It was 7.30 in the morning and my alarm hadn’t gone off when Suhail showed up. I was still in my nightie when the bell rang and I was just looking for a dupatta to throw over my chest. But Shahryar said he’d get the door, so I settled back into bed. 

A whole minute passed. The silence outside was making me nervous. Nobody who comes to our door in this town leaves without saying a word or two, even if it is just salaam, ram-ram, or I’llshowyoubitchjustwatch. Milkman, postman, courier, goons sent by the other party after I’ve had a good day in court. Everybody has something to say. 

                                                Read 'Registered Post' in The Caravan

Remember how I was giggling? Giggled non-stop until people turned around to stare. You kept asking, what’s so funny? It was the guide, going on about the emperor having hundreds of wives and concubines. In my head, I was seeing the Red Fort filled with crawling babies. A hundred white diapers. Little red brocade caps for the boys. In my head, a hundred babies were in the Diwan-e-khaas, on hands and knees. Hanging onto the knees of their father, the Emperor.

Can you see it, Bitoo? Badshah Salaamat has three babies perched on his lap. One of them has a leaky diaper, so His Highness gets miffed and he calls out to someone to take this prince away and change his diaper. What’s Urdu for a soggy diaper? The throne will need to be washed. And all those courtiers, their spines erect. Fancy turbans. Keeping a straight face. Bowing to the babies who tug at their belts. I was imagining the Prime Minister, holding out one heavy beringed finger, and the crown prince trying to chew on it with toothless gums...

Read 'Jhimmi' in The Charles River Journal

Once upon a time, I was in love with a donkey

"... peep-holes can only be used to keep out familiar trouble. And trouble usually wears a familiar face

"Things look different from far. When I was a boy, we used to chant a set of foolish rhymes about the illusion of distance. 'From far, I thought I saw a dozen eggs getting hard-boiled/ turned out to be a bunch of baldies getting their heads oiled!'..."


Unknown said...

Just read your short story "The Inverter" and was thrown back in time to the silly romances of my growing up years in Allahabad.
Every small town nuance illuminates brightly in your story like those soft romances which used to illuminate across those bylanes and now light up the contours of my vulnerable memory.
The brightest lights in the darkest hours.

Annie Zaidi said...


Unknown said...

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best story , shayari said...

your poetry is very good More SHAYARI

more Love Story

Unknown said...

Hey, would like to know where I can read/watch/purchase your play- Jaal. Please let me know. Thanks.

Valentin said...

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