Stars in the Night Sky

When you look upon the heavens and see numerous celestial bodies shimmering against the night sky you can’t help but marvel at their sheer numbers.

Many stars glisten and twinkle against the darkness like jewels embedded in a black canvas. They burn and flicker with wisps of blue, green and red. These lanterns of the night shine down on us during our dark hours and are a permanent fixture in every turning night in our own lives.

What do we know about these stars? How do we know anything about them at all observing them from so many light years away, being as distant as indifference itself?

The truth is many of these lanterns don’t exist today and have long collapsed or are already burning out in the last phase of their existence.

Yet in our nocturnal moments they continue to exist as if still alive and ready to guide us on our own journeys. They help us forecast the seasons to come and serve as a series of jeweled compasses threaded together, sharing the bond of antiquity that strings them together across the blackness of our sight.

They exist only by the grace of their magnificent luminance that they bestowed upon their peers. Today we don’t see stars but their lingering radiance that still travels through time (and space) to greet us.

And what do we know about grand parents or parents that have ceased to exist in our lives today? Does their physical absence erase them from our minds and hearts?

The memories they left us or those that cherished them seldom let these people fade from memory or heart.

I was blessed with grand parents who held me as a child and baptized me with their love and attention. Yet I don’t possess any memory of a physical bond with them. A bond that could comprise of moments spent together in care, laughter, sobriety or reverence of them.

Yet the love and care they bestowed upon those that did have such a privilege has birthed so much light in those relationships that even today their memories serve me (at a vast distance) as guides on my dark nights.

They continue to exist in my heart and mind as part of the family I was born into or the chain of companionship that I now am a part of.

When I look up to the dark sky of time’s past – an era when I didn’t exist – I still see such folk shimmering brightly and reminding me through their stories of their legacy. Their stories and personalities pervade the dark past that I hardly know anything about.

I look up to them during my nights and marvel at an existence that although is no more, still remains immortal in our hearts and minds.

These are the stars that ground me and guide me on my way to making a legacy that could permeate my own death.

They don’t exist today, but their lives still shine beyond their demise.

They are the stars of our night sky.

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I really enjoyed reading this. You have linked your memories with this collective vacuum most expatriates seem to be living in. Very intimate reading.

The Other Writer

First published in the The Friday Times

In Search of Dadi’s Home

 There are a number of peeling houses in Dar es Salam that remind me of my dadi’s home. Perhaps they are the creations of nostalgic Indians who landed on East African shores, trying to recreate the homes they had left behind. Perhaps it was the British time in Tanzania that is responsible for the particular architecture.  No matter who created those houses I know that once they too were homes of dadis and nanis, full of leafy courtyards and intimate whisperings. I have seen similar constructions dotting the coastline in Ghana, outside Accra. Infact, I imagine that there was once a whole syndicate of such homes weaved across the world, sprinkling unlimited magic through generations of childhoods.


And what wonderful childhoods they were that began from such homes. I imagine that these homes were never-ending…

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The Other Side

The Other Side

We languish separately in our discontent,
Yet all our moments flow into life’s portent,
Green our envy inside,
Greener still on your side,
The streams of our time rush down River,
Like charity returned to its Giver.

(Penned and Sketched by Mushhood, 17th July 2013)

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Silence is essential.
Silence is mandatory.
Silence is critical.
Silence is illusory.

Silence begets meaning.
Silence stills squeaming.
Silence births our thoughts.
Silence is speech beleaguered by drought.


(Penned by Mushhood Zaheer, 21st January 2013)

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Meditate with a Smiling Heart


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