Dear you,

Dear you,

As I walk past your room everyday, I see your back. Your hands folded behind your head and your eyes staring at the ceiling. Sometimes you light a cigarette and smoke. You carefully keep  your hand by your side, in a vain attempt to hide the lit stub. Sometimes you switch on the television and all day long the sound fills your room. You turn it up more until it becomes unbearable. But you do not wince, not even once.

Sometimes when you aren’t alone, I stop and look at you. Lately, watching you is all I do. Even when surrounded by people, your eyes are somewhere else. Ergo, so are you. You are with them but you aren’t. In a crowd you are that one person who looks and feels lost. The crowd thinks you are one of them but I know, that you aren’t.

When I take a walk with you I keep my eyes on you. Because I know you’ll watch for hurdles for both of us. I look at you and see you walk with a stride. To someone else you may seem like a man with purpose. But to me, and I know; you are a man who wants to put as much distance between the world and yourself as you possibly can. But now I think, in doing that, you out-distanced yourself from life.

I caught you laughing that day which you rarely do. So I stopped time and rewound it. I picked up the cause of your glee. It was a kid. I know you love them. I searched your eyes again trying to see if your heart was in it. It was, and I was taken aback. I saw life in them like flecks of cloud after a satiating rain. I was taken aback for I thought you were already dead. As dead as me.

Dear you, who was me some twenty odd years back,

I regret every moment of our life. I regret being you and I wish upon the whole universe to undo it all; who I was, to be who I really wanted to be. We spent our lives trying to be the best sons, the best brothers and the best of every relation. We led our lives exactly as it was expected of us rather than how we wanted it to be. And in the process we lost ourselves.

And what is worse than losing one’s own self? Trust me when I tell you this, that you own the world as long as you own your spirit, your hopes, your dreams and your ability to love.

With nothing to give, as I stand empty handed and invisible,


who you’ll be some twenty odd years later.

©2015. Habiba Danyal


Far off places.

“But we can call him, can’t we?” Hope lightened his eyes.

“No, we can’t.” I stroked his hair with affection.

“Didn’t he take his phone?”

“No, he couldn’t.” I replied.

“Why?” Hope gave way to confusion.

Because death wouldn’t allow it, honey.

Death, comes in mid-sentence.

Do you know what it takes to build a life?

It takes nine months of patience, fear and caring. Nine months of nature working its way.

It takes hours of bone-wrenching pain to give form to the unseen but often felt and borne existence. Unseen, yet much loved.

It takes a year of sleepless nights, of trying to break every fall. It takes two self-less people to do the job. Two, to cushion every fall until they can stand tall.

It takes year after year of vigilance, patience, love, vigilance, patience and much love again. And fear of course if you live where I live.

It takes dreams, much planning but mostly dreams to build their future. Two plus a team of teachers to make dreams work.

It takes prayers, to give dreams their final shape until success comes. Prayers of the two and their eternal love.

Do you know what it takes to end a life?

A twisted mind, some greed, 0.8 kg metal and a bullet that pierces more than one heart leaving a void that can never be filled.

To Samia Aijaz and Zia Masroor, who would have made great doctors had they lived to see their dreams fulfilled. May you greet and lead your parents to Jannah, when the day comes.

As for us, we’ll remember you, not necessarily because we knew you, no. But every time we open our mouths to complain, we’ll remember you as the ones who weren’t given time to complain or retaliate against the way, life was mercilessly stolen from them.

It is Allah Who creates you and takes your souls at death; and of you there are some who are sent back to a feeble age, so that they know nothing after having known (much): for Allah is All-Knowing, All-Powerful. 
[16: An-Nahl-70]


I who had killed…

Snow, as white as truth;

lay heaped beneath me.

And fell from the white sky,

getting caught occasionally,

in my lashes and brows.

And pooled in the hollows

of my long awakened eyes.

Eyes that lacked life,

that had witnessed

a shade too grey and black-

black, as black as sin.

And even though,

the whole sky had spilled its white,

to wash my blackened soul,

that peeped through,

those glazed empty holes.

Despite its effort to wash off the stain,

that was I,

on the face of this earth;

I who had killed

and let others kill.

And I who was the rage of wars,

the fury of devil, himself.

I who had spattered blood,

on feeble mud walls

And I, who had let blood dye

A rag doll’s belly, red.

I, who had sieved the walls

of mosques that stood in peace,

with bullets and I who had burned,

churches and temples,

where bells struck as one,

in unison and  perfect harmony.

I, who had hung their youth,

with clothe lines in their yards.

And I, who had urinated,

on their Books and women.

I, who had raped their daughters

and mothers alike.

Blood had clouded my brain,

and curtained my eyes with a veil.

A veil not thick enough,

to bottle my wrath, my lunacy.

And alas, tired of trying

to do away with me, my sins.

Snow covered me with mounds,

and buried me deep, -er.

To hide nature’s flaw,

that was I, in flesh and blood.


©2013. Habiba Danyal

The deal…

She couldn’t make out the features of the man. He was a blurred, black figure, looming in the air above her like the shadow of death. She tried hard to see through the fuzzy windows that were her eyes but there was not enough light. Like a Black Hole all light was trapped within him and only as much light seeped through his edges that she could visualize the frame of his tall, lanky body but not his face-no!

She was aware of the cool ground beneath her. Her palms itched as grains of sand rubbed against them, wet and stinging. It couldn’t be sweat! There wasn’t a trickle on her face and her mouth was as dry as the desert. Before long she became aware of the viscous wetness that could only be her blood! It was her blood that stung like venom through the cuts in her hands! But why didn’t it hurt? Why was her heartbeat more prominent than her bleeding body? Had the body sensed its End?

She could hear the blood drumming in her ears. And like her body, she tried forgetting the inevitable and started memorizing the rhythmic beat of her heart. It was a music she never had enough time to listen to. Constantly playing within her, trickling like sand through an hourglass! A reminder, she thought, that time was not her companion. It wouldn’t stop but pass by her. What a fool she had been, thinking she had all the time in the world. Thinking that she would die old, when life would be as shriveled as a prune, sucked clean of all flavors but that of old age!

She felt it then. As if someone had struck a blow to her chest leaving a big gaping hole; its mouth large enough to draw all life out of her. She felt something in her chest twist into a thousand little knots. That was it, she thought, Time had sealed the deal on her with Death!

©2013. Habiba Danyal

figure in shadows

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If a dream has ever been closest to reality, it was this one.

For Trifecta Week Sixty Two

3: something that resembles a mouth especially in affording entrance or exit: as
  a : the place where a stream enters a larger body of water
  b : the surface opening of an underground cavity
  c : the opening of a container
  d : an opening in the side of an organ flue pipe

The Fateful Flight.

There is something about the airports that makes your head buzz, long after you’ve left. The energy radiating from all the bodies, charges every system of yours. As I left the airport three months back, that is exactly how I felt. I drove home, trying to figure out how to go about the task at hand, finish it and catch the next flight to Islamabad where my family would be awaiting my arrival. They had boarded the plane without me that day. Due to an urgent duty call I had to cancel my seat.

Around dusk as I performed ablution to offer my prayers, the door bell rang. It was my best friend Farhan. Farhan hugged me like he never had, before. There was something about his tense body that worried me. When he finally let go he stared long and hard at me. Then without answering my questions about the reason of his troubled look, he held my hand and led me to the couch. He switched on the television and flipped channels finally stopping at one.

Flight no. B4-213 of the Bhoja Airlines, carrying 121 passengers crashed just before touchdown.

The world reeled over, or rather I did. The buzz from the airport was back. The rushing, moving bodies spiraled before my eyes. My son waved me good-bye excited to board the plane like always. My daughter cooed from my wife’s arms, who smiled at me her last good-bye and turned to enter the airport terminal. My whole world had boarded that plane. It couldn’t be the end of my world…the world?

According to the rescuers, the area was littered with mutilated bodies, severed body parts of the victims, their luggage and parts of the fuselage.

Body parts? That couldn’t mean my boy or my baby or my wife! They were whole. Whole and lively and full of dreams and laughter.

Ya Allah! Mercy. Is this some kind of a test? My tears spilled down my cheeks and mixed with the water of wudu, until there was no distinguishing between the two!

©2012. Habiba Danyal

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wudu= ablution

The Bhoja Airplane that crashed in the fateful evening of April 20th 2012, took down 121 passengers and 6 crew members along with it. None of the passengers survived. May their souls rest in peace.

For Trifecta Week Thirty Seven.