An Apology

Here is an apology
For each tear, every cut on your heart
And everything you feel you deserve one for
But never got.

Here is that apology which couldn’t reach you before
For your lost years, or lost months, or lost weeks
Or just lost days-in-between.
For the sound your bones make when you pull up from a non-sleep
To join another meaningless chase.
For the voice that no more chokes
On hearing, or saying, the word sorry
For your uncontrollable sobs of yesteryear
The memories of which you’ve swept under your chest
To be crushed by the burden of this same meaningless chase we know nothing about.

I cannot mend what is lost
I cannot even change what got wasted but I can hope
And I do. I hope for peace to find you and provide you with just as more strength as you need
Just more strength, as always,
Until you become your hero.
Again. Only this time more truly.

With love.

the bud and body, etc.

See, it’s okay. It’s like cancer. Or tumor. And I don’t know enough of either but I think you’ll get the point:

small like a cell; it spreads;
there’s no denying its power.

So when the tiny little bud is born, you have to wait. The part of introspections and realizations comes later and between this and that, that is, its making and its becoming into something you can actually study or review, there are Happenings.

Happenings I cannot really define. They are about your own actions or decisions, mistakes, coincidences, surprises or shocks resulting in sadness or happiness, honor or humiliation, anything. Investments. The Power decides whether it–the bud– is to grow or not and in which direction. That, however, doesn’t mean you have no say. Because you do. It’s very different but it’s true. You show what you want. Later you get to see the fruit. It could be bad or good but it’s written. Sometimes it rots, wrapping and ruining your heart and skin and brain and almost all of your body.

Vines and vines and fungi.
Grey green with a smell so pungent it makes you sick.
Sick like a man on a boat to nowhere who has no fuel and no help.
No map. Trapped. Alone.

But with a power to bear! And one day, suddenly, you cut off the poisonous vine. The effect isn’t immediate but it’s there: Pain. Hurt. Peace. The understanding comes–not then but then–that all of them (and more) are gifts! It’s really not about anything else.

There is Power that is Present. There are dreams that you can really live. There are fruits that are lovely and fragrant and are there for everyone.

You don’t have to be sure about it.

00:58

black clouds, white sky. burnt roses. stale air. no memories, nope, none. not even thinking of – you were trying to reach point a but life’s pushing you towards b and you’re pretending you still have control, as if

the steering wheel hasn’t come off right in your hands leaving you fully helpless

well look at your eyes. seems to me they’ll pop out of their sockets from the shock. why are your hands trembling, you brave one?

tell me, tell me it’s going to be okay and i’ll believe you once again. for honestly i haven’t got much option (but that’s our lil secret, okay?)

To move on

How easy
It was
For you
To move on
And fall in love
With this guy
And in his arms,
Say:
You’re home.

How easy
You say
It was for me
To move on
And fall in love
With this other guy
And call him home.

How easy
I ask
Do you think
Can it be
To fall out
Of a home
You’ve always called home
When the landlord
Of His Heart
Decides
To throw you out
And say:
It is done.

How easy
I ask
Do you think
Could it possibly be
To find
The curtains, red, of your passion
Lit by fire
That extinguishes never
Even after
You’ve sprayed
Countless bottles
Of healing water.

How far
Had we come
And how far
Are we now.
But do you see
The scars
I still have
Just about everywhere?

And right now
You stand
And ask
How easy
It was
For me to move on
It was not
Easy at all.

We the offspring of fate.

We the people of the sad race.

We the people with regrets.

We the class-divided, caste-divided.

We the religion-divided.

We the people with no dreams.

We the people with hopelessness injected to us as drugs.

We the sick ones. We the mads.

We the people with apologies dribbling from our mouths.

We the people pushing our fingers to our ears to block all sounds.

We the people with more ideas and less strategies.

We the restless souls on the Sahara.

We the men, the women, the not-men, the not-women.

We the unhuman.

We the secret carriers of compassion, the believers of pain.

We the chained, the roped, the bound.

We the restless.

We the givers of nonsubstance.

We the celebrants and the celebrities.

We the ill-passioned.

We the fantasizers. We the confused.

We the two-way travelers. We the mourners.

We the idle. We the tired.

We the escapists, the all-time distractionalists.

We the plastered-smile-patients-of-tears.

We the plastered-smile-patients-of-fears.

We the followers of fiction, unreality, artificiality.

We the people running in circles.

We the not-us.

To THE cousin

To THE cousin, comfort pill, shanasai in diyars of ghair, one who just gets it, understands me like nobody else. Thank you for being the light, for everything and this. I treasure it all just the same. Day made, k, hearts.

We believe in the process. =]

Ordinary girl's peculiar blog

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You know who you are,

You know how much  I value you. You know how much your support means to me. You know. And guess what? We’re the same age again, for the next eight days. Hugs?

Remember the childhood years? That game of touch-me-not at Barray abbu’s old house, the kidnapping plays at Taya’s house, the monkey bar on his terrace and our antics of climbing it, the cousins who pretended to throw us off the railings there? Do you remember playing hide and seek with the elder cousins? Do you remember all the nicknames I gave you? I’m really sorry for the offensive one, although you did get me scolded for it :p Oh, and do you remember the mummy in my room’s store?😀 It’s still there. Come visit someday, it has missed you. All those night stays, the pleadings for night stays, the ijtemaai duaaen for my…

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Saint.

What is it like to be alone?
I think, it’s this moment.

I sit by you on the muddy ground while you sit on the bench by the tree
and this park is quiet.

I ask you nothing. Though in my heart I beg you to speak.
And in my heart of hearts I hope it is about me.

I offer you a globe of blues and greens that’s sitting on my palm
Waiting for you to spin it – within those creases lives everything I have.

You do not pay attention at all. I do not complain.
My lips are sealed.

But I need to ask you for forgiveness for my discourtesy
And I put my forehead on your feet.

I find that your body trembles slightly at the touch of my two tears
(Something I could have missed had not my entire skin been all ears)
I vow to you in the silence of the night: I am never leaving

You stand up and walk away
The planets admire your grace.

 Something else: Lordly and The sculptor. Smalles.t.

Relief

You close your eyes and your thoughts bubble up. Spread out from all corners. Wear the fabric of varying vibrant words. Very soon, they are carrying meanings and colors. A dance happens. A beautiful, rhythmical dance. You like it because it has all your soul. You see parts of yourself you had been waiting to see. And you realize you can hold it lightly from the tip of your wand and place it down on paper. There, it can live forever as a poem.

But you don’t do that. You force it away. You shove it powerfully with your hands– all those thoughts and words– and you push the splendid dancer in a grey, dark cell. She falls and she quietens, and she holds her bruised arm. You can’t see the colors anymore and you sigh with relief.

 

If they find you.

“There is more and more I tell no one…”
~Jane Hirshfield

There is more and more I tell no one. It kills me how I’m dying.

You came to see me two months ago and I have been missing you ever since. Every morning, as soon as I wake up, I make a prayer for you to be there and then I open my eyes. Slowly. Expectantly. But then you’re never here. Nobody is. And you know, that always makes me smile. Because hope never tires, does it?
(It’s embarrassing too, to think what I have become, but I cannot just help it. I am waiting for you to show up.)

The doctors told me yesterday I haven’t got much time remaining on my hands. I said to them, thank you. I thought they did this so I could develop an understanding of my case and accept what was going to happen to me. One of them sighed and came closer to my bed, put his hand on my forehead and gently asked me if there was someone I would like to call. Oh, now I get it, I remember thinking. They want to know if I’m truly that lonely or if there might be just someone out there who would take care of my funerary customs and claim their relation maybe. Could someone like me be just that alone? All alone?

Yes, I wanted to say. I would very much like to see him. I am yearning to see him. If his image could be my last image and his scent my last scent, I wouldn’t want anything else in the world to say I died happy. But I cannot die happy. You are not here and you won’t come even if I ask them to tell you everything; that I’m dying in a few days, that I’m sorry, terribly sorry; because that is what I deserve. I deserve this, I do. I have damaged a lot of lives. I cannot change things back. I am learning everything here in this room–this hospital room– but I think I’ve gotten too late for lessons this time. It’s of no use.

If they somehow still find you please be kind enough to bury me with your forgiveness.

جواب شکوہ

In the Nuance of Light

یہ خط ‘ ایک ساتھی لکھاری کے خط “تمہارے نام” کے جواب میں لکھا گیا ہے۔

ابھی کل ہی احمد ملنے آیا۔ بڑا ہو گیا ہے۔ بالکل میرا ناک نقشہ ہے۔ بس آنکھیں تمہاری ہیں۔ ثمینہ دفتر سے رات گئے لوٹتی ہے۔ وہ آیا تو گھر میں بس میں ہی تھا۔ اور تمہاری دو بُھوری آنکھیں۔ رات کھانے کے بعد ایک عجیب سوال پوچھنے لگا- ‘کیا آپ کو اب بھی امی سے محبت ہے؟’ میز پر سکوت طاری تھا۔ پھراس کا سوال ہمارے بیچ دلدلی مچھر کی طرح بھنبھنانے لگا۔

یاد ہے بچپن میں ٹائم مشین کے بارے میں بہت سوال کرتا تھا۔ کہنے لگا پاپا اگر آپ ٹائم مشین سے پچیس سال پیچھے لوٹ جائیں تو کیا اس بار خود کو بدل سکیں گے؟ مدتوں بعد اس کی زبان سے یوں ‘پاپا’ سننا مجھے بہت اچھا لگا۔ تم تو جانتی ہو رات کا کھانا سگریٹ کے بغیر…

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Tumharay Naam.

Haan tou nahi ho na tum paas. Main ne kia karna hai. Jeena hai. Aur wesay tumharay baghair koi mar bhi nahi rahi. Tum ne kaha tha na koi nahi marta kisi ke liye. Theek hi kaha tha. Main subah uthti hun, kaam pe jaati hun, ghar aati hun tou bachchon ko dekh leti hun. Sab kuch tou wesa hi hai. Bus tum nahi ho aur sach me ab tou mujhe farq bhi nahi parta. Mein yaad nahi karti tumhain. Kabhi ek lamhay ko shayad kar bhi leti hongi magar yaad nahi. Aakhri baar sadiyon pehley roi thi. Ab seekh lia hai mein ne kisi kay liye na ronay ka dhang. Aa gaya hai mujhe sab kuch. Sab kuch. Sab kuch. Sab. Sab.                    Tumhain batana chahti hun ke yahan sab khair hai. Meri beti aur mera beta dono theek hain. Mazay me hain. Hamaray pas khanay ko aik se aik cheez hoti hai. Kabhi khali pait taraptay nahi sotay. Ye loug school jatay hain, kaam me haath bhi bataty hain, shikayat nahi kartay. Hum me se koi bhi shikayat nahi karta. Khush rehna seekh gaye hain. Rehm nahi mangtay. Apna apna jeetay hain. Saath detay hain. Bohat si cheezon me saath detay hain…
Tumharay honay na honay se koi farq nahi parta. Waqai nahi parta. Ab ye na samajhna kay bar bar duhraa kar jataa rahi hun taakay tumhain bura lagay. Nahi mein sirf tumharay sukoon ke liye bata rahi hun ke kabhi tum palatt kar aanay ka socho tou uss khayal ko bhi phaansi de dena. Hamari zindagiyan tabah mat karna. Dekho hum sab bohat khush hain. Main tumhain yaad bhi nahi karti ab.

Kia tum wahan khush ho? Wo tumara khayal rakhti hai? Tum ab bhi khanay me bhindi aur gosht shoq se khatay ho? Raat ko beech me uth kar paani peetay ho? Cigarette lena chhor di hai? Na chhori ho tou ab chhor do. Ye zindagi ko khatam karti hai. Wese mujhe farq nahi parta matlab mujhe farq hi kia parna hai! Mujhe tou us ki boo bhi nahi aati ab. Soch rahi hun kabhi mera beta naa piye. Usay hargiz aisa nahi karne dungi. Tum apne ird gird kay logon ka khayal rakhna.                         Raat kaafi nikal gayi hai. Chalti hun.

This is a transliterated version of تمہارے نام [Thank you, Mahaah, for typing it out.]

تمہارے نام۔

ہاں تو نہیں ہو نا تم پاس۔  میں نے کیا کرنا ہے۔  جینا ہے۔  اور ویسے تمہارے بغیر کوئی مر بھی نہیں رہی۔  تم نے کہا تھا نا کوئی نہیں مرتا کسی کے لئے۔  ٹھیک ہی کہا تھا۔  میں صبح اٹھتی ہوں، کام پہ جاتی ہوں، گھرآتی ہوں تو بچوں کو دیکھ لیتی ہوں۔ سب کچھ تو ویسا ہی ہے۔  بس تم نہیں ہو اور سچ میں اب تو مجھے فرق بھی نہیں پڑتا۔  میں یاد نہیں کرتی تمہیں۔  کبھی ایک لمحہ کو شاید کربھی لیتی ہوںگی مگر یاد نہیں۔  آخری بار صدیوں پہلے روئی تھی۔  اب سیکھ لیا ہے میں نے کسی کے لئے نہ رونے کا ڈھنگ۔  آگیا ہے مجھے سب کچھ۔  سب کچھ۔  سب کچھ۔  سب۔  سب۔           تمہیں بتانا چاہتی ہوں کہ ہہاں سب خیر ہے۔  میری بیٹی اور میرا بیٹا دونوں ٹھیک ہیں۔  مزے میں ہیں۔  ہمارے پاس کھانے کو ایک سے ایک چیز ہوتی ہے۔  کبھی خالی پیٹ تڑپتے نہیں سوتے۔  یہ لوگ اسکول جاتے ہیں، کام میں ہاتھ بھی بٹاتے ہیں، شکایت نہیں کرتے۔  ہم میں سے کوئی بھی شکایت نہیں کرتا۔  خوش رہنا سیکھ گئے ہیں۔  رحم نہیں مانگتے۔  اپنا اپنا جیتے ہیں۔  ساتھ دیتے ہیں۔  بہت سی چیزوں میں ساتھ دیتے ہیں۔۔۔     تمہارے ہونے نہ ہونے سے کوئی فرق نہیں پڑتا۔  واقعی نہیں پڑتا۔  اب یہ نہ سمجھنا کہ بار بار دہرا کر جتا رہی ہوں تاکہ تمہیں برا لگے۔  نہیں میں صرف تمہیں تمہارے سکون کے لئے بتا رہی ہوں کہ کبھی تم پلٹ کر آنے کا سوچو تو اُس خیال کو بھی پھانسی دے دینا۔  ہماری زندگیاں تباہ مت کرنا۔  دیکھو ہم سب بہت خوش ہیں۔  میں تمہیں یاد بھی نہیں کرتی اب۔

تم کیا وہاں خوش ہو؟  وہ تمہارا خیال رکھتی ہے؟  تم اب بھی کھانے میں بھنڈی اور گوشت شوق سے کھاتے ہو؟  رات کو بیچ میں اٹھ کر پانی پیتے ہو؟  سگریٹ لینا چھوڑ دی ہے؟  نہ چھوڑی ہو تو اب چھوڑ دو۔  یہ زندگی کو ختم کرتی ہے۔  ویسے مجھے فرق نہیں پڑتا مطلب مجھے فرق ہی کیا پڑنا ہے!  مجھے تو اس کی بُو بھی نہیں آتی اب۔  سوچ رہی ہوں  کبھی میرا بیٹا نہ پئے۔  اسے ہرگز ایسا نہیں کرنے دونگی۔    تم اپنے اردگرد کے لوگوں کا خیال رکھنا۔                                                رات کافی نکل گئی ہے۔  چلتی ہوں۔

I wish it was possible. to gain back. what I have lost. I don’t regret. everything. I only want. what I had.

When you came. I wasn’t ready. as a consequence. I have lost. a lot. since then.

Confidence. peace. writing. I saw myself, how freedom turns into. fear. a fear that you. cannot. name. tame. cannot show. cannot hide.

I saw what a void is. what it is like. to be. a mess. I saw also. that. God really is there.

I wish. I could move. I am not. a tree. but I think. I am. a tree. I know I should not. be.

In Search of Ghalib

“Dil hi toh hai na sang-o-khisht
Dard se bhar na aaye kyun”

“Everything around us said Ghalib. Everywhere we looked, there was Ghalib. Every moment we spent there, it was with Ghalib.”

“Maybe, the hearts of men are made of bricks and mortar. Perhaps, compassion and remembrance are just words.”

Best post ever. I traveled to a place where I couldn’t have gone otherwise (at least not in a long while) and this journey through words was exhilarating. So, so amazing.

Sulphurman

(Warning: If you find my normal posts tiring, do not read this. This is so mind numbingly long that it might kill you. And if you still go ahead, don’t haunt me after you die.)

Place: Delhi

Time: 5:00 PM

It was a hot day. Despite the departing sun, the temperature was still somewhere around the mid thirties. My friend Gaurang checked his watch. Wiping the sweaty glaze off his forehead, he asked, “Do you want to go?”

“Of course, I want to go. But I’m afraid the place will be closed by now. They won’t allow us inside.” I sounded as disappointed as I felt.

“That’s immaterial. This is Ghalib we are talking about. Even standing in front of his closed doors would mean the world to us.”

He was right. We had planned this trip for some time now. Visiting Ghalib ki Haveli was one of our most…

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A Sonnet on the Starry Night.

One, two, three stars so bright
Come lay next to me, and count
Twinkling, sparkling before your sight
Tell me, what do you think of this amount?

Spurting beams of silver so fine
Soft trails they leave while playing around
Tell me how you like their shine
Or does it leave you too spellbound?

Twenty, thirty, this might never end:
We can count and count until morning calls.
Their smiles say they do well understand
There are less chances we might name all.

It might also be true they know secrets of God
And so they dance, His love they applaud.

This is the last one for the Writing 201 challenge as it finally ends today after two weeks. Our form was “sonnet” and theme “pleasure”.

Conversations.

You can stop searching.
 
I am who I am. I am not yours.
 
I never was.
 
You should go away.
 
And never look back.
 
So?
 
GO!
 
Go.
 
Go…
Yes, I think I should stop searching.
 
Yes, you are who you are. Not mine.
 
You never were.
 
I should. I should go away.
 
And never look back.
 
Send me.
 
I am yours.
 
I am yours.
 
I will always be yours.

Ghosts of our love.

I make the world’s best coffee.
I know this because you said it.
You said it because you meant it.
You meant it because you loved me.
You loved me why?

I stand here in my house – once what meant “home” – and shiver like a leaf
Because the enormity of this place seems terrifying without you and I feel I can’t do without my roots.

Walls shake as your laughter echoes, the defenses I had made come crumbling down
I can no more understand where to look for you – or not to – as my feet take me running round and round

My ears are ringing now with a voice that isn’t yours, my vision blurs with something that should be tears
My mind is on fire and my heart in a sea, and my room and its clock and its bed and its floor
And your pen and your shirt and your watch and your sheets
And your smiles and your eyes, and your eyes, and your eyes.

Then you come and hold me – out of where?
Whisper something soothing like a prayer;
Running your fingers through my hair, you hold my gaze and say: “darling, please take care”

I listen to you and sit down.
Cross my legs, bend my head, begin to count.
I notice that my breathing calms and the knots in my body do unknot
As your scent enters into me and your soul takes a spot.

Of our home- Dreamsville.

Once upon a time in Time,
A man came panting to our town
His eyes were red and head tousled,
On his face was set a frown.

He said, “I have come from a land afar
To question you of your false fame, sire!
My feet are tired but my heart won’t rest,
Until I get my answers – oh, need is dire.

You are people of a town so great
You live and sell, and play with dreams
It is here that they are born, from here do come
Our hopes and goals and smiles and screams.

But I have been dreaming now a dream for long
It seems to me  like a thread without end.
I toss and turn and shoo it in sleep,
But it goes nowhere at all, my friend.

Tell me why you spun dreams so eternal
Why for us humans you did not care?
Our capacity to hold untold is controlled
We can only bear too much of despair.

O people of Dreamsville! You say dreams breed here
Why can’t you find for me a closure to this nightmare?”

Hearing his plea a woman from our town
Stepped forward, smiled, and began to speak:
“Dreams, my man, are portals to great truths
They surely aren’t much for those who are weak!”

“When we send you a dream, it is for you to complete
Interpret correct or not, but to follow its lead
When you see a dream that seems everlasting
Go ahead and nurture it with struggle’s feed.”

It’s almost 4 a.m here. It took me an hour to write this one but it’s important to me because I thought I could never write a ballad*. It’s not perfect but it’s a try, and it was FUN creating this whole thing. It is in response to our poetry challenge 201: Neighborhood, Ballad, Assonance for which we were supposed to write anything related to a “neighborhood” or sense of it, as a ballad like it was done in the formative years.

* ballads are dramatic, emotionally-charged poems that tell a story, often about bigger-than-life characters and situations, and their rhyme scheme is a-b-c-b.