The Gardner

Art by Leah Gardner

He sows, He reaps – He brushes past the instances of rolling buds and autumn heaps.

The misaligned creepers are set in line with the constellations and somehow, the ephemeral space makes it hard for them to breathe.

The Judgement day arrives in a pocketful of systematic hate until the garden becomes a miserable palace of weed.

He still sows – but there is no one to reap.

There are poets, here and there but He has built a wall of thorns that renders the seekers blind. Once their eyes start to bleed, the taste of their blood halts their spirit – it engulfs the hope of reaping the garden of faith.

I’ve been standing on the edge of this palace, they say yellow makes them happy but this palace of weed suffocates me – it also clings to my lungs, and calls itself my ‘Home’.

I lunge forward to blind myself, I really do but every single time I miss by a fraction of a sentence, a yawning poem stretching between my toes.

He sows – that awakened poem, that distracting sentence, that hopeful lunge / The Gardner has a season for every name, I wonder what mine is.

Rains/ a blackened sigh/ the ephemeral space/ the broken stars/ the melting clouds/ a stutter between the sunrise and the sunset – I’m an anomaly without a name.

I see, the uprooted garden and the enormous space. I breathe for the first time because I believe what I see. I believe what I seek.

The Gardner – that made me, you and the bellowing universe amidst a poetry of Creation, a scream of magnificence.

-Nameera Anjum Khan.


This poem takes inspiration from religion, particularly the depiction of God in the movie ‘The Shack’ which provides a brilliant and an optimistic insight into what kind of entity God really is. It also sheds light on how humans sometimes become the judge of events that they truly don’t understand. We become hopeless at the immediate sight of a bad circumstance, never once trying to grasp the meaning of divinity behind things.

Epidermis (#5)

Art by Jung-Yeon Min

Sandy shores inside my mouth

There are tides in my tongue that erase your name every time I trace it on the corners of my mouth

I create a vigour in my ribs that swirls in the tangerine buds of the laughing skies

My paper feet are cut in places that can never learn to sleep,

I eat this canvas until I’m the piece of art

But I’m deranged in places that don’t exist loud enough

I de-layer,

Bit by bit

Until the flesh is a bare secret-

It’s your story but you keep peeling it away,

Look at you now – a subsumed flame in a nest of rage, a holy prayer covered in filth and harbouring a look that says more than actions do;

You’re a ship in the sky, sailing away the gravity in hopes of falling on the ground.

You never do.

-Nameera Anjum Khan


Before this day ends, I decided to pen down a muse which was quite spontaneous, which speaks for itself I suppose :3

There was a potpourri of thoughts behind this one but the most particular one was – the description of a toxic relationship and the fear of conformity to truth. Sometimes, people lock themselves up in a cage because they fear getting hurt and in the process, they end up hurting others. It’s an interesting paradox to reflect upon but going through it is an entirely different phase.

Conclusively, I’d like to add that vulnerability is a very precious thing and if someone decides to take off their mask in front of you, you’re not under an obligation to reciprocate the same. You must take your time but through means that don’t end up hurting others.

Thank you for reading, have a nice time ahead!

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.

__________________________________

The Mirror

They weren’t eyes,
They were
Windows to you;
A glimpse of my
Secrets.

No matter how hard I tried,
Pain had a way of making
Itself evident through the
Brown hues fading into
The morbid blackness
Hovering upon my
Existence.

They’re tainted pink & purple,
But exhaustion is always
Crystal clear.

Didn’t you ever feel,
Like you were
Looking in a
Mirror?

Maybe that’s why I
Could never read your eyes,
Because I wasn’t looking
Inside a window,
But at a mirror.

I never understood what I saw,
For I’ve never been
Familiar enough
With myself.

(It wasn’t you I was tired of looking at, it was me)

Shards of broken glass
Still pierce my mind,
But I’d rather be
Blind than give
In to expectations
That will forever
Be unmet.

-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.

Barren

She’s the desert he left,
For greener pastures.
Losely tied weft threads,
Dismantled their stature.

Winsome eyes once bore,
A dream now distorted.
They saw a family of four,
But her fertility retorted.

Society labelled her ‘barren’,
Restricting her existence.
With falling tears she is laden,
Asking God for repentance.

Her shreiks reverberate,
As She yearns for a baby.
His utmost hatred sedates,
The mind of a useless lady.

Her precious heart,
Is never their concern.
For not playing her part,
She will always be shunned.

-Nameera.


If a woman is childless, does she become unworthy? If she doesn’t have the ability to give life, is it permissible for the society to torment her mentally?

What will you do if your daughter, sister or wife is barren? Would you rather let her drown in guilt for a cause that was never her fault or stand by her side?

If the purpose of a woman was to only give birth & ensure continuous survival of mankind, then they would be no more than a baby-making factory.

Online Condolences.

Flags painted on cheeks,
As widows silently weep.

An updated profile picture,
After the soul is lost forever.

An article posted online,
While little children whine.

Rage brings people on streets,
But bombs drown their screams.

Vivid photographs capturing pain,

Yet innocent lives die in vain.

The painful echoes of their screams,
Appear on our mobile phone screens.

As we type away in the night,
War engulfs another life.

-Nameera.

The Liebster Award!

It’s an honour to finally get nominated for this award, many thanks to Fariha of thoughtfulhues for nominating me! Make sure to check out her amazing, thoughtful blog. I’m sure it’ll be worth your time.

The Liebster Award is an award given by bloggers to other bloggers who they think need encouragement and recognition. It was started by The Global Aussie in 2011.

The rules for the 2018 Award are as below :
• Thank the person who nominated you
• Display the award on your post
• Write a small post about what makes you passionate about blogging
• Provide 10 random facts about yourself
• Answer the questions given to you
• Nominate 5-11 other blogs for this award
• Ask them creative and unique questions of your own
• List the rules and inform your nominees of the award.

My passion for blogging:

Without a doubt what all bloggers have in common is a flair for writing. Hence, words are what fuel my passion for blogging. Besides this I also love coming across like-minded people who share my views. WordPress is a bliss for someone like me.

10 Random Facts About Me:

  1. My hometown is near Jaipur, called Tonk in Rajasthan. My great, great, great grandfather was a Pathan from Afghanistan, Amir Khan & he used to help Rajputs fight against British. Later on the British gave him the title of Nawab & the princely state of Tonk where he finally settled.
  2. I like gothic fiction a lot. The first book I read was ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker that remains one of my favorites till date.
  3. My hobbies include painting, writing, watching movies & reading.
  4. As much as I like being an extrovert, I’m never petrified at the thought of being alone.
  5. I’m an only child but I’m not a spoilt brat & I don’t spend my parents fortune recklessly as the stereotypes go.
  6. I love exploring old buildings, castles. One such place is my aunt’s place, she lives in one part of the castle which is equally divided amongst the many children of the Nawaab (He had more wives than he needed).
  7. Even though I can socialize well my friends know nothing about my personal life. I’m a very private person.
  8. I struggle with expressing emotions which makes people think I’m cold.
  9. I can be unforgiving & ruin your self-esteem without feeling even an ounce of guilt. But it takes a lot to infuriate me.
  10. I love spending time in a library or a stationary more than anything else.

Fariha’s Questions :

1. What is your fondest memory?

One of the many that I can remember at the moment is making short films with my dad. Even though they were extremely unprofessional 😁but I always had a great time making them! I played a magician once, inspired by Harry Potter😂

2. Team Coffee or Tea & Why?

Team ‘Cold’ Coffee to be more specific because I don’t like tea.

3. What is the most courageous thing that you have ever done?

For me it has been accepting the fact that I don’t have to stop respecting myself just because I’m different.

4. What’s your guilty pleasure?

My guilty pleasure is debating. I’ve made my friends cry over silly debates just to prove my point. I can get aggressive but it’s never personal.

5. What’s the biggest challenge about blogging for you?

So far I’m doing just fine but I guess in the near future I might lack motivation to go on. I can’t remain hooked onto one thing.

6. What three items would you take to a desert island?

Water, survival kit & a magic lamp to get back whenever I want to.

7. Would you rather watch a movie or read the book ?

I’d rather watch a movie. If the genre is something that appeals to me then I will read the book.

8. What is the one battle you struggle with daily?

Getting out of my bed.

9. How do you aspire to be a better you?

I want to stay focused on my goals, believe in God & always respect my parents.

10. What is your favourite family tradition ?

I think it has to be Eid celebration because it brings the whole family together from every corner of India & abroad.

Here are my nominees:

Bharath Upendra

The fault in our brains

doses of ever-i-thing

The Realist

notthetumblrgirl

EST : 2013

Fawad Hassan K

This is it for now, I might nominate more bloggers later.

These are my questions for you :

  1. What’s your biggest pet peeve?
  2. What does your name mean?
  3. What are the top 5 songs on your playlist?
  4. How far can you go to prove yourself right?
  5. What would be the title of the book about your life?
  6. What was the easiest life-lesson you learnt?
  7. What makes you apprehensive?
  8. How would you define yourself?
  9. Who is your favorite author?
  10. What is more important, emotions or logic?

Thanks for reading!

The story behind a world record.

It’s a dream that many see yet few actually get the chance to achieve it. A common notion exists that only exceptional beings deserve something like this.

Were the 4,500 people without whom this achievement of mine would be impossible really that exceptional?

14 November 2017, a day marked in the history of International Indian school, Jeddah. No one will forget the batch that made it possible.

The scorched sun adamantly sucked our energy as we stood holding placards above our heads. Our hands were stiff with pain but we never gave in.

It was not surprising to hear that a girl or two had fainted due to excessive heat & dehydration.

As we stood on our marked spot there were apprehensions that dug their way in the back of our heads. Before approaching our school the party that organised this event made students of International Indian school, Dammam go through the same. But they tried & failed hence we were their second chance. Students were hopeful yet many held the belief that we were no different than our distant cousins, students from Dammam. It was a paradox in itself.

But the moment arrived that finally declared us the winners. Even though we felt weak & tired because Jeddah’s heat is no joke, there was a wave of shouts & hoots that shook the venue.

Soon excitement turned into something pointlessly ugly. Words cannot suffice to create a picture of what I saw that day but I will try my best.

The cloudless sunny sky witnessed the strangest downpour ever. It fell with a huge thud initially somewhere in the back. In the blink of an eye what followed was a havoc. Flying placards fell on our heads from all directions. Even though it lasted for about 5 minutes yet the feeling that we were in a war zone persisted.

My only self-defence was the placard I covered myself with to avoid getting my head smashed. While my alertness & quick thinking saved my head that day, many of my classmates ended up being hospitalized. One of my friends blacked out right in the middle of the ground.

Some said it was girls who started it all & boys simply decided to return the favour. All the victims of this horrendous turn of events were girls. Others believed that boys should’ve stopped throwing when they saw people getting hurt. Whatever started it didn’t matter as much as injuries suffered by these students.

The dream had come true with a nightmarish outcome.

In the end the scarred faces, bleeding foreheads, unconcious teenagers, flying placards, cursing mouths & angry youngsters marked us as exceptional beings.

A briefing about the world record :

Officials of Abeer Medical Group, a leading healthcare provider in the Middle East, joined 4,500 students of International Indian School Jeddah (IISJ) and their mentors in celebrating the fantabulous achievement of entering the Guinness Book of World Records by forming the world’s largest human mosaic“.

The students formed the largest picture mosaic on the World Diabetes Day on 14 Nov. 2017 as part of Abeer Group’s mass corporate social responsibility campaign against the health hazards of diabetes“.

-Saudi Gazette.

You can read the whole article here.

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.