Chapter XAs I started grade nine, I felt lonely. My best friend, Inaas, had left for another country. The past year had been a sad one. I had enjoyed a few moments of it like when all my friends and I used to play Kings or when Inaas and I used to play catch with her “foil ball”. But I had been sad and lonely at times; especially when I got to know that Inaas was moving to Dubai. At that time, there seemed no other option for me than to sulk and be depressed. This grew to such an extent that I ended up writing a very gloomy song:No MatterNo matter what I doNo matter what I sayNobody, I say, nobody caresWalking in a parkOr sitting in a zooWhatever I do, whatever I sayNobody, I say, nobody caresPeople look past me or through meThey don’t get what I feelThey don’t understand the silent tears I cryNobody, I say, nobody caresNobody knows the seriousnessNobody feels the pain I’m facingNobody, I say, nobody caresMy eyes are cryingAnd so is my heartThe tears are like riversLasting foreverFlowing on my cheeksI’m crying to deathBut nobody seesHow cruel is this worldWhere nobody caresBut in my heart, I knew that people do move on…Chapter XIGrade ten brought with it a truck-load of more sadness and work! Sadness when Rida, my new best friend, left for another school. It was grade eight and nine all over again. But this time, I could not waste all my energy on clinging as tightly as lint. This year was extremely important due to the upcoming O level exams. This year I would be sitting for three papers; Islamiat, Urdu and Pakistan studies.The year passed by pretty quickly. The only moments worth mentioning would be the gossip rounds with Fizza and Zara, two of my close friends. There was another funny incident that occurred; I was in class one day, waiting for my mathematics teacher to come into the classroom. A class fellow of mine came to me and said that there is a senior guy waiting at the door for me. I got a bit scared when I saw this tall guy actually standing at the door, who knew my name. At that moment my math teacher arrived and I told him that I did not know the guy and quickly went into the classroom. My math teacher scolded the guy who went away quite reluctantly. At the end of the day as I was leaving school, I saw the same senior and tried to avoid him but failed. After talking with him for about five minutes, I came to know that he was actually my second cousin!The rest of the year was pretty much uneventful with the exception of the O level examinations. The papers were not that tough but I could have done a better job.Chapter XIIThe start of the new academic year was spoilt because of the results of the O level exams. I was melancholy for most of the first term as I got a B and two Cs. My parents were disappointed and I, myself was extremely worried.I tried to focus on my studies but this year, I developed a case of “basketball fever”. Even though my friends bunked to give fuel to this “fever”, I escaped when a substitute teacher came to our class. Playing basketball became more than a hobby… It was what I was passionate about!For better grades, I took tuitions and my performance improved vastly. Along with learning at tuitions, I made new friends. The studies, this year, were much tougher and on top of that I had to give six papers. The exams passed by quickly and I could not wait till the grades would be announced because those decided my college admission.Chapter XIIIFinally the results came in and I was on top of the world. I received four A*s and two As, much more than I expected. I even got into the college of my choice!
“I’m your Venus, I’m your fire. At your desire.” Bananarama, Venus.I’m the youngest amongst my four siblings, and absolutely pampered. There’s a huge age difference between me and my siblings so I’m the “baby” of the house. Every wish that stumbles out of my mouth is fulfilled in the blur of a second. My parents, however, are the old-school, conservative type. I belong to a very old and reputable family, so I’m expected to be very proper in my behavior and mannerisms. And I am proper. Well, mostly. Because if I was proper all the time, I’d be boring. And I’m anything but THAT.I’ve been brought up hearing my parents talk about how upstarts and neo-rich families have completely ruined the cultural scene in our country, by injecting western culture. So I’ve grown up to reject the idea of doing the “in” thing – I indulge in doing “my” thing, always. Maybe that’s why people think of me as a brat, which is SO unfair. I might be a bit of a brat, but I’m not completely stuck up. I just don’t let myself get impressed by people, otherwise ‘m scared I might start getting influenced byt hem. And I simply can’t allow that to happen.But little did I know that I was about to reject everything that I had ever cared for. I was seventeen and it was summertime in Karachi. I had just survived a car war on the clogged roads of the City of Lights and had reached a prestigious business school. I was attending a Model UN Summit there. And it was there that I met him – saw him, actually – for the first time. Suited up in jet black and crisp white, he stood at the podium like a celebrity. His messy hair – sticking out in all direction – balanced out his extremely formal attire. His voice was deep, and a little lazy. He KNEW he looked good – I could tell by the way he walked, showing himself off.For the first time in my seventeen years of life, I was speechless. I was transfixed. I was impressed.The first time we spoke was at lunch, day two of the summit. I was about to pig out on a disgustingly huge bite when he spoke his first words to me, but to him I was a goddess (I later found out). That day I discovered a side of me I never knew existed. I gave myself to him completely – letting him mould me, laugh at me, correct me, and know me. I let go of my guard – I somehow didn’t feel the need to keep him out. But even then I was in denial. I couldn’t believe or accept the fact that I was acting like any other girl. But now, I realize that love makes you do funny things. The truth was, he had gotten into my skin like no one else ever had.After my first few days of knowing him, I felt so humiliated by myself – I had lost my ego, my self-control, everything. I had acted like one of those cheap girls. And for what - a BOY? It was repulsive; I hated losing control. But when he told me how inadequate I made him feel, I felt my pride return. Not all was lost. I saw men as the enemy – the bacteria that ruin all women. But I was just fooling myself thinking I was in control of the situation. Every night I went to bed thinking that tomorrow would be the day I would cut him off and go back to being me. And every morning I found myself waking up with a desire to hear from him. I had had a head-on collision with love, and the realization was only just starting to sink in.The meaning of life, as I knew it, changed. With him, everything seemed bigger, better – larger than life. He taught me how to let go and enjoy, now to find happiness in the tiniest things. I completely lost my heart to him, and I’d never been this happy before.Even after all these years, I catch my breath every time he says “Hello?” on the phone. I still skip a beat every time he takes my hand into his. I still drown in awe of the perfection of his face. I still got o bed every night thinking about him. And I still wake up every morning smiling merely at the thought of being in love.
Hazara is an area in the northern part of Pakistan comprising of five districts: Haripur, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Batgram and Kohistan. Hazara is mainly a hilly region which is mostly lush and green. The word “Hazara” means ‘thousand’, therefore it is believed that a thousand of tribes had come and settled here, bringing along with them, different cultures of different regions. The people settled here are quite diverse, there is no ‘typical’ Hazara waal. The types of people varies incredibly,the people are very hospitable, pleasant and mild mannered,and can be quite hostile. A woman’s nose is cutoff, or in very serious cases she is shot if she is caught or suspected of having a relationship which is not according to the family wishes. The women are made to remain in “parda”(complete covering of body, head and face, except eyes can be seen). I, Gull Zaman, was born in Noordi village in Haripur lived with my parents and two sisters, being the eldest child of the family and a son, I had a lot of responsibilities on my shoulders. I was made to work, and earn money in order to help my family financially. Village life in started early in the morning, the senior village dwellers along with not so insignificant number of village youth turn to the village mosque for offering their early morning Fajr prayers. After prayers, breakfast awaits the village men. The breakfast itself comprised of fresh milk or a hot brew of tea. Village life is plain and simple. Villagers are content with the necessities of life.They manage with a few pieces of clothes. They prefer the plain food. They discharge their social duties in the simplest manner possible.After breakfast, I would go to the fields to help my father in farming and harvesting the crops, where as my mother, a complete housewife would be home preparing for our lunch. It was when I reached the age of 18 my parents got me married off to my cousin Shameem, who was only 16 years old. After marriage we were living with my parents, life had changed, responsibilities had doubled, Shameem would be busy helping my mother out with the house chores, where as I would be busy at the fields. On our return from the fields late in the evenings my wife would treat me with her delicious cooking talents. Couple of months later Shameem and I, moved to Karachi to experience the so called “city life.” As soon as we stepped down from the bus, we were shocked to see the colorful lights all around, a city full of life even late at night, cars and honks could be heard at all times.I was not educated enough to get a good job, but luckily I was offered a job at a small factory, as the manager of staff. It was a tough job, yet a good pay, for an uneducated person. I had an everyday routine of getting up, having breakfast, going for work and coming back in the evening, and being welcomed home by my wife with love and a cup of tea. Our dreams had started coming true and we decided to earn and save enough money so that our children could be given the education that I never received. My wife would usually stay home and take care of the house chores, but she would also go out with a few friends she made in the neighborhood, to see what happens round the city. She would invite her friends over and they would spend time having tea and chit chatting about the other women in the neighborhood, “typical women talks”. In her spare time Shameem would do some embroidery work and in a month time she finished her first piece of embroidery of a bed sheet. During this time there was severe inflation in the city and everyone starting losing their jobs. It was very difficult finding a job,the only job I could get was as a sweeper,janitor or a waiter.
And from being a staff manager at a factory I didn't want to do such a low pay job. The last option i had was go back to the village, I could start working on the fields again, and Shameem could help my mother with the house chores. A couple of days later we left the luxurious city life and went back to our old village life. I would be work on the fields day and night, where as my wife would be busy with her embroidery. One evening my wife came home and told my about this NGO Sungi, who promote” phulkari”(a traditional stitch) embroidery. They would buy the pieces from thewomen and then sell them at a higher price. On having a discussion, I thought that if I lost my job, and I cannot earn so much for the family why not give my wife a chance to do so. Therefore my wife and her friends got together and started embroidering and selling their pieces to the NGO. Shameem was doing really well, and I was highly impressed by the amount of efforts she was putting in, in order to help me and my family financially. Later I helped my wife and her friends by being the middle man and helping them by travelling to karachi and getting them their raw materials and selling rest of the their pieces here. After earning more my wife and I opened a small shop in Karachi. She did the embroidery and I was handling a the accounts and the shop it self. What a relief it is to know that you have someone you love dearly by your side at the time when you are left with nothing. My wife alone has helped me in this difficult time, from the time when I lost my job till the time I opened my own shop. Nothing could have been possible without her. Hats off to her.
My life was in shambles, or that’s what I thought it to be. ‘They’ said I was living the high life – little did they know how much I despised all this wealth; all this that wasn’t mine. I wasn’t the kind who liked to take – I was a giver.Mum always said ’My Tania? Oh she’s got a heart of gold! Our family’s very own Mother Teresa, making us proud’I remember how I used to beam when she said that. I was ready to face the world for her approval. But deep down, we both knew how superficial this really was. She would sing praises about me in front of her friends at kitty parties and charity balls. Those ladies, with plastered faces, artificial noses, and bulging cleavages- they would knock the living daylights out of me. I could not stand them. And their children? Oh don’t even get me started! What sneaky little snobs!And Daddy? Well I was emotionally attached to him, as ironic as it may seem. There were times when I would not see him for months, and when I did, it was the happiest day of my life. I buzzed around the house like a bumblebee on fire and there was no end to my joy. Daddy’s arrival was very special. We had a traditional family dinner (by tradition, I mean Mum constantly on the telephone and Daddy absorbed in his boring, old files. But hey, at least we were all together), and before going to bed, he would call me up to his room. This was the time I would rehearse for day and night. I knew what he was going to ask, so I tailored my answers into brief, sophisticated phrases and at times, went through the big dictionary in the library to show daddy how smart I was. There was no way I could have let him down – his reputation relied on me and I had to stay on top of my game, be it rain or shine. As I grew older, I realized how idiotic I had been, trying to live my life to please others. I regretted being so selfless. No one really cared about me; they just wanted me to be successful so I could lead on the family’s name. Ridiculous. This realization had hit me like a ton of bricks one morning. I remember getting dressed for my horse-riding lessons when something caught my attention. I could see, out into the fields, how a stray goat was hunting for food, not giving a dime about the world. Its fellows belted at it to join the pack before they moved on, but he just couldn’t be bothered. He made his way through, strolled across the dry paths and moved on without the pack. Now that, took courage.I was astonished to see how this animal was so much smarter than me! I quickly undid my boots, took off my riding gear and headed for the servant quarters. Horses gave me the sniffles, anyway.That day, I spent hours with my maids and their children, teaching them how to read the alphabet, showing them how to type on the computer, and giving my two cents on life and its hurdles. It had been the most amazing time I had ever had. Ever since then, this had become a tradition. My riding instructor would hunt for me all over the mansion, but little did he know about the wonders I was cooking up with my housekeepers. After a few solid minutes, he would give up and mind his own business. He wouldn’t dare complain to daddy. He knew I would have had him kicked out.Gradually, months turned into years and it was time for me to move to New York for Law School. Yes love, I know what you’re thinking. After all those bursts of inspiration, I settled for law school? I didn’t have much choice you see. My parents wouldn’t have it any other way. It was either their way or no way. So, unfortunately, I settled. But I knew I could always work my way around things further along the clock, so I left it all up to the ‘future’. Being the only daughter of two of the most powerful politicians? So not easy.
It was the beginning of a new life for me. I had just gotten to know that I was pregnant with my first child. It couldn’t get better; I had been happily married since the past year, and it was now time to start my very own family.I could not wait to tell my husband this news, but I waited for him to come back from his business trip so that I could tell him in person. I was quite sure that he would be as happy as I was. This would be a new milestone in my life! The day my husband was to return , I enthusiastically planned how I would break the news to him. We had never discussed the idea of having children, but I knew that once he got to know about the little one, he would be ecstatic as well. Unfortunately, the situation did not turn out the way I thought it would. My husband completely shunned the idea of having any children, and he was adamant that I should get an abortion done. This I was not expecting!I had heard about people getting abortions done, but I did not approve of the idea of getting a baby killed. To me an abortion was murder, and that I could not do. Just imagining losing my child was an idea I could not bear to even think about! The tension between me and my husband increased by the minute; he could not accept the idea of having this baby, and I could not accept the idea of losing this baby. The day my husband decided to take me to the clinic for the abortion was the day I decided to leave him, and go to my mother’s house. Before I attempted to leave however, he raised his hand to me for the very first time. Despite my leaving him, deep down I hoped that he would come to his senses, and I would be able to go back home, because before this situation he had been the perfect husband, or at least I thought he was. As the days passed and he did not contact me, I decided to go to his parent’s house, thinking that they might be able to knock some sense into their son. But his mother was shockingly in complete support of her son. While I was at their house I managed to overhear her conversation with my husband. They were discussing how he could trick me into taking me to the clinic from here. Thankfully, I heard and managed to get out of there. I could not imagine how heartless these people could be, and had lost all hope. A couple of days later my phone rang and it was my husband, and I was convinced that the moment when he gained his senses had finally arrived. Apparently, he wanted me to come home. Happier than I had been in a while, I returned home, but this happiness was short-lived. As soon as I entered, I was attacked by my drunk husband, who had decided to take matters into his own hands and kill my child himself. Fortunately, I got a hold of my husband’s gun which he used to keep in his sock drawer. Just as he was about to hit me with an enormous stick, I automatically pulled the trigger, killing him. I am not the least bit ashamed of what I have done because I did this to protect my child. If killing him meant that I could save my child then I would not have done this any other way.
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I’ am no longer a disgrace to my parents and everyone has finally stopped calling me a ‘slut’. At last, it seems like I am respected, just like my parents always were. New York has made me realize who I actually am; New York has made me realize that there’s much more to the city than skyscrapers and bright lights; New York has made me realize that there’s much more to life than being able to wear the best clothes to ensure you’re admired and appreciated; New York has made me realize that God exists… I was born to Pakistani parents, almost twenty-three years ago, in New York. My father was a businessman and my mother’s baking utensils created the most delicious and mouth-watering cakes anyone could imagine. Obviously, my parents’ interests were enstilled in me. I grew up playing tennis, along with taking deep interest in Law and Business, just like my father. I loved to bake and fashion was my passion, just like my mother. Yet, I was very different from them. My mother covered her head. She was a true Muslim and I was just a ‘Muslim’. Religion and God were two things I stayed away from. They never inspired me like they inspired my mother and I never believed in it, like the rest of my family did. However, I never told anyone about my lack of interest in religion because living in a country like Pakistan (We moved there after the devastating death of my father, that left my mother mentally shattered),it is hard for one to express themselves. Some people here accept you the way you are, while some just pick up pistols and fire. I was always afraid and unaware of what might happen if I tell my mother I do not believe in Someone she, so strongly believes in. I was only four when we moved to Karachi, therefore, most of my schooling was done here, though, my mother always dreamt of sending me back to New York one day to pursue Art and Fashion. In the first few years of my life in Karachi, it was really hard for me to settle, especially because I was always my daddy’s girl. His arms, welcoming and warm, were always open wide for me as I used to run into them every time I needed to, but I had to face the bitter truth; he wasn’t there anymore. I was always told that people in Pakistan were very welcoming but that did not seem to be true. Those who called me a ‘slut’ outnumbered those who liked me because I was from America and had an accent. Most of the girls did not like how I dressed because I always wore western clothes, sleeveless dresses and short skirts (not exactly mini) were my favourite. People made nasty rumours about me and the “When in Rome do as Romans do” did not seem to apply to me, though, I soon stopped caring about what everyone said. We lived with ‘daadi jaan’ (pure sarcasm attached) who trully disliked me because of how I used to dress and constantly used to remind me of how God was watching me so I shouldn’t indulge in ‘vices’. According to her, I was a ‘disgrace’ to my parents and this is exactly why I refused to tell her, or anyone else, that I did not believe in God. What if they waged a war against me? But I always wondered, why believe in someone you cant see?
My mother’s dream soon came true and I went to New York to study Fashion Design. On one out of the many bright,sunny days in New York, as I drooled over a Gucci dress that I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford in this lifetime, I decided to make a trip to the central park to capture a nice photo that I could use later, for my first painting. I was no naturalist but the lush green grass all over the park and the small pond made me feel like an exotic tourist in some film and that succeeded in dragging me in, further, if only to tick central park odd my list of spots visited in my first week. As I searched for a bench to rest my tired back on,I realized this was so much more than a gorgeous park; It was God’s creation. Shaded by elm trees with tiny turtles sitting on stones, precious duckling floating ponds ,lovers staring at each other as they canoed in the lake for hours on end-That’s just a tiny aspect of God’s creation. I soon began to contemplate the most wonderful combination of violin, piano, guitar and flute helped me think; helped me realize what I had done. I soon realized that all of this had to be created by someone and it must be God. I began to compare my country, Pakistan with this country. It seemed to have everything, from Ferraris to Disneyland; You name it. However, it did seem to lack one thing I.e. Purity. Purity that God gave.I argued with myself. Could I actually believe in God? Crusades, Jihads, terrorist attacks, are so many religious evils. I told myself that all these wouldn’t have been there without a belief in God.The idea seemed to be that, without religion to corrupt us, our natural virtue would have prevented these evils. I always wanted to believe with dignity and this is why I never actually believed because I always questioned myself as to where did religion come from? We created God in our own minds according to our principles and these evils wouldn’t have existed if this wouldn’t have been done. Atheists like me wouldn’t have existed either.Months later, after returning to Karachi, I had become a completely different person. My experience in New York made me realize that there was so much difference between the two countries. It encouraged me to open the Quran and not only read the Arabic words but also their meaning. I began to cover my head and wear shalwar kameez instead of western clothes that I began to despise. I discovered the elegance of our traditional dress and I was finally respected for who I had become. ‘Daadi jaan’ no longer called me a ‘disgrace’ to the family and my classmates no longer called me a ‘slut’. It was an accomplishment. I am now respected and work as a senior designer in a clothing company. I also endorse many brands and continue to do so in the future.
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A GIRL FLIRTING WITH FATE As I admire the picturesque, rustic scene around me, an alien feeling of completeness overtakes me. I am sitting in the middle of a sea of cornfield, my senses alert to the nature which is trying to communicate with me. The wind blows back my hair gently, whispering words of comfort into my ears. Being a city girl, it takes me time to decode the encrypted language of nature. I feel like today the usually inaccessible sky has descended from its lofty position exclusively for me, to make me feel special. Being so close to the sky, with the world at my disposal, I no longer feel lonely. I believe I can fly. I am entranced as I spy the sun stealthily creep up the sky, oblivious to the looks of envy directed at it by the clouds whom it has eclipsed. The cinema hall is empty. I smugly glance at the other sleeping inhabitants of the cinema hall- they don’t know what they are missing. They missed the missed the curtain raising event. The sun conspiringly winked at me. The flowers bloomed as the sun breathed life into them. The countryside was bathed in hues of gold and red. The sunrises that I have witnessed for the past 17 years of my life from the large window of my flat in Karachi were jaded. That sun had been robbed of its beauty by the smog of sins that we had germinated. I guess my Mami and my psychiatrist were right. An escape from from the suffocating, filthy, frustratingly humid atmosphere; perpetually suspended between warm and cold, the ever-ambivalent weather; the din of traffic has done me world of good. The cosmopolitan metropolis had shackled me to my ghoulish past. My mother was a brave woman-that’s an understatement. But over time the apathetic fate had transformed that valour into bitterness and cynicism. On a cold, winter night of December in 1994, when I opened my eyes into this world, my cognitive skills were embryonic; they did not register the absence of someone. It was only after I saw my friends’ fathers at school that I realized my Mom had always struggled to play the roles of both parents. He was engaged in the American war against Afghanistan. My mother usually read out his letters to me but those too stopped when he died. Back then I was 7. I never mourned for him; didn’t know how to. How could I lament over losing something that never was mine. I yearned for company. Although the silent house was anything but welcome, warm; it was like a cemetery but over the years it became a sanctuary of sorts to me. I became an introverted recluse. When I greedily looked at the happy families of my friends, I tended to wallow into self-pity, which I couldn’t afford. My life was moving at a comatose pace when a villain disguised as a knight came barging in, giving an unscripted twist to the plot. We were broke. My mother’s emaciated form could not toil anymore. Neither did she let me work. She wanted me to study. Things will get better. We could no longer evade the clinging creditors. They were fast closing on us…………………….I was a dreamer, a romantic. In order to escape from the morbid, ominous cloud that hung over my house, I would always try to lose myself into romantic books and Hollywood movies. You may regard them as trashy, over-rated, but I desperately believed in happy endings. Everyone I saw around me had boyfriends. Those made them cool, wanted, beautiful. My offhanded attitude may have fooled them. But I surreptitiously gleaned information from teen magazines and used it to covertly catch some guy’s attention. But I guess covertness never works with guys. They are always salivating after the wanton, outspoken girls who flaunt their assets. I was not made of the same mould as them. Ironically and disgustingly my first secret-(no, not secret, he never attempted to hide his intentions) was my Mamu (uncle) Asif. Well, to everyone’s back I called him Mamu Behaya (shameless). This name gave you an insight into the lecher’s character.
He beat his own wife ( although my mother denied to accept it) and had an insatiable appetite for young, green girls . If he was so eager to put his sexual prowess to application then why didn’t he practice it on his own wife? I did not have much respect for my Mami until I realized she had a psychological problem. She had several opportunities but she never fled her purgatory like home. She felt safe in the clutches of the monster. I endeavoured to keep out of Mamu’s radar but my mom made it a herculean task. She would usher me in his path, saying as he had no children, he wanted me to be his child. Little did she know that he had completely different designs on me. Hs visits to my house became frequent as he started paying our bills.In return for that, he expected me to comply like a courtesan. It was unspoken blackmail. He would take advantage of my Mom’s presence and hug me crushingly, deliberately hurting me. Then he would move his meaty hands over my body ‘accidentally’ brushing my breasts. His clammy body drenched in sweat and reeking acridly of cigarette , alcohol, ginger would make me nauseated, dizzy and claustrophobic. When his carnal eyes slowly journeyed over my body, I felt exposed, like he was stripping me naked like his eyes could penetrated through the layers of clothes. I would run for cover. Mom never believed me. She blamed Mami for brainwashing me. Mamu deserved to be venerated. It was a subzero evening – by Karachi’s standards if I say subzero that means extreme cold weather. I was cocooned on my bed, looking through my bedroom window at the front door of my house. In this sort of weather, the roads should be deserted then why was it taking Mom so long to get back home. My heart broke into a sprint as the shrill, impatient sound of the doorbell cut through my reverie. I couldn’t see anyone outside at doorstep through the window. It was pitch black. I was sure it was Mom. My heart skipped a beat as I saw Mamu on the doorstep. He lurched dangerously as he strode towards me in a determined, predatory manner. His blood-shot eyes told me he was heavily drunk. I tried to scream but something clogged my throat. I raised my beseeching eyes to his futilely. As I hastily moved back I collide in a dining table and landed in a heap at his feet.
He grabbed me by my hair and hauled me roughly on the sofa. My body was a mass of needles. I closed my eyes on his mocking smile. I struggled, bit him, thrashed, as he climbed over me but he held me captive. As he proceeded to feast on my body like a vulture I welcome merciful unconsciousness. My mother’s bloodcurdling scream, jolted me to awareness. I was lying naked on the sofa which was smeared with blood. As I tried to move pain raced through me . I was sore. As I averted my eyes from the revolting filth around me I saw my mother lunge at Mamu with a knife. He took out a gun from his pocket. I didn’t have time to see my mother die. Even before the ricocheting gunshot had died away I picked up the knife and stabbed him in his black heart. In the wake of my mother’s death, I broke apart. Mami came to live with me , but she herself was so traumatized that she had been confined to bed-rest. In order to alleviate myself from loneliness, the suicidal urge, the despondency that was encroaching on me , I reincarnated my Mom- at least in my mind. I came to believe she had never died. I tried to give my life a semblance of normality, stability. My life with my mom became perfect, everything I had always wished for. It was too good to be true. As Mami recovered she sensed something wrong from my eccentric behavior.In the end, a psychiatrist made me understand that a fixation had saved me but its time I confronted the reality. In order to do that she recommended a change of setting and that I should write a diary. To be truthful , my life never had the happy Hollywood ending that I yearned for . I know I am scarred for life but it’s good to know that I flirted with fate and survived although not unscathed. I miss my mom but I am a strong young woman now.
Life felt horrible. There I was laying down on a bed in the hospital. I felt disgusting. I had wires pinned up, stuck to my chest. I could feel the piercings they had made on my right hand. But that sound was what I feared the most. ''Beep, beep, beep''. I feared that the minute it stopped I would die. I was agitated. The taste in my mouth had been ruined and every time the nurse would bring something for me it would taste horrible. That taste of tobacco was something I had been living with for the past 12 years and now I really wanted it to go.My wife had been sitting beside me firmly griping my hand. I knew how hard it was for her to live with the fact that her husband had just had a heart attack. We had only been married for a year. I knew how hard she had prayed for me to survive and I knew exactly the sort of feeling that she must have had when I was struck with a heart attack. This is because I went through the same feeling when my dad got a heart attack. It was scary. I thought that the world would come to an end if he doesn't live. But the only difference me and him was that I am a smoker a chain smoker while he wasn't.My life seemed ruined(although it was just the start). I was only 28 years of age and my career had just begun. I guess it was too late now. For the past 12 years I had been smoking destroying my life and now I realized it. But yet it had no effect. It's like I was stuck in a whirlpool. I just couldn't stop myself from reaching out for another cig. Whenever I thought of quitting it felt as if I was committing suicide.
Carl’s death shattered me to pieces. He was my only family member left. Mom and dad had already left us long ago, when I was about ten years old and Carl was eight. From then onwards, me and Carl were like each other’s clothes, protecting each other from all hot and colds, never letting go of each other, never letting each other fall apart, clinging together like glue. We had suffered all problems together, had seen times of poverty, had seen other relatives act like strangers. We never had any secrets between us. I had pampered him and loved him like my own son, giving him the love and care of both a father and a mother.Carl’s shop had always been very close to his heart. Both of us had worked days and nights to open it up. I used to offer him to leave the shop and come and join my office but he always strictly refused to do so. I remember how he used to say “How can you even think of leaving the shop, Joseph? Don’t you remember how it helped us when we had no food and no shelter? Don’t you remember the sweat and blood we gave it to build it up?” So even after his death, I did not sale the shop, nor did I hire a manager, but I myself took over it. It did increase the work load over me but it didn’t make any difference to me as I knew somewhere up in the stars, Carl was happy. I saw him saying so in my dreams, thanking me for taking care of his shop.I was left so alone, the whole world seemed alien to me. I desperately needed a consoler. The insomnia was getting on my nerves. I tried every possible way that could take me out of the darkness around me. Nights of great pleasure temporarily worked for me but then it lost charm too. In fact girls got tired of me, as I could never satisfy them. I didn’t drink often until now. One night, while coming back from a bar, I was so drunk that I didn’t even reach home, I found myself in a deserted alley the next morning when I woke up. Someone had even put a blanket over me! And then she came into my life, like an intruder, and stole all my sorrows and left me with only happiness. I can never forgive that evening, as I was busy calculating a customer’s bill, when for the first time I saw her. Actually I heard her musical voice before I saw her. It was the sweetest of voices. As I slowly started moving up my eyes, I saw her delicate hands closed together. She was nervous, no doubt about that. And then her face hit me. Hit me so hard that a couple of minutes I really didn’t know where I was! She was as beautiful as a newly sprouted flower covered with drops of dew… It took a lot of time to know her, to even talk to her, but it all happened automatically, because I believe we were destined to meet. It wasn’t just her beautiful face that attracted me; it was something else-her inner beauty, which was clearly shown on her face, which is what actually made her so beautiful.I used to write a lot of poems and stuff, most of them were related to her of course. Here’s a special one:Before youBefore you, there was only just one heart, ever searching, always reaching, but never finding.Before you, there was only just one soul, Ever seeking, always yearning, and but never resting.Before you, there was only just one thought, Ever striving, always wanting, but never fulfilling.Before you, there was only just one life, ever planning, always hopeful, but never complete.Before you, there was only just one hope, Everlasting, always fleeting, but never achieved.Before you, there was only just one dream, ever longing for, always missed, and never believed.Then you found me, on wings sent from above.You taught me life's greatest lesson; when two hearts merge... its wonderful love.
The air hovering above my head made the swaying,silk curtain part,revealing the hidden sunlight that made its wayinto my room,leaving the glass vases up on the ebony shelf sparkling bright.But,no amount of sunlight could ever illuminate my life,however bright it was.Laying back on the sofa,I drew my hand close to my cheek to caress it,in an attempt to relieve itof the pain.The pain caused by my father's beating.The scorching heat did nothing to soothe my pain.In fact,it worsened it and reminded me of today's drama.My father stepping forth to slap me,my mother doing all she could to manipulate me,my siblings' crooked smile as I was being humilated in front of their own eyes.All this,just because I had applied for a job as a free lance journalist!I had a dream;I would become the best there is.I would defy... all laws of greatness and become one of the most sucessfull journalists in Pakistan.I had already sent my application to a well-known news agency,regardless of my flaws.I knew it would be my first step on the long road leading me to my destiny.Seeing the appointment letter on my door step made my parents as alarmed as it made me ecstatic.But,never in a million years,did I expect such alarm to spread in my family like wild-fire.
I was slapped,beaten and abused.I was told that I was a disgrace and that I had lost my respect in their eyes.Funny enough,how can I lose something that I never had in the first place? My family,including my mother and siblings,had declared a war on me,they told me that they had no relation to me whatsoever.Dejected and hopeless,I returned to my room.They say that one good friend is better than a thousand relatives.But what good is a friend who is blind to your tears and deaf to your pleas of sorrow? My friends couldn't care less about my existence.Talking to them is useless;they either make light of my worries or they completely turn away
I emerged safely from the birth canal, my wails echoing through the air. Immediately a doctor picked me up and smacked me on my behind – I guess he was getting me used to what life has to offer.I was born at a very early age, after spending nine months cramped up in my mother’s womb, in Karachi. 21st July 1994. To you, this day might be like every other day. But, to me? This was the day I came into existence.They say curiosity killed the cat. In my case, curiosity NEARLY killed the cat. According to my family, I was the kind of child who stayed quiet most of the time, but a million things were running through my mind at the same time. My mother says it was a bottle of sleeping pills, my father says it was a bottle of this black medicine you put on wounds. But all I remember is that I just felt like drinking it and the next thing I know; I was fighting a battle of life and death.Living in a family of six wasn’t easy. At first, we were five. I enjoyed the privilege of being the youngest for 10 years, and trust me I enjoyed every second of it. I mean, who doesn’t want to be ‘Daddy’s little girl?’ But, everything has its dark side. I was on the receiving end of every prank my sisters and my cousins wanted to play. Imagine waking up with your face smeared in lipstick, your hair drenched in shampoo and coated with powder. And the worst part of it all? Your hands and legs tied with masking tape. Actually, no, the worst part is the dead cockroach sitting comfortably on your nose and you couldn’t do anything about it.I remember the day my sister was born like it was only yesterday. I was watching The Powerpuff Girls in my lounge, when my eldest sister came with a huge smile on her face, and screamed at the top of her lungs “We have a sister!” My immediate feeling was disappointment. ANOTHER sister? But, a mere second later, I was ecstatic. ANOTHER SISTER! But, soon after that, came jealousy. I was stripped away of the title of being the youngest. Any acts of carelessness would no longer be brushed off due to my immaturity. I was an older sister now, and I had responsibilities. Why was everyone paying so much attention to that bundle of pink, regardless of the fact that you felt like eating her up. I mean she was just a baby. My anger went up a notch when every single person of my family said that she was a miniature version of me. However, all that anger faded away when I took my baby sister in my arms for the first timeWhen I was young, I used to live in an extended family. At the age of 12, me and my family moved out into our own house. Leaving behind the place you grew up in, a place that held so many memories was difficult. My old house was actually VERY old and was built in an ancient manner. To this day, there are doors that I have no idea where they led to. Me and my cousins have explored every nook and corner of that house, or so we think. There is something so intriguing about that house, that it is like an adventurer’s dream.Our garden was festered with mango, coconut and lemon trees. One tree that interested me was the huge chikoo (Sapodilla) tree planted in the middle of the garden. The elders used to tell us not to go underneath it at night, in fear that the ‘jinns’ might possess us. As a matter of fact, they were quite superstitious about a lot of things. “Don’t go outside in the dark with your hair open.” And “Not to cut our nails after sunset.” The best part about these is that everyone still follows them. Not a single warning is ignored. But if it is? We send them to our Grandma.
I spent 13 years of my life in Foundation Public School and by the time I graduated, it had become my second home. There, I made friends and I made enemies. I met people who were good and people who were bad, and people who I thought were good, but were actually bad. I’ve made mistakes and stupid decisions. I’ve had tears of joy and tears of pain. I even had a mini cat fight with a girl my age. At that point, I was confident that my immature actions were justified. But today, if you ask me why I had a feud with her? I won’t have an answer.Academically, I was always one of the strongest students in my class. Also, I was extremely competitive. I remember having a neck to neck competition with a boy for 4 straight years and every single time, either by 10 marks or half a mark, he won.My dreams changed as I grew up. When I was a kid, I loved animals. Actually, I still do. But the point is, I wanted to become a vet and help animals all over the world. Yeah, that dream died soon. Then, when I was 10, my obsession with Scooby Doo grew and hence, came my love for solving crime. I dreamt of becoming a detective, and saving the day by putting everday criminals behind bars. At one point, I even wanted to study law. But that dream changed when the boy I was competing with ALSO wanted to become a lawyer, and being the kid I was, I discarded it. Finally, I’ve settled to becoming a writer. I don’t know where this dream will take me, but I won’t know for sure until I try, right?So this is where I am today. Unsure of where life will take me, unaware of what obstacles lie ahead of me. I just have hope. Hope that my family and friends will hold my hand, and guide me through the hard times I face. I’m not a celebrity or anyone special. In fact, I’m just an ordinary 17 year old girl. But from this much of my life, it's clear a lot goes on in my life as well as every other person walking on the street.
It is completely useless to ponder over hopeless situations.My life is a mess that even a garbage disposal cannot clear up.I have lost control of the stubborn,steering wheel of my life,which refuses to budge upon my request.I looked to my right and my eyes caught sight of an old,wooden drawer in front of me.Suddenly,it all made sense to me.I lazily walked towards the drawer and carefully pulled it open.There lied in front of my eyes,my cruel yet loyal best friend;the sharp metal blade I used so often.I thought,'Surely,slicing my skin open and let my thick,red blood flow out would be worth my ordeal.It will relieve my frustration and a few drops of blood are definitely worth paying
PURPLE FEATHER: I felt a bit confused when reading your autobiography. the bit about losing your best friend anaas was fine because it felt like a significant loss that you were recalling and i then expected you to move on to something else but then it just was about another friend and tuitions? and that bit about the second cousin baffled me. i'd like to know the purpose of you including that!also work on writing with more emotion and better vocab.
ZAYNAB: The beginning and ending of your essay have no real connection to each other. You start off talking about how spoilt you are and suddenly its about falling in love? i dont see a smooth transition. i also see a lack of feeling and emotion expressed in the autobiography.
DAREDEVIL: i do like the overall concept of your story, the village life and then the journey to the city. However, i wish you had established your chracter as much as u established 'hazara' and village life. Perhaps a bit about the life spent there? helps readers relate better. and work on your description. Use more imagery and better diction to help readers envision what you are describing! describe the fields, the smell of doodh patti tea, the reek of the city with petrol and smog,etc!
SABA: LOVED the part about the goat. and it being the point of an epiphany! but id advise you adopt a more formal style of writing. You can be poignant and eloquent at the same time! use imagery and better language pleasee! u will see the difference they will make. and also, im a bit perplexed as to why we're told the politicians part in the end? does that serve a purpose of some sort?
FAIZA: i like how you chose to focus on something emotional like protecting your own child but unfortunately you left out the emotions! look at this:Just as he was about to hit me with an enormous stick, I automatically pulled the trigger, killing him. I am not the least bit ashamed of what I have done because I did this to protect my child. If killing him meant that I could save my child then I would not have done this any other way.she just recalled murdering her husband. but with no emotional response to it whatsoever! wheres the imagery! the description! the feelings! :(
SHAMEEN; ur first line was a bit abrupt but loved the rest of the intro. also loved the part about how some ppl understand while others just reach for a gun. very powerful. but i just wish the writing had a bit more feeling than just mere thoughts. i wish i could see some apathy, denial and reluctance that later became acceptance and remorse and self-fulfilment. it would have done wonders for the essay.
V FOR VENGEANCE: commendable use of vocabulary and imagery! however, i found the beginning of your essay a bit hazy. i can understand that you were probably aiming for ambiguity but be a bit clearer and precise in the expression! the beginning sets the mood for the entire essay. Also, use foreshadowing. the beginning was rather pleasant with sun light in contrast to the horrifying events that followed! i would have liked to have a kind of anticipatory thrill that something shocking and despairing was going to be revealed.
SHAYAN: its too short!! a horrible taste, the image of the wife, a recollection of dad and the end! i would have preferred it if you had perhaps including some memories of seeing dad sick, perhaps some of his own happiness so that the reader could relate to him. make him into some high profile business man living on just coffee and cigarettes and not realizing life's passing him by? give the readers some stories, some emotions so they can see what you're trying to show them.
WAJIHA: i wish you had established the relationship he had with his brother better. described Carl more and then expressed with more feeling, imagery, the loss of him due to his demise. it would have greatly helped your essay. perhaps some flashbacks of them together to contrast with with the loneliness after his death.
IQRA: I felt like it all happened quite suddenly. Idea's not bad but take it at a pace that allows for a smooth transition. The pain of being beaten then slowly comprehending the hateful looks of her family to then bitter resentment at deserving such persecution for merely daring to dream. and finally, loneliness.i later discovered the end portion u posted two posts down and It seems a bit extreme to me. shes a girl who fights for what she wants isnt it? how is she succumbing to such a need? to hurt herself
UNKNOWN: I liked the part about your school life. it was well expressed. however, it baffled me as earlier i was convinced that the baby sister was the central part of the essay! after so much about the sister, with emotions ranging from jealousy, adoration to irritation almost too fast, you casually moved onto other parts of your life! it is something to watch out for next time. be very clear about the central focus of your essay as it really shows.