The Rapport – Issue # 3


Whats Inside:

Walking on colours by Amna Akmal

Kindred by Eman Fatima

Survival in a Scary Society by Hadia Qureshi

Life goes on by Hooria Nawaz

Wanderer of a Lost Path by Raveeha Rameen

Nature Walk by Mahnoor Munir

Quietus by Muskan Asif

The Lighthouse by Sumbal Khan

Her Own Infinities by Tooba Fayyaz

Note: The cover photo is by Fatima Bokhari.
(Email: fatibk14@icloud.com, Instagram: @thephotoaisle)


Walking on Colours by Amna Akmal


Name: Amna Akmal
Email: amna.akmal96@gmail.com
Instagram: @heydoodyyy


Kindred by Eman Fatima


Name: Eman Fatima
Email: emanminhas8@gmail.com
Instagram: @eman.a.r.t


Survival in a Scary Society by Hadia Qureshi

Alas, we live in a society
which completely lacks sobriety
people here can only give you anxiety
don’t trust every hand you shake
some people are simply fake

Somewhere you have become hollow
for you it’s difficult to swallow
you know that your pain is so deep
every night it doesn’t let you sleep
your purpose you haven’t found
you are completely astound

You won’t get any sympathy
people here lack empathy
despite efforts, none will encourage
don’t give up, have some courage

Name: Hadia Qureshi
Email: hadiaqureshi10@gmail.com
Instagram: hadiaqureshi10


Life Goes On by Hooria Nawaz


In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: “it goes on”. Yes, you read it right, it goes on. No doubt, life is beautiful but it is also challenging. The challenges that we come across sometimes tell us who we are and sometimes what we should be. There will be bad days, there will be struggles, but still it goes on. No matter who you are, it teaches a lesson to everyone. You just have to be willing to learn. Difficulties test the courage, patience, preservation and the characteristic of a human being. Struggles and hardships make a person strong and ready to face all the challenges of life. Sometimes, people sit and cry over petty problems and think that this is the end, but still life goes on. These petty problems don’t mean a thing as it is said that the darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn. Life is not just a bed of roses; thorns are also a part of it and one must learn to accept the thorns too because if you don’t feel the pointed things in life, you will take the soft ones for granted. Whatever happens in life happens for good. Whatever decision God takes for us is already planned and we must learn to accept it. When God tests you or removes something in your possession, it is never to destroy you or it is not the end, it is only to test you and give you something even greater – something which you could’ve never imagined having.

Name: Hooria Nawaz
Email: hoorianawaz22@gmail.com
Instagram: hooria_nawaz


Wanderer of a Lost Path by Raveeha Rameen

I looked at the brilliant full moon, it seemed to know the entirety of my mysteries. After the mists secured the moon, a shooting star streaked above it as if it was instructed by the moon itself to make me pronounce my wish. I remained there under the huge sky and looked up with my yearning eyes. I bit my tongue on the off chance that I might say what my heart already knew. I did not need to make my wish. Maybe it’s what my heart aches for. Maybe I simply professed to move on. Maybe I never discovered my way back. Maybe I’m currently lost in the immeasurability of the sky and the depths of the night. Maybe I have made depression a norm for myself. I need to escape from the web of recollections. When I ought to be appreciative of what I have, I’m looking back at what I have lost. I’m lost in my dreams and it’s keeping me far from the real world. I’m lost. I long to escape to be discovered only for once. I need to accept the truth however; I’m drowning in wistfulness. Maybe because you made me feel something once and that feeling continuously compels me to return to you. I’m being drained but nobody sees. I can’t get up. How can I fix myself, when I don’t recognize what holds the greater part of me?

I would rather just stay broken.

Name: Raveeha Rameen
Email : raveeharameen8@gmail.com
Instagram: Rameen028


Nature Walk by Mahnoor Munir

Name: Mahnoor Munir
Email: samunir55@gmail.com
Instagram: mahnoor_munir.5


Quietus by Muskan Asif

There’s a monster under my bed
a wraith inside my head
and blood in the tears
my crimson eyes shed;
for my distraught heart has bled
more pitch-black than red
all my feelings have faded,
and into mere oblivion
all the memories I had
without a trace, have fled;
as I await the final blow
advent of the angel of death;
but my functioning, yet empty, self
may deceive the observers
I’m perfectly fine and satisfied,
no dear, I’m a walking corpse
emotionally dead;
and once my time arrives
as I gasp for my ultimate breath
I recognize it as a beginning
because physical pain will succeed
the mental torment I endured;
then, decay will surface
and my carcass may shred
I will be okay, like I’m today
so you shall not dread
as this apparent death
is my only escape.

Name: Muskan Asif
Email: muskan.asif.2007@gmail.com
Instagram: @muskan_writes


The Lighthouse by Sumbal Khan

Name: Sumbul Khan
Email: sumbul.khan1801@yahoo.com
Instagram: @acryliques


Her Own Infinities by Tooba Fayyaz

Name: Tooba Fayyaz
Email: toobafayyaz1010@gmail.com
Instagram: @theprocrastinatormusings


The Rapport – Issue #1



The Killing Vibration
by
Lady Pearl

Once a melodic resonance

Suddenly a shuddering utterance

I’ve never loved or hated my name

As much as I have today


Amputation
by
Anam Ranjha

How does it feel to be amputated emotionally? Does it leave an empty space within yourself, where you hold your old self like an infant in a cart. How does it feel to furnish your own amputation in your imagination? Surrounded by what you desire, do you feel a sense of amputation? What is left to you after that? Do you remember it? Is it simple what you remember? What to do with what you remember ? How would you decide which of scattered pieces to carry forward, what to protect , and what to leave behind? Who will help you out? You? Your surroundings? Or your imagination?


Beautiful Nonetheless
by
Ayesha Owais

In rhythmic movements I move around,
I want to be adored, I want to be loved
I want to be beautiful,
I want to feel comfortable in my own skin.

When I smile I pretend it’s not mine,
When I talk I pretend to sound like someone I’m not,
I just want me to be someone who’s at least loved by me?
Is that too much to ask for?

I dance around foolishly,
Seeking for validation,
I stare at myself in the mirror,
The mirror is shattered just like me,
Perhaps I like these broken pieces of me,
I dance around a bit more,
Those same rhythmic movements,
Everyday, I shower myself with glitter,
Perhaps it would make me more beautiful,
It does not.

I stare at myself in the mirror,
I smile,
I finally end the dance,
I keep staring at my reflection,
With a smile lingering on my lips,
Beautiful yet uncomfortable,
But beautiful nonetheless.


Passing Years
by
Samman Khan


A Poem
by
Fatima Naveed

The ability to survive is a trait that i thrive,
The inability of letting go is the hardest fight
The path towards you is full of crumbled leaves,
You either step on it with joy or avoid whats underneath

Those wide eyes and hollow ones, all see the same thing
Its how we perceive it, makes us differ from the rest
Your smile and your laughter is what defines you from the outside
But the screams and the cries is what I perceive on my own

The picture you present is half of what you are
The person you think you are , is half of what you are not


The Crow
by
Anum Akhtar

Perched upon my window sill
was a crow in all its dreary might.
A captivation so eerie,
quite visibly held my sight.
The faint frenzy in his eyes.
The silence in his stance.
The vigor in his flight,
when it flashed through the sky
and rested upon a distant tree.
Now although very far, but,
still in line of my sight.
It seemed to be judging,
almost mocking me
for my miserable plight.
But I took no offence
As I was accustomed to feel alright.
No one really cared, if this heart
burnt or swelled or ached at night.
Then what right this bird had to mock me
for my plight?
I stood there, patiently
to witness its surrender,
its leap into the vast skies
was all that I hankered.
Until it finally hit me
what the bird had truly implied.
A voice acutely profound
called out to me, my mind,
it longed for many a things
most ravenous for freedom and escape.
Now, I seemed to get why, the crow
had for so long held my sight.
It was not mockery after all
but grief and courage.
A hope in myself
it successfully ignite.
Then, as if fulfilled its purpose
the bird sailed south, in all its glory
left me behind, triumph over misery.
With a desire so wild, prudent but folly.
To be a bird
for the remainder of my life.
To be a crow with all its dreary might.


Chapter 7 – A father’s love

An arduous path, fate has set before me. The kind which relentlessly taxes my spirit and has begun to slowly erode the very seams of my sanity. The deafening cries inside my mind keep me awake and the deception, lies and manipulation have made their mark on my thoughts. The decision to forgive and not seek retribution has now weakened the once willful patient man. They say that those who leave such matters to faith and goodwill eventually find peace.

Does the father, who withdraws; not because of the unending repression by the ruffians hiding behind their false agenda, but due to his deliberate choice of not separating his daughter from her mother, not deserve better? Or would it have been wiser for him to have unleashed his wrath until he could have had her in his arms? On this path, I have found that a father who withdraws for the sake of his child has a love far greater than the one who does not. I would have never forgiven myself, for letting you be used as leverage by those who sought mischief. I left you in God’s care and I hope you have the same heart as me for you will need it to climb out of the moral-less abyss.

I could write a hundred words, to express how much I miss you and how I long to see you, yet when I start, there is little I can muster. So, for this Father’s Day, I managed to get a painting made for you which I hope holds true to the adage; a picture is worth a thousand words. May you always be happy and healthy and may you always choose the right path, no matter how hard it gets. May you find peace through morality, like I did.

To my Daughter;


Chapter 5 – The Calm Before The Storm

I was standing on the porch of my house, which was slowly decaying as the principals that I had made the house from waned. There was a strange whisper in the wind that carried a vague message. It seemed to be a message of hope. Rain was coming. I stood there and stared at the vast sky and anxiously waited, so I could greet it. The sun slowly grew a little colder, from blistering hot to a pleasant warm as the dark clouds that carried rain slowly entered the scene. A smile appeared on my tired face after a very long time. I clapped my hands in joy and stared at the sky and the fields. The rich blend of colours in the scene gave me a new kind of energy, perhaps a fresh perspective. The brown fields, thirsty for rain, moving in waves as wind passed through them. The brown faded into blue and the fields became the sky, which had grey clouds slowly covering its entirety. The yellow of the sun was scarce now, but it was still present.

The first drops of rain came gently, slowly moistening the dry ground. I put my hand forward and let the drops fall on my arm. I took a deep breath and reveled in the smell of rain. The dry soil and the rain drops created a pleasant petrichor which reinforced my bones. I laughed and watched the rain wash and water my fields. For a moment, all my principals grew as strong as ever and my house was renewed. My personality and my character which I had used to decorate the house was enhanced. The floor of empathy and the walls of honesty grew stronger. The roof of kindness and the doors of generosity, the windows of love, the furniture of simplicity, the curtains of hope, the fence of loyalty and the foundations of modesty; everything was suddenly restored or so it seemed. The paint of honour and integrity that covered the house was as bright as ever. I smiled and stepped into the gentle rain. There was a calmness that I had longed for quite a while now. I closed my eyes and let myself soak.

There was a sudden flash of very bright light, followed by a great sound. My eyes opened and I was shaken. I looked up to the sky in question, and there was another bright flash of light and another noise. It was thunder, and it worried me more than it scared me. I have found that loud, invasive and immoral people bring ill things with them, and the same applied to the thunder. It was not just rain; it was a storm. The calm before the storm was but a device of nature, much like the treachery of people who build trust before deceiving you. The rain grew in volume and in intensity and there was a relentless onslaught. The field, I saw were now drowning, and the mischievous water seeped into my house and soon, I was waist deep in a flood. As I waded towards my house, It disappeared right in front of me. There was nothing left, and I stood there in disbelief. All those years, all the hard work gone.

Chapter 4 – The Long Drought

The fields were thriving. I was now more motivated than ever. All around the house I had built, there was hope in abundance. I would walk in the field, happily inspecting the crops, and later I would sit on the porch of my house, wondering about the future, when they would be ready for harvest, and bring great joy and pleasure. I must have spent years, taking care of the fields and nurturing them and watching the crops grow taller. Cultivating the land and honing my craft; that is what I did all these years, and this created a plethora of expectations. The kind which come with hard work, patience and persistence. I remember the beautiful clouds that watered the fields and the great sun under which everything grew.

As the long years passed, I learnt that everything is not what it always seems and change is often not for the good. Things and people who once were good, or rather seemed so, turn in an instant. Eventually, the kind of crop you grow does not matter. The crop of honesty, the trees of empathy and the endless field of flowers of good intentions, is not what is valued. The very foundations of my house which were made of kindness, generosity, love, simplicity, loyalty, honour and integrity were not enough to bear the burdens of this world. I learnt that the character one develops, is disregarded. The world wants the crops that yield fortune only.  Those who sow the mischievous seed of greed are heroes when the harvesting season arrives.

Just like that, the clouds and the sun, once my good friends and advocates for the fields, turned against me. There was none in the sky to water the crops as the clouds disbanded, and the once gracious sun scorched the earth. I was deceived. I was exposed to the harsh reality of the world. I experienced and saw things that I never otherwise knew of. My reluctance and refusal to adapt to the treacherous ways of the world was seen as a weakness. My house and my fields that held goodness were seen as a threat. There was a long drought; it taught me that with goodness, you cannot be a hero. You are not valued for principal. You are valued for the yield. I saw my fields slowly fade to brown, but I continued to work. I did not let the crops die, and I did not change the foundation of my house.

Goodness is not a weakness. Is it?

Chapter 2 – The Green Flame

I had a dream last night while I was sleeping inside the house I made in the middle of the field. I was flying by a million stars. I was awestruck and glanced at all the passing stars, each more beautiful than the other. I flew across the Orion’s belt and came upon Betelgeuse. There I hovered in front of its magnificence. I tried to shield my eyes with my hand in hopes of getting a glimpse of the star’s beauty. Its light was so bright, it pierced my iris and penetrated my soul. There, I froze for what seemed to be forever, trying to steal a glimpse but never succeeding. The strangest thing happened though, as an eternity was spent in the effort. The star slowly faded. Its light diminished as if it was ready for me to gaze upon it. I looked straight at it and what I saw was severely disturbing.

Countless spirits were leeching off its light. Syphoning it away into their bottomless bellies. These were not the good spirits, but the wretched ones. They all had collars around their necks and they were being held there against their will by leashes which were held by deceitful men and women. Who were they? Why were they devouring the starlight? I ran towards them, hoping to be able to save the star but no amount of force could eliminate the imposters. Soon I had no more strength in me, and while floating away quietly, I closed my eyes and wished kindness and healing upon the spirits and their masters. There was a long silence. A blast of radiant light covered my floating body again. The spirits had broken free from their leashes and the men and women were no longer there. A tiny drop of tear escaped my eyes and floated away into the emptiness.

I woke up to a bright day outside. I rubbed my eyes, and went to the door and pushed it open. A few steps outside revealed the fields around me. They were full and the vast landscape was thriving with life. Towards the east, I had planted love of all things. The west field held the crop of honesty. The north had trees of empathy and in the south, there was an endless field of flowers of hope. In the middle stood my house. I was proud of the realm I had created. I held my tools in one hand and started another day of work in the fields. I labored away that day, thinking about how in the dream, only a mere charitable wish had the power to save the star.

Chapter 1 – The Promising Earth

Have you ever held fresh soil in your hands? On which no foot has ever walked and it has never been disturbed before? A field, full of soil that has only been touched by the soft hands of nature? Have you felt its purity? Have you ever held It close to yourself to experience the earthly aroma and experience a state of natural bliss. A field much like that I once was. A fresh canvas, ready to embrace the entirety of life. You see, when we enter the world it seems like there are endless horizons to traverse. Much like the farmer who plans for his fields, the world plans for you. The painting on that canvas could be anything.

In the folds of time I slowly developed myself to embrace the worldly life. I prepared myself to be measured against the conformity standards of society and slowly evolved into an acceptable human being, ready to work the field of life. In the very same field, I stood upon the soil and held it in my hands. The rich earth beneath me promised endless opportunities. I walked impatiently and felt my feet sink in the soil with every step I took till I reached the middle. Standing there, I could see the entirety of the field all around me. A vast landscape of fresh soil I saw, ready to be tilled and seeded.

I settled down in the middle of the field and built a shelter for myself. I decorated it with my personality and furnished it with my character. The floor, I made out of empathy and the walls from honesty. The roof overhead was made out of kindness and the doors were carved out of generosity. The windows were large and had love in them. The furniture was made out of simplicity and the curtains were sewn from hope. The fence around the house was made from loyalty and stones of modesty were in its foundations. The entire structure was painted with colors of honor and integrity. From there I started my work: to work the field, to paint the canvas and to create serenity.

Chapter 5 – The Answer

Emotional intelligence is essential when taming oneself. The key to controlling situations and retaining your inner peace is restraint. A famous quote comes to mind, which is of disputed origin; ‘You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with logic. True power is restraint. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass – Unknown’. This is the only task he had assigned himself for a while now. To practice restraint. The art of self-control. In learning self-love, he found that perhaps the greatest accomplishment of a mind, is to have the ability to control itself. It was on our way back home when he revealed the purpose of our journey. All this time, I had thought that the answer to everything related to ‘self’ was the experiences we all have in our lives. That everything that happens to us and around us defines our image, or rather our understanding of ourselves. Little did I know, that it was quite the opposite.

The way we react to situations, problems and challenges in our lives is in our control. To exercise that control, we need to practice restraint. We need to learn to control our emotions and hence our reactions by being calm and restraining ourselves. This gives us power over ourselves. This gives us the power to define ourselves and in turn, understand ourselves. This is the pinnacle of self-love, awareness and discovery. When you get there, nothing can control you and disturb your peace. When you get there, nothing can impact your self-image and nothing can affect your ability to love yourself. When you get there, you understand your worth. You ‘restrain’ yourself against negativity of all nature. You grow bigger than the everyday noise. You stop indulging in activities and company that drains you. Your emotions are in your control. You embrace your feelings, and give yourself enough space and time to let logic and restraint define your reaction.

“So how do you do that?” I asked, wondering how one can develop restraint and emotional intelligence. “Solitude” he replied. “You spend time with yourself. You look around yourself. You understand yourself and you embrace your emotions. You let every possible thought into your mind, and let yourself react to the thoughts. You repeat this, till you understand that your reaction does not change the original thought, but only the thoughts that come after it. Only then, you understand how to control the thoughts, through your reaction. Understanding this is enough to realize that your reaction is in your control and you define the outcomes by exercising this control via restraint” We kept walking downhill as he spoke in slow, careful speech. I made mental notes and did not feel the need to respond. While this worked for him, I knew that there are many ways to achieve restraint. Some practice meditation, some practice other spiritual ways and many find their own path through constant struggle to find and improve themselves. Regardless of the method you choose, if you are trying or even just thinking about it, you have already started your journey. The answer to the simple impediment of ‘self’ is restraint …

Chapter 4 – The Narcissist

It was a slow day. The birds seemed to be engaged in a never ending song which could be heard from above in the vast trees. Their shade extended over the wild grass. The sun was shining through the leaves, flickering on the narrow paths under the trees. These paths, much like the trees in which the birds had made their homes, were a product of time. Grass worn down by timeless feet, moving under the trees. There was a set of large stones almost next to the trunk of the oldest tree. It was a natural, yet necessary place of rest for all those who ventured there. It is often heard that spending time in nature brings peace. A chance to clear your mind, gather your thoughts and to look around at the natural arrangement of so many things existing in harmony. This makes you wonder, what are we doing here? In a perfectly balanced environment, we have a plethora of complicated problems to deal with. Most of them, ironically are created by our very own existence. Humans creating problems for humans. Is this what we are here to do? To avoid, solve, or handle circumstances that disturb our peace. Circumstances that we don’t even have anything to do with? Why don’t we have the choice to just alleviate ourselves of this turmoil and become peaceful?

“We do”, he answered. We sat on the stones as the leaves rustled above us with gentle wind. The flickering sun warmed our backs and our eyes enjoyed a magnificent view of unending plains with far off mountains. “We can tame ourselves to love who we are and reflect our self-understanding in our everyday interactions by controlling our emotions, prioritizing virtue and practicing self-love” He looked at me with a rather assuring smile, “When you know your true worth, you learn to withdraw from things and circumstances that are not worth your peace yet you don’t choose momentary peace over a righteous struggle to achieve something lasting. To enable yourself to recognize the battles worth fighting, is to enable yourself to love yourself” He finished and reached for his satchel. “How would you define righteous?” I asked him as he rummaged through his belongings looking for something. “By virtue and ethics” He responded rather quickly. “Everybody has a different perception of right and wrong. One may also differ in defining virtue” He stopped and pulled out a tiny piece of wood. It was polished and gleamed in the flickering rays of light. It had something carved into it. “Virtue is constant, and always will be. It is as simple as not hurting another with your words or your actions. It is as simple as understanding that preferring things that make you happy are only worth it if they bring good about you” Then he showed the wooden piece to me.

I held it in my hand and read the engraved words ‘To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness – Confucius’. He studied my expression and then smiled “Do you think you would define it any differently?” I did not reply and closed my hand around the wooden piece as I looked into the landscape in front of me. We sat there quietly for a while. There was a certain calm inside me. As if a storm had just passed and now the sun rose over the darkness it had left behind. Is self-love really about doings things for yourself to preserve virtue? Does one not have the right to just do everything that makes oneself happy and at peace? There are times when we all need to just take our space and time to do things for ourselves. I looked at the piece of wood in my palm again and realized that all of my questions were valid but the five things Confucius had identified does in every aspect ensure that when we give ourselves the liberty to practice self-love without gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness – we become narcissists. We take what we think we deserve and we disregard those around us. We disregard the smaller and the greater good. We become the very humans who create problems for other humans.

I still had a swarm of thoughts in my head trying to establish some understanding of all this, when he reached out and took the piece of wood out of my hand “It was given to me by someone I hold very dear and I don’t want to lose it” He whispered aloud as he carefully stowed it away in his satchel. We sat there for some more time, till I decided it was time to move ahead. But one thing I was certain of after that day was that self-love is separated from narcissism and selfishness by virtue.

Chapter 2 – The Recovery

How does one recover from a debacle ? Especially, one concerning losing people you care about for no apparent reasons ? Why is such loss difficult for one, but seems so easy for the other? A swarm of thoughts and questions kept circling his mind. A person who cares, and loves unconditionally, can never really forget those they once cared for. “I learnt that you should walk away from people who use the entirety of all their issues to measure every single thing you say or do and let their past shape your relationship with them. Love is not about healing others. It’s about loving them regardless” He a said with a calm tone. He sat down on a bench besides the walking track and was not bothered by the wind ruffling his hair.

Recovery to some extent, however does come with time. You can heal, but the scars always remain.  The road to recovery starts from forgetting everything you were told about yourself and venturing on to find who you were, before it all happened. Recovery is about being yourself again, loving yourself again and prioritizing yourself again. Recovery is all about staying true to who you are and always were. It is about learning from your mistakes. It is about using  how others treat you to grow as a human. It is about not letting the cruelty of others and this world shape you. What I have found is that, recovery begins at forgiveness and it takes place at self-realization, and ends at growth. The process is not easy and it takes time. It is, however something we all must do to create a better space for ourselves and the people around us. The little acts of kindness, the mere effort put in bringing about smiles, the simple joy of giving – all these things become a part of a person who has forgiven, realized self and in turn grown. The pointless noise of the world no longer excites them. They exhibit a positive energy. They start doing things they have always wanted to, breaking the imaginary chains they put on themselves for the sake of others. They become fearless and independent of everything and everyone. They become enough for themselves and this very feeling makes them content and happy. They become Indifferent of the anything abstract or concrete and nothing can disturb their peace.

He has reached that milestone. Recollecting all his mistakes, learning from them, realizing his self-worth and being aware of himself. He has grown. In all the turmoil, he has found his strength and he has overcome the vast mountains set before him. It has been a while since he has been this focused. His belief in building things with his own effort has never been stronger. He has given up finding good hearts. He wants his life to be about him and the greater good and about spending his time and effort in making this world a better place by practicing small, everyday deeds of kindness, generosity and humanity . Perhaps, I cannot comprehend this any better, but I believe he has found his road.