Categories
Poems

Not Your Spice Girl

Much of South Asian literature is themed around food – milk and honey, saffron and cinnamon, jalebis and gulab jamuns, turmeric and mangos. Our food is electric in hues, decadent, an explosion of flavour, medicinal in nature.

I get why food takes centre stage in South Asian literature; alot of our parents expressed their love through food. While South Asian cooking is a part of my identity – after all, our ancestral land was colonized in some part for those commodities – it’s not a significant part of my story as a person.

Categories
Thinkpieces

The Churel and other mythical legends

For hundreds of years in Dominican folklore, people have spoken of the legend of ‘La Ciguapa’ – a beautiful woman who can be found roaming through the trees at night. She has dark features, piercing eyes and hair that swings past her waist; the only way you can tell she’s something other than human is by her backwards facing feet. La Ciguapa’s hypnotic beauty usually reels men in before they notice the oddity below her ankles – and then she eats them alive.

Categories
Thinkpieces

On ‘The Afghan Girl’

I want to start noting stories that deserved more than they received, so here goes. ‘The Afghan Girl’ is one of the more known stories when it comes to exploration of eastern narratives. I always felt a strange connection with this photo – I saw it when I was a teenager and I immediately felt like I could have been her, she could have been me, life is a bizarre lottery.

Categories
Thinkpieces

On Being a Non-Bilingual Brown Person

“You can’t understand Punjabi?!” Rishma* said, mouth open in a grin stuck on pause that evolved into rolling laughter of disbelief. “No,” I smiled, clenching my fists that lulled by my sides to prevent them from instinctively floating up and punching her in the jaw.

Categories
Thinkpieces

Partition, 70 years on

martha art
Art by the ‘Pakistani Martha Stewart’

So much reading material is available on the formation of Pakistan that it’s hard for someone as clueless as me to decipher what’s true anymore. But there is one tale that seems quite indisputable – that for almost 1000 years different religious groups co-existed here in harmony, as a family, embracing one another’s traditions.

Categories
Poems

To The Women Of My Blood

A perception of South Asian women has lingered

That they are inherently submissive, naive, hidden from the world behind dupattas and burkas

But I look to the women of my bloodline who arrived before me

Audacious, uncompromising, unbearable to the men who don’t want to hear them

Bold looks, big dreams, words armed with wit

It’s dangerous

Some will try and bring you down to earth where they want you to belong

But you are flying, dazzling, undefeated

Your mother brought you and my mother to a cold strange land for a better life

And as your necklace rests on my chest I remember

To never compromise, to never bow my head in submission, to be free

As we laid you to rest, the birds were flying above

And I just knew

You were flying with them

For my dear Aunt Fauzia, 1959 – 2017

fauzia3

Categories
Poems

Zubaida’s 1947

FullSizeRender.jpg

Zubaida and the children left their home to discover a new religious refuge

Her husband would catch up with her later, he had to do what men do

Categories
Poems

To The Women Of My Blood

fauzia-2
In memory of Fauzia Ahmed, 1959 – 2017

A perception of South Asian women has lingered

That they are inherently submissive, naive, hidden from the world behind dupattas and burkas

But I look to the women of my bloodline who arrived before me

Categories
Thinkpieces

Charlie Hebdo: People, Not Politics

all is forgiven

As emotions continue to run high following the atrocious attacks in Paris last week the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo went on sale in the UK, with customers queuing overnight to get their hands on the Survivors issue. As I’m sure you’ve all seen the front cover maintained their brazen stance, with a cartoon of their depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, who is in tears, holding the slogan ‘Je suis Charlie’ (I am Charlie) alongside the headline ‘Tout Est Pardonne’ (‘All Is Forgiven’) – regardless of the diverse reactions, it’s a potent message.

The only thing I could be sure about in this situation was that the death of artists is heartbreaking and rage inducing. I’ve heard people of a similar descent as me comment that ‘they weren’t innocent …’