Friday, February 13, 2015

Never mind…

Dear Ruqaiya,

Never mind my prying but there’s a sense of bewilderment that has drawn me to you. I get the sense that you’re at that juncture in life where several twists and turns have rendered you feeling hapless and insecure. But as a woman you learn to make compromises and eventually embrace them. They become a part and parcel of your daily life to the extent that your existence is solely determined by finding that middle ground in everything you do. As women, we bear secrets that can only reside within the maze of our hearts, and no matter how hard you try to run away from it all, they haunt you still. But some things are not meant to be said out loud, so they’re best left alone unraveled. I learned a long time ago that there is no such thing as a clean slate, what is engraved in memory remains. The events of your past mistakes coupled with relentless regrets will anchor you but that’s what makes your life's journey so much richer, your smile warmer and the look in your eyes deeper.

Never mind that you’re judgmental of the decisions you've taken, but it’s only because you feel so vulnerable in the face of every set back. Never mind that feeling of insecurity that takes over you at the thought of not having achieved what you set off to achieve in the first place, perhaps it’s only a matter of time before great things come your way. Never mind that you’re probably the exception to the rule and might forever dwell in a state of settling for less, but didn't someone really wise say that less is more? Never mind that you stare time and again into a blank page in a desperate attempt to hurl all emotion, only to fail miserably. Those attempts will sweeten the outcome someday.

Never mind that I’m possibly just a fragment of your wild imagination, and you’re beginning to think that you’re losing your mind, but let me tell you just how much  I wish I could reach out to you in a warm embrace and chase away your daemons. Here’s hoping that my longing for what’s best for you will translate into a world where only the both of us exist!

Yours lovingly,

This post was inspired by a blog post titled “It’s Okay” by Ibraheem Hamdi, better known as ibhog. The blog was published into a book titled “The Cashmere Scarf” .Ibhog has played a major influence in my writing and spirituality in many ways. This is my ode to him!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I just want to write…I’m not sure what it is that I want to say for the sole purpose that there’s so much inside, it’s hard to decide what is worthy of penning. Drawn by a lifetime of habit to keep so much inside my heart, only for it to explode not in alphabets, but strokes and aimless scribbling. A blank sheet of paper stares me in the eye, so clean, crisp and unblemished. I take the pen in my hands and am overcome with an immense feeling of control. The kind of control that feels questionable. I wanted to hurl out my insides on that sheet. I draw a line diagonally across the page and I look down at how ugly it suddenly looks. In my mind I equate it to knocking down piles of bricks in a construction site. I put down my weapon for the fear of knocking down the very little I have left of my sanity and tell myself that tomorrow would be better.

Next morning, I found myself in the jest of it all once again, walking briskly along the sky-scraper clad street feeling claustrophobic. I could have sworn that just two months ago, the structure that stood in front my eyes was nothing but a reckless jumble of bricks and ceramic tiles. But now here it was standing tall amidst an arrangement of lofty structures in an effort at winning a non-existent competition.
I walk into one of the upscale coffee shops that line the street. It looks empty from outside and for a moment I begin to think that they’re closed. A beam of soft light shines over the cash register and I decide to let myself in. I’m greeted by a very unenthusiastic person behind the counter and I place my order. In an attempt to seem discreet and more importantly not to come across as what I feared to be freaky, I watched from the merchandise shelf in silence as he dragged himself to the coffee machine. A mug with a picture of camel caught my attention and I tried to reach for it when I heard the barista call out: “Tall, skinny vanilla latte!”  I walk over to the counter and picked up the coffee.
It’s foggy outside and I heave a sigh of relief at the thought that winter is around the corner. It’s on days like these when I moan not the inconvenience that this fog enveloping the city is about to cause, but smile at the relief of what it holds for us ahead. I confine myself to the table in the corner and continue staring outside the mist clad window. At times it’s hard to believe that this is the city I’ve spent most time than I’d probably spend elsewhere. This was the ultimate abode that my heart cheated me into believing otherwise yet my brain fought at comprehending. And amidst all this internal conflict, there was no plausible way of deciding which side to pick. Perhaps there wasn’t a side to pick.
To think of barren terrain converted into a haven is equivocal- almost contradictory to the rule of nature. Camels that inhabited these very surroundings now grace coffee mugs of foreign franchises.
Fierce sandstorms hit this city so often in an attempt to test whether this man made face lift can withstand the tribulations of nature’s ardor. After all one blinded by smoke and mirrors is susceptible to misconstruing the inconspicuous loop holes that the unquestionable laws of nature entail. I was born and bred in a city that refused to accommodate me into their family. Like any human being, I lost my privilege to chose the moment I was brought into this world, and now I’m no longer worthy of any prerogative. Then again that is the very essence of man’s callousness; in desperate times seldom do we stop to think of the consequences our actions would entail. We’re a people bewildered by eccentricities yet we fear accommodating them in our lives. A people defined by the walls of division we’ve erected between us. One moment we view diversity with awe, the next with hatred. A justification of conceitedness. How often do we stop to question the legitimacy of these walls?  The walls that engulf not only insecurities and fear, doubt and hatred, but love and hope. A medley of anomalies that have seeped into the cracks of these structures yet the walls still stand tall without putting up a fight.
The fib that we all learn to believe when these walls are still erect is that we belong in spite of the clamor of questions that cloud our minds and despite the pent up feelings of despair we’ve accumulated inside our hearts. We’re no longer shackled physically by our masters and shipped across the seas against our will; our masters are the devils that our own feelings have created. The shackles are the fear that grips us numbing us to protest against everything that these walls stand for.
I reach for the journal inside my bag and open to an empty page; I hold the pen firmly between my fingers and press the nib against the paper with all my might. At first it creates a dot and I keep pressing harder it spreads in concentric circles filling the page and I think to myself “the circle of life”, one vicious circle after the next until. I stop with drowning in a sense of relief and a broken nib. I whisper to myself “No tomorrow won’t be just another day!”

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Of the Unattainable

As I draw closer towards you become more appealing, the fire within me is rekindled and it rages within. I find it physically difficult to masquerade behind all this ardor. For clinging on to you hoping that it will all be alright is yet another version of one of my unattainable dreams. You constantly leave me on the threshold of happiness only leading me to decide a long time ago that I wouldn't be willing to make any compromises on my happiness but here I was doing just that. Taming a wild heart!

You never forget the face of the person who is your last hope. The last piece of the puzzle you want to fit into your life’s jigsaw board without a struggle.But the struggle is very much present and as grotesque as it may seem you have unknowingly accepted it. I sat across the table from him staring down at the cup of tea. Years of sneaking around coffee dates in remote cafes less acquainted by people with “normal” relationships. I am reminded of the pact I made to myself this morning as I stood in front of the mirror. 

“It’s over!” I heard myself saying to him.

“Excuse me?”

I searched his eyes and couldn’t contain his fear struck expression. I gathered my things as he watched in sheer astonishment.

“What’s over?”

“Us! It ends here this very moment, unless you’ve made your decision between me and her”

I couldn’t pronounce her name, the mere thought of its sound left me numb with disgust. To think that here I was giving my best only for someone else to get the best of him instead. Irony seemed to line the path of my journey through life. A track record for being in love with the wrong person at the wrong time, time wasted on tricking myself into believing there was something I could blame this pattern on. At first I attributed it to daddy issues and self image problems, but this time I thought I had it in me to give him a taste of what I was going through. I not only told myself that, I had to believe it this time and his needy questions reiterated my belief that he couldn’t do without me.

“We’ve talked about this before you know I can’t”

“Neither can I” I said heading towards the door.

“Stay” he pleaded clutching my hand.

Funny, how I’ve spent half my life figuring out how to put things together, coaxing myself into mustering the courage to end the drama. Yet all it takes is a glance from him and the pent up anger and rage within me evaporates.

I pulled the chair and sat down. The meme of a classic forbidden love story: here one moment and gone the next.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

To Safiya, with Love.

Sauntering within the confines of the place we once shared as home , I see that they’ve torn down most of it but as I look around, I realise that there’s more that adorns the walls than the pictures that hung not so long ago. It seems minute now. The light of your presence no longer lingers to illuminate the hallways of this dwelling. You left behind so much more than just your light. Your faint scent dawdles mixing with the delectable scents of the summer breeze creating the most fragrant concoction. I pick up a piece of the cracked glass on the floor of what used to be the kitchen and I’m instantly taken aback to the memories of our play-dates ....
 I’m reminiscent of the days we used too much soap whilst doing the dishes which led to a very predictable mishap and the next thing we heard was the shattering of mother’s favourite China. At that point of time, our young impressionable minds were led to believe that this was an unforgivable catastrophe, so we mutually agreed to bury them in the muddy alley behind the house. I still cannot forget the sonorous clattering of that ridiculous blue China and our failed attempt at destroying the evidence.
You were always there after the rug had been pulled from under my feet. No matter how dark the ages of my adolescence were, you’d always pull the sheets away from my face and patiently sit by my bed and analyse the reason behind my tears. To everyone else I was a cobbled web of undecipherable feelings, but you untangled each thread and saw past all my imperfections. Even when times were hard and all I could do was hope against hope, you were there to make me do just the opposite! Our bedroom walls are a testament of the unconditional love between us and every layer of paint they brushed over our creative mural scribbling doesn’t tarnish the memory of those golden years of childhood. I walk over into what used to be our bedroom and I’m overwhelmed by the rummage.  I stare into the air blurry eyed and suddenly there you were sitting by the window sill calling out names of the kids playing in the street , and ducking the moment they followed your voice to the window. Paradoxical as it may seem, you were quite the bully at times.
My attempt at fighting back the tears is hopeless and I let them roll down my cheeks. This is the inevitable cycle of life; things grow old, become irreparable, and succumb!  Yet we find the power in us to disregard the riveting layers of sentiments and emotion and pretend to move on. Some of us have the alternative of distorting reality whereas some of us cannot afford that luxury. Whilst our dream of showing our future children our childhood home is shattered, I pray that our bond only gets stronger with the passing of years. How I longed for the structure to remain eternally erect. But now that all is done and the walls have crumbled, I deem only my heart a befitting mausoleum to the testament of our love.
No amount of words would do justice to all you’ve done and continue to do for me. From you I learned to hope, to love unconditionally and most importantly to dream without limitation. Qualities as pure as your name connotes! Your erudition is simply beyond compare and your approval has always been my paramount concern even in the most rudimentary of all things. I cannot look back and think of a moment when I did not feel blessed in your company.  As you embark upon your journey to nothing less than success, know that I’ll always be there to shield you from the impetuous winds and storms.
May Allah protect you always! I love you and always will! J

That Heaven of Freedom

Lady Gaga was blaring from the room next door. “Not again!” she thought to herself.  She climbed off the bed lstrewn with literature of all kinds, trying to focus on the latest addition to her growing collection.

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection,
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action---

Despite the high-pitched music, the words resounded in her head, bouncing back and forth within the precincts of her skull like a ping pong ball. Every time she’d read it she’d be taken back to a time when everything seemed like it were a bed of roses. Perhaps it was because she was mentally conditioning her thoughts to think that it was. Thoughts of confusion overwhelmed her profoundly. Her heart bore secrets that she couldn’t utter even in the absence of people, let alone confide in anyone. This time was different; she was abnormally consumed with thoughts that leaving the confines of her room would shatter her. She walked over to the dresser and stared at her reflection in the mirror, she didn’t look peculiar in any way.  It was the same plain Jane that stared back at her.

She ran the palm of her hand over her face slowly as if to feel whether she existed in true form or not. Stopping right at the feel of her soft lips, she felt a twitch inside her. “Where the clear stream of reason, has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit”, she repeated in a monotone that didn’t sound familiar. It sounded like someone else was saying it. Soon, the sun would go down and she’d be left in the pitch dark and uncertainty of nightfall. How monotonous was it that we’re unknowingly shackled by routine in our lives? How disastrous is it that we fall prey to worlds we assume we’ve created ourselves only to realize that they’re a retreat from the realities of the real world? ‘An ultimate irony ‘that’s what a writer would call it. Yet here she was staring at her reflection contemplating the very routine she created for herself.  She smiled back softly at the girl in the mirror, picked up the copy of ‘Gitanjali’ she left on the oak wood dresser and  clutched it close to her chest and once again resumed the thought process in her head. Her entire life was a novel, she the repressed heroine whose desperate attempt of seclusion is what makes others shine the spotlight over her head. Whether she was weaving the threads of the story of her life or whether it was all coincidental remained uncertain. Everyday she’d weave a fable, every fable was a yarn that she would ultimately put together into a tapestry, or what her inner self construed to be the masterpiece whereas others merely regarded the journey as life. The weaving despite at some point being tedious was the one thing she had a grasp off. She felt so much in control of it that it would drive her into a trance.

Given the option, she’d stay away from people. In her imagination she heard an iron door slam shut, unable to figure out what these doors were shutting her away from. But she liked to believe that on the other side of the door was a world where people were consumed with malice and self deprecating thought. A means without an end. But within the confines of her new surroundings were lofty wooden beams stacked with books.  But no that desire, if it were to be converted into reality, would be too easy an option to live with and that never was how things worked out in reality. Even getting what she rightfully deserved was a mammoth task she’d be required to fight tooth and nail for.

It was getting dark outside and the Lady Gaga music had subsided into loud chattering of the family members, drowning the voices of her reverie. Still clinging onto the book, she stood numbed by the rush of adrenalin. She realized that this was the absolute rush her real life was short of providing her. Once she snapped out of her fantasy world, she’d be left feeling like an open wound left to dry in the air, a body devoid of blood to sustain the functioning of her vital organs. She needed to secure a way to live in this stupor for eternity. That “heaven of freedom” where nothing was demanded of her, where she could spend numerous hours doing nothing and not be answerable to a figure of authority.  Where ‘perfection’ wasn’t something you strived for tirelessly, but were a quality inert in every individual.