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Flickering Lanterns

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

The Art of Letting Go.

 

let-go

I’m extremely sad right now. The calm on the surface is hiding the currents that are creating a havoc underneath. Gotta be okay with not being okay, eh? I just quoted Chris Evans from Before We Go. I’ve been saying in my blogs that a lot has happened since the start of 2017. But I’ve been equally lazy to not write it down. I wanted to, but I just couldn’t. There was a lot. I didn’t have the will. Something happened today that just.. I can’t keep it in. I need to let it out or else I won’t be able to focus on my assignment. This needs to get out of the way. Let’s go back to the beginning.

January 2017. My folks and I, we were happy to leave. We had our visas at a hand’s length. Allah taa’la had called us all to his place. We were going to perform Umrah. One of my mother’s last wishes was going to come true, finally. We reached there on the 13th of January. According to the plan, we had one week for Madinah, one for Makkah and then except three members of the family (Me and my both parents) everyone was supposed to go back to Pakistan. We had a week for Jeddah, for shopping and stuff that we hadn’t had the time for in Madinah and Makkah. All three of us arrived at our cousin’s place who was then residing in Jeddah. Everything was okay until when two days later my mother started feeling sicker than ever. The next three days, she had an oscillating condition. A day before we were supposed to catch our flight back home, she lost her consciousness. We got to know later on that she’d had a Cardiogenic Shock. She was a cancer patient then, I think I forgot to mention that. Seven hours before we were supposed to leave for the airport, she was admitted into an ICU on ventilator – where she stayed for a month and two days. I stayed with my heartbroken father in Jeddah for a week after she was admitted until my brother arrived again. She didn’t come back to senses when I was still there. I had to leave for Pakistan since my sister was alone at home. I traveled alone for the first time in my life. I had a feeling that this was a foreshadowing of some sort. And it was. I managed the house alone, took care of my sister and tried to get my academic year back to track. We’d get information on my mother’s health on phone, but a part of me always told me to keep my expectations low and to not lose hope. A month passed by, and on 4th March, my mother celebrated her birthday in an ICU. The word celebrated here is used for some other reason. She went through tracheotomy on the same day and showed improvement. Two nights later, the nurse informed my family that she had passed away.  Her cancer had developed and enveloped the space in her lungs and was going to attack her brain next, which might have resulted in memory loss had she lived. She died of the second heart attack that she could not tolerate. My mother left after fighting a five years long battle. It was a huge loss. But Almighty somehow gave me and my family enough patience to get through it. I miss her with every breath that I take, but I’m glad that she is now free. I’m hoping that she’s having fun up there. May God bless you with the best of ranks in Jannah, Ammi. Ameen.

March 2017. I lost all my will to go back to university. I proposed the idea of dropping out to my father which he refused. Then came the struggle of saving my semester. I had to cover all my assignments in three weeks time, just like The Art of Getting By. I read all my course books in 24 hours before each exam. Alhamdulilah got through it as well.

May 2017. One of my stories, “Dreams and Visions” was published in a departmental magazine called Zau. It was an accomplishment until I forgot about it being an accomplishment.

June 2017. Semester break had started. I had started to get my courage back in place to look at photos of my deceased mother. One night, I stayed up till Fajr and collected all of her photos in a folder in my old laptop. I extracted some of my old photos too and got the folder ready to get transferred to my new laptop, once I had bought a USB of a larger capacity. I bought new art supplies and improved some of my skills. I also put together the house back in place. It seemed all torn out ever since Ammi had left. Got rid of stuff and sorted it all out.

July 2017. The only big memory of this month was my first ever surprise birthday party because it made me cry tears of joy. My friends did an amazing job there and I’m glad that they tried to make me feel better.

August 2017. Life was like, something bad hasn’t happened to you in a while, right? Lets put your patience to test again. Yesterday my sister broke this news to me without any preparatory consolation, “Aapi, the hard drive of your old laptop is gone. We need to get a new one.” Guess what? Another huge loss of this year and my life. I lost approximately 23.6 GB of photographs that I had taken from September 2011 to January 2017. Six years of photography, gone and buried, never to be found again. Even Ammi’s photos from 2005 to 2016 are gone that I had gathered on a horrible tear-filled night some two months ago when I stayed up till Fajr. All I’m left with is some traces of 2014 in my Google Drive and every photo of 2017 in my phone. Thank goodness that I hadn’t cleared up my photo gallery despite every reminder. My heart is beating out of my chest right now. I just can’t. I want to cry but its no use. They won’t come back. A part of my life that I could remember only through photos is now gone. Since Ammi’s death has left me with very poor memory and an exceeding-the-scale tolerance. I’m calm, but only I know what’s gone. I don’t know when I stopped reacting at things.

Letting go is not easy. I was thinking that it might be since I got over a lot of things in the near past. But this. This requires me to learn the art of letting go in its entirety. Guess I’ll be more focused on my assignment now, since I’ve gotten this out of the way. Ah. Sigh.

– Mahaah.

(Side note : Pray for my Ammi, if you can. This artwork belongs to my amazingly talented friend Mahoor, so beware of the copy rights. Also, Hi again. I’m back from the state of hiatus.)  

 

Am I dumb or am I dumb?

(This is gonna be a fun post since I’ve been a bit upset. Here’s something funny and hilarious from me to me because duh, y’all know its always us in the end who stick with us. Geddit? Let’s not get into pessimistic shit all over again. Oops. I’m ranting carefreely here, my carefree includes those words. So yeah. Lezzgo.)

 

It’s been a month since Baba bought me a new laptop, and its one of the happy things that have happened to me so far this year. Its been ages since I’ve written something apart from stuff for academic purposes, and Lord knows, I have a lot to write but I don’t get enough time or energy to pour it out. So guess what? I get apps downloaded into this new laptop, log into my social media and check out my WordPress. I don’t see no admin bar on my screen, hence I’m unable to post or read anything at all. I am legit worried, and I ask my friends if they have the problem of a non-existent admin bar or if WordPress is down. I Google how to fix this problem. They tell me all this coding shit that I needed to do like a hacker. I aint no hacker, y’all know. So… after a gap of two weeks, I turned on my laptop again for some university assignment. Lost in my thoughts, I typed wordpress.com in the url box and guess what? They take me to the frickin home page.

AND THEN IT HIT ME.

The eff?

All. This. Time.

I HADN’T LOGGED INTO WORDPRESS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

So stoopid of me. So stupid.

Am I dumb or am I dumb?

*Laughs at her miserable life*

(Might as well delete this later. I’m excited to post for the first time from my very own first pc.)

No.

hair bun cute girl sleeping on laptop

(A sequel to Bare.)

Warmth rained and the rays emitting from sun touched the surface of Earth with a sweet delicate touch. Spring had finally showed up at the bleak cold party of weathers. An orange butterfly circled around Moriya and flew away. She absorbed her surroundings and became one with them. Warm, gleeful and gay. The red bricks of her college buildings, the carved arches, the old yet strong pillars of the corridor and the perfectly mowed and shaped lawns added beauty to what was in her view. Observations isolated her from Mohini, and she came back to the realization of coming to that event with someone when Mohini hit her on the arm.
“Where are you?”, Mohini grinned at Moriya.
“Uh.. here? Am I invisible?”, Moriya covered her zoning out.
“You are so not here.”, Mohini rolled her eyes at Moriya.
“Okay? Now I am. What do we do now?”, asked Moriya, looking at the brightly decorated stalls.

It was an annual college fair. Moriya had never attended any of these events before. The only reason why she came was Mohini. Had Mohini not insisted her, she wouldn’t have bothered to wake up in the morning that day. Both of them walked towards a stall that said “ART FROM YOUR HEART”. Mohini got pretty excited to enter the competition when she read the terms and conditions letter. She turned towards Moriya and asked her if she wanted to register too. The competition allowed art of all genres, depending on availability of chances and participants.
“What do you think then? Should I sign you up?”, Mohini eagerly asked.
“I don’t know man. I can’t win competitions. That’s just not me.”, Moriya replied.
“We’re not here to win stuff, dumbo. We’re here for the fun!”, Mohini looked at Moriya with puppy eyes.
“What are you signing up for?”, Moriya tried to show interest.
“Writing competition? But you can enter in both painting and writing categories. If you like. You should, I mean.”, Mohini expressed her thoughts.
“Painting isn’t a biggie. What kind of writing competition is that by the way?”, Moriya asked Mohini.
“Its a group thing. We’ve got to research upon stuff and write a report. I’m tired of creative writing competitions anyway. Oh wait. You could register for the same group as me! I’m telling you its gonna be fun!”, Mohini came up with another idea.
“Really? Who else is going to be in your group then?”, Moriya felt like someone’s gotten her back so she could go for it, if she liked.
“Ayla? I think Ayla would be a good partner.”, Mohini replied.
“Ayla? I’m not gonna sign up for this if Ayla is there. Ayla and I. We don’t get along. So I’m out. I’m not sorry.”, Moriya shrank away.

Experiences from the past had taught Moriya to step back from plans if there were people who she couldn’t glide with. The friction made her uncomfortable, and she always tried her level best to stay away from conflicts. But trouble, trouble loved her. She didn’t search for troubles, troubles found her.

“Hey. Listen. It’s going to be fine. I know about Ayla and I know about you. But I’ve got your back. Nothing will happen, trust me. Now can we please sign up for this amazing contest?”, Mohini tried to convince Moriya.
“Don’t let shit happen then. I’m putting my faith in you.”, said Moriya and signed on the form that Mohini had placed in front of her.
“Cool. Lets move over to that one.”, Mohini submitted the forms and pointed towards another stall.

The fair was over but the competition went on because of a longer deadline. Mohini had now made it a group of four, having added another person named Isabella. Isabella was an amazing writer and a well read person. She didn’t just search for material, she dug for it and found it. Ayla, Mohini and Moriya were trying to do their best as well. They created an online group to share their findings and gave themselves the deadlines to get work done in time and to compile it.

“This is not possible.”, Moriya said to Morris when he told her that cancer had attacked their mother’s health again, this time, in the liver.
“But it is like that. Don’t worry. The medication will cure her disease.”, Morris said in a comforting deep voice.
“Cure? A cure for cancer? Do you think I am dumb enough to believe what you are saying?”, Moriya started to lose her mind.
“Pray, okay. Pray. And don’t lose focus.”, Morris said and left.

Focus. How can one focus when they watch their loved ones go towards death, slowly and brutally?

Messages and notifications filled her phone screen when she turned on the Wi-Fi as if Armageddon had already initiated. She knew that the deadline for the report submission was near, and that she was only half way through her part of the research. Her mother’s health didn’t let her put her best to the research. She was rubbing her eyes from a nap that she had taken on her study table when her phone started vibrating. Mohini’s name popped up. She knew something was coming. Moriya dreaded the future but picked up the phone.
“Hi.”, said Moriya in a deep sleepy tone.
“Where are you, Moriya? Do you know how screwed up we’re gonna be if we don’t finish our tasks on time?”, asked Mohini.
“I know. There’s some stuff going on. I’m trying though. I’ll get it done, don’t worry.”, said Moriya.
“You HAVE to get it done. Do you get it? I know there’s stuff going on but do it, please.”, said Mohini and ended the call.
“I’m in deep shit.”, Moriya mumbled under her breath and put her phone down.

Moriya’s mother was feeling better that night, so her family decided to have dinner at a nearby restaurant. She had gotten ready earlier than her sister, so she sat down to check her social media for the remaining waiting time. Her notifications were on fire. She checked the online group for the report and tears started streaming down her face. A post that had been uploaded an hour ago said, “Attach your files below.”. The deadline was two days after. The compilation process had to be started. The only person who hadn’t completely written her part was Moriya. She knew she was the one to blame. Moriya scrolled down the comments on that post and her heart sank. Ayla had stated all the times when Moriya couldn’t do something that she was assigned to do. Mohini and Isabella had no other choice but to believe what Ayla had to say, because Moriya wasn’t there to defend herself. Ayla had stated half stories, even if they ended in a good way. Ayla had this innate talent of making positive things into the worst negative things possible, and she used this ability well, in nasty ways. Ayla had humiliated her before too, but this humiliation was more painful. Moriya was ashamed of her existence. She wanted the Earth’s crust to burst open, so that she could bury herself in and no one could see her.

Moriya’s mother asked her to get up and be seated in the car. She took that journey with a heavy heart. Her mood had been ruined, for something that she didn’t really sign up for.

“I’m sorry about what happened. You’re done with your part by the way, right?”, Mohini’s text message brought life to Moriya’s phone screen.
“Yes I am. I sent it a while ago.”, Moriya simply replied to the question.
“I said I’m sorry.”, Mohini’s bubble read.
“Don’t talk to me about it. Bye.”, Moriya shut her out.

The report was submitted. They didn’t win but they got third place. Moriya didn’t perform well in the final parts as well, she wasn’t prepared, but that was somehow overlooked by Ayla. Ayla never apologized. Moriya stopped expecting an apology.

Time went by and Moriya chose a different subject for her next year at college. Moriya had to leave Mohini behind but the decision saved her from scorching awesomeness of Ayla. It took time before none of it mattered to her, but what was surprising for her was the neutral chill behavior of Ayla, through her texts. She couldn’t care less, Moriya had moved on.

Moriya had now learned that no matter what a close friend says, if your gut says no, you should better stay away from things that don’t seem inviting in the first place. It took months and years, but she finally learnt how to say no.

– Mahaah.

[Amalgamation of a dream and a real life event.]

(Should I start writing a Moriya Diaries thing? Idk it feels real. What do you think? Let me know below.)

ذات کا انتقال

IMG_20170524_142015

Transcription in Urdu:

Zindagi mein kabhi na kabhi hum is muqaam per aa jaatay hain jahaan hum apni zindagi aur uss ki tarjeehaat se larna bund kar detay hain. Humen samajh aajata hai kay agar hum kuch badal nahi saktay tou uss kay saath guzara karna hota hai. Bagheyr kisi shikayat aur shikway kay. Chaahay dil bujh jaye, chaahay dumm ghutnay lagay, chaahay apni zaat raakh ho kar zarra zarra hojaye. Chaahay jo bhi ho. Chehray per ek masnoo’ee muskurahat sajaaye zindagi ko uss kay sahi dagar per chalana hota hai. Hum haar tasleem kar letay hain, iss amal kay doraan kaheen khud ko qatal bhi kar aatay hain, kyun kay hum bad-qismati se ek esay mu’aashray ka hissa hain jahan desi mediocre riwwayon mein tabdeeli aur inqilaab ki baaten tou buhat hain, magar unn baaton ko amli jama pehnaney se buhat maharat se gurayz kia jata hai. Zaat ka intiqaal ho jata hai, aur “loag” khush hojatey hain — kisi aur maamlay pe bigarney kay liye.

Translation in English:

Once in a lifetime, we arrive at a point where we stop fighting against our life and its priorities. We understand that we’re supposed to adjust and compromise with things that we can’t change. Without any complains. Even if our heart deflates, even if we suffocate, even if our identity crumbles down to dust. No matter what happens. Faking a smile, we need to lead life on the right track. We accept defeat. We even kill ourselves during this process, because we unfortunately belong to a society where there are talks about change and revolution in traditional mediocre behaviors, but practicing those notions is entirely ignored. Individual identity dies, and “people” get satisfied — to get angry on some other issue.

– Mahaah.

Will just doesn’t come together.

stress

I’ve been wanting to write something for the blog for a very long time and I can admit that with the bottom of my heart mostly because my typing speed right now is pretty fast and I know at the back of my mind that if I don’t get these words through in a particular speed, they’ll be lost in the next minute. So here I am continuing this stream of consciousness like thing.. not knowing where exactly it will go and what exactly it will end up with. But whatever, I am here at least and I am writing something. It means a lot for a person like me at this stage. 2017 has been a bit unpredictable so far. So much happened. I will come back to the happenings and highlights of the year later. And I don’t even know if that later will arrive later or a really late later, as I type. I don’t even know if that makes sense, but I don’t really care about making sense at the moment. It is the purest form of expression at its rawest. I used to say in my previous block that my words just don’t come together. But this time I have my words together, the WILL just doesn’t come together.

– Mahaah.

Between Band-aids and Bandages.

Before I go.

girl-at-the-airport-window-looking-to-the-ocean

I plugged in my headset. Swiping up the lock-screen wallpaper, I realized that London Grammar’s Strong was still on repeat. I listened to it once more. The beats soon faded other sounds out. The car that I was in, had me but I wasn’t there. I looked out at the city. The same hustle and bustle. The same deafening noise and the same lanes of vehicles, Karachi has nailed constancy – I thought. I couldn’t hear anything except Hannah’s voice. Still a voice mumbled. My mind’s voice. This is a experience in itself, isn’t it? I questioned. This is a huge city. Your existence might not even matter. You are just another number to make a whole of 24 million. But just look. Look at those lights. Look at all these stories around you. Look at all these faces, double faces. Oh God, is that a new sign board? Remember when you were young – you used to read every single billboard – the try-hard efforts that you used to do to not let a single billboard go unread? You still read most of them, most of which you’ve already seen on the internet. But, that changed, right? You put all your efforts in taking instagrammable photos now. I don’t know if that’s change, but.. Shit. Strong ended and I didn’t even listen to it, I said to myself. Wanna play it again? the voice asked. Maybe? I tapped on the screen anyway. “Excuse me for a while..”, Strong started playing all over again. “I might seem so strong, I might speak so long, I’ve never been so wrong”, the clear lights turned into a shining set of bokeh. I felt my eyeliner-kajal irritate my eyes. Oh crap, why are you getting so emotional? the voice interrupted. Nothing, it’s just – I’m going to miss this city, I thought. I haven’t even seen it entirely, a realization struck. But you’re going to come back alright and then you can explore your hometown all the way you like? the voice said with a Be-Positive sign. I chuckled and wiped away the partial tear that was stuck between two of my lashes. Don’t ever cry with this thing on, okay? Irritation sucks, the voice reminded me. “People like you always want back the love they give away, but people like me wanna believe you when you say you’ve changed.”, Taylor Swift’s voice struck my ear-drum and I legit swiped through all her songs. The people around me, I thought, I don’t know if I even want to meet them before I go. There’s one or two people I’d be glad to tell, but most of them, they don’t even care – the waves of thoughts kept crashing to my brain’s shore. It’s fine, you’re like that – it’s been nineteen years bro, get used to having one or two true friends at a time, will you? Accept yourself before you go, at least, the voice scolded. The things-to-do Before-I-Go list is approximately all crossed up, did you realize? it asked a stupid question again. Yes, there’s so much still left, I sighed. You’re so good with negative fractions, you know? the voice stated sarcastically. Oh, Karachi, Imma miss you so bad bruh – I repeated the same BS. The track changed. “The stars lean down to kiss you..”.. ah, Moe, you suggest amazing songs (if I’m lucky), I thought to myself. I think what I’ll miss the most from this city would be her, I wondered, looking at the veiled moon. You’ll meet her before you go, hopefully, the voice consoled. Yeah there’s still so much to do before I go, I thought to myself as I looked at a triangular web of stars far above my head.

– Mahaah.

hoodie-girl-at-the-airport

Little Things.

Throwback to the last exam and last day of third year. I’ve got my masters left now. Let that sink in.

 

Lessons Learnt Over a Period of Time.

Girl sitting on a dock on a cloudy day

I opened my journal-ish notebook today after a whole freakin semester and I was surprised to see a note lying there that said, “Get that last entry printed that you typed, you don’t wanna write those eight pages down.” and I smiled to myself. I searched for the file in Google Docs and finally got it printed today. Startling as it seemed, that last entry was pretty long despite the fact that I’d mentioned in it time and again that there’s this difficulty to express stuff, but somehow I did express – that is why it took eight pages on the whole. What I learnt from reading it all over again, was kind of mature stuff.

1. We fret over small things – things that we forget with time – and when we look back, they don’t even matter to us, let alone exist.

2. We let other people have an impact – that is more than required – on ourselves. There is a filter that develops with age which helps limiting the intake of those opinions, we should use that. Not everything deserves to take space in your head.

3. Pushing people away or shutting them out is no use if you’re still dying inside. Don’t. There’s no harm in being vulnerable. If there is any harm, it is that it will make you stronger than you were before. Let it be. Let it flow.

4. Letting go is better than holding grudges. Forgive and forget isn’t just a phrase, its a life lesson that exists for a reason.

5. Let change come as it is supposed to come : in yourself as well as in your surroundings – be it people or situations. Embrace your evolution and don’t let yourself label it as a monstrous change.

6. People will be people and will continue to do peoplish stuff, what matters is how you shine out and how you decide to survive people. Among those people, sometimes, if you are blessed, you will meet some that your life will provide you for free. They would be your real friends and you gotta hold on to them. Don’t let them go. Keep them with grace.

7. Don’t give up just yet, things will work out just fine. Do your best and leave the rest to Almighty.

8. Don’t keep it all in. Express, however little possible, but express. Letting it all out from time to time is better than erupting and exploding after long periods of superficial calm.

9. Listen to that blood pumping machine but don’t let it drive you. Stay under the command of your mind. Treating organs as organs is better than using them for bullcrap excuses.

10. Growing up isn’t a crime. Let your wings grow and learn how to fly on your own. Connections exist for a reason, but relying on those connections or relationships solely is mere stupidity. Don’t do that.

I guess I’ll stop here. I think it kind of turned into a life advice but yeah, these are some of the important aspects that you can not neglect. Pick up whatever seems beneficial and stick to it, have a nice life!

– Mahaah.

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