There is a strange relief in reading short stories penned by budding writers especially the younger male age group from Karachi (I mean if you look around, you will hardly come across young millennials who want to express via creative fiction). Fuad Khan has written two short stories which I believe deserve recognition simply because of the fact that you will find writing quality in there (unlike the useless trashy fiction which keeps coming up these days). So, the first story is shared below with the link to it to which a brief critique follows.
Blinding Light and Illuminating Darkness-Fuad Khan
Blink… Blink… Blink… No flashes. Nada interruption. Nothing registered. The sun could scorch her deep blue eyes for eternity, but she would be unfazed. She could glare back at the light because she didn’t have any; in her eyes. She was blind.
Meanwhile, just around the corner, light could not guide him home. A glint on the windscreen, a blink of the stone-cold eyes and car whorls into the valley of darkness. Angels wept that day but the rain did not pour. It was a clear sunny day. It did not matter for her, but it meant the world, or rather, the after-world for him.
And so, the sun sets down after a yet another purposeful day without failing to flinch for a moment. Finally giving way to darkness. To doubt. With the darkness, comes the demons. To haunt a man who is deprived. Son of the mayor, having no identity of his own. Born with the golden spoon but taste buds developed to the extent that the grandest of feasts didn’t fascinate him anymore. Bored off extravagance. He lacked motive. He had questions that even the money could not buy answers for. He yearned for a cause that was larger than life. Meanwhile, just around the corner, a girl, who was irrelevant to the entire scheme of affairs, wanted to change the world. Money was the answer to all her questions. She must act fast as time is merciless to those who can’t afford it. She had transcended beyond reason in her battle to provide a purpose to the children of the street; she was a lost cause and yet a cause for the lost. Even the devils went Hallelujah on God’s mysterious ways, as he drove towards the night club in search of peace while she slept soundly on the footpath dreaming of tomorrow. The sun shall rise again…
“…but that was the thing about reality. It didn’t need to make sense.”
– Mira Grant, Blackout
The entire story deals with a situation where the two leads are in opposition of each other with respect to their circumstances. This is a common observation; while one human will be tired of what they have, the other human will want nothing but that. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure-rather another woman’s in this case. For a short story with an oxymoron title, this is clever enough of a plot.
It also feels that the story is verbose when the deal could have been struck with lesser words of perhaps mild intensity. Fuad knows what words he wants to use and he has done that well but personally short stories should be simpler- if not less sentimental. The skill he has clearly shows that perhaps this kind of writing can be better amplified with novellas or even a Victorian style of writing (something within the likes of The Luminaries or Jonathan Strange and Mr.Norrell). A long prose with a bigger plot with twists (because this story has shown something of a major twist by just creating a distinction between the worlds of the protagonists) and this creative writing can surely get Fuad more acclaim.
Well that if he chooses to. .