Illustration by Tao Te Ching

The world of virtual reality is roaring with perfection, but the world around her is crashing, gradually turning to ashes. A penetrating sensation lingers in the body, like something is crawling through the veins. As people walk around her with smiles that only seem to be authentic, her eyes search for something that doesn’t seem to be in reach.

She walks into the house and observes every single piece of furniture that has been so immaculately positioned into it’s spot. The lamp in the very corner that she never switches off, the dusty television sitting on a gigantic table that…

Photo by Edgar Hernández on Unsplash

Nothing ever comes without vexation attached to it. I often wonder, why am I fretting over things that I have no control of? What do I wish to do when all I experience is displacement? The crowds don’t serve my emotional isolation. Words don’t pacify the grieving heart. Why doesn’t anything seem to arouse happiness in that complicated brain of mine?

Maybe, because I am a woman. The way I perceive things is different and has little more to it than the naked eye sees. But the world, especially the opposite gender, wouldn’t agree on half the things a woman…

Welcome to my world, the world that I have been so devotedly building, then dismantling and then remodeling all together; only to realize that my world will never remain the same any day of the month or year. My world’s ability to transform, adapt and survive is its immortality.

For some people life is a journey that they embark on without any objections, everything that they encounter is either a test or a blessing. They are content with any route that might show up on their way to the final destination. Then there are those that can’t seem to find…

Books became my abode when I couldn’t secure happiness from reality around me. I know, to most it will sound bizarre, but sifting through hundreds of pages, comprehending characters I had no connection to and experiencing emotions I had not yet felt allowed me to step into a reality that was off-centre. From the time my hands held the first book to read, things were never the same. I lived many realities.

When Michelle Obama published her book in 2018, I was trapped in the storm of seeking “normalcy” in a new place. As badly as I wanted to take…

Art by Robella Arham

“I have been praying to God,” she said, looking down at her feet and playing nervously with her fingers. “I feel this void in my life, the void relating to the desire of having a partner, and it’s not that I am unhappy but sometimes, just sometimes, I feel lonely.

She spoke with such softness and sincerity that I could not help but think of how little we know people around us. Those who seem strong, independent, successful, have-it-all-together; experience emptiness in their lives too. My mind was racing through multiple questions that I wanted to ask her, but I…

Art by Robella Arham

We reside in a world that is constantly shifting, not just geographically but politically, economically and socially as well. Yet, some things seem to remain stagnant. Growing up, I witnessed the turmoils various relationships go through. I was exposed to the vulnerability of romance. But what struck me the most was the compassion of a man towards a woman and vice versa.

The thought haunted me for the longest time, it faded during my struggles but knocked on the door the minute I had the liberty to think. “Is it possible to be with someone and still not love them?”…

Through the silence of night, they snore and rest
Breathing louder than my inner distress
Every morning there is freshly brewed coffee, but no guests
I know you know this is how it ends

You and I belong to this uncertainty that life recommends
Work, money and sex is all that persists
Only when the world sleeps, we realize there is more to that
I know you know we were born to progress

Then what holds you back my love? Is it the fear of drowning?
Are doubts, opinions and words tilting your crown?
I know you know you’ll still resurrect.
So let that little part of you take control- I know you know

Charleston, South Carolina

Every day, for the past ten years or so, since the time I actually began to understand relationships; I have had people say to one another, “I’ll always be there for you.” Recently, something caught my attention on Facebook. A post that explained how adult friendships are not based upon your presence in somebody’s life through thick and thin. No doubt that’s true. But there is another reality to this truth.

As you grow up and unravel new chapters of life, relationships change. It doesn’t necessarily mean that those people walk out of your life, it just means you talk…

“Do you miss home?” she asked while steaming the milk. “I really don’t know,” I whispered while playing with my fingers, “A part of me does and then there is a tiny part of me that abhors thinking about it.”

Quite a few times people look at me in bewilderment and ask if the process of immigrating was difficult on me. My initial thought is “I haven’t thought about it that much,” but my response is always “Yes!”

And now that I come to think of it, I know why.
Immigrants don’t have the “time” to think about their displacement. Walking…

Dreaming is a potion we all take to bridge the gap between the real and surreal. We all have thought of things that have been accused of destroying mankind yet we search of a way to reach out to them. Yes, I am talking about the dream that has been narrated and voiced by so many writers- the dream of living in an exotic land, seeing new things and stepping out of the comfort zone to experience the mesmerizing. But one shall never get oblivious to the thin line between reality and dreaming. …

Afifa Zaheer

Writer | Poetess

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