STAY GOLDEN

One of my earliest memories of racism was when I was 9 years old. It's a memory that's always going to be with me, but for all the right reasons (you'll find out why soon). It was during a time when I started noticing that I wasn't like most of my friends or the people around me even. I was darker. I studied Urdu, instead of Chinese, Malay or Tamil. I didn't eat pork, but people were quick to assume that it was beef I didn't eat. But mostly it was because the colour of my skin was not as light as everyone else's. Other children were noticing it too, and a day wouldn't go by where I wouldn't hear about it.  This particular incident happened in my primary school, during those twilight moments between periods where one teacher left and we waited for the next to enter. It was a classroom of 45 third graders with 3 minutes of unsupervised freedom. Some might call it chaos. Me and Deepika, the only other Indian* girl in my class, happened to be sitting next to each other. We were minding our respective kid-businesses, when this Chinese** boy comes up to our tables... "Eeeeeeeeeeeeee. So smelly! Smelly Indians!" Being the non-confrontational person that I am, I look back down and ignore him. "So dirty, never take shower! Go home!" I shoot up a quick glance and return to ignoring him, feeling annoyed and scared at the same time. I hadn't done anything to him, why was he here bothering me? "So black! You are black shit!!! Chao da!***" I feel a surge of anger rushing up to...

WHEN IT SHINES

By mid-December, it's not very often that we get to see London drenched in beautiful sunlight. In fact, most days I can barely see a few hundred feet ahead of me with all the fog. So when the sun does come out, I rejoice. When it shines, I shine too. There's something about a sunny morning that makes want to jump out of bed and get going. It makes me feel optimistic. It gives me hope. And let me tell you... Optimism is a very hard thing to find right now. I don't know if it's because I've become more proactive in learning about the world or because the world really has gotten so bad in the last twelve months. I'm hoping it's the former and that ignorance has let me live so blissfully thus far. If you've kept up with current affairs, you'll know that this year has been a devastating one, to say the least. From Brexit, the US presidential election and the onslaught of bigotry it's brought about, to all that is happening to innocent people around the world. Beyond the comforts of our four walls, the world is experiencing its worst humanitarian crisis since World War II. I will not get into the details of it, because to adequately tackle such a topic is simply beyond me. What I will tell you is this - be aware and be positive. Learning about the injustices around the world is difficult for me, because it makes me feel so helpless... However, I've learnt that all change begins with the smallest of intentions. As individuals, spreading positivity is the least we can do. Be kind, be understanding, be loving - but neither does that mean you should sit down quietly and...

SCARLET

A couple of weeks ago, Trish and I decided to explore South Kensington, in search of this insta-legendary wall of scarlet leaves. Needless to say, it was a success. Kynance Mews is by far one of the most photo-worthy spots in London, at least on a gloomy autumn day. That's what I love about this city, you never know where you're going to run into a delightful little corner. On another note, lately I've been questioning the lengths I go to for my blog posts. Why am I doing what I'm doing? Yes, on one hand I want to share my experiences and journeys, but so does everybody else. That's what social media is for. I started to think back to what inspired me to start blogging in the first place. I remember when I would spend most of my time online admiring the most wondrous blogs, like Gary Pepper Girl and Missing Avenue. The photos created and the stories shared, they filled me with wonder and excitement. Five minutes on either of those blogs and I felt so inspired to not only go out and explore, but to create. And that's when I realised that I wanted to make others feel the same way that I felt. So I hope that I'm on the right path, that I've instilled some form of inspiration in at least one of you. But if not, tomorrow is a new day to try again and better myself. Shot at Kynance Mews in South Kensington, London. Photo assistance - Trishna Goklani Wearing: Topshop - Coat // COS - Sweater // Uniqlo - Trousers // & Other Stories - Boots // Alexander McQueen -...

PINK DUST

Very often something as simple as a sound or sight can fire up long-forgotten childhood memories, sending me into the past to relive that moment. Take the clack of a trotting horse. As soon as I hear it, my very first memory flashes before my eyes, as vividly as a movie. Everywhere I look, I see white. Snow, I presume. Snow on the roads, snow on the trees, snow on the mountains. Even the sky is white. I am moving forward, with an icy breeze in my face. My attention is devoted to the blur of dark figures that I pass by, but I soon realise that I'm in fact sitting on a horse. A white horse. Eventually I tire out and slowly place my head against the back of his neck, burying my stubby fingers into his mane, tightening my grip. And then my memory too fades out into white. My mother, skeptically, tells me I couldn't possibly remember this since it happened when I was only a year old, on a trip to Murree. Perhaps she's right, with infantile amnesia and all. The sound of crows cawing immediately makes me break out into a sweat. I'm transported back to the balmy month of June, at some undistinguishable age, lying on the floor of my grandmother's home in Karachi. The air is still. I take slow, deep breaths. The marble floor does its best to fight off the heat that's gripping my body as I stare through a netted window at the dust covered leaves of a black plum tree, the crows fooling around beyond the tree, and the black kites soaring like kings even further away in the heavens....

TWENTY-THREE

 Yesterday I turned 23. It's the one time a year when I reflect on how much my life has changed over the course of 12 months. Every year I think to myself, wow it can't get crazier than that... But guess what? It does. With every increment of my age, I learn new lessons from life. Important lessons that will stay with me for a long time. I'm older, but not wiser - in fact, my foolishness grows with each passing day. Being an adult doesn't necessarily mean that you have your life sorted out. Growing up should be a liberating experience. It means to be able to accept the things you cannot change, and live with positivity and gratitude. It means to learn whose opinion matters and whose doesn't. It means to break free from conformities and compromises. It means to be bold enough to live on your own terms and never apologise for it. Thank you to every single one of you who has taken a moment of your precious time for this underserving fool. Your presence, physical and digital, were the best presents I could ask for. Your hugs, phone calls, comments, Instagram posts, text messages, tweets, video calls, Facebook posts and snapchats have filled my soul with so much joy and I am ever so grateful from the bottom of my heart.  Photo assistance - Melody Tan Wearing: Forever 21 - Tropical print tee, linen shirt // Acne Studios -...
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