Self Harm


I don’t know why I decided to write on this particular topic. I suppose I just felt like it and probably because I understand how it feels. And because I was a victim.

I am Maimoonah Hassan, and I was a victim of self-harm.

It all started in the Xth grade. Continuous exam and peer pressure, and my declining health were the primary reasons I started to hurt myself. Initially, it was little. A slight cut or maybe cursing myself was the way I felt better. The main problems started when I moved to India to pursue further education. My life was a total mess. Tons of family, social and health problems had started weighing me down, and my migraines just made everything worse. My grades fell and that was when I started seriously harming myself. There was something in slicing through my skin and watching my blood trickle down…

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Comedown Machine – The Strokes

The Broken Metronome


The Strokes are a 5-piece American band consisting of Julian Casablancas (lead vocals), Nick Valensi (guitar, backing vocals), Albert Hammond, Jr. (guitar, backing vocals), Nikolai Fraiture (bass guitar) and Fabrizio Moretti (drums, percussion). Comedown Machine their latest album was released on 26th March, 2013 (a mere 2 years from their last release Angles).

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My Thumpity-Thump Heart

“It’s easier to dismiss ghosts in the daylight.” 

― Patricia Briggs(Dragon Bones)


It was late at night,at around 3 am. I remember because i woke up with a start and checked my phone. My heart was thumping in a way that suggested i had run 3 kilometers. But i hadn’t. My eyes darted everywhere but saw nothing and everything.Damn you,myopia. And then i heard a distant door slam.

So i wasn’t wrong,i HAD heard something.Or someone.I almost stopped breathing,trying to hear anything else. The soft snores of my mom emanated from the room across the hall. I turned towards my sister’s side of the room and saw that nothing moved.She was sleeping too.Thinking it must’ve been my neighbor, i rolled over and fell asleep. Then i heard it again, another door slam. This time i sat up. Staring in the direction of my bedroom’s door, i wondered what or who it was. But,you need to know what the scene looked like,before you know what happened next.

My bed was near the door,the door was white.The walls were light-blue, and there were wardrobes between my bed and the door,so that i got a diagonal view of it. We had an orange night-light that sat near the door in a way that the light washed over the walls and partially,on the door.The door was kept ajar.So if you were to wake up in the middle of the night,you’d see that haunting glow highlighting the white door and infinite darkness right beyond.

So,i’m sitting up on my bed.My ears up and on the lookout for any more spooky noises,when all of a sudden,the white door shifts.I can make that out because of the orange light on it,and because the darkness increases in my view.Meaning the door was opened.Meaning someone was in the room,or had opened it and were standing on the other side.In my myopic view,the whiteness has decreased and the darkness has increased.I follow the contours of the straight white edge of the door when a black blurb obstructs it.

I freeze. That black blurb is round in shape and is at a height where a human head would be.A black circle of something or someone that’s now standing right in front of the white door, has moved into my vision.I get goosebumps. The blurb does not move,it stays at that height and in that position.Somehow,i can feel it staring right at me.Even though i’ve no idea if it has eyes. But i can still feel the stare.For the first time in my life, i know the meaning of the phrase “feel it in my bones”. Suddenly,the blurb gets bigger. Now that it definitely moved,i know i’m not imagining things. I go cold. My heart starts beating real fast and the goosebumps now feel like a permanent feature. Fearing the worst, i now do what people in horror movies are notorious for:call out a name.

Yeah,that moment.The moment that even i scoffed at,i now understood. I empathize with those fictional characters now,and support them whole-heartedly. People don’t call out a name to tell the ghost about their GPS location(although,it does draw the attention) but it’s a risk they’re willing to take because it’s their only hope.The hope that the name they just called? That person will be the one answering their call. That the blurb they see and can’t make out might somehow be the person they think-AND DESPERATELY HOPE-they are. Because that eliminates danger. Because that means there’s no ghost.Because that means they were being paranoid. They pin all of their desperate hopes on that one name and hope to God they’re not wrong.

So i called out my sister’s name.

After a painstakingly silent moment,the blurb replied,”yes?”


“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”
Excerpt from “the diary of Anais Nin”(Anais Nin)

My Grandfather

I remember being six years old.I remember waiting impatiently on that train’s door, behind my father, of course. I remember it being a dark summer night as we arrived in my hometown. The train slows down to a stop, real slow, as if it doesn’t want me to get down. But it stops anyway. And then, I remember running out from behind my dad’s legs, out on the already milling platform. Out,and directly into my grandfather’s arms.

My grandfather was as fair as the fictional Santa Claus; and like him, he liked to have a stubble as well. A stubble that I hated profusely. A stubble that was always used as a weapon to irritate me. And because he knew that it did, he never let go of an opportunity to guzzle my cheeks with those white tiny thorns that I cringed away from. Like Santa, he too had a tummy. And like the kids who loved Santa, I loved sitting on my own Santa’s lap.

When my father had an accident, I went to live at my mother’s ancestral home. I didn’t mind, because I loved my grandpa so much. He always came back from the Plant at around 5. He always had on him a reddish satchel. I like to think that the satchel still occupies a corner in that house where my grandmother lives. I don’t know what other kids’ grandfathers did, but I like to think that mine was different.

Those three months that I spent with them, I always got up to the sound of my grandma praying, and I’d join her. I’d see my grandpa off with her, and everyday I’d make the same request- “please bring me back a 5 star”. Now, I think any other grandparent would’ve complied, but mine never did. If I meet him in heaven(if I go to heaven) I’m telling him that the chocolate is still due. I would wait by the garden in the evening and he’d come home. I’d ask him about the chocolate, and like every other day, he’d say “I forgot!!” Maybe it was another way of teasing me, maybe he didn’t want my teeth to rot. Either way, I never did get that chocolate. This is why I think my granddad was different. I don’t hate him for doing this to me, I know he loved annoying me. I was just happy to get his attention.

He took me to my first ever dentist’s appointment for having a tooth pulled out. I was not scared, because he was there. My first ever tetanus shot was in a clinic with me holding on to his hand as if my life depended on it. I still bruise from that injection; psychologically, of course. Sitting with him I got to watch the first Die Hard movie;many Van Damme movies, and God Knows how many Bruce Lee movies. He let me watch all those action movies, and in return, he actually chuckled and watched the same old Tom & Jerry episodes with me. This was another one of those bonds that I shared with him.

Being the first born on my mother’s side of the family, I was the most loved. But I was never spoiled rotten, that he made sure of. I learned to be respectful, I learned to listen to my grandparents. They shaped me up, and gently thawed away the stubbornness I had in me. I was always afraid to cross him. I never wanted him mad at me.But with time I grew up, and unfortunately possessed those horrid teenager hormones. No, I did not stop respecting him, but the space between him and me grew. And like the teenager that I was, I did not notice.

One early morning I woke up to the sound of my mother gently crying over the phone, and I knew. He was gone. If there had been any signs of his ill health, we children were never told. He had still felt of the same age to me. He had been okay the last time I’d seen him. He had chuckled on the Tom & Jerry episodes, teased me, and even tickled me; even though my grandma had told him to lay off. What with me being a teenager and all. But he was gone. And I hadn’t said my goodbye. See, that’s the only thing that still bugs me. He had called a few days before his untimely demise, and I had thought that I’d talk to him when the weekend comes. I had had the opportunity to say some last words to him, and now I don’t even remember what I’d said to him before he died.

It makes me wonder, how we often sit and sulk. We get angry with the people we love, or we simply do not think we need to talk. Who knows, the next moment they’re gone, and we lost our chance. This made me remedy my hotheaded brain. I try to apologize whenever I learn of my mistakes. I try and talk nicely to everyone I love and care about. Not because, God forbid, they might drop dead any moment, but because these precious moments should never be wasted. We never know what may happen next.

I still put a pen in my mouth and pretend it is my pipe; because I know he smoked pipe, and looked so royal doing it. I still chuckle at those cartoons. And I still get down at that very station, whenever I go back to my hometown. You should know that that town isn’t my native place. They say the home is where your father was born. But I feel my grandfather’s town is my town. That heavenly place is my place. That house was my house. It still feels weird knowing that when I step off that train, he won’t be there to receive me. But whenever I do get down, the air still carries his scent. That is my only home. And always will be.


“I don’t keep a travel diary. I did keep a travel diary once, and it was a big mistake.All I remember of that trip is what I bothered to write down. Everything else slipped away, as though my mind felt jilted by my reliance on pen and paper. For exactly the same reason, I don’t travel with a camera. My holiday becomes the snapshots and anything I forget to record is lost. Apart from that, photographs never seem to be very evocative. When I look through the albums of old travelling companions I’m always surprised by how little I’m reminded of the trip. If only there were a camera that captured smell. Smells are far more vivid than images. I’ve often been walking in London on a hot day, caught the smell of hot refuse or melting tarmac and suddenly been transported to a Delhi side-street.”

Excerpt from “the beach”(Alex Garland)