"A part of you has grown in me", she believes.

There are subtle undertones of pain, of guilt, of bittersweet memories, of good and bad and that which is neither. At the top, everything is empty, everybody wears a mask.
And all you're left with? A war between your insides - divided into many yous. Its not a split personality, there are no multifaceted aspects to your demeanor - there are just different parts of you asking for different things. One wants fame, success, glory, it works on ambition, on power. That part of you gets it and almost instantaneously a new side emerges - this side wants solace, comfort, a kind word. This side of you is almost contrite, remorseful at somethings it has down to be at the inflection of glory.
 The way up the top is lonely, this side of you tells you. People have been unfaithful, so have you. Renegades? They run into hundreds. Dogs don't bite me, just humans.
So who wins this war between the numerable yous? Nobody and everybody. Your alter ego won't comfort you, there are chances he/she/it will betray you. Maybe your alter ego had put up a mask too. Now you're just somebody that I used to know.
And then you wait. The most painful human suffering is the simple act of waiting. And its worse when you don't even know what you are waiting for. Are you waiting for the old you to return? Or are you waiting to set a blueprint for the new you? You will have to wait. Zenith of pain, or nether or pleasure? Just wait.


The boy you wish you didn't see

Have you seen him ..
That boy in the corner of the road.
With tattered clothes, with naked feet.
Beggin' for a penny, in this merciless heat?

Have you seen him ..
The innocent craving in his eyes,
As he gazes at that boy peddling away.
He looks down on himself, and its all a dull dismay.

Have you seen him ..
As he runs near the leftovers.
His dry mouth salivatin' at the sight of jus a nibble of food.
Its Destiny's game- crass,unfair and rude.

Have you seen him ..
As he rushes to the other side of the street ..
gets runs over by a lorry, in an air so bleak.

Have you seen him ..
The boy to whose corpse no one rushes,
The boy whose memory will instantly fade away.
The boy who will be consumed in Darkness, Death and Dismay.


When we fell.

I like the look in her eyes. It spells hatred. It spells loathe. That look is far more intense than the little love she ever showed me, and that's why I love it so much. I really wished her back for long, I really wished we'd laugh at the same things again, share the best pieces of music and literature again, cry at the little sentimental portions in films, again. But it won't happen. And its taken me a while to realize, I didn't want it to happen either. Because? She's not the same person any more. She didn't believe anything and everything that came her way. She didn't condescend to authority just because she was told to.
She didn't want to get a position because it spelled power. She didn't want to stay with the best people because it'd bring up her image. No. She was none of that. She pretended to be strong, brash and stoic on the surface. And yet again, she was none of it.
But there's a side to you that I never knew, never knew
All the things you'd say, they were never true, never true
And the games you'd play, you would always win, always win
But you know what made us stick together for so long? We were a bundle of contradictions. We didn't know what we really wanted, we didn't know who we really were. The difference today is, today, I do, and she still doesn't.
Why do you think people drift apart? Do they change as persons? Does one undergo a metamorphosis while the other stagnates into somebody no one ever knew. None at all. The only difference is how they look at each other. When you hate somebody, even the most earnest smile from them seems like a dagger thrust down your little, vulnerable heart.. You would kill to get back to the start, but then you know, your best friend has changed. And today, you cannot even face her with malice burning in your heart. You still have a little bit of "us" remaining inside you, but you try very hard to erase the memory. And I threw us into the flames.
Every gorgeous picture of you framed together seems like a lie, a farce, a make believe. You look at her smile in the pictures and ask yourself whether she really meant any of them. When she stayed up with you all those nights, when you discussed all your small fantasies, all your stupid crushes, now you ask yourself, how many times had she been genuine? But you know, you did have a past, a rather beautiful past actually, it was only the present that had been distorted beyond compare. The present and future that had been ruined into a picture no one wants to look at again. Ever.
So where will you go? In which corner will you hide? Or will you, like me, keep asking yourself, whether you'll really survive without her? Your confidante, your sister, your best friend, your favourite enemy, your lover, a piece of your heart? Maybe you will move on, or you will simper and sob. After the regular simpering and sobbing, you will pretend to move on, you will pretend to think everything will be alright, you will make yourself a little emotionally closed because now you will not anyone penetrate inside your pretty mind that easily, now you will not let anyone get inside your heart and paint its corners black so easily. But you will be trying hard not to think, that you won't be you anymore. Without her. Without a little bit of yourself.
And I threw us into the flames
When we fell, something died
'Cause I knew that that was the last time


Sweep the streets.

I will live my life as it flies off in a whiff with the smoke of my cigarette. Today, I just don't have the strength to run after it and face it and challenge it on equal terms. Its been a while since I let things be, let them take their own course of action and not try to change them, not try too hard to turn them in a direction that suits me. Because every dawn isn't mine. Because every dawn isn't meant to support my faith. Support my belief. In you and in me.
You will work so hard to mend the frame which contained a picture of us. I will work very hard too. We will look at the clothes left in our respective wardrobes and sulk a little. Because they will smell of the other one. And the other one will continue to live on in them. We will still shy away when a third person mentions the name of the other, and still imagine the beautiful picture our bodies painted together. But the distances will double themselves, and the faith will be reduced to half.
There are still a lot of dreams my eyes have kept, most of them still half realized. But when I touch these dreams in the oblivion of my past, they tell me, nobody will respect a dream that has taken a small, little unsuccessful flight already.
But both of us will keep a little secret immersed inside the depths of the shores of our heart. The secret that we will remain in the corner of each other smiles, and we will roll out with the tears we shed. Because in the tears and smiles, we will still be safe. We will still be together.
And we will also be together in the pain that our eyes will hide, in the laughter that will flow out carelessly and callously. That shrill, hollow laughter.

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

And I sweep them alone. Alone, in a bittersweet isolation. Alone, without you holding onto me.
Alone, but happy. Because you and I, my love, are meant to meet in a different world.


Dreamed of Paradise.

I don't want to run away again.
I don't want to be followed again.
I don't want to flee again. Ever, never.
I want that feeling back. Delirious happiness. That feeling of being loved, crazily, insanely and not selfishly because they told me love is one of the most selfish emotions. I wonder.
I want my childhood back, I want to climb up guava trees with my siblings again, I want my grandmother's house again.
Because now when I dream, I only dream in monochrome. There is no hint of colour. Its strange, very strange. Actually, now I have no memories of the recent years. My mind refuses to consider anything a happy memory.
When she was just a girl
She expected the world
But it flew away from her reach so
She ran away in her sleep
and dreamed of Paradise.

But now Paradise scares me. I don't know when I will be hit by a bullet, or worse, when I will lose a near and dear one. I can't walk, because my feet are tied to the ground, no, not by chains, not by rusty, antiquated chains, but by my fears. They stop me from moving, the only think that I anyway see moving are the tears trickling down everybody's cheeks. Because atleast one of them has lost a brother, husband, sister, mother, friend, because all of them have been convicted of being "terrorists" Because someone, somewhere thought that a man with a beard was out to kill, because someone, somewhere distorted religion.
If I lose it all, can little shoulders take the burden of a family ? Worse, the burden of sadness? It is miserable. This sadness. It has started to consume me, already. It feeds on my past happiness, perhaps it is envious of the coffee tinted pictures of mine which bear no scars. Perhaps, they hate little joys so bad that they don't want me to smile again. Ever.


A little too perfect. A little too empty.

I like emptiness. The most! Yes, its my favorite emotion, if you think it qualifies as an emotion at all. Its not bright hued, incarnadine and crimson like joy, sorrow, love or cobalt and jaded and faded like sorrow, misery, faithlessness. It has all the tints and pigments I ever saw the world in and none at all. Today, it shimmers through the edges of your smile, another day it dies a slow death around your tears. Its all encompassing and yet contains one thing, yes, nothing. Emptiness, I like it the most.
You know what else do I like? You. That empty smile you give me, perhaps mocking the end of things between us. You don't ignore me, would that be too unkind? I wonder. You smile at me, and your eyes don't glimmer, they don't give me the will of letting them wander on my face and then return to find them, still at me, a little breathlessly. Those hazel eyes don't urge me to pass nights only staring at them. Not anymore. Your eyes have that look too, empty, barren, black and strangely vacuous.
And there's another thing I wish I didn't like, yes, I've been struggling to kill this feeling, and have yielded no success. Your name. Those two syllables, I want to persuade myself to not react to them, not die a little inside when someone mentions them, not think of the perfect times of yesterday, not marvel at the camaraderie, and not die a little death thinking I'm never going to feel it anymore.


A few stories. A lot of pain.

I only lie back and stare at the ceiling fan. It doesn't make any sense. Like so many other things. The lamp is flickering too. Its strange, incredibly strange. I think your surroundings depend on your mood. When you're low, the stars stop shining, the night seems darker, more threatening, and inside, a part of you is dying. And you know what, when does it hurt even worse? When you're a family and yet you aren't together. You're sleeping in different rooms. You're talking but not really 'conversing'. The words are hollow, they don't hold any substance, they mean nothing. Things are superficial. And life is dull. They're your parents, and their quarrels are driving you insane. You're giving them so much, and have been trying so hard to put things in place, and for once you're not wrong. You've tried, in numerously. You've been hurt, a little too often. You know the worst feeling? When you don't know what to feel. Is it numbness, is it fear, is it melancholy or is it an abysmal mixture of all of them? I wish I knew.
In another place, you're living with a void. There's no one to look over you. You're supposed to be the happiest git among your friends, and guess what ? Astoundingly, you're still smiling. Your mother lost her life 6 years back, and destiny came and hit you right at your face again, you just saw your dad breathing his last. You have a sister, she isn't married, and you're still supposed to smile and act all strong. Guess what? You're still smiling. A fake, superficial one at that too. There're no reasons to live, or so you think. You still have to fight, because they should think your're strong. Ingenuity, you've probably lost all of it, though its only momentary. And once again, you don't know what to feel. Is it revulsion, fear, terror, angst, anxiety ? Or none of them? Oh yes, you're supposed to be strong.
You know when it hurts even more? When these two stories are not your own, but of two people who're closest to you.


The lesser known feelings.

I like going back to Delhi. I love the way it is a beautiful amalgamation of different cultures. And also because Delhi is where I fell in love. And for once falling in love was not synonymous with falling into a bitter nothingness.
He gave me incessant, carefree laughter and brought me close to myself. The real lover is the man who can thrill you by kissing your forehead or smiling into your eyes or just staring into space.

Our trip was planned. We were sure we wouldn't fall for each other, but today when I've worked so hard and finally pushed Farhan at the back of my mind, I have other things to say. I realized remembrance is a form of meeting and forgetfulness a sweet freedom. Not clinging onto something has been comforting, and has given me a weird sense of security.
Solitude used to be beautiful, and I cherish every bit of it. Then, I didn't quite remember the story of the pure, white paper who appreciated its own beauty and said that it'd better be burnt to ashes than touched by one so unclean. The ink bottle heard the paper and laughed in its dark heart, so did the multi-colored pencils, but neither dared to move close to the sheet of paper. Ofcourse, the paper remained pure and chaste forever, pure, chaste and empty.

He filled me. With himself. With myself. And instilled a new me in me.

While it lasted, it was a different world.


No Name Face.

Oh, you don't know who I am.
Because I put my name in the sand.

They have asked me about my nationality. Indian or Pakistani, does it change your love for me? Few even asked about the religion, would it matter if I was called Razia, Rachael or Rani? Is it relevant to you, a cut on my brother's body? Does it make you hate me if I tell you I condemn the cross? Do you fall in love with me more deeply if I were a Hindu? Does it increase respect for me in your eyes if I tell you I wear a hijab? Or does it make you loathe me like never before?
Will you stop reading me, believing in me, if I am an Atheist?
How relevant is my destination and location to you ? It maybe the city of blinding lights, or the city with machines, or them with hearts?
Does my not having a name bother you ? I like my namelessness, my supposed 'anonymity'. Because I can be anyone I want to. Those who matter already know that behind the facade, the charade, the masks is one person. I would like to Margaret for a day, and change to Benazir the other. And be all those women I revere, does it matter to you?
They asked me if I've been in love, and if not why'd I write about it? No, never, I haven't ever been touched by love. Its a bug, its a tranquilizer, I have no idea. Once more, I have imagined. Been somewhere I always wanted to be, headed somewhere I'd hate to be stuck in. I've sang a melody I didn't even know, and got the lyrics of a favorite song messed up.
They asked me about how young I was. Sixteen. And alive, breathing to be 17 in February.
But again, does it matter to you if I were a sixty year old woman in a 16 year old's body? Does it make me write any worse, think a little more futile? I would be Anne Frank for my life. Would it matter? Because I would still believe. In you, and in me.

Going off till Mid January or so. This year was good, and '12 will be better, Insha'Allah. Be good.


Because faith has wings.

The call from the minaret.

Our eyes meet.
We smile.
Its never condescending.
Many a strangers.
Today, I know all of them.
For they all smile back.

I see him praying.
Alone. Solitary.
He is in black.
His face, has lines.
His face, tells me stories.
They say he is mad.
I think he plays on a different note.

There are devotees.
Some complain.
Some seek blessings.
Some, like me, just stay.
Immerse in the divinity.
Perhaps, they too soak in it.
Soak in the serenity.
Yes, there's plenty.

Nomads, I see in abundance.
Here, they find solace.
Here, nobody shuns them.

I stand by the window.
There is music.
A lot of it.
The music of a city calling back at me.

The music a city aches to play.
One not marred by fear.
One that is not full of gore.

The sky is a sharp blue.
The women look more charming.
The men a little more august.
The children have but grown in innocence.
The surroundings are a beautiful blur.
A translucent, peaceful blur.

I see pigeons.
I see flights.
Of freedom, of liberty.
For once, no one is tied down.
For once, they all breathe the same air.

@Jamia Masjid, Srinagar.