‘Bottle Like People’

‘بوتل جیسے لوگ’

سنا ہے ہزار آنسووں کا سفر
وہ بے بہا نمکین آبشار کا گزر
شروع اک ننھا خدشہ مثل صفر۔
بوتل جیسے لوگ بہت
خدشوں کو اپنے میں بھرتے ہیں
سنیچ سینچ کر اپنے غم بھرتے ہیں
آہ و الم کی شراب کشید کرتے ہیں
حتیٰ کہ ڈاٹ دور تلک پھٹتی ہے
رنج کی چاشنی لہو لہو شراب انڈلتی ہے۔
چیخوں اور غصہ کی متلی پھر
اک بار پھر ‘سکھ’ میں بدلتی ہے۔

‘Bottle-like People ‘

The journey of a thousand tears,
That cascading fall of salty water,
Begins with a single fear.
Bottle the fears
Stuffing and shoving
Every bitterness
A flavour –
Like aged wine.
Till the time comes
Out pops the tightly held cork
Effervesence of emotions stiffled.
Rinse and wipe your mouth,
Afterwards like a good purgation.

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To Whom it May Concern

Something I wrote yesterday but didn’t share…

Shyd k teray Dil mein utar jaei meri baat.

*Thursday, 8th Ramazan*

A few hours before I go to get my mother discharged from the hospital, I try to purge my feelings. Wipe my mouth after the acidulous vomit and carry on with the daily chores…

Alhamdulilah for the less-read and simple people. Because of them, the world is still functioning.
Two kinds of people have let me down; the religious lot and the intellectuals.
The religious are more concerned with matters that they think are more worthy of earning reward. Like charity. Like fasting (for it is Ramazan, ofcourse), and praying and reciting Quran. And taraveeh. All noble acts.
I’m reminded of a few Surahs and ahadith SAW highlighting the importance of being there for a Muslim brother over all these acts.

But I think I’d refrain- for ofcourse if it *ever* mattered, these self-proclaimed Ustadhs and Aalims and brothers and sisters, the proponents of Islam would be practicing it.
Islam hasn’t let me down. It’s Muslims. But I guess it’s okay. For these very Muslims have let their brothers down in other dire situations. Syria. Burma. Myanmar. Palestine. Kashmir. Watch the faces of these brethren while you chomp on your popcorn.
Me? I’m just a small fry.

Coming to the intellectuals…
The so-called visionaries. The ones who change the world. But sadly. They change their own little world. Discuss ideas. Post a few bookmarks. Post a few books. Engage in intellectual discourse for movements that never touched their own lives.
But- if someone they know of is suffering with severe illness or in need of blood for their mother’s surgery the next day, oh they’d rather contemplate on the intracacies of poesies of Jaun or Ghalib sighing over lost-love.
You know what is the malignancy of our generation? Indifference and advanced education. Why do I say this? Highly qualified intellectuals, I’ve observed, have a selfish attitude. ” The *Me* Syndrome.”
Mujhe yeh mil jaei.
Mujhe yeh na kerna paray.
Mujhe Kia Mila?

Did these well-read individuals- the custodians of literature and language, ever consider doing any meaningful action?

Think. Think some more.Keep contemplating while some one you might know, gives up on life.
On hope.

So, to the intellectuals and the religious lot:

Allah Kisi k kaam Nahi rokta. App Nahi honegay. App k bajai Woh Kisi ghair se kaam ley le ga. Charity begins at home.

Good afternoon.

The ‘Never Ending’ Car Ride

The ‘Never Ending’ Car Ride

Strapped by force
In the back- seat of a car.
Going to a destination
That’s been told
‘ It’s not too far.’
‘ We’ll be there, before you know it
And have a picnic
In the park.’

Little does the ‘little one’ know,
The lapse of time
For boredom easily grows.
Insipid interiors
Memorized to every cranny.
Even the hair strands of Mommy,
Visible from the back.

“Are we there, yet?”
You cry out.
“Not yet, dear-
There’s a distance to go.”
Traffic on highway.
Cars and lights.
Take their shape into
Mirthless skies.
Scorching heat
Sweaty palms
” Can we turn the AC on?”

“Are we there, yet?”
The mother sighs.

And the child
With no reply
Learns to distract himself.
Sings a song.
Count the trees.
Pick out shapes
In the fluffy clouds.

“Are we there, yet?”
No reply.
So, the child drifts off to sleep.

Sooner than he knows,
He’s out again.
Unbuckled,
And carried in arms.
Carried off to the destination,
He had waited and dreamt for so long.

Once awake,
He will play again.
With butterflies
And gaze at rainbows
And raindrops
That he can taste.

The journey of life, my dear-
Isn’t too long.
You keep asking
“Are we there yet?”
And you’ll be at the park soon.
Run, skip and laugh
With your friends in joy.
Paradise is only a patient car ride away.

©Dr Hafsa Siddiqui

Photo: Dubai ( 2011)

 

 

Scars

“Scars”

Men with scars
Etch their own marks
Onto the souls
And bodies
Of the women they meet.
Like a blade
Knows its own way
When it meets the skin,
Men with scars
Know the path
To trace onto new flesh.

Men with scars,
End up themselves as scars,
Onto a bleeding derm.
They hurt you,
And then stay
Forever onto your skin
Reminding of the pain…
The sweet ache
That a scratch brings.
The uneven skin folds
That a scar tissue forms
Forever changes
The terrain of your skin
And soul.
Twisted and distorted;
With its own beauty-
Like a beauty mark.
Or a signature of the pain.
That’s done its duty.

©Dr Hafsa Siddiqui (2017)

Pompeii

Pompeii

How much time lapses
Between decades
But one glimpse
At a lover’s face
And the heart travels eons,
And traverses time.
Emotions gone cold,
Are stoked anew.
As sweltering volcanic ash,
blows away the blows of time.
Mt Vesuvius bellowing
The hot flames of fire
For memories embalmed
Over the Mediterranean earth,
Countless times.

© Dr Hafsa Siddiqui

Picture credits: Google images

 

The Gift (poem)

The Gift ( poem)

Suraiya coaxed her daughter Amna,
A dingy room is where she took her.
Rites of passage to womanhood
Is marked with a gift.
No other words exchanged
For the girls at school
Bullied her for being a ‘ girl’.
‘Not yet a woman’.
The little girl oblivious
To the slurs
Found meaning all too soon
Without verbal or sacred explanations.
A razor raised by rough hands
Spread and touched her
Where no one should.
Excruciating pain.
And shrieks.
But no muscle on
Her mother’s face flinches.
“It will be fine.
You’ll be a woman.”
The only words uttered,
To a bleeding seven year old.
Legs tied.
Groggy with pain.
Still no sign of painkillers.
For fourteen days,
She cries and bears
The rites of passage.
And finally on the fifteenth day,
She has earned the rite.
She crosses over to the ‘other’ life;
With the gift of infection,
Another ‘woman’ had died.

—Dr Hafsa Siddiqui (2018)

Commentary:

FGM is an unIslamic and barbaric practice that must be banned and condemned. It has gone on for far too long in the  fake shroud of cultural practices. Women for women. Women for their own daughters and sisters.