Saturday, December 14, 2013


You hold onto paper hands that 
fall to dust the moment I touch them.
These structures are shivering.
You pile blocks over blocks, 
go higher and higher.
The sky is a hue of blue you 
cannot fathom into art. 
Or buildings.
Only your heart.
But mine is failing.
These unending lights,
This gloss,
This mask,
It is not real.
It is not helping.
These buildings grow higher and I
Shrink lower.
This is no metropolis.

Fatema Bhaiji

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tonight Is a Moment - One in a Million

Tonight, the bright and dark are moving in parallel. The bright is reflecting against the dark, forming a shadow - a shadow of your soul on mine. Tonight, I am looking for you in fumes that are emitted. Because you still exist in the heat of the flame, in beat of the music. You are still alive in the dark themes of the night.  Your laughter echoes in the swishing of the wands. Tonight, I am looking for you in numerous directions. Because you showed me the right path - be it through Platform 9 and 3/4 or another express train. Tonight, I am looking for you behind the masks -with a hope that you will unleash your privy existence. Tonight, I am looking for you in the reflection of the drinks - orange, yellow and green, in the phantom of the goblets, because you live in different shades that are incorporated in the ambience. Tonight, I am looking for you in the scents spread across the room, they fill up my heart.

Tonight, I am looking for you to come alive; in everything that there is. Because you still live behind closed doors, because you still live in the chemistry of our bond, because you are alive in every moment I live, because you have conquered my soul to the depth. Tonight I want to see your face because you live in my heart. Tonight, I want to hear you because your laughter instills life into me.

Tonight, you are awaited. Tonight is the night when I want to fly to you on a Nimbus 2000. I would if I could preserve this moment, a moment where white and black are reflecting in the mirror. There is a shadow of glum, but that is the nature of life. Yet, tonight there is so much brightness.
Kaukab Tahir

The Self-Healing Juggler

He knows he'll never have the best of both worlds

Or even the best of one of them

He knows nothing's perfect

And no, certainly not him!


Deep down he knows - he can see

To him this world's a circus

Where he's the juggler

He juggles with fire and water

He juggles between love and hate

He juggles with his world

He juggles his fate


The fire doesn't always pass through

And sometimes his fate slaps him in the face

The blisters often remind him of his failures

But he moves on in his own pace


He moves on without crutches

He doesn't always get help

But he surely knows how to heal himself

He finds solitude in the loneliest places

But finds strangers in familiar faces


Hey, he never said he's perfect

He's just a self-healing juggler

He has to juggle everything that's thrown his way

No matter how hard he tries

He can never throw his worries away


He juggles with love

He juggles with hate

He juggles with his messed up fate

He juggles between what's correct and what's vile

And in between he picks himself up

You see he's just a juggler, not a clown

He can't pull off a painted smile.

 Tasmeena Maryam

Raindrops, Questions, Tears...

Black. Pitch black.

Words may have failed him, but the dark sky above him was the perfect rendition of what he felt. It was that time of the day. You know, the one before dawn breaks? It is morning, yet is darker than the darkest night. Or perhaps he just lost track of time. Raindrops drizzled their way towards him; his soaked hair fell on his forehead. Not a sound hit his ears. Even the raindrops seemed mute.

He finally looked up. The black skies, the silence, not a soul in view; felt like he was delving deeper into a black hole. Not a single pair of interrupting eyes, none of those judgmental gawks to run away from. And he thought to himself,

‘What a beautiful, beautiful black hole!’

A rather awkward smile stretched on his face. Or perhaps, he laughed at his own misery – a misery that was now a vital part of his life. It all started coming back to him then. The raindrops that earlier caressed him, now hit him like questions.

Why can’t you just move on? Why is everything falling apart? How can they not let things go when you do? Why does it even matter? Does anyone need you? What is your purpose? Will this ever end? Or will it go on until nothing’s left of you? Why can’t you be what you choose to be? Is there anything left that’s worth looking up to? Why were you even born? Did you really deserve any of this?

“Let me be!”                                                                  

The silence finally broke. His voice seemed to stab the air around him, leaving rays of light all over his black hole. He brushed it all off his face, all the raindrops, the questions, the tears. This was his world. A black hole he must be vacuumed out of. A force somehow kept him going. A force he hated, yet a force he knew he needed. He turned around to leave his beautiful black hole to face the world he lived in.

He walked away as the sun rose behind him.

Tasmeena Maryam

“Once I was a med school student; now I’m a normally functional human being”

Belonging to a family in which being a doctor or an engineer was a very big deal, I had a lot of expectations to live up to. I was “programmed” since the age of 3 into believing that women can only pursue either teaching or medicine as a career. I was told a hundred times and again that in order to gain “respect” from society, I could and SHOULD embark upon the journey of medical school. Don’t get me wrong. My folks are lovely people who know the importance of education regardless of gender, but, the idea of a woman having a career other than in the field of teaching or medicine was something that was beyond their level of comprehension.

As I grew up, I realized that everything that I was told to believe in was not entirely true. I saw women excelling in every field that they stepped in. They were changing the world in many ways and the best part was that the world in turn was accepting them. I tried to reason with my family and change their point of view. Being a freelance content writer, I started exploring the world of advertising and to be honest I was fascinated. I tried to reason even more vocally but was told that since I have the potential to be a good doctor, I should not waste it.

I enrolled in a medical school, hence started a life that I never wanted. I used to drag myself every day to school filled with dread and a deep sense of gloom. My subjects were interesting and I was getting above average grades, but since my heart was not in it I was really not content. Medical school is very serious business. There is a prerequisite to it which I was not warned about; “Everything NEEDS to be absorbed instantly”. This is the case because there is a vast expanse of knowledge to cover and perfect in a short amount of time.

All the long “all nighters” used to seem worthless and I often used to find myself wondering as to why I was putting up with the mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. At the end of each day, I used to feel completely drained. After some time, I started growing weary and hopeless. I knew that I wanted more out of my life and exactly what I wanted, but I could not see a way out for myself. My whole attitude towards life changed magnanimously. I accepted the fact that this is how life will be and that I have to come to terms with it, whether I liked it or not. I had no room for a social life because of my routine. In the instances I used to have time to go out, I could not enjoy myself wholly because I could not let go of all the gloominess I carried inside. Things and life itself, was not easy.

Seeing me in a state of emotional and mental inertia, my parents sat me down and talked to me. They asked me what was wrong and told me to let everything out honestly. I told them everything and waited for them to say something. The silence that followed was horrible and I was filled with dread, but the moments after that turned my life blissful. My parents, as halfheartedly as they might have, gave me their blessing and told me that they would support me in my quest to explore the field of my choice.

This was the turning point of my life. I felt elated and ecstatic. I started smiling more because I knew that I would finally be getting what my heart had yearned for. I knew I had to put in lot of hard work to get where I am today, but I was determined and I did not let anything get me down.

I might have been a good doctor, but I know in my heart that I would never have been a great one. And let’s be honest, do we really need another doctor who is competent but does not want to put their soul into their dedication for this noble profession?

This was my journey because of which, I can now happily say that once I was med school student; now I’m a normally functional (and content) human being!

Syeda Eliya Raza Shamsi

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Self Actualization

By Arsalan Masood

If we assume Pakistan as a human being then it would be a 23 year old boy as 65% of the population of Pakistan is under the age of 24. You might think that Pakistan is 64 years old but a country is made up by people who live in it not by the land, as the history of our land comprises of thousands of years. My second assumption would be that this 23 year old guy would be well built as Pakistan has strong defense.  He would also possess many talents as our country is also full of natural resources. So, now we have a guy called Pakistan with all the characteristics defined above.

Now assume this 23 year old, well built, Pakistan walking to your car, flattered? But wait, he comes to your car and starts begging! Your first reaction would be that what are you doing? Why don’t you go and find some job? Don’t you feel ashamed by doing this? Hattay khattay to ho! (You are well built).This is what is happening with our country right now. We are going to the whole world with a begging bowl although our CV boasts about the resources we possess. So, we get the same response this guy got.

Coming back to the guy named Pakistan. Let’s ponder that what has gone wrong with this guy that he has to beg. The problem is that Pakistan has focused on his security and has neglected his education. He has spent most part of his fortune on buying weapons and most of his time on his muscles. This obsession has left him with little money and time for utilizing his skills and acquiring a high level education. No doubt he is very strong when it comes to defense, so much so that it has made others suspicious, envious and malicious. The negative aspect as we have seen is that it has made him dependent on others. His primary objective has over shadowed his other capabilities and needs.

Now, if we analyze Pakistan through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs then we would see that he has not been able to satisfy his first need which is of food, clothing and shelter. Instead he has prioritized his security needs even though he could not fulfill his primary need. It is because of this haphazardness that his third and fourth stages which are of belonging and self esteem respectively could not be satisfied. As he has not developed his intellect as much as he developed his muscles, he has been labeled as a terrorist, even though it also has an element of conspiracy in it. His dependence on others has also really affected his esteem needs as he has to borrow from people he detests. Consequently, he has not been able to reach the stage of self actualization and is confused, humiliated and discouraged.

We have diagnosed the problem with Pakistan so now let’s us come up with a solution. The solution is not rocket science and any sane person could contemplate on it. Pakistan would have to change its priorities. He already has strong defense so his enemies would not dare to attack as there would be mutual loss. So, now he needs to develop his academic skills. Even though he does not have a high level of education but because of God gifted talents he could overcome those deficiencies. Pakistan’s mind is fertile which he could use for education as well as for part time jobs until he becomes totally independent. We hope and wish that achieving the stage of self actualization would not be difficult for Pakistan; no doubt it has abundant talents which he could utilize once he realizes.

Responsibility of Print Media

By Muhammad Murad

There are certain ethical codes regarding the publishing rules of journalism. The basic rules are minimizing harm to readers and the responsibility of journalists to publish the truth and accurate information. The problem under consideration is, “Should a story be published without verification even if it will negatively impact the general public?” The answer is simply ‘No’.

News of a claim by an American interrogator at Guantanamo Bay who had flushed a copy of The Holy Quran down a toilet, published in “Newsweek Magazine” on May 2005 is among the several news pieces that have been published in the past. The information was obtained from an anonymous source and was not verified which led to many repercussions and triggered protests in many Muslim countries. At least 16 people were reported to be killed in these protests.

Firstly, the information was not verified. Secondly, even if it was verified, there should have been ‘reservations’ about running it because ‘the potential to inflame is greater than the value of the piece itself’.
In cases where the information is necessary to be brought in public’s view but the story cannot be kept under cover until it is completely verified, it becomes necessary for the organization to carefully consider how the information needs to be included.

In a nutshell, a balance needs to be sorted to report the truth with minimizing the potential harm. It also depends on the importance of the story to the readers. Accuracy should be ensured and no ambiguous information need be presented. Manipulation in any case is unethical.

  •    Journalists should indentify and verify the information or should mention that the report is unverified.
  • Readers should be warned against the potential risks of reading the information to themselves and their families.
  • Realization of the importance of reporting the story accurately
  • There are times when the public’s need to know becomes more important than holding a story until it can be completely verified. In these cases the news organization should carefully consider how they include the information.
  • If the story warns readers of something potentially harmful to their health or that which affects their rights or lives in a major way, then the story should be published.