about my parents

i am eighteen years old and only in the past couple of years have i realised how utterly grateful i should be for my incredible parents. there have been days when i wasn’t an easy child to deal with, but all i ever received from their end was love. their parenting has been blood, sweat and tears, in the purest sense.
my parents have raised my sister and i gently and patiently, appreciated our every achievement, no matter how small the scale and acknowledged our every effort. their upbringing has got me well acquainted with the feeling of being loved unconditionally, sans any terms and conditions.
in my years as a pre-teen, my relationship with my mother wasn’t as healthy as it is today. but since the past decade she has grown along with me, even more so. she has always been a kind and loving woman, there’s no denying that. but since her indulgence in spirituality, my mother has transformed into the most calm and collected person i know. her mental and emotional strength has sky-rocketed, so much so that she can not only bear the weight of my father’s, my sister’s and my burdens but become the unexpected sunlight during rainy season. to see my mother radiate positivity under dire circumstances and spread comfort to everyone around her is astounding. there are days, however, when her unfailing optimism irks me, because on sometimes i just want her to agree with me and say, “that sucks, my dear”. but after all that she has done for me, i would do whatever it takes to see her happy and proud. now that i’m leaving for college, she’s been remembering my childhood days, when all it took to make me giggle and gurgle was raspberries on my stomach and tickles on my chin.
my father is a gentle man, especially when it comes to me. it makes me a little sad that he’s not around as much as i would like him to be, but that’s okay. i understand his commitment to his work; being a doctor isn’t easy at all, particularly not when you’ve got hundreds of patients lined outside of your cabin, waiting to share their troubles. he may be seated on the sidelines, but he’s the best cheerleader i’ve ever had. he is easily swayed by others’ opinions, but he also gives a lot of importance to what i have to say – which i appreciate so much; and he always prioritises my happiness. no matter how many birthdays i celebrate, my small hand in my father’s soft and tender hand will forever be one of my favourite feelings in the world.
parenting is a mammoth task, but massively rewarding if done right. but here’s the thing – you don’t raise your child with the goal getting something in return. that makes your child a liability waiting to be balanced out. my parents have given me the freedom to do study what i enjoy, pursue what i’m good at – no matter the scope. i can’t ever thank them enough; my happiness is linked with theirs, there’s no otherwise. i aim to please my parents.

breakthrough

a feeling of frightening unfamiliarity –
i’ve forgotten how to breathe deeply,
and all i do is gasp and wheeze;
with what ifs constantly plaguing my mind,
my heart refusing to simmer down;
i ask innocently, “what is inner peace?” 

a feeling of disturbing disequilibrium –
my eyes haven’t seen darkness for a long while,
soft, clear skin crowded by unsought eruptions;
i frustratingly dishevel my hair, only to have them
tear and fall into my hands in submission;
i ask desperately, “where do i find inner peace?”

a feeling of comforting consolation –
a tender hand on my slouched shoulder,
and a loving caress on my crinkled forehead;
an empathetic smile accompanied by kind words,
the flicker of a light seen in the tunnel underneath;
i say bravely, “i know inner peace.”

a feeling of calming  i n n e r  p e a c e
slow and even breaths, no signs of struggle;
disparaging what ifs, replaced by confident i cans;
the only unfamiliar feeling now: sleepless nights;
happy skin, healthy locks and a strong heart;
i say humbly, “i have inner peace.”

a feeling of frightening familiarity –
his hunched shoulders and tired eyes,
traces of dried tears tainting his sad face;
i touch his right shoulder gently,
and lightly clasp his trembling hand in mine;
i say carefully, “let me show you inner peace.”

my idea of the most peaceful place

“What is the most peaceful place you have visited?” When asked this question, most people misunderstand; they describe picturesque places with tall, lush green trees; still water bodies with the surface being reflected off by warm and glittery sunlight; tall, snowy mountains dominating the picture frame; places where there aren’t many people in sight and where silence serves as their companion. But, unknowingly, they are answering the question, “Where have you felt most at peace?” and not the original question that was asked. The two questions have only a slight difference that is often overlooked. However, it is this slight difference that makes each answer vary. If we scrutinize these answers, we can assume that the persons have understood the question but choose to answer otherwise because they (or as a matter of fact, anyone) haven’t actually had the privilege of visiting a place that fosters genuine peace.

The world is a cruel and brutal place, with little place for generosity and love. It’s hard to remember the day when upsetting and dismaying headlines were not littered across the newspaper. The status quo of the world is an unfortunate truth we’ve got familiar with over the past few decades. What’s ironic is that most of these problems emerge from industrially advanced societies. With breakthroughs and advancements taking place in the world every few months, it’s almost as if with every new invention, people are becoming miserly with their inherent values like respect for and kindness towards others.

 Imagine a cockfighting pit; now visualize a bigger, stronger rooster that represents the terror in the world today, dominating the shrunken and exhausted weaker rooster symbolizing all the good that’s left in the world. Terror keeps viciously attacking the oblivious Good, cornering it in a round pit that has no corners, which makes the sight seem even more terrifying. Soon enough the latter gives out tired and scarred; it lies on the ground, life leaving its body with each passing moment. What happens after? Terror remains the undefeated, reigning champion of the pit.

The word “Idyll” is described in the dictionary as an ‘extremely happy and peaceful period or situation, typically an unsustainable one.’ Why is it unsustainable? Abominable and horrid things happen everyday; we can’t possibly stop all of them from happening overnight. But the bigger problem is that for every uplifting and encouraging thing that happens around the world, there are numerous other horrendous things happening somewhere else. This is a seesaw that will never balance, let alone the day it will incline towards all the positive and good things in the world.

All of this unrest in the world is because of the unrest in the minds of the people. Long forgotten are virtues like benevolence and humanity; they have been replaced by hatred and cruelty. People feel the need to assert their opinions, and their faith in the harshest way possible. In fact, the raging conflict plaguing the world has started resembling a trend: it involves silent spectators who get to sit back on their plush couches, type a few pitying words for those suffering across the world, maybe get a sympathetic hash tag trending on Twitter, and that’s pretty much it.

The truth is always bitter and it is safe to conclude that we’re not anywhere close to what a peaceful society should be like. It’s been said quite often during times of distress, that ‘Every cloud has a silver lining.’ In such unsettling times, the one thing we can hope for is a united vision – one that assuages the damages at least at a superficial level. It is hard to imagine a world without all this turbulence and negativity, but we’ve got to start somewhere. My vision, in particular, may sound a little far-fetched; but it’s not. Instances that straight out attack humanity aren’t supposed to happen. Whatever happened to the days when people left their doors open at night and slept without any apprehension of an intruder in the house?

My idea of the most peaceful place is a new and improved version of Earth where three mass shootings don’t take place in the span of just five days; where rape victims don’t have to write a letter to their assaulters to justify themselves; where a singer isn’t shot on stage during her own concert; where terrorist groups don’t tarnish a month of charity, prayer and self restraint into a time of terror and bloodshed; where people of colour aren’t ruthlessly shot down because they were assumed to be reaching for their ‘guns’; where the LGBTQ+ community isn’t bombarded with bullets by a hypocrite who resents their very existence; where an Islamophobic, racist and egotistical individual isn’t a plausible candidate to serve as the President of a superpower nation; where I don’t have to keep listing horrifying and toe-curling incidents just to make everyone realize that there is much to be done before everything is right in the world.

Earth 2.0 doesn’t have to be a utopian world. If everything were perfect, it would not only be a monotonous society but also a stagnant one. There is so much diversity in the world, that conflicts in the future are bound to happen, it’s something that can’t be avoided. But as someone once wisely said, “Peace is not absence of conflict; it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” 

 

Admire

d i s s o c i a t e

S t e p.  S t e p.  S t u m b l e.  S t e p.

It’s been a long day, long enough for two

but lived by just one.

Her eyes are warm, hazel and attractive;

hers scream diabolical, dark and vindictive.

They’re both one and the same,

one is flesh, the other a shield 

to the buried traumas within concealed.

B l i n k.  S n e e r.  B l i n k.  S n e e r.

She’s cared for, loved and a constant;

she’s unhealthy, a hazard and a flicker,

One that’s becoming stronger and redundant

replacing the smile with a snicker.

Fragile, hurt, home to another her,

her body abused, heart broken by her blood;

but when she assumes command, everything’s a blur. 

T i c k.  T o c k.  T i c k.  T o c k.

She’s been around for several years now

without the knowledge of her host;

clutching onto her mind like a parasite,

she protects her from her childhood ghosts. 

While her hands, soft with slender fingers,

will hold your hand for comfort,

hers will slither around your throat. 

taiwan

After my exams got over on 24th February, my parents and I left for Taipei, Taiwan two days later. Usually, Taiwan isn’t some place people choose for vacationing, but I’m so glad we did (partially because my father had to attend a conference there). The capital city, Taipei, is absolutely beautiful. The streets were so clean and the weather was great on all the days we were there! We roamed the streets, visited the traditional tourist spots and not one of the disappointed us. Every day was pretty hectic, but at the end of the day, we returned back to our hotel with loads of memories. After spending a day and a half in Taipei, we drove to Sun Moon Lake City (as the name itself suggests, the place was gorgeous). We spent hours in the Farmosa Cultural Village which was adorned with innumerable cherry blossom trees which were glowing with stunning shades of pink. We drove around the Sun Moon Lake and witnessed the beautiful sun set; the next day we woke up early to watch the sun rise, it was 8 degrees! We also visited Kaohsiung, the second largest city in Taiwan where we took a beautiful city tour, and visited the Buddha Temple the following morning. We returned back to Taipei (using the subway, which was also spotless, by the way) in the afternoon and had half a day all to our ourselves and to just soak in the brilliant experience of the entire trip. I have a lot of pictures to share, some of which I will, but the rest you can find on my Instagram account which you can find on the left column.

 

 

Voyage

the other side of the window

It’s thrice a week, after noon
that I prepare fervently for a meeting
with my ephemeral paradise:
Description: filthy and stained;
Landmark: boisterous crowds;
Consists of: wailing infants,
barking dogs and rude passengers.
Yet, a paradise for me
is what it is, for now.

I wait at the same spot, with my basket
of excessively salted peanuts
seated to my side.
Abstractedly I receive crummy notes
of fives and tens, while my eyes rest
on the tracks – deserted,
like roads when the moon awakes.
The digital clock strikes 3:00 P.M.,
When has a train ever been on time?

Sixty-three minutes late,
a train, at last, halts at the platform.
The passengers – all strangers to me,
yet my heart soars in tranquil warmth.
Long forgotten are the peanuts,
as my eyes station on the windows.
Through the transparent, blemished glass
I catch a glimpse of a few people inside –
none speaking, but with the semblance of a family.

I see the boy first.
His dark locks, disobedient.
Luminous complexion, a pudgy nose
playfully flattened against the window.
His morning breath hits the pane,
fogging the glass, and
he writes his name – reeV, I read
backwards in his careless scrawl.
Our eyes meet, but mine shift to the woman.

I see the woman next.
Midnight kohl outlining her eyes,
her features are sharper than
the harsh words of ‘malik’.
In her lap, soundly asleep,
curiosity clouding his dreams
lays the reason for her faint smile.
With eyelashes so long
His sister must be jealous.

I see the girl third.
Long tresses collected to one side,
her hazel orbs skimming
the minuscule script of her
worn and tattered Tinkle.
Her gaze is on the comic
but her mind is in a daze,
reluctantly hoping she never
wished to be her rich friend.

I see the old man last.
His trembling fingers,
telling the beads of his rosary.
Lips opening just enough
to breathe out prayers for the safety
of his lone and absent son –
Working harder than a slave that he is,
to earn and finally be home with his family,
By selling a handful of peanuts.

After what pretended to be hours
but was actually just the batting of eyelashes
the train departs lazily,
dragging her rusted wheels on the tracks.
I realize that, on reaching their destination, perhaps
the boy will embrace his father, not letting go;
the woman will share an intense kiss with her lover;
the girl will fall in love with her home once again,
and the old man will wait for his son’s arrival.

Night strolls by, the sun falling into slumber.
I reach into the pockets of my trousers,
praying that no coins fell out, as my fingers
brush against an emerging hole.
Seated on the pavement, I count
One hundred and sixty-two rupees on my fingers.
With another three hundred stashed under my pillow,
I hope ‘malik’ agrees to lend me the remaining fifty –
I’ve slithered into a state of desperation.

I remember I had come to this city, to ‘malik’,
to earn a livelihood for my family first, then myself.
But now it seems as if I can’t leave.
I have been too loyal that somewhere
along the way, I have transitioned into a naïf.
Five tens short of a sleeper train ticket, and
a few hundred kilometers away from home,
I feel nearest to my family
at a filthy train station,
on the other side of the window.

 

imperfections

As a child I was always told,

“you are beautiful, my darling,

don’t ever believe otherwise”

When I started growing up

I was doubting my parents’ advice.

My eyes weren’t bright enough,

My nose was far too pointy

My lips were chapped,

My cheeks were very pudgy

and my hair, it was a tangled mess.

That’s not all, that was just my face.

My stomach wasn’t flat enough,

My hands were too short,

My legs were pale and rough,

My mind was a brainwashed wreck.

But now, now I have transformed

My soul remains the same, and yet

My flaws haven’t changed.

Haunted and tormented

thoughts have now become impotent.

The chains that held

my content thoughts together,

have now loosened, my raving

heart is fixing itself together

and now, I’m free.

Our minds are influenced,

but hearts are home

to our own feelings.

It’s time to believe in ourself

time to know, that we are

beautiful.

 

We’ve all had those days or the ones that are yet to come, when we weren’t good enough. This is a poem, dedicated to all the girls and guys, who have shared emotions like these. You’re you, and that’s enough. 

Perfection