Public Harassment

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I came out of the underground tube station and crossed the road to reach the bus stop. I noticed the bus was not due for another ten minutes and since there were already quite a few people standing around I moved off to the side a little. It was late afternoon, almost sunset and I had headphones on as I waited for my bus to arrive. There was a man, seemingly in his late forties sanding not far from the bus stop, beer bottle in hand, noticeably drunk.

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Confined

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From the moment the words left his lips, she began to doubt him. With every fragment of her being and from the very core of her existence, she refused to believe that what he said could be real. But no matter how much she tried, she could not escape the unmistakable reflection of truth in his eyes.

His words all but brushed over her but the intense pull of his eyes continued to hold her captive.

They portrayed the essence of his feelings; the agony, the love, the yearning, the fear and above all his utter faith and trust in her.  They were the very mirrors to his soul.

Like magnets they pulled her towards them, unyielding and unwilling to let go. She saw a reflection of herself in their very midst, mockingly daring her to look away. With each second that ticked by she felt herself drawn in by his powerful gaze and somewhere deep down she finally acknowledged her helplessness…

nadia nawaz

Faraway lands, a secret paradise

Street kid in Kabul-Afghanistan © David Belluz

“Somehow, even in the worst of times, the tiniest fragments of good survive. It was the grip in which one held those fragments that counted.” ― Melina Marchetta
(Street kid in Kabul-Afghanistan) © David Belluz

Sitting in the corner of the market, on a dirty abandoned street once so full of life she closed her eyes. She had been walking for many days now, passing by ruins and dilapidated houses always in shambles, mostly unoccupied. Her journey had been long and arduous  with no destination in sight. All she saw were reminders of the atrocities committed by other men. Men who claimed to come bearing the name of peace. The reminders were painful, bringing with them memories she had long before tried to forget. They clung to her like a disease, growing in weight as the days slowly dragged on.

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Daring to dream

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How she longed with every fragment of her tiny being, to be beyond the hopelessness and confusion of her down-trodden life, the misery and scorn of unfulfilled dreams and the hurt and loss of failure.

Her secret refuge  was where she found peace, a place where her mind took her and allowed her to glimpse a timeless paradise hidden behind a secluded doorway if only but for a moment. Where the joy and happiness which filled her heart would not come crashing down without a moment’s warning. Where pain and longing were feelings unheard of.

A place where her life was beyond the wickedness and evil which war brought with it. A sanctuary, where one could dare to dream and hope filled the air with its dazzling presence. Where young love was not  scorned and passion was allowed to run its due course. Where a mind and heart would not bleed away with the burden of all the pain chained up inside. Where the innocence of children would not be tainted by hideous sights of death and destruction. Where eyes would no longer weep for loss and pain but sparkle with merriment and wonder. Where each moment would be worth living and every creature would be thankful, brimming with contentment at last.A place where only dreams could come true!

nadia nawaz

Uncertainty

A simple decision-that lethal eight letter word which has the ability to turn your world upside down and inside out. Keeping you on edge until the very last moment; waiting for you to take one wrong turn so it can screw you with a vengeance.

Frustration slowly but surely begins to mount, the pressure builds up at the back of your head, leading to a point when the next person who dares to offer a word to counter your argument becomes the target of your rage and you beat down upon them in retaliation, looking for an outlet for all that stress. That sudden knee jerk reaction, forced out of compulsion leads to consequences far greater than you could imagine.

Humans are programmed to rely on one another’s opinion. What becomes hard is when there are too many paths to follow and only a single decision to make. The weight of which rests on your shoulders, causing you to stand there silently and suck it up with a brave face or else be trodden on and brushed aside with the flick of a finger.

Life you see is race; a race which we have all been destined to run. The path we take however depends solely upon us. We can either choose one way or another. The outcome of which is decided only upon the completion of our journey. That’s when we begin to realise how badly we’ve screwed up. Blaming does no good; for the opinion provided may have been wrong, but the option to follow it was entirely a matter of our own choice.


Choices and decisions go hand in hand. For what may look all glittery and easy on the exterior could certainly have a horrifying interior. Carefully concealed and hidden with perfection. But that’s the uncertainty of life; after all, the life we live is imperfect.

Does the name really matter?

A couple of weeks ago I met a girl who is studying at Oxford University. She also happens to be the same age as I am. What really struck me about her right away was her ability to get along so well with everyone in the room. Being a rather quiet person myself, I admire this trait in people; to be able to adapt so well to any situation. I appreciated her confidence, and friendliness. However that friendly manner didn’t last for long, especially when I became the microbe under her set of lens.

Right from the onset of our conversation I could see her evaluating me, carefully watching my every move. Since girls tend to do this when they first meet one another, I didn’t take much notice of it and carried on talking, trying to keep up the flow of conversation.

All was good until the subject drifted to that of our respective universities. I knew she was studying at Oxford and for lack of anything else to talk about, asked how she got in. It was a simple question, put out of curiosity and admiration of her achievements. The last thing I wanted was to make her feel confronted. However, that’s exactly how she took it. Her entire behaviour towards me suddenly changed, as though she were challenging me to somehow prove otherwise- I decided to overlook it-not long after though, realising I wasn’t studying in Harvard, Cambridge or even Oxford for that matter, she seemed to undermine me. Her way of conversing with me changed as though she thought I was incapable of following her through. Or that my intellectual capabilities didn’t quite match up to hers. Throughout the evening I could feel her eyes on me every time I said something or added anything to the group conversation we were having.  Calculating every response I gave, judging me, slowly matching me up against a list she had laid out in her head.

Though very pleasant and formal on the exterior, I could tell her behaviour towards me had changed and that she no longer liked me. I began to analyse myself, wondering whether I had said something to upset her. But after backtracking through the entire evenings events, it finally hit me. Somewhere along the line of our conversation she had decided that I fell way beyond her standards, and my ability to portray myself didn’t add up to hers. This was solely because I happen to be studying at a good university, instead of studying at the very best one with the crème de la crème; way up top where she is.

Realising this disappointed and annoyed me. These day’s people seem to judge your intellectual abilities and mind-set based on the organisation you studied at, be it at college or university level. We also seem to mentally rate a person based on the job they have or the particular company they work for and the level of their responsibilities within that company. People seem to favour you based on this very fact. The ‘name’ matters, whether you match up to the set standards of the place or not. For example a person studying at Cambridge may be a rubbish speaker and completely inept at dealing with people where as a person studying at Imperial may be extremely eloquent and able to portray themselves with excellence when put in any situation. However many people seem to overlook this and will favour the Cambridge student, assuming them better and smarter than the student from Imperial.

a person studying at Cambridge may be a rubbish speaker and completely inept at dealing with people where as a person studying at Imperial may be able to portray themselves with excellence when put in any situation.

a person studying at Cambridge may be a rubbish speaker and completely inept at dealing with people where as a person studying at Imperial may be able to portray themselves with excellence when put in any situation.

When I first started college, I went through many such incidents where I was undermined and thought less of, simply because I went to a less popular college. The person in question would come up and ask me where I had gotten admission. After hearing my answering, I would be looked upon with a mixture of disdain and pity, followed by the question, “Didn’t you study hard enough in school?” This troubled me immensely. I always felt the need to justify myself; explaining why I wasn’t going to the best college in town, since it was over an hour away from my house and extremely inconvenient and I had a just as good college down the road. But no, the aunties didn’t get this. They always loved hammering home the fact that their daughter got into that “best college”, trying to imply the fact that I wasn’t good enough for it despite my having better grades than their daughters.

However, the irony of the situation three years later is this; all my friends and class mates who ended up at the said “best college” in town, once there, no longer felt the need to study any more since they were already as high up as they could be. This ultimately led them to early engagements and now most of them are: a) already married, straight out of college without a university degree or b) engaged, no longer interested in studying but sucking it up at the same college trying to get through some useless degree just to please their parents.

I on the other hand, despite being at an average college for two years had to work hard which has ultimately benefited me in the long run.

I’m sure many of you can relate to this situation, if not something similar. The institution you study at should not define who you are. This is not a big enough or valid enough reason to demean someone or make them feel somehow inferior. Stereotypes such as these will only cause a person to develop an unnecessary complex which cannot be justified.

In the long run employers may not even ask for the name of your university. What matters to them foremost is the way in which you come across to them as a person, your ability to converse well and handle a situation as well as the level of your degree. A person having a first class honours from Brunel University may be preferred over a third class degree holder from Oxford.

Another important point people fail to consider, is the rank of the department or school within the university. For example the math department at Imperial is just as good, if not better, than the math department at Oxford and is often preferred by students as it saves travel time, hence proving to be an advantage in the long run.

What matters most is studying something which you have a knack for, and are happy at doing. These three or four years will pass by in a whiz and years later down the line, all we will have left is memories.

No Longer Human

Robotic like movements are carried out in succession by tired, worn out limbs. Eyes so full of sadness seem to be drowning in their sorrow. The brown depths of their centre, brimming with tears unshed. Yet after one long look my way he seems to give up and continue his task, not looking up again until he knows for certain that I have glanced away. A construction worker, his young faced etched with grim lines, his hands hardened by the heat and toughness of his work. He carries on, day in and day out, unaware, detached and completely silent.

His silence makes me want to reach out to him, to learn his story, to share my own. But we remain caged in. Our individual walls, carefully constructed and resilient as ever, hold us back. Away from the world outside we proceed, in our solitude.

Often at times, we come across people whose eyes seem to tell a story. Their faces engraved with pain, stories from their past seem to be haunting them, yet they try to hide behind a shallow, cheerful mask with which they fool the masses day after day. If you try to search their eyes, you will see there, the hurt and sorrow which they try to otherwise, keep hidden.

Word's are meaningless, unable to explain the sorrow which these young eyes hold..

Word’s are meaningless, unable to explain the sorrow which these young eyes hold..

The human-such a lowly, insecure being. Unaware of each other’s plight we live each day, content within that little bubble of ours, so carefully constructed around us. Lost within the hollow hybrid of our own being we seem to crave the solitude of our own selves. Slowly, shutting out all that pains us. We seem so satisfied to gradually wither away, not feeling an ounce of suffering.  Not caring, not grieving, not giving. Alone, aloof and oblivious. Not letting other’s reach too far inside for fear of what they might find.

Yet we kid no one but ourselves. Deep down those demons and emotions, carefully concealed over time, are raging a battle. Wanting to let themselves loose and drown you in despair they eat away at you day after day. Your resilience slowly seems to be slipping away. With time, you no longer see the point of trying, and give in to fight. You give up-you lose!

Soon depression sets in. Bring on all the therapist of the world; no one is able to cure you, for only you hold the cure. The tincture for happiness lies within you, within us all.

Photo credits: Moaz Ali, Location:Pakistan

Photo credits: Moaz Ali, Location:Pakistan

Our lives lack the carefree happiness, and simple joy which people once had. Those little pleasures around which people’s lives once revolved, no longer mean much. We no longer care for minute little details, little emotion and gestures don’t touch us. We scoff at them, often finding them meaningless and useless. The reason: we aren’t satisfied. Our want for more and better has led us to a state of dissatisfaction, discontentment and frustration. Depression is becoming more common in younger people and it is no longer strange when we hear that our friends, as young as us have been in therapy. Isn’t this something we should question, rather than accept? Why are we so ready to give in to the fight? What happened to the human within us, the part which felt other’s pain and wanted to lend a helping hand? We no longer see the pain other’s might be going through. We choose to overlook, to remain unaware and remote.

Pathetic, unfeeling, insecure and afraid-A fickle, insignificant nobody in an evil, corrupt world is who we have become…