When was the last time you had an under-water tea party?

The exact moment innocence is lost is up for debate. Does it happen when you leave home? Does it happen when a beloved dies? Does it happen when you give yourself wholly to another, in mind or in body?

I’ve always thought that there would be a certain age where I felt like a grown-up, but I’m not sure that’s how it works. You get treated like one more and more until the new pressures, new expectations, new modes of conversation convince you that you must be an adult. Why else would people address you like this?

But what happens when conversations with family and friends begin to sound the same? What happens when conversations start with questions on new cities, new achievements, new schools, new accolades, new relationships, new… until it all feels old?

When was the last time you spent the evening cycling, blowing warm onto your hands?

There comes a time where one forgets how to do nothing: assignments, achievements, deliverables, deadlines, emails, obligations. Perhaps this is the true marker of a lost innocence: when one’s aspirations feel stale, rehearsed, when the balance tips so that the future seems duller than the past, when the imagination withers so one no longer imagines like William Blake describes:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And eternity in an hour

For some, this loss comes early, for others it comes later. One wonders if it is possible for it never to come at all. But one thing is for certain: when one loses one’s imagination, one loses the will to live for. Is not imagination also humanity?
When was the last time you did nothing and wondered how life could be so perfect?
Innocence is lost when one turns to see the castle but now the gate is closed, the sun has set, and beauty no longer resides in the castle but in the metal gate that will withstand infinite time. Innocence is lost when one realizes innocence is something that must be protected at all.
And yet, perhaps, in the most fleeting of moments, innocence and youth can be recaptured. If innocence is lost when imagination and aspirations are spurned, when innocence is realized as a concept at all, then perhaps one only need forget. Forget the present, the past, the future, be as aimless as you were before you were born. Perhaps then the gate will creak open, and the castle’s lights will once more be set alight, so that all the lives of our past — the illusions, the dreams, the grievances — can be countenanced, reckoned with, danced with beneath the pale moonlight. But perhaps the gate may always stay shut. Perhaps one can only imagine the lights of the castle? Perhaps that is enough.
When was the last time you lay on your back, pointing out constellations, wondering how the universe became so grand?

Never from my mind will its memories thwart


(An edited version was published in US Magazine, The News International on  January 24, 2014. Link: )

‘I remember the day when I first came here

And smelt the sweet Abbottabad air

The trees and ground covered with snow

Gave us indeed a brilliant show

To me the place seemed like a dream

And far ran a lonesome stream

The wind hissed as if welcoming us

The pine swayed creating a lot of fuss

And the tiny cuckoo sang it away

A song very melodious and gay

I adored the place from the first sight

And was happy that my coming here was right

And eight good years here passed very soon

And we leave you perhaps on a sunny noon

Oh Abbottabad we are leaving you now

To your natural beauty do I bow

Perhaps your winds sound will never reach my ear

My gift for you is a few…

View original post 1,614 more words

the extraordinary in the ordinary


Why are we always on the lookout for something extraordinary to happen? Why not look for the most ordinary of charms in the most ordinary of places? Why not vow to enjoy the commonest of pleasures that life has to offer? Who knows those small moments may compose a story  worth telling….

unnamed (6)

That small friendship between two strangers sitting beside each other on a two hour flight. Why not savor that moment of relief when someone recommends something from the menu, lessening your confusion. A short story that made you cry a few tears or the one that left a smile on your face and a night full of beautiful dreams. That chocolate bar that was a gift from someone anonymous or that first block of homemade brownies straight out of the oven. The happy moment captured in a selfie when six friends squeeze into one cab. Someone’s horrible jokes…

View original post 323 more words

Rabba sachya tu te akhya si…. By Faiz Ahmad Faiz


Rabba Sacheya tu te Akheya si

Ja oye Bandeya jug daa Shah hai tu

Sadeya naimat’aan teryan doltan nay

Sada naib te Alijah hai tu !

Aes larey torr kadi puchiya ee

Ki ais namanay te bitiyan nay

Kadi Saar wi layi O Rab Sayeen ?

Teray “Shah” naal jug ki Kitiyan ne?

Kithay dhons Police Sarkar di

Kithay dhaandli maal patwaar di

Enway hudda ich kalpay jaa’n meri

Jiven phahi ich koonj kurlondi ay

Changa Shah bnaya e Rab Sayeen!

Polay khandiyan war na aondi ay

Mainu shahi nai chahidi rub saaiyan !

Main ta Izzat da tukkar manga ha !

Mainu tahng nai, mehel maria’n di

Mai te jeewa di nukkar mangna ha!

Meri mannay te teryan mai manna!

Teri Sonh je ik wi gal moran!

Jey ay mang nai pujdi taan Rabba…

Fair mai Jawa’n te Rab koi hor Lorran!

View original post

And I say, amen

Bano's World

You were the poison I drank with my will
Trust me, I have injected heroin and morphine into my poor veins but did not get the peace I found with you
You resonated in my veins and laced my heart
I do not regret it
I will never regret it
The places where you jagged your claws in never healed
The wounds are fresh
In my wounds, blood thrives and pulsates in my broken veins
I kneel on the floor during these moments
Moments when I collapse
Seconds and I crumble to the ground
I end up saying your name as a prayer
I worship a ghost during that phase
I call out to a deity that granted me eternal life but could not damn me with temporary death
And I say, amen.

View original post

We Write

Loved this ❤

roller coaster rides

We write about the whispers of the soul

When it calls out in the dead of the night

We write about our darkest secrets in the brightest colors

We write about our haunting obsessions

We write about our unsung sonnets and unheard melodies

We write about our unfinished stories and broken sentences

We write about the echoing silence

All the words that weren’t said

We write about the crayons we lost and the colors that faded

We write about the toys that we got

When we didn’t need them anymore

We write about the dancing demons

And the wicked games they play

We write about muffled sobs and suppressed screams

We write about streaming tears and the lump in the throat

We write about the raging storms and burning desires

We write about the excruciating agonies and personal hells

We write about the butterflies painting our souls

We write about…

View original post 89 more words

Of Fears, Hopes, Maybes and Oblivion

roller coaster rides

I wonder what became of me. What became of me in your world? In your mind. Do I still exist? Do I live on in your heart as you said I would? Or have I died? Gone. Buried somewhere so deep that you yourself don’t even know of. I will always love you had said. That I will always be yours. I belong to you. My heart and my soul are yours. It doesn’t matter who gets my body. I will be a piece of flesh for him.

Now I reminisce back and look at it as if looking through a very dusty window. The dust of time. It seems surreal and blurry. All of it. Like a dream of which you remember a few flashes. The words have dimmed and your voice has fainted, lost somewhere in the alleys of time. I have your letters and words. Your promises…

View original post 772 more words



Feel the early morning quiet settle on your shoulders. Listen to the hum of the refrigerator. Give thanks to the cold kitchen floor beneath your toes. Your bones would be so cold without a floor, without walls, without the roof that keeps your body and your soul dry. See this new day with awe. You were a child once, a newborn with an immense understanding of the everyday miracle that is life on this Earth. Be that child again. The morning allows it, calls for it, demands it.
Stand in front of a window. Open the curtains and the blinds — whatever you’ve put in place to keep the world out. Watch the sun flood your private existence. See the rays kiss the things once forgotten in haste and shadows: a favorite book, your grandmother’s ring, confetti from a belated celebration. Feel the warmth spread from fingers to toes as you connect with the simplicity of the day.

Unlatch the locks. Open the window. Smile against the rush of brisk air disrupting your cocoon. Put your hand on your chest as the breath fills your lungs, ushers blood through your veins, awakens your heart.
You are alive.
Listen to the coffee percolating and the stream of pops that mean hope. Sip it slowly, letting the bitter relieve yesterday’s disappointments. Cherish every drop. Spoil yourself with the last sip of sugar and cream. Swallow your expectations because this day is malleable and you are nothing if not a sculptor. Create something brilliant.
Watch the hands on the clock tick by. With every rotation your molecules are a minute older, a minute wiser; your body is a minute closer to the end of whatever this is. Don’t be afraid. Let this comfort you and free you from obligation. Your only purpose now is to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and be grateful that you exist in this moment. You are as much a miracle as the coffee in your hands, the warbler on your windowsill, the concrete foundation beneath your feet. In this moment, you are everything you were intended to be.

Open your mouth and let a sound escape — a giggle, a groan, an incoherent noise that means nothing and everything. Listen as it cuts through the silence. You are a force to be reckoned with. Let yourself laugh, wildly and uncontrollably. Feel the joy bubble into your brain and out through your pores. The energy is changing — no longer quiet and still but alive and merry. You did this. You changed the course of the morning with one silly string of noise waves. Revel in this power, cherish this power, but don’t abuse it. You are as fragile as this moment. Be kind.
There are thousands of bodies like yours that are waking to this early morning peace, washing the sleep down the drain, getting ready to face whatever this day may bring.
It’s almost time.
Before you disappear into the day, before you pick up the phone and let your mind disengage as you chase words across a scrolling screen, take one more moment for yourself. Gorge yourself on this not-quite-silence that can only exist in the first minutes of a day. Listen to your breathing. Listen to your body that works tirelessly to keep you alive. Listen to your mind as it floats through this blissful place you’ve created simply by existing and respecting the peace.

A Midnight Prodigy


2 am.

The only thing visible in the room, was her face. Glowing in the screen light of her laptop. Sitting stock-still, holding her breath, probably reading something. Squeezing her eyes after every couple of seconds to avoid blurriness her tears were creating. Scrolling up and down reading with weary, yet insomniac eyes. Reading each and every word. Feeling every single feeling.

3:30 am

She closed the lid, and moved to the bed with trembling legs. Burdened by her own agitation. Fatigued heart with unknown fears, and numb mind with the clump of thoughts.“What if every word he ever wrote was for me? What if I was the one he thinks about when writing?”  The night, like every other night of the past 2 years, was hard to breathe. With all heavy eyelids, lying in the bed, thinking of how she was losing him with ever passing breath.

As soon as the sight blurred, she felt something. A touch on her waist…

View original post 141 more words


At some point I developed this arbitrary belief that age 20 was the cut off for making something of myself. If I fell short of reaching some type of cultural relevance by this point, any success I achieved after would cease to mean anything. Sure, I would still have the rest of my life to be fiscally comfortable. Maybe I would still have nice things. Maybe I’d still be someone. But if it didn’t happen before my 20th birthday, it just wasn’t good enough.
I think I must have fallen prey to the Prodigious Young Someone syndrome. Anyone can be successful, but can they achieve a life of work before becoming a fully formed adult? Anyone can publish a book, but can they do it before they have arthritis? Anyone can change the world, but can they do it before they are a wrinkled version of their former self?
I am hovering at 20 and thinking, shit, this is it. I have a year ahead of me in which I must accomplish whatever in order to meet my self-imposed deadline. I have just six months to . . .I don’t even know what.
And what if I fail?

Seems likely. As it stands right now I’m not much to behold:
A 19 years old girl; mousy-haired, neurotically intense, chronically over-caffeinated and underfed.
Can’t crank out 5,000 + words a day but can keep her house super clean,
(maybe success is relative)

If I’m going to fail, I might as well aim to do so in line with how I do everything else: wholeheartedly. If failure is inevitable, I might as well fail exquisitely.
Sometimes when I see glaring disappointment staggering toward me on the horizon I just commit to it. I say, well, failure is imminent. So I might as well fail as deeply as I would have wanted to succeed.
Maybe that’s why I procrastinate doing what I love most: to fail at something that matters would hurt too much. Is that what they call a fear of falling — oh, but what if you fly? The anxiety never ends.
Even if I did fly, I’d suddenly be plagued by thoughts of inadequate air speed velocity. I’d fret about my wings breaking. The sky would start to bore me. My nests would be decidedly ugly.
I had a tidy little list of “must dos” that I wrote in a half-filled journal when I was fifteen, probably in blue ink that smudged my hand and smelled wet, like ink should. Back when I had 5 years to achieve these things, none of them seemed terribly difficult. In the home stretch now. I’m not fifteen anymore but damn if I don’t feel starkly pubescent and less of an adult now than I did then.
Publish a book. Or five.(Fifteen-year-old Komal, do eBooks count?)

See the world. Or at least more of it. (I saw a lot of Pakistan last year, surely that counts for something.)

Acquire a dog. (Okay, now we’re talking! I’ve done this! Though I think he actually acquired me.)

Be a classy woman that young women can look up to. (God help the girls who aspire to this. Whatever this is.)

Wake up glad to not be dead.

If I’m going to fail purposefully, beautifully, whimsically, this year then I suppose it’s better to get started rather than reflect in another year’s time and wonder what the hell happened. I suppose if I’m going to fail I might as well turn it into something slightly glamorous.
Maybe if I tack up my failures for you, publish them in a chapbook, expound them here, they’ll become something else. I’ll just lower my standards a bit.
Check in with me in a year.
See how my failures shine.