Serenity

Dark clouds converge overhead,

The sound of thunder rips the air at intervals,

On deck, people rush for shelter from the rain,

And I… I stand in the middle of it all,

Longing to feel a few drops on my face.

The water, it washes away my sins,

I no longer feel chained to my grief,

Cold shivers run through my body,

The rain is resurrecting me.

The thunder reflects my ire,

The silent screams inside of me,

Which were never allowed release.

Its ear-splitting sound echoes,

The pain deep inside my soul,

It has gone numb over the years,

So deep inside that now,

it is a part of who I am,

And I realize that the mask of calm and serenity

Which I love to wear,

Is slowly disintegrating,

And I’m trying catch the layers,

As they peel off one by one,

Little by little,

My feelings overcome,

My resistance,

And I am left with nothing,

But an image of the past,

With that smile of yours I love so much,

And the dimple peeking out at the world,

Just above your jawline,

And I can’t help but reminisce,

On how it used to be. And how it all ended.

And here I stand,

In a world of my own,

Regardless of the outside,

Safe in my cocoon,

Of memories.

I can never let it go.

And as I think this, I realize,

I don’t want to.

I wish to hang on to these precious memories forever,

For they are a part of me as much as they are a part of you,

And for all the peace you brought me,

They help me remember, in snatches,

What that serenity felt like,

For when you left,

You took it all with you.

Nothing Left Inside of Me

Memories. There are only memories left of me. Nothing tangible; just a long, lonely walk to infinite.

I find myself lost in the past, a haze of sorts preventing me from seeing the future.

I am confused. I am emotionally distant. And somewhere, deep inside of me, there is pain.

So much pain, that I am afraid to touch it; lest it devours me.

The dying embers of a love lost; never truly die. Love never really runs dry. The tears, however; the tears stop flowing after a time. So now, only my eyes reflect the pain inside.

All around me, life moves on. Laughter, happiness, new beginnings, new lives, new relationships…. and all the while, deep inside, there is a sorrowful cry.

I have big plans; plans which would never have come into place had you decided to remain by my side. Plans that aim to take me away; far away from this place, where there are only memories…

Wherever I turn, there is a familiar face. Be it a building or a street or a person, everywhere I turn, I see you. Sudden flashbacks take me unawares, leaving my breathless, unable to utter a word. It is a wonder I am coherent at all.

Time has not healed my fall. A numbing sensation creeps slowly from the pit of my stomach to the corners of my body, touching my very soul. My heart is pumping furiously, as my soul shudders and tries to stand after the blow. My body cannot help but curl up into a ball; the sudden opening of a window to many beautiful memories renders me nearly senseless. I am sitting here, in a crowd, yet I am not. I am far away, so far away, with you.

A mention of an event, a laugh, a sound, even the clouds… anything, anywhere, can remind me of you. How you would have reacted, what you might have said had you been here, what you used to say, how you used to laugh….

The dimple on the side of your face, which I would be so helpless against. I wish I could kiss it away again. I wish you were here right now to tell me about your day, or to simply laugh at something I say. How you used to force me to speak, when I was overcome with emotion and unable to utter a word – I am afraid now; now that I am all alone.

I don’t know what the future holds. But I know this; I can never compromise on what we had, what I have felt and seen; what I have experienced. I don’t know where I will go, where I am headed; but I do know that I can never accept anything less than what we had. But I don’t think I will ever get it again; because, see, there is no us. There is no you. There is only me.

And you’ve taken the best part of me. Now, what is left, is nothing but dust and ash. There is nothing but a numb, hollow pain left inside of me.

Peace

I am alone

On my own once more

I can feel the restlessness

Stirring deep inside my soul

The winds are howling inside my head

Old demons resurfacing after an eternity of rest

Long forgotten fears

Once again shackle me to the ground

My eyes are shining with long dried tears

I cannot make a sound

My soul is petrified

Afraid of what is yet to come

You left me on my own

After promising to forever hold my hand

So here I am

Trying to capture these footprints in the sand

Before the waves of time wash them away

For good

You gave me peace

You were the only one who understood

Me.

All my demons, all my restless energy

Were asleep because you were there

Now I search for glimpses of you

Anything to get back what I have lost

I let you go to keep you happy

Aware of the high cost

I was going to incur

I have so many dreams,

Wild fantasies I must work to come true…

Yet, I gave them all up – for you.

Now you’re gone

And the poof of smoke that you left in your wake

Has shattered the dream I lived in

Shaken my awake

The bubble of optimism and dreams has burst

Leaving behind deathly shadows and a slowly falling curse

Of sedition and despair

I have seen it – I saw it way before you were there.

It is my due,

And I will have to pay

In our world there is a price for love

One does not simply get up and decide for oneself

There are repercussions – family to consider

If only it were as easy as that episode with Cathedral Cove

But oh, what am I saying! I find myself talking to you all the time

But you are not here – am I going out of my mind?

For even if it is a month or two years or forever

I know this: that your memories will help me last an eternity

I cannot allow anybody else to come close to me

No one can touch my body… or my soul

It belongs to you; my heart is fully yours – It is not in my possession anymore

And whether you agree or not… I’ve given it to you

For now and ever more…

-Cupcake ❤

Fog of Pain (1)

So much pain; It is everywhere

This deep, dense fog – it obscures everything around me.

I can’t see through this haze of pain you’ve left me with –

I keep replaying the moment I let you leave.

Maybe it was my fault; it must have been

You really did try you best –

But sometimes, one just can’t win.

I’m grateful you had the courage to tell me the truth.

About how your feelings have undergone a change – how you’ve evolved.

Now, here I am, left with only my memories of you.

You are the other half of my soul –

You knew me better than anyone I know – better than anyone else to come, that’s for sure.

I never thought you’d leave

Despite all our differences and obstacles,

I thought we’d always be – somehow sticking around, fighting until the very end

Just you and me. Maybe I was dreaming; lost in my own little world

The reality was a lot harder – and I’m grateful to you for making me wake up and smell the turf

So much time has passed; it has been so long

How will I ever go on?

Everything reminds me of you – every place in this city has a memory of us stored away

Not a day goes by, not a street do i pass – I can recall the exact memory, what you said and how we had it all.

I remember your laughter the most; those gorgeous dimples on either side.

God! Why is it so hard for me to cry? I can’t cry.

The tears came out in spurts that first time

You left.

And now they’re somehow stuck inside; I can’t even talk about it

The pain, it makes me blind

To everything else.

I try to work and occupy my mind

But after the day ends, the dread returns with the night

I am all alone – you are no longer there.

We are no longer a team.

I miss our conversations, our laughter and intimacy –

the way we understand each other without the need to talk. We are connected, you and I.

I just wish I were the one you needed in your life.

I know there’s a lot more where this came from ;

but right now I can’t write much more.

It’s weird; I can’t speak aloud. No matter how hard the pain.

I don’t know what is going to happen next

All my plans have been laid to rest

Now there’s just this dense fog

And I can’t see

I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. But one thing is clear,

Wherever I go and forever long I live

I shall never forget you.

You took my heart… I don’t want it back.

Keep it; you treat it much better than I do.

Numb This Pain

One of those days

When I would gladly do anything

Just to numb this godforsaken pain.

It haunts me

Eats me from deep inside my soul

Slowly, one teardrop at a time

Until there is nothing but a hole

Where my soul used to be

My eyes are blank

Dark with the pain of loss and sacrifice

Here, in this world,

I stand alone on the sidelines

Afraid to reach out

For this ever present fogs makes it hard to see

Afraid to feel

For fear of awakening the pain

Which is ever present inside of me.

Today is one of those days

When I would gladly do anything

Just to end this godforsaken pain

I know the cycle

I have become used to it

Like a druggie on coke

I know how to use my sorrow as a shield

Filled with laughter and Happiness

Yet, inside, there is nothing but broken mirrors and smoke.

There is nothing inside of me

But broken dreams and shattered hope.

There is nothing inside of me

That is reminiscient of the light of days past

Nothing inside of me

Which does not remind me of the vast

Darkness enveloping me.

Everywhere I turn,

Everywhere I see,

There are reminders of who I used to be

Yet, this pain refuses to die

Always in the background, a solid thumping ebb…

It’s slowly eating away at my life,

My heart is broken,

Every turn feels like the point of a knife,

Slowly turning inside of me.

One of those days

When I would do just about anything

To make the pain go away.

A pain which is now a very strong part of me

It has enveloped me whole

I know not what happiness is…

I’m used to this dark cave of sorrow

Will I be able to fight for what I want?

For my dreams. for my future –

For what is left of me?

Numb this pain…

And we shall see.

First, I have to numb this pain….

Dark with the pain

Random Mutterings Of Rusty Chains

There is a slight heaviness building up where my heart used to be

I can feel it pounding…. each beat as painful as the breath i take in

As the air that forces itself through my struggling lungs

Trying to keep a grasp on the feeble thread of this life.

Just one more kiss… just one more touch

Will it be enough?

Goodbyes are tough

Those undertaken for eternity are even worse still

Yet this circle of life

That connects us all to each other

Continually forces us to let go

Of the past

And walk forward to grasp the future

Work towards it

But don’t forget to live in the present –

otherwise it is all for naught.

And one day

Just as you think you should now take a break

Because you have done your bit…

Your life is over. It all ends in a flash.

And you’ve suddenly crossed over to the other side

For what? To start all over again?

Live. And let live. And live to love.

Life will be worth living that way.

The Not So Straight Line

From time immemorial, men have been doing their best to fit into a stringent image of what it truly means to be “masculine”. From heavy outdoor work to being the sole earner of the family no matter how hard the economic situation might be, the world has been a witness to the slow but sure consistency of certain must-have traits that make men who they are.

Yet, with the passing of time, such concepts have evolved into a wider spectrum of options, allowing men – and women – to come into their own and experiment with who they really are without having to cater to social pressures. This is probably the reason why there are so many stay-at-home dads and so many working mothers these days; finally, the age-old boundaries that divided both genders have begun to blur. The world is a much easier place than it was a couple of centuries ago; not ignoring of course the fact that such new turf brings new battles to the fore.

While those believing in the old ideologies try to hold on to by-gone days, the world around them evolves and they are either shed in the process or dragged forward like the burden that they are until they learn to accept the social evolution that has taken the globe by storm.

French choreographer and dancer Yanis Marshall is the epitome of the “social evolution” we speak of today. A brilliant dancer and a lover of men’s heels, he can “werk” those heels better than most women can walk in them. The runner up of Britain’s Got Talent reality competition show this year, Yanis Marshall with Mehdi and Arnaud made quite a stir with his controversial (and picture perfect) dance routines – not just in the UK but around the globe.

His website is just as colorful as his personality.

Yanis MarshallMarshall has choreographed brilliant dance routines that have left the professionals stunned and audiences begging for more.

The rehearsal for the Finals at B.G.T, which took place the night before at Studio 68 in London.

The final episode of B.G.T, where the sexiness of Marshall’s routine was a bit too much for Simon Cowell and he pressed the buzzer at the FINAL. Really, Simon, what were you thinking?!

Walking the similar – yet slightly different – path to fame as Marshall is Thomas Newirth from Austria – better know by his stage name Conchita Wurst – winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014. Below is the performance he gave which blew the whole world away.

The mixed reviews both stars got shed some light on the current battle half the world is going through in order to accept the blurring of the lines that differentiated gender roles and stereotypes in days of the past. Marshall, in February of this year, tweeted to all his haters “I’ve got more. Be patient.”

Marshall

While Conchita Wurst’s message to the world is one of peace and unity, where “your sexuality and who you love does not matter”; Marshall’s sass and general high-handed attitude shows he knows his worth – and isn’t afraid to flaunt what he has got. Girls, maybe you should learn a few tricks from him – those high heels can really be put to good use, if you know what i mean.

 

Vulcan’s Flames

Why can I not forgive you?

Everything seems to be fine

The dust is settled and the beating of my heart has gone steady

I have convinced myself that this is happiness

This is as good as it gets

And I am fine….

Until suddenly, something happens

Something that reminds me of the past

Of what true passion means

Of what it feels like to be truly alive

And the scabs on the wounds of my heart

Which I so painstakingly covered

Begin to slowly scratch themselves away

The tearing of each piece of skin as painful as though I am on fire

Burning alive

Unable to breathe…

Able to do naught

But go up in flames

As my anger begins to consume me

And I struggle to contain it.

Afraid to prematurely burst

I do not want to estrange you.

Still, after all of it, I still care. So much.

Then why can I not forgive you?

Why can I not completely put my life on hold

Kill my dreams – and breathe only for you.

Why does my soul and heart cry out

Why do I so desperately want to be me?

And the saddest part: even after all these years, you still don’t know me.

Still don’t know who I am.

I don’t know whether to laugh at the dark humor of it all

Or cry at my helplessness

We can’t both be happy at the same time

Either you can be happy – Or I

I think I’ll choose misery each time

Because I care about you that much

No matter how much I die inside

Yet, there will come a time when I will have completely died

And you will no longer be able to affect me

Will no longer be able to influence my decisions

Will no longer be able to wrench my heart from inside and twist it until the blood vessels burst

Because I will be dead

And the dead cannot be affected by the whims of the living

When I will be dead

Truly gone from this world

And nothing you can do will ever be able to hurt me again

Because I will be dead…

Far, far away from you

Pakistan And The “Woman” Problem

Image
Credit: Adam Zyglis

Today is a very sad day for all of Pakistan. For all of us as a society. A rape victim who set herself ablaze on March 13, before the Bet Mir Hazar police station in protest against the police report that favored the main accused and helped to set him free, died at 9am this morning.

The 18-year-old first year student had been returning home from college on Jan 5 when she was set upon by four men and allegedly raped in a deserted area. The Medical Superintendent at Nishtar Hospital had stated that she had sustained 80 per cent wounds on her body after she set herself aflame – adding that victims with 50 per cent wounds rarely survive. So it was no surprise that she succumbed to her wounds soon after the incident.

I have no words to express how I feel. There is rage, shock and pain surging through me – but no surprise. None at all. For this is not the first time a woman has been crushed beneath the misogynist wheel of Pakistani society. We might love to brandish our “Islamic” status and scream ourselves hoarse declaring the nation an “Islamic Republic”, but truth be told we are no better than the so-called “savior cum rebels” of Congo that deal in child soldiers and declare women their war prizes.

Recently, a 40-year-old widow was gang raped in Muzaffargarh on order of the panchayat. Her crime? Her brother’s alleged love affair with a woman from a high social background. She was then paraded naked through the village before her humiliation was declared complete and the boiling blood of those avenging their “good name” was somewhat satisfied.

Given the constant religious fervor that has our society in its grips – let me ask you: what Islam is this? which Islam in the world teaches such barbaric laws? For the religion the Prophet (pbuh) taught almost 1500 years ago had, at its core, respect for women and the sanctity of their rights as individuals and human beings. Take a look at this article by the Islamic Information and Services Network of Australasia if you doubt this claim.

Women in Pakistan, however, have no status. None at all.

An investigation in 2009 carried out by journalist Iftikhar Ahmad in interior Sindh and Balochistan regarding honor killings and panchayat rape cases uncovered very disturbing evidence regarding the mindset of tribal and interior society with respect to their women. When asked by the interviewer whether women could kill men for honor, 95% of 20 the men present  vehemently denied it, stating it was wrong. Yet, when asked why a woman could be killed for the same, most could come up with no solid justification for their answer.

That is, until the leader of the tribe looked the interviewer dead in the eye and said in Balochi “women are like flies. If a fly is hovering over your food, you will kill it, won’t you?”

Suffice it to say that the interviewer had no idea how to respond to that rhetoric and simply stared back for a few minutes as if flabbergasted by the whole concept before finally rising to the occasion and moving on to the next question.

This past week has been filled with major shocks for the female population of Pakistan. The country’s “BOOM BOOM Afridi” stuck a major thorn in his backside when he jokingly remarked that Pashtun women should stay in the kitchen because their cooking skills are unparalleled. That careless statement of Mr. Afridi’s might have cost him a large fan base, if the outrage that resulted from the leaked video is any indication.

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) recently also issued two fatwas hot on the heels of one another which had the entire nation seriously questioning the advisory body’s worth. The fatwas went as follows:

1. No consent is required by the first wife if a man decides to marry a second time.

2. Laws prohibiting underage marriage are against Islam and should be changed. (Apparently, they are of the opinion that while marriage between two entities can take place without any proper age barrier, the rukhsati ceremony must only be done after puberty is reached)

While a recent law tackling domestic violence was passed in the Balochistan Assembly, namely Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection Bill) 2014 – the only other province to do so after a similar law was passed in the Sindh Assembly in 2013; there is yet to see considerable change in the rights and circumstances of women in either of these provinces.

As rights activist Fauzia Saeed, said in a telephonic interview with me a couple of months back for a project I was working on, “our patriarchal society does not recognize women as individuals but rather as property. If a mature woman leaves home of her own accord, a case is registered by the in-laws or her family in the police station stating her status as that of a ‘run away’. They fail to recognize that a woman above 20-years-old is her own master and can make her own choices; she is not liable to anybody. She has the right to walk out and declare her own independence if she so wishes.”

The nation’s number one newspaper Dawn released an article detailing the statistics of violence against women in Pakistan in 2013. According to a world report by the Human Rights Watch detailing Pakistan, hundreds of reported incidents of honor killings took place in 2013 alone – with the unofficial number unknown.

Is it any wonder, then, that our society is heading backwards in time? When even the police officer or inspector on duty closes the rape case(s) by conducting his own investigation instead of recording an FIR and going through the proper channels; thus preventing the case to ever get to court, let alone provide the victim with an avenue for justice. Those who try to intervene and fight for the right of the victim are told, in no uncertain terms, to back off.

If it is a case of domestic violence, the victim’s supporter(s) is asked to mind their own business (sometimes even threatened) and told “not destroy a beautiful home”. I ask you – what home? Homes are supposed to consist of love and equal rights for all, with mutual consent, support and trust on both sides. No matter what the social class, 99% of the “homes” in our society are built solely on fear.

Our society’s habit of turning a blind eye to atrocities over the years has made it immune to the cries of those that face the pain. A rape victim, instead of being supported in her endeavor for justice, is asked by her own family and “well-wishers” to remain silent and not besmirch the reputation and name of the family more than it already has been.

Now, given the recent events that have been unfolding before our disbelieving eyes, is it any wonder that the world at large declares us to be 200 years behind times? When our women are not safe on the streets, when the high walls of a house are used to hide the cruelty and subjugation faced by the women it “protects”… When prosecutors utterly destroy rape victims in court during their race to win cases and when even the judge(s) can be so insensitive as to comment “this sounds like a 007 movie” after a rape victim has finished narrating her ordeal… I ask you: what is left?

I would love to go on and on about the myriad of incidents that have taken place where rape victims have been left on the sidelines of society to dwindle away to nothing or where women have suffered domestic violence and sexual harassment , only to learn that the entire system is rotten to the core.

As a society where walking on fire is considered a normal and “accurate” trial for judgement, where panchayats can order gang-rapes without any fear of law or god, where acid attacks on women and children in reciprocation of “disobedience” or “free will” are accepted as a part of society, where MPAs can rape women and children and get away scot-free and where the media focuses on the victim instead of the perpetrator – we are headed in a downward spiral.

One  can only hope that with the recent developments taking us towards the stoneages, our parliament and law makers retain some of their sanity and not introduce laws that are as barbaric as those in neighboring Afghanistan.

Yet, even in the midst of such chaos, there are angels that walk the earth in the form of WAR, Bedari, AASHA, Panah Shelter, Bilquis Edhi Home and many more. They fight for the rights of those who cannot fight for themselves, unafraid of the consequences and regardless of the power of those they stand against. It is because of such institutions that the rest of us still have faith in this country and the hope that one day in the future, we will have managed to light up the darkness.

We may have moved ahead in some areas, considering that we also have women in the army, the air force and the workplaces. And while that in itself is a huge accomplishment, there is still a long way to go.