An essay by alum Shadab Zeesht Hasmi (poetry, ’09) appears at 3 Quarks Daily:

Okra, mint and chilies grow in the back and marigolds and roses in the front yard; they’re in my peripheral vision as I bike and study. The seeing is important. Before my grandmother began teaching me and before I owned a student desk with wheels, I didn’t care much for Math. It’s now a ritual: I roll my desk out of my room to the verandah, bring a stack of paper and ask my grandmother to give me Math problems I can solve. I do this after my daily bike ride in the yard. My grandmother reads the newspaper while I work on equations. Occasionally, she shares a news item of interest. Twice I’ve seen her tear up reading about the brutality of the Indian military in Kashmir. She is a Kashmiri. She folds her spectacles and closes her eyes when I ask her for a story; it’s typically the one from the Quran about Moses in a floating basket, how he chose coals over gold, and the knotting of his tongue. There is too much brutality in the world and not enough words. The knotted tongue resonates with me.

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