Story Of The Month - May, 2023

Drinks with a Ghost ! by Asfa Iman - Pakistan

When we were kids, we used to shift from one city to another, often, as my father was in the army. Once for a short span of time we were shifted to an old farmhouse which belonged to some rich ‘Sikh family’ before partition. During summer vacations, all our cousins gathered at our place. We used to have fun by watching dramas on cable, telling ghost stories and frightening each other. We used to play a game where one of our cousins pretended to become a ghost by wearing a white shawl and scaring off everybody. Mostly Zohan enacted as the ghost. We knew he was acting but still for fun we got scared and started to scream. The play went on like this; the ghost came to frighten us, we got scared but then ghost befriended us and we used to have drinks together (mostly lassi, a famous beverage of Punjab). But Zohan was very forgetful so whenever we talked to him about last night’s game, he'd say, he didn't remember much. We enjoyed that play a lot until that one day. While we were having drinks with Zohan as ghost, another Zohan came from a room sleepy and told us not to make noises. We screamed and burst out of that room not knowing who was under the shawl...

Read More Comment(s) 3

Story Of The Month - March, 2023

A Moment of Joy ! by Amina Ali - Pakistan

The memory was still carved in her head. The memory of when...

Cherry blossoms were falling all around. The fragrance of moist soil intermingled with that of flowers to enrich the air. The rain last night drenched the grass. The soil of the garden was still moist yet nothing could refrain her from wandering in her most beloved place. Dressed in a raincoat, wearing boots, she walked here and there in search of  a company. Her sight caught him. He sat all alone by himself on a bench outside the garden when she burst his bubble of isolation. It was an awkward interaction that made them feel butterflies in their stomachs. From then on, he  followed her around like a shadow as she slowly became his centre. In no time, it became his habit to anxiously wait for her arrival in that garden. It was astonishing that he calmly heard her out for hours. At times, when she was severely sick and not allowed to walk in the garden, he would knock at her door with handful of flowers and chocolates. This was the beauty of unfiltered life that they found contentment in mundane things.

Blink... Blink... She woke up from the dream in a state of drowsiness. She looked around, gathered the stamina to wear slippers and walked in the room for a bit. She gently picked it up and moved her hand over it, the picture that spoke a million words. It was taken at a time when they were together. A blue smile was apparent on her face. She gently closed her eyes to remember that period. Words echoed in her mind; “Love always comes wrapped in toil and turmoil. When one is in agony, love renders a healing power to the other. Remember, we are one, if one of us is troubled, the other selflessly gives his hundred percent and it works wonders”. He said this when her severe illness confined her within the four walls of a hospital room. She stood remembering, how she hated the pungent smell of medicines yet he would make her engulf them. How soothing to recall the care someone gave you when you direly need it. But now, life had become honey poison for her. Who said time heals? Each day, time like a parasite drew her will to live.

She was indulged in thoughts when the bell rang. It diverted her attention towards the door. She returned the framed picture to its place and went to answer the door...


Read More Comment(s) 1

Story Of The Month - March, 2022

Circle of Life! by Hafsa Mubarik - Pakistan

The shop was his second home. He grew up watching his father playing with the scissors and cutting the most perfect pieces from the scrapes of clothes. Daily he would hold his father's finger and come to the shop. It was never quiet in here. With every customer came a long list of queries. Bickering, negotiations, snipping of scissors, chaos was a norm. And Eid was the most exciting period of the year. Laces, buttons, threads and beads would be scattered everywhere. The workers would work till late at night. As a kid this fascinated him a lot. Ibrahim inherited this passion of cloth making from his father. The duty of the teenager Ibrahim was to manage the accounts and make sure finances were steady. His study till matriculation was finally coming in handy. With time his father transferred his knowledge and experience to him and the day came when he handed over the shop to him...

Read More Comment(s) 0

Story Of The Month - February, 2022

Better Together by Khadija Nasir - Pakistan

Fateh entered the house holding a frame with a family picture in it. It was a beautiful day of February. The sun and the clouds were playing hide and seek, cool winds were blowing, and birds were chirping as if they were praising the weather and thanking God for a beautiful morning. When Fateh entered, he saw his four years old daughter Alina come running towards him with the expressions of excitement on her face. “Dad! You… umm you... You finally came”. It seemed as if with excitement, words were not coming out of her mouth. Fateh hugged her and kissed her forehead. “Why were you away for so long? I Haven’t seen you for three weeks. I missed you”. Fateh felt himself confused. He didn’t find an appropriate answer. He managed to hide the picture frame from his daughter and was glad that she hadn’t noticed it. “There was some important work to be done sweetheart. But I promise I won’t be away for this long next time. Well, where is your mom?”

 Amna and Fateh got married five years back and were settled in Canada. They had one daughter and were living a very happy and peaceful life. But one day, Fateh received a call from an unknown number. From that day onwards, Fateh was very much worried and Amna found him in deep thoughts. She tried to ask him many times, but he always changed the topic. One day, he left for a three-week trip to Pakistan. He told Amna that there was something important to be done and he would tell her what it was once he gets back. Amna asked no more questions, but she was worried for her husband and secretly hoped everything was alright. Now that he was back home, she had many questions to ask, and he had so much to tell...

Read More Comment(s) 3

Story Of The Month - September, 2021

Farewell by Ayesha Irfan - Pakistan

“I’m so proud of you!”

My eyes followed the source of the voice. Sudden lighting in the room made me close my eyes. I looked again after blinking a few times. My husband looked down at me with those teary brown eyes. His hands reached mine and gave a gentle squeeze. The door opened, capturing my husband’s attention.

I closed my eyes again. I felt tired. I knew they were talking but didn’t hear them. I took a deep breath trying to calm myself. The wave of sleep was engulfing me when a little cry of a little baby pulled me back up. My eyes opened in an instant. All the memories came back as to why my body felt like burning. I looked at my husband who was carrying our little newborn daughter. Tears engulfed my eyes as I looked at them. My arms raised to her unconsciously. My husband immediately asked the nurse to help me sit. He smiled at me and handed me my baby.

I couldn’t see her face properly as my eyes were filled with tears. I blinked those rebellious tears away. I saw her. I closed my eyes and smelled her scent.

“What’s her name?” The nurse asked.

“Her name is..”

The room began to shake up and down. My eyes opened and I looked at the old lady sitting in front of me. She was munching cookies she had in her little brown bag. The sound of the engine blasted in the air. I could see the mountains far away and the running grassland. A child ran across the train corridor.

What’s going on?

A man sat beside the munching lady. He looked like he was ready to go hiking, with his large hiking bag which he dragged along with him. He sat there quietly with his fingers intertwined. His eyes fixed on the seat in front of him, lost in thought...


Read More Comment(s) 5

Story Of The Month - August, 2021

Anamnesis by Anum Khalid - Pakistan

“And yet again, a writing activity! I cannot even count how many times I have written these things for the writing activity and here I am writing once again. Every week, the doctor gives all of us a blank paper and a crayon to write or draw anything we want to. I usually write my memories of the past to run from the suffocating truths of the present or, to be honest, to revive my past so I don’t forget it, which I think I might as I am on drugs since 6 years. My past was not so mesmerizing that I don’t want to forget, but actually I don’t want to let go of my mother’s memories, the feeling of her lap, the way she loved me and protected me, the way she used to wait for me to get home every evening. I also don’t want to forget my birthdays when my mother used to bake me cakes with so much love even though later my step brothers used to destroy my birthday every time. I don’t want to forget the day when I first rode a bicycle on my own, which brought such happiness to my mother’s face even though my stepbrother pushed me later and the wounds on my chin had to get stitched. I don’t want to forget those days too when I got good marks in exams and when my mother kissed me on my forehead with tears and so much pride in her eyes, even later my step brothers burnt my certificates to ashes in front of my eyes. While sitting here, on a concrete cold bench in an open green area of a well-known psychiatric hospital, I can still feel her presence beside me; I can still smell her jasmine scent from my clothes which I used to get after every time I hugged her...

Read More Comment(s) 5

Story Of The Month - July, 2021

Lost and Found by Anum Khalid - Pakistan

It was all going smoothly until that day, the day Rania Kamal would never forget till her last breath, the day when her life took such a turn that might make people think she was crazy but for her she took the best step of her life. That was the day when she was going to perform for her 50th concert. After unstoppable hard work, striving day and night, that day had come when she was going to perform for her 50th concert. It would not be just a classic celebration of 50th concert, but that was the occasion by which she was going to reach a whole new level of fame and glory as it was her first concert that was not only going to be live on national TV but will also be broadcasted live on an international platform. 

The day started with a usual excitement. She woke up early, took a last look at everything which was organized for the ceremony, got her makeup and hair done by one of the most famous makeup artists and hairstylists of the country. But just when everything was going perfectly with a luxury car standing outside her door and people from everywhere around the country gathered at Gaddafi Stadium just to hear her sing live, she went through the first panic attack of her life...

Read More Comment(s) 3

Story Of The Month - May, 2021

The Revelation by Dirha Qazi - Pakistan

Belonging to an overcrowded urban city of Punjab,  the opportunity to spend approximately two months up in the mountains of Alazmir in mid of year was always unexhangeable. I had finished my graduation with English language and now was just another writer employed nowhere which was an inevitable by-product of English major in most of the cases, and yet I cherished it. The fun of being an unemployed writer was firstly that there was no payment, therefore no rush. You would only write what and when the right energy hit you and then the work produced would forever be authentic and pleasing. Secondly, I could take out time to trace my inspirations in various places and among various people; something freelance writers wouldn’t get time for. Every year, between July and August, I’d move up North with a friend or two, who would depart within a week and I’d stay back at my Mount Helicon to seek invocation...

Read More Comment(s) 12

Story Of The Month - April, 2021

A Woman's Getaway by Ayesha Irfan - Pakistan

It was like she was grabbed from the deepest realm of the earth and pulled out through the sea. She took a few long breaths to clear her mind and know her surrounding. As the blurry image in front of her became lucid, she could see a face before her. A face that was unfamiliar to her. Confusion was lead into her with unknown emotions. She couldn’t control them as she leapt onto the person but was restrained by tied hands behind her back...

Read More Comment(s) 2

Story Of The Month - March, 2021

The Wounded Connection by Ayesha Irfan - Pakistan

The hurried knock on the main door brought Lady Grace of the Winterbourne household back to reality. She could hear the footsteps of a maidservant reaching for the door a couple of halls away.  She wondered who the guest was in a lonely mansion. She closed the book shut. She was not reading it anyways.

“Please fetch Greta,” She stood up and said to the maidservant behind her. “Tell her I’ll soon be retiring for the night.”

Grace walked out to receive the guest, only to be stopped in the halls by Greta herself. The oldest maid of Winterbourne household stood before her with her grey hair tied to the back, lightlessness in eyes and hands intertwined together to stop them from shaking.

“Greta, do we have guests?” Grace asked as she encountered the maid.

“No, my lady.” Came in the thoughtful reply from Greta, but her fidgeting seemed like she wanted to say something more. Grace gave her some time but no other words came out of her mouth.

“Very good,” She said and turned to go to her bedchamber.

“My lady, there is something that should be brought to your knowledge.” The maid finally found the courage to speak. Grace turned around and looked at her.

“You must allow us!” Greta’s face was down.

“Not fond of riddles.”

“Well…” She started. “You see, the matter is-” but she was interrupted by the butler who stepped in the conversation knowing very well that the old maid would take longer than necessary to utter the required words.

“A wounded soldier, my lady. Just outside the outskirts of our land. He is critically injured.”

Read More Comment(s) 1