College began a few weeks ago, as did the three-day ritual sacrifice of the students. First, the external facilitators came and showered the social work students with the knowledge they had grown tired of gaining, and then, their own professors showed up in order to facilitate the sacrificial ceremony and considered it something just short of a regular lecture because it was given under the tag of a ‘program’.

A not so enthusiastic crowd of students gathered up the courage to attend classes in the morning and later enter their respective slaughter-houses where the facilitators waited with a sharp razor, ready to give each one of them a clean haircut, regardless of whether or not you wanted one. Most of the to-be-sacrificed went through the process like an unwilling child who sits in the barber’s chair, waiting for the moment when he’d be presented with the chocolate for being good – they waited for the credits.

Some bold beasts decided to resist, unaware that a lost attendance meant an unnecessary payment so they could go through the same torture later in the semester, during class hours, and lose out on important lessons and attendance in the class.

This time however, it wasn’t just the cramming of heads with a known knowledge, but an ‘activity session’ where the students were converted into unwilling high-class street sweepers, petitioners, and traffic cops.

The facilitators started out well by introducing themselves and the topic they were to speak on; then one spoke rather violently about the issue of domestic violence, and the one who was to speak about sustainable development ended up discussing the difference between sex and gender; youth challenges were accurate, but the gender sensitization session was strictly for ‘the disciples of Friary’, and the presentation on health consisted of all the useless email forwards from the year 2007 you found in your inbox when a distant relative or an annoying aunt got her hands on your email id.

The climax to this series or torturous three-day student sacrifice festival consisted of one man alone, who pulled the students out of the slaughter-houses, had them put on gloves, hold placards and talk to rest of the civilization, looking like loons, as they picked up the garbage on traffic signals, forgetting about cleaning their own college, and asked the drivers of every vehicle to ‘clean their mess’.  A petition against water privatization was involved in the game, but most of the students didn’t know what to do with it, so the facilitator dispersed them for lunch.

The post lunch session was a scene out of a kindergarten classroom where the students sat in group, with a chart paper and a box of crayons, drawing images of what they did throughout the day. To make things more ‘lively’, an overused psychological experiment was held in order to boost the morale and self-confidence among the sacrificed crowd. That’s a technique used by advertisers today – first they make you feel useless for what you look like, then offer a clichéd, useless product to make you feel better.

‘Hon, are those wrinkles? And whoa! Is that a GREY HAIR?! Maybe you should go for this useless product that’ll probably give you cancer….’


Nobody loves me,
but nobody hates me either;
I am like an okay kid.
I am Wednesday…

I am the third of five siblings
in a farmer’s dwelling;
nobody asks me anything.
I am Wednesday…

I am the symbolic gesture
of the words you mutter
when everything goes wrong;
I am Wednesday…

I feel left out sometimes,
because people know the other days,
but nobody knows me.
I am Wednesday…

‘Manic Monday’ said the Bangles,
and Tuesday was Taylor’s day,
Black covered the rest,
but no one said ‘Wednesday’…

I am not a child;
too far from Friday,
I am not an adult;
not close enough to Monday…

I am stuck forever
in the awkward teenage phase,
I don’t know where I belong.
I am Wednesday…


I only saw a photo of him, once, in his aunt’s phone – and I was in love with him. When his father, my friend Ali, told me that I could be his Godmother, I was overjoyed, and with tears in my eyes, I kept chanting the name of my little godson over and over again.

Hussein. Hussein Ali. Born to Ali Ali and his wife Saba on 21st March 2015 in Sana’a, Yemen, Hussein now had a Godmother in India. The innocent soul came into this world when all he would ever know was being torn apart. His parents were due getting divorced, the country was at war, and the little one’s father was hundreds of miles away in India, where his own mother was getting a medical treatment.

His father was impatient. Not being able to return to his country and his family, and not being able to embrace his dear son was frustrating him. Although he had grown to love India, he wanted to go back to where he belonged, no matter how bad a warzone it may have become.

‘I’ll come back with my son, and work here. I want to settle in India.’ He had said before he left.

When his father left India, Sana’a was in flames. Missiles dropped into the backyards of houses like bird-shit on a car’s windshield. It never missed the civilians, and always caused damages. He was terrified. Crying at nights and not being able to sleep, being hungry and hiding, because the houses were falling like dominoes… Hussein did this when he was less than two months old and still depended on others for everything there was.

I don’t know what his fault was. Maybe just that he was born a Yemeni. His future is a broken blackboard buried under the rubble, but maybe his father will really return with him to India, and maybe they will start a new life. Maybe I will meet my godson. Maybe he’ll love me too.


6th May, 1532 HRS

Pippa: Hey! Where are you? I don’t see my prince in the garden! Lol

Ezra: Haha! I’m with your brother, he’s taking me somewhere..

Pippa: Ooh, where are you off to?

Ezra: I have no idea

Pippa: Be safe, lol
He’s kidnapping you!
We need more people like you in London, we won’t send you back! Say good bye to France! Lol

Ezra: Hahahahaha :D

Pippa: It was my idea to kidnap you, btw

Ezra: Lol, I don’t think so
You’re an angel!

Pippa: Yea, but I can be really mean if I want to ;)

Ezra: Haha! What a girl you are!

Pippa: Yes, I will kidnap you and keep you nice and safe because you’re a nice person and I like you :D

Ezra: Hahahahahaha

Pippa: Oh, and please eat something before you plan on getting kidnapped like this, lol

Ezra: Haha, yes, ok

Pippa: Lol
No, but seriously where are you going?

Ezra: Sea Shell Restaurant

Pippa: Ooh, what a thoughtful kidnapper my brother is! Feeding you before kidnapping you! :’)
Faith in humanity #restored. So proud of him <3

Ezra: Hahaha

Pippa: Ok, enjoy your meal! :)

Ezra: Thanks

Incoming call: Conner – 6th May, 1613 HRS
Outgoing call: Franny – 6th May 1759 HRS
Incoming call: Conner – 6th May, 1803 HRS

LONDON | 8th May 2015


Ezra Barge, a 29 year old Frenchman residing on Avondale Road in South Croydon was found murdered in north-east London woods. The accused are identified as Conner Hill, 27 and his sister Pippa Hill, 19, neighbours of the deceased. Barge was here on a work visa and was due to return to his country in the next three months. Pippa Hill, who is said to have fallen in love with the already married Barge, decided not to let him go.

She convinced her brother to kidnap Barge and keep him in their cottage in north-eastern London until the day of his departure had passed. Conner Hill set out on 6th May with Barge in his car. They stopped at a restaurant where Hill laced Barge’s food with sedatives. He then called his sister and told her they were on the way to the cottage.

The sedatives had worn off before Hill could lock Barge, and an afraid Barge started hollering. To knock him unconscious, Hill hit him on the head with a chair. The hit proved fatal and Hill then fled the scene and informed his sister of the mishap.

Upon investigation, the London Police Department found a chat Barge had had with Pippa Hill. She had clearly stated that it was her idea to kidnap him and not let him go back to France. ‘I will kidnap you and keep you nice and safe because you’re a nice person and I like you’ the text read. Barge shrugged off the matter as a joke of a young girl, a mistake that cost him his life.

It was found that the Hill family has had Socio-psychopathy running in their family. Both the siblings were affected by it. While Pippa Hill was an acute Socio-psychopath, her brother showed next to no symptoms of the psychological disorder.

The case has been present in the high court and a verdict is awaited.


She was the inn owner’s young daughter, about 9 years younger to him. Eva. He was the international guest who had to extend his stay unexpectedly as a war broke out in his country a week before his scheduled departure. Rizwan…

Her hair was dark and frame skinny. Her skin was tanned after spending all the time on the farm outside the inn. She often wore rugged jeans and t-shirts and let her hair loose so they caressed her body all the way to her hips. But on some days, she’d wear hemmed skirts and frilled tops, tying her hair in a braid or knotting it up in a neat bun. She had taken the charge of attending to the ladies in the inns, so she often talked with his sisters. And because they did not understand each other’s language, he was often the interpreter. So she often talked to him as well.

She had fancied him for a bit. His fair skin on his flawless body was a sight to behold. His hair was too short when he had first arrived, but had grown to suit his face during his stay. His accent was heavy and she loved hearing him talk. His eyes were gorgeous, and his smile was magical! Each time he spoke to her, or even looked at her, he smiled, letting a tiny depression form in his left cheek, which drove her nuts!

But he was married, and his wife had had a little baby boy while he was here with his three sisters, a brother, one niece, and mother. She knew that. He knew that she knew that. So he told her the entire story. He told her how his wife had made his family’s life a living hell. He started by saying that he was getting divorced, and on a long night when they were both drunk on sorrow, he told her why. They were friends now. They shared jokes and stories, musings and fun. She was made the unofficial godmother of his little baby. ‘Tell me your secret,’ she had told him one night. And upon hearing the secret, which shall not be revealed, for it is a secret, she had wept and prayed silently.

There was a bond between the two unlike any other. They weren’t alike in any sense. There tastes were extreme opposites, he was simple, she was crazy, he was married, she was single, he was shy, she was loud, he was 28, she had just touched 18, he had seen life, she was only beginning to taste it. They had next to nothing in common – their races, ethnicities, nationalities, and cultures were all different. But they were friends. Because, he loved soaking himself in her youthful company, and she loved nurturing a soul which was as broken as hers, probably more.

The war had ended and all the ladies had given Eva the customary cheek kisses and sat in the taxi, waiting to get back home. The little girl had shyly accepted the chocolate bar and joined her aunts in the taxi. After giving his brother a firm handshake and seeing him take his seat, she turned to Rizwan. A lump formed in both their throats but they were smiling and happy to have found each other. None of their voices choked, shook or cracked as they spoke, though both their hearts were sobbing. For the first time in their months of friendship they made physical contact as they shook hands.

The hands were shaken, but they didn’t leave each other. Both of them stood there in silence, looking at each other, fighting a battle in their heads where feelings stood against cultures and morals. ‘Would you like me to kiss you?’ he asked, unsure. ‘Yeah, I’d like that, actually…’ she said. He lifted the hand he had been holding and pressed it against his moist lips. She smiled and quickly pulled her hand away so she could return the favour. They smiled and waved goodbye. He reached his country, she stayed back in hers. But this wasn’t the end. This was only the beginning of a romance that wasn’t of two people, but of two broken souls.


The throne is empty; the prince is missing. He had spent the last night, and a good part of the dawn, talking to the pauper about his wife. He was upset, and rather intoxicated on the tea he had been handed two hours past midnight by his hostess… He had been walking around his kingdom, unable to sleep, observing the night-life which wasn’t as alive as he had hoped it would be. After walking for a mile, he had come across a skinny figure of a young girl, clad in linen, barefoot, wrapped in a thick blanket, sitting on the porch in the assembly square by the market, staring into the night sky.

He stood next to her, and raised his head to meet her line of sight. ‘Why don’t you sit down?’ she had asked him. They sat there for a while, unspeaking, innocent, like the willows in the woods that surrounded their kingdom. ‘Would you like some tea, sir?’ she had asked after an eternity. He looked at her. Her mud brown hair was a perfect contrast to her watery blue eyes. Her golden skin was shining in the moonlight. In her hushing voice, she had asked again, ‘Would you like to have some tea, sir?’

‘That would be nice,’ the Prince had replied, in a choking voice that managed to crack. Following her, he noticed how small she really was. Her frame was like that of a child, but something in her was much older than her age. He realised how different they both were. His muscular frame under his fair skin felt so weak and small, while the little girl walking ahead of him was as carefree as a wild bird. He envied her. He was in awe of her. He was following her into the unknown.

After walking through crammed lanes and small houses, they reached the edge of the forest. The Prince suddenly became aware of his surroundings and froze. His hand reached for the dagger at his waist. The little girl kept walking. She didn’t enter the forest but walked along it for a while until she realised that her companion was missing. She turned around and retraced her footsteps. ‘Would you rather I bring a cup of tea out here?’ she asked the Prince.

The innocence in her voice and the tranquillity in her eyes relaxed the tensed muscles on the Prince’s body. He shook his head and asked her to lead the way. They walked along an aisle with the forest on their right and houses on their left. Soon, they stopped outside a rather warm looking house. The fire burning outside the door was inviting. The girl disappeared behind the curtain that hung at its door and returned with a crate. Inside the crate were the items she used to prepare tea for her guest while he sat on the crate.

She handed him the tea and asked, ‘So, what is your story?’

He looked at her through the dark hair that fell on his face and smiled a half-hearted smile. He was quiet. She was silent. He sighed. She placed a hand on his.

The rest of the night was spent with the Prince telling his hostess about how sorry he was for his son, and how he loved his dear wife who was indeed not in love with him but had married him only so she could life a rich lifestyle. He told her about the stifles they had had and about how hard it was to consummate the marriage for a separation would be a disgrace. He sobbed unashamedly and drank his tea.

By the time the Prince was done, the dawn was breaking, the birds were chirping and the little dog owned by the girl had walked out of the house, stretching his limbs and yawing when he stopped half-way, startled and embarrassed by the presence of a guest. At this, the Prince chuckled, and at the Prince’s chuckle, the girl smiled.

He saw the first ray of sun hit his pauper hostess’s hair. Her blanket fell off her shoulders and she turned around to face the sun, soaking her skin in its warmth. He was soaking himself in her warmth. ‘What is your name?’ he asked her. ‘What would you like to call me?’ she asked, turning around to look at him. He didn’t speak. ‘Would you like to rest for a while?’ she questioned after a brief pause.

The throne is empty; the prince is missing. He is resting his head in a pauper’s bed. The assembly will have wait today. He is tired.


It was just a photograph of me dancing with a friend from twelve years ago. We were on stage, dressed up in our costumes, with a tonne of makeup on our faces. He wore a white formal shirt, black pants, white socks, and an adorable little black bowtie.

I wore a frilly white frock which appeared to look like a gown ending short, just below my knees. I had two pony tails, which weren’t really necessary for my hair were quite short. I also wore a white headband to go with it and white socks that sat somewhere above my knees, covering every inch of skin on my leg from the sight of the audience.

Next to us was another couple. It was my younger sister along with a rather short classmate of mine, which made him the only boy dancing with a younger girl and made my sister the youngest dancer. We were all dressed alike keeping in mind our genders and the appropriate costumes for that gender. My sister didn’t have hair as thick as mine and so she wore two little clips on either side of her head to hold her hair from falling into her face when we danced.

There were other couples in the back.  I didn’t know any of the boys besides my dance partner, my sister’s dance partner, and a friend’s dance partner – because all three of them were my classmates. However, I knew all the girls but one, or maybe two. They were all my friends and classmates, and one my sister!

The photograph was still in good condition, for it had been lost in a pile of untouched junk and hadn’t seen the daylight since forever. It had survived countless numbers of moving and shifting and kept us company through it all. It was forgotten until it was remembered and raided for in every single cupboard and album available.

When found, it seemed so fresh as if it were made and printed just yesterday. The song we danced to twelve years ago seemed to be playing when the photograph presented itself after years of hiding. A memory that was fading and worn was now refreshed. Not only did the photograph sing the song that we had danced to, it also let out little backstage secrets and upon closing our eyes, it showed us that the white frilly frock wasn’t just white – it had little flowers and leaves of green, orange and lavender that covered it all over.

It wasn’t a still anymore; the photograph was dancing; recreating the steps we so awkwardly had managed to perform on stage on the cold November night. It was magical; a nostalgia so long forgotten that it embedded itself into our memories and became a part of us.