Creating Rumi for Butterfly Season was the easiest part of writing a book for me. I modeled her on a very dear, very old friend of mine (let’s call her Saira) whom I’ve known since college. Saira is an extraordinarily beautiful woman. Even though there were a number of good-looking women at my college, Saira overshadows them all. She is small, slim, with slanted black eyes, a dead straight nose and a pointed chin (think Kristen Bell, except prettier). Twenty years later, she’s still stunning.
A month ago, we found a rat living in our pantry and had to clear the whole room out. We dropped rat poison and waited a few days before the creature came out to the kitchen and flopped down under one of the cabinets. My three cats, none of whom could be bothered to catch the animal while it was still alive, spent hours in front of the dead body, waiting for it to move so that they could play with it (they play fair, you see. If it doesn’t move, they won’t attack it).
The last time my sister came to Pakistan was 5 years ago. In five years, she’s missed the passing of several close relatives, two weddings and a newborn baby (18 days old). From among her friends, she’s missed three new births and another two weddings. She was more than excited at the thought of finally coming home, even if it was for just ten days.
January 20 marks the end of the month Rabi-ul-Awwal in the Islamic Calendar. Rabi-ul-Awwal literally means ‘the first month of Spring’, and is important to Muslims because the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday falls on the 12th of Rabi-ul-Awwal. The 12th is celebrated as our third major festival, or Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (Festival of the birth of the Prophet).
About a month ago, I had a mishap with my laptop and was unplugged for almost a week. My old trusty MacBook Pro is on its last legs. Apparently the graphics card crashed and while the computer started up, the screen stayed black. And unlike older models, the graphics card on these macs is soldered on to the motherboard, so the whole motherboard had to be replaced.
“I belong to a nation whose children scare the life out of you.
What a terrifying force you are, fighting with children…”
The children of Army Public School returned to school this week. This is their tribute to their fallen classmates.
Peshawar, December 16 2014.
There should be squares in every city reserved for the public execution of the Taliban.
Let them swing.
Five hundred Taliban, mostly low-level soldiers, sit on Death Row in Rawalpindi. Five hundred out of thousands released because our weak judiciary was intimidated, or because our corrupt politicians consider them allies. Five years ago, when the shrine of Data Darbar was attacked by two suicide bombers, killing 42 pilgrims, Shahbaz Sharif stood on a public stage and whimpered, “why are you attacking us? We are one people.” For that statement alone, Shahbaz Sharif should also swing. It’s no coincidence that the Pakistan Army has not been allowed to conduct any operations in the Punjab against the various Lashkars operating with impunity in the province—they’re Shahbaz Sharif’s people, after all.
In school, my Urdu was a widespread joke among my friends. My pronunciations aside, I was hopeless with sentence construction, which in Urdu is the opposite of the way a sentence is constructed in English. If I was to translate ‘she is sitting under a tree’ into Urdu, the correct structure would mean that it would read like this: ‘She tree under sitting is’. In Urdu, of course, that sounds perfect: ‘woh darakht kay neechay baithi hai’.