Salaam, Hello, Hola qué tal and Suilad, dear readers!
My name is Manal and I am a freelance writer, photographer, researcher, traveler and adventurer (yes, I believe that can be a job description). I spent the first 22 years of my life in Lahore, Pakistan, and since then have lived in Berkeley (California), Ithaca and Brooklyn (New York), and Madrid (Spain). I’ve presently alighted in Washington, D.C., where I’m getting acquainted with the city and trying to find gainful employment. I enjoy writing nonfiction, mostly personal musings and observations, but as a trained journalist, I also do features, profiles, reviews, travel stories, brochures, photo & video packages.
So relax, look around, read some of my windswept words over a cup of coffee, and drop me a line if you would like me to contribute to your website or publication – or just to say hello!
Till next time,
Previous “About Me”
I grew up in Lahore, Pakistan, an ancient city of lilting neem trees, grand Mughal ruins and bouganvillea-creepered bungalows, crowded bazaars, roadside samosa and jalebi stalls and American fast-food chains; a city of shantytowns, shrines and boulevards, a city of dreams, destitution, beggars and kings – a city of contradictions.
Writing was my first love, journalism my cause, and it eventually took me to Journalism School at UC Berkeley. As a teenager I nurtured dreams of being an international war correspondent; now, I find politics frustrating and false, front page news inexorably depressing and untrustworthy. So, a year after J-school, marriage, and long snowy days spent cooking or contemplating in the company of Marquez, Allende, Mahfouz, Tagore and Rumi, I have created this blog to rediscover the joy of writing for itself. There is no specific theme or topic – just words and ideas swept out of the corners of my mind, accumulated over the past so many years, when school, college, deadlines, word limits, grades or paychecks distracted me from my first love. I hope to keep it up.
Fair winds, friend!
Ithaca, New York