The Reclamation of Zarah Baloch (Novella Ch: 1)

Chapter 1: The Stage

“Humanistic theory psychology attempts to study the individual with focus of self-worth and motivation, stemming from the understanding of self-actualization. There has been a rise in the fascination of ‘self’ recently, a concept of reflection and deeper understanding of one’s own desires and motivations. I am no exception to this rule, although I argue the roots of its origin. From a tender age I was drawn towards the aspects of ones-self that is presented to society, sculpted and polished to match a desired outcome, to provoke a stimulus. To put it mildly, people are fake.  Trying to subliminally influence responses and compliments, stares and envy from one another, with an added layer of ‘I’m not even trying’.

At age 5 I first realized how distant my parents were starting to become and all those talks at home suddenly were viewed with the clarity of hostility. My family wasn’t the perfect pairing I was lead to believe up to this point. It wasn’t an easy revelation, my parents certainly made it difficult for me to wrap my head around. Within the confinement of our walls they would act as a separate entity, instigating and aggregating one another over the most useless of things, just for the pleasure of it, I guess and once greeted from the outside, a new face would fall over theirs, through which they would smile bare smiles at outsiders, assuring them that all is well. Couples don’t just fall apart in our social setup, so my family led this façade on throughout their existence. This was the birthing of my first reflection. The spark that incited my self-lead studies for the next nearly two decades. The motivation behind action. A motivation that Freud (in other works) mentioned that could become subconscious and effect judgement and morality, subliminally.

The reasoning was simple, I wanted to know what drives people. General psychology didn’t deal with analytics like this. It dealt with co-relations and responses, whereas I was interested in the unsought thought process. If I could figure out the methodology people adopted in presented situations, I could essentially figure out their drive, their motivation and from that, their purpose. Of course, I was working against a slope here. No one in Rawalpindi was willing to just open to me truthfully, to confess to their fabrication. I had to create my own system of diagnosing these motivations.

For reliable results, I had to deal with characters close to me, to nullify all obviously false answers immediately. The process I adopted was simple, yet intricate. I just existed amongst my test subjects, and soaked in information from them, connecting the dots between what could be relevant and the basis of their actions. Molding myself to the template that would provoke a response from others that makes the pieces fit. If Ali tells me that he won’t invite Bilal to our next hangout, I’d become the concerned friend, inquiring why, then using the responses along with what I already know to be the backstory and relationship between the two, conclude personal conflict stemmed in insecurities as their origin. I would offer up a remedy, to willfully express one’s thoughts rather than letting them out in bursts.

Since most of my research is obtained from people around me, they are invalidated from verifying the accuracy of it. Therefore, this platform exists. Consider it open-scrutiny for the methods of conclusion I adopt. I shall update each new situation and each new concept that I uncover and leave the findings up for debate here. ‘Base’ is what I would call the root motivation of an action. The Base of Momina refusing to lend her book to Aisha wasn’t that she’s unreliable, but because she had been already been led to mistrust her. Generally, a Base is deep in thought and not visible superficially. The unguarded character of people in a safe environment, I termed as a ‘Tap’ of their true selves, whereas that which existed outside is their ‘Façade’.

I have already drawn several general guidelines for withdrawing answers. Considering that no one is sincere in response to anyone, is a basic principle. The other principle is that people love living a complicated perception of their lives. If you ask anyone their problems or the goings-on in their lives, you would receive a detailed, exaggerated response, or perhaps an explanation of how such a topic is too exhaustive to tell. If you were to relay those same problems to someone else, you would water-down any embellishment and present a simple picture of the situation. Point of importance here is that we long being special, enough to advertise ourselves as living a life that doesn’t even exist in the same shade as we picture it. No one’s life is nearly as complicated as they show it to be, rather a construct of multiple simple reasoning and events. Yet, everyone wants to be in command of what is represented of them, to run the narrative that is being set about them, to fight their socially preordained status quo, in a desired act I term as ‘Reclamation’.

I’ll return next time to emphasize and detail some of my discoveries.”



Zaka Bin Khattak posted the update to his blog and reclined back on his chair, letting out a sigh of relief. His plans were finally in motion, after years of trials and several months of vigorous testing, the results were solid and reassuring. It seemed as if though all was falling into place.

I could become something in the world with this.

A knock on his door alerted his attention as he stood up and approached the end of his bulky desk, peering out the large single window that facilitated the lighting of his entire room. The door opened up and a hunched lady walked into the modest room, standing under the central overhanging ceiling fan.

“Mr. Zaka, you have someone outside to visit you,” she told him in a tired raspy voice. “They say you called for them. Some Bilal person.”


Zaka remained fixed in viewing the children engaged in a game of street cricket outside and after a momentary pause for consideration, acknowledged the lady’s presence and replied.

“Thanks Aya. Just have him come up here.”

The ragged lady gave a slight nod and exited the room, closing the door behind her. A minute later the door was opened up again and a young man with a scruffy beard stood in the hallway, who moved in as Zaka motioned him in and embraced him in a formal hug.

“Nice to see you man, what’s been happening?” Bilal inquired while still shaking hands.

“Nothing much, just wanted to see you in person before university starts again.”

“Ah well, I’m honored boss,” Bilal gave off a chuckle, sifting through his pockets until his hands withdrew a pack of cigarettes that he offered to Zaka, who refused with a gesture but allowed Bilal to help himself to a puff.

He’s comfortable. Good.

“So, seriously though, what’s up?” Bilal inquired again.

And curious. Better.

Zaka remained seated on the study chair next to his desk, twiddling his fingers as if though in a state of contemplation, looking up at his visitor and then down at the floor again, until eventually getting up and placing a hand on his shoulder.

“Because I care for you chap,” Zaka spoke with a tone of certainty as if delivering a sermon. “God knows things have been dicey between you and Ali over the summer and I don’t know what’s really going on there…”

“That guy’s a genuine prick is all I can say,” Bilal cut him off.

“Hey look,” Zaka raised his hands up, replicating a sign of withdrawal and continued, “Whatever happened is between you guys and I don’t wanna know, but I do want you to know that it’s getting out of hand. Like, he’s even started getting them against you sister. You guys need to sort this out.”

Bilal gave off a forceful puff over his shoulder and breathed heavily until finishing his smoke, then maintaining eye contact with Zaka once more.

“Aisha told me that she was being treated pretty crap by her classmates. You telling me Ali is this low?” Bilal’s tone was getting dense.

Zaka quickly took out his phone, but intentionally in a flimsy fashion to shroud the reenactment and opened up a group message in which Ali wrote “I even told em to stay away from his sis. It’s a family of weirdos, man.”

Bilal’s stance grew noticeably bothered as he tried to light up another cigarette but was halted by Zaka.

“He’s referring to Momina and Zainab in this case,” Zaka elaborated on the message, his voice remaining monotone.

His visitor’s face seemed to be juggling between disappointment and anger as he thanked his ‘good friend’ for looking out for his family and expressed his desire to get this feud sorted before it gets out of hand. The two then hugged once more and the visitor departed, seen out by Aya.

Zaka jumped back onto his bed and buried his face into his hands, remaining in that position, rubbing his eyes until finally opening them and letting out a vocal laugh that bounced across the empty walls of the large residence.

This is so wonderful.

Zaka sat up cross-legged and starred out the window at his visitor pulling out onto the parkway and disrupting the cricket game as he sped down the road.

These people… they are so predictable.

Everything was falling into place for the next stage of research. The pieces were set for the meet.


Ch:2 ,  Ch:3, Ch:4Ch:5 , Ch:6, Ch:7, Ch:8

Picture Credit to its respectful owner

3 thoughts on “The Reclamation of Zarah Baloch (Novella Ch: 1)

Add yours

      1. Definitely Sir – Its just my professional domain, not my ancestral inheritance !
        So keep on flirting – but be ware of engagements… If you know what i mean 🙂
        I hope you are 18 years of age now >:)


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