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.

 

You Write Poetry, you’d Understand

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In that one poem I wrote,
You were the first word.
That entered my mind.

It started with you.
My poem, my masterpiece.
And then, the emotion had to subside.

Still, I meant you,
throughout
But you didn’t rhyme.

I searched for a synonym.
But what I meant,
Only you could define.

I decided to stick with you.
Pronounce you to fit the lines.
Poetry doesn’t always rhyme.

Then, you conquered it all.
Every sonnet, each couplet!
You were all I could write.

You can’t create poetry
With one-word vocabulary.
But to me, you sufficed.

It made perfect sense to me.
Journals filled with “you, you, you”
I had probably lost my mind.

Alas! you were a fucking entendre.
The wretched day, you told me that,
You turned into my biggest plight.

No poems, anymore, I write.
You were my only muse.
I realized that one dreary night.

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!

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

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

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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Falling Away

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Fall, the official season of goodbyes
Has arrived.
So let go of your emotions,
Like smoke goes up in the skies.
High and high!

We have had our jokes,
Lets laugh no more.
We have shared our pains,
There is nothing more to gain.
Boon or bane?
Lets forget each other
Once again.

Forget me, as if I never was,
As if my laughter,
Had never made you pause.
Forgive my intrusion,
In your monotonous routine,
Carry on!
No ripples had there been.
Quiet and silent
Like this fall
Losing every leaf afterall.

Open the book,
Or close it.
No worries!
Every page is empty.

You are losing a reader,
For I am going away,
On an adventure
That’s a folklore.
But the story will continue for you.
I may not hear it anymore.

And life goes on,
Even after it ends.
Remember my friend,
Legends never end.

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!

Is this the voice of happiness ?

Today I heard it,

After such a long time;

The sound of happiness!

It was a scream of joy

unchecked,

Escaped from a young girl,

Who was dripping wet,

Enjoying the rain.

She could barely breathe,

As the drops came tumbling

One after another,

They did not wait

for her to catch her breath.

 

My heart sank.

For I could not recall

The last time my voice

Had made that sound.

 

Ages had passed

Since I had

truly laughed.