Short Story Recommendations for a Dose of Magic

Rhea Malik is a law graduate and aspires to be a human rights advocate, journalist, and writer. She sees whooping potential in science fiction to describe reality, and maybe even tweak it a little. Her work has previously appeared in The Leaflet, Disrupted Journal for feminist foreign policy, Tint Journal, Mad in Asia-Pacific, and the Booker World Podcast.
Rhea Malik

The only memory I have of my grandfather before he passed away was him calling me ‘good gurl di laltain’ when I was a toddler, for pulling off my part in our game. I would spin around in my lehenga, to him singing dholi taaro dhol baaje. I never knew why laaltein, or what all of it meant together- I made my peace understanding it as a Punjabi grandpa’s drivel, stashing the memory away as a precious obscurity. It was only in high school when I decided to excavate some of my family history of partition through the stories of Saadat Hasan Manto, did his words take on meaning. In Manto’s Toba Tek Singh, a few years after Punjab is split into two, it occurs to the authorities that the lunatics in mental asylums must also be exchanged across the border, the Muslims to Pakistaan and the Hindus and Sikhs to Hindustaan. News of the transfers bewilder the inmates, who, cut off from news, are in a frenzy over whether the asylum had been in Hindustaan or Pakistaan, which of the two their own villages fell in, and how it came to be that land that was Hindustaan a few years ago when they were brought in was now Pakistan. The opinion of one Sikh inmate is sought out on the matter, and his response was always: ‘Uper the gur gur the annexe the bat dhayana the mung the dal of the Government of Toba Tek Singh.’ The words struck me as the long form of the gibberish my grandfather would come to imitate when playing with me. His call had been translated to me, in a strange sense, from beyond the grave. All of a sudden, with this tiny story, the old drivel became boundlessly meaningful, and made me swell up in the lofty awe of being, not rootless, but forever embodied in the webs of history, whether I’d know it or not.  Continue reading “Short Story Recommendations for a Dose of Magic”


Self-Care Or Self-Sabotage?

Brinda's research specialty is in the geopolitical space, but she most enjoys writing about everyday life. She lives with a small army of cats and her husband, swears by the healing power of diet-coke-and-chips, and has never met a Pinterest suggestion she didn't want to try. She collects Archie comics, loves and abandons art projects regularly and is learning to navigate life with chronic illness.
Brinda B. Hamdani
Latest posts by Brinda B. Hamdani (see all)

Self-care leaves me exhausted. There. I said it!

All that talk of bubble baths and scented candles and DIY artisanal food trays make me want to crawl under the covers and never come out. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a pretty salad as much as the next person – but notice how I said ‘pretty’ salad and not ‘healthy’, ‘tasty’ or ‘fulfilling’? Because that’s what our generation gets caught up in – how things look (literally) and how they appear to others (representative of our success at adulting). Self-care, as we’ve come to popularly understand it, has started to feel like an awful lot of work to me. Continue reading “Self-Care Or Self-Sabotage?”


In the midst of a pandemic: Struggles of LGBTQ community in Kashmir

Sana is a research scholar in Political theory, which happens to be the love of her life. She has been contributing to online magazines and journals on gender issues and Feminist theory. She is an avid reader and hopes to establish an archive of acknowledgement pages one day.
Sana Shah

It is no hidden fact that a population existing in a political conflict experiences an increased susceptibility when it comes to mental health issues, apart from the economic strife and socio-cultural struggles. A population that is already pushed to the margins, unfortunately also has the marginalized within the margins, who suffer doubly. This is especially true when it comes to the LGBTQ community of Kashmir. Continue reading “In the midst of a pandemic: Struggles of LGBTQ community in Kashmir”