Writing Catalog

Rida Tahir

Grade: 8

Laurel School

Instructor: Kate Webb

The Country of the Markhor and Chukar


The Country of the Markhor and Chukar

The Markhor, bold and handsome, just like the country's people, signifies the military brilliance of Pakistan. The Chukar. Said to be constantly gazing at the moon, embodies the love and passion the people of Pakistan so greatly have. These animals together display an image that perfectly describes my people, but this loving image is quickly fleeting. The markhor is endangered, and so is the view of Pakistan. The beautiful land of this country, with creatures singing left and right and trees dancing to the music, has been ravaged by scorn. Those looking from the outside in have fabricated the appearance of my people into monstrosities who bear malice against the world when truly their souls are as soft and kind as the feather of a chukar. As I watch my family be disparaged for lies the media has created I see the markhor's hooves drive into the ground, ready to fight back, and so am I. The silky blood Allah so carefully chose for my body flows like a robust river, filled with health and prosperity, but I am being told to drain this blood for others who believe my body is poisonous. The romantic language that so naturally leaves my parents' tongue is now considered the code of a terrorist. Curiosity has turned to fear, and fear has become hatred. This manipulated illustration of my people, of my family, has brought them outlandish suffering, and I can only watch. I can only watch as my name, etched into the soil of Pakistan is stepped on by those unworthy of such a gorgeous country. I can only watch as my name, embroidered into Pakistan's smooth fabric, is ripped to shreds by the media. I can only watch as the markhor dies and chukar falls from the sky. But my people are not meek, they are not passive, and they will not allow their morale to be crushed by those thousands of miles away behind a computer screen waiting to strike again.

Spilled Chai on a Blank Canvas

Flash Fiction

Spilled Chai on a Blank Canvas

Seven girls, all aspiring to become tennis stars, with almost no differences. Almost. Except for one day, while Allah was painting a portrait of these girls, He spilled his chai, and it splattered onto one of them. And that one was me. While six of those girls remained milky white, one soaked in the color of our planet's soil, and it would stick for the rest of my life. Every time we stared at our phones and scrolled through pictures of us together, I watched as their gaze moved toward the one colored by the rich, brown liquid, and then quickly back to themselves. I was the oddity among them, and I felt only hatred for them and myself because of it. I wished to become those girls, with blonde hair that could outshine the sun. I wished to have their blue eyes that twinkled like pearls in the ocean's depths. I wished to have their button noses that had the perfect arch. I wished to have their petite statures and athletic builds, but I couldn't. Why were they the ones blessed with the features I could only dream of? My dull brown hair and muddy brown eyes stuck in the shadows of their perfection. They're the girls' people curtsy for and get escorted out of their pumpkin carriages with four bodyguards and a charming prince waiting at the palace front. But not for me. I'm the one people spit at and watch as I rest my bike on the side of a street lamp, avoiding the glares of others as I make my way to the shack across the street, my palace. Maybe I was just dirty, and a cool shower could wash all the chai off me and reveal the pure, light skin and the luscious blonde hair I longed for. Maybe there was just something in my eye, some sugar mixed with the chai, covering the pale blue pools I prayed for each night. For years I hoped my wishes would come true, but I always knew they couldn't. But it is strange, for somehow as I learned to love myself, the taste of chai grew on me as well.