Archive for June, 2014

The Boy Who Spoke To Stars

Posted: June 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

Wonderful book! Will post its review soon!

A Writer Called Ben

Now available on Kindle and other eReaders

My debut novel: THE BOY WHO SPOKE TO STARS

The first of a trilogy aimed at Young Adults. It is mostly about death, secrets and forgiveness.

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DEAREST MOM,

Mom, why should I say thank you, thank my mother? It seems so little to me, it seems a distant and worn out word, to the point that it sounds lacking and almost offensive. I am flesh of your flesh, the fruit of your love, the expression of your fullness, the creature of whom you are the creator, to say thank you, politely, and with gratitude, my voice just cannot. It is not, but to me it would seem an act of haughtiness. I would rather comfort you mom. When I see and hear you, hopelessly cheerful, hopelessly busy, while you are pushing old age away from you and with your superhuman rustic energy keep at bay and dare the passage of time, I would comfort you. I too, can see the autumn path you are walking through, because you made me when you were a girl and we both have had the joy to be close for 18 years and more coming: you, my mother with your euphoric fighting attitude, perpetually sowing, a mother who does not even allow herself to stumble, and I the daughter whose hair is getting, everyday, whiter and whiter. Eighteen years at the age of eighteen are an enormous difference. Today these 18 years of mine are a sweet distance and after all a small distance that allows us to sit at the same table and together discuss mine (that you gave me) and of your life, both made– by the passing of life– a bit wiser and sometimes a bit sadder. Comfort you, I was saying, is what I would do. I would tell you: think, mom, what an adventure we have gone through, what a special fairy-tale we have had to perform, from flats in a small city and half world tour till today here! I would tell you: do not be so proud of your daughter and of the way she writes, that is not what counts. Be proud of yourself, instead, of your virtues and of your wonderful defects that have formed me, of your determination and of your courage, without which, I fear, I could have done nothing. Tenacity and courage in giving birth to me, in growing me, strong, and unsatisfied, never submissive.Courageous, in teaching me how to be courageous myself: you have shown courage since you chose to adopt me, still a baby, in your endearing and comfortable arms, and I got home-schooled and then high schooling now so that, somehow, learning to read, write, and do arithmetic I could then deal with life in the best way. Perseverance, courage, and support, always at all costs, to make the others know me. You that during my first speeches at my school, were the one who scorched her hands clapping louder, you who promoted my first drawings, art and my articulation of languages and my flair for writing, who would raise my voice to the local people, you, who could accompany your daughter Zainab to the end of the world, just to make her happy…You who are, basically, trying to do the same today, and there are some who smile at that, while I feel consumed by emotion and gratitude. Mum I would like to comfort you, I would like to see that mountain you have climbed through your life turn into a gentle stroll on a slight slope, a happy, serene and long old age, warmed by the smile of those who own life to you, surrounded by that love that, when you give (as you did your way, without ever sparing yourself, rolling up your sleeves, and opening your heart every time the sun rose) fatally returns. I LOVE YOU, MOM! :’)

Yours affectionately,

Zainab Sajid.


I am preoccupied with slumber, while they pick me up, covered in that soft blanket, and put me in a vehicle.

A car.

Wow. 

I look around, and various paraphernalia comes in sight. 

I begin wailing, a little more, to stop them.

But they won’t. They’re taking me, in this moving machine devoid of life. 

Me, a mortal being, feels trapped inside. 

I try to move, but my new God-given body is fragile and incompetent of showing some brawn.

At first, the atmosphere prevailing outside the glassy, dusty windows of this car felt balmy, with the scorching heat of the sun interspersing over the muddy ground with beautiful shoots and trees. The sky was in a constant cycle of being overcast and overshadowed by dark clouds, as if the sky would copiously pour down its spherules of tears vertically.

In other words, the weather really was unpredictable.

“C’mon, turn on the A.C. for God’s sake, we’re going to die!” declared Havronya, while wiping beads of sweat that were trickling from her forehead to her cheeks.

“OKAY!” corresponded Florentina, who was driving the car at a very high speed, “Sofya, beware, we are going towards my house through a road that has severe bumps and speed-breakers, protect the baby. I don’t want your child to be wounded in any way. Don’t let it slip away from your hands.”

“I won’t, I assure you,” said Sofya, in her firmly soft voice.

It took approximately an hour or two, for them to reach from Islamabad to Rawalpindi, where Florentina, along with her 9 year old child had got an apartment for rent. Nazar, Havronya, Sofya and Florentina, along with me in Sofya’s hands got off the car, and instantly advanced towards Florentina’s apartment. Huge, long, and dilapidated whitish marble stairs greeted us. But they were painted new. At least, they smelled like that.

“I want my sister, where is she now?” inquired Sofya, panting and sweating while climbing the stairs with the other three.

“She’s here, at my home, don’t worry,” reminded Florentina.

When all of them made towards the door of Florentina’s apartment, Florentina rang the electronic bell that was attached on the wall of the door.

DING-DONG! 

DING-DONG-DONG

DINGGGG

Came the melodious sound of an electronic bell.

“Who’s there?” uttered a voice from inside.

“It’s me, Florentina, open up,” hushed Florentina, while clasping at the doorknob, and trying to revolve it.

“Oh, hi! I am so excited! Wow! Did my sister do it?” exclaimed Rada, a very attractive young woman, unmarried, swarthy complexion, big lips and – Sofya’s sister.

Rada waited for 2 days at Florentina’s abode for Florentina, Sofya and her new babe to turn up. She got even more thrilled to recieve me, a babe wrapped in a bundle of comfortable blankets. She almost yelled with excitement. Clearly – she was more than delighted to have a look at her sister’s first ever baby.

Exhausted to a great extent, Florentina, went to the loo for a shower without saying a word, while Sofya answered Rada many of the unanswered queries and of what and how did it all happen.

“I was afraid, really. I had no energy, was lethargic at the time of my delivery. You cannot imagine, Rada, it was a very excruciating encounter. I felt as if I am being burned alive! But thanks to all three of these, especially Florentina; for her efforts and encouragement. And it’s a baby girl, want to hold it?” uttered Sofya to her sister, and proceeded to give the baby to Rada. I must admit, Rada’s arms were very warm, but not softer than my mother’s.

Nazar had this bad habit; he was so prone to sleeping even during daylight, whether he’s seated on a comfortable or a flinty chair or a bed, he slept a lot. Very much. To the extent of inducing his beloved wife Havronya to madness. When Havronya saw him slumbering and snoring again in a sitting position on one of Florentina’s couches, she ignored a little – but was enraged inside as they had plenty of home chores to do at her sister Florentina’s abode.

Sofya walks to the kitchen, opens the fridge to find some raw items to be easily fried or cooked.

On the other hand, a little boy turns up from one of the bedrooms. A boy with a rosy-white complexion, with gleamy eyes and black soft hair. He has a meagre age of 9. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Who knew, he would be of significant importance to me in the upcoming years . . .

 

 

COGNIZANCE

Posted: June 29, 2014 in My Fiction Closet
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“Wow! What a lovely baby you are, come to my arms – you shweet cherrylike angel!” exclaimed a womanly voice.

“Nazar! Look at her! How beautiful her eyes are! Give an A’zaan (call for prayer) in her teensy ears! Hurry up! She’s a miracle from ALLAH, Our Creator! She is born in a Muslim household!” blurted the same woman to her husband, while eyeing my newborn anatomy.

This woman was one of the elder sisters of the Canadian/American mixed Pakistani lady. She was 14 years elder than the lady, which is a colossal difference. She was also very fair, wearing her traditional Pakistani dress, called the Shalwar Kameez.

“Oh, Havronya, wait. Let the baby cease her sobbing first,” advised the same lady to her elder sister.

The man, Nazar, who was Havronya’s beloved husband, advanced towards my cot while I was clutching a teddy bear in my miniature hands inside the cot. I was in constant motion, then. Call it exercising or physical play, but I really was moving about. I loved the feels. The feels of the cot  circumjacent to me, the soft babyish blanket in which I was enveloped, the fleecy pillows under me and sideways; and the furry novel teddy bears and stuffed toys. The whole lot. And, one simply cannot  omit to mention the invigorating and aromatic aura of the bouquets of flowers beside me, on an ancient wooden table.

ALLAH-O-AKBAR (Arabic: ALLAH IS GREAT),” was chanted in my tiny ears. It was an elaborated chant, consisting of the Arabic words of the A’zaan, to complete the procedure of converting me into a Muslim. It is extremely compulsory.

“Now there you go, sweet baby!” rejoiced Nazar, and kissed softly on my forehead. Nazar was a middle-heighted, middle-aged man, who was not as fair as his wife Havronya and his sister-in-law lady, Florentina. He was semi-bald, and his bald head shined like some polished leather. He had this brown skin complexion, with extreme creases on his face as if he’s too old.

My biological mother, Sofya, smiled a little while looking at me. She was anxiously criss crossing her hands – was constantly fumbling with her hands. Unknown reason, maybe. After a little while, she started combing her unkempt, dry, and hefty locks that outstretched her shoulders.

Meanwhile, Nazar rushed towards the exit door to the clinical room, for the pharmacy, to purchase some medicines.

The other two figures, I mean two sisters, sat in the corner of the room on a dusty bench fixed to the floor, and made of steel. They both sat a half inch closer, and commenced whispering something in each other’s ears.

“The baby girl is beautiful, oh, no wonder, she has those lustrous eyes and fair skin. Her fair and rosy complexion, no doubt, surpasses my very own. But Flor, you must understand, ohhhhh, she’s too damn weak, how are you on Earth going to foster her? She may expire soon,” whispered Havronya to her sister, while nudging her sister’s elbow on the side.

“I know, I know. Doesn’t she resemble as if she’s my own blood, my own daughter? And hey, don’t utter those curses, we should always remain positive,” inquired Florentina hastily.

“Of course, a good miracle, I suppose. When are you taking over it?”

“Soon, I think,” said Florentina, with a smile so broad that her gleaming teeth were visible.

“God, where has Nazar gone to?” Havronya uttered suddenly, while jolting towards the exit door.

“Pharmacy, miss,” replied the dulcet voice of Sofya, who was still playing with her tiny hands and sitting on a chair nearby to relax herself.

“Pharmacy? What? For what? I still have my very own medicines stuffed inside my cupboard at my abode!” roared Havronya.

“I think he went there to procure some injections for our Sofya, the doctor had prescribed her some,” assured Florentina.

Nazar returns, brings a plastic bag brimming with many medicines and injections, for the poor Sofya, as she’s extra weak.

Here, call the nurse to assist you,” spoke Nazar to Sofya.

Jazak’ALLAH (Arabic: May ALLAH reward you/thank you), I am very much indebted to you and your family,” spoke Sofya, with her low, meek voice.

“No worries, sister.”

I saw my mother Sofya getting injected intravenously on one of her arms and taking some pills alongwith eating some fruits from her side table. She then lied flat on stature bed of the clinic, with white and viridescent-blue covers. She glanced at me, while I playfully yelled at her and my surroundings. Afterall, I was a new born. This world was novel for me. I was naive, immature.


That was the time when she felt asleep, while those other three people laughed at me and crowded at my cot, and made me frisky by their manner of tossing and turning those fluffy and soft toys towards me. Those toys felt so new, so strange. Lifeless toy for a lively and alive baby like me. Wow. My instinct wondered, while I tried to decipher the hidden codes in those queer hues, and psychedelic textures and patterns, being thrown at me. I became cognizant, more and more, of my surroundings . . .

 

 


My mother, who was carrying me in her motherly arms then proceeded to feed me. She did as she was told by that lady. I mean, I was wailing. Like a lot. It was my first ever day being alive. In this place, called the ‘world’. She did not opt for the natural method of feeding a baby, instead, she followed the directions given to her by that lady. Despite the fact that the milk given to the new born neonate comprised of many valuable and body’s defence fighting mechanism antibodies, that are good for the baby; to protect it from viruses or other debilitating diseases. Well, I am not aware of the reason behind this action, till date.

My mother was tan-skinned, sylphlike, young and also had creases on her face due to malnutrition. Poverty is really a killer, you know. My mother,  was in an inferior, cheap and a bit torn attire. She had this unique nose. She had this very polite demeanour, soft voice and was very sensitive at heart and also physically.

The other lady, however, was the complete opposite. The lady looked very rich or so, judging from her distinguished appearance. She, as I’ve aforementioned, was middle class affluent. White-skinned, and a proud possessor of soft and naturally linear locks that extended till her back. She seemed beautiful, I must say. A very elegant woman with a class. But no, I am not claiming that my mother wasn’t. My mother was, at that time, but who knew what’ll happen in the near future? What’s in store for me, a neonate at that time?

 


I open my teeny weeny eyes to a cramped room, chock-a-block with unknown faces. I do not agnize them. All I can glance at are some sort of white colored uniforms worn by some silhouettes sauntering about the room. I cannot discern the hues of this novel experience right in front of my beady, doe-eyed face as I can only see in black-and-white. All I can see is this pristine place that is abounding with lots of people and whatsit items stacked on top of the other. I burst out crying, like a rainstorm. A female approaches my cot and picks me up instantly on her soft shoulders, while another female comes to her with a smile on her face, too.

“Congratulations, Alhamdulilah (Arabic for “All thanks to ALLAH”: الحمدلله ) she’s a baby-girl with a prepossessing countenance! You should be very proud!” verbalized a voice near by, of some white coated figure.

“Yes, yes! Thank you, doctor! Jazak’ALLAH (Arabic: May ALLAH reward you). But she’s too weak, what to do?” uttered a very feminine voice.

“Oh, that is NOT a problem. ALLAH blessed you with a female neonate, why fret over it? It’s a miracle! You see, we could solely save you OR the child, but am glad ALLAH saved you both and blessed both of you mother and daughter with a new life – stay blessed,” assured the doctor to the woman holding me in her arms.

“How much does she weigh, doctor?” asked the tan-skinned woman to the very same female doctor, while clutching me more tightly in her arms.

“Oh, she weighs only a few pounds. She’s very weak, you know. But with good attention to her nutrition, you can get her growing healthy!”

During this conversation, I noticed a tinge of a womanly figure, convulsed with laughter with the doctors and nurses in the background. She looked jolly and was wearing a red lipstick on her lips, with her long maroonish-ashen, blackish locks spread on both her shoulders and back.

“Congratulations to you, too, madam. If it were not your collective efforts alongwith the divine power of ALLAH, the neonate wouldn’t have been born so easily.”

“Oh, no, doctor. I am really happy about it. I don’t have words to express my inner feelings. It was not my sole effort, it’s all due to the neonate’s biological mother, too. Besides, this wasn’t a Caesarean case.”

“You’re very right, madam. Would you mind me asking a personal question?” inquired one of the doctors, while a few nurses hoarded around that woman.

“Yes, please. What is it?”

“You’re here from Canada, right? What is your age? I suppose you must be 28 or 30.”

“Well, yeah. I previously dwelt in Montreal, Canada, but then I moved onto the States. Well, no! Ha ha, you’re wrong right there! I am 41!” exclaimed the lady.

“Forty-one? Are you sure? You must be hiding your young age! Wow, but you seem very young, like, in between the age of that neonate’s biological mother. Where in the States exactly?”

“New York City. My husband is dwelling there. I came here in March 1996 with my nine year old son for a visit,” replied the lady.

“Okay, today is 20th October, you must assign this date of birth on a birth certificate from some nearby office,” advised the doctor.

“Sure, I will. Thanks for the concern,” the lady responded.

That middle-aged lady then approached my mother holding me, a neonate in her arms. I was cuddled inside a soft blanky, American manufactured.

“Here, give me the baby,” she asked.
“Okay, where are we going next?”
“My sister alongwith her husband are coming here for a visit in the next few minutes. We cannot go somewhere else right now.”
“I see, okay, where is the formulated powder milk and the feeder?” inquired my mother.
“It’s . . ” the lady bends over to the table and picks up a bag full of Johnson’s baby products and some formulated milk powder tin cans and feeders, “it’s right here. Mix a few heap teaspoons of this formula powder in this much of water inside this feeder, the doctor said ’tis not dangerous for the neonate,” assured the lady, while pointing her fingers towards the feeder and the can of formula-milk powder.


”TheThe Diary of Anne Frank, New Edition by Harold Bloom My rating: 5 of 5 stars I loved this book by the time I found it in some dusty corner of someone’s house back in 2008. I personally highly commiserate with this girl who expired in such abominable conditions, and writing for her was therapeutic. Overall, it is a sad yet true tale portraying the barbaric Nazi culture in vivid terms. Would recommend it to every age reader. 🙂 View all my reviews ”WarWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy My rating: 5 of 5 stars Overall, it was an awesome book. Too long, but well worth the read! I admire Russian Lit, and Leo Tolstoy has an incredible ability with words flowing . . . 🙂 However, most of the teens out there hold opposite views than my very own; they deem it as dry and dull. But in reality, I am also a teen, and as an avid teen reader, writer and a poetess – I must say it polished my mind into a new perspective about everything. No doubt, this book holds great significance in the bookshelves of ‘world literature’. :O) View all my reviews ”Sybil:Sybil: The Classic True Story of a Woman Possessed by Sixteen Personalities by Flora Rheta Schreiber My rating: 5 of 5 stars Overall an interesting read. I will categorize it into a “fictional” tale, not as a “Non-fiction” genre book as it is claimed to be. Its fictional storyline proceeds fantastically, while delving deep into a reader’s puny mind. It gives a twisty and canny effect on the reader, leaving him overcast with a shadow of psychological thrill. Beware! Well, I read this book because of the popular notion worldwide that this book is one of the MERE causes of women worldwide being diagnosed with “Multiple Personality Disorder”, and as a Psychology student – I tried my luck of gleaning some info into this. View all my reviews


Where the beauty of the spirit,

meets the beauty of the bones,

is the juncture of the soul to the rapturous music within.

The essence of me is of a peculiar kind,

while the folks are blind.

Blind to the tautness of my alive corse.

I wish my spirit be liberated,

and vindicated,

from the orbit of the vicious vision;

That is my mission,

won’t acquiesce in submission.

Now, the spirit is free –

and so is me!


You wish to slay me,

while I am at bay.

You wish to leave me,

on this eve.

So I shall leave now,

jus so you get pleased now,

and to make you relieved now.

 

I will grieve now,

just to relieve you.

I will achieve now,

just to make you believe now.

I do disbelieve you,

but you perceive me to deceive you.

So let me just reprieve now,

for my retribution,

which is my solution

to embrace a revolution..