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post number one

If I am to be very honest, as I hope I can be in our future conversations, I perceive it difficult to grasp why people blog. To be very honest, I am no more interesting than your ordinary sixteen year old typing away on the internet. I write to you now post-inspiration, lying on my stomach on my pyjamas with a sore throat. I have just finished reading Terry Pratchett’s ‘Small Gods’, inarguably the best read this week. Reading good books tend to put your mind in a state of effervescence. Personally, I think people read to swim, to escape from real life in text. I used to read a book a day, back in the good times (citing the year 2016 and its precedents), but now that I am told to cram my meagre twenty four hours with work and more work, innocent ideals like reading for pleasure have lost their appeal.

My days are long, un-dilutedly painful. I am smart, I suppose I know this for a fact. I scored six As at my Ordinary Level exams, four of them making it to stars, but there was also the pesky B grade for English Literature that motivated me to change all my goals for the future. An update on the situation meant that I switched to Language, where I scored a good 91, Computer Science and Biology- also A* graded subjects. Systemic as the plan feels my body feels empty, my mind spasming with anxiety like technicolour sparks off a malfunctioning robot, metallic head reverberating back and forth like clock work. It is not that I am scared; I have more reason than not to be but fortunately enough, I am not afraid. Where I live, most schools do not opt for English Language, meaning that I undertake this course without formal syllabi to follow except for the Cambridge resources.

I am not worried. I realise I am just strangely empty.

I spend my days reading reference books which seem chaotically off topic, sometimes relevant and on the rare occasion of actual help, unduly inapplicable to the questions on paper. Reading has become a guilty pleasure, sneaked between intervals of harsh study, where anything strange and obtusely taboo holds mystic appeal. The light of my laptop is harsh on my skin at night as my eyes flit to the screen, taking in multiple tabs of Fanfiction. Who needs to read? To the blank world before me, a null sea without rumble or hint of audience, have you ever felt like ceasing to exist? To disappear in your body? To behold a second persona under your skin as you push yourself to travel to the places you do not want to go?

This is what leisure activity feels like. My hands and feet disappear as I swim in words, lies, pretty lies that did not happen but taste so sweet. After my three hour binge come stand off with the books, half a night awake looking through things I already know mind in chaos as it yells at me to do something worthwhile.

My body feels like it is suspended in constant war with itself. I have no idea what I must do and how I must do it. How long do people usually study? Does this depend on how good the teachers are? If so how good are mine? Am I being lazy? Does music account for break time? Is the mind a single faceted entity? I do not know.

All I know is that there seems to be there months left in my ticking time bomb, before the world swallows my body and I can learn no longer. 3 months of that sweet satisfactions of numbers and flows and pretty coloured sentences. As I write to you now, my sister lies on her hospital bed, eyes closed from her painkillers- she’s giving birth. A simple request to anyone who views this, please make a quick prayer for her health, the baby is being quite fussy inside her. The stench of my sweat forms two misty hands over my eyes. I cannot breathe and write any longer. I must take a shower.

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girls

she buries the lower half of her face into her muffler, the fabric of the clothing rough and musty against her skin. her hair is in loose shambles above her shoulders, her eyes lined but barely enough for the inky black to be seen. if she tries to suck in her breath, her skin would harrow into a steep plain. it was not for long, the awkwardness, the fumbling, the posing in the dark with her lips catching fire and her skin a shadow of what it really is. only until her cheeks make real plains- she decides determinedly.

a nudge against her calf and she’s glancing upwards, slowly through the bird path of cheap lighting and college textbooks.

her friend watches her thoughtfully from where she is poised upside down on her bed, her long hair flowing down to trace the pinch of her waist. she extend one long bare leg at the other girl and nudges her again on the inside of her knee.

“what’s wrong?”

“nothing”

the girl by the bed huffs and rises to her feet. she takes a step, then two and her fingers trace a stiff neck, a dark, worried chin.

“what’s got you so distressed, sweetheart?”

“nothing.”

a hand digs into the knots at the base of a troubled nape. furrowed eyebrows slip away into a sleep-like peace.

the light through the window is mist upon the darkness of the room. it traces the bridge of someone’s nose, the other’s shoulders pulled tight under her jacket. the night is splintered into a thousand stars, and Sleep that commands little of its people.

what pains the heart above hate is not knowing how to exist in order to be loved. a lucky few will have their companions show them away, but the undeniable cruelty of the universe means that a good majority of us will never know what it’s like to have our hair gently undone by the restrains we clamp them by.

post number 20

The streets flood with the sound of the boys’ laughter. Laughter, you see, is a precious thing. You cannot lie as you laugh. The human soul is cruel enough to twine lies into words, into the rhythm of muscles beneath skin, into smiles and teardrops. We have come far from where we had been intended to. Our footsteps fade away from the pit of light we thumbed our way from. We walk not towards more light but to a darkness that excites us with it’s mystery. With all this secrecy, with governments corrupted, with lives ruined and many taken unfairly, truth is an anomaly.

Laughter can be faked, muffled and swept under a ring of tears. However, laughter was an especial condiment of the heart as it wearied not under the forces of the mind. You could fake it- but when it did occur with spontaneity, it cannot be controlled.
Tonight is a ring of boys shrouded in their laughter. They surround a worn looking football, split into neat pairs of two before their two leaders. A boy with supple pink lips and rickety black hair that looks like a thunderstorm on his head, a second boy who is taller than his counterpart, they form silhouettes against the saffron embers of the sunset. They do not see me in my covert clothes and silent footsteps. Similarly, they do not notice the bag clutched at my left hand. A woman swathed in black I am. I fall to the hymn of the shadows and flit to the wind of the world, always unbothered. Torrents of flesh and bone, I waltz through the streets unnoticed, unrestrained to smiles and eyes that only lie.

On most days I am thankful for the leeway, but today, listening to the sound of their laughter under a golden sun, watching them live for the musky smell of their own sweat with wet cheeks, my gratefulness is an unending pit that begins from a burrow at my fingertips.

They do not see me as they shout at each other.

The boy with the uncombed hair and soot stained shirt yells at a smaller child for missing a catch.

“My dog could have caught it- DeeDee would be ashamed of you!”

The younger boy stared back at him with defiant eyes, adding, “Well, your DeeDee plays on tv!”

My breath threatens to break me as it ricochet through my chest.

Ma’am, please sit down. I had been on my third cup of coffee. We need to talk this through.

Slowly I trace the metal zipper of his gym bag. It claws at the skin it touches. I tug the mouth of the bag agape, eyes blurring with the sight of its contents.

Football, just like their’s but shinier from all the days he had never gotten to play it; the bow of his violin- the body was selfishly buried inside the tendrils of my sweater in the bottom of my closet; his old GS, a compass and a few favourite action figures.

They make an odd straight line across the park bench and then create light and dust.

They materialise the colours of his smile, the sound of his laughter. Without my noticing, I’ve been spotted, and for a first time, the children stare at awe at the black cloaked woman and fall in love with the hope dancing at the tips of her pink fingers. My ringed hands glow under the sunlight and my heart is full as they ask me, then grow excited with my revelation, going far as to fall to their feet in thanks. I am crying unabashedly as they leave, an unresponsive phone perched between my ear and shoulder.

With his hands swallowed by my own, and a sad smile that I cannot bear to look at, my son looks as me with eyelashes that dribble ink and skin made pale enough to show off the map of unsightly veins beneath it.
‘Ma?’
Lips nipping at the rim of a white hospital cup, I nod at him, still staring fixedly at the pattern on the spreads.
‘You are my Ash Ketchum.’

Raising Rapids

A woman with an apron tucked over her skirt jabbed at the little girl and her grandfather as they walked past her stall. She was selling spices that neither of them could stand to eat, the girl often left with ruby lips and glittering eyes in its wake, the man never being tolerant of its stinging smell.

However they both bowed at the woman with kindness.

‘Tongues lash harder than real danger,’ the man told the little girl, who nodded at him seriously. Her hair was tied into a knot at the back of her head; she had gotten her maid-servant’s help in ironing her frock for the outing. The girl thinks back to how Ezra, the servant girl with clear brown skin lighter than her own and pink pursed lips, had leaned over the sizzling iron braced casually by her thin wrist and asked her ‘what the deal was’.

No one understood the little girl’s fascination with her grandfather. It was because the rest of the world was stupid, the girl had decided as the tender age of seven, and as she would tell the servant girl a few years later, when they would both long haired and crude-faced in the inescapable throes of adolescence.

The girl was from the Rich and Splendid, as she liked to term her family in the little confines of her head. In all the stories her mother liked to read to her before bed, in the little private bubble of space they reserved between them, the rich got what came for them if they were haughty.

The girl knew better. Everything was just made to be that way because people were obsessed with innocence- or in her words ‘loved surprises’.

She did not like the unannounced drop of her stomach, the clench of her thighs as she found herself plummeted into surprises. She liked clues and figures much better, they were safer to grasp in the complex world of secrets brewing around her.

She held onto her grandfather’s honesty, ‘What you think is right- do it. Do not let anyone tell you what to do. If you thought it, you must get to doing it. You’re a powerful, wonderful girl and you must not let that go to waste.’

What did her mother know anyway?

When all of the plays and pretence of childhood were finished, she would be bold and happy, just like her grandfather.

Today they would traverse through market stalls, the little girl thought, and tomorrow they would rule the useless world that paid them no heed.

Years later would come to fingers wrapping around her wrists and a voice softer than the translucent clouds she and Ezra liked to watch disappear at sunsets.

He would be hurt at her hardened gaze and she would think about their voices as the white fog scattered into the orange sky, breathing final numbers as they counted the seconds of its leave.

‘Why is it so important?’

She would smile mysteriously, red lips curving dangerously, hair silky around her shoulders.

‘The world is my heart and you are but a flitting wind,’ she would think as she tittered at him. All around her, the clues were rising and falling in a thrillingly excessing show of racing rapids. She would wrap her fingers around every clue and stomp her future under her feet. She would be damned to live in a world that she could not rule.

post number 19

Nineteen posts, I think as I sit behind the screen, waiting till my stylus renews its battery, hoping to kill some time words. Nineteen posts and things are still not that different.

I think it’s bad to anticipate change, not simply because it takes the edge off the experience but also because it numbs you the experience itself.

Today was not as eventful as a juicy blog should relay so I will tell you about the day before yesterday.

It started with a panic as I leaped out of the bed as my dreams ended in a jump scare. The aftermath of the images stain my room, the sepia coloured curtains turning yellow under the morning sunlight, the bookshelf overstuffed with the books I would have loved to fall into last year but only feel strangely rehearsed now. I see a table the mid afternoon light, I am on the table, Grandpa next to me, and together we look over some of his texts together, tinkering with the Arabic and the English until it all makes sense.

Waking up, I slide in my glasses- no longer bottle green, but little dark squares that straddled the space between my eyebrows instead of perching comfortably over my cheeks. They had not liked how the older ones. I was told the lovely bottle green obscured my face and was far too prominent for a girl my age.

a girl my age- is seventeen really that far off the life par that you begin to lose such small joys already?

I wake up with a jolt of excitement as I remember what I had planned- lunch at my best friend’s, a movie and dancing included.

I download the movies, charge my devices and hurry because I’m not a big fan of lingering.

At breakfast I stuff my cheeks with sweet pancakes and with that I am off, the wind cold against my calves as I cross the road between our Gardens and I find myself at hers.

It does not matter what you do, I realise, if it’s done with the right person.

We learn how to roll and fold dough to make cinnamon rolls. Her mom watches as we rehearse a cooking show, her an Australian judge, me an R girl making it on the big stage with my key secret recipe, the cinnamon rolls.

While the dough rises (it never does fully), we watch a movie on the abandoned rooms on the upper floor of her house, our elbows resting on the mattress as bawl our eyes out, thinking about how unfair the world is to disregard the basic rights of human beings based on pointless delusion.

After lunch, we cut at the door using a thread, making little cubes filled with sugar and cinnamon.

As the molten sunset grows lighter and fainter, drifting pink then somehow, inexplicably into blue, we have to leave, but the words and comfort make a haven inside my head. As I leave, I think, this is a good day. Good days are sought for, in my agenda, so they should not be dismissed.

 

post number 18

Lat night I had this irrefutable urge to check out my baby pictures. In some of the pictures, I have short hair tied into a coconut tree at the top of my head. I am all grown up, rebellious, making secret bank accounts, resumés no one cares about, questioning authority, when my biggest worry had once been if my hair would ever grow past my ear lobes.

I think about my younger self, what she would think if she saw me now. To be very honest, as I often am on this blog, she would be pleased- ecstatic- because I had never imagined growing up to be someone decent looking in the future. I always imagined myself to be musty looking, even on my wedding day, I imagined my skin the shade of grey that you get when you apply the wrong shade of foundation.

So yes, my younger self would like me, despite the uneven skin tone, the random spurts of acne and the way my face is somewhere between could be pretty and plain.

Maybe I don’t like myself as much now because there the overwhelming amount of expectation perched on too little channels of expression. I feel like a wet towel being wrung to release a minuscule puddle that would buoy me, pooling at my feet.

On happier notes, my Grandpa’s relatives visited yesterday. If you’re reading this, Grandpa, then you should know that you are literally one of the only things they talk about.

That among the usual passports, culture and of course, kids- their grades, their schools-; I am proud you’ve made it onto their agenda.

One of the uncles is from Bahrain. His kids speak this beautiful accent that sounds slightly British, with just the right amount of stiffness to the words. Most of them look like they’ve been moulded by clay- smooth skin, pixieish features.

I look at them, bundled in their genes and flannel shirts, and think maybe I should go back to wearing the hijab. I liked it, but it’s very hard to pull off with my looks. People don’t sell shawls that go with skin like mine, that’s tan and pink at places, at least, they do not sell shawls like that where we live so that’s one. The other is how they clash against the flow-y clothes that Umma likes to buy that are too patterned to look good without hair flowing past the shoulders. I am thinking of ordering clothes like theirs today- with those pretty shawls, but I don’t know if Umma will allow it.

On other news, in the span of two months we planned a trip to China-Hong Kong, but it got cancelled. I am not miffed, I know how hard it is to get a visa. I am just nervous, time is slow and languorous- without the trip, I have ten extra days in unoccupied anxiety.

The results come in on August 14th. To say I am terrified is the biggest understatement ever.

I read one of my favourite books after waking up. I am memorising the Quran and learning both Arabic and Korean again. I am working on my Sinhala and going to tarsier classes and posting art online and learning piano covers and writing stories and catching up on a year of Advanced Level Literature- please be proud of me if you are reading this.

post number 17

Sometimes it is befuddling. You have had days we’re you sleep alongside someone, listening to the crack of their voice against the darkness, and you have also had days where you have wanted nothing but to throttle your nightly companion with every ounce of your being. 

Waking up, bleary and disoriented from the light and rush of yesterday, I think, of what I should do for the following 24 hours and fall back into dreary sleep, relaxed, sick, but also heavily disappointed with my own constitution. I finished school about two months ago, I realise as I trudge into the bathroom, my head weighing more than it should, my feet feeling heavier with the weight I had put on over the last few weeks. It is ironic how it has been almost four years since that awful black time but everything still feels the same. It has been four years since she was angles and loud voices and chaos, and I had been but a dark stormy cloud trailing in her wake, ever the good girl, a bit unlikeable by appearance, but still accepted.

It has been forever- she has a child and I’ve grown to how old she was back then- but things are so different yet exactly the same. How do I explain it? It is like I have slowly grown to understand her, her wildfire behaviour, the way she switched thoughts and personas in a way that made me feel like I was looking into a kaleidoscope. Over the past weeks I have spent nights awake in fright of sleep; I have cowered away from attachment to anything with a semblance to which I hold passion out of fear, I have cried into the very depths of my pillows and I have missed her, with a piercing ache in my heart.

It hard accepting it- the fear, the love. The feeling is certainly crippling. The love we hold for family is strange. If you, the reader, the mere observer to my revenues, are from a big family, you must understand my dubiousness to the situation.

You see, the bigger the family, the greater the distances, the closer the intimacies.

Sometimes it is befuddling. You have had days we’re you sleep alongside someone, listening to the crack of their voice against the darkness, and you have also had days where you have wanted nothing but to throttle your nightly companion with every ounce of your being.

You are told that someone is wholly evil, you are sworn to promises of difference between the two of you. Of course you say yes, being the younger, but as you grow, you will come to know that people are very skilled in the art of putting words inside mouths and that you hold a special capability, as a human, to swallow your thoughts when you are afraid of them.

Why do we call dictators inhuman, when humanity is all about forgetting to feel, to flinch and cry, when you should have?

It has been four years and it is just now that I realise that she had not been wrong. What could she have done but scream and kick and pull at her hair when she was nothing but an outsider to her own home, doing everything but disappearing in order to be seen?

I now know of the emptiness of being overlooked, of being compartmentalised into the child that is to be rid.

Remembering her the nature of her hands, frantic on the table, always tapping away, the bones visible under the tight skin, the furrow of her neat eyebrows, I can see through the fog of what I have been told.

The sad crippling truth that cannot be said is that my sister had been a victim and a little girl. My mind still struggles to except it, but against the agonising wake of the night, under the light of the moon and the stars, the truth is plain. She was only trying to be loved, and like the sick, awful people we are, we had forced her mind under water, drowning it until it no longer resembled the wildfire beauty of its past.

post number 16

I rest on my bed, flat on my stomach. I have to take a shower. My teeth gnaw at my lips. I am ridden with an anxiety that thrums inside me like a butterfly beat.

My head fixates upon the unknown, scared and daunting about the times to coming.

Currently, my wallet is empty and I want to do everything and anything to fill it. However, I cannot leave, how much I try. I am chained to the cement and sand of this house, because of the wealth in my blood that forces me to embrace the poverty of my position.

I dream of drowning in the open sea, swimming and moving on to a time when the gold around my neck would not feel like an invisible noose held loose enough for me to breathe. To say I am worried would be the biggest understatement. I need money, but no one appoints a girl fresh out of school. My brain is swallows the words as they flow. What shall I do? What can I do? The only person who can help me is buried under layers of dirt. I am depressed and my dreams tell me of all the things I do not want to accept.

I hold your hand, my eyes brimming with tears, my sight blurry. I beg you to let me do something, anything. You look at me, your cheeks smooth, your eyes unwrinkled, and you say, “Go to a cooking class, your husband will handle all that.”

Is it bad that the sight of you makes me want to die?

Is it bad that I dream of running away from you?

I love you, from the very bottom of my soul, but all I can see is that you find me a protuberance – someone who is too young, too hopeful for your wavelength.

What will you say when I leave you? If I can leave you? You say I have a choice, and then shackle me to a future that terrifies me.

I shiver as I try to talk to you about it.

Why give me an ambition, why teach me the depth of life and love, if you are only going to rob me of it?