Peshawar attack

Bismillah Hir-Rahman Nir-Raheem!

I can’t begin to put into words what I am feeling right now. There is a boulder forced on my chest and I can’t seem to get rid of it. I can’t seem to breathe. It feels exhilarating. The pain, it makes every heartbeat feel like torment. It makes the muscles inside me flinch to their cores and my chest hurt like never before. I don’t know where to begin from and I don’t know where to end. Honestly, I don’t even know if there is an ending anymore. I find it painful to imagine the normality of my morning and the absurdity of my afternoon. Am I even capable of thinking? I don’t know that either. To begin to imagine how unexpected this life can be, is beyond my belief..

When I became a mother, my world was overjoyed. You and only You know oh Allah, how much anguish I had to go through to give birth to my boy. The boy, whose existence had changed my world. The boy, whose presence made everyone in my house boast about their relationship with him. I don’t remember the time I did not love him, Aye Allah. Frankly, I don’t even ever remember the time where he had not loved me. And now, I don’t think I will ever be able to forget the last time he looked at me.

I gave my child the best of everything. Just like any other parent would. Thirteen years of my life I spent fulfilling his whims and giving him comfort. In happiness, I celebrated his joy. In sickness, I caressed him all night. In achievements, I gave him words of motivation. Yet today, in DEATH oh Allah, I remained helpless and vulnerable. I could not offer him anything. I could not do anything to save my child and I could not be there to help him in his pain. They barged through the school gates and harassed him. They didn’t think he was worthy enough of been given instant death. So they tortured him. His little eyes, Oh Allah. They made him vision oozing blood and exploding brains. All, those belonged to his friends. They stepped on his tiny hands and feet, and they pointed a gun on his head. They forced him to recite verses from The Quran. Holy Verses. From the Holy Book. In the state of such ordeal. And then they did it, THEY SHOT HIM. THEY SHOT HIM IN THE CHEST. NOT ONCE, NOT TWICE, BUT THRICE.

I question you Allah Taa’la. What did he do to deserve such torment? What did I do to feel like this? Meri khata kya thi aye Allah? And then I question myself. I curse myself for entertaining such a thought. Forgive me Oh Allah. I know that death is inevitable. I know that To You we belong and to You we will return. I just wish I had the time to say Goodbye. I wish I had the time to fondle my child one last time. Or to at least see him in the very form I left him in. His cry, Allah, it keeps ranging in my ears like a continuous drumroll. His aches. His call. His screams in anguish. His calls. His Trauma, Aye Allah. I can’t ignore them. I cannot even fathom the pain and it kills me. It kills me because I thought I knew best. Because I thought going to school was a privilege and not a crime..  My heart is weeping today. It is weeping tears of blood. For the light in my house that has been extinguished forever. For the son, that no words of comfort, will ever be able to replace. With the grief, that no time will ever be able to heal.
I raise my hands up to You today, Aye Allah, with the memory of the sight that seemed to be never ending and hypnotizing. That made my whole body surrender and just give up, becoming a helpless victim of the command whose dominance did not let go. The retention. It is playing like a constant echo in my mind, forcing me to stop functioning properly. So I raise my hand to pray for my child. And for all the innocents who became victim to such horrendousness. I pray for justice. And I pray for ease. I pray for the hearts of mothers like me. And I pray that NO other mother has to hold the remains of her child’s grave and scream at the top of her lungs, like I did…
Help me oh Allah. I am at a stage where the reality of what happened just won’t seem to completely sink inside me. My emotions are stuck in a halo outside the walls of anger, disappointment, rage, anguish, torment and excruiciating pain that my heart has built around it. Make this suffering end. Please.. because I am about to collapse..

Ameen.

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137 families. 137 coffins. And 180 million broken hearts.

I pray that the victims of the Peshawar school attack receive the highest place in Jannat-Ul-Firdous and that Allah gives their families and loved ones the strength to bare this loss. I pray that the Taliban and every single person associated with this attack receive the worst form of Azaab in their Qabar as well as the Day of Judgement.

And I request each and every one of you to be tolerant towards each other. Everyone has their own ways of grieving. For some it is silent, and for some it involves the social media. Please don’t point fingers at each other for changing Facebook displays or Tweeting. Instead, be compassionate at the time of such a loss and PRAY. Offer your prayers and pray for these people, please. It could be you and me, it could be our siblings.

The people who did this they cannot be Muslims. They cannot be Hindus and they cannot be Christians. Because the people who did this, they are not human. And if they are, then I don’t know what I am.

Diary of a Palestinian kid..

Unlike any other bright summer morning, I woke up with high spirits. Ramadan was here and just like I was promised last year, I was finally old enough to fast. Something about this month always felt homely and appealing. Maybe it had something to do with witnessing the satisfaction on my mother’s face while she prepared my favorite Maftoul in the kitchen. She made some red sherbet too and I was always responsible for adding the ice in the end. Feeling accomplished at the thought of marking my task complete. When everyone would sit at the table and my sister’s eyes would light up at the Azaan called by the Imaam Sahab, I could not help but smile and dig into the khajoors, pretending like this month was my captive and I had never been hungrier. It was my time to feel pampered now. My time to shine in front of Allah ta’aala.

“Ramadan is about patience my beti, Ami would usually say to us. However, I never really understood what she meant until today.
Today, because this year was different. Unlike my expectations though, I had no idea that change was supposed to be heartbreaking.

I woke up to the sounds of bombs. Wajid bhai, my dad’s non-biological brother and our neighbor dashed in through our tiny gate, warning us to stay inside. My ears were numb from the sounds of explosions. My eyes blur from the sight of my mother’s pale face. She had an expression that was both unrecognizable and unusual. Her eyes were a sharp shade of violet red and my brain was exploding with a million questions. Through broken whispers i could make out just one sentence “The israeli soldiers took him away”..

I could hear Noor, my friend from across the street shrieking intonations of “Astaghfirullah”. However, this tone was different. It was not soft and it certainly was not healthy. A sudden agony gushed across my bones with exuberating force as i heard her sharp shrill “AMII….!Another outburst. My ears pained even more this time, except Noor’s voice did not follow. And at that moment it hit me. They were finally here. I knew they had come into my country but now they were going to invade my home. And there was no turning back. I wanted to run to my friend and embrace her into a hug. Tell her she was the light of my life. Yet, i was stuck here.

The Azaan was called out and i didn’t get time to drink water. Ami said my roza khushai would be a fancy gathering and I would have to eat sufficient to sustain energy for the whole day. But i didn’t mind. As long as i could find out where baba was and my fast could be broken under his proud gaze. In an hour the bullet noises from across our street died down and i hastened towards the prayer rug to say my Fajr namaz. I had to pray for Noor’s ami. I had to ask Allah to keep my baba safe where ever he was. And i had to ask Him to provide me with consoling words for my behen. I sat down with my back against the wall, staring blankly at our door, my ears awaiting Baba’s footsteps. The Ayat-e-Karima hanging on top of it, grabbing my attention and making me fall into a trance of tasbeeh.

I don’t know when i slept, because when i woke up next, ami’s hands were caressing my forehead. Baji was next to me sobbing in innumerable amounts. I wanted to ask her what happened but every look at her made me notice her knuckles displaying even tighter grips at baba’s picture in her hand, further enhancing the torment on her face. I glanced across the table and youtube was logged in. I could see Wajid Bhai in the video, carrying a man in a white sheet out of the local hospital that was reported to have been recently bombed. “Sabr meri beti. Allah is Raheem”. My mom kept repeating. I didn’t need any explanations after that..

In that moment this lifetime felt far from infinite. I could unambiguously see our family go through our old picture albums. Baba’s wedding day. Baba and bhaijaan all dressed up for Eid prayers. Baba carrying me on his back, my arms wrapped around his neck, buying me Falafel. But baba was no more.. And it was my roza khushai. And baba would be no more when baji would get married. And not when ami would have to send her away to another home. He wouldn’t be there to wipe our tears. To console us..

Just then there was a loud bang on the door and i could see fright in ami’s eyes like never before. She grabbed Ziyaad, my two month old brother and was running towards the master bedroom when the soldiers marched in. They grabbed her arms and pulled her outside the door. One of them took Ziyaad out of her hands and shoved three bullets down his throat. I could hear my mother scream loudly! Baji, crying at the top of her lungs! I couldn’t watch! Couldn’t speak, couldn’t move. WHAT HAD THEY DONE TO MY BROTHER! I wanted baba. Where was he? I felt a sudden offence boiling up inside me. Why were there other men touching my ami?! Why were they holding her like she was their possession?! WHERE IS MY BABA WHY IS HE NOT STOPPING THEM?!?! My mind was screaming and my body was stoned. My brother was lying on the ground, blood covering what was left of his tiny face. His little hand, detached from his body. One of his fingers dislodged near my feet. I was going to puke. I looked at my mother in her vain attempts of grabbing her scarf. I felt like her dignity was exposed. I felt like a layer of clothing was missing. I could only imagine the level of her discomfort. Yet, i felt like the most miserable helpless child in the world.

They descended towards a jeep whose inside was dark and isolated. Ami was now blindfolded. Her mouth taped and her hands tied behind her back. Me and baji ran towards her, digging our faces into her belly. I could feel that her fingers were desperate to touch our faces, to pass down any little comfort at the time of such distress. Suddenly the filthy monsters came again. This time they pulled us away from her. I tried resisting but my kicks and blows were too weak for them. They grabbed me forcefully by the arm, their touch inflicting excruciating pain in every muscle of my body. My feet were lifted off the ground and i could hear their grins. I could see the smirk in their eyes extending far beyond the outrage in mine. The engine blew off. We screamed. They ignored. We cried. They laughed. And within seconds the jeep started to go away. I screamed harder this time, chanting my mother’s name relentlessly and eventually, they let me go. We ran; me and baji. We ran as far as our legs could take us. But once again they were too fast for us. The jeep was gone and i was there. Feeling abandoned in the face of those filthy monsters. I wanted to curse my heart out at them. But “patience my beti”, her words could not stop haunting me.

They left us there in the scorching sun. I had read about pain and i had watched television where families cried for one another. But in that very moment i realized that the greatest loss isn’t death. But it is what dies inside of us while we are still alive.

That one day changed my life completely. Today, 16 days later i am still alive physically, but my mind and body are incarcerated to a strange kind of numbness that I have never felt before. I am not used to the sound of bombs. Every noise of the engine scares me. Every footstep surfaces a hope to be able to see my parents again. Every cry reminds me of Ziyaad. Wajib Bhai, when sometimes is able to walk across the street without being noticed, gets us dates for iftari. Other days me and baji just share two sips of water. I get hungry a lot but ami isn’t here to make Kefta anymore so I just ignore the thought like an unwanted piece of procrastination.

There are hours when my body shivers out of fear. I cannot sleep, because i know i am next. I just want to know when they will come and get me. At that point, I forcefully close my eyes and dream of a happy place. A place, where my family is next to me. Where i can lie down in my mother’s lap and listen to her patient words. Where Ziyaad can grow up to be a handsome young man. In my happy place, there is no war. There is only love and there is tranquility. There is a peaceful Ramadan and there is Eid... Another explosion. I think i am there now. Re-united with my little angel. Maybe my guardians are here too. Inna lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Rajioon.

Yeh hai Karachi.

PicMonkey Collage


Started off this new year with a blast (no, literally), and to date this city has taken more lives than we could have expected. Being an average student trying to live an average life, I have been told to reach home ‘foran’ innumerable times, or seen my siblings dance over missing school or exams due to unforseen circumstances. This city has become no less than a war zone and those who are just about to comment “yeh kya bakwas hai”, are seriously delusional. In these few months i have seen a leader being arrested, heard about countless snatchings with statuses like “Got mugged don’t text or call” and witnessed an aquaintance get shot in the head.

I was told that people from Karachi get immune to the sound of bullets and dying people. Truth is, no we don’t. We just take out a few moments to grieve silently and then bury ourselves down into a deeper hole of helpessness, convincing ourselves that everything will be okay. We are stuck infront of the tv for hours, later just forgetting about it.

While deep inside, my accusing fingers are secretly pointing at our good-for-nothing leaders, I can’t stop but wonder that there is more to Karachi than what we spit our blames at.

There is love. Hard to admit, but yes it exists.

It’s in the scent of sea-view that most of us scorn and twitch our noses to. However, for the rest of the Karachi’ites, love is sitting on the rocks or having unbalanced camel rides, clutching tightly onto each other’s waists. It’s in that black sand and ice cold water that touches the feet and soothens the fear of being out in the open. Under the naked sky of this ‘fearful’ city.

It may not be in the foreign television shows or behind the overly dramatic eyes of ‘Hum-tv’ ke actors. Definitely not behind the hunt for a glass shoe, one cindrella story behind it. But it’s behing the grieve-stricken eyes of the brother who cries over his sister’s ‘jahez’. It’s hidden under the sweat of the middle class man who takes out his scooter everyday and stands in the CNG line for hours just so that the day’s pay can get his children another day into school – a voiceless cry for their educated future.

Love is behind those bunkebabs filled of unhygienic deliciousness. And in the streets of dhoraji where one cup of gola ganda and two straws can define to us, what nobody in any other part of the world could ever understand. It’s behind buying your wife or “bachi” a gajra, and only we can embrace the scent and understand the intimacy of the nakaab wali aunty, tugging comfortably onto her moochay walay, bike riding husband. It lies within a man sitting in a Corolla or City, determined to buymotiya ke phool’ in preferably, or most definitely ‘bees rupay ke chaar’.

Love is the overly-loaded bikes of Karachi men of all ages. Their silencers screaming out their excitement from behind their rides. In the woofers of the guy blasting Bewafa’ in his car. When you know that love for him, may take a little longer to find. It’s in the lost eyes of the old man who sits on his balcony from afternoon to dusk, listens to ‘ghazals’ on his radio and waves at every little child who passes by. And at that moment you can realize, that he knows more about love than you ever will.

Its in the smile of the mother, who can finally realize that she has grown her children to be models of not perfection, but human. Plain, loving, care-taking human. Or behind the eyes of grandparents simply awing their generation with tear-filled eyes. Blowing Ayat- ul- Kursi and feeling wonderous. Yet at the same time, old and nauseatic.

In the air of the magical hand pushed ferris wheels parked at the corner of the streets of some unknown locality. Or in the screams of the barefoot children dressed in shalwar kameez displaying the remains of countless washes. These kids, feeling exotic and shrilling from the top like it’s the most exciting thing they have ever seen.

Amongst the late night baraats after a week of tiring mehendi dance practices. Or just chilling in one of hundred cafes located on Khayaban – e- Sehar! Sheesha or Bundhu Khan, ‘Meetha’ or ‘Saada Khushbu’ wala paan. Love is in our food. Behind the eyes of the old bhutta wala after the final school bell or sabzi wala when the scorching heat is not bothering him for the day. The smile of a worker when you give him a tip for home delivery, or in the smell of the freshly baked corners of the naan that two children share in the car, even before it can reach the table.

Love, is carved amongst the ‘shair- o- shairi’ hidden behind the traditional bells on buses. Or the bright blues reds and yellows behind the loud and gurgling rikshaws, waggling on the streets.
It’s in the joy of bargaining for a pair of jeans at Sunday bazaar, or merely in the satisfaction of watching a late night movie show, and conveniently spending your pocket money on it.
But Love, exists. It exists in the mere air of this city.

Love is waking up in the morning after a riot, because you know it’s routine. Knowing that you cannot give up. Not now, because this is not about you. It’s about everyone associated to you, that is dependant on you. It’s knowing that this is what survival looks like. Not for yourself, but for them. Its’ messy, incomplete and heavy on the hearts of those living here. But it’s there. If one ‘Pakistan versus India’ cricket match can unite the whole city into loud chants of team green, I can proudly say that love exists in this patriotism we have buried within us.

You, as an individual are more than just a green passport. You are Pakistani. And one that has to survive these conditions. No storm lasts forever. So believe in yourself. And make the change. For all that I can say, the only determination I know is a flashback of the sights you all have witnessed living here. This is your home. Don’t let it slip off your judgments and hopelessness. Not so soon. You were born to conquer, to fight. And Pakistan was born, to prosper. One city at a time. Wanting nothing from its people, but just the satisfaction of being loved back.

Love to write. Hate to be corrected.