December 2010

Empire of Empires

It seems as if the Almighty had spread before this nation charts of imperial destinies, dazzling as the sun, yet with many a deep intestine difficulty, and human aggregate of cankerous imperfection, -- saying, lo! the roads, the only plans of development, long and varied with all terrible balks and ebullitions. You said in your [...]

Sunday Reading for 2010

We, who privilege chronological time over all else, are maddeningly a-chronos or poly-chronos in our personal memories. Often we imbue a specific space with time, and when we leave it, we arrest the passage of time, there, to our last memory. We do this more often with persons - especially loved ones. Other timelines, which [...]

Safrnama-e al-Qahirah IV

I drank a lot of tea. I drank more coffee. Yesterday, I think I had a caffeine-withdrawal headache-from-hell. Cairo, you did me wrong. If there is one complaint I could humbly launch against the Cairian food gods, it would be "masala" (ok, the kebabs were genuinely dry, everywhere, also) {Lahore food snob alert!}. But this [...]

Safrnama-e al-Qahirah III

Khizr haunted me during my fieldwork. The legend is that he is a lost Prophet - rather a Prophet for lost souls, lost travelers, seekers. He appears when you least expect and guides you. He is immortal. He is dressed in green. When I was walking around lower Sindh, I would encounter his memory everywhere [...]

Ten Best Books of 2010

In December, it is the custom of taste-makers everywhere to create lists of the ten best things of the year. Taste-makers, aware that they will be called upon to perform this task, work hard throughout the year winnowing through possible entries into this category so they will be prepared by December to do their duty [...]

Safrnama-e al-Qahirah II

We were there for the sake of words. Words written by some in Europe about others in Asia. There was power embedded in those words - power to change Europe, power to arrange Asia. Ours was often a contentious gathering. Some believed, perhaps rightfully, that those days were long gone when locating words into histories [...]

Safrnama-e al-Qahirah I

Back from Cairo bearing some deep ridges in the psyche, and in the soul. There is so much to say about Cairo and I find myself unable to articulate any of it. It cannot be enough to claim, blithely, that I fell in love with Cairo. That sounds unright. Love has too many spikes on [...]

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