What kind of a nation is this?
Deleting love from its curriculum
The art of poetry
The mystery of women’s eyes
What kind of nation is this?
Battling each rain cloud,
Opening a secret file for each breast,
Filing a police report for every rose…
~ Nizar Qabbani
they say is the unity
with the people
and the growing things.
And our body
is the house
of our soul.
So, let’s fill the distance
of our souls
with our bodies.
Neend us ki hai, dimaag us ka hai, raatein us ki hain
ye zulfein jiski baazuon par pareshan ho gayin.
Sleep is his, pride/head is his, the nights are his
on whose shoulder your curls became scattered/tangled
Javaab naama siyaahi ka apni hai vo zulf
kisuu ne hashr ko ham se jo sawaal kiya
The answer for the ink (of our deeds) would be those tresses
if anybody will ask us the question on the day of judgement
– Mir Taqi Mir
Idhar aao tumhari zulf ham aarasta kar dein
jo gesu ham sanwaareinge kabhi barham nahi honge
Come here; let me straighten your troubling hair locks
when I set them right your tresses shall never ever be entangled again
Kya ho gaya hai gesuu-e khamdaar ko tere
aazad kar rahein hain giraftaar ko tere
Ab tu muddaton se hai shab-o-roz ruu-ba-ru
kitne hi din guzar gaye didaar ko tere
What has happen to your curly hair
they are releasing your captive now
It’s been long since we’ve come face to face night and day
many days have passed without any sight of you
– Jaun Elia
Painting by John William Godward
They were wandering, holding each other’s hand on the University campus.
They went to the parking to find a personal space, and like any young couple they were enjoying snuggling and cuddling.
He remembered he was gazing at her lips while she was telling him that she likes reading poetry, and is working on a Samuel Huntington’s poem (yes the man from clash of civilization), so he went to Chawri Bazaar to get some books for her. There he saw his father- a teacher who taught him about South Asia- and his dead uncle, talking to each other. Surprisingly they didn’t notice him.
Again they are together, wandering on that road that leads to the boy’s hostel from the University’s Post office. Many gossips echoed from somewhere in his mind about her multiple affairs and past lovers. He only remembers there were multiple voices and he didn’t pay much heed to them.
Suddenly, a contingent of soldiers appeared marching on the same road. One of the soldiers shot them with his gun. The bullets hit them but there were no wounds, or feeling of death. Instead of blood there was a profusion of perfume from their bodies and a mystical fragrance all around.
A woman with too much makeup appeared from behind that soldier’s contingent. She offered them dinner in exchange for the trouble they had been through. She said “it’s a Valentine’s Day party” and they must come. They realized their bodies still had the smell of the fragrance that had emanated from the hit of bullets.
She asked the woman, “What cake is going to be served at the party?”
The woman asked her if she had a suggestion, and she offered a most beautiful name- but suddenly the boy woke from his dream and that name drifted beyond the reach of his memory….
(Photo credit: Stella De Genova)