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 4 year old me says hello to Bharat!

There’s no way any NRI could have had a normal first trip experience to India specially as a child.

The sight of a Rickshaw would make me jump with excitement. I’m pretty sure people around me must have been convinced that I’m crazy.

An auto-Rickshaw ride was far more bumpy than I expected it to be. It was airy too, but we’re not talking about an air-conditioned taxi I was used to.

There have been times when I would point out a man peeing on the road side, “Look, mamma!” and my mother would softly smile & cover my eyes. It was always a wonder to my eyes to see people doing things like that in the public.

There were amazing things I was yet to see. One obligatory trip was made to Agra, to visit the great, most talked about wonder in the world, Taj Mahal. But to the eyes of a 4 year old who had to traverse in the heat just to take a closer look at it, it was nothing but ordinary, “Why do people come here, it’s just a white building?” which made my mother laugh.

Then came the day when we went to my hometown to visit the grandmother. She was a quirky old lady. I’d always argue with her. Her house had the typical Indian architecture. There was an entrance through a huge door and then another small door finally led us inside. On entering one could see that the house was spacious yet there were not enough rooms. The kitchen & the bathroom were in the most insignificant corner of the house. One had to walk a long way from our room to the bathroom. There were Matkas for drinking water.

The first thing that caught my eye was the structure of the house. It had no roof except for the rooms built in the corners. Little did I know that it was typical Indian house structure. “Daadi’s house is broken” was my remark when I found the roof was missing.

The next morning I woke up red & swollen. There were mosquito bites all over me. That’s how they welcomed foreign blood in their abode.

The fact that animals were free to walk on streets bewildered me. One incident that I can never forget is the goat pooping on the street in Lucknow while I stared at what was coming out of it, simply moved at the miraculous sight. Without a moment’s thought I began yelling, ” Look what’s coming out of it, look!” forcing a bunch of other kids to be as amazed as I was. They simply laughed at me while I forced them to look at it, pointing a finger.

As much as my surroundings enthused me, so did the people I met. One thing I noticed was the long hair all women cherished. Some would have it till their waist while others below their hip.

Slowly, as years went by & I kept paying gradual visits to my family I began to understand their ways & culture. Or as I should say, my ways & culture.

P.S

In case you’re wondering, I first visited India in 2004.

Mine

Art, words & poems
All are mine
Except for you.

-Nameera.

18 & melancholic!

Today was simply one heck of a morning!

I was sound asleep in my room when distinct voices woke me up. At first they were unclear but soon I could make out what my mother was saying on the phone, “Oh, how much did you get? What about Nameera?”, the last line was a signal enough for me to figure who it was & what they were talking about.

I leapt out of bed frantically. Days ago in my mind I had come to the conclusion that I’ll get around 76 per cent in 12th grade board exams. “Nameera, tujhe 79 aaye!? (Nameera, you got 79 per cent)” as much as I was hoping to somehow get 80 per cent beyond all odds, just the number ‘8’ followed by a zero would’ve made a huge impact on my mind. But 79.6 wasn’t bad either considering the fact that I did Accounts on my own the whole year round. I needed tuitions badly but I didn’t join any because I wanted to concentrate on subjects that were my strong point. Initially I did feel a bit low but hey, guess what? It’s my b’day today! Nothing could keep me down for long. Not when my parents got me THIS :

Every B’day I’d demand art supplies but this time I’m glad I picked something worth my time(not that art isn’t). Yes, it’s still hard for me to comprehend classics but it’s definitely not a waste of my time.

Coming down to the purpose behind this post, I’d advice students who just received their results like me to not fret over the past. Accept it & get over it. If moving on seems difficult, read a book, watch your favorite movie or simply flip through old pictures of your school days.

I’m sure there’s just enough room for you to grow academically & personally in the coming future.

Have a nice day!

The home away from home

My mother received a call from her friend yesterday. So, we’re at her place today. It isn’t grand but you can’t exactly call it average. Three chandeliers lined across the ceiling are intricate in design. There were other women already present when we got there. All of them stood up as we greeted them by saying Salam followed by softly touching each other cheek to cheek, which can be termed as the Saudi greeting style, in a way. They’re all wearing burqas’ with different hues. The colors range from grey to caramel to black but sorrow has only one color; grey. Now, here comes the interesting part. The women here speak fluent urdu/hindi pronouncing a word or two with a heavy Arabic dialect. They’re Saudi no doubt yet they weren’t born one. It’s an interesting sight to behold but the purpose that brought us here is a grave matter.

My mother sits in the corner consoling her friend who just lost hope or in simple terms, a mother.

There are chocolates laid out on the table. The Arabic coffee (Qahwa) and dates are never missing in any Saudi house.

I see women from different walks of life share their stories. In a way, this is the only means to share grief in a home away from home.

“She would stir the Sheer Korma (An Indian Sweet dish) standing in the kitchen” says an old woman with a walking-stick kept by the sofa she settled comfortably upon. A dramatic pause on her part makes it seem as though her memory was failing her. “She would often quote the following as I remember well:

Eid ki sachi khushi to apno ki deed hai,
Tum humse door ho to apni kya eid hai.

(Translation : The true happiness of Eid is a gift of loved ones, what’s Eid if you’re away from me)”, she said, smiling satisfactorily as my notions about her memory turned out false. The old woman’s mother married a Saudi decades ago and never went back. Years later when she asked her mother to visit their family in Pakistan she’d simply answer, “What’s the point of visiting graves?”. Apparently most of her close family members were buried 6 ft under the earth. The only home left was where she was now.

As blessed as these people are with two homes & families scattered across two continents yet the painstaking truth seldom goes unnoticed.

People like us or as the term goes, expatriates see these converts in more than one way. Yet something that always bugs me most is patriotism. How do they decide which home to put their faith in? Or are they torn apart between two like I imagine myself in their shoes? Many of my questions have long gone unanswered but a few hints here & there in conversation always reveal their love for where they’re now but no matter what, the past still makes them nostalgic.

As one of her friends asked her where her mother died, the woman replied, calm & collected, “Rourkee” followed with a briefing about the beautiful state situated in the colder regions of India. “Is it close to Saharanpur?” Asks a lady wearing desi clothes with a pixie, quite an odd sight for a native of where she comes from but it’s pretty normal for us. “No, it’s close to Dehradun” a reply is made to acknowledge the query. The chubby woman laughs bobbing her head back & forth, “Like I’d know where that is!”.

The fact that they have no knowledge of states other than their own parents or grandparents place of origin always makes me wonder if they can ever have emotional ties with a place they’ve never seen, only heard of through stories & anecdotes.

“My mother was from Dehradun” exclaims the woman who had been listening to the conversation from across the sofa. Others nod their heads in acknowledgement.

Without a doubt the conversation drifts towards fashion. “My sister sent me stitched clothes from Lahore which removed all apprehensions I had had regarding my Eid outfit” says a woman with an air of relief as others agree with her.

As consolation, advice and stories went on, a young girl with eyes that resemble a puff of grey cloud in the sky waiting for downpour, offers coffee to those who want it. Few refuse, many ask her to fill their cups twice.

Without a doubt the topic of death arises & the fact that these days you don’t necessarily have to be old to die finds a mention yet again. “She would always cry when I came back here” says my aunt, her voice heavy with vivid emotions. “But this time when I bid goodbye, she didn’t shed a tear” she ends the note with a heavy sigh. Perhaps a mere sigh wouldn’t relieve her of the pain she’s feeling. I’m sure it wouldn’t.

The girl with grey eyes comfortably settled herself on the sofa in a corner, watching all her aunt’s hover around her mother as she wailed for her mother. Her skinny feet shuffle in a manner that makes her worry evident. With eyes fixed on her mother her lips part in silent apprehension as she moves her hands excessively.

“In the beginning of this year, she told me to hurry up & visit her otherwise she’d leave for South Africa”, little did the old woman realise where she was when she asked her daughter to pay her a visit. In the care of a son & a daughter in law, the frail creature was often visited by memories of a past she cherished deeply.

As I was looking out the window in the backseat of our car, I realised how much history everyone carries with them. The part that saddens me is that they know little to almost nothing about it. Some don’t even wish to discover their origins. A new life, a new country becomes such an integral part of their lives that what was once a place they called home becomes nothing more than a distant memory.

But what really is the point of holding on to the past, right?


I’m a keen observer by nature, not by choice. This prompt is not meant to hurt sentiments of any group in any possible way. I did feel the need to let out my thoughts about this particular issue. Being an expatriate experiencing a culture that I could live in forever if I choose to yet I feel obliged to not undermine the values inside me. Even though it would be practical to consider options like safety & a lifestyle I’ve been used to since childhood. But my choices are never governed by comfort or leisure.

I’m Indian by birth & choice. Maybe I feel this way because I’ve never actually lived in my home land for more than a year but I’m sure I can find my place in a country as diverse as India. My apprehensions about moving to India demand another post which I’ll make sure to keep short & concise.


P.S

Apologies for such a long read.

The tide

I stood by the shore gazing at a tide from afar. It took ravenous strides in my direction trying to get past the ocean of perseverance and will. With one mighty roar it rose high up, almost tearing apart the sky with its magnificence. But with an insufficient dose of will it lost the fight. It was soft & faint, as it touched my feet. The shore could have been its domain but not all dreams come true.
Smiling at my thoughts, I knelt down to put my name in the sand. As my fingers traced each letter with precise movements, an uncanny sound caught my attention. The wave rose yet again, all the more mighty this time. I saw it tear the sky apart with one single blow. I retreated my steps as it advanced towards me. The ocean was no longer its enemy. It swept past the shore as swiftly as a predator grasping the prey in one go. My gaze fell upon the spot that beheld my name just a moment ago; now washed away with conquering tides.

I was no longer captivated amongst shackles of failure. My past along with my name had vanished within waters of time. I was free now, to dive & conquer.