this exquisite voice. this song (‘we were once beautiful’). this stream of consciousness poem by ahmed shamim. islamabad in the 1980s, sparsely populated, verdant, pristine. one ptv channel with a show that everyone watched at the same time, every week. a young sahira kazmi cast with her husband rahat kazmi in a series unwisely inspired by ‘the fountainhead.’ and there we were, recent transplants from brussels, finding our way in a different universe – in a city mostly inhabited by government officials and diplomats, in schools where we were learning urdu poetry, reading stories by saadi in farsi and memorizing quranic verses in arabic. the disorientation of it all, but also a challenge. we would study all day after school, spend time one by one with our mom, our translator, teacher, and emotional safe space. this song by nayyara noor always playing in the background. thank u for the steady beauty of ur voice and its presence in our lives. rest in peace.