Now I’m The Coin

Originally posted on queentessential:

A short piece I wrote a couple of days back, experimenting with prose for a bit.


When I was little, I’d beg my mother for change, to slide into the little coin slot on the rocket ride, hoping it’d take me to the moon. I’d tug her sleeves, dragging her to each and every ride we’d come across, in love with the idea of how a tiny coin could take me so far. Even though the bolts and screws kept the machine in place, going in circles, it always felt like I was on an adventure and all it took was,

a little change.

I got a little older, and my limbs grew longer. I could no longer fit into the rocket ride, and I didn’t have the time to take walks with my mother. I’d walk by the rocket ride alone, forgetting that there was once a time when…

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Originally posted on bint battuta:

I’ve just watched Joshua Oppenheimer’s incredible The Act of Killing (the director’s cut).

In the course of the film various people state that “gangster” comes from the English “free man” – which means gangsters are a good thing. In one scene Jusuf Kalla, vice president of Indonesia, goes as far to claim that Indonesia needs gangsters, because they get things done:

In an interview with Joshua Oppenheimer, Matt Goldberg asked him about “preman”, the word translated as “gangster”:

MG: One of the things I wanted to talk to you about is in the film they repeatedly say that “gangster” comes from the word “freeman,” and in English it doesn’t.

JO: No.

MG: So I was curious about the etymology of the English word versus the Indonesian etymology of the word “gangster.”

JO: I’m not exactly sure what the English etymology is.

MG: It really…

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For Sarah.

We walked a mile together
And then you turned away
To chastise the demons
That haunted you
with every breath
That filled your lungs,
Dancing to the drum like
Pulse of your heart.
And now,
You are beyond
This realm we cherish
More than our lives;
Beyond the demons,
And friends, and hope.
I wish I could see you
One last time,
But the Vanquisher’s utterance
Won’t be taken back.
So cruel is my Creator;
Takes the sunshine
From those who shiver
In barren wastelands
Of our time;
Takes the best first,
And leaves the worst
As a curse unto us;
To inflict sufferance unto us
For we deserved
To loose a gem
That had value only
To those who saw it shine.
My ears hear your voice no more,
Perhaps, only in my mind
I shall see
Your sad, sad smile again,
That gave me hope,
As you kept none for yourself.

Probably the best selfie I’ve ever taken.


Improvised fish-eye view – reflections off the rear of a fog-lamp.

Yep! That’s me sitting in the back of an old Toyota Hilux. And yes, that is snow. I went on a trip with some of my friends 5 years ago to the beautiful valleys of Kaghan and Naran, which is about 10 hours drive from Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan.

I took this photo at the suggestion of a friend. It was more of a dare, on our way back from the beautiful Lulusar Lake, which is the primary headwater for the River Kunhar. After a few attempts, I nailed it. It wasn’t easy though, thanks largely to a slippery, bumpy, dipping, and meandering road, and our driver trying his best to maintain the truck’s momentum. Whichever vehicle you’re in, it’ll struggle and gasp above 10,000 feet above sea level. We were at close to 11,000 feet and rushing on at around 60km/h.

I still say that the best way to see the northern areas of Pakistan is by sitting in the back of truck, be it summer or winter.