waking up to such a stunning sight on a Sunday morning. Yasmeen got out of the bed, took a shower and slipped into a white tee and blue jeans. She ate some breakfast and guzzled down a cup of tea. She then left the ...

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Pixie Palace was her jail, and she was carrying a new prisoner

The white tombs that encircled the humble city of Kalazar were silent. Every single inhabitant was quiet. The leaves on the wych elms resisted the wind. And under the blue sky, a sparsely dressed ‘pixie’ wandered. She had been wandering for a long, long time; as long as her sane memory stretched. Unbeknownst to her, a little heart beat inside her womb, calling for attention. It was a faint, unwanted beat. The superior would have had her publicly shamed for renouncing the blessed beat. But how could they know? They had never wandered the white tombs, had never traded honour for ...

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I do not deserve to be a mother

Mathieu knew a country without a capital is no country. He knew my capital was my son, that the happiness in his eyes was why I was alive. He knew what being stabbed in the chest felt like. He had felt it after all. If he still sought to do this to me and his own blood, then fine. But I’m disappointed in him, and most of all I’m disappointed in myself; I don’t look forth to God’s mercy anymore. I don’t ask myself to wait for the right time or to look for the light at the end of the ...

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