Category Archives: Blog

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

The killing…

I grip the knife in between my fingers as tightly as I can. My palms are so sweaty that I’m afraid the knife will slip through and clatter on the white marble floor. After every minute that passes by I rub my hands on my pants, trying to remove the moisture that’s gathered on my flesh. I inhale sharply but quietly making sure to not make any sound with my uneven breaths or with my tiptoeing.

He’s peacefully sleeping on the king-sized bed with the blue bedsheet. His chest is rising and falling as he loses himself in his slumber. I envy him for his tranquility. How can he be so calm when he’s caused a thunderstorm in my chest? Sleeping like that he looks like an angel who’s here to make the world a better place, but when he’s awake even the demons run away to hell. His brown hair is covering his forehead and parts of his eyelids, and his bulging muscles are ripping through his white t-shirt. His stubble has been growing for the past few days and he hasn’t put in the effort to shave.

Unlike our small prison-like-cages, his room is as big as a children’s playground. The walls are different shades of blue, each one changing its hue with the reflection of the sun. On the left there are sofas with a glass table in the middle and on the right there’s the bed where he’s lying. Ahead there’s a balcony from where you can see the city buildings tower on top of each other.

I inch closer to him until I’m standing by his bedside, hovering over his head. His eyelashes are so long, and his face looks so innocent that I’m convinced he’s not the monster I’ve seen in him.

Maybe he’s had his reasons. The voices in my head try to reason with me, but that part of my chest that’s bleeding in red says otherwise. I’m trying so hard to convince myself that he’s not a bad person, that maybe he still has a part of himself that cares.

But he kidnapped you. Tortured you. The thoughts swirl in my mind like a tornado. He killed Sammy and Nate and Anna. And what about all those other children… what about Kenny. What about Aly?

But he fed you, didn’t he? Another voice yells at me.  He was just following orders. Katty said he’s incapable of feeling emotions. He’s mentally ill.

“Slit his throat.” Becky’s voice is cooing in my ears with such clarity that I’m convinced she’s standing by my side.

“No stab him in the heart.” Mickey is yelling at me.

I raise my hand and hold the grip of the knife, above his chest with so much force that my nails dig into my flesh.

I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this.

If I kill him, I’ll be the killer. What difference would there be between us? But he killed good people and I’m killing the bad people. Does that make me a good person, or does that make me a murderer like him?

I lower my hand a little to retreat, but all the memories pulse through my brain, reminding me of every ache he’s put me through. The time he burned my hands, the time he whipped me and Esha with his leather belt. The time he shot Nate in the chest. The time he…

Before the thought can erupt through my brain, my arm plunges straight down with such force I didn’t even know I had. I hear a crack, a moan and then wheezing. His eyes fling open and perplexed he stares at me like a stray cat. When his eyes process what’s happening, he tries to jump out of bed but fails miserably. I quickly pull the knife out of his chest and take a few steps back in fear. His shirt, the bedsheets, my hands everything is painted in red. Pressing onto his wound with both of his hands he slides off the bed and tries to make his way toward the side table. He opens the first drawer and rummages through it. He’s looking for his revolver. Hamani said she took it and hid it in the back garden beneath the mango tree. When he finds nothing, he tries to jump toward me, but I take a leap back and he falls on his stomach. Blood soaks the carpet beneath him.

“I will kill you,” He says through his clenched teeth, expanding every word. I watch him bleed for a while, and very slowly I take a few steps toward him. He’s breathing heavily now. In his eyes, for the first time, I see anger dressed in fear. A tear drips from his eye and cascades down his cheek.

Guilt takes hold of my body and I start shaking and crying like an infant. I drop to my knees and my grip on the knife loosens making it clatter on the floor. I don’t want him to die. I don’t want anyone to die.

“Go call Mike. Come on please.” He says pleading. “I’ll protect you. I promise.”

Part of me wants to believe him and unconsciously I rise to my feet. But as soon as I spin on my heels the door bangs open and Hamani comes rushing in, covered in blood. She has a slash on her cheek, and I see fire dancing in her grey eyes. She pulls me back like a lioness does to her cub and pulls out the revolver she hid in the garden.

Before I can open my mouth, she pulls the trigger and the bullet cuts through his head. Blood pools around his body like a small puddle formed after rain. The loud bang paralyzes my body and I start sobbing.

The last thing I remember before passing out is Hamani saying, “We have to leave before the other gang members come.”

Photo by Ivandrei Pretorius from Pexels

 

Am I yours?

I am the taunts of failure
the echoes of death
I am the breaking of hope
the words of a last breath
I am the cruelty of fate
the loss of a friend
I am the road untaken
the path to an end
I am the days of despair
the empty droughts of a desert
I am the bird without wings
the loneliness of hurt
I am the sad farewell
the sorrow in goodbye
I am the pain of a wound
the salt in tearing eyes
I am the ruins of a canvas
the sound of fading colors
I am the wreckage of storms
the parting of old lovers
I am the closing of doors
the breaking of dreams
I am the silence of helplessness
I am the wails of grief
I am everything unpleasant
everything disliked
I am poison
venom
I am the uncured
but however I am
Just promise me
I’m yours.

I’m not mine, but can I be yours?
Poetry from: Curing My Venom 

 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels