Category Archives: Blog

A farewell from life…

It’s been a long road
I know I haven’t done you any good
but – our ways are parting now
forgive me if you could.

I know I’ve let you down
because now I’m sinking deep
watching you fade away
into a dreamless sleep.

There’s so much I could have done
to ease this walk of yours
but I stood in front of you
blocking all your doors.

I haven’t been the kindest
I wish you didn’t see
the flames that burned you down
were ignited by me.

It’s all my fault
I drowned all your dreams
I wanted to see you suffer
when you were begging on your knees.

I have no more words
but there’s so much I need to say
I wish I could have said it all
before the arrival of this day.

Now you must close your eyes
there awaits you another friend
from here you’ll have to move on
our journey has come to an end.

Embrace this new transition
there awaits you another road
you need to be brave now
because you are worth so much more.

I’m sorry
I wish I could repent
I’d give you all I have
if time was mine to control
I would have become your path.

A farewell from life

Poetry book: Curing My Venom
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Is giving up an option?

Every time I’m at the verge of giving up, my mom slaps sense into me.

Literally.

Her hand is so heavy that she could send me back to Pakistan with the flick of her finger. But every time I say, “I can’t do this.” She makes that face where she clenches her jaw and her eyebrows knit together and she shakes her head.

“A warrior riding a horse has the ability to fall,
not an infant who’s barely learned how to crawl.”

She says the quote in Urdu with such authority that I get goosebumps. I try to argue with her, but she whips out another quote or poem that gives me a surge of confidence, but it lasts as long as her words do. I get the poetic genes from my mom and the storytelling genes from my dad. It’s a weird combination, but it works out for me.

Every time I fail, mama tells me the story of Queen Saleena. I’ve altered the story so many times in my mind, to fit my needs, that I can’t recall how the original one started.

Queen Saleena, the Fifth Emperor of Halacin was a tough leader. She would make the earth rumble with her presence. People feared her, but they wanted her throne. They believed that a woman was incapable of ruling a kingdom as big as Halacin. But the Queen held so much power in the tips of her fingers that everyone feared her.

One day, all the emperors of all the other Kingdoms came together and decided to overthrow Queen Saleena. They gathered their armies, collected their soldiers and went straight for the palace. Queen Saleena was taken off guard, her advisors turned against her and fought her out of her kingdom.

Queen Saleena being brutally wounded and hurt fled from the battlefield and ran into the deadly forest. There she sat under a tree and tended to her wounds. She couldn’t believe what had happened. How could someone a strong as her, be subjected to such weakness. The Queen wanted to give up, so she decided to leave Halacin and settle down in the mountains of Alani.

But as soon as she rose to her feet to flee, she saw a little bird with a broken wing, sitting on a tree branch, with a lion cub lingering beneath it. Every time the poor bird would try to fly, she would lose her balance and scurry back to the tree. She was afraid that if she fell the cub would eat her. The bird tried to escape, ten times, and each time she would give up and hide behind the branches.

The eleventh time, the bird didn’t care. She flew as high as she could, even though she squeaked because of the pain that her wing was causing her. But her flight didn’t last, and she was slowly descending to the ground. The cub saw the opportunity and leaped into the air to eat the bird. This time the bird didn’t run away, instead, she came down with force and slammed her beak into the cub’s eye with such intensity that the cub started bleeding. The cub became blind in one eye and ran away, disappearing into the forest. The bird then flapped her wings and with hustle reached her nest.

The Queen, seeing how brave the bird with the broken wing was, rose to her feet, took her sword and raced back to her kingdom, where she fought and won.

Queen Saleena does not exist but her story is powerful enough to shake mountains. My mother always says that giving up is never an option. Take another route, build a road, swim and drown, fall and crash…. But don’t ever give up.

Not now. Not ever.

Picture from Pexel

I am not special

I’m a disgrace.
A flaw.
An error.

I know this because I’m not a doctor, or lawyer or an engineer. I have a bachelors in biochemistry but besides that, I’m nothing special. I come from a degrading, toxic culture that praises career as if it’s a rank. As if it’s a cast. And according to that cast, I’m an untouchable. I belong on the bottom of the pyramid.

Even before I was born, probably when I was in my mother’s womb, my parents decided that I would be a doctor. It was tattooed with invisible ink on my forehead, so everyone could see. Everyone did, except me.

Ever since I was young, I had the words rehearsed and whenever someone would ask me what I wanted to be I would smile and say “doctor.” The word sounded sacred like my saying it would make the oceans part or the sky would unveil and would pierce through. I never knew what a doctor was, but in my overactive imagination, as a child, it was close to something divine. Something that was as powerful as a magician. As strong as a beast.

I was convinced that if I was a doctor, I could be equivalent to a revolutionary, who had authority and could win people’s hearts. I made myself believe that I wanted to be a doctor. That it was something I was destined to be. And maybe if I hadn’t gone through that downhill/midlife crises, (I go through that every month), I would’ve been in Med-school right now probably doing my rotations.

I don’t exactly know what pulled me away from the Med-track, but I couldn’t stand taking another science class. It was like I was dragging myself through every hour of college as you do to your body when it’s tired and you have to make it to the finish line. Don’t get me wrong, I love science. Physics is very intriguing. It makes you think outside of the box, where you’re just a puzzle in a maze that’s part of a bigger puzzle. I love chemistry too. Knowing that I’m made up of carbon and hydrogen, yet I have the ability to think for myself and reason. Biology has always been my weakest subject, besides gym in high school of course.

I guess I need to change my own mindset first to change the mindset of others. I am embarrassed to tell people that I’m an author and a blogger. Yes, I’m looking into research, preferably clinical or STEM cell research, it’s not as superior as having a doctor in front of your name. Sometime in the oddest of all times, I have that strong desire to get back into the medical field, but that feeling lasts as long as my nap does. I guess I’m still trying to figure out what I want like Van Gogh, the painter when he was twenty-four. Life shouldn’t be counted in years and you definitely shouldn’t do something because others want it, or because it’s trending.

Sometimes the biggest obstacle we face is the person staring back at us through the mirror. That’s a barrier we need to break. That’s the person we need to work on. Its’ not easy, but then again, nothing in life will come easy…

Picture from Pexel

Village life

“Appi,” the little kid calls me out of respect. His name is Aman; he’s as old as my ten-year-old cousin, but he acts and talks like he’s older than me.

“Haan.” I give him a quick glance to show him that I’m listening. All my other spoiled bratty cousins are holding onto juice boxes and bags filled with chips, while his hands are empty.

“Give him a juice box too,” I yell at my little cousin who calls me by my name. He rolls his eyes but eventually gets a juice box and chips for Aman.

I’m lying on the bed upside down, right beneath the fan. It’s so hot and humid that I’m sweating like I’m in a sauna. Thick strands of hair are clinging to my face and my neck. It’s almost 4 pm and I’ve taken a cold shower at least twice in the past four hours.

We’re staying in my grandpa’s house, on my mom’s side of the village. Even after four long years it still feels like home. The orange tree in the back yard, the mango tree in the front yard, the roses and jasmine flowers blooming in the front courtyard all look the same. I can still smell the scent of spices my Nano would use to make curry outside on the clay stove. New York would never beat the taste my Nano had brewing in her hands.

I sit up straight and watch Aman gulp down the juice. He looks at me and bites his lips like he’s nervous.

“Appi..” he hesitates looking at my cousin for support. My cousin just nods his head like a grown-up does when talking to a child. “Can we watch the cricket match on your phone…”

I almost laugh at his innocence. “I don’t have internet or wifi,” I say to him. The one thing I hate about our village house is that we don’t have access to the internet. It’s not bad- sometimes. We play board games, hopscotch, cricket, hide and seek, checho and kish. My mom finds it hilarious how twenty-one-year-old me is trying to keep herself busy. It’s fun though because every game I play with these ten-year-olds brings me back to my own childhood. Where me and my cousins would run around the streets -barefoot sometimes- fighting over sweets or who was “it”. We would climb trees and eat fresh fruits. My scraped knees and elbows and all those scars of falling and rising are proof of a healthy childhood.

“We can go to Aunti Salma’s house.” My little cousin says, tapping Aman on the shoulder for moral support. My little cousin has the bad habit of running away with my phone and draining all the battery. I’m scared he’ll break the screen like he’s done to his Ipad that his father sent to him from England.

I want to say no to them, but I don’t know how to say it. As soon as I open my mouth to argue with them, the fan shuts off. For the first time relief floods my body because of these blackouts. We live more time without electricity then we do with electricity. For every hour that we have electricity, we go through three hours without electricity. It gets worse during the night when we’re trying to sleep. All you can feel is the humid air tugging at your skin, wrapping you around like a blanket. The worst is when we don’t have water. But gladly we have a hand pump in the back which we barely use.

“Oh look. No electricity…. No wifi at Aunti Salma’s house either.” I say pushing my phone under the pillow to make it seem like I don’t have a phone.

“ufff…” my cousin curses out the government, saying that if he was a leader everyone would get free electricity and milk. I don’t know where the milk comes from, but I chuckle at his innocence.

“I don’t have a TV at home… and I just wanted to see the cricket match…” Aman makes a face and I feel guilty. Aman lives in a one-room house with four other siblings. His father works in the fields and his mother sews clothes to make ends meet. My heart melts every time I see him pucker his lips like a small child does when he’s about to cry.

“Okay… how about you watch the match on youtube after the electricity comes back on.” I instantly regret saying those words as soon as I see a spark in my cousin’s eyes. I’m about to threaten him, by telling him that I’ll yank out his eyelashes if anything happens to my screen, but his smile is just too pure.

“What are we supposed to do.” Aman sighs squeezing the juice box.

“You know when I was young we would roam around the village all day. We would play hide and seek, sneak into people’s houses and we would climb trees… Maybe you guys could go play cricket or…”

“Yeah, we should go climb the mango tree in our neighbor’s house.” My cousin cuts me off.

“Yeah but you need permission and that tree is too high… “

“No one cares…”

Before I can stop him, he grabs Aman by the arm and drags him out the door into the courtyard and from there they rush out through the gate. I yell at them to come back, but my voice falls on deaf ears.

The last time my cousin climbed a swing he fell and bumped his head and ended up in the ER. The hospital in the city didn’t have the facilities we needed so we had to go to Islamabad.

I don’t know what I got myself into?

How will I explain this to my aunt?

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Why are you dreaming?

Why are you dreaming?
What will people say?
Burn away your dreams
or the world will burn you away.

Scorch all your wishes
and lower all your skies
these people will only hurt you
why do you even try?

Drench yourself in doubts
like you always do
you can move mountains
but no one will see this beauty in you.

Maybe, just maybe….
for once….

Let all those mocking voices fade away
you are a dream in itself
why would you let someone else
dictate your way?

Listen to those voices
echoing in your mind
telling you to believe in yourself
because you’re one of a kind.

Don’t stop dreaming

Picture from pexels