2017, Passages, raw and rough

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?”

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2017, Urdu musings

وکالت

‘میں جانے کے لئے تیار ہوں۔’

‘تم نے خود کو ہلکا کرلیا ہے ناں؟’

‘ہاں! اور میں نے خود بھی سب کو معاف کردیا یے۔۔۔ سب، سوائے ایک ’

‘ایسا مت کہو!۔۔۔ اسے عذاب ہوگا’

‘پہلی بات تو یہ کہ وہ عذاب سے نہیں ڈرتا! اور اسے صرف بدلہ ملے گا، عذاب نہیں’

‘تم پھر سوچ لو’

‘میں اللہ جی سے بات کر چکی ہوں۔ صرف اسے ہی نہیں کرسکتی۔ ایک بوجھ اٹھا لونگی’

‘لیکن’

‘آپ کو اللہ جی نے اسکی وکالت کے لئے بھیجا ہے ناں؟ مجھے سمجھ نہیں آتا وہ اس سے اتنی محبت کیسے کرسکتے ہیں جب وہ ہی نہیں کرتا؟’

‘وہ تم سے محبت کرتے ہیں!۔’

‘انہیں میں منا لونگی۔ یا پھر آپ انہیں کہیں وہ ہی مجھے منا لیں’

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2017

Ex- Best Friends

He said I couldn’t tell him which color the skies were anymore, that it doesn’t bother him what I presented in class today or what my teacher commented, and it doesn’t matter at all if we never wish each other sweet – or spooky – dreams.

In fact, he said, I should talk to him as less as was possible from now on. Or don’t talk at all, if you will, please.

He stands up and leaves when he hears me bickering with my brother for not buying balloons. I turn to him and ask if he got me 21 candles and he scorns. Grow up.

Grow up? But I am growing up. And growing up, I have realized that I don’t need to say yes when I mean no. He doesn’t like it though.

When our first and only border came in between, we could not face each other for days. Because the silence in our eyes made the air sick, and our unstoppable laughter on lame-ass jokes hung behind them, hushed. It only made everything unbearably sad.

He says we cannot be friends either if we can’t be more. And I step back, back, and back. But it doesn’t seem fair that we will both disappear into a thin, black line on the horizon and never be able to see the other catching colors too. Or making them. Or breaking.

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2015, Passages

Not made for each other.

You see those two people standing in the room? One a figure so delicate it looks almost breakable, her sight stretched to faraway lands as she gazes from the frosty window; beyond past, present, or to-be. The other stands by the foot of their bed and stares plaintively at the floor, or sometimes at the creased cover-sheets on the bed which they both use. His hand is in his hair.

These two people—I don’t call them a couple. I call them apologies.

You will see now that the man will walk to the window, slowly, and stop a foot away from her. Then he will put his hand on her shoulder. She will turn back immediately, but not too quickly, and they will both just stand there for a moment until she realizes that he is smiling–that his smile contains every bit of sorrow there is in the world–and then she’ll smile too. Hers will be weaker, like something one would give after accepting the uncaring atrocity of life every day, but neither of them would care.

This will be done casually every other day.

You will find that the space of nothing between them has sucked air so much that in order to breathe, you will have to struggle. You will notice that it doesn’t affect them.

You will find that their eyes are empty but their hearts aren’t. They sympathize sometimes, like they did a while ago, and silently assure one another that it is not and will not be okay, but they will see to it until the end. They won’t complain nor hate. Sometimes he would kiss her lightly on the cheek and she would smile. (A year ago she would’ve had spent hours in the bathroom scrubbing, scratching away the kiss and crying. But this doesn’t happen now.)

You will see that it’s not regret that has settled in as a mountain between them. It’s not a grudge that has separated their ways like a sea in between. It’s not the absence of effort. It’s not that. But it still is.

 

That is the future I see of ourselves. Pardon me for saying so but it’s true.

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2015, My Writings

Father’s Day

When the baby was given in her hands, the mother let out a scream of joy. A flood rolled down her eyes and laughters full of life and love echoed all about. She was standing on the gates of heaven.

When the baby was shown to the father, he refused to pick her up. A daughter, oh? Not mine. He stayed as quiet as a ghost until they were in the hospital ward, and only became a devil when they reached home. This, he pointed to the bundle of new breathes, is not to live here. Take the filth away!

That day, a TV set broke. A row of perfume bottles was thrown to the floor. A knife was shown to threaten the weaker sex. Curse words were gifted. Tears were shed. Hell visited house.

That day, mother didn’t leave. That day, baby didn’t weep. That day, my father didn’t sleep.

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2015, My Writings

Destined.

“Abba ki death ke baad ziada sukoon hae, nae?”
(This place looks calmer now that dad is gone, no?)

“You think so?”

“Yes.” she nodded.

They were older now. Older and distanced by a time so long and tough that it had practically torn apart every and any chances of reconciling. Standing by the giant glass window, she looked out at the world outside which had now accepted peace. The world which had decided to move on, as it always does. Where ever she looked there was peace, except in her home: her heart.

“Look here at me. You think life is better now? Show me if your eyes say that too.”

“No,” she silently whispered. She clutched the silver pane with both her hands so he won’t see they were trembling. Stupid fingers! Stupid eyes! How they reveal your weaknesses to wrong people at all the wrong times…

He stepped forward. “Aena! This is not good. You have to talk to me. I have come to take you. I am going to make things right like we want!”

“This is not what I want. Hessam, this isn’t it.” She shook her head.  “I have come out of it and you should too. It’s high time we start respecting each other’s independence and just let things be.”

“What do you mean by that? I am not stealing away your freedom or anything. All I want is you come and stay with me and Rebya now. I want you to be happy!”

“Why? Why live with you when I can live with myself on my own? First I had ma, then dad, and now you want to boss me? Please, NO! I am happy the way I am and I am glad our ways are already parted. We can be free and drive our lives the way we want!” she said.

The color of his eyes changed. Was he hurt? Perhaps. But he shouldn’t have been… After all this time, he deserved nothing to be hurt about. All pains were hers.

“See, I understand your want for freedom.” He said after a while. “And I am not going to be an obstacle between that. You can come with me and do what you want, live it your way. It’s just that I feel you should be with me, and not alone over here. How will you deal with everything? We have both lost something precious Aena. It’s a hard time for both of us.” Looking at her, he said with a voice laced with sincere emotion: “I want you to know I am with you!”

“Precious, Hessam. How precious it was for you!” she laughed in her heart while resisting her urge to laugh out loud too, crazily. She wanted to laugh until her insides hurt. But she would do that once he was gone, her mind decided.

“They are both gone but we need each other, Aena. We need to gather back the moments we have lost. Sometimes I miss you so much, God, Aena, you remember when I taught you how to ride a bicycle?”

Aena looked at him surprised. Why must he bring back the memories now? Now?

“Remember when you had finally learned it you would keep nagging me to let you ride us both to school on that big grey one I owned? We both sat together and I was so proud, and a little embarrassed, but mostly proud (he laughed) and then I bought you a pink one on our birthday so we would both ride on our own bikes.”

“Our birthday,” she breathed.

They had birthdays on the same day. Because God-the-good had decided to hand them out their fates on the exact day and instructed their souls to go down then into their mother’s womb… But Hessam will go half an hour before you, Aena. Okay? Just thirty minutes.
Hessam had gone half an hour before Aena. Aena had waited thirty minutes after Hessam. He had left her earlier because it was so destined. There was joy everywhere.

He was saying something. Probably about the bicycles or the school or their birthday. She wasn’t listening until he called out her name.

“Yes, yes. I remember. You don’t need to use this against me now, it won’t change my plans, alright? Don’t try! You shouldn’t try!” her voice raised despite her trying to stay calm.

“I am not changing your plans, Aena. I am just surprised how much YOU have changed! You are so cold, so different, Aena. Don’t you hold any compassion for relations as close as blood’s anymore?”

“No.” She shook her head vehemently. “I carry no compassion whatsoever. I have a heart of stone, if asking for a right to be free makes you think of me as that. I have cared enough for everyone and now I want to be my own responsibility. Go, and let me live!” her voice was strong and came from somewhere she didn’t belong to. It was indeed different, he thought, how his sister had grown up so much and become so… brave.

“I am my own responsibility now,” she repeated– softly this time– as if trying to coax him… Hoping deep inside her heart he won’t agree. Hoping he would somehow ask her to drop the facade and end this drama so they would both cry and tell how they’ve missed each other and how it was impossible to “let go” now that they had already let go of so much. She thought of the pens and chocolates he bought for her, when they were young, and how ma would make them both parathas before school. How dad would hand them out sikkas (coins) for their daily expenditures from which they’d both buy cones.

“Yes. You are right.” he said slowly. And moving towards her he put his hand on her head. “Time has changed, my lovely twin, and it’s not your fault. You have every right now to change time as per your command.” “I am proud of you, Aena. You are one brave woman. I shouldn’t be selfish to ask you what is against your will. And I am sure you will handle your life pretty well, inshaAllah. Just know that I am always there, always a call or email away. I will come to you whenever you want, and so would Rebya. We all love you and you can come to us, too, whenever you feel like it.”

He smiled. She managed one too.

“I know that bhaiyya. Thanks.”

He kissed on her forehead, erasing for a minute whatever these years had collected between them, and whatever hardships she had bore alone.

 

After that he was gone. Gone forever to his land where he lived with his wife a happy life. Aena had apparently given him permission to be the man he was; the satisfaction seeking which he had come back. Now he was free of the burden he was carrying before, and gone because Aena was free and happy, and very settled in her ancestral home! She had peace, he thought, and now he would too.

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2013, By the roaring waves!, Poems and poetry

Where Are Promises Kept?

Seeping,
Seeping into my soul.
Weeping,
My empty eyes are weeping.
Singing,
Singing songs of mourn.
Mourning…
Mourning for unachievable chances
Mourning for unenviable glances
Mourning for the memories.
For the memories that only remain.
Ah.. Memories!
My memories!
‘No, OUR memories’.
Our memories.
The soul interrupts
By and again
‘We share the memories.’
‘We will always be one.’
People spun around,
And stun.
‘We will always love,
For we know what it holds.
We, just we
Believe in the powers above.’
‘We were made for each other.’
Yes, oh yes.
We were souls for each other.
We were the reasons we lived.
So
What reason do I have now?
I ask again,
And yet again.
The Mourning…
The mourning increases,
Grows louder, and louder.
‘Not here, but there,
We will see blue air.’
DEAFENING.
The sounds are deafening.
‘Because we are made for each other.’
The coffin is lifted.
With loud sounds of takbeer,
“Allah ho Akbar!”
Unstoppable cries.
Women screaming relentlessly.
Screaming,
As if the soul will return!
But where am I?
Looking.
Into the dark passages ahead,
Those await my future.
Wondering,
Where are promises kept?
If they are stored,
Once they are made,
Then where?
‘We will always be one!’
How could that be true?
Staring,
Where could they take him?
He is mine,
He told me!
Then why do they take him?
Will they stop?
Will they let him look around,
And smile at me?
He WILL look.
And smile.
I kept on looking,
And wait.
“WAIT!”
I scream.
“Don’t take him so fast!”
He has something to say.
Something of the past.
“STOP!”
I tell you,
He has to say,
With no more delay,
That he loves me!
Yes he does,
He is going to tell me!
He never leaves before saying so!
It has to happen, I know.
They stare at me and nod,
Look! They understood.
They will wait for him to say.
But “oh leave me!”
Where are you taking me to?
DON’T FORCE ME!
He has to say something.
Oh look he will.
Don’t go far.
I need to hear his last words.
Stop, don’t pull me!
‘Hey wait, let me tell you!’
Spoke then a voice between,
My cries.
LOOK He Is Speaking!
He is speaking again!
I told you he would.
I shout enthusiastically.
He never leaves me
Without saying that he loves me.
The voice interrupts,
Heavily.
“I don’t love you stupid girl.’
‘I never did!’
I observe my eyes turning stones.
I stare at him,
He is playing with me for one last time.
And I laugh!
“But oh, this one is painful.”
I laugh more as I tell him.
‘Truth is always painful.’
He continues being playful.
I roll my eyes and smile at him,
And question,
If it was the last way left
To surprise me?
But he seems to have promised,
To surprise and joke,
Until my breath skips,
And my blood clots,
Is he doing so,
So that I,
Could leave with him?
‘I never loved you.’
He says firmly,
So firmly that I froze,
I forget it is just a joke.
I gather my humor,
My energy, my love,
And ask him to stop.
“Too much for a joke”,
I tell him.
‘Truth is painful, stupid girl.’
Oh no, no, no.
I can’t stand this.
Take him away.
I don’t need him.
‘Truth is painful, girl.’
‘I never ever did love you!’
His last words are so harsh,
Harsher than all thorns,
I try to smile,
And prove I know him well.
But all that fall are tears.
They roll down,
I try to stop.
I assure myself,
Of all the love that remained,
Between the two of us.
He is lying,
He said we are one.
We will always be one.
I will forgive you this time,
But say that once more,
And I will kill you in the core.
‘It’s not just this,
I have always HATED you!’
‘Yes, I hated you.
You are just so emotional.
You are not strong.
You are immature,
Romantic?
Soulistic.
You run from truths,
You live for memories,
‘You are not my kind.’
He says.
He keeps on saying.
JUST TAKE HIM AWAY!
I shout,
I don’t want him to stay,
Even if
All of this is a joke.
I don’t care.
But he won’t go.
He has decided,
To take with him,
All the good memories,
And leave here,
With me,
Only hatred.
Rejection.
Rejection. Interception.
When it is least needed.
‘If you took my sympathies for kindness,
And my kindness for love.’
‘It is entirely your fault,’
‘I played with you a game.’
‘Yet I shall take no blame.
For I wanted you to grow.’
‘I am going away,
I am going above.
But don’t stay here thinking,
That I blessed you with my love!’
Trust me this last time,
What I said is true.
I never did love you,
I never could love you!’
TAKE HIM AWAY!
JUST TAKE HIM FAR!
He is lying to me all right.
I screamed with all my might.
They took him away far,
And I fell on my knees.
I cried and cried,
And came nobody to stop me.
The hall was empty,
And my life, emptier.
**
I woke up the next day,
With a heart heavier,
Than all stones and weights.
Burden no one could debate.
Someone knocked on the door,
And brought a cup of tea,
Along with numerous flowers,
All set in a bouquet.
I looked at them with thoughtful eyes,
Who could have been so generous?
I have died in my life,
Who is making my fun here?
TAKE THEM AWAY!
I wanted to be violent,
But I remained silent.
Then came another bouquet,
The very next day,
And bouquets followed,
Until uncountable days.
Finally I found him,
Whom had been so generous.
He was the one,
To fill all my emptiness,
With his lovely conversations,
And true love,
His companionship,
Became my greatest treasure.
His kind visits,
Filled me with pleasure.
But it took a lot of time.
To be me again.
To forget what had happened,
Or at least allow this man,
To mend me as he will.
He mended my broken heart,
With great dedication,
Removed agitation.
And carried it away.
Promising,
Never to return it wounded.
**
He kept to his promise,
Until this day,
And forever he will keep it,
I doubt this, nay!
If promises are to be kept,
They are kept so
Safely,
Into two hearts, locked,
Intertwined such,
that keys fail to unlock,
Ways obstacles can’t block.
He loved me completely,
And I gave all of mine,
For I believed in the powers,
That are hold above.
**
Today I take my daughters,
To the house abandoned,
The place where
My life changed forever,
And so did
Everything that existed.
I pray at the residence,
For all those that died,
And once lived.
And once loved,
And once lied.
For me!

Written by: Maria Imran
© CP.

First published: PoemsClub

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