Redemption

The rain falls and I throw the dice,

It is twice as good and twice as old

As the fervour that I had left behind,

Away and away into the broken woods

And the shady barns

And the hazy crooks.

The dart stands in waiting

For the perfect time to be struck

By the same old wall clock that misspelt my hours

And rejoiced in the mercy

Of the bewildered crowds upon me

And a hundred thousand other men,

That stood the same fate.

Mind you,the leather has not yet gone to decay,

The pages are yellowed,

But the ink has yet to dry,

The twigs and the leaves and the hundred thousand things

That I had kept in hiding

Are on show today,

To the eyes of the high

And the eyes of the low

And the eyes of every bird and beetle I have ever known.

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Your Eyes

By;

Syeda Waliya Zafar.
​I’ll see you again 

In my la la land

Your smile

And your eyes.

That is one place 

You’ll always be next to me

And I can hold on

To your shirtsleeve.

Mind games,

I’m damaged goods now,

Struggling not to drown

In our fights

And your eyes.

We said quite a lot,

Misreading things clear,

So lost in the moment, I fear

One of us is going to have to leave.

But just know that every night till death

I’ll think of the things you gave to me,

The secret smiles,

All those memories,

Of goodbyes

And your eyes.

So make sure that you

Take care of what I’m giving to you

A good heart,

That voice of yours,

An angel in disguise 

And

Your eyes.

Universes

Written by;

Syeda Waliya Zafar
I have always wondered about the personal little universes of human beings. I had mine and it therefore seemed only normal and inevitable for everybody else to have theirs. 
These little universes, as I have always believed,are the onstage display of our lives. The highlight reel. Not the backstage. For the backstage, as we all know,is the dimmer,tedious and a more haphazard version of everything. It is what goes on the inside of every human being. But they don’t like to show it. They prefer keeping the onstage show on. The happier,fancier and more decorative version of their lives and themselves. But why is that?
Seven years old,I remember my mama telling me about the sadder side of everyone of us that keeps in hiding. “It does not like the open-it fears freedom. It fears being seen and recognized”, she would say. And I would steal glances at her through the glass window to try to spot her sadder side. As I now walked through the streets flooded with people,I could feel nothing but that sadness around me. Everywhere that I looked,I could see worn faces and desolate eyes but fancy clothes and painted smiles to show that they are happy.
Looking at children though,it occurred to me that some of us are happy performers. Or honest rather. We show what we feel. Not what we wish people would see. It has become a habit now,to look at people and try to take a peek within their soul,to put the pieces together and solve the puzzle-to find out the backstage profile.

Responsibility

Once upon a time,
A little girl of twelve,
With no
book smarts,
Street smarts or life smarts,
Got handed a house key
Tied to a muted orange twine.

Poor she ,
A middle child,
Felt esteemed over her siblings,
She proudly held Responsibility.

And little did she know,
Of the jagged rocks ahead
That slashed her heart,
And she bled as it bled,
Tears over past decisions
And present aches.

Little did she foresee,
The weight of expectations,
The acts done but unpraised,
The vengeance of Responsibility.

Fours years of holding Responsibility,
And she wants to be a child again,
Wants to have things easy,
Were they EVER easy?
All she wants is to
Be looked after
And feel free again.

What’s Beautiful?

Written by;
Abdur Rehman Sajid.

“Cathy see that mirror?”
I said.
“Yeah what about it?”
“See right there,
What do you see?”
“Its me, silly.”
She smiled.
“I see beauty.”
She narrowed her eyes.
“Now dont try to flirt with me
Mister.”
She smiled.
“I’m not,
I’m telling the truth Cathy.”
He said.
“Liar.”
“You wont believe me would you?”
He stared.
At her.
She was beautiful.
More so,
She brought him
Them feels.
With those butterflies
Down his tummy.
He could feel her,
In his soul,
In his wrists,
His eye lids as he closed them
And in his dreams.
The ocean rushed in
The whole city wept
With joy and she turned
And said. “No I wont.”

Travelogue

Written by;
Saad Ahmed

The Kaghan valley as we know of it may not stand shoulder to shoulder to the beauty and grandeur of Skardu and Gilgit, but its lakes and pastures that still remain hidden from the eye of the camera, are no less than a heaven on earth. Not many who might just have been able to reach these places would most certainly speak of the criminal negligence of our tourism department for there is not a single snap shot of these hidden places available anywhere- places beautiful enough to leave one speechless at first sight.
. 28th of June, I reached Naran in an attempt to relish the magnificence of three assorted lakes namely lake Dodipit, lake Lulusar, lake Saral located some 40kms from Naran down the Kaghan road.  Supplies enough for a week, my gear comprising of dried meat, beans, food supplements, tea, sugar, a small pot and a stove, a water proof tent, rain coat, warm clothing and sleeping bag, complete and as trustable as it always had been.

Started off from Islamabad in the morning at 6 and commuting through local transport, I reached Naran at 4 in the evening amidst slight drizzle.
Kaghan valley is also engulfed by the newly born hindukush range which stretches all the way up to north to meet the other two giants, Karakorum and Himalayas.Great continental ice sheet covered much of the temperate latitudes. The warmer  climate that followed caused the ice sheets to retreat. The features of highland and lowland glaciations are more than evident all across the valley. Boulders of the size of small truck can be found lying near the base of the mountains, brought only by a travelling and retreating glacier.

The infamous Saif-ul-malook is also a glacial lake formed by the rise in temperatures and melting glaciers. Kaghan valley presents an ideal opportunity for the students of geography to witness the effects of lowland and highland glaciations, the glacial lakes and their impact on human lives.

To help myself with the long journey ahead, I decided to go as far possible as the daylight would allow reaching the famous mountain resorts within 4 days.I quickly made friends with the commuters, who helped me locate a shortcut to Lalazar, a rather difficult and steep one. It was my first strong hike up after a year and was an excruciatingly tough one, for I also had my lunch and the load on my back was also a heavy one. It took me 2 hours for an otherwise short hike. I reached the top at around seven in the evening.  Put on my jacket as the air was getting colder and the sun had already begun to set in the west. Had few cups of “dodhpatti” (milk tea) from one of the two or three hotels that served the tourist and set off to locate a campsite, which itself, a difficult process and require much care. The campsite has  to have three basic requirements other than being at a safer place. Care must be taken that the site must not be in the path of water in case of heavy rains or in an area of possible land sliding. While as for the comfort level, it’s certainly more convenient that the ground is grassy and free of stones n pebbles. Soon night stepped in quietly but surely. The air smelt of pine and the ground was carpeted with the needles of twisted and wizened trees, their exposed roots, acting as a formidable trap for the unweary. After unloading and closely inspecting the area, I decided to hit the sack. It did not take me too long to realise that the gear i had was not even  a substitute to what i needed. Thus i had to abandon the plan and wait for guides to arrive with better accessories before starting my week long expedition through nights..
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Halo

Written by;
Anousha Qureshi

PROLOGUE

The sun. You loved it when its rays would stir in a delicious warmth from inside you, as you’d let down your hair and bask in a few minutes of anbsolute, wintry bliss. You’d always preferred winters; and the early morning free blocks your college offered you were solely utilised for the purpose of rushing to the jagged, somewhat levelled football field concealed behind the Junior Section’s building, to enjoy the winter sun.

Today was no exception from the rest, since you had the first two blocks free as your timetable read. It was finals’ week and you sincerely wanted to mentally absorb the formulae list you had in your stiff, cold fingers. The assembly bell was dismissed and everyone dispered around the ground for last minute revisions and discussions. The only exception to the generally normal routine was, as you trudged your shivering frame to the field, was the eerie attention you felt on yourself. You’d sensed it since the assembly, but dismissed it as your senses becoming hazy after the all nighters you’d pulled for the exams. As your shoes crunched against the gravel paved sidewalk leading to the bleachers; you could feel the aura getting stronger, as though it was marking you as its next target. Why would your brain even think that way? You paused. And so did the mysterious entity. A subtle shiver creepes up your spine and it came as a hushed whisper to you, that you did not hear the being walk right up behind you. Your back was erect against what you felt would be its chest, but you felt nothing solid. Your eyes darted across the sparse chunk of grass beneath you and your breathing shallowed. It stood tall and dark against you, almost like a defined halo. You decided to turn, and in that moment your vision acknowledged the sunlight a bit too quickly and you could swear you saw a forlorn white smile flash across what must be the face of the entity before everything plunged into darkness.

You loved winters. Too bad it was the only season you’d experience now.