Guardian Angel


Sometimes, all she had to do was wish for it. Wish for it and think about it and it would happen.

Just look at Billy sprawled on the pavement near her. Thank you my guardian angel, she thought. Now he’d obviously think twice about yanking any little girl’s pigtails. If he ever got up again, that is.

For some reason, it looked to her as if Billy would now forever be asleep.

Oh, well. Good riddance. He had begun to annoy her a lot.

With that, she skipped on towards home, looking forward to her spaghetti supper that her mom had promised her.

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The Princess and The Pea


Princess Amelia lay down to sleep, savoring the day.

She recalled the details with delight. And why wouldn’t she? It wasn’t everyday that one was crowned a princess!

She had been unable to sleep the night before. The small rectangle of light coming from the slightly-ajar door was comforting. As were the shadows that flitted across it a few times. She knew she was safe.

Yet, something disturbed her and she had kept tossing and turning all night.

The next morning, Madame Orth had loudly bustled into the room at the first hint of dawn, followed closely by the dainty Monsieur Befort. They both seemed very pleased as they called out to her to rise and shine. She could barely open her eyes and wasn’t able to suppress a yawn.

Both the adults beamed at her and told her all about how she was a princess!

They were sorry for her lack of rest but the night had been a small test. Her restlessness proved that she was the lost princess. They had been searching for her for years and now they had finally found her. They were so, so happy. What a good turn of fate! The gods were smiling on them for returning the true princess of the kingdom to them!

But they mustn’t dally. Oh no, there was no time. They had so much to do! Come on, up, up, up!

And before she could take another breathe, she was whisked off for a tour and an introduction to everyone and to bathe and have her hair done and her face made up and dress. She went up the stairs and she went down the stairs. She shook hands and she curtsied (after Madame showed her how it’s done). She held in her stomach as they tightened a corset around her waist. The soles of her feet hurt as she was made to try on dress after dress after dress and walk in heels as high as she was herself!

Madame finalized a mauve dress for her, offset with lots of pearls and diamonds. The clothes felt luxuriant against her skin and made up for how uncomfortable her hairdo and shoes were and the jewelry scratched her.

She was really grateful once the feast was underway. Now all she had to do was sit in the high chair in the middle of the room and observe the festivities.

Everything around her twinkled immaculately, including the guests. As Madame introduced them, they deferentially bowed to her. Raised their glasses and toasted the return of their princess.

Her heart had thudded really loudly in her chest when the time came for the crowning. The ceremony otherwise was boring, with lots of chanting. She barely heard a word; her eyes were riveted on the tiara sparkling in front of her.

Oh, that was her favorite part, the way it twinkled in the light! And she was sure she shone with it!

She sighed contentedly and settled deep into her soft bed, trying to find the perfect position.

First she turned to her right. No. It doesn’t feel right. So she shifted to her left. Nope.

Hmm. Maybe she should try lying straight on her back. Arms crossed on her chest. Or maybe arms up behind her head? She could just tilt her head a little. Okay, what about on her stomach?

But no matter what she did, Princess Amelia could not settle in.

She had been unable to sleep the night before. The door was closed today and no “comforting” rectangle of light reached her. No shadows flitted across the room. She knew she was safe.

At least, she felt safe.

But in her heart, she knew.

Tonight was also a test and something disturbed her but it was not the pea.

It was not the pea and she didn’t know what to do. It was simple, she had thought.

Only now she realized it wasn’t as simple as that. And now, it was too late…

So she kept tossing and turning all night.

The Princess and the Pea

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The Pardon


Everyone is outraged.

Once again, it would seem that justice’s ass has been kicked. The rich have wielded their magic power wand. Money/threat has been used by one group to terrorize the other, weaker one to submit. The law in the country has favored the former. “Our” religion seems to have aided these people in promoting their own agendas.

And so, everyone is rightly outraged.

There is already no hope in/for our country. This was one thing that people believed in. One thing they stood for. One thing that brought them together. And now, with the pardon, it has all been for nothing. With the pardon, the nation supported Shahzeb and his family for nothing! With the pardon, who will ever stand up for justice ever again? With the pardon, who will ever want to stand up for justice again?

Oh, people!

Giving up won’t bring you closer to this goal. Ever.

So what if once again the rich’s magic money wand waving has gotten them out of trouble? Saying you’ve lost hope and won’t come out in support for such causes is equal to saying they have won.

Forever.

We’ll get there, people. One of these days, we will get there. Slow and steady wins the race.

But I understand. Hope is a very fickle thing.

From The Top Of My Head


For the past so many days, I’ve been wanting to write. Desperately.

And the testament to the desperation are the numerous drafts sitting in the All Posts section. Including this one, so far.

I wanted to write about so many things but things got in the way.

Time has started running away from me. When there was time, there were no words. And when there were words, there was no energy.

Soldiers died. Indignation and uproar was created; action was taken. Finally, a stand was taken. Maybe. You can’t be too sure of anything these days. People kept dying, crimes kept happening. The politicians kept up their talking. Nothing can stop them. If anything, it became even more outrageous. Oh wait, I think they are beyond that. And it’s all a conspiracy anyway. Just like the Boy who Cried Wolf – he was framed!

And we have also become an undemocratic nation, haven’t we? I mean, banning an international news channel…what guts we seem to have acquired. How dare we deny freedom of speech in any way. Even if not doing so meant we are axing our own metaphorical foot. Oh, who cares what a bunch of terrorists say!

The best possible thing to do is to divert attention by floating around a memo that may or may not have been written by the named author. And if that doesn’t work, we always have one actress short of a brain and short of publicity. What she isn’t short on is skin, ladies and gentlemen. So why not show it off a little and stir up the hornet’s nest a little more?

Not really. For that, we have our president to thank for mysteriously going for some check-up in Dubai in the middle of the night. Abandonment or a real ailment, I can guess as much as the next person and I don’t blame you for being nervous. All I know for sure is that he definitely knows how to have all the attention focused on him.

But too many bytes have already been spent on these topics. I wish the process of writing was cathartic. Even just a tiny bit. But “words” on a piece of screen don’t really amount to anything. They just remain bits of code, forever lost in cyber space. Otherwise, they just evade you and all you can do is watch silently the new catastrophe that awaits you.

Or else, there is always That 70s Show to amuse you.

Independence Day?


Another 14th August is around the corner. Pakistan turns sixty-four years old.

Celebrations? Sure.

Five killed in Sindh. Vehicles set on fire on in Karachi. One person burned alive. Sarfraz Shah’s ‘murderer’ sentenced.

Torrential rains, with threat of flooding in lower Punjab and Sindh, killing many in latter province.

Some more robberies. A bomb hoax and a kidnapping. Another blast. Attack on a military cantonment. A few more target killings. Someone protests over something.

These are just some of the news in today’s papers from all over the country. A dismal state indeed.

This is independence and freedom?

Nope! It’s the ‘elites’ having a life-long ball at the expense of everyone else. It’s ‘insurgents’ killing people they consider unfit. It’s terrorists making people afraid of their own shadows. It’s government officials filling up their own private coffers. All of these people are ‘independent’ to do as they wish.

But we really don’t need another article highlighting all this. The media has this area covered, I would say. Complaining and blaming will not take us anywhere. If it had to, it would already have done so.

What we need is a revolution.

Sadly, we have already been pumped full of ‘anesthesia’ for it to take a mere suicide or an act of police brutality for us to come out of the rocks we have been living under. Such statements always bring a sarcastic reaction from all of us. Steeped in our apathy and sarcasm and criticism, we tend to think about giving up. And we just go on…

But I am not giving up. I am not going to give up.

It is just a matter of time. And a matter of finding the right catalyst.

Tomorrow morning, I am still proudly going to wear my green jora and the badge sporting my flag and watch all the special transmissions on TV and hope to God that nothing untoward occurs and pray for Pakistan to get well soon.

This might all I be able to do right now but this is how I show all those people who try to convince us that all this is proof that Pakistan is a failed state and should not have been ‘made’ and blah blah blah. It might not be much but it’s way more than sitting at home and complaining.

I’m not giving up. You’re welcome to join the bandwagon.

Pakistan Zindabad!

Nothing.


I am appalled.

Disturbed. Disgusted. Horrified. Shocked beyond words.

Shivers ran down my spine as they show the clip again and again.

The people are shouting. Yells to give it to him. The pleas of mercy. All the ‘talk’ is followed by gunshots and screams. And the continuous robotic voice of the newscaster in the background.

But it’s all a mumble jumble to me.

There is a numbness in my fingers and I have to put my fork down. I don’t think I can eat another bite then.

Ho-? Wha-?

I was sure of only one thing: this is the end of humanity.

When you can shoot an unarmed person – just a kid, at that – at point black range, disregarding his pleas of mercy, and then stand around to see him wail in pain and watch as he dies of his injuries, injuries that you just caused…inhumane is too small a word. The range of emotions that I felt – and am feeling – can not be explained in words. And what I have seen of the news, most Pakistanis feel the same way.

What it all boils down to, in my opinion, is this: He could have been the biggest daaku in Pakistan who had just been apprehended during the commission of a crime. He could have been a murderer of thousands of innocents. He could have been the largest terrorist threat at this time. He could have been caught with a bomb jacket. He himself could have confessed to all that he had done wrong. There could have been an Everest of proof against him that left no one in any doubt.

But, nothing, NOTHING, gives you the right to train your guns at him and shoot him like this. Nothing, nothing, NOTHING!

I could say it a million times and it would still not be said enough times.

Nothing.

Just before, the TV was switched to a drama station. One of the last scenes was of a poor mother who just found out that the reason her son wasn’t home was because he was in jail. She immediately runs off to find out what her precious flesh and blood had done to deserve this and refuses to believe the police wala who tells her that her son is not the angel she envisions.

But, oh!

The pain of finding out your son has been alleged a criminal…

The pain of finding out that he has actually been killed on trial by gun…

The pain of seeing that actual footage is available for the world to see, over and over and over again…

The pain of knowing he is never coming home because of the cruelty of a few..

Beyond imagination.

The scene from the drama seems like such a joke. A drama.

The whole situation just defies logic. If he was a criminal, just throw him in jail. Like the countless other smaller criminals are. Like the countless other criminals are not.

What unpardonable crime did he commit to warrant such a punishment?

Nothing.

Hundreds of thousands of mobiles are stolen everyday. Hundreds of thousands of unlicensed weapons are in circulation. Why did Sarfraz have to pay for every other sinner’s and/or criminal’s sin?

Nothing.

Dear Rangers, are you so drunk in the power to be able to shoot anyone, given enough cause, you thought you’d demonstrate a bit to the civilian population, just in case they forgot who was in charge? Are you so drunk on power that you thought you’d get away with it, especially if there was an FIR against the poor kid? Are you so drunk on power that your finger slipped – oops! – on the trigger and are sorry you got sweaty hands just then? Are you so drunk on power that you feel you can just shoot away the problems in the name of ‘security’ – rather the lack of it – in this country? Are you so drunk?

Do you think you’d get away with it?

Ah! That one is probably going to backfire on me…here, you can get away with anything. I must thank you for demonstrating it once again to the entire planet.

Notice has been taken of course. The incident is still alive in the news. People of this numbed-down nation are still aggrieved. The specific Rangers have been arrested and an FIR has been registered. Higher-ups are being removed from their positions as a result.

Justice?

Only time will tell. I’m not too optimistic though. I’m sure everyone remembers the Sialkot thrashing incident.

And what do I do? Nothing.

Except feeling angry and bewildered.

Except picking up my fork and changing the channel.

Except writing this post.

Nothing.

May Allah grant peace to the departed soul and his family.

(I apologize if this piece seems to lack coherence or even a thesis; i wrote it as the thoughts came to me)