My Entangled Thoughts

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I can’t speak for other people because their minds are not on the list of places I had checked into but my own thoughts, I have visited often. Thus, I know the questions that arrive in this desolate place I call my brain. They used to be simpler and consulting a parent, a friend or a teacher sufficed. Yet, they grew complex. I can’t say on which exact date the change happened. All I know is that now, I have queries with no answers.

The people I used to look up to are as much confused as I am. When they had no replies to my wandering abstractions, they silently accepted me as their own.

“Congratulations! You have crossed the threshold of black and white. Welcome to the Grey zone where everything is muddled up,” they informed me.

I cannot turn to them with my pleas no more.

I have learned to ignore my mind, my conscious, and its ramblings but it continues to gnaw and nag me. When the tossing and turning of these contemplations chew away a chunk of my brain, I go to Google. If natural intelligence is failing me, I try artificial intelligence. If nothing else, it kills time. Afterward, I am left with a hundred new types of hopelessness.

The familiar wave of despondency engulfs me. I smile. The exhaustion takes over my senses and I sleep. My brain, however, stays awake bringing me fresh thoughts from the realm of horror to ponder over in my dreams. Sometimes, the audacious bastard brings forth pleasant fantasies of a time to come or a few cherished moments from the times gone past. There is nothing wrong with the latter as long as you are asleep but the moment, the first surge of consciousness hits me, all the niceness melts into a sharp tinge of longing that slowly settles into my mounting melancholy.

The hustle of the day conquers my being and the cycle repeats.

Knitted cross-stitches,

Ah! Painful itches.

A spider’s web hanging,

Intricately from ceiling.

Intertwined earphones,

Decaying set of bones!

Inosculated boughs of a tree distraught.

How nasty are my entangled thoughts!

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Guardian Angel

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Forget about happy endings.

Happiness shouldn’t end.

Create a mosaic of moments,

Sad, happy, happy, sad.

Lend me some of those,

The thoughts you push back

Every time a fresh one arrives.

Your discarded ideas fall through a wrinkle.

Right into my lap.

Let me be the catcher of the dreams,

You had never dreamt.

I will preserve them in time and space.

For you to visit at your leisure.

Your deja vus are secure with me.

I am the keeper of your alternate realities.

Find me when you are ready

To escape to a new world.

 

Why So Serious?

“Hi, doctor!” Jaz greeted Dr. Domestica. A poker face stared at him as she lowered her veil.

Duzan Domestica, however, had been too long in this line of business to miss why this green-skinned, strange looking girl was there in his clinic. Despite her emotionless face and heavy makeup, her smile lines were more than visible. Fanning out at the corner of her eyes were several small wrinkles resembling a cat’s whiskers or a crow’s feet. Then there were the horrible concaves bracketing her thick lips, almost conquering her nasolabial region. Duzan focused hard on her left cheek but was not sure what to make of it. He reflected for a while. Then, “Smile,” he sighed and issued the one command that only he could give without risking his life.

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As if waiting to do so all her life, Jaz gave him the brightest of smiles he had ever received. It indicated that she was in her happy place and probably knew that it was the last time she would be there because her smile was a classic clichéd one. The one that came straight from the heart or could illuminate the darkest of the hours, you know the magical one!

Duzan shook his head in despair. It was there alright — deep enough to house a million of microscopic entities or a very tiny grain — depending on which you are more likely to carry. She had the cursed symbol that alone could have destroyed her forever. She had a dimple!

“Is it that bad?” asked Jaz. Her eyes were moist because there was a lot of smoke in the dingy clinic of the damned doctor. Duzan, however, misinterpreted it to be tears of sadness.

He took a step backward from her and barked, “Hold the waterworks, please. I hate emotions. I will fix this for you but you must never do it again.”

“Do what?” asked Jaz, “The S-word?”

“Smile, laugh, giggle, snicker… nothing!” he told her, “Or else…”

“You are giving me the last stage treatment, huh?”

“I have to,” he said, “orders are orders.”


A few hours later Jaz emerged from “Domestica Cosmetica.” She was the same woman who had entered the loathsome glass building with only one exception — her face was now completely devoid of any line.

With Zac gone, she did not have any reason to smile anymore. Zac would probably be under some kind of genetic experiment at the moment that the West is notorious for, she thought, meanwhile I am stuck in the pathetic East aka the rat hole where women can’t smile.

“Women do not smile like we do,” A man on a large screen which were very common throughout the country was saying, “Their smile is a weapon more lethal than the most dangerous bomb you and I could ever invent.”

“What b*******!” Jaz checked herself just in time. She was about to scoff.

“Therefore, we suggest that all the women should pay a visit to Domestica Cosmetica and be free from the wretched signs once and for all,” the screen man concluded with a smile.

“And become a ticking time bomb the moment they dare to stretch their lips only a centimeter wider from their natural position,” Jaz muttered to herself.

She was very upset now. She missed her childhood, where all the sci-fi villainy belonged to her imagination and her mother played the role of an evil person by imposing certain rules. This real-life nefariousness was taking a toll on her nerves.

“If it got really difficult,” she told herself, “I will just laugh my worries out.”


Originally published on Medium

Read more about the siblings:

Their childhood — The Midday Adventures of Zac and Jaz

What happened to Zac — SPPRIG Testing Laboratory

Free will, Shcmee will!

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All alone in a bathtub,
With no water calming my nerves.
Naked, I am lying curled up.
Foetal style, ready to return.
Pure and intact
To my mother’s womb.

I can see, smiling folks
Waiting for me to be born.
Kick in the air and cry a lot
Even if my lungs get torn.

Knowing, what they will do to me.
I must refuse to budge from here.
Tools, they will use in vain
To force me out of her.
Then I must hold my breath.
So, they only get my shreds!

A wasted journey has to end,
Before it ever begins.
Had I only been given that will,
Alas! I will be here still.

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Mutual Consent

Hey!
Let’s make a vow.

To break the one,

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We’d agreed we’d never break.
Let’s shatter into a million pieces,
the promise of never letting go!

 

What do you say to it?
Giving up on each other,
once and for all!

I promise!
I won’t come back to you, tumbling,
If you give me your word,
You will never show me your face, crumbling.

I promise!
Your name, I won’t ever mention,
If you stop begging for my attention.

Erase your existence,
around my presence.
And in exchange, I promise,
Silence, eternal!

So what do you say?
Actually, no! Wait!
Don’t answer even THAT.

Originally Published on Medium

Blown Out of Proportion — Wringo Ink.

Here is another entry from our #WringoInk. project.
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Monday:

She was reading something. We were in a library surrounded by books. I was glad she was there. Finally, there was a girl who loved literature. She was into Camus and Beckett; would you believe it? I mean she belched at the mention of glittering vampires and impossibly romantic love stories just as my dream girl would have done.

I could imagine her narrating my favorite story. It was the uncensored version of a famous fairy tale where the shrewd elf was tricked and raped by the shepherd’s little girl. Throughout the story, the little girl was portrayed as a simpleton. Itwas only at the end the plot twist was revealed. It boiled my blood how the modern version was a hunky-dory retelling with the elf turning into a handsome prince marrying the village girl. Talk about making things palatable!

“You should be in dramatics. You read lines with emotion”, I told her.

She said something but I didn’t quite catch it. I was busy watching her small red lips curl into a smile.

I could tell she liked me.

Tuesday:

I was sitting cross-legged on my writing table when my phone beeped. However, I didn’t care much because she was in the room too. She was singing a song I had never heard before. Great, I thought to myself, now I will think of her whenever I will hear this tune.

It was 9 a.m. and I could see sunlight filtering through my window and landing right on her. She was wearing a silver satin dress that she had worn on the party last night. It was glowing because of the golden beams that were reflecting off the fabric’s surface.

I was beginning to fall for her.

Wednesday:

I was lying on the sand. The moon must have been wildbecausethe waves were creating a havoc. Yet I could see the force of water die down as it touched the tips of my bare feet. I felt as if I was part of a best-selling fiction. She was lying right beside me, whispering mesmerizing poetry into my ears.

This relationship was definitely progressing.

Thursday:

She was going for a coffee with her otherguy friend, Z. She said she had a surprise for me. Maybe she wanted me to be her boyfriend. Was she asking Z for advice before making that decision? I thought. He would tell her I am a nice guy,I smiled.

I was definitely in love with her.

Things were going great and we’d been together by nowif only reality had not arrived from the foreign lands of my dreams. It was back from its vacations.Urgh.It was knocking on the door of my sanityincessantly. I had to answer.

Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday

“You should be in dramatics. You read lines with emotion”, I had told her on Monday.

“Dude, what the hell? This is just a Facebookpost. You gotta chill,” she had said while laughing.

We were sitting with 5 other people. It was a library alright but our college library. Love has the power to alter a few imperfections.

There was a Tuesday song for sure but…

“Listen to this guys:

#myfavoritenumber #myfavoritesinger #themusiclegend”

She had shared her favorite song on our WhatsApp group. She had been talking about it all night at the party. She had promised to share it on the group, of which I was also a part. Just not the onlypart though.

We had our English Literature class onWednesday. She had volunteered to read “I saw from the Beach” by Thomas Moore. It was broad daylight. The whole class was her audience but I was the only one who was listening. Listening too much, I presume, and imagining even more.

On Thursdayshe was successful in giving us a surprise. I was shocked to the point of devastation.

“Z and I are dating”, she had told us. The two of them were bursting with laughter.


Today is Friday:

I am going home. Alone. I see a girl waving at me. What does she want? I think, probably waving at someone behind me.

Somewhere a villain will trick a sweetgirl. Not all fairytales have to be unrealistic.

It is high time I should stop blowing things out of proportion.

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)

A Perfect Sphere—WringoInk

“Not another triangle”, her mother scowled. The old woman was trying hard to control her anger but was clearly failing at it.

“It tastes perfectly alright”, Zebo protested in a small voice.

“Perfectly?”, her mother’s tone was extremely sarcastic, “Don’t you dare defend this misshapen piece of bread in front of me.” She exhaled and added somewhat sadly, “Girl you are not going to get married easily.”

Zebo knew there was no point in arguing anymore. Her mother’s honey-brown eyes were flashing with anger. She glanced at the grandfather clock that stood in the kitchen. It was 1:30 P.M. Abba would be here any minute, she thought. She grabbed her dupatta, which was hanging on the knob of the kitchen door, and covered herself. She left for her room as Amma stood up from her favorite chair. She would make a new one for Abba, she thought, it would be a perfect sphere.

Zoobia Shahid was among the brightest students in her class. The 14-year-old had only recently learned that world was elliptical. Copernicus and Galileo had faced quite a handful of troubles before the perfectionists finally came to terms with the fact that their beloved earth was not a perfect circle. She didn’t know what kind of sacrifice she would have to make for her parents to appreciate her truly.

“The girl has exceptional talent with words”, her language teachers would tell her parents on every parent-teacher meeting at school. While her Abba looked proud about it, Amman would only frown.

“Let’s go talk to her Home Economics teacher”, she would tell him. Zebo dreaded that very moment since she knew that teacher Zulaikhan would tell her parents about all her mischiefs.

“She shouldn’t be called a girl”, Ms. Zulaikhan would start. Her Abba would look annoyed about it but her Amma would only nod her head in a gesture of understanding and sympathy.

“She is the perfect definition of the word disaster”, her teacher would resume the chiding, “She had cut herself more times while peeling vegetables in the class than politicians tell lies in their entire lifetimes. Recently, she reached new heights after she accidentally set fire to the tablecloth on which she was working. You have no idea what a nightmare it was!”

Her mother would add snippets of her sins too. “She broke a dozen eggs before coming here…”, “You should see what a mess her room is…” and “One day she was playing with her younger brother. This girl had the nerve of using the cover of my new hot pot as a shield while she pretended to safeguard some imaginary kingdom with the rolling pin…”

“Oh, I can totally imagine the horror”, her teacher would gasp in a dramatic way. After a while, they would get bored of talking about Zebo. Then one of them would comment on some fine stitch on the other’s dress and they would enter a fantasy world of their own.

“Women”, Zebo and her father would sigh simultaneously.

Then there was the Rishta parade. Zebo was 100% successful in crushing yet another dream of her mother. The girl had effectively been rejected by a dozen rishrawalas. She deserved bonus points for being rejected for different reasons every single time. Her most popular tactics included revealing to the guests that the amazingly delicious delicacies were not prepared by her as opposed to the claims made by her Amman, sitting improperly, laughing too loudly, and bragging that she could twist her left thumb into an abnormal position. Once she had even told the potential groom’s mother that she might be at the risk of developing breast cancer because of family history. Her Amman had only one breast.

“What’s in the other cup then”, the aunty had asked her jokingly. Zebo had looked at her mother who was glaring at her from the adjacent sofa. “Probably some weapon of mass destruction to destroy my existence”, she had replied.


“There is no way to domesticate this wildflower”, her mother would often say and smile. Apparently, she was wrong because her death did the trick. Her Amman’s other breast had cancerous cells too. However, they were incurable being at the last stage.

Zebo is now a mother of two. You would never find a sphere more perfect in the world than the Rotis she cooks.

Originally published on Medium

Category ‘Young Adult’, Story 2

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As the Pink turned White

 

spirograph-1982563_640 The other day he was telling me that I could count on him. 

What a liar!

I have seen death. I know you can’t rely on mortals. No matter how nicely the fabric of their intentions is stitched, there comes a time when it is ripped off.

Sometimes, it fades too, that is, before its guaranteed time. It’s better to just throw the garment off. There is no point of wearing something so outdated and out of fashion. Something that has lost its hue.

 

“I accept you with all your shades”, he had said.

 

“What about the darkest of them ?”, I had asked.

 

“Especially those”, had been his reply.

 

I had refrained from making a similar vow to him. I was not going to accept the color of the morgue.

 

“What is the colour of the death?”, his daughter had asked me years after his demise, “Must be Black or Grey”, was her answer to her own query.

 

I had shaken my head violently. “It is the brightest pink”, I had almost shrieked, “because it stands out.”

 

She hadn’t heard me though. Apparently, death was colorless–transparent! She could not see me. Her dead mother.

Dream! What Dream?

chairs-218460_960_720His father had forced him to become an engineer. At least that was how he liked to tell the tale. That earned him different responses from people. Most of them were sympathetic—outwardly! Otherwise, they were only hiding different judgements behind, “Aw, I am sorry. It must be hard to live somebody else’s dream.” The real thoughts were not so polite though and ranged from, “he was not strong enough to fight for it” or “he must not have wanted the other thing bad enough to get it” or “he is just an ungrateful child” and the most common one being “he is simply showing off his professional degree.” The last thought was mostly the creation of business graduates.

the only genuine sympathy he got was in fact empathy, from the other souls who thought they shared his misery—apparently they never wanted to be what they had turned out to be either.

However, all of this whining for what could have been was nothing more than a defence mechanism. It was one way of living life—his way. Because, years later, when his father was not there to stop him from pursuing his dreams, and when people started responding to his whining with, “Why don’t you start anew? Live your dream now”, he realised the ugly truth.

He did not have a dream—never had one, to begin with!