Thinking of Sindh

Travel map for a possible road trip across Sindh. I am not setting time limits. If it extends to months, so be it. If I don’t feel like leaving Bhit Shah, I won’t. Full-time hippie mahol!

This, frankly, looks overwhelming. Wish me luck.

1. Kashmore
2. Sukkur
3. Larkana
4. Mohenjo-daro
5. Sehwan Sharif
6. Nawabshah
7. Sanghar
8. Bhit Shah
9. Mirpur Khas
10. Umarkot
11. Kunri
12. Nagarparkar (Bhodesar Temples)
13. Badin
14. Thatta (Haleji Lake, Hadero Lake, Makli)
15. Bhambhore
16. Karachi

Izzat wala kaam

“Where do you study?”

The guy sitting next to me in the bus asked when we got back to our seats after the loo and tea break. I was coming back to Lahore after spending a week at home in Islamabad where I disturbed everyone by launching a renovation project in one of the rooms because that’s what I do—clean, rearrange, renovate—whenever I am there.

Anyway, coming back to the guy in the bus, don’t you like when people assume that you must still be a student? I do. So, after congratulating myself for aging well, I smilingly told him that I was not a student anymore.

“So what do you do?” he asked the next question.

“Well, I write.”

“That’s it?”

“Yeah, that’s it.”

“Oh,” he paused for a while and then said in a sympathetic tone, “waise is kaam mein izzat koi nahi hai aaj kal…”

“Izzat ke liye thori likhte hein. Mann ko acha lagta hai.”

He gave an umm-okay nod.

“What do you do?” it was my turn to ask.

“I am an engineer with GHQ but soon moving to Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. I was in Islamabad for the job interview.”

“Now that’s what do you do for izzat.” I said with a laugh.

I know you are sad and depressed today but take consolation in the fact that we are also (part) Indian :P

Aww, we love you too ♡

If everyone is covering the amazing, who will share the ordinary?

This book needs to be found


The dream-catcher

I got myself three souvenirs from Philippines: a model Jeepney, a traditional earthen jar, and a dream-catcher.

The dream-catcher is a ring made of dry branches—decorated with colorful threads and five suspended strings, each carrying a few feathers. Once hung outside a door or a window, it stops bad dreams from entering the house.

It has stopped working.

The town cursed by Ranjha still burns

Some 40km south-west of Pakpattan, along the bank of River Satluj, lies an ancient old town called Qaboola. So ancient and important that it housed not one but many forts. Ruins of one still survive.

Adli was the Raja who used to rule over Qaboola, people say. The same one Waris Shah mentions at the end of his Heer, they add. At the end of the story, after Ranjha arrived in the town Heer was married off to in the disguise of a jogi, they managed to elope together. It was going to be a happy ending. But they were caught. They were caught and brought to the court of Raja Adli. The one who used to rule over Qaboola, as people say.

The Raja held a court and decided to hand over Heer to her relatives. Upon this injustice, Ranjha cursed that the town may burn down. And it happened. Raja had to ask for his forgiveness to save the town. Heer was allowed to go with Ranjha and the town was saved. (It’s another story how she was later going to be murdered.)

But the town of Qaboola still burns, the stones and pebbles in the streets still smolder, the fumes can be seem even in the rains, people of Qaboola say. The curse stays.

PK, a few observations

After reading all the dazzling public reviews and recommendations on Facebook and Twitter, I finally watched PK the other day. I think it’s alright. On the milder side really. Doesn’t directly confront the institution of religion itself.

Which brings me to another observation: Is PK partly getting the love from the educated Pakistani Muslim middle-class because it supports the increasingly popular wish among this demographic to return to the core of Islam — shunning all that they deem ‘later innovations’ (or Biddat)?

P.S. The love between a Pakistani boy and an Indian girl was cute, though with a bit of unrealistic drama at the end. Before you ask, yes, I would have equally liked it even if the boy were an Indian. Staunch supporter of cross-border love affairs here.

That’s Lahore for you

So my maasi and chacha, married to each other, went shopping the other day. On their way back, when passing by a street known for its samosa-wala, maasi jee insisted that they should have some.

The seller had finished the stock for the day and was just getting ready to close. Something that my excited maasi and tired chacha didn’t notice and just went inside to sit. After a while, upon realizing there were no samosas being made, they saw the shop-wala bringing two samosa-plates from outside. Putting down the plates on the table, he said he went to the next street to get samosas: “Main keha khoray baji da kinna dil karda hona.” (I couldn’t say no to you thinking the sister must really be craving for samosas.)

That’s Lahore for you.