Flickering Lanterns

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


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She had a bunch of helium balloons in her hand every morning when she left home. Pink ones, purple colored, red shaded… name a pigment – she had a balloon of that color within the bunch. They’d flutter with wind on the way but she held on tight. Those were her balloons. She had to hold on tight.

That day the sky was grayer than usual. The blues were not in sight. The cotton candy clouds weren’t there. She still held on to the threads of her balloons. She held on tight.

She reached her destination and knocked. The door was unlocked. She went in. The balloons were still in her hand. Shiny and colorful, in a full clustered canopy above her head. She took some steps.


She looked up in horror. One of the balloons was gone. She hadn’t noticed the nail sticking out of the wall in the hallway. Her bad. She clutched the threads tighter in her grasp. She had taken a few more steps when-


Pieces of rubber flew over her head. Another four balloons were gone. She was terrified. Upon looking around, she found the bare copper wires sticking out of one of the switch boards. She should have noticed before, but she didn’t. She held on tighter on the rest of the balloons. She had to take care of them. She moved forward. There was a turn into a dark corridor. She turned to the right.


Her heart had an almost heart attack. Terror filled her eyes. Her balloons! She panicked in utter horror. There was something hidden in the dark that had caused the balloons to die. She should have been more cautious. Upon checking the threads still in her hand, she took a sigh of relief. A single happy yellow balloon was left. Her last helium balloon.

She smiled and took the balloon into her hands.

She stroked it lovingly. It was her last balloon. A shiny yellow balloon.

She smiled at it.

She choked and burst it with her bare hands.

– Mahaah.


I wonder if you’ll wonder…

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I wonder if you’ll ever read it
I wonder if you’re into reading at all
Since I don’t really know you
Since we never really talked.

I wonder if you’ll pick it up someday
I wonder if you’ll read it to the end
Since I don’t really know if you’re curious
Since you never really cared at all.

I wonder if you’ll see my name and sigh a long sigh
I wonder if you’ll question yourself
Since I never really told you
Since you never really told me.

I wonder if you’ll wonder
I wonder if you’ll think

I wonder if you’ll shake your head and feel guilty
I wonder if you’ll go, “But why does she have
vivid memories of the same moments that I have had?
Oh God! She lived with it for a decade?! Shit.”

I wonder if you’ll realize
I wonder if you’ll contact
Since you always mattered to me
Since I really want you to contact.

Read it someday.
Hope that I receive a mail from you one day.

– Mahaah.

(Note : Its just a poem. Kay? Shush.)



To my great surprise, my second favorite scar started to fade a few weeks ago and the idea of doing this post knocked at my head again, for like the fiftieth time. I’ve been meaning to write this down for a really long time but every single time I just couldn’t. Reasons – life provides you with an endless supply of them. Similarly, there were reasons to scribble this one down. First one being a conversation between me and Moe where I told her how I wanted to list down all my scars and how I got them and somehow she heard me enthusiastically describing my passion for listing down all my “scarves” and how I got them – thanks to the loud rikshaw for giving me a reason to laugh. Second, the sequel to Kung Fu Panda where the protagonist and the antagonist have a debate about scars and Po states pretty hilariously how scars just… fade. Lastly, there was this Tumblr post that I once saw on Instagram that described human skin as a blank canvas and the scars as the scribbles filling it with stories and experiences. In short, we arrive into this world as a blank slate, and then experiences happen and fill us up. How cool is that?

Off we go here. I have…

A scar on my forehead, between my eyebrows and at the start of my left eyebrow. It is my favorite scar because guess who else has a scar on their forehead? Harry frickin Potter. I got it when I was four years old. It was night time and the power went out. My parents lit up an emergency light and my mother sat down to peel potatoes, for dinner I suppose. I sat there calmly with her, and helped her peel those potatoes by stretching them peels towards myself. I have no clue what the four year old me was thinking but it was “help” in a kid’s view. Our other house was under construction so it was a rough ground before they started digging it up for foundations. Someone in the neighborhood didn’t have the place to keep their goat for sacrifice in their house so they tied up the goat at our under construction house. I don’t know what kind of a bug stung me in my brain that I got up to “go pet the goat” which I was clearly afraid of. I don’t know why I did that. Kids are plain jerks. So I made my way through the dark, climbed a little gateway (which wasn’t little back in the day since I was a four year old child) and entered into this eerie looking ground where a cousin of mine already was, fastening the rope that tied the goat to something. I walked towards the goat, swallowed down a gallon of fear and stretched my hand out towards it. The next thing I know, it’s dark, the rope isn’t intact anymore, I am afraid and screaming at the top of my lungs, running for my dear life, being chased by the goat which is being chased by my cousin. Making my way through the ground to the little doorway, I jumped through it and looked in front of myself. I saw a door emitting light and ran towards it. Next thing… I was unconscious.
I woke up in my mother’s lap with my father and my brother and an older cousin trying to fix me up. I didn’t know what had happened apart from the fact that I fell and then there was nothing in my view. I tried to get up but I couldn’t. Then I titled my head towards my left shoulder and guess what I found? A clearly visible splash of blood. I have always been scared of blood. So. I gulped. I felt some pain on my forehead. There was something sticky on it. I tried to touch it but my fingers only showed me some amorphous substance. I didn’t ask questions. It all made sense.
I had bumped into the metal thing where a door lock goes in. Its situated on the frame of the door and its edges are pretty sharp and can cut you if you hit yourself into it at an intense velocity. I didn’t need any stitches, Alhamdulilah. But I got a lesson. Don’t be a jerk and use your brains.

Various scars on my hands and arms. I have this 1.5 inch long scar on my left wrist. It’s my second favorite scar. I got it when I was six or seven years old. Our under construction house was finally built and we were busy in making it into a home. Me and my brother were calm but competitive kids. One day when it hadn’t even been a month since we had moved, we came home from somewhere at night and my mum took the keys and climbed upstairs to unlock the main entrance. We were supposed to go after her and my dad was supposed to pick up my sleeping baby sister from the car to the second floor. My brother asked me if I was up for a race and I said yeah totally, which was a dumb decision cause I couldn’t beat him, like, what was I thinking? So we ran upstairs and he jumped through the gate and into the corridor. While on the other hand, I got my shoe slipped on the freshly polished marble floor and landed onto the ground with my wrist dragging against a metallic piece of the gate. Next thing I know, I had cut my wrist vertically without even contemplating suicide (which many people asked me about later in my life. Like if I had ever tried committing suicide since I had a scar. Seriously guys? Its a vertical scar, not horizontal, you nutheads.) My mum cleaned the blood and fixed it up with a band aid (I have a thing for band aids) and I had trouble in writing for a few days since I am a lefty. But yeah. It was cool. I love this scar and I don’t want it to fade.
I have a scar between my thumb and index finger on my right hand which I got back when I was nine years old. I liked to do new things which were utterly unnecessary and then got into trouble because of them. Kids, as I stated previously, are jerks. So I was in fourth grade and I found out that we owned a stereo system. Somehow, I got my hands on its empty box and announced to my mother that I would keep my books and ish in it for the rest of my life (the height of stupidity though) because I found joy in little things. We didn’t have technology back in the day. I put things in my bag for the next day and left the remaining things in that box. The next day, I came home and had homework to do. I forgot about the whole stereo box situation until when it was time to pack my bag for the next day of school. I started a search for it but couldn’t find my books. I asked my mum if she had seen them but she shrugged. She started searching them with me. Then she got really infuriated, brought something sharp edged with her from the kitchen to scare me (don’t judge, we’ve all gotten our asses whooped) and asked where I had put my stuff the night before. With an explosion in my head, I remembered – the stereo box. Before I could reply amidst fear, the sharp edged thing somehow made contact with my skin and cut through an important capillary. Blood soon started dripping from my hand and she felt sorry for me and got me a band aid. It took two solid weeks to heal and that’s probably the only time when I saw that amount of blood drip from a wound. It healed and became a scar and taught me to remember things that I do. Which I did until last year. My memory is dying at a fast rate and well what can one do about it.
I have another scar which has almost faded on the side of my left palm. I had some skin infection when I was eleven which ended up giving me cracked skin and blood seeping through it if I accidentally hit those affected areas. One day I was at school when that affected area on the side of my palm started itching. I knew it was doing some ish and blood was soon going to seep through it. To make the process go faster, I asked a friend of mine to burst the flaky bubble like thing that probably had pus. She agreed since it was an adventure, sharpened up her pencil for better efficiency and stabbed through the pre-mature wound. I screamed and pulled my hand back but it was too late. I was to blame since it was my idea. (Being stabbed wasn’t my idea though). Next thing I know, she’s apologizing and I am crying as I am being dragged to the school nurse’s room for band aid. My mother wasn’t proud. Haha. I had to stop writing with my left hand again, and guess what? School teachers didn’t really care. Oh you’ve got a wound and you can’t write? What a nice excuse, its clearly your left hand. Well Debra you know what go to hell cause I am left handed!
I have one scar on my right middle finger. I got it when I was twenty-one. Long story short, I was going through the trauma of a lost one since my mother had died a few weeks back. It was Ramadan and we had this get together for all my father’s sisters. I was frying a batch of Pakoras when lost in my thoughts, I fried my finger along with a marinated potato slice. It hasn’t even been a year and that scar has already almost faded. Lesson : Pay attention near hot cooking oil.
I have two starting-to-fade scars on my left forearm. I got them a week after I got the previously mentioned scar. I was still twenty-one and two oil drops landed on my skin when I was trying to fry something. They’ll go away too. Soon.

A scar on the side of my torso. I was five when I got it. We went to this really cool house of someone that my mum used to know and all I remember now is their soft sofas and a huge climber that they had at the entrance. I got tired of waiting to go back home and felt sleepy. So my mum put me to sleep and laid me down on one of the sofas. I was woken up with a stinging feeling on my skin. I told my mum about it, that something was inside my clothes and irritating my skin. She thought that it might be a sticker inside of my baby clothes. So she checked. And guess what she found? A yellow and grayish bug that had bitten me and was still trying to bite me to get out of the clothes it was trapped in. They somehow got me calm with some candy and well that is how I got a scar that has grown with me ever since. Its a lot lighter in color now than it was before, and it’s size has expanded as well since I have expanded. Haha. Lesson? Don’t fall asleep at someone else’s house.

A bunch of scars on my left knee. I got the very first one when I was three. My mum sent me with my brother to get something from a nearby store. I remember I was wearing a pink frock with tutu-like net and embellishments and all. So while we were walking back home, he asked if I was ready to run. Again. Competitive children who liked to race and always got into trouble because of dumb decisions. Apparently I think it wasn’t his fault either. He wanted a brother and he got me instead, so he had to make up for it and make me do things that boys do. And he hated the fact that I was a slow walker, he never liked walking with me until when I was eighteen and I told him how fast I could walk by his side. He was impressed. Hah. Anyway. So. He asked me to run back home. We started running. My cute little pink shoe got hit with a rock that I didn’t see in the dark (it was night time) and fell face first onto the street. I got my knee wounded and it really hurt and stained my cute little pink frock. Mum wasn’t happy. But guess what? He took all the blame! and got scolded. Haha. Lesson learned? Don’t run on the street with a frock on when you are a three year old child.
I got another scar on the same scar but on a bigger magnitude when I was twenty. I was with one of my school friends at a university fair and we were walking from my department to the ground where the carnival was taking place. There are these barriers that stop any cars from crossing the line. So all of us students have to jump over them if we come across them. I had been well accustomed to them by the time. So we were going and she went ahead and I have no idea how my abaya got stuck in my shoe or someone else’s shoe (it was a crowd) or what, and I fell. Someone gave me a hand and picked me up but I still don’t know who it was. According to my friend, she or anyone else, no one picked me up. But I distinctly remember someone held me up. Maybe it was God taking care of me. So we went on about our business. My knee hurt but I didn’t wanna ruin my friend’s day. It was when I got back home that I found out that it was a messed up wound. I didn’t tell my mother for a day. She found out the next day anyway and freaked out. It took around two weeks to get better because of the cracking of the hardening skin since it was on a joint. I learned a lesson though. I pay more attention to my abaya whenever I jump.

A lot of scars on my left shin which I have now lost count of and have also faded from both, my skin and my memory. So this one that’s still pretty apparent, I got it when I was nineteen or twenty, I don’t exactly remember. I was at the university cafe with my friends and we thought that it would be “cool” to walk over the pile of debris that was ahead of us. My other friends made it to the other side very conveniently. Yours truly, on the other hand, fell on a pointed concrete piece and cut her skin on the shin. I freaked out and sorta yelled at them for what I don’t remember. It was rude and if any of you see this someday, know that I am sorry. By the time my friends got me to the university clinic, we found out that there were not one, but three cuts. One major and two minor. The nurse got it tidied up and it was fun seeing my friends do lame stuff so that I wouldn’t feel pain. Lesson? Don’t walk over debris for fun and don’t yell at your friends when they’re trying to help you.

A scar on my right shin. I got it when I was twenty. (Ikr, twenty was the year of scars.) It was early in the morning and I was still pretty sleepy. I was supposed to ride with my brother so he could drop me at the university gate. As I was trying to get into the car, the car door somehow did some ish and I felt a squeak of pain and then forgot about it. Walking in the university hurt that day, that I remember. So when I got back home, I found out that I had accidentally cut my skin with a frickin car door. What even. Is that a thing people do? Normal people don’t. So it became a scar that is going to fade soon. Lesson learned? Stay woke.

A scar on my right calf. I got it when I was twenty-one, last year. We were in Madinah and both me and my sister were pushing the wheelchairs of our mother and her sister, our aunt. We were on our way to the hotel when I heard my sister asking me to walk faster behind me. Next thing I knew, she bumped her wheel chair into my leg and some tears trickled down my eyes ’cause I was in so much pain. She thought that I was over reacting in the middle of the street but I don’t think that I was. My mother stroked my head and asked me to not cry, which I obliged to because well, it was just an accident. She didn’t do it on purpose. So we went home. I forgot about it because I was busy. Then we went to Makkah. My feet were swollen but I thought that there wasn’t any time to feel pain. So I went on doing the normal things, pushing wheelchairs and a lot of walking. Then one day I took a shower and later found out that there was a reason to my swollen feet. It wasn’t just walking. It was that injury that I had faced back in Madinah. By the time I actually paid attention to it, it had developed into a messed up wound with pus in it. So I asked our acquaintances who also happen to be doctors. They told me to have some meds for swelling and asked me to take care of the wound with an ointment which I fortunately had since I took it with me from Pakistan. In short, the wound didn’t heal until when I landed back in Pakistan and gave me a nice circular scar on my calf.

A scar on the back of my left foot above my heel. I was four when I got it. I remember asking my mum for those nice ballet-like shoes that my cousin also had. My mother got me those despite not wanting to and they remained my favorite shoes for quite some time. I remember they used to irritate my skin but I never cared since one, I was a kid, second, they were my choice, third, kids are jerks. So this one night we were out and about the city and I was wearing those same shoes. I felt something burning my heel. I was uncomfortable so I asked my mum if I could take my shoes off. She was angry but she let me. When we got home, there was a visible burn on the back of my foot. Why? Those frickin shoes were made of rubber and nylon which had reacted with my skin and given me a scar for life. And the irritation that I had been feeling before that? It was all real and it affected my skin as well. We as kids are stupid as heck. Lesson? If your mum is disapproving of something, don’t force her into buying it cause you don’t know jack shit about yourself and mothers always know best.

A scar on my second toe on my left foot. Its a very negligible line now. I got it when I was ten. My mother and father were away for a wedding so they left me and my brother at our grandma’s place. I was with my cousin when she said that she had to press her uniform. Being the competitive kid that I was, I was really offended. A kid younger than me knew how to iron clothes and I didn’t. So what did I do? I asked her if I could press her clothes instead. She asked me if I was experienced. I told her that I press clothes regularly of my entire family. She was impressed and let me do the job. The iron slipped and made its way to my foot. I burnt a toe and ended up with a bubble that gave me trouble in walking. But wearing normal chappals to school has its own privileges. Lesson learned? Don’t brag.

A scar on my right foot. I got it when I was fourteen. I was in the kitchen making tea for some guests when I accidentally dropped the teapot on my foot and it gave me a really nice burn. Then I messed up the wound by trying to fix it up myself. Then I was rushed to a clinic where they took care of it and gave me some meds for the swelling. It took a week to get better I suppose. Lesson : Stay woke in the kitchen, kids.

And there, I have listed all the scars that are still there and I remember them. The paper cuts, knife cuts, slicer cuts and other negligible stuff isn’t mentioned here ’cause I don’t remember them. I like it how leniently I used to, and still, take my injuries. Like its no big deal. Yes I know it hurts but that’s what life does all the time so you better swallow some tears and move on. I remember my mum telling me, “no biggie, it’ll be okay” whenever I’d ask her for band aids or show her my little cuts or anything. It has really helped me a lot over the course of time, but then it has also made me not think of myself with that amount of self care which is healthy and needed. Anyway. This too shall pass.

I hope that you had fun reading about my jerkiness. And absolute knuckleheadness of my siblings. Haha. (I am sincerely hoping that there’s nothing negative in there. With that, this post consists of almost four thousand words. Let that sink in.) I might add into this the upcoming stuff that I might have to have and lets see where it takes this post.

Peace and love.

– Mahaah.


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(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!

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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.

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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.

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