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Flickering Lanterns

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

None of the Dim Voids.

lonely forest

It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting.” – Jennifer Niven, All The Bright Places.

The title for this post is the opposite of the title of the book that I mentioned above. To me it’s the opposite. The exact-almost-opposite. The word-to-word-literal-opposite. Since to me if a place exists, then its opposite is going to be a non-existing place, which is going to be a void. Nothing. Blank. Absolutely nothing.
I tried to look for the exact word but I couldn’t find one, for the opposite of places. But this is not what I’m here to write. This train of thought is pretty fucking wild, isn’t it?

I kind of hung onto this line in the book. It’s true. I couldn’t deny it because truer words have never been spoken. Maybe they have. Taylor Swift is best musician of all time. Gah. Can I finish writing what I’m thinking about before losing control over it? For one second? Man my brain is an annoying piece of trash sometimes.

So yeah. Back to the point. What was the point? Shit. Wait. Lemme just skim a few words.

Yes. Yeah. Okay. Got it.

You know, when you’re the person who’s chill and never really loses their shit, people don’t expect you to actually lose your shit when you’re losing your shit. I’m not referring to flushing the toilet right now. I am referring to it metaphorically. Urban-metaphorically. Internet-metaphorically. However you like it.

When you’re feeling sort of empty and this wave of nothingness hits you, you’re not supposed to show it on your face or in any way possible. “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.”, just like Elsa’s father asserts. People don’t seem to understand what you’re going through if they can’t see it. For instance, if you are covered in smallpox or have your leg wound up in a cast, they’ll surely feel sorry for you and might even utter some words of consolation. BUT. If you black-out during an exam for various reasons that are not visible or physical, then you’re surely a dumb kid who didn’t prepare for the exam in the first place. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Stuff that happens inside one’s head matters just as much as stuff that happens outside.

When are people going to understand that?

How can you make people educate themselves about this without freaking out about it or treating you in a weird, fragile, alienated way.

Maybe all you can do is… Haha. Did you really think I’d say something along the lines of a solution? YOU WISH! This is South-Asia, people. Brown people don’t understand shit. Especially if they are older and not from your generation.

Maybe all you can do is… not do anything at all.

Or.. wait. You could recommend them All the Bright Places. To read. To understand. To learn.

– Mahaah.

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Misophonia.

book reading in bed

(A Sequel to Bragging.) 

She wasn’t expecting summer to arrive early since she hasn’t even had more than two cups of coffee in the past couple of months. Moriya doesn’t have great fondness for summer, but its what you get by living where she does. It’s summer most of the time. “zzzzzzzzznnnnn“, she waves a hand over her right ear to shoo away the mosquito that’s rehearsing its annoying and lame opera. It’s perfectly quiet in her room where she’s reading the book that she’s been reading since the day before. She’s glad that she doesn’t like reading from physical tangible books – because page turning makes sound, doesn’t it? “zzzzzznnnnnnn“, the mosquito from before interrupts her train of thoughts again. She feels a sharp streak of pain on her forearm and she smacks that place on her skin. “Ouch. That was wild.”, she mumbles to herself as she rubs her forearm. She picks up the reading from where she left off. “zzzzzznnnnnn“,  she hears again and that is it for her. “What the hell?“, she almost yells at the bug. Moriya throws away her device and gets up to spray some insecticide around her room.

She gets comfy in her bed once again. Its good that she has a good number of pillows and stuffed animals to keep her company and to make her bed a place that she never wants to leave. She picks up the device and starts rereading the paragraph. But she can’t. The focus is lost. The narrative is nothing more than a loose thread in some ripped jeans. This is why she hates sound when she’s reading. Or when she’s having some “me-time” as the internet calls it. She decides to google what’s the term for it. It’s just sound. Why the hate? Hate is a strong word.

Misophonia“, which literally means the hate of sound.

Ooookay. That’s a cool name.“, Moriya mumbles to herself. But still. She might immensely despise sound but does she exactly hate it? She’s not so sure.

Has she been always like this? She thinks of all the times that she just wanted everything to be quiet and it wasn’t. Was it too much to ask for or was she being entirely irrational? Most probably the latter. But she might have her reasons. Everything has a reason. Be it emotions towards something or anything basically that just… exists?

She thinks back to her time as a child. Living in a building right next to a busy round-about where cars kept screeching and honking and rushing. Living beside the shop of a carpenter whose mechanical tools always made noise she couldn’t tolerate. Living with a family that was always loud and chatty. She started to dislike noise – an extreme form of sound – while she was still pretty young. It’s probably why she despised crowds as well. She remembers the time when she wouldn’t want to meet with all the people in her house gathered for an evening, or unfortunately for an entire day. She reminisces the time when she would rather stay huddled in her room, alone, just to save herself from all the noise and loud banter. It was a fragment of her personality. She despised noise.

Moriya grew up with the same fragment of her personality. The only difference was, she never really admitted it out loud. Hence, the people didn’t know that it was a part of her as well. Maybe people do that while growing up to fit in – anything that they don’t like, they pretend to like. That’s how the world works.

But it didn’t have to anymore. Not any longer.

It was just who she is. Someone who doesn’t like sound unless she wants to listen to that sound. Someone who hates noise when all she wants is some peace and quiet. Someone who wants people to respect that part about her.

Moriya now knew, “Misophonia” was a word.

– Mahaah.

 

 

It’s complicated.

pastel desk

 

We are strange girls, Mahaah. We want. And think about wanting. But at the same time. We don’t want. So we think about not wanting. Complicated stuff which we complicate further while trying to convince ourselves it’s more complicated than it really is.“, someone close to me at the time said this in a text message that she sent. I found it scribbled at the back of my notebook – the one in which I write about my life’s happenings – pretty irregularly. I usually smile, shake my head and move over in instances like these. But this time around, it stuck. And struck.

Complicated stuff which we complicate more, eh?

I find it hilariously miserable how when you think you’ve got a solution about a complicated situation, you work on it, and right before that moment of hitting enter (that’s a metaphor); everything falls apart. Because even though you were on time, according to your plan of action; you were a little too late.

So what do you do?

Think about not wanting, right?

But that’s the question. Do we? Do we move on? Is it easy to move on?

And. If it is easy to move on. Was it ever “complicated” in the first place?

I have no idea where I was going with this. I guess I wanted to make a blog post to mark something in history. About the plan not working.

Taylor Swift said, “Good girls, hopeful they’ll be and long they’ll wait.” but forgot to mention, “And they’ll keep waiting. So move on, bitches.” Period.

Bragging.

teen anxiety.jpg

(A sequel to Investment.)

It was a cool breezy morning when Moriya was hurrying her way through the stairs of her house and Morris stopped her and Hunzel for a first-day-of-school photo shoot. She wanted to be in school on time, still, she complied on the insistence of Morris. They took a few photographs and then she left. On the way to school, which was at a walking distance, Moriya felt nervous about her project that she had made last week as a part of her summer vacation homework. Morris had helped her paint some of the white figures from the reference sources of ancient history. She was supposed to write a report on one of the ancient ruins in the country and about the civilization that they belonged to. The project guide lines had been a little tweaked for kids who couldn’t visit such places, for instance, help from textbooks or encyclopedias was acceptable. So she went with it and did a project on Moen Jo Daro. She had painted a poster dark brown – enough to make it look like an old piece of leather – and had drawn some illustrations on it with white paint. For the borders, she had sewn jute strings into the poster to make it look ancient. It looked nice enough to get her an A and she felt pretty proud about it. So she put it in a paper bag among all her other summer vacation homework booklets and hurried for school in excitement.
The school walls seemed newly whitewashed as she walked through corridors to reach her classroom. She put her things on a desk in the middle of the room as it was empty and nobody else was there to claim it. She plopped down and patiently waited for her new class teacher to arrive. It was the first day of the new school year, hence everything was changing anew. After her new class teacher had taken attendance and introduced everyone in the class to each other, she went out to come back in again with a stranger whom no one else had met before. Turned out, it was a new assistant that was supposed to be hired as the vice principal. Moriya’s class teacher introduced the new woman and asked her to sit on one of the desks. By now, the whole classroom was full of 40 students – still she made space and sat down with the principal who was there to test her abilities.
Moriya’s class teacher asked everyone about the summer vacation homework and if anyone had brought it with them. Moriya, being confident for the first time in many years, raised her hand. “Yes Moriya? You’ve got something?“, her teacher tenderly asked. “Yes.“, she replied. “You’ve done your homework?“, she asked another question. “Yes ma’m. The entirety of it.“, she answered. “So would you come on out and give us a look at your Social Studies project?“, the teacher asked. “Like right now? A presentation? I am not prepared.“, Moriya shied away. “Yeah. No it wouldn’t be marked so there’s nothing to worry about. Come on.“, the teacher prompted her to come in front of the class. She stood up with the poster and the report in her hand and proceeded towards the soft board where she could pin it up.
She looked out at the class. They were all intently looking at her with interest. Moriya was up there. The scaredy-cat Moriya. She hadn’t done that before hence it was nerve wrecking for her. She had an audience. Anxiety was eating her alive. Still, she sucked it all in, took a deep breath and started speaking. She was in the middle of her presentation when the woman who had come there for her job as the vice principal, interrupted her speech.
Wait a while, Moriya.“, she adjusted her tone to an evil witch’s one. “So you are saying that you went to Moen Jo Daro?“, her voice was ringing in Moriya’s head. Moriya thought that she had screwed up. All her fears stood in front of her as Death Eaters. Moriya didn’t know what do say or what to do. “No but-“, Moriya started to speak but before she could complete her sentence, she got up and came close to where Moriya was standing and continued, “Class, this is what the Unit One of your Eighth Grade English Textbook calls “Bragging”. When a person doesn’t have something and lies about it.”, she paused. “Moriya here, is the perfect example of Bragging.“, she uttered in a condescending manner.
Moriya wanted to say something in order to justify her project but she couldn’t find words or the courage to say them. The whole class looked at her with confused faces. They didn’t know what was happening. There was nothing wrong with taking help from books, then why was this stranger being a beotch?
She just stood there frozen and scared of what might happen next. Being an extrovert on the first day of school hadn’t worked out successfully. Two tears trickled down her eyes.
Her class teacher came forward and asked Moriya to go back to her seat and took the new woman with her to the corridor outside her classroom. Moriya proceeded towards her poster to take it off the soft-board and went back to her place with a heavy heart. She was rolling the poster when her class teacher came back and apologized for the eventful presentation. “I’m so sorry. She didn’t know about the leniency. I told her and she felt really bad about it. I’ll get her to apologize to you.“, she said frantically. Moriya still didn’t know what to say. She was embarrassed. She felt like she’d failed. Something inside her had broken and shattered into a million pieces – maybe self-confidence. She was clueless, yet very aware. Taking some control over her wavering voice, she said, “It’s fine ma’m.

But was it fine, really?

Moriya didn’t see that woman again in her life, except for the one time when she was at school and she tried to recognize Moriya and it was nothing more than a second long eye-contact. The whole experience taught Moriya a lot of things. It taught her how to jump right into stuff without preparation done beforehand. It taught her how you could fake it till you make it. It taught her how she could do what she wanted to do if she had enough faith in herself. But the fact remained. Moriya was scared. Moriya was scarred… and Moriya then knew, people could be ignorant arses.

– Mahaah.

Balloons.

Girl with balloons - goth.jpg

 

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.

BOOM!

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-

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

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.

BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM!

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…

Tangled Libarary shot.jpg

 

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.)

Scars.

Hpscar.jpg

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.

Investment.

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,
Mahaah.

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