A World Away: Bannu, May 2015.

Extracted from undergraduate thesis, first published in 2015. 

The Margallas finally come into sight, a hazy blue presence becoming clearer and clearer with every mile of motorway. The Peshawar-Islamabad route is beautiful. There are rivers and canals and trees, cattle, and small, neat farmsteads. There are some rugged peaks too, but they are not the Margallas. The Margallas are home. Continue reading

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On Choice and Being

You see, there is a most profound difference between having our choices and being our choices. When I reduce you, your being, down to the choices you made under circumstances I have not faced, feeling feelings I have not felt, I am reducing all you are and all you could be down to one label, one concept inside my own head. It is a violation. Continue reading

On Grief

I listen to the sweet lilting of a Persian poem, perched softly on my bed. It has been a long day. The sun came out in all her summer glory and then the clouds gathered and had their say. It rained a while. Then the breeze picked up, wrecking havoc with my hair and going deep into parts of me I barely remember. A day, I muse, is a metaphor for an entire life. There is a dawn and a dusk, and a span of time in between. And then there is sleep. Continue reading

The Ritual of Bread

It is a gentle summer afternoon and I have a bowl full of golden white wheat flour laid out. It has an earthy fragrance- like it never quite forgot the fields it came from and part of it yearns to go back there still. I run my fingers through its grainy texture, rubbing between thumb and forefinger and letting it slide off my palm. I feel how each grain must have exploded as the millstones ground and ground and ground, gold to white, and gold to white. And as I stand there, I wonder how many men and women and children over the millennia stood just as I am, with both hands covered in flour- just as I did. It is a ritual honed over lifetimes upon lifetimes. Continue reading