A skilled writer and editor with a background in cultural studies and global affairs.
Her veil: blush, pearl-spotted.
Lashes: heavy (fake), coming undone.
The pale gap above her eye. Rani, half-past-nineteen.
It is a Tuesday, raining. I wait with her in a much-loved family minivan.
The heat slips down my neck and her baby sister’s
toys catch underfoot--she nearly breaks a heel
on the warped plastic of Barbie’s pout.
To pass time, and quiet her nerves,
I tell stories. Of her parents’ old
apartment on Pine Grove, the finger-paint kits
and her mother’s textbooks, always open.
On Dollars and Desi Weddings
I love weddings, but I didn’t always.
When I was younger, they left me sitting with my hands over my ears in family photos. I hated the loud music, the pulsing rhythms of dholak beats and voices which seemed to leave all the bones in my body with a slight tremor. I hated the mad crush of people, crammed wall-to-wall in old family houses which are no longer in the family, having been sold or rented or abandoned to America.
These days, there always seems to be another wedding around the corner....
Literacy, Learning, & Light: How The Citizen Foundation is Working to Bridge Gaps in Pakistan
“In our society, those who are educated sit on chairs and those who aren’t sit on the floor.”
These words from Shabana, a woman from Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, highlight an uncomfortable truth about the way class and education are entwined in what might ungenerously be referred to as the real world. In Pakistan and elsewhere, a person’s level of education is a precursor (although gatekeeper might be a more accurate term) to dignity, status and wealth. The astronomical gulf between the lives of t...
Delhi Dating Club
Short story which won a departmental prize in the U.Va. Department of English.
From Beloved to Ego: The Role of Women in Urdu Poetry
A hit American story gets a remix
2016 may go down in history as the year of “Hamilton,” with tickets to the beloved Broadway show selling for thousands online and fans building a community around creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 11 Tony-winning masterpiece. Produced by Questlove, “The Hamilton Mixtape” will be released this December, featuring a new take on the theatrical soundtrack that details the life of America’s first Secretary of the Treasury.
The mixtape displays a broad array of popular artists from many genres who were ...
Desert Girl, by Marwah Shuaib
The shower was a cream-colored marble, streaked with pink, like the pastel sherbet from the ice cream parlor on Block 15.
Afreen liked to take her time when bathing. There was something about the smog-choked metropolis, with its unpaved government roads, that lent a gritty quality to the dust.
She was used to dust. In the desert, everything was dust, the particles sifting themselves finely through her strands of henna-red hair, coating the hardened soles of her feet, and filling the gaps bene...
Asli Sona (Real Gold)
I wear my gold nameplate necklace every day. It has a constant, reassuring presence on my body. Below my throat and above my heart. When I feel overwhelmed or nervous, it becomes a place to rest my hands, a touchstone to recenter myself. When I order coffee, I hold it out as I spell my name.
As an accessory, my necklace is not particularly unique. It isn’t even very specific to me--countless girls have similar pieces, around their necks or on their dressers. They are visible and hidden, again...
Karachi: A Day in Five Acts
Art by Kirsten Hemrich
Even in sleep, the city is restless, humming. Like the sea at its periphery, it is never still. It thrashes beneath the first light. The call to prayer is a tinny prologue to the day, drifting discordantly from the windows of minarets. No doubt, it is a little boy tasked with the first adhan. His voice is uncertain, half-formed as it rouses the most pious from their beds. They will stumble their way into unlit bathrooms, eyes closed against the first baptism of the da...
In Conversation with Dr. Jensen Montambault
When Jensen Montambault was an undergraduate at UVA, she chose to divide her time between two disparate fields of study--Environmental Science and English Literature. She went on to obtain a doctorate in Interdisciplinary Ecology and has since written extensively about climate change and its impact on modern societies.
“I wanted to bring the poetry back in to science,” she said. Dr. Montambault was this year’s Beverly Cobble Rodriguez Lecturer, invited by the Women’s Center to return to Groun...