Leditor – Sabah Lokhandwala

Dear Reader, 

Language has always intimately intertwined with my emotions. I have written myself through life for a while now. Writing has carried me through my first heartbreak, the joys of moving to Somerville, and the memories I continue to make. The idea of the written has given me peace since I was young. مكتوب (maktoob) is a phrase in Arabic that translates to, “It is written.” It was only in Arabic 21 did Souhad explain the grammar, the rules, and execution behind the phrase that rolls off the Muslim community’s tongue. مكتوب is a passive phrase in Arabic; you construct it by slicing up a verb, adding in a couple letters, and squeezing it into a sentence. In its essence, it is the doing of writing. In life it means whatever is thrown at you was meant for you. In joy, communities glee مكتوب in pride, and in sorrow مكتوب wraps you like a mother’s hug or the warm blanket we all need. 

This phrase reminds me of the power of writing. If our futures are pre-documented, whose written do I get to explore next, who am I written next to, and what is written next for me. The Observer has written a lot this semester—from the stories of faculty of color to women’s rights in Iran. These are all stories that were written in a conversation of frustration, in a hope for equality, or in a demand for this institution to be better. I’m enamored by all the stories we’ve collectively compiled in 150 pages over the past three months.   

Tonight is my last layout at the Observer. I joined this magazine my freshman fall, perched over my tiny desk in Hill Hall opening a horrible software called Remo. Ironically enough, my first article was edited by Melanie, who is now sitting across from me eating a BJ’s chocolate cake, Dumpling Kitchen lo mein, and debating whether “a twit for a twat” is an appropriate article title. Every semester at Tufts, the Observer has been my sense of stability. I sludged into the MAB Lab to rant about life to Aroha and Mira, who would blindly support me. I successfully convinced Juanita to drop her CBS major as she guessed everyone’s big threes in a creepily accurate manner. As a staff, my favorite moments were when we matched dating apps to their corresponding Tufts Dining establishment, begged the copy eds to eat the cake, and categorized each other as gaslight, gatekeep, or girlboss. I’m thankful for all the laughs, bad puns, category games, and quote walls I’ve enjoyed for the past couple of years. I truly cannot imagine learning and loving without them. 

Thank you Melanie for helping me get everyone out early (except tonight), participating in lengthy email chains, and being there since the beginning. Thank you Julia and Ines for your infectious smiles and boundless creativity. Thank you Marco and Emilia for slyly stealing snacks and always making me giggle. Thank you Aidan and Uma for organizing and creating beautiful artwork. Thank you Emara, Hanna, Ruby, Claudia, Layla, Eden, Amanda, Priyanka, Juanita, William, Sophie, and Michelle for letting me annoy you and always pushing me and the Observer to be better. And thank you to all the people to the left of this letter! It has been the utmost pleasure to be written next to all of you <3 

With power, 
Sabah Lokhandwala