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
——————————————————–

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.

Advertisements

i am a poet

November 16, 2017 by

i am a poet

of things past

some lost in angst

some in laughs

brought out by an urge

to recall to the last

comma and fullstop

of what happened

neither slow

nor fast

for you dear reader

to read

not judge

a life lived

different than your lot

so let it be

till the next thought

nudges the cobwebs

of the mind

moving the fingers

to write

yet another story

in another time

till it is

ordained

to become

a future lost

in another post

as a poem new

.

.

.

.

lahore – 00:40 pm

16-11-2017

till the next call

November 5, 2017 by

i am alone

every day on the road

the madness

called road rage

manifest all around me

traffic careening insanely

my cocoon of the car

at least apparently

giving safety

and i smile

while around me

so many left at the mercy

of a God

seemingly merciless to them

whose will they are told it was

and then i recall

climbing the stairs to an office

to meet three kids

whose parents were burnt

by a frenzied mob

in a brick kiln

in 2014

vacant eyes looked at me

accusatory expressions

of mistrust and maybe hate

for we represented all they

‘have not’

i shuddered

they were thinking

what i think

every time a caller says

may i ask about Gul?

and in that microcosm of time

we were one

maybe the middle one

the five centuries old girl sonia

sensed it

for she smiled

he is not here to reopen our wounds

he knows our hurt is his!

and we though alone in ourselves

were one for that moment in time

i saw kids in that room

not of 11, 9 and 5

but three lives

at whom life had thrust

the mantle of adulthood

in the body and mind of

children at an age

when Ben 10, Tom & Jerry

and cartoon network

should take their time

not someone asking about

death!

forgotten, forlorn, shattered

playthings in the hands of society

which plays with them

not puts playthings in their hands

and so it ended

Shama, Shahzad, Suleman, Sonia, Poonam, Gul, I and a five month foetus in the mother’s womb

together yet alone

forgotten

except to talk of the horror of the day

once again

and the next instant

a cup of tea

good bye

till the next call

.

.

.

lahore

05/11/2018 – 18:00 hours

lahore

Bullah smiled yet again

October 15, 2017 by

the pull

tangible

hard

like a rope

round the neck

unstoppably

choking

only letting off

if i give in

and yield i did

driving to beat

the setting sun

feeling the presence

i reached

and the tears

unstoppable

ran like i walked

and there the presence

someone turning

looked at me

arms enveloping me

a radiant face

a voice firm and vibrant

for its age

so good to see you here

handsome countenance

i heard him say

his attendants held my hand

kissed them

turned and went

the tears flowed

oblivious to all

i felt you

like i did when i

came to ask you

why?

and Bullah smiled

yet again

4/9/2017

18.50

now us

October 15, 2017 by

you morphed into me

that is all i see

together from me to us

now we be!

apex corruption and concealment

August 17, 2017 by

my blog after a long time on the situation prevailing in pakistan these days
——————-

During the German bombing of London, Prime Minister Winston Churchill during a briefing on the economic collapse suffered due to the bombings asked, “Are the courts functioning?” On getting the answer in the affirmative, Churchill said, “Thank God. If the courts are working, nothing can go wrong.”

Churchill was no Godfather, and the British proved they were not a nation of shopkeepers, and ruled most of the then known world for close to two centuries, and even today many nations look to them for a guide to good governance and an aid to grow.

For the past many months’ banners inscribed with the slogan 'Say No to Corruption' were hung in almost all places where anyone with money would go – banks, post offices, government offices and such.

While it is dubious as to what effect these had in real terms to curb corruption, one thing I am sure would have happened, some people would have asked for more gratification or 'welfare' money to cater being exposed.

And now a word about the infamously famous judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the case of family and personal affairs of the prime minister – everyone who was or is anyone in the ruling party, raised their voice to harp on one single agenda point – the prime minter had not been indicted on corruption charges as the Head of Government, but on flimsy and untenable issues.

And everyone jumped on the band wagon and harped the same tune – no one minded that the emperor’s new clothes were no clothes – and just got blinded by the dust raised in the fiasco of seventy days.

And then the inevitable dragging out lists of the house of sheriff’s corruption, and quiet an impressive list it was, which also soon got drowned in the din of clean, return to grace, down but not out started again. And we as a majority gullibly swallowed it hook, line and sinker.
So let’s roll back the carpet a bit to see the dust, or as they say, let’s see the fire where the smoke is rising from.

First off, not one Prime Minister in Pakistan completed their term and was removed for one reason or the other, but corruption as an issue was in two recent cases that the incumbent had to contend with. And in the din of celebratory bugle calls highlighting disqualified not on corruption in office charges, forgot that the issue was not one of corruption but of concealment of wealth. And in the run up to the actions in the coming six weeks even the fourth estate – the press named so in 1837 in view of its increasing prominence and power in the affairs of nation’s – went for a ride, implicit or explicit, and did not ask the corruption version concealment question.

Sane voices, few of which are speaking, are clear in their opinions on the issue, yet the very anchors on whose programs they are invited to express their views, come up with suspect questions leaving a doubt to muddle the otherwise clear waters; so once again who is leading who? At least when blind leads blind they use white canes to show the people it’s a blind show!

And then there are voices ready to blame even the trees for what is happening in the country, stooping below than the level of street urchins in their choice of vocabulary, and gloating at having outdone the opposition in the choice of words!

The courts in Pakistan do not enjoy a very good reputation where dispensing justice is concerned, and now when the apex court has handed down a landmark decision, everyone had ridiculed its judgement. The judges have heard the tirade flowing from all ruling party leaders with remarkable patience; seems like people have forgotten the recent past when Suo-motu notice was the order of business, one wonders what would have happened if this case had been heard in those days!

So where do we stand? Corruption verses concealment, disqualification, election of a new leader of house, a new cabinet in a few days, an election and selection of another leader of the house, and of course the sword of Damocles in the form the NAB reference in six weeks, are focuses for the soothsayers next round of predictions and professing about what will happen and where the next issue will raise its head from!

Meanwhile, it’s all quiet in the homes of the slum dwellers who have since gone to sleep after the last call for prayers as for them the more pressing issues are where the next meal will come from, which begum will give the next dress for them to cover their body, and a hope that they will not fall ill, because they can clean the big doctors clinics but not dream of being treated by the same doctors. And around them buzz the mosquitoes, breeding in the puddles of water all around the slums for the 'baray saabs' in the committee office do not see these puddles as breeding ground for dengue bearing mosquitoes for it’s the middle class areas which are slums for the upscale residential areas, that are more important to spray!

And tomorrow, each city cross road will see these people out in numbers, begging to make ends meet. For them it’s not corruption or concealment of millions of millions but just begging for subsistence.

Corruption anyone, or would you rather do corruption and concealment?

http://nation.com.pk/blogs/03-Aug-2017/on-corruption-and-concealment

the balm of time

August 9, 2017 by

کہتے ہے کہ وقت کا مرہم

زخم سارے بھر دیتا ہے

یہ کیسا مرہم ہےسارے

زخم ہرے کر دیتا ہے

Reiki level III

August 8, 2017 by

attuned almost 2 years back posting now as feel confident about it

petrichor

July 24, 2017 by

that look of concern
or mocking perhaps
in the thought that it all
was a made up farce
a story or nothing at all
just an attempt at
seeking attention

slowly the smouldering depths of eyes
that did not
reflect the smile
on the lips
awakening to a new
understanding

that the drama played
may not be a farce
no masks no direction
just a flow
going where the flow went
and in that brief instant
he caught the curtain shift
to glimpse a fire
deeper than the
earth under the feet
and then
tottering on the corner
of the eye
a tear
enough to wet the
eons of dried earth
and
petrichor

22.07.2017
00:09 hours lahore

today i cried

June 24, 2017 by

today i cried for the 22 loved ones lost in manchester

today i cried for gul rukh tahir

today i cried for the 70,000 loved ones lost in pakistan

today i cried for my helplessness

today i cried for having lost faith in a fate fated

today i cried as i sat looking at the blank tv screen for i did not have the strength to reach for the remote and see manchester

today i cried as i saw my reflection in the tv screen juxtaposed with scenes from 10/05-09 till today

today i cried at not feeling sad, angry, mad, crazed, but at just sitting numb – living the moments with the loved ones left to mourn the 22 of manchester

today i cried at the agony of those waiting for news of their loved ones in hospital.

and today i cried for i do not know what.

tahir wadood malik

23/24.05.17 midnight till 01.00 hours

the reading

November 26, 2016 by

the essence of piousness

his beard flowing in the wind

all white with few strands

of black to show

he was once young

and the ustani aunty

piousness epitomized

who took pains with the girls

as much as the bearded one did

with the boys

even the aunties would ask them

to correct their reading

of the book revealed

so long ago

read duly corrected

unfollowed except to the classes

where the show was about

of who had the more expensive one

lucky were the kids they said

whose house the maulana came to

to teach them that which

between bismillah and aamin

was all that would matter

to be forgotten the next day.

and how great the ustani was

to agree to take the girl to teach

and in her own home too.

little did the kids know

these visits by the exalted molvi

always corrected by an elder to

say moulana sahib

as if this made any difference in the

impish minds of the kids.

or the going to the ustani

the elders always adding “gee”

when she would find it convenient

to teach the girl alone

and then one day while

reading the text divine

the teachers reached across

and kissed the cheek

by way of a shahbash

and benignly smiled

or patted the back of the neck

caressing slowly as the boy faltered

in his reading, to the touch

while with the other hand

they made it a point

to openly scratch between the legs

or brazenly expose the top to scratch

and this became the ritual

daily repeated daily forgotten

and then the scratch became harder

and needed the kids hand

to scratch so the teacher

would feel relieved

and then slowly

the itch became a daily matter

and the kiss moved from

the cheek to the lips

and the hands became

demandingly exploring

one day the kid told his sibling

but was hushed and told

that was the way it was

and the kid next door endorsed it

so the next step was but natural

and so it went along

till one day sooner than later

the itch demanded

that the kids hand

go inside not over the dress

do i need to tell you the rest

another conquest and another

childhood lost to the depravity

of what the kid associated

with the reading of the book

now despised and not revered

and since that time

the hatred for the teacher bearded

deep seated within to this day endures

and when the time

for the kids kid came to read

the kid ensured their kid

were not left alone with the teacher

thus four ustanis and many more months

than the two hundred days or so

is what it took

for the reading to be finished

of the great holy words

that if left to their devices

the teachers would have taken

with half of that time

spent on their lecherousness

leaving the kids scarred for life

but then life goes on

not ready to accept that

the teachers of the book can be bad

we end up repeating

the reading and the rituals

not really bothered

how the kid is scarred

how the life is marred.

and life goes on

as it has gone on

for us and for ours before us

not ready to accept

not ready to stand

not willing to say

things can be wrong

for after all

life goes on!

 

*****

read out at Lahore in a session on childhood abuse

written between March 14-16, 2016