Chocolate Mends a Broken Heart By Ali Hasan
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER Review by Hira Ahsan
Strokes from Within Featuring Artwork by Nashit Noor
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CON TENTS THE FIRST WORD
STROKES FROM WITHIN
Photo by Kamran Shakeel
Have you ever asked yourself about who you are? Not about what you seem to be to the world, but who you actually are? You are what you have been ‘designed’ to be; a son, a daughter, a brother, a sister, a student, a teacher and a melange of other roles that you are supposed to fit into. All these are relations, connections to some other individuals or groups, but do they define you? You may feel that, yes, these roles do make you ‘You’. Think again. They make you a part of society, true. But who you are is something entirely different. And to find out what that is you need to let your mind reign free. Look around yourself, think, absorb, express, be effortless in the way you deal with life, only then will you recognize the real you. Only then will you be able to see the world for what it really is. You’ll be in your zone, and that is a great place to be. Is it really that simple, you’ll ask? If so, why weren’t we told to do so before, by our parents, our teachers or even the multitude of motivational speakers who seem to be egging us on left right and center? The reason lies behind the confines of conformity. Creativity liberates a person and liberation in most cases, in our society, is frowned upon. Try telling your mother that you want to spend your entire life traveling to far off lands, writing choppy, free verse. If she’s anything like my mother, whose only hopes for me involve a husband and babies, she’ll throw up her hands and ask where she went wrong in raising you. But should that stop you? Will you let it stop you? If you do, you’ll be just another statistic on the list of people who didn’t follow their dreams. If you don’t, who knows, one day you might be immortalized in the list of the world’s greatest poets. Now how about shifting the focus from ‘you’ to ‘us’. If each and every one of us tried ‘Rethinking’ ourselves imagine the turn this world would take. No one would be just a sister or a daughter, a father or a son, a student or a teacher; along with that you would be ‘You’, different than anyone else. And different is always better. And so we did this for too. Asked ourselves what we really wanted this journal to be, where we wanted to see it in the years to come. And the answer came quite easy. We wanted to be a platform for creative minds and to be taken seriously as an arts and literary journal. Ideas Evolved helped us realize this hope, proved to us that sheer determination can straighten out the toughest paths. And that talent, in our country, is limitless. Bringing together ideas and experiences opens a realm of uncharted avenues. We hope you enjoy this bigger and better . We sure did enjoy reading all the contributions and putting them together for you to sample for yourself!
YOU AND I By yusra amjad
THE ART IN US
BY MARYAM B MIRZA
By maliha ali
BY FARHAN MIRZA
FAREWELL BY HINA KHURSHID
FEMINISM BY MALIKA SARASWAT
Wonder of tears
12 13 13
By ahmed hasan Chocolates men a broken heart by ali Hassan
You & I By Yusra Amjad
Here lie my rosebuds seasonably gathered (fools, to not waste our youth! ) In the twilight where we meet, here lie my rosebuds gathered at your feet And what is there to be said about you and I?
You and I have exhausted love So what is there to be said About you and I? Does love end? When we meet, in gaze, thought, or embrace, Are we still lovers then? tell me, does love end?
You and I have talked through the You and I, with our balcony scene, night our backseat love, our sweet from corners of sunny living nothings rooms will always be alive You and I have danced on a In some sonnet, on some screen, rooftop You and I are immortalized. Once Upon A Dream
The Art In Us By Maryam B. Mirza I’ m a painting in oil. You’ re pen and ink. I smudge with every lazy stroke, Parallel to your defined lines. My shades run in, every chance they get; Ochres mixing in with reds. You’ re cleanly white, then starkly black; Rigid, conforming to your code. I make up for the colors missing in you.
Revolution Writing By Maliha Ali Diametrically opposed views and half- hearted doodles always help Use that vacuum moment, that idle note, that loose comment, that splotch of misdirected ink – use it to help you fish, give it your hand and let it lead you around the sea Do you see? Do you see it? Childhood rooftops turned to giant seascapes and the rain a friend, not a grey ghostly glut, and as you swim around for ideas, with a mermaid muse and ink from an octopus and salt to taste, you, move with the waves and write up a revolution under the sea
Life By Farhan Mirza July 27th was the date He didn’t come out too late Due he was for august n’ premature he was Mother was happy Father was not Said I ruined his career (I DID NOT) Move we did To n’ fro (who knows...) A year later I had a sis’ Filling the world with
bountiful bliss. Father weren’t happy beat his wife hit her harder (Trynna’ take her life) Silently she endures until she breaks Goes to the police They take him away... Now we live life as life intends (We learn, we joy, we cry.) All berries in a jam jar, We call life.
Farewell By Hina Khurshid Nostalgia is not what I feel Not the mirth at parting It is just an empty hollow feeling A sadness at what could not happen What I couldn't make possible I spent the years in denial And all the jokes instead of laughter brought only hate I see no connection with any one All is past And today I walk on the gravel alone When my feet crunch on the gravel, Their crunch is the sole crunch I hear Nothing else I look back expecting nothing And there is nothing
A tear wells up in my eye and forces itself to come out But I do not let it I did not try hard enough I had turned disloyal So this was all I had brought to myself willingly It was not her fault or his It was my fate... I look to the sky Maybe there was a ray of hope in future Because what I had not accepted had never been mine Maybe I could accept what came after this...
Wonder of Tears
By Malika Saraswat
By Ahmed Hasan
These desires. Like fires Seethe within my soul.
Rolling down the weary eyes, Tears splutter the hidden cries. Saltiness plunders the degree of sadness, Transparency shows the extent of madness, The prisms disperse the colors of sorrow, A phenomenon of life to discover the narrow. Precious secrets in them hide, like black diamonds in coalmines. A medication of depression, A release from suppression, The effects are splendid, With peace, theyâ€™ re blended.
They come like wild eagles, fly within my whole life' s panorama, with one love to explore. The possibility of a heaven in this heathen I' ve created.. the insecurity of a scared child.. hooked up by life n baited.. by a torturous rigmarole.. of life' s demonic phases.. Now, all my desires silently peep.. all nuances seething within.. all my sorrows, inhibitions writhing.. standing at the main stage of life' s door.. All I have to strive for.. is one mile.. one love.. one mission.. be my own.. Resurrection.
Chocolate Mends a Broken Heart By Ali Hasan Somewhere I had listened in the very start That chocolate mends a broken heart
might have been my sixth sense Knew my importance would diminish, negligible would be my presence
I sit by my fireplace munching it While inside I have been broken bit by bit
I still love her beyond any words that could express So long I have quiet, this affection I still suppress
Entwined is my way, forsaken my joy Her love for me was the sweetest decoy Hence, I take up my weapon and write again Of the broken heart that yelps in pain Filled with sorrow, engulfed in her woe Her thoughts torment me, no mercy do they show
I have no control on events that have happened so far But they affect me greatly; they have given me a life long scar The bitterness she left, today I feel I rely on the chocolate to make my wounds heal
The warmth of the chocolate makes my I thought she loved me but she still loves heart beat him The sourness I feel gets a bit sweet Next to that person my chances stand grim I wonder how it acts but it reduces the grief within No matter how much I love, I canâ€™ t The sharp surge I no longer feel that reach that space pain that once stung like a pin She holds him too far above me; she has given him too high a place My fate today has me betrayed From the path of love I am betrayed Out of the blue, he has returned Against me again, the tide of fate has I sit by my fireplace, ripped apart turned Hoping that chocolate mends a broken heart I think I knew it was coming; it
Photography: Ubaid Ullah Ahmed All rights reserved with the original Artist
I am generally not good with words so I use the canvas to portray my true state of mind. Most of my work includes recreations of my favorite singers and fictional characters that I believe I can relate to, for instance I made this painting of Amy Winehouse who passed away recently and I scribbled all these nasty labels all over her face because that’s how the world sees her today. Its really sad how people just pass judgments without realizing they don’t have the right to do so. I see this happen around me everyday and it upsets me so I decided to convey my resentment through this piece of art. My first exhibition was called Painted Smiles. In my opinion none of us are completely happy. We all are damaged in one way or another but some of us are better at putting on a happy face than others, and I tried portraying this through paintings of the Joker from the Dark Knight, which was appreciated by most people who attended the event. I do not have an art background and I may not be great at it but it’s my form of expression." - Nashit Noor 19
DEAR STRANGER BY TAZEEN RAZI
CHILDHOOD MEMORIES BY AMNA ASLAM
Tracks By noor Fatima
33 37 39 PROMISES DIE
42 BY AZBAH ASGHAR 43
The perks of being a
By pusipita das
Wall flower Review by hira ahsan
"Evening has fallen upon us, here in the metropolis. I sit alone, waiting for my father and listening to a group of aimless youngsters standing nearby. The night is young and by the looks of these people, it seems like they have no place else to go. A couple of them might have even tried to peek into my journal. I suppose I would not mind
Dear Stranger By Tazeen Razi
Did I tell you how much I like writing letters even when there is no occasion at all? I could write on and on to no one in particular but how I wish the thin air around me would talk back to me.
Here stands a plum-red automobile, the owner looks like he's waiting for someone. There sits a young man, waiting for no one and looking at everyone. I lift my chin up occasionally to see whether my father has arrived; he has not. And as I look up, this young man here looks up too, to follow my line of sight. Did I tell you how much I like writing letters even when there is no occasion at all? I could write on and on to no one in particular but how I wish the thin air around me would talk back to me. Oh, how I wish! Like the blue jay talks back to me even when she cannot understand a single word that I have spoken. Or like a blossoming rose that spreads its fragrance all around for me - or aromatic jasmine plucked freshly after Fajr prayers. How I wish someone would talk back to me! Have I told you how much I care about the people around me? Have I told you how I find it very hard to not keep my promises? It is hard indeed because it crushes me when I find that someone has kept a hollow promise. And so, to prevent someone else from feeling the way I do, I keep my word. My word is all that I shall be able to keep. Not my poetry, not my prose - nothing at all, when I sleep deeply within the narrow walls of my earthen bed, my grave.
Have I told you how much I care about the people around me? Have I told you how I find it very hard to not keep my promises? It is hard indeed because it crushes me when I find that someone has kept a hollow promise. And so, to prevent someone else from feeling the way I do, I keep my word. My word is all that I shall be able to keep. Not my poetry, not my prose - nothing at all, when I sleep deeply within the narrow walls of my earthen bed, my grave. Would you look at me the same way if you found out I had changed? That I was a different person now? No colours as bright as I used to own. No songs of joy and innocence. Just lines writ in grief and sung in utmost isolation - an unwelcome isolation. Would you come closer and listen to my sorrowful tales? Why is it that you tell me I do not look fine this way when I feel fine being myself? I am not a sad person, I keep repeating. I have grown up. Some significant years, some unforgettable events, some bitter words and harsh realities. I do not lie when I tell you I am a different person. I do not lie to anyone but myself.
Dear God, of all things good and evil! What would You say of this gray lass, curled like a flower in eternal slumber? What would You speak of me when I come to You? I pray, Lord, that I shall be among Your blessed men. I pray, Lord, that I shall not be alone then. And in times of despair, I do not look onto you, oh friend of mine. I do not. I pray instead - for you, for me, for us and for those who have nobody to pray for their well-being. I pray for us to be better people for I believe that is the best prayer one could say. Fancy having met your alter ego one day, while you're out for a stroll. Fancy having met him or her and not liking who he or she was! Or fancy having met an angel - your very own alter ego. I am sure we all would prefer the latter. I stray. I change topics. I do not know who I am writing to but if this letter would go out to all of my friends out there in the world, I shall be glad. I shall be glad for having been heard, once in this little lifetime of mine.
By Amna Aslam I am an ardent storyteller, my favorite and most responsive audience being my pistol of a little sister “Fiza.” It’s the way she giggles at my words that makes me feel I am doing something worthwhile, bringing out her crooked, cavity-ridden, partly-missing teeth. The stories I regale her with, often repeating the same one for 5th or 6th time, include those about the antics of my childhood as well as bizarre ones about her supposed teenage, a bygone era, after which she shrank into a child. Stories about cousins of her age, or cousins of my age, or even her own childhood, (which continues to present day) all spiced up with dramatic dialogues, comical mimicry and anecdotes that have stayed fresh in my memory, as I often retold them to sharpen the details and not let the mind haze out what I deem as
moments precious. If sought enough, nothing has the power to elude the human mind, and so even the most distant of memories are not altogether abstract. And like I said, the knack to make people laugh and give away that contagious sensation of delight is a gift in itself. Many of my stories sprang from a particularly long adventure – this adventure started when my three cousins came to stay at our place in Gujranwala, in a dusty mohalla of Guru Nanak Pura, a place named after its influential Sikh ruler, who inhabited the city centuries ago. My khala and her husband had gone for Hajj, and since my parents were already looking after us four siblings, it seemed ideal to dump three more on them. What fun it was!
No really. I remember one particular incident that I have often told others when my parents promised to let us watch Shahrukh Khan’s movie “Mohabbatein” The fanatics we were, (my cousin even cried once when somebody claimed that Shahrukh had died) we started awaiting the visual treat days in advance. And one day, while we were reciting Quran with our Qari Sahib, my youngest cousin Fatima barged into the room screaming “Mohabbatein lag gayi hai! Mohabbatein lag gayi hai!!” leaving us shrouded in an embarrassed, pregnant silence. Even when I was just an 8-year old, I was shrewd enough to associate the word “Mohabbatein” to passionate, often unwatchable Bollywood flicks and therefore something not appropriate enough to be mentioned in front of adults. To our surprise, our Quran teacher asked incredulously what “Mohabbatein” is. Of course, now I know he was just getting a perverse pleasure out of seeing our discomfiture; how can an adult not know a word of his native language? Needless to say, we convinced the old man to leave early but unfortunately, by the time we made it to mom’s room upstairs, the movie was well into its first song, and it was only until years later that I got to actually see the opening. The fact that we were watching the movie un-chaperoned did not deter us
from embarrassedly averting our gazes when females clad in skimpy clothes appeared on the ancient T.V. screen. But after realizing that we would miss out around half of the movie this way, we threw all modesty to the winds and embraced the guilty pleasure of watching romance blossom between four couples. Of course we cousins had no idea that together we might end up doing something drastic. We were a bunch of hyper children let loose, wreaking chaos across the house. Every fight, no matter how raucous or tear jerking, was petty and resonant of our innocence. The biggest battles were fought over who was going to play the eldest sister in baji baji and “I am not going to be friends with you again” transcended into bear hugs. We often broke into parties, ganging up on each other, attempting to whitewash each other with a play of words, words that were supposed to determine which party was the epitome of “righteousness” or who deserved the honor of deciding what game to play. It was one of those “fight-full” days when we were all playing, when something drastic DID happen. But it was a disaster in disguise, as it afforded me one of the greatest adventures of my life. But if I delve into that here, I might take up a few more pages… so this should suffice. Maybe I’d talk about my adventure in the next issue!
“Great to hear that you’re through with the collection, Sami. But let me remind you that your portfolio is due Monday. We have high expectations from you. Take care,” the telephonic voice resounded from the other end. Sami murmured his thanks and put the receiver where it rightly belonged, before returning to his latest photo collection. Sami Ahmed was a fresh graduate, currently employed as a freelance contractual photographer. His employer for the past six months had taken high stakes and funded his journeys to various exotic places as Sami decided to capture nature. Walking back to his gallery, he washed the negatives, extracted the photos and hung them up to dry. “Wow,” he lowly exclaimed as he scrutinized the fruit of his hard work. The drying photos revealed the silent hidden mystery of nature as it slowly unraveled. Man turned into a beast as Mother Nature lived her final days. But as he gazed into the photographs, his mind wandered back to the respective places where he was able to capture the shy earth. “And the hunter becomes the hunted…” commented Sami as he clicked to capture the tracks of a wild cat, with the tracks of a human following. ‘It’s all a part of God’s creation. Wild beasts were supposed to be hunters, why are they falling prey to Man?’ marveled Sami as he continued amongst the wet foliage of the rainforest. Man had claimed himself to be artificially superior with the creation of weapons. Yet it only sounded bizarre because Man also shares the same origin of that of animals. Man is born from the same mother’s womb as animals are; both are in a parallel state of vulnerability and helplessness and share the same pain. But God had been generous to Man and granted him of an ability that no other creature could ever surpass; the ability to acquire knowledge… “And this is what we have become!” objected Sami furiously, as he continued to follow the trail. Humans are born to acquire knowledge; no religion of the world opposes that. And in the end, we all have turned into savages!’ he thought, enraged. Ultimately, Man had misused his expertise and invested in outrageous schemes and defied the circle of life. Man had become a ruthless hunter, who would eventually fall prey to his own deeds. A small child had left his footmarks on the wet sand of the seashore; the particles being nourished by the salty sea. As Sami took the photograph, he realized how innocent the child had been, running freely along the seashore, probably only minutes before he had arrived. He would have probably looked up and wondered if the clear blue sky was ever subject to a frontier, or the unending oceans guarded by a periphery.
But not probably realized that the depth of the human heart is too, an abyss so deep that the bed below was still undiscovered; or that the darkness and grip of despondency also seems endless when it grasps one. Just as light knows no end, so does darkness; just as the sky knows no limits, neither does the water. As the water slowly washed away the child’s tracks, it slowly dawned upon Sami that the innocence of the child would be erased in the same manner; only that the water would turn into his own tears. The child can think as of now how the power of nature can surmount the soul, but yet his sailing imagination would also be vulnerable to an equally strong force: the dominating melancholy. Sadly, time would become the cruel master, creating daunting boundaries even upon the innocent heart of the child, whose depth would still remain untouched, unexplored. And the child, for whom once the water once tickled his toes that caused him to erupt with laughter, would turn into tears followed by cries of helplessness. “I feel as dead as the sands that I walk upon,” the mystical traveler described to the curious photographer. “I feel as if the sands are asking to pay it back what I robbed over time, but I cannot figure out what exactly… My ancestors were the same nomads that I myself am, but what is it that these immortal particles keep on asking me to return?” he wondered, more to himself than to Sami. But before Sami could ask him, the nomad replied as if he had read his mind. “Yet the sands in themselves have a story to tell. And that story is my soul’s answer. No one loves this dead, barren desert; but I feel the sands calling out to me, as if I am destined to live among them, with the same harmony and love. Perhaps we share the same pain? I cannot be too sure, but I do, at times feel that the desert itself realizes that I cannot pay back what my ancestors took from it…” Sami patiently listened to the traveler before giving his best wishes and continuing on his journey. The evening breeze blew, as if whispering calmly to the hot sands with the departure of the sun. The sky was a portrait itself of different colors and hues, as if part of God’s magnificent painting. Sami saw the traveler walking away, without turning back, disappearing into the dunes. ‘He misses so much of life living out here,’ pondered Sami to himself. When the temperatures turn harsh, he must dream of the empty skies showering and blessing him with rain; the droplets falling cool on his skin, soothing the heat with delicate drops and absorbing in the heavy sand. it was the same particles of sand that were wet from the sea, upon which the gullible child sprinted. The desert may represent a sign of death and hopelessness, yet the shrubs that blow with the winds were once also green foliage and perhaps the sign of life: A symbol of health that was subject to punishment by the desert proud of its segregation.
But how can one find the soul’s answers when the desert displays nothing but emptiness? Perhaps, the answer to life is emptiness. The necessities of life appear as a mere mirage in the desert, and the soul adapts the same, hopeless and tormented tone as the thick particles of sand does. Everything is eternal in the desert, a sign of death continuing to live; feeding on the traveler’s plight. The winds and sands work with co-ordination in removing the tracks of the nomads; erasing the sign of survival and strangling its identity. Perhaps the desert is jealous of the tracks as they put forward an indication of survival. Or maybe, that is how it satisfies its vengeance. “There hasn’t been a profitable yield for the past three decades?” Sami exclaimed, struck with horror. “The earth gave us food and water, but now it is taking everything back,” returned the farmer in a low tone, and continued with the task of carrying sugarcane sacks on his back to load the nearby trucks. Sami got his trail on film, after picking out a sensational angle. Then he sat down, and carefully contemplated on what the poor farmer had just told him. “What goes around comes around,” he murmured. Man first robbed the soil when it lent him great favors and provided him with food and water when he wandered aimlessly. And in return, he cultivated it till eventually it gave out. Cut down trees to make infrastructure. Put mere technology ahead of nature and Mother Earth now finally, wants an answer: A payment of her dues. Man preferred machinery to her, and began to use his skill and knowledge to work against her. While animals that originated from the same source of the mother’s womb sought shelter in Mother Earth, Man destroyed it, envisioning himself to be in the paramount position over the whole Universe. The child that nature had once so carefully fostered now became an untamed beast of melancholy, drowning in his own tears as he worked against her. Finally, she stopped producing food. The particles of heavy sand that were once a part of a productive soil now demanded their fertility back. The mystic traveler would still continue his path wondering what the desert wanted back from him, what had taken generations and generations of his own kind to destroy. Yet there is no rest to Man’s sordid personality. He again positioned technology over the ailing world. When he received no yields, he began to manufacture various gears to extract every nutrient from the Earth to satisfy his feral wants. However, the earth was tired now. She needed to rest. The dynamic man could pursue technology and modernity to his heart’s content, but the Earth was trailing far behind. She could not satisfy him anymore. For all that she had given to Man, he had, eventually, failed her.
PROMISES DIE By Azbah Asghar The graveyard, with its endless rows of marble graves, indicated the continuation of generations of life as well as death. The trees, which had succeeded to grow on the infertile soil of the cemetery, were now bare. The leaves were shedding, a testimony to the fact that life was bowing out at the year’s end. The fallen leaves, which had once lain silently on the muddy floor, were now crippled by the weight of the man’s feet as he silently moved among the rows of graves. His face was impassive while his green eyes conveyed sorrow as the occasionally flitted across a familiar name carved on the marble stone. He walked towards the two graves, which were situated at the centre of the graveyard. The man looked down at them with longing as the wind gently blew his hair away from his forehead. He dropped down on his knees in front of them and demanded with torment on his face and utter helplessness in his voice, “Why?” He started sobbing silently and said, “Why did you leave me alone? You promised you wouldn’t.” He turned towards one of the graves and accused brokenly, “You said you would always be there for me but you’re not. I need you. I don’t know what to do. ” As twilight neared he got up from his position beside the graves. Once again his eyes looked towards them, but this time they were pleading for help, comfort and reassurance. But silence still reigned when he walked away from them. And the only reaction he got was from the leaves, as they rose into the air and touched the heel of his shoes as though trying to pull him back.
By Puspita Das
“Don’t worry, Rumi have faith in your Chotka. They are a little angry with me today, but I will make things all right. You understand your Chotka na? Have faith in him…” - 'They' as in his wife and daughter and 'angry' over his continued alcohol abuse... It was their anniversary and not turning out a happy one it seems. But he had faith and hope and the strength of belief in his ability to fix things. And he wanted to ensure that I had continued faith in him. And I did of course, he was MY Chotka, how could I not have faith in him? His slightly slurred words were the only indication of an alcohol-induced speech. But to me, they all made sense, like they always did. Chotka was special. Chotka was my first crush, my first love and the kind of man I was determined to marry when I grew up. Chotka was also my father figure. My dad’s younger brother known as 'Choto Kaku' in my mother tongue became Chotka to me. He was more than a father to me though from as far back as I can remember... In troubled teenage times I turned to him more easily than to my own dad. Not because of anything else but just because I had this strong connection with him. And that day as I hung up the call I knew I must speak to him again soon. Everyday, I meant to make a call. Everyday got moved into a new tomorrow: Starting my own life
in a big city, staying all alone and making ends meet, and a blooming romance … it all pushed that call a little further away. And before a month passed in that dillydallying Chotka decided to make the journey into the nether world, where I can no longer call him to speak, to connect, to hear the smile in his voice. It was the first of January, 4 o’clock-ish when I got the news. He had given up the battle for survival after two long days of subconciousness. Dad called to give me the news. I took it calmly. It had been expected for two days now. Years of abuse and his body had finally said “Enough!” and walked out on him. I did not cry. In fact, no one till date has seen me shed a tear for him. Some connections are like that. You don’t just cry them out of your system, especially not in the public eye. I mourned in my own way. My mind and body refused to work. I called in sick and stayed home with his memories. I spoke to my aunt I spoke to his daughter. I spoke to everybody, giving them strength. It just left a vacuum, an emptiness that still persists 7 years down the line. Tears, sorrow, pain all seemed very mundane and misplaced to explain the passing. I did not get to see him as he slept forever, that is the bit-
ter truth I’ll always live with. But every time I close my eyes and summon him, I can see him in his brilliance and with those pearly whites showing. If you knew Chotka, you’d understand how rare it was to see him smile. I don’t have many memories of childhood, except this strong knowledge that Chotka was my hero ever since I have memories. I used to look up to him and was very impressed by his silent unobtrusive existence. I still remember how one day he and dad had a fight over a game in their ancestral house and there was fisticuff (men!!). And I still remember how the first shock had been replaced by elation at the thought that my Chotka was not so silent after all. For that’s how he was always, quiet, intense and very fixed in his goals. He knew what he wanted and would get it. He was also a very dedicated man. I know many will differ and point out all the vices that became his nemesis. But this is my memory and in mine I shall concentrate on the good that he was. In fact, isn’t that how every soul is thought of once gone? Lets just stick to facts. And fact is that I am a very rational person and if having seen the best and worst of somebody I choose to worship his best. Surely somewhere his best outweighs the latter.
And then I made the foray into adult world, of work and office and finally the hard decision to give my career a break by moving into a city of opportunities, New Delhi. Early in the morning on an autumn crisp morning he stood silently by my parent’s side as they bid me goodbye. The worry in his eyes was evident to me as they fought hard to win over the pride in my confidence and boldness. I still remember the look in his eyes the day he visited my humble abode in Delhi. After a hard fun filled day, I offered him pastry and tea in the bare essentials that I had. He was quiet all the time. I could feel his eyes follow me and I could sense the intense affection and protective fatherly emotion in him. I knew he achieved the Herculean task of respecting my individual space that day when all he had wanted to say from his soul is, “pack up Rumi and let’s go. Why do you need to stay all alone in this big city?”…. Instead in his blessing what he did say with his eyes is – ‘you can do it… I am proud of you for spreading your wings and using them well. Just be careful and take care’…
Even though he was no longer there when I finally got married, he did his bit as the first man in my life giving my hand to my fiancee by making sure that all went well the day my inlaws came for their first formal visit to our place. He spent time to find out more about the culture I was planning to become a part of and guided me in their ways. He ensured that his small Rumi, grown up enough to be marrying now, would not feel awkward because she didn’t know the right things to do. I know for sure that had he been physically present on my wedding day, it would have been the dream wedding that every woman wants. But with him gone, that remained a dream forever… how could my Chotka not be there with his silent, protective eyes and presence to ensure all went well. Bitter truth is, he wasn’t and in my heart that void remained as I sat for the rites. As I left my home to start my new life as a wife and daughter in law, I took along his photo with me. It was important that he be with me as I took those first steps into my new house. I didn’t cry much, because my pain was greater than tears
could express. My Chotka was not there to see me off, what point was there in wasted emotions. I held on to his memories and the picture in my hand as I got into the car…
Life has shown me many of its facets now- from the pain of motherhood, to the pleasure of that first toothless smile. He still smiles at me everyday from the living room mantle. I am yet to see a prayer unanswered since he has been there with God. I think that he has a gun to God’s head just in case …
He would have been so proud to see me happy and settled and well received. He would have been so proud of the way I keep house and do my best to guide my children well. Then again… maybe I am not doing it alone at all…”
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER Review by Hira Ahsan "So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be." Doesn't every teenager feel like that sometimes? The Perks of Being a Wallflower is structured through Charlie, the main character, writing letters to an unknown person. It starts off with him starting high school, and telling us of his friend who committed suicide the previous year when they were in Grade 8. After he starts high school, and makes 2 senior friends Sam and Patrick, he enters the world of love, drugs and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Mentioned later is also his dead aunt, whom he still grieves, and he's been in therapy since she died. I figured since I'll probably watch the movie next year, I'll read the book first. I didn't really expect to enjoy it. I've mulled over writing this review for a while. This was a difficult book to rate and read. While I wasn't comfortable throughout a lot of it, I understood Charlie and was drawn to him. Even though a lot of it seemed unreal to me, my relationships are not at all like his are with his family and friends, nor have I experienced what he has. So it's natural that it seemed unrealistic to me, yet the way it was portrayed made me relate to it, and I felt a range of emotions while reading it. It made me angry, sad, and sometimes quite desperately wanting Charlie to feel better. That's how drawn I felt to him. What also seemed unrealistic was Charlie's cluelessness. He also seemed autistic at times, though I suppose there's the mental trauma he went through at a young age to blame for that. No 15-year-old boy is that clueless. I was never that clueless and I was a bit of a wallflower myself. (I have to say though, relating to book's name he didn't seem like that much of a 'wallflower' throughout the book, though many revelations happened in front of him.) The issues the book deals with are also the same in other YA books, but it seemed like an all -in-one to me. Sex, drugs, dysfunctional family, teen suicide, LGBT, and even rape. Many of those situations were uncomfortable to read through...especially with how honest and thorough Charlie was. The honesty was refreshing. I'd say most teenagers and even adults would enjoy reading this. It's a classic coming-of-age book.
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