In the Shadows of a page

Do you ever wonder what you look like in someone else’s poem? Is it some made-up version or reflects who you truly are?

If you ever want to know yourself better, read yourself through someone else’s letters and poems. It may seem as though you’re reading about a stranger but if it doesn’t, then you know that you belong there. In that moment of creation, your spirit was complete.

What you hold in your hand is a page, only momentarily. Soon it morphs into endless dreaming and hopeful possibilities.

It becomes a page that is no more that – but something that lives, it is not a thing anymore; but something that breathes you.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

Night Creatures

All the night Creatures crawled up to my desk ~ & I wondered…

What Creature am I in their language? The one with the touch of Death or the God with untimely sunlight ~ as bright as a snowfall in the raging summers?

They keep coming back, I don’t think they’ve a name for me.

Sometimes, a shadow looks like my Father hiding behind the door,

At other times, it metamorphoses into an old hag that laughs at me while I read the ‘Articles’ of the ‘Constitution’ aloud…

& Even the night Creatures laugh – at a nameless horror; but I only defined ‘Democracy’, I only swallowed a slice of cake and brushed aside this noisy mosquito.

It was the only one pricking at my skin instead of laughing – when I (defi)n(ed)

D – E – M – O – C – R – A – C – Y.

– Nameera Anjum Khan

Will You Write Yourself?

If the heaven was the eyelash that stole my wish

If it was the candle that I blew on days I lived,

Then I want to write my own goddamn History

In an abyss that reeks of an unending staircase,

I hand my sins to you, so you may decide my grave

I fall as I fly, unto the blue skies~

re-writing the tears that have forgotten how to be a poem.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

(An excerpt)

Happy Women’s Day

On this day, I want to celebrate trust, dependency and sensitivity.

It’s a blessing to be able to rely on friends and family. As a woman, I’ve seen a considerable level of criticism/unwanted suggestions coming my way because of my choices in life. However, these pricking truths are not the only facet to my life. It is also true that I’m blessed with amazing people that I can trust. And over the years, one biggest life lesson that I’ve learnt is the importance of sensitivity & vulnerability. They have their own beauty, their own poetry to convey.

People will always condition women to grow through such tough phases that independence becomes their sole aim. But I beg to differ. Independence is not JUST about handling your own finances, traveling solo, being able to take your own decisions or wearing clothes of your choice. Have you ever thought about dependency with a straight mind?
I do not mean to convey anything negative by this. What I’m trying to say is that maybe dependence doesn’t really have to be looked down upon so passionately. Maybe there’s a truth to it we aren’t taught to acknowledge. Maybe our society has upheld stupid convictions for so long, that some words just sound absurd. But this doesn’t have to stop us from defining their meanings in our own terms, right?

My mother always tells me that Allah says, it’s wrong to blame time – as in – how people say that this era (referring to time) was better than the one we live in today. So, next time if somebody says ke hamare zamane mai aisa kuch nahi hota tha, then remind them that people have always found a way to do whatever the hell they want to. Good and bad people have existed since the beginning of Creation. Things have happened exactly the way they do now, except that the means of doing them were different.

And just because today is different, it doesn’t have to be wrong. You can still trust people, if you’ve been betrayed before. Give those who are really trying their best a Chance. You can still be an independent woman, a happy woman, a vulnerable woman, an ambitious woman, a hopeful woman, and a woman who depends on her family and friends & reciprocates their love.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

Of Women & Moonlight

A land that pushes women to the stature of a Goddess

Is also adept at pulling them down when necessary

This reminds me of necessities that arise out of despai

A colony of ants climb the hills that reek of sweet sanity

Between my knees are bruises that never healed

Between my palms are lines of sweat that never left any empty space

‘Push, push, push’ – “It’s a moonlight wailing in birth and blood!”

How do I tell them,

That it’s the moonlight wailing at the prospect of illuminating silently, humming songs of anger that sound like sweet sanity?

It’s another bitter Goddess biting her fate, watching the poison take nefarious shapes in her throat

Until the day she takes back her throne,

Until then there’s only a sip of hope.

-Nameera Anjum Khan.

__________________________________

D I V I D E

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The gap between my teeth widens
I’m six years of carelessness and a body clothed in flesh
My flesh is skin and a human anatomy I’m yet to understand
My flesh is carrot juice and French fries
My flesh is a subtraction of the numerical, perhaps the only confusion in my life
My flesh is unafraid and knows how to breathe in and out without having to give it a second thought
My flesh sees other flesh like mine and that’s where the story simply ends
Years later my headscarf has another story to tell
The bindi upon my forehead tells yet another story
And just like that, so many stories gather themselves at the periphery of my existence
My best friend dabs my cheek in pinks and greens
My best friend waits more eagerly for sewiyan than I do for Eid
Do you like horror stories? I do too
I think we all enjoy a little thrill in this mundane existence
We’re all looking for something out of the ordinary to provide forethought to
What if that horror isn’t fiction anymore?
It is as real as the red bindi across your forehead and as dark as my black Hijab
It has its horrors that transform streets into a war zone
Cities into hell
Cold winter mornings smell of gunfire that echoes through these lanes
But do you know what sounds worse than that? The silence
That is the scariest story of this divide
It isn’t secluded to bloodshed and cries for help and hunger and poverty and dirty politics and differences and awkward means of reaching out to each other and change in perspective and the birth of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ and ‘He’ and ‘She’ and a myriad other pronouns that have been put to shame
It is the silence that has followed this divide
The lack of a proper noun to voice concern
The lack of a proper noun to replace the wrong
Because black will always remain black no
Matter what shade is forced upon it.

Image Credits: Photo by Alex on Unsplash

Words Can Heal your Heart.

Your heart will give your life wings.

~Unknown

The above quote has always been my favorite simply because every time I felt like giving up I only had to take out this old artwork & relive the strength I felt while making it ages ago. In a moment all my problems would seem too small to fret over.

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

~Confucius

A talent that not all possess is doing things with all their heart. Sometimes we’re unable to achieve few goals in life due to unknown reasons. But are we really working towards that goal? Or are we simply focused on the aftermath rather than putting our minds into the process?

Do your work with your whole heart, and you will succeed – there’s so little competition.

~Elbert Hubbard

Now do you see the answer to your ‘unknown’ reasons for not being able to meet your goals?

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

~Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama has rightly put into words the true recipe for success. Cleanse your heart towards others & lead a happy life.

There’s so little time & so much to be done. Instead of breaking hearts & fooling around take time to make others, and most importantly yourself happy!

Rape – An indelible blot upon society.

I feel agitated every time I watch the news. She’s disrespected in every possible way. Candles are lit once her eyes are devoid of light. In the spur of the moment the whole nation comes to know of her existence. I pray that this kind of fame befalls upon women no more.

After the deed is done myriad of posts are updated in the name of condolences & budding poets emerge. Words filled with sorrow & angst spread across cyberspace like a tsunami flooding the minds through heart-wrenching poetry.

As a writer I’ve done my bit too in order to erase chaos in my own way through words.

But times like these scare me. I can’t pin down the feeling that I’m not doing enough. No, it’s not my responsibility to save every woman from evil doers but it’s my worst nightmare. In times like these neither ink nor do candle marches suffice. While I sit here writing this under the cover of a peaceful night, darkness encompassing devious intentions engulf yet another life.

I can’t write about a prey falling victim to a ravenous predator over & over again. All the majestic names this country has bestowed upon her cease to exist as one word arises, ‘Rape’ – not just of her body but her soul, independence & spirit.

Give me hope to write & dignity to encapsulate my words. Rid me of my fear that lingers as names succeeding the phrase ‘#Justice For______” keep increasing day by day.

Before inks run out replacing blood, candles are distinguished for worse & dignity lost forever between hands that deign its worth, rekindle her stature by taking a just stand against immorality that has prevailed long enough.

Long enough.

-Nameera.

My Umbrella

It was one fine morning until signs of downpour marked the vast expanse called sky. Mr. X decided to take his umbrella along with him. To tell you the truth it doesn’t really matter if it’s raining or not, Mr. X always carries his umbrella whenever he goes out into the world. Firstly, it keeps him from getting sun burnt & secondly, it obviously protects him from rain drops. That’s just the way he likes his life; protected & safe. Every time he sees someone passing by without an umbrella over his head, he rushes over to the person & starts telling him the benefits & uses of walking under an umbrella, particularly the one he carries; a red one. Now to the strangers dismay, he doesn’t bother to find out whether he asked for his opinion or not. What if the stranger just wants to enjoy a little drizzle?
One day Mr. X, the man with the red umbrella stumbles upon Mr. Y, the guy with the green one. Both of them start arguing furiously about how their choice of what prevents raindrops from making them sick is righteous compared to the other. Amidst their ferocious attempts to bring down one another, the sky darkens & black rain drops fall on the face of earth. Each drop caters to a black ocean that consists of tides arising every now and then as umbrellas of various colors strengthen it. But this black ocean shouldn’t surprise you, right?

The colorful umbrellas I’m talking about are various religions we are born into. Some people like Mr. X & Mr. Y make the process of co-existing a tiresome one. Advices are offered to those who don’t share their beliefs or follow different paths. The black ocean of hate is the result of not letting our differences subside.


My inspiration for this post comes from a blogger who decided to share some of his personal experiences in one of the posts. Make sure you check it out & the blog, of course.

Even most people from my religion are biased towards others. I wonder why we can never put that aside and coexist. Interested people will join themselves, what’s the need to convert?

If there’s a message to be spread, it’ll spread by itself as people are observant.

We’re all human.

Let’s start believing in ourselves first.

Peace.

Bharath Upendra.