Thoughts That Keep Sakina Sleepless
Set against the backdrop of a post-Aurat March Karachi, Thoughts that Keep Sakina Sleepless is an experimental spec-fi story that takes the form of a blog entry and an email exchange, following Sakina, a trans girl in her struggle to imagine a life for herself in a virus outbreak that attacks one's memory and imagination.
The piece is set to be published in kal FICTIONS, an anthology centering queer voices in/from/across South Asia, in 2022.
Before I imagine a better— perhaps, a queer—future, this is where I am. I am reverse-Samurai Jack: queer, trans, from the future, trapped in the past for so long that I'm losing memory of it. I am writing the history of the future, a secret history, before I forget it, too. I am trapped in the time of the Great Silence. We learned about it in school; it was the time when the cisheteropatriarchy (CHP) virus infected the entire human race. This memory loss is a sign of being infected. Other symptoms include tightness in stomach and chest, shallowness of breath, overall stiffness, gender conformity, intolerance and erasure of difference, inability to understand oneself, each other, and imagine a life beyond the pandemic. Sadly, it has infected Me Too. Carriers of the CHP virus include #yesallmen and feminist patriarchs. Some conditions that facilitate its molecular breeding are neoliberal economies, multidimensional surveillance, and languages without words for queer and trans worlds. I've spent enough time with them, in poverty and other crippling chains, to be infected. I used to be more—can you imagine—in the future. Par such bataun, I hardly remember any of it. All I remember is that I was unbelievable. I still am, though. Unbelievable.