Category Archives: Blog

Random facts about me…

I was born in Pakistan, and I came to the US when I was 4 years old. It’s been a back and forth journey ever since.

The fastest I’ve solved a Rubix cube is thirty seconds.

I’m learning how to play the guitar (and so far, I’ve mastered twinkle-twinkle little star).

I’m learning how to be ambidextrous. Yes, I can write with both hands… well kinda.

I usually don’t order food, because I like eating what other people order.

I have a bad habit of half-ing food. Meaning if I buy something I’ll only eat half, no matter how hungry I am.

I have claustrophobia and agoraphobia.

I dislike wearing makeup. I feel like I’m wearing a mask and hiding myself.

I hate wearing shoes. I like walking barefoot because I feel like I’m closer to Mother Earth.

I can daydream for hours and hours, and I would never get bored- that’s why I’m messed up in the head.

I love lying down on the grass and gazing up at the sky.

I love flowers, but I hate plucking them because I feel like they look beautiful when rooted to the ground.

I love the rain, even if it’s cold. I love the way the drops touch my skin and bounce off. (That’s why I never carry an umbrella and end up getting sick).

I’m scared of animals (and occasionally humans).

I love reading and writing. My phone is filled with unfinished novels, poems, and stories that I won’t ever publish.

I’m very passive aggressive. I could be dying, and I still won’t tell you why I’m mad.

I bite my lips and the insides of my cheeks when I’m nervous. If I’m scared, I’ll practically chew off my lips.

The thing I look in someone when I meet them for the first time is the way they smile.

I get cranky and mad if I don’t sleep well.

English is my least favorite subject. History and math are my most favorite subjects. I get excited when I have to solve algebraic equations.

I dislike seafood: I hate anything that’s not fish, including shrimp and crabs.

I love walking. I could walk all the way to California from NYC.

I’m not a morning person, nor am I a night person. I’m more of an evening person.

I like peeling lemons and eating them like oranges.

I love talking to myself. The voices in my head are more appealing than most people I know.

I don’t have a favorite color.

I’m a very sporty person. I love playing cricket, volleyball, badminton and now tennis.

I wear glasses, but you’ll barely see me wearing them.

I’m very sensitive to smell.

When I was young I had so many imaginary friends (I use them as my characters now).


Here’s a random picture of me when I was young…

Feeling empty…

It’s just one of those days where you feel empty, almost hollow. Like a part of you is missing or is yanked out by the events taking place around you. You’re trying to make sense of everything, but you can’t seem to do that because everything is just mashed together in one big pile. If you try to sort things out that pile will crush you beneath its weight.

In between this mess you’ll only suffocate. So, you leave things as they are in hopes that miraculously things will get better. But they never ever do. And that pile, of all those things you’re trying to ignore, just expands like gas molecules and you’re left wondering where you went wrong. You find so many ‘loopholes’ ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’ that your mind starts swirling and the road ahead starts to fade away, and you lose focus. You see nothing but emptiness in a future that was supposed to be as bright as the sun. You see a dead end in a road you fought so hard to take.

I hate having these moments because I always end up confusing myself even more, and I make irrational decisions just to get out of this phase. It temporarily works but I end up drowning myself even more.

I was so lost in my thoughts that today I waited twenty minutes for an elevator before realizing I hadn’t even pressed the buttons. I was so dozed out that I took the wrong train. I crossed a red light and took the wrong exit. Literally.

The feeling drains all the energy out of you. It makes you feel like a useless dried out battery.

Picture from Pexel

Faith in Humanity

Around a month ago there was a shooting in a Mosque in New Zealand, and today there was a bombing in a church, on Easter, in Sri Lanka.

I try not to look at the news it gets me overwhelmed. I don’t want to know how many people died or how many are injured. It makes me lose my faith in Humanity, and it makes me feel like a shitty person. Here I am living a comfortable life while there are people out there who are fighting just to survive. My heart goes out to all the people in Sri Lanka who’ve lost their lives or who’ve lost someone they love. This isn’t fair for them. Something like this shouldn’t have happened. Not today. Not any other day. Not to them. Not to anyone.

But it doesn’t make sense. Why would someone do such a thing? Is it the feeling of superiority? Is it mental illness? Is this a political game? Or is it someone’s desire just to see the world burn. Either way, no matter what the reason is, innocent people have lost their lives.

I still want to have faith. People still care. We’ll do whatever it takes to create a world where no one dies because of someone else’s hate or jealousy. Where we’re all accepting of one another. Where we don’t blame religion, ethnicity or color for someone’s actions, but their motives. Where the least we could do is believe that even with these stormy clouds lingering above our heads there is still hope for that ray of sunshine.

Photo by Min An from Pexels

The snake and Nano’s Alzheimer’s

“I had Hindu friends.” My Nano (grandma) who has Alzheimer’s says, wiping away a tear that rolls down her cheek. She looks at me and smiles. “A few of them we’re Sikh and Christian too, and we would sit on the roof, on wooden cots and talk until the sun sunk behind the horizon, or until my father came home and shooed us all away. After the partition, we all just separated.”

I hold onto Nano’s hand and sit by her knees. She doesn’t remember me, but she knows I look like someone she’s supposed to know. She gets frustrated when she doesn’t remember so I play around with her, telling her I’m the cleaning lady or a neighbor or someone who is here to steal the metal plates that Abu (grandpa) bought for her.

It’s her glassy eyes that make me feel guilty. Her lips wobble and her eyebrows knit together so I spit out the truth. And as soon as I do that she smiles and kisses me on the cheek. She tells me how much she missed me, and I want to say the same thing to her, but I’ll end up crying. So, instead, I ask her to tell me about her time when the British were here.

“They were nice. Very just…” she says, and I see pride forming in her eyes. She remembers certain things like they happened yesterday, but she’s forgotten everything else including me.

“This one time, after the British left and when your mother was a child…” Nano giggles. She tells me her tales, again and again, each one having the same people, but new plots. “It was late at night and I had to use the bathroom. During those days we didn’t have toilets, so we had to go out in the fields to relieve ourselves. At night all of us women would gather together at a meeting point, and we would walk towards the fields. Now the fields were empty, and they were scary. The fields were far away from the village, so it was usually a long walk. The wind would make these weird noises that would make our hearts crawl. So like any other day, holding our oil lanterns, we walked to the fields. The grass was as long as my knees, and it was hard to walk, but we managed to get deep where no one would see us. We separated and took our spots. Now as soon as we all settled down, this girl, my friend started screaming, and we all jumped in fear grabbing our trousers with one hand and the oil lanterns with the other. ‘Snake’ I heard someone shout. We were all so scared that we… we… we.” Nano pauses and looks at me with confusion contouring her features. The wrinkles forming on her forehead deepen and she asks, “Who are you?”

“Nano!” I try not to sound frustrated, but anger coats the softness in my voice.

“I’m your granddaughter,” I tell her for the umpteenth time. Nano’s not paying attention to me anymore, she’s too focused on my cousin who’s slamming the door because my youngest aunt refused to give him money.

I slowly slip away and go to Mama. I tell her Nano’s story and she laughs confirming that it’s true. “I have my own story to tell, but yes… all the women ran away, and a man came and hunted the snake and killed it.”

“No….” My aunt says frowning. “That’s not what happened. The snake was a female who had taken the form of a snake. Her husband was killed by Chacha Akhtar, so she came back, and she bit him while he was sleeping. Remember…” She says to mama as she holds back her laugh.

“Yeah and Abu (father) used that stone to suck out the poison” Mama is wheezing so hard that water leaks through her lashes.

“The stone is probably in the old house. Remind me to go get it later.” Auntie’s still laughing.

I blankly stare at them, not knowing what childhood story they’re talking about, but it makes me smile knowing that I’ve reminded them of a memory they both had forgotten.

“Alchemy… Herbs…” Mama says trying to explain the whole concept of the snake-stone-story to me. “Chemistry” she finally breathes in disappointment, as if Alchemy is something we’re taught in school. I ask her about the stone but that requires a story of its own.

Nano has Alzheimer’s, Mama’s story seems too boring, so I go with auntie’s version.

Photo by Burak K from Pexels

Understanding circumstances

When I was young, and we lived in Pakistan, Mama would have to drive us everywhere because my dad was living here in the US.

Women driving in Pakistan isn’t common, especially not in the villages. Mama would wrap her head and bury her face beneath a scarf whenever she drove to our village. People would stare and question, but it never bothered her or me or any of my siblings. I always felt a sense of pride, knowing that out of all the women in our village, Mama was the only woman who knew how to drive. Many others learned after her.

She was scared at first, and things haven’t always gone the way we wanted them to. There was a lot of crying. A lot of confusion. A lot of breaking down. But things always worked out at the end because we made them work out.

One of the worst incidents we faced was when we had a flat tire. It was Friday and like every other weekend, we were going to our village. While driving on the eroded road with potholes, Mama lost balance, and the car swirled to the side almost hitting a tree, but she managed to press the brakes on time. Everything was okay, but we had a flat tire. Mama parked the car on the side of the road, and we waited for my dad’s cousin to come get us.

We sat inside the car with the AC on full blast. The sun was at its zenith, and the temperature was scorching to a hundred degrees. It was like an oven out there. The whole time we waited I cursed out everyone I could. Blaming God, Mama, Dad, everyone I could for every unfortunate event that was happening around us. Why did things have to happen the way they did? Did God not like me? Was I that unimportant for Him?

My dad’s cousin showed up an hour later and took us to a garage, which was nothing more than a shed with a few car parts scattered around.

One of the mechanics made us come out of the car. We had to sit on plastic chairs that were broken. The dust from the oncoming cars was flaring up my nostrils, and I hated the fumes coming out of the cars. The sun above our heads was striking us with its intense heat. My clothes were soaked in sweat. I felt the drops form in my scalp and slowly slither down my cheeks onto my clothes. Every inch of me was sticky like I had bathed in honey mixed with salt water.

We had been through much worse, but in that instance, every other memory seemed like a blessing.

Dad’s cousin bought us juice to drink, maybe he didn’t want us to pass out. Mama felt uncomfortable knowing that she’d have to drive the car, and she hated driving when people were watching. Especially men.

While I sat in the plastic chair with a broken arm, wondering why things just couldn’t work out, I saw a little kid, who was probably ten or eleven rush forward with a smile as bright as the sun on his face. He walked to the car with a metal toolbox clenched in his hand. Kneeling next to the tire, he started unscrewing it. The other mechanic slowly lifted the car with a floor jack. Within minutes the kid pulled the tire and replaced it with a new one.

For a moment his eyes met mine, and I saw a different kind of innocence that was filled with happiness. We were both the same age, yet everything about us was different. His shalwar kameez was greasy and it had different colored patches covering the holes in all the odd places. His hair was filled with oil, and I could smell the fumes five feet away. His face was layered in mud, but the smile tugging at his lips was beyond my understanding. His life was much worse than mine, yet he was happy. There was no greed in him. No envy. No hatred. Just simplicity.


Why was it that even with nothing in his hands, beside the smell of grease, he was satisfied with everything? Did he not know how miserable his life was, or was I the one who saw it that way? Maybe in order for me to understand his happiness, I needed his heart. The heat, the sun, the smell, the grease, nothing seemed to bother him. There was a glint in his eyes. It was the same one I lost years ago.

But that day I learned something. I learned that you won’t stop suffering just because you’ve suffered. Life won’t all of a sudden be grateful to you because it put you through trials. I never got to know that kids name, or his story, but every time life gets me down I think of him and his smile, and I don’t know why but relief floods my entire body.

Everything happens for a reason, and I guess the puncturing of the tire, us going to the worn-out-garage, was so I could understand that life isn’t fair to everyone. We just have to make the best out of the worst. We can’t dodge the bricks life throws at us, but we can use them to create a shield. Maybe build a castle.

That kid is probably in his twenties now. Maybe things got better for him, or maybe they got worse. I don’t know, and I guess I won’t ever find out. But he sketched his mark on me, in the form of a five-second smile that I won’t ever forget.

Image from Pixel