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Finding Neverland Blog Archive

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Silhouette

Silhouette

Written By: Maham Shahbaz. 

Remember that thread she told me of? The one that connects me to my body, I think it broke. She said it could and I think it did.

I feel nothing, not alive, not dead, no regret about how I ignored my morals for that one person, no will to carry on. I’m okay now but I’m not okay. She said it would be like this, it was “part of the symptoms,” she said, “part of the process.”

I woke up in the middle of the night, screaming, just like the night before, and the night before that. I can’t remember when it began, or why. What was it they told me? Depression, guilt, stress… Don’t remember any of it, just darkness, and someone screaming for help. I run towards the sound. There, in the corner, I cant see their face, I move towards them, I want to comfort them, tell them that its okay, that I'm there now. Something about that scream makes me want to run towards it and calm it down but as I get closer I notice that the person screaming has my face and my body...is it me? As I get closer I begin to scream and I become that person.

But when they wake me up I see his silhouette in a corner, like always he stays and I feel calm and comforted... but he isn't real.

...but then the only time I felt connected to myself was during that dream and that wasn’t real either.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

She was not the One.

Sunset Kiss

Written by: Midhat Amna.

And no one’s really sure who’s letting go today, walking away’

It kept playing through her mind as she lumbered down the corridor, until she realized the instrumental was already echoing in the ballroom.

She had it figured since a long time. The coming in late each night, Bryan growing nervous every time the phone beeped in her presence. The excuses, rather the plain refusals he’d pass each time she would suggest going out. Moreover, it was the raging silence that spoke all along. It was the strangeness between them,that stole the place of love and contentment they shared.His eyes were daggers, slowly stabbing her each time he looked into hers. With emptiness. With unreasoned hatred.It was also the hushed greetings they exchanged, the empty hugs and the vacuous kisses only she prompted. It wasn’t her high school sweetheart anymore she’d seldom talk to. And every time they were together, Julie realized that the man beside her wasn’t the one who proposed her twelve years back on the deck of Monarch, no, she failed to recognize this man.

It’s funny,isn’t it? How your entire world is dependent on just a step ahead,one glimpse.He was there,alright,one hand resting on the woman’s bare shoulder,his fingers laced into hers.They were dancing under the dimly lit chandelier,oblivious to the presence of a third person.A third person.Julie stood there completely bewildered.She had an expression on her face you can’t really put a name to,but one you could only feel.And although she knew this was coming,she never imagined this moment to be so excruciating.This was the kind of moment she’d give up anything to just have it erased form her memory.She kept staring at them until the image blurred.This image,so disturbing yet undeniably beautiful…and then it finally hit her,she was not the one embracing a twirl,slowly being wrapped up in Bryan’s solid arms.She was not the one.

The wedding ring caught her brim eyes.This very souvenir of their ‘commitment’ that had kept her believing in something that no longer existed. Aren’t wedding bands so ridiculously deceiving? This so gold a ring that held all the vows,promises and memories,this oh-so-solid form of their love,correction;her love,yet ironically gifted by him.It lay there as it was the day it was slided on to her finger.How can an ornament not tarnish when a relationship entirely based upon it can,and did. Did none of it matter anymore? Did it ever matter? Is love that temporary,that weak? She stood there shuddering at the thought.Although she had prepared her confrontation;rehearsing it over a thousand times,shifting words,trying to sound simple yet effective,but she’d forgotten all of it at this moment,she was blank.Every fibre of her body recoiled in indignant horror.She stood their caught between denial and acceptance,until a jolt of realisation shook her.She needed to get out of here.She didn’t belong here,anywhere,because she was not the one.

‘If we could take the time
To lay it on the line
I could rest my head
Just knowin’ that you were mine’

She stole a glance at herself into the rear view mirror. How flawless.She was reminded of all the struggle she put herself through;from endless appointments with dermatologists to the countless collections of anti-aging creams,the best make-up brands in the state,all those days she starved herself just to fit in a dress which caught Bryan’s attention, all the changes she made to her personality just to suit her husband.How she left every one and every thing just to be with him.And how she finally lost herself in the process.Carving herself into someone her husband had desired,just to be left like an old,chipped cup in the darkest corner of a cupboard.

She drove as fast as she could.She had to get away.She lost grip of the emotions cascading through her.It wasn’t just anger,it was grief.It was the agony searing through her.She was not the one.”I AM NOT THE ONE,” she finally broke the silence that had consumed her for so long.

Why does love have to be so all-consuming? Why is it supposed to either make you,or break you? Why does it have to be so strong to shatter you in pieces,and at the same time so weak to never even hold on for much long? Why? She was going 90 mph.The sky mocked her,lightening from black to violet to mauve,the rain drops beat the windscreen.And then it happened.The Camry plunged off the viaduct,crashing into the waterbody beneath.

‘So never mind the darkness
We still can find a way
Cause nothing lasts forever
Even cold November rain’

She hummed the lyrics until her voice cracked.And then darkness followed,first filling her eyes,and then her entire world-forever.Don’t you see how strong true love is? How merciless? Never does it die,however,it’s victims often do.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Sultan Ahmet Mosque

Sultan Ahmet Mosque
Written By: Maham Shahbaz

The Sultan Ahmet Mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque was built in the period from 1609 to 1616.  The construction of the mosque lasted for seven years. It was completed in 1617 just prior to the untimely death of its then 27-year old patron, Sultan Ahmet I. The mosque dominates Istanbul’s majestic skyline with its elegant composition of ascending domes and six slender soaring minarets. Although considered one of the last classical Ottoman structures, the combination of new architectural and decorative elements in the mosque’s building program and its symbolic placement at the imperial center of the city point to a departure from the classical tradition innovated under the famous 16th-century master architect, Mimar Sinan.  The architect, Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa, synthesized the ideas of his master Sinan, aiming for overwhelming size, majesty and magnificence.


A Symbolic location.

Sultan Ahmet Mosque location

Majestic mosques of Ottoman  were placed far from the city to encourage urban development and to take advantage of Istanbul’s hilly topography, the Sultan Ahmet mosque is nestled in between the Hagia Sophia and the Byzantine Hippodrome near the Ottoman royal residence, Topkapı Palace.  In fact, the choice of location caused some concern since it required the demolition of quite a few established palaces owned by Ottoman ministers. But prestige outweighed the enormous cost in coin and real estate. Constructing large mosque complexes for the benefit of the public was part of the imperial tradition denoting a pious and benevolent ruler. Placing the mosque adjacent to the Hagia Sophia also signified the triumph of an Islamic monument over a converted Christian church, a matter of great concern even 150 years after the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453.

This mosque has received in Europe, the name "Blue Mosque" because it’s interior is formed of tiles in blue and blue colors in organic combination with a white background. Total used for decoration over 20,000 tiles. Iznikskie ceramic tiles hand-made, which were used in the interior decoration of the mosque at the time is particularly famous for their quality.

Architecture.

Sultan Ahmet Mosque architecture

The Main Gate of the Mosque is at the side of the ‘Hippodrome’ where the obelisks are. When you approach the main gate you see two Arabic verses to the visitors. The first one on top is called Shahadah (Declaration of Faith) and means:
I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and Muhammad(PBUH) is His Messenger.
The second is placed just above the arch and is a quotation from the Qur’an. This also explains the purpose of the building. It means:
“Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers at specified times.”Qur’an 4:103

The mosque features two main sections: a large unified prayer hall crowned by the main dome and an equally spacious courtyard. In contrast to earlier imperial mosques in Istanbul, the monotony of the exterior stone walls is relieved through numerous windows and a blind arcade. Huge elevated and recessed entrances penetrate three sides to provide access to the sacred core. The courtyard’s inner frame is a domed arcade, which is uniform on all sides except for the prayer hall entrance where the arches expand.
       

Dome and Pendentives.

Sultan Ahmet Mosque Dome
Inside, the central dome rests on pendentives (triangular segments of a spherical surface) with its weight supported on four massive columns. In order to extend the prayer space and to structurally support the centeral dome, a series of half-domes cascade outwards from the center to ultimately join the exterior walls of the mosque. The central stone was called ‘kilit taşı’ which literally means ‘locking stone’. This is a huge stone carefully carved and placed so that it pushes all the smaller stones to the sides with its size and weight (locking them in a way). On the central stone there is a quotation from the Qur’an provoking thought again.

“Indeed, Allah holds the heavens and the earth, lest they cease. And if they should cease, no one could hold them [in place] after Him. Indeed, He is Forbearing and Forgiving.”Qur’an 35:41

Minarets.

There are a total of six minarets. four are positioned on the corners of the mosque’s prayer hall while the other two are on the external corners of the courtyard. All of these "pencil" minarets have a series of balconies beautifying its lean form.

The number of minarets caused a little unrest among the population because an imperial mosque had the same number of minarets as that of the mosque of mecca. To symbolize superiority of mosque in mecca, a seventh minaret was added to it. evidence to support this claim are thin since some believe the seventh minaret already existed prior to the Blue Mosque’s construction while others cite a much later date for the seventh minaret’s addition.

The area of courtyard is almost the same as that of the mosque. At the center of the courtyard there is a hexagonal fountain, surrounded by 6 columns. Courtyard of the Blue Mosque is the same size as the mosque itself. The walls are decorated with arcaded courtyard.


The interior.

Sultan Ahmet Mosque Interior

The prayer hall itself is punctuated with several architectural features including the sultan’s platform and an arcaded gallery running along the interior walls except on the qibla wall. A carved marble niche set into the center of this wall guides the faithful to the correct direction for prayer, this niche is known as mihrab. On top of the mihrab there are two verses from the Qur’an which mention the names of some holy people mentioned in relation to a special praying place (mihrab).

On top: Whenever Zachariah entered the Mihrab, he found provision (food) with her (Mary). Qur’an 3:37
Second one: So the angels called him while he was standing in prayer in the Mihrab, ("Indeed, Allah gives you good tidings of John…) Qur’an 3:39

To its right is a tall and thin marble podium (mimbar) covered with an ornamental turret. It looks like a staircase however it’s used as a raised platform to deliver a sermon on congregational prayer days

Tilework and stained glass.


Upper sections of the mosque are painted in geometric bands and organic medallions of bright reds and blues, but much of this is not original. Rather, the careful choreography of more than 20,000 Iznik tiles rise from the mid-sections of the mosque and dazzle the visitor with their brilliant blue, green, and turquoise hues, and lend the mosque its popular name the blue mosque. 

Symbolisation.


Traditional motifs on the tiles such as cypress trees, tulips, roses, and fruits evoke visions of a bountiful paradise. Sultan Ahmet demanded these specifically for the building. The lavish use of tile decoration on the interior was a first in Imperial Ottoman mosque architecture. The intensity of the tiles is highlighted by the play of natural light from more than 200 windows that pierce the drums of the central dome, each of the half-domes, and the side walls. These windows originally contained Venetian stained glass. 


Dimensions for the Sultan Ahmed Mosque.

  • 6 minarets altogether. 4 of them have 3 balconies and their size is 73m and 2 have 2 balconies and 60m high.
  • The size of the prayer hall is 53.50 x 49.47 (2646 m2).
  • The inner courtyard has about 30 domes seated on 26 separate columns.
  • The dome is about 43 metres high and is a diameter of 23.5 metres.
  • Main prayer hall can accommodate up to 10.000 worshippers at a time. 
  • It has 260 windows.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Skies and Beyond.

Staring at Sky

Written By: Midhat Amna.

I stare into the sky. I can feel the ciliary muscles relax and my suspensory ligaments tighten as my eyes penetrate their way into the extremities.And then comes the furthest boundary,beyond which my eyes fail to grasp any further vision. The Sun continues fading into the golden sky,while the white beads of cotton nestle atop the atmosphere.The view is interrupted as a flock of nightingales weave across the sky,waltzing and gliding,the sound of their wings beating simultaneously reaches my ears in the form of a melody.Watching them soar in the air,envy engulfs me.

I can feel my heart fluttering…and for a moment,everything goes blank.All I could imagine is my body floating in this very sky,the breeze rushing over my face,tickling my bare skin.I can almost feel two delicate wings fixed to my shoulders instead of these bunch of creaky,in-efficacious bones attached to my scapula.My mind starts traveling back in time.I see a little girl,a pink cape draping over her back.She raises her arm and positions it in the air,almost as perfectly as Christopher Reeve.She takes in a deep breath and jumps high in the air,excepts of course,landing on the mattress double quick.She swears at the laws of gravity,yet never gives up.”Gravity can’t always win,” I mutter these words as a pang of familiarity grasps me.

I lay there as more memories race through my mind. That one time I attempted to break the plane window just with the intention of feeling the -60 C temperature with the tip of my pinky.The day I almost jumped off the roof,certain that a flying carpet would arrive in time.Today,when I reflect back on these memories,it hits me hard…I’m no longer the person I was before.The person I was supposed to become.Lying here,I could literally feel my innocence slipping away,yet again.Guilt,regret and misery clawing me from the inside.And then the strangest sensation overwhelms me.Sharp thorns seem to be digging deep inside my body,cleaving me to the bare soil.I make no effort to relieve myself.It doesn’t hurt anyway.I’m numb,I realize.Powerless.I lay there still,screaming silence. My hair,more like octopus tentacles,freely brush past my face.It’s funny,I think to myself,how a single sight can rekindle so many feelings,so many memories.How I can feel so much,all at the same time.I have this “quality” of feeling everything so very deeply.Whether it’s a blessing or a curse,I do not know yet.

It continues to get dark and brisk.The whistling wind and my wild thoughts make the perfect rhythm.I realize I have grown so strangely comfortable with my state of trance.Is it that I’ve accepted the change? The new me? Miserable me? Me? I continue with my perplexed mind state.I can see darkness prevailed among all the realms.Is it too soon to swallow it? I look around myself.No one.Is it always going to be this way? A voice roars from within.”Yes!” I must rid myself of self deception that lies within my cores,I realize,I must never hope.I sometimes wish I could take this deceitful word far from this world,and well,go missing with it.I have realized how fond I have grown of loneliness.How comfortable reclusion is becoming,though in a very strange way.I am starting to discover myself.Apprehension of one-self is the most important thing that could happen to us.It comes in handy at times like these.And if I’m not wrong…though as much as I hope I am,I have discovered the three words that define me.Wretched.Demented.Defeated.

Three has always been a very important number to me.How three words can change our entire lives,for better or for worse.How three steps can take us to a whole new world.The first step to risk taking,the second to delusion,and the third step,or rather a gateway to the land of self-destruction,or post self-destruction.Not two,but three faces that everyone possesses. The typical three chances.The three stages of life,although some of us skip stage 2. Sublimation? Knowing who I finally am,I wish to peek in further.But I guess I’m like the horizon,we have our boundaries.And if I try to push past my limits,I wont explode,instead I will simply cease to exist.

I am reminded of how I wake up every day,reminded of a million things all at the same time.And how each day,I drag myself to face the piercing heat of this desert world.I am confused,am I the alien or is this world alien to me? I keep distracting myself with this rather very hurtful,self-questioning.I am reminded how every day,I try to pick up pieces of me,trying to glue them back.And when I finally manage to get them together,I acknowledge there is still a piece missing.A piece I will never be returned.

I am like the shore at night.The serene twilight above the raging destructive ocean.I am the bitter wind on a typical December night.I radiate anything but light.Darkness resides deep within me.I’m a mystery no Sherlock can solve,I’m an unsolved case put far from reach.I’m the melody no instrument-no voice,can produce.I am so me.I let this sink in,and I get up.The sky is now dark,the Sun has long set.I free myself of these thorns,as ironic as that sounds.It leaves no marks anyhow.That’s what hurts most of all.The world is blind to your scars,especially scars they’ve caused.Anyhow,I realize I have a Science test the next day.Angle of incidence=sin i/sin r.Total internal reflection? Oh screw it.I make my way back to the world,wearing the ornament I’ve worn forever,a smile. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

In The Hollow Cage

Hollow Cage

Written By: Midhat Amna.

I lay here still in eternal silence. The curtains are drawn back,allowing the morning light to pierce my eyes. I almost reach out to screen my face,until I realize the very undeniable fact – that I can’t. Diya thinks it’s inspiriting.”But you’ll feel good, jaaneman“, she insists whenever I manage to protest silently.” Let the light reach the cores within.”

It’s 9 a.m.The clock hanging above glares at my miserable self,cursing the living corpse that I am. My eyes lay fixed on the needle as it crosses every numeral-tick tock tick tock, it mocks. At last,the ticking growls so loud my body almost twitches to the torture. A rush of relief floods through me as the telly turns on in the next room,the ticking lost somewhere in the compositions of Keith Emerson. I still haven’t the slightest clue who lives there.My mind once again suspends itself into a million questions,playing over and over again like a song on repeat.

My soul starts dancing to the Trilogy,while I lay here locked up in my own body. The Locked-in Syndrome;it’s a pretty straightforward name for a disease, like no other word was considered more appropriate for it’s description. It’s worse when the night crawls in,like it literally inflicts physical pain. The loneliness,the darkness. It starts within the cores,slowly spreading to every inch within me as I finally drown in it.Every night. I try to scream,thinking it might be a way to let out some of the frustration,but not a single gasp escapes my throat. And it is then when I realize that the only thing better than this is death,the kind when you finally stop existing unlike you struggle to do so every day.Funny, isn’t it? Even death has it’s stages. I realize I have been staring at those hideously pale curtains all this time,how I usually do. Yet, I still haven’t been able to make of the shapeless,revolting patterns inscribed on the velvet cloth. Life is so much like this printed fabric.

Just in time,the door creaks open and walks in my best friend,Diya. Her china-doll face wears an unusually forced smile,eyes twinkling with tears she’s trying to conceal.Quietly,she walks towards my bed holding a blue file in her hand.As she sits beside me,she recites a few holy verses and holds my hand firmly,as if to keep me from going somewhere. Diya;just as her name suggests,has been the only source of light in the darkest corner of my life.The only person who saved me from falling off the very edge,that one person who refused to give up on me when everyone else walked away.I don’t remember the last time I saw her this way,but today she gives in. Something tells me all this has to do with me.I blink my eyes several times trying to force the news out of her,but she pretends to have never noticed.It definitely has to do something with me.

We’ve been best friends since high school, Diya and I. While she was always the quiet,collected kid in class I was the perky one who would drag her into parties where she’d rather sit in a corner and sip Cola,and keep herself prepared to save me from any trouble.While she had dreams for Harvard,I quickly got myself a degree from the local community college. “Are you even living?” I’d tease her every now and then.I think I’ve finally got my answer.Though after all these years,I’ve come up with the conclusion.It’s true,opposites do attract.

The phone starts ringing.A kid chants at the other end,it must be her son.I’ll admit,I wasn’t very delighted when he was born.Apart the fact that I’ve never liked kids anyway,even the thought of Diya giving anyone else her entire attention made me tremble upon my knees. She coos in response to whatever he babbles,and knowing I’m getting irritated already,she quickly hangs up after telling the nanny she’d be late. “Sorry….”,she murmurs,”kids.” Just then,the phone starts buzzing again.She doesn’t receive the call however.Once again,she holds my hand and whispers softly. “I’ll be right outside.But I’m here though,forever and always.”

The room is now dark.It’s a strange day,today.I wonder if it’s the file that has to do with anything.Not that I care, ofcourse,it’s just the curiosity that runs in my veins.I close my eyes,trying to grow comfortable to the infernal silence,and just then some footsteps interrupt my meditation. Gentle,familiar footsteps.As they get near,a scent as familiar permeates the room. The seducing, powerful fragrance of Dior Homme, stirred with the moments I now call memories.A thrilling touch,intoxicating kisses,the promises I still believe you wouldn’t break,it all starts pouring into my mind.

No…it can’t be. A part of me resides in denial,the other quavers in excitement.It’s like I’m alive again,as if all the incapacity,the inability was just an absence,the absence of this one man. I open my eyes,wide and eager and teary.It’s just like one of those dreams,except that this moment seems much more real.He stands a few steps away,the silhouette of his body lingering over me.He’s here,Michael’s finally here. I’ll admit I’ve played this moment many times,thinking it would stay only in my imagination,four months in a bed and how I’d never stop playing it.Hope never dies,I realize.No matter how many times it gets shattered or defeated,it never ceases to exist.It’s today I thank hope for being there at all. Nothing matters anymore,it’s just this moment that will stay with me till the very end.He finally whispers my name,this whisper that lights up every living cell in my body.And it’s when he turns on the lamp I can finally see him.I may have missed some wrinkles on his face,serene as ever.Nothing’s really changed about him,except for a pale mask of guilt he wears.He doesn’t avert his gaze though,his lips are just as sealed as mine,it’s actually the eyes doing the talking.

The last time I saw him was before the accident,and no matter how hard I try,I haven’t been able to erase any detail of it.We had fought before it,we may have even called off the engagement,but I still can’t get myself to the reason why he got so angry.So angry,that he never bothered to visit all these months.But it doesn’t matter anymore,does it? He’s here and that’s all. No,I’m not being naive.People make mistakes,it’s alright. He’s come here to fix it,yes,he’s come here to win me back.Right Michael? I watch him finally break into tears,as if he were holding them for too long.I curse my paralyzed body at this very moment,how I wish I could hug you Michael.It’s okay Michael,it’s okay.His tears roll down on my hand,it’s like those moments in the fairy tales when a true love’s teardrops could heal everything.I can’t move my hand though,but it’s like all the power is draining back into my body.Like everything that was missing has finally been restored.And now that I’ve finally been able to cry the tears of joy,happiness,hope yet pain and misery;all at the same time.I don’t know for how long we stay this way,it’s as if even the time is so stirred that it forgot to move ahead.

Slowly, everything starts getting numb.Except for his arms around me,that’s all I could feel.My eyes glow as I continue to fade into him,whether it’s sleep or death I’m drowning in,I don’t know and nor do I care.But be it death;it would be the most beautiful of all kinds.Or be this sleep,may this one be the deepest from all times.