International Day of the Girl Child

“I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” ―Malala Yousafzai”

Head bowed, 

Face hidden away, 

She dreams of freedom, 

Each and every day.


Her only companion is a pen in hand, 

Scribbling her thoughts down,

She wonders aloud, 

Will she ever escape this town?


Now you see, the fault isn’t within her,

She loves her home as much as the other, 

Yet he was given freedom, 

While she was told to stay at home with her mother.


I say to her and all her comrades, 

Fear not the shackles of this age,

We will empower ourselves till the end,

And I promise, this is a war to be waged!

S. Mahrukh Nawaz

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World Teacher’s Day!

​They held my hand,

Scared and small;

Taught me to spell the tree,

That apples came from.

Gentle and kind,

With a strict edge at times;

They showed me around school,

Its intimidating hallway became mine.

From A to Z,

And running with scraped knees;

They watched as my friends,

Became my chosen family.

My teacher held me when all fell apart,

A second parent, not by blood, but by heart.

– Gulrukh Rizvi~

Do Not Trespass.

You do not blow a kiss
To a fire breathing monster
You do not hold blood trickling hands reaching out of a grave
You do not clip the wings of a bird
Destined to burn them in the sun
You do not burn the bridges
When their debris are already under your foot
You do not run into​ the ocean when it’s freezing cold
You do not paint the clouds
and get sad when they’re still grey and white
Don’t you dare, oh darling don’t you dare
To bring your jar of hopes
I just have a castle made of sand
Which I demolish by night.

-Hira Altaf.

Bio-Sciences.

Painting by: henrikaau.

Aura.

Glass blown and sanded,
The feel of silk,
The smell of spring,
None can compare,
To the aura which you have ensnared,

The springs of Honduras fall short on all scales,
The suns radiance in your presence fails,
Your grace eludes even the black swan,
If you’re the queen, i’d happily play the pawn,

The wilderness flocks to your reside,
To the Olympians you are their pride,

None to your presence can compare,
To the aura which you have ensnared.

Even the Greek sculptors would fail to capture your beauty
The mystery, the allure all have their specific duty

How the clouds part to reveal the moon and stars,
Who are well aware that their spell has been cast,
Your arrival brings a similar magic,
To not stop and admire it would be tragic,

A sin I would not commit,
A whim to which I cannot submit,

None can compare,
To the aura which you have ensnared,

As flowers at the beginning of day
Like the moon beckoning the water astray

Crystal is my mind,
My feelings for you have me intertwined,
The epitome of excellence is you,
The model of all traits
It is true!

The conundrum now seems how to let go,
How to evade destiny’s call
How to turn away from my curtain call.

-Bilal A. Temuri.

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.

Oscar Acceptance Speech

I would like to thank my parents for giving me genes of mediocrity

Since I now have my whole set of stairs to climb upon

I would also like to thank my teachers who slapped me

For now I have little patch of stories embossed on my skin

And I would like to thank every person who told me I was not special

Because of you guys only, my path has now no red lights

And last and not the least, I would like to thank God,

For throwing me alone in the jungle full of hungry souls

Only for you, Oh Lord, am I now a meshwork of malice and beauty

And I thank you for that.

-Hira Altaf

Anxiety is the friend who stays past dinner and doesn’t want to go home.

sara

 I thought she wasn’t going to stay for long

I met her at a park when I was 10 years old

She said she was lonely, that she needed a friend

So I held her hand.

My mother took us to the beach one day

She told us how the sea had strange powers,

that it reminded you how to breathe just by watching it.

She explained to us, in the way she told stories,

How the waves touched the rocks with gentle caresses

and landed kisses on the white sand.

When my mother turned away, my friend whispered to me

“It’s violent.

It’s violent like a monster.

It has so much rage. Like it’s angry at us.

At you.”

One time, when a teacher called me to her office

to discuss my work, my friend kept telling me

“You must have done something wrong.

You must have gotten a bad grade.

You must have spelled that word wrong.”

And so like that she counted the ways I might have screwed up

on her fingers.

I let out a small laugh

though my palms were starting to clam up and my knees felt weak.

Some years passed

I made other friends

Friends who gave me their phone numbers

But every time I would send them a text and waited for their response

My friend made me check my phone

3 times

Then 7

Then a few times more

All in the span of five minutes

And if there was still no response, we’d argue

“They’re probably busy,” I’d say

“They don’t want to talk to you,” she’d say.

“They must have not checked their phone.”

“Maybe you said something wrong.”

My friend started sticking around a lot more.

One time, when I was waiting to meet a colleague from work at a café,

she insisted that I had left the stove on at home,

even when I reassured her I hadn’t.

She said something about the house erupting in flames

if I didn’t go home right then.

I eventually had to leave

It was the fourth time I had cancelled the meeting.

I didn’t understand why nobody else could see my friend

I wondered if anyone else had a friend like that

Who kept them up at night so they could either rewind past conversations

in their head countless of times

or play out scenarios perfectly so they wouldn’t

have to face reality.

I wondered if they also had someone who

made them change their outfits 5 times before leaving the house

only to constantly remind them to check their bag in case

they had left the keys at home

even if they hadn’t.

Who pushed a hand inside their chest and

grabbed their heart in their fist and made it beat faster and faster

until they felt it would burst from the seams.

Who made them stay home with a tempting offer to be wrapped in a blanket.

and read a book

instead of to face the world

because they just want to make them feel safe.

To protect them.

“This world is too much for you,” they’d say.

“You’re not ready.”

My friend doesn’t want to leave

She has no luggage she can pack up and move out

She says she is the safest person I’ll ever know

And maybe she’s right.

 

-Sarah Jafrani.

bro