Sunday, 17 March 2013

A Poem

Small girls with little dolls in their laps
In the middle of a burning sun heat
Under the shadow of a Mulberry tree
Are building castles of mud for their dolls.

They all eating ripened mulberries.
Their lips are reddish.
They don’t need lip-stick to wear on their lips.
They smear the mulberry juice on the dolls’ faces too.
Dolls cheeks are flushed like the cheeks of a bride.

Small boys
Under the shadow of chopal
Few yards ahead -playing marble game.
A game without rules.
They scream, call names, laugh, show anger
Get hurt at times too.
Complaints begins,
“Why did you cheat?”
“Cheating is sin- you are a sinner”
They devise another game for the undecided winner!
They start running towards an open hut at the centre of the village.
Breathless as they are
One of the boys foot starts bleeding.
Everybody gets concerned
A small girl tears her doll’s clothes she made with love
To put on his injured foot.

Boys are no more concerned about the winner now.

A cry of cheating soon forgotten.
Complaints stop, accusation stops
Everyone seems happy now.

They make up their amazing demands now
A glass of water, I am thirsty, please!
One brings the onion,
Another dried up naan, a piece of Gur.
Azan begins on the loud speaker
Everyone seems soft
Everyone becomes attentive.

Mothers and grandmothers in their lifeless clothes
With silent fingers
Straighten their wrinkles
And from time to time
Try to overcome their boredom.
They exchange the hottest news of the village and nearby villages.
Stories they all share- with curiosity
Stories they all share with utmost interest.

Grandma comes out of the house, wearing heavy black shawl.
Caring smile on her face
Or an instructive gesture?

A small dog
Moves around, as if lost- looking for something.
A caravan of camels passes – silently
In a straight row, like prisoners of war.
Boys start running with caravan and makes funny voices.

Dark clouds pile up above the sky.
Sun looks dim now.
Lightning and thunderstorm starts
Heavy rain comes heavily.

Boys run to the mosque.
A small girl shouts in the face of everyone:
‘Heavy rain has come girls!
‘Heavy rain has come girls!
‘The castles have fallen girls!

In panic
They take their shawls
Leaving behind crumbling castles
They built with love.

Breathlessly they run to their own houses!
Houses with no windows!
Houses with no doors!
For wars have made it so!
And I stand alone
Preparing to sing the last song
In David’s melody
In a funeral mask
The song of death dancing on my land.
The land of proud, but miserable Pashtuns.

Karachi, March 2013

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