creative essays

All posts tagged creative essays

For the Love of Learning

Published March 4, 2015 by sidmary

Who among us has never seen or experienced the early morning frenzy that seizes the households where everyone has to leave for some place or the other and reach before a certain time? School students, college students, university students, office workers…it is a routine unmanned by occupation. However early you get up, and however fast you get ready, the clock in the morning ticks at an unparalleled speed trying to make you late.

What if in this situation, in the time it takes you to hear the horn, open the door and move out, your van leaves? What if, even as you stand at the gate, you see the receding behind of the indomitable vehicle mocking you in the face for the one second delay? At least once in a lifetime, this has happened with most of us.

But wait…! What if your wish or need to get to school, or college overpowers the misery and seething anger you are feeling at the situation? What if you get into your car and drive across half the city to reach the institution, only to realize that you are one minute late and cannot enter the premises? Blam! There goes the world crumbling around you; one more morning incident to fire your nerves and heat your blood. You go quickly over the schedule of the day in your mind weighing how important attending classes today was…and you comfort yourself with the conclusion that you will get notes from your friend and all will be fine. Then you go home and plop on the bed, making up for the sleep you lost last night making an assignment you had to submit today.

What a comedy of errors! Or maybe a tragedy? Who knows? However, there is one very important aspect to this not uncommon scenario that it would a tragedy to not explore: the policy of educational institutions to send students back home even if they are half a minute late. Yes, just thirty seconds worth of delay.

Let us look first at the reasons for this strict policy. It is majorly because institutions want to instill the value of punctuality in their students, and maintain some decorum in the school that such strict policies are made; and yet one is forced to question: is all fine with this?

The early schools which were the centers of learning and research were homely places where all were welcome. They were institutes from where learning developed and advanced, and the forbears of the educational institutions we have today. They developed the sciences which are taught in our schools today, but what were their salient features? These were schools which remained open at all times. It was sin to close the doors of learning on those who sought them. Knowledge was sacred, and withholding it from the seeker was blasphemy.

In the modern day, when education has been institutionalized, rules and policies are required to be stricter. Students are and should be expected to adhere to certain norms of behavior, but the strict policy and rule making should follow some rules too. Humans are not sheep- all to be herded indiscriminately by the same stick, and education and learning is not a child’s play to be taken lightly and undervalued by the centers of education themselves.

To instill punctuality in students and maintain the decorum of schools and colleges, penalties are and should be issued to those who undervalue the importance of learning and those who are religiously non-punctual, but to send students home who are late once in a blue moon and with genuine reason is blasphemy! What educational institutions encourage this way is students going home and sleeping the productive morning hours away. Along with the student, they are equally to blame for the loss of precious time and perhaps more for not understanding the value and importance of one whole day of learning.

It is about time that educational institutions make policies with practicality and the objective of learning in their minds. The effort of one who wakes up in the wee morning hours, gets ready and travels a good half hour or more to get to school or college should be appreciated and respected, and more than the clock’s face should be considered when sending one back down the same path they took to learning.

Open-Book

–Sidra Maryam

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Forever is a Lie

Published October 8, 2013 by sidmary

( I wrote this for an exam for descriptive writing. so the following tends more towards description that narration. The reader is most welcome to attach to it any story that his/ her mind may fancy 🙂 )

“Forever is a Lie,” they say, but it depends mostly on intention. I look around at the lonely, desolate expanse around me. It is bare and brown as far as the eye can see; varying shades of brown: a dusty brown at the ground; a slightly darker, watered brown near my feet…The occasional color is in the delicately placed flowers in the position afore mentioned- and a dulling, browning green on the few trees scattered here and there. Even the walls of this wide enclosure are brown, and color lives primarily on the sky which, too, now its losing its azure to a stormy gray.

There are mounds here. Human sized, horizontal mounds rising gently from the ground and falling back onto it symmetrically. Occasionally, the eye spots a mound smaller than the rest, and the lonely heart spins another grieving story over my own.

A browned, autumn leaf is blown gently to my feet by a highly compassionate, or else greatly sadistic wind. It is hard these days to figure out who is sincere and who makes fun of you- but this leaf reminds me that I have to leave. So I do.

They buried him here last month. My son- who promised that lively summer day that he will stay by me forever. He must have believed, as conventional, that parents die before the offspring- but again: ‘Forever is a lie.’

I am a few feet now from the most beloved mound of earth, but I can not see it except for a blur of brown topped with white, red and green. The leaf chases me with an urgency- the wind is perhaps my friend, after all.

So I carefully maneuver round the other such stories- all colored the same brown now. I step out of the enclosure into an impatiently waiting, black Corolla, and fall limp on the passenger seat. My walking stick rests idly and upright next to the perfect smoothness of the dashboard. Everything here in fact is smooth: the driver’s face, my wife’s expression, the cover of the seats, the rolled up windows- the only exception being my rough, shattered heart…

The road is smooth too, and following it, we head out of the city which I promised my son I would never leave. I promised I would stay here forever, and yet I leave here forever, because forever is a lie.

The graying clouds gather overhead at last. I can not hear them past the closed windows, but I can see them- and they gather, not stormily, intimidatingly, or frighteningly, but gloomily. And I can hear them now, pelting raindrops on the windshield, and the roof, and somewhere deep down, on my broken self…

In this tumultuous monotony, I leave…

–Sidra Maryam

The Way I see it…

Published January 31, 2013 by sidmary

I was sifting through the pages of my diary, and here’s what I came accross from an entry on the 9th of this month:

(Hoping you’ll like it 🙂 )

…The way I see it Diary, you need to love. You need to love everyone, everything, all the time. You need to love till your heart fills up and you hate no more…because you see Diary, it just occured to me that the more you love, the more you are able to acknowledge. The more you are able to acknowledge, the more you are able to empathize with. And the more you empathize, the more you accept, and the more you are able appreciate. And appreciating Diary, from the bottom of your heart and the core of your soul: loving; makes life eaier and happier…

— Sidra Maryam

Anomaly

Published September 9, 2012 by sidmary
Earth and atmosphere cutaway illustration

Earth and atmosphere cutaway illustration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

anomaly- an odd, peculiar or strange condition, situation, quality etc.

It struck me today, as I was browsing the formation of tsunamis, how strange everything is. For long we have known that fire and water are enemies; that the stronger always always eats up the other, and precisely that they cannot co-exist.

What struck me was the formation of Earth, and no, I am not roving. The thing is that Earth is all fire beneath and all water above. You know that already, of course. Now look at at this way: the fire underground is so great, it can eat you up within milliseconds. Its miniature spurts cause huge volcanoes and terrible catastrophes. A mere crust away, life is all water. The Earth is~72% water; you yourself are 70% water; you and no other life can survive without water, and yikes! There WOULD be no thing without water!!!

And what is the crust but a thin layer compared to the core and the magma inside and the universe outside! And to think that all life depends on this crust! If this was just to disappear, would the Fire eat up the Water first, or will the Water extinguish the Fire?? (Oh, by the ways, this just reminds me of a poem by dear old Frost):

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

I don’t know how this relates, but somehow I feel this just does.

So lets end these musings with a concrete statement:

 He it is, Who has made the earth subservient to you, so walk in the path thereof and eat of His provision, and to Him will be the Resurrection. Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not cause the earth to sink with you, then behold it shakes (as in an earthquake)?Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not send against you a violent whirlwind? Then you shall know how (terrible) has been My Warning? (Surah e Mulk: 15-17)

–Sidra Maryam

Closed Eye: The Breaking of a Heart

Published August 2, 2012 by sidmary

I meant this blog for creative words. Words that form beautiful pictures, serene sounds and soft smells…

I meant this blog to write about a dewdrop on the petal of a flower and the tear drop between the lashes of an eye…

I wanted to write about the delicate being and the delicate feelings of those homo sapiens…

I wanted to write about children and laughter and happiness and nature…

I wanted to write about the musings on ordinary things and the making of extraordinary ones…

I wanted to write about my city, and my country, and my history, and the people of my world…

I wanted to write about everything I love…

But this world is a cruel world that I live in:

It breaks into my dreams and my musings and my passions, and robs from them all the delicacy and innocence that hang on to…

This world has double standards for everything I love…

It treats the powerful with more honesty than is honest, and the weak worse than animals…

Its authorities fuss over things that hardly matter and ignore massacres and genocides…

Its Ambassadors of human rights play chess pieces for the Veto powers and silent audience for Muslims…

Its Buddhists who preach that no ant be killed murder thousands rendered more helpless than ants…

Its NGOs which fight for food, shelter and safety for all sleep tight when comes the call to fight by the people at this side of the world…

Its people who raise the dead protesting against breaking of idols opt silence as lives break away from the tentacles of this world…

Its saints who don’t eat meat for fear of hurting animals disown, dislocate, starve , torture and rape people helpless…

This world has two eyes, and ones remains eternally closed…

A massacre continues in Syria as a massacre inaugurates in Burma…

It leaves me desperate…

It leaves me exhausted…

It gives fire to my passions…

And power to my pen…

I have a big heart- It shelters the whole world…

And my heart is breaking into bits…

NOTE: Please raise a voice against the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Burma (Myanmar). When the media and authorities opt for silence, it becomes a duty unto every citizen- every “citizen of the world” to speak against oppression. Don’t keep quiet. It was them this time, and “you” are a “them” for them…It could be “you” next time.

–Sidra Maryam

 

White Noise -2

Published July 2, 2012 by sidmary

They pulled up at the red signal. A car stopped to their left. They could only see the man, though there was a woman next to him too.

Two men came with guns in their hand, their faces covered. They pulled up the tinted windows, and looked in front of them, immobile. They came to the car next to them. Voices could be heard; then a gunshot.

Aneeta looked up, her eyes wide with wild fear and vulnerability. As the bloodcurdling screams of the woman hit their ears, she began screaming too. Hysteria.

The lights on the signal turned green. They moved forward, his mother trying to calm her down.

                        x——————————————————–x

The next day was Saturday. On Monday, Hamza did not come to school. He phoned him. The incident was more than he could contain. He told him everything he had seen. Then asked him why he had been absent.

“It was my father.” The phone went dead.

                        x——————————————————–x

His parents were separated. Somehow, after five years, they had made up. HE lived with his mother. It was the day they were meeting; they had been going out for dinner. He had remained home.

Everything that happened; everything that was bad; every “just one of so many:” it was always others. Wasn’t it? Just one in hundreds, thousands, and millions- it was never supposed to be him! Then why?

He knew why: his father always kept a gun with him; yet he had not used it this once. He was not going to let such a day come to him. He never would be confounded.

                        x——————————————————–x

“Give me the ball, Aneeta.”

“No, I will not; and you can’t take it from me.”

“Oh yes I will,’ He said as he lunged towards her. She dodged and he fell on his face. He got up and lunged again; fell again. He grimaced as the other children jeered and clapped.

“You are going to pay for it,” He scowled.

“Ahan? What are you going to do, really?” She jeered, encouraged by the clapping.

“Oh, I will get my father to blow up your house. He is in a high office, you see? So he can do it.” He made an evil face.

She froze. The ball dropped from her hand. She started screaming. By the time the teachers came, she was hysterical. Her parents were called. She was sent home early, still screaming.

                        x——————————————————–x

Dear Diary,

I am so worried about my little angel! Things have not been the same since the day we witnessed the accident. I had kept her face down, my hand on her neck; yet in that moment of weakness when my grip lightened, she saw it. I am sure she did! I am sure she saw the blood too.

She has nightmares too. Not a day in the past month have I not woken up at night by her screaming. She does not seem to remember in the morning. Every time, her eyes are glazed and she mutters strange, undecipherable things wildly. Then she begins to shout them, her arms flailing; and then, as if exhausted, she falls into bed again. Next minute, she is snoring.

The first day it happened, Atiq and I stood at opposite ends of her bed. When I looked up, I saw disorderly trepidation on his face. I am sure it reflected mine. We took an appointment the very next day from a psychiatrist at Liaqat National. It is scheduled for the day after tomorrow. I dread it, but I can’t wait for it either. We went to the park last week and Aneeta began raving about peeking eyes in the bushes. We hurried her home; she was panting all the while; we put her to bed.

We don’t watch news in front of her anymore now. Not with the ever disturbed conditions of the city, and the other time she got distraught about it.

I wish God would erase two days from my life: the Friday a month back, and the day after tomorrow!

The school still has not told us anything about what happened the day we brought her back early.

I am so apprehensive about everything now! God bless!

Saeeda

p.s. The accident we saw that day; the man was Hamza’s father. We went in a shock when Asfand told us. We went to pay our condolences that Tuesday. His mother was in a state: I did not know that they were making up. Asfand settled after a week. I hope Hamza and his mother are okay now.

                        x——————————————————–x

White Noise -1

Published June 29, 2012 by sidmary

(White Noise-

  • Noise containing many frequencies with equal intensities.
  • Such noise as used to mask other noises: “a white-noise machine”. — Wikipedia. Dictionary.com )

“What is the noise, Baba?”

“Shut the door, sweet.”

“What is happening, Baba?”

“Pull the curtains, sweet.”

“But the noise is deafening, Baba!”

“Pull the curtains, sweet.”

“The noise is going to kill me, Baba!”

“Cover your ears, sweet.”

“What if they kill me, Baba?”

“Go to sleep, sweet.”

x——————————————————–x

He was trying to study; he couldn’t. There was just too much distraction: inside, outside; he was unable to concentrate.

The day’s events were revolving in his mind: another fight. He sighed. His ever short-tempered best friend never seemed to get enough of those quarrels these days. This time it was at the water cooler. One of the junior boys had been drinking water. His friend came and apparently told him a huge big joke. All the water sprayed out of his mouth.

His name was Hamza. He turned around, his face livid. What followed was a blur. Loudly uttered, hot words were lost in the action. He tried to stop him, but to no avail. In just five minutes, a crowd had formed, hooting and screaming. A few brave people had tried to intervene; he pushed them aside from his friend. The junior was lying on the floor, curled up, face contorted in pain. He clutched his stomach and his nose bled.

Hamza was standing aside: face haggard and breathing ragged. He made him sit down and brought him a glass of water. He jerked it harshly away with a wave of his hand.

The head teacher came round, a baton in her hand. She puffed and her face was red.

The junior was escorted to the nurse. Hamza was suspended for a week. He got away with a detention.

He sighed again.

His sister entered the room. He searched her face for tell-tale signs of disturbance. She showed none. All sympathies aside, she now seemed intent on disturbing him. Squatting in front of him, a glint in her eyes, she began his most hated nursery rhyme in a high pitched squeal:

“The wheels of the bus go round and round,

Round and round,

Round and round…”

He felt a surge of anger. “Shut up!” “SHUT UP!” he shouted.

She began louder:

“Round and round, round and round,

All through the town.”

He made as if to stand up. She squealed as she carried her wobbly legs out of the room. He bent over his math again.

When his teacher checked his journal the next day, she accidentally opened the last page as she hastened to close it. It was filled with the words of a nursery rhyme she vaguely remembered, written over and over again.

She shook her head in disbelief and despair, and marked the page with a huge big question mark.

x——————————————————–x

–Sidra Maryam
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