When The Death Took Its Toll

This is a story of a girl named Zainab and through this story, I want her to be remembered because no one else would keep her memory otherwise.

I am sorry that your story shall be remembered only after your death, I wish I was able to do anything more than writing about it.

As the story goes, she breathed in a poor family. Life had already figured out the difficult track for her even before she decided one for herself, something that makes you question the realities of life, of how long can we go in our choices in deciding about our life? Or just when we get to think that we are about to decide something, life leaves us alone in the hands of death.

I remember the day I visited her in the hospital. It was just another day in October. Something about October afternoons makes it very gloomy. The effect was added by shutter down shops and a shutdown city because of Muharram holidays, the city, in general, was a picture of some war trodden premises. The initial impact of the building was somewhat a relief for it had a better building in comparison to everything around.

We were received by her brother at the entrance of the hospital. The initial impact soon blurred as we entered the hospital, the inside of the building was another story all in all as if we had entered some old, abandoned castle; as if we are shifted from one-time zone of the life outside to another time that is receding. The main entrance was closed and the make-shift entrance door had a counter in the shape of a room with a man sitting in all idleness behind a desk that looked like a piece of the antique collection, few patients were roaming here and there.

The story was so obvious yet some silent corner in my heart prayed it to be not true. But every step I took, it carried me further into a state of hopelessness. There was no hospital staff in sight, no patients in its waiting area and for the first time, I disliked  the quietness of the hospital.

The whole building was deserted, rooms empty, and without any equipment. There were beds in few of the rooms but without any bedsheets and unattended half-emptied IV bottles added to the horror of the place. As we entered the hall where Zainab occupied a bed with few other patients. All of them had questions in their eyes and unsung songs of suffering at their lips. We reached her bed, we greeted and prayed for her health and sat down. I was removed from the present state of affairs as long as I was in the hospital, I still can’t forget the expressions on her face; she could almost see her death approaching.


Something that I learned that day, rather a life lesson: the feeling of hopelessness and the feeling of your helplessness when combined are the worst kind of feeling to ever experience in your life. I saw that in Zainab’s eyes, I saw that she knew that there is no way this hospital could save her, I saw that she knew that she can’t afford a better hospital. I saw it all and I felt helpless, because whenever I would talk about doing something about the scenario the same people who were crying for her life would make fun of me. I saw and I silently cried.

It was a government hospital, a project by the last government regime and it started with all the hype and equipment, but as soon as the government changed so did the condition of the hospital. The equipment and machinery from the hospital were taken to another hospital project started by the present government. The staff or members appointed for the hospital never cared enough to visit it very often and handed it all over to few people with poor knowledge and practice of nursing. The elite or professional of the area, well they were mostly busy in running their personal clinics and hospitals, or never cared about what happens to people of slums.

The result? Thousand such unnoticed stories like the one I mentioned above. No one was ready to do anything about it, no hopes from the government or people. There is no reasonable hospital between Rawalpindi and Mianwali area, and people mostly get admitted to such hospitals and wait for their death to arrive or if they finally decide to go to either city after paying high rents for the conveyance, mostly they go back home with a dead body and a loan at their hand; and long before the deceased reaches their grave, the family members are already thinking about how to deal with the amount of loan.

Zainab died te next day, but she left many stories unfolded this time. She left many questions hung in the thick air of our inhumane daily living. Do you belong to any such area? Are you doing something to save the life of Zainab living in that premises? I don’t remember when did this shift happen, but I don’t like the shift where its all about money and ourselves. I am not sure if I have delivered my sentiments in this short piece of writing but I’ll end the story with prayers for her soul, and prayers that no more Zainabs would have to pay the sacrifice of life for being poor.




What Art Means to Me

Edited by: Nikhil Joseph

Art according to me remains subjective to one’s experiences, thought the process and how they go about expressing the same. It can be a handwritten letter, it can be an illustration, it can be an experience worth sharing. But always remember art is an ever-evolving medium, which breaks through religious boundaries, family traditions, personal experiences and perceptions created by the world over. For the larger good art according to me brings people together to create something which they believe in, a body of work which they would like to share with the outside world, not to be validated but to simply show the world that are many ways to express an expression. Elucidated below is my account of finding art in daily life.

A window panel carefully placed in one corner of the room exhuming confidence through great beauty creating a rather surreal space caught my sight as I entered the house. There were bells intricately placed on one side, vintage bottles adding to the already rustic feel inviting me over with the smell of dry flowers placed neatly in them. The smile was from a photograph of a young couple enthusiastically in love with each other, reminding her of how the unwavering energy has still not left their eyes as the years went by. It was then that I caught her looking at me, still smiling the same smile I was looking at in the frame a few moments ago. Her skin may have seasoned now but the smile even more beautiful, brighter. I was in a hurry, visiting her house on behalf of my mother who wanted me to pick up a dress for her to wear tonight. From how she went about explaining the photograph I stood and stared at for minutes together, I figured she had in my moment caught me wondering about how I wish happiness could be this way, today. She, of course, had no need to mention how happy they were back then, I could see that myself. She then offered me to stay to share her evening tea table, to which I readily agreed since after listening to this bit of her story I was in no hurry, anymore.

She left and came back with some tea spreading it’s effervescence through the teapot and some neatly arranged eatables, cutlery all vintage and bright coloured. While we were sipping our tea, I lost myself to thoughts of how in the race of keeping pace with the pace of time we are leaving behind simple yet captivating traditions like sharing evening tea tables and conversations. I was mesmerised by the mere fact of how she had preserved so many memories of her life in the way she was living, it was so painstakingly alluring. She told me how after ten years of her marriage her husband left them in this wide world and I was mesmerised at the fact how she kept him alive in her house even today. She told me about her children left the house as they grew up and took their own path in life. It was magical how she had not disowned them for moving on, for she understood at some point in our lives moving on becomes inevitable. But she had kept relics from the days of their childhood, to keep a piece of them with her even when they were not here.

When I got up to leave, she brought in the dress and a separate little bag for me, a gift for I was visiting her for the first time. As I stepped out of that house, I felt in myself the rush of euphoria, the euphoria of knowing something comely about life. That day I came to know that all those times when we are wandering off to faraway places to find art it is living in the most simple, most mundane, most banal realities of life. To me, at that moment, that house was an art in itself. That house prodded me of many beautiful houses that I had visited before, of their arrangements, of their walls, of their sense of life they carried, which by the way is unique to every house, of the shelves containing prime specimens each piece with a story of its own, of the tableware, of the manner of their table setting, of the demeanor how guest room had everything in its particular place. These houses are the pictorial exhibit of all the lives they have once inhabited, from the weathered walls to outlasted photo frames, these silent portrayals of life were a story in themselves, each of them if looked closely. All those imperfections, narratives, untold stories, stains on the walls, or a broken glass on framed picture or a collection of old books is art, for art is in living, in the manner of how to make that living possible. How imperfect yet intact living remains after all those years. Art is all these people, living their perfect ordinary life; art is these little moments of joy. Art is all those people who are living in these houses, manifesting art, by merely living.

Coke Studio Favourites

Well, I miss Coke Studio when Rohail Hyatt used to produce it, the music in those days had its rawness, the kind of raw music you can relate to but well, the present one has its own perks and now that the season has ended I have a favourites list from this season. I have shared the list and my reasons for why I like these songs but before I get started here is something I noticed that is comparing music from two different genres, which is kind of illogical, the kind of comparison that we saw last year with Umair Jaswal’s take on ‘Sammi Meri Waar’ in a rock version and this year with ‘Afreen Afreen’ , we have to keep both versions separately and appreciate them for what they are in both cases, that is why they are different versions and you may not like a version and like other bit more than one but there still seems no reason of comparison. Anyway, to carry on with my list of Favourites:

# Aja Re Moray Saiyaan:

Because Zeb Bangash and it was a light, fun song to listen to. It makes me happy every time I listen to it.

# Khaki Banda

Most of the songs on my list are my favourite because of their lyrics because I am inclined towards mystic/ Sufi poetry a bit too much. This is one of those songs, Umair Jaswal and Jahanzeb did justice to the song in their own way.

# Dilruba Na Raazi

For the bits os Pashto and how well Zeb Bangash sang them, I actually tried to learn Pashto singing after listening to this song. *wink wink*

zeb20bangash208-72-1469885443Image Source: google Images

#Uddi Jaa

How immensely talented is Mohsin Abbas, this song is the proof. I was awestruck after listening to this song, lyrics are beautiful, he sang it really really well. And who knew he was such a great lyric writer, yes, Mohsin Abbas wrote this song himself.

#Paar Channa De

Noori and Shilpa Rao did a really well job with all moments of high and low notes in the song, again I love the original version of this song and I separately love these both versions for their own beauty.

#Aaya Laariye

Well, A many of you might have noticed that they messed this song a bit but still the kind of energy this song instills is amazing, Meesha Shafi is icon and she always looks amazing and I love how she experiments with her looks, but that aside it is a nice fun song to listen to again.f5d0291695e3dee1e78cb120a50f5c4cImage Source: Google Images

# Jhalliya

Because it was one of its own kind, though it could have been performed better but still that addition of reading verses and Javed Bashir’s voice made it a nice rendition.

#Lagi Bina/ Chal Mele Nu Chaliye

Saieen Zahoor of course, I mean how amazingly powerful is his voice. This song made me revisit and listen to all of his songs once again. He sings so powerfully that he takes over the music and it doesn’t matter what goes in the background, you just listen to him and pairing Sanam Marvi with Saieen Zahoor always works.


Image Source: Google Images

# Meri Meri

I love what Sara Haider represents, this was different, lyrics were legit good and Sara Haider always sings well.

#Tu Kuja Man Kuja

How can you not appreciate such beautiful lyrics? Both Rafaqat Ali Khan and Shiraz Uppal sang it nice and light. It is on top of my favourites along with Uddi Jaa and Chal Mele Nu Chaliye.

# Rang

We lost such a beautiful voice, while listening to this I was only paying attention to the perfection in Amjad Sabri’s voice without much effort, he was blessed with talent and was one of those people who can charm you without much effort on their part.

578373b63ceeeImage Source: Google Images



A heart shaped Vacuum.

I am in constant shifting phase these days, not very sure about when this is going to end. But mostly I like to put the blame on the phase of my life that I am presently in. but this phase has left a vacuum in me, a vacuum not entirely negative but something that always stay, a vacuum paradoxically staying when everything else is leaving: friends, family, lovers, emotions, feelings, concerns, sensations, words and voices, almost everything or maybe it’s their leaving that caused the vacuum to be there at first place. Who can tell? But these days apart from hours that I spend over-thinking or obsessing over anxiety I am always eager to fill this vacuum with more poems, more books, words and verses, phrases and sentences, and memories of art making and living. The more life draws its grip closer to me the more eager this vacuum seems to be of living, the more conscious it is of the shortness of its breath, it gallops and grasps for energy and vitality and air to live on, so this vacuum is my eagerness to live and learn? Or maybe this vacuum is what my heart left behind when it wanted to leave, from places it was hurt or taken advantage of, to places that were a harbinger of good days and hope. It was like my heart saw those places and it wanted to leave my body and be there, for it could no longer take the pain those who I belonged to were inflicting upon me. It looked at me with eyes of a child, and just like a kind mother my body let it go. it took a part of my mind- imagination- along with itself and last time I heard from them they were at a better place, a place far away from the world, maybe a place Rumi mentioned in his poems, a place beyond the concepts of right and wrong. My logical mind sometimes think of them – heart and imagination- to be selfish to leave us behind just like a jealous sibling, but my body knows how to ignore its complains while affectionately listening to them all the while, cause like a mother it knows how it feels to be at the place it is. So this is how mothers understand their poles apart children? I shift another pose, stretch another knuckle as I resume my writing. But this morning when I woke up I wanted to make art, how did I end up writing? But I want to complete the short story that I was writing, another project of writing I took up last month, and I have that unfinished book on my bedside, a half-remembered poem tucked in my pajama pockets, I have photoshoots all planned up in my mind, and all the recipes I want to try, I remember I wanted to leave social media but I wanted to reach out to people, and somewhere in between wanting to do all these things and indecisions, I keep staring at a wall, as a heart shaped vacuum appears.

And we keep our windows shut

Because it was summer once

And the air was full of mosquitoes

We shut our windows.

Because it was winter once

And there was fog in the air

We shut them again.

We kept shutting our windows

Every summer and every winter

Until we forgot the memory of open windows.

We forgot that there were spring and autumn in between.

We forgot to look at the sky and breathe the air scent

We forgot to look at the creeks on the walls of our neighbours (and our neighbours)

And the marks that seeping rain had left behind

In the form of mud lines on a wall.

We forgot to look out of our windows and our rooms because we had shut them

Through summer, and through winter.

And we forgot to listen to the clatter of the construction around,

A school bus making its way through lanes of life,

A wife smiling at her husband as she wave him goodbye,

A mother looking lovingly at her children as they leave for school,

An elderly woman watering her plants,

We forgot to look at night, changing into mornings

A days sky changing its color,

As it travels from sunny to cloudy and back to sunny,

We forgot to look at the shadows of the houses on the walls on moonlit nights,

Or shadows fighting for their place on otherwise dark nights.

We stopped watching out of windows,

And catching glimpses of birds flying or sudden gushes if air blewing leaves or those first drops of rain on the surface.

We missed all the sounds and sights

And we forgot that we were missing them anyway.


We keep our windows shut.

You have to learn rebellion, Sometimes.

I was born a rebellion
When I was a child I would never buy pink dolls but superheroes// I was the stubborn child of the family

And If I wanted something

They knew there was no way out of it but get it for me
I was very determinant

And so



Learnt that no one comes in my way of determination
This is not my story

As much as I wanted it to be

It is not

And there is nothing much I can do about it
My story is:

I was very intimidated child

Always in fear of male figures

Always dominated by the powerful and the boys in the family
Slowly and gradually

I learnt to weep on my sufferings

To keep myself quiet

And I don’t know when that happened
I grew up to be someone

With thousands of dreams in my head

Sitting in a corner of the house

Dreaming these dreams all day
But I couldn’t face people, with those dreams on my mind

And tell them this is what I wanted

And this is what I like to be

And I got compromised
On my education

My wishes

My ideas and my dreams

I suffered in the region of that compromise

Dying every night

Climbing back to life every morning

Clenching my fists and my soul as I survived it

After living in the suffering for a longer period, one day

I realised

I can’t let my life pass like that

It needs to be changed

And so I spoke

Muttering at first

Wobbling words out of my mouth

Often producing unclear words and nasal sounds

And then,

Words started making sense

I still couldn’t raise my voice

But I was speaking

I could already feel the change

Each time I spoke

Against the wrong

For myself




So you see

Not all of us are lucky enough to be  a born rebel

A born genius

A born professional

A born behaved

And just like you learn all these things, you learn rebellion

And as much as we can complain about that story not being ours

We cannot change that

But we can change our life stories

We can learn rebellion against all that goes wrong

We can learn rebellion against depression and self doubt

We can learn rebellion against all labels that society puts in our way of individuality …. Against all wrongs against us

….. Against keeping quiet

….. Against the story we are born with

We can learn rebellion

We can change our story.

Wuthering Heights// Review.

Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte// 4/5
This is the kind of book which if you reach with certain expectations after heard after it a romance novel shall disappoint you at first and then leave you surprised in a totally different way. It is a romance of different kind, a romance of unattainable, the darker side of love and how love and decisions we make in the fits of our passion travels longer than we think them to be.

It might not be a romantic novel as you perceive it from reviews but it satisfies all your cravings of classic literature, with account of the country sides at length, with accounts of moors and fire chimneys and servants and those huge kitchens all banished and in their worst form but somehow retaining the glory of their past. This book is all about how time effects us all, and how sometimes you are helpless in the face of what comes in life.

And who would have thought that this book will be an account of Hareton and young Catherine’s love affair, all acting for them to be together and ironically their Heathcliff and Catherine’s union too calls for the prior in its manifestation, as if it was a worldly manifestation of achievement of what they have always been longing for.

Throughout the book, a reader however hopes for Heathcliff to amend himself of his character and every time he re-enters into the plot after a short absence you somehow hope for him to return civilised and for him to provide some explanation for his behaviours, thus sympathies remain with him throughout and he did finally become one towards the end thus satisfying the needs of poetic justice.

If you love classics, this book shall not disappoint you, and though it might not serve your need for romantic novel reading yet you’ll somehow be able to appreciate this as a fine piece of literature.

My favourite quote from the novel among many others: ‘ The entire world is a dreadful collection of memoranda that she did exist, and that I lost her.’

Liebster Award? The Liebster Award!!


Blogging is something that I have been meaning to carry on a continuous basis since I signed up for it last year, but somehow I have been failing at my resolution, just like I have been failing to write this blog post every night. Every night I would plan to stay up and write a reply to this beautiful surprise by the most generous of bloggers, and whom I am thankful to have in my list of acquaintances Rimsha Rasul, her blog goes by the name of @auburnrhyme and you need to follow her for a regular follow up on the blog, unlike me.

The reason I couldn’t write this post even after thinking about writing it was my inability to answer questions, I am in that phase of my life where I can catch up hour long conversations but questions, they don’t treat me well these days. anyhow, I have mustered my courage to finally try this and I am finally looking forward from you guys.

But before I carry onto answering questions, lemme introduce you guys to what this term ‘Liebster Award’ is about, in case you are as naive as me to all the updates in the world of blogging. It is basically about connecting different bloggers through a procedure where you answer the questions put forward for you and others nominated along with you by your host, after which you formulate eleven new questions and forward them by nominating other , new people.

Let’s get the questions started:

1. If you could describe your blog in one word/phrase, what would it be?

Now, I am not good with preciseness, but I’ll try. I think that word would be ‘variance’ in the most positive connotation of the word.

2. What is the most important thing you have learned through your blogging journey so far?

Well frankly, I don’t think I have learned much yet, but I would like to learn consistency in writing, though it has helped me reach out to more people, now I know I have a platform where I can put my thoughts out and there are people who can relate to them, in which way I can relate to number of people.

3. What would be one social media feature that you would use in real life if you could?

I am not against social media, just that it’s used should be mentored like all other aspects of life, but I think reaching out to people and making connections is a lot easier here on social media, and it reduces the awkwardness of real life connections if that really is a social media feature.

4. A fact and a lie about you, let your readers guess which one is true.

. I am a terrific writer.

. I am an avid reader.

5. What was your favorite childhood story/book?

I started reading pretty late in my childhood, but I was first introduced to two stories when I started reading which remained recorded in my memory and they were, of course, Urdu. They were titled as ‘ Ali Baba and Chalees Chor’ and ‘Anokhi SHehzadi’.

Fun fact: I often imagined myself in both scenarios from these stories and made up my own stories 😀

6. Describe the most daring thing you have ever done…

The answer might sound little philosophical but I survived and kept my sanity intact through worst days of my life. That’s the only daring thing I could think of right now. And oh yes, I once took 360 spin ride, that too. Decide for yourself which one was most daring, I am sure you guys are better judges than myself.

7. If you could only wear one type of shoes for the rest of your life, what would they be?

This is one tough question, I think khussas/ pumps would do, thoughGod forbid I am ever in that situation.

8. What motivates you to write/blog?

mainly because I am passionate about writing, but then I like to reach out share my thoughts, feelings, experiences with a number of people out there. It’s always good to have people you can communicate with.

9.  What is your dream destination?

If we talk about this world, it wouldn’t be one. I would always like to keep traveling if given the chances. That’s my dream to go out and see new places, meet new people, try new adventures, read books, and write.


10. Assuming it would be safe to use – what would you change the ocean water to, and why?

I wouldn’t do anything to change any aspect of nature, that’s what I love about nature, its perfection in its rawness.

11. Are you a morning or an afternoon/evening person?

I think I am all these and yet none of these. I fall in love with the day, through its different phases but if I had to choose I would love to be a morning person, I have been trying my whole life to my routine for that. (Oh the irony)

I hope you are not disappointed after knowing a little about me and I hope I made sense in all these questions. Further, I will nominate these amazing bloggers:

And auburnrhyme because I would like to see your answers.And my questions for you are:

And my questions for you people are:

  1. What is that one thing that you admire most about yourself?
  2. Do you ever dream of writing a book and getting famous afterward?
  3. Do you believe in falling in love?
  4. What is that one thing that makes you feel blessed, every day?
  5. Does writing save you through all kinds of days?
  6. What do you think often when you look up to the sky?
  7. Do you read one book at a time or multiple books, switching between them?
  8. Do you like writing on paper or you think typing is better? Why?
  9. Which is that one thing that you want to change in your surroundings or people if given a chance?
  10. How do you think we can contribute to making this life better?
  11. What is your philosophy of life?

I’ll be anxiously looking forward to posts from all you wonderful people, happy writing 🙂

Kartography Book Review

Kartography by Kamila Shamsie// 3.5/5You can read this book and experience it on two different levels, as a person living in KARACHI and as an outsider. I belong to the later clan, and though I don’t know how would it feel to read it after living there but I fell in love with this, with Karachi.

The first hundred pages of the book are dull and slow read, but only if you are patient enough to pass on those few pages, and if you are patient enough to let the frustration of the not very understandable story in the start, this book will offer you one of the best surprises. It’s like as the characters in the story grow up so does their story, it becomes more compassionate, more profound with every realization, every new step, every new spilled secret, so much so that towards the end it gasps you in its magic, the kind of beautiful that it hurts.

You will fall in love with Karim, hate him and all in love with him all over again, you journey that love journey along with Raheen and it is safe to say that this will be among my favourite stories from now on.

It is story of how life unfolds on all of us, taking hold of our personal lives, our wars, our secrets, our families, our relationships and friendships and our own selves.

Beautiful book all in all, a kind of book that I will always go back to reread.

Are you ready to say no to dowry yet?

She rushed through the myriads of trees that formed a mesh and passing the water stream reached the farther end of the fields, there she stood to look at the sky for a while which was preparing itself for the much-anticipated rain, clouds encircling within themselves as if trying to make way for themselves. she stood looking at them and after a while, she started circling following the pattern of circles of the clouds. She was Halima. She was at an age when the thoughts of marriage were instilled in her mind time and again, there standing among the fields that day and looking at the sky she knew this is what she wanted in her companion whenever that would be, to look at the sky and admire its beauty just for the sake, someone she can share her sky with each day of life.

Few years slipped by when her understanding what she wanted in a companion until the time arrived when the talk of her marriage was the topic of the house. What came out was shocking to her because her parents did not even try to understand what she sees in an ideal companion. Her marriage was all a matter of preserving their egos and society standards and facades they had been preparing all along their life. They didn’t want to give her a right to choice but they insisted on giving was DOWRY, so they can tell the world how considerable they are towards their daughter.

In order to make this scheme they found people of their interest, those who can accept these items in the name of dowry. It was appalling to see that they found people of their interest, those who too, were in search of someone who can bring enough wealth to fill in their house. It appeared they too didn’t care if the marriage was a match after all, which is what it is supposed to be.

What started here didn’t end here with the marriage ceremony, for the impacts of our actions travel farther than we think them to be. Her husband treated her a coupon to withdraw riches from her parents whenever he wanted, rest aside the understanding and look at skies together, all he looked up to was money. Their life was nothing near the companionship.

Halima’s marriage happened at her village, her family was among the influencers of trends in the vicinity. Among the attendees of her marriage were the in-laws to another girl named Salma. She was to get married a few months later, it was all set until her in-laws decided after attending Halima’s marriage that they too wanted a certain list of things in Dowry. Salma’s father was not among the affluent persons in that village. He tried to somehow meet the ends but couldn’t reach the demands of her in-laws, and they walked away saying no to this marriage at all.

Do you think this is just a story revolving around two characters Halima and Salma? Halima can be your daughter or sister who is merely treated only as a voucher to withdraw money, and she is paying the price of your egotism of your wealth. Salma could be your sister or daughter whom you will have to see turning old at the boundary of your house. They can be your wives who paid the price of a tradition who we are all part of, a tradition of showing our wealth off, a tradition of accepting this wealth to secure our place, a tradition of misfit marriages, a tradition which devalues marriage of companionship and all that is left behind is a contract. We are all part of this process of crushing dreams.

In accepting dowry, insisting for it, expecting it or dreaming about it, we all are part of this tradition which is so deep rooted that we see nothing wrong about. This can be your story but you can learn to change this story by taking one step towards innovation, by saying a simple ‘no’ to dowry.

Orient Pakistan is supporting the #nodowry campaign and promotes the lesson that just like we expect innovation in all other walks of life, let’s bring it in our relations as well, let them be about care and compassion, let’s define a new meaning for relations. Orient in its new TVC #RishtonMeinInnovation promotes this message, would you join your hands in bringing the change? Because together we can.