Wednesday, 9 August 2017

ماڈرن عشق (attempting poetry after a long time)

ماڈرن عشق

چاہت کی باتیں وغیرہ وغیرہ
محبت کی راتیں وغیرہ وغیرہ
ہمیں بھی بتاو، ہمیں بھی دکھاو
قصے ماڈرن  دیوانوں کے ہم کو سناو

جو ہم نے سنی تھی محبت کہانی
وہ جس میں تھا راجا، اور اس کی رانی
خوابوں کی بستی، اور رت بھی سہانی
لبوں پے ہنسی، نہ کے آنکھوں میں پانی

اپنے دل کی دہلیز تو نہ پھولوں سے مہکتی
  ٹھنڈے لہجوں سے سانسیں کیسے دھکتی؟
معصوم خواہش وحشت سے در کو لپتکی 
 جب اسکی آنکھوں سے دانش کی برچھی چمکتی

سن کے راہ محبت کے قصے فسانے
عشق کی وادی چلے ہم بھی بن کے دیوانے
خساروں کا چٹھا لگا دل بنانے 
پریکٹکل لایف کا پاٹ جب لگے وہ سنانے

نہ دھڑکن تھی بہکی، نہ بجلی سی کوندی
دل کی بتیا نے بس اپنی آنکھیں لی موندی
چاہت کی باتیں وغیرہ وغیرہ
محبت کی راتیں وغیرہ وغیرہ

 Transliteration

Chahat ki batain wagera wagera
muhabat ki ratain wagera wagera
hamain bhi batao, hamain bhi dikhao
qissay modern diwanoon ke ham ko sunao

jo hum ne suni thi muhabat kahani
wo jis mai tha raja aur us ki rani
khwaboon ki basti, aur rut bhi suhani
laboon pe hansi, na ke aankhoon mai pani

apnai dil ki dehleez tau na phooloon se mehkty
thanday lehjoon sai sansay kaisai dehakti?
masoom khwahish wehshat se dar ko lapakty
jab us ki ankhoon sai danish ki barchi chamakti

sun ke rah-e-muhabat ke qissay, fasanai
ishq ki wadi chalay hum bhi banke diwanai
khasaroon ka chitha laga dil banane
practical life ka paat jab lagai wo sunanain

na dharkan thi behki, na bijli si kondi
dil ki batya nai bas apni aankhain li mondi
Chahat ki batain wagera wagera
muhabat ki ratain wagera wagera
 Translation

Stories of desire, etc etc
Nights of love, etc etc
tell me those stories, show me those nights 
narrate the tales of the lovestruck in modern times 

the tales of love that I have heard (growing up)
the ones in which there was a prince and his beloved
the ones where they lived in the land of dreams and happiness
Smiling all the time with no tears in their eyes

But my own path was not showered with flowers
how does one feel warmth of passion when one's tone is ice cold?
My naive desires run for the door in bewilderment, when you attempt to slay them with the knife of rationality

when I heard of the stories of the path of love
I also ventured there being a fool
But my heart was only left counting the loses
when you decided to lecture me on practicality and rule

(In this story of love) neither the heart skipped a beat nor was there a flash of lightening
the light of my heart instead decided to extinguish itself
 of stories of desire, etc etc
Nights of love, etc etc

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Let it go? or keep holding on...

As parent I constantly struggle with an urge to somehow show, emphasize and even prove (to myself, as well as the world) how my child is unique, different from the lot, very special... do you recognise the feeling? vicious cycle of the desire for them to be different, followed by dread that I expect too much, followed by the judgement that I am no better than the parents constantly judged by good Hindi films wanting their kids to become only doctors and engineers leading them to live lives of great wealth and no meaning? maybe its just me.... but I swear everytime i meet a child whose name I cannot pronounce my heart jumps with joy for finding a comrade...

Normally I behave well within the normality curve..., I enjoy her watching cartoons like Tom and Jerry without raising eyebrows about the violence within, Doremon despite its possibility of ruining her chances at awesome spoken Urdu and premature understanding of boy-girl relationship dynamics. I spoil her with a sugar treat pretty much everyday, still feed her with my hands and let her have a tablet... I am guilty of doing pretty much everything listed in the new guide to bad parenting for kids with super potential!

But frozen strikes a different chord. Its so out there, its so commercial that everytime my daughter picks something with Elsa or Anna on it I just cant help but shake my head at the power of market economy in influencing my 5 year old's choices in life. Everyone has Elsa shoes, and Anna dress and a pencil with frozen characters and a nightdress with Olaf and this and that and having to listen to "let it go all" the time in the car... (i am starting to rant)

So only yesterday, I opened my daughter's school library bag and found a book with Elsa and Anna on it! my first reaction (out loud too), "why did you bring a frozen book?, we know the story!!! you could have picked something else, something more meaningful" and she said, "but I wanted to read Elsa Anna story so I got this one"

Reluctantly I opened the book and started to read, "When you and I were little, we were close as we could be. I was happy you were Anna, you were thrilled that I was me."

And we had a chat about rhyme, picked be and me, brought in other worlds like jack and mack

then we read on and the book talked about the story of Elsa and Anna, yet again from a fresh perspective. It talked about how Elsa and Anna were different, one calculated another wearing her heart on her sleeve, one organised another clumsy and how in their difference they both hoped to have a sister that was more like themselves. Life would have been so much easier for them if they were alike... but then they recognised all the ways they complimented each other because of their differences, something they were only able to see when they both acknowledged the love they had for each other.

I was blown away towards the end of it... i was sold to the narrative once again despite the capitalistic reality of the frozen brand. Or perhaps I was blown away more because of that. I am scared of the power Frozen brand has on my daughter who often wants to buy all things Elsa, but in its shadow I marvel at the power Elsa and more importantly Anna can have on forming her person. Feminism and rethinking truelove undertones evidently and elaborately discussed but about difference? what of accepting the other, such a wonderful narrative to discuss the idea of difference as a point of dissatisfaction, conflict but yet a point of complementarity once you acknowledge the other with love... is it a lesson in relationship management? multiculturism?  accepting contradiction within oneself? battle of heart and mind? helping kids make sense of why their folks argue and then make up? helping her see Anna's magic was greater for her magic was to come forward and accept vulnerability and continue to show love?

I dont know how many of these ideas I will be able to touch... but I do promise myself that for the next whole week, this book is rented from school in her name, we are reading it everyday. And talking about it everyday!

I continue to fear brand frozen, but I shouldnt let its story go... its normal for her to love Elsa and Anna for everyone loves them and maybe in the process of acknowledging that love she will aspire to be open to many ideas of a more balanced society they have to offer....            

The book itself "A sister more like me" by Barbara Jean Hicks

Thursday, 24 November 2016

New Canvas

Starting a new life; its exciting, its exhilarating but most of all its intimidating as shit. Its been a while since I have last written and while there have been moments in last month and a half when I have almost thought I should start a new blog and call it moving to Australia, I don’t really think I can get myself up for it. It would be fun though, to record all the hilarity, confusion and struggles even for small things such as choosing a new brand of tea can be like.

Too many firsts despite this not being my first time moving out and starting over. All through it all whats fascinating is how two people that are both me, but both so different coexist side by side, constantly rattling within one body. One, which keeps pushing for how great this is, how exciting to start on a clean canvas, lets paint it bold, lets run around in the wilderness, lets enjoy what you have gotten yourself into, yes its scary but that’s the fun of it. Lets walk the path shrouded by greens everywhere, deserted and oh so beautiful just coz of that. And another; hesitant, intimidated; wanting to curl back into the comfort zone of what is known and safe and (and this really sucks) is missing.

While them two bicker, I feel a third me constantly going through a fr
eeze burn. Being high and being low all at the same time. Oh but this isn’t the first time I have felt this way, not knowing its place in the world, the wandering soul keeps wandering, keeps exploring, always abandoning the safe zones and then missing them terribly. But there is beauty in this pain, a beauty which like mirage of freedom is too tempting to not attempt. Freeze burn…. Ouch! Wow... But... Dark… Strangers are scary… Perhaps until they become acquaintances… perhaps even after that. Wanderlust…. Awe. Home…. Freeze burn …. .. .. ouch!


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

An unnamed not-so-fairytale

He sat there, waiting, like everyday. Since morning at 7 when he woke up he had an odd feel that something was wrong. He couldn't put his finger on it. Everything was as it always was. When he woke, as usual his mother had already laid his breakfast. His young wife had placed his clothes where they always were. The dishes clattered as always in the makeshift kitchen on the side. He sat to eat his breakfast and as always his mother started talking about how she needed more money to run the household. Now that his wife was expectant they needed more food, more milk, more money so that some of it could be stashed away for the baby to arrive soon. 

He listened, as always, quietly, chewing his breakfast slowly. Breaking his bread with his teeth, bit by bit, nodding every time his mother took a pause between her morning jab about how little they had. If it wasn't for the nagging feeling in his gut, everything would have been the same, as always. But he didn't feel quiet right today, he tried to figure out what was it that was not as usual? what was it absence or perhaps presence of which has stirred this strange anxiety in him. A ripple in his otherwise placid life. 

He searched his wife's face for a hint, for something unusual, reconfirmed with her about when she was due. She wasn't due for another four months she said looking almost offended at his lack of concern for the baby. He changed, left the home, still thinking of what bothered him. He looked at his mobile phone, "8:30" it said, he was out of the home at the usual hour of the day, He unlocked his fruit cart from the usual parking spot in the shared compound and went about his business. 

He stopped after walking the usual 30 minutes to his usual spot, started unpacking the oranges from the crates he had packed last night. He looked at his phone again at usual 9:30 am he was all set to start another day. The wait has started, it was another hour before the first customer arrived, "how much for the oranges?" "the same", he replied, "a dozen for rs. hundred". "Thats too much", the man exclaimed. He played the futile game of bargain, at least that will keep the customer here for a few more moments. He finally sold a dozen for rs. 80, taking his time packing them, anything to keep him busy for longer. 

By 12 in the maddening heat of the city, he had forgotten all about the nagging feeling he woke up this morning with. Sitting under the meager shade of his fruit stall. he waited, hoping to land another customer soon. At three he took a short walk asking the hawker next to him to keep an eye on his stand. He wandered aimlessly. The day wasn't any different since morning, he has sold a baker's dozen of oranges since morning. Each transaction a calculated 4 minutes 35 seconds with what seemed like eternities in between. But this was his life, everyday he waited hours before he could sell the target amount of fruits to make enough profit to last another day. 

His life was a sum of hours of perpetual wait salted with instances of gratification. As a new born he had to wait until his baba was done to be served his moments of suckling, as a child too he was served food when baba was done. He would have gone to school but then baba died leaving a widow and a four year old behind with a destiny to wait. After baba, he waited the whole year for Eid, the only time his maternal uncle would come with a full serving of biryani, the only meal of the year when his heart contented before his plate was empty. His uncle would also bring a cheap toy as Eidi which would last him a few months until it broke.

He also waited for a few moments of quiet that lay between him drifting off to sleep and his mother starting to snore softy. This was the only time he could see no lines of worry on his mother's forehead, it was the only time she would shut up, not completely but enough to given him a few minutes of peace. 

He also waited seventeen years, saving every penny he nicked from his daily wage from ustad to make enough to afford himself the ability to have his own employment. He had thought this would be a turning point in his life. Now that he was self employed, amma would finally feel adequate enough to task for Tabasum's hand in marriage. He would make her compensate for everything he missed out in his life. She would submit to all his whims, fulfilling all his demands like an obedient wife, showering him with unconditional love that he never felt his mom had the time to. 

It seemed that fate has finally granted him some immunity, Tabasum was all that he had dreamed of, an obedient, loving wife with patience of a saint. She listened to him endlessly, paying attention to everything no matter how trivial, fulfilling all his wishes no matter how impractical. One time just to test her limits he woke her up in the middle of the night asking her to squeeze him fresh orange juice. She looked surprised but obliged nevertheless. All was well for a couple of months, until he found out that she was pregnant. 

The wheel once again began to rotate backwards, Tabasum was sick most of the time, unavailable for his whims, amma's concern for money had tripple folded and thus was her rant about it as well. He still remained hopeful, he wanted the baby to arrive. This was one entity he wanted to wait for, "unlike baba I would let Tabasum cater to his/her needs first", he thought to himself. "I will also help out in looking after him/her" he promised himself. "It would be someone who would wait for me to come home, my wait would finally be reciprocated", he thought excitedly. 

All was well, however he didn't feel right this morning. While strolling, he was reminded of the nagging feeling pulling somewhere deep in his subconscious mind. He wanted to go home, stay with Tabasum. "What if she needs me to take her to the hospital", he thought. But he had to make the target amount if he wanted to be able to afford the baby. After all he had his phone with him, if there was an emergency amma would call him home. He convinced himself to go back to his cart and managed to stay and sell for another few hours before he could not take it anymore. It was almost as if he was being called by someone, he had to go home. He started packing his cart then thought otherwise. "I could always sell on the way" he thought and started to move. 

He moved towards home, the vendor next to him quizzically looking at him. "I have to go home early today" he explained. His fellow gave him an understanding nod and pretended to be occupied. Moving forward he was able to sell a couple more dozen of oranges and almost thought it was a good idea to keep moving. At least it wasn't a perpetual wait, he felt better as he walked along the road and decided to take a longer route home thinking that he might be able to match his target after all.  

On the far end of the bridge that he was now climbing he saw a similar sight. Aaqib sat at the edge of the bridge, his head in his hands, his legs folded across his chest. Many called Aaqib a mad man, he was very handy when he was in his senses which however wasn't the case most of the time, He knew Aaqib saw things, talked to beings that were invisible, fought with his inner demons out loud, but he also knew Aaqib as an intelligent listener. At times when he could not take it anymore, he actively sought Aaqib who willingly listened to his rants offering him a cigarette while also telling him its not good for him to smoke. Twisted man this Aaqib was, when he sought solitude he would vanish for weeks and then suddenly make an appearance in their lives fixing someone's faucet, or stove knob or something. The very next day women would steer away their children as he screamed and kicked unseen demons and then often, one would find him on this bridge, legs crossed, face in his hands.

He moved towards him, in exchange for a few oranges Aaqib will share his cigarette, a story or two and maybe an advice on how better to run his cart business. Perhaps, he could talk to Aaqib about this nagging he felt, he would know, with his inner demons and all he seemed the most equipped person around to consult. He approached Aaqib, he looked different today, there was something about his posture, it almost seemed like he was crying. He came forward, called his name, in response he heard him grunt, muffled sob, almost a groan. "Aaqib tu theek hai" he called out. Aaqib didnt look up, he came further close, now worried for the man. "Aaqib" he called again. He looked up, his face twisted with pain, he grunted asking him to leave. He came further close attempting to put his hand on his shoulder trying to console him. Aaqib further backed into the wall, " Jao, Jaaaao! Jao!" he said to him. "Please", he whispered to someone invisible next to him then he looked at him stern and asked him to leave. He didn't go, instead offered him a hand to help him up, Aaqib took the hand, looked at him in the eye and begged him now to not leave him alone. He promised he wont go anywhere. Aaqib hugged hum tight, said thanks and jumped off the bridge with him still strangled in embrace. 


Aaqib the madman died that night, as for him, fate was never this kind. He waited on the single bed he was placed three months ago. His son was named Rustam by his mother, who often stayed by his side constantly talking to him about financial worries. Tabasum was too busy taking care of the baby and finding whatever means of income she could scourge. The fall led him perpetually immobile and as always perpetually waiting. 

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Brown bagging fear itself...

I have been wanting to write this, but I have considered, reconsidered and then do what I ultimately do when some part of me disagrees to express an opinion about something. I hang it in the air hoping one fine day I would express it but that this day is not it.

I took my notes, I made a mental outline, and I put it in pile of to write things where thoughts gather dust and eventually get buried somewhere deep inside of me. 

And it would have been the case if this morning i didnt wake up to @Shehzad89 talking about sanitary napkins, women, social embarrassment, oppression and patriarchy. And I felt I needed to add another keyword to all of this, "fear". 

And I write this as an expression of coming out coz it makes me as vulnerable. And I share it for the sake of all 13,14,15,16,...32 (and still counting) year olds who have felt and not expressed the intense fear in that, out of nowhere, sudden moment that shakes you down to the very core of you regardless of how strong you are.

Here goes....

Its 9:30 am, I am driving to work. I have just dropped Adiyah to school and am almost at work ready to start (hopefully) a productive day. I am passing through a residential lane, that I often take to avoid the traffic on the main road to work, when I hear a honk behind me. 

A biker, first thought "Double to nahi hai" cant be snatcher. I move to the side thinking he wants to pass. Looking in the rear view mirror I see him fiddle with something on the patrol tank. "Probably a pack of biscuit", I think to my self. 

The man parallels with me instead of passing, looks at me, I am now confused thinking, "I didnt offend anyone while driving today why is he trying to communicate rather than passing". Then I see him make an interesting eye contact. 

He looks at me, gestures between his legs and gestures back as if saying, "wanna have some". 

I am often surprised at how much thinking human brain can do in nano seconds because it couldn't have been more than that. I think simultaneously, "why is he offering me a biscuit?" "oh no wait! thats not what he is offering" "fuck why the hell is my heart sinking, I am 32 God damit why am I shaking like this?" "Oh let me teach him a lesson" "no but what if it goes the wrong way" "aisi ki taisi womens bill zindabad" 

He crosses me still looking at me while he cuts into an alley on the left I look at him, my mind made up... I gesture him "Yes". I want him to turn around, I want to somehow get back at him. I reverse my car which by this time has moved a bit further up from the alley in which he went. He turns around, in my effort to reverse I am standing perpendicular in an alley; he comes behind me I confirm, "Kia de rahe thay" He understands that I will cause trouble, I reverse further in an effort to scare him (oh wait a minute in that moment I wanted him to fall) I miss... I turn... he runs.... and I chase him. 

Hoping, only hoping, to catch a glimpse of his face and to click it with my awesome always available camera, my phone. I dont get it, what I get instead is this 

Defeated... once he disappear after chase of good 4-5 minutes into a random alley, I head back to work. Still shaking, now trying to justify my shaking being caused more because of anger than fear. But I keep thinking about it, I kept thinking about it for the whole day but I didnt think of what it did to me only.

What I thought more about was what it would have done to a 14 year old me, it would have caused me trauma at 14. How do I know? because I have been through a less intense version of a similar story when I was 17 and it was traumatic even then, because I have heard similar stories friends (who didn't feel as vulnerable to come out at that spur of the moment in our 30 year grown up talk) and what it did to them at that time.

My first instinct was to think how I will protect my 4 year old from such traumatic experience that she might face in next 10 years or so. My second thought, what about all the girls I have taught or I still teach?

And it sucks that I can probably not do much to protect any of them in real sense.

All I can do is come out and show them that it happens to me too. That they are not alone, and if they see nothing wrong with me (hopefully) then there is nothing wrong with them. And most importantly I want them to know that It gets better. Not that it changes but your response to it has the capacity to change.

I dont get dysfunctional when I am intimidated like this, I instead almost on autopilot stand up for myself and fight back knowing that when I stand up they run away like coward little wussies.   
But I thought further, and what I could not get my head around was "why". Why is it that some people would do such useless things that lead to nothing but instead just makes the other person immensely scared. Like what is it that one gets out of casually touching the opposite gender in the wrong places at a crowded bazaar? or by cat calling or by touching or pointing to your genitals to scare the shit out of someone.

It cant be for any practical reasons, I am yet to meet a woman who felt aroused by any of the above gestures let alone be attracted. So while it is sexual in connotation it inst really part of the mating game. So then what is it? I guess I should thank @Shehzad89 for giving me the right word for it, brown bagging :).


So heres what I am gonno do, I wont feed further the cycle of social control through intimidation on my end. Instead what I will do is try to fight back. I will fight back with vengeance and with a tool I carry with me everyday, my phone.

Ever since I acquired a phone with a camera I used to have a funny little trick to get rid of guys who fancy following women around. I would pretend to click their photo and talk on phone with someone.

Now I tell you the following lot is not a very intelligent one coz without considering the mp size of my mobile camera they would all steer away after diligently following me for a few miles as soon as they saw me pretending to take their photo.

Anyway so once I got the current phone I have which actually can take high res photos that can be zoomed for an outcome I actually started clicking. I dont know to what outcome I took their photo but this incident had motivated me to bring these individual out in public who will hopefully be "Baap-Bhai" of someone.

And I invite all the girls who have ever felt intimidated by these scoundrels running around on our streets to next time take their photos and publicly share them. Hopefully some of them will realize what they do when publicly acknowledged. Here are mine...
Mr Biscuit guy


Mr trying to find something between his legs guy


Mr Half Face

Now I would love to make a facebook page to allow a portal for all to share photos of their perpetrators but am not the page maintaining kind, so please feel free to make one and tag me on it so I share future trying to scare me idiots! 
  


Monday, 15 February 2016

My bliss my curse

It is you,
Only you...
Who possesses
The power to melt away
Slabs of ice I take so long to build around my heart
In hopes to be numb,
to be safe
But with a single touch you fill me up
With warmth
Reminding me that there is nothing
Worth numbing

Thursday, 24 December 2015

One day the little enchantress will know the power of the craft she is so naturally potent in!

I take out the flash cards hoping we will go further in recognizing the opposites. Secretly also hoping it will help her memorize the shape and texture of all words we read and see. But she? She gives me this


And I say.. Dia look this is a..?

Dia: Giraffe mama

Me: yea and see they are two this one is (pointing at the taller one)

Dia: This is maamaa giraffe

Me: right.. this is Mama so she is tall. And the baby giraffe is?

Dia: Smallerrrrrrr

Me: yea and also he is short right

Dia: right he is short

Dia: and baby giraffe loves to run... and every time mama says slow down baby giraffe you are going too ahead of me you will get lost.

Me: Ahan.. (wondering where is this going... please dont go all Freud on me there are more stories coming)

Dia: But the baby giraffe runs faster and faster and mama comes behind slowly she is tired :(

Me: wow thats such a nice story isn't it.
and she says no this is not a nice story because the giraffe runs and doesn't listen to mommy. and I am thinking ... "is that morality" or is it just her way of telling me that she recognizes all those times I tell her to slow down that running far away she is testing her boundaries...
she doesnt give me much time to think and draws another pair

Dia: Look mamma a finished apple

 Me: yea and look at this one this one is?

Dia: whole

Me: yes and its also an apple that someone may have just started to eat right? so start and finish

Dia: yea start

Me: (wondering if i will get lucky with another story i ask) Dia so do we have a story of apple?

Dia: yeaaaa

Dia: One day Adiyah was hungry (am absolutely marveling at her start). And she went to the dressing table to look for noodles (why dressing table? why not kitchen? noodles because that what she was eating when we were doing this activity)

Dia (cont): but there were no noodles on the table instead (she used the word "balkay" i was so proud lol) there was an apple.

So dia ate the apple until it was half done and here is the rest of the apple (while pointing at the finished apple)

Me: Oh wow now this was a nice story wasnt it?

Dia: yea mamma you liked this story?

Me: yes i love you story

This time i pick another pair and say, "Look dia, whats up here"

Dia: Oooh look at this ship one is Nazdeek and another one is sooo far

Me: right and nazdeek in english is? 9and she gives me a quizzical look... its almost funny how she can still not tell which words are English and which ones are Urdu.. but am kinda glad for this blessing)

Me: its also near

Dia: Oh yea near and far, and mamma you know

(and I could see another story coming in....)

Dia: when the ship for near they shouted common Adiyah hurry up lets get on the ship but i could not reach to the ship on time

Me: and then?

Dia: then when I reached close to the river the ship was far far away and I said "wait i want to go also"

Me: oh o, then what happen

Dia: (she makes her voice dramatic) and then mamma i jumped in the water and swam swam swam until i reached the ship. Then i climbed up the ship but you know what

Me: what

Dia: the ship was made of wood and when I jumped on it I hurt my knee

Me: oh o, did it hurt

Dia: yes but I am ok now, I am so brave

Me: That you are my love!!!

This was the next pair
now you guess what the story went like.... a hint... it had a dream sequence lol....