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Creative Writing

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Literature

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Travel

A Stream of Incoherent Thoughts.


It’s interesting, the amount of thoughts that run through the human mind. I wanted to document the stream of mine. Read at your own peril.
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My Hair History.

My hair colour changes in accordance to my mood. I also use the colour of my hair as a measurement of time; my memories are all connected to and associated with specific hair colours. It is the first thing that people notice, and in my world, the most indicative of the way that I am feeling. My hair colour represents certain periods of my life; it signifies struggle, contentment, anarchy, loss. In the midst of an identity crisis, I immediately change the colour of my hair to shift perspective, to feel close to myself again. 

I have dyed my hair more times than I can remember, and for this I partially blame my mother who is an avid hair-dyer (although her colour choices have been rather more appropriate); like mother, like daughter, they say. I thought it would be interesting to put together a ‘hair timeline’ to showcase all of the colours that I have dyed my hair. There are a few gaps due to not having photographed certain colours (they were too horrendous to document and I did not want them to exist anywhere on the universe).

A majority of the colours below are the results of experiments, of which many have been disastrous. However, it is just hair at the end of the day and it grows back. If it does go entirely wrong, I express my gratitude for the existence of hats. It's all about perspective, about embracing your mistakes (there is a life lesson in everything).


It all started with the picture on the top left. My natural hair colour is black, and this colour paired with my yellow-toned complexion and horrendous dark circles, has always made my skin appear sallow. This picture was taken on the day that I first dyed my hair. I was 18 years old. 
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For The Women Who Are Meant For More.


I came across an exquisite piece of writing yesterday. Every single word resonated with me and I wanted to share it with you to allow you to find yourself amid these words. If you ever find yourself feeling lost, this will guide you back to where you are supposed to be. It will empower you. It will realign everything. It will reassure you that it is okay to be different because your individuality is one of your greatest gifts.

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The Monsters Are All Missing.


For giving me life, I thank you EMDR. 

Letting go of the trauma that my body had stored was truly remarkable, it’s terrifying how much pain the human body can hoard and remember without even being aware of its own presence.  

Being in remission is strange, it feels like everything is starting to get better, you begin to think rationally and clearly and you start to see what's right in front of you, it's almost like you can finally make out the cars that are on the road ahead. You stop thinking about death, you stop seeing obstructions, the traffic is moving now, you’re heading in the right direction. It's a peculiar feeling because it's foreign to your body, you're not entirely sure how to deal with it and you wonder whether this is what normal people feel like. You start to consider what you need to do now and how you can retain this sentiment. Can you capture it in a bottle and drink it every time you lose yourself?
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In The Grave of Vocabulary.


Our language is made up of the vocabulary of everything that we have ever read or heard; a regurgitation. It is only through the introduction of new substance that we can provide it with the capacity to grow and feed itself.

We, as humans seem to carry this myopic view of our lives.

It’s almost like through not reading, we become content with our limited catalogue of words. We are happy to live the rest of our lives with the language that we have acquired but how many times can you use the same word before it becomes redundant? How many times can you describe something as being ‘amazing,’ ‘good,’ ‘great,’ before it begins to evoke sarcasm?
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Alive Inside: The Story of Music and Memory.


A few days ago, I watched a documentary on Netflix titled ‘Alive Inside: The Story of Music and Memory.’ It was about a social worker that used music to evoke the memories of Alzheimer’s patients. It was one of the most astounding things I’ve ever seen.
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The Killing: Season 3.


If you have been reading my blog for some time, you will be aware of how fixated I am with ‘The Killing.’ Last night, I completed season 3 of the American version and I am still reeling from its intensity.

Please note that there will be spoilers below.

The final three episodes were absolutely impeccable. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so immersed in a story, in characters, in wanting justice. I dreamt about Linden running through fields in an attempt to protect Adrian, I could not stop seeing Ray Seward’s face. The echoes of Bullet’s voice filled my mind, the wrath of Skinner’s words made me shiver until he was gone.
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Children of Content Nausea.


In an era of infinite scrolling, click-bait titles and periodic content, there is such a thing as too much consumption. We scan articles, become trapped in the cyclical clicking of recommended videos, look away at pop-ups and animated ads. It has ruined the way that we consume information because we no longer recognise or feel the impact of the words in front of us. We are distracted, impatient. We always have a hundred tabs open.
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If You're Having A Dark Day...


When you’re standing in darkness, it feels like everything is still. It feels like nothing is changing because everything is motionless, but somewhere in the world it is a different time of day. People are going about their lives, waving goodbye to their children, watching them disappear behind the school gates. Someone is peering at a patient fastened to machines through a glass door. Somebody else is pouring ingredients into a bowl, entranced by an image of a transcendent banana loaf, or standing on a railway track awaiting their own demise. Someone is in a jovial embrace at the airport with an old friend believed to be lost. The earth is orbiting; the birds are flying. This moment is not where you will be stuck forever because we can transcend time. Your life is moving forward. Look at a clock, the seconds are passing. Things will change because they are changing even when we believe that they are still. That object on your desk doesn’t look like it is moving but the seconds are bringing it into the future, and thus it is transcending time just as you are.
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Becoming A Sense8.


My notion is that there are five kinds of truths: the truth you tell to casual strangers and people you meet, the truth you tell to your friends and your family, the truth you tell to only a few people in your entire life, the one you tell yourself, and the truth you won’t even admit to yourself. And that’s the one that tends to decline us,” Straczynski said. “And we thought, if we take these characters who suddenly have access to each other’s thoughts, histories, their secrets, their personalities, it lets us take the global aspect of the show and bring it down to a very human level. You may not understand what it is to live in India or live in Iceland or live in Berlin, but we can identify with an abusive father, or a person who is hiding a part of their personality because they’re afraid they’ll never be accepted. I found the smaller you go with your truth, the more universal and global the story is. And so we wanted to sort of hinge off of that into making a larger statement.

I mentioned that I was watching the television show Sense8. I’ve honestly never felt so connected, so captivated, so engrossed in a show like this before. It completely blew my mind.
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I Remember.


I remember playing with pebbles beside a Scottish lake, a body being exhumed a week later.

I remember watching men carry the carcass of a cow from a truck filled with its departed friends. I wondered about the families they left behind, their children, their dreams.

I remember faking a headache to avoid having to wear a dress in a play about Picasso. Wake up it’s a beautiful morning.
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Removing The Hijab: Part 2.


I have written a blog post about removing the hijab which you can read here: Part 1

A few months before I made the decision to wear the hijab, the Islamic Society at my university hosted a lecture about the modesty of women in Islam. I volunteered to help at the event so that I could attend and not feel like an outsider. I felt out of place at Islamic lectures, 85% of attendees wore the hijab and didn’t take me seriously because I chose not to. It was as if they believed that I wasn’t authorised to be a part of Islam. During the lecture, the speaker discussed the way that covering ourselves protected us from the gaze of men. She addressed the un-hijabed women in the room, maintaining eye contact to signify that these words were directed at us, victimising us. She told us that we were disappointing God.
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Just Listen.


A guy parked his car directly outside of my window, his music blaring as loud as the speakers would permit. I felt the vibration of the rhythm against my desk. I was annoyed; I could still hear the music, even through my headphones.

I deliberated getting up to close my window but decided that he would soon drive away. 
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‘What would you describe your style as?’
‘I try and go for the whole ‘I woke up, had a cup of coffee and then just threw on the first thing I found and didn’t brush my hair, but still made sure to look in the mirror before I left the house’ type of thing.’
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To Qurratulain.


I don’t know what it is about you, but you’re addictive. One conversation later, you are all that exists. You’re infectious, it’s like your words immediately enter the veins, consuming, feeding. You so quickly become a way of life until our organs won’t recognise or submit to anything but the sound of your voice.

You’re smart and insightful, you always have interesting things to say. You’re compassionate and spectacular, you never have bad intentions, you’re pure and honest. You love and care about everything so deeply, so intensely. You’re generous and encouraging, you believe in other people, you see their truth, you recognise their talent, you empower them. You just want to make everyone else’s dreams come true.
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The Pros & Cons Of Breathing.


Relax, enjoy your life,’ said my mother, not realising the magnitude and impact of the words that she spoke.

I began to think about the ways that we exist, within the journeys of our own minds. We earn money, we save, we plan our meals, we put money into pensions, we plan a life for our children. Our minds are forever living in the future, our bodies in the present. But we create a gap, between imminence and this present day, an empty space that is susceptible to being consumed by fear. Thus, we live in a perpetual state of anxiety about everything, second-guessing, overthinking, complicating.

We’re fixated on the notion of a future, we’re attached to its perception, but our tangible grasp on the future extracts the spirit from our current moments. When it’s all gone, when the pulsation of our bodies begin to digress, it will be our memories that ricochet against the walls. It will be the voices, the sounds, the scents, the movements that embrace our mental hallways.

It’s like taking a photograph for the purpose of looking back and remembering. In taking the photograph, you’re almost pulling yourself away from the experience; you’re missing out on the intensity and magnitude of your surroundings. You’re not allowing it to heighten all of your senses; you’re not experiencing the beauty, the soul, the core of these moments to their fullest extent. You're going to miss the sovereignty of your own feelings because you didn’t exist to your fullest depth.

There’s nothing wrong with spending, feeling, indulging. There’s nothing wrong with being adventurous, out of control, spontaneous. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself, sinking, submerging. After all, is this not better than living with the intensity of regret? It’s the moments of pleasure, of bliss, of ecstasy that fill our time with meaning. Do the consequences of our actions not just become another facet of our gratification? Do they not just become a part of the experience?

Sometimes I listen to the sound of my own breath and notice that it’s the only constant in my life. I feel my pulse, the sensation of the rhythm, the blood travelling through my veins reaching my limbs. It’s the only thing that reminds me that I’m alive, it brings me back, calibrates my organs. We’re out of touch with who we are now. You’re alive. I’m alive. We’re living. We’re existing. This is our life, here, now. Go out and do something crazy because you can. Do it. Feel the movement of your hands, feel the strength, feel the capacity to do something great. Feel it. Be whoever you want to be, go with your feelings, be impulsive, do whatever makes you feel alive.

Although we live in a sense of imposing irony, surviving the present in order to remember, indulge and exist to your fullest capacity. 

(Image Source: here)
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Swinging Off of My Own Hinges.


When studying for my Masters, I woke up every morning, had breakfast and then sat down to write at my desk. I lost myself in the solitude of my own mind, allowed the words to pave the path of my thoughts and gave them a voice, creating worlds; characters, memories. 

Every space in between the lines was embedded with connotation.

Each day I would shed, cleanse. It became a ritual. I was in touch with myself, in touch with my thoughts. I was in my own body; present. Starting my morning this way became the foundation for my existence. I felt lighter, empowered. I felt strength.
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Should We Pay To Consume Art?


A few weeks ago, Taylor Swift posted an open letter to Apple regarding their failure to pay artists during a 3 month free trial of Apple Music. Although Taylor eventually won her case, it prompted me to think about the art that we create, the different forms in which it is recognised, the way we access it, our means of consuming it, the purpose and the impact of its reverberations.
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It’s Happening Right Now.

Humans are conditioned to focus on the future, to look forward, to always keep moving. At primary school, we are prepared for secondary school, college and university. Then our careers, marriage, children. Even death. Our lives are all about envisioning a future but how present are we right now? This is our life, this moment, this second, this breath.
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Living a Double Life.


In my post about Serial, I mentioned that most people of South Asian descent can relate to living a dual life. We know how to be two different people. We live the life that we want, along with the life that our parents want for us. We become masters of pretence. We know how to cover our tracks and we do so until our two worlds collide.

I have written a lot about my alienation from my Pakistani heritage but Serial pushed me to think about the kind of person that our culture wants us to be.
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Serial; A True Story.


I’ve been listening to a podcast called Serial recently. It may sound familiar because about a month ago, it was all anyone could talk about. Having never really been a fan of podcasts, I deemed this another social media trend. However, I finally gave in and listened to the podcast and now it is all I can think about.

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Shallow Like The Shoreline.


Our own narratives cannot be trusted, they are most often obscured by self-interest.

We remember events the way that we want to, to work in our favour, to give us something to experience a sense of nostalgia for. Our memories didn’t transpire in the way that we see them now. The person’s scent didn’t enrich the situation; neither did their rhythmic attempt at tapping their fingers against the table. The humming to fill an awkward silence was not poetic. The air was not filled with melancholy.
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The Death of Someone We Did Not Know.


When a celebrity passes away, it dominates both the media and our timelines. Everybody wants to share their experience and influence of the deceased. They all want to feel like they were a part of something; they want to connect, to belong.

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How I Got Into Writing.


People always ask when I first started writing and how I was able to reach the stage of feeling comfortable enough to share my work with others. This is an overview of my writing journey and where it all began.

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