Author: tahaarshad

Using your privilege.

After 2 months, today is my last day volunteering for the Sick Kids Foundation.

Commuting to Toronto every morning to go to a research tower and help a researcher with his stem cell research has been nothing short of incredible, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Working with such an incredible team of students and researchers was so awakening, and it was such a strong reminder of why I chose Science as the field in which I wish to pursue my career. I want to help change this world using Science, and seeing it happen firsthand by the researchers in the lab blew me away.

I think I’m finally beginning to understand why we (all students, not just Science students) take courses that seem so content-heavy. It’s because there’s so much to learn about the world, and we need this fundamental knowledge to further our pursuit of understanding the universe.

We’re so privileged. We’re so privileged because we have the right to an education. I know that phrase has been so worn out, but it has been worn out because of the truth behind it. The fact that we live in a time where information is so easily accessible makes us incredibly lucky. I refuse to die without making some sort of scientific mark on this world. It doesn’t even have to be enormous, it can be the smallest thing, but it should be a lead. A lead that can be used to further our communal knowledge of the universe (which could be ANYTHING, no matter how big or small). 

This isn’t a post meant to glorify Science students, or to suggest that Science is better/more important than any other field. No matter what field you’re in, you can make your mark on the world. My point is solely that we’ve got to take a step back from the worries and stresses of examinations, midterms, assignments, and presentations. We’ve got to take a step back and remember why we’re there in the first place.

Why are we studying what we’re studying? Do we enjoy what we’re studying? If we don’t enjoy it, why are we doing it? Are we passionate about it? If you’re passionate enough about something, you can leave your mark. You just have to be patient, hone your skills, and work hard. We’re privileged enough to be surrounded by academic institutions which give us the option to study something we love and enjoy. 

So use your privilege, because you’re not just doing a service to yourself by pursuing something you’re passionate about; you’re doing a service to the world.


The Evil Cutter of Nails: A Dream Interpretation (Freudian Flips)

This is my first writing prompt!

I’ve never been able to recall a childhood dream as vividly as I can recall this one. This is a dream I had at the age of 7 that still haunts me to this day.

Ok, are you ready? Here it is:

It was dark, and I was alone in our apartment. I had never been home alone before, so I was mortified. I walked into my parents’ room and anxiously, but quietly, called out my mother’s name. No response. There was some sunlight peeking through the large maroon curtains so I was able to slowly navigate the room, trying to see if my mother was behind some corner. All of a sudden, a veiled woman crept out of the curtains, and looked me dead in the eye. She was wearing a black veil that covered everything but her cold eyes. I knew at that moment that this woman was here to kidnap me. I was scared, but I gathered the courage to ask her who she was. I’ll never forget what she said after that in her low, mystifying voice.

“I am your mother’s nail cutter.”

I was hit with a sudden sense of relief, and the woman no longer scared me. I knew she wasn’t an enemy. She smiled at me and twirled away.

The End. 

Alright, maybe that wasn’t as scary as I made it out to be, but I can assure you that it was absolutely mortifying at the time. Either 7-year-old me had a wild imagination, or he was on some hardcore drugs (probably the latter).

I think the main reason this dream was so scarring was because I had never actually been home alone before, so the prospect of being in an empty house without the presence of any one of my family members was scary as balls. I think this dream was my mind trying to tell me that no matter how lonely I feel, I’ll never truly be alone, even if it feels like I will. When I was in the empty, dark apartment, I was terrified and felt completely alone. On top of that, this creepy-looking veiled woman came out from behind my curtains, and I was certain that she was going to take me hostage. But, low and behold, this woman turned out to be my mother’s personal nail trimmer. So despite the fact that I believed I was completely alone, I wasn’t! I was with somebody that my mother trusted, and therefore, she was someone that I trusted. Despite her strange appearance and demonic voice, she was a friend. I was being reassured by my mind that no matter how dire a situation may seem, everything would be okay. I’d never be alone.

Either that or I subconsciously believed that my mother needed to get a manicure.


Why you’re not a feminist.

Feminism (according to the Oxford dictionary) is, “The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”

I have seen far too many images being shared on various social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.) by people who believe themselves to be feminists that actually have little to do with feminism, and more to do with female superiority. I personally believe in social equality of both genders, but if you believe that women are superior to men then feel free to believe so but please don’t call yourself a feminist, because you’re not. By calling yourself a feminist, you make actual feminists (people who believe in gender equality, not superiority) look bad.

To further prove my point on why your campaign for gender superiority is very different from a feminist’s campaign for gender equality, I’ve gathered two “pro-feminist” images I found shared on Tumblr (a social media website), and their altered versions that I created using Photoshop:


Original post.

Original post: Gender superiority.

Male equivalent of the post.

Edit: Male equivalent of the post. (Also gender superiority.)


Edit: Feminism.



Original post. (Gender superiority...isn't rape great?!)

Original post: Gender superiority. *Note the comment below the post that says “This is the best story that ever happened.”


Male equivalent of the post. It's a little less funny now, isn't it?

Edit: Male equivalent of the post. It’s a little less funny now, isn’t it? (Also gender superiority.)



Feminism. Because a woman holding a male intruder hostage and raping him for 3 days is not "more okay" than a man holding a female intruder hostage and raping her for 3 days.

Edit: Feminism. (Because a woman holding a male intruder hostage and raping him for 3 days is not “more okay” than a man holding a female intruder hostage and raping her for 3 days.)


Now stop misrepresenting a group of people who support a noble cause.

More than just a doodle.

*The drawings in the following post have all been created by me during the year indicated in brackets. 

I’ve been doodling/drawing for as long as I can remember.

"Harry Potter and the Dildos of Azkaban" (2004)

“Harry Potter and the Dildos of Azkaban” (2004)






Have you ever wondered what Spiderman's mutant wife from hell would look like? No? Well, 9-year-old me did. (2004)

Have you ever wondered what Spiderman’s mutant wife from hell would look like? No? Well, 9-year-old me did. (2004)

Everyone knows that "William Shakesphere" had dreadlocks and bulging knees... (2004)

Everyone knows that “William Shakeshphere” had dreadlocks and bulging knees. (2004)

There’s just something inherently calming about letting my frustrations out on a piece of paper by drawing a set of variably arranged lines on a piece of paper and admiring the final result. They don’t even have to be the greatest drawings; Just knowing I completed them gives me, and has always given me, a sense of pure satisfaction.

I once tried to draw Fantine from Les Miserables, but ended up drawing this screaming potato instead.

I once tried to draw Fantine from Les Miserables but ended up drawing this screaming potato instead. (2012)

Aside from taking the time out to create actual drawings, I’ve found doodling in my notebooks extremely relaxing as well.

Doodling in class while the teacher was talking was absolutely liberating. I mean I would do the best I could to pay attention to what was being taught, but sometimes drawing a nightmarish creature sticking out its elf-birthing tongue (see below) was just so much more interesting than Newton’s laws. Besides, Newton needs to calm his shit. That motherfucker silly goose has way too many laws.

“…a nightmarish creature sticking out its elf-birthing tongue…” (2012)


I was feeling really cynical that morning. (2012)

I was feeling particularly cynical that morning. (2012)













I think this desire to constantly create art on paper that my fellow doodlers and I have stems from an innate human desire for creation.

The inexpressible contents of our mind find their way to the nearest sheet of paper in their vicinity, and we create away. We create squiggles, spirals, animals with extra/missing limbs, people who only have half a face, elephant-bird hybrids, humans with tentacles (ask the Japanese!), and other stuff that just doesn’t make sense.

But it makes sense to us.

We know that behind those nonsensical drawings lie our deepest and most unique thoughts, ideas, and desires that we haven’t been able to express in any other way.

































On the other hand, I could be completely wrong.

Maybe there is no deep meaning.

Maybe we’re all just bored and kinda really fucking weird.




I’ve been asked by people why I’ve committed a ridiculous number of hours to theatre since the year I turned 15. They wonder why I willingly got home at 8 pm everyday for months during grades 10-12. They wonder why I gave up my Sundays for about 5 months in my first year of university.


The answer is quite simple. It’s because performing on stage has been fueling me since I first tried it 4 years ago.

When I’m on stage, I’m not Taha anymore. Taha is in another dimension, drifting away in limbo, and I don’t have to worry about him or his problems. I get to be someone different and new.

Acting as someone different than who I am forces me to step out of my comfort zone and live in the mind and body of someone who has different ambitions, dreams, and goals as me. It forces me to understand that character, and in turn, understand real people around me with similar traits. When I play a homeless blind man, I get a very tiny glimpse into the life of someone who lives a very different life from me. By taking on this role I experience the difficulty of navigating a stage because my eyes have to be shut for the entire 10 minute monologue, and I realize that there are people out there who have been accustomed to the difficulty of navigating the entire world because their eyes never opened to begin with. By taking on this role, I understand humankind just a little bit more.

Have you ever worked your butt off for a group presentation with your partners and felt immense satisfaction when you realized all of your hard work paid off? Whether it’s something as simple as solving a puzzle, or something as complex as inducing quantum teleportation, it’s a part of human nature to form bonds with people who work with you towards a common goal. Multiply that feeling by about 437258937497 (or any other really large number), and that’s the feeling you get when you put on a show with a group of people that have been working towards it for months. The rehearsal process is tedious. It’s fun and exciting, but it is tedious. Rehearsals consist of learning material and then rehearsing that material over and over again for months until it’s “show-ready”. You see, the thing about rehearsing scenes/songs until they’re show-ready is that it requires a company to function as a unit. When one person screws up, it counts as everyone screwing up and the show now has one more screw up than it did before. When you’re a member of a company, you realize that even if just one person falls short, a point of support for your show is automatically diminished. You realize that it’s up to the entire cast and crew to hold the show on their backs and to learn to support one another. You learn the importance of teamwork.

The bonds I’ve formed by being a part of these shows have lasted me years, and have allowed me to meet incredibly unique groups of individuals (including some of my closest friends); Individuals whom I would have never met under other circumstances. I’ve learned so much from these people, whether they were acting, directing, vocal directing, producing, choreographing, part of the orchestra, or working backstage, and they’ve unknowingly helped me through some of the hardest times of my life. Every time I make the decision to commit to a show, I’m allowing myself to meet a group of amazing individuals who come from all sorts of different backgrounds, but have been united by a common cause.

All in all, the ridiculous number of hours I’ve spent on theatre haven’t been very ridiculous at all, because they’ve been hours spent doing incredible things with even more incredible people.

It is indeed very strange that this game of pretend that we call “theatre” has been embraced by so many cultures throughout the history of mankind, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

2011 vs. 2014

15-year-old me being sad on stage vs. 18-year-old me being sad on stage. (I should probably learn some new facial expressions.)

Look, I made a blog.

I haven’t done any sort of writing in a really long time…(No, lab reports don’t count). I miss being able to express myself through words, which is why I made this blog!

I don’t even know if I’ll make a post after this but hey, points for trying, right?

Anyways, welcome to my blog (Is welcoming people to your blog a thing?).

I hope my disjointed ramblings don’t drive you away!