What Women Want

What Women Want

She was never fully satisfied with anything. The cupcake was just a little too dry, the movie a little too long, the party a little too loud. Sure, she came—often, too—but it never seemed as earth shattering as it did when she saw it happen online, between other couples. Most of the time, she let him do what he had to do as she mentally recapped her day. In, out, she moaned every thirty seconds and kissed him just enough to reassure him that she, indeed, enjoyed the 13 minutes of whatever that was.

It was November and she became bored. She left the house not knowing what she was looking for; she was relatively thrilled she had successfully escaped.
Over the years, the diamond on her left ring finger lost its glimmer. She had stopped wearing stilettos seasons ago; her once feverish desire to impress was lost amidst the dullness of the
Her flats were dressed in street debris and fresh slush; she breathlessly ran to the one of the last phone booths in the city. The call couldn’t be made on her phone; he would see the number on next month’s bill. With a practiced subtlety, she slipped into the booth and punched out a phone number she unintentionally had memorized. After a brief exchange of private words and information, she hung up and made her way down West Street, the sun shone and the slush on the heels of her shoes began to melt away.

The motel was dirty from the previous occupants: red Solo cups littered the bathroom counter, a smell so sickening emanated from the air vent underneath the window, and the television was still on.
She wasn’t nervous because nothing fazed her anymore. The magic of excited anticipation left her like her dad did decades ago; it was sad but there was nothing anybody could do about it. She referred to her condition as “jaded”.
The voice on the other end of the phone booth call told her to be ready by 4pm, and she was ready by 4pm. While hastily shutting the curtains and dusting off questionable mold from behind the motel bed’s headboard she thought to herself, “this is probably a stupid idea, like everything else,” but her mind stopped wandering as she heard a knock coming from the outside of the room.
When she was 10, she begged her parents not to throw a surprise party for her, as they were fond of doing so in the past, because of the mere fact that they were disappointing. Surprises were never as beautiful as they were made out to be. Daddy and mommy smiled at their beautiful, curly-haired daughter and completely disregarded her advice. They threw her a party catered with her favorite jelly doughnuts and a piñata filled with lipstick tubes and flashy plastic rings for all the little girls invited. Her heart filled with disdain, she truly hated her parents for this; the doughnuts, the games, the friends, and none of it was as fun as they promised it would be. She ate potato chips in the guest bedroom, alone, that day. She never told anyone her real birth date after that horrible party, she didn’t want to endure yet another upsetting surprise.
A tanned, toned body accompanied the voice behind the door. The man murmured a quick hello and asked what she needed from him. “Make me feel good just this last time,” is all she said before he unbuttoned his shirt, then hers, and slowly slid his fingers underneath the zipper of her jeans. She had felt this before: the quick to come, quick to go intensity releasing after months of pent-up tension. It felt alright but she needed more. Without knowing exactly what it entailed, she guided his other hand to her collarbone and motioned him to wrap his fingers around her neck. It was gentle and loving but she didn’t feel much. “Tighter,” and the man squeezed a little harder. The dreamy dizziness left her in a limbo, she felt colors and smelled light. Flashbacks of him confessing his love, her promotion within a company she actually enjoyed working for, the two of them eager to start planning their family made her feel light headed; she was content for a moment but she was thirsty for more. “Tighter, please,” and without apprehension the man squeezed her fragile neck, a vein started turning purple as her face fell pale. She gasped for breath and violently shuddered. The happy memories, the sad memories, the repressed memories, the forgettable memories, they all rushed back to her. Waves of emotion drowned her in an overwhelming riptide; she was drowning and didn’t have the willpower to swim. She felt salty tears staining her cheeks, she hadn’t cried since her rapist’s trial. She recovered a soft memory of her younger brother graduating college two seasons ago, it was too late but she was finally proud of him for committing himself to something he loved, something that made him feel alive. As she began to lose consciousness, as she began to realize death was inevitable and only seconds away from snatching her into its merciless tentacles, she felt alive. As she closed her eyes for the last time, she finally felt satisfied.

The Lazy Housewife’s Guide to Homemade Soup

The Lazy Housewife’s Guide to Homemade Soup

Disclaimer: I am neither a housewife nor a chef, but I have perfected the classic vegetable soup recipe so I think I have earned myself some culinary bragging rights.

Ingredients (serves 2):
1. 4 cups low-sodium fat-free chicken broth (I like to use organic because it makes me feel fancy)
2. 1 regular tomato (none of that cherry tomato bullshit), chopped
3. 1 package Bella mushrooms, chopped
4. 1 yellow onion, chopped
5. ½ package baby carrots, chopped
6. 2 handfuls spinach
7. 1 teaspoon fresh or frozen ginger
8. 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
9. 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
10. 2 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt
11. 1 chili with seeds, chopped
12. Pepper, to taste

Heat the chicken broth on medium for a few minutes but don’t let it boil! Add the tomato and let simmer until the tomato becomes a little gross and mushy, this adds flavor and complexity to the broth. Add all of the vegetables and allow the soup to simmer for 10 minutes, then throw in the spices, ginger and garlic give it another 10 minutes. Once the onions become translucent and the carrots soften, you are ready to taste-test this delicious winter liquid cure-all.

If you don’t like soup, we don’t like you.

A Second Chance

A Second Chance

If I had written in my diary the day we met, this is what the entry would have said: I wonder if her personality is as colorful as her long, silver and pink earrings. Does she wish to be my friend, too?

If I written in my diary the day we became friends, this is what the entry would have said: Will she remember this private joke, this treasure I will forever hold near my heart? She laughed with no restraint so I let my guards down as well, I can picture her and I being happy like this when we are older. Does she wish to be my best friend, too?

If I written in my diary the day we became best friends, this is what the entry would have said: This is a friendship that none, even the bravest and the prettiest, can attempt to parallel. I love her when we share ice cream sundaes before dinner; I love her when we share a moment in a room where nobody would ever know us like we know each other. Seeing her twice, sometimes thrice, a day is not tiring, but rather invigorating. If I’m without her, I call her. Does she wish this would never end, too?

If I written in my diary the day we hurt each other, this is what the entry would have said: It’s not you, it’s me…or it’s not me, it’s you? I blame you for what has transpired. You ruined something more beautiful than paradise. I blame myself for what has transpired. I ruined something more real than paradise. I pointed fingers too fast; you let go of our volumes of invaluable memories too fast. Does she wish to shed the weight of our past, too?

If I had written in my diary the days I thought of you, this is what the entries would have said: Although I unjustifiably hate her for abandoning us, abandoning me, I miss her. Nobody willingly stays on the phone with me as I vulnerably suffer at the hands of a Brazilian wax specialist. She would have brought me a bottle of Coke, or split a cupcake with me if I told her about the most recent heartbreak I endured. I hate her, though. She was selfish to believe that leaving me was not the most horrible thing to happen to me. Deep within, under the rubble I call my broken soul, hidden amongst pieces of my frayed heart, I feel the uncomfortable ache slightly surface from time to time. Those faded green shorts she let me borrow when we were 18 caught my eye when I was dusting my closet shelf, did she want those back? Is she disappointed in me for keeping them? Does she wish I would leave them on her doorstep just as she was pulling into the garage so we could have one last moment to salvage for ourselves, too?

If I written in my diary the day we became friends again, this is what the entry would have said: Thank you for texting me back, even after I told you whom the number belongs to. Thank you for agreeing to meet me. Thank you for swallowing your pride and allowing me to breathlessly apologize for the little things. Thank you for not asking me to apologize for the harder things. I am proud of us for possessing success and a two-year-long bought of happiness even though we did not celebrate these accomplishments together. I will never let you down again; I hope you never let me down again. I know, I know, things will never be the same, and I accept that. You are different, so am I; rather than starting over, let us move on. Together, this time, please? She was a lively embodiment of my high school years, and then she swiftly, smoothly became the sole reason I flew home from school so often. Too much time has transpired for us to become each other’s crutch, for we have grown up and grown apart, but being able to witness each other’s moments of strength and moments of weakness and love each other through the worst that unfortunately, and inevitably, will come, will suffice. Does she wish for this incredible second chance, too?

To my friend from the past, my friend currently, and my friend until the infinite end, you are great and I promise to document all my crazy inner monologues from this day forth so we can laugh about the continuous melodrama when we’re watching Spongebob and eating cake in a wonderful future.

A Flower In Belgium

A Flower In Belgium

The sharp prick broke the tension created by the thin film

Dividing her reality from the blurry sublime,

It was invisible; tangibility having no definition in this

Marriage of different universes.

Her frail toes enveloped in the satin of Legnani’s soul,

Itched as she finally danced upon the humming orchids,

Laughing with the cloudy wrinkles

Hidden in pockets of the final sleepy sunrise.


Only a pinch would be deemed necessary

To revive her, flood her scope with normalcy

She won’t know until the after, but they were right

Wasting away is for the weak; preserve the untainted

Just let go.


An uninterrupted string of redundancies,

The apathy resulting from rushed unions

With the consequence of settling,

An ultimate hollowness of the heart;

Keep your innocence, fragile daisy,

They whisper in her ear: Say goodbye

As you’re shot upon the tail of a star;

Dizzying jumps further away from this cruel world.


A spurt of growth in the fleshy drawer of memories

But the ironic decaying nature of an interior so youthful,

She was told it would be better this way;

Cool metallic avalanches molding themselves

To the confines of the blue branches underneath supple skin.

A wilted flower being laid to rest,

She let out a sigh of something peaceful, something hopeful.


As she slipped away into an everlasting limbo

Of dancing upon humming orchids and laughing with cloudy wrinkles

That shied away from an awakening Earth, she found herself

Glittering eternally in youthful purity.


Written by: Kinnary Shah



Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary

December 31st not only marks the closing of the year, it also symbolizes the strength my parents’ relationship has had to fulfill yet another anniversary. This year, my parents have accomplished staying together and committed for a full 25 years. The idea of such feat not only amazes me, but inspires me as well. Their ability to face sacrifice, failure, and sadness together, as a family is a tiny yet dazzling diamond wedged into this society of breakups and loneliness. I am so proud of them; the feeling is almost indescribable.

I was labeled a hopeless romantic back in high school, when I dreamt of living in ecstasy with the person who enabled this drug-induced lust for life. Falling in love so freely is definitely my parents’ fault; their capacity for turbulence of varying types that had shaken up their relationship is immense and still growing. If Rajiv and Sujaini can do it so well, so can we, my friends. These two completely opposite individuals came together, meshed their separate lives together, to form a union abundant with warm memories and a myriad of lessons about love. They have taught each other how to effectively deal with my shopaholic tendencies, my sister’s intolerance to stupidity, and the many serious tragedies that naturally accompany life. I want what my parents have: maybe not today or tomorrow, but someday. I want a love that is fueled with passion and adoration. I want a love that is worth every struggle, every tear, and every drop of blood. Thank you, Dad and Mom, for solidifying my previously idealistic vision of love into a realistic one. 

Instead of taking them out to a steak dinner (Mom has been a vegetarian all her life, so this would have sucked for her, regardless) or purchasing overpriced accessories they will rarely use, I decided to write a letter as an anniversary gift to my parents. Side note, I don’t think anyone is really surprised that I wrote my parents a letter, right? When AREN’T I writing extremely emotional letters to people I have grown fond of, to be honest? Anyway… I wrote Dad and Mom a letter. I can’t disclose all the topics that I discussed within the faded blue lines of my notebook paper, but I can say that I meant every word of it. They have only asked one thing of me: to be the best person I am capable of being. Year after year, I have practiced acts of delinquency and have remained a juvenile in their eyes. This upcoming year, I will practice acts of maturity and become the respectable daughter they believe I can be. I vowed to never disappoint them but to forever take care of them; but I can only hope to provide them with a fraction of the love they have provided me.

I know you all love your parents, and that is truly beautiful. Nothing is more important than the people who know you more than you know yourself. They have given you more than just life; parents dole out unconditional love. Love the people who deserve love the most. These people are usually right down the hall from you, or in my case, a quick plane ride away. Their love is permanent, but they’re not, so don’t hold back on frequent hugging and expressing care and warmth. One day we will be in their position, and only then will we have the experience to fully appreciate every single thing our parents excitedly do for us. This one is a big Thank You to every Dad and every Mom who have dedicated their lives to perfecting ours. You all will forever be wanted, needed, and appreciated, we promise. 

The Early Bird Gets The (Book)Worm

The Early Bird Gets The (Book)Worm

Much to my astonishment, not everyone enjoys to read. Ria, one of my four beautiful roommates, sported a blank yet apathetic stare as I raved on and on about Salman Rushdie and the authentic sense of culture he births between the pages of his novels.  “You like to read?” Ria scoffed after I breathlessly wrapped up my verbal admiration for Rushie’s, “Haroun and The Sea of Stories”; I didn’t understand. I still don’t understand. In the midst of this overly chaotic world, doesn’t everyone find solace, simplicity, within tales of wonderment? If I were to ever perish alone on a deserted island…

And would be allowed to bring only three nonliving items with me, what choice do I have but to bring three books that complete the full horizon of genre, which literature has to offer? The thought gives me anxiety-induced vertigo. The decision making for this hypothetical situation is dizzying, I feel faint with apprehension, what if I choose the wrong books?

I probably will, but here is my list anyway:

  1. A Book That I Have Not Yet Read Or Heard Of (for my edgy adrenaline-junkie side, the badass side that seeks thrill and the fear of uncertainty. Will this book be good? Who cares if it isn’t, it’ll still teach me something my knowledge lacked prior to the read and that indescribable feeling of physically flipping through the pages of a book that has all the time in the world to be discovered is enchanting)
  2. A Book That Is Blank On The Outside And The In (I would never insult my already annotated books with even more chicken scratch; reading is my segue to writing; I’ll be bored as hell on a boring island, I need a diary to vent about it since I probably wouldn’t have access to my Twitter account anymore, SOS)
  3. Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (she’s so cool and witty, and she knows how to make fun of Gothic literature in such a relatable, humorous fashion. This isn’t my favorite book, but it’s like the 19th century novel version of Arrested Development and if you don’t enjoy the perfect amount of one-liners in that show, I don’t know who you are)

Luckily, I don’t plan on being stranded on a deserted island anytime soon, but if expectation doesn’t coincide with life so fluidly, I know I’ll be ready with a wealthy handful of magic. What do you like to read? Please don’t be shy, tell me! If you don’t like to read, what turns you off from good literature? I want to know. Well, ultimately, I want you to love reading the way I do, because reading makes our minds rich with knowledge, an untainted beauty that only the lovers of Times New Roman understand. Have a happy winter break, school-goers! Read exceedingly!