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.

Advertisements

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)

 

 

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.

 

 

How Can I Explain Colours to Someone Who Can’t See The World Visually?

 

This writing prompt is in continuation with the  writing prompt provided by a fellow writer, Kiran Ashraf. Here’s how I would attempt to explain a few colours to a visually impaired person.

Blue:

Blue is an array of emotions in complement with light.
Azure blue: the apparent colour of the waves as they lap against each other in the ocean, lapping against your ship as you steer towards your destination.
Sky blue is the colour of sky peeking through the fluffy clouds, making your heart dance in excitement upon viewing them.
Baby blue is the colour of a glimpse of a baby’s eye; purity and innocence of infancy.

Pale blue is the feeling when you are down and depressed when the life seems to be sucked out of you.
Aquamarine blue is when you are within the depths of the ocean, swimming and trying your hard to catch your breath whilst learning to swim with the dolphins.

Blue is happiness, blue is calmness, too less of blue is depression.

 

Pink:
The warmth you feel as one compliments you.
The hurt in the eyes when someone betrays you.
The soft kisses on a baby’s cheek.
The feelings of infatuation and puppy love when it’s your beloved you are about to meet.

 

Brown:

Brown is the shade under the cool neem tree while you eat your packet of Cocomos- the wooden colour of the biscuits filled with sweet milk chocolate.
The brown chai you sip nonchalantly, while munching on crispy brown onion pakoras, bursting with flavour in your mouth as the children play and blow sand on the beach as the sun shines at pre-dusk prayers.
The sandy camel that grunts nearby, being guided by its owner, chewing pungent brown niswaar with brown paan stained teeth. His dirty clothes reeking of a hard day’s work; the browning of his clothes.
And as you sit down for a quiet reading of your book on your favourite wooden armchair, ‘his’ brown stained fingers and that sharp smell of cigarettes on his breath remind you, of brown tobacco.
The sleek wooden cane of my dada was brown. Stained with experience and weather- beaten.
Soft brown eyes that promise hope when you look at a child that you’ve just helped. The freckles on his young face are the brown mementos of a memoir of summer spent in play or heavy work picking earthy bricks in scorching heat.

And the earth itself; the dust which we are made of and to which we shall return is brown.

Green:

The dome of Prophet(SAW)’s mosque, where tears know their way down your cheek without hesitation, that is green.
The first leaf that springs forth from a seed you planted in your flower bed to welcome new beginnings, that’s green.
The noisy desi truck you passed, clangering and chiming its way down a bumpy and downtrodden road, on Karachi’s roads- that’s green.
The envy you feel when someone else is succeeding and you balance it out with a prayer for them- that’s the ‘true green’.

Dr Hafsa Siddiqui