All posts in the Descriptions category

KIBF 2013

Published December 12, 2013 by sidmary

When you enter the Karachi Expo Centre on one of the days near the end of the year, you find the essence of Karachi.

You will find motorbike riders, rikhshaw travellers, and Pajero owners all coming together at one place with nothing to differentiate them…

And the love of books to unite them.

Here, in three halls full of books, you see the trend of society. You see what people like to read, what people like to think, and what people are told.

You see what your country men feel, and what guides their feelings.

Occasionally you’ll catch sight of a foreigner, and you will be proud of how you represent your country to him.

You might also see a writer, a columnist, or an analyst you hate or look up to, and somewhere in your heart, you’d be filled with pride that you have access to one place that they visit, and you tell your friends and family of whom you saw.

And then there are the books…

In both the languages most read in your country.

English and Urdu.

And its a collection that helps you travel accross time and sail over lands.

It gives you insight into the nitty gritties of small stuff, and overviews of “big stuff.”

And you have to chose well…because like food you eat takes up and re-makes the whole of your body in a few years time, the books you read take up and re-make your whole mind and life in a few years time.

But it is magical. Believe me.

You don’t want to miss it next year.

Wherever you go,

Choose well.

And happy reading. 🙂

–Sidra Maryam


Forever is a Lie

Published October 8, 2013 by sidmary

( I wrote this for an exam for descriptive writing. so the following tends more towards description that narration. The reader is most welcome to attach to it any story that his/ her mind may fancy 🙂 )

“Forever is a Lie,” they say, but it depends mostly on intention. I look around at the lonely, desolate expanse around me. It is bare and brown as far as the eye can see; varying shades of brown: a dusty brown at the ground; a slightly darker, watered brown near my feet…The occasional color is in the delicately placed flowers in the position afore mentioned- and a dulling, browning green on the few trees scattered here and there. Even the walls of this wide enclosure are brown, and color lives primarily on the sky which, too, now its losing its azure to a stormy gray.

There are mounds here. Human sized, horizontal mounds rising gently from the ground and falling back onto it symmetrically. Occasionally, the eye spots a mound smaller than the rest, and the lonely heart spins another grieving story over my own.

A browned, autumn leaf is blown gently to my feet by a highly compassionate, or else greatly sadistic wind. It is hard these days to figure out who is sincere and who makes fun of you- but this leaf reminds me that I have to leave. So I do.

They buried him here last month. My son- who promised that lively summer day that he will stay by me forever. He must have believed, as conventional, that parents die before the offspring- but again: ‘Forever is a lie.’

I am a few feet now from the most beloved mound of earth, but I can not see it except for a blur of brown topped with white, red and green. The leaf chases me with an urgency- the wind is perhaps my friend, after all.

So I carefully maneuver round the other such stories- all colored the same brown now. I step out of the enclosure into an impatiently waiting, black Corolla, and fall limp on the passenger seat. My walking stick rests idly and upright next to the perfect smoothness of the dashboard. Everything here in fact is smooth: the driver’s face, my wife’s expression, the cover of the seats, the rolled up windows- the only exception being my rough, shattered heart…

The road is smooth too, and following it, we head out of the city which I promised my son I would never leave. I promised I would stay here forever, and yet I leave here forever, because forever is a lie.

The graying clouds gather overhead at last. I can not hear them past the closed windows, but I can see them- and they gather, not stormily, intimidatingly, or frighteningly, but gloomily. And I can hear them now, pelting raindrops on the windshield, and the roof, and somewhere deep down, on my broken self…

In this tumultuous monotony, I leave…

–Sidra Maryam

Ten Seconds of Rain

Published January 15, 2013 by sidmary

An unusual thing happened today. Actually, living in Pakistan, a number of unusual things happened today, but this one that  struck me was a short spurt of rain.

We were sitting together when a noise from outside surprised us. Slightly spooked out, I went to investigate, and lo and behold: it was rain! (And something least expected at this time of the year.)

We looked out the window and the rain ended before our eyes. It may have lasted a minute a the least, but as my sister put it, it was as if only ten seconds of rain.

Such stuff happens I guess. Odd miracles now and then to tell you that life’s not normal. That each day, each ten seconds is a worthy bargain, and that theres a rough beauty and miracle in every off hand happening/ thing that craves a look and an appreciation. I wonder what hapened in those ten seconds round the world: some death, some birth, some love, some hate, and some plain wonder and appreciation….I think I chose my ten seconds well 🙂

May each ten seconds rain happiness and blessings on you…


–Sidra Maryam

Spring Cleaning

Published June 25, 2012 by sidmary
Nederlands: bookshelf

Nederlands: bookshelf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clearing my cupboard and making place for new books and exercise books is a yearly ritual; and its never too easy. Its a time of special spring cleaning, and brings forth all the dried flowers and weak thorns pressed somewhere way way back in a magical realm. I did my “spring cleaning” a few days back. Its just a cupboard or two, and less books than in a library, yet it takes the whole day; even two days at a time.

There is a lot of shifting of books to do. One pile sorted out takes the place of another. Many books that won’t be used again, and exercise books that won’t be used and won’t be referred to are piled in a corner to be given away for recycling. Heated debates are carried out about whether a book needs to be kept or not. (These are course books, not the ones we buy out of choice.)

Then comes the most debated issue of exercise books. Each person is left with his own to take care of. “Sort out.” I open each exercise book in this process. These are of the just past academic session, and of every year before that. I slowly filter the pages of each notebook for any hastily scrawled memory, any note passed in the class, any hilarious or downright depressive sentence or drawing made when studying was just not looking so appealing…I grope desperately to hold on to every thread of memory…

I find jokes, verses and small autographs in the notebooks. One said:

                              “Promise Promise one two three,

You will not forget me…..” Then the friend had signed her name.

Scrawled on the another page was “I would die for happiness… only, it would be no use.”

The first page of a copy from class five said that:

                  ” They say this time won’t come again, therefore enjoy,

I say do something worthwhile for the time to remember you by….”

An answer to a question in grade three about my favorite color was written that I like every color because they make the world beautiful.

I value in my heart each star, each smiley face and each compliment written on those papers. I value each innocent notion, and each petty complaint. I hold on to the time that is gone. I hold fast to every shard of memory that my slowly filling mind and cupboards can contain. I yearn and I long to keep them to myself forever, yet every year, some stock is cleared away to make room for new things, new memories…

There is a glow of pride and pain as I empty bits of my cupboard. There is still years old stuff that I visit yearly at spring cleaning, and keep back in the shelf as something sacred. Probably next year, or the year after that, or many years hence, I will clear that all out; create a larger space for everything new…but till then? Till then, each year at spring cleaning, I will take them out, moist my eyes, touch them to my heart, and keep them back…

Black Nights

Published December 17, 2011 by sidmary

I like the Light, but I love the Dark. Light is wonderful: bright and full of Hope; but every once in a while; too penetrating. And the Dark I like is not the silent, murky one with wild shadows or howling wolves; but the soft, royal one. Like the Night Sky: where the Moon flirts and the stars twinkle in response. And the looming figure of a Tree rises, trying to reach high up, to hear the joke that begets the wordless mirth high above.

And the Sea: so vast, stretching beyond the horizon; wise; lapping at the banks like a faithful dog; and yet so magnificent: the King’s terrier, waits patiently for its verdict. Against the royal velvet of the sky, it bows: kneeling before the moon.

Then the Moon says ‘Rise!’ and it tries to reach up; to adhere to the orders of the Black Royalty.

The Moon laughs and the stars twinkle again. High above, on the royal velvet of Black, they shimmer like diamonds and jewels; beyond anything mortal or disgraceful. The Sea tries to hear, and the Tree enjoys the wordless mirth. The mirth sounds like the tinkling and the chiming of jewelry and wind chimes, the clink of glasses, and a low chuckle.

The Tree tries to stretch up higher, to hear a word of the conspiracy taking place above. It tries quietly, then loudly, then louder still, till it is waving it branches madly. All its hands creak and the wind assists it. The stars look down and tinkle mischievously again at the rage of the Tree.

The wind loses mind. It ravishes the Tree, the Sea, and the Land. It tries to drown the sound from above: the sound of the image of the Sky. It goes about in circles like a mad bull. It wails its plaint into the ears of the people walking by. They ignore the Wind, the Sea, and the Sky! The Wind becomes enraged still.

They cover their ears and walk by.

The Wind gets angrier.

The stars twinkle.

The moon winks.

Somewhere, a baby smiles in his dream as Angels sing him to sleep.


Sidra Maryam

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