Tuesday, 8 July 2014


I don't like the way she's looking at me. I can feel her judging eyes piercing through my being to stare at all my flaws. I know she's going to go home and laugh with all her friends about what a fool I am. Her eyebrows are raised in high arches looking at me with disgust and wondering how a creature like me survives on this planet. I can see the bitterness and anger lurking behind the gazes she is giving me but she is quick to hide her vulnerability behind her dagger stare. I can feel her unhappiness from far away and yet I am scared of her.

She looks like she wants to walk toward me. I can feel the hesitation in her shifty movement. She stops twitching and continues to stare with no qualms. She doesn't care that judging someone like that may come off as rude. As she stares at me I stare back. I am drawn to her. The more she stares at me trying to decipher my story, the more I want to know hers. 

I feel uncomfortable. Her eyes are so similar to mine and yet so different. I can feel her frustration and confusion at the world and I feel like she can feel mine. I push back tears reliving memories in my mind and I see her lift her hand to her eye. Can she hear me? Is this as weird for her as it is for me?

We stand there for a while. Staring. Its seems like the world around us has ceased to exist and in time there is only her and me. I feel sympathy at the person she's become. I hate the world for making her like that. I don't like the way she has been taken advantage of. I can sense her strength from where I'm standing but I can see she has given in to her weakness. I recognise her in me and me in her and yet there is this distinction. 

I want to talk to her but I'm scared. Her emptiness might be contagious. Has she built these walls around her to protect herself from the cruel world or has she put them up in anger? I want to help. I want to hold her hand and bring her to my side but she is too caught up in the acceptance her world has suddenly given her that she can't see me anymore.

I want to turn away. I feel haunted by her. And yet I am stuck. Stuck staring and judging her. Maybe I will go home and laugh about her with my friends. Will I? I am lost in her. I can feel myself starting to break. I want that acceptance she has. I want that confidence she has. But I can't lose my essence. 

She is me. I am her. I just want this mirror to shatter. 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


One would think that at twenty-two it would become seemingly easier to understand life. One would imagine that it gets easier and the strength one needs to cope with challenges increases with age. And while that may be true for most things, life can throw whatever curve balls at you but you are never truly prepared for losses- especially those of people around you.

Mentally its easy to understand that life has a expiry date and eventually death is inevitable. However, no matter how mentally prepared you are, emotionally you can never be prepared enough.

I lost my paternal grandmother yesterday. Mentally I think I was prepared. It was inevitable and I think most of us knew it was coming. But it doesn’t really hit you till it happens. It has been hours and hours since I was woken up to be told that Aji had passed on and even though it hasn’t fully sunk in and I still feel like she’s around its taking everything I have not to break down completely.

After spending the last seven years living with her I think I have enough memories to get me through a lifetime and yet they feel like they aren’t enough. I wish I could just hear her call my name one last time or wake up to her singing as I did for so many years. I wish that I could hear laugh while she slapped my hand as I played with her skin as I have since I was a child. I wish I could just smell that smell she had and I wish that I could hold her hand just one last time. I wish we could sit together and watch a Julie Andrews or Audrey Hepburn movie one last time- preferably Sound of Music or My Fair Lady, her favourites. I wish I could rest my head in her lap one last time as she patted it and told me stories.  But I can’t.

I know she is in a better place. I imagine her sitting on a swing, singing and laughing. I imagine her and Tata (my paternal grandfather) sitting together in a sunny lawn, him looking absolutely dapper as always smoking his pipe and her happy to be with him again. I imagine her playing Bridge and enjoying herself thoroughly. I imagine her and my Nana (even though I never met him) discussing intellectual things and reminiscing about Pakistan while they sit on rocking chairs. But mostly I imagine her sitting with both my grandfathers as they look down on all of us.

I feel lucky to have been able to spend so much time with her, not because she was my grandmother and she loved me, but mostly because she was an amazing person. Even though a lot of my memories are stories my parents have told me, I have learnt a lot from her in these many years that I remember. But what I loved the most and what I’ll miss the most is the way she smiled when I did something to make her happy- from sitting with her to stealing her walking stick and acting like her. She was a happy person, a soft person and a caring person, but mostly she was a person full of immense love.

I pray that she has found that happiness that she wanted and I hope that she will always be smiling down on me and the rest of her family. I hope that she has found peace wherever she is.

Aji, I will always love you. I will always miss you. But I know you are always with me and that I will never truly be alone or without you…

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


We are all made to believe that when we grow up and enter into the 'Big, Bad, Real World' that each day will be a battle. Inevitably it is supposed to teach us some lesson which is supposed to make tomorrow just a little easier. We are supposed to sharpen our minds and grow as individuals carving a niche for ourselves in a world full of people trying to do exactly the same. And each day is a fight with someone or something to come out on top and climb up one more step of the ladder.

All through our lives we are prepared for the harsh world. And our battles begin when we're young. From small fights over the crayons to actual fist fights over words. But we start fighting then. No matter how big or small, its still a fight. And I think it goes on forever. From fighting to get into a good college to fighting to get a good job till we're old and we're fighting against our health or age. 

This battlefield is all consuming. Along the way we make some allies who help us in our battles. Some become stronger friends and some drift away. And sometimes you even end up trying to fight to keep the friendship going. Each step we take and every move we are making is a precursor or a follow through to some battle that we have fought- knowingly or unknowingly. 

No one tells you you're in a battle. We are simply told that its a phase or a struggle or a lesson that life is trying to teach us. And naive that we are to the worlds ways and words we believe what they have to say. Each day continues like the previous, with blue prints of tomorrows attack.

I think I grew up believing that life was the toughest battle. The one where I would have to prove myself to the world in order to achieve my dreams and that is when I would find happiness- to have overcome the world. I thought that each day that went by would make me stronger for the next- and it did- just not strong enough for what I would realize is the hardest battle to fight. The one that you fight with yourself.

No one is a bigger critic of your choices than you. No one can bully you as much as your own self-doubt. No one can bring you down like your mind telling you you're incapable. But at the same time no ones praise is as important as you believing that you have done the best you can and no one can pull you out of any hole you may have dug for yourself except you.

I think its a matter of finding the balance in this battle with yourself. For every negative you give yourself you need to find a positive. Embrace what's wrong to you and try and make it right. No one should have the right to bring you down and no one but you should be able to determine what is wrong. 

The world will always have its opinion to give. Your parents, your friends, your family. Everyone will have a say in what is happening in your life. But the truth is that their opinions are based on their lives and their minds and understanding. No one is crawling into your head trying to figure out how you feel about something, they just want to tell you what they think. Its upto you whether the outsiders opinion is something that matters or not.

Life is extremely short, even if some days it seems like its never ending or dragging its feet refusing to get to its destination. And even on the slow rest days, we are still soldiers of this battlefield. Its just our choice on which battle we want to fight - the one against ourselves or the one against the opinions the world has of us. 

We all want to go out and make it big. Its human nature to want everything. But how many battles are you willing to fight before you get tired? And will fighting all these battles really make you truly happy?

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Plan

It's always about the plan. The constant question of 'What are you going to do next?'. You haven't even finished one thing and the world already wants to know what your next move is going to be. No one thinks life is easy. Its a tough battle but you'd think being happy should be the most important thing. But it's not. Having a plan is.

Its like a game where you have to plot three or four moves in advance. And god forbid should you change your course of action along the way. Or take an extra moment to figure out your next move. Waiting around trying to figure out what to do next is such a waste- you should know exactly what to do. In the unfortunate event you don't, watchers turn to look at you and gaze so burningly at you that you feel like you might just catch fire. 

People always say that one learns from their mistakes. I think that part of the reason we make mistakes is because we're not allowed to think long enough about what we are doing. It's almost like a societal ritual- school, college, work, study some more, get married, have kids and then subject them to this same cycle. What if somewhere in the middle of these stages you decide that you want to do something different it's almost like you've wasted everything you've done before. Sure the world will be supportive and say 'You must pursue your dreams and do what makes you happy' but its a lie. A sugar coating to what is actually judgement on your decisions.

Every move you make is scrutinized and watched. Whether its a board game with friends or the choices you make in life. We as human beings are constantly planning and strategising. I actually feel like all our brains are just going to explode one day from all the pressure it takes. You can't be too emotional, you can't be too ignorant, you can't always be right and there's no way you can take a backseat and just let things happen for a while. 

Sometimes I wonder if life is easier for those people who aren't allowed to make their own choices. Is being unhappy easier than constantly having to decide and have those choices watched and commented upon? Is being forced to live a certain way less pressure than making a mistake by choosing how you want your life to pan out? And is just being easier than dreaming?

I think people who have a plan are lucky. I used to be one of those people. I had a plan. But we don't account for change. I think people who can cope with change are even luckier. I know I can't. I try but I feel like everything is falling apart. I think people who are strong and independent are lucky. I'm starting to think I'm not. 

The constant pressure to prove what and who you are is taxing. Its enough to drive someone insane. I wonder now if having a plan is easier. To always have an answer to the question of what you plan to do next. And what happens to those of us who don't know? Or better, what happens to those of us who had a plan and are now spinning broken compasses with no True North? 

You need to have a plan. Life doesn't work if you don't. You are supposed to get a job when you graduate from college. And if you don't, you should know EXACTLY what you're doing. You can't be me, sitting around in my pajamas wondering what the hell is going on. That's not allowed.

The world doesn't work that way. You need a plan. And if you don't, you don't work in the world...

Sunday, 21 April 2013


We've always had it easy. We simply stated our desires and wants and our parents decided whether they were in the mood to fulfill those wants and desires or not. It was simple, dad got a job in some new place, all bags packed the family moved. I got used to being the kid that moved every one to two years. Even though it was difficult, change came without a choice. At that age you aren't exactly in a position to state that you want to stay and let it work out that way. But somewhere along the line of being the kid that was so used to change, I settled. I grew to love a single place with all my heart.

Delhi became that place. Well, Gurgaon. But the sense of familiarity and the known sunk in so deep that now after thirteen years it seems difficult to leave. The only difference with this move is that I took my own decision. A time when I was given the option to do what I wanted. So do I chose the familiarity of the place that I have now come to love as home? Or do I chose the familiarity of family? Of waking up every morning and knowing that I'm still a little bit of a child and knowing that my mom and dad are just in the room next to mine. Or do I chose my dreams?

Suddenly a time comes where you are stating your wants and desires but its no longer a parent choosing what to do for you. Its you. Somewhere along the line you are faced with a reality check. You suddenly realise that you're not a kid anymore. Your mom and dad aren't making the choices of your life anymore. You come to realise that twenty-one is grown up enough. Its time to make your choices, decide how you want your life to pan out. And not just state it on paper and wait around for it to happen but to take a chance on yourself and make your dreams and plans a reality.

I still have that anxiety. That feeling of the unknown that creeps in and makes you doubt this change. The difference this time is that its a choice you made so the doubt is no longer limited to is this new place going to be nice, will I make friends and the likes of that but becomes did I make the right choice.

People say life is a long road and we all learn from our choices. Some of those choices are right, some wrong. But either way we learn from these choices we make.

Letting go is difficult. It is for anyone- unless you are void of any personal association and emotion. I know I've always been a bit emotional. So this letting go suddenly feels like letting go forever. And even though deep inside I know thats not the case, its difficult to accept. I know this place is going to always be here. And the people are going to still be a part of my life. But then why does it feel like its not?

I accept that growing up and change is life. You don't really have a choice at the end of the day. And I know its inevitable. But it always seems to come too soon. I don't feel ready to be an adult. However, when you're almost a college graduate with your entire life ahead of you to do whatever you please, its a little unfair to yourself to shy back and be a child.

In my heart I know its fair to try. In my mind I know I made a good choice. My soul knows what its doing. And even though that tiny voice of self doubt creeps up every so often, she too knows this is worth a risk.

So here I am, trying to grow up a little. Embark on life for myself. Try something new somewhere new (relatively). Here's to trying. To growing up. To change. To risk. And to choices. I hope this is some new, crazy and fabulous endeavor that makes me know what I want to do with my life. And if it isn't, then let it be the first mistake I made on my own terms and let me learn from it.

We no longer have it easy. We make our own lives from here on out. We choose what we want and we are obligated to ourselves to make it happen. Today is the first day of the rest of my life...

Saturday, 22 December 2012


Its a cold cold night tonight,
And among the stars are fireflies,
In the darkness that's out of control,
I feel my emotions rise.

Its a tricky path, this life,
Full of forks and unknown divides,
And as we all stumble along to be,
The best version of us hides.

In the cruelty the floats upon the surface,
I wonder if drowning might show,
The goodness that lies beneath,
And can we catch it before it flows.

We live without respect now,
Money makes the world turn,
Each does as they fancy,
When did our moral compass burn?

What happened to the simpler times,
Where everyone was happy and fine,
No one walked around in fear,
Mistaking everything as a bad sign.

We run and strive for acceptance,
We want to be the best and outshine the others,
And we're willing to do it at any cost,
Even crushing and breaking our brothers.

Its a cold cold night tonight,
I pray for warmer sunny times,
Where life is simple and uncomplicated,
Where everyone is truly fine...

Monday, 16 April 2012

Broken Compass

"There comes a time when every life goes off course. In this desperate moment you must choose your direction. Will you fight to stay on the path while others tell you who you are? Or will you label yourself? Will you be honoured by your choice? Or will you embrace your new path? Each morning you choose to move forward or to simply give up..."

Today I feel directionless. I feel like I don't have the strength to choose my path. I feel regret and my choices and I feel lost in a pool of thought. Even though I don't have the strength to fight, I feel the will to try. My heart is bogged down by the emotions of embarrassment and resentment. These feelings I feel towards myself. I feel like a destroyer who burnt down bridges, who feels helpless and lost in abandoned land. There is no path that can get me out of here except the one I draw for myself.

I don't feel honoured at my choices, not all my choices. Somewhere I feel like I could have been better, stronger and maybe the outcome may have been more hopeful. Sometimes I feel I should have refrained, kept words in my heart to spare someone else's heart. Sometimes I wonder if I strived for too little, that I was worth more and that I may have settled. But then I feel that maybe I'm too little for what I have and that what I have is so much bigger than what I deserve.

My spirit is crushed, I can feel my footsteps faltering on this road. I can feel the thirst in my throat reaching an aching point. A part of me is determined to walk a path that will in turn please people and along which I may find some peace of mind and a sprinkle of happiness. Another part of me wants to fall to the ground and give up all my paths. And yet another part of me, the small voice inside my head, tells me that life is too short for the regrets I feel.

As this ongoing battle inside me drains my energy, I feel incapable of moving on from this state of mind. My darkness is not only inside me, but I feel it around me now. I feel the last two years have changed me so much. I feel tired and old. I feel lost and broken. And even despite the support I've had, I feel more alone than ever.

I feel directionless and lost. Broken in abandoned land. Down on my knees and thinking that this may not be worth it anymore- not the regret, not the sorrow, not the darkness nor the joy. I feel the penetrating gaze of society as it judges my every choice, my every motion and for the first time in a long time, I don't have it in me to fight to be who I want to.

Standing here I look around hoping to find a face to read, a hand to hold, a soul to bond. Even though the world runs by be in its hurry and rush to achieve, I stand here still with nowhere to run to, to goal to achieve. As it all turns into a blur, the only thing I see clearly is the broken compass of my life.