Friday, 20 February 2015

Akhetan

Akhetan,
If everything goes as planned, this letter will find you on the morning of the twenty-fifth, 2060; on the day when the fate of twelve million people will rest in your hesitant fingers. Because today will be the day you will be commanded to annihilate the North East. As you man the battle-station, I want my voice to be your voice of reason. As your heart-oh so sensitive- pleads you to abort the mission, I want your mind to resonate with my words.
 Mercy. Honour. Compassion. Hollow words, Akhetan. Hollow. They will not protect your new-born son as he is ripped from the bosom of his frightened mother. They will not shield your wife from your own comrades, who will brand you a traitor in a heartbeat. Oh no. No one will aid your parents, as their brittle fingers snap under the boots of your fellow soldiers. No one will come. And no one will drape the corpses of your family, even out of pity, as they lie rotting in a dump.
Your conscience will tell you to abort this mission. A lying, miserable thing it is, your conscience. It will advocate the righteousness of this choice by giving vain examples of ethics and integrity. But let me tell you this. Your sense of satisfaction, of virtue, will not numb the pain of a dozen needles in your arms. This integrity will not regenerate your chopped off toes. No. And don’t fool yourself into thinking you have done the right thing. Because your morality is only what years of being brought up in a certain environment has taught you. And I spit at this false sense of morality. You will too, if you deviate from your purpose. In my cell, every night after they engrave a part of my skin with obscene words, I say a prayer. I don’t pray for strength to endure the torture. I pray for death. But they won’t give me that. They will drive me to its doors and then snap me back at the very last moment. A traitor, Akhetan, is a hero only in the tattered pages of a children’s fairytale. A righteous man, nothing but a fable. It seems easy to judge what the right thing is. But what is the right thing, Akhetan? Those twelve million haven’t done anything for you. You are a stranger to them. You don’t owe them anything. But your own blood? The hands that held you as you started to walk. The eyes that look upon you with love and affection and trust. What about those people, Akhetan? Do you not owe them a peaceful life? When your fingers linger over that button today, think about them. And think about what will happen to them as a consequence of your pitiful, righteous choice.
Even now, your heart screams at you, bombards you with deplorable emotions such as guilt. How can you murder a fifth of humanity? Women, children, unborn babes yet to feel the warmth of the sun on their faces? Shut it out, Akhetan. Your heart can fill you with bravery-another despicable emotion- for only so long. But once you are branded a traitor, and you feel the heat of the branding iron on your chest, it will be your heart begging for mercy. None of which you shall ever have. A second of bravery, of honour, on your part will lead to decades of torment. Oh you will survive of course. Survive, wishing every second for death.
This is war, Akhetan and you are a soldier. Even if you forget everything else, remember that. Remember that always. And a soldier always follows orders. How did that rhyme go, the one you were taught in school? Through gunfire and landmines and bombs, a soldier marches on and on and on...
Call me a coward. Call me heartless. But I am you, Akhetan. Your future. And I have had thirty three years to reflect on the choice you made that day. Thirty three years of humiliation, pain, and torment. And you know what the icing on the cake is? Not one of those twelve million came to rescue me. Not one.  
I beg you to relieve me of this misery. There is not much honour left in me, but I suppose there is some in you.  For my sake, I beg you to do your duty. And after that, for the sake of that honour, I beg you to die.
Yours no more,
Akhetan

P.S. This story was originally written for Camous Diaries' monthly writing contests (Write Club).
P.P.S. I know I have been away for a while. Here's to hoping regular posts will continue.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

All that is left is silence...

My fingers trace the dust lined walls; derelict.
There was a school here once, they say.
A school that resonated with the chants of the alphabet,
with laughter, with innocence, with dreams.
But I can not see it, in these crumbling walls
in the silence,
in the absence of those carefree voices.

It swallows me, this emptiness.
It wasn't always empty, they say.
Inside these walls was life,
as vibrant, as jolly, as bursting with energy
as a galaxy of stars; immortal.
But it is gone now.
In these broken chairs, cracked windows, abandoned backpacks,
the only thing left
is silence...

This heinous act unites us,
in our battle against such monstrosities.
And we shall stand together
6 billion of us fighting for the hundred of you.
And when our struggle starts to fade,
Your memories shall be our fuel
The absence of your voices, our bugle.
And we shall strive for victory
yearn for compassion.
Rest in peace, little ones.
I'm sorry we couldn't save you.
But you won't be forgotten.
We are here...
We are here... 

My heart goes out to those little kids and their families. May they find the strength to bear this loss. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

SOULLESS Cover Reveal!




 

The amazing Crystal Collier is out with a new book! Introducing...


SOULLESS

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 
"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer
 
About Crystal:
Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.
 
Sounds awesome? Pre-order it here! 
 
All the best for your book Crystal! =)
 


Thursday, 19 June 2014

VisDare: Restoration


A chilling scream breaks out and I whirl around and spot her, her chubby face contorted with horror, her mouth gaping wide. I rush to her and steer her away from the madness, from death.
"What's wrong with them?" She whispers beneath sobs. "Mommy and daddy," I reply and my voice catches in my throat. I don't know how to tell her, but she guesses. The intensity of her wails increase.
What do you say to six-year old? I can't tell her it'll be okay. Because it will never be okay. It'll never be the same. The tears will stop, yes. But like a dried up river, they will leave a meandering scar on your heart; of how things were and how they could be. 
I hold her close as she sobs and screams and finally weeps silently, exhausted and helpless. I can't 'fix' things for her, for us. But I can avenge. A plan forms.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

S.O.S.: Satisfaction vs. Ambition

 
Photo by Saad Ibrahim
(Please don't use)


Since time immemorial we have been subjected to two seemingly dichotomous trains of thought. One that portrays satisfaction as the highest spiritual goal. And the other that regards ambition as the front runner of development. To believe in these two ideologies simultaneously is very much like running while standing still. And yet, everyone seems blissfully unaware of this fact, and continues to tell themselves that they are satisfied as well as ambitious. So today I'll leave you with this thought.
We strive for satisfaction. Day in and day out, all our hard work is done to achieve this utopian state of complete contentment. But the more we have the more we crave. For satisfaction is a mirage. Just like a thirsty traveller in a desert spots water just over the sand dune, we see the end to our wanderings at the next job, the next gadget, the next luxury. And just like the water, it vanishes as soon as our worn feet tread to its edge. Ambition, on the other hand, drives us forward. It lures us with the prospect of finding water ahead along with a small cottage and maybe a camel? We tread and tread thinking we have a definite plan until one day the realization hits. Satisfaction is an illusion. And ambition the fuel that propels us towards this illusion. 

What are your thoughts on the dichotomy between satisfaction and ambition? Which one do you prefer? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!


Sunday, 1 June 2014

S.O.S: Letting off some steam

Introducing Speak Out Sunday (or S.O.S) to voice opinions that might be different than your average Jane Doe's. You can contribute to the discussion by commenting or posting responses on your blog and leaving a link in the comments. 
Oh and don't worry, flash fiction and poetry will soon resume, (hopefully next week). Until then...

 Letting off some steam
Religion is a response to revelation, and different people respond to revelation differently.”
-John Green
This article, in its entirety, stems from two things. The above mentioned quote and my personal dissatisfaction (which I am sure is echoed by millions) of the inherent stereotypes that emerge from my religious belief.
The purpose of writing this article is not to explain Islam. There are people who can do that task infinitely better. The purpose of this article is to examine the prevalent ideology that associates Muslims to a monolithic people, where all one billion of us are answerable for the crimes of handful. I said Muslims and not Islam because Islam is monolithic. It's principles are articulated in the Holy Quran and are supplemented by the ahadith. It is us, the followers, whose varying interpretations is the root of all the trouble. The religion teaches us peace, I can assure you of that and so can countless other scholars. But we can't ignore the constant bombardment of verified and unverified news that accuse our religion for the problems of the world. Because there are people out there who claim to be pure Muslims and who capture, murder, torture in the name of Islam. Because there are people out there who profess a love for Allah and in lieu of that love, demean, devastate and destroy the lives of others. But at the same time, there are us Muslims, present in various stratas of a fragmented society, who live an ordinary life, trying to wrap our head around the fact that our every move is being publicly scrutinized. That there are some people who attest that they are fighting for us, for our rights and our freedom, even though we have never asked for a war and they have never consulted us about the same. It is us who live a life of constant fear. It is us who are discriminated every day. It is us who are tagged as terrorists, the only evidence being our recitation of the shahada. It is us who have to endure the public denigration of our religion. It is us who suffer for the crimes of others. And it is their understanding of Islam that is unanimously considered the only one. And so I ask you a question. What is it that validates their interpretation of Islam? What is it that legitimizes their definition and negates ours? Is it because they manage to make it to the headlines every day? Or is it because the rest of us, consciously or unconsciously, keep out of them?
We can continue to harp about the true principles of Islam. We can write article after article enunciating our beliefs. Or we can act. Open up counter organisations, orphanages, NGOs, relief camps and schools. The bottom line is, we have to fight for the true identity of our religion. We have to transform the image of jihad from murdering innocents to saving millions.
The internet already overflows with arguments against terrorist outfits. A curious person is free to research and form his own conclusions. But the masses, who either don't have the time or the energy to expend on this long (and confusing) process, whose only source of enlightenment is the media, would forever remain ignorant of this other and significant fraction of us. There are many muslims who have done and try to do great deeds for the world. But they have failed to garner attention for the simple reason that the rest of us find faults in them. Astagfirullah, we shout, she claims she knows about her deen! Look at her make-up infested face. He will guide us to the right path? His clothes are western. You have only read the translation of Quran and that permits you to question the scholars? Exile him. He is not a Muslim. And so it proceeds. From what you wear, to the fact that you choose to converse in English can bring the wrath of the community upon you. Instead of praising the deeds said person has done, we chide, rebuke and humiliate him or her for the slightest of flaws.*If we can not stand together, we have lost the right to blame 'external forces' for driving us apart. We have to realize that if we want respect for our religion and for ourselves, we first have to learn to respect others. And I am not talking only about Muslims, but the people at large. We need to 'agree to disagree' with those of differing opinions. We need to stop threatening people with hell fire and respect their choices.* After all, we are no one to judge. If we are desirous of gaining honour, we should be ready to honour too.
So this entire rant boils down to one thing. And it is a solemn cry to all the people of this world. Learn to respect. And also research before forming an opinion. Debate instead of argue and love instead of hate. Maybe its not too late yet.



*P.S. I am not advocating a society where we stay mum to those who promote inherently wrong beliefs (read: justifying stealing, murder or rape)(oh and bombs). I envision a society where baseless allegations are replaced by an intelligent discourse, where a different opinion is met by an engaging discussion and not the “you-will-go-to-hell” phrase that thrives in both the cyber and the real world.


Sunday, 25 May 2014

Writing Contest

I chanced upon WRiTE CLUB yesterday while scrolling through my google feed.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-vPXU61E7CNs/U1sOVskR2sI/AAAAAAAACgU/6o_CnZv9crQ/s1600/WRiTE+CLUB+Logo2.jpg 

What is WRiTE CLUB, you ask? Well, in the words of the creator himself, " It’s a modest writing competition whose inspiration was derived from the movie FIGHT CLUB."
The rules are on the link I provided above. I might or might not be participating this year. Truth be told, the entire concept of 'anonymous entries' intrigues me. This should be fun. 
Anyway, go check out the link, write your entry and submit! See you all in the 'ring'.

Are you signing up? Any other ongoing contest that you know about? 
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