Stories about beggar

Series 1: “Dreams of Lunacy” Part 6 Humans

Ghaffar was at a restaurant with friends. The food had been devoured, and everyone was awaiting their cars. Somehow he casually looked at his feet and saw a torn piece of paper floating in a puddle some feet away. He looked around, and ensuring no one was looking, he pocketed it carefully. Once he was back home, he began to read it. It was written with a black fountain pen, the writing was cursive, and from far it looked like one large sentence. It read: “Often we constantly sketch dreams in the loopholes of our world. We fit them in, often ...

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The graffiti promised a cure for my son’s disease, it was all a lie!

“Man-Pasand shaddi…” (Marriage of your choice) “Kia aap be-aulaad hain?” (Are you childless?) “Kamzor jism ko mota banaein…” (Beat weakness and get healthy) Photo: Sana Urooj I am sure every single person in Karachi is immune to all these appealing statements painted on walls catching our eyes almost daily. The system is usually blamed for such cheap marketing tactics but it is in fact, Karachiites’ signature trend – purposely created. Graffiti, defined as wordings or images scribbled on a wall, actually originates from ancient Romans and Egyptians in the form of cave paintings and was used as a manner of self-expression. It has transformed ever since in ...

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Who decides who is a beggar and who is an imposter?

Sameer is returning home from New York for the first time in six years. He passes the immigration counter, gets his luggage and comes out of the airport, relieved that he is finally through with all the hassle. Then, he squints around for a familiar face, anticipating a relative who’d be there to pick him up. Suddenly, he feels a tug on his shirt and peering down, he sees two mud-ridden little girls looking up at him, hand outstretched and wide-eyes brimming with expectation. He hesitates and tries to find some Pakistani coins in his pocket to give to them. While ...

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Was he a human or a donkey?

For the past few days now, every night on my way home from work, I’ve been seeing an injured donkey lying in the corner of a dirty street near my house. One of its front legs is broken and I am sure it cannot move. Every night I plan to do something to help it but in the morning, it completely slips my mind. I feel the helplessness of the donkey – if, God forbid, one of my own legs were injured or broken, I wouldn’t be able to survive keeping in mind the ample amount of work I have to do. My heart ...

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Bulbulay: When a poor man’s distress is funny

The TV-show ‘Bulbulay’ enjoys a sizable fan-following in Pakistan, but I’ve never really been a part of that base. On watching its most recent episode, my face appears to have been restructured to bear a permanent grimace. The story went something like this (needless to say, you’ll find spoilers here!): A penniless man arrives at the family’s doorstep begging for food. He stays at the door for several hours, sobbing uncontrollably about his woeful condition. The fact that the show’s writers managed to squeeze jokes into the episode with such a background story, is a remarkable feat. But wait, it gets funnier! ...

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Pakistani with every fiber of my being

I hail from green and white – from a crescent and a star. I live under lights that do not dim, even with electricity loadshedding every day. I walk in slums and narrow streets. I travel across shahrahs and highways that lead up to the mountains. I cower from the sun, glaring down, staring down; I cower from heat waves — from warmth that can make you faint. I am in awe of the sea, the beautiful vast sea that drowned a boy I knew, with long, white, foamy waves that I watch merge with one another. I recognise five rivers that have ...

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Echoes of a ‘Naya Pakistan’

You burnt my house, but I stood still and said nothing, You raped my sister and murdered my brothers, but my lips remained numb, You starved my family, slowly and painfully, but I stayed silent.   Bullets were my grain and blood my water, it was the way, and I followed you mutely, You built golden palaces upon bones and ashes, and I laboured away for you, I watched my father die, cut by cut, his honesty reducing him to a beggar, but I said nothing.   My son was shot last night; his blood still flows on broken streets, but I remained silent, I watched as you ...

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A six-year-old burnt alive for asking for food

It was early morning. I was browsing through my daily newspaper when I came across this grotesque story. The news flashing before my eyes read, “A six-year-old lost her life begging for food at a wedding ceremony in Rujahna”. Her name was Kalsoom, a beggar child; little did she know that begging for food could be as fatal as starving to death. Her empty stomach forced her to spread her tiny palms in front of a waiter who was looking after the food at this ceremony. The waiter asked her to leave several times but her bloated belly got the best of her and ...

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International Day for Street Children: Make a child smile today

“So, what are you doing on the International Day for Street Children?” A simple question I asked around to get to know the opinion of people in my city. To my dismay, none of them knew about the existence of the day! When I told them about it, hardly any responded that they would be doing something nice for the improvised. A few even argued over the point of having such a day. They believed that it was a ‘lame’ concept of the modern day and found it ridiculous to attribute one day to one person. The difference of opinion and unawareness about ...

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Out of sight, out of mind

Arsalan’s mother had cooked his favourite dish today: kalool (red beans) with lamb mutton. The beans were from the mountains of Dir, and were special, the reason being that the archaic methods of agriculture are still in practice there. These methods resulted in a low yield, but the taste of the produce was unrivaled. The mutton was from Namak Maandi – Charsi Tikka Shop made sure that the lambs that they slaughtered were young and their meat was left in the freezer for a week or two. They wouldn’t sell raw meat to anyone, but then Arsalan was one of their regular ...

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