Rail Kahaani

Zambeel Dramatic Readings presents a compilation of stories on railway journeys.
Rail Kahani1
Rail Kahaani brings together five stories that are intrinsically linked through the concept of railway journeys. Since its beginnings, the railway network traversing the subcontinent has carried millions of people from one place to another, generating narratives in both the personal and collective imagination. Train journeys feature strongly in Urdu literature, perhaps most prominently in the accounts of Partition and mass migration.
The stories in this collection navigate time from pre-partition to present day Pakistan and feature everyday narratives that evoke memory, myth, superstition, human interaction and societal perceptions.
Katta hua Dabba (Intizar Hussain)
The stillness of an uneventful evening is in sharp contrast to the disquiet in Manzoor’s mind as friends gather to share travel stories.
Dhoka (Mubashir Ali Zaidi)
Known for his 100-word stories, the author elucidates a few moments of human interaction on a railway platform. Despite its brevity, the narrative leaves a lasting impact on the imagination.
Reserve Seat (Intizar Hussain)
Barri Bu is anxious to interpret her recent dreams, particularly the one that finds her on a railway station.
Aik Shauhar ki Khatir (Ismat Chughtai)
Written in the first person, Chughtai’s humorous account of encounters in a women’s compartment of a train reveals perceptions about women in pre partition India.
Thal (Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi)
Set in the Thal desert at a time when the railway was a new phenomenon for its inhabitants, this story traces the myths and superstitions that ruled the region’s inhabitants for generations.

Performers: Mahvash Faruqi, Saife Hasan, Asma Mundrawala, Fawad Khan
Music: Danish Faruqi
Poster design: Naheed Yahya & Asma Mundrawala
Sound & Direction: Asma Mundrawala

Zambeel Dramatic Readings is grateful to Asif Farrukhi for his kind permission to read three stories from his unpublished anthology.