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Monday, March 05, 2018

Blue Sapphire of Quetta

Neelum Gul, Quetta
22 years old, was engaged at 11 and married the following year at the age of 12. The union did not last long culminating in divorce just two months later.  At the time, Noreen had lost all her will to live, having holed herself up in her loneliness suffering exploitative in-laws and indifferent parents.  
“My mother tells me, when I was born my father had exclaimed, ‘today I have become Rs. 200,000/- richer.” She critiques the culture she grew up in with marked detachment, “In our culture, people don’t care to nurture girls like they do their boys.” Adding further, “I had always wanted to study, but while I was in fifth grade one day on coming home I saw my maternal aunt hunched over with my parents – some of my father’s distant relatives were also there. Soon as I walked in my aunt looked at me with great scorn, and said, ‘Go away! We’re finalizing your deal here!’ I was too young to understand what was happening.”
Noreen hails from a family who isn’t as much poverty – stricken but has been unwilling to invest in her all the same. Following her engagement, her in – laws subjected her to most heinous tortures – physical and otherwise, “They’d beat me without rhyme or reason, drag me to the heated hearth and threaten to throw me in. they were always demanding more money, jewellery and gifts etc.” Even from behind her forced veil, the agony of recalling her childhood was visceral.
“Even as a little girl, I was interested in dress-up and experimenting with cosmetics.” lamenting the loss of her years and innocence, Noreen shared, “It had become impossible for me to continue studies beyond eighth grade – I tried for Bachelors but I was too disturbed. I couldn’t face people, preferring to stay alone.”

While suffering from severe depression and loneliness, she came in contact with Oxfam’s Tabeer Hum Campaign. One of the program components seeks to impart important life skills in today’s youth. Noreen attended one such session on Life Skills Education, organized in her hometown of Quetta through our capacity building partnership with College of Youth Activism and Development (CYAAD) – a local non – profit. “At that session was the first time I heard someone speak against marrying girls at a young age,” says Noreen, “it felt like I was no more alone in this world, later I gradually developed the confidence share my story.”
Noreen now aspires to use her newfound confidence and esteem to materialize her childhood dream of making others pretty and attractive. She is actively seeking avenues to learn the craft of a beautician despite strict restrictions from within her family life like the veil, “My brother threatens serious consequences even if my eyes are naked, and I believe him.” But her shattered spirit is now stronger, and an inspiration for all of us, “Regardless of my past, I have learned at CYAAD many helpful skills to aid in pursuit of my goals. I will not sit and mourn any more, I will make my dreams come true and if someone thinks, or dares to force their will on me, I won’t stay quiet any more. I’d rather die than be sent back to my previous in-laws. I will become a beautician, I will marry again one day, and I will live happily ever after.” She implores all parents, “every girl deserves that happy ending, please don’t discriminate between boys and them. Your daughters are not a burden, they are as precious, if not more than, your boys.”

Author's Note: After all she'd been through, despite what social labelling dictates, her innocence was still intact. Oh! She was innocence incarnate, and I'm not even romanticising anything. What I'm certain of, however, that when she ripped her veil aside and let her hair loose atop a mountain to have pictures taken with some weirdly funny, compassionate and authoritarian Director from the city, in that moment her innocence tainted the lechery of her father, and tainted the cruel treachery of her former in-laws.

*The names & places have been changed so many times for so many identical stories that's it's not only foolish, egocentric but devoid of any semblance of reason and utter madness of think it's about you - and if you do think so then shame on you for being such a misogynistic turd. 
Dated: Dec 2016
Written while on National Highway from Tharparkar to Karachi, where nine year old Raveena had refused to marry a Sexagenarian 
feudal lord. One firm 'no' cloaked in fear, baptised with tears of a nine year old Raveena, caused ripples that cracked the foundations of centuries of shock waves hadn't.
Now a 12 years old teased as the Madhuri for her expressive eyes, the conflict consuming her heart is if she wants to be a doctor or an actress, like the one who plays a doctor on her favourite soap.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Ronay na diya

Background Score: Drought of Tears in Monsoon of longing & Separation

Baqi... mein pora OSHO paste ker daita hoon....what gives! :)

Sab Assoc. of thought hai...Sajjad Ali...Burmese Massacre...small talk...formatting... etc.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Working Title: Anti-Depressant

Granted. If I am writing, and that too here, I must be in deep shit. 

'European,' she said, and that's all I heard of her till much later in the night. Hours of mingling and abortive make-out sessions mature now, she dragged Maria by the wrist and initiated a conversation that felt concluded already.

'I get very confused,' addressing Maria and me jointly she leaned in kissing both my cheeks. 'I'm very bad at this, one kiss, two or ... you know, this is Islamabad, I shouldn't be kissing any number of times?'

'One if we follow the American tradition, two is we follow European tradition, Arabs differ from Emirates to Lebanon to Saudia - one, two and three or more for Saudia respectively.' While the conversation seemed doomed from the start, I had likely sped up its wrap. 

'What about Pakistan? Hi! I'm Amber and I work with Maria.' Her flag-pin suggested she was likely from the Diplomatic Corps but despite my perceived omniscience; I didn't know the flag at a glance and staring at it, in this dimly-lit room, would've scored no higher. 
Anticipating my curiosity, she ventured, 'I'm Finnish, by the way.'

'Glad to meet you, any friend of Maria's is a friend of ours. I couldn't tell you about kissing-the-cheek etiquette in Pakistan. My best advice: As a woman, use your best judgement and intuition.'

'I like your friend!' The sparkle emanating out of the corner of her eye was freckled by years of confusion over greeting mannerism.

----Therapy Session 01/Dated: 07/08/2017; 1434 hrs---
See you back within 24 hours max.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

about near-lyfe experience.

This maybe what I've on record as any will of sorts, now obviously a will is a privat document but somethin' just happened which prompts da need 4 some sort of a testament to mi last few thoughts, if u will... I'm obviously not thinking stright right now...so, if I may...I'll not name neone cuz it'll leave me wid quite a few pridcaments...I'm not makeing sense...FUCK!
All I wannna say is love ya mi family... ya half a dozen brathaz wid respective wives, nd wives-2-be... mi love 4 behna is well documented buh not haven't been illustrated enuf in recent past...tonz ov love dere goes...
friends 4rm as far bak as cricket in garage to as recent as Islamabad...BNU, College- yeah! doez bring a smile .... it does...late nights at faisal town... gettin wasted at mi place... watever... u all know ...
I don't really think dat I owe neone ne apologies wen it comes 2 matters of proverbial heart; I sincerely believe dat I've been fair in mi dealingz and if u do think dat I've ronged u den it's a misunderstanding stemming 4rm insecurities native to matters ov proverbial heart! muah! take care...stop mourning me. Move on! Yeah! All ove ya... I think derez only one such case were I can say dat u've moved on... all of ya r stuck on me...come on now... u've lives...make most of it!
Much thanks 2 every single soul who made an an impact in ma life...however bad u think ... however,,,, unfair,,,nd disloyal u think ....u were... watever..gud or bad...u made mi lyfe worth living...
- LMIO (Laffing mi insidez out)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

ab so lain?

(Should) Write in a rhythm: short sentences small words; long sentences big words :-P

This is not a confession. You'll see I've no intention of coming to terms with my past, vile and depraved or pious as it maybe. I do not seek atonement. Much has been said by many a revered minds about one's past, their pasts probably. Presently, I believe, whatever I say about pasts very well has already been said and has been said more eloquently. But this is not reason enough to stop short of anything; just because something has been done should not be a reason to not do it again. About three and a quarter centuries back this would've been reason enough but now our lives are positively mere conventions and set of rituals. We must not fool ourselves with terms like 'innovation' or 'unconventional' – innovation since long has become a custom and being unconventional is, as we know, a popular trend.

          Admitting to the fact that there are downsides of a life lived recklessly will be redundant but I do admit it. I admit, only to add that there are downsides to a cautious life too. The paths you chose in yesterday are equally loathsome as the ones you did not choose. It does, on many counts, mean that whatever you are doing presently is of little or no value. But this is no way to live a life. Any life! How infinitely worthless you think your life is.

          Something universal about our say 'collective experience' suggests that we learn of all possible human emotions in the first two years of our lives. Afterwards, we mostly learn demonic ones. Without going into a debate, I reckon if you have lived to twenty you have most certainly come across hopelessness. There are times when there is no light at the end of your tunnel. There are times when you wish for a light at the end of your tunnel, even if it is a train speeding ahead to crush you. Such despair; when there is no hope of success, or even comfort, is not unique. When you are humiliated by just being etc – such hopelessness is not singular to my experience.

          Life in perfect ebb and flow is geared towards the future. We live our lives for our tomorrow, then for the day after where our children will be. Our vision is clouded by fantasies and fears alike. Hopes and dreams are a natural part of it; perhaps it is because of the biological clock ticking towards our definite end. End stands for completion. We are not required to think about the future or plan for it, life will be complete without our planning anything at all. Life happens, most of it, while we are making plans for it. Nevertheless, we make plans or in the least fantasize about future with hope. Even pessimists anticipate the future. It is a part our design. It is a part of our cosmic design. That same cosmic design which ensures that, most if not all of, our dreams will be shattered, our hopes will remain hopes and die, our fantasies will be crushed and hopelessness will meet us halfway to our completion.

          It is exactly because of this design we need to have a past. Therefore, making it imperative to act in the present to shape our past – our past weighs more than the future. Future is made of nothing but hope hence useless when we are hopeless. That is when we need our pasts, our pasts which are far more tangible and far more richer than hopes and fantasies. We should not dwell in the past, or sulk over it, or glorify at its expense. But what we are going to need is a past which can offer us refuge when fantasies of future have turned their back. We must work for a past. A past which can make us smile, even as we feel disgusted by our being and humiliated at our existence. Such a smile can go a long way. If you can't make a past which you can cherish in times of absolute nothingness; at least leave it as a hideout – as a refuge when fantasies of future have turned their back. 

Thursday, June 03, 2010

for sale

I found a bank receipt that says I deposited Rs. 78,645/- in mi account last year July 03. I do not remember where it came from, it’s irrelevant. What I do know is, year on, I could use an identical cheque. In fact, I reckon I need it more than last year. I had been clinging on to my cherished social status as a transitory vulnerable for years and I’m sure that cheque made my day then. Now, I’m not clinging onto anything. There’s nothing to cling onto, you see. There’s nothing transitory about poverty.

Cursor blinks. It will be wrong to suggest that I don’t have anything to say but it’s true that I wither under self-censorship. Hey, that is not to say I won’t be able to do whatever I could do last year. Yeah, I would dance naked for thaaat cheque now :) I dance terribly, but I would do better than I did last year. LMAO! I have no fuckin’ clue what made someone loose eighty large ones to me. I’m too old a guy to even whore myself for that kinda cheque.

“You internalise stress and deal with it through a process of self-destruction.” Can’t place where I heard or read it; I’ve been reading like – an avid reader perhaps. I’ve lost all hope of finding a book in my room which I haven’t already read. I’ve read these volumes and re-read them. I think I should frequent libraries but they lock down early; isn’t there a 24-hour book joint where one can read and panhandle his way through an occasional meal and cigarettes?