Dentists Should Not Have Long Nails

I know you’re thinking, she’s come back after ages with promises of intellectual stuff, and throws this at us? Yes, my dear reader, exactly that. Why? Because it’s true. They should NOT.

I’ll tell you why. There’s the obvious; hygiene. But there’s another, less appreciated reason. There’s nothing more painful when your mouth is full of sharp pointy tools and you are at the mercy of the beholder of all the tools. And then at the exact moment you decide to trust in Allah and the dentist, there is this excruciating pain in your gum. Exactly at that moment, your dentist, concentrating elsewhere, subconsciously puts immense pressure on your gums through their…. nails? If you try to cry out in pain, the dentist will still be unable to see the source of pain and you will look like a yelping idiot.

Everyone says dentist appointments hurt. True; but what ACTUALLY hurts are AFTER-appointments. You know the feeling; that feeling as if all your teeth are about to fall out.  You can’t eat anything, you can only swallow. You look at food longingly, dreaming of the days you used to eat freely. And then you see something utterly despicable and entirely unacceptable: your sibling does not finish their plate of food at dinner. Those lowly peasants, so ungrateful! Finishing food being a sensitive subject with you, you unleash your ultimate weapon: The Death Stare. It is conveniently ignored.

Such acts take you back to your childhood; a space better left unvisited. Remembering dinner times reminds you of all the unresolved trauma you have deep inside you. The times when you would chew for hours on end long after everyone had left the table. You’d still be chewing when the table would be cleared and cleaned. You’d still be chewing when the dishes were being washed, dried and put away. That would be when the Punishment would be ordered: “Ab tum apna khana kitchen mein kharay ho kr finish karo gi.” (Now you will stand in the kitchen until you finish your food.)

A tear stained face (yours probably, although it’s best for you to tell others this vivid memory is rather blurred), looked up in the face of this merciless oppressor: thy mother. Whining and crying only strengthened her in her oppression. There was no other option. Chew in the uninviting, cold kitchen and hear the news in the other room as your siblings laugh and play amongst themselves happily. Your mother is probably secretly crying too about how you never seem to eat, but you don’t find that out until years later.

Years later, someone seems to make fun of the way your plate of food is polished and looks so clean it’s as if you didn’t even eat. Look thoughtfully away out of the window of the café and let that feeling of eating alone standing up in the kitchen let a shiver run down your spine. Then look towards them and smile and tell them to stop wasting their food as rudely as possible. That is the only way to not let anyone ever know of your torturous past.

Years after that, you stand in the kitchen cleaning up, and laugh about the whole thing with the merciless oppressor; thy mother. It sounds absurd (though it is still traumatizing) and you wonder what other absurd moments in life are you classifying as traumatizing at the moment? It is with this thought that you enter the dentist’s clinic, and as she begins, it clicks. You might be crying like an idiot as the pain intensifies, and the dentist scolds you for it, but deep inside, there’s only one thought: Dentists Should Not Have Long Nails.

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Anxiety

It’s that time of the year again. Summer. Sweat.

And anxiety.

I went to sleep really late last night — half one, or maybe later. Seven thirty I was up again, that weird feeling in my legs back again. The feeling I call anxiety. Oh well, getting up in the mornings is quite refreshing, yes? No. I spent the entire day wasting time. Plugging in my earphones, listening to nothing, wandering from this room to that. I didn’t even clean today, which is unusual. However, I did wash my part of the dishes. But that’s pretty much it.

There’s nothing I did today which would make me proud of myself, or even satisfied. I don’t know why I’m like this. I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to, I haven’t been exercising, but most importantly, I haven’t been writing. Two weeks I spent in heavenly bliss, each day so inspiring I could’ve written fourteen books, but I was too tired. And now, I’m back home, washing dishes to fill up time, and I’m not writing? If I don’t write then I will forget, if I forget it will be as if I never lived, and that will take me back to depression. Not as a relapse as in the mental disease, but the seasonal uninspired me that visits twice a year.

Anxiety. Of what? Perhaps it is time for me to face it, and I do need an audience, so hear me out. Anxiety of the future. Someone told me not to think of the rest of my life, but just set small goals like five year plans. This, although wise, has triggered off another train of anxiety. What if, after five years, I am as now, a nobody? What if I never accomplish anything in my life? What if I never achieve the one thing I want most in life — influence? As stupid as this might sound, I want to change the way things are. My country has been through a lot, and we are trying to improve the “international image” but let’s face it. Things are far from ideal. We have a long way to go.

As I write this, the ex-prime minister of my country is being arrested at Allama Iqbal international airport. Can you see my point? A thing you should know about Pakistanis — we’re always on the roads. If we’re celebrating, the roads are blocked. If we’re mourning, we are on the roads. If we’re protesting, you get me. The mobile networks have been switched off. The entire nation is glued to the T.V. screens, where no transmission of the arrest is being shown. But we’re still watching, hearing the anchors say the same things over and over again. My country is in chaos. Security personnel everywhere, trying to prevent trouble, trying to keep the peace. There are protestors still, I can see the roads on the tv as I write this, but at least it is contained.

Two blasts have been recorded so far. One in Peshawar, leaving 30 dead, one in Balochistan, leaving 70 dead. I’m not particularly an Imran Khan fan, but something he said has stayed with me. Something along the lines of an increase in terrorist activities every time Nawaz Shareef is in trouble. 100 people in two (or maybe three?) days? 100 is, for us, just a number. A number so meaningless nobody is talking about it. Mubashir Luqman’s saying there’s approximately 7-8 thousand people in protest. Well, I’m glad. We prayed and prayed for this man to face the consequences of his actions. And perhaps this is it? Who’s to know.

What does the future hold? A question that might just give me a nervous breakdown at some point. I could tear my hair out, and not just metaphorically.

What does the future hold? The corrupt prime minister has been flown to Rawalpindi to jail, along with his daughter. So what now? With elections so close, I really do not know. Who can say? But please, please, dear God, make it something good, my people could use a break. Perhaps you’d like an insider view of what it is being Pakistani, in real life? I could give you one.

What does the future hold? For me, I mean. What will I do? A little girl asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I couldn’t answer. All I could think of was my dream of becoming a dictator, but could I really say that to her? I’ve tried talking about this with multiple people, but so far nobody can take me seriously. Lol. Perks of being me.

But now? What does the future hold? Will I make another mistake? Will I regret my choices (provided I get round to making them) for the rest of my life? Will this blog grow? Will people read this far? Who is to know.

Dear God, the world is messed up. My country, which is all I have, is messed up. Life is messed up. So please, please, show us all a way. Give us a miracle. A Quaid-e-Azam-Allama-Iqbal-type miracle.

If I’ve bored you, I apologise. But perhaps you will be excited to know that the Rock in the River went to the River with the Rocks? Not the river that inspired this blog, but any river is love. I’ll come back soon, I hope. But for now, send  me (and my country and the world) a prayer! We must not lose our optimism for the future!

In urdu we say, “Umeed par duniya qaim hai.” The world exists on hope.

I’m off to make some tea, before my mum takes off her chappal (I joke). Who knows, if all else fails, I might just open a dhabba! (Please we all know I make the best chai)

Contradictory Thoughts

We had lasagne today. Coincidently, the T.V. was on during dinner. And while I indulged my taste buds in such luxurious tastes, the news came on.

Images of malnourished children. Images of children dying. Around 100,000 cases of cholera in 2017. Millions in need of humanitarian aid. Millions homeless, struggling to survive. Traumatised children. The men and the women… all those people, just… dying? Dying? Left out there to die, while we… what are we doing?

Do you know how much suffering it takes to die of disease? Do you know how starved you have to be to die of hunger? Do you know how much it takes? It is an extreme. Extreme circumstances. Circumstances that leave a person dead.

Dead.

Millions dead. Dying. Millions. Come to think of it, there’s so many individuals in a million. And then that too as a plurality. If that isn’t horrifying, I don’t know what is.

And there I was, in the middle of it all, taking an extra piece. I felt horrible. It’s such a disgraceful fact — the fact that we can just continue like nothing happened. I did that. I had another piece… and another potato. I saw those images and I should’ve felt so horrible that my appetite should’ve finished.

And I look at myself. Here I am, sometimes praying, sometimes ranting, sometimes arguing with other people about how nothing’s been done. And here I am, turning a blind eye to it all?

So is it me? Am I the fault? Am I the reason multiplied by thousands of individuals who have the capability to live normally that the world is disintegrating? Am I the cause of someone’s misery? But when I look at it… what can I do? At an individual level. If I say this to anyone in real life, they’re likely to give me a fifteen minute lecture (at the very minimum) about how it’s pessimistic people like me who are responsible for the plight of man. About how individuals come together to become a force. And that force brings change.

Pretty words. That is what they are to me: pretty words, which have no consequences in real life. Right now, I have nothing to my name. Wholly dependent for my every need. But let us think of people who are not: surely they can do the “something” required to save humanity?

But no. They have responsibilities. They have duties. They have reasons. Every person is in one way or the other, bound by his own troubles. So who does the ‘something’ that will revolutionise the world?

And what is that “something”? I don’t know. That is my conclusion. As inhumane and desensitised that sounds, that is how I can conclude.

Tales of a Sunset

As we were leaving Islamabad, it was almost maghrib. I had been dreading the long journey ahead. Tedious hours of just sitting in a car! Drivers everywhere, travelling, travelers, stressed about their destinations. The road between Islamabad and the M-2 was still under construction. For a split second, my gaze wandered to the sky. The split second turned into aeons. It was a watercolour painting. A perfectly blended painting; yellow gradually fading to pale yellow, pale yellow turning to a forget-me-not blue. Red streaks across where the clouds were closest to the sun, reflecting fury and rage. Grey streaks above the red, where the clouds were impermeable to the ferocity of the sun. A tiny silver crescent just beginning to peek out shyly.

Amongst angry drivers and big machines drilling away noisily, there was a calm. Amongst the chaos that is found on these roads on a Sunday night (as people return after the weekend), there was a sort of serenity spread out on the world. For a moment, I forgot my stress. Everything that had made me so tense this weekend, and that everyone had told me to let go of, I now realised was worthless. I “lived in the moment”, as my sister had been telling me to. Traveling never brought out the best in me, but today nature itself brought me relief. My face relaxed. Although there was no one I had to convey my joy to, although all this was just a feeling in the very depths of my heart, a tiny smile took over. Since winter departed two days ago, and spring had not yet entirely come, the trees were still dried up, leafless, lifeless. Perfect against the backdrop of the sky, a postcard.

We were now on the motorway. The red streaks were fading away as the blue slowly took over. Here, trees lined both sides of the road. The trees had leaves. Green fields spread out for miles on every side. It like was one of those expensive paintings one would expect to see in a huge victorian mansion. It was getting dark. The sky was always the hero. Trees silhouetted against a sky so intricate. Sometimes a hill came, sometimes a huge rock outlined against the sky, all seeking attention, all failing against a sky so beautiful.

Every second looking out of a moving car changed the scenery. Every second the sky and the fields and the silhouetted trees made a new masterpiece. Every second it showed the craftsmanship of the One behind it.

It was Him. Allah. He was the Artist. He was the Art.

The shy crescent now shone quite boldly. The red disappeared entirely, the wrath of the sun wrapped up by the gentle blue of the night. In the distance I could now see lights; villages and small towns located at intervals. Eventually the light blue turned to a rich, royal blue which had no place for yellows and oranges. Only the silver of the moon or the distant stars could conquer a sky so overpowering.

It was strange to think of this sky. The same sky shone over refugees, over starving, diseased children, over mourning mothers, over depressed and oppressed people. The same sky shone over crime, hate, injustice and intolerance. And yet, it was this same sky that painted a picture for me, for my peace, stretching for miles and miles across. It was this same sky that inspired poetry.

And I rested my head against the window; once again worries returning to my tired head, dreading all that was to come, the night clouding my thinking and wrapping around my head.

Slumber

It was the only day of the week where she knew she could sleep with the gas heater on. Not because this was a weekly suicidal ritual that she religiously performed, but because she knew there would be someone to turn it off.

Tonight, she was tired. With lights turned off and the blaring noise of the television in the next room, she was aware that she only had a few hours to sleep. Come, sleep, come. Come before the night has faded and trials afresh await my doom. Come.

It came, but in slow, unsure steps. Like the carbon monoxide that slowly filled up the room as she awaited her half death. Perhaps it was not sleep, but this gas, which slowly suffocated her to slumber as she thought of the exact time required by the gas to fill up this room and deprive her of air. How odd.

The slumber now surrounded her like the stars that never shone in her sky anymore. She was losing herself, and she was aware. A conscious unconsciousness. Collateral beauty. Her eyes gently closed as the warm orange rays lit up the room to a comfortable resting place. A comfortable last resting place, as they would’ve said later.

Who was to know if this was a half death, or slumber in eternity?

Incessant Dreaming

It had been a few days. Hunger and lethargy floated somewhere amongst these transitions of conscious into unconscious, reality into dream, clarity into haze. A constant thump thump of the raindrops on the tin roof could be heard. A fragile hand tried to move in the darkness of the shabby hut. Was this real? Was it a dream? Everything seemed a dream these days. How long though? How long had this incessant dreaming been continuing? Who knew. And who cared. Because it was true! An insignificant being dying in a dismal hut of hunger and starvation. It didn’t alter the course of the universe. It didn’t hinder the path of the sun. And it didn’t stop this monsoon rain.

The much needed rain. The rain prayed for, the rain begged for.

Yet what good did it do to a dying being? A dying being incessantly dreaming. For the world refused to acknowledge the being as human. But even so, the being had no control over its being. The rain drops seemed to be getting bigger and bigger now. The humidity was suffocating. Soon they were as big as that listless hand. The humidity might turn solid any moment now. The rain drops were bigger than the cars by now: every single drop fell as if a bomb attempting to destroy everything on the face of the earth. And then amongst all the chaos: a thunderous knocking. The door was weak, perhaps weaker than the inhabitant, but it put up a good fight. The inhabitant swore and tried to convince his brain to convince his body to move. The pounding on the door increased, the rain drops got bigger, the humidity got more humid. The being was gasping for air, all the while thinking why was it so difficult to breathe when there was a deprivation of food and not air? The door must’ve opened. The being heard a loud bang where the door hit the wall. Or maybe the door fell down. It was so difficult to tell what was going on. Was this even real? If only reality and dream would distinguish between themselves! Even vision was a burden. And then it was no more. Black.

The being gasped for air until it gasped no more.


Writing prompt:

Incessant dreaming (day 8)

Vacant Stares

The river, it flows

Reflecting images in its course

It gushes forth, every second

A new image

Images never seen by humanity

Images the river hides

Images. The rocks’ secrets.

Of everything that took place

But wasn’t ever seen by eyes

The eyes that

When witnessed miracles

Nature’s greatest

Blinked.

And turned away

Often looked down

At artificial screens

In the presence of Grandeur.

So nature, in revenge,

Feeling insulted

At something the Creator

of the moon created

Being rejected,

Took away their sights

So that they never saw

And all that remained

Were vacant stares


I know I’m not doing these prompts everyday, and BELIEVE ME I had some pretty cool ideas too, but I just didn’t have the time! Also, I love how they make me think! It’s so fun. If you haven’t tried this already, why don’t you check it out here? Also, I’m doing two different prompts at the same time. So you can check out the other one in the previous post.

Check this one out here:

https://puttingmyfeetinthedirt.com/2017/10/01/october-writing-prompts/