Uninspired grandmas, dusty fairytales

We have our own people creating beautiful fairytales about which most people are unaware

Bilal Tanweer July 05, 2011
I don’t mean this to be a newsletter. In fact, I really mean to discuss a poem by Agha Shahid Ali, but a plug here and there does a reader only good.

Besides, how else would you know there is a charming new fairytale out there waiting for you — or that there is a writer in this country who writes fairytales for a living? And to be fair, I am big on fairytales for another reason as well.

You see, I am quite aware, given the evidence of evolutionary psychology, that irrespective of the stories we hear when young, all of us men grow up to want the same thing (namely, 36-25-36) and womankind’s preferences also come to fall within the same bars (tall, older, super-rich, super-hot — or, let’s just say, some sort of a spin-off on superman plus platinum cards), I do think that somewhere in that dark and dangerous mix, fairytales also play a fairly significant role in denting us in a deep and fundamental way.

The thing with fairytales is that they require a rapid turnover. They go stale relatively quickly, and one can reheat the same ones only so many times. I am sure that your grandma too must have had a stock of stories to sedate you, or to get back at you for your transgressions of the day.

She must have told you something about notorious jinns. Jinns who resided in certain uninhabited quarters of her house where nobody was supposed to visit after dark; who threw water on sleeping children, ate their food and slapped them around for misbehaving with their grandmas or not rising up for Fajr prayers.

Or if you were among the truly unlucky lot and your grandma was mostly bored or sleepy, she probably just reached for the latest issue of "Ta’leem-o-Tarbiyat" and droned out a swashbuckling episode of some pious men, the real moral of the tale being the benefits of staying ba-wuzu all day.

It’s usually quite difficult to remedy uninspired grandmas, or up their game, if you know what I mean, but in this day and age of the iPads and Kindles, when it comes to quality fairytales, grandmas aren’t the only game in the town.

If you feel your grandma has been recycling the same stuff or has hit a rough patch of form, she probably needs a break. You should download (that’s download, all right) a mind-bogglingly entertaining fairytale — like, way better than your grandma’s — by our own yarn master, Musharraf Ali Farooqi.

The story is the first in a series of tales called, “The Scandals of Creation, which will be released every three months. As the name suggests, these tales chronicle all the major scandals that occurred during the creation of the universe. The first story, which was released last month, is: “The Jinn Darazgosh: A Fable Relating How the Curiosity of a Jinn Led to the Usual Unhappy Results and Brought About the Closure of the Heavens Upon His Race. And that’s pretty much its own review.

All one can recommend about it is: beautifully crafted and fantastically entertaining, and as satisfying as the best stories in the genre.

And, here’s the Agha Shahid Ali poem I meant to bring up:


The moon did not become the sun.
It just fell on the desert
in great sheets, reams
of silver handmade by you.
The night is your cottage industry now,
the day is your brisk emporium.
The world is full of paper.

Write to me.

More poetry next time. In the meanwhile, the address to download the Darazgosh fairytale is: smashwords.com . Remember, you heard it here first. Now go read.

Bilal Tanweer A writer and translator who teaches creative writing at LUMS.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Kashif | 12 years ago | Reply I don't understand what you have tried for? to disgrace the grandmothers, to appreciate the technology or what??????? Seriously man! you should try to make some and have some sense.........
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