As I progressed to middle school and the pangs of adolescence set in, I gradually became known as the agony aunt of letters. Boys in my class who bunked classes to avoid a test or simply avoid being scolded for not completing an important homework started demanding my attention. They wanted me to write their leave letters for them.
Giza was incredible. Our driver Mustafa handed us off to some bedouins, who took us out to the pyramids on camels. Watching a camel run is one of the most awkward things I have ever seen an animal do, and riding one while it’s happening is expectedly unpleasant, but man was it worth it.
At that moment, the two pieces of white bread burnt with grill marks, sandwiching a thick layer of golden sweet sticky kaya and slices of butter, paired with the chocolatey bitterness of the coffee and creaminess of the eggs were one of the most delicious and indulgent meals I have ever had.
Growing up when a Tizita song played, I would watch as the chattering adults slowly quieted down and enter a sort of trance.
From where I sit, I can see cacti from Mexico and other parts of Latin America. There are succulents from all over the world. I think to myself, these plants didn’t come here of their own free will. And I wonder how many did not survive this transplantation? I’m looking at the living, not the dead.
I am particularly fascinated by a three-story high, one-meter wide, Casa Escondida (Hidden House) which stands between a Carmelite convent and the Igreja do Carmo for priests. There is nothing spectacular about the tiny house that stands between them, except for the fact that it was made to prevent fraternizing between the nuns and the priests. I want to know more.
Imagine walking down The Mall, the main thoroughfare in Rawalpindi since the British colonial days, heading west. Near the end, before The Mall becomes Peshawar Road, on your right, at the corner of the last intersection, is the white building with the light blue signboard outside the gate announcing “PAF INFORMATION AND SELECTION CENTER” in gold lettering, the Shaheen (شاہین – falcon) insignia prominent at the top, with there being no need, really, to spell out PAF because everyone knows, even people who cannot read, that it stands for Pakistan Air Force.
“First, tell me about the Visigoths while we walk to Rome.” Anniqua looks up at me from the old Roman road next to the mosque in Toledo, Spain.
“I want to shed identities that no longer reflect who I am. I want to get off the plank with the nail, and stop spinning with my irrelevant selves.”
“But you have a way of saying things that makes the world seem like a wonderful place. That’s as good as lying from where I stand.”
Was she cursed because once she had garnished a pot of lentils with a fried gecko? A gecko that had fallen off the wall into the frying pan? It had been an accident but it had cost her a much needed job.
The surrender of Alhambra would be the final war of ‘Reconquista’, with Spain now essentially seeing itself as the guardian of Catholicism.
It was in the days of love that I first met him by chance. It was a frugal evening with the wind keeping tune with my heart-beat; nothing was said out loud, almost like the mahogany on the skies. Raqs.
“Some holes in the heart are impossible to fill,” wrote a dear friend to me once. It is especially true when you have lost someone who happened to be the centre of your universe, as my eldest brother was mine. May he rest in peace, although, knowing him, he must be regaling his fellow heaven-dwellers with his yarns, and laughing his hearty laugh out loud. Here are a couple of his letters for us to join in.
“But…” I complete her unfinished sentence, “this is what I do. I can’t help myself. Winter crochet or summer knitting, it doesn’t matter. I create.”
Malaga is a vibrant cultural hub with a fusion of ancient and modern heritage spread over a 7,000 year old past since the Phoenicians.
LISTEN: Malaga 2021 A whiff of a familiar scent can immediately take you to the past — sounds do the same: music, a familiar accent, even the faintest sigh. The sound… Read more Flight of the Bumblebee & Classical Qawwali: unparalleled inspiration →
Here was my very own Eliza Doolittle, the Audrey Hepburn to my Rex Harrison. My Fair Lady in person. What all I could do with her. I was rip-roaring to get started.
‘Majnūn’ was an unflattering epithet in the social circles that I frequented. The word alluded disparagingly to a failed lover, a good-for-nothing outcast.
This is and isn’t the Punjab we grew up in. The flat fertile plains spread out into the horizon. This vlogger’s voice mingles with cawing crows, chirping sparrows, and the occasional sounds of a hoopoe. The blues, greens, and browns of a familiar landscape takes me back to a simpler time. I can almost smell the wood fire burning in her outdoor kitchen and feel the chill in the air on this misty morning in November. What is not familiar, is her use of technology, her smartphone which captures and uploads her videos every few days.