Perhaps if this were a story…


He smiled at his good fortune. He did not know that for even a person as bitter as him, the taste of a little chocolate could feel so sweet. All his life he had hated little things. He would always notice them as an observant standing far away in a group of people whose existence didn’t concern him. At that moment, his only concern was her. She was scared. Why wouldn’t she be? He had been so awkward with her on their first meeting.

He liked her simplicity; her soft voice; her warm body.  He used to drool in the cosiness of her aura. Perhaps it was time to accept that he was in something us commoners refer to as ‘love’? His friends repeatedly asked him but he just couldn’t accept their logic. He gazed upon her picture. “How could someone be so beautiful?” he asked himself. He would spend hours walking with her. He would never tell her how beautiful she was for he believed that beauty should be silently admired.

He laughed at her jokes; never wondering what they meant. They used to spend Fridays having lunch together. When for a moment their hands crossed paths, the brief touch of her skin negated all the laws of physics as, “how could the collision of tiny particles of skin create so much static that everything in him went into a state of disorder?” All facts suggested that this was some sort of a mental illness. He did not believe that anyone alive could secrete this much Serotonin whenever she was near.

He had a nagging, itching feeling that she was the right one for him. It was rather funny really. He decided to propose her. The setup was as perfect as anything could be. A table illuminated with candle lights by the river with a flowery shade above it.  She wore a red dress which in contrast with her skin colour proved to be a pleasant spectacle for his eyes.

“I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you”, he said.

She first smiled then looked at him with eyes of sorrow. “You are in love with me but I’m afraid that we can’t be together”

“I don’t understand. We have had great moments together. How could you… how could you not love me?” he asked as if guards of hell personally came down to hand over an invitation.

“I love you as well” she admitted. “But reality negates our co-existence. Perhaps if this were a story…”

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What’s your Wi-Fi password?


Sad but true.

Nida I Zamir

“Paraye qareeb ho gaye hain aur qareeb paraye ho gaye hain” (The far away ones have come closer and the closer ones have drifted apart).

These words struck me pretty hard when I heard my aunt talk in regard of technology one day.

Granted, Whatsapp, Skype, Facetime, Snapchat, and Facebook have brought our friends and family nearer to each other when we are sitting miles apart. An aunt in Kuwait whom I got to talk to once a year is now just seconds away from sending a picture of what she bought for evening tea.

We can talk to people all day long; you know when they are eating, what they are eating, where they are going, and what not. You believe that their time is dedicated to you wholly, and when you actually meet that person physically, you expect the same out of him/her.

What you don’t expect is…

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Seeing a Woman: A conversation between a father and son


Someday I am going to have to have the conversation with my son. No, not the conversation all parents dread giving and all kids are mortified having. I enjoy making people uncomfortable so that conversation should be fun.

No, I’m talking about another conversation. The one that happens after I catch his eye doing what male eyes do well – following an object of lust. We will probably be out at the mall, because that’s what dads do with their sons, and I’ll catch the look. Maybe we’ll go to the beach and see it. Doesn’t matter where it is, there will come a time when I will see it. And then it will be time for this conversation.

*****

Hey, come here. Let me talk to you. I saw you look at her. I’m not judging you or shaming you. I know why you did. I get it. But we have to talk about it because how you look at a woman matters.

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– See more at: http://natepyle.com/seeing-a-woman/#sthash.qMBy64N9.dpuf

A Very Good Conclusion To A ‘Sunni-Shia’ Debate


So today I decided to read a 1.6K+ comments long Sunni-Shia debate on Khurram Zaki’s wall instead of reading what I just started reading today: Kiran Desai’s ‘The Inheritance of Loss’, and I don’t regret it but I do have few things to say before jotting down my conclusion on that very debate.

Few things that I was indoctrinated with in my childhood:
1) Shias killed Imam Hussein,
2) Shias have their own Quran,
3) Shias pray only two times a day,
4) Shias practice incest,
5) You can eat in one plate with a Christian but with a Shia? No way!
And other stupid stuff.

Took me years to get rid of this indoctrination. How? I was blessed enough to study in a boarding school where Sunnis, Shias, Ahmadi, all shared one common hall of prayers. And I was blessed enough not only to read ‘5’ prayers standing next to Shias but also learn about their school of thought directly from them. Believe me or not, I don’t give a duck, but yeah I’ve seen them read the same Quran and offer prayers 5 times a day. And although I didn’t get a chance to share a plate, mess manners they call it, but we did eat together for 5 odd years. Why am I telling you all this? B/c very very few are blessed enough to see the truth for themselves. The remainder keeps the hatred preserved until it is transferred down to the next generation, and in some cases this hatred is mobilised in the wrong direction by the wrong people for the wrong reasons? Result? Hazara killings, Parachinar blasts, etc (etc being stuff the we can’t recall, shame on us!)

My conclusion: Most Sunnis lack reasoning and as a consequence easily get frustrated leading to either verbal or physical abuse.

Once a lady, which I consider my wee sister although she is elder in age, asked me: “Nauman, are you a Shia?”
I never replied but now I feel like, and here’s my reply: “For me, in the words of Carl Sagan, every human is precious, because not in a billion, lets say trillion, galaxies would I find another. And Salman Rushdie is no exception. I make no exceptions!”

Nauman Umair

Women Who Inspire – Sohaila Abdulali


“After being raped, I was wounded; My honour was not: Sohaila Abdulali

“When I fought to live that night, I hardly knew what I was fighting for. A male friend and I had gone for a walk up a mountain near my home. Four armed men caught us and made us climb to a secluded spot, where they raped me for several hours, and beat both of us. They argued among themselves about whether or not to kill us, and finally let us go.

At 17, I was just a child. Life rewarded me richly for surviving. I stumbled home, wounded and traumatized, to a fabulous family. With them on my side, so much came my way. I found true love. I wrote books. I saw a kangaroo in the wild. I caught buses and missed trains. I had a shining child. The century changed. My first gray hair appeared.

Too many others will never experience that. They will not see that it gets better, that the day comes when one incident is no longer the central focus of your life. One day you find you are no longer looking behind you, expecting every group of men to attack. One day you wind a scarf around your throat without having a flashback to being choked. One day you are not frightened anymore.

Rape is horrible. But it is not horrible for all the reasons that have been drilled into the heads of Indian women. It is horrible because you are violated, you are scared, someone else takes control of your body and hurts you in the most intimate way. It is not horrible because you lose your “virtue.” It is not horrible because your father and your brother are dishonored. I reject the notion that my virtue is located in my vagina, just as I reject the notion that men’s brains are in their genitals.

If we take honor out of the equation, rape will still be horrible, but it will be a personal, and not a societal, horror. We will be able to give women who have been assaulted what they truly need: not a load of rubbish about how they should feel guilty or ashamed, but empathy for going through a terrible trauma.

The week after I was attacked, I heard the story of a woman who was raped in a nearby suburb. She came home, went into the kitchen, set herself on fire and died. The person who told me the story was full of admiration for her selflessness in preserving her husband’s honor. Thanks to my parents, I never did understand this.

The law has to provide real penalties for rapists and protection for victims, but only families and communities can provide this empathy and support. How will a teenager participate in the prosecution of her rapist if her family isn’t behind her? How will a wife charge her assailant if her husband thinks the attack was more of an affront to him than a violation of her?

At 17, I thought the scariest thing that could happen in my life was being hurt and humiliated in such a painful way. At 49, I know I was wrong: the scariest thing is imagining my 11-year-old child being hurt and humiliated. Not because of my family’s honor, but because she trusts the world and it is infinitely painful to think of her losing that trust. When I look back, it is not the 17-year-old me I want to comfort, but my parents. They had the job of picking up the pieces.

This is where our work lies, with those of us who are raising the next generation. It lies in teaching our sons and daughters to become liberated, respectful adults who know that men who hurt women are making a choice, and will be punished.

When I was 17, I could not have imagined thousands of people marching against rape in India, as we have seen these past few weeks. And yet there is still work to be done. We have spent generations constructing elaborate systems of patriarchy, caste and social and sexual inequality that allow abuse to flourish. But rape is not inevitable, like the weather. We need to shelve all the gibberish about honor and virtue and did-she-lead-him-on and could-he-help-himself. We need to put responsibility where it lies: on men who violate women, and on all of us who let them get away with it while we point accusing fingers at their victims.”

– Sohaila Abdulali.”

You should date an illiterate girl


“Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and vari coloured light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a street lamp because you’ve seen it in film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.

Let the anxious contract you’ve unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi, and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into it every time the air gets stale, or the evenings get long. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Ask her to move in. Let her decorate. Get into fights about inconsequential things like how the fucking shower curtain needs to be closed so that it doesn’t fucking collect mold. Let a year pass unnoticed. Begin to notice.

Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise. Take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Make sure there is a beautiful view of the city. Sheepishly ask a waiter to bring her a glass of champagne with a modest ring in it. When she notices, propose to her with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity you can muster. Do not be overly concerned if you feel your heart leap through a pane of sheet glass. For that matter, do not be overly concerned if you cannot feel it at all. If there is applause, let it stagnate. If she cries, smile as if you’ve never been happier. If she doesn’t, smile all the same.

Let the years pass unnoticed. Get a career, not a job. Buy a house. Have two striking children. Try to raise them well. Fail, frequently. Lapse into a bored indifference. Lapse into an indifferent sadness. Have a mid-life crisis. Grow old. Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return, or as if you might blow away on the wind. Contract a terminal illness. Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn’t read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.

Do those things, god damnit, because nothing sucks worse than a girl who reads. Do it, I say, because a life in purgatory is better than a life in hell. Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent as a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. A girl who reads lays claim to a vocabulary that distinguishes between the specious and soulless rhetoric of someone who cannot love her, and the inarticulate desperation of someone who loves her too much. A vocabulary, god damnit, that makes my vacuous sophistry a cheap trick.

Do it, because a girl who reads understands syntax. Literature has taught her that moments of tenderness come in sporadic but knowable intervals. A girl who reads knows that life is not planar; she knows, and rightly demands, that the ebb comes along with the flow of disappointment. A girl who has read up on her syntax senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. A girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.

Date a girl who doesn’t read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement. But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.

Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are the storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so god damned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life that I told of at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. I hate you. I really, really, really hate you.

– Charles Warnke, Thought Catalog.

DEFENDER OF RAPISTS CLAIMS “RESPECTED LADIES” DON’T GET RAPED


msn.com_

By Meghan O’Keefe

Ugh. I really, really, really don’t want to talk again about rape and people trying to get away with it or blame the victim for it, but it’s still obviously happening.

Last month, a 23 year-old woman went to the movies with her boyfriend in New Delhi, India, and while they were walking home together at night, a bus stopped, offered them a ride home and when they went inside, both of them were assaulted, stripped and thrown from the bus in the middle of nowhere. The woman was also brutally gang raped by six men and died two weeks after the incident from her injuries.

It’s a disgusting case that has sparked international outrage and calls from Indians for stricter punishment for rape. (If you are curious about more of the details, you can check them out here or here.)

One of the most outrageous things about this particular case is that the accused rapists’ lawyer, Manohar Lal Sharma, has publicly stated, that although the woman’s boyfriend has identified the rapists and the police have DNA linking all of the accused to the crime, that his clients were obviously innocent. His reasoning? ”Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady. Even an underworld don would not like to touch a girl with respect.”

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Pakistan Today


With the recent twist and turns of events inside Pakistan, the following scenarios have lined up today:-

  • Tahir Ul Qadri’s long march has reached Islamabad and claims to dissolve Provincial and National Assemblies have been made.
  • Governor rule in Quetta has been imposed due to the recent attacks on Hazara Community and the “Don’t care” attitude of the CM.
  • Tehreek-e-Insaaf leader Imran Khan has put forward his 7-points to be acted upon as soon as possible.
  • Pakistan turmoil deepest as Supreme court orders to arrest the Prime Minister and his secretaries involved in the rental power case
  • India has become rigid over the control-line issue. It has even banned Pakistan Hockey players to participate in their league. Visa on border to elder citizens has also been delayed till further notice. 
  • The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari has summoned a joint political session of allied parties to assess the current situation. 
  • Stock index 100 of Karachi Stock Market crashes by 500 points making the dollar worth Rs. 99

With these turn of events happening in just one week, if you are a Pakistani then I would suggest that you get a pack of popcorns and glue yourself to your favourite NEWS channel. Change is coming! It’s coming in fast.