Stories about prose

Salam and Shanti

Being in the army is like being caught in a revolving door. You see that settled life you so desperately want on the other side of the glass, just within your reach, but before you can join in, you’re on the move again. So there we were, posted to yet another place, to a pleasant city but a gloomy cantonment. I paid no heed to the eerie stories that our cook Abdul told me about the street we lived on. There were banyan trees lining the street, reminiscent of bearded men leaning on their sticks. I was sure the sight was ...

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Series 8: The Green Thumb Part 3 ‘He did have a green thumb after all’

“Ali!” Zareen nearly screamed in exasperation. “How could you even think about saying all those things to Faizan sahib? Do you realise you are taking advantage of someone’s kindness?” She was extremely vexed. “Isn’t it enough that you are going there for free and that he is tutoring your brother at such low a price? Now you want to take your sister too?” Ali stood there meekly with his head down. All the children were quiet now, frightened by their mother’s anger. “But Mama, he said…” Fahad tried to intervene. “I’m not talking to you, Fahad,” Zareen quieted him immediately. “From tomorrow onwards, no one ...

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Series 8: The Green Thumb Part 2 ‘They wanted money, he wanted memories’

“Where are you going?” Zareen asked Ali as she saw him getting ready to go out. “I’m going with Fahad,” he told her. “Faizan Sahib said I could come with him and sit in the AC since he couldn’t sit without it and it isn’t fair for Fahad to enjoy it if I can’t.” Zareen couldn’t believe her ears. “Are you out of your mind?” she asked incredulously. “You think I can pay for the two of you? I only send him there because he needs help. You are not going, and that’s that.” “No Mama, I’m going,” Ali was adamant. “If Faizan ...

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Series 8: The Green Thumb Part 1 ‘Death changes everything, even innocence’

The house at the end of the street was possibly one of the most spacious and attractive ones in the area. With its tall French windows, red bricks, and magenta bougainvillea covering the carved front door and climbing to the roof of the second floor, it was as lovely as it was mysterious. Friends of the owners were also aware of the fruit trees in the open, spacious lawn at the back. The gardens had been lovingly cared for by the now deceased, green-thumbed Mrs Faizan. Mr Faizan did not have a green thumb and he was least bothered by the fact. His wife had enough of it ...

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I could smell it, I could breathe it – Pakistan was near

It was very chilly for an August night. The moon played hide and seek behind pregnant clouds of white and grey but the winds were strong and the clouds did not stay above us for too long. We had travelled nights like these before and swayed many times during the course of the journey, but it had led us here and we were close. The town we had stopped in was unknown. It once had a name but it had long been abandoned when the news of Partition circled the country. They were smart people or maybe superstitious for no one really ...

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She was never little miss sunshine

She sat there staring outside her balcony, watching the heavy, thunderous downpour tear its way through the dark clouds and fall to the ground, like it was the last time it was falling. She realised how it was a metaphor of her own life – a life so full of passion and rigour, but slowly dying down – phasing out into the everyday nothingness. It’s not like she suffered through depression or some mental disorder or experienced anxiety attacks every now and then. She was an average, 30-year-old struggling to get by, just like many other 30-year-olds who had started off with big hopes and dreams to fulfil and life ...

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“It’s Chand Raat. He would want to be with family”

He looked again at the big slab of ice, big no longer. It had melted here and there, there and here. There was the memory of ice spread across the table. In zig zag lines, in the air around the table. In the future that was taking a leap into the past. Sometimes he thought his business was not really selling ice but buying time. And the sun was the vendor. The greater the sun’s heat, more the customers, but also greater the probability of the ice melting. Profit, loss. Loss, profit. On the hottest days, people flocked to him and in Ramazan, he naturally became the most important person. For those few hours, at least. He could ...

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The midwife of Delhi

The Quran has acknowledged the existence of djinn, but the proliferation of stories revolving around these creatures of fire often delves into the realm of horror. In 19th century Delhi, to counteract children’s perceptions of djinns as fearful creatures, city elders recounted folk tales recounting the kindness and generosity of the djinn in order to remind children that djinn, just like any of Allah’s creatures, could be good and bad. What was important were one’s own actions, good deeds were rewarded, and pleasing a creature of Allah was equivalent to pleasing Allah Himself. Long ago, back when Delhi was a quiet city with horse carriages dotting the ...

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The dancing girls

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Relax your diaphragm. Repeat. This was my mantra, at least, these days it was. I tried to tell myself that these three steps would make everything better, would make the way I feel better. But I don’t really think they do. I can see the city lighting up from my window. I know that outside, people are getting ready to leave their houses, and venture out into Karachi’s beauty. I’d be a part of it too, if I could, if I knew how. But the bars on my windows are too strong. They skew ...

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Pop-up in the Park: Reclaiming public spaces in Karachi

Spoken Stage, in collaboration with Girls at Dhabas, hosted an event coined “Pop-up in the Park” at Frere Hall this Saturday in order to reclaim the public spaces in Karachi. Spoken Stage is an organisation that fosters the growth of individual expression through the projection of spoken word poetry and prose. Girls at Dhabas was created with the intention of enabling women to claim public spaces, and is quickly gaining influence as women all over South Asia are using the hashtag #girlsatdhabas. The event took place at Frere Hall with the intention of reclaiming public spaces.Photo: ...

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