Into An Infinity

I wrote ‘Into An Infinity’ the night before my 20-year old brother was to depart for Netherlands for his undergraduate education. All I’m gonna say is that I hope you read and just feel. Feel for your familiarized loved ones with whom you’ve spent moments that will turn into infinities when you would no longer be together. Just read and feel.

I wish I could say I couldn’t sleep last night;
I wish I could say the memories
Of our Chocolate-Chocolate games
On the burning C-59 roof,
Kept me awake.
I wish I could say the reveries
Of Imagining you with that girl you once liked,
Kept me awake.
I wish I could say that going grocery shopping that one time
(back when we used to live at Nani’s place)
When I was certain that ‘azaarbans’* are found at the drycleaner’s store
And so I dragged you to ask
and you returned fuming,
Kept me giggling awake.
I wish I could say I snickered instead of sleeping
Recalling that stadium pitch
Where you bowled nine wide balls in a single over
Exasperating even the batsmen.
I wish I was thinking about how insecure I’d feel
All those nights you’d hang out with friends
While I’d sit under the dim darks friendless,
Like I did last night.
I wish I could say I was thinking back
Looking forward to Eid days
When I’d get an excuse to hug you without that shy sentiment
That my hugs would othertimes make you feel.
(But now there won’t be any Eid in our festivities;
Now still again the stolid Moon
would accompany my you-less nights
But gleam a little dim – its hopes, less,
That you’d open the door to a wink at dawn).

But I slept soundly still last night.

Easy like a baby but uncrying,
knowing full well,
That the floor upon which you slumber
Would next night be summer cold.
I did not tell you in the car last night,
That I’m making a little infinity
Of this momentous moment
Where you as if the older brother
(because let’s admit, that role, you’ve always better enacted)
Are talking all these wiser talks
Telling me how to take care of our family –
Amma, sisters, Baba, me myself
(and at this point tears well up in my eyes)
(…)
But I was a fool such, yet again
Forgetting how Father Time and Space
Would mold in my memory every moment
Spent with you
Into an infinity.

Infinities in
Those gay men always after you;
Vicious fights where you’d throw the beard trimmer at me;
Leading your workout sessions, teasing your weaker strength;
Those ludo and Trump games you’d play with us four
(often losing);
From discussing parents behind their backs
To sharing secret ailments of the heart
I’d miss everything, especially your choice in
suggesting songs, selecting clothes,
And Your lame jokes
Goddamn your lame jokes.

(Also, don’t listen to Amma
Seduce as many girls as you like)
And do keep us like amulets over your heart
But never cease to make more infinities
After you sail out from the other side.
(I hope the Dutch treat you right)

*Azaarban in English means drawstring

Advertisements
Featured post

The Banana-man

It all started with a photograph.


“Back in the days they [the bananas] used to be 10-15 rs/kilo. Today they cost 120.”

I was on a stroll on the streets in Gulistan-e-Johar before Iftar time taking pictures of everything that interested me, when I caught this man’s attention. He wanted to see what I had captured, and after I showed to him, he volunteered to be captured himself. I took this opportunity to learn his story.

Shah Muhammad’s aka Baba’s gao’n, village, is in Shikarpur and he has been living in Karachi for the past 20 years. “Gao’n main saalon mein jata hun, bachchay aatay rehte hain [Karachi].” He hadn’t been to his village for years, but his sons would frequently visit him in Karachi. Him and his wife had educated all their boys till grade 10 (Intermediate), and all were looking out for themselves well. For the first 7 years, he used to sell bananas in Quaidabad; since then he has been selling them in Johar. “I have seen this town populate; in the earlier days it used to be empty of people and commercial activities,” he would speak in a brittle voice, thick with the amalgam of Sindhi and Balochi accent. He would later narrate that when he was around the same age as me, (“probably younger,” he corrected himself smiling) he used to work in Balochistan, so barren that catching public transport meant walking two hours straight. I asked him if he liked Karachi, he said:

Banda acha hai tou sheher acha hai. Kahin bhi aap jaogay, aapko wahan ka banda acha lagega tou shehr bhi acha lagega. Chahay jitna bhi khuubsurat sheher ho, agar banda acha na lage, sheher kabhi bhi acha nahi lagta. Sheher ki tareef [bande se hi hoti hai].
If a man is good, the city is good. You can go anywhere, if you like the people of that place, you will like the city too. No matter how beautiful the city is, if the people there aren’t good, you are never going to like the city. The city is praised by its residents.


All the while he spoke, his eyes kept going back to his bananas; he stared lovingly at them as if they were gold. “Zabardast kelay hain, bilkul achay, kahin se kachchay nahi hain,” he would cajole a buyer with the praises of his bananas, thwarting away fusses. “Why bananas?” it struck me late. I asked him that after he had narrated to me about his bond with his sons, the perils of working in Balochistan and all the wisdom that I am unlikely to encounter in books. “Har kisi ko apni cheez ka shauq hota hai, har kisi ko apni cheez achi lagti hai,” he chirped. “Main wese ek dou phal aur laga leta hun agar dil ho, warna ek cheez zarur, or woh yeh [kelay].” He said that he sometimes sells other fruits if he feels like it. Though he may sell nothing at all, but he never stops and would never stop selling bananas. Bananas were his thing, he himself did not know why. At least not through the screen of reason. 


This serendipitous talk with a stranger reminded me of the necessity of stories — how densely it can connect two people and their souls — and about the beauty of mankind. This man had a levity about him that drew me to closer and closer to him. I discovered that Baba was content even though he had very little. Later realized, perhaps he was content because he had very little.

Oh, did I mention? Baba lives alone.

Featured post

The Birth-Giver

This very eye-melting pain. This pain that sits in the throat in protest blockading all the words. This pain that coils around the heart making the body tremble. This pain that shoots up like a metaphysical spear from those depths of the depth, unreachable for anyone but that one person. That one person who had given birth and had nestled the Birthed-One up to make them this grownup today, whose wider habitus in this hurricane phase of life deeply vexes them. Yet the Birth-Giver still has their world zoomed in on the Birthed-One, because love. But the Birthed-One is handicapped at the hands of this maddening phase in life for which nobody had prepared them for — nobody could have prepared them for. Now this distance stands between the one who has the world to worry about and one who worries about this world-worrier as their world. This sinister distance hangs in the heavy oxygen of the unsaid in the same room the two go about, until this repeatedly breathed oxygen radioactivates the vocal chords and lungs. The sounds that come from the mouth then become that stinging venom called pain. This very eye-melting pain. 

Featured post

You Who Inquires of Me (translation of a Pushto poem)


I have been inactive here since eons and life has unfolded and flitted, and that too at an ungraspable pace with experiences and alchemic transformations which I do not have the capacity to encapsulate in words. But, in my defense, in all sincerity, they cannot be encapsulated in words, so here we are. But eurekas are in order now that I have returned. This semester (4th one), I had picked up Pushto language course. It was such an amazing and exciting experience. I think I can converse at an introductory level and have even tried it with a heavenly sweet boy named Kamran at Light House Market, and it had felt so good. Ramblings turned short, I really came here today with a Pushto poem we had read and listened to in class and it moved me to a soulful level. My sentimental heart felt the effects to deep deep depths. It made me wanna translate it and post on my blog here:


Ta che mata wa’ye che pa cha baande shaida ye,
Za pa ta shaida yam wa ya ta che yaar da cha ye.

You who inquires of me, ‘Who are you devoted to?’
My answer is ‘You’, say who are you enamored to?

Za che qabarjan wum ashiqi mi gardan maat krro,
ta che laka we hum hagha haasi kibriya ye
.

Your strong passion has wilted my once held-high head,
Yet You remain donned in your majestic garment.

Marg me pata wale Khudai akhtar krro na pohegam,
Sa de hasil hum shta ka mutlib pa marg zama
ye.

Why ask of my death, it is an Eid unknown to me,
Are you to gain something from my absolute grief?

Sta da ishq da turi kaparai da Rahman zaar sha,
Da hum asaa’n kaar de zama yara ka pa da ye
.

Rahman offers up his head for your Love-sword’s sake,
For Your cause this sacrifice too is easy to make.


Merge


Perils birched unto me, braved have I,
Scuttled plenty times, voyages craved have I,
Hollowed of passion raved and raved have I,
And sunk underwater, stars chased have I.

Twilight eyes like alpenglow has been,
Wretched years castle on the hills has seen,
Decrescented long does my moon feels,
And solar meridian demands arduous heaves.

Protests glisten sheen of my eyes… listen,
Come hither in spite of your madness… hasten,
Long has my soul yearned but your lovemakin’,
Into my cadaverous spirit, breathe life in.

Look at my form, love-child, ye lonely and despaired,
Sleep has ruined me, escaped long have I; feared,
Racing grains and glass of times have smeared
Your Lover’s visage, his you-expectant fair.

Blemishes long has endured our curtain,
Dangling in-between us, wounded yet floating,
But scratches severe have I been making
Upon my skin, for you waiting and waiting.

Many fantasies and dreams I have long beheld:
Fingers gliding down… ah curious presents,
Sinuous eyes preying up and down your length,
Like you encased in some fancy museum.

Ask into what my saliva turns to, just ask,
Or ask about what pumps crazy my heart,
Pray ask what snatches away my masks
For when you ask… Silence wins at last.

Intoxicated that night into your street I swayed,
Losing alike now rhythm, hang I by a thread,
Steal this poem before it ends and,
Strip naked, strip bare, this in-between curtain.

Break at once now, tear free and rut,
Seal thine clam-lips on mine, cork them shut,
For dog-barks have pierced my waves’ gut;
To simply put it, I speak too much…

Crackling waves electric upon surface,
Belonging to ocean, free of all oceans.
Envelope let’s at last our worries, desires,
Let’s meld and merge that no one finds us.


Your (Almost) Daughter


Dear Mother,

You have left the house with all your children but me, and this is not the first time. The lights in the house are all out and I am sitting near the door numb like I always sit when you’re gone. Numb and naked and in darkness.

Mother, I am sorry for the way I cannot show it to you but you leave me shredded sometimes. You always tell me, picking me up in your ever-warm hands, launching kisses across my face, that I am your baby too. You always make me sense this sensation that you love me almost as equally but then your abandonment says otherwise, mother. I never say it to you, but you sense it, do you not? There is an expression on your face that I think you all refer to as ‘guilt’ whenever you return home and find me on my spot. No one but you approach me and say sorry. It’s not like I mind. Do I say anything to you? No I don’t. I am mute. But you always always always read my eyes. Your children cannot, mother.

Your children are what you all refer to as ‘prejudiced’ against me. I am different, I do realize, that is why I always am on my own. But you love my blue eyes, don’t you? Their black eyes would scrutinize my charcoal hair but you love them because you would gently brush them in the evenings and whenever you’d bathe me, you would be so careful with them. During the bath, you would always keep talking to me but some of the stories you tell, I do not understand, mother. And do you understand my isolation and solitude, mother? You must because only you come and tend to me just right and know when to give me space. But there is always something missing, mother. Is it wrong of me to feel this way, I just don’t know. I have never felt this way for anyone the way I do for you. The mother in the previous house never loved nor took care of me they way you do. I want to be loved like your real children.

But it’s not like I have never tried to get included with them. I have lowered my dignity and pride but they ignore me often as if I don’t exist. They do come and fondle me and caress my neck and pat on and scratch my head and I feel so nice but they then always have to busy themselves with some work of their own which I would not have any part in. I’d keep sitting around them, mother, but they would barely notice. I am too young and they are all old; they do but you never have made me feel bad about this. When it would get too boring to watch them in front of their screens is when I would retreat back to you in the kitchen. You would understand that I need food. You know, mother, I have gotten used to you giving me food separately. Me on the floor, they on the table. I really have. The likes of me are not supposed to eat on the table.

But I am sitting on the floor right now, mother, naked and numb, thinking and thinking and over thinking all of these thoughts in my head. I feel hungry, mother. My eyes are stuck on the door you would come through – after you return from shopping or the doctor or from your relatives’ or from the movies or from a dinner out or from some funeral – so that I could pretend to be upset at you and you sense that from my dish you left filled with cat food.


 

Diseased Relief


From the healing of healers,
Pain will not be diseased, right?
Yes, give me potion but do assure this,
I will not be relieved, right?


،چارہسازوں کی چارہسازی سے
درد بدنام تو نہیں ہوگا۔
،ہاں دوا دو مگر یہ بتلا دو
مجھے آرام تو نہیں ہوگا۔


This is a quatrain by Jaun Elia, translated from Urdu which I.

Until Your Next Return


Breezes in ocean’s breast breed,
Timidly first, ashore they sweep.
Yearning the taste of sentinel sands,
How they then softly dance entranced.
Clawing, crawling, making their way,
Gathering rage against the grays of day.
Slivers silver, shimmer under clouds,
Whirling for the union, they soar about.
Winking and blinking comes Shore in sight,
Rhythm trembles at the faltering of might.
‘My Beloved’s glance acquivers my stance!
‘Makes me melt, to meld with Sands.’

 (A simmer…) | as the Waves’ breaths breathe their end,
(…Immersed) | alongside a kiss, a new life sands give.


My first Sonnet.


،شب و روز بدلتے ہیں پیر و مرشد تیرے
اچھا نہ ہوا خدا نے  جو ولی نہ کیا؟

،قبلہ جو اب ہے درست، یہ سمبھالے رکھ فہد
ولایت سے تو گیا، اب  منافقت سے بھی جاۓ گا کیا؟

 


Shab-o-roz badalte hain peer-o-murshid tere,
Acha na hua Khuda ne jo wali na kiya?

Qibla jo ab hai durust, yeh sambhale rakh, Fahad,
Wilayat se gaya, ab munafiqat se bhi jayega kia?


 

Wings Where They Belong

 


It is easy to find seagulls living in isolation from the company of crows.
Who finds seagulls befriend a crow, frantic at the charity they finally get,
where ultimately the latter flies ways.

The sea is too much a splendor,
broken rooftops reveal greater treasures
save for one who has eyes but no sight.

Paths where clasped hands walk,
from there shoo robins.
One hand with grains pulls a dozen sparrows.

Why cuckoos conceal themselves and sing on branches, I finally know.
It fears not the hawk,
the hawk is much too merciful on the tune.

Why rant of flying when you fly not, you flee?
Jibrael shakes his head at the words you speak.
In reality, these are wings where they belong.

Turn to the pigeons now, revolving round the Ka’aba,
ecstatic like the planets.
Dying echoes of Bilali azaan in their heads.

Painted walls bring a headache, their stench.
It is humbler to perch upon raw brick’s wall.
Or better yet, no walls.


 

The Exorcism


to ZA


Horrendous compulsions, dreary as void, consummate.
Illuminating paths, all ignis fatuus, I mark and execrate.
Guilty pleasures, filthy measures, make me whole
(Conceal me not but stir and expose me bold)!
Journeyed forth to the Patience Stone and back,
And yet no delight did I find… Alack:
Found but this Alabaster, drenched black in sins.
Change me please, I plead; wanton demons challenge many a rinse.
But mute is this Rock; You are no miracle, I chant!
Empty of veneration, left I at my own command. Continue reading “The Exorcism”

Withering Agent


Let the dust and smoke of this world collapse into your lungs.

Do not from it repulse. They are not enough of withering agents.

 

The real one is the barren desert, still and empty,

that dwells inside one – a possible breeding ground.

 

It is not the barrenness of that place that makes it barren.

Only the perception of that barrenness as barren.


 

Out of the blue awards – Mystery Blogger and One Lovely Blog


We know that I keep myself – and my private life – isolated from my blog posts over here, but I’m just gonna turn slightly carefree of that for a while.

Alright so, getting on, like I had previously established Avantika, I was totally taken back by this award nominee from you. This act of nomination might seem like a casual one to you but holds much prestige in my eyes, so thank you so much; that really comes from the core of my heart. Continue reading “Out of the blue awards – Mystery Blogger and One Lovely Blog”

Devastation


We find ourselves there

from where, news of our own self

does not to us come.

… Dying in desire

for death. Death keeps appearing,

alas, does not come.

With what face will you

be reaching Lord’s house? Shame till

you yet does not come.


ہم وہاں ہیں جہاں سے ہم کو بھی
کچھ ہماری خبر نہیں آتی

مرتے ہیں آرزو میں مرنے کی
موت آتی ہے پر نہیں آتی

کعبہ کس منہ سے جاؤ گے غالبؔ

.شرم تم کو مگر نہیں آتی


Made a little haiku poem out of last 3 stanzas of Mirza Ghalib’s legendary ode – which coincidentally – terrifically – reflects my current state of devastation.


Meretricious


You might as well grab me by the neck and shove me against the wall for all I care. I’d slam but the only protest you’d hear would be the dhuk sound from the wall. That’s it. I can’t help it when my legs would stop carrying me forward like this – when I’d be lost in some heavy daze. You’d bump and stare eerily at me. You’d nastily roar at me.

Satisfied? Took it all out? Would you now move on?

…Because my mouth won’t be freeing any hostages. No lies trembling out of these starkly painted lips. No false apology. My form says enough. Too smoky, my eyes, shielded with a lack of focus. Foreigners; all of your voices, drained out, I swear. And I’m so aware that they are.

So. Fucking. Aware.

This me would be a symbolism of disintegration, of disinterest; the contradiction of enthusiasm. I’d walk not – my legs’d take me. I’d eat not – this mechanical mouth’d tear, chew, swallow for me. There is a country-wide gap between what I’d be feeling and what I’d be expressing.

Hollowed am I. Not a gutted fish, an eviscerated fish. I wonder if fishing might just turn out to be exactly my thing? The empty hours of stretched stillness. Then the sudden jerks.

Just my thing.

In the finishing of my reports, attending of my calls, submitting of my works, there would be a robotic monotony; my voice, a distant cavity (during my day job). Still, my real one at least. And nobody makes me laugh; nobody can make me laugh.

These glorious sunsets and I would have tedious staring contests. They’d depart first, hence they’d blink first, hence they’d lose (I can sit unblinkingly for millennia. Seriously), though sometimes I’d wish they don’t…

Sometimes I’d wish the sun never goes down.

(But when it does…) And when it does… when this crossing of my life is trampled over… something is sunk behind… and something entirely else is afloat on the surface.

See, I can scan past all these morphing faces, these lifted masks, these sick realities (and this time I’m actually interested in all of them) – eyeing me as if one flashy look is enough to read me wholly. No fam no. It works the other way around.

It is at night when you wolves come flowing out, showing your true thirst; howling wildly. And oh how much I love letting you seek pleasure in the illusion of decrypting the enigmatic ‘me’. The illusion of you using ‘me’. You’re the one above, no? No. Way down below in reality. Look at your eyes. I spot a hundred grammatical errors in them…

Whatever your nightly hedonistic labels would be for me, your mornings would have more or less the same. To put it in one word; “Meretricious”. Aww, poor you. You thought you’d have the last laugh, no? See how the filth of your forms is now moving into your tongues? your vocabulary, growing trashier like a sewer. Is this the part where you throw me out of your house? No? Uh oh, I’m laughing now. A desolate, sardonic, broken laugh because you’re a joke (what? I never said nothing can make me laugh).

Aha! So this is the part where you throw me out of your house…


 

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: