“learn me slowly.
please, be patient
with my pages.”
I weave through years as if they are seasons. 2007 being eternal monsoon while 2011 was pregnant clouds and the silence after the rain. 2010 was a ridiculous summer, in another world, another dimension altogether. I pine for 2002, a laidback but scorching summer with wet beds and fans made of newspapers being waved wildly over the baby’s head when load shedding was at its peak.
2014 was bullets through hopes and expectations; tearing down even the strongest of the walls and leaving plethora of graves in its midst. Gun shots are clichéd incidents to whom everyone can identify to. But we pretend. We pretend that the times are changing, that our wars have new meanings, a new jazba, forgetting that they are wars nevertheless. We cling on to the idea of being resilient, taking pride in our loss, too afraid to grieve for that would open up derelict-ed oceans inside us.
I walk on the streets of Saddar, choking on the smoke but laughing all the same. I am with my friends and we are out to eat halwa puri. I am trying to live in this moment because it’s so rare, so precious. Who knows what will happen and when. The number 141 hangs above us like a cloud, insistent on covering the sunshine. We’ve learnt to lie to our parents, our teachers, with straight face. We sneak out despite their threats and manage to get past the gatekeepers who shake their fists at us indignantly. We’re hungry to get past the homes in which we are held as prisoners, with each of us thinking the same thing: what would happen next.
Dear friend, I want to know this. Am I cruel to have not put down the hope which I carry in my arms? Even after all this time? Even after learning so much, after losing this many people whom even their mothers forgot about? Is it brutal of me to go on telling people that it’ll get better when they have lost more than I can ever conceive?
Will the hope and anger residing inside me be the ammunition of my destruction? I’m afraid. I’m afraid.
I hope this wasn’t too long for you.
A dear person wrote to me, ‘You should know that when your songs sounds, even when they are angry, even when they are made out of the splinters that are our faults, somebody listens, and somebody is in wonder, and they make somebody think. They are not in vain.’
You are the scent of jasmine for me, a breath of fresh air and I miss you. I hope this letter is a reminder to you, when you’re having bad days that you aren’t alone. That I am here, even if there are infinite miles between us, praying for you and thinking about you, everyday.
I want you to remember your country, the heart of 180 million, in every breath you take. It may be unpleasant at first, a tiresome chore, but you’ll soon find out that this is the place we keep returning back to, like a child craving his mother’s embrace.
Do not forget us. Do not forget yourself.