Stories about eyes

A brave, untamed, reckless kind of love

She looked up at the swaying inferno over her head and wondered, ‘did the flame in my heart… set the trees on fire?’ A lazy chill creeped into the air. Not the bite of winter, just a nip to announce that a brand new season was at hand. A lonely streetlamp cast an artificial glow onto the French pavement, illuminating fallen leaves in a garish of warm yellow light. Twilight bathed the Seine as the streets of the most romantic city in the world gilded in gold. The walkway ahead of her twisted like a silk scarf; twirling, leading into the horizon. The ...

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Why can’t Pakistani men stop staring at women?

The four and a half months I spent in Turkey as an exchange student were the best part of my life. But after a while of living there, I had already started to miss my family and friends and couldn’t wait to be back with my loved ones in the country where my home existed. But there was something I had forgotten about my home country. The day I was flying back to Pakistan, while waiting at the Istanbul Airport’s lounge, I realised what I had forgotten and what was awaiting me in Karachi. The excitement of returning home slowly began to fade ...

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Through the eyes of a fanatic: Pakistan, the World Cup enigma

Cricket is a game for the fanatic. You don’t like the sport, you love it. You sacrifice sleep, plead for divine intervention, wield undying beliefs and hold faith that despite needing eight runs of the last ball, a simple wide can make magic happen. Such is the power of a bat and ball. Such is the nature of the game that despite our efforts to turn predictions into facts and to drown ourselves in a frenzy of statistics, the sport remains as unpredictable as it was in 1992. It has been four years since India won the World Cup, 23 since Australia ...

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PMDC’s 50:50 quota – Playing with our lives and our future

Two hours ago, I was sitting with my family watching TV and enjoying the show. Now, two hours later, I am typing this while my eyes are red and swollen. Why? Because two hours ago, I picked up my cellphone and came across an email that had a scanned copy of a letter from the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) saying that there should be a 50:50 quota for men and women in all medical colleges. And now everything is uncertain. There is no notification on the website of PMDC as I search frantically for any piece of news that I can ...

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Not her fault

I saw her eyes as she begged, I said forgive me and she left, I wondered what her life was like, Why she begged, where she slept at night. Because her feet were bare, Her clothes were torn, But was it her fault that she was born? In a family that can’t give her, All the things a child may want? *** Five-years-old when they came, Broke her innocence, broke her to shame, But why should she feel this way? Was the pain not enough, and now the shredded name? She was found somewhere in a ditch alone, Her clothes were torn, Her smile was gone. But was it her fault that she was born? In a world that gives men, All ...

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Eid in Gaza

Can you imagine how it feels to see a dear one killed in front of your eyes, knowing that it is supposedly a happy day, a festive day? How does it feel to lose a beloved on or right before Eid? I can’t even imagine the pain. Unfortunately, the feeling is not like a moment in a dream which simply vanishes during disrupted sleep. It’s far more permanent. Countless days of just this – either being killed or seeing your loved ones die. The recurring situation seems to have no end. While sitting on the stairs outside our house during a ...

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Is it a burden to have four daughters in a Pakistani society?

“Four daughters?” the woman asked, her eyes wide with a mix of horror, pity and fascination. Then, “Mashallah!” A sympathetic smile, followed by, “They are beautiful. May Allah (SWT) bless them with good kismet (fortune)” I can’t count how many times I have heard these sentences being said to my mother. Different women, same words, same connotations each time. For most of my life it did not bother me. I took it in stride. After all, it is a burden to have four daughters in a Pakistani society. To find an educated husband for them, to painstakingly accumulate their dowry, to train them in the art of keeping house; above all to ensure their ...

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Do you have a Sarah in your house?

Whenever I see her, her eyes haunt me. The sadness in them is unspeakable and the horrors of her life, incomprehensible. She is young and beautiful yet her heart yearns for a minute of peace and happiness. She is Sarah*, a married girl who lives with her in-laws. Sarah married into a family of four sisters where her husband was the only son. The torture began almost immediately. Her three unmarried sisters-in-law cannot stand the very sight of her. They never speak a kind word to her, and always address her with stern and blank expressions on their faces. The very faces that smile ...

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Birth, confusing and perplexing, birth

The August night was frightening, confusing, perplexing. Hot, humid and sweaty… The room was pleasant, comfortable, properly lit and professionally decorated in muted, soothing hues of beige, gold and taupe. Tapestries artfully draped, artefacts tastefully displayed; everything oozed style and grace. The effortless elegance and oomph of old money inherited through generations, mere mortals can only think, or write about. A room, about to witness the first birth… The loudest, metropolitan city of the land of the pure was in complete darkness, thanks to power outage. Energy crisis was at its peak and on that particular night, the shortfall in electricity production was more than many thousand mega-watts. She whimpered in pain ...

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No, I am not beckoning you… I am just a woman trying to get to work

To you, The driver who sees my loosely wrapped headscarf, jeans and long shirt, and wonders what’s going on; the passer-by who watches me adjust the messenger bag on my sagging shoulder with one hand and cover my eyes from the sun with the other, squinting at something in the distance; the curious men and women on motorcycles, in vans, riding bicycles and on foot, wondering what I’m doing on a street corner, so early in the day. And especially to those who might wonder if maybe, just maybe… Let me stop you right there and say what doesn’t need to be said ...

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