Rain, rain don’t go away.

The much needed respite from the heat comes in a cluster of clouds, shades of gray varying on the spectrum. If you fear the storm you learn to recognize the bouts of anger nestled in their depths. However, when you learn to love the smell of the earth before water washes over it, you realize the very same clouds are a blessing in disguise.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

Monsoons can be unforgiving. When you learn to expect them, when your body awaits their arrival, you are prepared. These old, creaking bones devoid of anything but salt laden air crave it. Unless you are left unsuspecting. That’s when you’re really in trouble. 

Karachi is no different. We forget the signs that Mother Nature bestows on us and instead listen to the uninformed and often incorrect Meteorological department. But can you blame us. Our rains are dwindled and few, like a blue moon. We see the clouds drifting away from us like memories of a long forgotten past. Slipping past the crevices we failed to fill up.

That’s exactly how the water creeps through. Cracks in the foundation.

It’s calm at first. Calm before the storm. Until it isn’t. Your senses are heightened, it reminds you through smell. The smell is in the air long before the first drop falls on the dry ground, a ground thirsty for rain. This smell will remind you of home.

The wind in your hair turns volatile, a lover’s caresses no more. And then the first drop hits your nose, your cheek, and your lips before you open your mouth to taste heaven’s tears. Often it starts out slow, a drizzle to prepare you – then angry. A pitter patter turned frenzied, the onset of water washing over you, as if to wash away your sins. You are worthy now, you may be cleansed now. It takes away with it the sticky, stuffy air and brings with it winds that make you shiver in your clothes. The solace that comes with the rain only comes from loving it. 

And it speaks out. It always speaks out. Appreciate me human for I will only grace you with my presence if you pray for me. Pray for me. Pray for me. Want for me. Beg for me. 

And we do.

We do even before the clouds roll away, a new destination in sight.

We do.

Just like that, the sorrow of goodbye settles into the pits of our stomachs. Even before that last drop has fallen. The end is always near. A reminder of short-lived joy.

But in Karachi the rain is a paradox. It brings with it destruction and grief and sorrow. It reveals the cracks in the foundation. Crevices we weren’t bothered to fill up. We crave the monsoon but we don’t flourish under it. Instead, we turn ugly. And while the green becomes vivid and bursts into innumerable shades that cannot be captured, you tend to miss out on the beauty. It cannot be appreciated by those who suffer under the rain, through no fault of the rain or them. 

There is much despair to go around in this metropolis. But much appreciation as well. Always appreciation to follow. 

Rain, rain don’t go away. Come, every day. 

At the Doctor’s

If you must know

This clinic

Is eyesore white

A failing attempt to prove cleanliness

And a single crack 

Weaves its way 

Along the wall
The only colour in the room

Is a blazing red

And ironically

It screams out in pain

At the merest contact

Of a tush

Your weight ain’t no indication

Of its agony
I might as well be a palmist

For the lines on its rubbery surface

Reveal an unwell life

Oaks and Weeds

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Throughout the years of our life, we come across different people. I firmly believe that while there may be many, you can always categorize them into two groups. There are those that stand strong like ‘oaks’, deeply rooted into the ground. And then there are ‘weeds’ that grow in the moments where you ignored and changed route – ‘growing in the wrong place’.

Weeds will always fester, and like poison attach themselves, eating away at all the good. Unless you don’t make the active effort to pull them out and chuck them away, they will remain. But once the weeds are pulled out from the ground, they are pulled out from your life as well.

The oaks however, unlike the weeds hold more eminence. Their loss is not insignificant like the weeds’. It is commonly wondered, “If a tree falls in the forest with no ears to hear does it make a sound. It matters not for the tree has fallen.”The obvious, scientific answer would be a resounding ‘yes’. But that sound unheard would not remain unfeeling in the heart. The true answer actually does not lie in the sound but rather the fallen tree – the unmistakable loss of the tree.

An oak may never have the power like the weed to disappear. An oak with always make its presence, or lack of, be known. The lush forest will may appear the same to untrained eyes of an outsider, but for those who live within its depths, the loss will be imposing.

This brings into question why it is always considered a ‘family tree’. Drawn on paper is a great sturdy oak that branches across the page as the family grows. That single truck holds everyone together but the loss brings everyone tumbling down.

We all resume life after the death of an oak, a loved one who held importance in our life, but are we ever able to extract ourselves from the legacies that they leave behind? Your oak need not be famous; their legacy could simply be living. The loss of that one person in our life is like losing the whole forest, leaving behind barren land that cultivates no life.

Life is never the same. Slowly, traditions start to die down. They almost seem trivial and time consuming, things that we rationalize with ourselves that we no longer need to do. Sometimes, it is that single person who was the last piece in the jigsaw puzzle and with them gone, the puzzle forever remains incomplete. That single piece possessed the power to bring forth a landscape that had mesmerizing qualities and with it gone, the rest of the puzzle begins to dull in comparison.

The family is no longer complete. Relations are no longer complete. The oak’s roots were what prevented relations to drift away and with it gone, the landslides of strife and missed connections come to play.

The disappearance of the weed causes no loss to land, to life, to love. It is the oak that holds the power to make true loss felt.

Just Because I Don’t Go on a Social Media Date with God, Doesn’t Mean We Don’t Have a Relationship

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Today life consists of falling in love 140 characters at a time and proposing through status updates. Your friends, popularity and likeness are measured through the number of likes and comments. Every aspect of your life is infiltrated by others and so, how could religion stay far behind.

Social media has always had its highs and its lows, and while it has worked to salvage misconceptions and ideals, it also has worked to create unnecessary fear and hate. Don’t tell me I’m going to Hell just because I scroll past the Holy picture that you’ve shared. Don’t promise me Heaven if I do continue the chain and share it. None of these outcomes were ever in your hands. And our piety cannot be measured this way.

Instead of being pious in the eyes of God, you work to appear pious in the eyes of the world. And then follows your innate need to flaunt this piety making others out to be sinners in your eyes. Religion should not be measured through the horn that you blare all over your timeline. The sheer volume of your voice does not constitute anything. This itch that you constantly feel to ‘save’ people only proves the kind of person that you are.

#Blessed has become more a part of our lives than the simple, private act of thanking God of bestowing His blessings upon us. Don’t recount your blessings by making it a public matter because it brings into question just exactly what you’re trying to prove and show to the world. Religion has never not been complicated and we’re all in the midst of learning, always will be learning. It’s hard enough loving yourself but when people make you out to be sinful, it becomes all the more difficult.

Religion has always been this beautiful, private relationship that we have with God. Don’t make it perverse by attaching multiple partners. The power lies in the silence of a voice that requires no sound. God ain’t your trophy wife to show off to the world.


Khaula Jamil Photography
Khaula Jamil Photography

They call us “The City that Never Sleeps”, only I don’t think the name does justice. We aren’t exactly people who move with zombie-like vigor due to the lack of sleep. No, I’m afraid we’re more nocturnal, staying awake till the wee morning hours when the sun itself awakens from its slumber. That, is when the people of this city decide to listen to the calls that their bed makes beckoning them to sleep.

Karachi is for the dreamers and the doers. Eyes scour the streets and roads always searching, always looking for the next muse, the next inspiration to life. The buildings, a combination of exquisite and alluring, of something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue beckon the eyes casting a spell on the onlooker, giving the mind a piece of imagination, a look into a life that is always foreign from his own.

She is resilient and stubborn and strong. Her heart is the shore, waves lapping at the sand, tickling those who dare to wet their feet. All roads lead to the heart, every cell and every organism. There are those who visit every day, just wistfully staring at the ocean, only their minds know why the sea calls out to them in a siren song. And others hop on over on the holidays, occasionally visiting a friend that does well to lend a shoulder when life truly gets tough and all you really need is a break.

We are a city almost always encompassed in red. We love with red, and we hate with red. You can expect the passion to forever run its course. And yet, Karachi is as diverse as the colours painted on the buses that roam its streets. We dip into green and white every Independence Day, yellow on days of sincerity, purple when pride swells our chests out and blue in moments of jubilation. It’s not just a truck; it’s the canvas of life.

But the true essence of Karachi lies in the old. Here the streets are narrow and only seem to get thinner as vendors line themselves selling delicacies whose smells are enough to make the mouth water. The buildings might appear dilapidated but that’s where true beauty lies. It’s the trained eye that notices the carving on the stone, the exuberant colours on the doors, the old huddled in a corner playing cards, a family of five making room in an apartment for one and the cricketers that continue to find place even in the smallest of places to play the game that has the power to unite.

There is a lot to cry and complain about but the love is unconditional like a child to its mother.


It’s okay if you want to cry. It’s okay if you hide in a darkened room simply staring into black. It’s okay if your thoughts won’t let you sleep. It just shows that maybe there is some hope, some hope in humanity.

All faith in humanity was lost yesterday. And as information & details & facts came forward today I couldn’t help but imagine what those children might have gone through. What were their final thoughts? Did they even realise that they were probably breathing their last breath?

Today as a nation we shiver. Not from the cold winter air but from the fear and sorrow and pain that we feel for those families and children.

The survivors put on brave faces and portray a strength that many of us would never be able to muster had we been in their shoes. It’s not right for us to expect them to stand strong. What they’ve witnessed was traumatic and nothing short of hell on earth.

White, pristine uniforms have been painted crimson. Children who longed to see what the world had to offer them are now left with a bitter aftertaste. Eyes that held a spark, a thirst are now forever closed.

16th December, 2014 will be marked as the bloodiest and darkest day in Pakistan’s history. Innocent souls murdered in cold blood through no fault of theirs. Only cowards target children.

I want you to think: what if you were in that classroom with them? What if you were in that auditorium when they walked in?

God, what has this world come to?

The shatter here is too great

Broken glass

She exercises great control and executes true care when in her home. Everything is meticulously in its place and not a fleck of dust in sight. Others marvel at her patience and some call in her obsessive tendencies. The psychiatrists on the other hand term it to be her only form of control in an uncertain life.

So, when the vase falls to the ground, the distance between her hands and the porcelain figure is too great. This vase of cherry blossoms and a Japanese spring she witnessed with her family is falling. The world has fallen quiet and the hair on the back of her neck stand alert. Her eyes go wide as the vase falls to its demise. And then it’s done.

At first she can’t breathe and the sound of the shatter continues to ring in her ear, every shard a lament. When she does gain control of her senses, she walks closer barefooted and crouches where every piece makes an intricate pattern on the floor, a constellation of broken pieces mirroring a life that she has always identified as her own.

Her body is numb to the pain of the shards digging into her bare legs, a fact she chooses to ignore before a sob escapes her mouth and she has to place a hand to her lips to control the wail threatening to escape. The hiccups are on the way and she can’t remember what her therapist told her to do in such a situation. She had promised her that such a situation would never occur again and so the coping mechanism would not be needed. So, how did she miscalculate something so important?

She can hear voices now whispering, broadcasting her failures at the simplest of things.




The word breaks her every time it’s uttered and instead of the vase it’s her that’s falling to the ground, slowly plummeting to her doom.

And then they’re all standing before her, picking each piece, one by one and depositing them before her. Her mother is smiling, her eyes crinkling at the corners. Her father is smiling, his moustache lifting like wings. Her sister is smiling, a mischievous glint in her eyes. They make a new pattern on the ground, a constellation that no longer looks like a black hole she could fall into – a web that Charlotte even couldn’t call her own.

 ‘It’s okay.’

Her mother whispers before she kisses her temple. Her father squeezes her shoulder and her sister just laughs, that melody she could never forget even if she tried. She wipes the tears from her face till her family no longer stands before and carefully starts collecting the shards.

She wants control on even the smallest of things because deep down she knows that she couldn’t have done anything to prevent what happened to her family. And yet she replays every scene from that unfaithful day, pressing pause at each point that she wishes she could have done differently. What if she’d woken up early? Gotten out of bed from the other side? Prayed the night before?

But even she knows, or at least tries to know that sometimes what’s broken should remain broken and there are times that no amount of glue can stick what was fated to be apart. Even if she had them tethered to her, tried to control an outcome with the hope that it could be changed, it wouldn’t have made a difference.

Being powerless is a part of life and no matter how much you confine yourself to a controlled environment; a shatter is all it takes to open your eyes to the reality before you.

I think life is a journey…

I think life is a journey, one we have no idea that we’re on. Every choice that we make is the road we take to the next town. Every person that we meet can either decide to take the journey with us or just remain a townie, memories held but no longer an active part. […]