Stories about death

They were each other’s “meant to be”, but not “forever”

Souls have no concept of time. No clocks. No calendars. Age dilutes us, makes us only watered down versions of ourselves. All of us become a little misplaced, a little lost under emotionless, bleached beams of the sun. But these old souls… These speakers of a forgotten language… Resiliently seek the missing half, as if written on each other with permanent ink. Continuously counting constellations, forgetting boundaries and reaching for the stars as they reach for each other. With “his” madness rumbling in “her” heart… Dangerously hypnotic, wildly naïve… Yet equally distant. Equally impossible. These two souls were each other’s “meant to be”, but they were not each other’s ...

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He was a broken chapter in her favourite novel

The footage said it was 9am when the car crashed – turned to nothing but blood and the smell of painted metals burning in the air. Two days, 18 hours and seven minutes later, on an icy November morning, Mark lay in a coffin, dead as a doornail. It was a small wooden box, with the lid clasped on its top with a neat hand. The initials engraved on it were those of Mark’s name and everyone at the funeral admired them at least once in secret, thanking the Lord no one could hear what they were thinking for fear ...

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What a ‘great’ start to the New Year

Amongst the silence, a flash of light rose into the air, exploding into a colourful flower of glitter. It was followed by several other explosions that lit up the midnight sky. The crowd roared, screaming, “Happy New Year!” Music blasted in the background as people danced and cheered. They shared their New Year’s resolutions, as it was a beginning of a new chapter of their lives, where they had to decide if they wanted to be a new version of themselves and live life to its fullest, or just continue with their same old routines. Large LED hologram animals danced in the ...

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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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Another life lost to depression and yet we don’t consider mental health a grave issue?

Mental health should now be the top priority of every person wanting to function fully and maintain a healthy life. However, most of the world does not take this need seriously, and Pakistan is no exception. The country at large remains unaware of the importance of sound mental health, and while certain campaigns do address such issues, they mainly cater to a particular class. Bullying, depression, anxiety, and hundreds of other psychological conditions aren’t taken seriously here, as people believe they will disappear on their own or by prayer, or else the person will be treated harshly or ...

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My only escape

April 2018 I am an old woman, almost 75-years-old. My bones are weak, my skin is wrinkled, and my hair is a mane of silver. A pile of medicines cover the top of my bedside table. Most days, I don’t feel like eating them. Death weaves itself around me. I see it everywhere – in fallen leaves, in the rain, in the shadows, in people. My time here is almost done, but there’s a task still unfulfilled. Before I close my eyes forever, I have to tell my daughter the truth about my life, and her life. I’ve kept it hidden ...

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Khalil never drank, until he did…

If there was something everyone knew about Khalil, it was that he never drank. And if there was something one could say with even more surety, it was that he especially never drank before his night shift. But tonight he had found some refuge in a bottle; a shelter from the illness of his wife, the mounting hospital bills, and the regularly decreasing amount of money he brought home. However, the newly-wed couple who had hailed his cab for the night were ignorant to the gloss in his eyes and the slur in his speech, as they put their ...

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Hospitals, schools, malls and now amusement parks – is there any safe space for our children?

We often complain of lack of recreational activities in Karachi – a city which can easily be labelled a foodie’s paradise, but with few other entertainment outlets available. Any new addition to the leisure scene in the city is always welcomed with arms wide open – and Askari Parks’ opening was no exception to this reception. One might recall Funland in Clifton, the Sindbad franchise across Karachi, Aladdin Water Park in Gulshan, Nisar Shaheed Park in Defence and Go Aish in Gulshan. While taking rides at these parks, we race at breakneck speeds through the twists and turns or suddenly ...

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Calling Hereditary a ‘terrifying’ film would be underselling it

Talking about the state of horror movies these days is like flogging a dead horse. It’s pointless and something that has shown very little prospect of changing even though films like The Babadook and The Witch have served as promising examples of filmmakers attempting to do something new and different with the genre. So therefore, you can imagine my surprise when something like Hereditary comes around, a film that well and truly earns every hyperbole attached to it. To call it a terrifying film would be to undersell it because it is so much more and for the horror genre itself, it is nothing short ...

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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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