(s m a l l)

Sometimes you feel like pouring a bucketful of ice on your head or shrink  to the size of your toenail or drop pills into your mouth—whether to numb or to feel you cannot tell. And one day, one after the other, you want to do all three.

Words take their route from the heart to the fingers onto the screen, unsympathetic, only covering space.

What a funny way to fight.

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soliloquy

123

I could still show the pieces of your then-polluting, now-rotten heart, and prove to the world it was not I who was mistaken. I can also present myself as an evidence — a heap of mess, covering blisters caused by the burst of these emotions that never wait too long to spill. Ah, your name still holds magic.

130

تمہاری یاد آج بھی زخموں پر نمک کا کام کرتی ہے۔۔۔ چاہے یہ الفاظ استعمال کے ساتھ اپنی وقعت کھو ہی کیوں نہ چکے ہوں۔ ہاں، جلتے پر تیل، زخموں پر نمک۔  اچھا خاصا تمہیں بھول چکی تھی کہ آج ڈرائیور نے کہا کوئی دروازے پر پھول چھوڑ گیا ہے۔  پھول تو تمہاری طرف سے نہ تھے مگر ایسا تم کتنا کیا کرتے تھے!  صدیاں تو بیت گئی ہونگی؟۔۔۔  اب کون سے پھول، کہاں کی خوشبو!  ہاں مگر پھول تو آئے تھے۔  میں نے ڈرائیورسے پوچھا ان پر کوئی کارڈ لگا ہے کیا؟  جواب ملا، ہاں شاید۔  تو میں نے اس سے گذارش کی کہ خود ہی پڑھ کے بتا دے۔  مجھے تو ان سے وحشت آتی ہے!  بیچارا حیرت سے دیکھ ریا تھا، پڑھ بھی دیا۔  کسی اور نے بھجوائے تھے اور بھجوائے بھی کسی اور کے نام تھے!  میں تو سن کر ہنسنے لگی۔  ڈرائیور کو کہا ساتھ والے بنگلے میں جو سارہ بی بی رہتی ہیں انہیں کو دے آوٗ۔  ان کے لئے آیا ہے اور دیکھو یہاں پہنچ گیا!  کوریر والے سے غلطی ہوگئی ہوگی۔  غلطیاں تو خیر سب ہی سے ہوتی ہیں۔  مجھ سے بھی ہوئی تھی۔

میں لاوٗنج سے اٹھ کر اپنے کمرے میں آگئی۔

145

all our issues and one

Sometimes,
When I should be elsewhere
Inside Dreams,
I lay awake instead, and
Assemble a questionnaire in my mind:
Everything that I have now yearned too long to ask you, I would;
“This is going to be a very, very honest conversation,” I will say.
It’s our final friendly law.
A sudden surge of happiness like a reflection of seven colors on my sooted heart—
If you call me again I might at least find my name
And as we’re talking, I will ask— no harsh feelings, hey!— but why did you think it was okay to do what you did?
How many others have you scarred the same way?
Alas! In the back of my mind the colors shift
A curtain closes
Rubbing the drama away in one swift move:
How will I know if you won’t still be lying?

Life of a Happy Girl*

If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to share it with your family, brace yourselves for comments like:

“What’s the great news? Are you getting married? Already found someone?”

Haha. You really thought I was going to announce just that in front of the entire family?

Then:

“Bohat mubarak ho!! Allah tumharay naseeb achay karay.”

“Ohhh I’m so happy for you! *Insert jhappi* Allah tumhain bohat acha miya de.”

“Haye that’s so wonderful! May Allah give you more success in this life and Hereafter. And may you have a great husband/ married life.”

“I am so happy about your success! Also I was just saying to your uncle that may you get a spouse like —. Then your uncle said, why not a spouse even better than —. I said yes, may so be!”

OH, MY, ALLAH!!! I am looking for presents not husband atm!!

* in a desi aka (blunt stereotype but) obsessed-with-shadi society
** not saying these are the only kind of responses cuz there’s an AMAZING variety but you get the point

Just Another Night – not.

I close my eyes and consciously direct my mind to rest. Settle, nerves. Breathe. It’s okay. And while they are closed, I let them see just black. Black that is absence but black that is peaceful right now. Breathe. There’s nothing to worry about, you know that. You are used to this.

The air is actually fresh and not bitter. There’s no weight on my chest, or maybe just a bit. Isn’t it funny how you have started to visualise him when he’s not actually here? Is it? However, this is just a phase and phases change. Like people change and well, they don’t come back like that. You will learn it with time. It’s been a lot but just some more.

Sigh.

Open now.

 

“You—you stayed?”

loss

She held his little shirt in her hands for hours. Sometimes she would put it to her eyes, as if its warmth could soothe those burning coals. Then she would rub it across her face, inhaling its scent again and again, even though it was now stale red:  of dried blood. Most of the time she would just hug it, in grave silence or passionate tears, so she could maybe feel him there. And only if she could feel him again, hold his body, swear to God she would never leave! —God knows this. But he still called him up.