Ignorance is bliss!

My friend, I do not wish to know, And I’m in no mood, To think of global warming, Or pesticides in food.   Hardwood forests in decline, Endangered pink frogs. Salt or freshwater wetlands, Fast vanishing bogs. Illiteracy, hunger, AIDS, Tsunami, hurricane. Inflation or unemployment, Worrying is in vain.   Dwindling water resources, Or poaching elephants. By God, I’ve no patience for, Futile raves and rants. Let others lead the world from front, For admirable feat. I’ll lead the horde from behind, To a hasty retreat!   I love my unawareness, Ah! Ignorance is bliss! Don’t interrupt my cricket game, I don’t want to ...

Read Full Post

Her favourite red sweater and her favourite bhaiya

“My sweater is red and my leggings are blue, My bangles are shiny and my shoes are new, My teeth are brushed and my hair is done, I want to play outside and show my shoes to everyone, But mother says don’t go, there are animals on the street, I don’t see no animals, but a nice man with sweets, Maa animals live in the jungle, some also live in the zoo, And that’s where the nice man will take me if I am good too…” She woke up that morning to the sound of the motorbike’s engine revving. “Abba jarahay hain!” Zara sat up suddenly. (Father is leaving!) She quickly ...

Read Full Post

Remembering Ahmad Faraz: Do not murder the voices

The 87th birthday of one of Pakistan’s most beloved poet – who was also a resistance poet par excellence – the legendary Ahmad Faraz, was celebrated on January 12th. The honour of both the Pakhtuns and Urdu-speaking community, I was lucky to hear him recite his famous poem ‘Muhaasra’ (siege) in one of his last public appearances in Karachi back in 2008. He joined the immortals soon afterwards on August 25, 2008. To pay tribute to his memory, here I am sharing my translation of one of my favourite Faraz poems, “Mat Qatl Karo Aavaazon Ko” (do not murder the voices), which it seems ...

Read Full Post

“Desi Website”– Indulge yourself! There is no shame

Surfing aimlessly late at night, I came across a cool website, Where feeble hearts remain unseen, Modest are few and far between.   Where every topic always leads, An attack on someone else’s creeds. To hurl insult just take a pick: Christian, Hindu, Muslim or Sikh.   You meet chest-thumping fanatics, Old-fashioned mullahs, liberal chicks. Imposing on adversary’s mind, The likes and dislikes of their kind! And all are free to blow their lids, Till wisdom dims, and reason skids.   Most favorite sight? The view of rear, The world revolves around Kashmir. Check out, my dear friends, tonight, With Google search “Desi Website”. Indulge yourself! There is no shame, Just hide behind a ...

Read Full Post

Dear Dina, I could recognise you from a thousand miles, my daughter. Love, Jinnah

When she reached the top of the endless stairs at the mausoleum, she wondered why this much effort was needed to meet her father. When she was younger, all she did was barge through a brown door. Of course she was small, and the handle was high, but she would jump for it and the door would almost unhinge from the sides, and she’d find her father deep in his study under a lamp on his big oak table. “Dina,” he would say, without taking his eyes off the page. She would giggle and run to him, disrupting the little bubble of peace ...

Read Full Post

Who is atop the chain of command?

There wasn’t any challenge they could not surpass, The best of the breed, at the top of their class, Who knew the importance of hard, honest toil; Didn’t waste their time, burned the midnight oil. They went on to excel as professionals, engineers, Doctors and lawyers with promising careers.   While those who were ordinary, average at best, Graduated and did well in the civil service test, To eventually become the heady bureaucrats, Who catch all the smart professionals like gnats. In a web of paper work to drive them insane, And control their existence with utmost disdain.   The clique of students who in the same class, Despite family influence just managed to ...

Read Full Post

Do I even belong at all?

I see the point where the sun meets the sea, Glistening in effervescent orange, Hues of orange pulp and pineapple slices take over the sky. I picture myself on a beach, Eating those fruits – I look back out, the sun has begun to sink. Relief – Almost as if my breath were holding the sun Hanging, steady, in the middle of nothing, Echoing how I feel; Suspended between my reality and my thoughts, Verisimilitude. Floating – I am a set of eyes, I see the sun drowning, Relief turns to fear; The sun is leaving. Will it come back again? Will I? I am a set of eyes, I see the encompassing blue of the sea, I long to be ...

Read Full Post

This was no usual pain – this was a pain of loss

Emily rose in the pale blue light of dawn, and went into the balcony. She leaned against the wall and gazed at the sky as it further lightened above her. This was her favourite time of the day, when after the dark, colours would slowly and timidly creep back into the world. But even as she stood looking at the sky, her eyes brimmed with tears and her body rippled with pain. This was no usual pain. This was a pain of loss, and nothing could assuage it. Emily’s eyes twinkled with excitement as she looked at herself in the ...

Read Full Post

The scent of a sinner

The fresh roses turn pinker, dwelling outside the garden of the lilies, The wrinkled skirts smelling of cheap perfume, stinking of midnight sillies, The footsteps in the empty corridors, the heel to their Achilles, The birthmark on the neck, the missing toothbrush in the can, The dust under the shoes, the unannounced dinner plans, The misplaced phone calls, the green pills on the nightstand, The children in the fields, playing until its dark, Watching them live in singularity, searching for answers like the lark, Faking a smile, the burnt cigarette leaving its mark, Wandering in the withered winds, writing a memoir, Tearing the sinned papers, watching the two from ...

Read Full Post

Nusrat and her dupatta

Nusrat loved to watch the sun come up in the morning, see its rising hues and its foes in the sky that wanted it to go back down – down, down, down, to the abyss of darkness, where there was no light, no hope. So, Nusrat would wake up at 5am. At 4am. At 3:30am. All to see the sun that rose so elegantly into the dewy mornings of October. But she never could. She never could stay tuned to the games of the sun, for the sun was a hopeful deity, and Nusrat’s hope was nonexistent now. So every morning, Nusrat would run with urgent ...

Read Full Post