Stories about darkness

Green Town

Where the church bells don’t ring, Where the billboards don’t shine, Where there are no street walkers, Or hints of the divine. Green Town, Green Town, Green Town. The mosques are out of order, The synagogues flooded to the brim. Where the clothes have no glitter, And the bracelets no gold. Green Town, Green Town, Green Town. Where the karma is tipped, Where the shore is no more. Where the sex has no pleasure, No guilt or no pain. Where the people are selfish, So utterly vain. Green Town, Green Town, Green Town. Where the sky is shining, And it’s raining too. Where the earth is so tilted, Titled to the moon. Where the ordered disorder, Is always so true. Green Town, ...

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I got dreams, dreams to remember

“I got dreams, dreams to remember.” I repeated this for hours on the soft prayer mat that cushioned my knees. My hands were cupped close to my chest, a tear falling occasionally on the lines of my palms. I got dreams, dreams to remember. There was a quiet drizzle outside my window. The wind picked up and the branches brushed across the glass. The tapping of the water on the window pane was the only noise I could hear, apart from my own breathing and that of Zamzam’s. I opened my eyes into darkness. I felt as if the blur from my tears hindered ...

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How are we supposed to “celebrate” Eid with no water and no electricity?

Life in Pakistan has never been easy. The living conditions continue to deteriorate with each passing year. The effects of climate change, coupled with the water crises, are making life harder and harder for people living here. The power outages do not help either. However, this year, the repercussions of climate change and the water crisis are being felt the most, and things are about to get much worse. Today is Eid, which many people in the colonial parts of the city, especially certain gated communities, are enjoying to the fullest. Perhaps because they do not face the same problems ...

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Living in a mental asylum, fighting the darkness within

When I was about five or six-years-old, I did something I am deeply ashamed of. It is the most shameful act I have ever committed, and even recalling it makes me shudder. It’s something that I have never confessed to anyone before. It was recess time in school and all the kids were playing. I stood somewhere in the middle of the sandy ground and looked around for pebbles. I was just fascinated by their shapes and sizes, and was excited to be examining the ants alongside them. I picked up a pebble and all of a sudden an idea ...

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Lights Out and brain dead!

Remember, back when we were kids, how darkness used to scare the living daylights out of virtually all of us. Few phobias are more common across the broad spectrum of humanity than nyctophobia and first time director David F Sandberg has exploited this most primal of human anxieties to turn darkness itself into a coldblooded antagonist. But, somehow, instead of frightening the heck out of you, for most of its running-time, Lights Out just makes you annoyed with the dark.

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Teresa Palmer and Gabriel Bateman.Photo: Warner Bros The movie started life as a three-minute short film which ...

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Series 1: “Dreams of Lunacy” Part 5 Stroke of darkness

He sits with his feet on top of each other, touching the skin just behind the nails where the tips of his fingers feel the small hairs that have recently grown out of nowhere. He rests his head on the strong shoulders of his father and looks at his hands work on the 12 feet canvas. “Why must you draw, father?” Hearing the voice of his child after an hour of lost silence, his hands suddenly stop midway, as if caught in the middle of an unknown activity, knowing not whether to continue or to retract, just when he was producing ...

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Series 1: “Dreams of Lunacy” Part 4 Identity

“I’m going for a sleepover at Salman’s house.” “What?” “Sleepover, ammi.” “Now? At mid-night?” she exclaimed. “Jee, everyone is getting together right now, please, midterms just ended today.” “Okay, but this is never happening again,” she said, as she shook her head. Ghaffar gave her a hug, and got the keys from Zameer, who was awake, watching a Bollywood movie in the servant quarters. He headed towards his Corolla and was soon on the road. There was no sleepover. He just wanted some time for himself and what better than a drive around Lahore, with nowhere to reach and no one to check upon him. He opened the ...

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Come back to me, my lost flame

Hi Old Friend!  It’s been a while seen we’ve spoken, No? It seems like a multitude of eons, all rolled into one. Where were you all this time? Did the fire burning inside you suddenly fade away? Did the lust you once felt for me suddenly die away into oblivion? It’s sad what happened, really. How soon people forget the days of sunshine, and start dwelling upon when clouds were grey. Do you remember the moments we spent together, embraced in countless starlit nights of love? I sincerely hope you do, for your sake. I’m not selfish. It just saddens me to see someone filled with ...

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My encounter with a ghost

I was 28 when I saw this dream. My marriage had just been arranged by my parents; something, having grown up around, I didn’t give a second thought to. I went to sleep untroubled. There was pitch black darkness everywhere ─ like a heavy blanket over everything. Then the shroud lifted to illuminate me sitting on a wooden chair at a small, round, wooden table with everything around me still completely black. Across the table from me there was another chair, and another occupant; a large cloaked and hooded ghostly figure, whose hidden eyes seemed to be fixed upon me. “Who are ...

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Should I light a candle or curse the darkness?

This weekend had me pondering over the mugging I faced recently while returning from office in one of Karachi’s most secure areas. It was truly an unnerving experience. It is not an uncommon occurrence to be mugged just opposite two well-guarded hotels of Karachi, in the presence of a couple of Rangers mobiles just a stone’s throw away, and the police too standing nearby –  after all it is Karachi meri jaan. However, I was bewildered by the shocking response I got from the security personnel around me just seconds after the incident. A Rangers officer said: “I’m on official duty and can’t ...

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