Tag Archives: Pakistan

Modest Mistakes

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Today
In the bazaar
My mother and I
Were crossing the road
When three boys
Went right past us
And one of them
Let out
A
Big Shout
I did not move
Because, I’m a bit slow
When it comes to processing events
My mother, however
Was startled
I opened my mouth to curse at them
But then she clenched my hand
And it was a sign
Not to

Today
I learnt where this instinct comes from
And I know why she stopped me
My mother has been taught by her mother
To never be a retaliator
Heck, never be an initiator
And she taught me this that moment, as well

Today
I learnt that this has been passed down to us
Because as soon as our daughters learn to walk
With their back straight
We try to bend it down
Shame and compromise are stuffed down our throats
Before we learn to speak

Today
I learnt that this cycle will never end
Because I’ve been scripted to belong
Not to myself
But to someone else
I am someone’s
Love
Lust
Pride
Property

Today
I learnt that there is no visible way out
Society gets to label me
My own gender does
Like my mother
I was taught
“To be good and quiet”
Each level defined
Belonging in the grey zone
No black or white
What those boys did
They might have forgotten

But, today
Things were made clear
That in the act of brining this generation up
We have repeated the same mistake
The mothers of our mothers made
Letting it slide under the pretext
“Boys will be boys”
And slowly but gradually
We successfully managed
To bend
Our daughters back

In the name of religion

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There is more God in the hearts of people I know, although, not all of them pray five times a day. There lies more God in the heart of a drunk on the streets than those who drink zamzam and spew hate towards their fellow beings. God carved a spot in the hearts of those who learnt to accept diversity in calling His name.
There is no God in the soul of a saint who would use the name of Almighty to harm another soul.
There is no God in anger and disrespect, that is what my mother taught me since I was four. If you judge them by the prayers they recite to call upon Him, then what will God judge? You for judging them for calling upon Him.

There is no God in people who use the privilege of religion to wrap a noose around those who don’t share the same faith.

Keep your class clean

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The inside of the room was reduced to rubbles and thick dust covered whatever remained. Bleak sun rays entered the room and illuminated it how a thousand cannonballs of colors collide and disperse producing nothing but white in the end. The light reflected on one of the desks remaining covered with heavy dust. She could still read words written in white thick marker, “Heart shaped box”. At once, a face came to her mind and she caught herself smiling. Even standing in between the ruins of a place she once cherished, there she was, standing and smiling at the words. Of course, Selena had written them. She loved Kurt Cobain. She remembered how Afghani down the end of the market sold old cassettes of American and European bands at high price because it was forbidden and you had to be careful in purchasing them. Her walk down the memory lane was small lived and soon she found herself sneezing because the dust was getting to her. She pulled her scarf ends over her face and only her eyes could be seen as she examined the room. It was as if she wanted to soak it all in, the before and after of it all and never let it out of her memory. She wanted it deeply engraved on the density of her cerebrum.

The room smelled of gun powder and smoke with a tint of pine smell from the forest nearby. It’s a miracle how nature has the tendency to mix with even the catastrophically ruined things in life and make them appear beautiful or still give them a small piece of beauty so that they too can glimmer like nature does in all its glory. The walls that were once covered with bright posters that she and her friends made, were now torn and some on the ground. A piece of the wall from the left side of the room was completely on the ground and the bricks scattered along the way giving room for animals to enter-mainly mice-to come and make home. She heard the birds, she heard the rattle sound from down the street but it was unfamiliar. The sounds she used to hear so often during the old times, the sounds that were familiar back then now carried unfamiliarity in them and she could sense it. Some sounds were missing like laughter, talking and mainly joy.

She walked over the broken wooden chairs and distorted desks. The blackboard still had 12/01/2015 written on it. Present 25. Absent 2. She saw chalks on the floor spilled out like a psychedelic pattern and the teachers chair intact. She saw a piece of poster on the floor and picked it up. Sweeping off the dirt it read, “Ye apki class hai, isay saaf rakhna apka kaam hai kyun k safai nisf iman hai” (This is your class and keeping it clean is your responsibility because cleanliness is half of faith).

She read the lines a few times and then looked over her surrounding-ruined. How was she to explain to God if he asked? That religious extremist won’t get that they just took half of her iman (faith) from her in the process of destroying her school.

I am a prostitute.

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I put on my mascara and line my eyes
Doll up my face and wear a fake smile
Put on my best clothes
Put on my best self
Concealing what lies within
The screeches of my soul slowly diminishing

I stand in parking lots
You will find me under the streetlights too
Revealing my skin
A vulnerable prey for men
Being your lust
I stand outside fancy hotels

You stop and stare at my body
Glance up and down like a tiger eyeing its prey
I let you do it and not object
Because society cast me out as a lower grade
I smile from the outside but my heart dies
Hunger does not see morals is what I learned

We bargain and set off to a cheap motel
Where your lust will be fulfilled
And my hunger later met
You may have a wife, a sister or daughter, my age?
But why does it matter because you are a man
And society taught you to objectify whatever you can

You finish it off within an hour
I get my payment and we go opposite roads
I’ll never see you again and you might not see me
You’ll pick one again later someday and I pick another man for later tonight
But you had the pleasure of my body
And in return I had the pleasure of food for my body

I am a prostitute the one you just met
I fulfill your desires the ones that she couldn’t do
You shun me out and give me no respect
But, you are the one who created me in the first place to be exact
I am a prostitute the one you just met
You will find me at night in the corners

I fill your desire and hunger for sex
You fill my desire for survival on earth
Hunger knows no boundaries
Poverty crashes its way through everything
The path we take to just survive
Sometimes are the ones we never imagined we would take.

I am a prostitute the one you just met.
There are a hundred like me
You will someday meet

Born into a society

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I am born into a society
Where death is a blessing and life a curse
Where humans are statistics and numbers
60 killed and 25 injured

I am born into a society
Where the rich get richer
The poor die hungry
Where food is enough and plenty
But thrown out into the streets

I am born into a society
Where empty smiles hide unhappiness
Money and sex are answer to all
Where people chug in alcohol to forget
Depression is common and pills are frequent

I am born into a society
That consumes more than it can take
Greedy eyes and full stomachs
Where massive consumption is okay
Power is the only outlet and defeat not an option

I am born into a society
Where the law of money prevails
Thrown into never ending wars
Not of our making
We fight for any glorious name

I am born into a society
Where hospitals treat the privilege
The lesser ones die on the pavements
Where old men control young lives
Grin and laugh while the labor class dies

I am born into a society
Where being a girl is a shame
You need a man to walk with you
To protect you and feed you
Or else get chewed up by the wolves and later thrown away

I am born into a society
Where nobody knows what happiness is
The jails are full and the asylums plenty
Everyone pretends to be the best
And yet crumble in powerful hands

I am born into a society
Where freedom is a state of mind
It remains not an expression but a word
You get shot in the head
Or locked up
If you say what is on your mind

I am born into a society
That glorifies wrong
That is divided into classes
The lower ones get nothing at all

I am born into a society
Where boundaries are plenty
Harmony nowhere to be found
Where color, creed and race define you
Not the deeds that you have done

I am born into a society
Where we are a part of somebody else’s story
Too afraid to write our own

I am a product of this society
Too tangled in chains and ropes
Of religion, nation and imposed ideals.

I am a product of this society
Who claims to be happier, healthy and perfect
Unaware what lies deep in my soul

Her twisted world

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The voices around her grew clear and the colors faded away washing everything in the shades of dark black till there was no difference whether she had her eyes closed or open. In the dark chamber where she had confined herself mentally now took on a more realistic appearance or maybe she was just hallucinating like always. It is a great feeling to hallucinate and create the surroundings you want. Sometimes, an escape from the real world and a lapse into her own world was one of the sweetest moments she relished just like a child relishes on the last piece of candy.
Here no failures or defeats existed but only a sense of sheer deadness that held all the serenity and peace she ever wanted in life. The sound of the water dripping grew clear. Drop by drop onto the wooden floor. There she lay still as wood becoming more aware of her body pressing against the coldness that came from the open window. The fan slowly hummed the sound of a moth. The clock made its usual ticking sound and here she realized that each tick represented a moment of the past. All she heard were noiseless noises that occupied her mind as she lay. Darkness had instilled into her bones and crept through her veins marking each territory.
She felt her hands moving around her. She traced the outline of the wooden floor and kept reaching out as an attempt to grasp something but not expecting to catch it. Finally, her hands touched what seemed like another body. What was that she touched? Was there someone else in the room with her? She got up in a hurry but couldn’t make out what it was because everywhere she looked, darkness encompassed her. Trembling hands and with a fast heartbeat she made out the outline of what seemed like a body. After tracing out the curves and ridges did she land on what seemed to be the thud of a heart. Thud! Thud!
It was alive. It was breathing, but too dark to distinguish anything. Her patience was running out and she craved for a source of light to make out who it was. She never hoped for a day when she would be wishing for the light so badly, but here she kneeled on the body trying to find the light to see who it was.
Until, it moved. The body move and she moved back scared at whoever it may be. Her heart anticipated of something mixed with fear but hope. The man opened its eyes to reveal gold color lights. The gold color illuminated all in its path and she made out a strong jaw line and a manly face wearing a stern look. The silhouette showed some features clearly while others remained a blur,
“You are?” she said in a trembling voice
“I am you childish redemption. I am your sin of lonely nights. I am the love you deceived in pursuit of lust. I am the innocence you exchanged for cleverness”
The body laid itself down, again. The words were being digested by her mind when she saw the body melt into the ground like it never existed. It was gone now but the words remained still in the air with the same heaviness.
The dark grew strong and the sound of water splashing on the wooden board continued. The fan hummed the same tune and she sat there becoming more aware than ever. Maybe, she was hallucinating again.

Summer’ 14 comes to an end.

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10552449_799966916732191_1878559565516414732_nLike everything in life comes to an end or changes so did this time period of my life. Summer ’14 has officially ended with a whole lotta lessons learned and memories collected. It all started in June when I was hopelessly wondering how on earth would, I spend three months alone and with intolerable boredom. Well surprises happen and life takes the most unexpected turns and you’re just baffled and dumbfounded on “how did I end up here”. I won’t be going into details but what it taught me is the highlight. This summer I learnt a whole bunch of lessons and some were not so easy but hey! I drank bitter poison to make myself a better individual so it was worth it. At times, I did feel like just getting it done with and quitting. *morbid I know* but here is what it taught me.

I learnt that heartbreaks are inevitable and it is bound to happen to everyone (for some a lesson once learnt is enough and for people like me let us just say we wear our hearts out on our sleeves). The way you deal with it is what defines us in the end. You’ll later laugh at the silly goon you were if you overcome emotional obstacles. People change and expecting from them is the worst punishment you can give to yourself. It is better to let people be people and you be you. Once, everything ends you will only be a better person and stronger than you were before. Life is too short for regrets or hate.

I learnt that art and music is the best companion and little siblings are a blessing in disguise. A random hug or a naughty joke (your cherished secrets) can be the best memories. Music is a therapy that soothes the soul and laughter is the best medicine that can accompany it. Even random laughing is the best thing to have happened. You can spend hours just talking to someone and have the time of your life or be in the most hip party of the year and dread it. People come and go but those who are worth keeping- you will know from the very start or eventually learn with time. No hurry. It is okay to take time.

I learnt that at times it is better to takes risks and do not be afraid of trying new things in life. Changes are scary but monotony is more agonizing. If you are open to new things then you will learn a lot. Learning a lot just means understanding how the world works. Stepping out of the comfort zone and taking up risks is the most exhilarating thing ever. Once you overcome challenges you will feel the difference it made to your soul.

I learnt that people are not so different and that everyone has a story similar to yours in the core. Human nature is not that distinct and we just have a different ways of sugar coating it and dealing with it. My journey in Asia taught me A LOT. It taught me that in the background everyone is the same. Colors, race, creed-nothing defines us and in the end we’re all humans drunk on life and high on pain&happiness, trying to leave a mark on mother earth in any way possible. Friendships made and conversations shared probably make up the best times of your life. Cultures, borders and land do not define us in the end but only we do. There are good people and there are bad people then there are people who are a bit different but still lovable, and your behavior is the most important thing, Goodness is bound to follow. People are kind and it is the circumstances that change them for a while but still kindness is basic human instinct.

The last thing I learnt was that time is a very strange concept that will require a lifetime to grasp. It can change a whole lotta thing in a matter of seconds and usually the best things happen if you do not fret about it but take it as it is. Summer sadness, Summer madness, Summer love and summer fun- all are locked safely in the density of my cerebrum for eons to come.

I would specially like to thank everyone I met back in Indonesia for being such a memorable part of my life and teaching me a whole lot about people and life. And Ayu Sekripsia ( we’ll meet someday in New York) and Cazadira Fediva ( you’re always going to be a panda and I’ll come to Indonesia on your wedding). ^_^

I am a war child.

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war

In the morning, it is dark. The nights are even darker. The only lights are gunshots and rocket fires. Smoke filled lanes. Abandoned houses and streets. We are crammed in little rooms. Crammed in underground bunkers. I have seen more death than life. I am just a child. I think my heart dies a little inside, every time, I hear that someone I love is no longer alive. I am a war child. Living in square rooms. Living in square lives. This is what my life reduced to. This is of what remains, of what I thought would be a wonderful life turned out to be death and fight. The weekdays pass and the weekends go. I hear screams, shouts, and nothing more. I am a war child. Trapped in a square life. I have no escape. I cannot go back in time. I cannot rewind my life. What I have seen in my life cannot be unseen. The sounds of drones cannot be unheard.
Knock! Knock! They come on our doors. When we refuse to open it, they bash it and break it through. With big guns and badges on suits, dressed up in grey helmets and brown boots. They kick us around like animals. Parade around the room. Call us names. Curses and abuse. Grab my sisters by the hair. Take them to another room. All I hear are screams and shouts. All I see is deadly grins when they come out. My mother keeps weeping. My father went numb. Trapped in a square life. Trapped with no way out. My brother went to war. He said he would fight for the homeland. I heard the news on Sunday. I realized the last good hug we had was months ago. He was hit in the chest twice in two rounds. I realized I would not feel the warmth of his body against mine, anymore. My friends are all gone. I have no idea where they went. I miss playing with them. The grown up games are no fun to play. I tasted fear. I clenched onto hope. However, a pain throbs in my heart when I think of going outside and seeing the playground in such a mess. I tasted blood in my mouth, again. We are out of food. The electricity is gone. The sounds of sirens and cannons are all around. I am a war child. I am as I am. Nothing to see here. Nothing to read here. Just another story of a war child. Just another tale of large-scale massacre.

I am a street child

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I am a street child. The shallow lanes my home. When I was five, my family sold me to a man who claimed to make me a hero. I left my mothers finger and clutched onto the mans, who claimed he could make me earn more and so my family would not have to worry,anymore. He took me into a dark place. Mysterious and gloomy it was. The walls reeked with decay of metal and the floor screamed with pain of its own. He placed me on the floor and soon I was unconscious, but I woke up to knew why the floor screamed of pain for so long. I awoke with broken limbs, I perfectly had them two hours ago. He claimed to make me a hero, made me a crippled zero. It was agony and pain, the sort you would not know. Have you ever just woken up to find, that you will not be walking without sticks anymore? He laughed as I sobbed and saw my deformed limbs-useless on the cold floor. A stabbing pain in my heart- I knew my dreams were broken, alas! An inflicted wound on my existence- I knew I was nothing more than a cripple. "Get used to it", he said And after months of crying I did. My entity died, my hope shattered and I came to the conclusion that I was nothing more than a beggar. I replaced it all with nothingness. Nothing mattered to me anymore. I am a street child. I knock on your fancy car doors. I beg for money. I beg for pity. I beg for change and nothing more. Scorching sun, rainy days, summer, winter and spring are all the same. The shallow lanes are my home. They are my solace. I have friends now, and we are all the same. Playing with our broken limbs and walking sticks. Smoking a cigarette a day. The morning comes and we get ready for work. The night comes and we count the pennies we earned. I am a street child and nothing more. "Sahab jee, kuch paisay he de do."

I am a street child. The shallow lanes my home. When I was five, my family sold me to a man who claimed to make me a hero. I left my mothers finger and clutched onto the mans, who claimed he could make me earn more and so my family would not have to worry,anymore. He took me into a dark place. Mysterious and gloomy it was. The walls reeked with decay of metal and the floor screamed with pain of its own. He placed me on the floor and soon I was unconscious, but I woke up to knew why the floor screamed of pain for so long. I awoke with broken limbs, I perfectly had them two hours ago. He claimed to make me a hero, made me a crippled zero. It was agony and pain, the sort you would not know. Have you ever just woken up to find, that you will not be walking without sticks anymore? He laughed as I sobbed and saw my deformed limbs-useless on the cold floor. A stabbing pain in my heart- I knew my dreams were broken, alas! An inflicted wound on my existence- I knew I was nothing more than a cripple.
“Get used to it”, he said
And after months of crying I did. My entity died, my hope shattered and I came to the conclusion that I was nothing more than a beggar. I replaced it all with nothingness. Nothing mattered to me anymore.
I am a street child. I knock on your fancy car doors. I beg for money. I beg for pity. I beg for change and nothing more. Scorching sun, rainy days, summer, winter and spring are all the same. The shallow lanes are my home. They are my solace. I have friends now, and we are all the same. Playing with our broken limbs and walking sticks. Smoking a cigarette a day. The morning comes and we get ready for work. The night comes and we count the pennies we earned. I am a street child and nothing more.
“Sahab jee, kuch paisay he de do.”