Eyeliner


“The heart of a father is a masterpiece of nature.” ~Antoine Francois Prevost

Age is just a number but a significant one when considering a pretty match for a girl. Noor is twenty five and her aunt mandates that she is to get married before 30. All the girls in the family have never been beyond 21. For middle class morality, twenty five and still a bachelor is a shame but twenty five and still a virgin is a pride and Noor being at equilibrium still stood a chance. Of all the things that Noor desired, marriage was never in her bucket list. She has somehow managed to snuck out some of her childishness in the late twenties which according to her cousin is a substancial barrier for her being as appetizing as other girls of the neighbourhood.

Twenty five, working and virgin was all that went round tables at gatherings and feasts. Noor being least of it disturbed and seeing her so much at peace was all the cause of disturbance for uncles and aunts at home. She was a type of girl who could be easily convinced for a late night party but take considerable cajoling to put lipstick at work. For her, situation and its need held prominence. 

Noor held a firm grip as her hands trembled violently and peered closer in the mirror. She dipped the thin tip and and blinkled several times before she laced a bold black liner over her scintillating hazel eyes. Just as she finished making it winged someone smacked her head from behind.

“Have some shame idiot, you are going to meet your father in hospital.” Said the venemous aunt.

“Papa likes it.” She said with a practiced delight.

Hearing those words from a girl of twenty five was perplexing. “My boyfriend likes it.” Would have been more convincing to her aunt. Before she could open the trash filled mouth Noor quitted the room in livid veneration. 

At her father’s bedside when everyone left after giving vigorous peptalks and unsolicited advice, she held his fingers entangle on hers. His knuckles white and bony and the veins peirced, channelising the antibiotics. Sporadically he would puff or groan not so much an alarm to the unnerving walls and cold bedsheets but Noor would be on his guard instantly. Sometimes when pain subsided he would reiterate the story of Noah and his ark or how the forbidden apple was a reason for their existence. They would laugh at some arid joke uninspired by murky daylight popping in through the chinks of the window. 

“How long?” He repeated the question second time in this week. Tears bidding space at the corner of his eyes. He gulped few words and cautiously opened his lips to try again. ” How long will I tire you? I don’t want to be your priority or drawback.”

Tears streamed down in pitious chase over the blush of youthfull cheeks. Noor didn’t wipe it. “Do you consider me weak, papa?” 

“Now! Now! Those streaks of liner is best suited for your eyes and not on your golden cheeks. You are ruining it. Go and apply it again.” Her father shoved her hand and eyed sternly to make her budge from his side.

Noor reluctantly moved to the adjacent washroom. Turning on the faucet she washed her face. Her cries muffled under the gurgle of water. It is so alluring and magical how tears mingle with water as of the former never had its existence. Water taking away the blots of pain entirely. 

She came out minutes later. Her face radiant and flush with youngblood. Her eyes an amber of setting sun and the distinct thin line of eyeliner beckoning the night in magnificence. She again perched on the bedside chair and nestled her head among the mound of sheets on her father’s lap. He began stroking her hair gently. “Father’s pet” Her high school friends always ridiculed her. Well now it made sence. 

Silence echoed before he inhaled deeply and said, “You were never the beautiful peacock of my garden.”

Noor clenched her fist not rising from his lap grimacing at the numerous regection faced at every matrimonial or the grades that slouched her father’s spine or the befitting job she now catered to. 

“You are my flappy, noisy pigeon.” He added. “Forever exhausted but always fluttering. I love that bird. I admire her every little twitch and every little blink.” 

Noor looked up in curiosity.

“But the thing with the bird is that they are free creatures and are born to venture sky. Liking a bird would mean to confine her world. But I love you and therefore have to let you free.” 

Noor was now enigmatic. Unblinking and motionless. She asked unhurriedly.”Did you….”

“Intercept your mails. Yes! Its sometimes good to sneak out your password.” Her father blinked and Noor’s eyes furrowed. “Now I ask you to join the job you always desired. Its few kilometers away but you don’t have to be at my side all the time. I am growing tedious of you.” He jerked his face away. 

“One more thing. Don’t seek marriage just to be married. Better wait years for the right person that to wait years for the right love from the wrong person. And don’t worry if people are talking behind your back. They are talking about you because if they talked about themselves nobody would listen.” He chuckled at his thought. 

“Forget average. You deserve the best, my love. Never be afraid to shine alone. Remember the sun doesn’t bothers a bit if it blinds you.”

 He looked deeper into her eyes and said, ” I have a girl in whose eyes her dreams are as stark as her liner. You are not weak but braver than you think, little bird.”

There was a soft knock on the door and the nurse pushed the trolly inside and said with an exhausted smile, “your bedding need a change and so do your clothes.” She cocked her head towards Noor and said,”can you please move out.”

Noor smiled and tapped gently on her father’s hands, ” I’ll be back.” 

As she passed the nurse studied her and said with a sneering smile, “bold liner, I guess its of little help at hospital.” 

She wanted to explain but thought it to be futile. She smiled instead and said “thank you. I’ll consider that next time.” And left.

She cared less now. Of everything that will not matter in the long run. She was musing over the first time she mounted on a cycle with her father’s help. The door opened and nurse came out pulling the trolly. Her smile was genteel and unadultarated this time.

“I am sorry” she said at once and continued pulling the trolly away. Noor followed her in trance unable to fathom any reason out of her apology. “Excuse me. Why did you apologize?” 

The nurse laughed lightly and said, “Your father said that you love those eyeliners and because of it you don’t cry too often.” 

Noor fell short of laughter and tears as the nurse tapped her shoulder and veered down the corridor. 

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She

A shout out to all the girls who have survived the worst and aim for the best. Be brave. You are worth every respect that people deny. Here’s a poem for all the beautiful souls out there. Enjoy!

~

Crouching on cold bathroom floor, 

Hands gripped tight, her knees are soar,

Winged eyeliner turning smokey eyes,

Only pillows know how hard she cries.

Constantly tried to prove her worth, 

Putting at stake her wit and mirth.

She loved, she lost. His dreams, her cost.

Her every effort was scrapped and tossed.

He plonked his taloons when she wanted her wings,

She knows now ‘Why The Caged Bird Sings’.

Remembering what her father told her,

“Beauty lies in the eyes of beholder.”

Eyes as such are seldom found.

Lecherous gaze hover all around

For caramel skin, eyelashes dark,

Waist so thin and breast so stark.

Now gathering every dram of power,

She walked out of love: dumb and dour.

Midnight, she picked up her pen,

Inked her flaws without restrain

Pallid and freckled, buck teethed and lean

Obliged for makeup since sixteen.

Waning in oblivion, deprived of dreams,

She put to end the apocalyptic scheme.

Why prefer perfection, she embraced her faults

Even rain is preceeded by lightening bolts.

Not a winsome fairy but she is a unicorn,

Dare touch her wings, you’ll bear the horns.

Hiding the sun doesn’t steal her night

A glorious haven of dreams and sprite. 

Ciao to devil, she is forsaking the hell,

A pearl to be found needs to leave the shell.

A bud, now she blossoms unsheathed,

By being the love she never recieved.

~

Wake Me Up

The teenage girl, Naira was busy arranging the grimed bookshelf while a vivacious song by AVICII tuned in her ears ” Wake me up when its all over, when I’m wiser and I’m older..” Suddenly something fell on the floor. She yanked the earphones and eagerly stooped down to pick up her mother’s souvenir. A cluster of mellow sea shells twined together in a single jute thread. A bracelet. Naira examined its rough edges and fragile loop, weighing her opinion wether to embellish her wrist with that worn out ornament or to discard it among the old assorments. 
Its been a year since her mother reposed off as she lay grasping Naira’s delicate hands on her deathbed. Naira remembers her mother’s tender laconic words, “Take care of yourself, my love.” For everyday since she has wrestled with her tears to stop gushing out from her vapoured eyes. Naira despises everything and everyone that eludes her from the fond remembrance of her mother. She now complies with every wishes of her mother. Naira favorite colour is black though she choses pink for all festive occaisions. She loathes coconut oil but now she never skips saturday hair therapy. She used to carry chewing gums in her pocket which now remains stuffed with clove.

Everyday she attempts a step towards being wiser and older yet she is unable to placate her father. His constant reproval of her irrational behaviour and degrading health rattles the sublime memories of them being a small happy family. She has outgrown his love because he never beckons a thought of their happy life. People change, but she never expected her father to be one of them. No, she cannot abandon her mother’s posessions however trifle it may be. It is her legacy and she will value it. She ought to and she will imbibe all her mother’s qualities and likings too. Sooner or later she will become a replica of her mother and remind her father how perfect a woman he has lost. 

With that sullen anguish disposition she unravelled the bracelet and tied roughly around her wrist. The thin jute twine swirled around and with a sudden jolt the shells erupted in unison, denting her wrist with shallow cut from its jagged edges. Naira cried in agony. The cut engraved in her heart was more severe than the cut on her wrist.

Naira’s father saw her daughter writhe and walked towards her. He collected the shattered shells from the ground and handing it over to her daughter’s blemish hands he said, ” My dear, past is a place for reference, not a place to reside. Things wil never change until you let them. Be loyal to your future not your past.” 

He smiled meekly and pressed his handerchief on her bleeding wrist. Naira’s eyes were drenched with tears as she gulp her father’s voluble counsel. 

“If you really want to take care of things your mother valued, then I want you to love yourself first. You don’t have to be like your mother because I love the glorious mess you are. You are the future I look forward to. Everytime a flower blooms near your mother’s  grave it reminds me of a simple truth that life is as inevitable as death. Each day is a new beginning and I see a promise of a happy tomorrow lurking inside you. Live, my child.” 

Wiping off her tears, Naira said with flaming pledge in her voice, ” Dad, from tomorrow, I will live fiercely”. Her father left the room with his a broad chest and chin raised high while she tuggged her earphone on.

“So wake me up when its all over,

When I’m wiser amd I’m older.

All this time I was finding myself,

And I didn’t know I was lost.”

Just Write


As Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside”. Therefore readers it is time to let your stories be known to the world. I urge you to write. Pick up your pen and let it bleed till your brain runs dry and if you are asking me why you should write so here is a short poem by me 

Write till your fingers bleed,

Write till your fingers freeze.

Write, ’cause you have to hide

All the pain of vicious night.

Write cause you can’t subside

Worries rising as if tide.

Write till your heart is drowned

In the love that is never found.

Write, ’cause you will succeed

Surpassing shadows of your creed.

Write for to be eloquent,

Need not you be intelligent.

Write create your own distinct fashion,

Pouring oceans of imagination.

Write your thoughts like forest fire,

Wait not for people to admire.

Write, don’t be mortified,

Went it out, don’t die inside.

Write cause there’s no better way

Of generating smiles on darkest day.

Write, leave a legacy,

You words might shape someone’s destiny.

A Letter From Heaven

6’o clock. The hands of the clock were erect. Reema was not able to sleep last night. Though it had been more than a year yet she can’t get out of the trauma. The flashback grew prominent with each remembrance. She tried to escape but where she could go? She couldn’t run away from herself. 

She picked up the morning newspaper just to fleet away the killing hours. Unexpectedly, an envolope fell on the ground.”Dear Mom” imprinted on it. Who could that be? Her son is too small to write letters. Curious to know, she opened the letter and began reading.

“Hello mom,

How are you. I am happy and safe over here. The angels entertain me all the time. The fairies sing lullaby. The soothing music, the blissful calmness, unrestrained mirth and stupenduous banquet are all at my arms reach. But mom, heaven is not perfect without you.

Tell me mom how is life on earth? How do birds, trees, rivers, mountains look like? How beautiful is sunset and sunrise. Wish I would have been there. You carried me 3 months inside your womb, wish you would have given me a name too. I was initially fed and cared but then suddenly one day I was poisoned with injections. Those venoms penetrated my lungs, brains and even my brittle heart. I didnt gave up easily because I was my father’s daughter. I fought to survive. 

Later I witnessed scissors, forceps and other sharp objects which came to snatch me from you. I was afraid. I prayed and asked god why did he sent me when my death was written even before life. I helplessly kicked the dark blank walls of your womb, hoping that someone would rescue me. But alas! There was no one. I was torn up bit by bit, pieces by pieces and finally I left your womb as clean as before. I was then dumped. I never had funeral. 

Tell me mom, are all humans like this? Are the animals on earth treated the same? Will you ever let a needle prick your son? Then tell me mom why I was killed? I thought I would be adored and appreciated. I would have been a splendid harvest but you all were afraid of little rain. I would have done my best to be an ideal daughter scoring good grades in examinations, a caring sister to comfort my brother when you were not around, a supportive spouse to venture in his journey of life and a loving mother. If shuffling identities pleases everyone then I would have happily done that. Only just you gave me life.

Convey my salutations to grandma. Tell her that her bed time stories and cozy lap is yearned. She is a strong lady that gave you birth and brought you up. If I could giive her one thing, I would like to give her the ability to herself through my eyes. How proud I am of her and how happy she makes me feel.

Tell dad that his blood no more runs in my viens but his fragnance does. I love him, for he is the only star to my string of pearls. He may despise me but his unwillingness can never demote my love. It makes me grow more fonder. I did not wanted him to love me but hold my hand and be by my side, giving me universe amidst his arms.

Tell my brother not to be upset. I hope some day we meet and fight for the last slice of pizza. 

Tell the society and the whole humanity that its high time they should think out of the box. Its not just me but every child whose right to live has been violated. What would have happened if I lived for few years on earth? What satisfaction do you get on killing innocent lives? And all those who advocate for abortion, they forget that they too were born. 

And mom, don’t despair or find ways to punish yourself. That isnt going to make you feel better. Punishment doesnt guarantee absolution. Even if there are no stars to stare and no dreams to look forward and no laughter to assauge me, still there you will be my mother to pacify and inspire me. See you at the other end of life called heaven.

With love,

From your dead daughter.”

Tears spilled over the letter. Reema folded it back. Her voice is still timid and in it there is a shame. She hides words behind her neck. She has the urge to scream, for once she wants to be heard. In her heart there is a mayhem but in her eyes self control. With blurry eyes and trembling hand she again picked up the letter and began writing at the back of it.

“Dear Daughter,

I know I am guilty and I will never find a place in your heart or in heaven but you ‘my love’ did find a place in all my morning prayers and midnight sighs. You were a shooting star but I was not fast enough to wish on. I have lost you but not my ability to hope and I hope that we will be united. I will take the words right from your heart unfold them and display. I will ask the universe to come and see how the silent ones had the most to say. That time no society or relations will stand in our way. Thank you my child for restoring my lost strength and courage.

With love,

From your unfortunate mom.”

Reema stood upright. Her feet firm on ground. Her cheeks drank the tears that her eyes shed. She felt the lurking hope making its way in the dark. She could now repent for her deeds. The next day she got a two months old daughter at her side. Nothing seemed better than adopting an orphan. Yes she overcame her fears. No more flashbacks and no more escaping. She is a woman. A phenomenal women. 

Mahatma Gandhi said “It seems to me as clear as daylight that abortion is a crime”

Dear friends, life is life however small it may be. Killing lives will not save resouces but proper allocation of resources will help sustain life. According to Allen Guttamacher Institute. 6% of abortion occure due to potential health problem whereas 94% occur for social reasons, that is the child is unwanted. We have reached the peak of development but somewhere we are losing our ethical consience. Abraham lincoln said “The best way to predict future is to create it”. So stop murdering generations. Even if we save single life, we will save a humaity. A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step. I am ready to walk, are you?

Faith

“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson
How often or rather rarely do you think about the hereafter? Firstly. Do you believe in life after death? If yes, how have you prepared to confront the Almighty? If no, why are you placed in this world for? Who is your Sustainer? Will you be here forever? What is your purpose in this world?

Once in a far off village on a bright aummer afternoon, a corpse was found in a drain, naked, blackened with blood clots, numerous stabs vivid all over the body and the face was beyond the recognition. Someone brutally murdered him.

People immediately reported it to the village police. Horrified by the pathetic condition of the dead body. The police and the villagers suggested to perform the final rites. But wait! Final rites requires money. None wanted to pay an amount for his clothing though they were filled with remorse for the dead man. The villagers were selfish but intelligent. Thy agreed to share the burden and suggested to contribute some amount fot the final rites. Therefore the advertisement was put : “Unclaimed dead body…donation required for funeral. Donate 5,10,20,50 .. God will bless you”

Yes, blessings also cost money!

Three hours passed, the body was left uncovered, unattended and a bowl of coins and notes beside it. Why is the creator so harsh on his creatures?

Finally the amount was collected. He was dressed in 6 meter non branded white cloth and was buried with dignity by the unknown people in the unknown land.

Meanwhile, the police carried on the investigation and the conclusion came after three months. The man who was murdered was a fomous businessman  from the neighbouring town. He was the dealer in fisheries. Blessed with 2 sons studying abroad, he also owned a splendid bunglow sprawling over a lagre area. He was brutally murdered for not accepting bribes for illegal trading.

Divine vengence! A foumous businessman, having a happy family and crores of rupees lying idle in his bank account, yet his final clothes was donated by few poor illeterate villagers.

Was he a crook of a noble man? Wether he went to heaven or hell? We dont know that. What everyone will remember is his condition at that time.

Therefore dear friends, Say your prayers before prayers are said for you. Dont underestimate the power of blessings. Repent and revert to your lord. Ask forgiveness. If conditions are in your favour, be satisfied if not then be patient. Victory and loss are imposters and this life is just a deception.

If this life is a deception why should I struggle to find a place to fit in? I should abandon this pomp and show and convert to a hermit. Become a nun? No way, that is not my cup of tea.

Then what is faith?

Faith is beyond the religious text. It is the hope that tomorrow the sun will shine amd I will have a new day once again. Faith is the belief that the honey bee labours selflessly to provide us with honey. Faith is the confidence that under pressure the coal will turn into a diamond. Faith is in the smile of five year old child when he knows that his father will come to pick him up. Faith is the courage to break out from the dogmatic traditions that confines your limits. Yes, faith can move mountains.

Mother Teresa said – “live simply that others may simply live.” Take challenges open heartedly but dont be stressed. Be competitive but not jealous. Have self respect but not ego. Have talent but dont be oversmart. The almighty painted this beautiful world for us to enjoy and get the maximum for the next world. You are the director of your own life, make it or break it. But remember, you have to return….

The Road Not Taken

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

And sorry I could not travel both

Be one traveller, long I stood 

And looked down one as far as I could”

~ROBERT FROST

I first read this poem when I was in 10th Grade and mind you not for my solitary pleasure but because it was included in the syllabus. Years down from that day I still dwell on its words and find it akin to my life’s journey. 

To start with, journey of life is an amalgamation of unpredicted future, apprehended plans, surprise gifts and making descision is an important part of life. People face tough time deciding what to wear for the party. Then we have even more tough situations in life like which career to opt for, which company’s offer letter to accept, what age to marry or should I get married at all. Life doesnt give us a summary beforehand. So people stop extracting minute details and pack your requirements for the journey of life. Take along your values, memories, thoughts…

Now let me take you for a walk of life. I travel pretty good at first then a sudden halt. Two diverging roads! Now which road to take? Luckily I see a stranger passing by. I ask him “Sir, where does these two roads lead to.” 

With a frosty look on his face he retorts-  “Where do you want to go?” 

I vaguely reply “anywhere” 

He rebukes “choose any one, you will reach anywhere.” Without wasting anymore minutes on me, he left. I stand there with a confused mind. Was he being rude or was he hinting me to be wise. Yes, he was right, If I dont have any destination to reach how am I going to take descision. Descision should be goal oriented.

Now I make a descison to reach the Horizon- where the land meets the sea. I want to cherish the beauty of the moment. I choose the second road because it is less travelled and seems interesting. Few things that clicks my mind is

1. Is it correct and worthful travelling on this road? 

2. Will it be safe and comfortable? 

3. Is the destination confirmed? 

I close my eyes and think for a while. “I should do what is right for me, no one else is walking in my shoes, and so did many people before me.”

Remember the man who left his railway job of ticket collector to conquer his dreams. Yes you guessed it right, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He was just another boy with extraordinary talents. If he wouldn’t have left that road, India would have lost one more legend. Dream big friends, dream big. If your dreams dont scare you they aren’t big enough. Have the courage to embrace your feable faculties and become the beast of your scary dreams.

Do you remember the girl, Reshma Qureshi who walked the ramp at “2016 New York Fashion Week”. She refused to wear the veil in the public. The acid couldn’t burn her spirit. If she would have taken that road, she would have been left dissolved and disillusioned in this busy world.

Sometimes we have to take descision in the nick of time. The dauntless lady, Neerja Bhanaut who saved hundres of live was shot dead while shielding three American children from the hail of bullets of hijackers. Being the senior flight pursur she could have easily escaped like the three cockpit men did. Paying heed to the need of time she didnt even once thought about the safe road to escape and thus became a “heroin of hijack”.

The road not taken or rather if a road taken by mistake. What should I do. Should I walk back all the way from where I came. Do I have enough time? Do I have energy? No, I will continue to walk on this road wherever it may take. Why to follow others footsteps when I can leave my footprints behind. Every bad situation has something positive. Even the dead clock shows correct time twice a day. It was well said by Einstein “A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.” Dont lament what was and what could have been. Make the most of what you have now with dedicatiom and firm faith. Take risk, if you win you will be happy, if you lose you will be wise.

There is no shortcut to success. The road is full of pits and cracks, gravels and stones, upstride and downswings and many curves. You have to make your way through mud and grass and on top of that I have to face the bitterness of weather. In the end, the destination will await me. It wont be easy but it will be worth it. Not everyone will understand your journey but that’s ok. You are here to live your life not to make everyone understand it. 

I sometime think about the road not taken but I still have a long way to go. I am already so far from where I used to be and I am proud of that.

Dear friends choose your roads or rather build your own roads. If people are doubting how far you can go. Go so far that you cant hear them anymore. Make your parents proud and yourself happy. To conclude with the same poem above:

” I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference”

***