an act of walking away.

What happens beyond the point when you both realize that you are losing each other? there is silence, you suddenly have nothing to say that’ll make conversation go on so instead you both try to find ways to walk out (out of conversation for now). it is also very oddly and sadly funny that you’re not sad about it anymore. or at least it doesn’t hurt you the way you always thought it would. instead you are thinking about all other things that are happening around you; you listen to a child screaming in the distant neighborhood ‘Papa,Papa’.

next you catch yourself lost in a disconnected memory, how your brother snatched a photograph of your father and you cried in silence for losing your father to him. you complained about it to the universe and the universe took care of it, you still remember that grey sky of your childhood evening. those first few raindrops that made you forget about complaining, and you kept looking at evening grayness as tears kept running your cheeks.


there is no rainfall this time, maybe universe too thinks its too soon to indulge in the incident of you two walking away, slowly. you know the process, soon you’ll start falling out of each other’s lives and then eventually the place will be empty of each other. you’ll sometimes walk past that place like tenants of a house who once lived their and can only see their past there and never imagine  a future in there.

“its all planned, maybe this is also a proof of something, something that we don’t know of yet.”

maybe your words will keep echoing the emptiness of place.


Places, other than these

A collection of untouched memories and unwritten time,A tide to wash away stains from the past,

Some arrivals cease the darkness they say

Just like arrival of dawn through the grey of night

But take me to places, other than these

thought process

you always knew you’d do better than this, din’t you? anyway, rise up, a year has passed to the events you still keep thinking about

come on, there is nothing wrong with trying on those pairs of new sandals, they are never gonna stay new and tagged after this moment

walk in them, apply a lipstick, adore your image in the mirror and live up

or may be just go back to your old boring desk and start typing again

The Shadow I grew up in #ProudToBeMyMum

Until this campaign #ProudToBeMyMum, I never thought about my relation with my mother, I just thought it was ever present, ever there and needn’t be talked about; but now that I think I can talk about it for hours, talk about things and minute details that we share.

They say shadows are a negative image but how can they be when while I was growing up I used to follow my mother to fields trying to catch up with her shadow, and she adjusting her pace so to shelter me from the blazing sunlight.

And many years down the lane now that she has moved places for us, adjusted her lifestyle, her likings, and dislikings; sometimes even her relationship with her siblings because ‘I am a mother before any other relation’ I can always trace back my existence to my mother, like its natural, like it’s the very logical thing to do.

I am not claiming to be a tiny part of how amazing she is but I am learning each baby step at a time to mould myself in her image so I can be proud in my heart when I say I am #ProudToBeMyMum. I know that is a pursuit, a life long journey but other than I am thankful to her, I owe my everything to her; from teaching me words, for rendering me a sense to make sense of my speech in days when I was myself not very sure about sounds I was producing.

I owe it to her for training the fighter in me through all those days that life throws at us. I owe it to her for passing on to me this art of story-telling for she knew I needed a companion for days she couldn’t always be near me to comfort me.

I am #ProudTobeMyMum and I know I’ll share stories of our belonging to each other for as long as I live, to my generations, through my words and my life; for there is no me without my mother.

When Mira Sethi Unfollowed Me….


Well, the story, of course, starts with a follow back from her account on Insta. I was casually scrolling down my Insta feed late at night when I saw Mira Sethi in my mentions and that she liked one of my write-ups and followed me. The first thing I did was take a screenshot of course, but the first thing after this cliched first thing I refreshed my notifications to see if it was real. Once that I was sure I sent that screenshot to few of my friends who also went and checked Mira’s profile if it was real (only that they mentioned it later :D) and afterwards I did the second cliched thing, I posted it on social media accounts.

Between the giggles and laughter, I had this fear which I was too afraid to admit or say out loud for what if my saying it make it happen. What if Mira Sethi unfollowed me in the morning just cause I thought about it, I won’t be able to forgive myself. I wanted to DM her, thank her, and say something I have been meaning to say but I didn’t for what if that makes me sound too eager?

But she unfollowed me anyway, looks like my happiness had a short life. My reaction? I was devastated. The first thing that always kicks in these kind of situations was my ego of course. My ego told my ‘self’ that I should block her, unfollow her; for how can one follow and unfollow you, how can they be so rude. But, but like all such situations, I don’t like when my ego wins so I had to calm it down and defeat it which I did, thankfully.

I thought about pros of the situation, and of course, the cons but let’s talk about pros first.


. I am happy that she acknowledged me even if that was for a night. she is my mentor/ inspiration when it comes to writing or the way she carries herself in her life and this strengthened that ( it wasn’t gonna change even otherwise)

. I was kind of nervous and afraid of posting what to do, what not to do, I had fears for example: how am I gonna face people around me and tell them that she unfollowed especially when I had posted screenshots (I deleted them in the heat of moment and I regret it for I lost a memory to my heated reaction)

. because she unfollowed I am finally writing a blog post after ages *wink*


Well, none of course. Maybe I lost few followers on Instagram but that’s okay. It happens all the time anyway.

One thing to be sure is this left me more motivated to work on my goals, to fulfil them and it might sound far-fetched at the moment but maybe someday if I publish my work I can befriend her. Nothing wrong with dreamin’ right?

But while we are at it I know I have lots of struggles, lots of fears to overcome, lots of things to face. So, from today I’ll start working on my goals more energetically. Thank you, Mira Sethi, for making me face and accept my fears and imperfections, it was worth it!!

Here is to Strong Women!

I write about silence that plays on my mother’s lips before forming shy and afraid words or silence that crept into creases on my grandmother’s skin and made home there; I write about a silence when that woman stole a glance at me and skin around her eyes gathered in layers of fear of time and people and of surroundings; I write about silence that is not rendered the right space on bodies of its bearers, while it keep looking for other names to adjust around, a silence that digs deeper than their skins and reaches the third dimension of being, that reaches the soul and looks upon us through eager eyes.

And then I realized that Silence when it is associated with women, is not mere silence, it becomes a noise, a tool for change, a symbol of their strength sometimes. Silence is their way of protesting against the fact when they are when they are taken for granted, or when they are not seen for who they are. That is their way of putting forward vital questions like how long can you go without us?

And then there is another set of women, and what looks like a revolution in their acts to others around them, is only common sense. These women in their own simple acts are ambassadors for change,  working for an unpromising future but future shall arrive one day. They are often talked about and called crazy for it is the fashion to talk about them. But here in this issue, they are talking about themselves, how they are playing their role in bringing the change, as future women or for future women.

Faiza Yousaf– NED graduate and post graduate, runs a consultant company helping small businesses (especially Women), executive member of OPEN Pakistan, volunteers for INJAZ Pakistan, and is recently working on a USAID-funded ‘gender equity program’ with Aurat Foundation and IBA. She teaches technology at IU and FAST-NUCES and loves to read and rant on twitter (@FaizaYousuf).


“I run WomenInTechPK, it’s a community for women who are directly or indirectly related to the local technology industry. It’s a Women only group so that women can talk freely about their issues, seek advice and opportunities, find mentors and form collaborations with each other. I have spent seven years in the tech industry and I have seen and experienced all kinds of issues that are very gender specific.  Women usually experience a more hostile working environment and this hostility makes them leave the Tech industry as soon as they get a chance. The ratio of women leaving their careers in tech is very high worldwide and in Pakistan, the situation isn’t great either. My goal is to reach out and include women from all over the country so that we can start an open dialogue about diversification in the workplace and the role of women in Technology Leadership. This will create awareness which in turn can make employers/industry leaders change policies and help their organizations in nourishing a more diversified and inclusive culture.”

Maryam U. Malick– A photographer mommy with a heart of a gypsy. Loves to travel, blog and rant about the daily life struggles of a stay at home/ part time working mom. So if you’re interested to see what she do and what she writes Check her links below


“Well being a stay at home mom of a toddler and working part time as a photographer and blogger, usually, people don’t take your field so seriously or since you work from home they think it’s all la la land for me or for the lot like us. Wallah, it isn’t this easy. No house help whatsoever, demanding work type and equally demanding husband and super clingy baby as he/she is too attached to you as that’s all she interacts with makes all of it really tough.

When I get really worked up, I rant so much on the blog and write everything that’s bothering me. And I love it when I get the overwhelming response from other moms like me that you spoke our heart. We can relate to you and we found a part of us in your piece and you gave us the courage to talk about such personal stuff and gain back our courage. It just makes my day/week (and at times the whole month haha) I don’t think we women or mothers specifically have to do NASA type or scientific type stuff to stand tall among the crowd or to show the empowerment. We are women! That’s enough reason to celebrate and be proud of. No man can have their mind juggle between so many thoughts and emotions and physical and mental roller coaster like we do. We made a little human, that’s our super power and it makes us all super hero.”

Sidra Amin– She is a 22-year-old Mechatronics Undergrad, and serving as Overseer Young Women Writers’ forum, Editor-in-chief of Self-publishing wing at Daastan, Creative writer at Blimp. She loves poetry and some of her work has been published magazines and e-zines across the world and has been featured in PechaKucha’s events in Germany. She runs a book club known as Peshawar book club and has her own Spoken word organization.


“I am devoted to facilitate writers with publishing opportunities. I have been working closely with women in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa to bring them opportunities where they can express themselves, including but not limited to storytelling, article writing, poetry writing. Most of these women have published themselves in magazines and some even have their books published by Daastan now. My focus is on letting women express everything that goes inside their head, without any fears, so they can get to know each other, empathize with each other, and uplift each other. Words change the world, and I am providing women a platform to change this world into a place where opportunities are available to anyone on the basis of their abilities, regardless of their gender.”

Atiya Abbas– She is a transnational feminist working with Girls at Dhabas, a collective that is working to define public space on their own whims and terms. Since her return from the University of Missouri- Columbia, she has been involved with this collective, arranging events across Karachi and Lahore, protesting harassment on the streets, and setting up small tea stalls to engage with the public. In 2016, Girls at Dhabas was featured on BBC World; went onto setting up a Behenchara (female solidarity) Corner at the Women of the World Festival; organized a bike rally to protest street harassment; and conducted multiple workshops and presentations on gender and public space. She has spoken to teenaged girls and young women at Jinnah University and Dawood Public School under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of State and Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network. Keeping up a dialogue on gender, feminism and public space is of immense importance to her and she continues to encourage dialogue about these initiatives.

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“I am playing my part by unlearning everything the patriarchy wants me to be. That means: not seeing women as the enemy but the system that wants to pit us against each other, recognizing when people are acting out of privilege and being aware of my own when approaching others. Most of all, through working with Girls at Dhabas, I want to try and convey to people that there are issues worth fighting and standing up for, even if it is your right to have a cup of tea.”



Irum Zahra– she runs a publishing house named ‘Beyond Sanity Publishing’ and has a poetry collection titled ‘Psychaotic’.



“It is difficult to survive in a world made for men, but I have a strong will and I see myself building a platform that will not only help women with their creative side, but will also enhance the image of Pakistan in the world.




Andleeb Tariq– an Artist with a degree in Clinical Psychology.


“I am trying to tell the world that my degree doesn’t define who I am. I can have a degree in Psychology and still become a full-time Artist. I paint women who are strong and powerful. My paintings give the message of hope to the women around; we as women have the power to make a difference and we can endure much more than we think we can!”



Saba Zain– She is doing Ms in literature in linguistics from Numl and teaches at the city school working as a freelancer with Al Rasub and Indus, Karachi.



“I am trying to break societal taboos by the themes of my short stories which always surround existential crises and negation of free will in our society not only my short stories but by my wall too. And yes I am willing to endure any sort of criticism for that.”

Remembering my Grandfather

I reach his belongings with trembling hands, constantly under the burden of realization that I might not like it if someone tries intruding into my world of belongings only a few months after my disappearance from the physical world.

There is a relatable fear, a shared feeling of discontent; but there is this contentment surviving its paradox existence, deep in the hollows of my heart I find peace. I reason my heart that it is only to preserve that I am reaching his belongings, that some years down the lane someone out there might also want to preserve what I’ll be leaving behind.16295768_1859663257645612_375165787_n

I have multiple emotions at work in my body, I feel dejected as I reach his storage box for how his belongings lay there so naked and at loss of any meanings; and I open it. I detect all the objects one by one, in my futile try to attach any meaning that he left behind in the world for us to grab.

Few of his army souvenirs tucked in one corner of the box, all the invitation letters from his regiment and letters from his colleague and I transcend into afternoons of childhood summer when he would gather us all around and narrate stories of his adventures in the army, his eyes speaking for the pride he felt in his service, his language containing barely any hint of pride.

The memory now takes me back to summer evenings in my village house as a long row of chorpoyes was set in the center of a courtyard lined by verandas all around. Soon after Maghrib prayers he would enter the house, always at a fixed time and his radio in hand. He would set it up on the side table, tune into a news channel and rest his head on his hands.16395797_1859663244312280_1697586279_n

The echoes of news on the radio still play in my head, my first ever memory of listening to anyone reading out for us in a very serious and somber way and in those fifteen minutes, everything else in the surroundings stopped as if respecting the sobriety of the situation.

Those fifteen minutes later became a part of me and took a broader span in my life years. I stood there to look at the Rome of his belongings that he built over years and from the corner of my watery eyes I can see that the ink is spelled.


Life in a box or boxed life??

The title might seem like a paradox but imagine someone living a paradoxical life, a paradox devoid of meanings, or meanings if there are any denoting only remoteness, or barrenness at other times.

No one wants to talk about the life that women live, and if someone in some cases eventually learns to talk about it, they naturally get offensive, they are naturally on guard as if they have a sacred oath to defend, a duty to teach lesson, a responsibility to amend the majority portion of their society.

Or if a woman is seen talking about her rights, or about lives of her fellow women she is instantly rendered the title of foolish and impractical and anti-men. No one wants to see the other side of the picture where this hatred towards men and society, in general, is taught in a very mechanical way.

It is not fair to call it foolish abruptly for no women was born foolish, they were taught this hatred even if its burden was sometimes too much to carry for themselves. Very early in their childhood when they are thought as less human because they were born a girl, not out of choice, lays foundations for the very easily called ‘foolish behaviour’. They growing up seeing their brothers or other men around cherished and in their little minds, they try to make sense of where did they go wrong to deserve this. From that age, they somehow learn to create a fantasy world for themselves, where they keep telling themselves that someday it is going to be okay, that someday they’ll be as special to someone as their brothers and uncles and husbands and everyone from the opposite gender is.

Time goes on and every time they are made to feel vulnerable, every time they are told that their dreams have less value for they are born in a less privileged group, or when one day they are told that they are not allowed to dream anymore because they have just crossed a boundary in age after which they can’t be human anymore.

From now on they will be enrolled in a new course, a course where they’ll be taught to live for another gender serving egos, first in their own house, then in another house when someone will buy their life rights for a petty amount.

In all such times, these girls, these to be women, keep their flickering fantasy alive, they still – deep in their hearts- believe this world to be wrong and their fantasy world where they’ll be treated human to be right. They keep on playing this game, bargaining for little gains in life- some of these acts are named foolish later on.

But then someday their life, their picture of one right world, their fantasy, their keeper of dreams is shattered, and it keeps deteriorating every time a younger brother scolds them or tells them what is right and how they should be following his orders, every time a husband beats them just because they didn’t fulfill the certain idea of right in his mind, every time she looks at things taking shape, reality shaping itself into a gruesome object, opening as an undefined extract idea where a girl is by default into a box; her life merely defined by the confines.

And their dreams sway along with the swaying opinions of society. Dreams and emotions sway as they are shifted from one box to another, each time giving away a part of themselves.

How do you then think that surviving under the fantasy blanket, which is exploited and tossed and turned, is foolish when you helped them shape them all the while.

کہانیوں کے متلاشی

ہم کہانیوں کے متلاشی جانے کس جُستجو کی تِشنگی بُجھانے کے سفر پہ ہیں یہ تو نہیں معلوم ، لیکن ہماری تلاش ہمیں نئی کہانیوں کے رستے ضرور ڈال دیتی ہے۔ اُن راستوں پہ ہم سب کُچھ سمیٹتے ہیں، جذبات کی آڑ میں سب مِلتا ہے: مُحبت، نفرت، دھوکا، منافقت، حق، اور شاید مزید حق کی جستجو اور اِن سب جذبات کا منّبہ جھوٹ۔ اور پھر ایسے کسی راستے پہ ہمارا سامنا کسی ایسی کہانی سے ہو جاتا ہے جو ہماری زندگیوں میں قیام کو آتی ہے، ہماری زندگی کا حصّہ بننے کو آتی ہے۔ یہ کہانی ہماری بے جوڑ کہانیوں کو رنگ و روپ دیتی ہے۔ سنوارتی ہے۔ ٹھہراؤ لاتی ہے۔ اور پھر ہمیں اپنا عادی بنا کر ایک دِن یوں روپوش ہو جاتی ہے جیسے اِس کی حقیقت ہمارے تصور سے زیادہ کُچھ نہ تھی، اور ہم اپنے تصور کو حقیقت بنانے نکل پڑتے ہیں، دیوانہ وار پھرتے ہیں، جنگلوں، بیابانوں، اور صحراؤں کا سفر کرتے ہیں۔ ہم محلوں کی گلیوں اور بازاروں کی راه داہداریوں میں دُھندلاتے چہروں میں اپنی کہانی کا عکس ڈھونڈتے ہیں۔ ہر در ٹٹولنے کے بعد جب ہم کسی ایسے لمحے میں ارداہِ مصمم کر لیتے ہیں کہ اب اور نہیں، اب یہی زندگی ہےکہ بیٹھے رہیں گے تصورِ جاناں کیے ہوئے! ابھی ہمارے دل و دماغ نے سکون کے دروازوں پہ دستک دینے کی ٹھانی ہی ہوتی ہےکہ اچانک ہماری کھوئی ہوئی داستان ہمارے سامنے آکھڑی ہوتی ہے، ہماری آنکھوں میں آنکھیں ڈالے، ہمارا گریبان پکڑے جھنجھوڑتی ہے کہ بتا! یہ تھی تیرے عشق کی حقیقت، یہ تھی تیری جستجو کی صداقت، کہ میں نے ذرا دیر کو پرده پوشی کیا اختیار کی تُو چل پڑا سکون کی تلاش میں؟ کہ میاں اب یہاں سے تیرا راستہ، تیرا سفر میرے حوالے۔۔۔۔

A Kind Of Home.

(my collaboration with Lavanya Arora from India)

Why does home have to be a place (or several), or even “that feeling”, or a person (or several)? Why does home have to be anything? For most of my adult life, I haven’t felt any sense of belongingness, so I have tried to search for it everywhere. On this journey, I have mostly felt alone and dejected as  if there’s no one who can understand me, yet I know I belong to this niche of people who think they belong nowhere. The kind of people Murakami writes about in his novels.

When I look at my school friends who haven’t managed to get out of our hometown, I see a common thread connecting all of them: lack of growth. Maybe they have grown on their own terms, but what is growth if it doesn’t make you appreciate something other than what it inherently yours or related to your culture or that you have been conditioned to love or appreciate? Casual sexism, racism, being jealous of people who can speak proper English and make fun of them, topped with a spoonful of hypocrisy; cooked in a pressure cooker of intolerance, masked as being polite, being curt, being well-mannered, being the personification of a privileged upbringing. All of this chokes me.

Every time I come to this so-called home, this hometown, all of these things flux through my head. In and out and in and out and in and out. How does one become idiot enough to not be able to see through this farce? How does one know of this being a farce and yet be a part of it? Doesn’t it hurt their conscience or do they not know that other perspectives exist too? Do they even spend a minute from their busy schedule on thinking about these things I break my head over for no reason at all?

And so I constructed my home in Nada, in the center of the halo of light, in the constellations on the nights of abandoned skies, and everywhere that was not concrete. I constructed a place in my heart, in my mind, in my soul and called it home. And my body became a manifestation of this home, welcoming everyone, especially ones who were not allowed a home anywhere on Earth. Because the places they once called home had borders now.
I carried my home in my mind, raising my ‘self’ from an existential crisis and thus I had more chances of leaving a place that was in shape of concrete. I wandered in jungles, in strange cities and streets, I ran into faces strange yet unknown, I witnessed 3 a.m. skies, I climbed mountains and swam the deepest oceans.
And with this home, I knew it was no more a place to go back to but a place that I always carried with myself. I am no more the part of flux. I am a creator of my own flux, I pause and play it to my own liking, I take breaks often and I ponder when I want to. I don’t think about reasons for doing anything. In the sanctuary of my home reasons are boring. I experience life, for the sake of it.