Things like this beg no title

There’s this gullak in my brother’s room. It’s made of rough brown clay, unvarnished, pink and blue flowers painted on it. The slit in it is hardly wide enough to slide a coin in. I wonder who made it. Who was the potter? Was it an old, withered man with permanently muddy fingernails and a family to support? Or was it a young amateur boy looking to earn some roti for his orphaned siblings? It could be an old potter’s little boy, continuing the family profession and carrying on the legacy. The gullak has an imperfectly embossed bottom half. Whoever made it, is he still alive? Or maybe it was a she. Maybe it was a woman with soft, unaccustomed hands trying to shape the gullak, her first gullak, because she needed the money to buy rice she could boil for her baby who needed to start on chewy food. I wish we had the power to touch an object and be able to see who sweated to create it. It would make us so much more grateful.

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There’s almost always an empty mug on my side table. I drink tea twice or thrice a day and then forget to pick up the mug. And it’s always a mug. I can’t drink in cups. They’re too small. And the tea can never have too much sugar. It makes my head spin. The mug is usually blue. Blue happens to be my favourite colour- along with dark green, bright yellow, and orange. I don’t really believe in favourites. I like all colours in different shades and contexts. When I was young, I hated pink and everything girly. I scorned at every girlish activity which people expected me to take part in. I rebelled against almost everything my elder sister liked. Now, pink fills up at least quarter of my wardrobe. I find I’m interested in jewellery, pretty clothes, bangles, knitting, cosmetics, and even cooking to an extent. But I’m most interested in writing and reading and the question of identity. A friend asked me a few days back, why are you so obsessed with identity? (The question of identity in Pakistani novels happens to be my research topic this semester, and I have a related topic in mind for my dissertation too, hence the question) So I found myself telling her about my imagination games in my childhood. My cousin and I used to talk for hours on the phone, sharing our “imaginations”. We had whole imaginary worlds made up in which such interesting things used to happen. They were more exciting and more fulfilling and perhaps more distressing than our real lives. I suppose everyone has these imaginary worlds with imaginary friends and even foes. Mine had a huge all-encompassing organization which used to authorize and facilitate numerous identities for one person. The bathroom mirrors were the operational screens for this organization. It was a whole complicated world. I had many different identities. And then in that imaginary world, it eventually got too difficult to manage all identities. So I killed off one, gave retirement to another, imprisoned another eternally, and had one married off and away. A few just vanished on their own as my interest in them dissipated. Perhaps that is the root of my obsession. Perhaps it goes deeper.

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They say decentralization is one of the key themes of the postmodern world. We have no centre anymore since denouncing God has become a popular trend. Everything else that tries to be the centre fails. There’s a problem in everything. I’d say having so many problems with every problem too is a key theme of postmodernism. It’s a strange thing, this postmodern era. Everything is fragmented and disconnected. The means to find connection too are disconnected to no end. We float, our ideas float, our problems and their solutions float, all looking to find a centre when the centre never vanished.

Death dictates

It blows its frosty breath
and holds its silver sceptre
the knob glows with its latest kill.

(Soft departure is only soft to the onlookers.)

Death dictates
its purple toes twitch
in line with frozen blood.

(Cold storage is cold to everyone.)

It uses full stops as its only punctuation
and knows no hyphens
definitely no semi-colons.

(It’s probably selfish of me to cry when she’s out of pain at least.)

The black guest was treated
with pained sighs and resigned murmurs
which no-one should write about.

(For we don’t know how to feel; grateful for her release from pain, or plain morose at losing a beloved.)

Is it selfish, tell me death,
to grieve a loss significant
or should we celebrate?

(I wonder if death knows bereavement.)

The angel of death was sad about his duties
and God told him He would create excuses
for people to blame, instead of the angel.

(I am not blaming either the angel or the excuse. I am merely mourning.)

Pray for my nano, everyone.

Void: filled with emptiness

If you feel a void inside you, He can fill it. And only He can fill it. Some of us go through our entire lives trying to fill that void. The world tried to replace God with nationalism back in the 17th century. It has been a void in itself since. 

The dictionary defines a void in several ways. The most fitting being “a completely empty space”. How does a void feel? It feels like a million holes drilled into your being, your soul and heart and mind and organs (and for me, especially my eyes and feet). It feels like this filling heaviness which makes you drowsy and keeps jolting you awake too. It feels like those holes are overflowing with black substance ( I feel we’re unfair to poor black, it never did any harm but always has negative connotations). It feels like… depression, perhaps? But not the clinical depression. And it always leaves you wanting more of everything. Perhaps not in a materialistic way ( personally, I always want more food, more stationary, more time, more contact, more words, more books, more leaves and more stones).

This void… How is it so completely empty and full a the same time? It’s full of emptiness. But the moment you prostrate, the moment your forehead touches the ground, the moment your soul turns back, trust me, you’ll find the void gratified. For that moment, it ceases to exist. It’s like Mrs. Ramsay’s moment of clarity and certainty. But better. And it doesn’t have to be fleeting.

If you feel a void inside you, touch your forehead to the ground and talk to Him. He’ll respond no matter how long it’s been.

I·dyl·lic

Introducing, awesomesauce Maria Imran. And her amazing photography along with an equally amazing piece of poetry! I could almost breathe in Nathiagali.

Randomly Abstract

img_4786_randomlyabstract

Amidst sky hues,
Setting suns, misty blues,
Silences lapsing into eternities, infinities;
Our poetry calls us to listen.


Took this on my return route from Nathiagali, Pakistan. Got inspired by the daily post’s challenge to share it because this trip meant all sorts of magic to me.

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Mamlaat (ramblings of insanity)

Wo dhun pata nahi kb milegi. Wo jurm pata nahi kb maaf hoga. Wo jurm jiski maafi na maangi jaaye kabhi maaf hoga bhi k nahi hoga? Maafi bhi kia cheez hae. Maangny waaly ka dil halka krdeti hae. Baaqi maannay waaly ko agar maanna hota hae wo wese bhi maan he jaata hae. Haan agar anaa ka masla ho tou nahi maanta. Lekin dil k maamlat mein anaa ka kia dakhal. Wo dhun najaanay kab milegi. Wo jurm najaany maaf hoga k nahi.
Mere zehn mein uska ehsaas esa hae jese ye baahar ki aawazein. Raat k 2 bj rahy hon ya dupehr k. Ehsaas nahi jaata. Najaany achha hae k bura. Najaany jurm maaf hoga k nahi. Qaidi dekhay haen na? Wo jo haathon mein hathkarriyan nahi pehntay balkay apni zaat pe taalay rakhtay haen. Wo hotay haen darasal qaidi. Apni zaat k qaidi. Insaan ko qaid he hona hae tou apni zat mei kyun ho bhala. Kisi aur zaat mein hojaaye. Najaany jurm maaf hoga k nahi. Najaany maafi maangy bagher kabhi milti hae k nahi.

Picture on the mantel

 

There’s a picture on the mantel
A picture that I love
Of you and me together
Twenty years afore.

It was taken in our hometown
Afront that crazy, little barn
The one we painted red
To make our world glow warm.

It reminds me now of moments
The ones that we have lived
It compels me to compare them
With those that we are living

The world that we knew then
The people that we met
The things that made us crazy
And youth’s alacrity

We sat before the barn
The red making us blush
Surrounded by bliss
And no reason to rush

I saw that picture today
The story ran in my head
Of the time it was taken
And of the barn painted red

The barn is no more, the red is gone
The world is cold, and we are old
But the picture on the mantel
Is a worthy story told.

~Moniba Mehboob

dark period within evolution

Everything evolves, sometimes into nothingness, and sometimes into expansive energy which holds power to bring a million dreams to life. Within that process of evolution is a dark period: one in which little light enters, always to be consumed by the darkness. But if we can hold on to that little bit of light, cling to it and climb it like a rope till we can get hold of all that light, well then that energy tantamount a golden wand of granting wishes is ours to claim.

We’re in that dark period. Perhaps all humans are at this age, but WE are in this dark period. Frustrations, greyness, exhaustion, despair, hopelessness, unsettling uncertainty which looms over every single thing; it makes us doubt our very being. We’re alive, we’re not very conscious. We’re awake, we’re not really conscious. We’re breathing, we’re just not really conscious. You without me, me without you, you uncertain of me and me of you, or not of each other but of fate. And of course, fate is something to be uncertain of. It’s that fireball which could either set you on fire and burn you to ashes or set you on fire and light you up into a likeness of a celestial being.

Such a pity, this dark period. Such a pity. You and me, we try to turn it into words; dark words, curling in on themselves, hiding a depth of meanings, curling, curling, curling, like that snake which suffocates. And within those words we lose parts of ourselves and we don’t realize it. Years later, we’ll look at these, gather those scattered parts and hold them close to our hearts. Years later, when hopefully we will have reached that light. Years later when hopefully we will have grabbed hold of that expansive energy and turned it into…. I don’t know what. You tell me.

Untitled

Why do you shout so? You do know it’s all in vain. When the veins begin to pop in your head and your blood begins to curdle and you take the first of your last breaths, is that when you’ll learn? They won’t listen, you know. No one ever wants to listen. You don’t either. Everyone wants to be left alone, but no one wants to be lonely. How ironic people are. Shouting won’t make a difference. You shout, the noise only resonates inside you, echoing off the hollow pipes and vessels, producing a resounding fire inside you, making you irritable bordering insanity. Why do you shout? It is not all that you can do. Why do you shout? It will not reach their ears. Why do you shout? It will not get anything done. Why do you shout? Are you letting out your own chaos in those shouts? You do know it only increases tenfold. Why do you shout?

A Rainbow Awaits

Naive little water drops never knew
What they were, what they could do
Upon their downfall they saw the sun
The sun shone bright and magic spun
A band of colours poured from the drops
Exquisite scenery high above the crops
Bright old sun had till then just burned
It saw then the rainbow the drops had churned
It saw its own reflection in the colours that appeared
It saw itself caring when it had never cared
It made the water shine when it fell from its height
It showed the drops too their very own might
Dear old sun makes rainbows everyday
It still burns and still makes the drops gay
The water never fears and takes on the fates
As long as the sun shines, a rainbow awaits.
~Moniba.

Applauding Neruda for expressing me(and everyone) so aptly

We Are Many

Of the many men whom I am, whom we are,
I cannot settle on a single one.
They are lost to me under the cover of clothing
They have departed for another city.

When everything seems to be set
to show me off as a man of intelligence,
the fool I keep concealed on my person
takes over my talk and occupies my mouth.

On other occasions, I am dozing in the midst
of people of some distinction,
and when I summon my courageous self,
a coward completely unknown to me
swaddles my poor skeleton
in a thousand tiny reservations.

When a stately home bursts into flames,
instead of the fireman I summon,
an arsonist bursts on the scene,
and he is I. There is nothing I can do.
What must I do to distinguish myself?
How can I put myself together?

All the books I read
lionize dazzling hero figures,
brimming with self-assurance.
I die with envy of them;
and, in films where bullets fly on the wind,
I am left in envy of the cowboys,
left admiring even the horses.

But when I call upon my DASHING BEING,
out comes the same OLD LAZY SELF,
and so I never know just WHO I AM,
nor how many I am, nor WHO WE WILL BE BEING.
I would like to be able to touch a bell
and call up my real self, the truly me,
because if I really need my proper self,
I must not allow myself to disappear.

While I am writing, I am far away;
and when I come back, I have already left.
I should like to see if the same thing happens
to other people as it does to me,
to see if as many people are as I am,
and if they seem the same way to themselves.
When this problem has been thoroughly explored,
I am going to school myself so well in things
that, when I try to explain my problems,
I shall speak, not of self, but of geography.

By Pablo Neruda