“Stranger in the Town of Love”

Faces merry and bright,

Cuddling lovers in the arms of yore,

I watch them all…

With my own artillery of

Dusky eyes and cold sighs.

Years have passed and I still remain

A stranger in the town of love.

Giggling children

Cheery smiles

Pouring forth from

Toothless smiles.

Mothers looking on

With a mix

Of annoyance

And pride.

And I still remain-

A stranger in the town of love.

—Dr Hafsa Siddiqui

 

 

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Karachi

“Karachi”

Who travels by tram
In the old city
Of Karachi?
The ancient tracks bearing
Trash amidst
A dilapidated locality.
Wafting through
The waves of stink
The tracks
Speak a silent history
Of the old bustle of life.
Where life was valued
And things not left to ruins.
Yellow bricked buildings
Of the Victorian era
Were still cared for.
White sheets hung out to dry…
Narrow balconies in
The Saddar area,
Probably didn’t leak water
Of dubious origins;
Whether it is from the water tankee
Or used and filthy;
Cascading over urban terrains
Reaching your being
As you had to trudge along your destination.
The urban geography
Still had parks and clearings
Where children would play cricket
Without fear of breaking a window pane;
Before they disappear to escape the offence
And subsequent financial strain
Incurred by an angry neighbour.
But my city, is still breathing and alive…
It bears the scars and ruins of the splendor
Where once the octagenerians thrived.
The city of Edhi and his dedicated wife,
The city of philanthropists;
The city that houses many tribes
Foreigners and locals
From Afghanis to Bengalis
And the migrants from all tides.
Where one can sip doodhpati
At a dhabba hotel
And enjoy a crispy warqi paratha
With a thaal of malai
Either with friends
Or with family.
Shop for books
At old book stalls
Smelling in the fragrance
Simultaneously;
Of printed word
And smog.
The city I call home;
The city of lights.

—–Dr Hafsa Siddiqui

Inspired by the old railway tracks near the Tuesday Bazaar in my city and a few other things..

Decipher

Dedicated to Ammi n all the buzurg (elderly) of our family.❤

“Decipher ”

I’d love to
Read the stories
Engraved in the wrinkles
Around your eyes
And your laugh lines.
I’d love to
Decode the toil
You have endured
Speaking volumes
On your callous hands.
I’d love to decipher
The pain in your old weary eyes.
I’d love to pray
And ease your
Years of hard work
In concealing
All of the encoded mysteries
Of your tired, sage soul.

Dr Hafsa Siddiqui

“Footsteps”

images (47)

I’ll walk
in your footsteps, Chacha.
I want to be protected
And see the light of day
Just like you do
With your cool
And nonchalance
For everything
That doesn’t
Or shouldn’t
Merit a dismay .
Years have lapsed
Since I walked
With my head in fog
And tread those footsteps
Etched in sand.
Feebleness now adorns
Your health
Dementia runs deep
In your crest.
I wonder
If I should
Trace again those footsteps
Etched in sand.

Dr Hafsa Siddiqui

February 2017