Ten months before I upped and moved to Qatar, I lost my first child in a miscarriage. After 4 years and 500 failed attempts at writing this without sounding cliché or cringe, here I am on my 31st birthday, ready to embrace the cringe. This has been a long time coming. * We're living through… Continue reading To all the children I hold close to my heart…
As a teen, many a summer holidays were spent staying awake till 1am engrossed in a book. Occasionally I'd venture downstairs for buttered toast and a cup of hot chocolate, or milk and cookies. My mum would nag me to leave the house, sit in the garden, go to the local shop - anything. 'Just… Continue reading Reading update: April 2020
I must say I'm not loving how all my recent blogs scream CORONAVIRUS (do you say it in Cardi B's voice, too?) but it has unintentionally turned into a 'series' so I'll stick with it. Get your coffee and get comfy because this post is a long one.I didn't experience the full psychological impact of… Continue reading CORONAVIRUS: How am I coping? Here’s a personal update.
It's Easter hols which means a break from school. By that, I mean a break from online teaching as well as the school building itself (unlike other institutions, my colleagues and I have been working on-site.) Normally, at this point of the academic year, I'm soooooo ready to see the backs of my students as… Continue reading CORONAVIRUS: an educator’s concerns
“My immune system is so rubbish, I bet I’ll be the first person to contract Corona. I bet ya I’ll be the reason our school closes.” Well. It’s all fun and games and ha ha ha until you suddenly feel feverish and your boss sends you home early, and on the way home you almost… Continue reading CORONAVIRUS: an update from this side of the world
Being Head of Department is a power trip: no-one can stop you from forcing encouraging students to partake in whole school/external English events. And the best part is the kiddos have zero choice. Recently, our students took part in an international writing competition. It prompted lots of eye-rolling followed by, "Miss, we don't have to… Continue reading On Writing: How my writing journey began (Part 1)
This post is inspired by a prompt response I wrote back in 2017 as part of the October writing challenge. I didn't do it justice because it was day 31 and I was exhausted and just thankful the challenge was finally over! Had I written it properly, my response might have been something like this.… Continue reading Rewriting Ghosts- a creative writing model answer (CIE Paper 2)
I've often toyed with the idea of setting up a second blog dedicated to resources on teaching English. Whenever a lesson just clicks or a strategy works wonders, I think about sharing it so others can benefit too. Heaven knows how much I've relied and continue to rely on TES and teacher blogs during major… Continue reading “Miss, where’s the model answer?’ syndrome’: a reflection on TEFL
the rover parked out front
your favourite jacket on the back of the door
pink haze sunset behind terraced rows, red-brick
Just spent the last 20 minutes searching for apps that'll transcribe my speech into text because I'm serious about this writing malarkey this year yet also utterly exhausted after not one but two after-school events that finished at 8pm and if I have to sit at a desk for 10 more minutes staring at a… Continue reading Poetry, Podcasts, & Pomodoro (in that order)
Some say it's not Steinbeck's best work but I'll never get tired of teaching Of Mice and Men. This being my 6th time in 9 years, I'm still amused when my class cackle at Lennie's fetish for soft things and I can barely conceal my pleasure at their gawping mouths as they unpack Steinbeck's letter… Continue reading On Writing: Lauren Graham’s advice on beating writer’s block
It's 2020, it's the first week back at school and I've had an epiphany. Turns out there really is something more difficult than maintaining new year resolutions, and that something is coercing a class of 14-year-olds to prepare and rehearse an assembly about (you guessed it) NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS! Yay. Being the down-to-earth teacher I… Continue reading New Year Resolution Schmezolution
13th December marked this blog's 4th birthday (woop woop!), so in keeping with the tradition of writing a blogiversary post below is my verrryyyy overdue review of the past year. Like everyone's New Year resolutions which are made and then instantly forgotten/broken, I made a few promises in the last blogiversary post, one being that… Continue reading Four Year Blogiversary
A short story inspired by Bartleby The Scrivener
Hi, it's me. Zoya. Who we kiddin' you already know me! I'm your most beloved muse as of late. And by 'of late' I mean since Emran Hashmi starred in Jannat - the first one - back in 2008.
So this happened earlier this week. I was nominated for the Liebster Award by fellow Kashmiri Salman Wani. First off, thank you for the nomination and the questions you sent me to answer in acceptance of the award. I'll begin by answering Salman's 11 questions which, I have to admit, are waaaaay too philosophical for me… Continue reading Liebster Award Nomination!
The taste of solitude, sweeter than a kiss now that you're done shoving your misogyny down my throat maybe I can tell you about all the things I don't miss no memories linger here in this broken house of beaten dreams in an eternal winter, I've found bliss let your springs and summers call after… Continue reading Shukr
Phase 1 After wishing away the whole year, summer is finally here and I'm feeling like I could probably continue working for another half term. Unlike the UK, Qatari schools usually break up in June and resume mid-August and we get some extra time off when the two Eids fall during term time. Anyhoo, I've… Continue reading The 7 phases of *this* teacher’s summer vacay
Before you read on, I want to ask you for a favour. Just one. Even if you only have 5 followers on social media or 5 contacts in your phone and 4 of those are your family members, please spread the news about Kashmir. This is a community that has suffered for 70 years: torture cases… Continue reading I Stand With Kashmir – what you need to know about the current situation
Are you clutching on to the last golden hours of your honeymoon period? Have you ever wondered if you'll ever make it to your ruby anniversary without seriously maiming your spouse? Celebrating 4.5 years of married life means I’m obviously an expert at making this marriage malarkey work so here's my advice.
No, I'm not trying to fool you with the title and yes, I know it is June already but ever since I landed on this side of 30 I've been groggy and dull brained. My 'new post up every Saturday' intention has gone a bit haywire since Ramadan, exams, and Doha's heat have frazzled the… Continue reading May Gratitude: 11 days off for Eid!
Ahh, can ye believe it, like? This is our third year in Qatar and we're currently completing our third Ramadan here, alhamdullilah! Reading old blog posts is a bit like finding photos from the past. Not digital photos but tangible ones taken on a camera film and sent off to be developed while you wait… Continue reading The Big Move to Qatar (Part 3)
Now you should know that as a teacher of English there are really only two things that keep me going: the chocolate and coffee stash in my aforementioned drawers, and freakishly strong arms to carry all 'dem books and bags.
May is the month of ever-growing anniversaries so I kind of don't know where to start. I'm turning 30 and writing my 100th blog post although, not gonna lie to you, some days it feels I'm 100 and writing my third post. #authorgoals
My head lops off the side of the kat, upside down, I close one eye and then the other, gaze focused on the mango tree in the distance. What is that on the branches? I entwine my fingers into the tightly strung rope at the foot of the charpai and lift myself up. Noon's piercing… Continue reading April Gratitude: The Motherland
I must be going soft in my old age because my recent journey to Azad Kashmir had me crying over the smallest things! Please be prepared for lots of sentimental ramblings over the next few weeks: I plan to take full advantage of this most welcomed end to my writer's block. A week before our… Continue reading A Little Piece of Heaven: our stay in A&JK
Simply not in the mood to write anything today. Hubby and I travelled to the 'motherland' over the Easter break and we've not been the same since. I left my heart in this place; I miss it sooooo much! So, all I have to offer this Saturday are pictures of my beautiful Kashmir... I really… Continue reading Kashmir: in pictures
Memories of you are like waves leaving the shoreline. Cracked sand. Trinkets, shells, and ocean life left behind. And these days are like out-of-season rain, I think of you but the cracks only half-fill. My heart breaks again. The 12 years since you left no different to the 12 years before. How do you console… Continue reading In Loving Memory Of A Grandfather
I've lived in Qatar for nearly 3 years so I'm pretty used to random people speaking to me in Arabic or asking if I'm a revert. When I tell them my family originate from Kashmir, this is the usual reaction: I find these moments hella amusing; having grown up in an area where 99.9% of… Continue reading Kashmir: 5 Things You Should Know
The one thing I am grateful for this month is something I pray was true for Muslims around the world. My gratitude post this month is accompanied with a lot of guilt for having the good fortune to live in a Muslim country that is both developed and safe for women. Not long ago, I… Continue reading March Gratitude: Being Muslim
I have really struggled to find ways to express my feelings about what happened on March 15th. I know I'm not alone. I write this with a heavy heart and reluctant hands, I write this feeling like the least qualified, least educated, and least politically aware person out there. I write knowing it has been… Continue reading Articulating grief as a Muslim: what the New Zealand massacre teaches us
When Qiyamat comes, my mother used to tell me, when the day of reckoning comes: Don't leave your prayer mid way, even if you hear nothing but chaos around you, even if their cries make your very core tremble, and even if your heart wants to pull away, even if everyone else is leaving their… Continue reading 50 Lives
There are two women in your life So you'll forever feel torn. The first came later but she's the One. The last image on your mind at night, her sorrow eats you up. On borrowed time the arms of familiarity aren't an option, circumstances will steal her and you will find yourself broken - again.… Continue reading One Riddle – Two Women (Poem)
wintery nights no more frosty mornings no more grey days no more teeth chattering the whole journey to work, no more darkness marking both ends of the commute, no more fed up with the 6th cup of tea, no more wet socks and numb toes, no more bad hijab day every day, no more dreaded… Continue reading Gratitude Corner: Fond of February
This skin, he says Fingertips trace the surface, flirt with a loose strand of hair, brush it away return to the groove of the neck I want to shower you with so much love that... Pause. The open window. Life scatters in: 5 p.m. traffic, the dusky haze of a setting sun, quiet rustling of the… Continue reading 2015 (Poem)
11.30 p.m. Teacher: I've finally finished marking. I'm going to bed okay? Spouse: Okay love you. Teacher: Love you too. 1.30 a.m. Teacher: Your homework is there. Spouse: (from behind the closed door) Hey are you awake? Teacher: Yes...I'm finishing my work. I'm finishing this. Spouse: Didn't you finish your work ages ago? Teacher: No… Continue reading Life of a teacher: a play of one scene
I tried bullet journaling for about a week and realised quite quickly that I'm no longer 15 years old with all the time in the world to colour and draw and remember exactly where all the bloody different coloured pens have disappeared to! But one thing that stuck with me is the concept of keeping a… Continue reading The Gratitude Corner: January
2017 was such a surprisingly successful year of blogging that I'm not surprised 2018 didn't match up. Right from the get-go, I had zero motivation. Reviewing 2018: Stating the obvious here but I didn't write much (8 posts to be exact) and one of the main reasons behind this is I had my mind on more important… Continue reading Three Year Blogiversary!
Well, I'm just going to keep this mega short and sweet because I shy! Heehee! I am officially back and raring to go! If you have been on this blogging journey with me from the start, you will know I closed the site for a while. The intention was to just shut-down and switch off… Continue reading Look who’s back!
SHE, with the resilience of a lone tree flourishing in the midst of arid plains, visited only by the odd wayfaring bird, had weathered enough storms to be able to tell you something about the wisdom of life and HE was an enigma: the excitement of the chase; the hubbub of a lion hunting prey;… Continue reading Pronouns
Beti (n) pronunciation: bay + tea origin: South Asian vernaculars (e.g. Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi) definition: a girl or woman in relation to both or one of her parents; female child; daughter example: Aap k ghar beti huwi hai? Koi baat nahi, dua karo Rabb beta bhi dega. [You gave birth to a daughter? Never mind eh,… Continue reading Beti
Prompt: go to dictionary.com, the word of the day is your writing prompt. Summerize: (v) 1797 'to spend the summer'. From 1935 as 'to prepare for summer'. As the school year draws to a close, all I have been doing lately is organising and preparing for the summer, or to rephrase it according to the… Continue reading Summerize: memories and rituals
But you said It's not that I don't love you, it's just that you resemble her far too much You said It's not that I don't believe you, I've just known her longer And It's not like I distrust you, but when you speak I hear her words You said It's not like I don't… Continue reading But you said… (Poem)
The lovely Amber over at A PhD in Poetry recently shared her list of '7 books that had an impact on me'. I really loved reading the tag so I thought I'd join in (P.S check out her blog/follow her if you don't already, she's an insanely talented writer). I found it very hard to narrow… Continue reading 7 books that had an impact on me
See, ever since I could talk and read and write, I wanted to be a teacher. Everything I did revolved around teaching, and from what little my parents recall about me, I was a bilingual, fluent chatterbox with an overflowing imagination. What better way to channel it all than to teach? My cousins still remember… Continue reading A snapshot of a journey in teaching…
I know I am unceremoniously late but what can I say, January resolutions have never been for me. New Year eves just don't fill me with the kind of excitement that can convince me to give up my much-needed sleep. My celebratory text messages are never responsible for jamming the mobile phone network simply because they don't exist.
We live in an age where showing outrage on social media and passing around links for petitions sum up our efforts to affect change. We console ourselves by attending demos or putting photos up on Instagram and Facebook, then sleeping soundly because we have done our bit. And yet here I am, unable to do… Continue reading No Justice for Zainab
Read my One Year Blogiversary here. *** I was going to begin by asking whether or not anyone is still reading this blog but that'd be a redundant question seeing as many of my students are stalking following my blog. HI GUYS!!! It's my two year blogiversary! I've hit 15,884 views this year (quadrupled from… Continue reading Two Year Blogiversary
At night, a parliament of ghosts recline on her chest the ghost of Failures from the Distant Past the ghost of Every Deflated Hope the absent seat where the ghost of Snatched Innocence used to sit but these days it is occupied with a sign: 'Too wise for this bullsh*t, see ya when I see… Continue reading Day 31: Ghosts
It's better to be alone than in bad company but you seem to take it to a new dimension Infamous for revelling in your menace you have your cake and eat it too. You're bad company, and still they flock to you Tell me: why must the good suffer?