Khirkī

MaiN kamre ki khirki se

roz ye dekha karti thi,

Ek chānd chamakta rehta thā

Wo poori āb o tāb se

Wo poorey dil o jān se

Har dam chamakta rehta tha

Kuch alag hi uski baat thi

Kuch alag hi uski shān thi

Darakht girati āndhi aayi,

zoroN se barasti baarish aayi

Ye dekh k chonki thi me bhi

Kia esa bhi mumkin hai?

Kia esa mumkin hai aandhi ho ya toofaN aaye

Shayad esa mumkin hai

Ye soch k mene b thaani

Aandhi ho ya toofaN aye

me b is chaand ki mānind

jami rahun gi khari rahuN gi

Aagey barhna laazim nahiN,

Maqsad hai bs datey rehna

Jo Mujh ko bhi dekhe koi to kehne pr mjboor ho

Kuch alag hi uski baat thi

Kuch alag hi uski shaan thi

Phir hua kuch yuN ke

āndhi se dhool bhari jo aankhoN me,

Agli bārish se sāf hui

Or jo khokley jazbey toofaN se huey

waqt kay marham se bhar bethey

Magar,

ik pathar esa tha jo pehle se mojud tha

Shayad pathar kehna theek nahiN. 

Wo to bs ik kankar tha.

kankar pauN me esa laga me beth gayi

lamhe bhar ko thher gayi

kia Kankar itna mazboot tha

k toofaN se bartar tha?

Ya shayad maiN hi kamzor thi

Kia maiN kamzor thi?

Socha tha poochun gi raaz kia hai chaand se

Kese alag uski baat hai?

Kesi uski shaan hai?

Wapas ayi kamre meN, dekha mene khirki se

Wo shai jise tha chaand samjha

Wo cheez aaj qadmo meN

reza reza ese hai kehti ho jese mjh se

Mujh se kyuN ye poochti ho?

kia mujh pe tum haNsti ho?

MaiN khud bhi to beth gayi

ik kankar k lagne se

Na alag uski baat thi

Na alag uski shaan thi

Shikwa tha baat hui

Gham kehtey raat hui

dekha to khirki me ab taarey they

wo cheez jisey tha chaand samjha

wo rezay jinhe bekār samjha

ab jhilmil krtey taarey they

Love: A Necessity or Something Overrated?

Love.

A feeling I didn’t think important.

An ingredient I didn’t think necessary.

A guest I considered uninvited.

All the novels I read, all the poems I hummed, all the songs I heard, they talked about the same thing.

They said love is important, necessary, invited. But weren’t they all written by people in love?

People who had experienced it. Experienced the worry, the hurry, the confusion, the confession, the unease and yet the peace when in it.

It was these people who said it was important.

But I didn’t think so.

For me, it was all a fairytale. All in the books, all in the lyrics.

One did not need it.

I did not need it.

Not really.

I was doing fine without it.

I would do fine without it.

Love must have minded.

You see love and life are buddies.

They don’t like when one is ignored.

They team up.

They teach the other person you are wrong.

Sometimes they do that by giving a person love.

And sometimes, they give you what you want.

They give you a loveless relationship.

They give you what you want.

They put you in a position to decide.

They give you the ball and they give you the court.

They give you the recipe and take away unnecessary ingredients from the table.

They give you the party invites but remove the ones for uninvited guests.

They tell you to love the way you want, how you want. Or rather, not love.

But it is then you realize that what you want is fun, what you like is the unexpected, you find out you like surprises, you like the new taste, the drama of uninvited guests. The masala of life.

While it is true that falling in love teaches you of its value, it is also true that being in a loveless relationship, you learn its value with the same, if not more, intensity.

It was then I realized. I am exactly like those fools.

OR maybe I am a bigger fool because at least those fools fight for it having experienced its euphoria.

I love it without even having a taste of it.

Trip To Turkey: 2 Minutes in 6 Days, the First Solo Trip

My trip to Turkey did not begin on 9th November. It began on 1st September when I decided that it was time I thought of myself.

There were many insecurities, yes.
Would I really be able to go through with it?
Will mom really ‘allow’ me?
Will I be able to have the best excuse?
Will my parents lose face in front of people?
Will I have enough money for it?

But as my preparations progressed, and as I arranged the required documents for visa, my resolute solidified. Slowly and gradually (and very silently), I applied for the visa. 7 working days later, I got it. My happiness was such as if I had already arrived in Turkey.

Bu the worst part was yet to come. I was more scared of breaking the news about my solo trip to my mom then I was about exploring a foreign country without a guide.

And so a week before my trip to Turkey, I confirmed my tickets and told my dad about it. He was perplexed but didn’t say it. He told me to have fun. Maybe he saw that I was very troubled those days and needed fresh air or maybe it was something else. But he wished me well. I am assuming… Nah, I am sure, he thought I was going with a group even though I told him repeatedly that it was a solo trip. How am I sure? At the airport, he asked me if I am gonna meet anyone. I don’t know how scared he must have been to realize I was going to be all alone.

As for my mom, well I told her 2 nights before and that too when she confronted me. Now now don’t hate on me. I know my family dynamics and I know me. If my mom expresses dislike for something I really wanna do, and if there is a lot of time before it happens, I end up disliking it too. So, instead of listening to her opinion 2 months ago and eventually choosing not to go to Turkey, I told her 2 nights ago. She got pissed so she did not talk to me and hence, I heard no explicit no either. Intelligent, no?

So come 9th November, and a proud, although a bit unsure father sat on the driving seat, a pissed mom (praying for my safety on her rosary) on the passenger seat, and I on the back seat with my hand carry. My dad asked me twice, is this all your luggage?

A week later, when I returned he mentioned this once, I think you are made for it, being a free bird.

I assume he said it seeing how even for my first solo trip out of the country I knew to travel light. I am not sure. But whatever reason he said it, I have never agreed more.

This first independent major decision taught me a few things. It taught me that it is okay to put yourself first. God doesn’t disown you if you choose to not be the sacrificial lamb for the society’s values. God loves you regardless. What matters is to love yourself. What matters is to own yourself. And that makes all the difference. That makes us beautiful!

Enough lecture, have a look at my 6 day trip to Turkey summarised in 2 minutes.

Adios!

Agricultural Land or A Sand River

To those familiar with the agricultural land in Punjab, the sight would not be uncommon.

The agricultural land that is beautifully green in the peak season before harvest…

But there are times when from the moment crops are harvested up to the point the new crops start sprouting from seeds, the land mimics the desert look, as a movie called it, the sea of dry water.

Sea of Dry Water

Its the beauty of the weather there, that the sea of dry water exists while there is a canal not even 15 feet away.

Canal

So the small water channels that during harvest season serve the purpose of delivering water to crops, during the off-season, they become known as ‘sand rivers’ issuing from the sea of dry water.

Storyverse sand river
The Sand River

The Mirror

Int. Bedroom – night

SARAH is lying on her bed. Her laptop is open. She is chatting with RAYAN whom she met on Tinder a month ago. She is smiling as she writes to him.

SARAH

(types)

It might sound crazy but I feel we have a strong connection. We have so much in common. I think its time we met in person. What do you say Rayan?

 

INT. living room – Evening

RAYAN is sitting on the sofa. The moment he reads the new message. He jumps up in excitement. He also feel the same connection. They connect on a greater level.

RAYAN

(types)

I feel the same way. We have only talked for a month but I feel like we are meant to be…

OK! Its decided then! We shall meet tomorrow at 5 in the park.

 

RAYAN puts his PHONE down with a peaceful smile on his face.

 

EXT. Park – Evening

RAYAN enters the park. There are so many people there today.

RAYAN

(mumbles)

Its like the whole world wants to celebrate my love.

He walks towards the place they had decided to meet. He can see SARAH from far away. He recognizes her instantly. SARAH is looking expectantly all around her.

RAYAN laughs a little.

He is now 10 meters away. SARAH has still not looked at him.

RAYAN

Shit! I should have styled my hair the same way. My DP is so old. No wonder she cant recgnize me. So unromantic!

RAYAN reaches SARAH.

RAYAN

Hi!

Sarah smiles.

SARAH

Hello!

I am sorry. The bench is occupied. I am waiting for soembody.

RAYAN

(laughs)

Seriously?
Do I look that different?

SARAH

Excuse me?

RAYAN

I am Rayan yaar!!

SARAH

Is this some sort of a joke?

RAYAN

C’mon yaar! Its me!

SARAH

What is going on?
Was this a prank. Who the fuck are you?

RAYAN

I am RAYAN. Your Rayan! We met a month ago. Remember?

SARAH

I know my RAYAN! Or were you playing with me all this time! Oh My God, I am so stupid.

RAYAN

No Sarah. Why would I play with you? I didnt play with you. I love you

RAYAN is trying to get near her. But SARAH keeps pushing him away. SARAH yells at RAYAN.

SARAH

Get away from me, you sicko! I don’t want to see your face ever again, you need help!

She has tears in her eyes. RAYAN is also crying.

SARAH hurriedly walks towards the park gate.

RAYAN follows her.

RAYAN

Please sarah. Tell me whats wrong.
I’ll work it out. Talk to me!

RAYAN

You have to talk to me

SARAH stops. She turns around.

SARAH

You want to know whats wrong.

SARAH opens her bag, tears rolling down her face, and fishes out her compact mirror. She jams it in RAYAN’s face.

RAYAN’s face mirrors disbelief. He raises his hand to hold the mirror.

He hears all the noise fade away. Even Sarah! Everything just quiets down. He is unable to understand the situation.

A girl is looking back at him from the mirror. A girl with big brown eyes.

SARAH looks at RAYAN’s shocked face and walks away leaving her mirror behind.

RAYAN sinks to the ground with the mirror still in his hand.

Oppo F11 Pro: Chinese Dramas Vs. Pakistani Dramas

I recently watched a Chinese drama, Love 020, and the one thing that my memory retained aside from oh-so-cute chemistry was the Oppo F11 Pro placement.

Wait. sorry. My bad.
Not Oppo F11 pro. That was Suno Chanda.

The one thing I noticed in Love 020 was Oppo cellphones’ brand placement. And was it perfect?
Yes it was!!!
Also, the chemistry in Love 020 was very Strong Woman Do Bong Soon so if you like that you can totally watch it.

Anyway, let’s get back to brand placements!

Chinese Drama (Love 020):

  1. The guy texts the girl. The camera focuses on Oppo’s logo.
  2. A character puts his phone on charge. His friends decide to eat out. He whines that he just put his phone on charge.
    His friend says: Your phone can give 2 hour talk time after 5 minutes charge. Quit whining!
  3. A girl loses her phone. She goes to oppo’s outlet. She chooses a phone. Salesgirl tells her about the talk time and asks what color she wants it in. The girl says golden. She has a star plus moment where her thoughts tell us that she wants to match the phone with her boyfriend.
  4. A girl wants to make up with her best friend. She goes to a shop to buy a cake. The camera positions the lead characters right beside the logo of iCake. It also shows the variety of cakes available.
  5. A popular Chinese brand of Orange juice is consumed by all university students in the drama to show that it revitalizes them.

Pakistani Drama (Suno Chanda Season 2):

  1. Sherry goes to Oppo outlet. The salesman tells him about all the specifications of Oppo F11 Pro as if he knows that the person in front of him will understand all the tech details of the phone.
    Sherry: Yes Yes I know about ‘Oppo F11 Pro’ and the talk time. I have an Oppo F11 Pro too! I want to gift an Oppo F11 pro to my wife. I have an Oppo F11 pro in black color. I want my wife to have an Oppo F11 Pro in purple color.
  2. Cousins are all playing cricket together. Sherry comes over and suddenly feels like taking pictures.
    Nobody:…….
    Sherry: don’t worry. Don’t worry! Oppo F11 Pro has good inbuilt lighting. The pictures will be good.
  3. And not to mention the wedding function where Mitthu actually brings over a tray full of candy biscuits because obviously in brown weddings we make our entry with trays full of ticky packs.

 

But let’s not be too harsh with them.

When have we ever seen brand marketing within a Pakistani TV drama?

But since Pakistan has finally tried their hands in it, they could at least do it intelligently

Or Oppo being an international brand and having experience in brand placement in Asian dramas could take notice and tell their Pakistani branch to follow their international policies regarding it.

It is evident that Pakistani TV industry does not know how to do brand placements. And due to their stupid way of putting the brand in your face, the audience starts losing interest.

Trust me.
I know.

I finish all the dramas that I start. Even if I don’t like them.

And I have stopped watching Suno Chanda season 2 halfway through.

When The Plants Rose

What do you call it though?

Vines?

Green plants?
They must have a complex name surely but in Karachi they got famous as Mustafa Kamal plants.
So, its these plants that are just everywhere now.
Quite literally everywhere.
Be it the ‘almost-suburb’ Malir Cantonmentt or the Karsaz road, those plants have grown at such a speedy rate that, in most places, have completely hidden the path they are planted on. With almost similar speed had a lot of rumors circulated about it. Some said they are poisonous while some said they suck away all the nutrition from the ground. Some also said they lessened the oxygen from the air. But she didn’t pay any attention to it because it didn’t concern her until… until that day.
That day strike had broken out instantaneously. Karachi was volatile like that a few years ago.
She was in her car when it had happened. Main Shahrah e Faisal road.
It had all happened at such a fast rate, but she remembers every single detail.
Something had hit her car’s windshield. The glass had broken into million pieces. The shards flew at her face.
She tried to get out of the car when some men with their faces covered rushed towards her. They were obviously not there to help.
When they were done beating the shit out of her, they left her.
That’s when she found the strength to crawl over towards those plants. She wanted to hide.
And somehow, she made it there. Blood oozing out of her, tired, she lay there in the midst of the plants camouflaged as one with them.
She had closed her eyes, but she was hearing everything.
She could even hear the rustle of the plants but she heard so much more: the pain, the screams, the angry shouts, and then sometime later, she also heard help coming. She heard police sirens and ambulances. But nobody came for her.
The leaves kept rustling.
It must have been a lot of hours when she felt she could get up and get some help. She opened her eyes and saw the plants hovering over her. She could swear they were hovering over her.
Realizing it wasn’t the time to prove or disprove her hallucinations, she focused on her injuries. The cuts on her hands. The gashes on her face. The scratches on her legs. She looked at her blood covered hands. The blood had dried by now. That weird copper tinge that forms, was visible.
The copper tinge that vampires must taste. But the blood wasn’t the issue. Or was it?
Because the blood was there. Just no injury.
There was no injury on her hands, no gash on her face, no scratches on her legs. How could it all disappear?
Mysteriously the cuts had healed.
A few days passed after that incident and then one day, she was going to the shop for a band-aid.
She had just gotten a papercut. As she walked, she moved towards the center isle of the road and raised her phone to type something. And in that light from the phone, she saw it, this time first-hand. The healing quickened and the skin, it seems, got sewed together.
She stopped in her tracks. What had just happened? What exactly had she witnessed? Why did it remind her of that day? the day of the strike. Was there any similarity? Both events happened on very different parts of Karachi. She could only think of external factors. And rightly so. Had there been intenral factors, she could have healed at home too. No. There was something more. The time of day wa also different. And then she heard the rustle of leaves. Indeed. It was the same rustlr. It was the same plants. The plants were indeed mysterious. They had healing power. They had to. What else could explain it? Something in those plants had healed her.

But she hadn’t planned to do anything with that information. Not when she saw the escalating crime numbers; not when robbers openly mugged people; not even when criminals openly harassed victims regardless of police presence.

And then one day as she stood outside her office, taking in the evening sun, she saw a man armed with a knife charging towards a woman. He was on a bike. The distance kept on lessening. He would have stabbed her.
And then she did it. She stepped forward. She got right between the knifeman and the stranger woman, grabbed his arm, and twisted it and rolled him over. The bike sped from underneath him. 10 year Taekwondo training could only help for that, not for what followed.
The pain seared through her hand.
The Knife had pierced through.
Men came rushing.
They grabbed him and held him down.
People came towards her as well… to help her I imagine, but she hurried away towards the footpath, towards the plants.
She had saved that woman.
She felt at the top of the world.

Karachi had gotten its own superhero.

What If

As I hung out on the terrace, a crow came towards me

Since the sun had quite not risen

he started asking questions

He told me there is a look in my eye that he can’t quite read

Its as if you are haunted, what could possibly haunt thee?

Is it me? It has to be the cat.

Is it me or the cat?

No, I laughingly said,

Is it the vampires or Zombies? It could be neither.

Is it the darkness, I heard you say that once?

Is it the prickly leaf.

Or is it the ghost that watches you sleep?

But wait a second, you were scared when you went to Charna

What scared thee?

Was it the sea? Was it the cliff?

Neither. It was the ‘what if’.

Its always been what if.

What if the crow takes my eye? What if the cat bites?

What if the vampires start glowing or the zombies never die

What if the darkness comes and never leave?

What if the ghost is actually scary?

What if there is a shark in the sea

or what if the water drowns me?

What if I lose my Netflix password?

What if movies could take you to other worlds?

What if songs could solve your problems?

What if I had become a doctor?

What if I had become a pilot?

What if I had travelled with all my might,

Met a few ghosts and dealt with my fright?

What if I had learnt how to write and paint?

What if I had left the world and become a saint?

How different life could be, I’ll never know.

So, No. The haunting bit was not the cliff!

As the crow stayed silent and the sun came up, I knew

‘What if’ will always be ‘What if’

Strange Friendship

In a land far far away, there used to live two best friends.

They had to live in hiding. Never showing their true potential.

Stories had been written about them, you see.

Legends.

Myths.

All signaling towards something bad, something negative, something evil, something that would bring about the end of the world.

They never did understand how they could ever think about ruining the world which gave life to them. The beauty around them. Sure, some people were cruel and bad but they were really harming themselves.

It hurt these two for being blamed for hurting people, that too, in the future, the people they loved so dearly.

Maybe it was the perfections in their imperfection or the imperfections in their perfections.

Maybe it was because the two had not known anybody other than these people who feared them.

Or maybe just maybe, it was the fact that these people were so intelligent and creative having given life to these two, that they couldn’t bear to hate them.

They were immortals, you see. Immortals created by mortals and yet feared by other mortals.

And then as all the stories go. Once anybody has had enough, they lash out.

That is exactly what happened.

One did. One lashed out.

Millions died.

And you know what the mortals did?

They said, ‘We told you so.’

They forgot all that what they did.

They forgot all the emotional stress they inflicted.

They just found their chance to say, ‘I told you so…’

Typical mortals.

Typical humans.

Typical humans not knowing the burden the other immortal must have felt. The burden of choosing who to save: the insensitive creators (mortals) whom they had loved so dearly, or the only other entity who had been there in all the thicks and thins.

And then…

Alexa killed Siri.