Gifts

“He used to shower me with gifts, you know” She walked in unannounced. The sound of heels clattering against tiles ceased and her heartless gaze met the horrifed face of the only occupant of the kitchen. 

She studied the maid like an animal weighing its options. A disgusting housekeeper is what he fancied better than the one woman coveted by hundreds of suitors. What was it that he saw in a filthy maid that he failed to find in a noble woman like her. Beauty maybe, but no ranks, no jewels, no class, a piece of garbage. He got what he deserved.

“M..Mrs. Desmund! How n..nice of y..you to stop-p by. W..would you like s…some tea?” The maid frantically dug into the cupboard, looking for an excuse. Her shivering hands let slip a kettle and the sound of expensive china shattering like her sanity, enveloped the kitchen. She froze and so did her heart. 

“DON’T YOU FUCKING MOVE UNLESS I TELL YOU TO! UNDERSTAND YOU WHORE?!”

The lady like poise vanished as a monster slipped through the crevices of a perfectly polished persona. Mrs. Desmund took a deep breath, composed herself, and tried to block out the sobs of a filthy 18 year old, panic striken servant.

She placed a beautifully wrapped package on the kitchen table,
“Always wearing himself out” She continued in her previous charming tone, “finding the most expensive ring, the smoothest pearls, the largest diamonds, the perfect tokens.”

“And yet, this one is the best I’ve received so far”

A slight tug to the ribbon let the wrapping loose; the grip on the rag tightened and so did the lungs making breathing laboured. Prespiration and tears adorned one woman’s face while a steely smile carved into the other’s. The paper slipped and a mortified face of Mr. Desmund peeked through. Glassy life-less eyes stared back into the gleeful eyes of a woman he once cheated on. The air seemed to thin in the spacious kitchen and lights seemed to dim as the maid fought hard to maintain focus.

“Don’t you think?” whispered Mrs. Desmund, stroking the matted hair of her loving husband. The maid stood petrified, holding onto her dirty rag as if she had just peered into the future, and seen her own imminent death. Her skin had turned a pale similar to that of her lover’s putrid head. 

“It’s a shame you have to see him like this.” She turned towards her. Her limbs and conciousness began betraying her as she struggled to get up and run for her life.

“P-please Mrs. D..esm..umd p..please, believe m..me please, It’s n..not…NO! Please…It was him…” she tried to sound intelligible between sobs, but Mrs. Desmund wasn’t listening.

The sound of metal scraping against stone followed by wallowing shrieks of misfortune echoed in the newly furnished kitchen.

“It’s about time I gave him the perfect gift.”

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Fair Maiden

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Her voice
when flows
Flows like honey trickling down a warm picnic toast

Her eyes
When smile
Carry the suns that when set, drown in rivers divine

Her hair
When flies
Paints a trickle of belief and hope in these eyes

Her lips
When cry
A thousand heavens break down to light the sky

Her hands
When dance
Weave a tapestry in air, threads in all shades of joy

Her silence
It echoes
In empty dreams of desire

A damsel
Goes to show
Need naught but beauty for survival

Fair Maiden fear not life’s ugly facade
For your existence is but a poem to devour

2017 Reading List

A year has passed since I have been conveniently putting off reading books mainly because I’ve always had so much studying to do, and also because facebook is the cancer that mysteriously sucks out literally hours of potential productivity time from the day. Anyway, now I’ve decided to curb my social media addiction and steer more towards books (and studies). And since making a post about your resolutions helps you complete them sooner (or so I’ve read) here is a part of my new year’s resolutions, which requires me to read at least 6 of these books by May this year (don’t you judge me now I have a med school to pass).

1. A Brief History of Time –Stephen Hawking

I’m done with half of this amazing book already and I might be worsening the pre-existing existential crisis but anyway, studying Physics in Pre Med has a lot to do why I’m still sane till now. Also Stephen Hawking, being the genius he is, explains every complicated thing in this flawless manner which makes you want to leave everything and go do a Physics major.

2. The Stranger–Albert Camus

I remember reading the first few chapters of this masterpiece of a novel last year but then stopped because I had a semester exam coming up (which I hadn’t studied for all year, thanks again to facebook). Now I want to finish it, but it’s gonna have to wait till I’m done with Brief History Of Time.

3. A History of Western Philosophy–Bertrand Russell

We had an essay from one of Bertrand Russell’s book in high school as a part of our curriculum and two years ago I had decided to read more of his works, inspired mostly by his thoughts and philosophy on science and his opinion on war and Einstein. Two years have passed and procrastination took the better of me. Until recently I had forgotten about it but then I came across Neil deGrasse Tyson’s reading list, and it had this book in it.

4.  The Metamorphosis– Franz Kafka

Okay, this one is a bit of a long shot, because I don’t really read a lot of novels but I have been seeing Kafka quotes on my Facebook timeline a lot lately and I wanted to see what the fuss is all about. Lets see how this one turns out.

5. The Communist Manifesto–Karl Marx and some other guy

My maternal aunts have been keen supporters of communism, in fact my uncle died defending communism in the time of a dictatorship on my country. My grandfather and most of my maternal side is referred to as comrades by their friends. So it was natural that I was brought up to believe in socialism. This time I wanted to read the manifesto thoroughly (not just skim it as I had done before) and decide for myself if it is the only way to save humanity.

6. Black Hole Blues And Other Songs From Outer Space– Janna Levin

“Scientists are like those levers or knobs or those boulders helpfully screwed into a climbing wall. Like the wall is some cemented material made by mixing knowledge, which is a purely human construct, with reality, which we can only access through the filter of our minds. There’s an important pursuit of objectivity in science and nature and mathematics, but still the only way up the wall is through the individual people, and they come in specifics… So the climb is personal, a truly human endeavor, and the real expedition pixelates into individuals, not Platonic forms.”

What more reason to love this book.

7. Time Travel: A Brief History– James Gleick

Although time travel has been struck off as a scientific impossibility after the popular Stephen Hawking’s party for the future time travelers (where no one showed up) one can’t help but re-visit this thought over and over in a futile pursuit to satiate the imagination of the human mind. This book is more of a philosophy and history based rather than pure science and I’m really looking forward to reading more of it.

8. The Birth of Tragedy–Friedrich Nietzsche

Although I’m not that big of a Nietzsche fan, but I would be missing out on a lot of wisdom if I left my mind devoid of any Nietzsche styled cynicism. This book would be the perfect way to rekindle my long suppressed nihilism phase.

9. The Phenomenology of Mind– Hegel

I didn’t decide to be a neuroscientist out of  boredom, it was because I have this crippling desire to read people’s minds and find out whether it’s just a bunch of chemicals and sparks holding together the fort of sanity or if there is more to it. Which means I am also obsessed with psychology (that is when I’m not overwhelmed with cosmological insignificance). Which also means Hegel is a must read for me, but only a summary because this book is long enough to awaken my procrastination demons.

10.Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Minds– Charles Mackay

This book was a part of Carl Sagan’s reading list which is convincing enough for me to have downloaded it. Also the title is so thought-provoking.It is more of a history accounting and quite lengthy to begin with, so I hope I don’t end up reading only half of it (which I probably will, smh).

11. The Shadow of The Crescent Moon–Fatima Bhutto

The only person in the Bhutto family that I have a slight amount of respect for is Fatima Bhutto. She was once a role model for me along with Sharmeen Obaid- Chinnoy. This novel is based in a war-stricken Afghanistan and captures most of what is happening as a result of sugar-coated “peace missions” and how they affect the locals.

12. Snell’s Clinical Neuroanatomy

Because I have to pass my neurosciences module too.

13. The Republic-Plato (summary)

There is something about books that are not written in modern English that really repels me, and I think English being my second language has to do with it. And its sad when most of these ancient works are translated in hard to read English. Also The Republic is really long so a summary will suffice for now.

14.  The Quran

Being Muslim, I have read the Quran quite a few times but I havent exactly read read it. This time I aim to read it thoroughly with proper translation and explanation, and clarify all the misconceptions and misinterpretations fed to us by the media.

15. Carrie –Stephen King

You may remember me just saying how I’m not a big fan of novels but that does not hold true for Stephen King. His books aren’t novels, they are roller coaster rides imprinted onto paper. I read almost half of Carrie but I can’t really recall why I abandoned the book. Well this year is the time to resume this masterpiece.

16.  Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour

I came across this when I researched some reference books to study for Behavioural Sciences and I was addicted, but it got lost under the pile of other homework and I had more important subjects like anatomy and pathology to study first. So now I’ve decided to finish this book before any other distractions/module exams come in the way.

Woahh this was a pretty long post. I hope it serves its purpose and motivates me to read at least half of the books I listed down. Here’s to a more educated 2017!

How

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What do you tell
The heart that breaks
When faith begins to shake
And all Reason feels fake
Existence seems a gory game
Electric realisation of mistakes
And all your hair stand on end
Shivers run down your spine
And your hands begin to shake
And your body contorts
To meet the knees’ embrace
The forehead that would graze
A prayer mat all night and day
Has now found a new place
Between two worlds in space
Blinded and dazed
The tongue that would say
Only grace and supplicate
Now stammers every time it prays
The eyes that held a modest gaze
Now struggle to detangle this maze
What would it take
To restore a broken faith
To put belief back in the mind
What of the heart that fails to find
The silver lining behind
The Misery of all time
How does The Divine
Intervene in crime
When crime sits on thrones
And the innocent fall prey
To the justice set by fate
How do you save
A stumbling faith
When the innocent pay
The price for the sins
Committed by saints
In the name of a god
Who silently watches us decay
As tyrants pave way
For eternally bound slaves
How do you save
A dissipating race

Art

Pen held steady
Over a blank soul
With blank thoughts
A dam to the ink
Nothing flows out
Neither ink nor emotion
Stillness surrounds existence
And stillness kills creation
And it kills all emotion
Blank thoughts
And blank hearts
Bearing stories
Of blank souls
And your blank eyes
Staring into mine
Lifeless like your body
Another blank heart
Still and cold
The pen carves into your soul
And out your ink flows
Blank no more
What have I done

The Ultimate Medical College Survival Kit

Do you go to a medical college? Do you spend your nights in tahajjud asking for a way out? Do you secretly want to end this torture that they call parhai? Did your acceptance of a futile and purposeless existence in a temporary world full of inescapable chaos and incurable misery destroy your social life? Then worry not, dear friend! The ultimate blog post is here to teach you about things that must always be in your bags/lives to ensure a peaceful and non-violent year in your dream institution.

The Ultimate Medical College Survival Kit

Me

When i was three
They would ask me
What i wanted to be
“Bunny!” would always be
The answer that’d get me
The most kisses and sweets

When I turned ten
They asked me again
But this time
I realized
Bunny would not suffice
Instead a couple lies
Would be enough
To get a few pats
And glances of relief
Wasn’t long until I learned
“Doctor” is what earned
The most nods in return

Then I turned twenty
And I waited patiently
For them to ask again
What I want to be
Now the choice was easy
And I had my answer ready
I knew me better
Than at ten or three
But nobody asked
And i waited and waited
Brain itching to scream
The words that gleamed
In neon lights
At the back of my eyes
Everytime I went to sleep

Heart thumping in my chest
Whispering to me
To say what burns
So passionately
The words all ready
To burst out and leave
This prison of the tongue
Alas!
Thoughts left unsung
And silently
They handed me
A college degree
A doctor is what you’ll be!
Just like you said
So live yor dream!
Congratulations! They said
Repeatedly

And nobody asked
If I wanted this mask
That portrayed a successful me
And all the while
The voice inside
Slowly muffled, then died
The heart and brain
No longer bothered
And the face accepted the mask
As the me I wanted to always be
At the expense of a dream
As silently bloomed a casualty
One this doctor could never treat

Beauty

It’s strange how we find beauty in destructivity. The night sky intrigues us. Trillions of magnanimous balls of burning gas capable of frying anything even a few million meters from them intrigue us. Sun sets make us feel at peace. A ball of fire large enough to fit a million earths, close enough to be witnessed from our tiny planet, inching further closer every passing decade, capable of boiling all land, makes us feel at peace. The moon, the beautiful, cold, lifeless, lightless, barren moon overwhelms us with emotion on a lonely night. The vast, never-ending, land-engulfing, moody sea brings us serenity. The beautiful sea that deceives you with the many colours it wears as times of the day change, should you discover what it truly looks like. The same sea with the potential of dragging you into a wet, painless embrace of sweet sweet freedom. Yet we lay in the sand and let our feet touch the shore and pick shells from its floor. We watch the sun set into it and we watch as it bleeds into the sky and we watch it bleed into the waters, adding another colour to the palette of nature. We watch the night sky imprinted onto its surface, distorted by the ripples created by waves that can engulf an entire city from the slightest nudge of a plate.

We find beauty in all of this. We find ways of incorporating it into poetry and art that we create. We define it in ways that best suit our interests. We calculate and measure it using systems that we pride in creating from raw thought.

Because accepting the meaninglessness of our existence in a gloriously self-expanding and self-sufficient universe prickles at our prides as flawed human beings.

Because for once we want to feel like we have control, like a child sitting amidst skilled architects showing off the fortress he made from building blocks. Or a drug addict thinking he controls what he feels, all the while rotting inside, enslaved to the withdrawal symptoms of what he calls “control”.

We think we are entitled to celebrate what we believe to be rightfully ours, drunk on delusions of being the sole heirs to an entire universe. Giving in to self-imposed falsely created megalomania.

We find beauty in destructivity because arrogance blinds man worse than ignorance.

Diversion

How do they describe
This strange emotion
I think they call it joy
Happiness or maybe satisfaction
The feelings that arise
By seeing fireflies in motion
The aftermath of a life
Spent caged in a prison
Liberation
Or the overwhelming sight
Of a star-lit sky
And Autumn leaves in piles
How do they describe
This feeling that lies
Deep inside
The crevices of your life
Escaping at times
When you decide
To finally ignite
The long dead soul
You keep burried inside
Your hardened heart
Cold, now alive
With this strange emotion.
Such a pleasant diversion