The loss that never healed…


hole.jpgThe chirpiness of the conversation is alluring,
Refreshing and calming the senses, all at once.
This facade works well enough to hide the wounds, 
And wounds I say, not scars, that weigh plenty of tons.

In a world that thrives on change and speed.
They are an unforgiving lot, that won’t let you off with ease.
They shall speak of bravery and gratitude,
And shame you for the loss that never healed.

They shall accuse you of being whiny and irrational.
Ignore your thoughts, swiping it off their visual field.
Mock you for the unbidden tears,
And question the loss that never healed.

They shall resort to flattery, if need be.
Narrate lores of your strength and shield.
Steal from you the right to grieve
Or acknowledge the loss that never healed.

They shall speak in honeyed tones of your perseverance and struggle.
Praise you for the wisdom of your lips sealed.
Speak of Honour and Faith, and guilt you into silence,
To bury the loss that never healed.

They may even speak of you in hushed whispers,
Of the sanity of your mind and it’s untruthful yield.
Show you disdain and contempt,
And belittle the loss that never healed.

No man, let alone a woman, dare be weak or vulnerable,
Be broken or amiss, open or peeled.
The virtuous should be grateful, forget their sorrows and pain.
And lest they forget, turn a blind eye to the loss that never healed.

They shall crush you and say you asked for it.
They shall break you and say you basked in it.
Drift you into a trance where you no longer feel,
The void left behind by a loss that refuses to heal.

~Mahdiyyah Mariam



That’s what this storm is all about….

Every piece of writing and every piece of advice that hopes to train you to encounter storms is never going to be adequate, never going to be good enough. And no, this isn’t one of them. This is a contemplation of the words of one of my favourite authors.

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The oxford dictionary proclaims,

  1. 1.
    a violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds and usually rain, thunder, lightning, or snow.
    synonyms: tempest, squall;

It may not be an exaggeration to say that the definition is a perfect fit for what I intend to discuss, albeit for the state of mind.


Life is no luxury for anyone. Every soul that breathes life has to manoeuvre its way through the roller coaster that it is; ups and downs, plateaus and steeps, the terrifying storms and the eerie silences that precede and succeed them. Storms are a litmus test for all that has been imprinted and ingrained in your mind. The anger, the trepidation, the terror, the frustration, the strengths discovered, the unparalleled loss, the courage that you didn’t anticipate, the betrayal that you did, the relationships that survived, the time tested bonds that ironically didn’t, the uncertainty that killed you, the faith that restored you, the amalgamation of all of the above makes it seem like a journey that alters you. For better or worse, time will tell.

In such precarious times, to be able to hold on to your sanity, let alone your beliefs and principles, is easier said than done. Yet somehow, Faith does magically rescue you. Hope is the most powerful medicine ever chanced upon. If you know for certain and can believe with conviction that there is a plan of the Almighty, that there is a destiny for every traveller, and that there will be a day when things will make sense, it (at the least) helps you to hold on for a little longer. Sometimes that will be all that you need to sail through.

Coming to the other monster in the room, let me forewarn you. Everything won’t go back to being rosy when the next rays of sunlight hit your face. Contrary to popular opinion, Grief doesn’t have an expiry date. It will cause you to bleed and whither in pain, time and again. The rotting ends need to be sliced off often, the fresh bleed solely indicating the vitality of the tissues. Only then will healing commence. Mind you, the scars will remain forever. And more often than not, they will repeatedly go back to being wounds. Phantom limb can be a possibility too. Someday in the midst of your monotonous routines (when you assume it’s finally over), it will hit you out of nowhere how enormous your loss actually is. Be crystal clear about one thing though. You will never get back to your ‘normal’ or rather your pre-storm self. It all boils down to one surety. It is going to be as awful (and probably worse) as you imagined and no, it’s not going to get better with time. Don’t let anyone fool you with the mystical healing powers of time. Time will only teach you to exist anyway, to hone your primal instincts to survive against the odds and to accept the profound truth that grief is something you can learn to live with. Do you know how I know all of this? I am excessively into quoting authors and my most favourite author ever, promises

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The storm will most definitely shatter you, but you dare not forget that you are, in every sense, a worthy opponent. You possess the ability to battle it and that’s why you were chosen to confront it in the first place. It is undoubtedly the most awe-inspiring thing about the human species, the indomitable spirit of life. As much as it overwhelms you, you don’t forego daily mundane activities. As much as it drains you, you don’t stop sprinting. As much as your heart yearns to be left alone, you do eventually get back to the well meaning people around you, who anyway, nudge their way in through the walls you have built.

But, like every trial that you face, there is some respite at the next step. As impossible as it seems now, it will be better the next day. Or maybe, it won’t. But there are days after that too. Also it may never be okay, but that’s okay too.  Take each day as it comes. Twenty four hours of anguish and despair are easier to face than a lifetime of it. Combat it on a daily basis. Plan your survival goals to last till the time sleep encompasses you (or evades you) tonight! Hang in there. Make dua, lots and lots of it. Cling on to hope fiercely and recall,

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Ask him relentlessly, with humility and consistency. Tell him how colossal the mess is, that you find yourself drowning in. Beseech him, beg of him, and implore him, again and again and again.


Break yourself now, Unbreak yourself later.

That’s what this storm is all about….!

Let me narrate a tale…


My timeline on FB has been flooded with so many pictures that it often feels like I am watching a tale, albeit a catastrophic one.

And a tale it is.

A group of people, a group as large as millions and still counting, escape the horrors of a land that rightfully belongs to them. And where do they seek refuge? In countries that were once neighbours, friends or enemies. In waters that were once mere borders or chasms of distance and today they are treacherous grounds. So they load themselves with all their meager possessions and hope so immense that it would strike you as overt optimism, setting out, putting at risk not just their lives but also the tender lives that once came out of their wombs. Some of the hopes get dashed while the others soar, almost as if the waters lapping around their lifeboats are a testament to the highs and lows that have horrifically unraveled in their lives.


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A father whose family slips away from his hands while he clings on to them for dear life amidst the drowning waters. Children, so young, so tender, so petrified of the mayhem that surrounds them. Another father who fiercely tries to salvage his last shred of dignity and attempts to make a living selling pens while cradling his little one. A young couple who are terrified of being caught by border security and pushed back to the hellfire they escaped from, the look of utter despair and defeat on their faces when they realize they have been caught. The husband who pushes his wife and child on to the railway track out of utter desperation.

It is definitely a tale.

How else will we convince ourselves that the reality is something eerily similar? That the Syrians and the millions of refugees from Egypt and Burma and too many places to even name are real people with real stories.


Clear your thoughts for a moment and think of this.

You are waddling across the water like a duck, not knowing how to swim, hungry, thirsty, drowning and terrified of the next wave that will eat you up. Literally and figuratively. When you have finally spotted land, they refuse to acknowledge or entertain you because they say you are illegal. You are a number, a refugee, who doesn’t deserve an identity, let alone a life worth living. Can you imagine how that would make you feel? Does it even make you feel anything ? Or does it render you numb and comforted in the overpowering water, tempted to let go and let the water embrace you? Just as you have started to loosen up and cave in, you hear the shrill cry of your child, who is just as frightened to death as you are and so unaware of the reasons that it breaks your heart. And you jump to restart the fight, jump, yelp, howl and fight because suddenly it is no more just about you. Some thing greater is at risk. How do swarms of such people linger in the battlefield we wonder. They do not have a choice. They have to fight because dying is not an option.

To be honest and fair, we can’t really blame the countries who are finding it difficult  to take in  refugees. They have their own limitations. Some of them are doing a brilliant job too. Turkey, Germany, Jordan, and a host of other countries too.


This June 18, 2013 photo released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shows special envoy Angelina Jolie, right, speaking with Syrian refugees in a Jordanian military camp based near the Syria-Jordan border. The Syrian civil war contributed to pushing the numbers of refugees and those displaced by conflict within their own nation to an 18-year high of 45.2 million worldwide by the end of 2012, the U.N. refugee agency said Wednesday, June 19. Most of the refugees in the world have fled from five war-affected countries: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan. (AP Photo/United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees , O. Laban-Matte)
This June 18, 2013 photo released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shows special envoy Angelina Jolie, right, speaking with Syrian refugees in a Jordanian military camp based near the Syria-Jordan border. The Syrian civil war contributed to pushing the numbers of refugees and those displaced by conflict within their own nation to an 18-year high of 45.2 million worldwide by the end of 2012, the U.N. refugee agency said Wednesday, June 19. Most of the refugees in the world have fled from five war-affected countries: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan. (AP Photo/United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees , O. Laban-Matte)

A few others have a hundred excuses and another few have a twisted logic. Some turn a blind eye and some (that too reporters) go out of their way to kick out refugees, Literally ( How pathetic was that!)


And then there is a minority who is so cold and apathetic, that for them this is a political crisis, one with a political agenda, as they seek to wipe out the humanitarian and ethical stand with respect to refugees. But all in all, a lot of people are willing to open their hearts and homes to those who are casualties of the worst civil war/humanitarian crisis the world has seen in years.

Somehow that is never going to be enough. How many people are going to run and how many will survive this race? What the need of the hour is, is international effort and action to bring to task the tyrant regimes that are unleashing the torture, the groups that are killing people in the name of a religion, the biggest irony being, a staggering majority of the victims are people of the same religion that the aggressors falsely use as a facade for vested interests. The powerful and the mighty have reduced Syria to a battleground that has witnessed the vilest and the most sickening game of chess that is played between Russia and the United States, Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is a pity that they live under the delusion of non accountability. Only the foolish forget that Justice may be delayed, never denied. And in the courts of the Creator, never ever denied.

Alan Kurdi washed ashore has suddenly shocked us into reality. Except that for them, this is now a life. They die in water, on the land and in air. They die even when they are alive. They die everyday of hunger, poverty, humiliation, fear, uncertainty and war games. And what does the world do ?

We continue to watch the tale……


Haunt you down


Her heart pounding in her chest, she picked up her pace and strode towards the door. Her mind unaware of what she was doing except that her subconscious self was telling her to keep going ahead. She kept moving forward with a purpose, her thoughts too numb to process the happenings. Her steps faltered as she approached a big wooden door. A part of her wanted to run away, being the escapist that she was, but another stronger part magnetically pulled her legs forward. Keeping her face as straight as she could, she creaked open the door.

He sat there, terrified, shaking like a leaf. She felt as if someone had brutally punched her in the stomach. Her carefree, nonchalant brother, his fiery self lost to the world sat unmoving on the chair. She tried calling out to him but his mouth immediately hardened. She knew he wasn’t angry with her, he was losing an already lost battle against falsehood and injustice and today his anger was justified, brimming on his face. “Go”, he said “Just go…” and clenched his mouth to stop the tears that threatened to spill over. Together they had fought a long battle and today the weight of it dawned on her. She was going to lose him. She stood deathly still, while her mind furiously worked out the words that refused to form on her lips.

Suddenly in a gush they spilled out interspersed with tears. “I love you and Allah loves you too and I know you did no wrong and it will be okay and it will be painless and someday Allah will prove you right …” , she fumbled out the words in a hurry as if the ticking clock was an urging reminder of how little time they had. Like they even needed a reminder. This time the tears did course down his face but he remained silent, his face an amalgamation of stormy emotions and peaceful silence. He turned his face away as if dismissing her presence would make her disappear.

“It will be okay.”she called out to him again, vaguely registering a deep physical pain in the left side of her chest. Maybe her heart really was tearing apart. She took one last long look at him, burying his face in her memory and quietly closed the door. Her body and soul shook like the loud storms that echoed in the silence of the night. “This is not happening, not happening …” , she muttered to her self repeatedly as she made her way through the long corridors and finally reached the gate where her tiny broken self dropped to the ground. The moans that stirred from her soon turned into loud cries. She cried profusely, cried her heart out in such a painful and desolate way that it seemed too raw and too personal a sorrow for even the heavens to witness. Her screams, like those of a wounded wolf continued to echo amidst the destruction wreaked by the storm that fateful night.image

The girl woke up abruptly looking all around her in a panic. Her heart still pounded fiercely in her chest as it flashed in her mind that it was a dream. Her night clothes dripped with sweat as she shuddered, recalling the fear and the sorrow. She glanced at her watch uneasily and wondered if it even made sense. Her heart still felt like it was tearing apart and her screams still echoed like those of a wounded wolf, except this time they were only in her mind. “It was a dream”, she muttered to her self repeatedly. “This is not happening, not happening….. “.

~ Mahdiyyah Mariam


Continue reading “Haunt you down”

Chocolates and sisters make life bearable


You and I were born sisters so it wasn’t really our choice to make.

Yet if someone asks me today if there was another way to take.

I’d still choose you to be the sister for whom I care.

There is something about the relationship we share.

We may fight and insult each other without any tack.

But no matter what happens we know we have each other’s back.

There is so much for which I’d like to thank you, fight with you, talk to you, giggle and tease you, hit and hug you.

But that will be a story for another day due.

For now, on your special day, the words are from the bottom of my heart but few.

If there ever was a time and a choice to make, it would always be you !

#SistersByChoice #SumMadz

Unload your baggage


So I attended a workshop this weekend on the topic ‘Discover Yourself’ by Mr Sadathulla Khan, and as contemplative as it made me feel, it also had me in splits. Take a dramatic life coach/trainer and add a brilliant sense of humour and even luggages and potlis can make you roll on the ground laughing.

But jokes apart, what really stuck to me is the physical representation of carrying a load that the speaker enacted. We all have skeletons in our closets and some of us carry them along everywhere like anatomy students carrying their bone sets. And boy, it can get heavy. All those baggages of resentment, anger and bitterness. To top it all, I am short statured and baggages seem heavier to me than what they seem to all those tall people that I envy so much 😛

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to discover that the prisoner was you.”~ Lewis B Mendes

So when I was asked to do an assignment for the workshop and interview a few people regarding my strengths and weaknesses, I came across a weakness that mother dear pointed out (mothers are the best critics believe me). She said “You don’t forgive easily”. As I pondered over it, I couldn’t help but admit to myself, even if grudgingly, that she was right. I do not forgive easily. I do carry baggages and do so in delusion assuming I have forgiven and moved on.

But then, how did I realise I am still stuck there? I could see all my judgements regarding those particular people/relationships are still clouded, still appear dusty behind the glasses coloured by prejudices and hence unconsciously I am taking revenge. I feel the weight of it sometimes and it strikes me with clarity- I have not forgiven. Neither have I forgotten.

So when Khaansaab dramatically threw down the baggages on the stage and claimed that it really was this simple to let go, I couldn’t help but be inspired enough to try. So I did make a beginning and as much a cliche as it sounds, it already makes me feel lighter ( I am not even dieting 😛 )

Yes it is that simple to let go of your baggage. I know I will slip once again and hold grudges again and will time and again have to remind myself of the mercy that I expect from my Lord and the second chances that people I have wronged have given me, and now it is my turn to do so. I will keep failing at it. I am aware of that. But that is life. You slip and fall but if you are willing to make a fresh start for the umpteenth time, you still have a chance at the game of life. And subhanallah, if we honestly think about it, if Allah swt had to hold every mistake of ours against us, would we ever stand a chance?

So yeah folks unload the baggage. You are a human being (and a flawed one at that), not a baggage conveyer belt.




It is the colour of the blush that, much to my mortification, crept up my cheeks when you looked up and flashed that lazy smirk of yours the first time I saw you.


It is the colour of the bridal attire that made me huff and pant with all it’s weight and yet couldn’t dampen my spirits on that day.


It is the colour of the roses that you would randomly gift me for silly reasons like today is the first day of the week.


It is the colour of the hear that you drew on the handmade card which made me giggle at the childishness of your gesture.


It is the colour of love you read out to me from a novel and I rolled my eyes exaggeratedly at the cheesiness men show at times.


It is the colour of the tie I handed you that fateful morning as you left for work and you pretended like you did everyday, that you had no clue how to wear one without my help.


It is the colour of the bloodshot eyes that greeted me as I ran into the hospital and bumped into your father who stood next to a lifeless you.


It is the colour of the blood that drained my face as I processed that it really was a lifeless you.


It is the colour of the wounds on your body that left their stains on my hand. Blood. As if imprinting on not just my memory but my soul as well. The stains that won’t go even after all this while.


It is the colour of the moments that people say are no more mine, the hopes they try to snatch from me, the despair they try to throw me in, the grief they never understand and the loneliness that they dismiss.


It is the colour of the dream in which I see, hear, feel a real you in a lofty garden in the skies of your lord and telling me you are in a much better place than before and how you wish you and I will be united there one day forever and ever. And then you flash that trademark smirk of yours. And suddenly it strikes me what I had long forgotten.


It is the colour of love.

~ Mahdiyyah Mariam



28/ 09/ 14

There are moments that break your every resolve to stay detached. How will you turn away from the plight of one who puts his defences down and pleads for his life?  How will you drown the screams that are unheard to the ears but are deafening to the soul? How will you speak when words are insufficient to even mention, let alone console a loss? How will you trudge your footsteps in domains where hearts are broken, minds are numb and the stench of death hangs in the air? How will you face their questions, their uncertain looks, their desperation as they hold on to that last shred of dignity when they beg like they have never before? How will you erase their stories from your mind and conscience? How will you sleep?

~Mahdiyyah Mariam


Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,

Enrought with golden and silver light.

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light.

I would spread the cloths under your feet.

But I, being poor, have only my dreams.

I have spread my dreams under your feet.

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

~ W. B. Yeats