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Zareenah Taher: “Just like how people have an “evil” side to them, maybe Cupid does too”

Zareenah Taher - Love, the Manace

Zareenah Taher, 22 years old, launched her first book ‘Love, The Menace’ recently at the Hennessy Park Hotel. The book launch being a success, a lot of the bookworms out there are eager to know more about the young author, and mostly her new book. Born in the UK, Zareena Taher came to Mauritius in November 2013 to continue her studies. She is currently in her second year of law school and her previous work includes the collaboration for the book ‘Words for The Ocean’.

Popular for her pen name, Neenah, she started writing anonymously on Instagram signing her poems with the letter N until she was comfortable enough to start using her nickname. Currently, more people know her for her pen name than her real name. Her book ‘Love, The Menace’, a striking title leaves the readers wondering why is love portrayed as a menace. To which Zareenah explained that the book is a way to portray Cupid as more than a love angel. 

I wanted to play on the idea that love can also be a threat to people too. Just like how people have an “evil” side to them, maybe Cupid does too. ‘Love, The Menace’ because the definition of the word “Menace” intrigued me, ” she explained. 

Her book which consists of 5 chapters talks about the different sides of love in prose and poetry. Zareenah explained that some of the prose cover, “poems don’t have a structure as they are messy and others have ideas that do not fit into a poem.” 

Zareenah’s book came to life from a suggestion of her friend to put together a book as she had the ability to console with her words but she realized that it is more than that. 

“A friend suggested I put together a book because I had a talent where I could console people with just my words. At first, the project was just for me, a way to have something to look back on after some years. But now it’s bigger than that, it’s more about connecting with people and making it known that you’re never alone.” she said. 

Her writing can sometimes be a reflection of her own life, but she also gets inspired by what her friends go through.

“Or sometimes I draw inspiration from current affairs. But when I write from personal experience, it’s very often exaggerated,” she said. 

The young author has addressed a number of different themes drawing from current affairs on her Instagram page @poetrybyneenah. From themes such as women empowerment, politics, racism, and other sensitive topics such as suicide. Her book has 2 poems about suicide.

“Most of the time these topics are from current affairs or what my friends go through. For example, there are 2 poems about suicide, this was inspired by a friend of a friend who sadly took her own life 2 years ago.” she pointed out. 

As for Zareenah’s writing style, she admits that she does not read much of modern poetry but one author that really inspires her is Thomas Hardy. 

“Thomas Hardy’s collection really inspired me when I was still in school. I love his techniques and I like to think I’ve adopted some of his writing styles sometimes. It’s hard for every poem to have a certain structure but sometimes I try my hardest.” she admitted. 

Most authors often use their writings as an escape and it was the case for Zareenah back when she was writing anonymously but now she describes her writing as a way to collect her thoughts. 

“Writing used to be an escape for me back when I was writing anonymously. Now it’s more of a way for me to collect my thoughts and ideas and understand my feelings. It’s a way for me to get my thoughts straight because lately, my mind has been all over the place.” she expressed.

Having published her first book, her next step would be to finish her LLB next year while writing a second book. 

“What’s next for me? I’m hoping to finish my LLB next year while also writing a second book. I’m not too sure about getting the book published but we’ll see. The second book is mostly a healing journal because I wanted to map out my healing journey and document the whole process. I think it’s important to reflect on yourself so that you can improve, so that’s the reason for my second book being held back from even my Instagram followers.” she said.

However, she has taken an interest in writing about current affairs, especially about the political situation of Mauritius and that is available to all of her followers on her Instagram page @poetrybyneenah.

Just like a henna stain, you’ve stained my heart. You’ve taken it and written your name on it with cursive writing. You’ve drawn some pretty flowers too, some swirls and hand drawn shapes. It has turned dark red, the dark red of roses. And the fragrance of your love is strong.”

But in a week, it’ll fade away, and it’ll be like your name was never there at all. And the fragrance of your love will be long gone, and the colour will return to it’s bland state, waiting to be adorned by someone else.

It’ll be as if we never happened.

neenah
‘Love, The Menace’