Monday, March 29, 2010

Rendezvous With Dr. Afia's Mother

I feel very scared when I write this down. There is a whole war going on as I struggle to decide what I should do and what I should not. I feel so sleepy yet I can’t sleep. All this conflict is just killing me so better out than in.

Well, today I got to meet probably the bravest mother in the world; Dr. Afia Siddiqui’s mother.

The meeting stirred so many emotions in me sympathy, shock, utmost sadness, helplessness yet hope, optimism and faith intermingled with fear, hesitance and scepticism that it has caused this unrest in me that isn’t letting me sleep so I think it’s the best time to put this into black and white. And now that it is all fresh, it will be my most honest version of the thoughts that got triggered after my meeting with this brave woman.

Firstly and most importantly, Mrs. Siddiqui, Dr. Afia’s mother is the most optimistic person I have ever seen in my life. She is the mother of a woman who lives in the most inhumane circumstances unimaginable to a common man.

Her mother tells us that Dr. Afia is currently kept in a 6 foot by 6 foot ‘cage’ which contains her lavatory as well and is watched by a ‘soldier’ 24/7. Her teeth are broken by now by the beatings she gets by the ‘butts’ of guns regularly and that all her skin is covered in pus-and-blood-leaking wounds. Her brother upon visiting her once and seeing her suffering condition got a heart attack and recovered from the shock after three months. Yet, this brave mother passionately and inspiringly speaks of hope, of a day when her daughter will come back to her house and knock at the gate. She says this with her head held high. We are awed at her optimism, her strong-heartedness and her determination.

Then we see the other side as well. We hear a mother talking about her youngest child Afia who was the dearest and most pampered among all her siblings ; a girl whose wealthy father got dressing material especially from Egypt that wouldn’t feel prickly on her tender skin ; a girl who grew into a academically genius student as well as a religious person who could promptly quote from the Quran and Ahadees. We hear her talk about a young Afia who did humanitarian work even in the US. And as she recalls the younger Afia this mother’s heart breaks and tears leak in front of the audience she talks to. She says that she indeed believes that her dear Afia will come back home to her but the thought of what horrible things are being done to her daughter right now … I just can’t put into words, sorry.

Putting this down here, feels horribly terrible to say the least. It makes me relive what Mrs. Siddiqi talked about. My heart bleeds right now as I uncontrollably weep imagining a woman being savagely tortured almost to death in a far off country away from her family in a cold cell.

Then perhaps the strongest thing after faith in Allah, that induces hope in me are the words of Dr. Afia’s mother.

‘Dekh layna jab woh ayaygi...’

(You will see, when she will come…)

I had written this the very night I came back from Dr. Afia’s mother’s residence on March 25, 2010. For those who don’t know, the Iqra Society at IBA had conducted a Guest Speaker Session with Miss Mariam Ridley who raised her voice about Dr. Afia. The session was attended by over 200 people at an announcement just a few hours prior to the event. Dr. Afia’s sister, Dr. Fauzia, kind as she is, invited the organizers of the event at dinner at her and her mother’s place as a token of appreciation for whatever little bit we contributed to the cause.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I want to go...

There are times when my life is all pink, purple, blue and red; everything glittery and glam. All my dreams turn into reality, I feel euphoric, I feel I am at the top of the world. Yet it feels something’s missing.

Then there are times I wish to find the missing thing out. I take a break out of my dreamy world. I go somewhere less plastic, somewhere more natural, somewhere I can breathe easily. Yet it feels something’s missing.

In pursuit of that something I go searching far and wide. I go to the crests and troughs, to extremes, to vacuums, to everywhere I can possibly exist. Yet it feels something’s missing.

Then I try out something I never had before. I try escaping from all that reminded me of that something in the first place. I feel euphoric again, but only for a while. The pinks and blues all turn into the blackest of blacks. All the illusions come crashing down. Something still misses.

And then my passage through delights, tours, journeys and escapades brings me where I find that something, where I can find Peace.

At my arrival there I wonder how thoughtless I had been never to have thought this place as my happy place before. There I rest in peace with no guilt of the past, no illusions of the present and no worries of the future.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Who am I?

I am a human.

I can do amazing things. I can do silly things. I can do cruel things.

I can invent life saving drugs. I can go and dance on the road now. I can kill an innocent child.

I have a friend, my conscience and an enemy, my nafs. They fight literally all the time. The winner gets to steer me.

I sometimes wonder – am I nothing on my own? Who am I?

Courtesy :


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Examiness at IBA!

Exam day at IBA is when everyone is found digging in their notes, books, etc. Some even dig others’ brains to get ‘summaries’ of what they have studied the entire term. Irrespective of whether the person is among those who pay attention to each and every word and pause of every teacher, among those who doze off in class because they know everything already, among those who know nothing yet slip out of the class to kill time with their friends in the shed or among some other group of people so wholly unconnected with me, every person tries to do something, something that would be directly benefiting him in the upcoming exam.

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But there are some (meaning me !) who you might even refuse to consider sane, who stop their last moment revising, cramming, whatever it is for a while, and attempt to admire the whole scenario. For some I know it may be a highly stressful period but yes, I think the sight is simply… beautiful! Beautiful from which angle? Well, I can’t explain how it is beautiful but I just think it just is. The way humans interact, hasten, learn, rote, question, panic, rush, all in such a brief amount of time is just fascinating to me.

Also, the duration in which we all take our exams in makes me feel funny for some reason. Each human in the classroom-turned-examination-hall has his sympathetic nervous system activated more strongly than before including the invigilators. Every single prick demands the attention of the poor humans under the torture of tormenting questions photocopied on pieces of recycled paper such as the biscuit wrapper’s cracking as the invigilator opens it, the clicking of ball point pens by those who think that doing so will make them come up with brilliant answers to questions they can not yet decipher and the clang produced by stationary items dropped on purpose as some signal to cheat perhaps (in the view of the watchmen). Lastly, and most importantly the voice, the proud and tall voice of ‘Sir, SHEET!’ raises not only the head of an average student but also his blood pressure, heartbeat, pulse and temperature and pumps adrenaline, cortisol in his veins resulting in an over exhausted poor little body in the end. Speaking in terms other than biological ones, an average student’s response to such an exclamation varies somewhere on a line on which lie hope, hopelessness, jealousy, longing, frustration, panic, resentment, focus and many other energies, in an order I know not.

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As for the moments after the exam, they are simply memorable. We see people complaining about the complexity of the questions asked, whining about how less time they had to answer them, questioning their friends about how they did it, reopening their notes to confirm what they had written was right, sometimes even resorting to the restroom and crying (yes, there was this girl who cried so hard after her microeconomics exam that her big round eyes grew larger and reminded me of Dobby’s tennis-ball-like-eyes!). After the exam however, things settle down irrespective of how well or bad they had gone in those 3 hours and life moves on.

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This may be a sight at not only at IBA but in fact everywhere where normal students exist. As for me, wherever I will see it sometime in the future, I shall remember my memories at the place, my four years at which flew by like four days.

Friday, March 12, 2010

My Dear Lahore, My Dear Pakistan...

Today something terrible happened. Seven bomb blasts took place in one single city, Lahore of my dear country. Yes, seven!

There was a time when the news of seven injured people in such blasts used to upset us to the point that we could not have our meals properly for some time. But we grew immune to such shocks.

Then came a time when the news of seven dead in such blasts used to upset us to the point that we could not think of anything else for hours. But we grew immune to such panics too.

And then came a time when body counts failed to raise our blood pressures, failed to put things into perspective for us. A time when not seven injured in a day, not seven dead in a day, but seven separate bomb blasts in a single city within a few hours failed to make us realize the truth.

The truth, you ask me what it is?

Well, they are a couple of essential things I consider true for this situation.

Firstly, what is happening now i.e. bomb blasts isn’t merely a function of explosive chemicals and the ones exploding it. It is the function the actions of each an every citizen living in this country. Yes, everyone can clearly see that there are no missiles in this case or no foreigners parachute-landing. What is being done to our dear brothers is being done by our once dears brothers and no one else! What else but some kind of weakness might have lead them to go for such deeds.

Secondly, we are a nation, more than 60 years old. So logically speaking, learning from the mistakes of the past 60 years should have made us wise enough to do the right things at the right time. But apparently what George Bernard Shaw once said

“We learn from history that we learn nothing from history”

In short, what is happening might aggravate if we continue with our pathetically apathetic attitude toward our country. And things will only improve if we build our fort strong from inside. A fort whose wall’s foundation is firm like the ideology on which Pakistan was created and whose bricks are as strong as we Pakistanis are capable of being ourselves.

May Allah give us the right intentions and adequate capability and strength to bring peace back to my dear Pakistan.

11:26 pm
March 12, 2010.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

When the colours die…

The worldly colours burn in my eyes
A nagging burden seem all ties

With every tick the breath grows shallow
And at a gradual pace, my body goes hollow

My once healthy flesh and sturdy bones
Start feeling like cold smoke and stones

And friends and family seem eons behind
As my soul takes flight, and I go blind

Wrote it last semester when my brother was in the ICU, almost fighting for his life.