Turning Antonyms into Paradoxes by Aarushi Kataria – Book Review

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“It is better to be together than alone in an obliterated city amongst people with decimated morals that can’t appreciate art.”

Turning Antonyms into Paradoxes is a collection of poetic prose and verse spread across 10 chapters spanning people, cities, literature and other muses poets usually find themselves influenced by. Seeking to draw opposites in a way that makes us ask if there really is a stark dichotomy between life and death or art and the artist, Kataria narrows down the space between them.

Written in a dreamy way, it will appeal to those who love reading books steeped in romanticism (Fitzgerald fans, take notes). The prose coupled with verse and also illustrations by Ariana Gupta make for a well rounded experience. Written by the author at the age of 16, the ideas dealt with transcend what modern poetry seems to have become in these times. The excitement of young love, family, doubt, loss and death have been done justice with lyrical words.

This book can serve young writers and poets looking for inspiration or weathered poets wanting to look back on how words take form in the work of young poets.

Happy Reading.

~ Saadia

 

Massacred Town

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There is a black hole

where the last memory of a lover resides,

you call, unaware, that they’ve died 40 days back,

The speakers ring with subtle hope, inna ma al usri yusra*,

the evening prayer fades into torture cries

ringing from the same speakers.

There is a gaping hole

where images of twisted young bodies

are yellow under incandescent bulbs,

where blood trickles

from perforated backs and unseeing eyes.

~ Saadia,

On the day Shahid left us to embellish this massacre with our words

 

*Arabic: Verily with pain comes ease.

4 August 2019

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Frantic phone calls spiderweb across families

college sessions terminate 2 days after they start

lights for a wedding lie still, unlit,

in anticipation, in unclarity

an indefinite curfew imposed

the night before an orphan was to be married.

 

Kashmir lies still,

veins taut in alarm,

too much stillness

for a possibility of war.

~ Saadia

 

Wrote this on the 4th of August when it was still unclear what was going to happen, there were rumors of war and Kashmir was gripped with a fear that was impossible to swallow. 65+ days of communication blockade and 90+ days of internet shutdown later, here we are, still counting the days.

Loss of meaning & Loneliness

Life seems to mean so little,

in our cities of material excess,

the silk curtains that keep the light out

are our cages,

our narrow circles, our shackles.

 

Yet we are happy with false friendships

and falser values,

we register a heavenly day

when the sun has already set,

and so we trudge back to our now comfortable cells.

 

We’ve been deceived by billboards

and the American dream,

in a world of hyper-connectivity,

we are lonelier than we’ve ever been.

~ Saadia

 

Gold but not quite

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Happiness looks different on different people, so does sadness.

There is always a lifetime behind every decision, so it isn’t fair to judge people on the basis of 1st appearances.

On seeing the most extroverted, outgoing people battle crippling mental health issues, I’ve learnt that it isn’t enough to know better, we must do better.

Mental health illnesses, particularly depression and anxiety are the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. The best people do is add more stigma to it, spread false conceptions and isolate unwell people.

Most people wish they had a visible illness like a broken leg or stomach flu because that gets immediate medical attention and family support.

1 in 4 people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.

Around 450 million people suffer from such conditions currently. Choose kindness, help people reach out for support, you might be saving a life.

Depression Helpline (India) https://www.vandrevalafoundation.com/

Depression Helpline (US) https://www.crisistextline.org/depression

Suicide Prevention Helpline (India) http://www.aasra.info/

Suicide Prevention Helpline (US) https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

 

Today’s Media

20190420_164830.jpgMalcolm X said, “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” Research shows that people tend to ignore information that goes against their beliefs.
This is the reason for mass misinformation which ruins people’s lives.
Stay alert, don’t accept everything you see, think it through in your head because less than 29% of mainstream media news is accurate. This has led to most people getting their fix of news from social media platforms like Twitter.

Many 24/7 news channels are funded by Political Parties and facts are twisted to misinform, create fear to validate crime against minorities and the marginalised.

The media has become a propaganda machine even worse than it was in the early years of the 21st century.

Verify the facts before sharing news, steer clear of mass media that show one sided stories (CNN & BBC) and never let news inspire such fear in you that crime against certain communities seems justified.

Peace

– Saadia

 

True Self care

20190418_185529.jpgI’ve realised that escaping grief leads to unanswered questions. It prevents you from learning about your problems and hence prolongs them.

True self care is hard, its messy and slow but its a skill we all need to acquire.

Art by Barooja (https://www.instagram.com/barooja/)