Flickering Lanterns

Let's 'live' and not 'survive'.


mary adler.jpg

(Sequel to Did She Matter?)

The door bell rings as the tea kettle whistles, filling the atmosphere with the aroma of Tapal Danedaar. Moriya hears her father opening the gate of the main entrance of the house. She rushes to change into normal clothes since she’s always found wearing pajamas, for the last two months at least. She peeks into the drawing room, its her uncle and grandma. She starts talking to them, and then to him – Frank. After all these years, she’s grown up to be a young woman, and he has grown into a wise man. Something has changed between them, but everything is still the same. Their connection. They connect on a different level, a level hard to achieve.
Frank looks at a magazine and brings up a lot of old memories, and soon Moriya finds herself sitting in one of the rooms of one of the old houses she’s lived in. He is tutoring her for grade seven subjects. Moriya fills in the hand-drawn worksheets and watches Frank check them for possible mistakes. He tells Moriya to pay attention to the grammar rules and draws a table for her to learn the skeleton of English language. Moriya spends rest of the time chatting like a butterfly fluttering with new wings who has just come out of a cocoon. She feels comfortable around him, even though he can be strict at times. She doesn’t have a single clue how this time spent learning from him is going to work out later in her life.
You know.“, Frank begins to speak. Moriya comes back to the drawing room. “Mhmm?“, Moriya asks him, reassuring him for her present attention. “Your mother asked me to come teach you, and I think you remember that. She called me one day and told me, ‘Moriya is weak in learning stuff. I want you to come see her weekly if you can.’ and that struck me. I did and I found out that you weren’t weak cognitively or intellectually. You had all the best abilities to learn. You were just insecure and lacked confidence. Like you’d never get up and ask for what’s your right. You’d just let people do whatever they wanted without you saying a word.“, Frank takes a pause. “Back then, all I did was.. I taught you for half an hour, and for the rest of the time, I would just talk to you, listen to all your stories and encourage you to say what you had to say. That developed what was lacking in your personality as a little shy girl. And look at you now.“, Frank smiles at Moriya. “I’m grateful to you for that. I know you invested your time and effort into me, hence I respect you on an entirely different base of reasons. You were there to put building blocks for what I have today, and I appreciate that.“, Moriya tells Frank. “I love your imagination. Please don’t ever let it go.“, Frank says as he holds a published story by Moriya in one of his hands.
Frank leaves after an hour and his words ring in Moriya’s ears. He had diagnosed and  fixed something in her without letting her know at the right time and at a young age. He had low-key been her psychiatrist and she never got to know. Some people, they make you – oblivious of the fact that they have made you. They support you and scarcely take credit. Some people are genuinely genuine, and they never ask for recognition in return. They ask for nothing in return. They just ask you to be better. They ask you to take on their legacy. Looking at her accomplishments, Moriya now knew, how to pay people back for their investments.

– Mahaah.


Happy Third Birthday, FL!

laptop by the window

Hey, FL!
I was thinking that I missed it and now I’ll have to wait for another year to post this since I forgot it last year after I came back home from a trip and told myself that I’d just post something the next year. And here we are in 2018.
I started you – this blog – not knowing jack shit about how the internet really worked and I was “told” to try it out like I am for many things, but this one had a nice ending. I started writing because I thought I expressed well through words – which I do and now I am proud of. I used to underestimate myself to the extent of demeaning myself – literal insults – but I think I’ve told my negative side to shut the fuck up pretty well now. There’s a lot of negativity in the world anyway, I don’t need to add mine. (But I think I do because of depressive traumatic shit that I post usually. It will take time but it will hopefully go away someday.)
In these three years, I met people on this platform who helped me form an image of myself as a person who knew how to write – I wouldn’t type writer here ’cause one publication doesn’t really make me a writer – but yeah, now when I look back, I don’t think I had a pre-existing image of myself as anything. And that’s sad. Right people at the right time matter, and here’s to everyone who played their part. It means a lot and I appreciate it.
Ever since I’ve submitted my final year assignments for my Applied Linguistics degree last year, I think words come to me more easily now than they ever did before, and I think that when they say practice makes you perfect, they ain’t joking.. it’s plain truth. I’m still on the journey, but someday I’ll get there. Hopefully.
Or have I just started ranting more easily than I did before? I don’t know. But whatever it is, its good to see the fingers go Usain Bolt on the keyboard. Ya feel me?
Writing is how I emote. My face doesn’t say much. My eyes don’t either. My words are better read than said because I think I don’t speak as much now like I used to. Growing up and losing people. It does shit to you.
So thank you FL, for being my space where I know that there are lesser people to judge me so I’m a closer version to the real version of me. Thank you for letting me speak uninterrupted. Thank you for not having a word limit. Thank you for making me realize that numbers don’t matter cause there’s literally like a handful of people who read what I write. Which is great and not great at the same time. And yes, I am sorry for always forgetting your name and pronouncing it as fucking lanterns. Deepest apologies.

With an endless fountain of love,
Your Mommy,

The Longing for Your Embrace.

girl in the window

I hadn’t seen you in months. I hadn’t talked to you for weeks. Something was missing, I knew it. Something. Or everything? It was you. Your presence. You’re an important part of my life, in case you don’t know it by now.
You needed space. It was your right. I stepped back a little but kept an eye out for you. I wanted to be there just like you had been when I needed something to fall back on, all those years ago.
And then.
It hit me. Time was there again, not paused, not stopped, but reversed. As if someone took all the clocks in the world and reset them back in time. Back then I was new and you were new and everything was new. Back then I didn’t know you like I know you now. Back then I was busy in figuring you out, but now I have – at least I’d like to think so. Back then you were not quite out of the phase of mourning someone who was still alive. Now, well, I’m not entirely sure.
It was alright. Until.
I realized that I was patient with missing you. I missed you, with every breath. I missed our conversations. I missed your presence. But I didn’t blurt everything out, whatever I was thinking. I pushed it back. I kept pushing it back. I wanted to be patient. It was a choice.
I wanted to meet you, but I couldn’t. You wanted to see me too, but you couldn’t. I don’t know if we didn’t want to or if we were doing it on purpose. Maybe I didn’t have the courage to see you like that. Even if you said that you were okay. Well, okay for many people means crappy. I was okay with the gap that now somehow existed, but to be honest, it felt like shit.
But then.
Tonight we met. I was too overwhelmed by your presence to think of all the other things. The aura around you was different, but it was still alright as long as you were in front of my eyes. As long as you were smiling. As long as you were happily flaunting your skirt. I didn’t spend much time with you, but believe me when I say this, my eyes kept following you even if I wasn’t by your side.
It was time to leave. You said goodbye and hugged me. I don’t know if I felt it or if it was actually intentional, but the embrace lasted for quite a few moments. It hadn’t happened before, so I soaked it in as much as I could. You were letting me go when I asked you when I’d be able to see you again. You said that you had no idea.
I asked you to have an idea. I want you to have an idea.
I will start missing you again as life throws us into opposite directions. You won’t be there ’cause you won’t be there. As you once said, we can’t own anyone. People are there and then they aren’t. You can’t do anything about it. You just try to live in the moment and cherish it to the fullest. I hate to admit this, but you wouldn’t be there like you once were, even if I want you to.
With your absence, the longing for your embrace will be more present.

– Mahaah.

We Were On Trains..


She and I, we were on a train. Not the same train though, different trains. We were on different trains. We would come across each other, our lips would part to say something, and even before our voice boxes could produce a sound, the moment would be lost. We were on trains that ran on two tracks side by side. We were on trains that always ran along but never met. There must’ve been a reason and there was a reason. The collision would have taken a lot of lives had the trains or the tracks met accidentally. We were on trains that never gave us a chance. We wanted the chance though, but we never got it. We were on trains; we were “the girl on the train” to each other. The chase never ended, as never ended the charm. We would try our hardest but still pass by each other every single day. We couldn’t catch up because we were on trains.

We were on trains and we lost each other. 

– Mahaah.

Did She Matter?

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(Sequel to Winter… )

She stood there as people started to gather at the venue by the shore. Moriya had submitted photographs and artworks for a competition and had gotten selected in the top fifty finalists from all over the city. They were being exhibited; she sighed as the realization sunk in. The wind was cold and incredibly hard to endure, so she asked her friend Ruby to get inside the big room that displayed gems amid gems. Just as she got in, she saw a five years old girl scream in joy. She walked a few steps ahead to look at what that child was looking at. “Mama! Sadness! Inside Out!“, the little girl managed to utter these words amidst her excitement. Moriya smiled in absolute disbelief. She knew that the artwork belonged to her. What she did not know was the reason how something so little could make a kid go nuts. A tear appeared on the corner of one of her eyes. She wiped it with the tip of her little finger and went out again.

The sun was losing its sharp edged intensity. She wanted to watch the dusk by herself, by the sea, by the noise of waves that crashed into the shore. Soon enough the sky started to turn into a mix of purple, pink, orange and blue. As if someone had put different colored inks into a glass of water, as if the colors danced and diffused into each other. It was getting cold but she didn’t mind. Moriya was like Elsa, the cold never really bothered her anyway. She snapped some photos and soon dived into a seemingly bottomless abyss of thoughts. Fairy lights soon turned into bokeh – she didn’t know if she was crying or if the lights were plainly out of focus. “Why am I alone here? Why didn’t they come? It’s unfair.“, a thread started weaving itself out of nowhere. She had been pushing these thoughts away for the entire day, but it was a lot to carry on her bare shoulders.

Moriya’s family didn’t go to attend her first exhibition of her work. It wasn’t entirely hers, since it was majorly a competition, still it mattered a lot to her. People coming up to her to ask her about her works, herself being recognized, it meant a whole lot to her. Her siblings were busy, her father had prior commitments, her sick mother couldn’t get out of the house or travel long distances. She asked her mother several times to come along with her, but she couldn’t make her point valid, or maybe it didn’t matter enough to be valid in the first place. Her mother told her that she’d surely go to the next exhibition if she ever has any, but passed away before she could fulfill her promise. Moriya wanted to delete these memories, but the harder she tried to forget them, the more they became the scars to her mind’s slate.

A tear trickled down her face. She wanted to yell at the sea, but the sea hadn’t wronged her at all. She felt alone. The wind pierced through her and made her dupatta flap wildly; it seemed like the visual representation of her heart inside the rib cage. “Calm down. You’ll be fine. It will be fine.“, she muttered to herself under her breath. The question was, would it ever actually be fine?

Moriya!“, she heard Ruby calling her name. In a matter of seconds she heard Ruby scold her, “Where were you? Where is your phone? I’ve been texting you. You had me worried sick, do you know that? And what are you doing at this dangerous corner huh? You could have fallen over!” “That’s what I wanted.“, she replied to Ruby in her mind. “I’m saying something, Moriya.“, Ruby resumed the conversation. “Yeah I’m sorry I got distracted.“, Moriya said in a monotonous voice. She didn’t want her deflated mood to slip away.

The ride back home took place in silence. Moriya didn’t want to speak, so she looked at city lights and listened to music. “Do I even matter?“, she thought to herself. Her mind could produce a reply to that question. Her mother welcomed her when she got home. “How was it?“, she cheerfully asked. “You’d have known if you’d gone with me, mum.“, she wanted to make a point. “It was alright though. I enjoyed it very much.”, Moriya lied. She had started to lie a lot about her real feelings; masking her emotions was one of her best talents now. It was legitimate, according to her. At least no one was getting hurt. She was no one.

Nobody talked about her experience of the exhibition for long. It was a topic to boast about for people who knew her closely for a week and then it all faded into dust. This time it didn’t hurt Moriya. She didn’t know if she was steel or if she had pretended to be steel for so long that now she didn’t have a choice but to be steel. She learned to not take things personally. She learned to guard her heart. She learned to be strong. She learned the subtle art of not giving a fuck. And to be crudely honest, it was the best lesson that her life had taught her so far.

– Mahaah.

Tangents and Parallels.

sad gloomy room

I think this goes back to sixth grade mathematics. In geometry, parallel lines are lines in a plane which do not meet; that is, two lines in a plane that do not intersect or touch each other at any point are said to be parallel. On the other hand, the tangent line (or simply tangent) to a plane curve at a given point is the straight line that “just touches” the curve at that point. In simpler words, train tracks are parallel, unless they are broken or have faced an accident. To imagine a tangent line, consider an oval shape. A straight line drawn on top of its parameter at some point would touch a part of the outer boundary of the oval, not the entirety of it. It would just touch and go, like a meteor falling near Earth. That line, that touches and moves on, is called a tangent line. Why did I come up with this geometry lesson? I think this one goes back to a conversation that I was having with one of my close friends, and this analogy of people being tangents and parallels, intersection (convergence/divergence) points and whatnot, brought us to come to terms with a huge lesson that life taught us.

There comes a time in our lives when we feel like we are around people who don’t understand us. Friends, acquaintances, siblings – they don’t get it even if they say that they do. This troubles us. Not because they are not being helpful, but because they try and they fail constantly even though they are trying their best. They would sympathize with you for your misery, they will listen to your rants, they will reassure you that they’ll always be there, but then the same people would move on with their own lives. They’ll tell you that its going to be alright. Its not unfair because they have their lives as well and you don’t own them. Its unfair because you’re fucked up and you’re the one to blame. Its a life that belongs to you and you only even if you didn’t sign up for it. They don’t have the same thought process as you, so they can’t relate to what you experience every day. Their experiences differ from your experiences, their mindsets differ from your point of views. You can’t exactly connect with them. Relatability. That doesn’t exist. You want it to exist but you can’t just go on and birth it. So then one night, and countless other nights, you’ll be fighting insomnia and you’ll want someone to talk to. But it would be 3 am in the morning and ain’t nobody’s got time for your ish. That’s when it will hit you – Oh. Alright. This is what we’re stuck with now. People are not always there. You are. And it’s time to get your shit together. So you get up. Pick another box of tissue papers and cry until your eyes burn. Then at the brink of dawn, when the sky is a blend of blue and indigo from the warmth of early morning sun, you fall asleep to have nightmares about the same misery that you are in. Point being, you are born alone and you die alone, everything else in between is an illusion.

People are like tangents and parallels. Some people are like parallels, they will give you your space, glide along, never converge and be the nicest people ever. You call them your close friends, friends you can trust. You rant to them at times, but then you shut up in front of them at times. You can’t let them go easily, so you stay poised and put together in front of them, while being vulnerable on some instances. Some people are like intersection points. You develop relationships with them at some particular pace, things either speed up or slow down, eventually you both converge at a point and diverge immediately, never to meet again. Some people create tangents. They’ll meet you at some point in your life, have a really nice time with you. You’ll think that you’re getting there, you’re parallel with them. But then they’ll return back to their track, the orbit that they belong to. You’ll be the tangent and shoot away. Like a falling star. You’ll be the falling star, because you’ll be falling apart.

Even after this, you get back up and move on. You know there’s no other way. You don’t say it out loud because you want to conform to the norms of the society. You don’t want people to call you crazy. You don’t die. You live on. And that, my friend, is how you need to question yourself. Reassure yourself. “But, did you die?”

– Mahaah.



(Sequel to In the Memory Of..

One of the windows of her room was banged open by the air pressure, still she didn’t bother to close it. A mug of coffee sat beside her on her bedside table, as little flares of smoke danced on top of its rim. She took a yellow clip out of her hair and started to type on her laptop. Her blanket rested by her feet as cold December air tingled with the skin of her feet. She had forgotten to wear her fluffy socks. She had started to forget a lot of things.

Cold air kept sneaking in, just like her memories. Winter had always been her favorite season, mainly because it used to come for small periods of time where she lived. She loved her jackets and sweaters that her mother would usually put away for the rest of the year. She loved staying at home – for the reserve and introvert child she was. She loved sleeping for long periods of time, since winter nights are longer than summer nights. She loved it when her classes at school would end super early since winter days are shorter than summer days. She liked it when she had the stamina to stand cold water since she loved cold showers no matter the season. Then as years went by, Moriya lost interest in winter. Or maybe Moriya lost interest in life itself.

Her phone vibrated. Moriya had forgotten about the mug of coffee. As she turned her head to check the notification on her phone screen, she uttered “… well, shit.” under her breath. The coffee had gone cold, but it was no use crying over spilled milk. She drank the coffee in one go. Coffee. A face flashed on the projection screen of her mind. She smiled and checked her phone. “Stranger Writers retweeted a tweet“, her display read. She put down her phone and started looking at her laptop screen. Moriya realized a few moments later, she had been staring at her screen – lost. She was everywhere but where she was sitting. The wonders of a thread of stream of consciousness.

A little girl was standing with her mother beside a stall in the market. Her mother was trying to fix a pink colored beanie on her small head. The overload of cuteness led Moriya to exclaim, “Oh. My. Goodness. She’s so cute!!“. All of a sudden the market faded away into dust and she was home. Moriya’s mother was trying to help her wear a denim jacket. “But I don’t like it!“, Moriya told her opinion about the jacket to her mother. “Yeah just put your right arm into this sleeve, Moriya. Believe me it will look good on you.“, her mother insisted as she struggled with her stubborn daughter. Moriya wore the jacket and stood in front of her mirror. “Yes it does look good!“, Moriya exclaimed. “I told you so.“, Moriya’s mother smiled at her and tucked her ruffled silky hair under her ear. “Should we go home?“, Moriya’s father asked and brought her back to the noise and chaos of the market. “Yes.“, she replied to her father and followed him to their car. Everything was there but her mother wasn’t. Her heart wasn’t either.

Her room had gotten pretty cold by the time she came back from the small visit to her past. Moriya decided to let the window stay the way it was. She got up from her bed and wore a hoodie. Hoodies were pretty much the only thing about winter that she liked now. The static energy caused by the friction of her hair and her hoodie threw her bag of thoughts back at the memory lane. Something sparked.

Did you see it?“, Moriya asked her younger sister, Hunzel. “See what?“, Hunzel answered with a question. Moriya rubbed her index finger across the blanket whilst laying down with her sister. “This!“, Moriya pointed towards something in the dark. Something sparked. “Are you talking about the flicker of light?“, Hunzel tried to comprehend what she’d seen just then. “Yes. It’s called static energy. My science teacher taught us about it today.“, Moriya briefed her younger sister who was still too young to understand seventh grade science. “But I already knew about it. I raised my hand and gave her this blanket example. She was very impressed.“, Moriya carried on. Hunzel looked blank at her sister who was talking about things that she didn’t know existed. “You won’t get it. But it’s nice, right?“, Moriya rubbed her index finger across the blanket once again. “Yes, it is. Can I try it?“, Hunzel asked with a puppy face. Moriya nodded yes. Hunzel fell asleep before Moriya did. Her small hands clenched tightly over her small sleeves of her small sweater melted Moriya’s heart. Hunzel’s hair was a mess, so she delicately tucked the hair on her forehead to the sides. Hunzel smiled in her sleep. Moriya kissed her forehead and closed her own eyes and fell asleep. She didn’t know that she was going to miss this night later on in her life. Winter… Sigh.

Moriya felt slumber knocking on her eyelids. She’d had a tiring day and sitting in front of the screen for so long only burned her eyes. She put away her things and fell onto her bed. The blanket felt cozy and warm, and she tucked herself in. She was a big girl now and thinking of that brought a partial smile to her lips. Wrapped in a blanket and looking like a burrito, she remembered how things had changed; and how most of them had changed for the better. The warmth outside her being was just as strong as the coldness inside her. Winter was just another season in Moriya’s new view – for her heart had lost its warmth. The warmth had died of cold. 

– Mahaah.



Beginning of a new Ending.

randomlyabstract reminded me of something from her last post so here it is.
(Sometimes its so hard. I tell myself to not post anything temporarily and then I’m here all like.. sorry girl’s got issues, sorry.)

– 🎶 My head's under water but I'm breathing fine. . . . Two more academic days for the last year, last semester and last week left and I have yet to decide how to feel about it. Yes, I'll miss my friends that I interacted with over the course of four years, I'll miss the conversations I had during my time spent with @moniba.meh , I'll miss all the times when I pushed harder to get ish done because life wasn't on good terms with me throughout this journey – but I don't think I'll miss the institution or anything remotely related to it. Nothing about the courses or exams. They all drove me nuts. I still got something out of it so it isn't that much of a big deal. That might make me not have hate towards this. It was a backup plan anyway. I still have to get done with finals, and I'm genuinely patiently waiting for the end of this month. There's so much on my plate that I didn't exactly order but oh well, you're not always given what you ask for. So. Yeah. Maybe I should stop here. Stressed me is a crazy mad woman. Hold on a little longer, Mahaah. This too shall pass. 💛 (Pray for me maybe?) . . #RantsAndRamblings #OuchThatWasHarsh #TravelDiaries

A post shared by Mahaah (@mahaahazeem) on

Numbness Barges In.


She doesn’t know what she’s done to get through the shit she’s going through.
She doesn’t know what the heck is wrong with the world around her.

She just wants it to end.
Right now.

She’s had enough.
She can’t take it anymore. Not any longer.

There’s two ways to end it.
A thousand to not to. But she wants it ended.

Either she could end her life.
Or she could run away.

But where would she go?

Ending her life would be a direct ticket to hell.
Running away.. to whom? She doesn’t have a place to run off to.

And there, settles the frothing foam.
There, the lava goes back in to erupt later.
There, deflates the rage.
There, numbness barges in.

Is she dead?

Is she alive?

Is she a living dead?

– Mahaah.


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