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Story of a Syrian refugee: Aylan Kurdi

“Ya rabb yahminana”

I hear my mother praying, as more and more people horde onto the small inflatable plastic boat. Before every journey, Mama would make my brother and I recite prayers, ‘to ask for God’s blessings to profit the health of the soul and the body’ she would say. However, today, she doesn’t tell us to. Instead, her voice sounds brittle, almost as if she is trying to hide something. I find fear in her eyes. She had always been afraid of water and hated being in overcrowded places.
For a three year old like me, everything seems alien and surreal. This isn’t home, this isn’t my cradle. All the people around me, they can’t be family. These people are crying, talking in hushed voices and hugging everybody who has come to bid farewell as if it is the last time they are seeing each other. Melancholy hangs in the air, sucking hope out of peoples’ hearts. Where are we and why? I hold my brother’s hand, hoping to find comfort in the warmth of his fingers.
They say we are refugees. We are victims of Syria’s Civil War, living under the shadow of death that lurks over us all the time. This war has been raging for over six years now but for us it has been six centuries. We have been living under the threat of bombs and air strikes; we go to sleep every night not knowing whether we would live to see the rosy dawn of the next morning. Shall we be able to see the faces of our loved ones again, no one knows. It is a terrible war, a nightmare that we have been going through every night and day in hope it would end somehow. We yearn for peace, harboring a faint hope of being able to go to schools like children our age the world over.
As my body thirsts for water, every passing moment suffocates me. My three-year old self is unable to fathom the cruelty and barbarianism around. We, the Syrian children, no longer feared the monsters under our bed. Instead, we feared death – though it always brought a lasting relief from this sordid drama of pain and agony.
I lay my head on my mama’s lap and she gently strokes my forehead with her fingers. I feel, somehow, at peace. It reminds me of those Sundays when father would be home and would take my brother and me to the park while Mama would sit under a willow tree and unpack the sandwiches she had brought for us. I would run around and always win races against my father. He would then lift me on his shoulders and the world would seem so peaceful. It had all shattered, human beings cutting throats in the name of God and religion, bringing peace to dead bodies.
Mama, tell me a story’ I plead, closing my eyes to draw out the unappealing surroundings. As the water around the boat bangs against the tiny plastic creature, she finds her voice and begins. The story is about a family, a happy family that lives in heaven, close to God. The story dwells on, and the blissful fate of the family lulls me to sleep.
An avalanche of terrorizing screams rouses me. Dawn has spread over the vast sky although it seems devoid of its shimmering rays. Gigantic waves throw the plastic life boat around like a ping pong ball. The boat’s passengers roll over each other, struggling, their faces casting looks of terror across it. The dinghy creaks dangerously as powerful sea waves thrust forward. My mother clings onto my brother and me as we manage not to cry. Had I been a little older, I would have known that the boat was sinking. Imminent death sometimes annuls any iota of fear that may lurk inside. I force my immature mind to think that this is some roller coaster ride and that everything would turn out okay. However, little did I know that I was a Syrian Refugee, and our destiny was not a ‘Happily Ever After.’
The rhythmic percussion of waves does not intrigue me, not today. Suddenly, a violent wave crashes with the boat. I lose grip of my mother’s arm and the sea waves, as unwelcoming as ever, take me in their hold. The water engulfs me tightly and I feel the salt burn my lungs. My vision gets blurry and I cannot see my family any longer. This seems like a part from the bedtime stories Mama used to read to us at night about dragons and bogeymen. “God keeps His children safe from the sea monsters” she used to say, whenever I felt frightened. I close my eyes and pray.
Where is Mama? Why won’t God answer?
I look up at the sky, the sun rising with its golden hue illuminating the Earth. Its soft amber glow spreads warmth and the mesmerizing colors compel me to stare deep into the horizon. Suddenly, everything goes dark and I lose consciousness.
They would discover my body later, on 2nd September 2015, lying on the shore. Waves lapping my cold clammy self repeatedly as if to wake me from this deep slumber. I had at last found some ground, albeit in an alien land. This is what we started for; this is what the refugees would dream about – reaching a ground of safety and a land of peace. Surprisingly the body would create a furor across the globe. Media channels breaking the news to every household. My face and half cuddled body instantly becoming a household emblem of hopelessness and despair. They say I lost my life searching for a peaceful future. I, Aylan Kurdi found peace elusive during my whole life, but found my final abode in Turkey, where my tombstone ironically reads “Rest in Peace”.

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19-year old on life support

A lone tear escaped the corner of her eye and fell onto her cheek. She didn’t bother to wipe it. Her strength had crumbled ever since the nightmarish phone call yesterday. A phone call that had plunged her into oblivion. A place of doom. An inferno. A chunk of her heart was on life support.

She remembered every detail about the last time she had seen him. How his eyes had twinkled with excitement at the thought of attending the concert. How his lips had turned into a smile as he had waved goodbye to her. And how her life had come crashing down as she received a phone call informing her about the accident.

They said he was lucky to have survived. She thought they were fool hardy. Who in their right mind would consider having a son on ventilator lucky? Her emotions were conflicted. She wanted miserably to scream at the heavens above for this injustice. But then, she also wanted to beg them for a flicker of hope. A handful of luck.

“He is young-too young”. This was her mantra as she continued to wait for any change in the hospital cafeteria. He was nineteen. Her son had lived only nineteen years and she was not ready to give him up yet. He had hardly seen the world. He had to live and have a son and send him to college and become a grandad. A heart-wrenching sob escaped her as she pondered over this.

Someone caressed her shoulder gently. She looked up to see her brother. He was hurting for her. He had been there for her all along, ever since her husband had died in a car crash. She had been pregnant then and was wrecked. She was not ready to lose yet another loved one to the unwelcome angel of death.

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It’s Finn Wolfhard!

With the breakthrough of his starring role as Mike Wheeler in the hit Netflix series ‘Stranger Things’, Finn Wolfhard has paved his way to becoming number one on our favorite teen actors list.

Quand en France 🐌 🐌 🐌

A post shared by Finn Wolfhard (@finnwolfhardofficial) on

Making his television debut as Zoran in ‘The 100′ and various shows, Finn also made appearances in multiple music videos. In 2016, he got the role as the disappearing boy (Will Byers’) friend in the famous Netflix show, after he auditioned for the role via a video while being sick in bed:

“Hi, I’m Finn Wolfhard and I’m sick”

In his downright adorable audition tape, he read part of a script which depicts a confrontation with Mike’s older sister Nancy. Later, in a spin-off show ‘Beyond Stranger Things’ episode one, Finn and Millie were shown their audition tapes and oh well, the cringe was real! 

audition reaction
Stranger Things’ Millie and Finn reacting to their first audition tapes

Born in Vancouver, the Canadian actor was later cast as  Richie Tozier in the film adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘It’, which was released on September 8, 2017. (And by the way, we loved him in either roles equally!)

Besides his TV Career, Finn has unsurprisingly taken his music career to a whole new level. Wolfhard, who enjoys playing the guitar and the bass, has his own band called ‘Calpurnia‘. I mean, is he the coolest guy ever or what? Being the band’s lead singer and rhythm guitarist, he is joined by his friends; Ayla Tesler-Mabe on lead guitar, Malcolm Craig on drums and Jack Anderson on bass. What’s more, the band signed to ‘Royal Mountain Records’ in November 2017 and is currently recording their first EP (due to release in early 2018).
We just can’t wait for it to drop out!

Moreover, (yes the story does not end here) Wolfhard has been announced to star opposite Mackenzie Davis in ‘The Turning’, a haunted house film, based off the adaptation of Henry James’ novel ‘The Turn of the Screw’. What’s more, Finn is also playing the role of Tyler, a pizza delivery boy, in Ken Marino-directed film “Dog Days”.

Now, you tell me you haven’t seen his vines?

We LOVE them, take a look:

And if it’s not that, Finn’s Instagram feed is definitely our favourite- be it because of the high cheekbones (oh well) or anything else.

¡Mañana! @seventeenmx @estebancalderon 💪❤️ 🇲🇽❤️💪

A post shared by Finn Wolfhard (@finnwolfhardofficial) on

Moreover, according to Google’s Year in Search 2017, both of Finn’s major projects this year (It and Stranger Things) were the most-searched globally!

Don’t believe us? Take a look!

(The data reveal shows that Stranger Things beat popular hits like Thirteen Reasons Why and Game of Thrones in the TV Category while IT beat Wonder Woman and Beauty and the Beast for the top spot in Movies Category!)

Do we love this guy? How can we not?

Damn! Savage boiiiiii

-This article was published on December 23rd which is Finn’s Birth date at 1PM local time, which makes 12AM Canadian time. Happy Birthday Finn!

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Top nine Rumi sayings to help get you through the day!

  1. “What you seek is seeking you”.

  2. “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

  3. “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

  4. “You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?”

  5. “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”

  6. “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”

  7. “Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

  8. “The rose’s rarest essence lives in the thorns.”

  9. “Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion”.

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The Broken Charm

As I stand before your grave, tears roll down my face
I recall those nostalgic memories, that seem so hard to trace
The day you joined my neighborhood, and called me by my name
I knew we were so different, yet our feelings were the same

And there we were standing in the park one day
When your meek little face said, ‘Do you wanna play?
So we sat on the swings holding hand in hand
To begin our friendship with a charmed band

Then we had those tea parties with our toys and dolls
How we’d make them feed, talk or crawl
And we’d dance around like Disney princesses
Applying makeup and wearing those Cinderella dresses

Our friendship grew stronger with every moment we spent
Indeed, the day we met was a blessed event
We started sharing secrets, we became best friends
And promised each other, we’ll stay till the journey ends

With time we grew older, but walked side by side
Just as if I was your groom and you were my bride
And we used to lie on the grass at the time of night
Gazing at the stars above, shining bright

We started socializing and chit-chatting all the time
We became so similar, our words started to rhyme
All night we used to party and go to the movies
To make it last forever, we wore the same rubies

Sadly, the day came and God knows why it happened
Not even in my wildest dreams would I ever had imagined
Our photo frame fell and the crack parted us two
The fight grew so big there was no more me and you

I had no shoulder to cry on since you left me in those dangers
The friendship we were so fond of made us complete strangers
And in this big world, I was left all alone
We had chosen a different path, being on our own

I regret now why I left you alone on your death bed
When you begged for my help I ignored you till you were dead
For that one word sorry, I now pay the price
But unfortunately life has already turned the dice

Rest in peace, my dear friend, hope you forgive me now
I’l cherish these memories forever, this thing I vow
This pain is killing me now but before I die
I wish I could see you once and say a final goodbye

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A day in the Lahore Food Street

I make my way down the teeming food street, through a blur crowd of people. A blast of heat sweeps across my face, but I resist it, for the exotic and strikingly colorful display that lies before me. The food street is, unsurprisingly, crowded especially at this hour of the evening and I find myself to be a part of the stampede. Indecisive as I am, I loiter while trying to search for a quiet spot. Numerous arms brush past me, some chubby and others skinny. I glance around the stalls, all lit up with colorful lights and illuminating with a glowing luster. It reminds me of cultural weddings and ceremonies where the lights indulge you in a musical chime.

Everywhere around, the stalls are so horded that it looks impossible to the observer to find and inch unoccupied. I stare in awe at the piles of comestibles, all lined up in order to catch the attraction of the easily-distracted human eye. They perform a good job, as hundreds of customers stand bargaining about the prices of their respected food items. If it is not them, it’s the earsplitting blare of the shop owners trying to interest more people towards their items. ‘Fresh potatoes, fresh potatoes’ and ‘delicious steaks at stake here’ are some words I manage to snatch. To some tourists, it sounds like a song and they stand there making videos like the person was more of a superstar. To me, it’s just the everyday sound heard being a local inhabitant of this Punjabi culture. Every now and then, a cry rises from the herd, as I call it, of either little infants screaming, mouths chattering or cell phones ringing.

Suddenly, I am drifted by the aroma of hot chicken roasts being prepared one stall to the left. The hypnotizing smell makes my mouth water, as I picture myself relishing on the luscious roast with grilled fries. Then my eyes dart towards another stall on my right. I spot some round, hollow puris of fried crisp with a mixture of chaat and tamarind chutney. That’s it –local golgappas.

All around me, on a 360 degrees platform, I find myself surrounded by the alluring exhibits of traditional delicacies of Pakistani food-halwa puri, nihari, payas, karahi, takatak and handiyan.  The fascinating smells of clay ovens and fire enslave me to these food wonders.

Suddenly, a heavy thud from behind me exhorts me back to reality. I advance towards the closest stall preparing hot barbecue. Putting one ‘malai boti’ in my mouth, I savor the juicy and tender chicken.

In the enthralling hustle bustle of life and activity around me, I conclude.

Lore lore ay. (Lahore is Lahore).

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The blue scarf

It was a scarf. Blue scarf. Soft and comfortable. I first saw it when I went shopping to Saddar Bazaar with my family. Shop after shop we looked, but nothing seemed to interest me. It was then when I saw it. At the corner store Outfitters, it had been displayed. The cold wind was making it fly and I felt like this was some part of an Indian film, where the hero meets his love and suddenly there is a strong wind blowing across their hair. To be precise, yes, it was love at first sight.
So well, it was after great persuasion that my mother finally agreed to let me have it. It was her idea that I should have bought a winter coat, ‘something practical’, instead. Cuddling my new love in my hand, we returned home. It was December 26th 2012, I distinctly remember.
The story moves forward.. and today, December 26th 2015 I write this with sorrow and much grief.
Those were the happy days. My blue scarf was a luck charm for me. I wore it to school every single day, and I felt glamorous. Literally. Walking through the corridors, I felt like I’m the Queen of England or what, so I had my chin up and observed people staring at me, mouths agape.

Life was good, you know. My studies went well. I got straight A’s in all of my exams. All due to it.

But it’s true they say, nothing lasts forever. It was hardly an year or so. I came home and gave my life-partner to be washed. One day. Two days. Three days. It did not return.

The fourth day, I got a shock. Mama had given it to the laundry-woman for her daughter since it had become too old now.
Life became miserable. I suffered a lot. My grades declined from A’s to B’s and then C’s. The cool girls no longer included me in their squads. The boys didn’t even glance in my direction. It was complete torture.
Since that day, my life changed. And I fear, it might never be the same again. Today I could’ve celebrated it’s 3-years birthday, but I mourn. I regret; regret why I never agreed to do my washing and laundry myself.

And as I go to bed these days, I feel the emptiness. My soul feels fatigued. Maybe my scarf would be making the laundry-woman’s daughter’s life spectacular. Maybe she deserved it. Deserved it because she always did her laundry, whereas my mother picked up my dirty garments lying around the bedroom floor. Yes, maybe she really did deserve it.

All I can do now is cherish the golden time spent with my scarf. My soft, comfortable and blue scarf.

-The Teen Journal.