a story emerges …

A story emerges.

 He is friendly, too cute on her, puts her on cloud nine with his smooth talking, when she is caught – hook, bait and sinker – he changes color. Like a chameleon, he keeps changing colors. He starts blaming her for baseless stories and reasons. Then shouts, becomes rude, moody, sweet again, rude again – moody. Then one day just ups and disappears. Meantime she scratches her head and with a clear vision starts a backward journey and that is when she becomes aware of a shadow lurking in the background.
Appears that the shadow is a young girl, almost half his age.

 Why didn’t she see that before? Well simple answer is love puts blinders on your intelligence and your Common sense becomes a road kill.

She picks up the thread and starts counting the knots. Everything is loud and clear now. Ahem! excuse me but she discovers that he is a two timer. The “cry for love” letters he wrote to her were probably a ‘ copy, paste ‘

The shadow girl too goes hiding.

She emerges.  Looks like this one has more nerves than her predecessor – maybe.  would she too get jilted?

That is too early to say. But one thing is confirmed.
And what is that?

He is a psychopath.

( now  all I have to do now is  a little brushing up  and the story would be ready. This is not a new plot  … has been repeated hundreds of times but it is still people love to read.  Don’t they? )

a new world

So how is life?
Life says I is fine; thank you.

Month of Ramadhan is almost here. My younger son has already started fasting. He was telling me that during lunch hour he goes to their Conference Room if it is not in use at that time, and his Kindle gives him company. Kindle definitely has  integrated in our lives.

I sometimes wonder if we are heading towards eliminating speech and start communicating only via text, and such.

In early sixties when TV came to our house, I was upset because suddenly evening activities were decided around TV viewing. Family get to-gathers were restricted, rerouted or rare. Come evening and the family would sit around the set, watching something or the other. Evening walks became history.
Then came the Internet and the world was not the same anymore. Whatever little semblance of the old world was there – GONE!

No complains. On-line ‘thingy magic’ has many benefits too.  When I received my first Kindle, I was a little weary. Letting go of paper books was hard. The smell of a leather-bound book is so exhilarating! I am not joking but having a book in my hands was an ultimate ‘High’. It still is. But I am also used to reading on Kindle now. Right now I have 18 books on it. If I think about the paper books, I also have to think about space. And to say the least, my two four shelf each, big book cases are brimming. There is absolutely no space for even a thin volume. Then there is the question of cost. Its about half the cost of a paper book. Sometimes even less. My Amazon buddy works for me like a network of libraries. I have set-up an account with them. So any book is just a click away. Only regret is, I cannot order Urdu books from them and there are hoards of Urdu books  that I would like to read. But getting a book from Pakistan is not easy. Funoon, an Urdu, literary magazine was sent to me from Karachi in the middle of June. We are approaching middle of July and it is still somewhere on its way.

Girls are busy today. They were already on the breakfast table when I went to the kitchen for my cup of tea. empty glasses of chocolate milk pushed aside, heads touching, they were busy on I-Pad. They looked up, gave me a smile, said salaam to me and then – I was dismissed! They went back to what they were reading and enjoying. My lovelies!!

I wish love, compassion, peace and a prosperous future to all the children of the world.

demons …

She came to me, one afternoon. Sitting across, telling lies, she made me laugh and sometimes cry.

With a heavy heart, I saw her wrestling with her demons. Lying about things imagined to appease her hunger for lost respect and love. Her soul was hurting, I could tell. One lie she lied about a father, one lie about a woman. One lie about a wife who never was her mother. Sparing mothers was not her norm, though a mother herself. She lied about herself and lost a sense of pride,  but she never said a word, why was she where she was –

she wasn’t on a hunt, to place the one who stole her father’s heart. She was out to validate her sins playing a blaming game, her lies were her only strength. I was sorry, her time was lost – the time she was her own child.

Telling lies, weaving webs, “I have to go”, she suddenly said.

And that was a life, sacrificed on a father’s false pride that pushed a daughter to a life that never was hers. Not having a son was not her fault but still, she had to pay the price.

disorder …

Our female Sand Hill Crane has left her male. I think the reason is his eating disorder and she has just had it!  She has decided that since this Eating Disorder Syndrome  has now gone beyond any treatment , it would be better to part the ways.

Okay,  I’ll give you the background of their breakup.

Their feeder is always filled at night and in the morning when I  get up, I  see the female standing in the middle of the yard looking over at the lake. She probably has had her meal and is now waiting for him to finish.  But every time she looks back she sees him eating – just – eating oblivious to his surroundings or what his female is thinking looking at him eating like this. Once in a while  the female bird would turn her long neck towards her male and start coming back then stop and turn back again and stand a little farther this time.

When checking on him periodically didn’t work in her favor, she started something new , like  walking away, leaving the backyard. When the male saw this the first time, he left his eating and ran after her. That was a funny sight but it worked.  So  now they would come , eat to-gather then she would stand aside letting him have a go at the food a little longer then start walking away and he would run after her a little while after.  Then a day came when this tactic also stopped working.

They didn’t show up for a few days.  That was normal.  But keeping what we had witnessed we jokingly said, they probably are talking things over, or maybe seeing a shrink . But even though they had done that a couple of times before – I mean this disappearing act – we were eagerly awaiting their return.

They came back after a little over a week  and the same tableau was performed – but this time with a drop scene. Totally strange!!

She was standing there patiently; once or twice she looked back then started walking towards the lake.  He raised his head from the feeder, looked at her but then satisfied that she was just going to the lake to wade in the water or something , resumed his favorite hobby.

Then we heard a loud cawing sound. The female was running in the yard, flapping her huge wings, like she was too mad to control herself – too agitated. This dumb guy didn’t move an inch away from the feeder but looked at her, though. Then the female took a last run and flew away. This gentleman went to the edge of the lake to see where she was heading then probably thinking it a “usual female behavior” came back to his plate.

No one showed up for a week, meanwhile the ducks without any kind of threat from anybody, had the nonstop feast fearlessly. Then one day the “He Man” returned minus his Mrs. and chased the ducks away.  After that it was business as usual and still is.

Seeing just one Sand Hill crane walking around is an unusual sight   They always move in even numbers like twos and fours.  But this guy? his disorder took better of  the norm.

In humans we usually think that Eating Disorder Syndrome stems from some deep rooted need  like love, care, nurturing etc and needs Psychological evaluation and treatment.  But a bird?

What is his problem anyways?

i love …


programming the laundry machine
for a delicate load.
A quick lunch
popping in the microwave
a grocery list – do not forget
the Fuji apples – organic please!
And Granny Smith
is a must.
Missing buttons
broken ironing board?
oh please, Oh Please!!

And Ata Turab sends his lovely poem
that also sends me
to my baby days!
Among all this hubbab, I think about you
Doing this, now doing that
hopping to
another destination
Far or close
I have no clue.

I love my days
for the end of a day
brings the night.
With tingling fingers, I hold the hour.
Watching hands, holding books,
looking over reading glasses
giving me a thought.
I cup my hands and hold it to my heart

April, 11, 2013
6:06 Evening.

tell me why …

Every night, after dinner, praying namaz, doing some family chit-chat, taking a shower, changing into night clothes, watching TV for a while — has been a routine for as long as I can remember. Now checking mail and FB has been added to the list. Taking a bath before bed time was a strict order from our mother, so it became a kind of second nature.  I didn’t like it when I was little but as time went, I started enjoying this. Makes me feel fresh and alive.

I make sure that I do not have any pink colored night clothes. Pink makes me feel depressed and I do not want any depressing dreams. My favorite is blue. Specially the color of the sky after April showers. Color of the ocean under a winter Sun. Blue of the eyes of a baby or … ahemm … eyes of Elliot Spitzer!  He can kill you with one look, I tell you ! Yes. Blue brings smile on my face.  Yellow is another color that lifts my spirits., and I look good wearing that 🙂

My friends- on the choice of my colors,  think  I am more a man than a woman. They cannot be more wrong when they say that.

Why am I writing all this? well I am doing this as a case study. Why can’t I sleep when every one sleeps. I have tried many times. After taking a bath, drying my hair, relaxing a bit in front of the TV, I would start walking  towards my bed and half way there, I would take a turn,  go straight to my table, pick up the book I am reading currently, a pen and my journal then head for the family room.

Is it force of  habit formed and strengthened over the years ? But my mama used to say I was born with this bad habit. Everybody would be fast asleep and this two year old would be lying in her little bed, awake and talking to herself. First everyone thought it was cute. They would laugh and even tell to who ever came into contact,  that what a dear little child I was. Year four, the night talking stays ..  people are becoming weary.  Year six, everyone is fed – up. ” ma do something”   “ammi she keeps me awake all night”   “AmmaN  “is ka kia krna he?”  Funny thing is during the day I would be rather quiet and docile. Curious but watching mostly. It was at night that according to my siblings I would turn into a monster 🙂

I do not like talking much. Even today I prefer watching and listening rather than talking. And when too many people start talking at the same time, I leave the room.

So, I do not talk and make other people miserable any more but I cannot sleep early either.

Last night I woke up realizing that I had been talking in my sleep.

Oh blimey!! That is not good. Not good at all!!

I feel better after talking about it but I still have no answer to ‘why do I do this?’

to me …

Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2013 2:04 PM
Subject: Greetings
Drear Riffat.
Where are Khan Sahib now a days? No news from you what so ever.
I think the literary activities are raising their heads all over USA and Canada.  Well, I think it is about time. But I am planing to go to NY only and that is for Attiq Siddiqi’s book opening some time in Mar/Apr.
Your fans from NM to NY are missing you very much. Your fan in NY Nusrit  Bajji says that
Riffat is mad at her.  Do you know that Joher Mir called he Nasdurat,  Bajji and since than she is Bajji of NY.
Zavia is under print as we speak. Your story “Adhai Raat” is included in the magazine. Also a great collection  of letter between N.M Rashid and Saqi Farooqi is there too.
Our next issue will be dedicted to Dr. Zahoor Awan Sahib. and after that we will be on the road. My  kind friend Abdullah Javed Sahib from Canada has kindly sent me a translation of great Kafka’s short story. I am thinking to add a short article in the same issue on Kafka.
Can you assist me on that. Much obliged..  Love  Irshad.
Dear Irsad,
I agree with what you are saying.
Why am I mad at Nusrat Baji? really, do not understand why she said that. Do I know her?
I remember one Nusrat who wrote something in Zavia, when Mir sahib was alive and I telling him that it was a very nice article.
Is she the same person? Though we never were in contact, but this much I would say that she is a good writer.
So Khan sahib, I have started waiting for Zavia already.The letters between these two would be an interesting read. Waiting for that too.
Kafka? My word – yes – I would do that for you.
Good to know about Attiq Siddiqi’s book opening. Prose? Poetry?
Okay Khan sahib … thoray ko bohat janiyay.
Talk to you later.


tidings …

Someone in the family wanted some particular poem of Faiz Ahmad Faiz. I handed the book, nuskha hai wafa, the only book of his poetry I have here.  But while looking for this I got Browning.  So handed the book , and myself  started reading his   “Last Ride To-gather”.

I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did back in university days.  Some lines suggest that he is – perhaps – dying and that is the reason he has requested a last ride.

Can I call it morbid? nah, I cannot.  I take it more like a metaphor.

Words are not always what we read and think they are. They sometimes deceive – living deep inside their own shell – deep down somewhere,  and not always saying  the same thing. Every word a mystery!  So this poem is not what I read. Once written, maybe even the Poet had no control to contain it.

Just a thought!

Feb, 15,2013

Our Sand Hill cranes are becoming demanding by the hour. Their feeder was filled in the morning and now at 1:45 pm, they are standing outside my glass door staring at me. I mean here are these two big birds looking at me without a blink even! very disconcerting !!  Cannot think – brain has stopped working – have to stop writing – go out and fill the bird feeder again. Why they are so demanding?


What are you doing? he asked.

I just had a bath and now am sitting here in the sun, drying my hair.

I am glad that ‘dhoop’ is female.

hunh? what kind of talk is that?

Feb, 19, 2013

“You should have a heart in order to feel other people’s heart.”     “Flaubert”      Wise guy, things never change. What was then, is now too.

Feb 22, 2013

I learned a valuable lesson.

If you want to score some points to boost your ego, to impress your listeners or whatever..  then engage the person sitting across you in a nice and polite chit chat nice sugar tasting talk, heap the praise in truck loads – no matter deserving or not – like doing  it or not, just keep doing it. Just remember that you are doing this for you, yourself. You keep in focus just one thing. You are serving yourself. So being nice is just establishing you as a nice guy in the eyes of your friend across you.

Is the person totally floored by your charm? If so, then take the opportunity. Pounce on the poor gullible and bash him with your onslaught of verbal missiles. Make it so intense that the poor soul has no way of escaping the situation.

Now when you see  bewilderment on his face, in his voice , a pasty smile –  stop, lean back and gloat. You have scored successfully !!

Feb 23, 2013

Strange ! how one negative situation helps solve another negative situation.

Problem was or is that I had been shut out.  I take myself an educated, intelligent person. I know how to hold a conversation. I love literature, read whatever I can get my hands on and I love interaction,  exchange  of  ideas, appreciating viewpoints, all that sensible grown up people do. Talking nicely, discussing seriously, spending a few quality moments to-gather. What is wrong in that?

Gender has never been a problem  for me. I just think  ‘friend’  That is all. You certainly would feel affinity with some but it is never threatening in any sense of the word. But when I am not ‘let in’ on gender basis, I feel rejected, ignored, stumped.

What a horrible, horrible feeling!

Feb, 24,2013

On Saturday, we had a wonderful day at the beaches.

My brother in Sussex called. Wants me to come visit him in summer.  I ‘ll see.

conversations about love ….

I am telling you.  He is so handsome, so beautiful, has such engaging smile.  His looks have the power to turn your knees into jelly.  If he looked at you a moment longer, I swear you would die.


Okay? just okay?

So what do you want me to do?

Nothing.  Just stay away from him.  If  I was his age I would marry him in a heartbeat.  I would  wash his socks. I would make a new dish every day, and feed him and feed him until he got fat , so fat that no other girl would look in his direction.  And  then … he will be mine – all mine!


What did you say?

Nothing .

that was me …

I had started writing from a very early age. They were mostly school assignments but my style and imagination would turn it into … at least not the usual, factual, dry and dull essay.This always earned me good grades. Though I still had to struggle with my Math.
I had started reading from even an earlier age. A very quiet, loner by nature, somewhat neglected child of a very social mother , I had started reading when I was four. How did it happen? I have no clue. This earned me the nickname “paRhaku”.
I was certainly a little older than four when I was given a ‘thonk’ on my ear for being caught reading ‘ Sultana Daku ‘ 🙂
We were visiting some relatives in Mochi Gate.  All the elders were visiting, comparing notes,  joking, laughing, sharing ‘hukka, having fun. A very fine smell of  tobacco was hanging in the air and I was sitting docilely on a big bolster when my mother asked me to go play with other children. ( I loved tobacco smell – I still do. The only condition is – it has to be of good quality. Then I can sit with the person for hours, even knowing it is as bad as smoking)
I got up, strayed in the house and finally landed in the host’s library.
I was lying down on my stomach, my feet up in the air, my chin resting on the back of my hands, the book opened and supported against another heavy book resting on the carpet when suddenly the book was snatched.
“what is it?”  It was my brother, forbidding – as always.
” kitab”  I said.
” I can see that but what kitab?  hooN, hooN.. lets see … Sultana Daku ??” his tone was too threatening.
I got up and made a beeline to the door.
” wait”. he said.
Now a brother, ten years your senior, tells you to wait then you have no other choice but to wait and be prepared for – whatever is in store for you.
” if I ever again catch you reading books, you would be sorry that you did. You only read ‘Hidayat’ and “phool” that abba has subscribed for you. That is it. Understand?”
I nodded my head and ran out of the library.
Did I stick to his “recommendations?”
You bet I didn’t.

Tuesday Feb 19,2013

12:22 am.