15 June 2017

being a mipster & other things

There are 2 top questions in my head at the moment. One is about me being a mipster and what it actually means to me. The other one is about what did I learn this Ramadan.

A few nights ago I was Facetiming a girl from Belgium. She wanted to interview me about being a mipster and what's it like to be one? If it's a community? Or if it's just a term. And I was like SHIT I NEVER REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT IT SERIOUSLY TO GET ALL THE FACTS RIGHT. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME, FIRST OF ALL!??!

I've been associating myself with this term for some time now and people on the internet knows me as one. Mipsterz, is an online community for Muslim Hipsters and I came across it about 2 years ago but was afraid to call myself one. I've been dressing modestly all my life and it took me years to finally get out on the internet wearing my shalwar kameez and dupatta (scarf) and be creative about it. 

To me, being a mipster is an idea that you can be the cool kid and keep your religion and culture close as well. And there's nothing I wouldn't do to keep a balance between my religion and things my heart want. Being a mipster is another way of keeping my balance. And this term makes it easier to take internet aesthetic and mix it with my tradition. It's my online identity and I'm so damn proud of it.

 The second one: Ramadan. I love how this month brings all the good things close to me and makes my heart soft. I've been learning the power of forgiving these days.  The darkest parts of my brain are getting some fresh light and it's really helpful to get over some bitter past experiences. It's a nice nice nice thing to let go of bad bad bad stuff.

And I took 50% of these pictures with my baby tripod today and the others were taken by Noor. God bless twin sisters, WHAT WOULD I DO WITHOUT MINE.

How's your Ramadan going?


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1 June 2017

Karachi, I'm not afraid

Last month I got an email from a girl who lives in Dubai and got a marriage proposal from a guy in Karachi. She asked me about Karachi. How things work here? Where do the Karachiites go for shopping/to have fun? Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe? And I realised I'd have to explain about my home. If my home is safe. If I'm scared of it. If I'm scared of what roams on the streets. If I'm scared I might get hurt. I know this city has blood on the streets and it can be cruel. But I'm not afraid of Karachi. Even though I've moved to a ghost city Thatta, Karachi will always be "the home".

I was born here. I grew up here. My favourite people are buried here. I know all the roads, from Shahrah e Faisal to Sadar & from Sohrab Goth to University road. It feels like no matter what happens, I'll find my way back to where I want to go in this city. It doesn't hurt me even if it's mean sometimes. I understand what goes inside the city. I've been a part of it's sadness. The only politician I ever cared about was murdered here. I watched her dead body being carried away on tv, about 25 minutes away from the crime scene. 

I know its dirty traffic, too many cars with shouting men. I know its street food, the lemonade stalls, the gol gappay & aloo samosas I'm emotionally attached with. I know the areas I'm not supposed to go alone. I know where to go to find the best clothes and the best fruit and the best meat. I still remember the night of Karachi Eat earlier this year when it felt like half of the city was out to celebrate the night of food, it was bright and everyone was happy. This is how I remember Karachi, brightly lit on a dark night. Not as breaking news on other people's tv channels or a sinking economy. 

We know each other, Karachi & I, by heart. Maybe it knows me as the little girl who was born on the northern side of Karachi on a busy August day when half of the country was still wrapped in Pakistani flags for independence day celebrations. Or as the girl who went to "I'm Karachi" campaign booth to help in making Karachi better. But I remember Karachi as my first home. There's a famous poetry verse in Urdu, "Pahunchi waheen pe khak jahan ka khameer tha" (translation: the dust returned to where it rose from) I keep going back to Karachi and I hope it will also be the last home for my bones one day. 


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