Friday afternoons taste of biryani. Or at least, they used to. Without the constraints of a school timetable, ‘gap yah’ Fridays were for jummah prayers at my local mosque. They sell aluminium boxes filled with biryani outside, and my grandfather knows I like it, so he’d buy three tubs in a blue plastic bag and... Continue Reading →
The Bookworm: a poem
‘She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain’ - Louisa May Alcott
Randomly Searching For Truth: reflections from across the pond
The disembodied lady makes an announcement. ‘Passengers on the BA 292 flight to Baltimore, please make your way to the boarding gate.'
I've come with my most non-threatening scarf, pale pink with paisley print. It's not good enough. 'Irfan' is announced on the loudspeaker. I feel special. The disembodied voice knows who I am...
Perfuming the dead
‘Have you ever lost somebody before?’ he says to me. My nine-year-old cousin, with crossed legs and gel in his hair, has a solemn look on his face as he talks to me about grief. Little Sofia, otherwise known as Choppy, is less conscious of this weight when she asks me ‘why is people dead... Continue Reading →
The Brown Girl’s Burden: a villanelle
My supervisor approaches words with a kind of delicacy. The ice queen of my interviews, I think of her as a musician, extremely precise in the way she tunes her instrument, pressing on each metaphorical key with purpose. An accent like marble, she articulates the technical aspects of poetry with words of crystal, her fingers... Continue Reading →
Review of ITV’s ‘Sanditon’
Look, I get it, Jane Austen has a type. But I just can't root for Broody McShouts-A-Lot, whose only interests seem to include nude bathing and mansplaining cricket...
Unveiled: Why I wear the headscarf
Over the years, I’ve heard the perfectly respectful 'headscarf', the culturally sensitive 'hijab', the slightly ominous 'veil', or my personal all-time favourite: the utterly bewildered 'head toga'...
Tea with Auntie: a poem
Dedicated to all the paan-chewing, advice-giving, haldi-supplying desi aunties out there...
When Shakespeare meets Bollywood
Anyone who's ever had the misfortune to be in my English class will have heard the words "well, in the Bollywood version..." Shakespeare's plays have been adapted the world over; in India, Othello becomes Omkara, Hamlet is Haider, and Romeo and Juliet are Ram-Leela. While the East has its own versions of the tragic love story, most notably Layla and... Continue Reading →
Red Riding Hood and Marxist Literary Theory
Once upon a time, there was a communist. And her name wasn't Little RED Riding Hood for nothing...