Saturday 31 December 2016

Surprise! Surprise!

Dear Sheroo!

I wanted to surprise you with something you might like, and I hope this is it. One of the new things I had determined to do this year was to revive this blog we had collaborated on for a whole year as part of the Red Elephant Foundation's Building Peace Project. Our last post was in November 2014. That is more than two years ago. Do you feel like giving it a shot again? I really enjoyed writing to you, and would love to do more.

See, amidst all this babbling, I totally forgot to wish you for the new year. I hope 2017 is excellent for you, a lot nicer than 2016 was. To be honest, I don't even know much of what 2016 was like for you. We were both so busy that we ended up not talking all that much. Khair, I promise to be a better friend this year. 

Did you go out and celebrate New Year's Eve? I was at home most of the day with my parents, working on my laptop, reading a bit, and cooking a delicious carrot-cauliflower broth with some sautéed onions, grated ginger, ghee and pepper. Not your kind of thing, I know. Hahaha! And well, I also spent some time in prayer. It was a quiet, little celebration for me.

Before going off to bed, I wanted to write to you. I hope you will consider seriously my invitation to resurrect this blog. Many people from India as well as Pakistan have told me that they used to look forward to our posts, and I am sure that others too would be interested in what we have to say.

If India and Pakistan were two individuals dating each other, their Facebook profiles would indicate 'in a complicated relationship'. Thankfully, you and I have learnt to relate to each other as individuals, and not as representatives of our countries trying to defend our governments' official positions.

Let's hope that 2017 is better for our region. I want you to be able to travel to India, and visit all the places that you have been dreaming of. And I wish the same for all Pakistanis and Indians wishing to cross the border to meet friends, go on pilgrimages, study, see new places, or just see what the big deal about the other side is. 

I have decided that there is no point in lamenting the inaction of our governments if we refuse to also be proactive in pursuing the agenda of peace. I plan to use the power of my pen (and keyboard) more diligently this year, and collaborate more closely with others who are interested in getting things between India and Pakistan to a better place. Our civilians could use all that crazy military expenditure for electricity, toilets, schools, so many things. Our soldiers could also get some respite from being unnecessarily made into fodder for this hungry war machine that is being operated by both politicians and the media.

Let's get our home in order, Sheroo.



(By the way, that photograph up there is from Srinagar. I couldn't find anything else to go with this post. Aren't the chinar trees just gorgeous? I fell in love with them when I went there recently. Thinking about how our countries have totally screwed up things for people in Kashmir makes me quite upset but let's talk about that another time.)

Thursday 13 November 2014

Dreams of friendship

Dear Sheharyar

I am writing this letter at a moment when my mind feels like a gunny sack stuffed with too many potatoes. Pardon that metaphor. I've just finished writing an email that was difficult to find words for because I was trying to share my frustration and practice non violent communication at the same time. That can be exhausting, you know. I feel like by the end of this blog post, I will find myself breathing normally again. Writing to you always cheers me up.

At Dolmen Mall, Karachi (Photo Credit: Haroon Sheikh)

I re-read your blog post. You had a lot of fun in Karachi! I'm glad. You don't travel very often but when you do you make sure that it is filled with joy enough to last you a while. I went to Karachi in April 2014. I was there for a short period - in fact, just a few days. So much was packed into that - meeting friends and their families, bun kebabs at Boat Basin, a play at Hindu Gymkhana, Abdullah Shah Ghazi's mazaar, Ratneshwar Mahadev Mandir, dinner at Kolachi, long drives...well, lots more! You mentioned Sattar Buksh Cafe. I didn't go there but I like the word play on Starbucks :-P I would like to visit Karachi again, and also go to Bhitshah, Sehwan, Hyderabad and Jamshoro. 

At Wazir Khan Mosque, Lahore (Photo Credit: Samreen Shahbaz)

I must confess, however, that Lahore felt safer than Karachi. This feeling comes from a mix of personal experience and what I've heard about Karachi from others. The amount of security at public places does breed some sort of insecurity. It seems like there is always a disaster waiting to happen. I could feel that tension around, quite different from the langour of Lahore. Anyway, let's not go down that road. Delhi-Mumbai and Lahore-Karachi comparisons can go on forever. 

At Wagah with Shabnam and Vipul
(Photo Credit: Smriti Chanchani)

Security, anyway, seems like such an illusion. Mumbai and Delhi have so many high security zones yet we have terrorist attacks. Lahore does too. Hearing about the recent suicide blast at the Wagah border made me really sad. This is what I wrote on that occasion:

"Lahore, it has taken all of three hours for the grief to hit me. I'm on the suburban train back home in Bombay, seated by the window, wishing with all my heart that I could be with you. A friend says a busload of students from his college have rushed off to donate blood. I'm glad such folks still live within reach. Miles away, I mourn for you, wondering when I will see you next. You've always felt like home - safe, warm, mine. I hurt knowing you're hurt. I wish all the Sufis and gurus who walked on your soil could suddenly come alive and heal what's gone so terribly wrong. I love you, Lahore. I pray for your recovery."

At Shah Jamal's mazaar in Lahore

What is the situation like now? Are all the folks who got wounded being taken care of? I don't get to read much about them any longer. I guess those who write have moved on to 'cover' other tragedies. Yes, I too hear that slight note of cynicism in me. It just boggles my mind when I hear of all the murders being committed all over the world - by states, terrorists, freedom fighters, policemen, army personnel, rapists, everyone! What's even more horrifying is the knowledge that these people share a lot in common with you and me. It's not like they are a special brand of evil come into the world. They are making certain choices.

I am reading up a bit about restorative justice these days, and that is making me think about these individuals differently. What leads a certain person to rape someone? Why does a young man believe that killing people will ensure him a reservation in heaven? How does someone come to believe that freedom can come only from picking up a gun? These are difficult questions. I am wondering about how one can think of peace and justice in ways that do not condone human rights violations and also create space for those who've chosen violent means to heal themselves.

With my friends Gerish and Margaret

There must be a way. There must be. I need to go find it. If you meet my friend Margaret Hepworth from Australia, she will almost certainly convince you that anything you dream of is possible. She was in Mumbai for a few days to conduct workshops with various schools. I attended one of those. This one was called 'Almost Impossible Thoughts'. The title came from a conversation between Nelson Mandela and his jailer Dirk. They shared a warm friendship. Margaret gave us a handout, which told us a lot about how this friendship grew and what it meant to both of them. 

At a hotel in Kathmandu soon after Mandela's passing
(Photo Credit: Aditi Rao)

I love Margaret! She's amazing. I feel like we are going to work on many wonderful projects together. She, like me, believes in integrating education, arts and peacebuilding in our engagements with children. I am hoping to meet her in Delhi again. Oh, by the way, did I tell you that she invited me to speak about Friendships Across Borders: Aao Dosti Karein during the 'Almost Impossible Thoughts' workshop? She wanted to use the idea of cross-border friendships between Indians and Pakistanis as something that could be dismissed as an almost impossible thought, or be celebrated as a dream whose time has come!

See, I am already feeling better.



Friday 17 October 2014

Better late than never

Dear Chintan,

First of all, let me tell you how apologetic I am about disappearing from the blog for so long. I think I became lazy, or I think I felt I didn’t have enough to write about. But now, I think I had had enough and started feeling majorly guilty about not contributing because I didn’t participate in the project to remain idle and not do anything. A lot of people in the group are so active on the Facebook page and that added to my guilt. But anyway, I’m back!!

I’ll just briefly take you through whatever significant I remember happened in the last few months, starting with my very very exciting trip to Karachi. You know, the last time I went to Karachi was around 17 years ago and naturally don’t remember anything. Even that trip was a touch-and-go one since I went straight to a wedding as soon as I landed there, attended functions over the next few days and returned. Basically, I had never actually ‘seen’ seen Karachi. Until now. 

This time also I had gone for not one but two weddings, but since they spanned over around eight days I managed to take out enough time to visit the places there that I had heard a lot about or really wanted to go to: popular cafes/restaurants, malls, the beach and landmarks. And I’m SO glad I got to do everything and go to all the places I wanted to in the little time I had there. 

Port Grand -- the Karachi port at night. 

I went to the much talked about Sattar Bukhsh cafe, Boat Basin – the port there, Seaview  -- the beach (from a distance though as it’s closed these days), Kolachi -- a seaside restaurant, the huge Dolmen Mall, Zainab Market, Atrium Cinema (where I watched Dukhtar) and a few other places.

The closed beach

You must be wondering why I had to go to a mall or a cinema, but the fact is in Lahore we don’t really have anything that qualifies as a mall and the cinema was also bigger as compared to those we have here. And I had some amazing seafood (my favourite kind of food) there and would definitely have it the next time I visit Karachi. 

And as for the weddings, one was my second cousin’s and the other my very good friend’s. At the cousin’s wedding I met SO many people that I probably never had at one place ever. These were my mom’s relatives that I had been instructed to meet: her cousins and their families, her aunts and uncles and other important people. I was meeting most of them for the first or maximum the second time in my life, so it was extra special. I like meeting family because I consider them the most important people in your life even if they don’t think so.
So my very eventful and extremely tiring and adventurous trip to Karachi came to an end with lots of memories with cousins to cherish, until next time, Inshallah.

Then came Eidul Azha or the ‘bari Eid’ as we call it. This Eid is always boring as it is all about the slaughtering and distribution of meat so you don’t get a lot of time to meet anyone. The other Eid – Eidul Fitr or ‘choti Eid’ – is relatively fun since one gets to meet people and go to lunches and dinners and hang out with friends. On the bari Eid, we usually have a family dinner at one of our relative’s place that is either a one-dish affair. Since most of my cousins and close relatives in Lahore have moved abroad, we’re not left with a lot of people at Eids, which makes it even more boring. The second day friends usually take time out for each other; and we did too. The sad part is I only get two days off on both Eids since I work for a newspaper, while everyone enjoys three or more holidays.

In between the above two events, how can I forget that you visited Lahore. It was nice meeting you once again, and finding out about that cultural centre you were at. Also, meeting you benefited me in another way: you told me Samreen was working with an NGO that is working for LGBT rights. That gave an awesome idea for a feature, and currently I’m pursuing Samreen for it. Thank you for making that possible J

Jab we met, again

Shortly after, came the news of escalating clashes at the Line of Control and Kashmir in which quite a lot of innocent people on both sides of the border had been killed. And the ‘clashes’ kept increasing by the day. The worst part was and still is that media on both sides tries to pin the blame on the other side only adding fuel to the fire and giving an opportunity to hawks and jingoists on both sides to undo the little progress, if any, made towards peace between India and Pakistan. On our side, at least, the media shows what it’s fed by the army and obviously not abiding by the ‘orders’ will result in grave repercussions. I don’t know when and how will the media be disciplined about such sensitive issues, but in such circumstances it’s the people on both sides who need to act a little intelligently and not blindly believe what they’re being shown. But then again, we don’t have enough educated people around to understand that, and that’s what the media cashes in on. But we can all contribute to dispelling impressions created by the media by educating our people in our own little way – anyone we have a discussion with. It just might slowly and gradually help.

And as I write this, I know the situation at the border hasn’t cooled down. But we can all make some effort, as little as possible, on our own. So many people are doing amazing work for Indo-Pak peace, including you, Beena Sarwar and the Aghaz-e-Dosti team, to name a few. More power to all of you and I hope more people come up with such initiatives on both sides, only then can we expect some sense to prevail.

On this note, I conclude the blog with the hope that I’d be as regular as possible. I’m sure I must have missed something here that i should have written about. But I’ll leave that for the next blog or I’ll be blank for the next few months again. Waiting to hear from you, now.


Friday 29 August 2014

How Life Could Be

Dear Sheharyar

I am back from a wonderful three weeks at the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Maine, USA. When I was setting out for this unique opportunity to live and learn with fellow educators from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Jordan and USA, I knew I was signing up for something remarkable. 

With my friend Ahmed from Palestine
I hadn't imagined, however, that the experience of being a Delegation Leader from India would be so rich and inspiring that I wouldn't miss home even for a day.

Delegation leaders with Seeds of Peace DL staff, Photo credit: Bobbie Gottschalk
I guess that happened because I was exploring a deeper sense of home that the spirit craves for - one that isn't tied down to location, routine or familiarity but rooted in a recognition of something vast and expansive. I didn't want to come back. To be truthful, I haven't entirely come back. I am in those trees. I am in the waters of that lake.

Outside Andy and Paula's home in Casco, Maine, Photo credit: Sigal Sheinman
And simultaneously, I am in Mumbai - a city that I grew up in but can't bear to live in for too long. This is a pace I cannot handle. There is too much aggression here, much too much. 

Maine gave me respite, and plenty of time with myself. I got to learn more about what brings me alive. I grew more comfortable expressing what I fear and resist. I didn't have to hold back my tears. I wasn't embarrassed about requesting a hug.

I welcomed the invitation to learn a new language - that of non violent communication, taught by Peggy and Tarek, our dialogue facilitators. With love and patience, they showed us how words could heal and help reconcile, how one could stop using them as ammunition in endless cycles of violence.

At Portland, Maine
At the camp, Palestinians and Israelis went kayaking together. Afghans and Americans cooked together. Pakistanis and Indians went for long walks, and huddled together by the bonfire.

Cooking with my friend Sana from Lahore at Cow Island, Maine, Photo credit: Sonia
Today there is criticism building around Seeds of Peace as an organization. Questions are being asked about its relevance, given the refusal to take sides in the Middle East.

Amidst the competing narratives, it can be easy to forget those radical moments of human connection that Seeds of Peace makes possible - an Israeli woman choking up while listening to a Palestinian man whose friend was shot dead, a Palestinian man listening respectfully to an Israeli woman who almost got killed on a bus that was attacked. This is why I deeply value the work of Seeds of Peace.

I have seen that dialogue can be messy. People feel triggered when their country is blamed, when contesting narratives are presented, when their own experience is dismissed as a lie.

The emotional landscape is not a gently flowing stream. There are mountains and marshlands, volcanoes and underground springs. This is where facilitators like Peggy and Tarek came into the picture. They did a lot of skill building work with us, particularly around non violent communication.

With Peggy on a sailing trip in Bath, Maine
Much of the work participants were called on to do was not just in dialogue with the other side but also in an intense encounter with themselves - their pride, their pain, their beliefs, and their hearts. 

It is this inner churning that made it possible for an Afghan and a Pakistani to go swimming together, for an Indian to make a Pakistani her rakhi brother, for an American to apologize to an Afghan for the harm her government has caused to his people. I sincerely wish more people had such opportunities to experience warmth, play, friendship and trust with folks from what has been constructed as the other side.

With Fahad, my friend from Lahore
We are where we are because we refuse to open our minds and hearts. We continue to buy into hate propaganda. We do not place enough faith in our capacity to embrace. We can walk to a better place but we need to walk together.

There are two important festivals being celebrated in India today. It is Ganesh Chaturthi, the patron deity of which is Ganesh, the remover of obstacles and the lord of new beginnings. It is also Samvatsari, the last day of Paryushan, the eight day fasting period observed by Jains. It is a day of universal forgiveness - to forgive, and to seek forgiveness, for hurt caused through thought, speech and action. One festival seems to flow seamlessly into the other.

As I celebrate these, I think of where we could be if India and Pakistan, Indians and Pakistanis, would acknowledge how we have hurt each other, how we can remove the obstacles in our relationship, how we can commit to new beginnings.

Looking forward to hearing from you



Friday 18 July 2014

A ray of hope

Miyan Chintan,

Ramazan is in full swing here, there and everywhere. While it’s way too bloody hot and humid to stay away from water for over 14 hours, I should be the last one complaining. Fortunately for me (and not really in line with the spirit of the holy month), I sleep till late in the day because of my awful work hours and wake up just a few hours before the Iftar time (that’s when you break the fast, for those not in the know), get ready and go to work where I have Iftar everyday. So yeah, for me the rozas are a walk in the park!

Just like my family does every year, this time too we planned one-dish Iftars where every week the few of my relative left in the city (most have moved abroad) get together at someone’s house and each family brings one or max two dishes. So far, the three we’ve had have been, well, gluttonous with so much delicious food around. But it’s an awesome time to meet family and just spend time with them talking, reminiscing old times, enjoying the little kids around. I love these gatherings since I miss out on a lot of family time because of working in the evenings.

Our everyday Iftar usually includes fruits chaat, two types of pakoras (potato and spinach leaves) and batashay, which is apparently something Indian or maybe Urdu-speaking that my mom (who’s from an Urdu-speaking family and her roots go back to Meerut) introduced to my dad’s Punjabi family who’ve all been going gaga over it ever since. And, of course, the staple, dates and juices. It makes for quite a heartening meal but I feel an Iftar would be incomplete with all these foods, although a lot of people would kill me if they find out about my unhealthy eating habits. 

The batashay are very similar to this. Just that ours are dipped in yoghurt.
I’d love to know what Muslims in India have for Iftar because here at least there are some items that are common for every family, e.g. the fruit chaat or dahi bhallay as a substitute. Sadly, we won’t be celebrating Eid this time as two close family members died earlier this year. So it’s just going to be a normal day. Let’s see, I don’t know what we’d do. No work, staying at home, shops etc closed.

Taking a cue from your last post in this ‘blogversation’ of ours, I’d like to say it’s extremely heartening to see, first, that Zee TV has taken this initiative of launching a channel that is showing TV dramas from Pakistan. It’s such a laudable step, I feel! And secondly, Indian audiences loving the dramas they’re watching. I’m amazed and it makes me so happy.

I’ve often had this debate with both Pakistanis and Indians on the Aman Ki Asha Facebook group who want Indian films banned in Pakistan. Their argument has been that if the exchange is not equal then there’s no point in it. And they may not be entirely wrong. But my argument is that this should be asked of the Indian government. No point in depriving our audiences of something they’ve grown up on. Bollywood has a magnanimous market here, which provides our people with some much-needed entertainment since we don’t have a lot to do around here. Because of this, many more cinemas have opened up generating employment, and the best part is that it’s reinforced competition among the local filmmakers who’re churning out a lot of films now than before. It’s a pity they don’t work, but at least they’re being produced; the effort is being made and eventually this will lead to better films coming out of Pakistan’s own industry with time. There’s so much we are gaining from it.  

It's doing exactly what it's slogan says
This venture by Zee Zindagi has and will continue to ease things up, I hope. This is just the beginning. More dramas will be shown there, then there will be a time when our films are screened in India. I myself don’t watch Pakistani TV plays but know for a fact that SO many families are hooked on to them. I just hope the ones being shown across the border project something positive about the country and its people and not that we’re a bunch of women-haters, which I have heard a lot of plays portray. There are some plays that project women as victims of domestic abuse, weak, subservient to husbands and God knows what! I don’t want such plays as part of this cultural exchange, if I may call it.

But it’s made me very excited that the Indian audiences, including people from the film industry, have welcomed the dramas, view it as a positive gesture and are liking them too.
Here’s hoping for many more such exchanges to follow in various other fields.

On this positive and happy note I conclude my rant. Had waited to write this for some time.

Cheers and all the best for Maine. Keep us all posted J

Saturday 5 July 2014

Changing attitudes about Pakistan in India

Yaar, Sheharyar,

I loved the last blog post you wrote, especially your concerns around gender-based violence in Pakistan and India. It is really important that men speak up about violence against women, not simply to show that there are violent men and non-violent men but to call out patriarchy for what it does. I wish I could say with some degree of confidence that education helps to mitigate violence. Unfortunately, I cannot. Even men like us who condemn violence against women probably participate in this violence in ways that we are unaware of. There is so much to learn, all the time, about oneself and what's happening around.

When I was a child, I remember an uncle slapping his 20-year-old daughter right in front of four other people in the family. No one said a thing. I was too scared. I don't remember too well but I may have been shivering. What I  remember though is asking my aunt, "Why did he do that?" She said, "He did the right thing. She needs some disciplining." What do you say to something like that? And what amazes me, in retrospect, is how the mother did not stand up for her daughter. Instead, she legitimized what her husband had done. I cringe when I think of what would have happened to that daughter's self-esteem. She is a mother today. I wonder how she and her husband 'discipline' their children.

That brings me to Kashaf and Rafia, my favourite people on the Pakistani show 'Zindagi Gulzar Hai', which is being aired on Zee Zindagi right now. I love how Rafia stands up for all her daughters, and commits to their well-being despite having a husband who brings them nothing but misery. I draw strength from watching the way they lead their lives. There are obstacles galore but they never lose their conviction. Kashaf is a brilliant student, and has been offered a full scholarship to study at university. Instead of being thrilled about this, her father wants her to give up the opportunity and get married. Kashaf is no doormat. Neither is her mother. They are quite different from each other but both are strong, resolute, hardworking and self-respecting women. 

I feel that this television show from Pakistan and other ones that will soon be aired on Zee Zindagi will play a very positive role in changing attitudes that Indians hold towards Pakistanis. Viewers will get to see a whole range of characters, and that will make a difference. When I have done workshops with schools in India, I have been asked at least on three occasions, "Do women in Pakistan go to work?" My knee-jerk response would be "Yes, of course! Is that even a question?" However, I try to avoid being reactive. The question is not necessarily one that comes from a sense of superiority but one that comes from a mixture of ignorance and curiosity. They are surprised when they hear that the Pakistani women I personally know or have read about are teachers, professors, journalists, writers, poets, artists, researchers, politicians, actors, editors, lawyers, etc. The assumption that all Pakistani women are Muslim, burqa-clad and oppressed needs to change. These words are often thought of as synonymous, and that's tragic. However, these ideas will change. They will.

A painting by my friend Ellie Cross, also the logo of Friendships Across Borders: Aao Dosti Karein
This collaborative blog that we write reaffirms my faith in the possibility of cross-border friendships to transform popular perceptions. I know many people read this. Some leave comments, some do not. Some write to me about how they felt, how something suddenly shifted inside when they read a particular post. Some mention it at a party. Some even know you by first name. They ask me about how my friend Sheharyar in Lahore is doing. 

It's beautiful, isn't it?

*Big warm hug* 


Friday 30 May 2014

To Indo-Pak peace and women's rights

Hey Chintan!

You must be away on your whirlwind India tour and enjoying working and having a good time in the mountains. And I thought it was high time I took my turn to blog; it was just that I couldn’t think of a lot to write about.

The past two weeks have given a lot of people from both sides of the border both extremes: reasons to be ecstatic followed by utter depression, dismay and frustration.  First the happy part! Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to India on the invitation of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for the latter’s inauguration was probably the best thing to have happened between the two countries in a long time. The visit and the conduct of both leaders towards each other gave a lot of us much happiness and joy, thinking this could be an opportunity for restarting the stalled dialogue and peace process between Pakistan and India.

My personal take on this visit and the meeting of the leaders is that following the announcement of PM Sharif’s acceptance of the invitation there was a lot of joy around. But shortly after, many realised that there isn’t going to be a long, one-to-one meeting that could be called ‘dialogue’ per se between the two, however, it wouldn’t be wrong to assume the short meeting that took place could be a prelude to more detailed and formal processes in the future that cold lead to the much-sought peace between the two countries. All that in itself seemed quite promising and I for one was overjoyed at the presence of PM Sharif in India and how both leaders conducted themselves and that they had resolved to resume the stalled dialogue process. Here’s hoping it’s a new beginning to a much friendlier South Asia.

Another exciting part of all this was that I was invited by an online Indian news channel,, to participate in a live show about the invitation to PM Sharif by PM Modi. Here’s the link: I wish I could be there live but due to my idiotic work hours I managed to send in a recorded video message that they included. Some other show maybe!

Now for the distressing part. All the positivity had not yet subsided when that gruesome incident in Lahore happened. Shockingly, a woman was bludgeonedto death by bricks by none other than her father, brother and other male members of her family for marrying the man she loved. While the story is undergoing twists and turns as I write this, the basic fact that she was murdered in broad daylight and that too in front of Lahore High Court while people watched like bloody spectators. The father turned himself in and proudly confessed to the murder, saying she had been killed for ‘honour’.

This term ‘honour killing’ always freaks me out. WHAT honour are you talking about in a killing? Bloody uneducated, feudal, male chauvinistic lunatics! And this wasn’t the first such case. Many women have been and are killed for ‘honour’ almost everyday while nobody can do much about them because it’s the family that does it. And then there are rapes happening every single bloody day, regardless of a girl’s age, even as little as 2 or maybe 7 or 8. Gosh!! Even writing about it is giving me shivers. It’s scared and depressed the shit out of me.

Then probably the next day there were tow other news, India and Malaysia. Two Dalit girls, gang-raped, killed and hanged from a tree in India! And a 15-year-old girl gang-raped by 37 or 38 frikkin’ men in Malaysia. For heaven’s sake!!! If we weren’t troubled enough already. What is happening in this world? Is this all a girl/woman has been reduced to? Mere objects of desire, means for sexual pleasure, victims of tribal/feudal customs, exhibit power? Really? Do they cease to be human beings?

Education, which is also a topic we are expected to discuss this month under the BPP syllabus, is key I feel. But the sad part is a whole lot educated people are as misogynist, bigoted, male chauvinistic as their rural or uneducated counterparts. So what do we do? Educating men in this part of the world or maybe anywhere wouldn’t stop rapes or sexual abuse. So what would? I get speechless when asked this question. Even when I think for myself I can’t come up with a solution. This trend doesn’t seem to decrease, yaar! Ufff so it’s been a very very depressing one week, and so far it continues to be as more horrifying cases come up.

So anyway, that was my part of the rant. And that’s all that’s been consuming my thoughts for now. 

Here’s hoping for a better and friendlier future for Pakistan and India. And a peaceful world for women to live in where they feel secure, loved and can take their decisions themselves. More power to women! 


P.S. I'm quite excited about a cousin's nikah coming up in two weeks. Yay!!!