Some years back I met one of my close friends from secondary school. It had been a while since we had met since she is currently living out of the country. Naturally, we tried to catch up on all aspects of our lives; making up for all the time apart. It was particularly one of the hard phases in my life and as we were conversing, I broke down. For a while, we stayed quiet as I continued crying and she patted my hand comfortingly. Once I had calmed down, she looked at me with sad yet puzzled eyes and said, ‘I always thought that from our class lot, you’re the one who’d figured it all out.’ I chuckled. I was surprised but also not too surprised. I had heard similar statements before- from friends and strangers alike. Here’s the reality though- I don’t.

Who has figured it all out anyway?

I have played many roles in my life; as a daughter, sister, friend, teacher, writer, student, and employee, and I have equally interacted with so many different people and my conclusion remains to be this: we’re all, at least for the most part, just winging it 😂

One may be really good at one role but struggling in another. And even in the role that they’re really good in, they keep learning every.single.day. There’s really no end to growth and insight. A mother could have five children but they could tell you that each experience was unique and they learned something new every time. It is like that with everything else in our lives. That includes your parents and grandparents who are probably elderly by now. Life keeps presenting them with new scenarios, new opportunities, new people, and new challenges, and they have to deal with those too.

I honestly don’t think life was meant to be figured out entirely anyway. Because that would be a perfect world and there’s no such thing. Every single person you meet out there is simply trying to do their best. It might look all good externally but the backyard could be in flames.

I know social media platforms, especially Instagram (when it comes to this), make us think that there are people, including friends in our circles, who’ve made it in life and have everything in order. That is never the full picture, is it? Not the first man on earth nor the last one will ever have everything perfectly sorted out. Not me, not you, not the influencer whose life seems so magical and aesthetic.

Whenever I come across a person who seems blessed in ‘all aspects’, I think to myself, ‘what could have been taken away from this individual for them to be granted this blessing?’ ‘What are they enduring behind the scenes that none of us is seeing?’ It always lifts off some pressure from me to quickly figure out everything in my own life. Because for sure, to each their own struggles.

Here’s a reminder to you dear reader: It is okay to not have it all figured out. Life is but a series of uncertain events. The best any of us can do is put in the effort, pray, and take one step at a time like everyone else. Avoid comparing yourself to other people for their mountains could be hidden from your sight and your journey is definitely not the same as theirs. Focus. Be patient with yourself. Strive to be a better person. Strive to play a better role in whatever duties you have in life. Keep learning, keep growing. We’re all the same out here. Same uncertainties, just different circumstances.


I am 3 subscribers away from 200 🥺 Please subscribe if you haven’t and please share to your networks.

I appreciate you 🤗

Someone asked about you today, and for the first time, I smiled. And I smiled more at my ability to smile. I didn’t have tears in my eyes, or heaviness in my chest. For the first time, I wasn’t a time bomb ready to tick off at the very mention of your name. Instead, I talked about you the same way I talk about the moon; so far yet so near. A beauty that demands to be felt and remembered and cherished. Then it hit me; this is truly the beginning of the end.

The end of an era.

The end of the beginning.


I divide my lifespan into two; before you and after you. Yes, that is very much a thing. Because it is only once in a lifetime that we meet people who shift our lives; turn our lives around 360 degrees, move our souls from point A to point B, give us glasses so we can view the world from their eyes, and oh the beauty! The beauty of seeing me through you…You changed my life in ways I never thought possible. You added colour into my life, and you know, I love colours! I became a different person. I am a different person.

Grieving you has been the most painful process. It is just one of those losses you expect to carry along with you forever. You heal, but you never realllyyy heal you know? But that’s not how I want to remember you. I have been back and forth with the stages of grief; up and down with it for years, and there’s a lot of ugliness, bitterness, anger and darkness. There’s a lot that I had to unpack to get where I am today; the beginning of the end, so today I choose how I want to honour your memory.

I want to remember you for restoring my faith in humanity. For showing me compassion I never thought I deserved. A level of compassion I never thought existed, at least not for me. For reminding me that a giver ought to receive too. For being kind to me even in instances when I was extremely difficult. For giving me a new meaning of empathy and friendship.

I want to remember your loud laughter that came so easily. For the entire meme conversations we’d have. For the times when I’d be overthinking and you’d tease me for my ridiculous and wild thoughts and in turn, made me laugh too. For the moments we’d laugh at our own misery and laugh even more at our own helplessness. For the times you’d chuckle at my pronunciation whenever I said ‘Allahu Must3an’ and you’d try to imitate me. I want to recall how you could make me laugh and smile even at the very lowest points in my life.

I want to cherish the memory of you for letting me be myself, even when I was unlikable. For always telling me, ‘what if it all works out?’ when I had so much anxiety and many doubts. For making me look at myself (right after crying) in the mirror and smile for as long as it would take until I could genuinely smile. For staying around when I pushed everyone away. For staying around when I needed you around.

I am grateful for the way you saw me; my bare soul. You cherished it and honoured it more than anyone else ever did. That you understood me deeply; both my spoken words and my deep silence. That you gave me a safe haven to talk about anything without feeling judged or misunderstood. And I want to remember that. I want to remember what it means to be held dearly and be loved purely and wholeheartedly.

You pushed me to be better, always. And you cared so deeply I actually believed that anything could be possible for me. And I want to remember it all. The whole of it; the moments you stayed silently by my side till I could get a hold of my breath, the moments you talked to me for so long even when you had your own heavy burdens weighing you down.

I want to recall all the nicknames you had for me. The funny ones, the silly ones, the annoying ones. I want to remember how they came about. All the exceptional and hilarious movie characters that you thought were me. I want to remember the conversations we had on life; from travel to religion to family to our deepest selves.

Conversations on God with you were my favourite. There was only one way to describe that profoundness; that you were my gift from Allah. However temporary a gift is, it still remains to be valuable…unforgettable.

Someone asked me about you today, and I smiled. I’m sure you’d be proud of me. Proud of the growth that came from the very long, exhausting journey. Proud that I kept my word to fulfill my 2020 goal. Yet somehow, you’d still know that I am crying as I write this. You knew me painfully well, darn you! But I also know what you’d say: ‘sasa walia nini mwanamke?’ and somehow, just somehow, you’d be able to make me laugh right after.

This feels like the beginning of the end. I’m finally learning to let you go; to leave you in the hands of He who brought you to me in the first place. And it is a very bitter-sweet moment. Bitter because, will I ever be lucky to find such a deep, heart-felt friendship ever again? Sweet because, I know Allah will take way better care of you than I would ever have. Either way, I am glad of the growth. The fog seems to be settling. If I’m lucky, perhaps I’ll finally reach the light.

To say you’re missed is an understatement. But your memory will always remain intact with me, I promise. I will remember you with every sunset, and every drone taking breath-taking photographs, and every angry sheikh lecturing with so much intensity lool and every human that has to be reminded to smile and every meme collection that I would have otherwise sent you while you complain about the spams haha. The list is long but you get the gist?

My prayer is that you’re in a better and happier place; both physically and emotionally. May Allah place you under His wing of mercy. May He love you, may He take care of you like you did with me… and more, may He bless you, and may He fill your soul with peace, joy, and tranquility.

This is how I choose to let you go– You might be away but still in my duas.

I say thank you for everything. Thank you for being you.

Stay safe favourite human…please take care of your soul 🙂




This article (edited version) was first published on ‘Travel Log Magazine’ an insert of Standard Newspaper on 5th September, 2019.

Have you ever walked on the streets and seen someone selling very random things like belts or pesticides and thought to yourself, ‘How often do people buy such stuff? How much does this person earn at the end of the day? Is it ever enough? Are they living a miserable life? Are they content?’

Therapists will almost always advise their clients to take a walk as often as possible. This is because there is a lot to contemplate about once you step out of your home. There is so much growth to be experienced in going out, travelling, exploring…there is always a lesson to be learnt.

Here are some wonderful ways in which travel leads to inner growth:

1. Travel is the break you desperately need. Everyone needs a time-out from the normal daily pattern. Sometimes we get too engrossed in the routine, we forget how many parts of ourselves die within us or talents that remain unexplored or magic that will never be unleashed. With traveling, you get to interact with nature, breath in fresh air, watch sunrises and sunsets and take a boat ride across the ocean. It is an opportunity to break from all the city noise, the traffic jams, the toxic air, the fast foods; an opportunity for new experiences. Indeed a monotonous life is not worth being called life.

“I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine.” – Caskie Stinnett

2. It pushes one out of their comfort zone. Now if you’re used to one particular thing in your locality and it is not available at this particular instance, you are left with no choice but to explore the other options you have. It pushes you to talk to strangers, ask for directions, taste food you wouldn’t otherwise taste and maybe even participate in group activities with people who don’t even speak the same language as you do. At this point, you are not at total liberty or in control to have things your way. You come face to face with change. You’d have to make sacrifices and compromises. You’d have to comply and obey rules of Foreign land. As they say, when you go to Rome, you do what the Romans do.

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

3. It humbles you. Honestly it does, especially when you go out of your typical scenarios and locality. You meet people with intriguing stories, people who’ve fought hard and survived, people who struggle to make ends meet, people stuck in very heart breaking situations. You meet children hawking, begging you to buy from their nuts or cookies, you meet very old and frail men and women seated in intense heat, trying to earn from their own sweat; people who create their own happiness with the little they have and who are content despite what they lack.

It also gives one a very different perspective on life and people. It is a great reminder for one to be grateful, to appreciate what they have and to remember that always, there is someone going through worse than you do or what your community does.

“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

4. Exploration enhances your creativity and story-telling abilities. Being around nature, different culture, different people opens up an entire other world for you. You get to learn new things, do new things and experience new, exhilarating, thrilling adventures. You get to hear other people’s stories, you get new ideas and all the moments bring forth to you many possibilities.

“Travelling — it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

5. An opportunity for introspection. One can’t possibly know everything about themselves if they stay all their lives stuck at the same place, same situations and with the same people. You know how they say if you want to truly know someone, you have to travel with them? This is why. You get to see their patience being tested, their immediate reactions, their excitement for trivial things, their mood during exhaustion, which foods they prefer or totally hate…Yet sometimes one doesn’t even know these things about themselves. It is not until they are in the situation itself, does one get to know who they truly are and what they feel deep inside. It makes one reflect and question themselves. This is the best chance for one to introspect and evaluate their emotions and behaviour.

“The best journeys in life are those that answer questions you never thought to ask.” ― Rich Ridgeway

Without travelling, without exploring, one doesn’t really get to experience the world in all its beautiful colours. You just get to see it in the shades of black, white and grey only. You don’t get to have life-changing encounters, or embrace humanity or appreciate the little things in life. You don’t get to taste kindness and witness love and light in human form. You don’t get to be amazed by the creations, by our similarities and great differences and how they make this world a more wonderful place. As the Moorish proverb goes, ‘He who does not travel does not know the value of men.’

Do not let financial constraints cage you in limited space. You don’t necessarily have to fly to a location across the continent for you to spread your wings and explore. Even sitting by the ocean some blocks away from your home or exploring your own locality can be therapeutic enough. We all need a breather, a moment to reflect and introspect.

“To travel is to evolve.” – Pierre Bernardo

Silence. Silence is over-rated. Silence is golden, but not so golden. I know silence because I have mastered it. My current read is ‘Silence is my mother tongue’ by Sulaiman Addonia and the last time I talked to anyone is months ago.

As I hit rock bottom and eventually made it my permanent home, silence is the only way to speak. Silence until you hear your own fading heartbeat. Silence until your legs warm up to the extremely cold water as you continue drowning. Silence until it becomes sharp and loud, your body disappearing into the blueness. That’s how much I relate to silence. That’s how much I am the silence.

Staring at my mirror, I touch the strings of my grey, white hair. Wrinkles staring back at me. Cheeks flabby like inflated balloons. How did I get old too fast to notice? If I died in this empty house or went missing right now, no one will notice immediately. The first person will notice a week later at least. In the midst of her shuffling between her busy schedules, it will strike her. Silence is not always good. She will remember. In the midst of her jolliness, she will remember me the way you remember that you left a child all alone at home or when you lose a toddler in a busy supermarket. Sudden. Almost in a panic. God knows she cares.

The second one will notice roughly a month later. No blame whatsoever because that’s how we roll.

My son would be the last one to realize. News would get to him as the stranger he’s become.

I lie down on my bed, hands stretched apart wondering how to do this the right way. He’s leaving the house. He wants to start a new life in a new city with some of his friends. He had said it so casually like I was but a nanny to him. How does one live alone after their entire lives revolved around one person and they left? How does a fifty five year old woman restart her life afresh? How do I break the habit of worrying about his asthma whenever the weather gets too cold? Or cook food just for one? How do I be myself without him?

He has grown now. He wants to go after his dreams. Build an empire of his own. Make new friends. Have a new family. But what does that leave me with?
I know how this works okay. I know. First comes in the distance. Then the busy schedules and less conversations. Then less visits home. Then the small talk, hurried phone calls. Then silence.

I know how this works because that is how it went down with everyone else. He was the only one left and that too, I am losing now.

I don’t want to be the selfish kind of mother. I don’t want to cage him. I don’t want to tighten my grip on him way too much until he slips away in between my fingers. He already slipped though. But how do I let go of him without losing him entirely? Is that even possible? Fathomable?

How do I start self-discovery at this age and time? How do I ask myself what is really my favourite meal after his, became mine? How do I identify what I love about life when I see a drone flying past and I smile because I love what he loves? Does that even make sense?

I don’t have friends. Okay, I have two out-of-this-world friends who have many other friends. That makes me very dismissible. Very much replaceable. I don’t have friends because I thought being a dedicated mother would cover it all. Because his friends became my friends and my sons too. Because I could always expect to walk into the house and see him with a group of them fighting over food. I didn’t prepare for this. No one prepared a single, obsessive mother of the day she will have to let go of not just her son, but her life as well. Because now, how do we untwine all that we have? Our entire lives? Emotions, Books, Thoughts, the pictures in the album, moments. How do we share them between us like, ‘This is mine, this is yours.’ How do I even know what was really mine for my own sake and what was mine because he was in it?

Listen to the silence in my room. In my house. In my big, empty house. It reminds me of my own soul. Lost within all the familiarity.

How do I love without being the enemy? How do I respect his decision of moving on without crying, without it eating me up like wasted wood on fire? How do I deal with nostalgia; the literally painful pangs of missing him without going insane? How do I become the good, understanding and supportive mother without losing my essence? The very thing I was living up for?

Apparently this is how life is. Everyone eventually leaves. Whether it is by travelling, going after dreams, changed priorities, death, unresolved matters, masks falling off…whatever it is, they eventually leave. How then can I hope for love as intense as my own from anyone? At this age and time? How then do I expect to ever get in return what I give out without holding anything back?

If I died or went missing, barely anyone would notice. And now, I am losing the only beautiful thing in my life. Tell me, tell me…how do I love and let go without losing him entirely?