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

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Tell Me a Story…

Hello peeps!
Sorry for being MIA for so long. But the promise of a story still stands. It is not much of story and more of a jumbled up thoughts of a disturbed mind on a long sleepless night.
Without further ado, here you go:

The Miracle of a Dream

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She was standing in a desert. Everything was barren just like her life. The meager plants had turned inside themselves for sustainability. The few rodents and reptiles had hidden under the many layers of glistening sand. Only the sun was abundant, busy drying each grain it touched. Why, she thought, even my dreams are empty.
A boy tapped at her shoulder. She looked around, slightly startled.
“What are you looking for?” He asked.
“I don’t know,” she replied truthfully.
“But,” he said with a smile, ” You never not know.”
“You mean to say we always know?” She said.
He shook his head. “No. That is not what I meant.”
When she continued to look baffled, he ventured, “Always knowing would be like knowing exactly what needs knowing. What I meant is you are never completely clueless. There will be some hunch…intuition.”
She nodded.
The next morning she woke up fresh. Her mind was made. She knew what to do. It was all clear in her dream. She will just trust her instincts!
She did. She told the one the one thing she had wanted to tell him.
Like all her hunches, decisions, and wishes, this was also wrong… terrible and utterly wrong.
‘Who should I trust if I can’t even trust myself?’ She thought. A life full of uncertainties was ahead of her, with death, the only certain eventuality!

Do read what Midu, my partner in literary crime has to say. Let us know what you think about our ramblings in the comments.

“A Life of Pretense” 

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I laugh a lot. People take me for a jolly person. it is rather sad that 90% of my giggles are to please my fellows only. I do not restrict my insincere show of emotions to laughing. I have cried for others too. Some of my tears were genuine, others? not so much! If I ever disclosed which was which, I would risk my credibility as a human being.

Heck! I have even pretended faith. Not a long time ago, I had been into madrasas and Majalis. I had been a part of congregational prayers more often than I would like to admit; it was all action-no feeling. The one emotion, however, that I truly felt is agitation. When anxiety hit me, I was alive.

I have pretended to be alive for several years. One day, I decided I should be able to feign death. Thus, knowing it would end up in a failure, I ventured forward. I went to bed and slept. 16 hours later, I was disturbed and forced out of my bed. I couldn’t tell them I was dead for that would kill the purpose. I persuaded a doctor to admit me to a hospital, but they didn’t declare me dead either. I knew in my heart I was more dead than alive but it was easier to pose life than the demise.

Descartes said, “I think; therefore I am” so I stopped thinking, and that robbed me of my anxiety. Now, no part of me was alive, and they continued to believe in my existence!

My final thought, which is a proof I had lived once; why is the world so apt at calling your bluff of dying but not of living?

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Fiction and other Realities

‘Fiction is inspired by reality’ That is what they say. Yet, I have observed that a few events happen a lot more in fiction than they do in real life or vice versa.

Take sweating for example. Imaginary characters sweat way more than you or I ever would. I understand being in a story is testing since you are always in one difficult situation or another but that amount of sweating isn’t normal. Not even for the fictitious world. A lot of sweat and you run the risk of making your story stink.

Then there is this fact that everything occurs ‘suddenly’ in fiction. I know there are some realistic books where the story takes forever to fold. There are books-classics actually where nothing happens-no story at all! However, the popular opinion usually classifies them as boring. The fiction that sells real fast is often active with numerous suddenly this and suddenly that. I sincerely appreciate the characters’ reluctance to drop dead with ‘sudden’ heart attacks. Some of them do die that way though.

Beautiful Women/Ugly Men. Another thing, all or at least a majority of women in literature are beautiful or at least pretty… no wonder they are not real. 😂 Don’t even get me started on the impossibly humongous boobs! I wonder if that is why cancer is so common in the fiction city. On the other hand, men are usually ugly… at least if they are to be faithful. Handsome men in fiction, that is if they exist at all, are rarely faithful except in Jane Austen novels and even then they have at least one major character flaw. That is kind of realistic though, men are full of flaws and never faithful… okay maybe a 0.000001%!

Let’s take a look at the young adults now. All of them fall in love, which is alright considering their age. My problem is why the triangle is their favorite shape? I want a love circle, you know the protagonist loves nobody but themselves. That would be realistic for sure.

Weather. It is either a dark stormy night or a pleasant clear morning. Why are there no rains during the day and whats up with the fiction moon? Why does it come out on two occasions only? Either when a werewolf is on the lose or when the lovebirds want to do some outdoor rom-rom stuff.

Writers. There are always so many of them. This one actually makes sense to me. A writer writing about writing has to be genuine.
There are various other instances I’d like to point out too but that would be genre specific so next time, maybe. *Yawns*

However, before I end this, here is the final one; deaths or their lack of in the fiction. The mortality rate in fiction is too damn high. Although sadly, we are catching up with that trend. Yet, there are so many novels where characters needed to die but the writers decided to save their precious. I wish God would be that indulgent too.

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All GIFs from GIPHY

 

 

Random Thursday Thought

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I wish I was someone else… anybody’d do except this person that I am. I wish I could craft like some of my friends do. Beautiful gifts they create out of random, most useless stuff. All I have ever done is destroy everything. Or I could clean like a washing machine or perhaps like a vaccum cleaner but heck… I can’t even clean like humans do.
I want to cook too. Like a chef or even better… like my mom. Yet, eating is the only art I know.
I wish I was not so tired always. I wish all the fantasies I have of completing some amazing projects turn into a reality. Peeling off vegetables, changing sheets, taking care of house decor…
Why is it so hard to get out of the bed? Some days I’d like to metamorphose… like that Kafkan Gregor. Is there anyone out there who will silently put their foot on me and whistle a bit… to cover the sound of my shrieks ?

Tell Me a Story

Helloooo peeps!

Do you remember a few days (actually weeks) ago, I promised on delivering a story every week? Yeah so after missing a week or two, yours truly is here for the simple purpose of telling you a story

Here is this week’s entry from my side:

The Chicken Piece 

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“Saab! This is the finest, the juiciest item, I have here,” the shop-keeper was advertising a product to a handsome gentleman.

I threw a shy glance in the said customer’s direction. With an immaculate garb, that must have taken him a few hours to assemble, the youth gave the airs of an elitist dandy. The scornful look, he had fixed on the carefully skinned poultry, only strengthened my apprehensions.

“Under normal conditions, I won’t be here, buying meat,” he was saying, “I have employees for such jobs.” What a snot! I thought.

“Today is a special occasion though so I will inspect the poultry myself, which judging by this lousy flesh you are offering me is not up to the mark,” he continued, “This has gone soft. I want it to be tender but firm.” Impossible expectations, I thought.

The butcher looked disappointed. He was hoping to get rid of that chicken today. It was not a fresh product, and he needed to sell it ASAP. Yet, that didn’t stop him from showing better stock to this young man. He couldn’t afford to lose a customer of his stature over a rancid hen.

The arrogant buyer selected the healthiest bird from the livestock that was cooped up inside various cages, which stood over one another.

He handed over his pick to the storekeeper and said, “I take this reluctantly. It is not up to my standard but then I am very hard to please!” He smiled. The effect it had on his features was singularly grotesque. Good looks, despite their legendary powers can’t cover the flaws originating from an unpleasant disposition, I thought.

Meanwhile, the chicken-seller sealed the fate of the fat hen with a swift yet powerful blow. Then he said, “Saab, don’t mind my asking but what is the important event?”

The abhorrent smile deepened as he answered, “A girl and her parents are coming to our place. You know, a marriage proposal. She might be the one although I doubt that very much. Standards!” He winked at the butcher, received his now neatly bagged meat, paid, and left in a hurry.

The shop-keeper pocketed the money greedily. He proceeded to hang the naked bird that nobody wanted on a wire. He had to display it; he was desperate!

I gazed after the fading figure of the self-indulgent buyer. I had played the role of the chicken in the society for too long. I knew, by experience that he will choose his wife, the way he had bought his meat. A woman or a chicken, at the end of the day, is nothing more than a piece of flesh!

Read what Midu has to say!

Let me know how do you like it in the comment section. =) 

 

Tea Strength, Birthdays, and other Depressions

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When I was a kid, my dear mother ensured I stayed away from tea. I guess, feeding milk to their children is an inherent trait in mammalian mothers, which does not go away even when the child’s suckling days are over. Like any other good mom, she force fed me a glass of milk. Being a thankless turd, what I had on my plate never satisfied me. I made faces. “It smells,” I used to complain.

Besides worrying about my health, my poor Mama cared for my happiness. Thus, she added flavor to my essential dose of lactose. Terms such as Ovaltine, Cocoa Milk, Milo, Chocolate and Vanilla Milk entered my vocabulary and the ingredients holding these names, my body. I surrendered to my dairy-laden fate but still coveted my mother’s chai.

Then I grew up a little, and she allowed me a few drops- the ones I got for dunking my rusks in her precious tea. These scarce droplets transformed into a Doodh Patti, which after passing through various dilutions turned into my first cup of a strong tea. I was 14.

It only got worse after that. With every passing birthday, the tea granules increased while the whitening agent decreased. The concentration was according to my energy requirements.

It continued that way until I hit the quarter-century plateau. After that all went downhill — three cups of strong tea a day reduced to two moderate ones. I was growing soft!

Tea, my magical potion, gave me strength. I needed the strength to fight off the obstacles that came in the way of my dreams but at 25, I found out I had none! When you lose your aspirations, the extra stimulation doesn’t do you much good. It only fuels your depression.

There was no point in consuming an exuberant amount of tea, only to lay awake at night, resting against a pillow made from the wool of anxiety, under the blanket of melancholy. As a kid, I watched a lot of Popeye-The Sailor Man. It made me wonder had Olive died, would he still eat his Spinach to defeat Brutus. I don’t think he would and I am Popeye with no Olive in my life. Brutus hit me and I couldn’t care less.

Today is May 8th, my birthday. A long time ago, this day used to awaken dancing butterflies in my stomach. Now, the butterflies are dying so silently that I don’t even feel the urge to mourn for them. I’d rather drink my diluted tea. It won’t stimulate; just sustain. Indifference has prevailed!

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.

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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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.