Hope in Winters

It’s been so long since I’ve felt this warm. I mean, it’s quite a surprise because winters always infuse my bones with mental sickness and isolation. This time, it was different and different is not always good however this year has to be one of those exceptional ones where nothing great happens but you still feel like you’ve lived a long, peaceful life.

Greatness often becomes a measure for our happiness. Greater the milestone achieved, greater is the joy that comes attached with it.

I find it a shallow means of ‘measuring’ happiness. It can never be scaled. The purity of a moment is derived by the sheer memory of it and how it detaches you from the reality while you smile like an absolute idiot.

2019 has been one such moment for me. I worked on myself and on building a stronger bond with people I love. I tried filling in the empty spaces and I’ve come to terms with things that went askew.

And For the things I couldn’t learn, I hope 2020 will make up for it.

My hands are freezing as I type this, but there’s an uncanny warmth spreading over my chest. I haven’t felt so much peace in ages.

MY FIRST HEART BREAK

A burglary happened on your lips while you had your eyes closed. Maybe that’s why kisses are stolen these days, not planted. You say heart breakers are bullies who will never be happy again, tell me, what do you truly know about being one? We can be poets for all you know, making you cry out to your pillow with metaphors that confuse you because you just don’t want to face the truth. Confusion is the antonym for courage, the courage you lack because what will they say upon finding out that you’ve broken hearts before? It all started when I was thirteen, broken and in search of true friendship. Every person I liked already had someone else, being second choice was a dagger I had been carrying in my heart forever. This was my heart and it went right through it resulting in cracks that resembled a thunderbolt; a mute thunderbolt, one that inhaled and exhaled pretending life was a yoga exercise where some days you ace it or you don’t. It was all about the chance we took and the one we lost. I saw people finding a best friend, I caught myself staring in the mirror, telling a lonely reflection that all she ever needed was herself. People blamed me for being full of myself but I ask them now, where were you when I needed you most? When I, instead of hiding my true feelings and confusing you; told you how much a friend would mean to me, where were you when I wore vulnerabilities upon my sleeve? You were busy finding creative ways to judge me so I left because I was mean, arrogant and evil. You were shy, kind and hopeful but I wasn’t so I packed my luggage – emotions I mean and left without a dagger in my heart because by now, you had broken it in two.

When I was thirteen, a girl in my class broke my heart and today I liberate her from the tangled mess of my thoughts. She’s free to go, and I’m free to use the lessons she taught me. Thank you for being my first heart break, I hope yours would skip a beat right now so you can know that once upon a time; you were one of the reasons why I wanted to stop mine.

Heart breaks can come from friends as well, it doesn’t always take a boy to do it.

COLLECTING CAGES

My hands are stories you never read
Long, slender and painted red
An estuary within me connects to you
Not the whole ocean inside of me
Pandora’s Box lies safely in my stash
I lick the dust upon it to get a taste
They way you slid your fingers under
My sleeve
Made me swallow the suns for I
Believed
When your fingers were intertwined
In mine
I thought we would talk of irrevocable
Love
Yet you forced your way deep in
My skin
Digging a grave out of my elbows
And mounted upon my palms,
You broke the seal
Freeing the secrets within the box
This time
A man led to the ultimate demise
A man who has turned into my
Irrevocable disease
Memories of him is the trauma
I collect
Looking in the mirror, I forget
To reflect
My existence has become a
Prisoner to you
Wherever I see, whatever I touch
Morphs into a remnant of you

Love is the closest thing to magic
You never know when the rabbit
Disappears from the hat forever
Replacing ‘trick’ with ‘tragic’.

-Nameera.

 

Under the Crimson Moon

“So, why do you work here?” She hung her head & stared hard at the plate, with the burger sitting still upon it. He followed her gaze & realised that she hasn’t even touched her food yet. How long have we been talking, he wondered.

“I had no other option” she broke the silence in a metallic voice. Her sudden change of voice surprised him to some degree. He fell into deep thought, as was evident through his closely knit brows.

“Would you like to order something else, sir?” He looked at the face of a smiling waitress. Her eyes were too far apart, he noticed as was his wont. The brown hair lacked texture unlike her counterpart sitting right across him at the table. “No” he shook his head, “Are you going to eat it?” His eyes focused on the woman he had been talking to for about an hour. Her lips parted as though she was going to say something but not a word escaped her throat.

“Creep” the kind, average looking waitress said aloud. “Excuse me?” His puzzled expression didn’t answer much queries since the waitress had already dashed away from the two of them, taking frantic steps & disappearing behind the counter in no time. All this happened too fast for him to take into account how uncanny things were that night.

“Wow” he rolled his eyes feeling awkward about the inexplicable little encounter. “It’s okay, she’s always like that” her kind smile burned a hole in his heart. It lingered upon her sweet face for more than a minute & then turned into something horrible. The more attention he paid, the more he felt confronted by the plastered smile across her face. She stared in his eyes listlessly. He thought he saw her pupils expand, almost devour the white space around them. The smile she wore was getting devious each minute.

It wasn’t too late to notice the change in his surroundings but he didn’t. The creamy walls of the restaurant looked dirtier than they had upon his entrance. A pall of dust & hunger hung in the atmosphere, making it too hard for him to breathe.

“I should get going” he could sense an unusual fear & the need for some fresh air stirred within him. The lights began to dim. “So soon?” she tilted her head to the right in an unnatural position, mirroring inhuman ways. “I still haven’t had dinner yet!” She displayed her white set of teeth as her smile definitely looked wider this time, stretching from one cheek to the other. Placing her clenched fists upon the table, she let out a hiss. He held his breath & froze in his chair. A concourse of all things insane & wild, thirsty for blood mingled right before his eyes.

The woman rose swiftly & cackled with her mouth wide open showcasing saliva dripping down to her chin. Her sharp fangs were an accessory to that unholy smile. To add to all this, the lights began to flicker incessantly doubling the doze of horror he was to endure.

He inched back in his chair, his best move so far. “Are you ready for dinner, Jim?” She could smell fear all over him. His whole life eddied like a dark mist around his head as his eyes closed & he slowly fell into a deep sleep.

“Jimmy, boy wake up!” Was that gravel in his mouth? He could also taste a bit of grass. “He was too heavy for me to drag” he heard a voice that sounded unusually familiar. “You just had to turn him over & drag, sweetie” He heard his father speak. “Don’t call me that, you’re not my father!” The familiar voice retorted. “Alright, go get some water” he heard footsteps stomping away in a direction he couldn’t make out. “Ghost, fangs” the words he managed to utter sounded like an apocryphal story, too insensate to believe. His father leaned over him with a pleasant smile, though it seemed quite incongruous considering the situation. “Its okay, I’m here now” were the last words he heard before retiring in his black castle of disquietude.

The ceiling was unlike any he had seen. It wasn’t his bedroom, he knew that for sure. So, where was he?


I never imagined myself writing a Vampire fan fiction yet here I am shaterring all my previous notions. For some reason, I’ve always disliked fan fictions. I don’t even like reading them. But I suppose Carmilla & Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde along with one of my favorite horror movie ‘Crimson Peak’ was all it took to get down to writing this piece of fiction wholly inspired by some exceptional characters.

Thanks for reading!

6 Arabic Proverbs To Live By

Bidding farewell to this blessed month of Ramadan is never easy. Yet, the time has come to move forward & hopefully practice good deeds for the rest of the year, not just wait for this blissful month to give time to Islam.

Here are some Arabic proverbs that are, in a way pieces of advice, a word of caution we should keep in mind.

🔸اجتنب مصاحبة الكذاب فإن اضطررت إليه فلا تُصَدِّقْهُ.
“Avoid the company of liars, but if you can’t, don’t believe them.”


🔸احذر عدوك مرة وصديقك ألف مرة فإن انقلب الصديق فهو أعلم بالمضرة.
“Be wary around your enemy once, and your friend a thousand times. A double crossing friend knows more about what harms you.”


🔸اختر أهون الشرين.
“Go with the lesser of two evils.”


🔸إذا قصرت يدك عن المكافأة فليصل لسانك بالشكر.
“If you’re unable to reward, then make sure to thank.”


🔸أشد الفاقة عدم العقل.
“Lack of intelligence is the greatest poverty.”


🔸إصلاح الموجود خير من انتظار المفقود.
“It’s better to fix what you have than wait to get what you don’t have.”


Thanks for reading!

Source.

Colors

All the colors she’s living,
Black, tangerine & pink.
Is his majestic giving,
For as long as he lives.

Once death meets man,
She’s stripped of her hues.
Bangles taken off her hand,
She sings the lonely muse.

Pushing her into the fire,
They send her away to him.
Colorful bangles she admired,
Now pierce her naive skin.

With wrists covered in blood,
The fire wraps around her.
The death of a man she loved,
Becomes her ultimate curse.

-Nameera.


The practice of Sati was quite common in India till the British invasion.

Even though it was initially tolerated under the colonial rule, protesters like William Carey(Chritian missionaries) & Mohan Roy(Hindu Brahmin) led to a ban on this immoral practice where a woman, on the death of her husband would commit suicide by burning herself, whether she wanted to or not.

The red sindoor on her forehead and in the parting of her hair, one of the signs of marriage, is wiped clean. In some cases, all her jewellery is removed and her glass bangles are smashed. Other traditions, that are thankfully becoming less common, include shaving the widow’s head and giving her a ritual bath, after which she may be forbidden from wearing colourful sarees. She will only be allowed to wear white or pale colours.

_The Quint

Even though all or most of these practices are illegal now yet it’s not uncommon to hear about the prevalence of such rituals in rural areas.

Apparently with the death of a husband a woman loses all rights to live a colorful life.

-Nameera.

India VS Pakistan

I think Indians are way better than Pakistani’s considering the fact that we’re all so diverse & straightforward. All our neighbors care about is hurling insults at us. They can’t help but put the blame on India no matter what the situation be. They’re racist to the core. I’m pretty sure the points I mentioned above should suffice to prove my Nationalistic Pride.

Don’t you agree with me too? No? That is great. But if you do, please keep reading.

Growing up in a country other than India or Pakistan gives you enough exposure into various cultures & ways of life. I’ve met some of my family members who left India for Pakistan during the partition decades ago, in this foreign land.

Being an Indian, what comes to your mind on hearing about Pakistan? To tell you the truth the first thing on my mind is my childhood friend who is Pakistani. We literally grew up together. People would often mistake us for sisters. We studied in the same school till 5th grade. We often had little fights as children over India & Pakistan, both of us trying to prove our country’s better. As we grew older we would discuss at length about our cultures & similarities.

I remember going to my cousins place. They are from Lahore, Pakistan. My uncle would get quite racist at times. While all women would talk about clothes & fashion I would sit on a chair in the living room listening to men talk about politics. The fact that my uncle completely ignored was that we were Indian yet he would go on incessantly insulting India. My dad never said a lot during these conversations. He did speak when my uncle wouldn’t stop. But he was always polite.

Some of my Indian friends fathers support the Pakistani cricket team because they’re Muslim. It makes me laugh every time my friends vent out their angst against their fathers at school.

I think cricket is one game where people should support their own countries. It is abnormal to support some other team based on their religion.

Besides sports there should be no place for segregation of this kind. It makes me sick to see people with such mindsets.

One of my Pakistani uncle even said once that why was Pakistan made. At that time we simply laughed. But later I realised it was wrong. No country is perfect & neither are its citizens. Statements like these shouldn’t be uttered. It’s wrong to say such things about ones own country.

I understand that India & Pakistan were separated from each other. Putting blame on one another is useless at this point. Who is better than who, kon kiska baap hai? Notions such as these are of no help.

True nationalistic pride lies in firstly, respecting your own motherland and secondly, giving the same respect to other nations as well.

I was also shocked when one Pakistani, on realising we were Muslim said, “Oh, you’re Indian Muslim?”. I suppose that reaction was out of ignorance but still it was quite unexpected.

I’m an Indian Muslim and a proud one. I don’t hate Hindus. My Pakistani friends have had misconceptions about Hindus but I always tell them that they’re people too, just like you & me. A mere difference between religion doesn’t make them or us monsters.

At the end of the day, there are good people & bad all around the globe. You can choose who you want to be. It’s not religion or nationality that influences their nature, it’s their thinking & how they see other human beings that makes them good/bad.


All the incidents mentioned above have actually happened. I’ve seen people with different viewpoints which I respect because they’re free to speak their mind. However, so am I. The only purpose behind this post is to depict how we’re not really that different. At the end of the day we’re just people, bones & flesh on either side of the border.

Apollo 13 : A Failure

Was it the unlucky number 13 or the sudden change of a crew member?

Not really. It was the oxygen tank that exploded.

All they could do was gaze at the moon & wave it goodbye. Can you imagine what it must have felt like to traverse all the way across the universe to mark ones name in history? But one explosion in the space craft put an indelible end to their dream. It was sheer failure.

They should have been forgotten. After all, they never set foot on the moon. That’s what their predecessor, Neil Armstrong was known to the world for. But against all odds, they were remembered. What for?

They were remembered for their journey, for their failure & courage. Having strength in a time when you have leaking oxygen with a broken space ship that turns out to be your only vehicle, you only chance to travel through unending blackness back home.

The astronauts engraved their names in the books of history. Apollo 13 was known, despite its failure.

(Left to right : Lowell, Sigwert, Haise)

There’s a life lesson to learn from this true story. You don’t have to let your failures define you at all. There’s insurmountable courage in accepting them. But once you’re back home, safe & sound among people you love, you’ll know what really counts in life. Maybe the moon was never meant for them, maybe it was the journey that was supposed to mark their victory. You never know what’s rightfully your goal until you achieve it. One goal leads to another, which might happen to be yours. But that doesn’t mean you stop trying, not even when you fail. You’ve to get back home, remember?

These are few of my favorite quotes from the movie, click here to view more.

  • I’ll be walking in a place where there is 400 degrees difference between sunlight and shadow. I can’t imagine ever topping that.
  • I sometimes catch myself looking up at the Moon, remembering the changes of fortune in our long voyage, thinking of the thousands of people who worked to bring the three of us home. I look up at the Moon and wonder, when will we be going back, and who will that be?.
  • We have never lost an American in space, and we’re sure not gonna lose one on my watch. Failure is not an option.
  • You never know what events are to transpire to get you home.

P.S

My inspiration for this post was the movie called ‘Apollo 13’ based on real incidents starring, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton & Kevin Bacon.

My Secret Superpower

It was another normal day at school for a 4 year old. Suddenly she felt the urge to get out of the classroom for an ordinary stroll in the hallway. The little girl often found solace in being alone. So, she took the teachers permission to go to the bathroom.

A minute later she was peacefully traversing the path to her destination. The classroom, the bathroom & the hallway of the school looked something like this.

So, as you can make out from this terrible looking illustration, the two places were really close. But she decided to take the long path as depicted through red arrows.

Walking alone in the hallway was too normal. Her gut feeling told her to do something unconventional. Hence, she started running feeling the soft breeze on her face feeling somewhat like a flying super hero.

All would be fine if this other girl hadn’t been running in her direction. She was probably carrying some important news for a teacher which explained the hurry. But our protagonist had no idea about a human child she was about to encounter at the corner(?¿) of a round hallway.

As fate, luck, destiny, Satan & God would have it, they did have an encounter. It was more like a discovery for the girl who was heading to the bathroom.

The scenario was something like this, I couldn’t include details because as you must have figured out by now, I suck at making stick figures.

Yes, they literally collapsed into one another! But the strange part was that only one of them was hurt. Not only was she hurt, but she went back flying inches away. The other saw her fly in the air with her own eyes while she felt not an ounce of pain.

Pretending to be surprised she smiled on the inside thinking of her invisible red cloak. She noticed the other human lying on the floor.

Her forehead turned red. But she somehow carried herself & walked away. The other girl, still amazed at her recently discovered super powers went to the bathroom & then to her class. The incident was on her mind the whole day long.

That girl was none other than me. For a day I got to be a super hero. I even told my mother about it, unable to let out a word properly due to excitement.


Moral of the story : I need to buy a graphic design pad because my LG Stylus 3 can never be a substitute for it. In fact, no phone could be a substitute for a graphic pad. 😁

The Golden Swing

She was very young when her mother left her. Her father was a very busy man, after all the job of being a Nawaab essentially involved many things from taking care of myriad of wives that come with their own set of children. Administration work kept him away as well.

So, as the tradition goes she was put in the care of trustworthy nannies who did each & everything for her. She grew up playing with the children of her caretakers, her only friends. The outside world was never her concern hence wisdom dawned upon her after a long, long time.

Every time the Nawaab visited his beloved daughter, he’d bring her gold coins. As years went by her collection grew. One day her friends gave her a ground-breaking idea, “Nanni, why don’t we plant a gold tree in the garden?” the idea appealed to the young girl. Now, every time her father brought her gold coins she & her friends would bury it in the ground hoping for a golden plant to sprout from within the soil.

Years went by but the plant never grew. Yet the coins went missing.

Her sky blue eyes gleam as she talks about her special swing, the seat of which was made of pure gold. Our eyes open wide with wonder as we picture the golden swing in our heads. Though somewhere in the back of my mind I had a doubt regarding her honesty but those eyes told me otherwise & I felt obliged to believe in my grandmother.

She literally had a golden childhood.