An old man I knew.

In memory of late Saifuddin Uncle Lotia…

There was an old man I knew,
He had the smartest walk in town,
A walk, so straight and tall,
Yet, he wasn’t proud, at all.

A man so humble, in his words,
Yet, sarcasm filled the air,
His smile, so light and fresh,
That no one minded, what he had said.

A man a teacher not,
Yet he taught me a great more lot,
Not by words or formulas that I saw,
But in, the character and shape he sought.

He was a silent man, with a lot of work,
A space in corner, in his office, I recall,
His chair is silent, but something lives,
On his table, his presence still reverberates.

On his funeral, the town had crowded,
For his service and work in society was known,
Not in boast, or words that he would have said,
But by what he did, was evident and shown.

No phrases, or words, could ever define him,
For he was more, than one could say,
He lives inside, who knows him by his place,
A place small, yet everything on its own.

From an MSBian,

Ruqaiya Lokhand.

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A Night Worth a Thousand Months

When deathly black night casts her inky shawl,
Then life is forced to creep with care and crawl.

For eyes grow weary; move with lifeless pace,
Exhaustion; sleep encompass every face.

Nocturnal beasts patrol the charcoal streets,
A broken drum, the weary life-heart beats.

The selfless plants that used to give, now take,
And owls and bats and foxes, wolves now wake

Though such is how each night will start, commence,
With light, departed, atmosphere, intense.

But every year, a dazzling brightness spreads,
And every layer made of darkness, shreds.

A winter breeze in summer starts to blow,
And colder winds in winter cease to flow.

The ‘Lailat’ of great ‘Qadr’ fills the air,
With faces budding, fresh and bright and fair.

A night unknown to all but very few,
A night when wishes rise like drying dew.

A night revered, distinguished, great and pure,
A night-for all dis-ease becomes the cure.

A night that only wretched souls would miss.
A night that equals centuries of bliss

This night, the night of greatness, was the night
When Moulana(TUS) was born in timeless light.

Who brought with him a thousand bounties bright,
And found a way to cleanse each mumin’s sight.

Whose purebred heart is forged of priceless jewels,
Who’s charismatic nature wins and rules.

Whose words bestow-like magic raindrops- life
Whose iron voice rips silence like a knife.

O Moula every breath of mine will pray
this night till breaking dawn turns night to day.

That: “By the power vested in this night,
And by the greatness you possess; the might.

May Allah(TA) with his strength, your life, prolong,
So we may sing in praise for you, our song.

By Mustafa Pishori

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My Saify Phuppa!

‘Saify Phuppa’, said Mustafa bhai, warmly smiling like his father as I gave him my condolences on the great loss, and I could say nothing more except, ‘Sabar kijyega’, while my eyes were filled with tears remembering the kindered soul.

When my friends learned about it they all had the same question for me, ‘were you close to your uncle?’ I believe they asked me this because at times people aren’t attached to their aunt’s husband as they are to their aunt and I was not offended by it and replied that, after my aunt’s demise, it was his presence that reminded me of her and consoled that someone is there to represent her even when she is not physically among us. But, as I thought through, I realized that’s not the only reason why I adored my uncle, to say the least, he was a complete gentleman with a warm and kind smile always there, like a priceless jewel spread from ear to ear. Whenever anyone asked him how he was he had the same words like a beaded tasbeeh to his tongue, ‘Shukar hai Parwardigaar ka’. Never have I ever heard him being ungrateful or speaking of his troubles and I was always left with the thought that how could a person’s life be so calm and composed at all times. Never have I ever heard him being loud, or being irritated by someone, his nature becoming so difficult for me to understand that why does he never get angry on us being unruly, like other elders do?

While leaving the premises of the Masjid after giving condolences, an aunty asked me about who passed away and I said Saifuddin Cyclewala, but she couldn’t recall so I said, ‘do you know Mexico dry cleaners?’ And she immediately realized who I spoke of, and this isn’t the first time I’ve experienced explaining my Phuppa to anyone, most people know him by that in Sadar because he was so dedicated to his work, but to what degree, that I learnt it on the day of his demise. My cousin told me that he took the expensive and sensitive clothes that came for dry cleaning to home and would wash by himself in this harsh and cold weather, and I was awestruck, a man in his 80s, facing so many issues with illness could be so thoughtful for his customers.

But that was my Phuppa, who through his optimistic approach was liked by so many people that the Masjid was full when I arrived to recite the last verses for him, it is often said that a person is known by how many people appear for his funeral, and I knew that was right, for a cold morning like this, at 9 am, one could only come out for a loved one.

When Phuppi passed away he was sitting silently, and in a low but strong voice he said, ‘Zulekha (my aunt) looked like a bride, like how I married her, in the white kafan’. As much as I am broken by his death, I’m comforted that Phuppi will be reunited with him in Jannah and I only pray for both of them to receive the highest ranks in Heaven.

While I get flashbacks of the times I’ve met him, I can mostly think of me passing by his store and doing my greetings and he smiling and saying, ‘beta ghar pe upar ao na’, and I refusing to do so like every time saying, ‘phir kabhi aungi’ and leave his shop. What did I know there would be no phir kabhi and I’ll find his shop empty the next time I arrive.

Your ungrateful yet loving bhatiji,

Ruqaiya Lokhand.

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For the Moment Has Come

The moment gushed into the race,


Seasons stretched, time unrepentant,


No ice melting, no revelation of spring,


Hibernating in a dormant cocoon,


Little we knew our time was now,


Tears of glee melting crystal frosts,


Bright rays contouring our cheeks,


Nights shining with full moon so bright,


Flight of Butterflies floating within,


Sweet blossoms blooming all around,


Each soul like a grit lighting bolt,


Hearts like a bed of starlit sea,


Children to feel your first presence,


Ready steady to be where you are,


On tiptoes with little hands bind,


For the moment we eagerly await.

Amate Syedna TUS,
Sarrah M. Malirwala
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Prayers Answered!

The heart desired, the eyes wept,
For thee to chant the golden words,
Decades had passed, but the memory still afresh,
the old and wise said what grandeur it was,
The youth had wondered what it would be,
dreams and imaginations had surpassed them in the cause,
Maula! O Maula each year we cried with tears,
Who knew our labbaik was this year,
1439 on the day of gadeer,
Bushra arrived; Maula chose karachi for nohawalaweel.
The cries of Allahoakbar was what all chanted,
The young and old had never been so excited,
Our homes are big our hearts bigger,
Come one come all, we raise our banner,
On this day of happiness, which is the haqqiqi Eid,
Sajadat-e-shukur is the least Amat could proceed.
Amate Syedna tus
Maria Sadriwala

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Asharah Mubarakah 1439 Karachi!

As the Dawoodi Bohra community of Karachi anticipated to hear Dr. Syedna Aali Qadar Mufaddal Saifuddin Maula TUS stating that ‘the Asharah Mubarakah 1439 will be held in Karachi’, the hearts wept as the news flowed to every masajid at 12 noon today, from Saifee Masjid Mumbai.

We, the mumineen of Pakistan have waited for 21 years and stayed strong to await His Holiness to do zikr of Imam Husain A.S in our country, and have waited to see Him shed His tears that would bring life to the once barren land; the land which has cried in thirst for two decades to hear the Noorani Zikr.

The clock ticks by and the Azaan is called out reminding each of us we must fasten our seat belts to welcome thousands of Mumineen and get ready for the ten days of Shehre Moharram ul Haram.

As it’s a historic occasion for Pakistan and for the Dawoodi Bohra community, I request each Pakistani and every Karachite on the behalf of the members of my community residing here that being citizens of Islamic Republic of Pakistan we will spread the good light of our country that has been shadowed by social media and news stories. Let us show the might we have, the pride we have and the love we have to our home.

And, because it’s a global event, foreigners will travel from different parts of the world to hear the martyrdom of Imam Husain A.S, so we being loyal and honest inhabitants will prove the news of terrorism wrong and show our true identity of peace loving people to them.

Thankful to you,

Ruqaiya Lokhand.

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Opening a new door in life. 

So, I grab my purse, put some light on my face and rush out of home on the cool morning of November. I am excited and yet a bit nervous about this new job. The truth is; it is the first time I would be paid for writing and it amazes me. After 6 years of blogging here, someone has actually called me for an internship, and it’s a very new feeling.

Since the office is nearby, I take slow steps as I have left fifteen minutes prior for work and there is no way I would get late in just a two minute walk. I reach my new abode and time goes on until it is 9 and still there is no sign of anyone, I try to call the person who offered me the work, but I get no answer from the other end. Frustrated and annoyed, acting like a person whose loan got rejected from the bank, I write down a hate message, send it and go back to home.

Just as I ease in my chair at home, I get a call from the office asking about my whereabouts, angry and mad I tell the person on phone that I had waited 45 minutes and therefore I left. Patiently, he answers from the other side asking me to come back. I keep my hate feelings aside and go back to the place.

When all gets clear I slowly apologize for the unprofessional behavior. After the interview I sit with a laptop in front of me, and start reading about the boring Java and dreary HTML until I can’t bear it anymore and fill my time with a short game or reading school time poems.

And there, nostalgia hits me hard and I quickly type in ‘the class by Maryam Sadri Wala’. As soon as the crimson red autumn leaves fly by and white novel background appears, I go back to the memory of Grade VIII where I started the journey of writing. I think of all the plays we studied and played on stage, the poems we recited and hummed inside and all of the novels read and enjoyed like a free reading time ( even if they were course novels).

It’s been so long yet I remember all of the English classes; hating King Lear, pitying Hamlet, worrying about Juliet and laughing at Shylock. The memories come back, the Dazzling Diva; Maryam Bhen, smiling at us and saying, ‘Good morning’ and another analytical yet meditating lesson starts. I hear ‘O Captain My Captain’, ‘Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight’, ‘The Seven Ages of Man’ and ‘The Beech Tree’s Petition’ in my ears in her very charming voice. I thank her for these wonderful memories that ease me when the computer tech crushes my brain with its Hi Fi Low Slow world.

High on feelings with Slow tears stepping down the cheek, I feel new and old, remembering the prefixes, and forgetting the suffixes, living the past and entering the future and realizing that there’s a reason we can’t go physically back to our childhood, because we can always live it mentally inside us. As imagination is a wicked and amazing thing; it travels you without boundaries to any time and space and brings you back to consciousness in a blink of an eye.

As the amount of love for Maula TUS, for MSB and for all the school teachers can’t ever be held among the chains of words, because they are free and ever living, so I’ll end this here with three dots, because the feelings will persist on and fly on through

All times and space…

An ever learning writer,

Ruqaiya Lokhand.

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The hasty sparrow.

Photograph: Huzefa Hazari

​So, I see this hasty sparrow,

Who flies in the morning sky,

He sets his eyes across,

The horizon of the sunny shine.
The empty nests are not his,

Instead, the one that is fully filled,

His wife and hungry birdies,

All chirp since a long lost while.
I watch him peck some grains,

Hold water in his small beak,

To and fro his job takes him,

But he stops not a single time.
At last while his littles cuddle,

Lady birdie walks up to him,

She pecks his cheek in gratitude,

And hugs him while he cares.
The sun goes down at nighty hour,

As another busy day ends,

But he sleeps in peace this night,

For his family ease in rest.
Ruqaiya Lokhand.

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The little life.

There’s a little life out there that wanders the fields,

It explores the rivers, and the streams.

Without any fear, it jumps out of ecstasy,

And roams around while its heart beats.

It’s little yet huge,

It’s short yet tall.

Clearer than a mirror,

It sees the nearby trees.

No one can judge how strong it is,

No one can know what lies within.

It is, his own King,

And rules his life, as he wills.
Ruqaiya Lokhand.

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And in three days’ time, I relived my school life.

I close my car, and slowly walk towards the school gate. It’s 7.05 in the morning and I realize I have never come to school so early in my entire school life. The morning winds make me hum to rhymes in the air, I’m beaming at no one in particular, just excited for my first day to start again over here. Just then co-incidentally I find a student coming up with her mom, I make out that she’s a new student, and I go back to the time when my mom dropped me to MSB, as I got my admission in grade II.

Waiting for Hayat Khan (the gate keeper) to open the gate for us, I’m just having a ride down the memory lane and I’m literally dancing inside. Even the gate keeper is amused to see me at this time, however, I just tread inside and roam around for a while and observe the changes that have been made in the past two years.

Having no idea what to do I sit near the primary section for a while, because I had got like half an hour until the assembly? Just then, I see Maryam Bhen coming inside the school gate, we are both happy to see each other and exchange our greetings on this beautiful morning.

In my whole school life, Tilawat-ud-dua (assembly) was my favorite part of the day as a student and now as somewhat a teacher. I find all of my juniors equally excited to see me there and it feels great to get this warm welcome from them. The chants of dua and the atmosphere of matam make me grateful to be back in the abadi saya of Burhanuddin Aqa RA and Mufaddal Maula TUS.

As I make my way to my teacher Durriya Bhen for whom I have been asked to substitute, is overwhelmed to find out that it’s me who has been asked to do this job. Both of the sections of fourth graders are to be dealt with for 10 days as Bhen would take her leave. I’m over-joyed and nervous at the same time, but as these three days go on, I find myself attached to these students with firm glue. Every now and then they all ask me if I might teach them and ask me to come in their class, no matter who so ever lesson it might be.

I relive the days of having this beautiful relationship with teachers, the only difference was, at that time I asked for permission to enter the staff room, but now, I was supposed to do it without any grant. It made me feel weird because I’m no equal to them, they have always been and always will be, my teachers, the amount of respect they show me makes me respect them even more.

It’s such a fascinating play of events to be among my own teachers playing a role as a teacher myself, just after two years of graduation from school. The best part of these three days was; when I gave the sweets to the children of grade four for their hard work and stunning play-work in the presentation, they gleamed at me and gave me the respect of a teacher, and the second one was, when every teacher of mine told me “it’s great to have you back here”.

The insistence of your good up-bringing is, to return your skills to your Alma Mater. Therefore, being an MSBian I’m doing the same.

May Allah grant our Maula TUS, our teacher and mentor, a long healthy and prosperous life till the Day of Judgment, Ameen.

Once an MSBian always an MSBian,

Ruqaiya Lokhand.

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Frozen in time, with words unsaid, and voices unheard,

Frozen, like the icicles on trees, that only melt in due time,

Frozen with love hidden inside, and unexpressed,

Frozen, because nature is too harsh and unbearable,

Frozen and paused, while slow tears stream down the eyes,

Frozen in cold chains, with no space to fly.

Ruqaiya Lokhand


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My day, today!

The adrenaline rushes inside of me as i write this, my hands quiver  as i type and my heart thumps louder than usual from the excitement of it.
It has been 2 long years since I have written something on this blog, given out my share of experiences or just simply let out my heart to speak out loud. It is weird, but such ecstasy fills my heart, there is no limit to it. I am raw, like a new born, yet i am an apprentice. I am that bird, who knew it had wings but wasn’t able to fly. I am that door, which was stuck and rusted and took a while opening up again.

There was always something that stopped me, you might call it just an excuse, but there was this force. The urge to write overflowed inside me and i could feel it, but there was this tension. Always. It made me feel so powerless, so vulnerable.

Do you ever feel that way? So strong, that you might just do it this next second, something so capturing that you would feel you have to share it, let it out, but, something stopped you. Something so solid but abstract.
I realize it now, that’s when you have to stand up, stand up for yourself, take hold of your identity; where you belong, think about the good things that brought you here, the things you are appreciated for. That’s when the realization hits you hard, and you are in power again.

I was like a dormant volcano, i erupted today.
Life is like that, I guess, just when  you think you have failed yourself, that you couldn’t give your fore-most priority the priority, it throws at you another chance to show it off!
They say “it came to you late, yet it couldn’t be any better.” I might have learnt it the hard way round that life is fair. It does mind-boggling things all the time, but  when it takes from you, it throws it to you back again, the opportunities, the chances, the big breaks and the fair shakes. And it lets you do the undone!
It is always up to you then, whether you grab it, take hold of it or let it wash out in the circle of time.
My time was today, when is yours?!

Yours truly,
Maria Sadri



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I and fantasy.

I’m not perfect I know that. But why does life make you believe in this reality with so much pain?

Every person has a dream he wants to achieve in life and so did I. The only problem with my dream was, it was fantasized.

What do you expect from a girl who is pampered all her life, has siblings who are like her parents? But never mind, who sees that, what people only see is who you should be rather than what you have achieved.

I adore my fantasy, it makes me feel contented and happy, not because it’s filled up of things that are luxurious and sophisticated, but because I can have my own world, and where I can be my own hero.

I used to have these nightmares, I still have them, about the deepest fears of my heart, fighting against me. I always woke up scared that some day it might become a reality.

One day I made up my mind to fight back and not give up, the nightmares continued but with faith inside myself I imagined to have extraordinary tools and I won every battle.

To be honest, life is far more worse, as it takes time to develop those extraordinary tools inside you. But, one thing always drives you along this path, which is, faith.

When you believe in yourself, no person can take you down, no matter how strong he is, because no power can kill your faith.

Ruqaiya Lokhand.

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The Unforgettable Beings -The Unforgettable Life!

School days, not only the days when we were just the students of any ordinary school, but we were the students of AL- MADRASA TUS SAFIYAH TUL BURHANIYAH; the school which was our home indeed, and the teachers, the soul of our madrasa, were like our parents. We gave each other 14 years of our lives (Nursery to 11 O’levels).

Although we didn’t give them anything, but the teachers, who were our tutors, friends, guides, well-wishers, helpers, educated us with Deeni & Dunyawi knowledge on every step we took. They not only educated us but they also forgave us for our each and every mistake/mischief/disrespectful act. And, they were the first one to help make us distinguish between good and bad, and the right and the wrong.

Our Madrasa where we lived together, laughed together, wept together, is missed, because, not a single day passed when we didn’t meet our friends. Today when we stand in the path of our life where we have although left MADRASA for two years now, but we still breathe the fragrance in our soul, and beat in our hearts, the memories which we have gathered during that journey.

I would like to thank each and every teacher of ours who helped us to walk through the path of our life for 14 years and their teachings and blessing will surely help me and all of us to walk furthermore as we go ahead. I am deeply sorry for all the troubles I have done and mistakes that I have committed and beg pardon if I have ever hurt you. I stand here today and tell you, thank-you, I owe you all my life and I wouldn’t be able to thank you enough for what you all have done for me and for us.


Here in this Picture and Every Time we want to stand below them.Not so that we can be viewed in the photograph easily,no not at all! Only because of this reason so that their shade falls on us throughout our lives.


Motivated to write this by; Janab Shk Huzefa Bhai.

Thanking you,

Your student,

Hussain Muslim.

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To those who are irreplaceable…

As me and my friend Husain (school-mate) talked over about school and old times, our conversation took us to our school teachers. Some of them were who I had met in the past couple of months, and some, that he had met. But, in all we talked about every teacher of madrasa who had taught us and nurtured us with good qualities in madrasa.

I remember when CIE examinations in my 11th grade (last year of school) were about to begin I wrote an article on my classmates; I addressed a paragraph to each one of them and bid them farewell. My principal told me that I must not forget my teachers while bidding farewell. I picked up my pen but I didn’t know what to say to them, I was unsure that what was right and what wasn’t at that time because with friends you could say what you feel, but while speaking about a teacher you would always hesitate before making a statement.

Being naïve and immature you make a lot of mistakes and so did I. I think all students must have made fun of a teacher or spoken ill of them; and I agree I have too (almost about everyone).

Two years after passing school, I’ve come to realize that life will not give you what you want, it will not say what you want to hear, it will not do what you want to happen, in fact, it will silently teach you with remarks that would baffle you. Only after this I realized how wrong I had done to those who corrected me in the most polite manner, who generously gave me what I wanted, who left no chance of appreciating me, who stood by me and showed how to anchor life.

Without the art of handling my tools (which they gave me), I wouldn’t last a day. I didn’t know it was a blessing that I had them in my life, I did not thank them, in fact, I had done something so ill which makes me think I did not deserve such brilliant and hardworking teachers.

There have been instances where our teachers got tired and frustrated of our acts, but I found that, no matter what we did they didn’t leave us; they would come back again the next day beginning with a fresh start. I’m sure it’s not easy to forget where one does wrong to you, but they did.

I believe no student can succeed until he respects his teacher. It’s because the one who gives you knowledge matters more than the knowledge itself. Imagine a piece of clay awaiting its potter; we would be there, waiting to be shaped and polished by the potter.

I am deeply sorry, first for doing something which was inhumane and, for never thanking them. I was unable to write about each and every one of them but I want to take their names, not because I want to show off, but because I want them to know I remember them and I pray for them.

Janab Shk Mustafa Jack
Janab Shk Ammar Bhai
Janab Shk Tahir Bhai
Janab Shk Saifuddin
Janab Shk Huzefa Bhai
Janab Shk Mohammad Bhai
Janab Shk Shabbir
Janab Shk Mustafa Bhai
Janab Shk Yousuf Bhai
Janab M Quaid Johar Bhai
Janab M Ibrahim Bhai
Janab M Moiz Bhai
Janab M Mansoor Bhai
Janab M Ahmed Bhai
Janab M Abbas Bhai
Ali Sir
Murtaza Sir
Muzammil Sir
Zulifqar Sir (computer)
Quaid Sir
Sir Asgher
Sir Javed Kamal
Sir Arif
Sir Tauheed
Sir Sadiq
Sir Zulfiqar (Pakistan studies)
Sir Zohair
Sir Ahmed
Zahabiyah Bhen
Rabab Bhen
Tasneeem Bhen
Tahera Bhen
Tasneem Bhen

Husnebanu Bhen
Farida Bhen (Grade II)
Shireen Bhen
Shama Bhen
Fatema Bhen
Fatema Bhen (art teacher)
Arwa Bhen
Fauzia Bhen
Tasneem bhen Dawoodji
Durriya Bhen
Nighat Bhen
Shahzadi Bhen
Tasneem Bhen Shakir
Nafisa Bhen Jabir
Rehana Bhen
Rashida Bhen (Primary Urdu teacher)
Rashida Bhen Box
Zainab Bhen Anjar
Rashida Bhen Haji
Fatema Bhen Raziuddin
Zainab Bhen Sadri
Umme Hani Bhen
Maryam Bhen Sadri
Qurratul-Ain Bhen
Naseem Bhen
Raeesa Bhen


I know I must be definitely missing out on someone; I tried my mind to go back as much I could take it. I’m sorry (yet again) whose name I’ve missed out here. But, together I remember you all as school teachers. Regretting over the mistakes, I’m thankful to all of you, for being the potter and turning this clay into a piece of pottery.

My words might not reach you, and might not be so great, but I wanted to at least try and show my feelings.
To those who are irreplaceable and unforgettable.

Your student,
Ruqaiya Lokhand.

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