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 →

The Maanu Diaries: mosque moments

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 →

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...

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 →

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