memory versus truth . . .

February 1987: Posing at Hiran Minar, outside Lahore “These photos were taken when we went to Hiran Minar,” artist Ali Mehdi Zaidi told me on the phone, reminding me of the time he and his friends took me to see Mughal structure that was built in 1606 by Emperor...

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six-feet-apart….

Six-feet-apart signage in Los Angeles at a health clinic, a grocery store and at a taqueria When the pandemic first broke out, signs were temporary—masking tape for pickup lines at restaurants, or notes taped to walls—but eight months later, formal signs are part of the urban landscape. And in...

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12 Nov, 2020

farewell, asmi sahib…

12 Nov, 2020

Veteran activists gather for a visit (from L-R): SM Shahid, Saleem Asmi, Zawwar Hasan, ABS Jafri, Dr Haroon Ahmed, Iqbal Jaffery My sister, Beena Sarwar’s remembrance about our family friend and journalist Saleem Asmi, who passed away on October 30, 2020: A quiet warrior slips into the night: Bidding...

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burning up…

More than 30 fires are burning up along the Pacific coastline. Closer to us, the Bobcat fire started up on September 6, and expanded from 33,000 acres to 45,000 along the San Gabriel Mountains. Less than 3% of the fire is contained even while 1,110 firefighters are working to...

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25 Jun, 2020

kendrec mcdade’s last words: “why did they shoot me?”…

25 Jun, 2020

L: Black Lives Matter poster designed by Minal; R: a poster at the Juneteenth protest “This is where he began to run,” Jasmine, a Black Lives Matter-Pasadena representative, spoke into a microphone at the Orange Grove Boulevard and Marengo Street intersection in Pasadena, California. “Eight years ago, Kendrec McDade...

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to the helicopter reporter who referred to the men ransacking the adidas store as “cockroaches”…”

To the NBC4 helicopter reporter who referred to the men ransacking the adidas store as “cockroaches:” Last night, I watched as you offered commentary from your helicopter about the men who stepped in the smashed window of an Adidas shop and exited with boxes of shoes. You and a...

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week 11: honoring legacy…

Yesterday, more than 50 invited family members and friends from around the world signed in on Zoom to celebrate my father and share stories about him. The baithak was organized by my mother Professor Zakia Sarwar—who’s currently in Karachi—in remembrance of my father, Dr. Mohammad Sarwar, who passed away...

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“the present is a transit lounge…”

Arundhati Roy talking with Imani Perry on YouTube; organized by Haymarket Books Yesterday morning, I disrupted my schedule to listen to Arundhati Roy’s conversation with Imani Perry, The Pandemic is a Portal, in which Arundhati opened by saying, “The present is a transit lounge,” and reminded listeners that “the...

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end of week 4: lockdown & discrepancies . . .

staying home; enjoying California blood oranges Two weeks ago, once LA county closed hiking trails, beaches, and parks, my family and I have maintained sanity by walking in our neighborhood. This week has been unusually rainy, but I’ve managed to find 45-minute blocks when the drizzle halted. I’m grateful...

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on lockdown with the rest of the world…

Week 1: a Saturday evening sunset at Redondo Beach, a site that is now closed Week One (March 16-22): Two weeks ago, all schools in Los Angeles and most of California announced closure – initially for a few weeks, but now with a “probable return date of May 5”...

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“the new normal”…

photograph by Richshell Allen, Pasadena City College photographer – “What compelled you to write about social justice issues?”– “How do you push past ‘writers block?'”– “Can you talk about why many of your stories focus on mothers and daughters?”– “How do you make decisions such as when to use...

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charcoal, cancellations, & social distancing…

Yesterday, I took blank paper and charcoal and zero instructions for my storytelling workshop participants The situation changes from one hour to the next, and the conversations that I had five days ago are no longer valid this morning. Yesterday, I held my last storytelling workshop in the near...

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I was inspired to begin my blog when I visited the library at my alma mater, Mount Holyoke College, and saw a framed photograph of my friends and me calling for divestment of funds from South Africa.

In 2007,  I began a blog when I visited my alma mater and saw a framed a photograph of my friends and me calling for divestment of funds from South Africa. I use the blog to document my movement between spaces, Houston, Karachi, Delhi, Dhaka, Los Angeles and elsewhere, recording observations, images and conversations. Here, I document the multiple realities that I inhabit – writer, artist, mother, activist, educator, and transnational. Interviews from my blog were exhibited at Houston’s Baker Ripley Community Center (2014) and at Houston Public Library in downtown (2015). My papers are archived at the University of Houston’s library.