Ten

Suddenly I am ten years old again; I have fallen asleep in the car. Droplets of rain tap gently on the window, and I find myself blessed with the harmonious blanket of nature’s favourite lullaby. I awaken to the welcome buzz of a world painted anew, only this time, in all the right colours – the paintbrushes of all the people, their stories trailing gracefully behind them, imbuing these dreary London streets with some chromatic vigour, at long last. People, as a weary-eyed decade-old me comes to realise, are walking stories. And the world that is only partially visible through that gaping-hole she has made in the condensation is a canvas, dirtied by self-important human footsteps, but washed anew, time and time again, by the quiet and cleansing pitter-patter of autumnal rainfall.

Somewhere in the distance, a baby shrieks under clinical lighting, and with a burning desire to be held. In this very moment, a new voice is formed; a new story is born. I wonder if this bundle of plot-lines knows that the same arms that have carried her today from hospital bed to Nanu’s frail arms, which are outstretched in loving anticipation of her new grandchild, are to be the same ones that carry her from evening back-of-the-car slumber, into a house that smells like cinnamon and stir-fry, ten years from now.

In a dimly lit kitchen a short walk away from here, Nanu is preparing a vat of aromatic chicken curry to send over tomorrow. For now, however, decade-old story gets ready to sleep between warm white sheets; her colours – the very stuff of dreams – begin to seep out from raven tufts of hair, spiral and somnolent messes in every conceivable shade of purple. Decade-old story takes a final look at the urban canvas she is to bid farewell to for the next eight hours or so.

Outside, a car scurries past on rain-drenched cobblestone. A smallish hand presses against the coolness of the back window, forming a small space in the condensation: a gaping-hole, a new lens through which the world, in its partial entirety, is going to be viewed.

Sadia Ahmed, 2019 

Mainstream vs. Islamic Psychology: An Introduction

Rumi-nation

By SADIA AHMED

‘Psychology’: the study of the ‘psyche’. Although often disguised as being a ‘science’ in the traditional sense (whereby recurrent observations lead to the formation of somewhat-solid conclusions) this discipline, in reality, is as complex, abstract and ungraspable as they come. The nature of the human ‘psyche’ – the very thing that determines our individual and collective human realities as we know them – remains, for the most part, a deep mystery to us. Even the most highly qualified and trained psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists understand that the entity they seek to understand (which is otherwise known as the ‘soul’, ‘mind’ or ‘spirit’) is fundamentally incomprehensible.

Therefore, when it comes to positing theories about the unseen object in question, all constructs of understanding are at once true and untrue. Freud, Jung, Al-Ghazali and Avicenna each held very different views (substantiated – given the malleability of a concept as…

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Sofa

Oh, you should have seen the look on her face

When I told her I knew exactly what she means:

The bags of burden she had been carrying

Hidden from plain sight, being allowed, finally, to come into view for a while,

To be placed on the sofa atop which we sat, crossing their legs in carefree contentment, smoking away at their cigars,

laid bare for both our eyes to understand that indeed, both our eyes, understood.

 

When I catapulted the words, “Me too” into still air,

You should have heard the sigh of relief that cascaded from her lips:

A waterfall, formerly damned behind that godawful dam

Of “You must not say that. What will others think?

You have failed us as a woman. What pathetic excuse is this, for femininity?

 

And though it is we who have hurt you, though they are our heavinesses 

that you perish, incrementally, beneath the weight of each day

 

It is still with womanly grace and beauty that you must approach that good night,

With bruised eyes and mango pickle smiles, you will rejoice in the abyss, grateful and light.”


Sadia Ahmed, 2019

Walk

Let’s, you, we, and I, walk beneath crepuscular skies:

Where silver suns beam and crash to ground. mere milliseconds before they rise;

Where trophy moon trills lyrics of lunar bliss, much to rational mind’s surprise.

And quickened heartbeats grow to climax steadily, firmly on the other side

Of these here, these four of our bloodshot uncomplaining eyes. 

 

Let’s, you, we, and I, build truths on savoury fondant lies;

Where I will take time to bask dutifully where your soul’s soliloquies harmonise,

with the highest of hopes that you may wish to do the same for mine:

for the canvas atop which my own soul aches, laughs, sleeps, then sighs,

 

We can speak, if you would prefer, through silence: via screens of smoke and sullen eyes,

We could think about the clouds, their battles, and what they choose, so translucently, to leave behind.

 

Let’s, you, we, and I, part upon cerulean goodbyes:

We can tether ourselves to celestial promises, traipsing around only to ponder,

Wandering those dusk-tinged streets, watch as others’ pupils dilate with our same wonder.

Talk about the mundane and the sublime, the eternities we create while surviving on this here,

this borrowed time. “Say,

I wonder how many therapists go home each day only to drown themselves in wine – 

And how many people take ecstasy pills, in strange hallucinogenic pursuit of something

quite ‘Divine’?”

 


Sadia Ahmed, 2019