Blogs

A Jungle School / Dar es Salaam – Heat, A Beggar, And A Death 150 150 Comfort Aid International

A Jungle School / Dar es Salaam – Heat, A Beggar, And A Death

A Jungle School After the depressing trip to Pakistan where Sohail and I oversee the logistics of administering the purchase and distribution of 10,000 blankets and 7,000 tents to the victims of the devastating floods in September and October, we head to Manila, Philippines. Manila is a replica of any metropolis in Southeast Asia. Crowded…

Water, Water, And More Water 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Water, Water, And More Water

It seems the Pakistani government is finally convinced I am harmless since they issue me a one-year multiple-entry visa for the first time and I find myself at Karachi airport. The arrival hall is jampacked and it’ll take me at least an hour or more to clear immigration but a sympathetic officer pulls me aside…

Amna Naqvi – The Unwanted Daughter – Part One 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Amna Naqvi – The Unwanted Daughter – Part One

There is very little joy in Amna Naqvi’s (alias) tender life of eight years so far. All she knows as the daughter of a peasant farmer is an arduous and dreary existence; a daily routine of early mornings, before sunup, drawing water from the backyard well, sweeping dirt floors, washing clothes, and shaping stinking, still…

My Anguish Realized, RIP – Farishta 150 150 Comfort Aid International

My Anguish Realized, RIP – Farishta

My Anguish Realized, RIP – Farishta It’s a pleasant spring evening here in Dar es Salaam and I’m enjoying the gentle breeze blowing from the Indian Ocean half a mile away to my 10th-floor apartment. I’m typing away furiously on my laptop, trying to pen ideas in my head for my new novel before I…

The Queen Is Dead! – / Pakistan – Afghanistan 150 150 Comfort Aid International

The Queen Is Dead! – / Pakistan – Afghanistan

The Queen Is Dead! Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully on September 8, 2022; I’ve heard and read of very little else since then. Bapre. You’d think the world was about to end. Okay, so, almost all of us know who she was, as she reigned over more than a billion people of the Commonwealth at…

Rape And Kill – Applaud And Ladoos 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Rape And Kill – Applaud And Ladoos

Rape And Kill – Applaud And Ladoos Happy birthday India I land in Mumbai on a very soggy morning, after a very turbulent flight from Dubai, buffeted by clouds that are heavily pregnant with monsoon rain. I am returning after a year, prevented by other pressing worldwide CAI projects and doodoo protocols. Nobody asks me…

A Fine Squatting Act – Ali Syed Khoja 150 150 Comfort Aid International

A Fine Squatting Act – Ali Syed Khoja

A Fine Squatting Act – Ali Syed Khoja TRS (New Zealand) and CAI (USA) are partners in several medical and orphan care projects around the world so it is natural TRS personnel want to visit some of them. Shaida Hussain Bhayani, Imran Chunawala, Mohammed Mithani, and Ali Syed Khoja come to visit Tanzania and Kenya.…

Muharram Rituals – Have We Lost It? 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Muharram Rituals – Have We Lost It?

Muharram Rituals – Have We Lost It? Muharram, the first month of the Muslim calendar, is immensely significant, especially to me, as a Shia Muslim. It is the month in which the grandson of my Prophet (s) and his family and companions were surrounded, traumatized, inhumanely denied water in scorching heat, and the men butchered.…

A Suitable Groom 150 150 Comfort Aid International

A Suitable Groom

A Suitable Groom Mullah Mchungu sits on his easy chair slurping steaming chai from a saucer. His blinding dentures sit by the side table, ready for action as soon as the old man is done with his breakfast. Hameesi, the Mullah’s personal assistant and in-house manservant stands by patiently, a half-filled cup of the chai…

Crummy Iraq 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Crummy Iraq

Crummy Iraq When Emirates Airline’s vehicle tries to drop me off at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai, the drive-up is packed with other cars and gawkers. A couple in a Lamborghini is creating a huge tamasha, blocking traffic. No matter that the vehicle color is vomit green. No matter that the person driving…

RIP Neka Anissa / The Errant Housemaid 150 150 Comfort Aid International

RIP Neka Anissa / The Errant Housemaid

RIP – Neka Anissa I meet 4-year-old Neka Anissa as her mother totes her on her back, wrapped by a kanga-like shawl. They are among at least 5,000 people gathered in a village about an hour’s drive from Manakara, where CAI is currently constructing a handsome school for about 500 girls so they, too, have…

The Insolent Daughter / The Racist Dad 150 150 Comfort Aid International

The Insolent Daughter / The Racist Dad

Shafiq Kutchee, née Fernando Sancho, messages me on WhatsApp about a month ago, towards the end of Ramadhan. I have no clue who he is until he calls me to jerk old cobwebs fogging my mind. He was scouring the social media for anything related to Tanga and chanced on reading one of my Blogs.…

Eeeeeuuuuu / Pathani Hospitality / An Ear Itch 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Eeeeeuuuuu / Pathani Hospitality / An Ear Itch

Eeeeeuuuuu / Pathani Hospitality / An Ear Itch Eeeeeuuuuu I’m on my way to Islamabad from Dubai, sitting next to a British / Pakistani teenager, who is attracting a lot of amused attention from our fellow passengers, especially the menfolk. Almost all men, even the ones returning from Umrah, give her curvy and hugging attire…

Aghaa Thokam-thok 150 150 Comfort Aid International

Aghaa Thokam-thok

Aghaa Thokam-thok   As Kisukaali heads to the mosque for jumaa salaat, pregnant skies above threaten to open up any minute. About time, he reckons, the long rains for this city should have begun over a month ago; bountiful showers will cool him and the city down, insha’Allah. The Khoja masjid is packed, waiting for…

A Kabul School Bombing, Deja-vu / Is Allah Cruel? 150 150 Comfort Aid International

A Kabul School Bombing, Deja-vu / Is Allah Cruel?

A Kabul School Bombing, Deja-vu I’m seated at my dining table/desk, writing away and listening to a beautiful rendition of dua – e – ifteteh by Abather Al Halawaji when Dr. Assef, the CAI Afghanistan Medical Director now living in Islamabad for his and his family’s safety, texts a message stating a school in Dashte…

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