Most of my memories are repressed inside my veins; sometimes they come to the surface affecting the functionality of my organs, coercing the mind to remember.
I think of cats strolling along hospital corridors in
being terrified each time the doctor opened the door. I remember injections,
the permanent headache, riding on the back of a motorbike at midnight through
dim-lit streets and the calls of elderly gentlemen alone in the dark. Pakistan
What were your expectations before getting into the blogging community?
I first began posting on MySpace, so when I migrated over to here, blogging itself was still a relatively new concept. Blogs were online diaries, people recorded their daily recollections and experiences; but it was all very individual, there wasn’t much of a community. For me, blogging was the first real experience I had of sharing my writing with others. I didn’t think that it would ever be a means of meeting and connecting with other like-minded individuals. I guess I didn’t have any expectations; I just wanted a voice.
You begin with taking a photograph using your phone and pressing send. This photo is then sent to a completely random person who could be anywhere in the world. There is no way of knowing who will receive the image or where it will end up. Upon receiving the picture, this stranger will then respond with their own photograph. That’s it, a momentary exchange between two strangers. There is no correspondence after this exchange or any way to find out who the receiver is. The only information that is provided is a general location that has been pinpointed on a map. The app also doesn't have any options to like or favourite pictures, it is just you and this stranger, in each other’s worlds for a transitory moment.
We want to preserve as much as we can, we want to leave behind a legacy; to be remembered. It’s why we carve our names into stone, write our names in the sand.
We’re afraid of being forgotten; we want to exist forever. When we write words, a little bit of our soul seeps into them. The ink dries and our souls live on in each letter. We become immortal; those words will forever belong to us.
The children ran around twisting red ribbons attached to balloons, entangling them with each other, swapping them and creating patterns.
They eventually let the balloons go, hesitantly, with their palms still attached to the ribbons.
Fear swept their faces and they reached the air to bring them back; it was too late, they were alone now.
They watched the heavens steal the balloons, found themselves with the remnants of ribbon as a bandage for their wounds.
It’s strange. Social media was once a form of communication, a means of interacting with people and rekindling lost friendships. They have now become networks to preserve and document our lives, to validate our existence to others. We have not only lost the essence of survival, but we are becoming reliant on social media to be our source of advocacy and nourishment.
With check-ins and updates. Relationship statuses and photographs. We are creating a stalkers haven in an attempt to authenticate our existence by detailing occasions.
I have always believed in God and sometimes it has been the only constant in my life. When we are young, we are taught about morality and justice, about chivalry and malice, but it is only when we experience it for ourselves that it becomes real.
We have to break the rules to learn to follow them. Sometimes we have to try things out to discover that they are not for us.
We have to break the rules to learn to follow them. Sometimes we have to try things out to discover that they are not for us.
When you fall into a ditch, the only thing that runs through your mind is finding a way out. You are trapped in darkness and it soon becomes all that you can see. In this scenario, you hold on to the first hand that attempts to pull you out because you just want to be rescued; everything is about finding an escape. Getting out. Seeing light. Living again. In my case, the first hand that pulled me out wasn’t a means of salvation, it caused me to fall back in deeper.
Make-up is not about vanity or narcissism; it is about masquerading insecurity and enhancing confidence.
I have dark hyperpigmentation underneath both of my eyes; a build up of melanin under the skin. This is common amongst Asian skin tones and many experience this around the sides of the mouth. My hyperpigmentation is not caused by a lack of sleep or a bad diet; it is something that I have no control over. They are not dark circles. I have spent years attempting to reduce their appearance, but they are two permanent rings that both circle and cover my eye area. I also have deep-set eyes which are positioned deeper into the skull, causing the brow bone to appear more prominent. The combination of hyperpigmentation and deep-set eyes causes my eyes to appear bruised, almost as if they are sinking into my face.
Putting words onto paper makes them feel final; spoken words are transient. By writing things down, we preserve them; we give them meaning and truth. Words visualise our thoughts, bringing them to life; a form of animation. We can see just how profound or ludicrous the insides of our minds can be. Writing is a form of systemising and liberating thoughts. Sometimes we need to write our deepest secrets onto paper, to share them and be rid of them.
We only extract fragments that we want to remember, whether that is through solely recalling trauma or repressing the negative occurrences. We don’t remember people as they were. We recall them in the way that we want to see them, even when they change.
However, people do not live and exist as the tangible characters in our memory. Everyone moves forward and therefore we have to formulate new memories to override the old ones. Nothing is as you remember it because everything in the universe evolves.
I have been drinking coffee every morning for the past 10 years. A failure to do so has led to serious consequences and this is not a form of hyperbole. When I attempted to stop drinking coffee in the mornings, my body went into complete shock and I was ill for an entire month. This is the severity of my caffeine addiction. I am dependent on it.
My parents have always been big coffee drinkers, in fact the first thing that I remember being able to smell as a child was coffee. I loved the smell and would pour Coca Cola into a mug, pretending that it was black coffee. I couldn’t wait to try my first cup and I was 12 when my parents finally thought that I was old enough.
Within a single day of our lives, we perceive thousands of small details that we do not pay attention to. The name tag of the person that served us, the scent of the guy waiting in line behind you, the lines etched into the pavement, the scratches on a car door, the buttons on your shirt, the footprint of your shoes, the water droplets falling from the tap in your kitchen, the conversation of two strangers in the corridor, the sound of coins rattling in your pocket, the roughness of one’s hands, the sturdiness of your chair, the backing vocals in a song playing on the radio, the softness of the keys on your keyboard, the pigmentation of your pen, the folded pages in a book, the profoundness of the rain, the consolation of new socks, the vivacity of the light from your lamp, the dust on top of your wardrobe, the humidity of the rain, the dead skin on your lips, the strand of hair that has fallen onto your clothes, the peeling skin around your cuticles and the solidity of the wind against your face.
It is only in words that we are truly able to comprehend the intricacy of our lives. It is only then that we are able to perceive the edifice of the minute details and the way in which they depict the smaller moments. It is only in words that we can foreground these details; it is only then that we can bring them into focus. This reminds me greatly of Kafka and the way he used detail to subdue everything.
Writing is about capturing and re-creating, about inventing and connecting. It is about reviving the small aspects of life that we choose to ignore. It is about projecting the intricacy of human interaction and the morsel of emotion that we sometimes find ourselves clinging to. Writing is about drawing attention to the stranger that held the door open for you, about the friend that offered you a piece of chocolate, and the covert simplicity of living. Although we as humans are complex, writing is a means of presenting and preserving ourselves in a way that is commendable; in a way that is comprehendible, in a way that inspires us to be better. Writing gives us something to aspire to, it provides us with a basis; it instigates progression. It allows us to capture our lives in a moment that will never exist again.
The sound of heavy laughter filled the carriage; it was coming from a woman. There was something peculiar about the way that she laughed. It was profound. With every moment, the laughter traversed through her, emanating sorrow as if her only way to heal. She was laughing through melancholy, through pain; this laughter was surfacing from the abyss of her skin. I pondered but realised that I could not locate the words to depict the sound that I was hearing.
As we grow up, they are filled with sand.
When we learn to think for ourselves, water is poured into the bottle.
The sand absorbs the water but there is still space in the bottle for something else.
We try to fill the bottle with stones, but they get stuck or they don’t fit. All we can do is shake the entire bottle to try and get them out.
This is just like life.
The time on your malicious alarm clock alerts you that you should still be sleeping. Sadly your body seems to disagree. You lay awake, your eyes fixated on the sinister ceiling. You begin to wonder why nobody has invented ceiling posters; something to look at to help you sleep. You think that it sounds like a feasible product and you begin to devise a business plan in your head. Your mind wonders off into the world of tax and numerical figures. It stresses you out so you disregard the idea. You continue to stare at the ceiling and tell yourself that tomorrow you will wake up and do something about animating the ceiling. Secretly you know that it won’t happen but you like the satisfaction of being able to convince yourself that it will.
You enter the kitchen and your heart begins to panic; there is an empty space where your coffee machine usually resides. How could a coffee machine possibly vanish? Maybe you’ve been robbed? You wonder why the burglars overlooked the supreme rapture of technology in the other rooms; in fact nothing else appears to have been taken.
She washed her hands with great concentration, as if washing away remnants of sin. Her hands gave away no signs of ageing but something about them reminded me of the nurse that had worked at my childhood doctor’s surgery, hands that were tender and comforting. She glanced at herself in the mirror, almost by accident, but something caught her attention and she began to lose her gaze in her own reflection. She stared into the teary eyes, lost behind thick lashes. I found myself intrigued by this woman. She had suffered; I could feel it in my bones. There was a sense of sadness in her aura but I knew in that moment that there was no way to comprehend the depth of her melancholy. She was covered in battle scars, manifesting in her eyes.
‘What’s going on?’ asked
‘Stop panicking woman! I think the coach may have possibly … driven off. That’s all,’ said Travis, calmly. He felt her presence beside him; her heels clicking a soothing rhythm against the rocks. She only did this when she was nervous; it gave her something to focus on.
Emotions are an interesting thing. We spend our entire lives attempting to control and manipulate them into coinciding with the invisible instruction manual that dictates how one should feel in a given situation.
Our feelings are capricious and we feel something before we are even able to recognise what it is. We as humans attempt to defy this by analysing a specific situation, determining the appropriate emotion and then feeling it. We often experience a sense of guilt when we feel a certain way that may be deemed as unsuitable for a certain circumstance. Sometimes we may feel things that other people will call irrational. But is any emotion irrational? Is there a right way to feel?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is an international bestseller. Having sold more than 30 million copies, it has also been translated into over 60 languages. It has been identified as a life-changing piece of literature that moves and touches the lives of anybody that reads it. This not only heightens one’s expectations of the book but also prompts one with an urgency to read it.
Every now and then, I come across a book that resonates deeply within my bones. A book made up of words that do not truly leave my blood, pages that turn themselves in my dreams, characters that I pass on the street, a subtext that reverberates into the universe. The echo of literature is a global phenomenon; it runs through the streams, rests amid the grass and pervades the air until everything is whole.
Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl is one of the most profound pieces of work that I have ever come across. It is an amalgamation of philosophy entwined with accounts of Frankl’s survival in four different concentration camps during World War Two. It not only explicates his daily life in the horrific concentration camps, but also the way in which he found a means of coping.
I sat gazing at the zealous raindrops on the window of the train. There were millions of them in a horizontal race with time, some marking their territory, leaving trails until they reached the finishing line that was the window pane, others reticent, disappearing just as quickly as they had come. Some hesitated; others drew a consecutive line until the end, obscuring the glass with the resilience of capacity. They resembled fervent tadpoles, fading into the nothingness of the sea with every current. My eyes followed them until they became nothing more than a memento of what had been, bewildering the eyes of the beholder. The glass became speckles of reminiscence; I blinked, until the lens cleared.
(Image Source: here)
You wonder how you reached this point; stuck with a person that is destroying you. You sit beneath a tree that was planted in memory of a courageous soldier. You wish that you were courageous enough to leave her, that humiliation would not consume you every single time you contemplated it. You drown in your thoughts like a coin sinks in water. An elderly man cycles by, smiling at you as if he can sense your predicament. You nod in response, as men do. The phone in your pocket begins to ring; you know it’s her without even checking. You ignore it, humming to the rhythm of the ringtone until it stops. A few seconds later, it rings again. You pick at the grass beneath you, tearing away its life while the ringtone plays in the background for what seems like hours.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. This is a detailed account of the time her family spent in hiding during World War Two. This book will make you value your freedom and appreciate the luxury of being able to walk in the street without being captured. It is a wonderful piece of work and her positivity emanates through her words. There are some excerpts that make you feel as if you are reading an ordinary teenage girls diary and some that demonstrate the atrocity of living during such a horrific time. Towards the end of the book, it is evident that Anne is becoming more hopeful, which makes it even more heartbreaking when she suddenly stops writing. She is brutally honest, but also makes you realise just how powerful hope can be. There is a two-part series based on her diary available on YouTube, which I would recommend watching called ‘Anne Frank: The Whole Story.’ Here is Part One and Part Two. Miep’s account of events is also available in a book called ‘Anne Frank Remembered,’ where she details how she helped the family hide. I have yet to read this but she was living on the outside, and will have a different story to tell.
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