Stories about funeral

What are you wearing to the funeral?

“I’m wearing a three-piece suit. You?” “I haven’t decided yet. Who died?” He says ‘its‘ name. They smile. “Oh, finally. A lot of people will appear there, will wear my sherwani.” “Just hurry up, not good to be late to funerals; attention gets diverted to the deceased.” When they reach the place, they see the most beautiful of faces. Each face with a bright mask of pity stitched perfectly on them. The two walk together, fantasising the faces and being fantasised, until they approach the host. After a series of words stuffed with a big scoop of sorrow, they ask, “How did ‘it’ die?” The person looks at ...

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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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When I lost my father and society lost its empathy

I would like to talk about something I feel very strongly about – empathy, or its lack thereof. Before I elaborate, let me tell you why I feel so strongly about it. My father was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis in April this year. In a span of a few weeks, I watched my strong, independent, confident father deteriorate in front of my eyes. We tried everything to try and find a cure but the disease had spread too far. Abbu left us a few months ago, in August. He was the backbone of our family and his death is something we are ...

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Series 6 Was I a threat? Part 3 The dead princess

Ma stared at Saira’s lifeless body, unable to believe her eyes. She pulled her feet from the grasp of the floor and walked towards her. All kinds of thoughts crossed her mind in those few steps, which seemed to be taking an eternity to cover; Saira’s first steps which she had taken in this house. Her laugh that always resonated through the house echoed in her ears. She thought about how Saira always used to run around the house wearing a self-made tiara, asking everyone to call her ‘Princess Saira’. And now, the image of her princess’s immobile body was etched in ...

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An open letter to Indians

Dear Indians, As someone whose recent family history is very much a consequence of partition, I am no stranger to the divisiveness of Pak-India politics. Despite a shared history and culture, we stand today as two nuclear armed nations that have fought three wars against each other. Hatred for the other is fostered in both countries – neither India nor Pakistan is innocent as far as propagating hyper-nationalist aggression is concerned, but this time around, it feels slightly different. This time around, your government, sections of your media, and sections of your civil society (in concert with the government) are behaving in an exceptionally immature and dangerous manner. They ...

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Secular India: An obituary

Dear Friends, With a broken and shattered heart, I have to bring to your notice that the secular India we all loved and admired is no more. It was 67-years-old. Just like secular India’s birth in 1947, its demise was also a tragic one. Verily, it came under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s car and got crushed on May 16, 2014. As expected, Modi felt bad about the incident and expressed his regret by saying, “I feel bad even when a puppy comes under the car. After all, I am also a human being.” Even as I listened to Prime Minister Modi’s magnanimous and heartrending expression of ...

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Every time you buy a stolen phone, you take a life

Early last Sunday I was awakened by a call from a cousin. “My nephew, Abdul Ghaffar, has been killed.” Considerably shaken, I said, “What? How?” A reply came my way, “Cell phone robber shot him when he resisted.” At the funeral, I heard what had happened. Even though he had been robbed a couple of times before and had surrendered his wallet and cell phone, this time he made the fatal mistake of trying to grab the robber’s gun. The gun had gone off, shooting him in the neck. He was just 42, not old or middle-aged by today’s standards. Married with two kids and an average income, he ...

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Phantoms in the sky

There is again a funeral in my town, Of the three people, Who died last night in the raid, Of the phantom dark planes, That fly themselves.   When I hear them Above the majestic mountains in my land, It is useless to hide, As they kill indiscriminately.   A few months back My father was exultant, That my country had chosen a leader Who had pledged to take a stand, Against the people who control the machines That fly these ghostly apparitions called drones.   But now he feels disillusioned and deceived, That the seemingly trustworthy, infallible leader Went to the land of these deadly drones Dressed just like the drone people.   And did not demand To have the drones stopped. So that we wouldn’t have ...

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Does a woman have the right to live after her husband’s death?

It was a yellow morning – a pale, sickly yellow. I looked around to find that most of the furniture had been pushed against the walls and stark, white sheets covered the floor. Tables from all over the house had been brought to this room and were laden with copies of the Holy Quran, siparas and Surah Yasin booklets. I walked to the bathroom to splash water on my face and looking in the bathroom mirror, it hit me – I was a widow. I couldn’t believe that it was just the morning before when I had been standing ...

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My brave friend was killed in the attack on the ISI in Sukkur

At 3:00pm on an overcast day in Sialkot, I buried a friend. He was just 33-years-old and too young to go, but God works in mysterious ways. Major Zeeshan Suddle was killed in a suicide attack carried out by five terrorists on the Sukkur office of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on July 24, 2013. At least nine people were killed that day and approximately 35 remain injured. It was Iftar time and my friend Zeeshan was opening his fast with his wife when the first bomb went off. Covered in shattered glass, his wife begged him to stay put, but being the brave person that he ...

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