Flickering Lanterns

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

Between Band-aids and Bandages.


Before I go.


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.


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.

Good girls..

Red Hoodie.

red hoodie.jpg

The air was cold as she stuffed her hands in the pockets of her red hoodie. She loved the airport of her city, so huge and mesmerizing, she loved being there and exploring the entire area. Looking out from a balcony, she heard her mother calling her name. She inhaled the last bit of her city’s air, sighed a long sigh and hurried her way back. There were lots of people who had come to say goodbye. She could feel a shield forming on her being, separating her from her surroundings. People were moving, chattering and crying, but she couldn’t hear or feel anything. She was going to miss her city, she was going to miss her friends, friends that she hadn’t informed yet. There was a jumble of thoughts making her mind numb. She didn’t know what the future beheld. A relative came out of nowhere and hugged her tight. The abruptness of the action broke the chain of thoughts that her mind had created. She asked her aunt to remember all of them in her prayers, for she was pretty afraid. The relative went back to the crowd. She grabbed the handle of her wheeled bag and turned to follow the rest of her family. Something caught her arm and jerked her back. She was terrified to find him there. She hadn’t imagined him to arrive or bid farewell even in her wildest dreams. She broke the grip loose and stepped back.

“Why are you here?”, she wanted to swear but held her rude side back.

“To see you. Why are you going?”, he asked as if he had come on a short notice.

“Don’t you know? Anyway. I need to go. I might miss the flight because of your unwanted presence.”, she replied.

“You’ll come back soon, right? I need to tell you something. It’s important to me. I might just utter it right now but you’re going to make a scene out of it so I probably shouldn’t.”, he gasped because of all the running.

“And you though it better to say this stuff right before I’m leaving? You’re a coward. Go away.”, she got irritated and stalked off.

“How do I tell her that I don’t justย like her. I’m a coward. She’s gone.”, he murmured under his breath.

It had been an hour since the plane took off. She could see the blue waters of Indian Ocean from her window seat. All of a sudden something burst and she could see nothing but flames. In the last moments before she lost her consciousness, she could feel the pressure of air and the burden on her heart. Death awaited her, but not just death awaited her. Her love did too, whom she had left at the airport. “You’ll come back soon, right?”, kept ringing in her head. “I will. I will, someday. I will, in a shroud.”, she murmured, half conscious. The blue ocean waters devoured her, and after a long time, she felt as if she belonged somewhere – and gave in to the eternal escape.

black hoodie.jpg

– Mahaah.

Dreams or Visions?


She looked at blur people with her half opened eyes. She tried to recognize her surroundings. It was her own room, it occurred to her in a few moments. Lying down like that pained her, still she turned her head to her right shoulder and saw her brown silky hair spread on her pillow, that fell on to her blue bed sheet.
A smile ran on her lips, and looking out at the wide wall-like glass window, she murmured, “He’s coming. He’ll see my hair, he’ll recognize me and then everything will be as it should be.”
“Who’s coming, ma’m? We don’t see anyone.”, said the girl who was sitting at her feet on the corner of the bed.
“He’s coming. Oh, the day has arrived.”, she whispered in her low breath again.
“Who he? The only man I can see standing there is a man on the other side of the cliff. There’s a whole fraction of sea in between.”, said the nurse again.
“But I can see him coming. What is it, a vision? Then wake me up. Its better to not stay in a fantasia.”, she said, in subtle anger. “What sound was that? Oh, why is everything so blue. Where did he go?”, she asked several questions but there was no answer.

She looks at the place. She looks at the bricked floor. She looks at the nicely parked cars. She looks at her daughter. “Oh my child!”, she exclaims and runs towards her. She sets her daughter’s black floral frock in order and touches her fringe delicately. “What are you doing here, pet?”, she gently asks her daughter. Her daughter shrugs and moves a few steps ahead. “Oh, where are you going, sweetheart?”, she follows her daughter and realizes that she’s dressed in black too. She notices her elegant dress and feels her intricate necklace. She can not recollect what she is dressed for. In one of these moments, her husband comes from behind, picks her up and caresses her cheek. She feels lighter. He lets her stand on her feet again. She calls out to her daughter, “Daddy’s here!”, but she doesn’t listen. She looks at her husband with gleaming happy eyes and says, “What’s gotten into her? She’s really hopping and trotting here and there like a rabbit.” Her husband smiles but doesn’t reply.

She has heard that sound again. She tries to open her eyes painstakingly. She finds everything blue. Her eyes wander for a search for her husband and her daughter. Clouds gather outside of the glass window as if it is about to rain.
The nurse comes back again and asks, “You’re awake, ma’m. Would you like soup or a glass of water or something?”
She looks at her in an astonished way. “Where is he? Where is my daughter?”, she asks the nurse in slight hysteria.
“Ma’m you don’t have children. And obviously neither a husband.”, the nurse answered.
“But I just saw them. I saw them with me. Oh it was such a happy vision.”, she murmured in her low breath.
“That is why we created it for you.”, the nurse replied in cold robotic voice and left.

“It is working just fine.”, the senior doctor said.
“But it is painful for them when they come back to reality.”, one of the researchers commented.
“We’ve got to make them survive their remaining life somehow, so why not?”, the senior doctor replied.
“I should not have given you this idea in the first place.”, the animation maker finally admitted.
“Don’t you see how far has technology come? Isn’t it amazing to make films and animations of their favorite memories or memories that they wanted to have but never had? Isn’t it great that all it takes is some creative people and some scientists to combine them in a chip? Isn’t it startling to you? How a chip works and takes them to a world that they always wanted to live in?”, the senior doctor had already started to feel annoyed.
“But you pull them back to reality! Reality is way too harsh and unbearable for them! You are a doctor, where has your humanity gone?”, another researcher couldn’t resist.
“This is my project. And I am not allowing any of you to stop me from doing what I’m really succeeding in”, the senior doctor said authoritatively. “As far as my humanity is concerned, everyone involved in this project has trampled their humanity to get where they are, so maybe it is me who’s supposed to question your humanity.” He put an end to that debate.

Meanwhile in the hospitalย corridor, cries from mentally challenged and Alzheimer stricken patients were heard – but there was no answer.


– Mahaah.

(Based on a dream. 30.11.16)

See the Sea.



Note to Her.

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