Literature

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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

 

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Childhood Days

Published June 17, 2013 by sidmary

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Those childhood days:

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When nothing’s more harsh

Than the sun in your eyes.

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And nothing more beautiful

Than a friend by your side…

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It’s those childhood days

That are treasure…

.

— Sidra Maryam

On Books and Reading: (esp. Fiction and Non-fiction) -2

Published December 14, 2012 by sidmary
Fiction Stacks

Fiction Stacks (Photo credit: chelmsfordpubliclibrary)

From ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’ by Thomas Hardy, I once and for all understood truly the status that Islam gives to women. The mere idea that women are a posession or can be sold is obscene, and the custom was yet prevalent in England in the 19th century. I understood why Muslims have been commanded to spread the message of Islam and peace; why they are supposed to put only three options to others: to accept Islam, or accept the government of Islam or prepare to fight. This is because however successful a society may seem to be, there are always problems, always oppression at some level or the other, to some people or the other; and Islam has got such comprehensive laws regarding every social, political, economical as a matter of fact all sorts of problems that it alone has the true ability, if followed truly to erase oppression from the world. Selling women was a form of oppression, and one that Islam deals with excellently by instilling faith and condemning irrogance.

‘Paranoia’ was a more contemporary novel by James Finder. It focussed on the corporate world of America and opened my eyes to what happens generally in business the world over. It was about how lying and cheating and immoral behaviour is taken as ‘strategy’ and actually appreciated when it benefits you in business when all it really is is stooping low to the level of animals without any morals or values. I concluded based on what I have always read in non-fiction that anything based on cheating is destined to decline. I now believe that all corporate business is doomed if based on such ‘strategy’ and that since the American economy is based on corporate business, it should take warning. This is because I have read that false foundations don’t endure.

The thing is that fiction and non-fiction compliment each other. What you understand from non-fiction, your belief on it is strengthened from fiction. My interest is social sciences and religion, and I find plenty to affirm my faith and endorse my beliefs in all that I read. Non-fiction plays a separate and important part, and fiction plays the other separate and important part. There is no comparison. What matters is how you read what you are reading. You can have a defensive mindset and you will find fault with everything you read. You can have an analytical approach and you will understand more than what even the writer intended you to understand. Then you can have a critical approach and you will see for yourself what is what is true and what is false in what you are reading. You will know what to believe in and what to filter out of your mind.

All sorts of reading makes your wiser and smarter, but only if you choose your books wisely and read them with the proper approach. To those who condemn fiction, there is no basis if one gives ample time to non-fiction. And to those who ignore non-fiction altogether: life is greater than stories can teach you and reading of non-fiction is essential to be able to understand it.

Lastly, to all book lovers: happy reading. May you all have a long, successful and beneficial reading life. 🙂

–Sidra Maryam

Thank You

Published December 1, 2012 by sidmary
I wrote this way back and I am posting this now. It may be way too long for the tastes of some of you, and I do feel it drags somewhat at the beginning, but this is about prayers. Prayers and smiles; because I believe strongly in them both. Out of personal experience, I can tell you that these two things shape your lives, so be generous with them when it comes to your loved ones, and when asking for them. You don’t know the uncertainty and the fear that grips you about life when you lose someone who loves you and prays day and night for you. I know. And well, talking about love, however ironic this may sound, the closest two people can be is when there is God between them. A third, indeed, but always there. And love is when two people are brought closer to God by being closer together…and vice-versa.

In the darkness of the night,

And its depth,

When you pray for me:

A cool hand descends upon me in summers;

And a warm hand in winters.

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When I am asleep,

It makes me dream of sweet things

Which bring a smile to my lips,

So that the onlookers say

That I am dreaming of angels.

Indeed I am:

Because they bring me your prayers,

And enfold me in them.

Thank you!

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And when I am awake at night,

A calm descends upon me,

And everything all at once

Becomes beautiful.

That is when I know,

That somewhere in your own recluse

You prayed for me.

Thank you!

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And when life turns harsh hands towards me,

And whips me till I cry;

And days seem unending misery,

And nights sleepless and wry;

When Hope from me seems to have fled!

And you pray for me:

Then, oh then!

My worries cease,

My problems ease,

And Hope comes back.

Then days are bright,

And nights are sweet.

Burdens unload,

And roads un-crease.

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Then with each silent breeze that blows;

And with each fragrant smell;

With the tinkle of every chime;

And the whisper of the trees:

A smile is brought unto my lips.

Thank you!

.

With every breath of every smile,

Come life or death,

Come day or night:

Every time I think of you,

A prayer is brought unto my lips,

And my heart joins the Deed.

Angels take it from my breath,

And God accepts it high above.

The wind transports it over to you

And all universe

Smiles.

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And in my heart, I know it true:

That each Smile is a Prayer,

And each Prayer a Smile.

–Sidra Maryam

Star-dust

Published November 10, 2012 by sidmary

Inspite of living in a coastal city, our excursions to the sea are infrequent. We had one of these rare trips yesterday, and as before, it was so overwhelming, I feel compelled to write about it. We visited the side of the coast which held little public and was clean as one could wish…

I lowered my hand into the sea,

And scooped up stardust in my hand.

I treaded gently on thy bed;

I didn’t trouble the living glittering sand.

.

I watched my step and looked under my feet

So starfish are not killed beneath.

I let the waves wash over me,

And swayed in time with those more free.

 

–Sidra Maryam

Withered Petals

Published September 18, 2012 by sidmary

A withered petal between the pages,

Is frozen into dust.

A brittle existence before my eyes

That crumbles in the dusk.

A slow sweetness invades my nostrils

Like the dampness of musk.

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A fleeting vision crosses my mind;

And its motions suspend.

I navigate my heart and find

A slow evolving trend:

Its me and pain that memories bind

Till heart or life may end.

–Sidra Maryam

Anomaly

Published September 9, 2012 by sidmary
Earth and atmosphere cutaway illustration

Earth and atmosphere cutaway illustration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

anomaly- an odd, peculiar or strange condition, situation, quality etc.

It struck me today, as I was browsing the formation of tsunamis, how strange everything is. For long we have known that fire and water are enemies; that the stronger always always eats up the other, and precisely that they cannot co-exist.

What struck me was the formation of Earth, and no, I am not roving. The thing is that Earth is all fire beneath and all water above. You know that already, of course. Now look at at this way: the fire underground is so great, it can eat you up within milliseconds. Its miniature spurts cause huge volcanoes and terrible catastrophes. A mere crust away, life is all water. The Earth is~72% water; you yourself are 70% water; you and no other life can survive without water, and yikes! There WOULD be no thing without water!!!

And what is the crust but a thin layer compared to the core and the magma inside and the universe outside! And to think that all life depends on this crust! If this was just to disappear, would the Fire eat up the Water first, or will the Water extinguish the Fire?? (Oh, by the ways, this just reminds me of a poem by dear old Frost):

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

I don’t know how this relates, but somehow I feel this just does.

So lets end these musings with a concrete statement:

 He it is, Who has made the earth subservient to you, so walk in the path thereof and eat of His provision, and to Him will be the Resurrection. Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not cause the earth to sink with you, then behold it shakes (as in an earthquake)?Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not send against you a violent whirlwind? Then you shall know how (terrible) has been My Warning? (Surah e Mulk: 15-17)

–Sidra Maryam

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