Another post about Death.

Death is the ultimate natural disaster.

Mourners, wracked by the tremors of devastation, are momentarily devoid of reason. Some numb, some inconsolabe; all having lost something valuable beyond words. Friends and family stand at the edge of a chasm where a person once was; a gaping fissure in the landscape of their lives.

We grab our loved ones by the shoulders, or we hold their faces in our hands, and look into their eyes imploringly. Are you okay? Are you okay? We scan their bodies for scratches and other signs of harm. Seeing them intact brings us relief.

What’s done is done, so why do we do this? To look for that spark, for evidence that life is still there? Or with hope, that in reflection, we see that we still exist?
Next, some are moved to action, while others suffer a delayed reaction. Food, comfort and various arrangements; all are given priority. In the meanwhile, and a bit too late, word spreads. The damage is done; not even a blip in the radar of the globe. A momentary distraction, maybe. An uttered tsking or muttered prayer.

Then. Lives are rebuilt. Routines are reconstructed to the best of our resources. Life, not even the slightest bit ruffled by Death’s insult, goes on. The crevasse gives way to undergrowth, becoming less of an eye sore and more of a precaution, a wayward reminder. The void, while obscured, is always there.

 

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Procrastination, Purgatory and the Pee-Yew

Exam season always feels like a sort of purgatory, between what we’ve been working for and what we’re hoping to achieve. The days leading up to the exams themselves turn into a listless monotony, that I’m forced to push myself through. While the overall aim is to be productive, something I wouldn’t say I’m failing at, my mind feels like sludge. I can’t help but find myself to be unthinking, almost robotic in my daily machinations.

It’s not that I haven’t allowed myself much introspection lately, but such is the curse of the med student, that when we do finally decide to get studying, it leaves little room for much else (thoughts and social engagement likewise). Rather, I have these little moments of self awareness. It’s like realisation in a dream that this is not, in fact, reality. The opposite would be more accurate, I suppose.

At 12.45 pm, lifting my third cup of tea of the day to my lips, I shuffle the pages before me and suppress another yawn. Half submerged in a blanket (I study in bed, yes, a terrible habit), I pause. Since the recent earthquakes in Afghanistan, I’ve been feeling (hallucinating, rather) the ground shaking at odd moments, a paranoia my loved ones have chalked up to anxiety, which I grudgingly agree to (it feels so real!). How can it not be strange and alarming to me that anxiety can manifest in such a way, when I’m not actually anxious (yet)?

In the evening, watching the sky change colour, I refresh my Facebook feed yet again, hopefully. It’s 17.15 pm as I listen to the azaans, some in tandem, other echoing each other. I happen to be in search of a date sheet; an as of yet unfulfilled promise by the University of the Punjab (or PU). This annual proverbial tug of war, between our queries and their vague responses, is something we’ve become used to. It makes us tense, and lull us into a false sense of security in alternations. The exams that we’re so fervently preparing for are apparently fast approaching, though without a deadline, we’re left working on estimations and guesses. Frustrated, I bat closed the window I’d left open, despite the cold. What is is about the chill that keeps you in your toes, yet turns you into a lethargic fool?

It’s 3.30 am and I’m scraping the bottom of a jar of peanut butter with pieces of biscuit that may or may not be stale, though at the speed I’m shovelling them into my mouth, this doesn’t seem to matter anyway. I love this time of night.

Despite how much I have or haven’t studied, at this hour I can close up shop; that is to say, chuck my books aside and just give up. I’m aware that doesn’t sound very motivational, but hear me out. There is solace in the fact that to stop before I reach my breaking point is a choice that is solely mine. And to start again, requires no motivation except my own.

Till then, I get to escape in sleep; that elusive mistress, adored by many yet obtained by fewer. The impertinent voice in the back of my head attempts to reel off all I have yet to do, but I swat it away as I bury myself under the covers.

Tomorrow’s a new day, after all. I’ll worry about it when it comes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I just realised I wrote  a blog post about two years ago, which is quite similar to this one! I suppose exam season feels the same every year.

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My blog turned three!

I haven’t been posting nearly as frequently as I had hoped to when I started. However, I’m glad I have this outlet, and the lovely people I’ve crossed paths with because of it!

I’ve always expressed myself better in the written word rather than speaking, and I am grateful to the wonderful readers, my followers and friends alike, whose appreciation lets me keep sharing what I have to say.

Thank you!

Hadia xx

Ramadan Diaries: Day Two.

 

Day One was rather alright, despite the heat and loadshedding! And not totally unproductive, thankfully. Here’s to hoping the rest of the days are like that (Insha’Allah). How did everyone else’s day go?

Today I was pondering on something that happened before Ramadan. Keeping with the theme of Rehmat or Mercy, my mind has been full of thoughts of hurt feelings, and hurt pride. Partially from personal experience and partially in general, I wanted to have some spiritual perspective on the matter.

 

When someone hurts your feelings or wounds your pride, you are angry. That anger, however expressed (or suppressed,  for that matter), is merely the icing on the cake of the underlying hurt, something which goes a lot deeper.

 

The question remains, how to get rid of the anger and hurt? The answer; Forgive.

 

Easier said than done.

 

One has to think, that if Allah can forgive us for some of the most heinous acts, is it not our duty to pardon our fellow man? Normally I’d agree and say, of course. Through the hurt veiled with anger, though, I can’t help but thinking why should I forgive someone for hurting me, when they’re far from remorse themselves? And so I forgive anyway.

 

You forgive to let go of the anger, because it will only be damaging to you. You forgive because you’re tired of feeling hurt, but no doubt it takes great strength to do so. Not only forgive the person, but pray for them too; for their guidance.

 

You absolutely have to forgive, in order to move on. Besides, when I look at the bigger picture, I think of all the forgiveness I myself have to ask for. In the grand scheme of things, giving a person forgiveness in this world would only be of benefit to us in the hereafter.

 
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Again, I know I’m not saying anything new here, and all this is more of a reminder to myself than anyone else. It’s always helpful to get the things that are on my mind, out there in front of me. Salam. ❤

Ramadan Diaries: Day One.

First of all, yes, I’m using ‘Ramadan’ as opposed to the subcontinental ‘Ramzan’, because it’s more widely used. 

Soooo. So. Salam! Um. Usually my posts are fiction or on a specific topic, or vaguely personal but not directly. I decided that I’d try the more personal, diary format, so forgive me if I tend to ramble; brevity has never been my forte.

For the past few years, by the time Ramadan rolls around, it’s the middle of the academic year, I’m exhausted, homesick and in desperate need of a break. So for me, Ramadan holds with it the promise of home, family and a fresh start with a change in the routine.

For some reason though, this year didn’t hold the same anticipation. Maybe because I was burnt out earlier than usual, or I was so busy, I had little time to be mentally prepared. Nonetheless I’m hoping that writing will get me back in the zone. Being the only one awake at this time in this household (or even the neighborhood. Hey, it’s a small town), my mind contains a myriad of thoughts, so I thought I’d share a few.

It’s the first day of the month and the first part or Ashra; These are Rehmat ke din or Days of Mercy. The prayer we try to keep in mind is:

Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyumu Birahmateeka Astagheeth

Translation: “O the Living, O the Eternal, I seek help in Your mercy.”

I’m reminding myself more than anyone, and I can’t help but think what a perfect way to begin the month, than to ask for mercy for our discrepancies. I’d like to think of it as a way to somewhat clear the slate. Though while I try to be a good person and a good Muslim throughout the year, I’m acutely aware that I’m less than perfect. Everyone has to start somewhere, I guess, and with these thoughts I’d like to start the month as an attempt to smooth over the cracks.

In asking for mercy from Allah, I hope to ask forgiveness for the bad deeds I may have knowingly or unknowingly committed. Not only those, but for the hurt I’ve caused any other person; be it through something as big as my actions, or as small as the insensitivity of my words.

Okay, folks. I’ve got to get some work done, before I wake the family for sehri/suhoor. :p Peace out.

Nomination for “Sisterhood of World Bloggers!”

wpid-wp-14166548457461 Blogging for me, like any kind of writing, is a form of release. With my erratic posting schedule, affected by my busy and recently harrowing routine, I was never sure if I could invest myself fully into the social aspect of blogging. True, I silently read and admired many of the bloggers I follow, hoping to be like them; but very rarely do I reach out to these remarkable people.

You might imagine my pleasant surprise, then, at finding out I was nominated by the lovely Nida, of “on the road to inkrichment” (inkriched.com)! Her blog is one I follow regularly and her reasons for writing tally with my own, which in my opinion makes the bond between blogger and reader even stronger.  It is an honour for me that anyone should choose to peruse the posts of this blog, so a nomination is certainly an exceptional occasion for me. Thank you, Nida! 

The following rules apply, if you choose to accept the award:

  1.  Provide the link to the person who nominated you.
  2.  Add the reward logo. (Above image)
  3.  Answer the questions your nominator has asked
  4.  Nominate 7 other bloggers and let them know via comments.
  5.  Ask your nominees 10 questions.

Here are my answers to the insightful questions asked by the inkriched lady:

1. Your most important ‘health’ rule? 

“Stay happy”. While physical health is indubitably important, we tend to overlook the importance of our mental health in everyday life. I believe a healthy spirit and mind is a prerequisite to a healthy body. Having been a victim to the blues, on more than one occasion, this rule is one I choose to stick by absolutely.

2. A day at the library or a skydiving resort?

I’m tempted to choose skydiving resort, but a day at the library would be a more honest answer. While I love the idea of thrill seeking, I am a couch potato, by nature and I like my comfort. Very rarely would I ever go for the daring option. The idea of being curled up with an endless supply of books is infinitely more appealing to me.

3. A bad habit you finally let go of?

Thankfully, my technology addiction! I had the bad habit of checking my phone every five to ten minutes, refreshing all of my social media apps for updates. I was fidgety and agitated most of the time. I slowly learned to wean myself off this addiction, and realising the obvious; it was completely unnecessary! I’ll admit, it did take a while though.

4. What place does writing have in your life?

Does “every place” count as an answer? Though I may not be physically writing, I often find myself thinking in monologue, as pretentious as that may sound. I am more expressive and clear on paper than I can ever be verbally. Apart from that, I like to write down everything I wish to remember (which is almost everything I experience), for fear that I shall lose my memory some day.

5. If you could go back 10 years and tell yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

My advice to 11 year old Hadia is: Pray more and strengthen your faith. It’ll take you further than any ambition alone ever will. And also, you look ridiculous. Fix that hair.

6. Describe life in one sentence.

I shall borrow a sentence from one of my favourite poets: It goes on.

7. What gets you going every single day?

Faith, in myself and in God. I’d never been that actively religious before. Outwardly, yes, but I don’t feel my heart was truly moved till now. In believing in Allah, I am learning to believe in myself. It’s what gets me out of the depths of gloom, lets me pull myself out of the bed each morning, and with a spark of hope, it gets me going.

8. Your most favourite word of the English language.

Tough question! After a lot of thought, however, I’ll have to settle for “effervescence”. I first heard it in a chemistry class in secondary school. I love with how onomatopoeic it is, and the reverberation I feel in my mouth when I say it.

9. One thing about humanity that makes you sick.

Humankind is the only species (or one of very few) that intentionally brings harm to its fellow members. Selfishness induced malice and indifference are at the root of all injustices, and from these stem many of the conflicts that plague our world. We are flawed, yes, but to the extent that we cause irreversible and grievous injury to our fellow man? On a mass scale? It’s unforgiveable.

10. What was the biggest surprise of your life?

Every day is the biggest surprise of my life; the realisation of where I am, how far I’ve come and all that I’ve achieved along the way. I shall never cease to be amazed how much change any time period can bring, no matter how short or long. All the more reason to feel blessed and grateful for each and every day.

Now, to mention the ladies who I nominate for the award and who most certainly should be considered a part of the Sisterhood of World Bloggers!

  1. https://redvelvetjacket.wordpress.com
  2. http://quratzafar.wordpress.com/
  3. http://refugeofamadman.wordpress.com
  4. https://bakedsunshine.wordpress.com/
  5. http://theteatales.wordpress.com/
  6. http://torambleornottoramble.wordpress.com/
  7. http://sanafarzand.wordpress.com/

Finally, here are my questions for the nominees:

  • 1. Why did you start blogging?
  • 2. Where does the inspiration for your blog posts come from?
  • 3. What does writing mean to you?
  • 4. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? (Apologies for sounding job-interviewish, hehe)
  • 5. How do you respond to criticism?
  • 6. What’s your most ludicrous ambition/desire?
  • 7. Given the choice, which TV show would you appear on/in?
  • 8. What would you wear to a red carpet event?
  • 9. If you could befriend a famous personality (dead or alive), who would it be?
  • 10. Share one of your favourite quotes

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Below, the baubles and sparkles give the shops a cheerful face. They beam welcomingly in their adorned splendour. Yet, upon a closer look, the buildings give away their age. Chipped signs, peeling paint, or the plethora of wires over head; all may catch the eye, but none take away from their dignity in the least.

The buildings stand shoulder to shoulder, like old friends. Like toothless old men they wordlessly pay tribute to days long gone. Precariously tall, they overlook the street with ease, gazing at every shopper and passer-by.