Skip to content

Author Archives

Selma Tufail

letter writing Jhanavee

A Little Girl discovers the Powerful Art of Letter Writing

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.

Egypt Land of Magic and Mystery

Land of Magic and Mystery (excerpt)

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.

A Singaporean Kopitiam

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.

Makda Teshome Ethiopia

Tizita (ትዝታ)

Growing up when a Tizita song played, I would watch as the chattering adults slowly quieted down and enter a sort of trance.

The Little Prince and the Baobab Trees of Africa

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.

Portugal

Portugal – Its Stories and Legacy as a Historic Maritime Empire

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.

my brother receiving a medal from Field Marshal Ahmad Ismael of Egypt. Hosni Mubarak, then Egyptian Air Chief, in centre.

Letters from my brother – The Aviator

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.

Toledo, Spain

Toledo, Spain: the desire to experience its unique soul

“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.

Troubling Identities and the Minds that Shape them

“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.”

The Art of Lying

The Art of Lying

“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.”

Memoir

Memoir excerpt: When our deepest secrets are exposed

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.

Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost: End of Glorious Muslim Rule in Spain

The surrender of Alhambra would be the final war of ‘Reconquista’, with Spain now essentially seeing itself as the guardian of Catholicism.

Confession by Fatima Ijaz

Confession

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.

Letters from my brother

Letters from my Brother: Tale of the Pantaloon (پتلوناں مضبوط)

“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.

Summer knitting

Summer Knitting: How to ride out a Fiery August

“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

A lesser-known Malaga – Fascinating people on the Costas

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.

Flight of the Bumblebee & Classical Qawwali: unparalleled inspiration

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

Majnūn and Laila

The boy who called himself Majnūn (مجنون)

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 and Laila

The boy who called himself Majnūn (مجنون) – part 2

‘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.

free women

Free Women: A tale of the 21st century

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.

%d bloggers like this: