An evening to remember

It has been quite some time since I last attended a function of sorts at the Pakistan Academy Of Letters, so when I received this sms of invitation from Khurram Khiraam Siddiqui, the PAL editor of English I had to go there for one doesn’t always come across a person of the stature of Zulfikar Ghose, the US based poet, novelist and essayist, whom the gathering was arranged for.

I was fortunate to arrive earlier at the Editor’s office, meet the honorable Ghose sahib and exchange some pleasantries with him. Thats where I got my hands literally on a copy of the biannual anthology of the Pakistani writers, ‘The Pakistani Literature’ where translations from a variety of Pakistani languages as well as original English works of the prominent Pakistani literati are published. I flipped through pages and was pleasantly surprised to see the publication of four of my translated poems from Pushto. I conveyd my gratitude to Mr. Khiraam who enhanced my delight by showing me a heavier anthology which included pieces of translations as well as a selection of the original Pakistani English literature from 1947 to 2010, that again included a translation of mine. I requested for the contributor’s copies which the Editor generously handed me with compliments.

The function itself was a wonderful experience. Ghose sahib recited poems from his latest collection called ’50 Poems’ published by the Oxford University Press. In between the recitals of his inspiring poetry Ghose sahib delighted us with interesting anecdotes pertaining mostly to his experiences in life. There was a question-answer session in the end which again was full of information as we came to know how writers born in the third world are assigned labels in the West and how it limits the scope of a writer.

The modertator Khurram Khiraam Siddiqui (left) with Zulfikar Ghose (right)

It was an evening to remember and one would like to be a part of such enlightening gatherings more often.

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Like A Season Goes By ..

The flowers on your

embroidered dopatta would

remain fresh,

(like the ones I would place

in your locks)

soaked in the midnight rains

of your eyes;

now, sighs, that formed

the thick rain-clouds

are no more to rise

as you trample the wilted

leaves of our blooming love

evoking thoughts

of an autumn that came too soon

P.S: I was taken by a pleasant surprise to see a publication after quite some time.

A Rebuttal Of Fate

We are built
to be eroded
with the blows of time.

Now when I lose a piece
here or a chunk there,
I hold it tight, the treasure of

love, kept in the safety of heart
sealed with ego;

just don’t hand time
the stilettos of your lashes
to exhume it.

Preserved, this love
will mock the vicious ways
of our fate,

that crumbs us to death
after luring us to life.

Its been re written in light of Cav’s and a few others’ suggestions. I hope its better this time around;

We are built
to be eroded
by the strokes of time.

Time chiseled
to amputate the idols
I sculpted in my dreams;
now it wants to lacerate
my chest, looking
for the reservoir of love
kept in the safety of heart.

Just don’t hand time
the spears of your lashes
to exhume my love–

preserved, it will
mock the turns
of our sadistic fate

interested only in
keeping our ruins intact
after granting us
a handful of breaths.

The Dual Challenge — A Repost

Below here is the repost of a poem I wrote sometimes back. It has become quite a norm when we celebrate the independence of Pakistan amid the perils to the very unity of our dear homeland courtesy a plethora of internal and external threats. Yet our hopes remain intact to see the vibes of passion and love oozing out of a common Pakistani for his/her country, every year on the 14 of August. This year too is no different; while we’ve largely succeeded in flushing out the nuisance of Talibanisation, we are yet to bring to the fold the fringe elements in Baluchistan. If cured with sincerity the ailments to our unity can be treated with the remedy of ‘the just distribution of revenue as per the sources of production in a Federating unit’. Though it would be naive to look at the scenario in total black and white, yet our history is replete with instances of troubles emerging out of the poor distribution of wealth. Its the cry of the time not to repeat the blunders we’ve made in the past, for they become history who don’t learn a thing from the history itself.

مرے خدا مجھے اتنا تو معتبر کردے

میں جس مکان میں رہتاہوں اس کو گھر کردے

Happy Independence Day To The Nation Pakistan! 🙂

A Dual Challenge:

The honest toilers; our ancestors,
collected the stones thrown at them,
and the mud slung at them, to build a house.
They mixed the ingredients with their
sweat and their blood; the color of love
To make it a home.

A few seeds of mistrust evolved into trees of
contempt in the hearts of the second generation.
And with the help of neighbors
they themselves erected a wall of separation.

The nameplate of my home which used to
read, ‘unity’ is rusted and withered since long.
Suspicion crept into our yard and settled
in every corner of the square as if
measuring a division.

I can hear the footsteps of aliens fast
approaching our home, and I’m faced
with a dual challenge; of repairing the
storm lashed doors and of wiping all
the germs of contempt.

I’ll keep the forces of ‘division’ at bay
‘Its a negative process’ said a mathematician.

Vanished Romance

When the moon feeds
on the residue
of a dying fireball,

I replenish my thoughts
with the wicks of a zillion candles–
extending from the canopy
of a dark night

before the moon is blindfolded
by the beams of a rising sun,

and my dreams, crumble
in the working hours,
snuffed by heavy feet,
rushing to make ends meet.