Renovation Notice

Dear readers,

There has not been any new blog post for seven long months. Due to personal circumstances, I was no longer able to regularly update the blog. Today, I had the courage to take up the heavy task of starting again, and decided to start afresh.

I thought that I wanted to stop writing here completely and move on to create a new blog. My interests and mentality has changed over time, and I felt that this blog no longer reflected myself anymore. Even the blog name will become irrelevant; I will turn 20 soon.

However, I thought to myself, “If I create a new blog, I have to start everything from scratch. Find readers, promote it, design it, yadda yadda yadda.” I don’t want to lose what is left of my readership completely by abandoning this blog.

With this, I am announcing the rebranding and renovation of I Am A Teenage Reporter to IATR &BEYOND: a site which I hope will bring fresh perspectives and mature insights into life, travel, food, university and so on. I am aiming for a more serious writing style as well.

I do not wish to reveal all what I have in mind, but over the next few weeks the site will undergo major restructuring and updates on pages and posts to reflect my current life in university. My priority now is my own life outside of the blog, but I hope to complete the renovation process by the end of October, InshaAllah.

I hope that you will be supportive of this endeavour and I thank you all for your patronage.

Ahmad Afendiyevich

Kamalovia – A Poem

Author’s foreword:

This poem was one of my first ones I wrote ever since I started writing, but I hesitated often to put it up due to its subject matter and sentimental value for me. Nevertheless, I will share it now with everyone and I’d love to know what your interpretation of it is!

Kamalovia

By A. A. Kamalov

Down with the Tsar, down with the Tsar!

Inside voices, heard afar.

I must tell none.

Silence is the best policy

To maintain peace and harmony.

.
Obedient citizen, I feigned loyalty,

For I would cease to exist;

Your wrath, iron fist

Of tortures, oh carrot and stick!

The blatant lies, it makes me sick.

.
Drunk with power, hung-over, disconnected from

Your subjects; you decreed that

Your word is law.

A kingdom? A dictatorship?

It matters not to His Lordship.

.
Divine right to rule – the ungodly hypocrite;

Joseph Stalin would be proud!

Cast out the soul,

Memories, owned by the state.

Lifelong servitude, my fate.

.
A serf, a kulak, prisoner in the gulag;

You think lowly of me. Why?

I cry and cry.

Vodka in hand, poison sweet,

Sharp quills pierce my wrist to bleed.

.
These quills are rifles, they’re Kalashnikov-made –

Look at my scars: bullet-holes,

Black ugly moles.

Loved you once, but you killed me.

Firing squad, my liberty.

I’ll Make This One Count: Last Post of the Year

This is it: 2016 will draw to a close in less than an hour and a new calendar year begins.

I don’t really celebrate New Year’s Day, it’s not something that I was raised to celebrate. It’s more like a convenient day-off. But I still contemplate about the year and all that happened to me and look forward to what the future will be. This year has been a tough one, for a lot of us around the world. There were countless tragedies and sorrows. Personally, there were a lot of times when I was upset and distraught because I lost hope and punished myself too hard for my human mistakes. But now I know that those happened for a good reason, so that I can learn and become a stronger person, ready to face more challenging problems in the future.

This year I entered university. It was like yesterday I graduated from being a school student. Now, I live independently on campus living my life, juggling my time in between my modules and my social life. At this point in time, I am studying for my semester finals exams, something that feels extremely important to me to achieve. Although I have excelled in school, I realised that university is a whole different league altogether. I am a small fish in a big sea. Competition is tough and subjects are not a piece of cake. On top of that, grading is on a completely different level altogether. I would feel so blessed if I get to pass a few modules and get distinction in some at the same time. I just pray that I don’t have to resit any exams, because it would seriously damage my morale. Nevertheless, I need to be prepared mentally for the extreme situation that it does happen, so I need to keep calm and work as hard as I can.

My blog has been inactive for a while. It is not my intention to stop blogging any time soon, but putting content can be quite a challenge in this new environment. I was just getting used to life here, and a lot of events happened on top of each other. There are things I want to write about, but at the same time there are a lot of things I’d rather keep to myself and not share to the world. So with that in mind, I will try to keep posting at least once a month. I am relatively more active on social media, Instagram and Twitter (to a lesser extent), so do follow me there is you can. On Instagram you can keep updated on my latest endeavours and travels, which I’d rather capture through photos than long text. On Twitter I post random thoughts and short happenings and share some funny memes once in a while.

To readers who come across this blog, whether you are a casual onlooker who found this site by chance, or a subscriber to this site, I thank you all immensely for giving me a chance to let my voice be heard to the world. I am thankful for all of your support and wish you all the best for the years to come.

Tenth Day Thoughts – A Poem

Tenth Day Thoughts

A. A. Kamalov

Echoes reverberating, soulful takbeeraat

Straight from the Straits of Malacca

Reaching the seven heavens above in

Sanctified devotion. White-capped,

 

Black-capped, turbaned and scarved,

In solidarity with the blank-robed

Millions crowded in canvassed Mina

Seeking to be cleansed, like newborns.

 

Uttering strings of praises, prayers,

Everything under the powerful gaze

Of the Almighty Judge, All-Seeing,

Fearful, tearful, careful, one must be.

 

Yet close by, sinners and liars laughing

With arrogance, bathing fingers in

Copious fresh blood of innocents,

Striking down whilst saying “Salam!”

 

No joy; just death – despite the cradle of

Humanity’s proudest advancements,

Baghdad and Babylon: such a shame.

Has God forsaken us, you wonder?

 

He didn’t, of course! It’s a sort of

Wake-up call; a piercing scream to

Pick up the long-abandoned “Pen”

From which springs forth abundance –

 

Fountain of Knowledge: Wisdom, Divine

Enlightenment transforms barren lands

Into lush fields of olives and dates, so

All will enjoin in peace and justice,

 

Insha’Allah.

Author’s Afterword:

This is probably my most Islamically-related poem I’ve written so far. I wrote this poem a few days after the holiday of Eid-ul-Adha, hence the title. I was pondering over the holy nature of the holiday, which coincides with Hajj, the major pilgrimage a Muslim would have to undertake once in their lifetime. At the same time, I feel a little saddened, since despite the religious and solemn nature of the holiday, I realise that not too far away from Mecca, many would have little to celebrate and rejoice while living in constant fear and bloodshed. My solution, and you could perhaps call it childish and naïve, is that if we all embrace education, both the religious and secular, we can achieve greater understanding, tolerance and peace instead of killing each other because of creed and ideologies.

I hope as readers you don’t mind me experimenting with religious themes such as this. There seems to be a lot of classic and popular poems out there which have deep Judeo-Christian references, but not as many portraying Islamic themes, at least in original English literature. I wish to contribute to this, since this is a very important part of my identity. However, it will not be my primary focus and I believe my style will keep evolving as I learn and experience new things in life.

The Sweatshop Master – A Poem

The Sweatshop Master

A. A. Kamalov

“You should be grateful, leech!

My pockets are empty, because of you.”

Despicable lies, repeatedly uttered

By the millionaire himself,

 

For nothing could be more satisfying

Than to see his conception slave away

With delusion in mind, constantly ringing:

“Money’s motivation.” But is it?

 

Always inferior, deprived of

Not cash but care, reduced to abuse

By a vicious, miserly capitalist,

Imposing a convenient inferiority

 

Upon his accidental creation.

It costs a lot for the upkeep,

The drink and feed and shade

And air, it only makes sense to get

 

Something in return for it, a profit!

The dollar-sized eyes widen

In hungry expectation for

Cheap labour exploitation.

 

Subsequently, it was shipped to

A brain factory, to serve the

System with non-stop cycles

Of work, work and work.

 

Social life? Rest? Such things exist?

No, it must work, day and night

Or else, its penalty: a cut

In that costly lifeline.

 

It will pay off, eventually.

It’ll leave the factory to

Other factories, toiling more hours.

But as a show of gratitude, wages sent back,

 

Back to the bastard businessman.

Author’s Afterword:

This poem was inspired by a video about the manufacturing industry I watched during school. I don’t want to comment much because I’d love it if you can come up with your own interpretations of what The Sweatshop Master is all about. Is it literally about child labour? Is it a metaphor for something else? I’d like to know! From what is clear without revealing too much, I don’t tend to view big business very favourably.

That said, I have written this poem quite a while ago and I am having a little trouble with coming up with new ideas to write about. I tend to write out of impulse, when I feel really upset, triggered or angry, but not so much when I am just calmly sitting while sipping a hot mug of coffee. Maybe I should read more genres of poems first before I continue writing any more. If you could suggest me any hot topics you’d like to see me write, tell me in the comments below and I’ll definitely consider it. Thanks for your support!