Second Edition (2017)

It is with great joy and pride that I share with you – my dear followers – this second edition of the Ziauddin University Atlas, a student-run publication celebrating art, literature and culture.
I hope that when you turn the last page of this magazine, you do so with a content smile because the words across these pages had you travelling on exciting literary terrains fertile with mystic words and celestial ideas.

Happy reading!

The Ziauddin University Atlas Blog



Atlas 2nd edition

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The Laws of Gravity 

Undefined, unexplained, the beat of the heart is unacclaimed.
Seconds ago, the stillness in the air was within your reach
But is now as far as it was…before.
The epiphany of the heart was long ignored,
Till existentialism remained and was all that remained.

An enigma they call the Milky Way,
Is a constellation of all that makes you –
Lost stardust, fleeting in an ocean of sunlight,
Beckoning all that is hidden within you.

The colour palate of the universe is wide
And your canvas is huge.
Defy the laws of gravity, pray, why shall we?
Long lost souls will rediscover and somewhere along the way,
You will find your Milky Way.


5 Centimeters Per Second

Once upon a time, when you and I were just a thought,

The velocity of our creation headed towards Earth,

A drop of this and a drop of that, mixed together unceremoniously

And the masquerade of the ancient warriors broke.

Magian holds the hour-glass, gingerly balancing the Two – 

The Two they call the mind and the soul. 

A mist of unsolicited thoughts, a nebula of hearts 

Trails behind wondrously at the speed of imagination. 

Mortals cogitate, twisting and turning the Laws. 

The haze clears, and the percentages add up. 

Between you and I, the distance is immense, 

The journey, tedious; orbits too huge. 

Oceans crossed, emptiness overcome. 

This blue and white ball of life hanging in the starry night 

Is not bigger than us, never was. 

Resplendent entities in itself, celestial bodies of love, 

We walk silently on the moon

With the charm of the lyrics that thoughts wrote, 

The ‘pop’ of love, the ‘jazz’ of coherence, 

The ‘rock’ of fear, the ‘rap’ of solitude. 

Walk on the broken bridge of fragile wood, 

Looming over the angry river, gushing. 

Jingles resonating within our wavelength 

Amplify the shimmer of joy, 

For you and I – for you and I. 


My soft flower 

When I was a kid, ‘Nani ka ghar’ signified days of endless games and fun and delicious food made with grandmother-love, sprinkling exciting joy over the time we cousins would spend together.

Nani Jan’s house is big, her heart bigger.

Her love for animals fascinated all of us. Her parrots knew our names – even the nursery rhymes that I taught my younger cousins – and her little chicks came in all colours – pink, yellow, green.

Time flew by like it always does; like it has to. And now years later, when the family is none less than a small army that she proudly looks at, the roles have reversed.

Who knew that a couple of roosters and their morning ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’ would blow into her a new spirit – her old spirit – and she would lovingly resume her role as the Lady of the Family.


A soft flower 

Fighting the dusty wind, 

She stands strong,

Living, loving.


Lily and Rose

“Lean on me. Really,” said Lily to Rose.
“Whenever it rains or the wild wind blows.”
So Rose leant on Lily or Lily on Rose, depending.
And practically everyone knows,
that’s how a friendship grows.

– Anonymous


In this haze of life, when you are battling at many fonts, fighting so many small wars, you forget that you exist, too. You think of lost friendships, read lost emotions, and finally click on the ‘DELETE’ tab, because you don’t want to look back. You don’t have any regrets. Because friends lost along the way were, perhaps, the reason you have a Rose, and you are a Lily.

Living a Renaissance of its own, finding answers to questions that are said and unsaid, dealing with responsibilities – it seems quite otherworldly when you are also trying to discern the existential angst that is thrown your way, and when you finally, finally realise that your heart can beat too, it can beat very powerfully, and it can do things that may baffle the other hearts. And in the middle of all this, you forget yourself.

Until someone very, very special reminds you that you matter, too.

To that dear friend (you know who you are),

Thank you for remembering me, for that unshakeable faith that you have in me.  Thank you for those little gestures of joy – my cherished ‘chhoti chhoti khushyaan’ – that you surprise me with when I least expect them.
Thank you for the surprise note that you sent my way today, packaged rather beautifully with our rather cumbersome research project.
I had forgotten this could happen, Rose.
“There’s poetry to be read and poetry to be watched and oh, so many words yet to be understood.”
And poetry to be written, too, my friend. And sunsets to be watched. And the love to be felt. And secrets to be shared. And tears to be wiped away. And smiles to be gifted.

So, yes, one day…one, happy day, when I am running along the warm beach, and the water tickles my feet, I will think of you. When I make someone smile, I will think of you. When I go scuba diving, I will think of you. Yes, when my food experiments fail, I will definitely think of you. When I fly to the mountains, I will think of you. When I sit around that bonfire with my favourite song, I will think of you. When I row that boat in the crystal waters, I will think of you. When I dance in the rain, I will think of you.
I will think of you, my friend, in every joy and sorrow. I will think of you, always.


For you, my friend –

between everything and something,
time was fought,
affection conquered.

between something and everything,
you loved the orange, fallen leaves
with me, for me.

between everything and something,
numbers were outnumbered,
nothing denied.

between something and everything,
we sang Rumi’s songs,
and you hummed my favourite tune.

between everything and something,
the crispy air turned gentle,
and then you smiled.