Chapter Six [Jameela]

We are sitting at the table and studying for the next mid-term in a series of five. Our breaths smell like coffee. Neither of us have slept for long. We are supercharged with boxes of energy drinks and our hands paw at the keyboards. Cameron is one of the first new friends I’ve made in…

Chapter Five [Leila]

My best friend, Mira, often says that the ghosts of her past haunt her. I say that she herself is a ghost and shouldn’t worry her little brain too much. That often makes her angry; she has had insecurities about her intelligence from a young age. I really should be more sensitive. Of course, Mira…

Chapter Four [Ridhika]

5:34 a.m. I hit the ‘stop’ button and pull a scarf around my hair to pray the first prayer of the day. I run into the kitchen and fasten my buttons as I’m waiting for the milk to reheat. Sitting on the benchtop is Leila, the newest roommate. I barely look at her. I haven’t…

Chapter Three [Sufia]

Knock, knock. My ears pricked up. The knocks were coming from the front of the house. I held my breath and pulled the blanket closer to me, waiting for someone else to answer. But I realised that Jameela’s light was turned off so she was likely fast asleep. Imaan and Ridhika’s rooms were empty. This…

Chapter Two [Imaan]

SubhunAllah, is the the first word on my lips when I wake up, meaning, Praise Allah. Daylight has not yet streamed through the windows, but I feel the light shining from within these old bones. It’s easy to complain about aging, wasted potential, wasted time… I hear these complaints from people all the time. The…

Chapter One [Jameela]

The house was alive with chatters of women and laughter of men. Children raced around each other, giggling as they stumbled. Teacups clinked. Around the doorstep, there were uncles conversing despite bidding everyone goodbye one hour ago in a classic Bangladeshi lingering. Jubilous and erupt with laughter, I felt out of place in my own…

Prologue [Sufia]

Before you, Leila, our house was just like any other house. We lived in between the stark whiteness of four walls separately only by russet lengthy doors with teardrop-shaped knobs. There was no promise of union, but I often questioned my loneliness in a house filled with other people. Perhaps it was because we did…

Honours Year!

Down the hill from my university campus, there sits a quaint Middle-Eastern restaurant grooving to jovial cultural music. I just ate a giant morsel of charcoal-grilled kebabs and have the contentment of a merry inflated belly. The first pitter-patters of the day has students dashing, covering their hair, bags, and socks from drench. In moments…

…that awkward moment when your high school English assignments (2015) are some of the best written work you have ever produced. (cries) I was going through my Dropbox and found my favourite assignment written in high school – a satirical article on one of my favourite books, The Importance of Being Earnest. It was also…

11.1.2018

I tell myself that this is the last time I am pushing myself so hard – and yet, I find myself doing it, over and over again. What is this ideology that tells me I’m only worth existing if I am working? I know this is wrong, unhealthy, and the road to burn-out. Yet, I…

Limits on empathy

If human beings could understand each other’s pain perfectly, then we wouldn’t seek Allah’s understanding, compassion and mercy. It’s the limit of empathy that keeps us in search for something that transcends the material world into the spiritual realm. When we are misunderstood by the human beings around us, we recognise that one can never…

royalty

A small memory to share on this fine afternoon: My mum was telling my mami (Bengali for uncle’s wife) about my childlike association with royalty. At six years old, I had self-proclaimed myself as a princess and therefore assigned my father as the king. With mock sadness, my dad had commented, “But I am dark-skinned….