The Fall

Autumn descends.
The fall.
November falls.
December rises.
Less sunshine.
More coldness.
In talks. In walks.
In memories. In contact.
That’s usual because it’s outside.
There is another fall.
Beyond November and December.
A fall that’s inside.
And cannot be seen among the fallen leaves.
But can be felt underfoot while walking on them.
In a dark park.
In solitude.
The fall.
That never falls.
Never has a falling.
Even when Spring arrives.


I make homes.
I destroy homes too.
But I have my home.
My comfort zone.

And while sitting in my zone.
With all the accessories around me.
Mine. Defined by me. Me, defined by them.
Like your bed.
And the bedsheet.
And the attached bath.
And the hanging towel.
And the entire yours.
The entire you.
In the comfort zone.
It’s your home.

It’s your home.
It’s my home.
We own our homes.
This way or that, we own.
Taken for granted or snatched…

I have my home.
My comfort zone.
Mine, defined by me.
Me, defined by the furniture.
I feel homelessness.

I don’t feel homelessness for all those who sleep on footpaths.
No. Don’t take me wrong.
I don’t feel for homes in Gaza. They are already demolished.
Not for Iraq.
Or Yemen.
Or Syria.
Or Libya.
Or Ukraine.
Or the whole Africa.

I feel homelessness.
In my home.
In my comfort zone.
Around products, defined by me.
Around me, defined by my consumerism.
I feel homelessness.

Random Numbness – Nov 2023

The whole world is going down.

See local. Nawaz of 2013 was better than IK of 2018. But the current Nawaz is the worst form of Nawaz himself. Even though the film of filth is being run by the boys, the cast is being degraded without any substitutions.

Then we have hypocritical pains. We didn’t know about Uighur while playing the game in Yemen and – another while – kept on crying for Kashmir today. Even when Kashmir was undone, we stood in silence each week. Don’t know why.

Now, for Gaza, we have ultimate pain. Because we can’t do anything. But for Afghans, for whom we can do something, we don’t feel any pain. How does that work? It does.

By the way, by law, anyone born in Pakistan is a Pakistani citizen based on the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951. Yet, since we don’t like the neighbors – western ones, not eastern ones; though we don’t like them either – we are deporting them. 1.7 million. This can be considered as one of the ugliest crimes in modern times.

This is not just about one region of the world. The entire world is in the process of devolution. Maybe, all the good songs have been made and all the philosophies have already been written down, so there is nothing left to do. Except to use the weapons that have been made to kill.

To kill.

One of the first human instincts.

Then bury. The second instinct.

Then takeover the leftovers. Third instinct.

Then be remembered as a villain throughout the history. Not an instinct. It’s a lineage. A bloody lineage. The one who got killed, died. The one who killed, reproduced. Until, 8 billion.

8 billion galaxies. And so much deviation in the words. Like the galaxies themselves. Let’s all wish. For another Big Bang.

Forced Migration

Around 12 million migrated during the Partition of 1947. Roughly, 6 million had to leave Pakistan and 6 million had to leave India. Most of the migration happened within Punjab – that was once undivided. (The numbers vary according to different sources).

That wasn’t a happy migration.

The painful stories are part of our literature. Those tragedies lived for decades. Pick any Urdu writer and you will find the stories of painful migration. Manto, Shahab, Mumtaz Mufti, Ismat Chughtai, Intizar Hussain (my favorite short story writer), Ashfaq Ahmad, etc. all wrote in bits and pieces about the lost world.

Boota from Toba Tek Singh was not a Boota from Toba Tek Singh as he remembered but as you read in the story.

Apart from literature, there have been movies and dramas on sad stories of migration. An Indian movie titled ‘Garam Hawa’ (1974) captured the trauma in a very painful way.

Remember. Even when Prophet Muhammad PBUH had to migrate from his home city Mecca to Medina, He experienced sadness. He longed for his home in Mecca.

Today, we are seeing two tragedies. One is more painful for us than the other because of our bias.

People of Gaza are being forced to leave their homes. They are being killed. Their homes are being destroyed. Their entire neighborhoods have been bombed out, along with hospitals.

Thousands are dead and thousands are wounded. Even the memories of homes and streets and markets are being erased by Israel.

The other tragedy is of forced deportation of 1.7 million Afghans. They are being thrown out. They can’t carry cash more than Rs.50,000 to Afghanistan. They are selling their homes at cheaper prices as the deadline has already passed. Their businesses are being taken over at throwaway rates by their Pakistani facilitators.

Even those who lived here for two, three or even four decades are being deported. Their memories are being taken over. Their schools are no longer their schools. Their homes are no longer their homes.

After living as a second class citizens here in Pakistan, they are being displaced. To a land where no one wants to live under the Talibans.

If you compare the two, 0.7 million Gazans are suffering compared to 1.7 million Afghans. A million more. Obviously, the modes are different – as one is violent and the other one is physically enforced – but the sufferings are after all, inhumane.

Such are the tragic times. There are more tragedies too but these two are at a massive scale with millions involved. Condemn both with whatever mode of condemnation you can afford.


Bureaucrat, Lahore & the Smog – 2023

Smog covered Lahore for the first time when PMLN was in power. It sustained during PTI’s tenure. And then continued through PDM’s episode. It’s been a decade; got uglier this season.

Today, it covers three divisions. Like 9 cities. Successfully.

Do you know who remained constant all this while when political pawns were being placed and replaced? Bureaucracy. The suited booted CSS babus. Looking nice, intelligent, philosophical, and literary with only an iota of functioning brain.

‘Hierarchy of Bastards.’ In simple words.

Every season, the Chief Secretary calls a meeting. Before smog. During smog. Afterwards. Meetings and more meetings. And they end up as clueless as they always are.

And every season, we have a new Chief Secretary who doesn’t know what the previous one said in golden words. So, the same episodes are telecasted each season.

It is like joining a new department after messing up the previous one without any strings attached. Working hard and hardly working. That’s what CSS is about and that’s why people aspire one to be. Have all the resources with zero output, ignominious corruption, and no punishment.

Sky is the limit.

But they do have a comedic sense to the crises.

For instance, if you ask these bureaucrats how are they going to manage this smog, they may come back with out-of-the-box comments. They can tell you it is their “Family Planning” initiative to manage the challenge of population in the long-run. They will elaborate how it will reduce 7-years of people’s life and how it will resolve issues of crime, pension, food scarcity, and obviously, population.

They will brief the timeline. Like it was in a pilot mode a decade back, and now it is in Phase-II with three divisions covered.

Jokes apart, they can utter the same in public if they are given such notes by their subordinates. Remember that speech in 3 Idiots? That guy on dice reading whatever was in front of him could have been the most suitable candidate for CSS.

Anyway. Do you know how bureaucracy is overseeing Smog?

Multiple projects for the elite are in progress. DHA Lahore will be connected to Gulberg and Jail Road – signal free. Cavalry is closed for an underpass. Walton Road is closed for a bridge near Cavalry, while the nullah of that road is flowing on the road along with the traffic. Looks so nice.

Akbar Chowk is all messed up with an under-construction bridge for months.

Central Business District (CBD) – or you can call next level real estate work of civil and military establishment – is in full progress. This should have been the Central Park of Lahore to mitigate smog, but boys thought to make money out of it. They even threw Walton Airport out of the city for this billion-dollar business. For elites. Not you. A new road will connect Walton from Packages’ side to Kalma Chowk.

More concrete is being laid in the city. More and more. Less space for trees. Less space for oxygen.

But worry not. The bureaucrats are managing it will. Some decades down the road, people will remember how population crises was handled. With smog.

Hear My Plea!

Hear My Plea:

The hypocrisy at national level is not hypocrisy. Apparently. It’s state policy. And its worse than hypocrisy because it leads to bloodshed. But it is hypocrisy. Nevertheless.

Ukraine was owned and helped by the West. America felt the pain in particular. But Palestine didn’t ring a bell to them. Not even in western mainstream media which kept on showing the butchered as butcherers.

This weekend will tell the American Government how bad Biden has messed up this time. It’s like Vietnam’s time: Stop the war. People are coming to Washington. And people will demand the government to stop being an Israel’s puppet. Bad days for Biden. The only good thing he had was his inaugural speech after being elected. Since then, tripping and falling. With bad policies all over the world and at home, Trump is rising to haunt him.

Meanwhile, the noise in Pakistan has its own hypocrisy. They are pushing 1.7 million Afghans back to Afghanistan. Including those who are born and raised in Pakistan. These people will definitely suffer for a long time, wherever the road will take them to settle. Or unsettle.

Israel is invading lands and homes of the Palestinians.

Pakistan is organizing a mass exodus of Afghans after doing all the pimped jobs.

I know you can’t compare the two, but you can. Deep down you can. Unsettling and displacing a family to an unforeseen world is nothing less of a tragedy even if you compare.

Yet, we don’t feel the two pains. One remains numb. In fact, makes us happy. The other hurts us. The one that hurts us, is the one we cant do anything about. Except… some noise.

We all have our biases. We all have our compromised ethos, pathos, and logos. Governments work that way. Militaries too. And we too.

But I do wish.

And pray.

For the arms to be twisted.

For the armies to be demolished.

For the murderers to be murdered.

For the unsettler to be unsettled.

For the civilians to rise.

For the missing ones to be found.

For the slogans to be raised.

For the fights to be won.

Against any arm. Against any military.

Be it Israel.

Or be it…

Ending this for all the tragedies, anywhere in the world with shikwa of Faiz:

موری ارج سنو دست گیر پیر

hear my plea – O protector, O Pir!

مائی ری کہوں کاسے میں اپنے جیا کی پیر

O mother, how do I describe the anguish of my soul!

ربّا سچّیا توں تے آکھیا سی

O true Lord – well, you had said

جا اوئے بندیا جگ دا شاہ ہیں توں

go, O servant – king of the world are you

ساڈیاں نعمتاں تیریاں دولتاں نیں

my bounties are all for your benefit

ساڈا نیب تے عالیجاہ ہیں توں

my viceroy and of exalted rank are you

ایس لارے تے ٹور کد پچھیا ای

after this false promise, did you ever take any notice

کیہہ ایس نمانے تے بیتیاں نیں

what a miserable time we have been passing through

کدی سار وی لئی او ربّ سائیاں

did you bother to ever inquire – O Lord Master

ترے شاہ نال جگ کیہہ کیتیاں نیں

what the world has done to your king

کِتّے دھونس پولیس سرکار دی اے

in one place, there is the menace of police and state

کِتّے دھاندلی مال پٹوار دی اے

in another, there is cheating over land and money

اینج ہڈّاں چ کلپے جان مری

my very being aches to the bone in such a way

جیویں پھاہی چ کونج کرلاوندی اے

as the Koonj (crane), caught in the snare, shrieks!

چنگا شاہ بنایا ای ربّ سائیاں

a fine king you have made – O Lord Master

پولے کھاندے وار نہ آوندی اے

keeps bearing the humiliations of shoe-beatings

مینوں شاہی نئیں چاہیدی ربّ میرے

I don’t want kingship, my Lord

میں تے عزت دا ٹکّر منگناں ہاں

I ask just for a piece of bread, honorably-earned

مینوں تاہنگ نیئں، محلاں ماڑیاں دی

I have no desire for grand things like palaces

یں تے جیویں دی نکّر منگناں ہاں

I ask just for a corner to subsist in

میری منّیں تے تیریاں میں منّاں

heed me and I will heed you

یری سونہہ جے اک وی گلّ موڑاں

I swear to you that I’ll never refuse a single command

جے ایہہ سودا نیئں پجدا تیں ربّا

if this bargain is not acceptable to Thee, O Lord

فیر میں جاواں تے ربّ کوئی ہور لوڑاں

then I shall go and get some other Lord

موری ارج سنو دست گیر پیر

hear my plea, O protector, O Pir!

اس صورت سے

in this manner

عرض سناتے

presenting the plea

درد بتاتے

recounting the anguish

نیّا کھیتے

rowing the boat

مِنّت کرتے

making entreaty

رستہ تکتے

waiting expectantly

کتنی صدیاں بیت گئی ہیں

so many centuries have passed

اب جا کر یہ بھید کھلا ہے

at long last has emerged this secret

جس کو تم نے عرض گزاری

the one you had petitioned

جو تھا ہاتھ پکڑنے والا

the one who used to grasp your hand

جس جا لاگی ناؤ تمھاری

the place your boat found its mooring

جس سے دکھ کا دارو مانگا

the one you sought the cure for grief from

تورے مندر میں جو نہیں آیا

the one who came into your temple not

وہ تو تمہیں تھے

that was none other than you

وہ تو تمہیں تھے

that was none other than you