Of Silly Ruminations

Art by Chugtai M.A.R

I want to be an openness bending at the tip of the sunlight falling on my back. But I’m also afraid of burning in my own fire.

I carry my hostilities like a poet who adores perspiring on a hot sunny afternoon in the arms of an old monument that houses some grand secrets only he can see – and I can’t unsee. I’ve been his muse and his monument – sometimes a pillar draped in silk.

I yearn to be a vastness, much wilder than the blue skies. Someone once told me that I was silly to think of blue skies as wild, and I only laughed. How can you not see the calm that has rained, birthed storms and swallowed deaths? I realise that it’s indeed silly of me to think that people would see how I manage to carry this calm.

I don’t burn in my own fire. I invite other’s to ignite my flame so that I can master my art of living for others – because what is a woman without a role?

Simply a human? No, that is deeply silly of me, indeed.

-Nameera Anjum Khan.


So yes, day 9 is over, where I live and I really did not want to break my flow. Hence, I quickly looked up this enthralling work of art to inspire me today!

This one is a take on gender roles – particularly the one’s attached to a woman. It takes inferences from the Indian culture as well and the thinking of a family/culture-oriented woman who is made to feel suppressed because of her desires for freedom.

Sometimes, things that reflect a particular emotion aren’t exactly what they’re composed of, the blue skies for example that are not always blue or calm, for that matter.

I always feel that seasons and nature is a very great way to deeply understand human emotions in a poetic light. Hence my obsession with them is pretty evident in this piece too!

Thank you for reading, have a great day/night!

Naked

‘Naked’

And to my mother’s ears, it’s ‘Blasphemy’. I wonder what’s more suffocating, the fact that I am Naked and a mere reflection of her or the fact that she’s had her eyes closed this whole time?

The society is the most illusionary mirror to ever exist. It shows you what you desire, but at the cost of negligence to your own needs. But here’s the catch, it only ‘Shows’ you this understanding that you possess. One single deviation can render you hopeless and so, the question remains; How much do you actually understand about yourself and this so-called ‘Society’?

You see, you’ve got to choose between the two. I choose to strip off of my regularities and give in to this maze of infidelity, I coincide with complicated minds and irrepressive hearts. I’m swinging through the gallant aspirations over to a newer side of things. It’s like a constant dalliance with the impossible heights.

I see my home right here, not up there when I say ‘Heights’. I see it on this ground and between these people. I want to run away sometimes, yes. But I think this distorted mirror has its own gravity that pulls you in, helplessly.

‘Naked’ – Blasphemy? I think freedom is but an unfiltered mind, a careless yet considerate human. When you choose a path of irregularities – it’s neither a garden nor a parched land that have been walked before, it’s a whole new world where you might even fly, who knows where possibilities end, right?

But without taking off those hideous reflections that you’ve been borrowing over the years, how can you expect to let your wings breathe?

-Nameera Anjum Khan

Happy Women’s Day

On this day, I want to celebrate trust, dependency and sensitivity.

It’s a blessing to be able to rely on friends and family. As a woman, I’ve seen a considerable level of criticism/unwanted suggestions coming my way because of my choices in life. However, these pricking truths are not the only facet to my life. It is also true that I’m blessed with amazing people that I can trust. And over the years, one biggest life lesson that I’ve learnt is the importance of sensitivity & vulnerability. They have their own beauty, their own poetry to convey.

People will always condition women to grow through such tough phases that independence becomes their sole aim. But I beg to differ. Independence is not JUST about handling your own finances, traveling solo, being able to take your own decisions or wearing clothes of your choice. Have you ever thought about dependency with a straight mind?
I do not mean to convey anything negative by this. What I’m trying to say is that maybe dependence doesn’t really have to be looked down upon so passionately. Maybe there’s a truth to it we aren’t taught to acknowledge. Maybe our society has upheld stupid convictions for so long, that some words just sound absurd. But this doesn’t have to stop us from defining their meanings in our own terms, right?

My mother always tells me that Allah says, it’s wrong to blame time – as in – how people say that this era (referring to time) was better than the one we live in today. So, next time if somebody says ke hamare zamane mai aisa kuch nahi hota tha, then remind them that people have always found a way to do whatever the hell they want to. Good and bad people have existed since the beginning of Creation. Things have happened exactly the way they do now, except that the means of doing them were different.

And just because today is different, it doesn’t have to be wrong. You can still trust people, if you’ve been betrayed before. Give those who are really trying their best a Chance. You can still be an independent woman, a happy woman, a vulnerable woman, an ambitious woman, a hopeful woman, and a woman who depends on her family and friends & reciprocates their love.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

On Writing

Writing for a purpose, specially one that’s for a long term, can be so difficult to provide an impetus to. I’ve been so frustrated and annoyed at myself for the past few months. I was in a similar position at the beginning of the previous year, but it was for all the different reasons.

And I honestly love writing about writing, you know?

I’m not making much sense. Also this is yet another pms-ing rant haha, in case it wasn’t obvious.

I want to write for myself, like I always have. But I also want to share myself with the people that inspire me and vice-versa. We all have some inspiration to offer to each other. It’s beautiful.

Life is beautiful, we should write it more often.

-Nameera Anjum Khan.

of independence & french fries

i grew up as independent as the roof on my head,
but i still needed the walls to float

i sometimes feel like the plants sitting
outside my window,
just observing my life
maybe this is just an astral lie
or maybe im a stray dog looking for a
shed to sleep under

im a window breaking a thousand times
just to come to terms with this strange insult that is growing
in my poems

im the eye balls rolling on the ground
and disappearing under the carpet, a
divorced paper waiting for a signature

significance,
i like big words and synonyms, i wish i
could find one for my brain
i wish i could nurse the soil that
weakens the bold cracks that are quick
to assume the joy in
every dark shade
of life

this out of control window to my soul
makes me want to fall into a sickness,
i can’t name it tonight
it’ll be a different poem tomorrow

let it fester, let it fester like the fading
smell of french fries on a wintry afternoon,
my little revenge lives every season but
in winters, it eats me

i wish it would chew me too but it eats
me whole
(greedy bitch)
in a stomach, i write about a heart
pretending to be my roof

i write about the bliss sliding under my
clothes, it’s too cold for it to come out, it
sleeps

i grew up independent, inside myself
i grew up, in as much space as i could
take and they could give,
i outgrew
i died;

in the throat of grief, as she drank sobs
to encounter cracked ceilings and
disfigured djinns coming out of their
holes in my bedroom wall

french fries in the rain,
and a cup of tea, please.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

20.

red flowers with green leavesWhen I look back, I realize that there is no sorrow, no regret and absolutely no contempt to hold against my past. I see myself growing into someone I will be proud of once this phase has passed and with this I realize how life is made up of these little fragments that are so deeply connected to those around them. That’s how people come to affect us so intrinsically.

I used to write stories years ago but I could never complete them. I always wondered what it’d be like to complete one, to reach an end, something definite and finite. Years later I know that if we never learn to embrace our beginnings then the ending can never make sense. I thank God each day for friendships and love that are much more than what others usually experience. You don’t read about it in books and you never get to watch it on TV, you live it and that is the only way to become a part of happiness that is wholesome and pure.

You see it in eyes that sparkle with emotions, in sentences that are interrupted by constant laughter, on bad days when you’re not alone like you used to be and in the faces of people that simply care for you and cherish you in ways no one else ever did, they were never meant to anyway.

Twenty years later, I’m content and at peace with my surroundings and God, with opening up to the right people and loving like I never have before. This isn’t just another phase; it’s a whole new lifetime, a beginning that reeks of hope and goodness, of lilies and hibiscus, of honesty and blue skies, of vulnerabilities and poetry.

-Nameera.

Image Credits: Unsplash

 

 

 

 

Privilege

The sight of a bird looking down upon the travelers lost on the road, that is what my vision can capture

The crisp white bed sheets adorning my bed are smoother than the lines upon their young faces

The sun shines in my part of the world so that my hair gets rid of the water but in their part of the world, it burns their feet and leaves them with dry throats

The only water that flows in their realm is sweat and blood, helplessness and despair

Sometimes, even nature takes a cruel shape against them

It’s been a long day under this roof, it’s been a long day under the skies

In my part of the world, I argue with facts and devour logic with each step that I take forward in a direction I know is meant for me

In their part of the world, the only direction is the endless road, the only logic is a two square meal and the only argument is the one that ends with an absence of privilege synonymous with a voiceless music

And this is poverty for someone like me who can only write about it but ‘they’ hear its voiceless music and they are its heart-wrenching lyric 

Privilege is a funny thing, it almost makes you forget where you could be and at the same time, it makes you realize how it limits you when you don’t have the proper devices to make use of it

My poetry is almost always adorned with metaphors but this time, I refuse to put any ornaments upon it

This one time, I want you to analyze your privilege and worry about things that have absolutely no inkling to your reality

Because this entire world and every being in it is your reality, we’re nothing more than an amalgam of skin and bones tied to different fates, we’re nothing more than dirt and dust encircling each other in a perpetual pool of ups and downs

It’s your past that is fighting hard to survive the war against hunger and capitalistic regimes 

It’s your future succumbing to death while you’re just an infant in the lap of your wailing mother and a father who couldn’t make it

It’s your present self urging you to do something about it, your privilege seeks a purpose, give it while you still can. 

-Nameera.

Daylight

Daylight is the kind of hope fumbling for words simply because you don’t give her enough space to expand her lungs and search for the sun rays like an infant trying to pronounce the alphabet.

She’s waiting on the other end while darkness covers you head to toe, she calls out to you while you lay asleep, possibly. Daylight stuffs her mouth with grapes until her days are sour enough to forget you. She sleeps with her eyes wide open, she dreams about your sleep while you lose it bit by bit. Every night she calls out to you from the shadows. You see demons instead. Every night she weaves epiphanies out of the blankness but you’re too focused on all the things that slowly suck the nectar out of your peace; it’s a withering flower now, bowing low and deep, buried inside its own existence.

What do you do when your own body is a grave that engulfs you whole?

One day you wake up and realize that it’s past midnight. You notice that it’s the hour of the demons, like they say in the movies. You shrug your shoulders, smiling at the odd thought. But isn’t it odd that you’re suddenly awake? Why did sleep arrive in the first place when this was supposed to be the end, you staying awake and wondering all that you are at this moment. Then you think of all those things that happened and died out halfway through. Would it really matter if they hadn’t taken place at all? I mean, it would probably affect your self-growth. But does He have to make growth so hard and giving up so easy? Who is this He I refer to anyway? Then you remind yourself that it was this very prospect of how things usually are that made you want to stand up to them. What if giving up wasn’t easy? What if complaining all the time actually solved all the problems? Would you really be who you are today?

3 AM is not an end, it never will be. It’s the exact moment of finding, oneself, the truth, God, love, sleep – who can tell? It can be anything you want it to be. It’s not the hour of dark things that lurk in the shadows, it’s the hour to wait, to wait for daylight.

Daylight will come, she’s almost here. The grapes were never sour, they were bittersweet and so is your life. Daylight is yours, embrace her too.

Your body isn’t a grave but a precious gift of nature. Flowers grow on it, they grow deep inside you and all around you. If you close your eyes and smile, they bloom. Do you notice how your breath is a sign of so many things, it could be the soft breeze, the harsh winds, the gentle tides, the rustling leaves, buzzing of bees, the plop of a frog, a butterfly flapping its wings, a cats purr and the silent drizzle – the sigh of nature is forever looking to brighten up your day.

You’re not lost, you are home so carry yourself with love and faith.

-Nameera.

Image credits : Unsplash

D I V I D E

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The gap between my teeth widens
I’m six years of carelessness and a body clothed in flesh
My flesh is skin and a human anatomy I’m yet to understand
My flesh is carrot juice and French fries
My flesh is a subtraction of the numerical, perhaps the only confusion in my life
My flesh is unafraid and knows how to breathe in and out without having to give it a second thought
My flesh sees other flesh like mine and that’s where the story simply ends
Years later my headscarf has another story to tell
The bindi upon my forehead tells yet another story
And just like that, so many stories gather themselves at the periphery of my existence
My best friend dabs my cheek in pinks and greens
My best friend waits more eagerly for sewiyan than I do for Eid
Do you like horror stories? I do too
I think we all enjoy a little thrill in this mundane existence
We’re all looking for something out of the ordinary to provide forethought to
What if that horror isn’t fiction anymore?
It is as real as the red bindi across your forehead and as dark as my black Hijab
It has its horrors that transform streets into a war zone
Cities into hell
Cold winter mornings smell of gunfire that echoes through these lanes
But do you know what sounds worse than that? The silence
That is the scariest story of this divide
It isn’t secluded to bloodshed and cries for help and hunger and poverty and dirty politics and differences and awkward means of reaching out to each other and change in perspective and the birth of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ and ‘He’ and ‘She’ and a myriad other pronouns that have been put to shame
It is the silence that has followed this divide
The lack of a proper noun to voice concern
The lack of a proper noun to replace the wrong
Because black will always remain black no
Matter what shade is forced upon it.

Image Credits: Photo by Alex on Unsplash

Hope in Winters

It’s been so long since I’ve felt this warm. I mean, it’s quite a surprise because winters always infuse my bones with mental sickness and isolation. This time, it was different and different is not always good however this year has to be one of those exceptional ones where nothing great happens but you still feel like you’ve lived a long, peaceful life.

Greatness often becomes a measure for our happiness. Greater the milestone achieved, greater is the joy that comes attached with it.

I find it a shallow means of ‘measuring’ happiness. It can never be scaled. The purity of a moment is derived by the sheer memory of it and how it detaches you from the reality while you smile like an absolute idiot.

2019 has been one such moment for me. I worked on myself and on building a stronger bond with people I love. I tried filling in the empty spaces and I’ve come to terms with things that went askew.

And For the things I couldn’t learn, I hope 2020 will make up for it.

My hands are freezing as I type this, but there’s an uncanny warmth spreading over my chest. I haven’t felt so much peace in ages.