Big Deal!

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Washing dresses,
and cooking some meals.
I should be all homely.

but I wasn’t. Big deal!

I was out somewhere
Having the time of my life.
Supposedly.

but I wasn’t. Big deal!

I and this guy
started off as friends
we remained friends.

Until I was not. Big deal!

Always there for me.
He proposed, we married.
He was happy.

but I was not. Big deal!

He left me alone
except for our child,
Baby Anxiety!

I cried a lot. Big deal!

It followed me around
kept me up,
nightly!

Its lies I bought. Big deal!

And one day he returned,
the father of my son.
Finally!

Depression was his ID. Big deal!

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The Final Conquest

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Perched on my favorite rocking chair in the wooden porch of my small house, I was swaying back and forth. A backward stroke of the chair, and dark shadows engulfed my charcoal skin. The magic of physical laws brought it back to its initial position and sparkling sunshine made my face glisten. Darkness after light… Light after darkness…

I closed my eyes to relish my victory. Years of protests, neck-breaking efforts, and innumerable insults had borne fruit. We were free at last. Screens of every gadget I owned were live with a single news.

“The feminist movement has destroyed misogyny once and for all. The last group resisting the change surrendered yesterday night after a heated debate between the two leading parties ended unanimously in the favor of women.”

It was a bittersweet moment for me as a thousand disturbing images flashed across my eyes.

Beautiful feminine features made hideous by the pettiness of male ego. Uncountable pregnancies aborted forcefully and an even greater number of forced pregnancies. People tearing one girl’s scarf and forcing it on another. Glass ceiling, domestic abuse, honor killings, acid throwing, marital rape, sexist comments, and varying shades of sexual harassment. I had seen it all, experienced it all, and fought it all.

It was now a decade ago when one of my male colleagues had said it in defense of his gender but the low blow still stung me. We were having our usual lunch break discussions about the increased surfacing of rape case. He said, “If somebody has a key and they find a keyhole, they insert it in there. That is natural.”

I’d wanted to smack his deplorable face but I acted exactly how my gender did when angered and triggered; calmly but sarcastically. “That means if I find a bat somewhere, I can hit your balls real hard with it because you know it’d be very natural too,” was my tart retort.

Looking back at it, I was burning with anger at the audacity of that piece of sh** when a small crowd disturbed my solitude by blocking the sun. There were other lights though — flashes and cameras. “Ma’am we want to interview you.” Journalists! I thought.

“Go ahead!” I relented.

“Do you think men are your enemy?” asked a kind looking bespectacled man. His glasses were slipping down his nose after every other second.

“No!” I declared, “My biggest supporter throughout the movement had been a man. In fact, it was his brilliant idea that proved to be the stepping stone of our success.”

“Do you mind sharing that secret with us?” he asked visibly thrilled at the opportunity of asking me questions and even more so at getting prompt responses.

“I would love to,” I replied, “It’s not a secret, really. Do you know how the biggest reform came when men began supporting our cause and safeguarding our rights?” I saw him nodding vehemently, which was a dangerous risk, considering the condition of his horn-rimmed glasses.

“The man I am referring to had advised me to teach the womenfolk to raise feminist sons and that I believe did the trick. The opposing party called us whores and the poor men who stood for us were called impotent or gay. My great mentor used to say gays and impotent men are much better humans than these pathetic excuses of men who lack even basic decency I’d chop off my dick any day if it made me such an arrogant bastard.”

“You talk about your mentor a lot. Why didn’t you ever reveal his identity?” It was a different journalist this time.

“I didn’t want him to get hurt,” was my curt reply.

“Does him being a man bother you ever?” asked the guy with the slippery glasses. Good question, I thought. Something bothered me about my mentor but his gender was not it.

“No!” I replied, “Feminists believe in equality and not female Supremacy. We advocate humanity.”

They wanted to ask more questions, but I had had enough and thus excused myself. I retreated inside my home. I needed to talk to my mentor.

“Why am I a man?” He asked me.

“You know why,” I said evasively.

“No, I don’t,” he said, “Is it because the world wouldn’t listen to a woman?”

“No, not the world! The women wouldn’t have listened to another woman,” I admitted reluctantly.

“So you created a visage of a man who ‘helped’ you?” He said in a fake deep voice.

I nodded and said “The world had ingrained women to listen to men for so long. Therefore, I used our psychology to bring us some happiness. I could have saved them from men but how was I to protect them from themselves?” My eyes brimmed.

“It’s all right! You did great,” My reflection told me in a voice that was a distasteful mockery of Liam Neeson.

I smiled at it. No longer was he a figment of female imagination — a man who understood.

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Originally published on Medium

The Miracle of Literature — A Painful Plath

The Cover of my Copy of “The Journals of Sylvia Plath”

Until I had not read Sylvia Plath’s work, I had no idea that poetic thoughts could be realistic too. I had first met her in the year 2014. I was staying at my cousin’s place and she happened to have a copy of “The Bell Jar” — Plath’s semi-autobiographical piece of fiction. When I say I met her, it is not just a figure of speech. Reading her work is akin to meeting her in person.

2014 had been a tough year for me. I was being introduced to the sound that shattering dreams make. Those who are familiar with it would know how horrifying it is. While those, who like me have grown accustomed to it, might even agree that once you get used to it, this sound actually grows on to you. You find it to be a fine composition. In fact, it’s my favorite genre of music now and I have Sylvia to thank for it too.

I found out that reading her books was like watching pain turn into a physical entity — something that you can touch, feel, and watch as it shrieks with pain. You sense the hair on your hand standing on end, one follicle after another, as you read one word after another. Thus, to say the least, “The Bell Jar” had had quite an effect on me. Yet, 3 years later, I was only left with just a minuscule portion of its original enormity — just a minute sensation and not the whole torture of being torn apart from limb to limb.

As a result, I, rather unwittingly opened the copy of “The Journals of Sylvia Plath” that my evil friends had presented to me as a gift.

The rest, as they say, was history and it was quite full of tortures too. I have not even read one fourth of this insanely enormous book. Yet, ever since I have started it, each night, I end up soaking my pillows with a storm of tears.

How an 18-year-old-girl, that also dead for quite a long time, can have this kind of effect on you is nothing if not a miracle of literature. I believe it to be the power of words that are so intricately merged with emotions that telling one apart from the other becomes quite impossible.

This article is, but my tiny effort, to pay homage to a tortured soul who helped me accept my sorrows and my pains as my own.

P.S: If you are not already a fan of hers, here is an excerpt from the book to make you thirst for more (why should I suffer alone):

“Why the hell are we conditioned into the smooth strawberry-and-cream Mother-Goose-world, Alice-in-Wonderland fable, only to be broken on the wheel as we grow older and become aware of ourselves as individuals with a dull responsibility in life?”

“to learn that while you dream and believe in Utopia, you will scratch & scrabble for your daily bread in your home town and be damn glad if there’s butter on it”

“to know that millions of others are unhappy and that life is a gentleman’s agreement to grin and paint your face gay so others will feel they are silly to be unhappy, and try to catch the contagion of joy, while inside so many are dying of bitterness and unfulfillment…”

An attempt to copy the cover of “The Journals of Sylvia Plath (Yes I draw like a child would draw)

Silent Witnesses—Despicable Beings

Kindness…. Humanity….. Sympathy…. Empathy

Words are losing their value and meaning because people are murdered without reason.
We are laughing while at the exact moment some mother is losing her child.
Desentisized inhumane humans—this is who we really are. I will still care for my own petty agendas and desires. I will still not put others above myself. I am still not human. I will still be hesitant before giving when I do not have the assurity that I will get something in return. Where is my faith?
Where is my kindness?
Where is my humanity?
Where is my sympaathy?
Where is my empathy?
I sit comfortably while my people are burning.

Flicker all you want but do not Die

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Blazing feelings for one second, and an abyss darker than a black hole engulfs me the next moment, the bulb thought as he tried his best to shine brightly.

“Flickering”, he could remember his school principal telling him, “is a stage that every bulb and light must go through.” “You either end up shining brightly or you are switched off for the rest of your light years”, Madam Electricity had lectured, “However, the outcome is not important. It is more about experiencing the flickering-the journey between hope and fear.”

Until now, he had managed to gain back his energy every single time, the flickering state had come upon him, but he knew it was not for long because there was no Lucia to encourage him anymore. The Dad had just removed her yesterday when she failed to shine. He had not listened to him, shouting through his shining lights to leave Lucia alone.

Yesterday night was depressing.

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Fission or Fusion?

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Hey you!

Yes you.

You ugly thing.

I know you.

You are the one who knows how to detonate bombs.

Right?

But that is only what you tell other people.

 

I know you better than this, to fall for your lies

Or not ?

 

You are the exact opposite of what you claim to be.

You are the one who meet people, to find their button-the one you claim can switch off their personal nuclear bombs.

For every single one of us is a bomb, dying to explode.

Anyways,

The innocent people, desparate for peace tell all their secrets to you-show you their jewels and even their ashes!

 

You see that red button and smile to yourself.

Let the party begin, you think.

 

Sometimes you just threaten

I am gonna press it

I am gonna press it

You chant incessantly

When the person is all ready to burst

I am bored, you announce.

And leave.

What torture!

 

But I know that you come back.

You always do.

You can never deny the little pleasure to yourself, of starting a nuclear war, given that it is at another person’s expense.

 

So your little, fat, and hideous index finger does its work.

BAM

Your hysterical laughs!

You leave.

 

What about the one facing the aftermath of your action?

 

Death

Destruction

Sorrow

Hoplessness

That is the first phase.

 

Remnants of nuclear war,

The second phase.

Broken things

Crippled heart

Twisted nerves

Genetic mutations

 

And yet they heal

The third phase

Time, the saviour!

 

 

Years pass

Eons,

Or mere centuries.

 

Other people learn their lesson.

They never fall for your hoax

Or show you a different lever to press

Some even try to return your favours

 

But not her

And you know it.

A thousand times you blow her to pieces

And yet she keeps presenting her broken, poorly repaired triggering button

For you to press.

 

Reason?

She knows you have no button

Of your own.

Someone stole yours

Ages ago

And left you only with

An urge to press!

 

Oh you empty thing

How she pities you

You have no amunition

She has plenty

So she offers you hers

It never runs out!

What Color Are You?

 

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I was black

The darkest shade

Or so I thought

 

For one day I saw

an image flowing

In the dark river

The form and shape

Was indeed mine

But very very white

My eyes hurt

It was all too fine

So from then on

I was to be fair

I roamed around

Completely bare

 

I was light

Things passed through me

I remained unaffected

Or so i fancied

For one day I found

A number of things

Stuck inside

my beautiful wings;

“Controlled urges,

Pathetic emotions,

Impossible desires”

My anger surges.

 

I was neither black

Nor pearly white.

Perhaps grey?

I though with hope.

“At least one color

I would be

Even if its

a mixture of two”

 

Everyone I knew

Was Afterall

Some varying shade of grey.

 

I chance a look

Grey grey grey

I pray

 

What is this I see?

Not black, not white

Nor any shade of grey.

 

My white is white

My black is black

No grey no red

Nor any color

 

I am a mosaic

Of black and white.

 

What color I show

When where and how?

I do not know

I do not know.

The Girl in the Mirror

I see my reflection in the mirror. I smile. I see white pearls carefully set in an open red box. It is my mouth. There are wrinkles around my eyes, two huge almonds. I take a step back and take in the complete image. A smiling girl stares back at me. It is supposed to be me but it just cannot be!
I do not smile, not anymore!
There was a time when I would laugh all day or so my parents tell me. I do not remember it. No matter how hard I try to imagine myself laughing, I fail. It had never happened, I am sure. It is impossible just as it is impossible that a man with a gun, killing innocent people, can have a heart. As long as they are devoid of hearts, I am devoid of a smile. My parent must be lying just as the governments and important people all over the world lie,when they claim to have hearts.
Killing machines may have power, glory, wealth, resources and even beauty but hearts? No! My parents are happy-well as happy as they can be after losing so much. I mean my mother often cries at night and I know she is thinking of her dead brother and father often stops talking whenever there is even the slightest chance that my sister’s name might come up. He changes the topic faster than bullets kill people in my city. By the way, my sister was raped right in front of his eyes.
And my city? I have no city. I am a refugee.
My parents are thankful. Maybe they have forgotten Amineh, Nur, Zeynep, Manjural Islam, Zaman and of course, Muhammad. They have forgotten them because all these people had hearts. People with hearts die and they are forgotten.
My parents are relieved. They have finally found a place to sit still. Who could blame them? after we have been rejected by various countries in the world; we were on the brink of death. I often felt like the first piece of bread that nobody would want and keep shifting until it reaches the bottom. Nobody in my family used to eat it and it usually ended up as crumbs. I would gladly eat it now except I do not get any, anymore.
My parents are happy to be that piece of bread but sometimes I wish I had long turned into the crumbs because the girl in the mirror does not smile!