Poems, Stories, Thoughts

Pastiche of Fabrics

I had always thought this world was beautiful… wait, it has always been… but what kind of beautiful world it is when people act like they understand us when they actually don’t? What happens when this form of false understanding becomes the basis of our relationships with people, even the closest ones like our families? When we say, “I completely understand”, do we… really? Our experiences are personal and can only be understood by us. The articulation of our own experiences are just mere representations. The use of the language binds us to an arbitrary system of squiggles, strokes, marks and random sounds to explain our feelings of pain, happiness, sadness, anger, confusion, jealousy and anxiety. How can just a word like “anxiety” encapsulate the understanding of how anxious I am feeling? Even if you experienced anxiety, how can you understand my anxiety when I experience it completely different from yours? The reality we live in are like a pastiche of fabrics made up of these misunderstandings that we believe to be true. But no one complains, because they were never destructive to begin with. What is the reality of humans then? We humans yearn for companionship, love and connection. We are social beings. No matter how much we want to be left alone, our minds seek for conversations, like how we speak to ourselves when deciding on what to eat for dinner. Loneliness is hurting. You listening to my rant even when I know you don’t identify with my experiences is liberating. And I think this is what makes life beautiful because we humans try our best in our struggles, love, hate, differences, frustration and stress to sew humanity together. Our unity is never innate. We are stitched together by the threads of humanity that loop our lives into the social fabric that we react to everyday.

This effort is beautiful.

Humanity is beautiful.

– Parveen Maghera

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Stories

He Was Martyred

He told me he’d come home early and cook dinner for us. He was very excited just the night before. Humaira burst out into a laughing fit at dinner table, “You cannot cook bhai jaan!”

He smiled and replied, “I’ll show you tomorrow. I’ll be better than you!”

He made a list of ingredients right after dinner, which he forbade me from taking a look, let alone peek.

“No ahmi jaan! It’s a surprise!” He kept on saying as he hugged his notepad to his chest and tapped the pencil on his study table.

I continued to observe him.

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Stories

Two Red Balloons

The little boy walks up to his grandmother.

“Grandma, may I have two pennies please?”

Grandma frowns and snaps at him, “What do you need them for?”

The boy takes a step back and bites his lips. He looks down to the floor.

“I want to buy two red balloons,” he says softly.

“For whom?” Grandma questions sternly.

“For you,” he says.

Grandma turns her body towards him and frowns harder.

“And what would an eighty-year-old woman do with two red balloons?”

The boy looks up and smiles.

“You forgot again Grandma.”

“What did I forget?”

“Eighty-one, Grandma. Not eighty.”

Grandma’s frown disappears. She stares at her grandson whose eyes were gleaming in delight. He steps forward and grabs his grandmother’s hand, and whispers, “————….

She suddenly jolts awake. She looks around the bedroom. The glistening sun bathes the room, casting a hard shadow of her wooden chair on the floor. But the shadow looks different. She frowns and rings the bell.

“Rise and shine Mrs Hudson,” the nurse greets as she enters the bedroom. “Would you like a cup of tea?”

Mrs Hudson slowly lifts her arm and points her frail fingers towards the shadow on the floor, and asks in a faint voice, “What’s that on my chair?”

The nurse smiles and walks over. She holds her hand.

“He was here this morning but he didn’t let me wake you.”

Mrs Hudson looks at the nurse, confused.

“Hold on a second,” the nurse says.

She carries the chair and places it in front of the bed. Mrs Hudson’s eyes widen and a slight grin appears across her face, but her smile got wider each second.

“My little boy was here!” She exclaims.

“Oh no no Mrs Hudson. He’s a handsome teenager now.”

Mrs Hudson gives a hearty laughter.

“No you silly girl! He’ll remain my little boy forever, even when he gets his own little boy.”

“Well well, alright,” the nurse crosses her arms. “I’ll get you some tea.”

“Wait!” Mrs Hudson calls out. “There is a card. Pass it over.”

The nurse slips the card into Mrs Hudson’s hands and leaves to prepare tea. Mrs Hudson slowly opens the envelope and takes out a piece of paper.

Happy birthday Grandma. I hope you remember it’s your birthday today. You’re 95 years old. Five more years to make a century, ey? By the way, you owe me two pennies for those two red balloons on your chair. I’ll be there tonight. Do get ready! 

Love,

Your little boy ❤

 

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