My Noori

They tell Noori
It’s been so long, she needs to let go
But Noori is still a child
Her hair, wild
Noori is a round face bacchii (child)
Who runs around the house the entire day
Pretending to be an elephant
She’d bless you if you hand her a paisa
With all those fat round cheeks
She was a baby elephant
But then a monster came by
Told her he was going to teach her a new game

Now my dear Noori never had anyone to play with
The poor child took the deal
He took her to the woods behind her home
The monster made a deal, told her
“Shhhhh this is a secret, don’t tell another”
The monster touched my baby girl
Every time, his hands ran over her
The child in her died
Inch by inch through her skin
Monster kept treading within

Her sweet stories were turned filthy

The words he made her say
One afternoon Noori returned from the woods

Noori was not an elephant anymore
With the monster hair stuck in her baby skin, an ugly porcupine
She pulled it one after another and

Her smile vanished
Her body hurt,
Most intimate and delicate part of her
Hurt, pricked, inflamed
They had to sing her to sleep at night
“It hurts”, she screamed through
The darkness
No one ever imagined Noori could be hurt
Doctors called in
Priests prayed
Elders cursed
No-one knew Noori was dying
On the inside

Fortunately, five years later, the monster moved
Farther away into other woods
And Noori could finally be a child again
No more hiding, no more whistle calls,
Noori started growing year after year
But lived in perpetual fear
How she’d be outcast if people were to find out
My poor Noori didn’t know she wasn’t to blame

Noori is now grown up
Last we heard of her she’s now a bad ass
But her skin is as if it’s suffered third-degree burns
She doesn’t let anyone touch her
Every touch still kills her
Unless she really chooses
Some nights she lives in fear
But as the sun rises, Noori goes on to conquer
Everything in her way

Noori has buried it all deep within her
They tell Noori
It’s been so long, she needs to let go
But somewhere deep down
My Noori is still a child


Wake up!

I will never forget 2014,

What an incredible year,

I fell in love,

Germany won the FIFA cup

And 276 girls were kidnapped from a school

Some of them never returned,


Somewhere just adjacent to where we live

141 children died in a Peshawar school

And then Christmas came

And so did a new year,

But the children were gone forever

A three-year-old molested

Much closer to home

A teenager murders a child

And we said 2018 is going to be better

Another FIFA World Cup

Stones hurled at school bus, not from the capital

Another gun violence kills 17

Some would never return home

Will they?


All in school,

What we call a second home

Oh what a miserable world do we live in

Where history matters more than our future

Where gun laws are as delicate as the trigger in AK-15

Where radical views matter more than a peaceful world

Where filthy hands don’t hesitate before making their way into a child’s vagina

What a time to live in?

where our fury doesn’t outlast a viral trend

Where a movie trailer has more people talking about it


First, they came for them, we said

Hey look, we are holier than thou

Then they came for our neighbors’

We said it’s not ours

Then they came for a kid on drugs

We made memes

And soon they will come for our children?

Why isn’t the fire lit yet?

Why isn’t there an outrage?

Why aren’t we out on streets?

Why are we so apolitical?

Why are we so indifferent?

We weep for son of God,

When will we weep for that of our neighbour’s?