This is from the POV of Naghma, wife of a famous Urdu poet Faraz and the mother of Ziniya and Zareena. Let's go with her a decade back in time.
Winds whistled to me all sounds of joy the day I got heartbroken. If some files are stored in a harddrive, as I learnt in college, they can be viewed or manipulated by the user when they wish, if the file format allows it. Nonetheless most files can be easily deleted. But never had I learnt that a piece of information sprung up on display out of nowhere while a user couldn't stop thinking about this new window as everything else ceased to exist in their mind. Viruses caused such a thing to pop up on display, or ransom-wares did but that wasn't very common. Something similar was happening to me that day. My beautiful 7 year old Ziniya and her cute little sister Zareena were almost lost in their own worlds and for a moment I thought it was best because I needn't explain them everything right then and there. It always feels like the questions they asked later on were never really answered the way they deserved to be answered. Especially the questions Ziniya asked. Our answers were never enough to end all her questions. She was searching answers herself. She was gonna do that for a long time.
Faraz, my husband, had met with an accident. It took me a long time to register that in my memory. I was numb like a needle after hearing he had serious injuries and thinking of it now I feel as if the most probable emotion should've been sadness but for me it was utter emptiness that flowed through my veins. As if the most beautiful voice I had fell for just dissolved in the wind. Poems he wrote rose up in air and I could hear syllables ringing through my heart but that voice broke in the middle, as if those poems couldn't breathe anymore. I loved him because it was impossible not to love him. But just like that window which springs up out of blue over a desktop, I was having other thoughts. I remembered far back in time when our dastarkhan was the happiest place to sit around and gossip. Days went by like a beautiful dream one might have and remember some of it while forget the most. Ziniya fought Faraz over Seek Alfam and Zareena munched on all delicacies she had always enjoyed.
Faraz had a special bond with Ziniya. He read to her his ghazals and she corrected him more than any professional editor of that time would dare do. Well, how could someone critique Faraz? He was the best of his time and if time had allowed it, he'd have been the best of all times. I swear to God, I had married and loved the best person I could ever find. Ziniya went with him to everywhere he'd go. She'd sit on the stage with him as he narrated his poems and sung the songs he wrote while she interacted with everyone she could find around. His friends called her Zaheen. "You're wrong, it's gotta be written this way" she'd tell Faraz, "no, you don't know how to do it. I know! I know!" And Faraz would smile and chuckle. Would sometimes even write just the way she dictated. Only that she couldn't write whole pieces until then. Faraz completed everything. From the half verses to the family that we were a part of. He tied everything together in a thread of love and poetry.
Anyways, personal computers were not so common in my graduation days. But I have a more vivid memory for recalling experiences than a computer does. It's not blank 0s and 1s and colours that they create but an image that's engraved in my mind with all its emotions intact. I wish I had learnt something better than computer science. Something that could've helped me with what life was gonna make me go through. But regretting hardly helps, that much I know. This image is of the time when I first heard him narrate a poem.
He was far younger back then and so was I. It came back to me when I read a poem in his journal and something inside be asked - Do you remember? And with all my heart I answered - Yes. I do! I went to tell him I had heard him for the first time when I was a 6th grader and he reacted a lil shocked but then smiled casually. Maybe a part of me fell right there in that hall all those years ago. And doesn't destiny have a way of connecting all our broken parts together? In Faraz I found what happiness looks like. It was his face. The touch of his beard on my fingertips and those eyes in which a shipful of hearts could drown. These modern day maniacs running behind stupid beauty standards can hardly understand how someone becomes attractive by their personality and not just their looks.
He looked to me like a person hailed down from heaven, just for me. Not to blame these kids, coz we were kids too once. But maybe what I saw in Faraz nobody else can ever see. I saw my definition of beauty getting personified in every breath that he took. I miss him a lot. And I know somewhere beyond this universe where Allah will only bestow peace, I'll meet him soon. He's still with us. Just not the way I remember him. Yet the old Faraz is still visible when I look into his eyes. He's still there, just as hopeful as me that we'll see one another the way we did for the first time. We used to have a lot of small arguments and also a few fights but it was always Faraz's heartfelt way of showing his love that made all parts of our relationship beautiful. Not just beautiful but memorable.
Ziniya, Zareena, Yusuf and Habiba, all grew up. But a part of me is still left there in that day when everything changed. Some parts of Ziniya too are left there. A few of everyone else as well. But destiny has a way of tying broken threads together. I believe Allah has something better in store. I was told a lot of times to move on but people don't understand how love never leaves you once it truly begins. Faraz will always be for me the love of my life and it's impossible to think beyond that. Whatever life throws at me, I'll smile and read aloud - Aye sirfiri hawa tu bujha ke dikha usse. Wo nanha sa Chirag jo jugnu ke par me hai.
If you can still hear me before I speak, my dearest Faraz, I'd say,
"Let's dream for us a life so lovely, That nothing on earth could make us unhappy."
That day when he left saying, "It's already too late! I must leave."
I should've uttered, "My love, it's too late to let you go." But everything happens for a reason. I've loved a different side of him in all these years and I can't believe myself how much I loved him. It's beautiful. He's beautiful. And so are all the lives we created together. There's a poet in Ziniya, blooming just like her father. There's something of Faraz in all of our children. I find my love when I'm with them. They're all so lovely.
I've known love and I've known hatred. What I never knew was peace. Maybe that's why I fell for you. And that might be the reason why I guess love makes most sense to me while you are here. Right in the centre of my heart you're like a stone falling into an ocean and sending ripples all across it. Waves of beauty and bliss crash upon the shore of my endless longing to be with you. It floods my heart and overflows into eyes but I hold it back coz it tastes like you. Every drop of tear has your essense mixed in every molecule that it's made up of. And happiness flows into my bloodstream when a smile spreads across your lips.
From the insides of my mind a sandstorm rises and whirls a thousand revolutions every second with just your picture at the centre of it. Roses die in hopes to be held by you. Periwinkles perish just thinking how beautiful it'd be to brush against your fingers. I don't know if my soul's a rose or a periwinkle but it longs to be dissolved into you. So much so that when I take in a breath your chest rises and when I exhale it goes down. Is it too much to ask for? I've loved you too much and to the ends of the world I've sent my ambassadors telling everyone how much you mean to me. These words, foolish yet forlorn ambassadors, have always given a medium to sound waves travelling in the depths of my conscience. I still find it hard to explain my words in words but if someone can feel dead words then I guess it turns them into poetry.
You turn dead words into poetry. You breathe into them the soul of a seafarer searching home in an abyss. A desert hunter drinking eternal bliss from every mirage he sees in distance. I've found heaven in you and that's the end of all hopes I've ever had. For all that it means I'll ask you to hold my hand like a rose you'll kiss and keep safe in your diary. I'll ask you to know that if everything comes crumbling down, I'll build myself an imaginary world and die in there with you. It's beautiful how you're the centre of all eternity I've passed by. I lived a million lives in a moment with you. I've lived more with you in a day than I'll live in all years to come. Since you've given me eternal lives, I must give you something too. I give you my world. All of it. Every bit of it.
In dusty space between planets which sing songs to one another, I've heard your name a countless times. You live upon clouds and staying up through the night you roam with stars across the dark canvas of peace. You're not just a thought that visits me all day long but also a dream I've caged my heart in for all eternity. You're the most beautiful page of my story. The one I never wanna turn. The one I wish to make into a book. This one page became the whole novel and I lost all reason to go beyond it because nothing beyond it is going to be just as beautiful as it is. I loved this page and I've loved you too. You're everything awesome and lovely as hell. You're all the meaning that exists. You're all the wonder that survives the end of magic. You're the magic that I'll always fall for. Your love is one thing I wish carrying with myself to my grave. Like a magical dust that'll live in my bones as I slowly become a part of earth. And when there would be nothing left of the body that I have, my grave will smell like you. And I'll come back to life. An endless life that's full of you. You'll become my true heaven. In this world and in what exists beyond it, I'll only crave to have you with me.
To the most beautiful place I've ever visited, I wish I had left a postcard in your heart. In it I'd write a verse or two, just telling how much I love you. But maybe it's better if all love doesn't find expression. Some love should always be felt without expressing. Just like I feel you through this distance and can do so for all eternity. Because it's not around "with me" but in "within" me that I find you. A part of me. A part I'll always cherish. A part I'll always keep safe.
Upon the walls of my heart I've hung your portraits. Just like that, you made me beautiful too.
In the back of my head memories and dreams play hide and seek. From the sky rains down a plethora of blueberries which taste like honey. In the broad daylight a shepherd walks the streets of Devli to pick up what's left of the fallen blessings. It rains blueberries in autumn and cinnamon in summers. This part of the sky is broken and when one may look above there's something odd about the clouds. They say a hundred years ago one man fell down from there and he was nothing short of an Indian Michael Jackson. He danced in the rains and sang in the winters wearing a black cap and a fit coat. He talked to people in gestures and his steps were too simple yet his style too profound. No one could see the upper half of his face. Those who looked him into eye instantly died. His name was Flam and nobody had seen him correctly in past sixty years yet almost everyone had saw a figure of him in their backyards from time to time. Devli was a strange place but the one where the sky was open for things to fall down. Where from? Only the shepherd knows.
The shepherd was my brother. His name was Harsh and the most memorable thing about him was his stoned left eye. It wasn't a thing someone put in there, just the fact that he saw something and his left eye turned rock hard like a stone. He could still see with that eye but only when there was something unusual to see. Like the fallen blueberries. Not everyone could see them but Harsh could. He brought them home and blended the invisible berries with milk and gave me a drink. I drank it thinking my brother was being kind to me but the forbidden fruit often makes one sick. It didn't make me throw up but for a moment the colors in front of me just merged into one another. The pink of bedsheets and the white of the marble floor just went deep into one another while the red of the ceiling overshadowed all colours I could see. In distance rang the bell of thunder and I woke up to the sound of his hysterical laugh. He smiled at me as I averted my gaze from his stoned eye. He said, "My brother, you'll see what I see from now on. This town is such is a beautiful town, isn't it? Haha!" He scoffed and in tints of sarcasm I could see through him a different world.
I saw a silver bell dangling down a chain of thoughts in which every link shines with radiance of a memory long dead. It's of interest, passion, passing and pleasure. I see through him as he laughs. The wall behind him shows a vacuum tunnel. I extend my hand towards him and putting it on his shoulder I feel nothing. As if my sense of touch no longer exists. I try to shake him because in my mind I've held him. But he doesn't move one bit. The tunnel grows darker and colder as I keep staring into it. He takes out a moment from laughing and repeats, "Oh my brother, my beloved friend, why don't you want to see what I can see?" Goosebumps on my arms and feverish dilemma takes a toll on me. I make a bad choice. I crawl towards the wall. The vaccum tunnel sucks me in.
It's cold as ice and I was sure I'd get frostbite from the moment I entered it. Darkness in that tunnel smelled like cardamom and air tasted sweet. Yes there was air in the vacuum tunnel just like all laws failed in the town we lived in. Falling straight ahead I got snowfall covering my hair and specks of it sticking to my face. Taking out my handkerchief I put it on my mouth. Still up in air with nothing to hold on to I was helpless. But snowflakes turned into petals and trees replaced the clouds above. Now petals, thorny and fragrant scratched my face and soothed my wounds. The tunnel ended as the handkerchief blew away with the wind. I was standing in a place where cherry blossoms held intact every stone to the ground beneath. The red of blossoms was maybe blood but I didn't know it right then.
A loud thud before my descent into the tunnel finally stopped. It hurt really bad. My lower back must've snapped a little or maybe I wished it had. Receding into oblivion all my senses left me astray. For next few moments colours merged into one another. Then the music came on. The loud Beatles and Led Zeppelin played alongwith local folk. Opening my eyes I saw the winds blowing fallen leaves off the ground until the music slowed down. As it did, Flam appeared in distance, dancing with a stick in his hand. His cap drawn forward to hide the upper half of his face and his legs twisted from dancing from all those years in rain and heat. The Jazz halted in background and the blowing leaves disappeared in the wind.
Flam stood tall in front of me with his round hat casting an illusionary shadow onto his face. He gestured me to get up from the ground and I did as he said. Then holding his stick in both of his hands he broke the stick in two. Where the stick broke I could see sharp edges. Just as shocked I was to see him I was also baffled thinking what to do next. Before my thoughts could breed actions, Flam threw the broken pieces of the stick from the opposite of the pointy end at me. I dodged one piece but the second hit my arm and pierced through it. There was no pain. My sense of pain had long left me. There was only weakness.
Flam started dancing as soon I became delirious again. But this time, not to the music but to a voice. The voice I knew deep in my heart as Flam's own. The voice echoed, "If a place in my heart could keep secrets safe then I don't think I'd know myself any better than others. Yes I've lost my way back home but the home I've lost was never mine. I dance to the tune of happiness that's eternal and endless. Yet everything without ending can never be a happy thing. There are only happy endings, not beginnings. This eternity makes me sick. Can you end it for me? I need one more eye to go back. Just one more eye and I'll be home."
I blurted out, "B...Buut..but, out of so many people why only me? And why only Harsh? Why do you need eyes only for us?" Flam stopped moving. He said, "Because I found the most trustworthy of eyes in your family. Your father was my friend. He died right here. And if you don't listen to me, so will you. Your brother traded your eyes for his life. And now I'll have your eyes or either you'll die."
"I won't lose to you. You're just an illusion. You're not real. You're just a story."
As I said it the stick pierced deeper into my arm and this time blood started dripping down my bicep. It was agonising after a while. In between all this, Flam kept dancing. As if no agony could deter his passion, he kept dancing wildly. In the pain of all that I said, "Listen to me, will you?" He stopped.
"I'll look into your eyes and give my eye to you. But there's something you must do for me before I come near."
"And what's that?"
"You should remove this out of my arm. Only then I'll do as you say."
He nodded and took the stick out of my arm. It felt better to have that thing taken out. He took off his hat and I prepared myself to look him into eye. As soon I looked up I was pushed aside. It was Harsh. He was back with me. He had his hands on Flam's neck. He shouted, "Get out of here, get out! Take that hat and get out of here. He doesn't need eyes to go home but he needs them to stay here!! Go away, go right now and he'll die." I watched helplessly as Harsh held him down. I had heard Flam couldn't think without his hat on. I took the hat and saw my brother hold down the great mystical monster. I held the other end of the cap in front of the tunnel's opening and the vacuum sucked me in. This time there was nothing in there. No snow, no leaves, not even air. I was suffocating before I was thrown out of the wall into my room. The hat was intact but something was not. I had lost him. The shepherd gave his life for the most undeserving of all his loved ones. I lost him.
Tell me if those shackles meant peace Why wasn't I born wearing them? I was so very peaceful back then When only horror I knew was hunger Only desire I had was for food No words could make me bleed No comments could change my mood Tied to this pole of promises I feel so miserably alone Responsibilities weighing me down Like an ocean gulps in a stone Waves crashing upon my heart Yet I ain't allowed to frown Is there something more beautiful Than a part of you that you wanna disown? I wanna tear apart from me All that makes me such a rebel I wanna make peace with this world Yet nothing about it one can foretell So people look into their pasts Bring it out for next generations To see how the world was made With no place for fair designations "It is what it is and that's how we must live For all that you don't like - just be passive Can you change the whole world by yourself? You really think you don't need no help? Think again and think WISELY Measure your emotions too precisely Then betray them all for prejudices Become wise my friend. Stop dreaming." And I listen to them Because they're brutally sensible Yet a part of me cries all night How can we live a life so logical? Where all decisions depend on logistics Where everything has a reason And rationality kills all hope that exists I know all I believe isn't true My beliefs don't have empirical proofs But for all that it means I just wanna dream I wanna live in my dreams and die in them For there's no life in me out of dreams I believe my dreams will come true And I know If logic shows the way home Faith tells what home feels like
Before we talk I always undress my heart. Not all of it is beautiful but in the nakedness of those moments I'm as flawed as a man can be. Still you find me beautiful. Still you say my name as if you're calling out the most wonderful person in the world. I go back to our chats and wonder how come you never say how stupid I am. I wonder how come my stretch marks, pimples, wrinkles and just plain untidiness doesn't stop you from loving me. I wonder how you talk about my flaws and make them look like they're just adding more to my charm. I wonder how everyday you make me fall in love with you and in doing so a little more in love with myself. I wonder but I also stop wondering in a few moments knowing that you're the best person I've ever met and nobody else can do this but only you. No wonder I love you to pieces. No wonder my heart beats out your name. No wonder my dreams are lit by your radiant smiles. And believe me love, you're a God's masterpiece. You're ineffable and you're beautiful. And more than anything you're my love. You're my zehnasheen.
Moments Minutes Seconds Deep in me A dream descends Hollowed from within Myself a fading grin Nothing to drink Deeper I do sink Cyan my mattress Halcyon on a branch Soaked in happiness My heart a sponge Winter around the corner Drizzling yet perpetual How's snow so white? A love so natural Hiding in the burrows A rabbit pricks its ears Crawls up from beneath All my clumsy fears They walk around my bed And sleep under my pillow I kiss the pillow in your name I hug your words so you know I keep you closest on cold nights Even closer on the warm ones As soon I put out all lights Deep in my mind your dreams run They travel from one edge to the other They embrace me like a brother I only watch them pass by Dream of you and down I lie In your embrace that feels like forever I can't help but wish to die It's so beautiful a dream, my love I can't resist no matter how hard I try With you in my heart I breathe in the sky With you in my mind I begin to fly With you in my life I feel I'm always home
My sophistication comes undone When you pass in haste by me I drown myself in imaginations Of all loveliness I couldn't foresee Like frost in the eyes of a dead man Light enters my head and never leaves It's too cold out around my burning home I've heard no birds lately sing upon trees Skies have held clouds like I hold you Free to move, free to rise Free to be, free to rain Yet so close are clouds to the sky That some say they'll never die I think they're parts of something whole Something that's not a body but soul They're so much of one another More alike than birds of the same feather They breathe life into one another Both make the other better
I climb a wall and look around If I can find you beyond the curve Like a sun you'll rise in my life And to you I'll open my arms and run Suns set and stars shine Curve becomes a dark line I await your eyes in distance I see them again and I'm fine Everytime I meet you I feel like I'm meeting you for the first time My words get lost into one other My verses lose their sense of rhyme I stitch my heart to a paper plane Yeet it away from the topmost hill It falls down endlessly to the ground And I feel it's flying to your In bleak of dawn and silence of dusk I crave to find you like a needle in husk It's so much a world full of contradictions So I place my spirits in your reflections I see you smiling through the screen I kiss it as one might kiss a dream
I've not come to you with words today They've all been yours ever since Today I've come with feelings Only of which are most intense I've loved you like my favourite book The one that forever stayed in my heart For all its beauty and its flaws I've loved its twists from the start I don't wanna end this poem But words ain't what I've come up with Lemme leave you with just feelings In strings of which I mend and stitch
My broken parts somehow work together When you tie them up with your smile
Happy birthday Harshi. Sorry I couldn't write more. But I promise I'll write something accha sa for you very soon. Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for cheering me up whenever I was sad. And a big thank you for that call wala idea. You're the sweetest and the most beautiful person I know. You're one of the best writers. I adore you and love you more than red velvet cake. Stay Blessed, Happy and Safe @preaching_poetries
Since the day we met you've made me smile Cutting short between us every virtual mile You've stirred in my heart a blissful life With your words of love it's forever rife I've come to think of you as a bestie Who's encapsulated in eternal beauty Full of dreams and a wonderful taste She's like old wine with a youthful haste She walks with stars across her feet Every night a new poem comes to greet Yet her pen pours down the loveliest of words Like a sunset behind a flock of birds Clinging to my heart you've set it free Behind your shadow I'm who I wanna be So good as you and so beautiful too Where rainbow covers my every blue I wish you all the wonder that exists On the back of your hand a butterfly sits Staring into your eyes her wings flap She flies away across the world's map Just like your words she travels the world Everywhere on globe your voice is heard I wish you all the pleasures of life In the soulful peace that keeps us alive
Happy Birthday to the loveliest person we've come across. We can never thank you enough for being with us or better say everyone in their tough times. Your presence makes this place and our lives more beautiful. Your words settle deep down in our heart and sometimes hit our spines. Thank you for always supporting us and being the person you are. We adore and love you. Stay blessed and keep smiling forever.
In the dark days, she carries a light in her slightly wrecked wings, flying high above the borders of all the pain my heart has endured, turning the deepest ocean blues into the holy sunset's saffron. Her scent of musk like from the navel of the deer, alluringly draws hope from the rainbows, and the peace spread across her glowing face with the crimson lips, bewitching the seer and wiping the melancholy residing in their hearts. Her heart imprinted by the wolves, and her brave hands kind enough to dress other's wounds before her own. Beguiling metaphors painted in her eyes captivates poets to write sonnets and verses to embellish her transient life with never ending poetic delicacies.