reality – october 05, 2009

June 9, 2010 by

took me almost eight months to sit and write this.

gul rukh tahir was the first victim of the october 05, 2009 suicide bombing in the united nations world food program country office, islamabad, pakistan. this piece has been written by tahir wadood malik her widower on may 9, 2010, at 5:45 pm
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reality

the call called me out
and i ran.
a scene of chaos
before me i saw
no one familiar
no one known
pell-mell running feet
stopping all from going in.

a hand held my arm
i looked at a face
worn and sad
she is taken from here
to the medical centre
or the hospital
hurry sir
he said.

i turned and ran
the medical centre was near,
first there i thought
and walked briskly
a voice called out
i turned
the medical centre sir
she is taken there.

a hop and i was there
running to the steps up
when another voice called
sir here
turning i saw him pointing
he came close and said
be strong sir
and turned his face.

down the slope i went,
entering a small room,
packed full with people
smelling of antiseptic,
gurneys covered in white sheets
a doctor looked at me
i took your name.

she looked at me
sad and sorry
pointing to the nearest
white sheet, she walked to it.
i stood as if riveted to the floor
is she gone i asked
she nodded,
and held the corner of the sheet.

leaden feet one after the other
just three steps
to see your face
drained of life’s color
the smile gone
nothing to give me hope.
just an endless dark tunnel,
with no light at the end.

you had left the world
you had left me, who you said
was your world,
i was left
without a thought
without any idea of next.
looking at your white face
closed eyes, look at me i said.

did you smile?
did you know i was standing there?
did you feel the tear
that fell on your cheek?
did you feel my hand on your face?
could you feel my willing you to wake?
or was it all cold, all dark,
and finished for you?

i stood there,
suddenly tired and racked with sobs
no one to hold me
no one to console me
no one to say hush
all alone.
not even you to say i am here.
together we will overcome.

and then the haze
people coming and going
a leg lay on the table next to you
supposedly of the bomber
people came and looked at it
no one bothered about us
but that leg was it for all then.
and i was frozen in pain, anger and angst.

formalities
ambulance ride
people gathering
crying.
wailing
intruding in my feelings
despair, grief, anger,
and a loss infinite.

rituals,
more people,
waiting for the inevitable
arrivals
more and more
but where in all this are you?
lying cold and unconcerned in a bed
draped in a white coffin

i looked at you
wanting you to smile
wanting you to open your eyes
desperation
wishing for the noise of the wails
beating chests and prayers
to wake you
from the depth of death.

but your face
serene, calm
without worries at last
fresh like the morning dew
not even lines of any hue
eyes closed,
even the white cloth,
pale against your skin.

and they came also
who had not come before
all standing
some silent
some crying
all sad
all lost
no words no actions enough.

and then it was time
picking you up
one on each of the four posts
reciting the oneness of god
who had taken you from me
so cruelly,
still being exalted and called to succor,
knowing i had but to suffer.

and then the prayers,
and a ride to the last resting place
a pit dark and dreary
i shuddered
you would hold my arm
even to step a step up
and this was so much down!
how could i hold you now?

and it was all over
dust to dust
prayers
consoling words
a dirge
another prayer
dispersal
how could i leave you?

but i did leave you
alone
in a pit covered with fresh dug soil
put on there with my own hands
my prayers mixed with the rest
a feel of death, a pain, a void,
in my heart
where you lived.

and food was served
people forgot death
food, the source of life
for the living was being taken
no one bothered to say
sorry
the food was important
my loss was reality and not.

and then they left
leaving me to my self
my thoughts
my feelings
my emptiness
my fight with my god
my forlornness
and my grief

and good too that was
for there was too much
going on in me
fears
feelings
remorse
thoughts
nostalgia

and the night passed
just as you had passed from this
to another world
just as i had passed
from a happy man
to a sad being
wondering why
this had come to pass?

but then life reared its head
wanting to extract its pound of flesh
not wanting to wait for the next
but wanting me not to rest
and i shrugged
and i looked
and i picked up the shackles of life
and i went to put my shoulder to the plough.

on quetta

August 8, 2016 by

poem by a friend on the carnage in quetta today!

Back Home Blues

April 27, 2016 by

An essay i read on 27 April 2016

A hectic week of buying, sorting out and ticking off of the list, and packing; with farewell dinners and teas thrown in for good measure; found me sitting in the GTS bus for a journey to Abbottabad, with the proverbial pae’tie (tin trunk) and canvas bistar bund (bed roll) loaded on the top of the bus – yes in those days of non AC Foton and Daewoo busses the luggage was carried on the roof top rack!

And so on the evening of 4th June 1969, I reached Abbottabad, got into a waiting military truck along with a few other gangly kids for the 15 minute or so ride to the Pakistan Military Academy.

The next many years were spent serving between Somiani on the Arabian Sea to Siachen, the highest battle ground in the world and having the best of times.

Home was the sarkari ghar allotted – setting it up, decorating it, living and entertaining in it, till the time came to pack and move and the process restarted.

In all this setting up homes and moving from city to city, somewhere at the back of the mind was the picture of “back home” – the home I left in 1969 and visited once a year every year, meeting the permanent inhabitants of that home, my parents.

Welcoming us as they would do guests – who would soon go back to the alien world they came from and life would come back to the normal without such intrusions.

Of course there were unscheduled visits back home also, deaths and marriages called for our presence – obediently following the rituals returned to our life outside this cocoon of our youth!

In all these changes the only constant being a flower pot with a money plant planted in soil which like the money plant was taken from the flower bed back home.

And then as they say life came full circle and it was time to finish the business in alien lands and return home.

Roots tugged, I now wonder if it were the soil calling the money plant or home calling me?

Visions of walls with antiques, paintings, artifacts and rooms large enough to accommodate the whole house that we had lived in flashed in my mind. An empty nest was easy to pack for having lost my better half and knowing back home was also without the mother was hard; yet knowing I would be welcome to the home of my youth, missed for forty seven years but not acknowledged for fear of nostalgia intervening and making life difficult.

And then the off white walls of the house and the memories, and the laughter of days gone by, and the mischief filled hours, all started to pale before the reality of life back home; where once my youth thrived now lived a lost in nostalgia old man who responded to my calling him Daddy with a smile, and occasionally with stories of an age gone by.

And “back home” was no longer the colorful and joyous memories kept alive for forty seven years, but back home was blue.

I could not sit and enjoy things happening around me, because nothing happened unless I did it. Reality.

Reality also was that now I was no longer the same gangly footloose and fancy free boy of 1969, but a weather beaten experienced and rubbed on the wrong side by life garrulous, grumpy getting on in years man.

Reality was being called uncle or sir gee in shopping malls as I took time to read labels to see if the ingredients were good for me or not.

As I sat and thought about rediscovering home, I wondered if I was somehow thinking of and writing about what a few years from today my children would be experiencing when they came “back home” from their sojourns in foreign lands?

And I cringed, and wrote about rediscovering home.

Only this became back home blues.

Blue Ice

tears are of the same color

March 6, 2016 by

irrespective of whose tears, mothers, husbands, sons, fathers, brothers, tears are of the same color!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robi-damelin/our-tears-are-the-same-color_b_9196712.html

The Lahore that lahore Was

September 10, 2015 by

my last blog about Lahore

I wish I could say “Lahore Lahore aie”, but then I would be unfaithful, both to Lahore and my memories of that city of my childhood

If soldiers get paid ‘to be killed’ what should be the fate of ‘non-productive’ entities in other sectors? – blog after a while

August 5, 2015 by

getting paid – should those who do not deliver be handled differently!

blog – politicians and managers

June 12, 2015 by

new blog in the Nation Lahore

Our politicians, and often the government, is shifting from working in the public interest to working for special interests. This leaves the electorate frustrated and disappointed with the political system, leading to the power and greed of a few taking an edge over the needs of the many.

new blog – after a break

this weeks blog

April 2, 2015 by

Caught NAP-ping

An All Parties Conference [APC] (APC used to be a pill for headaches and pains or a war machine and these APCs are neither) was called, which constituted a committee to hurriedly take its time to come up with a National Action Plan (acronym NAP), which as the politicians keep dithering, keeps meeting endlessly.

Time wasted and opportunity lost and terrorism continues diverting attention from the task at hand.

Just another case of what was so cynically defined by Sir Barnett Cocks, a clerk in the UK’s House of Commons, as “a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled.”

And in our context is this not just another case of the committee set up by a conference being caught NAP-ping!

fresh blog in the Nation Lahore

March 25, 2015 by

Resource Offensive – 23rd March 2015

Karl von Clausewitz is supposed to have said, “The best form of defense is attack.” Today we see this taken out of the military context and applied to almost every field to justify gaining the desired ends. However it is important to remember that “War is the continuation of politics by other means,” (Clausewitz again); the defender having the advantage of home terrain, with the offense turning into a rout as has been seen in military history more than once.

Or are we taking the silence as silent acceptance and forgetting the military is defending ground they hold sacred, and which politicians talk of as unimportant; waiting for the offense to peter out before launching an offense to obliterate all opposition?

freshly pressed blog post

March 21, 2015 by

the rot keeps getting deeper

culture of silence – blog post in the newspaper Nation

February 28, 2015 by

A little over five years ago, I needed to talk to someone, anyone. I needed catharsis to find if the doubts, fears and guilt I faced were mine alone, or I was part of a larger group with similar issues.

And I found myself stonewalled at every step.

No one was ready to listen to me. Every one found sanctuary in an age old cultural and social desire of not discussing any issue that questioned the beliefs and norms – of acquiescing to what is happening – something that is so deeply entrenched in us with years of “teaching.” In plain words, one must accept misfortune in silence in the hope that time will heal wounds.

culture of silence – new blog-post


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