New Skin

By Sonya Rehman I wonder how long this will last. This being suspended in the sludge of the past and the present, this strange rebirth, this being thrown into the deep end where only the strongest stay afloat… Time sputtered and squeaked to a halt as we – each of us – switched into survival … More New Skin

I’m Not Here

By Sonya Rehman I’m not sure what I’m grieving. But there’s a mass around my heart that has seemed to dull the feeling-ness of things. It’s a bit clunky, but it’s something that I have grown accustomed to for a long time. When life – correction, my perception of life – gets overwhelming, I begin … More I’m Not Here

A Magic Shadow-show

By Sonya Rehman   For in and out, above, about, below, ‘Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show, Play’d in a Box whose Candle is the Sun, Round which we Phantom Figures comes and go. – The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám   We’d been planning on moving to Islamabad for a year. In early 2019, we … More A Magic Shadow-show

Specks of Star Dust

Dearest, I love this time of the year. I love how time manages to slow down, only to rev itself up come January. I love the softness of December, the slowness; 31 days to re-assess, replenish and repair. Thank you God, thank you little green martian(s), thank you Aretha Franklin, thank you baby barn owl … More Specks of Star Dust

Unsent

By Sonya Rehman God listens. God knows. God, within muscle and bone.  In 2014, in the winter of my sibling’s year-long medical treatment, I lay in my bed heartbroken, unable to sleep. The loneliness was piercing, acute. It was only then did my self-imposed single-ness feel like an albatross around my neck. What was I punishing myself for, I … More Unsent

Discomfort

By Sonya Rehman Privilege can be a strange curse. Removing you from a rawness, a raw, basic kind of living. Privilege can make you cruel, if you aren’t careful. Staring out of your car, with those sad, unfulfilled eyes, you look at the gypsies, their naked children playing with rot, garbage, as the women look … More Discomfort

Notes From July

By Sonya Rehman In their 40s and 50s, my older colleagues tell me I should have strapped on the old ball and chain in my 20s. The older you get, they say, and the more set in your ways you become. I understand that now. But if you maintain your feminine grace, what is wrong … More Notes From July

Self-Preservation

By Sonya Rehman I think God tells you it’s time to change in very subtle ways. It’s never direct. It could be by way of a thought, a vision, a random conversation with someone, or an observation – something that jolts you awake. I’ve been foggy-headed for months; dragging my feet through a routine that … More Self-Preservation

Trains Over Planes

By Sonya Rehman I miss taking the train every weekend (or every second weekend) to your sweet little home in New Jersey. A small back-pack and a book and my thoughts. The way concrete would blend into shiny greenery, meticulously manicured lawns, wooden rocking chairs outside sleepy porches, fresh air, a slowed down homey pace, … More Trains Over Planes

Portals

By Sonya Rehman Down roads and dark, narrow streets, how lovely to peer into windows from afar: a portal into another life, another heart. Who sits on that wicker chair set close to the window? Is someone awake, dreaming and longing for what is out of reach? A dog barks incessantly, throaty, commanding… a few … More Portals

Foggy Reverie

By Sonya Rehman The fog tonight is thick and surreal. No matter how difficult things may get in Lahore, in one’s birth place, it is moments like these which make one recollect old memories, past dreams, one’s youth and innocence – everything raked up again…reminding you of who you were, who you’ve become, reminding you … More Foggy Reverie

Airports

By Sonya Rehman The Dubai airport is freezing as hell. I’m so glad I’m wearing a blazer and a light scarf (midnight blue with tiny blue sequins – bought it in a rush because it caught my eye, looked like the night sky painted across a roll of fabric). Even though I was sweating through … More Airports

We Are Loved

By Sonya Rehman Over the past few weeks I met two beautiful girls with holes in their hearts the size of craters. Mothers, lost, mothers, taken away, tragedy, pain, like child-birth, I felt but half a human in their presence. Their endurance and resilience made me feel such an utter sense of shame. Because there’s … More We Are Loved

Gulmohar

By Sonya Rehman I’ve been thinking about the Gulmohar trees back home a lot lately. Have you seen a Gulmohar tree? It is a glorious tree with the prettiest flaming red flowers; like a tall, upright girl with a mass of red, frenzied curls. In English, the tree is known as ‘Delonix Regia,’ I can’t … More Gulmohar

Sahir and Amrita

By Sonya Rehman I had a bit of a full circle moment at work today. A colleague asked me to look into a theatrical production, Ek Mulaqaat (due to be staged in Dubai, next month), for coverage in our magazine. Agreeing, I googled the play, and to my surprise, I noticed the play is based … More Sahir and Amrita

Leaving The Nest

By Sonya Rehman I arrived in Dubai early this month and have never felt so clueless, directionless, anchor-less in my life. At 26, I moved to New York for a year for grad school. While my year in the US wasn’t exactly easy-breezy, it was easier somehow compared to my current move. Perhaps it was … More Leaving The Nest

Barricaded Heart

By Sonya Rehman Spent the entire morning with my mother on Mall Road; for my ‘last’ photo-walk of sorts – I leave Pakistan in 11 days. We spent a good hour at the Lahore Museum, walking around, taking photos – throughout, my heart was so heavy about leaving Lahore, my home, my family, my dogs. … More Barricaded Heart

#StartWithTheBoys

By Sonya Rehman I recently came across a powerful video by Vogue India’s #VogueEmpower initiative titled ‘Boys Don’t Cry,’ check it out on Youtube below. However, for those in Pakistan, where Youtube remains permanently blocked, watch the clip here: I really liked the fact that the video touches upon how boys are raised in our … More #StartWithTheBoys

The Significance of ‘PK’ in a World at Odds with Itself

By Sonya Rehman I loved the Bollywood movie ‘PK.’ Barring the fact that it stars my childhood crush, Aamir Khan (pehla nasha, pehla khumaaaar!), the movie’s message is a significant one, and what makes it even more powerful is that it was released at a time when questions surrounding religion and faith have managed to … More The Significance of ‘PK’ in a World at Odds with Itself

The Missed Connection

By Sonya Rehman Inspired by Craigslists’ Missed Connections, I decided to pen my own. A purely fictitious ‘missed connection’ set in Lahore, Pakistan. Here it is: The rickshaw ride is bumpy. And wonderful. And silly. I have my battered Canon pressed close to my belly, my dupatta partially hiding it. I’m in a brightly-coloured metal … More The Missed Connection

Ghosts in Shells

By Sonya Rehman Earlier this month I wrote about intimacy and how the notion of it is fast becoming the Holy Grail of our times, the unreachable, yet ultimate need/desire of our emotionally flailing generation. I’ve been thinking about it, quite a bit actually. Intimacy and connection, i.e. And then, just the other day I … More Ghosts in Shells

On Intimacy

By Sonya Rehman Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, ‘Don Jon’ is a pretty good movie. In a nutshell, the movie depicts the modern dilemma of love, lust, and attraction; skewed emotions thanks to the smut dished out by way of the pornographic film industry, and the media at large. But the movie got me thinking. Isn’t … More On Intimacy

On Turning 30

By Sonya Rehman It’s weird being a 30-year-old. Gosh, 30. I’m 30. Three-zero. THIRTY. Thir-tee. For some reason I always felt I’d remain in my 20s; that it would take a very long, long time to turn 30. And it did. But it didn’t. Sorry, but I’m not going to pen a romanticized little blog … More On Turning 30

“Ours is an Effort which will Reap Results not in One Generation, but over Two to Three Generations.” -Samina Rizwan

By Sonya Rehman In Pakistan, scholarships for students hoping to receive funding for undergraduate and graduate programmes are few and far between. While some private institutions (in addition to some not-for-profit ventures) award partial and/or full scholarships to deserving students, financial aid and scholarships are greatly needed in the country to support young Pakistanis in … More “Ours is an Effort which will Reap Results not in One Generation, but over Two to Three Generations.” -Samina Rizwan