A Healing Experience.

 

In a field of my insecurities and short-comings, she plants flowers. Previously, it would be left unattended to. No one to look after it as it grew more and more. Why is she doing this? She doesn’t have to waste her time like this.

With a whisk of her graceful hands, she masterfully composes art as beautiful as her existence. I try to stop her but the feeling isn’t like anything I’ve experienced before? I am loved and surrounded by a constant feeling of fuzziness. “Relax”, she says. I am stiff at first, but gradually let her consume all of me.

The flowers she plants are little parts of her own self. They merge into my dry field to grow instantaneously, almost like fruits that are only meant to be grown on a particular soil.

There aren’t many things that I am grateful for in this world but she is as transcendental as all of the objects in the universe combined. To have her in my arms can be described as feeling, all of the warmth of nature’s creations in a rub of our atoms.

You are the light of my eyes and the food to my soul.

So come into my arms and let me love you whole.

shams

 

 

-Asad A. Shamsi

BBA.

Crimson Waves

The foamy waves gently caressed her bare feet as she strolled by the sea, her worn-out brown sandals clutched firmly in her grasp. Another brunette skipped in front of her, giggling and twirling, her short silky curls bouncing with the motion.

At first glance, just about everyone could tell the one fact that linked the duo. Everyone in town knew their names as well. After all, identical twins were quite rare in the thinly-populated sleepy town of theirs. It made them feel quite special really. Add to the fact that those two girls were the only twins around in their age-group; just shy of thirteen. The girls even attempted to confuse the townsfolk by wearing the same outfits and parting their hair the same way. Even that very day, they were both wearing similar white frocks which reached just below the knees. They had even worn the same set of sandals. However, Tanya was the only one left holding hers. Haniya had kicked off her sandals somewhere on the beach and was attempting to dance, twirling round and round with her arms widespread, a gleeful smile etched onto her face. On any normal day they both would have been dancing and having fun on the beach. But that very day the older twin was more forlorn. More detached with everything around her. Way more than what was considered normal.

This strange mood did not go unnoticed by her other half.

The younger twin turned around on her heels, both hands clasped behind her back as she looked at her sister with raised eyebrows. Her hair splayed about her because of the wind that was raging in the opposite direction. “What’s the matter Tanya?” Haniya inquired, leaning forward and frowning. “Who spit in your porridge this morning? You’re such a sourpuss today!” she exclaimed, trying to tuck her curls behind her ears.

Tanya rolled her eyes at her sister’s oh-so-fine choice of words.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about Haniya. I’m perfectly fine!” she said, raising both hands. “Everything is just… peachy.”

Haniya took three long strides forward and unclapsed her hands from behind her back, taking her sister’s hands in her own. “You can’t fool me, you know,” she said to her mirror image, her frown deepening.

Tanya sighed in resignation and looked into her sister’s eyes. The same sea-green eyes as her own.

She could lie to the whole world but not to that girl.

She took a deep breath and started, “I honestly really cannot figure out what the matter is, but I feel like something is wrong. Something is really wrong.” She took a gulp of salty air, “I feel so down right now for no reason at all. I feel restless. Hollow even. And it’s not only right now. This feeling has been persisting in me for some time. And I have no idea why! What’s wrong with me?”

Haniya’s grip tightened on her sister’s hand before she suddenly let go and walked straight into the water. She stopped when it reached up to her knees, her white dress getting soaked at the seams.

“Since when?” she whispered, facing the crimson horizon.

“Since when what?” a bewildered Tanya inquired, rubbing her hands on her arms. They suddenly felt cold. Perhaps from the loss of warmth her sister’s hands had priorly provided.

“Since when have you been feeling this way?” Hainya asked, standing perfectly still in the water against the rhythmic tides.

For some reason, Tanya couldn’t stomach seeing her sister’s silhouette with the deep crimson sky in the background. So she closed her eyes and thought about it. Since when had she started feeling this strange emptiness? Was it yesterday? Since last week? Last month? When did it all begin? How had she lost all perception of time?

She was suddenly broken out of her reverie by the voice of her best friend calling out her name. No it was not Haniya. It was her next door neighbour, Samira.

Tanya turned her head to see Samira in a purple t-shirt and white shorts running towards her. “Hey, Tanya!… Hey!” she yelled, waving her hand as she ran with the wind, leaving a trail of footprints behind in the sand. She came to a sudden halt just in front of her.

“Samira! Where did you come flying from?” Tanya laughed at her friend who was bent over, panting, her hands on her knees. Quite a few strands of her jet black hair had come loose from her once-neat ponytail.

“I saw you here… alone… so I ran over!” Samira gasped, standing upright, grimacing while holding her side.

“What?” Tanya raised an eyebrow, “First of all, you have horrible stamina. And second, I’m not alone. Haniya’s with me,” she said, motioning to her sister with a slight flick of her head.

There was a static silence.

5 seconds

10 seconds

15 seconds

30 seconds

“Oh Tanya,” Samira’s eyes welled up, “Don’t tell me….? Don’t you remember anything? The fire…did you really forget…” she reached out a trembling hand towards her friend.

“What in the world are you babbling about?” Tanya shouted, swatting away her hand as she stepped back, feeling a wave of anger sweeping over her. How dare she say something like that? How dare she! Haniya was right there! She was right….

She turned around to call her sister over.

And in the midst of the crimson waves, there was no one there.

 

-Maria Ahmad.

Biosciences, 4th Year.

Letter To My Jigglypuff.

Dear Jigglypuff,

I always dreamt that if I was a Pokemon Master, I’d choose you as my starter Pokemon even though you aren’t in the trio options of Pokemons in any land (as far as I’m aware). But that wouldn’t have stopped me for I adore you. Your pink cheeks, green eyes and a small cute chubby body is just something no one can resist aww-ing at.

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I always knew I would have had an upper hand with your voice, entrancing every one into a deep sleep, and all those uh, what do you call those unique Pokemons?

Yeah. The legendary mysterious ones. They too would have been in my Poke-balls. I would have caught the most ferocious, the most toughest and the most endearing by not initiating a challenging battle but rather using a single-shot-knock-out strategy; that is you doing the thing you do best – singing them to sleep. That is something, the strongest of the strongest at one point, bow  down towards- helpless & sleepy.

A harmless power, yet so conquering. It would have helped me to make quite a precious collection of worthy Pokemons.

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We could have gotten away with all the crimes and would have made a super cool duo of criminals. Man, with us being super cute, no one would have ever suspected us. Our innocent looks would have melted everyone’s hearts and they would have simply given us all the money, all the riches,all the doughnuts.

I could have taken you to school, to college, to university, every time winning favours, winning guys, winning marks. *evil smirk*

You could have sat on my head or my shoulder while I did my exam with your pen. (I know they wouldn’t have allowed it but with you being adorable & all I doubt if they had left you outside to cry).

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I often thought that you could have made a lovely rockstar or a softstar (if that’s even a thing). How beautiful it would have been for you to knock out all stressed hearts into a deep, peaceful sleep with just your singing.

It would have been fun for them to, you know, that act where the singer jumps off the stage in a concert and the audience passes them around on their raised hands- (I don’t know the word for that action, but hey, you get the idea)-, with you it would have been even more easier since you’re small.

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My kids would have dressed up in Jigglypuff jumpsuits to attend parties at their school. My husband dropping them off (also in a Jigglypuff jumpsuit).Together, we would have made a Jiggly-Jiggly- Puffy family. All of you could have made an amazing crew of a band since I have plans of teaching one of my kids to be a drummer & the other a guitarist.

Yeah. I know. I’m overdoing it here. But think about it, Jiggly. Think about all this stuff and a lot more. Even though pink really sores my eyes at times, you’d be the only creature that I’d never really get bored of, for you bring the most genuine smile on my face.

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We could have attended festivals , set up stalls to face-paint people, making all sorts of scribbles on their faces with your maker filled with permanent ink.

It would have been lovely to vent to you on a rainy, lonely, cold night because you, unlike humans, would have offered listening to me, rather than giving me useless advises and in that moment, a part of me would be glad that you can’t speak but sing; sing my troubled mind into a quiet, tranquil sleep.

So Jigglypuff, I’m going to end this tear-drenched letter by saying; in every Pokemon region, in every Pokemon movie/series, in every Pokemon battle, I would have chosen you over and over again.

Love,

Aniqa.

Words Are Insufficient.

Natsume Takashi,

Truth be told, I avoided you for a long time. You seemed like an average teenager to me and I have been disappointed spending time getting to know people I have never been able to relate to. So, I want to start off by thanking you. Thank you for voicing all the feelings I have never been able to explain. Your calm, soothing presence helped me find a place where my sadness made sense.

We start molding our personality as children while our teenage years help cement them. Losing your parents and being forced to move from house-to-house because you were considered ‘unusual’ must have been hard. You were always by yourself, no place or people to call your own, always feeling like an outsider.

It was pretty sad wasn’t it? To watch all the other kids around you play and laugh while you sat in a corner and watched? Never being able to share your emotions or a lunchbox for that matter. Maybe in an alternative universe, we could have been friends. It would have been nice.

Our loneliness was never towering, for us, loneliness has always been like a drifting cloud, coming and going at its own whim, yet, never quite leaving us.

Things changed for you later though, you were taken in by a loving foster family who showed you kindness and, you said it yourself, didn’t you? That the more people try to be kind to you, the more terrified you become. Now that you have gotten a taste of what love actually feels like, you are terrified of losing it.

Our mutual anxiety is what makes you so relatable. I know what it feels like to be conscious of your every movement down to every single breath you draw from your lungs. To double-check every move because you are so scared that a single miscalculated step might shatter everything because that’s how fragile it all seems to you.

You never shared these anxieties with anyone because that would only serve to burden them and that’s the last thing you’d ever want to do. So, you stay quiet. You do not voice your feelings because you never know what could prompt them to leave you. So, you silently suffer and tell yourself that it’s all for the best.

Throughout the series you never gave any thought to your future because it was scary to imagine, wasn’t it? To imagine a future where you’re happy, loved, content; because deep down you cannot help but think that you are undeserving of it.

But Natsume, we are both beginning to change, aren’t we? We have found people we can fall back on, we are learning that it is okay to voice our feelings, to give them a name. We are both slowly beginning to heal. It is a long, painful process and the only reason we brave on is because of those fleeting moments of happiness. Moments where you are surrounded and bathed in love, days where you laugh till your insides cannot take anymore; treasured moments that make us want to stick around for a little while longer.

There will be a lot of sad days in the future as well and they might outnumber the happy ones but that’s all part of life’s unpredictability. Some days you will be able to ride out the waves, other days you might be left with salt-water lungs, gasping for air and that’s okay. You’re doing okay. We’re doing okay.

 

Regards,

Aasma Adnan.

 

Hearts of Granite.

Frustrated I gave the keys one last futile jab before I slammed down the laptop’s screen. A real piece of junk; it never really worked anyway. If only my dad had coughed up some more money and bought me the one that I actually wanted; I thought as I stretched and swung open the refrigerator door before me.

My stomach growled its approval as I took inventory of the shelves, straining under the weight of the food, but with nothing to eat. The ping of my cell phone distracted me from my deteriorating mood.

Excellent! Last minute lunch plans.

As the tires rolled on the hot tarmac, my mind was pre-occupied; what exactly would I choose to satiate my hunger with. Did I feel for a light refreshing sandwich, slabs of meat with crisp lettuce and tomatoes on toasted rye? Or some sumptuously spicy noodles, bite sized crunchy vegetables drizzled in sauce and chili oils.

The aromas wafting away were sensational. I could hardly wait. Right now, I was so hungry, I could just about eat everything. At the tap on my window I snapped out of my reveries, miffed.

Two eyes and a palm stared beseechingly at me, a dirt crusted face attracting flies, lips quivering, mouthing out words, whose sounds never reached my ears. The cracked lips had a spit bubble settled comfortably at one corner. My eyes slid down the boy’s kurta- if it could even be called that, with its holes and patches it more accurately was closer to rags- slicked with sweat. He could hardly have been sixteen. My lips curled at the smudge that had now spread across the glass, grime sedimented in the ridges of the boy’s fingertips from God knows how long.

ho

It was bad enough that these people were allowed to roam freely in this state but then they had to come and make contact with us in such a manner. With the country’s current condition, we could hardly look after ourselves let alone attend to the welfare of others. Wasn’t that the state’s job? And of course everybody knew giving away money was useless. It never solved anything and it was never used for the right things by these people.

My brows furrowed as I gestured a sharp flick with my hands, annoyed. I turned away, failing to comprehend the disheartened eyes that retreated. Eyes that were used to harboring disappointments from long ago. Eyes that in a cruel twist mirrored the irritation I felt towards my parents(at that moment), as a yearning for such beings that had never existed, for this boy; yearning to feel the presence of such people, their laughter, their rules, and even their restrictions. Impervious to the embers extinguishing in those pupils, I settled back into my seat to comfort my tummy with thoughts of the meal to come.

The sky had darkened now, as I was returning home from my day out with my friends. The humid heat of the day had built up to its climax. Rain poured down, a storm rumbled overhead, drowned out only by the temporary haven I was sitting in, in my car; heater turned up, radio blasting away.

My eyes were focused on the road beyond the periodic swish of the wipers on my wind screen. As I drove past the roundabout, almost home, I noticed a body lying on the side of the pavement.

A kurta clad body, rain soaking up the fabric, washing out the layers of sweat. Clear water fell on a face, dripping down as mud-changed. Dozens of cars drove past, flashing their headlights, hands permanently pressed to the horns, staring in front of themselves, thinking only of the remaining distance till their destinations. Nobody stopped for the boy by the pavement. Nobody looked at the fallen body.

act

Across the world, 2 people die each second, 105 each minute, and 151,600 each day. More people than deserve it remain alone till their last breath; an even greater number are the nameless-basically faceless- that in no way affect our lives so we see no reason to pay attention to theirs. Children without homes, with families, without knowing anybody that could possibly love them withering away.

As I switched on the hazard lights and parked by the pavement, I dialed for the ambulance. A whirlwind of thoughts swirled through my mind. Countless moments previously stored in my temporal lobes broke free; instances that I had no conscious memory of. Endless faces that I might have come across over my two decades.

I saw a boy being whipped with a baton, victim to the occasional, half-hearted police crackdowns.

I saw another lying unconscious, a shiny tell tale needle sticking of his arm, sparkling in the sunlight, blinding me.

I saw numerous blank faces plowing past, their eyes glazed with their apathy; their faces pinched, concentrating on some undoubtedly irrelevant and inane problems that governed their lives.

And among those desensitized robots I saw myself.

streets

We are used to witnessing such sights of poverty, of abandoned children and of broken homes around us that we have by now taught ourselves to ignore them. We have built walls around our sheltered lives, protecting us from the outside, dispensing out 20 rupees intermittently, whenever reality finally catches up to us. Chaos, horror, hardships released in measured doses; the suffering of others ‘inferior’ to us, whispered gently to us so that we can handle them according to our mechanisms, correlating with our whims. We purposefully turn the other cheek to the young, the children forced to grow up prematurely, to stand and look the harsh world in the eye before it consumes them.

streeeeet

As the sirens-picked up by the wind- reached my ears, one final image swam before my eyes; a child barely five, skipping along the sidewalk, alone, cars whizzing past on both sides, his face full of laughter, singing some old tune gleefully, oblivious to his surroundings; and I remember (shamefully) my shock, my surprise that somebody in his situation could still feel the capacity of happiness, possess the ability to smile. But of course he was still to learn of his reality, of the ways of the world, and of its men.

 

-Sidra Zahid.

Be Grateful; For the one thing that separates us from the ones who are suffering is- Fate.

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I have problems, we all do. If we don’t, we find one, and sometimes we find many.
One doesn’t even have to look very far, it’s the easiest thing in the world!
As if it were not enough to find problems, and mentally disturb yourselves in the process, many of us cling to our problems. Cling to them as if they were the center of the universe and to them it very well might as well be, but just because they might as well be doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be.
But then there are cases, cases that you and I aren’t part of, and gratefully so, where people’s problems are quite literally, what their world revolves around.

DISAPPOINTMENTS.

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It was a cold, windy evening, Natasha just landed at an Indian airport. Although she was returning from the USA after 10 years but she did not seem excited. Her big, hazel, almond-shaped eyes showed deep sadness. The joy while coming back to her motherland, the place where she was born, was not anywhere in her face. She was lost in her thoughts deeply.

While walking at the airport, she heard a voice from the back, “Excuse me!” She looked back and replied, “Yes?”

“Your notebook slipped off from your bag.” She recalled the time when her friends surprised her after the classes and gifted her that colourful notebook, with scrumptious rainbow-coloured jelly cake with ‘Happy Birthday Tasha’ written on it. She was obsessed about these kinds of notebooks and diaries and had a collection of them. It was one of her favourite diaries. She wrote all her good memories which she spent with her close friends. Those times rushed into her mind while picking up the notebook.

She wanted to cry so hard but suddenly Mr. Suresh Batra shouted, “Stop wasting our time and hurry up!”

It was her father who was so angry as he was exhaust due to delay in flight and they had to stay at the Dubai airport two more hours. He wanted to reach to their apartment as soon as possible, take a hot shower and go for a dinner at her sister’s place who was waiting for her brother and his family desperately. Natasha wiped her tears off with her handkerchief immediately and moved on with her luggage.

“Oh Suresh! It’s been so long since I’ve seen you people. Oh my God Tashu! You’re so grown up and pretty. And look at these handsome boys, especially the youngest one. He resembles you a lot, Suresh. And Neha, you have lost a lot of weight. Don’t forget to give me tips dear.” This was Mrs. Priya Arora, Mr. Batra’s sister.

She was so happy to see her brother and his family after a long time. After settling at America, it was the first time Mr. Batra came back to his motherland. And Mrs. Arora, being the wife of one of the richest and handsome businessman, Mr. Ankit Arora, never got a chance to visit to her brother’s place. Although, Mr. Arora often goes to different countries every month for his business trips but never took his wife along with him. He had no time for his family and was busy in his office day and night. They had no kids, lived in a 3-storey bungalow and were totally strangers to each other. Mr. Arora had a very healthy and luxurious lifestyle. He wakes up at 5 a.m., goes for jogging, performs yoga, eats healthy breakfast and leaves for his office at sharp 7 a.m.

After coming back home at 5 p.m., he remained busy doing business deals, then goes to parties and clubs. He returns back home at 11 p.m. and goes to sleep. Mrs. Arora adjusted her life according to her husband’s. She had no complains. She used to feel lonely but then she decided to continue her education, instead of sitting alone at her house all day. And today, she is the managing director of the multinational company. She is an inspiration to all the Indian housewives who have been tortured by their tyrant families and in laws for years and years. Two years ago, she also received a ‘woman of substance‘ award by Indian Women Organisation and this news was published worldwide.

“Which college you are planning to go, Natasha?” Mrs Arora asked. Natasha was so lost in her thoughts that hearing Mrs Arora’s voice startled her.

“Well aunty, I’m thinking to continue my college studies privately as my two years are already wasted, so I’m thinking to complete them within a year.”

“You won’t study privately. I’ve already looked up some few good colleges for you. Better to take admissions in one of them,” ordered Mr Batra.

“But I don’t want to waste any more years,” claimed Natasha. “Why don’t you understand? Studying privately will affect your grades and you won’t be admitted in any of the good universities,” Mr Batra said angrily.

Natasha shook her head. She had no more courage to argue with anyone, because she knew she’ll lose again. Before coming back to India, she begged her parents not to leave USA before her graduation. But her parents thought if she’ll stay even one more month, they’ll lose her.

She fell in love with her dearest friend, Ethan and wanted to marry him. When she told her parents about him, they refused to meet him. She knelt down on their knees and begged in front of them but they disagreed. And when she blackmailed them that she’ll run away if she didn’t get married to him, her parents planned to settle back to India, without telling anything to Natasha. She came to know this by listening to her parents’ conversation, during the flight but till then, it was too late for her to run away.

Next day, early in the morning, she went to the kitchen to make a cup of hot chocolate for herself and decided to have a walk at the garden. While she was wandering around on a soft grass, she saw a piece of paper lying near the main gate. She leaped towards it to check what it was. It was a letter from the USA to Natasha. There was no name written on the envelope. When she opened the letter, it said:

Dear Tasha,

I hope you have reached India safely with your family. And I know that you’re not happy with their decision. But it’s better to accept the truth as soon as possible. I know it’s difficult for you, but it’s also difficult for your parents to accept a guy who is from different religion and culture. They are not wrong at their side, they took this step because they love you, care about you and don’t want to lose you. They are afraid that if you marry me, you will lose your religion and culture forever. But believe me, I’ll never force you to do that so, because I love you and I don’t want you to sacrifice anything for me. Love is not about doing sacrifices, it’s accepting someone with all the flaws and differences and loving them perfectly. And don’t worry about our future. I believe that we’ll meet one day. Maybe after 10 years or so, but we will definitely meet. And your parents will also understand our love, trust me. Just give them some time and concentrate on your studies. Forget whatever happened and take a fresh start. And do take care of yourself. OK?

Forever yours,

Ethan.

P.S. Do not forget to give me your number, I’ll call you whenever possible.

After reading this, she got motivation and a new hope and felt herself very close to Ethan. She decided to join college once again as she wanted to prove to Ethan that his love had a power to change her and make her achieve what she can in her life. She folded the letter and went into the room to get ready as she was getting late for her interview in college.

 

-Nabiha Sohani.

BS Biosciences.