An Exercise

Cav is generous in help and I’m indebted for his gesture. He gave me a theme of ‘memory’ with words like ‘grove’ ‘midgets/midges’ ‘tingle’ ‘dusk’ and ‘window’ to be used in the development of a concept. I tried it abliet with a frozen mind resisting to unshackle and came up with a raw, rushed up (I wasn’t hastened, though) story. Here it is. It will be shaped, reshaped and even written off, in light of you people’s suggestions.

Sitting poles apart

in his cozy room

he would crave to be

a part of the scence

when he’d watch

on his tv screen,

the glistening Himalayan peaks

kissing the Indus-blue cheeks

of the sky that would blush

into all the possible hues.

As if a speck of a mettle

enchanted towards a gigantic magnet

he found himself moving

towards the mountaneous range.

Standing at the feet

of the Nanga Purbut

he was a midget

filled with the naivete

to surmount love.

Pinching the body

of the slumbering beast

he crawled up

unaware of the pitfalls

waiting under the sheets

of white snow.

The arrival of dusk

emboldened the air

that lanced through

his mountaineering gear

as he was tingled

before being gobbled

by a cavernous hole.

It all happened in a trice;

his body writhed like a fish

in protest of decption,

his heart blissed out

and froze like that

of the beloved

and his mind rolled

in a backward motion

showing him the glimpse

of his wife sitting across

the window pane

staring deep at the

grove where they’d play

hide and seek.

An excerpt From Arundati Roy’s ‘The God Of Small Things’

I haven’t finished it yet. I’m in the midst of the novel and I’m totally awestruck by the sheer class of Arundati’s writing style; the structure of her sentences, the diction, the punctuation and the similies– Ah! the magnets!.

I couldn’t resist to share with you an excerpt where the writer details the procedure of the electric incineration of Ammu; the mother of Rahel, 7 and Estha, 11. Look at the melancholy oozing out of the paras.

The steel door of the incinerator went up and the muted hum of eternal fire became a red roaring. The heat lunged out at them like a famished beast. The Rahel’s Ammu was fed to it. Her hair, her skin, her smile. Her voice. The way she used Kipling to love her children before putting them to bed: We be of one blood, ye and I.Her good night kiss. The way she held her faces steady with one hand (squashed-cheeked, fish-mouthed) while she parted and combed their hair with the other. The way she held knickers out for Rahel to climb into. Left leg, right leg. All this was fed to the beast, and it was satisfied.

She was their Ammu and their Baba and she had loved them Double.

The door of the furnace clanged shut. There were no tears. The crematorium ‘In-charge’ had gone down the road for a cup of tea and didn’t come back for twenty minutes. That’s how long Chacko and Rahel had to wait for the pink receipt that would entitle them to collect Ammu’s remains. Her ashes. The grit of her bones. The teeth from her smile. The whole of her crammed into a little clay pot. Receipt No. Q498673.

You Hid I Seek ..

Call it prose, or a prose poem but it is rough for sure. Its more or less sort of a forced vent which had to be written and posted just for the sake of pouring out a random idea that lurked in my mind for a few days. Hope it isn’t offensive to those who expect better quality stuff from me.

When you hid behind a thick oak tree

in a childhood game of hide and seek,

that we played one dark eventide,

I never knew I’ll be rendered blind-folded

to grope for your touch for a lifetime to come.

You were abducted by time that plunders

in the ripe environs of swelling nights

as I bumped onto objects, muted and dumb,

hurting my heart which bled

leaving behind a trail of red

through the journey of passing years.

The map of my life is reminiscent to

the colors of the day of Valentine

which reminds me of the little

game of hide and seek that

we so fondly played in our childhood.

Remembering November The 3rd, 2007…

The Context: The credibility of General Pervez Musharraf had been rendered to an all time low by the decision of a larger bench of the Superme Court to reinstate the sacked Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohamma Chaudhry. Cases were filed in the Supereme Court against the holidng of dual offices on part of Mr. Musharraf, the result of which was about to come; not in affirmative for the Army Chief cum President, so believed many.

The Day: The dawn of November the 3rd, 2007 seen Gen. Pervez Musharraf declaring the state of Emergency where the constitution of 1973 was frozen, the judiciary suspended and a Provisional Constitutional Order was issued. More so,the coverage of all the national news and entertainment media channels were blocked in Pakistan besides strict directions were issued to the national newspapers warning them to refrain from publishing anything against the governmental policies. The day could well be termed as one of the most tragic in the political history of Pakistan as the basic rights of the citizenry of Pakistan were snatched by a cowardly millitiary ruler. The decision had to be opposed by the resiliant Pakistani masses and they did albeit the suppressive tactics by the milliatary tyrant at the helm. Students, journalists, laywers and the members of civil society rose for the restoration of the consitution. Political leaders like Imran Khan of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf took it upon himself to mobilize the youth which he did to a great success notwithstanding having been locked up.

What I felt: Like every patriotic pakistani I too wanted to do my bit in the mass campaign for the restoration of the rule of law. Barring participation in a few rallies and surviving an investigation about a black arm-band that I wore, I wrote the poem below which got published as well; to express what I was feeling at the time.

Bhalay Dino’n ki aas hay!

Yeh jabr ki faseel jo,
Kharhi hui hay chaar soo,
Yeh zulm ki kahania’n,
Jo meray aas paas hai’n,
Tho kya hua?
Hamari rooh-o-jaan may,
Bhalay dino’n ki aas hay,
Watan mera udaas hay.
Watan pay raaj kar rahi hay teergi,
Yeh teergi,
Jo roshni ki aik hi kiran,
Ko dekh kar hi apna khatma,
Karaigi,
Woh roshni,
Hamaray aas paas hay,
Awaam ka jo zoor hay,
Yeh waqt ka jo shoor hay,
Jamhooriat ki aor hay,
Yeh jabr ki faseel ab,
Gira keh hi rahaingay hum,
kahania’n yeh zulm ki,
Mita keh hi rahaingay hum,
Hamari rooh-o-jaan may,
Bhalay dino’n ki aas hay,
Watan mera udaas hay…
Watan mera udaas hay…

Translation

The walls of cruelty,
Standing all around us,
The stories of brutality,
Which are being played,
In our vicinities,
Are nothing!
As there resides a hope,
In our bodies and souls,
Of the better days to come,
Yes, my land is saddened,
By the ruling gloom,
The gloom!
We are sure will be doomed!
By seeing even a slightest,
Of the rays of light,
The light!
Is somewhere amongst us.
People; the powerful,
And time; the clamorous,
Are heading towards democracy,
The walls of cruelty,
Will be fallen down,
And the stories of brutality,
Will be wiped,
By us,
As there resides a hope,
In our bodies and souls,
Of the better days to come.

Today: We have got a democratic compensation but we are far far away from what is called a smooth national journey. From the look of things we have plunged even deeper to the void of uncertainity with a torn apart soveriegnity, poor law and order, food and energy cirises and so forth.The question of our survival has never been so fequently asked like todays conundrum.

What we require is the revival of the spirit that we exhibited back then during the black days of emergency. We must raise our voice against the ill-policies of our government towards combating terrorism. We must act as a pressure group to hold our leaders responsible for the decisions they are taking for it is the essence of democracy. I’m more than confident that the vibrant youth of Pakistan woudn’t let this country slip into the hands of obscurity.

Prayer For Tommorow: May Allah keep us united! May the name of Pakistan shine forever over the face of the globe! Amen!

The Donor

It was a prominent private hospital where people from every nook and corner of the country would come to seek cure of their ailments. The news of Mr. Abdullah’s kidney transplant surgery spread in the area like a wild fire.

On the day of the operation the hospital was filled to the full by a multitude of people, notwithstanding the efforts of the security personnel to check their inflow. A complete disorder prevailed in the hospital. Relatives, intimate friends, acquaintances and business colleagues of Mr. Abdullah rushed towards him to embrace, hug and encourage him not to lose heart just when he was heading from ward towards the operation theater.

“Don’t worry man! its just a matter of minutes and you know Dr. Tariq’s a genius in such sort of surgeries” A friend tried to encourage a paling Mr. Abdullah who was further disturbed by a paging voice coming out of the roof right above his head.

“Patient Abdullah and the donor Ghulam Akber are requested to report in the operation room.”

Hearing his name the donor Ghulam Akber; a young man of around 40 bolted in to the operation theater while Mr. Abdullah was still engaged with a throng of his near ones. The repeated announcements made Mr. Abdullah move towards the operation theater albeit unwillingly.

It was a long operation. Most of the visitors left, some rambled in front of the operation theater while the others divided into groups sat outside in the lawn busy in conversations and the topic of their conversations being Mr. Abdullah.

“Alas! how serious ailment in such a tender age!” exclaimed one and the other responded, “ I’m really worried about his business!”

Another group which comprised mostly of his employees were awestruck by the architecture of the hospital. “Look at this building! how beautiful it is! I’m not feeling like going back home!”

Chup sha, bewaqoofa! pray for yourself not to fell ill, lest you’d be lying rotting in a stinking government hospital, for its only people like Mr. Abdullah who could afford to come here!” ridiculed the other.

In an elderly group, a bearded man with a prayer beads held in his hand was giving sort of a sermon to the rest “ This world’s surviving just because of a handful of people who sacrifice their lives to save those of their fellow beings. Look at this gentleman who’s prepared to save Mr. Abdullah’s life by donating him one of his kidneys just for the sake of humanity”

Hearing this a youngster in another group rose and silenced all by saying, “ Strange are the ways of life where one could come across people losing their kidneys through excessive adulteration while others are left with no option but to sell their kidneys out of poverty”

“ Poor over here are given strange names like a miserable hotel waiter is given the name of a ‘donor’ whom we all knew up till now as Ghulam Akber” complained a laborer.

Someone informed the lot that Ghulam Akber would be given an amount of Rs. 20,000 as a reward of his sacrifice.

“ The deal is actually brokered by an agent who’d retain an amount of Rs.10,000 out of the sum” furthered another.

A youngster asked whether the doctors knew of the deal and that how come they called Ghulam Akber a doner if they were aware about him selling the kidney.

Marha! it all actually was the suggestion of Dr. Tariq who happens to be a close friend of Mr. Abdullah” the information moved everyone to sigh and murmur prayers for the poor of the land.

In the meanwhile there appeared two stretchers out of the operation room. One was pushed quietly towards the ward by a hospital aide while the other was swarmed by the throng of visitors.

Footnote: Inspired from a pushto short story by Sardar Jamal