2017, Pakistan, Photography

City(e)scape

A view of Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir, as we traveled down the narrow roads between the mountains to the land of Gushtabas, some nice people, intricate shawls, and very red apples.

 

Inspired by the weekly prompt: Atop & WhichWay

Related post: I·dyl·lic

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2016, Pakistan, Photography, Poems and poetry

I·dyl·lic

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Amidst sky hues,
Setting suns, misty blues,
Silences lapsing into eternities, infinities;
Our poetry calls us to listen.


Took this on my return route from Nathiagali, Pakistan. Got inspired by the daily post’s challenge to share it because this trip meant all sorts of magic to me.

(This week’s horizon makes me want to show it again. I feel a connection with this one.)

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2014, Pakistan

Peshawar Attack- 16.12.14

This is to the kid who played dead, the friend who helped his friend, the teacher who refused to open the door so her kids could be kept from the inevitable, the father who buried his son in the soil and went back to fight for his native land, the mother who smiled– the mother who SMILED and with tears said that her son has sacrificed his life for Pakistan and that he isn’t dead but he is in fact, a martyr. Martyrdom is a strong virtue, people!

This is also to the nation who grieves, its neighbors and other communities who have expressed their condolences in this time of need. To the people who gathered under the flag of humanity and put forward the message of solidarity and peace: There is no peace. And even though there is no peace, there once will be.

It’s been a long, tough struggle. And a painful, very painful tragedy. It is also the greatest example of inhumanity and cruelty, barbarism and terrorism. It is it. But it is not the end.

The only problem is that. It is not the end. Pakistan, like always, wills to stand again.

This time, however, the country is weak and tired. Like a person who has had a terrible car crash, or worse (and more realistically),  who has been bit by a snake in her sleeves, the country weeps and endures. It sits and looks at its stitches, so many since its first fall, and looks at the patches in its torn clothes. There are always patches, thanks to people who can’t give up. [And how do you give up when your own survival depends upon it..?]

This patient still breathes. It will breathe till the end of time if God so wills. Right now, though, all it needs is extra intensive care, especially and mostly from its own people!

Related links:

The guy who played dead—— Smiles (watch video).
Blogs: Finish that jigsaw puzzle ; My Dream is dead now; The wind whispers.

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2014, Pakistan

Dec 04, Urdu letters: “Searching beauty through Art and Literature– Sheikh Ayaz.”

Shaikh Ayaz was a twentieth century poet, born on 23rd March 1923 in Shikarpur, Sindh. He is considered one of the best poets in Pakistan, and his work has earned him respect from all over the literary world. Having complete hold over English, Urdu, Arabic, Persian and Hindi languages, his code of preference remained Sindhi, which gave him great fame in the province. He has also translated some of Shah Bithai’s poetry, and for him art and literature were ways of searching ‘beauty’. A very interesting article written by Nazeer Lughari in a local magazine published last Sunday talks about the poet’s personal life and includes scripts of his famous (and oh so poetic) Urdu letters and wise, soulful talks.

ShAyaz_raIn one of his letters, he writes about Sukkur; a city where he spent his early years. He begins it with a complaint about the hot and dry weather which the city is famous for, but soon we see him reminiscing old and better days which gives a nostalgic touch to his writing. He beautifully says:

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“Aey rana, wapis lout aa, ab tou subah honay wali hay, teray baghair ye kaak mehal weerana hae.”

His letters show a glimpse of his own personality: poetry that runs in his veins like blood, a unique perception of life, and a wisdom that comes only with experience. While reading them today, I found myself in complete awe of the beauty they carry. Posted below are excerpts from my favorite letter, the complete of which can be found on next page:

  • Poora din zindagi ki tag-o-dau me guzaar kar aaya hun, ang ang toot raha hae. Maaloom nahi, poora din kon nigal gaya? Waqt, iss mahol me kisi azli diyo ki tarah lag raha hae. Abhi sham ne Neel-kanth ki tarah neelay neelay par phalaiye haen. Neel-kanth hamaray ilaqay ka mash’hoor parinda hae, aur is ke mutaa’liq riwayat ha eke wo hamesha kisi Paras ki talaash me rehta hae.
  • Mae jab bhi sham ko neel-kanth se tashbeeh deta hun, tou meray zehan me na sirf is ski tanhaai ka ehsaas hota hae, balkay is ki neelahatt bhi meray zehan me hoti hae, taham mae mehsoos karta hunk e meri har sham bhi kisi Paras ki talash me hoti hay. Kisi na-maloom narsa hasti ki justuju me, jo meri sanson ko mukammal sona bana sakay. Ye justuju mera mazhab hae.
  •  Wehmon aur tazabzub me uljha hua mazhab meray liye man-gharat aur khayalati kahaniyan haen. Firqabandiyan aur zahirdaariyan meray liye khud-faraibi aur khuda-faraibi se kam nahi. Khushk ikhlaqiat ki baat meray honton par aik shararat bhari muskurahat lati hae. Bahisht aur dozakh, gunaah, sawaab, haraam, halaal ki behas par mujhay hansi ati hae. Hansi jo muskurahat se namo pati hae, aur qehqahon me phalti pholti, sari kaainat par amarbail ki tarah phailti jati hae, aur kainaat aik kinaray se dusray kinaray tak gonjti rehti hae, meray qehqahay, zamaan aur makaan ki sarhadon tak ja pohanchtay haen aur meray azli sawaal aasmaan se bijlion ki tarah hanstay hoye poochtay haen. “Aey raaz-e-azal! Mae ne teri pur-asraar hasti ko rawaaN dawaaN mehssos kia hay. Mae ne tujhay kalyon ki khushbu me soongha hae, jang ki awaaz me suna hae, shafaq ke bheegay rangon me dekha hae. Maasoon haseenaoN ke rukhsaaron me dekha hae. Amrat mashroob ke har ghont me chak’ha hae. Aey raaz-e-azal! Tera ehsaas meray wujood ki haqeeqat hae. Aur tera wujood meray liye haqeeqat ka ehsaas hae. Ye meray ham zaat, ye insaan tujhay kiyun mehsoos nahi kartay? In ko kon behkata hae. In jhooti kahanion ke tanay banay kis ne bunay haen, jin me un ka zehan ulajh gaya hae? Ye na wafiq loug apnay irfan se waqif kara rahay haen. “Aey raaz-e-azal! Teri soorat hi husn aur haq ka maiyar hae.” Phir qehqahay, halkay aur phusphusay hojaty haen. Meray chehray par se muskurahat kam hojati hae aur mera sar jhuk jata hae, tapp tap kartay kartay aansoo meri ankhon se behnay lagtay haen, aur mae aik lamhay me sari insaan zaat ke liye sadyon ki ibadat karleta hun.
  • Meray is maslak ka koi autaaryaarshi nahee hae, iske mus’haf kitaab, pothiyan pastak nahi haen, ye faqat duzdida nazri do jhalkiyion par mabni hae.. Shayad tum samajh sako ke har duzdida nazar aur jhalak me kaainaat ka konsa raaz hae?

(Random post/ Urdu letters/ because December. Nazeer Lughari’s published article can be found online on the paper’s official site: http://magazine.jang.com.pk/detail_article.asp?id=25665)

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2014, Pakistan

Snakes.

The night was dark and silent, and the citizens of the city of light slept soundly in their [un/]comfortable beds (which was considered unusual before dreams became their only salvation) when a gun shot was heard.

We had just entered that street then, in our car on way back home, when two men running madly came into sight. One of them had a pistol with him, the other was empty-handed. One of them ran to take life, another to save it.

He was running fast; as fast as one would if they saw their death coming at any second’s difference, and his enemy was running fasteras fast as one would when his thirst for blood had blinded all his other senses…

I was shocked: it was just like a hunter and deer’s game, except that both were unfortunately humans here.

Whether he killed him or not, I cannot say. It is actually useless to hope for the latter but…
Did they put his body in a grave when they found him the next morning? Does his family know yet? Of course they do. In a city where deaths become a statistic, it is so predictable where you lost your loved ones. But what of the police who were busy inspecting random passers a distance away? Did they notice how a car had reversed in panic at the sight of it when they were too, just an instant away from being targeted?

Death often comes like that. It becomes a tragedy for the killer, the final stop for the runner, and a lesson for the living. ..

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2014, Event, Pakistan

Youth Arts & Literary Exhibition, Khi.

5YALE, the Youth Arts & Literary Exhibition, was held in Karachi yesterday on 13th April 2014, with its superb vision of fostering creativity and ingenuity, and its mission of promoting the Pakistani culture. The event focused on many artistic and creative fields like conceptual photography, painting, poetry, and theater performances. Debates on piracy and plagiarism, literature, and meetings with writers and “Typewriter” kept the audience engaged and awed through 11am to 8pm.

Many artists had their works displayed at the YALE Arts Gallery, and several photographs based on “Mar gaya Insaan (Man has died)” and “Jagenge Zaroor (We will rise)” were showcased in the exhibit hall. Pain, miseries, struggle, and sacrifice were portrayed powerfully through paint strokes and camera films on YALE’s canvas.

Other things like “The Unseen Pakistan” and “Glimpses of Lollywood” showed to the public what potential this land has got, what it has become, and what is still left.

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Even with all that chaos and miseries, Pakistan is a homeland to people who are destined not to give up. These people with their outstanding visions choose to bring back the glory this land deserves. This is what YALE meant to me.

Related link: http://yale2014.org/ –  Artists own rights to their respective works- Photos by me (Maria I) and Khoulah.
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