Letter from the Editor
On a biweekly basis, every Monday and Tuesday past 9:00 p.m. since freshman year, you’d find me working on the Observer. The Mablab is a magical entity in my mind: how do you describe a hole in the wall above the Curtis Hall multipurpose room, one that watches over passersby through small windows? How do you describe the ambience of a place, equal parts disgusting and fascinating, where bodies are crammed like sardines, where the air smells like warm breath and a twinge of B.O., where artistic passion is a common thread, where laughter erupts in the late hours of the night? But most importantly—how do you describe the intense longing (and slight repulsion, for God’s sake, the ventilation is nonexistent) for this space now?
My Mablab now takes place on a sometimes laggy, less-than-perfect software called Remo, where everyone can be viewed in 2-D and my headphones disconnect frequently. Yet still, I try as hard as I can to recreate the experience that is being a part of the Tufts Observer, a community I didn’t know I had longed for my entire life until I stepped foot into it. In this world, there exists an overwhelming sense of shared responsibility for empowering others through beautiful prose and timeless design.
My Mablab now sits on the brand new concrete dining table at my sister’s first home, my brain rests in an unfamiliar bed near a drafty window, my fingers pull with all their might at a decades-old window decal that says sublime. My worlds have combined—as I work with my hands to renovate this home, my mind races with ideas to expand and support our figurative Observer home, now virtual instead of in her rightful place in the Mablab.
When I joined the Observer, Editor-in-Chief was never the plan—but my training wheels were violently ripped off with only three real issues under my belt by an ongoing event I’ve consciously willed myself not to address explicitly in this piece. And while I won’t address the event by name, I believe that this time, more than ever, calls for empathy and communication, through gentle Slack reminders and personalized pep talks. It is my hope that we can use this flux period as a way to transition to a communal home—where we give ourselves time to breathe and to meaningfully uplift marginalized voices.
I think about my transition from columnist, to section editor, and now, to Editor-in-Chief, and how these are all identities that intersect with my racial, religious, gender, and ethnic identity. Every piece I’ve written for the Observer, I have done with the intention of empowering myself and others, and sharing my lived experiences as a Muslim South Asian woman. I am so inexplicably proud of the work the Observer has done in my time on staff so far—but now that everlasting feeling of fulfillment is coupled with a newfound excitement. To Bota, my managing editor and now my partner-in-crime, the quirky uncle to my motherly instincts—we made it. Our magazine, the oldest publication on this very campus, has an Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor that are of color. The founding fathers of this magazine are either rolling in their graves or dancing above them—but this is the actualization of representation, working hand-in-hand to center stories that may otherwise not be heard.
To Abigail and Owen, thank you for teaching me everything you know and then some, but especially for the last night of layout, sitting in somber silence as reality sunk in. And to my managing board—Bota, Brigid, and Richie—I love you and your tireless commitment to making this magazine a home. There is no other team I would rather fight through sleepless nights with. To the entirety of the Observer team, I am already proud of you and all that you have accomplished so far and will in the future, and I am here for you every step of the way. To the Tufts Community, I hope I can hear each one of your voices to my greatest ability this semester. I hope we can empower you to take control of your own narrative and feel the inexplicable feeling of comfort in your chest as your peers give you support and love.