Thursday, 14 July 2016

How we go on
It’s been three years since she left my side, three long years: who
Could have imagined that we wouldn’t live our lives together till
The end. I keep questioning this word ‘till the end.’ What is the
End? Or what is the beginning? If there cannot be an end, as we
All say and believe through faith, than what is the explanation
Of a ‘start’? Every beginning has an end, and every end has a
Beginning, so it’s better that I rephrase my question, which is
That it wasn’t even in our wildest dreams that we wouldn’t grow
Old together, seeing each other age, side by side, counting each
Other’s wrinkles, making fun of each other, watching our children
Grow before us.
She didn’t leave me, she simply died. Yes, leaving someone isn’t
Simple but dying is, it’s so abrupt and silly; so easy. Divorces,
Fights, separations, are all so complicated and miserable. You
Either wish to live together in peace, or wish you never took
The decision to pick a fight with your better half, but why did
It happen to me? We had nothing of that sort going; we were
Living happy and contented lives; we were the best of friends. The
Term husband and wife seemed childish to us as we cherished a
Unique relationship, yet she died and left me. She left me when
We were at the zenith of our existence. Why now? Why me?
Why us? She wasn’t infected with any deadly disease; she was
Mercilessly a victim to a bomb blast and, obviously in such cases,
Nothing really happens to bring the guilty to justice: just a lot of
guilt and remorse left for the affected. No reason, no nothing,
just question after question.
This happened to me, or as I prefer to put it, ‘This happened
to us.’ Physically we may be apart, but not a single day has
Passed that I don’t miss her and I don’t remember her in one
way or another. Nonetheless, this destiny that I had to collide
with happened just after nine years or our marriage, the nine
years that I call the greatest years of my life, my happiest days.
No doubt that I had a wonderful childhood and a brilliant
teenage life where we did all sorts of crazy things, but those
years that I spent with her were defining for me. They were
fun and energetic; it was soft and subtle; there was peace and
contentment; it was everything wrapped up in one relationship.
But what am I to do now as she was no longer by my side? No
one to express my inner self to; no shoulder to rest upon, and
no shoulder to give her support; no one to relieve my tired soul;
no one to crack a joke to; no company to make my inner season
Daily I pass by those restaurants and parks where we went to
eat and stroll. They too must be gazing at me and wondering
where my partner is, maybe laughing at me, or maybe just feeling
sorry for me. But I guess these structures have seen far too much
of everything besides me, things that I may not even be able to
imagine. They must have loads of secrets hidden within them;
to them I’m probably just another episode of the larger story.
But these thoughts fade as my attention goes back to her. Why
was I a target of fate, or destiny, or whatever you may call it?
Had I been so bad? Was I being punished for my sins? Or was
I just a victim of the system we call the world, the system we
call life? Are we all subject to this fear and the inevitable fact
that always looms over us? It’s like a dagger whose shadow is
always cast upon our necks yet we pretend as if nothing is wrong,
I remember the times we spent together, so full of hope and
zeal: we will do this we, will do that. Her soul was so lively, so
energetic, always bucking me up when I was feeling gloomy. She
made every facet of me shine.
How will I travel this long road without her? How will I pursue
all that we both dreamed of? It is like a mountain in front of
me, staring at me. The world has forgotten her, although she was
always dear and near to everyone, not a soul could deny this fact.
But this world stops for no one and gradually one is forgotten.
How can they do this to her when she had only been kind to
them? Everyone is carrying on with their lives again, except me.
It made me angry, and I wanted to punish everyone, but then
something inside of me always stopped me and said that maybe
they do pray for her and remember her in their own silent way,
as nobody can cry their whole life.
It was work and home and that was all that was left of me. Work
in some way took my mind off the things that bothered me, but
still from time to time she was always present in one way or
another. Even eating a pizza at lunch would bring back memories
of her, as she simply adored it and would always drag me to go
and have pizza on weekends.
Was this God’s will or was it just a freak accident? If it was
God’s will, why was it done by a mortal? All sorts of questions
arose in my ever-questioning mind. Life sometimes puts a person
in a very serious, tricky situation. Not knowing what to believe
and what to deny, one is in the midst of a celestial, universal law
which we all have fallen into and given no choice to object to
Time kept passing at its usual pace; the seasons came and went
one after another. Her grave still looked new as it was the day
she was buried. I usually went there in the evenings to visit her
and sit beside her just as I used to sit beside her at home, silently
talking with her and praying for her to be happy in whichever
dimension she’s in.
One day after a long days work, I decided to walk back home
instead of taking the bus, it was about a 45-minute walk, but
something inside me, telling me that I should walk, and indeed it
was a nice idea to walk home as I hadn’t ventured out much since
she had gone. On walking home, I had to pass through lots of
busy markets and shopping areas. Going through these areas and
seeing the activity and life there felt as if everyone was making
fun of me and laughing at my pain. Those same markets, those
same shops that we used to shop at, places where we had brought
each other presents, where we used to eat, where we used to . . .
live. Life was still so normal, so happy, as if nothing had changed
in the world. It was just as I had left it three years back. Had
time stopped or to them did my pain mean so little? I felt like
crying. What else could I do? I missed her so much, on reaching
home I dried my tears and washed my face with cold water.
That particular night was somewhat quieter than the nights
I had been spending. Lying on my bed in my dimly-lit room
I struck a match to light a cigarette. Puffing and inhaling the
soothing, smoky aroma I closed my eyes and kept on smoking
with my eyes shut. It was as if I couldn’t open my eyes knowing
that I could, but lacking some uncontrollable, forced intention.
‘Is that really you?’ I said. ‘Is that really you?’ She put her soft
hand on my mouth, a sensation I had not felt for three years,
but it felt as if it had been just yesterday. We kept staring at
each other in silence and awe as tears trickled down my cheeks.
She was a glowing illumination, her smile, soft and subtle just
as always.
‘Why do you cry? You have no idea what death is, than why do
you grieve? Didn’t we talk about death when we were together in
the world? Now it’s happened to us and it had to be me. Don’t
think that I’m in any unfamiliar place, you cannot see from where
you are now, so don’t judge. When your time comes, and you
are with me, only then will you understand what I mean. But,
my dear, you have to live. Don’t grieve. We love each other, and
people who love don’t grieve, they only rejoice. Rejoice for the
times spent together, rejoice as we once again will be together.
Our separation is only temporary.’
‘Remember when I used to go to my mother’s home and you
used to become sad; just consider this my visit, as my mother
and my whole family are with me and I’m very happy. But you
will come in your own time. We had our adventures together in
this world and what magnificent adventures those were. And
certainly we will have them again, I promise you my love. But
you have to live for me, and for us. Go live your next adventure,
then you can also share that with me. But do not grieve any
longer, because then I cannot enjoy the bounties that await me
here. Lets enjoy our gifts and our blessings on our own sides so
we have exciting stories to tell each other.’
‘I may not be with you, but I’m always there inside you. I’m as
you. We have never been apart since the day we met. We can
never be apart, never. Don’t kill that lively person inside you.
Remember we used to discuss death and how it’s better to die
in an instant than to suffer and die in misery? Well that’s what
happened. I departed instantly. Isn’t that good?’

‘We all have to come here sooner or later. You taught me to smile
in difficult times so now I’m giving that back to you. Smile and
be happy my love. The place that you are in, and I was in, is like
running water, so make the most of it. Take risks, leave no dream
unlived. It’s not a rehearsal, it’s a one time live act, so be happy
as I am and make me proud. Do the things we dreamed of doing
together, and don’t waste your life. Cherish every moment as we
did, and remember that’s why I’m happy: because I didn’t waste
a single moment with you. I lived, and now I have no regrets.’
‘Look into my eyes my dear.’ Her eyes were gleaming like radiant
stars on a clear night, soft yet assertive, just as her nature had
been as she always guided me through difficult moments, and
she was once again present for me, to rescue me.
We were holding each other and smiling; smiling with passion
and contentment. Her glowing face was saying a million things
in the silence; she was always with me and always within me,
just as I was always with her and within her.
I have learnt the valuable lesson, which time does not pass. It never
passes. Time is constant—it simply changes.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

I was returning from office after another day’s hectic work, gazing from the window of my organizations bus which brought us to work at 7 am sharp and dropped us back home the same time in the evening, it took an hour and seemed like this was also a part of my duty hours, I preferred to get a seat beside the window , my nose was almost squashed against the glass, lost in my thoughts, the same roads and shops passed by me, the hustle and bustle of the busy markets, it seemed not a soul was at peace their were all restless in their own worlds just like me, I was slowly nearing my destination when we stopped at a red light, it had been almost 10 years working in the same organization and capacity the same work, the same issues the same pressure and stress, I was a victim of circumstance, It was a self-imposed punishment,   call it society or social status, I had to protect this fake image of myself that I had built, to shut peoples big mouths, the whole world thought that im working in a good organization my children go to good schools, wear nice cloths, so I had to keep this job to make people happy not myself,  the bus jolted a little and stopped again ,under the newly built overhead bridge I noticed a man selling rice on his push cart happily serving customers and trying to give a clean look to his shaggy stall, cleaning the plates and talking with the customers he seemed so happy and content at least to me he did as looks can be deceiving, but one thing I was sure of and that was that he wasn’t afraid of how society would grade him or label him , he wasn’t afraid that people would see him selling rice, he wasn’t afraid of being criticized and gossiped about he wasn’t afraid to do this low grade work as we wrongly consider it low grade as I do not understand the yardstick by what they measure respectable and unrespectable work? I guess that’s exactly what made him happy he wasn’t afraid of people and society he wasn’t afraid of remarks, he didn’t just put his children in expensive schools for peoples praise but rather a school for a decent education, he ate happily whatever food god blessed him with and not to eat food at posh restaurants just to post updates on Facebook because your peers do so, nowadays we even eat to show people what and where we eat which was supposed to be a human requirement to live, he didn’t have to prove and yell to society for approval, this poor rice seller lived for himself and was content because he wasn’t answerable to a jury, he wasn’t tied to any brand or lifestyle his soul and body were in harmony and free as a bird. That day I truly envied a man who the majority thought of less, sometimes lambs do become lions.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

For all time

Hello papa how are you feeling? Oh Yes im pretty good my love just the usual complaints associated with old age, my daughter Nargis always came at the exact time every single day before going to work as she had to give me my daily shot of some vitamin B12 injectable medicine which the doctor prescribed as according to him it was mandatory for my flimsy body at this age but on the whole I was thankful that their was enough mobility in me to do my basic chores and it maybe of this B12 thing? Who knows? Sit papa she instructed me with an assertive tone, funny how the very offspring you raise from a helpless little soul now is doing it the other way round ahh the bewilderment of nature, I sat in my very old rocking chair that I used to rock this very same girl at her tender age now standing in front of me who has now become a practicing doctor, rolling up my sleeve my cuff button broke………….. >WHY does the button have to break now when you have to rush to school son my mother yelled at the top of her voice , mother give me another shirt please I just have 20 minutes left , okay okay just let me take the kettle off the stove , she hurriedly multi-tasked and found me a new shirt from the closet, but it’s not ironed I pleaded  its ok your cardigan will help you with that now hurry to school your already getting late , I briskly walked my way through the park which was a shortcut to school luckily I reached just in time when the bell rung………….>OH papa why does the doorbell have to ring at the wrong time who can it be at this early hour, it’s probably the newspaper man collect the newspaper and pay him 185/- rupees it’s in the broken vase behind the sofa, okay papa………>TODAY was our newspaper assignment our class teacher sir samuel had been guiding us about this for weeks as we had to pick similar stories from various tabloids and point out what is different about the same event reported by various reporters it’s what you call the inaccuracy of history which can never be precise , it was a very exciting task so we all gathered in the hall after our two initial classes to become the wise one out , the only reward was that a photograph alongwith a certificate will be plastered on the main school notice board which was a huge achievement of getting noticed and patted on the back by pals and teachers alike ………….>IT wasn’t 185/- rupees it was Rs.195/= rupees papa, oh well I must have fallen 10 rupees short.
Nargis ripped the polythene packing off the disposable syringe…………> YES rip it harder man this rubber dingy inflator will never open if you carry on like this , well this is the thing with new stuff it’s so tightly wrapped, but nonetheless I finally managed to open the thing , it was always fun going camping with the lads it was the snow-capped mountains of swat this time, normally we would go to the deosai plains in baltistan, but we wanted a little change this time , we just reached early this morning after catching a jeep from Mingora, it was certainly paradise , from what we heard going deeper into the mountains was pure magical delight , it was about seven of us each going through their assigned tasks of setting up camp, we brought everything except for the most basic utensil “a kettle” yes I wonder how we forgot that so me and JJ I always called him JJ short for Jalees Jadoon we both strolled to the nearest market which was about two km away the stroll was so soothing all we could listen to was the gale sweeping down from the peaks and the various exotic chirping of extraordinary species of aves which we never saw in the city, we finally reached the market place which was a nice cosy place an amazing sight these places are usually crowded  but the only people we saw were some locals and campers like us it was a market stuck in time small wooden shops with wrinkled old faces gleaming at us their were shops of  nuts , tea , and staple food mostly, but we couldn’t find any shops that sold kettles or kitchen utensils so we finally asked a local, he beckoned and kindly guided us into a place that we couldn’t have found by ourselves , he literally squeezed himself  between two wooden shops that opened up into a market square, covered by the expanse of pine trees making it a natural green ceiling, it was certainly a wonder, their were more people here and the variety that the shops sold was much larger , we immediately noticed a shop pots and kettles were hung outside , we thanked the man and made our way towards the shop and selected a large copper kettle which he sold us for 450/- rupees it was enough to provide tea for seven , we walked around a little munching on freshly hot  roasted corn being sold right in the market place, twenty minutes later we were back at camp and the lads had all done a wonderful job the camp was all set up , sleeping bags lined up inside , a placed for cooking near the river bank , yes it was immaculately done , so who wants hot steaming tea , their faces lit up and cheered , I washed up the kettle in the river water which was freezing…………..> PAPA the water is freezing how do you wash up? Is the geyser faulty? I heard my daughter shout from the washroom, do you have to wash your hands before administering this injection, well papa it’s just precautionary hygiene , well something must have happened the water was hot last night I said , Nargis returned and took out a glass vial from her bag it was the usual brown glass vial from which she always broke the top off she held the vial in her left hand and the disposable syringe in her right sinking the needle into the vial she started to extract the medicine sucking it in…………> SUCK it harder , I can’t she giggled and coughed at the same time , it was the first time I told my wife to try a cigarette , what’s the fun she always exclaimed  , fun I don’t smoke for fun  it’s relaxing and soothing , but maybe you won’t understand only a smoker will know what I mean but hey im not forcing you I just always thought that women who smoke look sexier and sort of erotic , she gave me a glare, okay okay I said withdrawing so do you want to go shopping I said, her face lit up instantly why not , so we got ready and made our way to sadder a busy place with lots of hustle and bustle where one could get almost everything from a needle to an elephant! We started with the basic groceries and worked our way up to more unneeded stuff but certainly more tempting especially for her , we entered this new departmental store a new flashy one which just recently opened I was initially reluctant but I always gave into her desires , these new stores always scared me due to their price tags because I thought that they will certainly rip off customers to fill in the massive expenses they put into decoration and marketing , it’s the glossy image and not real value I thought , she headed straight to the jewelry section which was on the ground floor so obviously it was easily noticed , her eyes shone like polished marbles , she pointed to a set of ear rings Aww aren’t these  just lovely , hmm yes they certainly are , but don’t get carried away it’s okay we aren’t in a hurry you might find something much better , she kept on choosing and discarding for almost an hour , beautiful things are hard to choose from  aren’t they I said looking at her , aghh yes she said angrily they are I just can’t decide which earrings I should buy, but I chose the most beautiful thing with utmost ease and surety I said putting my face directly in front of hers , she turned red and blushed oh really then you chose if your choice is so perfect , so I brought her a pair of earrings a maroon colored set fixed with some precious stone, at least they claimed that it was precious , but gifts aren’t given because of their price tag , it’s the emotion and sincere love behind it , thanks love thanks it will go just right with my new dress , hey suddenly im all thirsty I said are you oh yes I certainly am , so we turned towards the food section and grabbed two Popsicles , we sucked on it like two school children giggling and devouring it at the same time, drips made way and fell from our cheeks……….> THE medicine dripped as the syringe was almost full, she took it out from the vial and let it flow out a little thrusting her thumb upwards and carefully measuring the liquid on the printed scale, she rubbed my upper arm just below the shoulder with a cotton ball and pressed the sharp needle to tear my skin tissues and make way to the nerves, she slowly released the medicine into my body which was slowly reducing in the syringe and entering my body and provide it with its B12 needs science said that it gives life to new blood cells……………………….> A new life was given to us , blessed upon us in the shape of a beautiful girl, we had finally become parents after three long years, she was conceived by a C-section surgery, when they brought my wife back to her room from the operation theater she was partially unconscious because of the anesthesia, I had already been handed over the baby by the doctor and slowly whispered in her ear , it’s a girl , she exhaustedly smiled , after about twenty five minutes she was conscious and stable , it was the most glorifying moment of our lives we were on top of the world , making all sorts of plans already , just like making plans before her upcoming first birthday, before her first day at school, before entering college , just before her graduation ceremony , before completion of her MBBS degree , and before marrying her off , she wept that night like never before , cuddled up with me , at least she could cry , I couldn’t even show my tears which were locked up inside me as it would make her loose hope , I assured her that the life your about to lead will be a marvelous one , even better than the life I gave you, you’re gonna have much more fun then you had with me , Nargis cried like a baby her tears dribbled down my cheeks while kissing me and not letting go……….> A drop of medicine dribbled down from my arm  when she withdrew the needle alongwith a tear from my wet eyes, Oh papa not again , you know that you were right that I will be immensely happy after I get married and I am I’ve told you again and again, Oh I know my love that’s the only blessing that keeps me going, to see you happy , the only benefit I get from your medicine is that I relive my most cherished days for all time.                

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Wheel of Fate

Then the wheel of fate spun
We opened our eyes in wonder simultaneously
You witnessed a posh maternity home
I witnessed an overcrowded ward
You were driven home in a luxury sedan
I was taken home in a rackety rickshaw
You were pampered with Satan and silk
I was wrapped in a torn blanket
You were fed fortified milk and cereal
I was given any fluid
You ate a feast fit for a king
I ate stale bread and waited for charity
You wore the best attire and played with the best toys
I wore torn rags spoons and stones were my toys
You looked smart going to school
I saw you go everyday soaked in filth
You went to your office to change and influence the world
I carried my shovel to fill my belly
You married the most Georges girl
No girl thought I was worthwhile
You led a dignified, pious, adventurous, fun filled life
I tried to survive
You died with honour pomp and grandeur
I vanished away as an expendable
The wheel of fate halted.

Friday, 13 February 2015

A delicacy of peshawar


A traditional spicy food of Peshawar often taken as a salad, in the local language of HINDKO its called "KICHALOO PERA" it can be considered a sort of desi fast food it is basically a taro a widely cultivated tropical Asian aroid plant (Colocasia esculenta) having broad peltate leaves and large starchy edible tubers, it is boiled and cut in small cubes than mixed with strong spices and vinegar.

Monday, 6 January 2014

If I die tommorow

If I die tomorrow
Will it be any different from today?

If I die tomorrow
Will the sun not rise, as it did today?

If I die tomorrow
Will the plants not receive the first dew drops, as they did today?

If I die tomorrow
Will children stop going to school, as they did today?

If I die tomorrow
Will babies stop being born, as they did today?

If I die tomorrow
Will anyone quit their job, not as today?

If I die tomorrow
Will anyone stop laughing, as they laughed today?

If I die tomorrow
Will anyone stop eating, as they ate today?

If I die tomorrow
Will anyone stop going on vacations, as they did yesterday?

If I die tomorrow
Will anyone quit to enjoy life, as they did today?

If I die tomorrow
Will anyone stop being themselves, as they are today?

If I die tomorrow

It will be no different then today.

Friday, 3 January 2014

my walks to school

Has anyone of you roamed the streets of your town lately? when I speak of town i refer to the old localities, where you grew up or have lots of nostalgic thoughts about,  just like mine of Peshawar, sadly the Peshawar i once knew is gradually diminishing ,the canvas is changing colors, but still when I roam the walled city i have lots of things to relate to and whatever remains of the place serves as a soothing balm to my soul and whisks me back in time, the time of my care free days, when me and my pal walked to school from Gunj to Kohati at the oldest school of Peshawar, through the narrow streets with old wooden homes and arched structures peering down on us, the morning winters were biting and foggy, dampness caressed our skin and tried to penetrate our woollies which we proudly both brought from landa bazaar, but those biting winters are no more.......the summers were confronted by sitting on a cold tube well pipe on our way back but those summers are no more....all has vanished,,,the cold weather, the hot sweat, and my pal.........our footsteps still present in the warp of time till eternity......