Poverty Knows No Borders

By: Sanzida Begum

8 June
Her name is Priya and she’s quite beautiful. Our marriage was arranged three months ago, we’ve been married for one and I can honestly say I have fallen in love with this woman. She cooks for me, takes care of me when I’m sick and she’s always there for me when I need to talk. She truly is the perfect wife and I have no idea what she is doing with me, when she could have gotten married to someone who has so much more money than I do, someone who could provide for her and not have to ask her to wait.
I asked her to wait before we have kids. I asked her if we can be safe for now. She agreed to wait a while before having children but I know it pains her to do so. She tells me over and over again, “Sohaib it’s okay. Our family will just have to wait,” but I know she wants to be a mother. She wants to fulfill her duty as a woman. I know it hurts her when her friends ask her when she was going to have a baby. I know it hurts her when her Amma and Baba ask when are their grandchildren going to come along. I can see the pain in her eyes. I can tell from the slump in her shoulders when she pretends to act aggravated and tells her Amma, “Amma you know we decided to wait till we have some more money.”
I  really can’t understand what she settled for a man like me. Priya is such a compassionate, generous and young girl and I can’t understand why she would want to marry a poor man like me. I have made her life so miserable and I can’t believe she’s still with me today. I’m fairly sure if she allowed them to, her parents would have taken her back home a long time ago.

a thank you note for you.

by: Sanzida Begum

As Thanksgiving gets closer and closer, I want to thank every single person that has entered my life because you have all impacted my life one way or another. Whether you have hurt me, left me behind, were left behind or are still here today by my side, you all have left footprints in my life.

To my middle school friends who left, thank you for holding me up just when I was beginning to learn what was expected of me as a Bengali girl. The first middle school I went to I was a confident little girl with a bright perspective of the world but right as six grade was ending things took a turn for me. When my innocence was taken advantage of, the loud, cheerful girl I used to be was gone and replaced with a girl who faked her confidence and had to keep a painful secret. So thank you to my middle school friends, the ones from seventh and eighth grade. Thank you for making me laugh and smile, and briefly forget about the summer before. Thank you
for letting me make up lies about why I was so upset and thank you for not being able to detect my lies. Thank you for letting me lie about the incredible things that happened to me so that for just a few hours of the day, I could pretend like everything was fine. Thank you for being in my life for the short while that you were. Even though we may have lost contact, I now two of you tried to hold on but it just wasn’t meant to last and thank you for letting go. Just know I’m happy for all that you are accomplishing and if there’s ever a moment you need a shoulder or an ear, I will be here regardless of the amount of time that has passed since we last talked.

Vinyl Review and Radio Cover Reveal

by: Sanzida Begum

Title: Vinyl (Book 1 of the Vinyl Trilogy)  
Author: Sophia Elaine Hanson
Published: November 26, 2015
Rating: 5/5 ☆☆☆☆☆
Summary from Goodreads:

Blazing Fire

written by: Sanzida Begum

I remember wanting to go home, wanting to go back to New York where my siblings were, where my friends were, where my nephews were. I remember feeling out of place because I was always confused about doing things my cousins have done a million and one times before. I remember struggling to speak in bengali, struggling to make my cousins understand, struggling to hold up a conversation with my aunts and uncles. I remember the looks I got when I stayed to myself when my cousins were at school, because I felt so awkward...so different. I remember refusing to accept this place as my own. I remember refusing to become a part of this village. And while I enjoyed my time with my cousins, I remember counting down the days till I would be on a plane with the final destination set as home. And I remember the one rainy day and burning night that changed it all.

I remember the hot sticky air of the morning and afternoon even though the rain was pelting down hard on the tin roofs. I remember my hair sticking to my face as beads of sweat gathered on my forehead and on the bridge of my nose. I remember the uncomfortable feeling of my clothes sticking to my body. I remember wanting to run into the middle of the yard as the rain poured down and left muddy puddles into the ground. I remember drinking as much water as possible since the heat has left me parched. I remember the sound of rain hitting the tin roof, the pitter, the patter and the calmness the sound brought with it.

Anti-depressants Ruined My Speech

Written by: Afnan A.

I cannot claim to be a talented person, but I sure can claim myself to be an avid talker; at least I was. I talked my heart out all the time. My linguistic ability helped me learn three languages by 10th grade. It was also a great charm since I used all the big words and wooed people by my talk, no matter what I talked about. Then long story short I fell in depression and upon a meeting with my psychiatrist, I was prescribed three strong anti-depressants. At first I was diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder. Then as my psychiatrist saw me improving, I was diagnosed with only with depression.
Although these anti-depressants might’ve improved my depression, I lost my linguistic charms. Ever since I started taking anti-depressants, I have been tripping on my words whether I am in a job interview, trying to impress a cute girl with short hair or even saying my thoughts out loud to my close friends. It doesn’t matter who I am talking to or what I am trying to do, I lose my words. I would think I keep losing my words maybe because English is my second language but I am sure as hell that’s not it. I started practicing English academically from 1st grade and fluently speaking it since 7th grade. And also because, I even lose words just as much with my mother tongue, Bengali and my third language, Urdu. I keep losing my words and it’s this cycle of torturing my head while I am talking because I keep thinking, “What’s the next word, idiot?! Talk faster! You are not typing! You are making a gigantic, enormous fool out of yourself in front of everyone!” I can feel my back sweating sometimes, struggling. I can feel my tongue getting heavy and not wanting to say any words. And my poor head keeps being disappointed myself for probably a millionth time now. It has become an everyday part of my life that I wish I could get rid of but sadly, maybe it has become a permanent part of my life.


written by: Afnan A.

Dear “Ginger Ale,”

I loved you very much.
And for some reason despite how much you have hurt me, I still love you a lot. So much that I still think of you everyday. I keep playing our good memories over and over again in the back of my head. Whenever a love song comes on, all my mind thinks of is you; so much that my eyes water up often by your memories. You are the one my eyes shed tears for the most, so much that my heart is aching now as I am writing about you.
You have moved on the next day, the day after our breakup, your Tumblr had posts of having new crushes, you have disregarded me completely the day I saw you on Wednesday, I know that you saw me as well, you just pretended that you didn’t. I don’t even know who you are anymore. Still I hold onto your good sides and the good memories of us because, I do not want to believe that the ginger Ale I encountered during the break-up week was the real ginger Ale …It wasn’t my ginger Ale.

-on apologizes and letter to future son

written by: Sanzida Begum

Dear Sohaib, 

Hey baby boy, it’s momma here. If things go as planned and you’re reading this letter that must mean that you’ll be starting high school soon, this blog of your Aunty Atera’s and mine will be part of the past and you’re not too embarrassed to hug your mom in front of your friends. You’re thirteen/fourteen and I need to tell you some things. 

First thing first baby boy, I love you to the moon and back and never forget that. We will have many arguments and you will get mad at me a lot and I’m sorry about that. But you need to understand, we’re not like most families. When I was your age, I had already lost my innocent view on the world and I knew how corrupted everything truly was. I realized how much everyone around me was hurting and that in turn pushed me to an edge of breaking. I truly hope you haven’t reached this point yet because I want you to be happy at all times. I never want you to have to go through what I had to. So I’m sorry if you get mad at me because I won’t let you go somewhere. I’m sorry if I’m a bit wary of some of your friends. I’m sorry if I don’t let you go out on halloween night. I’m sorry if I don’t let you go to a party. Most of all, I’m sorry you were born into such a corrupted and evil world where people treasure materialistic things over what truly matters.


written by: Afnan A.

“I would hold her in my arms and never let her go” thought Achlys as tears streamed down her face. It had been four weeks since Ruth and Achlys broke up. Ever since then, she couldn’t spend a day without smoking sixty cigarettes and bawling her eyes out. Usually, she smoked about twenty a day. But sixty was an unusual number to smoke, even for Achlys. That day wasn’t the best day in weeks either. She found out about her stage 4-lung cancer from her doctor. “The fuck I care” she mumbled as she lit her 40th cigarette. She continued sobbing as she pursed the cigarette between her lips. At least it was the only source of light in her freezing, dark room. She had been getting series of bad news for awhile. Like a domino effect, her life kept falling apart. Her grades dropped down, she found out about the cancer and losing her job just made everything worse. “How the fuck am I supposed to buy smokes now?” cried Achlys out of frustration as a notification popped up in her phone about her low bank balance. As if her day couldn’t get any worse. She hated the notifications too. Every time the phone lighted up with a notification, her hopes touched the sky, hoping it will be a message from Ruth. But sadly, it was never her. It had been a long, tiring day for her. As she curled up in a ball to sleep, she started going through screenshots of the messages she got from Ruth. “What changed you?” she whispered the unanswerable question in the air as she released her last puff of smoke. She couldn’t help but stare at a particular screenshot for a while.  
“Achlys: Did you reach home yet?
Ruth: You are like home to me. So no I didn’t.”

-on the dangers of a secret

written by: Sanzida Begum

We all have secrets, some are small, some are big. Sometimes we’ll share some of these secrets. But there are other secrets we refuse to tell anyone. Secrets we’re ashamed of and secret’s we’re afraid of. Secrets we attempt to avoid till we absolutely cannot. And these secrets, the one’s that we hold in and no one knows about are the most dangerous of them all. 

Because here’s the thing about those secrets: they can and will tear you apart. They will pull you apart, piece by piec e till all there is left of you is a mess of broken pieces waiting to be fixed. They will tug and pull at your heart, till they break your heart into a million and one shards; shards so sharp, they can stab you to death. They will bring you down and cause you to sink to your lowest point because there are no such things as a harmless secret. They will be your worst enemy, so vicious and vile, that they will claw at you till, all there is left of you are scars and fears.


written by: Afnan A.

Let me restate an obvious sentence that you probably heard from teachers or read in textbooks for a million times already. Humans are social beings. We live in a society to have each other’s backs, to care of each other, offering love, care and affection, etc. But the truth is, society has made up some preposterous rules and regulations for people to follow and if someone is different, society turns it’s back to the people instead being there for them. In this society we have plenty of dysfunctions like that. One of those unfortunate dysfunctions is Homophobia. According to Oxford Dictionary, "homophobia is having or showing a strong dislike and fear of homosexual people" - which really doesn’t make sense to me. “I hate you because you like people of same gender.” So much for having each other’s backs, right?        

I grew up in a very strict family with strong traditions. I have lived in a house full of people that completely loathe the community that I am a part of. I went out to the streets everyday where the “normal” people could’ve bash me if they found out that I am gay. I couldn’t come out to my friends until couple of months ago because I was consumed with the horrible fear that they would hate me forever if they found out my sexuality. Although I came out to my friends, I know my family will never accept me for who I am. I have turned eighteen and as I am dropping little hints about myself, I have been receiving strong condemnation from my own family and it aches m y heart to be not accepted by the ones I want to be accepted so badly.      

-on worries of a writer

written by: Sanzida Begum

Here’s the thing about being a writer: I worry… a lot.

I worry about the blank pages that have to be filled and whether the writing that will fill those pages will make sense to my readers. I worry about the words that don’t come and how long it will take for it to arrive. I worry that my pages will be left blank and the words just won’t come.

I worry about where to start and where to end. I worry about the beginning and the end. I worry about whether I have captured my readers attention and whether I have left them wanting more. I worry about which image will capture a wider range of reader. I worry about if I’m being inclusive enough. I worry if I offend anyone. I also worry about the middles. Am I being too simple? Am I being too detailed? Am I being too repetitive? I worry… a lot.


written by: Afnan A.

You know those romantic comedy movies where someone falls in love with the other and that other person is completely oblivious about it? Magically after awhile, the other person also gets attacked by cupid and falls in love as well. After a twist and a climax those movies usually end with a cliché kissing scene and an “I love you so much” “I love you too, more than words can describe…” 

Yeah. You know what I am talking about. What if I told you my love life is exactly the opposite of those scenarios? Yeah it’s pretty sad. What’s even sadder is that I grew up watching those movies believing that those preposterous movies could be true, but in real life those movies are nothing but utter bullshit.
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