Thursday, 31 May 2012

A second

It was just a second, maybe lesser, and things changed. Life turned upside down. Unhinged. And  Dia stood there a million little things going through her head. ‘Did I lock my door?’, ‘Did I keep the milk back in the fridge?’. Then the more important questions flooded her mind, rooting her to the pavement, her eyes fixed on the multiple television screens showing the same image again and again; a plane flying through a building. ‘ Sara?Amin?’. Her insides felt like lead, weighing her down. Then numbness spread through her body as she remembered Amin’s meeting with the board. And just like that the world turned black.

Julia looked out of window briefly while her class stayed heads down, faces scrunched with effort, their tiny hands attempting to make art out of play-doh. Her eye caught something whizzing through the air and then a terrible sound as she watched a hurling mass of twisted metal exit through it. She froze. The kids looked up, some of them already quivering at the lips while the braver ones ran to the window. She could hear phones ringing elsewhere. And feet, running feet. Anxious voices drifted in making some of the kids cry louder.
And then she got back to her senses. 'Sara, sweety, it's alrite stop crying' 


'Jay, I am running late.'. 'Yeah, I know it's important' 'But' 'But'. 'I had to drop Sara man'. 'Hey just buy me a few minutes'. 'Hello? Hello?..Jay?..Are you there?'

Wednesday, 30 May 2012


What exists 
in minuscule silences 
of the universe
when planets align
and stars cease
into hungry black holes
now content
for a moment
with the way things are
right here, right now
My forehead on the ground
the world behind
as I merge with the Earth,
a silent rebirth
In an urge to stay
to my purpose
which fires each cell
and what's within
to proclaim your name
night and day
Day and night
when oceans dry
and mountains crumble
into nothingness
and what remains is

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


You starved me
as I cried for help
banging my fists
on your conscience
yet, you turned
your back against
my frail frame
As you walked
towards the flame
knowing well
this money and fame
won't be there
when you need them
This power,
Your muscles and
toned body will be fodder
for worms
and then
you have just me,
your soul,
broken beyond repair.

image source:

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Today I woke up in Syria..

Today I woke up in Syria
to sniffles from a little girl
crouched in the corner
A human ball
in a ragged frock.
Her tiny hands
clutching a headless doll
which she handed me
with a desperate plea;
some food for a broken doll

Today I woke up in Syria
to a screaming woman
pleading life
for her husband
buried alive
as her son looked on
his face so blank
eyes now glazed
with unspoken terror
holding him in place

Today I woke up in Syria
to a sobbing woman
subsisting in an empty space,
in tattered robes, with
broken bones and
bruises blue
Honour lost and
dignity bled
by a uniform
meant to protect

Today I woke up in Syria
with blood on my hands
And no tears to shed
as I looked away
sending silent prayers on their way

A good job done...

A warm day
soaking in sunshine
The soft smell
of happiness
tempered with smiles
floating around
Bright faces
in bliss
which only ignorance sells
in large doses
Laughter, hitting corners
coming back
to the source
And off it goes
Till things fall apart
through cracks in bonds
struck hard
by jealousy and greed
Misunderstanding turning
Man against man
while the devil leans back
a good job done.

Static Flux

Buzzing crowd
whizzing cars
honking horns
beating hearts
pulsing blood
heaving breaths
rising heat
flowing sweat

Plastic smiles
fuller lips
bigger breasts
scalpel friends
frozen faces
botox fed
tightened masks
emotions dead

Static love
in constant flux

Heart in Transit

I was
a wandering spirit
seeking joy
in shifting images
and lethal fumes
living dead
in smoky planes
chasing shadows
of every desire and
unspoken sin
over mountains
crossing oceans
picking bruises
shedding tears
shredding soul
racing satan
to the pit
He found me
h a n g i n g
by a flimsy thread
and pulled me out
of moral death
dusting off
my tired soul
Blowing away
silent smoke
switching on the inner lights
Showering peace
long elusive
Reminding me
'Verily, in the remembrance
of Allah
Do hearts find rest.'

Friday, 25 May 2012

Liquid Despair

I slipped
and fell
spilling despair 
dark and murky
flowing freely
into crevices
of my mind
smooth liquid
stifling hope
slowly simmering
within then
gushing out
engulfing me
till your touch
on my face
vaporised every
last emotion
except love.

Rat Race

In another lifetime
I could've been 
a shooting star
trailing skies
passion unbound
A marching ant
scaling hills
following a friend
A water drop
swimming oceans
forming one

But here I am
A blip in a crowd
stuck in a mindless race

no end in sight
c h a s i n g
rocks, paper and metal
of value bestowed
leaving behind
tarnished souls
and broken hearts.
Dry tears refusing to come out.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Dear Lord

Dear Lord
Small things point me to you.

A frail leaf floating down
swaying sideways
settling down
And you tell me
that you know of each
such falling leaf
and more.

A silent breeze
with soft hands
smoothing my face
Easing in a smile
And you tell me
you send these 
peace scented gusts
just for us.

A young mother
embracing her child
holding him to her heart
whispering a lullaby
into small ears
till signs of slumber
make way into the tiny face
And you tell me
You love me even more

You let the small things
put the big things in place
A solved jigsaw puzzle
in space
You make the lock
and toss us the key.

You see us drown
and throw in the rope
You know we sin
and yet you forgive
Again and again
And Again
till the last breath.

And for that, 
I am a little more grateful
Each day.

Friday, 18 May 2012


I have big dreams
with jagged edges
folded neatly
and stuffed into back pockets
to take out when contemplating

life and it's lemons
in WC's and showers
In those micro seconds when
Life is not throwing her tantrums
I take it out and
spread it out on my heart
mulling over what could've been
what would've been
In another lifetime...

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


Don’t be my shadow,
Following me around when there’s light
To abandon me in dark times
Don’t be my footsteps
Going backwards as I go forward
to run away with the waves
Don’t be my scent
Reaching others before I do
To let them in on my secrets
Be my heartbeat
Keep me alive
With each beat 
Let me rise
Just to fall
in love with you.

The Big Fat Indian Stereotype

They see curry on my plate
And begin their sad monologue
About how Indian I am 
Wisecracks about my limited career options
And remarks on my 'pre-destined married life'
Gaffs at ‘The Great Indian Nod’
Reflecting their inability to distinguish our yes from a no
Throw in a few Bollywood songs
And they are done for the day
Signing off with a Namaste
I don’t say a thing 
And sometimes laugh along 
Yes, my accent is thick
And my ‘Ts’ sound like machine guns
On a roll
But that’s why it’s called an accent, silly!
I love me some curry with some red chilli
But on other days I’d rather kick back 
With some chinese 
on the go. 
No, we don’t dance when we are happy
Nor do we run around trees
When there’s joy, we
Laugh and smile 
amidst hugs and kisses
We sing, badly, in the shower
And dance when getting rid of pesky roaches
You see, it’s very tough
To explain what it's like
To be Indian
To be an Indian Woman
To be an Indian Muslim Woman
My experiences are mine
and mine alone
So don’t put me in a box, 
along with your expensive pashmina shawls and ivory figurines,
And label me ‘Exotic’.
For I will break free and let you know that
I am you.
Maybe a little browner.

Monday, 14 May 2012

I am...

I am 

Intertwined fingers in a crowded subway 

Stolen glances in a living room

Shy kisses from a lovely bride

Lazy crumpled sheets in the bedroom

Warm tenderness in a mother’s eyes

The smell of strong coffee brewing in the kitchen

Sharp ting of freshly mowed grass in long summers

Tiny yellow post its on the big white fridge

Square peanut butter-jelly sandwich in brown paper bags

Bloody band aids on bruised foreheads.

I am

A warm embrace after a rainy day

I am

Pain in a patient’s sigh

Parting tears in an inevitable loss

Blind footsteps following denial.

Latent heaviness in torn hearts and

The time taken to heal thereafter.

I am faith in a believer's heart

I am hope in a prayer answered

I add colour

to black and white lives

I am Love

And you need me now.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Curry Love

Cackling cumin
Bursting flavour into boiling oil
Turning brown
Making way for
Emotional onions
More sizzle 
Pan spitting oil
A gentle stir
Maybe two
Wait and watch 
Till they turn a crispy golden
Now ripe tomatoes
Blushing red
Oozing juice
Scandalizing the rest
A dash of turmeric
For ancient wisdom
And green chilli slices
For some kicks.
A spoonful of 
Earthy wonder with 
Ginger and garlic 
The delectable duo 
Chopped up coriander
For a herby twist
Some bread and
Darling, we are having Indian tonight.


A Secret

I have a secret
Tantalising my tongue
Pulling on my lips
Waiting to escape,
hide in your ears
And change shape
Maybe put on some weight
Or lose some
Gain a new personality
Before running away
I have a secret
If only I could tell...

Saturday, 12 May 2012


Here we are
Me and you
Throwing words
Spilling tears
Breaking hearts
Back and forth
On and on
Mounting rage
Forgotten vows
in chaos 
Then a giggle
A baby sigh
From the crib
Quelling rage
Melting doubts
Crushing ego
Here we are
You and me
Throwing hugs
Spilling love
Breaking walls
now reminded
We are in this together
With our little one

Friday, 11 May 2012

Acid Burn

I want to know
Your thoughts that day,
When you picked up that vial
From the chemistry lab
Turned right around and flung it on my face
What were you thinking,
When you saw the liquid blind my eyes then
Slowly drip down my cheeks
Down my neck and through my shirt
Burning its way through.
What did you think
When you saw burning trails of flesh where once
Were cheeks which could blush
Cheeks which turned away your advances
What made you think you could,
With this burning liquid
Alter my face
Mess it so bad
That I now have this grotesque mask
Of burnt flesh, melting, parting and meeting at different spots
Blotches- black, brown, blue, grey-
Of pain numbing my insides
What do you think now
That you see me in this bed
Writhing in pain, wishing to die
Tell me. I want to know.

A Trial

As the waves of time recede from my shore
I see the sands of youth trickling through my fingers
Beauty which once beheld many a men
Now snatched by the tides and carried to a young soul
At the verge of womanhood
Filling her body, brightening her face
I see the colour fading from my cheeks
Leaving an ashen grey
My hands, once fine
Now a knobby disgrace
I feel salty drops on my face
My daughter crying over me
I wish to call out
Hold her in my arms and stroke her hair
Comfort her,
One last time
but sound eludes me and my body rebels
I can’t move, something has me bound
This spirited body now a wasted space
Bound to a bed
The tubes hurt me and the beeps keep time
Time, Which seems to stretch forever
And ever
When death befriends me

Now six feet under
Sounds of stifled sobs reach me
A last cry before they turn their backs on
Years of affection
Shared memories, hugs and kisses
Now buried with me
With me alone
In this dampness
My senses now escalate
I see clarity in this darkness
And hear truth in the silence
I smell the raw earthy smell of peace,
The earth, in whose ears I whispered
The glory of God
Through long days and fading nights,
Now has me locked in her embrace
Which gets tighter
and tighter
And then she lets go
A light now overpowers the darkness
And everything else
Illuminating my soul
Lightening my heart
And letting me know that
Now, there’s no fear.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Why I write

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night
Grasping on to the tail of an escaping idea
I make it my pet and stroke it till dawn
It grows by the minute and demands to be fed
When I refuse it goes wild
Clattering around making a mess of my mind
It grows so fast that I cannot contain
It begs to be released and I relent
I give it a shower and brush its mane
Some nips here and there
And when it’s clean and appealing to the eye
I sigh and I let it go. 


Gossiping crickets spread rumours with glee,
Rustling leaves with nervous whispers on their lips
The tired song of a sleepless bird
Guarding her young, lulling them to sleep
Twisted twigs break like crackles of a kindled fire
An end to dry misery
Dry leaves scattered like dirty laundry
Waiting to merge with the fertile soil and start anew.
Dew drops forming on a bud
Losing balance, rolling down and joining the rest

The rush of an eager stream, blinded by haste
to escape the source and seek a name 
Hurling itself , energy unbound,
crashing on boulders, sleepless over stony beds
Changing colours, making choices
Escaping a dull past now pregnant with expectant hopes
Of nurturing far lands and moistening dry mouths
Curving marks on foreign maps
Carving trails for the traveller’s ease
Giving respite to the seeker’s soul.

The moon, now full, looking on with glowing pride
Cruising the skies, companion to the wandering soul
A silvery light touching dark corners
Beautifying, eliciting emotions contained
Leaving young lovers with sweet words
flowing from the heart, waiting to be told.
Then as the night fades and threads of dawn appear
with a sad glow it bids good bye
Parting with promises of another beautiful night.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Beautiful Bodies

Shopping with girlfriends or at the hairdressers',

Flipping through magazines as I get my hair done

Page after page of glossy perfection

Sensuous curves and caramel skin so soft,
Image after image

Mocking me, calling me names

One places me in the ‘before’ selling distant dreams of a beautiful ‘after’

Dreams contained in big bottles and labelled lotions, 

My skin needs lightening, body some tightening or,

they reveal, I face a future so bleak-

Men’s rejection, collapsing careers and eventual dejection

I can’t look at the mirror no more

That image is not me

It’s an ugly monster I’ve created

Done with this Frankenstein

Time to change

Throw out all Chips and chocolates,

The cheese in my spaghetti, sugar in my tea

Push out carbs too-out you go potatoes

My body is in my hands and I am its sculptor

Carving those curves, perfecting that pout

I feel good - I must be beautiful now!

A glance at the magazines- a broken heart

The images look thinner,

Eyes brighter, lips fuller

Skin flawless with that ever present glow

My shame burns me

Why can’t I be like them?

I sit at the table

Boiled vegetables on my plate

Stuff myself and then run to the toilet

A finger down my throat

Out comes it all


Some calories down the drain!

An evolving competition

Me and those calculating calories till death do us apart

Tiredness treads in now

But that’s a good sign!

I must be on my way

Hopes high I head to my ally

'Mirror Mirror on the wall- who's the thinnest of them all?'

no lies, hidden truths no more

Deep breath, eyes open and I see

A whale

A big ugly whale

Frustration. Anger.

If perfection eludes me,

I must step up my game.

Pit stop and I pick up some pills

Now  guaranteed a fine future ahead

I take them- 1,2,3 at a time

Day after day, week after week,

My body now starved, some pills popped,

I feel different. My body's not mine,

Instead a dying corpse

A sculptor’s worst nightmare

His masterpiece shattering in his hands.

In my race to perfection, I’d forgotten

That perfection, didn’t exist

Not in this world.

I wasn’t the lie, it was the image

Starved models make up caked,

Living lies,

Photo-shoots then photoshopped

Altered curves and concealed spots

Plastic smiles then painted on

Creating a fantasy; destroying million others

And mine.

So I take a step back and let my body speak for itself

It tells me to stop, this torture unbearable,

And look within

While my body starved, my soul did too

In the pursuit of perfection, I'd lost not one but two

The trails were testing and it took me some time

But I turned to the one who is perfect and he sorted it out

Cracks mended and tears stitched

I've prayed and the answer was lucid

To look beyond the body and go for the soul

This I shall polish and let shine for the world

The Creator created me this way and so it shall remain

I'm beautiful and so are you.