Stories about village

A father’s gift on Eid

“Sahil, can I play with your goat?” Feroza asked nervously. “You can’t touch my goat,” Sahil’s face paled with anger. Feroza’s eyes were suddenly watery with tears. She bustled away, embarrassed. Sahil always treated her disdainfully, as if she were something unclean. He never let her close to his things. He always told her she was ugly and poor and that when he grew up, he wouldn’t let her live in his house. When Feroza was back in her room, she thought that if she had a goat of her own, she wouldn’t have had to ask Sahil. But Abba (father) had clearly told ...

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There is a bluebird in my heart

This boy. He has refused to grow up. He is still stuck in the 80s in that small village of central Punjab. There. He is five and stubborn, still sitting on one of the two identical stones dug at the base of the haveli’s gigantic wooden gate’s posts. He seems to have become one with the stone. In 30 years, he has not moved; he has become immovable like the neem tree (Indian lilac) in the courtyard of the haveli. His Baba left this morning for Gilgit to join his unit there after a month-long leave. He saw him leaving in ...

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It was meant to be, yet it wasn’t

On this beautiful summer morning in the Sultan Khel village, everything was in bloom. Flowers lazily tumbled along the pathways, butterflies and bees buzzed at blossoms, and the spindly green trees rose impossibly high into the clouds. For this day, Noor chose a pale lilac shalwar kameez strewn with floral embroidery, and wore her sparkly new golden heels underneath. Her black hair cascaded down her back in waves, and her big brown eyes twinkled. Noor looked beautiful – a vision to behold. No wonder all the village boys were after her. She opened the windows of her room, and breathed a lungful of ...

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It was time for Laila to go home

The autumnal sky was reddened by the setting sun. Laila gazed at it in admiration. In just a few hours, the sky would turn dark and it’ll be night. And Laila would finally escape her wretched, tormenting, miserable life. She felt all her fear and trepidation melt into thin air as the world around her slowly dyed into a deeper shade of scarlet. ‘A few more hours, and I’ll be gone from here, forever.’ A cool blue dawn broke over the village of Saleh Brohi. From her window, Laila saw the streets of Saleh Brohi sprawling out below. This place was where ...

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He told her she looked beautiful, but this time, Shreya didn’t smile

The cobalt sky stretched far overhead and disappeared into the green mountains of Pir Panjal. These mountains were the most beautiful part of Gondal village. Shreya looked at the mountains merge into the sky from the veranda of her house. In the evenings, when the birds sang in the trees nearby and the air smelt sweet, Shreya would sit outside in the veranda. Clad in silk sarees, of new colours on new days, she’d wait for Naveed before he returned home from work. She was draped in a crimson red saree that looked striking against her nut-brown skin, and circled ...

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How could Gul Bano’s own father ruin her life?

The day was bright, the sun blazing and a sweet smell of blossom swayed in the air. The village of Charbagh was witnessing the beginning of summer. Gul Bano’s elaborately styled reddish brown hair and her emerald green eyes glinted in the sunlight. She wore a green shalwar kameez that matched her eyes, and a white dupatta enhanced by gold and silver threads, to complete the look. Father had told her they were going to meet someone important today. She had asked over and over again who this important person was, and why she had to go meet him, but ...

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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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Series 6 Was I a threat? Part 2 ‘Red candies’

“May I come in, Taya Abba?” Saira had somehow dragged herself to his house. Her dislike for him had turned into hatred ever since he made her quit school. She even hated staying in the same room as him. Well, at least she wasn’t going to suffer alone; she had Afzal with her. “Have you revised your lesson?” he asked, staring at her intently. “Yes.” She started to recite yesterday’s lesson. All the while Taya Abba’s eyes kept surveying her. “Come on, Apa! You know Taya Abba doesn’t like it when we’re late.” Afzal was running ahead of her. “You go ahead. I’ll catch up.” She pretended to catch her breath. As ...

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Being a Syed-zaadi wasn’t a matter of pride for me, it was a curse!

I was born into a Syed family. Since childhood, I’ve been told that this is a blessing as we are the direct descendants of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Therefore, all Syed girls had a status equivalent to that of mothers of Ummah. Thus, it was forbidden for us to even consider marrying a non-Syed man. Everyone called the girls of our family bibi jee and, while growing up, this was a matter of pride for me. I was in my early teens when I first realised that there were a number of unmarried women in our family, belonging to all age groups. Due to family ...

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Some wounds only death can heal

I remember it very vividly; I had driven down in my 99 Honda Civic which was a hand-me-down from my dad. The weather was surprisingly brisk considering fall had shot shades of winter in its early days. I walked up to my uncle’s door and found it unlocked, as always, and announced my entrance to the house. Silence was scattered around the house. All I could hear was the dishwasher running in the kitchen. I followed my usual trail up to the top level and towards my grandfather’s room. After three knocks and a slight nudge at the door, I ...

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