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!

It Came

It came like a soft breeze through the window, pushing past the purple curtain. Caressing my back it traced my flesh in a way that drowned me in melancholy.

It came as a melody so deep. Imbibing in me an incongruous longing for the past.

It came like palpitations as blood dripped from my wrists filling the air around me with dreadful silence.

It came every night,
And crept in my head.
When I tried to fight,
It stuck to my flesh.

The cold breeze,
Felt like your fingers.
When I was at ease,
And life was simpler.

It was a song,
Stuck in my mind.
Each lyric made me long,
For a life past time.

It came through words,
It came in poems.
Between pages of books,
I devoured to escape.

It found me thinking,
About only you.
Nostalgia came,
Through words
Lines
Quotes
Songs
Lyrics
And the cold
Breeze.

It came,
Unabashed
Breaking my
Walls.

-Nameera.

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.

Ruins

He had entered lost territory, a place where no man has dared to venture. The place was in shambles with walls smouldering into blackness where memories bled at night as she closed her eyes. The grey atmosphere filled his lungs with despair and a longing for the warmth of sunshine. Instead of a garden of roses he found himself in a forest of thorns slowly consuming his conscience. Bit by bit he let her overpower him until his breath got icy and the cold in her soul latched itself to his heart.

The ground under his feet crumbled as she devoured him head to toe. As their souls became one, the castle fell into ruins.

The history was lost between pages of a book never written. Their bodies lay beneath ancient bricks with poetry carved deep within their souls, leaving flesh meaningless.

-Nameera.

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.

The pride of universal donors.

“You know, you’re a universal donor” back then I had little to no knowledge of what it meant but I’d brag around my friends & tell them how special my blood was.

One fine day in grade 10 we had a chapter in Biology that included a small portion about blood types. It sparked enough interest in me to finally get the hang of the term ‘Universal Donor’.

My blood type is O negative and so is my dad’s. But my mother has blood type O positive. Almost all my family members on my father’s side have O negative blood type. Hence, it wasn’t difficult for me to figure out why I have it.

Now, why are there different blood groups?

The three blood types namely, A B & O were discovered by an Austrian Physician, Karl Landsteiner which earned him a Nobel prize in 1930.

Later others discovered the AB blood type.

The underlying factor that separates blood groups from one another are ‘Antigens’.

It’s the coating around Red Blood Cells (RBCs). There are 2 main antigens found around RBCs; A & B.

While AB blood group has both of them, O blood type has neither.

Another common term that we come across quite often is RH positive and RH negative. What exactly is RH and what do we mean by + & -?

In our blood there is a collection of 45 antigens called Rhesus. The name has come from the Rhesus monkey which led to the theory of evolution of mankind from monkeys.

To be more specific :

The Significance of Being Rh Negative or Rh Positive. In 1937, Karl Landsteiner and Alexander Weiner discovered a new blood type: the rhesus blood type, or Rh factor. The rhesus protein is named for the rhesus monkey, which also carries the gene, and is a protein that lives on the surface of the red blood cells“.

Source :

The significance of being RH negative or RH positive.

So

, if you’re RH + : you’ll have all 45 antigens but if you’re RH – : you’ve none. This is the simple meaning behind RH and + & – .

This blood type comes with its own set of pros and cons. I’ve seen my aunts having problems during pregnancy because of their blood type.

However with every problem there’s a solution now thanks to the advancedments in medicine and technology. A woman with O negative blood type can get RhGAM or RH Immune Globulin injections to prevent their immune systems from producing antibodies when they’re pregnant with a child that has RH positive blood type.

Well, now comes the fun part! Myths pertaining to RH negative blood type always fascinate me even though some of them are as absurd as linking our lineage to aliens. Yes.

The one population with high density of the gene for RH – blood type are the Basques from northeastern Spain. Considering them RH – dates all the way back to Cro-Magnon ancestry going back to upper Paleolithic period.

While other possible sources of RH- blood line could be the aliens. Some people believe that they genetically engineered or even mated with humans and hence here we are, RH negative blood types!

But the fact that our DNA make-up is very much like any other human being who has originated on planet earth contradicts the myth about aliens.

At the end of the day it’s just a blood type, positive or negative, A B O or AB with pros & cons just as every other blood type. Yes, we can donate blood to all types but only receive the same blood makes us unique and may even be termed as a setback. But I think being human has its own pros and cons. While there’s study that suggests that each blood type should follow a particular diet I believe that eating healthy & drinking lots of water should suffice whether you’re RH+ or RH-.

As a child most universal donors probably feel proud due to the fact that they’re different than the rest.

But there’s greater satisfaction in doing something good with what you have rather than boasting about it. So, donate and help others in need.

It doesn’t matter what your blood type is, universal or non-universal, someone out there is definitely your type.

Links to the sources I used:

Image 1

Different blood types.

Ancient origins.

P.S

The picture with the quote is from one of my favorite songs called ‘Monster’ by Paramore.

Here’s a link to it : Paramore-Monster