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Away from the ‘homeland’

In the past one month, my friends and associates from across the globe have reached out. I am grateful to them. Now that I am out of Pakistan I am safer. This is a trade-off. Choices. Again. Security versus identity. Belonging or choosing a migrant’s life. I have yet to think about these issues and hopefully the mist will clear itself.

I was deeply touched by what the eminent poet and my friend-muse Fahmida Riaz wrote in her commentary on the recently held Islamabad Literature Festival:

…It is no ordinary city or town, our capital. Only weeks ago there was a blast here that killed many people; and just last month, one of its prominent citizens, Raza Rumi, barely escaped death in a car attack. Last year Rumi was the life and spirit of the festival, moderating many sessions, but this year he was nowhere to be seen.

And then this email that pierced into a corner of my being:

Yes, I heard about it. Yes, I also read about it. Quite honestly, I didn’t know how to react to it. Should I pick the phone, say a few words of concern and take a sigh of relief? Or should I sit back, grim and bear it? It took a long time to sink in despite the fact that it sounded familiar. I’ve lost friends (we all have lost friends at some one point in life or the other) but I really can’t afford to lose another. Each time I hear the sound within earshot, I am shaken. I feel weak in the knees while writing this!
I called you today – your number was powered off. I was looking for you at the ILF 2014 but couldn’t see you anywhere. Where are you? How do I connect with you? …
Meanwhile, take everything easy. I can’t stop thanking God for returning you to us. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Best, ….


May 9th, 2014|Personal|11 Comments

Beyond Borders – with Shubha Mudgal and Tina Sani

My article published in the Friday Times (Aug11-18)

Days after the recent skirmishes at the Line of Control, when the composite dialogue between India and Pakistan was threatened, an alternative reconciliation was underway in Lahore. Music became the metaphor of shared ground between the two countries, challenging divides between them that can become violent.

Lahore hosted the legendary vocalist Shubha Mudgal for a few days. The crusade launched by Beyond Borders Television, a production house and sister company of The Friday Times and Good Times, is a unique development in Pakistan’s media world. It is Beyond Borders’ mission statement to produce programming for regional channels that promotes understanding between peoples. Undaunted by visa restrictions and overcoming official barriers, Beyond Borders organised Mudgal’s visit to Lahore to record a tripartite discussion between Mudgal, Tina Sani and Jugnu Moshin, the compere.

The night before the recording, there was a get-together at the home of Jugnu Mohsin and Najam Sethi. It was a typical July evening, marked by the promising stillness of the monsoon. The fragrance of tuberoses, motia and lillies had made the atmosphere surreal and when the power breakdown happened, and candles were lit, it was like a slice out of some previous age. […]