Sunday, 18 February 2018


In the sky rose the screams,
The shrill wails roared,
A drop landed on the soil,
And another,
A blotch appeared,
As if a painting,
All in red,
The evil shrieked somewhere in the background,
A chaos broke,
The buildings crumbled,
An image of a broken land appeared behind the dust,
The dust trying to mask it,
Humanity suffered another blow,
Its roots staggered once again,
And long after, silence prevailed,
Everything appeared to be normal
yet nothing was normal,
When the cries faded,
Silence echoed,
Louder than the howls of evil,
The silence screamed,
And when nothing spoke,
Silence did,
The tales that vanished,
Silence carried them all.
When there was nothing to say,

Silence said it all.

Friday, 2 February 2018


In the dimly lit room she sat, her eyes gazing in the dark as if it carried all the wonders of the world. Anyone entering the room would have suffered from a sheer sense of claustrophobia but somehow the boundaries didn’t seem to bother her. She sat so still as if posing for a portrait, or if she were a statute. She was a piece of art, so magnificent that she carried a thousand tales within her. It’s not always the words that dictate the stories, sometimes it’s the silence. Sometimes the silence screams louder than the words. Sometimes not saying says it all.

The absolute stillness was broken by a loud thud at the door. Someone had brought her back to the reality as if some paint splashed over the portrait, or the statute came crumbling down to the ground. Her eyes widened. An expression crossed her face but lasted only a moment. Silently, she slipped out of her dungeon into the living room. It seemed like someone had tried so hard to give it signs of life, all the artificiality failing to provide so. Twenty seven years!

Twenty seven years ago, she had decorated this very room with her beautiful bony hands. Even when everything seemed to be falling apart, even when her dreams shook under the immense weight of the reality, even when every promise, every hope seemed a fallacy, she worked. She worked to beautify her castle, the castle she was a prisoner of, the castle she was meant to never leave again. Somewhere in the darkness, she waited like a princess, like Rapunzel hidden away from the world. The only difference was, there was no one coming for her rescue. Twenty seven years ago, if you had seen her, you’d be baffled. If you had bumped into her younger version of twenty seven years ago, you wouldn’t have recognized her. Twenty seven years!

Pacing into the kitchen, she turned on the stove, her hands following the rhythmic patterns as if encoded to do so. The spark of the fire lit her eyes for a moment and faded. In the background, someone was loudly talking. Provided she was the only other person in the house, it was directed to her. Her demeanor didn’t change. Her hands worked at the same pace they did before. Years ago, she would have panicked, her hands would have moved faster, her heart would have thumped louder, but now, there was no rush, there was no panic. The speaker was standing in the doorway now. He did not look happy but her serenity never broke.
The steam escaped the kettle as she poured the tea in the cup and at the moment, it was the only thing that seemed free.

Some order had been directed to her, to which she had silently complied. She was back in the dungeon which was now lit with much more light than the tiny room could afford.

Her now wrinkled hands reached the cup-board, flashing it open like a gateway into the past. The red dress glittered before her eyes, hitting her with a sheer nostalgia. Twenty seven years! Twenty seven years ago, when she had first set her eyes on this dress, she had beamed with such pleasure, she could have gone hysteric. Her mind had wandered off, far away into the wonder land. She had so excitedly chatted about her wedding day, and the life she had planned afterwards that her elders had to silence her.

On the day of her wedding, she had carried this dress like she had carried all her dreams, fancy and sparkly. She had been, without a doubt, the prettiest bride there ever was. Not because her beauty was unmatched, but because she had that glow, the spark of life. Her smile had shone brighter than the jewels around her neck.
A curt voice shook her out of her memory lane, the very voice that had shaken her out of her dreams years ago. There was no evidence of violence because she had never been physically hit. And that was enough for the world to confirm her safety. Because invisible scars, no matter how deep they penetrate, never burst out on the surface, because no one wants to see them. Her hand shifted from the red dress to a dull grey one. She closed the cupboard shutting with it, the small hints of life.

Once again, she had to go out pretending to be alive, because to the world, she wasn’t dead, not yet. Because to the world, she was still scar-less, bruise-less, only old, withered out lady. The world was only willing to declare her dead, once she would stop breathing, once her heart would stop beating. Little did they know, she had stopped living a long time ago.

Saturday, 18 November 2017


Amidst the dust,
And the foul stench,
The loose torn clothes hanging on their bodies,
Strained to the very core,
The cold breeze waves past,
Yet unlike the others,
They seem unbothered,
As if their bodies are immune to it,
As if they're cold blooded,
Their tiny hands gripping the plastic bags,
Like there's some treasure hidden inside,
A cherishing laughter echoes in the street,
As they run after each other,
Their eyes lit with excitement,
A smile brighter than the stars,
They break into run, then walk,
Playing around never minding the surroundings,
The cars honk, the people stare,
Complain as to why they stand in the way,
But they never care,
Neither do they easily scare,
There is never a truer smile the world has seen,
Never a truer form of bliss,
The rich doesn't know it,
For he runs away from the foul stench,
For he masks away from the dust,
For he runs after the worldly wealth,
For he thinks he's acknowledged,
But the truth is,
He is as ignorant as the poor,
Maybe even more,
Little does he know,
The happiness he's running after,
They've already had it,
Look at them laughing around,
You'll know it's pure bliss.
Because their hearts are pure,
It's not the unclean clothes,
It's the dirt in hearts that's a problem,
Look at their crystal clear eyes,
Followed by a sparkly smile,

You'll know it's pure bliss.

Sunday, 1 October 2017


I have been hated and worse.
I have been despised.
I have been forced to feel,
For not who I am as a person,
But for what my job demands me to be.
The bearer of the bad news,
The partner of the grim reaper,
Are the names they call me by,
And I am no bad guy,
I tell you.
I am not the enemy,
If it wasn’t me,
There would be someone else,
‘cause someone had to step up.
To bring home the news,
That no one wants to carry.
I am, indeed, the bearer of the bad news,
As entitled by the haters in my common views,
I had thought to have seen,
The worst out there that’s been,
When I told the widows,
Their husbands couldn’t make it,
And watched them fall to the ground,
Like a damsel in distress,
Or when I told the parents,
About the burden of carrying,
The heaviest of the coffins,
Their own blood,
Their own child,
Over their own shoulders,
The silent tears rolling down the cheeks,
Choked me up at nights,
As I gasped for air,
The atmosphere didn’t have to offer.
That one time I had to tell,
A dreamer,
His dreams had fallen,
That he had to call it off,
The wedding, a day before,
Because his dream breathed her last.
She was there but in the past,
But the worst of it was when,
I brought along the news,
To the child who clung to me,
As soon as I stepped in,
Her little beady eyes,
Beaming full of hope,
As she whispered in my ear,
That broke me down to tears,
And even though it was a whisper,
It echoed in my head,
The words that slipped her tongue,
“DADA” she said,
That was the day I broke,
Into pieces I couldn’t collect.
My heart splintered open,
Splashing far away,
The only thing that remained,
Was an immense darkness
And pain,
The pain like nothing before,
The agony there was,
The despair I felt,
Shook the last of my courage,
And I knew it in my heart,
I would never be able to do this again,
As I walked back home,
With a heart so heavy,
I stooped under the weight,
I wondered why it had to be this way,
A human killing a human,
Freeing the soul of the other,
While having his own trapped,
In the darkness of the evil.
I pondered as I passed,
A Street that had bathed,
In the blood of a thousand fallen souls,
And in a distance the gunshots echoed,
The war was carried on,

The war of nothing.

Sunday, 17 September 2017


Can you hear the screams and the wails, those helpless cries that fill the sky with the first ray of light at dawn and echo when the dusk settles in? Can you see the now spotless streets still bathed in the blood of the innocent when you walk on them? Can you feel the gloom in the aura even though the trees appear to be dancing with the wind? Of course, you don’t. Because the mother nature does its best to mask the brutalities of mankind. The sky absorbs the grieving yells before they could travel a distance. The earth sips in the blood so that no trace of oppression remains. Maybe because the nature is more ashamed of a man’s crime than a man himself is.

I was startled to find out how easy it was for a human to numb the pain, even easier to block it before the wound even gets the chance to settle. Shield: what a glorious invention or must I say, a discovery? Because a physical shield might stop a physical injury, but the emotional shield shelters you from the fatal blows to your soul. Or apparently, it’s what it seems.

The world, my friend, is a dark, dark place. Sometimes, the darkness consumes every bit of the hope. There is no light. And in times like those, it’s the best to block the thoughts because the pain would be too much to bear. Nobody likes the feeling of helplessness and that is exactly how we feel when we look at the world.

I thought immunity was a gift till I discovered the cost that we had been paying to have it. We have been trading the bits of humanity to keep the peace of our mind. So now when the bodies fall in front of our eyes, we are too blind to see them. And when the wails echo the sky close enough for us to hear, we are too deaf to listen. And when the humanity is at stake, we are too dead to care.

As Muslims, we are supposed to be a family, a family that shares the pain of its members. Yet we scattered and divided ourselves because apparently our differences mattered to us more. How do we expect to unite ourselves when we part our ways when going to bow to the same God? We are too busy judging each other for sinning differently. Nowadays, we get to decide who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. Wow, sit down- you self-appointed judge. It’s the matter of that person and Allah. But you know what your matter is? That you are so negligent of? Helping your brothers in pain.

It’s happening in Kashmir, in Syria, Palestine, and now it’s happening in Rohingya and half the places that we are unaware of. And what did we do? We turned a blind eye to it. Why? Because it’s not us? But it is us, isn’t it? It is our family. And our family is suffering and we are doing nothing about it. Because we can’t. For the love of Almighty, there are so many Muslims in the world. If each state starts contributing, I don’t believe it would be that hard to free them. If Muslims of the entire world unite, who would dare to harm them again?

We sat back and watched the world bash us as terrorists and the world got silent when the actual terrorists attacked Muslims. And yet we are too blinded to see the obvious strategy lying behind. Kudos to our ability to ignore. Imagine having to answer in the court of Allah, why did we let our family die? Imagine having to answer at what cost did we buy our immunity? Imagine having to explain why we thought selling our soul for some apparently peaceful moments was worth it? Just imagine.

Friday, 25 August 2017


Have you heard that really great joke about women? Yes, I am talking about whichever came to your mind. Funny, aren’t they? Stand up against one, and suddenly you’re a feminist- the most loathsome thing there is to exist out there. No, I am not saying there are no jokes about men. Of course, there are, just not as many as for women. Do you know how easy is it to set a man off? Say the three magical words, “fragile male ego” and boom, you’re golden. You could, of course, use the alternate three words and say, “men are trash” – the explosion effects are pretty much the same. And now that I have established quite the reputation of a feminist, hate to break it to you- but you’re wrong.

It’s dark ages. We are at war. You’re not doing social media right if you don’t indulge in one. It’s either men are trash or feminists are trash. It’s either the fragile male ego or stupid feminist thinking. I mean, come on? Why do they ask for gender equality when they can’t treat men the same way? They can’t stand in the bus, and they want to demand equal rights? For the love of God, they can’t even open the jar lid by themselves and they want their names put in with the jobs alongside men? Such dull-witted creatures they are, women. They are better suited in the kitchen, and can’t they just stick around their gossips? Their arguments are pointless anyway.

You know who else loves to shop? Men. Go on, call me a liar. Maybe they are not as indecisive as girls; maybe they don’t melt over the things they weren’t supposed to buy, maybe they don’t buy the things they surely didn’t need- THAT FOOTBALL JERSEY WAS IMPORTANT. Do you know whose mood is unpredictable as well? Men. You can set them off by something so little, you wouldn’t understand. You think all men make sense in arguments? Whatever lies get you through the night. Do you know who else likes to gossip? Men. Of course, they are not as such tattle tales and they have the bro-code so they don’t go stabbing their fellows in the back and plotting evil strategies, but don’t tell me they don’t gossip. Who do you think has spread all these things about women? Their gossiping, shopping, mood swings and on and on? MEN. But, of course, as long as it’s the truth- it shouldn’t be rendered gossip, right?

It is cool to say you hate everyone and there is a generalized understanding that exceptions are made even in that case, but not when a gender is involved. It’s stereotypical, it’s racist, it’s sexist. There is so much hate in this world. I haven’t seen as many feminists out there as much I have seen the haters of it, the anti-feminist club.

Women should not take offence of all the jokes because they are just jokes (with the hint of truth obviously). I mean, come on, where that sense of humor at? Laugh it off, be the laughing stock. Shouldn’t hurt your feelings, because seriously, girls- you know you can’t drive, you know you’re shopaholics, you know you are dull-witted, you don’t know your way around the car’s engine, you don’t know the specs when you buy your gadgets. You do betray men with all that make up, and you do look like a man because you don’t keep yourself groomed. No, I am not body shaming you; I am just saying you’re not curvy enough for my liking. Why do you complain about your weight? Nobody’s calling you fat, (well, not out loud, at least).

Am I a feminist? Well, if all men are trash is the new definition then I most certainly am not. I don’t hate men. I honestly find women more evil than men. I do envy the bro-code and the friendships boys have and damn, I love those side hugs. I know how it sounds. But see, I am not taking any sides. I don’t believe all men are horrible- I have seen otherwise. The world is a diverse place.

Here’s the thing- there is no such thing as gender equality. Genders were not created equal; the differences were created to complement each other. I believe there was a time when feminism meant for something. There was an agenda, not hatred. It’s not about gender equality, it’s about gender equity. It’s not the similar treatment, it’s the treatment deserved by each.

Tell you what, if you’re offended by something as pointless as a statement like fragile male ego- YOUR EGO IS FRAGILE. You’re not supposed to empty your seat for a girl if you don’t want to. You don’t do it because it’s a custom, you don’t hold a door for a woman to be a man, you do it because you are one, you do that because you’re a gentleman. And if you wanna go rub it in the faces, please don’t do it. And if you wanna question why that had to be the grounds for being a gentleman, again, don’t do it.

Not all men are same. I have seen men accepting the shortcomings of their gender. I have seen men being protectors just like I have seen women accepting their mistakes and apologizing (though once in a blue moon). I find it adorable that girls have to go ask boys to open up the lid, yes, because that’s complementing the shortcomings. If the male gender is blessed with greater physical strength than the female, there is no need to boast about it.

Enough with the stereotypes of the society, when are we gonna get past those? Stop bashing each other with labels. Crying is not for the weak, a man can cry and a man shall cry when he wants to. A girl can parallel park if she’s into driving. Stop being so obsessed with your narcissistic self. Get over yourself, there are a thousand better than you. Get out of that small little box in your head, learn to think beyond it. Don’t make a girl wish she were a boy, make her feel safe. Don’t plot your evil strategies to get the guy or his money; he did not earn it for you.

Everything is not a joke. Why is to so easy to label and bash women and joke about them? You know why women started asking for equality? LOOK AT HOW YOU TREAT YOUR WOMEN. They are not objects of your fascination. And most certainly, they aren’t your house-elves. They have desires that are often masked by the fragility of their own gender. If women had been treated the way they deserved to be treated, they wouldn’t rise up against men. They wouldn’t have to feel harassed enough to develop hatred. Joke about it when you know they have been treated the same. The whole lot of you, none of you would make it out sanely if put in their shoes. Joke about it when that little girl did not have to mask her desire because she was a female. Joke about it when that girl did not longingly wondered that she were a boy.

Monday, 14 August 2017


It was a bright winter morning, sunny yet breezy. She had worn the purple kurta shalwar, his favorite color. Early in the dawn, she had silently sneaked out of the house, dodging her sleeping stepsisters and mother. Her step-father was out already. Holding her shoes in her hand, she had tip toed to the gate. Stooping low, she stripped in the shoes- silently opening the door, stepped out.

The cool breeze blew her dupatta away. She reached for in instantly.

Behind the lake, in the fields, she ran towards the allocated spot- excitement bringing her alive. He stood, leaned to a tree, in his white kurta shalwar, his sleeves rolled up till his elbows.

He smiled. Her eyes immediately followed the dimple and the spark in his eyes. Then a look crossed his face. She knew that look.

He locked his hands behind his back, walked closer, eyes fixed on her, the dimple still visible, although he wasn’t exactly smiling now.

“I am sorry, miss, are you lost somewhere?” She tilted her head, looking at him trying to resist his charm. She always got so nervous; fully aware of her reddening cheeks- never knew what to say.

“If not then, you’re gonna have to excuse me. See, I have to meet a very beautiful lady.” Her face heated up. She was unable to control the smile.

“And I am afraid, the horror of your looks might haunt me to death before that.” The next moment she was running after him, throwing whatever came in her hand.

They had chatted for hours, siting by the lake- throwing pebbles into it.

He was about to say something to her, when there was a loud noise. Darkness took over and the noise turned into screeching. It took her a moment to realize what was going on.

The train compartment was compromised. A militant was standing over the still body of Ashraf Kamal, blood seeping through the hole in his chest, his eyes blankly staring in the air. Two militants lied still next to him. She could tell he fought a good fight.

Sadia amma had got up from her seat. She had muttered some curses as she spat on his face. The next bullet went through her head. Nehal shrieked. He had pointed the gun over Haleema now. Haleema had been frozen till now. In her panic, Nehal began searching the compartment, the train was still moving. She could not get out.

“Please.” She heard Haleema’s shrill voice.

“My child.” She was begging him. A gun, she saw lying beside a dead militant. The one standing wasn’t attentive towards her so far. She didn’t know how to use those things. What’s the worst that could happen?

The militant lowered his gun from Haleema’s head. For a moment, it seemed like he was going to let her live. Then with an evil smirk on his face, he pointed it at Haleema’s belly. Nehal ducked for the gun and the Sikh caught her and threw her over.

“I’ll finish you too, my dear.” She heard him say, her head spinning.

He turned around again and walked over to Haleema. His gun pointed at the belly, he fired three shots.

“Now you.” He clenched a handful of her hair making her look at him. Nehal struggled in his grip. It was useless. She was desperately moving her hand. It came across something, familiar.

“I am gonna enjoy killing you the most.” He smirked.

“Likewise.” She said as she spat over his face. His hungry eyes stared at her, his grip tightening over her hair. With the rising pain, she flung her arm with all her might and stuck the knife in his throat. Blood came pouring out like a hole in a pipe, splashing all over her. She had struggled to get him away from her.

For the rest of the journey, she kept lying on the floor. Every now and then, holding her breath and playing dead. She didn’t know how long had passed, how many times she had drifted into sleep, waking up with nightmares, till the train finally stopped.

“Welcome to Pakistan.” She heard voices. With the shivering legs, she dragged herself towards the light flowing in from the open door of the train. The soil in front of her eyes, one more step and she could touch it, feel it with her feet. She stepped out of her shoes, and put her feet over the heated soil. Tears blinded her eyes and she fell to the ground, her hands grasping over the soil, her tongue reciting the Kalma, over and over again.


She had started her journey in India as a young, naïve 23 years old. The Nehal that had reached Pakistan was a completely different person, strong, determined and mature. It was an overnight transformation.

64 years later, as she sat in the lounge of her home, with her family- she still missed him.    They sat around the dining table; her son, Abdullah, who had moved to America as a smart and handsome youth thirty years ago- now old and wrinkly. She had looked at him wondering if Hadi would have looked like this when old. Abdullah had carried his father’s looks in youth. His American wife sat next to him. Next to her was seated Adeel, her grandson- who looked more like his mother.

“Adeel, how is Pakistan?” he had been curiously examining the exotic food.
“It’s good.” He answered casually.

“Would you stay here once you grow up.” she heard him snicker.

“Here? Granna- for God’s sake.”

“Why not?

“It’s not a place to spend your whole life in.”

“Why is that?”

“Because” he said, sounding annoyed. “It’s- Pakistan.” Pain rose in her chest. It wasn’t an illness that caused it. Her eyes drifted to her son, seated silently.

“You don’t plan on coming back here?” she directed the next question at him.

“No, maa. I love this country, but I can’t live here anymore. There is nothing here for me.”

Tears streamed her eyes, as she closed the door of her room. After all these years, she felt defeated for the first time. After all these years, she felt the loss for the first time. Looking out at the sky, she could only hear one voice in her head, the warmth of it still alive as it said.

“My legacy will live.”


In the sky rose the screams, The shrill wails roared, A drop landed on the soil, Another, And another, A blotch appeared, As if...