Monday, December 28, 2009

Stories of shooting stars.

Day One.

I think I'm glad you're gone. You were the one who sent the last email saying you'd be away for a while which doesnt even make sense, but you need to want me more than you seem to and I think you don't so you don't deserve me. I'm smart, I'm beautiful and I'm sure as hell wanted. So I can't deal with your bull crap anymore. Good riddance. You're impossible, anyway. I don't know how that was why I loved you in the first place.

Day Two.

Remember how you agreed to finally watch New Moon with me? Well, guess what? I dont need you anymore. I went and saw it on my own today. Granted, I had to buy my own tickets and stand in the queue for my own popcorn and I could not remember which popcorn we usually had so I ordered something else which turned out to be pretty disgusting. The couple sitting next to me were holding hands and I could throw up on them and then I remembered your loathsome sardonic smile as you would look at me stricken in the cinema, feeling the hurt of people who didn't exist. And I especially hated the way you threw you arm around my shoulder as you pulled me close and the way your nimble fingers fitted so perfectly between mine.

I saw Edward leave Bella and I cried. I saw him propose and I cried more.

I made a complete fool of myself in a hall full of people because the soppy little vampire high school romance and total chick flick reminded me of you. I went home full of self-pity and a lot of hatred for you.

Day Four

I told myself that going to the places we used to eat will not hurt. I told myself it was immature and unreasonable. So I walked down Fleet Street, put in too much broccoli in the salad bowl, avoided the spring onions, and had the usual garlic oil, prawns and noodles combination.
"Extra spicy," I found myself saying
"Just one today?" The Jamaican chef smiled.
"Just one today." I repeated blandly.

Then why does this hurt?

Day six and we're not talking.

Today I got lost in the streets of London. The tube stations were closed and I didn't know which bus to take. It was dark and deserted, there were men with their caps hanging low on their faces. People get mugged. People get raped. The streets had alien names. Technically, you weren't mine anymore so I could not call you. Like you were much of a phone-person anyway.
"Try to think how you got here," you'd say if you were reasonable- which you weren't.
Got on a wrong bus, walked a couple of miles in the wrong direction, that was a no-brainer.
This wasn't helping. And I was scared because I didn't know what to do because you had spoiled me.
I know what you would have said.
"Are you out of your fucking mind? I told you to never NEVER wander out on your own in the dark.."
But in the dark it's easy to pretend and I needed you off my mind.
"..Look for the nearest Mc Donalds or Subway or any other fucking place to eat and ask them for their post code. I'm coming for you.."
You were always coming for me, there for me.
"And don't you dare hang up the fucking phone till I fucking get there."
I hated hated HATED how you swore.

I took a cab home that night. Fortunately and unknowingly, a black cab and it cost me two days worth food allowance.
You'd have flipped out just for that. You know how that story goes.
"You took a fucking cab? Do you know how many people get raped in illegal cabs!! Why do you do this to me?"
You would have thrown things around screamed at no one in particular then have gotten mad at yourself. You're disillusioned, paranoid, excessively overprotective and also usually right.

I came back and cried.

Day Nine.

Why can't you just stay in my past?

Day Thirteen.

Just. Come. Back. I'm barely breathing.

You're all these amazing things on one hand and on the other, you have no realistic goals, no ambition. You're self-destructive. And then you smoke up. And you do drugs. And you say you love me and you love me right and you get me and you know just what to say and you know just what to do.

You've held me throughout but that does not make you good for me.
Work for me.
Dream for me.
Marry me.
Have children with me.
Have a life with me.
Grow old with me.

But we don't seem to have a future together.

Is that enough reason to let you go?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Of all the songs we ever shared..

"Baby i've been here before
I've seen this room and
I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the Marble Arch
But love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah"

In dusty corners, let your names depart. Rub their jagged ends together and then despair when they don't fit in.
Add another burden onto your Scales of Balance. Grain by grain.
Wait for the one last Judgement. Account for that sin you committed willingly and knowingly.
Who have you wronged this once? Whose heart did you break now?

"I won't cry now, the insiders are free to leave
And I feel at peace with the flood still waiting
I created these worlds, one by one, word by word,
If there was a song that could destroy them all
Why should I sing it now that I'm all alone?

I was warned but now that my time has come
Please let me drown just one more time
Before the Dawn."

Remember that night when she lay there crying because of who you had become? She wasted away because you were dissolving into yourself in oblivion. You talked of black holes and infinities that will never exist. All she asked for was a glimpse of your realities. But she must never know because your realities are just not real.

Remember that night when she lay there crying because she could not comfort you the way she wanted? That day, when you saw them die and came back in a delirium. When you came and your hands touched and your souls meshed. Your blood flowed into her. The whites of their eyes never left you, not for a moment. Their mouths were ajar, the ghosts of their last screams frozen on their faces.The entire world decayed.

You were raving mad that night, she belonged to you and yet you didn't. You lay on her chest, stifling scream after scream. If only you had cried in the night. The fissions in your mind were solely yours. But she was the one who lay there crying.

She lay there crying because of things you never said.

"When your lonely heart has learnt its lesson
You'd be hers if only she would call
In the wee small hours of the morning
That's when you miss her most of all"

Land, blood, a people, they separate you.
Remember how your breath formed mint on hers. Trace out concentric circles on your palms.
Tall cities bred a physical love in its hidden corners.

There's nothing perfect about this.

"So don't ask me what I think of you
'Cause I'm not your kind
Write down all those little things I do wrong
That bring a stain to my eye

'Cause you build a thousand walls..."

She sat in her cellar, smoking the days last cigarette, not crying this time. The greys of smokey eyes lay smudged on wads of tissue.
Sometimes for her, you don't exist.

You, who think all stories are about you.

"And you can have it all,
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt.."

In dusty corners, let your names depart. Rub their jagged ends together and then despair when they don't fit in. Despair because they will never fit in.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Your scent is all I have of you.


"You can't forget, you can't forgive how I told you last time I saw you. It wants to make you cry, it wants to make you swear. I want you to know, every hour, every day I spent with you was forever. My mind goes astray, I swear it would be forever. I'm just awaking with the dusk on my eyes. I didn't give anyone else a love like this. Let all the clouds sing of my illusion. From a sky now it's turning blue. Keeping my smile safe, when I'm dying inside. And I can't forget, and I can't forgive how you kissed the pulse on my neck. Last time you loved me. It wants to make me die. It wants to make me bleed. I want you to know. I want to disappear, here in these words. I need you to know."

Klimt 1918 - Just an Interlude in Your Life

I love these lyrics. Thought I'll share them with you.
I'm inspired by the shape of Rickshaw. It's going to be my new building.
My mum would murder me if she finds I caught cold.
Stupid evening, if you don't want to talk, tell me soon, I'm going to fuck a tree trunk awaiting you.
You and your aliens from Saturn can go to hell. :p
And alot of other stupid things I want to yell at you.
Fuck depression, live happy. Lol.

In self-exile, another page turns.

I was trying to fix my hair, and then I'm drunk with speechlessness, leaving sweet imprints of destruction.
There's no reason to smudge it over.
The lyrics you sent me last night, made me cry.
Another towering city, black boots and black coats.
Can someone commit such a sin, that God cannot forgive him?
Imagine having your miseries photographed.

Mistletoe, he explained. Mistletoe.
"Merry Christmas dahlin', don't want one of these unscrupulous lads kissing you."
Another page turns.
They were always running and yet they never had any time.
You can't leave me. I let the flowers wilt in the open. I'm not the only one.
Watch me.

Do you want me to orbit you?
Another page turns.

Paper cut.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Strangers in the Night.

Dil-e-mann, Musafir-e-mann,
Meray dil, meray musafir,
Hua phir se hukam sadir
Ke watan badar hon hum tum

Dein galli galli sadain
Karein rukh nagar nagar ka
Ke suraagh koi paein
Kisi yaar-e-nama bar ka

Har aik ajnabi se poochein
Jo pata tha apnay ghar ka
Sar-e-koi nashenayan
Humein din se rat karna

Kabhi iss se baat karna
Kabhi uss se baat karna
Tumhein kya kahoon ke kya hai
Shab e gham buri balla hai

Humein ye bhi na thi ghanimat
Jo koi shumaar hota
Humein kya bura tha marna
Agar aik baar hota

My heart, my fellow traveler,
It has been decreed again
That you and I be exiled,
Go calling out loud in every street
Turning towards every other town
To search for a clue
Of a messenger from our Beloved.

To ask every stranger
Our way back home
In this town of unfamiliar folk
We drudge the day into the night
Talk to this stranger sometimes,
turn to that stranger every other,
How can I ever explain to you
How terrible a silent lonely night is.

It would perhaps have sufficed for me
But I did not have that comfort,
That there would a limit to any of this
I would have gladly welcomed death
If it came only once.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bright cities use lost love as fuel.

"Sa'ab there's a parcel for you"

His man-servant placed the red TCS box by his day-bed where he sat, rolling hash joint upon another, inhaling till it bit his lungs senses numbed into submission thoughts tranquil at a temporary peace. When he saw who it was from, he screamed.

The black paper crumpled beneath the long, pale white fingers on his delicate hands, hands all dentists and women would lust for. Three boxes in black inside one large box in red, he opened them one by one.
Tom Ford
Italian Cypress

The black paper broke the silence they had promised they would keep. A silent promise. He had always lived in silences and now he didn't want anything else, anyone else. They broke his silences and superimposed upon his concentric thought waves. Crest trough crest trough crest trough. Anti node Anti node anti anode.
Acqua di Gio
Giorgio Armani

The black paper betrayed no emotions. He screamed at the tall empty walls of his room, consumed by a rage he didn't know he possessed. He screamed at the floor that couldn't stop him from falling. And he had fell.
L'eau d'Issey
Pour Homme
by Issey Miyake

He screamed at the ceiling, at the moon, at the stars, at the mocking black sky.
"Why do they mock me?"
He has asked her once, in pain over things that eluded her..
She had thought for a long moment.
"Because they don't know consequence. Everything you do leaves a permanent imprint on the soul of the universe and everything you do will have a consequence. That is why they mock you."
He had never loved her more, loved her beyond anything he had felt for anyone else, because even her silences spoke to him. Because she seemed to understand the trajectories of his wretched soul. Doctors, psychologists, amulets, nothing worked. He was beyond them, beyond it all. Was he possessed, hurt, betrayed, autistic? they didn't know. He didn't know. He didn't know any other way. Only with her had he ever been human.
He screamed till it hurt his chest. Sat on the floor, panting in rage.

Black ink on pale blue sticky note. His black ink. Skywalker. MontBlanc.
"Because baby, this is sex on fire."
All the scents in the world, but hers didn't seem to be on it.

How many more people could he lose to beautiful cities?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Like other disasters.

The first time I fell in love was when a boy in the second grade hit me with a paper ball. I could not understand why he had singled me out for his attentions- I mean I could, but I just wanted to hear my girlfriends say it like it was their opinion. It was an exciting place to be in, a grand adventure. He was the class bully who smelled like Johnson's Baby Powder. I was the preppy little girl. Some matches are just made in heaven. Across the room I would stare at him sometimes, out the window others, dreaming of the glass slipper that could fit only my feet as they were so large, of the horse carriage like the one Cinderella got, of the Happily Ever After. My parents had to die for me to get a Fairy Godmother but that was just a minor inconvenience. First love does that to you.
One day, I finally mustered up all my passionate courage and poured my
eight-year-old heart out for him. The son of a bitch laughed!

Nursing a broken heart and a very bruised ego, I concluded bad boys are overrated. Next time I would bestow my affections on a worthier candidate who I found the following year as a new geeky, math whiz with freckles who I found shamelessly cute. Knowing that he was the One, I confessed my undying ardour. In my mind we were already saying our vows already. He did the only thing that could have possibly been worse: he cried!

Who can ever fall in love after that?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

You were...

For a moment I am eighteen again and I see myself walking into your room, lurking outside your oak door for ten minutes so that I'm not on time and not too eager. In this moment the world is new and fresh again as i collect my thoughts restore my caution and try to shelve the pain in my feet from two hours of ballet but even then i knew that all caution fails when it comes to you.

You sit on your effortlessly rich gray cushions on the white marble of your room. Something Persian plays in the background, some sarang, or whatever exotic instrument has struck your fancy at the time. You sit, smelling of the green green grass under four hours of rugby and a hot shower which still wets your hair, a tub of ice cream resting on your large gray pj's. By you, a silver tray with expensive glass cups and silver spoons and Hershey's chocolate and strawberry sauce. As I come and sit across you in my over-large tee I notice a new bruise by the lower left side of your mouth. War injuries, you'd say. You look at me and I look at you and we sit in silence letting it speak for now. We're both tired and hungry and just happy to be.

Aren't you going to share with me?
In my head I trace the sonorous timbre of your voice.
Not if I said Please?
One spoon.
And you lift a spoon of ice cream towards me.
I don't want one spoon. Kanjoos na ho toh!
Bhooki na ho toh!
You speak, your voice tainted with accents from all the languages you speak, all the countries you've seen, all the people you've been. I make my best puppy face, pouting for effect. You narrow your eyes, hiding the mischief. How well you used to hide.
Are you trying to seduce me?
A girl's gotta try.
We smile. Somewhere between those silences and winsome smiles, I lost to you, my heart, my soul turning into a fluid fire and meshing into you.
I wasn't going to give up.
You know what? Give me the damn ice cream and I'll hike up Margalla Hills with you. Whatever you want.
You consider it for a moment.
Then I can tie you a tree and stare at you.
You creep!
You said whatever I want.
Maybe I will tie you to a tree...
As if I ever could, I think as my eyes sweep over your arms. How safe you make me feel.
You're changing the plan already!!
...And leave you with the monkeys...
There are monkeys there?
You sweet, sweet flower child.
So I've heard. And then I'll tie bananas around your neck...
So that the monkeys practice sodomizing rituals on me? How thoughtful of you.
I'll make up for it by buying you coffee.

You throw your head back and laugh a laughter so rich so vibrant so untainted that it will live to haunt my lonely nights for years to come when I lie in the darkness thinking of you of the curves of your face of the bruise on the lower left of your mouth of what was and what could have been the door we never opened down the path we never took. Perhaps even then I knew it would be over so I preserve it all in my head, a second-by-second mental photograph, a movie that would play itself in my head over and over robbing me of any sanity. How I would throw away this world and everything in it to hear you laugh like that again.
I bite my lip.
Acha na! I have a better way to figure this out.
We'll compare hand sizes. Whoever has smaller hands gets the ice cream.
You smile. I hold out my hand. You take it in yours.
Nahi, whoever has lesser hair gets the ice cream
I groan. My tresses go down my waist, waving ever so slightly at the ends. I resort to drama.
Fine. I'll get my hair cut.
It's very long.
I like it long.
But it's so hot.
Come closer so I can decide that.
You tug at my hand and I come sit next to you.
I meant the weather.
You smile, slow and sure. I go for the trump.
No wait. Who ever can get waxed wins.
You just sit there and smile. In my mind, I trace a finger to make the crescent of your smile. One last move.
Give it to me or I'll take it and run.
A bluff so obvious.
Don't go anywhere. You can have it all.
I take it from you and turn to my side.
Aren't you going to share it with me?
But I gave it to you.
It's mine now!
All caution and exhaustion exhausted, you reach for the ice cream and put it on my face. This means war. There is vanilla and praline on your hair my face the white marble of your room. When our lips meet, there's laughter on yours. There's Hershey's strawberry syrup on mine.

Be eighteen for me tonight, won't you?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Because I know no other way..

"You're.. leaving?"

This time you're the one who says these words, the breath of that joint you smoked last night on my face. I want to reach up and stroke your hair, your long, wild hair that you love so much. You liked how I didn't try to kiss you even after all that time. You liked how I held you close and tried to comfort you, tried to take away the pain that makes you who you are. You liked how we sat in silence and I stroked your hair and we heard each other's heartbeat. And after all this time, that is all you want again. The simplicity of it is my undoing, the unapologising shamelessness. I like how you're so broken.
Guys shouldn't have long hair.
Don't try to change me.
Why would I want to change you?
You don't know how lovely you are..

I want to but I don't.

"What difference does a few thousand miles make? We're separated by infinity."
Have you had anything?
I believe in smoking on an empty stomach.
Kuch kha loh na.
I've missed you.
Your urgencies, your intensities, your extreme freedom.

It's strange. Sometimes your absences make me love you more than your presences.
I wrote you something last night but it didn't make any sense so I want to say 'Thank you' instead.
Since when did you care about making sense?
Leave all of this behind. Travel the world with me, become obscure with me. I will sell my father's land. We will never have to look back. Forget this all, forget all these people. Be mine.
I've found comfort in the calamity you caused.
I'm an architect. I'll build you a bridge.
Can I own the bridge?
Look at you... aren't you all about owning?

That's my answer.
What was the question?
You grin. My heart tweaks like we never left. Aren't you a devil in the morning? We pick off the same pieces and everything comes rushing back, the silver fountain we sat by on the clear sunny afternoon, the silver water on our feet a silver thread running down your neck
When are your parents coming to visit you?
They were supposed to be here last week.
Apparently it's not safe enough. It never will be.
Do you miss them?
Your skin against my feet as you took my shoes, walk with me barefoot on the tarmac in Lahore's rain again in the brazen streets of Defence to Hot Fuzon to have Death by Chocolate to have the man behind the counter look at us the way he did that one time his eyes wide with alarm how you don't let me protect you but shield me from this world
Let me help you design that kiosk once more. Paint me again, a monster, a goddess. Lie with me again on the roof of your car and count the stars with me. Lie with me in silence and let me stroke your hair.

New York City, I tell you.
People go to NYC so they can make out.
What?? You want to go to New York so you can make out?
Yeah, if that's what you want.
You crass, crass man.
So where are you going to be?
Near Times Square.
We can't do it in Times Square. People will think we're animals.
I push you away. You laugh. I relent.

Your eyes never leave me. I have to go.
It was nice running into you.
It was nice being your bridge.
It was nice owning you.
You smile. We leave it at that. We always leave wanting more.

But I push you away.
I will always push you away.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The nuclear story: what you didn't know.

You know where this story began.

1947: Pakistan emerged as the loser in a process of unequal partition. The British who had played the role of imperial masters for a century were suddenly in such a hurry to leave that territorial conflict brewed in what was once the gem in their crown. Kashmir and East Pakistan were sore spots from the inception.

Till the 1960s, Pakistan harboured a healthy military alliance with the US, one that fed its armed forces and conflict with India. But that was when this marriage of convenience underwent tension. By 1964, the US was supremely unpleased with it's former "most allied ally": Pakistan had failed to send troops in Laos, generate good publicity for the American debacle in Vietnam and was suspected of forging a secret alliance with China. Things did not improve when Pakistan used US-supplied weapons against India in 1965. The US refused to help. Pakistan was embittered. Sanctions followed.

East Pakistan was wrenched free from West Pakistan into Bangladesh with not little help from India in 1971. The Dacca racecourse surrender was humiliating at best for a country whose corrupt politicians had cashed on the rivalry against India to hoard votes. Ever the opportunist, Bhutto seized the moment.

It was against this palate that India hot-tested in 1974 . The test beneath the western deserts of Rajasthan was unauthorized and a betrayal of India's sponsors in the West and the East who had let the knowledge loose to help meet energy needs. While it might have been a strategic tactic for India, an arms race in the subcontinent was only natural as the world would see the two habitual enemies fight it out for regional supremacy. But the nuclear states became the ever-cautious vigilantes. Sale of nuclear components became strictly monitored and the IAEA would make Pakistan's nuclear ambitions doubly hard. Interestingly, no sanctions were imposed on India or on the nuclear states that had led it to this point. The world insisted that India's aspirations were purely peaceful. Agha Shahi recommended exploitation of the same logic without fear of sanctions. A peaceful nuclear programme, he said. Just like India. You can guess how many votes he got.

A diplomatic solution might have been in order. Pakistan sought a nuclear umbrella from the US, an expectation of guarantor against attack (something the US is willing to grant against Iran now!), but the US turned it away cold. Kissinger said that the Indian bomb was "a fait accompli and that Pakistan would have to learn to live with it." A hollow position, as they themselves knew.

And it was two months later that A.Q. Khan's fateful letter reached Bhutto.

History was to see an angry young man become a hero, the hero become a god, the god hatched a grand deception and this deception will fuel all our future wars.

** ** **

If you liked this, you should read 'Deception' by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott Clark.

Friday, July 3, 2009

"Like a shipwreck, we die inwards.."

Ten is not too old to be insecure. Not that it matters.

Her hair was cropped right below the ears in a fashion that would have been austere had it not been so unmanageable, wild. She was convinced she was born with those deep dark circles around her eyes. Dark-ish, she thought. Not thin, with arms as hairy as a boy's. Never likely to become a model or be loved because she didn't look like the girls who get a Happily Ever After and therefore didn't deserve it. Mirrors didn't feign captivation and no boys ever bothered. She was smart, but that doesn't really count. And so at ten, she could only reason that it had been a profound expression of love.

He looked like Shahrukh Khan, smiled like him, wore his hair and his clothes like him. A real charmer, incredibly nice, incredibly handsome, incredibly.. incredible. Sure, he was her cousin and was eight years older than her but he was always so nice, so attentive. He would have water fights with her and take her on his bicycle to buy ice cream at any hour. What more could a girl want?

On June nights when the heat was churning with a vengeance, they all slept in a small room together. His mother, her khala, who doted on her, and his sister, on the bed. And on a double mattress on the ground, the two of them slept. Him and her. As the cooler coughed out spurts of cold, cold air, she used to lie and conjure all sorts of fantasies and dreams. When she was older, she was going to be beautiful and all the boys who made fun of her now would double back and see her as she walked by in elegant indifference.

And on that sickly June night, when the mother and the sister were sleeping and the room resounded with their not-so-feminine-snores, he turned to her on the mattress and slid his hand around her waist. She stopped breathing. He inched closer till she could feel his breath on her face. Existence slammed upon her. In the darkness, she could make out the rough shape of him. Her heart beat faster than their snores. Louder. What's he doing?!

With disdainful ease, he pulled her closer and bought his lips down on hers. She felt shock, alarm, revulsion, and a hateful need to be loved. She shivered with the impact of it. She did not understand, did not fully know what was going on. She closed her eyes to the darkness, to what he was doing to her. The realisation of it all made her gasp and he smoothly glided his tongue in her mouth. Helovesmehelovesmehelovesme, she kept thinking. She was so, so scared. Please, please stop. Please make it stop. They're on the bed. Please wake up. Make it stop. Someone.. Oh my God.. oh-oh-oh my Goddd..

His hands went around her, in her loathsome hair, forcing her nearer and nearer. They explored, they punished, they did not ask forgiveness.
Helovesmehelovesmehelovesme. Close your eyes tighter. It'll all be over soon. It'll be over.

His hands started doing new things and filled her with alien feelings.
Helovesmehelovesmehelovesme. Her mind screamed but she was too scared to push him off, to offer any resistance. She shivered under it all but she couldn't make it stop.

Help me God. Please help me. You cruel, cruel God. Help me. Make it stop. Make it stop. MAKE IT STOP.

He shifted his weight on her and she didn't know what to do. Helovesmehelovesmehelovesme. What did anyone do when they were kissed? Would it be worse if he stopped or if he didn't? Would he stop loving her? What do you grope in a ten-year-old? She didn't have anything yet and especially not coherence. You sick sick sick bastard stop. Your mother.. your sister.. STOP!!

After a while, he slowly began to withdraw. Had his hands and mouth had enough? Did this mean he had stopped loving her? He lowered her shirt into place and turned around and went to sleep. Had she offended him somehow? When she heard his snoring, she turned around and started to weep into the pillow, hoping she wasn't making a sound.

She didn't know what to do or who to tell. His mother and sister had been there all along. Did they know?? What if they stopped loving her? What about her father? He didn't even let her talk to boys. He'd be so angry. He would lock her up and cut off her hair and shoot her through the heart. Would her own father kill her? or would he bury her alive? And her mother.. her poor, poor mother.. she had brought shame to everyone. She hated herself. It had been her fault. If only she could have snapped his arm off. If only she wasn't there at that horrible night. If only she wasn't a girl..If only she wasn't so ugly. If only she didn't want to be loved. If only God had done something.

At thirteen, she felt betrayed when he got engaged. In another couple of years, she felt dirty, used. But silence was the price life seemed to exact out of all women.
"Like a shipwreck, we die inwards". And so, he kept his knowledge and she kept her silence.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Page of his Diary.

"Come wander with me, she said,
Into regions yet untrod,
And read me what is still unread
From the manuscripts of God."

She was like that, I contemplated affectionately as I inured myself to the grief of her parting words. They played with the trajectories of a longing mind, the diffracted rays forming kaleidoscopic patterns on the mahogany table, paintings of her gentle soul. For a moment I thought I heard her vibrant laughter. The unrestrained freedom of it. The cadence of it. The intoxicatingly sweet rise and fall of it. Even in my head, she was hopelessly beautiful. And in my head, she was still mine.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Boom Boom Pakistan.

My heart was with Pakistan, my money with Sri Lanka. I mean, how many heart breaks can a person take?
Besides, our rosaries and hopes have bled for too long. Not anymore.

We all sat there in the large, air-conditioned TV lounge, with a tension so tangible, it was almost physical. I was hailed unpatriotic. That's our creed. Traitors are not only made on battlefields but on cricket pitches as well. You lost me in '99.

But you have just won me back. You won me over with the fall of wicket upon wicket. You won me over with the catches you did not miss. You had me at the pressure you put on the cricket tycoons. You shattered me with those beautiful boundaries and sixes. With the level headedness you handled yourself with. With each throw of the raging ball, with each time Muralidaran stared you down, with Malinga's majestic presence on screen, with the runs they shaved off, all our hearts pumped as one for you.

If I could have been there, I would have prostrated with you, I would have embraced you Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq and Umer Gul and Shoaib Malik. Gentlemen, you have offered us a silver, glittering gift of hope.

You with the abominable English, with the unibrows, you without the suaveness and fluidity of dream men, you with the unpredictable outcomes, you have done us all proud.

Friday, May 1, 2009

This time.. I'm sorry.

Can I have four hours of your life?

Why do you do what you do to me?

Silence makes strange shapes in the darkness, tells great lies, fuels the fantasies of a disillusioned mind. Silence makes strange sounds as the universe bursts out of leaking pipes. Silence feels cold and damp on your skin as it suspends in the air as I tell you I love you.

I hate you. I hate that you don’t exist. I hate that you’re not real. I hate that despite all that I still love you. And I hate that I’m telling you any of this.

You like how I love you without expectation or explanation. Like. When did my heart go missing? You’re sorry that you hurt me. You’re sorry that your God chose you as a vessel to cause me pain. You say you hurt because I hurt.

Will you be a vessel in this, a victim? Your God did not ordain you to this. It is not your existence that hurts, it’s you. You are your actions. You are the pain you cause me. You who is the grand subject of this Divine mess. Your biography that was written before you existed. Will you be the object then? Will you be the victim? This is not you. This is not who I fell for.

You say I am a part of you. You tell me tales from the years we met. You tell me about the girls that broke your heart. You don’t tell me what you want.

Sometimes, I want to ignore you. Sometimes I want to forget you, erase you, destroy you. Sometimes I want to hold you and pray for you. Sometimes I just want you.

You who say you will not come back but always do. So who is it that does the waiting? Why leave me hanging? We sit and consume time like it belongs to us. It doesn’t.

We were so lost. I found a friend. I found you. I fell in love. I found myself. I fell. I broke. I knew I had a heart because I saw it broke.

You cry over Karbala, over infants used as shields. Who were you before you locked your heart away?

Are these things I thought of when I was drunk?

Are you enjoying this? No. I am not meant to enjoy. I can’t enjoy. I don’t enjoy. Who were you before you locked your heart away?

Words. That is all you are to me. Words. No sight, so smell, no sound. No touch of your skin against mine. That is all you want to be. You, the tribal lord, who will date modern girls and marry your wretched cousin. You who break my heart.

Clerics who swear on holy ground. Get away from me. I hate you. You break me. I trust you. You’re jaded. Don’t leave me.

Will we talk again?

Yes. I have sinned.

Loving you is my single greatest regret.

Or not. I erred. Your call.

I spurn other men because they are not you.

You, who are not real and do not exist.

What have you done to me?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Daisies will be daisies.

“What’s in a name?” You say.


Have you ever felt a pang of annoyance when someone misspells your name? What about when someone you thought you made an impression on forgets it? Would it really matter if the love of your life calls you by someone else’s name right after he kisses you?

Imagine holding out your hand to perfect strangers and introducing yourself as someone else.

“Eyesha Iftekhar; and you are?”

“Razia Bokhari.”

“Cynthia Carmichael”

“Zain J.”

I practiced it out aloud and though I couldn’t say exactly what was wrong, it just didn’t feel quite right. These names were alien. They are for other people. So my question is this:

Is your name just like a habit? Does it need getting used to? If you were called ‘Victoria’ for the next twenty years, would you become a ‘Victoria’ or would you still be you? Would your life have been the same if you had a different name? Would you have been the same person?

I don’t think so.

As I stubbornly defend the right to pronounce my name in a certain way, I sardonically claim all rights to it. How many ‘i’s and ‘e’s I put in is a part of me. The order of ‘a’s and ‘e’s is purely mine. My name defines me. It’s the person who thinks my thoughts and writes my words and dreams my dreams. All these things come with this name, this identity. It is one of the things that make me who and what I am.

We live in a certain way because of the values imbibed at a young age or a rebellion against those values. Certain issues are important to us because of the interplay of forces we’ve seen in the immediate world around us. All our feelings and thoughts are a response to the experiences we’ve had. None of it is in isolation of the millions of variables of our everyday lives. So is there really such a thing as an individualistic individual? Or are we just products of circumstance?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Escaping your yesterdays.

Run into the fields with the weight of the world on your shoulders
Look back, their lying faces don't follow.
And into monsoon rains you'd spend by the window
He holds you just to look into your eyes.
Your heart stops.
Origami and scribbled notes remind you
Of things you are and people you've been,
Sometimes it's good to remember
Ink stains like hearts pressed in secret diaries,
Pieces of you not meant for the world.
You hate how he makes you lose control
As he tilts his head and smiles,
Your heart breaks.
He knows
How you let him break you and fall in love again
You can not think so you run.
He smiles some more into your eyes
And as he kisses your soiled fingertips, he sighs,
"Tarso ba garzai te bela mana?"
"How long will you wander without me?"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Was there something you left behind?

What do you think will happen if you wake up tomorrow to find yourself dead?

Your mom will cry because she cries on all funerals. And weddings and births and family reunions. She will make this about the cycle of life. She will make this about God. She will make this about admonitions and second chances and retribution and what not. She will cry because she told you she would never talk to you after that last fight you had. Her wish came true.

Your dad will cry because a part of his life has gone. The part that fetched him water in the middle of the night and gave him his medicine and straightened his tie on most mornings and laughed too much. He will make this about your achievements which say nothing about the person you were but volumes about the one he expected you to be.

Your older sister, Dee, will cry because that is what’s demanded of her. Somewhere in her mind, she will already be using the hair products you hid from her. She will make this about mustering attention. How all this has traumatized her tremendously and how she needs all the love and support anyone can muster.

Your little sister, Emm, will try to cry but will probably end up not doing it as she’s awkward in these kind of social situations. She’ll condition herself to stretches of silence and mindless gazing in the air because she thinks it’ll give her some depth. There will, however, be more closet space for her and you really must be grateful for what little you have. She might miss you at times because you put up with her. That’s more than most people can say. She’ll make it about the importance of self-sufficiency.

Your brother, Jay, will cry a little because he’s not as much of a man as he thinks he is. Don’t fool yourself: there are no feelings there, just a little fear. He’s still a little afraid of the dark though he doesn’t admit it. There will be a little relief, because he won’t feel outdone now. He’ll make this about facing up to insecurities.

The youngest one, Princess, will cry because she doesn’t know what to do. You were kind to her when you weren’t busy being a grown-up bitch. She’ll make this about understanding a life she will probably never understand.

People will come and cry. They will talk about how you were every parent’s dream. How you were a good person; responsible, thoughtful, beautiful. You would have done great things. Secretly, they will talk of their children’s schools and newly discovered recipes and corrupt politicians and hopeless relatives. They will make this about social networking.

It’s funny how good things are said about you only when you’re not there to hear them. How so few of them are said before people turn to more favoured topics of conversation. And how even though this is your day, they still manage to make it about something else. They still manage to make it about themselves.