March 17, 2014 § 1 Comment
Cross-posted from Medium
Every day you walk up to the clock, count the ticks and go to work. Every day, you pause by the hearth for a few quite moments, wondering when was the last time you ever sat by, doing nothing and catching with yourself, your thoughts. When was the last time you had a moment to contemplate how so much, so quickly, passed by without offering any hint of comprehension. You whir by the office, the home, the friends, family perhaps, days, nights, hours, minutes — all gone, all never to be, a soft, sweet nostalgia and absolutely no recollection of a life that is slipping by. When every routine is so exactly etched and defined that after a few years, it become a habit, then a necessity — and you can’t rub it off, living under its crunching permanence for the rest of your life. Whatever happened to the times of careless joy, a hopeless glee, the overpowering, breath-taking optimism, the bright, vivid colors and stupefying promises of the infinite — the infinite and everything, with bright delight and endlessness.
We ran and danced in the high-school playgrounds, telling each other that the world was to be had and the outside, on the other side of the wall, is the Garden of Eden. We were so intoxicated in a certain moment of promised permanence that it killed us. And then we were reborn in an adult world where everything was some sort of a weight, placed on top of your chest and heaving you down. You try to run and gallop back to the lands of promise, to the open air which no longer offers relief, to the desperate recollection of a bright memory that has faded, to the shards of rainbows and a dim, dim hum of a train gone by. It has gone by. And the dust has settled. The new sky is our only sky and the new air the only to breathe. We have to pick up the keys and whir up the cars and mow through the lawns of our lives. Endlessly. Restlessly. Even the dreams are impaired in their once promises, wild, wild fantasies and the tearful affirmations of a magical, impossible world.
So every hour, we do our routines, say our goodbyes, announce our welcomes, call upon others, have dinners, feign walks in the nights. Then one day, we pause by the hearth and for a few quite moments, wondering when was the last time we ever sat by, doing nothing and catching with ourselves our thoughts, we sit down.
February 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
Cross-posted from my Medium account
Something canine and inhuman in nature rises from the surface of my thoughts to the touch of my flesh. It is intense and hidden, crawling under my bones with a lingering scowl. I can feel the blood in my veins trickle faster, slow down and then run in brief bursts of spasms, so much so that I can see unearthly, inhuman things with open eyes. It’s been four days in this hell hole and perhaps the dingy ceilings and old, grey walls are bearing down on me.
I attempt to walk up and down my room and subside the unusual agitation. But it is as if the movement catalyzes all that I’m trying to rid. It is binding my being with another soul, a more menacing, unrestrained individual who is not me. But then, deep inside the pools of our own darkness, we each have a ghost that is not us and yet, is within us. Perhaps the ghosts are rising to the surface in these ungodly circumstances when I am stuck in an alien place amid an incessant torrent of rain and stormy winds.
I will get back out and about soon, I’m sure. As soon as the sun is out and the day is clear, I will have time to reflect and clear the brown mist that is slowly clouding my memories. I sit down on the bed, bring out my journal and try to pen down a few incoherent lines. My hand shakes uncontrollably, so much so that when I finally resign the attempt, there is nothing but a few monstrous incongruencies on the blank paper. That sums my comprehensions at this moment, all as baffled as the utter unintelligibleness of my writing. The brown mist rises like an angry whirlwind on a hot, summer day and brings with it pangs of fury. And then the itching starts. It begins from the knee-caps, dim and rhythmic with a hellish premonition of an eternal quality, and gradually spreads in circles. I rub my legs, scratch the torso and then I claw my head. I claw my head so hard that it feels like my scalp is going to explode and a plasma mass of itching fluid will flow out.
Before I cut myself open to calm the maddening frenzy, it subsides. The pain and the restlessness are not so bad as their unpredictability. It’s the ninth day now, the weather has cleared but I fear the shadows. I fear the clear day and the sun that denudes me so bare that I can’t stand the thought of walking out. I want to stay here, inside, among these safe walls and the damp room. Last night, I thought I saw someone roaming around the halls. I went looking but then there was so much noise and darkness, and a strange tapping sound that aroused a pain that I’ve never known before.
It began in my eyes, deep within, so deep that I could feel only the fringes of its origins. And then it seized my being in so sharp an agony that I banged on the stone walls and hit my head with the glassware. The wounds and concussions are bad but there is no salvation to be had.
There was blood and bared teeth in the ceiling. They gleamed like sentinels of another hell, in another life, another world. I saw my daughter clasped to the door, weeping, and my wife bent on the flowers in the window. They were weeping and looked old and worn-out. The plastic knobs on the doors melted when they touched it and then they started laughing like maniacs. Their smiles turned into snarls and they bit me, bit me on the eyes and in the arms, under the nape of my neck at the back. It all hurt and itched when the laborious night whiled away in tortures untold and inexplicable. I have come to bear with this, the nightmares and the daymares, and their endless worsening.
I saw myself in the mirror this morning. I couldn’t see anything but twisted shapes and sounds in a dirty film of silver. It was as if I had dissolved into thin air, and then frozen there in an indefinite shape and that’s what I carried about when I walked.
And I feel wet. All the time. Something keeps falling on my shirt and my chin and my hands. It’s slippery, wet and it keeps the pain permanent. My vision is discolored I suppose, for the twos and threes and the doors and the windows are green and wet. There are no days or nights. The universe throbs and aches in a tormenting rhythm, always and forever. It never stops, never ceases, even when I close my eyes and whisper in dim, drooling nothings.
There was rain today, again. I felt like a satan in hell, hung from the toes of my feet in a world of agony. It was torrential horror, pelt after pelt of fear, incomprehensible fearful pain, shards dug through my skin and impaling my soul on a hundred thousand blades. What are the grey structures which surround me? The sounds of breathing are so unfamiliar and I am almost just born. It is the theater of the devils, dancing devils which wrap all around and over me and my pain sears through every pore on my skin and under. There is no salvation and there is no end. It’s the promise of excruciating tearings from limb to limb, over and over again, always happening within and never without. Without, only wetness remains. On my yellow fingers and the black finger-nails. They lied when they said the sinful shall go to fire. They are liars who need to be burnt alive and killed with a knife through their guts and their heads split with my bare hands. This shall go on. This must not go on. Forgive me. Help me. Save me from this butchery of my soul. But nothing can restore my how’s and what’s now. It’s all gone now. Brown mist and salivating madness. A puzzling, prodding madness.
December 31, 2013 § 2 Comments
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
December 30, 2013 § 1 Comment
At the next table sat three tensely mute men. Each was slouched behind a set of five high-held cards, looking intently into them as if the sheer power of their gaze may melt and redo the fortunes subscribed on the cheap plastic. Subsequently, one of them lazily threw down a Hearts’ four and prompted a slow game. The hopelessness of his manner was countered by the apprehension of one and the sudden joviality of the other, both of whom proceeded to contribute their Hearts and then shifted the stakes to the Diamonds. Upon every new round, the emotions on their faces registered vivid changes. They would go from struck to livid to joyous to ebullient, dead-mute and struck in a matter of a few rounds.
It was the sum total of their inconsistent lives, packaged and shipped in a pack of 52 cards manufactured by the U.S. Card Games Inc. The workers at the factory had specially stamped their fates into the cards, leaving tiny, empty slots to be filled with cartridges of misfortune. So here they were, fervently beckoned to their misery by shifting their small money among themselves. The whole point of their wins and losses was so insignificant that it eradicated the very sense of accomplishment of victory or grief of defeat and all was uniform and equal. The dealer, the winner and the loser forged into one grand spectacle of sheer human disillusionment.
They didn’t mind the stale food or the cold tea. Even the waiter pitied them and resigned on his right to pick loose change from the dim gloom of their pockets. After the 16th game, a number of distinct rubs and smudges on the backs of multiple cards and some restless sighs, the gaunt fellow to the right shuffled the cards into a neat block and pushed it back into the packet. ‘So long’ was the final declaration of a conversation who’s sole premise and total remainder was ‘Hello’ and then the three split into the dark night outside.
November 4, 2013 § 4 Comments
It carried an unnaturalness that could have been commissioned and supplanted by nature alone. It fit, somehow and perfectly. It felt complete, as if all the pieces and bits and colors had come together in exactly the correct proportion to build a rugged beauty that would look the same through day and night, through endless times and at all turns of the sun and the moon. It was greatness ingrained through every particle of a simple facade and exalted to a godly fashion. He could relate to it effortlessly, without the need for a deliberation or a strain for a reason or an excuse to like it. It was an eternal act of self-appreciation.
November 1, 2013 § 4 Comments
‘I was thinking of people who say that happiness is impossible on earth. Look how hard they all try to find joy in life. Look how they struggle for it. Why should any living creature exist in pain? By what conceivable right can anyone demand that a human being exist for anything but his own joy? Every one of them wants it. Every part of him wants it. But they never find it. I wonder why. They whine and say they don’t understand the meaning of life. There’s a particular kind of people that I despise. Those who seek some sort of a higher purpose or ‘universal goal,’ who don’t know what they live for, who moan that they must ‘find themselves.’ You hear it all around us. That seems to be the official bromide of our century. Every book you open. Every drooling self-confession. It seems to be the noble thing to confess. I’d think it would be the most shameful one.’
- ‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand
October 6, 2013 § 2 Comments
Pelting rain and relentless wind. In the wet evenings of early summer, we slip down the green leaves. The branches wave noisily at the grey night as it descends with another downpour. We tip-toe around small pools with atwinkle stars and rush to the veranda. The scent of pakoras and fresh tea – the clock announces 1. Time, now here, now lost. Good-natured chatter on some days, my blurry memories cough back a few scenes.
But I couldn’t be sure, such were the degrees of separation. 18 years and twenty days. Nearly forever. A dim recollection engraved on mind like a recluse amidst an ocean of hazy, blurry nothings.
We return on the day the huge wooden front door is left to sway painfully in the wild wind. The pane noisily happens against the frame, one blow after another. In a brief bout of respite, we slip through, back into the memory lane of evening lamps and hide-and-seek. A nostalgia hangs in the thin air, spread evenly upon the quiet veranda. We whirl and dance on the cobblestone steps, now delicately, now in a drunken stupor, wild and forgetful.
The trees are still the bright shine of a quite glee. They sway to our steps and nigh on two decades, they still whisper and recognize. And we laugh and read.
September 4, 2013 § 1 Comment
In the dead of the night, the Orcs crept into Azkaban and attacked the guards. The Death-Eaters were outraged over the assault and they started their joy-suck engines but the Orcs wouldn’t yield, for they had no happiness. The whole thing gave Death-Eaters a terrible headache. Then Gandalf came down to Hogwarts and in a brief seminar, revealed how the realms must mix before The Final Age. This didn’t sit well with Dumbledore, who loved being the best. So he joined hands with Melkor and summoned the White Walkers at Norway. Seven days did these White Walkers walk across the shore and just when PanAm was supposed to pick them up, they were told that the flight was delayed.
So Gandalf unabated and though many dire wolves did the woods of Azkaban contain, he took them all into his service. He also called out an army of muggles, armed with TT pistols, which had been specially trained to shoot at black curtains.
But when G. R. R. Martin learnt of this, he was deeply aggrieved. For the designs of the universe must not be forced. So he stood over the Mount Doom and calling out to Gandalf, spoke thus, “Hey Gandy! Yes, you! Die’ – and thus was the wise wizard of the Age of Android Empires dead, for Martin had a power none else possessed.
Meanwhile, Dumbledore took his leagues of White Walkers to Mount Sauria and slayed the dwarves – for rich they were and really snobbish too. This angered the timeless allies of dwarves, the Men, who took the mountains in their rage and started watching Justin Bieber videos in their desperation. But one among them, called Green Lantern, was stirred to fight evil. So he went to the local Walmart and bought a dozen energy saves, and an iPhone.
With these new powers, he waged war on Melkor’s army. Dumbledore threw many jinxes at Lantern but he couldn’t be harmed due to the Elfish Fair Skin ointment. Afterwards, marketing executive would cite him as the perfect brand ambassador in their research papers.
Five wars were fought that week and five were won by Goku who had snuck in from a blackhole and annihilated everything with his Kamehameha. Then the Valar decided to create another World but the Seven Gods disputed the decision and took them to the Supreme Court. Republicans bitterly opposed both of them but eventually, Valar stood victorious.
But bitter in their past experiences, they decided to teach Men a lesson. So they created a world of heavy metal, vampires and Apple fan bois. In this world dwelt the evil of Fox News which hid in the shadow of Mordor and frequently sent out legions of gossip-mongering news anchors. Much harm did these legions do to the hearts of Men and corrupted them. And no hope was in sight until Cold Play rose anew and challenged the might of Mordor. The fairest of men he was and he played an excellent Guitar, as is preserved in the books of Maesters. He preached that all music is not equal and that only douches can hate Rock. In time, he gathered 10,000 Faceless Men and visited the local Victoria’s Secrets to get the One Ring.
But while he was still in the Bay of Brooklyn, Melkor devised a clever scheme to steal the ring. He made a bargain with Harry Potter who used his Invisibility Cloak to get it for the Dark Lord. Thus was Melkor pleased and he sent Potter to Narnia where he became best friends with Aslan in his later days.
The woes of Men, however, were not over yet for Mordor still stood tall as the den of all evil. So the Elves and Men, and Dwarves and Starks, joined their forces with Dumbledore, for they hated the bureaucratic delays in the Ministry of Magic. Glorious was this one united army which spread from South to West and was named Golden Dragon. They marched against the might of Mordor, where the dark lord sulked over a badly cooked omelet.
When Golden Dragon reached the Black Gate, the immigration officials refused entry. So Gandalf used his powers to create three joints which the officials smoke and went crazy. Thus was good used to trick the bad, though rare have such tricks played well in the hands of Men. With the Black Gate open to them, the Golden Dragon marched into the deathly hallows of Mordor. Thence they revved up their tanks and were about to go ape-shit on the Dark Tower that G.R. R. Martin shouted from Mount Doom yet again. Before he could say something evil, though, he was gagged and sent to The Wall, where he eventually rose to the ranks of Auror in the First Order.
When the gates of the Dark Tower fell, Starks it were who gained the first entry. And the noblest among them was Stark Junior who died tragically in the TV series but was able to perform great deeds that day. He fought Melkor on the footsteps of his royal suite and though he lost his sense of humor in the fight, he finally drove Ice through the Dark Lord’s heart. Melkor laughed at the wound and told the Stark that he shall die not of a mortal man. But then the Stark told him how he died in a TV show and this made Melkor mortified who, the Ancient Books reveal, said two words before falling down and dying. And eternal in their dark wisdom are these words which were ‘Just Kidding.’
The fall of Mordor marked the Age Of Seasoned Stupidity. In that age, Men toiled through the mountains to find silicon and created computers out of them. The Maesters were unhappy and they resigned in retaliation of the Great Layoff that followed. And so, this is where the Tales of Old end.
July 30, 2013 § 2 Comments
Chunks of soul – lost – taken away by dry heartfuls of the grey night. An ashen insanity; and the bitter cold of words. You can’t hold on to the lamp-posts in the final hour. Whispers, blowing through the streets. A dull echo of anticipation crawls on the walls. Lights, sharp, piercing, red, green and dull magenta. A white wing flaps against our visions. The bleak pole sings in cockcrow. Silence, spread like an endless chasm over the houses and buildings; and streets and pavements. Water – on the scent of every particle. The breathes are happy, full of promise and welcome. But the trees drown and grieve. So put your lockets, one by one, by the footpath. Grow them into gilded ladders. You could climb but the truths sting at heights. So step slow, lest the crystal scatters. And put out the ambers. The specks of being are blasphemous. Undo the designs, the restraints and all that’s amidst. Run down the yellow strip and untie the knots.
July 17, 2013 § 2 Comments
Night crawls away in retreat
and we unruffle through the grey of dunes,
the tall buildings scattered amidst.
We pick oyster-shells on pretty lawns
and collect silk waters flowing through the mouths of high-set gargoyles.
The theatre has been swept underneath
where actors still make jests,
and you could hear them over the crashing sound of waves
Around the corner, a flimsy ice-cream parlor
continues selling salt-cones, unabashed and miserable
We try to unfold the ways
but the houses howl, with wide open jaws
When the rain pelts mercilessly, we run to the bar
and in a toast to the endless bickering of our thoughts
We lower two fishes into our glasses
and have them, on rocks
But the dunes run amok on the roads and climb atop the balconies
they tug at our ties
so we take the spoons
and have dustfuls of dry delight
Before the course ends, drums roll into the bar
and whisper the wretched gossip of the town
The town that is tinsel and ash
and the scent of bacon at very odd days
Even the high-set chimneys punctually scream of misery
while we take a stroll downtown
and hide us in our shadows, by the tower’s shade
The tide comes in cool and low at first, a gentle kiss of reassurance
It is endearing,
even when it smells rancid voyages and stale wrecks
and of the storms that must come still
So we lower ourselves, one thought at a time
Caressing the seaweed with our grey pallor
and the sea marches forth, overwhelming -
one resignation at a time
A hint of aqua pain blinds my eyes
as I see emerald lights and pretty mermaids
and the thin flakes of gold, resting on my skin
The world turns to a quickening trail of lights and colors
seeping into my eyes, and guts, through a pinhole
and when I draw everything in, it grows blank
July 12, 2013 § 1 Comment
In the wake of Abbottabad raid on OBL‘s compound back in 2011, we saw a knee-jerk reaction in the form of nation-wide anger. The anger was not directed at a terrorist who killed thousands of innocent people and yet, was comfortably residing next to some critically significant military facilities in our beloved country – no, rather, there was a sudden surge of nationalistic jargon coming from foaming mouths who wanted America to pay for having violated our sovereignty.
Naturally, there is a possibility that OBL planted his DNA, multiple fake wives and children, a fake trail, fake couriers who maintained his link with an Al-Qaeda which, by the way, doesn’t really exist. Luckily, at least we are ready to admit that the raid by US Navy SEALS was real.
Discounting such patriotic notions and fairly intelligent conspiracy theories, the Commission which was tasked with probing into the May 2 raid, recently brought together its findings in the form of a report. Since the Commission didn’t comprise exclusively of army personnel, it’s objectivity, sanity and patriotism can be questioned. Such doubts are compounded by the fact that ‘certain elements’ barred the report from reaching the mainstream media until some obviously-traitorous whistleblower recently leaked it.
Now, the findings of the Commission are fairly startling, so you don’t have to hold them as true. For instance, the Commission has explicitly stated multiple times in the report that the May 2 raid, and the fact that OBL was present in Pakistan, were both huge failures on the part of the military as well as the civilian government.
However, the chief body which was directly working on tackling high-value targets in Pakistan is ISI. The intelligence agency didn’t share any intel on OBL with other civilian intelligence or law-enforcement agencies, which means that no one else knew what leads CIA had provided regarding the former Al-Qaeda chief. Given ISI’s exceptionally vigilant performance, then, it is no surprise that OBL was able to sneak into Pakistan back in 2005 and live in Abbottabad cantonment for years, without triggering any alarms.
In light of the evidences gathered, timelines constructed and testimonies heard, the Commission noted that it was virtually impossible for the renowned terrorist to hike around Pakistan without help from someone within the security agencies. Of course, this would be far more probable if General Hamid Gul was still serving in the military. But since he’s still the primary inspiration of many top army officers, the Commission’s analysis isn’t that far-fetched. Besides, we have seen many recent incidents where army personnel went over to the dark side over promises of Houris and cookies.
Now let’s deal with them Americans. In 2005, CIA stopped sharing intel pieces regarding OBL with ISI, simply over certain well-substantiated allegations that the agency often rats out the intel, abetting certain high-value targets in escaping just before a strike. Such notoriety eventually lead to an ally which became increasingly disillusioned of our ‘sincerity’ in nabbing the top Al-Qaeda cadre. As a result, when the CIA finally had confirmation that OBL was comfortably lounging off his late years in a lavishly large compound in Abbottabad, the agency acted without consulting Pakistan’s military or the political government.
While the anger over violation of our borders is justified (a violation which, by the way, has been committed by hundreds, if not thousands, of Taliban since 2001), the question is: shouldn’t we be angrier over our inadequacies in tracking down the most wanted man in the whole wide world? Why aren’t our nationalistic sensitivities hurt over the fact that at one side, we minted billions of dollars from the U.S. and at the other, OBL found a safe abode in Pakistan? The Abbottabad raid was certainly an insult to us, but it must be so only because we were not the ones who nabbed OBL first.
The Commission’s report clearly points out that the greatest failure in this debacle was on the part of ISI. The agency didn’t share its OBL-related intel with any other domestic agency while the political government wasn’t informed any better, thus leaving the onus of responsibility on ISI. It’s about time for GHQ to take note of such inadequacies, root out any and all such elements which have the slightest inclination towards religious extremism, especially within ISI, and once and for all, submit to the will of the political government.
There are many who’d love to blame the West for the whole thing. Such comical manifestations of our idiotic notions of national sovereignty are merely a reflection of an ostrich burying its head in the sand. As long as we remain in the vile shade of denial and refuse to take care of our own backyard, the international community is not going to stand by and wait for us to devise solutions for a problem that has a huge global impact. And for that, the ball is in GHQ’s court.
July 3, 2013 § 1 Comment
The book is an extra-ordinary account of a sailor going into Africa during the era of British imperialism in the region – specifically, at a time when the British are bereaving the continent of ivory, a product that is very high in demand back home.
Conrad has narrated the story from the viewpoint of a sailor who goes into the ‘darkness.’ Conrad does seem to believe in the supremeness of civilization and of a more ‘advanced’ ideology but is equally in sheer awe of the primitive, untouched portions of Africa which haven’t witnessed a hint of civilization. When speaking about these areas, he sounds almost religiously subdued, which shows both his passion for the exploration of the new and at the same time, his desire to keep the ‘darkness’ intact, for that is the beauty of it.
At the same time, the central character in the novel, Mr. Kurtz, is portrayed as someone who had gone into the darkness, experienced something extraordinary and in his lust for ivory, had adopted extra-ordinary measures, looting and plundering entire villages. And yet, and this shows the duality and fickleness of all morality, Kurtz is like the God incarnate for the natives in the area, who nearly worship him and a gesture from him suffices to affect them instantly.
The most extra-ordinary thing about the book is the style of the narrative. During the course of reading it, you feel as if you are flowing on the wild ebb of a delirious wave, drunk with a restless freedom and trying to find some kind of truth to life. The delirious narrative plucks you from your immediate world and leads you deep into the dark forest where strange things stir and the darkness itself becomes a yawning, breathing, living being; nay, a living god, with mighty powers and mightier wisdoms to offer.
While some have styled the verdict of the novel as that Kurtz eventually goes awry and evil, and thus Conrad is dishing out a conventional critique of imperialism, I disagree. I believe Conrad fashioned Kurtz in a manner that the man was a perfect emblem of all things good and all things evil. He is greedy, yet exceptionally gifted; he is cruel and yet too sensitive to the slightest of things; he wants to forward his career but does not wish to part from the remote continent, with no pining for home.
Thus, Conrad leaves us with no way of devising as to what Kurtz really is – and the reader, by the end of the last page, is left perplexed, although still revering the mighty Kurtz who may sway many to love him but couldn’t sufficiently convince, despite his many evils, anyone to hate him definitely. Even the chief narrator of the story, Marlow, is left in a fix, thanks to this conundrum.
So while Conrad may be starkly opposed to imperialism, the more prominent theme in the book seems to be the objectivity of morality. For his ‘civilized’ peers, he is someone who has taken preposterous liberties and must be held accountable for them. But for the natives, who seem to be the victims of this alleged cruelty, Kurtz is still a higher being, gifted with greater powers and treated with veneration.
July 1, 2013 § 1 Comment
Five years – memories, faded, of you. Blurring remembrances of our years together. The pervading melancholy of unsaid words, unasked questions, the lot of them. Even the dreams are no longer reminiscent. Yet, with so many years between us, and so many transitions later, I miss you – I miss you as I’d never miss anyone or anything. I miss your words, your voice, your hugs and the casual wisdom that was a part of every moment of your life.
And I love you, like I’d never love anyone.
Rest in peace.
June 28, 2013 § 3 Comments
Three years ago, two brothers were beaten to death by a mob in Sialkot. The video went viral on the internet and the society, at large, was outraged at the incident. Justice, although delayed, was eventually served only because the social media took up the cause and forced the mainstream media to attend to the heinous incident.
A similar incident has taken place at Multan, except that this time, the perpetuators of the murders are powerful feudals. According to ground reports, Javed aged 9 and Jameel, aged 13, were forcefully taken from their parents in Kotla Rahm Ali Shah. Faheem Abbas Shah, the feudal overlord in the area, took the kids to his home in Multan, to act as servants. The parents wanted their kids to study but Faheem thought domestic work was far more lucrative a career.
Following their ‘hiring’, the kids were not allowed to meet their parents for many subsequent months. On Thursday afternoon, June 6, Jameel poured himself a glass of juice from the fridge and broke the glass pitcher in the process. Faheem’s wife, Hina Gilani, was so enraged over the ‘brazen’ trangression of a slave that she beat him bad and then slammed the jug against his head.
Jameel started bleeding but retreated to the rooftop, which was his only refuge. In the blistering heat of Multan, he continued to hemorrhage while Hina Gilani and her family didn’t provide any medical assistance. When the 9-year old brother Javed saw the critical condition of his brother, he rushed to his ‘owners’, crying and pleading to seek help for Jameel. Naturally irked by the ‘irritating’ kid, Hina beat him as well. The kid ran back and sat by his dying kid on the hot, cement rooftop.
By next morning, Jameel was dead. Hina called up her husband, Faheem, telling him of the inconvenience. Another elder brother of the two kids, Saeed, was also a personal assistant of Faheem. He was told that his brother had incurred food poisoning and they needed to go see him. On the way, Faheem told Saeed that Jameel had died. Once the duo reached Multan, Jameel’s body was lugged into Faheem’s car and taken back to the village. Meanwhile, the 9-year-old Javed was so traumatized and dehydrated that he fainted and was taken to the local hospital and admitted. He stayed in a very critical condition for a long time before reviving consciousness.
Back at the village, Faheem barred the local imam from viewing or washing Jameel’s body, so as to keep the wounds on his body discreet. He instructed another person, Maulvi Shafi, to wash the body instead. However, when Shafi uncovered the boy, he was shocked to see the bruises on the body and the sharp shards of glass in the boy’s skull. He immediately asked for an autopsy but was told to shut up. In view of the profuse bleeding from the head, it had to be dressed even just ahead of the burial.
When probed by Shafi and others, Faheem claimed that the wound was due to a head sore and that, while his body was being transported, the kids’ head hit the window of the car, causing the bleeding. According to him, Jameel had already died of typhoid back at Multan. The devastated father of the two dead kids, Hameed, has filed an FIR against Hina Gilani and Faheem, under article 302 and 356. However, the DCO of Multan, Gulzar Shah as well as the Commissioner of the city are distantly related to the perpetuators. This is precisely why Hameed is currently under an immense pressure by the authorities and attempts are being made to persuade him to back off.
The big question for us, the spectating, silent nobodies is: are our sensitivies stirred only when we see at graphic videos of tortures and murders? And are the Suo Motu’s limited only to hyper-sensationalized news reports? What about the mainstream media houses, many of which have shied away from even reporting the incident? Does the atrocities committed in the backwaters of our urbane playgrounds unimportant and insignificant, even when they involve the most inhumane acts?
After the Jatoi case, many jumped to the defense of the feudal system, citing how it’s unfair to generalize a single instance over an entire faction. This is the second of the innumerable such incidents, many of which go unreported. And this is indeed a reflection of the feudal mindset which involves taking tenants as slaves, treating the poor as scum and disposing of them whenever the need be.
For the last five years, we dragged Senator Rehman Malik through the mud over every such case. It is time Chaudhry Nisar, the new Interior Minister of Pakistan, started doing his job and took notice of this terrible tragedy. It is also time for the Chief Justice to forego the notions of ‘greater good’ and ensure justice is meted out even to those who hail from the lowest rungs of the society.
Three years ago, it took a shocking video of the mob-lynching of boys in Sialkot to awaken the humanity and invoke our outrage. Will the plight of this boy be ignored in the absence of bloody pictures and graphic details?