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Eternalizing my thoughts through writing.

I am an international student living away from home. This is my opinion on the vaccine wedge.

Every day, I scroll through different websites providing information on visas, vaccine acceptance, quarantine rules, PCR test requirements. I am not looking for a way to travel for fun or leisure, but simply to be able to meet my family again. This pandemic has been hard on everyone, and especially so on those who left their home countries and families to work, study and live abroad.

Come this fall, it would be nearly 2 years since I went home. I am an international…

Ph.D. student @ KAUST | Woman in STEM| Science communicator | Writer | Cat lady | Diver | Indian


I am Ananya Ashok. I am an Indian, 29 years old and my pronoun is she/her. I grew up in a Tamil Iyer family in Chennai with a strong cultural emphasis on my upbringing. Since I turned seventeen, I have lived a life of contrasts going from a city to a small town, back to a big city, and then to a different country. In my transitions, I have also experienced life from different perspectives — culturally, socially, and economically. I have traveled to 13 countries so far.

This is me!

My professional portfolio

Currently, I am a final year Ph.D. candidate…

A poem

Photo by Alex Ivashenko on Unsplash

I can’t seem to remember
Were the walls papered blue
With tiny flowers thereupon?
My memories are irregular.

About this place, I used to call home.

I can’t point to pins on maps
Don’t recall the address
Then, my imagination steps in
To fill in the vacant gaps.

About this place, I used to call home.

When I don’t try too hard
I am able to call to mind
Sounds & voices in my heart,
And times I wined and dined.

About this place, I used to call home.

In my assorted paraphernalia
And treasured possessions
I stumble upon past — nostalgia

Thank you Mariam for your kind words.

This has been a very humbling experience for me, and writing about it helps find a way out for my anguish.

Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

A cobweb closed in on her
- Ugh, a sticky strangle.
Be civilized, they said.
“Here, wear this bangle.”

Teach her how to live!
It's the only way. They said,
“Make your skirts longer,
And your colors, milder.”

“Uh oh, smile, please —
Na ah, not too much.
Don’t dance in the wind.
No! Don’t prance as such!”

“Can’t you feel those eyes?
With brows a frowned —
Looking directly at you.
Do not turn around!”

What did she think of herself?
To strut around thus —
Assuming her freedom found
Walking two feet above ground.

“Let’s sit back and…

Photo by Melissa Westbrook on Unsplash

(Just a tiny lyrical free verse I wrote speaking of a woman who’s made it on her own.)

She’s got a glow
Even on a low
She may be sweet as a sugar
But, you got nothin’ to give her
For she’s on her own.
She’s on her own.

Her mind’s alright
Free from all that weight.
She walks her own way…
To you, she got nothin’ to say
For she’s on her own.
She’s on her own.

Her path stretches ahead,
For glory, they said
She wears an invisible crown
Oh, you got much to learn
For she’s on her own.
That's right. She’s on her own.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The human mind is a landscape for emotions, ideas, and thoughts that come in varying dimensions.

In this canvas, I see an ever-present contrast — one part that is methodical and works on “to-do” lists and the other which simply wants to enjoy the little joys we find like catching a ray of sunshine, playing with a frosted windowpane, or sipping a warm cup of tea.

As I was torn between these two halves of my mind, the characters of two little sisters took shape and came to life. …

A poem

Photo by Dulcineia Dias on Unsplash

Flowers that grow together
Must still blossom alone.
Even as one’s petals unfurl
Are others yet — in quiet fold.

And so — buds lying latent
Closed as may seem,
Yet hold within oceans
Of secrets, none can know.

Find charm in a spray,
And, also in the incipient.
Perhaps a decade to go —
She’s biding her time, patient.

Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

Weeks go past unnoticed
At times months and years
Undeviating from the mundane
As your creativity aestivates –
Looks for sustenance, and,
Yearns to be inspired.
You sit by the brook,
You stare through the walls.
Yet, not a word to find
No matter how long the grind.

Then, there comes a day
A moment ever so fleeting
Have ready your pen and
A piece of paper to grab.
Even as you feel the shudder within
Thoughts begin to ebb and rise.
Maybe it was the fall of a leaf,
Or the golden colors of autumn?
Maybe it is the hustle of everyday life
The love you recently lost?

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

When jealousy, deceit, anger, resentment, envy,
hatred, hope, faith, belief, wanting, needing,
loneliness, desire, and loathing become too much to bear,
When you can no longer wake up to run — to compete
And to prove yourself in a race so futile
What remains with you is only kindness.

When all those layers are slowly peeled away
And your soul is stripped down to utter nakedness —
Kindness is an attire you can still wear.
When wealth you accumulated through toil
Suddenly vanishes on a random day
Through kindness you become rich.

When your coveted job passes you by
Through kindness…

Ananya Ashok

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