Stories about pain

The scars of her henna

Zarah Hussain, a 17-year-old girl from Lahore Grammar School International, won an essay competition organised by the British Royal Commonwealth Society. This is a proud moment for Pakistan and highlights how much talent we have in this country. We hope she continues her love for words and wish her all the best for the future. The following is the short story that won her the accolade: Red. Gold. Adorned in jewels, henna lacing her fingers with intricate, never ending flowers. And hidden in the henna somewhere would be written the name of her most beloved. A dream she’d dreamt since she’d seen the ring ...

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I am a coward

The stress and anxiety of life has made me lose my appetite. Suicide has been part of many people’s lives. Some develop these morbid thoughts at the onset of puberty, some just want to end it all when they feel completely unwanted, irrelevant and indulge in self-pity and self-loathing. They feel great dislike and disgust for themselves. My struggles with life are completely different. I am still waiting for feelings of shame and fear to be replaced by some sense of stability and sanity. It’s a distant dream. I have tried reaching out for help. I have screamed, hoping for someone to ...

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This was no usual pain – this was a pain of loss

Emily rose in the pale blue light of dawn, and went into the balcony. She leaned against the wall and gazed at the sky as it further lightened above her. This was her favourite time of the day, when after the dark, colours would slowly and timidly creep back into the world. But even as she stood looking at the sky, her eyes brimmed with tears and her body rippled with pain. This was no usual pain. This was a pain of loss, and nothing could assuage it. Emily’s eyes twinkled with excitement as she looked at herself in the ...

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The newspaper boy

He threw it inside the house and as he cycled forward and heard it land softly on the doormat. Great shot, he thought. There were three streets to go. And the light around him was slowly spreading. He continued. In the street before the last, he slowed down because he was nearing the house filled with flowerpots. Previous shots had broken some pots and invited anger from the owner whose life seemed to be divided into the dozens of pots she had. This time, though, he came near the gate and slowly hooped it inside. The sound of contact with ...

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You are willing to ban Udaari, but are you willing to jail the man who molested me?

It was a paralysing scene; a moment where lust, hunger and greed, all were entwined. It was when Imtiaz held Zebo’s little hands – a gesture which was seemingly innocent and affectionate, but paradoxically brought to light his malicious intent. His lingering gaze on the child, and his words with sexual undertones immediately replaced the gentle loving father with a man falling prey to his own animalistic traits. This was all PEMRA could take, and me too. Our reasons, of course, were different; for PEMRA it was truth-overdose. For me, it brought back memories. My eyes were transfixed on the screen, but ...

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Stop killing our dogs, CBC, please!

I’ve been a quiet spectator of the brutal killings of stray dogs in Karachi for a very long time and despite the fact that it has enraged me time and time again, I’ve kept quiet only to realise that it is in times like these when you acknowledge the wrongdoing happening before you. You either become a silent observer boiling with rage on the inside or you try to make a difference despite the possibility that your efforts may prove to be futile.  I have recently come across several Facebook posts talking about stray dogs being shot point-blank by Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC). I ...

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Raise against capital

Watch the waves, Rumble as they crash, Crash into the world, Of your bourgeois trash.   Feel the ground, Shake you to your knees, Knees that tremble, Like a million plastic leaves.   Taste the blood, For they all bleed, Bleed from day to night, The fruit of your greed.   Witness the bruise, Cutting through their skin, The skin of hurt and pain, Puncturing further within.   Celebrate your gain, Bringing you profit and joy, The joy of the one per cent, Over 99% of your toys.   Gather your green, You exploit and you oppress, Oppress no more, For every no is now a yes.   Smell the fear, Of a billion strong rise, Rising up against you, Tearing apart all your lies.   Hear the sound, Chants of food, shelter and wage, Wage that promises ...

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The bench

My crutches sank deep into the muddy grass, the result of a downpour last night. Without tumbling face first into the mud, I yanked them out— it must have rained until morning because the puddles in the garden could still be seen as the day’s sun was about to set. I managed to make my way to the rocky path. The ashen coloured trail of pebbles led me to a bench overlooking a mesmerising pond. I trotted along the trail down to the bench and sat there with a great sigh. I pulled the magazine out from under my arm and set ...

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Aqsa Mahmood, the ISIS bride

I might be wrong but I believe I can almost imagine her. I can imagine her thoughts, her anguish, her pain and her emotions. I can imagine her heart nagging her as she would watch those numbers, those scenes of brutality, death and destruction on television, newspapers and social media; feeding on the truth and on Western propaganda against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. I can imagine as she would study extremist religious content and wake up every day feeling that everything she has done, everything she is doing, this whole world, is so pointless. She should rather be doing something ...

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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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