A Room of One’s Own

Virginia Wolf in one of her earliest essays of 20th century A Room of One’s Own had pointed that how writing a prose, few paragraphs of fiction or poetry were things of imagination for women who were only to be brought to life in fiction written by men; splendid and sordid: beautiful and hideous; as great as a man, some would say greater. But these were women in fiction. In reality, she was locked up, beaten and flung about the room. She was the property of her husband.


Things might have drastically changed but even today we continue to remain objects of fantasy before one realises that we have feelings and opinions on worldly matters. You might not own us any longer but you don’t look at us as a person without first objectifying us at different levels in your head. If we are able to shake your foundation, we are hardcore feminists, if we speak for ourselves, we are asking for too much, if we stand for the underprivileged or the exploited, we are inviting trouble. If we don’t dress sexy, you won’t pay attention to us. If we don’t talk feminine enough you won’t listen to us.


We are done with your emancipatory expressions attempting to protect us from the oppression that you created to begin with. We are done serving as looking glasses reflecting the figure of a man at twice its natural size.
We now have money and a room of our own. We will write our own stories and rewrite popular notions according to our rules.

Hamid

It’s been 24 days since I am under house arrest thanks to the pandemic that has brought all our lives to a standstill. So instead of losing my mind I am trying to make it as productive as possible and since I suck at watching movies during my regular routine, I thought this is a good time to watch all the movies.

So I watched Hamid last night, a movie that also made me be thankful and question my privilege that lets me watch a movie on Kashmir but the people whose lives the movie is based on have been in dark for months, without access to even basic information, forget entertainment.

It is a heartbreaking movie about a 7 year old Kashmiri boy whose father disappears one night and like zillions of other Kashmiri men never returns. Later he figures that 786 is Allah’s number and somehow tries a permutation and combination of numbers in an attempt to speak to Allah and request him to send his father back. Coincidentally, the number belongs to an army soldier (who is also struggling with his own baggage) and over the course of the movie we see a bond developing between them, a bond that transcends all man-made barriers and politics that straightjacket right from wrong. The innocence and perseverance of Hamid is enough to move even a stone to tears, for he is only seeking answers that will lead him to his father. He wants to know why has his father mysteriously disappeared one night and will never return? Who will tell him that he is too young to understand the price the likes of his father have to pay for being caught in a quagmire so big that all of us fail to comprehend its tenacity?

I was crying bucket full of tears and for people who know me they know that it might not have to do entirely with the film but how deeply I am invested in Kashmir and Kashmiris. I was pausing every now and then, bawling cause every moment stirred so strongly that I felt like I am running out of breath. It is also a story of triumph of the age old adage of good over evil cause Hamid does not give in to the evil of radicalisation and tries to be a boy of good words and character, something that his father always wanted of him. I was wondering is it just me who feels so strongly about this? Or if anyone who only knows about Kashmir through movies and news articles also feel the pain? Will they also question their privilege and acknowledge that people in the valley often suffer at the hands of an uneven power? There is so much I can go on and on about but since this post is about Hamid and how an indelible mark it left on me, I will conclude the post with the following thoughts and hope that you’ll will watch the film and question your privilege as well.

Last night I was hankering you,

For you had forgotten the cell of my remote

I had waited patiently all day to watch the match.

You immediately sprang out to fetch it for me.

I waited.

For days turned to months.

But you never returned.

I would sit by the window sill

And wish for you to walk in through the door,

hold me tight and,

take me on a ride to the Dal singing our favourite song.

Since it had been a while,

a while that I felt the magic of your smile,

piercing through the deepest pore of my skin

and taking away all that had been weighing down on me.

I spoke to Allah and asked him to send you back,

To give me another chance,

Another chance to be a better son,

so I could show you my good character.

But you never returned.

I was angry, broken and directionless.

I kept pleading to Allah to send you back,

even then you never returned.

I wanted to run away,

to a land across the mountains and seek revenge.

But Allah told me you may never return,

but you’ll still want me to be a man of good character.

And in that moment, the pain turned into strength,

Strength that would propel me to finish the Shikara that you had started,

So I could take Ammi for a ride to Dal,

Singing songs to her the way you did.

And when she finally smiled,

I could feel my soul coming back to life.

I wanted to treasure that moment safely in a box

So no one could steal it away.

Selfless

I told him to push me in whenever he arrived,

For we had to cuddle  & sleep close to each other,

Not by choice but by circumstance.

Not that we don’t love cuddling,

but we also retire into our space once we fall asleep.

Last night we couldn’t.

He tiptoed in the wee hours,

Saw me occupying his side of the bed.

Instead of pushing me in,

decided to sleep on the floor without a mattress.

I remember momentarily opening my eyes,

noticed him on the floor but let him be.

Finally, saw him sleeping on naked floor in the morning,

Pulled him close to me.

Cuddled & slept together for the next one hour.

I’m not sure if I can ever be like him;

thoughtful, caring & affectionate.

He’s my Jack.

Selfless love is him.

 

 

Erase

She rubbed her eraser hard, 

trying to erase the lines.

But, the creases remained,

for it had been deeply inscribed. 

No matter how hard she tried,

the faint yet vivid memories,

were to haunt her forever. 

#erase

Pain

Her hands were painted red,
Her face bore peace.
Now she could fly high,
for her only tormentor was gone.
The years of pain, now behind her.
She carefully lifted his body,
to give him a final funeral.
Not cause he was her father,
but to see him vanish forever!

#pain

Moment

The right is in the moment,
Take that step.
The wrong doesn’t exist.
Live the moment,
With all your conviction.
Don’t wait for another time,
There probably wouldn’t be one.
Don’t linger to seize the moment,
Let the moment seize you.

#moment

Maa

I loved my milk warm,
She knew it well.
And there it was,
Cold, covered in cream!
I shouted, she didn’t respond.
I yelled harder, in vain.
How could she?
Maa was 7000 miles away.
#maa

Memories

She sat by the sill sipping on her coffee,

Her body taut to her surrounding.

Flipping through the pages of memories,

She quietly smiled and reminisced;

thanking the Almighty for all the moments.

The moments defining her metamorphosis,

from a girl to a woman.

Chanced upon a dusty picture,

of a ride from her romancing days.

Quietly, sliding it beneath the covers,

she wondered if they’d make a perfect couple,

with all their incompetencies and imperfections.

Now with different partners,

fulfilling their societal responsibilities.

Deeply etched in her soul forever.

-Anonymous

What if…

Time ticks,
You age.
With you your bonds age,
Some mature,
Others can’t match the pace.
The ones you hold close,
Are the ones you wish to take along.
In times of doubt,
You know you can sail through.
But what if….
What if you drift for reasons unknown?
What if..
You never saw it coming?
What if…
You realised too late?
What if…
There was no time to mend?
What if…
You said and your words were succumbed in a black hole?
What if..
You were no more important?
It hurts,
Heart winces in pain.
Blame game ensues,
Cascading in an avalanche of fireball.
You can see the only person,
Who heard your cries being sucked into the lost universe.
You stand there,
All alone; a mere spectator.
The galaxy of stars laughing at you,
Universe sniggering at your apathy.
That’s when you feel real loss..
It’s not the loss of the person,
It’s the loss of a bond.
A bond which was worth a million heartbeats!

My Best Friend

A dedication to my best friend for life on this Friendship’s Day!mother-and-daughter

 

The one who first saw me naked,

With who there was no shame or consciousness whatsoever.

I walked my first step with her, towards her,

She guided me to my path.

Without uttering, she caught my expressions,

Sensing all that was amiss within.

Encouraging me to rise above my flaws,

Never let me wander into the haze.

Staying true to her promise,

Of being with me at every step that I climbed.

Lending a shoulder to cry on,

When pain and heartaches became unbearable.

Never expressed the slightest grim,

For the times I have not been by her side.

Getting the real woman out in me,

Unaffected by any insecurity whatsoever.

She witnessed all my embarrassing moments,

With same smile as the glorious ones.

Sharing me with the love of her life,

With equal affection and fondness,

She never let anyone in this world,

Point a finger at me.

Camouflaging my flaws,

She hid my weaknesses away from the world.

My best friend and worse critic in need,

She is the one who has seen me grow…

From a child to a girl to a woman.

She is my best friend.

She is my mother.

I love her like I have not loved anyone before and there will be no one beyond her.