Black, White Noise, Dust & Onion · Suha

Food Magician by Suha

The topic of this month was to write something utilizing at least 3 of the following words: White Noise, Black, Dust, Onion.

I may not be the brightest person in the room. But, if I am asked what I would do in a pitch black, dark room during a job interview, my answer would be, “I’d search for the light within, dummy.” And if that doesn’t tell you much about me, then search for the light within, dummy.

You see, I was brought up in a shaggy town full of people who seem to stare at you with bad intentions but they’re actually just harmlessly judging you, nothing personal.  No wonder I’ve begun to sport a twisted face myself. I teach English at a high school, and each kid’s IQ level in my class is what happens when you overdose on memes and whatever Jaden Smith is high on. I love my job though; it pays me well enough to stay out of the mad rat race. I have a wife and three sons, and to say the least, I am content.

My life has been a bit of an oddity though. It all changed when I bit into a raw onion. I would argue that, in reality, the onion bit me. Whatever floats your boat, the latter does mine. This onion was extraordinary, just like the spider that bit Spiderman, or like the bank balance of Batman. It almost begged to be eaten. Don’t accept vegetables from lands you don’t know, kids.

Ever since, I have developed a super ability of being able to cook anything and everything. ‘Heresay! Blasphemy!’ you might say. There was enough of that early on, but yes, I can cook meals that haven’t existed and should not exist. And they are always delicious. I can make Kimchi Kebabs sprinkled with butterfly wings. I can make White Noise Waffles with a tall drink of Rusty Parathas. I can also make Reggae Rice with Harp Crépes. For appetizers, my wife’s personal favourite is Jalebi Sushi and my signature Star Spangled Salad.

Nobody except my family knew of this secret, and they were obviously surprised at first. It was after they realized how good my Windows XP Baklavas tasted that they gave in. However, it was when Mrs. Jones, our next door neighbour, caught a whiff of what was cooking one day that the word spread. She and her husband visited us that day, feigning goodwill and intentionally staying long past our lunch time. So we had to do the inevitable – invite them for lunch with us. Needless to say, they were astonished that one could create Parchment and Ink Chicken Burgers. They ate far too much, but instead of thanking us for our hospitality, they accused us of witchcraft. If only they had kept their traps shut.

But no, they ran their mouths throughout the town. To prove that I am far removed from the world of black magic, I exhibited my cooking process to every curious citizen of our town. All of them took down notes. They even created entire recipe books out of my demonstrations. I went on talk shows, did a lot of interviews, conduct world tours and even appeared on magazines. I was the trending hashtag for eight years straight. Equally, there were angry mobs at our doorstep every other day but my Good Natured Pear soups always changed their heart and mind about my ability. I don’t know about saving lives but my wife was the happiest.

It was at the height of my fame that I had a terrible breakdown. My hands wouldn’t chop anymore, nor would they brew like they used to. Something just wasn’t right, I had even forgotten how to boil an egg. I lost my stardom and even began to miss the angry mobs who appeared at our doorstep. My wife, though was terribly disappointed, stayed by my side. However, I heard her mutter under her breath that having regular good ol’ scrambled eggs just doesn’t cut it. Everything feels like eating cardboard now. I don’t blame her though. I too miss the days of my glory. But one ought to be grateful for all the lemons they are dealt with, I suppose, even if you can’t make Moon Sliced Lemon Colada out of them.

So here I am. Teaching high kids English. Enough to keep me out of the rat race.

Maps · Suha

Maps by Suha

What if I told you, your life is an unfolding map?
No, not  the one crafted by Marauder.
It’s the kind you walk on, sometimes crawl,
And sometimes barely move at all.
But you do get somewhere. It’s like the red carpet, if you will.
But this one is drawn out from your mother’s womb to your tombstone.
Each step reveals what lies ahead, as the steps behind fade into monochrome.

It is these maps that trace
The first time you bought a video game,
The first time you got smacked in the face.
The map is what you refer to when you are lost,
Sometimes for the comforting memory of home, a person, a taste, a song.
And when it gives you the wrong direction,
You start from the scratch and make a revised edition.

What if I told you,
That the scars on your arms, legs and heart,
Is where the treasure lies?
That it is these very X’s that mark the most precious parts of you
For they deepen the contours, and solidify the lines.

What if I told you,
To not define your worth based on the scribblings
That others make on your map?
Your report cards, the rebukes, betrayals and scratched out hearts.
Rather, allow the ones you respect and love,
To leave their unique marks on as they please.
Leave your own on theirs too.

What if I told you, that you don’t know yourself as you claim to,
That you limit who you are to the shores of that which you know.
The shock of finding new land,
The frustration at being forced to change course,
Is nothing compared to the joy of charting unmapped terrain.

Now what if I told you, you are the cartographer of your destiny?
To some degree at least.
Don’t be foolish enough to think
That there will not be persistent fog or unexpected inkblots.
But what you do with them is what determines the rest of the adventure.
Craft your map with lots of colour, tread without needless caution
If maps aren’t your style,
Google Earth is another option.