“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.
I fell in love with the moon when I was five years old. My mother forced me to sit still in front of the television and watch as the Eagle crept down and settled on the powdery surface of the moon.
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 →
We continued our trip and I tried to lose myself in Washington Irving’s The Alhambra: a Series of Tales and Sketches of the Moors and Spaniards, which was published in 1832. I held on to it to force myself into the magical space that I remembered from that black and white photograph in my sixth grade reader.
I snuck out with one of my cousins in the afternoon. We were in my maternal grandparents house in Quetta. While everyone was having a siesta, we found our way to DELIGHT cinema which was less than a kilometer away and I watchedmy first movie TARANA,ترانہ तराना, starring Dilip Kumar.
Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. While Newton’s Law acts instantly, karma can take days, years or even decades to return.
The day shift left their boots by the fireplace to warm, for their brothers to wear the following morning. After washing in front of the fire, the men were ready for a substantial meal with a large portion of potatoes. Mammy was an excellent cook and made traditional Welsh meals, Lava bread and Bara Brith.
En esos momentos es cuando me gustaba ir al encuentro de los molinos en lo alto del cerro para sentarme a los pies de” esos gigantes con aspas” sintiendo que todos mis problemas iban a ser triturados por las ruedas del molino y lanzados al viento que los alejaría de mi al infinito de esa llanura castellana sin fin.
I enjoyed going to meet the windmills at the top of the hill to sit at the feet of “those giants with blades” feeling that all my problems could be ground down in the wheels of the mill and thrown to the wind that would take them far from me into the infinite space of that endless Castilian plain.
Does our mother’s life then become the grisaille to our own? That monochromatic grey scale underpainting to which we add the color of our lives.
In Blackout, Faiz mixes images of Muslim and Hindu sacred origins as a symbolic defiance of the Partition. In the lyrical and romantic poem Ya’d’ (Memory or Remembrance), the pain of separation from the beloved (Jan) and exile (fira’q & hijr) also represent a yearning for the pre-Partition problematic, undivided self. In these lyrical poems, Faiz constantly raises questions of ‘home’ and ‘exile’, that defy the space of separation of the two nation-states.
I can tell by the way Abidah Puhpo speaks, how proud she is of her uncles’ accomplishments, but she herself is no less accomplished. Fluent in five languages, she has translated one of my books into Urdu. Her choice of words has made my stories come alive. They sound better than my English words. She is the keeper of our family stories. Her memory is flawless. I watch her speak and wonder how she will narrate her own story. I want to know more about her herstory.
Social Media shows us meticulously curated imagery and art: that perfect face, the choreographed tik tok video, the manipulated political message. Through my art, I hope to uncover the beauty in the hidden imperfections that my mind is not yet trained to see. The blurriness in my lines indicates my feeling about the nebulous nature of life. I continue to capture the complexity of my culture and background in the images I create.
The only sound was of the wind, soughing through the firs, standing fair and square to the wind with the cones firmly attached despite the efforts of the wind.
The “open-endedness” of the The Hearing Trumpet by British writer, Leonora Carrington, represents life. In the afterword to the newest edition, Polish Nobel Laurette, Olga Tokarczuk, praises the “wild metaphysics” of the story as well as its open-endedness. Here Tokarczuk questions what we look for when we read a story, and then answers that question, thus: “We are seeking a shared communal order, each of us a stitch in a piece of knitted fabric.” As readers, then, we are knitting ourselves into the yarn, till the end and beyond.
From royalty and ordinary folk, to secret Freemasons, revolutionaries, philosophers, politicians, artists and intellectuals, these Vienna cafés hosted them all.
I pass back through clusters of wild flowers in pastel shades. The scene is reminiscent of a small Church, decorated for a wedding as my daughter’s had been.
Undocumented immigrants in the US, persecuted minorities of Pakistan, people nostalgic for life under tyranny in Eastern Europe, how do we empathize with those who experience such trauma? Journalists tell us what happens to them; poets, artists, and fiction writers make us feel with them. So if you’ve been following the latest news about Palestine, and you want to feel with the people of Palestine, consider reading or listening to Isabella Hammad’s The Parisian.
An excerpt from Marlena Maduro Baraf ‘s memoir At the Narrow Waist of the World, a mother-daughter story and immigrant story that begins in her native Panama. In this chapter,… Read more At the Narrow Waist of the World: a memoir →
Reflecting on the interaction of humans and other living beings helps me understand life. That is why I’ve chosen to write about bears as they bridge two of the many places I call home: California and Chakwal, located on the Potohar plateau famous for the Himalayan Salt Range.