It isn’t easy. Going back to writing after a two-year quelling block stamps out every fiber of creativity in you. The writer in you will demand that you compose – even paltry little – to keep the stream from drying out but the block is quite literally a sudden wall and that wall has no mercy. So, for two years I didn’t write like I used to and barely found the witty spirit to doodle. It was as if trying to stand up again after being hammered with ennui.

But here I am, again. To those who kept checking this space for updates, I wish to do two things: Thank you and seek your forgiveness. Thank you for being concerned readers and forgive me for my absence, it wasn’t according to my own will – at least most of it. To those who stopped, I completely understand.

So, updates first. I began blogging in my freshmen year without any idea that I would gain popularity from it. Little did I know that I would be named in Guernica’s “top” South Asian bloggers in 2010 or was it 2011? I barely remember. Four years and a few months added on the top and after a resounding Hajj and another dozen equally important experiences socially and politically, I graduated from university in Lahore with a degree in mass communication while working for The Nation in Pakistan as a staff writer. It was an educating stint for me, those months. I applied to graduate school in the field I wanted to pursue in order to enter academia and perhaps one day, write a book. I was accepted on scholarship to my school of choice in New York. I am writing to you all while sitting in a wonderful friend’s spacious apartment overlooking a park and picnic area where underpaid nannies and shrieking children punctuate the audio card of my day. There’s nothing to complain about. I take in everything as I explore the city.

New York is no Lahore. New York City is crowded and anonymous. Lahore is crowded yet everyone knows you. New York has no maternal warmth to it, and that’s fine. Sometimes it’s important to leave the nest and learn to fly on your own. Lahore glows, New York glowers. When I first came here on May 17, I was coming back to the United States after 15-16 years. People usually assume I am undergoing ghastly currents of nostalgia but for now, I am decidedly neutral and calm. Somewhere in the underbelly of my observation, a part of me knows that I am back where I was raised and it is still attempting to understand how to receive – or even reject – this old-new change. I thank New York for giving me the time I need to decode its urban psychology, which is of a myriad of colors. Some dark, some bright, some utterly grey – always visible and coeval in the best and worst ways. Several things I noticed once I moved here: People walk very fast and for someone who already has a brisk and long-striding gait, it is pleasant to walk here (not that the idle sauntering in Lahore was bad). The weather is a lot cooler than Pakistan (and I know the comparison doesn’t fit most perfectly) but when it gets humid, it certainly does drive you crazy – and July isn’t even here yet. Class and class-based racial differences along gaping chasms are most visible here through the window of the subway, and yet politely avoided in discussion if you’re sitting with the wealthy. Sometimes a complete stranger will be kind to you and the trick, as an elderly New Yorker confided to a “bright transplant” like me on the train, is to know where that kindness is coming from. Sometimes kindness has an unkind goal.

It feels strange writing like this; I am more accustomed to addressing you all in satirical tone and silliness and through the stage of doodles and what not. I have been asked if I’ve “changed.” It’s a big question. The answer is cradled in yes and no. I am still the young girl who posted hysterical doodles after consuming raw chocolate powder in her dorm. I am still the same person who doodled ridiculous caricatures of personality types (and ended up making a remarkable lot of passive aggressive enemies – which is fine). I am still the nine-year-old girl who left America and spent well more than a decade in Pakistan, growing up to love it and hate it and love it even more and who, now, is back in the United States. But that isn’t important. What’s important is that you all were generous enough to accompany me in this journey and with now a new chapter opening, I want to thank you for wishing me good luck and for patiently watching me grow.

It isn’t easy returning to writing. It takes courage and consistency to walk through the terrain of your thoughts and gently weave them into a coherent account. But it’s happening finally. And it wouldn’t have been possible without your encouragement.

Thank you for being.

Sincerely,

Mehreen

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34 thoughts on “

  1. Lovely to see your update. I’ve been a quiet follower of your blog/Tumblr/Twitter for quite a bit. I live in the greater NYC area – if you ever fancy a cup of tea, let me know. :)

  2. I love your WordPress, and I’m glad you’re back again. Good luck with your writing, your studies and your new chapter in New York. May Allah keep you safe and happy.

  3. Welcome back Mehreen, glad to see you here! You could say things are almost coming full circle. Congratulations on graduating!

  4. Saw your ‘famous’ blog on tribune. Enjoyed it. Then I read comments and enjoyed the blog more. I had made my Twitter account in jan 2009 but rarely used it. The way you mentioned about twitter and your favorites twitterati in your blog, made me go back to twitter and start using it. Searched you on twitter, you were so famous and busy, could not dare to say hello to you. Remained a silent follower. When was that? 3 years back? or perhaps 4 years back? I used to visit your twitter profile occasionally to see if there is any ‘update’.

  5. I re-read your old blogs a couple of days back. I was wondering why you were not writing anymore. I wasn’t aware that you were taking a break. Welcome back.

  6. Mehreen, really good to see u have challenged and have overcome the ominous block..as much as I loved your peppy doodles and satire riddled blogs I must say that this one has brought you out as a mature and ‘feeling’ writer. Somehow at your mention of Lahore I felt a tear trickle down cuz I could feel the mutual pain and frustration and nostalgia that we all have after seeing what Pakistan has gone through in this past decade, I’m sure u hurt too like me cuz I could feel that between the lines. Lets keep hoping. Meanwhile keep writing ur beautiful words. We will always love and read them. Nida. @nedaxafar

  7. Five years, Kasana. This blog following is as persistent as it could get. Welcome back. Hoping to read you as an acclaimed author real soon. :)

  8. Mehreen, I’ve followed your blog since my Lums days, so I’m sure glad to see your hiatus from writing end. No other Pakistani writer I read has either your writing style or thought process. I look forward to your continued postings; and all the best with your life in NY :)

  9. You, my dear are no longer a little girl frolicking through the garden of naievitivity ( if it is even a word )
    The divine process of being promoted from being a innocent girl to a woman ( esp a woman of substance) has this cruel tendency of sucking the humor out ofyou if not the life itself! The trick is to preserve your true self. The waves will come at you mercilessly and your talent is to stay afloat!
    So we welcome you back with warm hugs, knowing that you are worth the wait. May your pen stay sharper than a dagger :)

  10. i think of writing after two years and the moment i open the dashboard, i see this post! what are the chances, yo!

    shine bright, likeya always do. chumma

    p.s i also moved away from pakistan … blogging sisters ftw!

  11. hey good to cu finally again, umm seem u have bit changed, maturity that comes with the odds of life i guess; but its part of life, all of us change at some point of life.. will appreciate if you post on fb your blogs too
    stay blessed

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