PseudoPod 448: Laal Aandhi

Show Notes

“Growing up in Pakistan, I heard stories of ‘missing people’ often showing up in gunny sacks. A friend of mine from Karachi told me how he once stumbled upon a gunny sack with a dead boy inside. I suppose this story stems from his experience and my fears.”

Laal Aandhi

by Usman T. Malik

Saleem, Wasif, Ali Malik, and I. Always the four of us banded together against the uncertainties of a city running on trepidation. In this season of yoking and yearning, of bereavement and besetment, we started doing the thing we did, for with fear and death and sulfur in the air who would stop us? Who would point and say, Watch it, children, you must survive your age. Must get through one hell to enter another.

‘85 was the year of army generals and feudal lords touring their fiefdoms grandly while the populace died thrashing in gutters from starvation and heat and Hadood Law amputations. Of VIP villas and ruined shanties, bright-tiled facades and haunted houses, ‘police encounters’ and prison suicides, and insurgent bomb attacks.

Most of all, though, it was the summer we went to Bad Bricks during a laal andhi.

About the Author

Usman T. Malik

Usman T. Malik is an award-winning speculative fiction author from Pakistan. His short fiction has been published in magazines and books such as The Apex Book of World SF, Nightmare, Strange Horizons, and Black Static and in a number of “year’s best” anthologies. He is the first Pakistani to win the Bram Stoker Award for Short Fiction. He has been nominated for the British Fantasy Award, the World Fantasy Award, and has twice been a finalist for the Nebula Award.

Find more by Usman T. Malik


About the Narrator

Kaushik Narasimhan

Kaushik is a management consultant by day, and a struggling writer by night. He likes psychedelics and RPG games.

Find more by Kaushik Narasimhan