Month: May 2017
So, you’ve come again to scorn me
Haphazardly coloring with all the disgusted life
And depressing rainbow
Havoc black stallion tears filling the rainbow
Rising from the ground
Overwhelming the rainbow bit by bit, drop by drop
Zealously celebrating my birthday
It was one of those times when I first fell in love with a stranger. Why do we usually fall in love with a stranger knowing that we don’t know anything about them yet we have some sort of connection, that somehow, somewhere, we knew each other from the past, perhaps not in this life but in the previous one or the one before that.
But when I saw her from the corner of the room, I knew I never wanted to see, to touch, to feel, to caress, to kiss someone else. For In a single second when I looked at her, there seemed to be many days. But I never had the courage to tell her just how I feel. But I hope someday she’ll realize what she really means to me. I sometimes dream of her, I remember one vivid dream, and I can’t hold this only to myself. I’ve been holding it since the school days and every day after that dream when I looked at her It was a sheer torture, like someone consistently stabbing a burning knife on my blooded healing wound. The wound was Her.
It was one of those purplish nights which don’t exist in real life, where the atmosphere was filled with the newly Spring bloom flavor. The trees were shedding their dying leaves but strange thing was, before the rusted yellow leaf could fall to the ground, it was reborn again into a new green life breathing leaf. Her eyes radiant grey, her lips starch blood rose, Her hair were autumn, consistently filling my cup of wine, you could just lose yourself in them.
She was standing outside my friend’s and my apartment with her friend who was my roommate girlfriend. They honked the car for the fifth time in two minutes when we finally went down to the street. I hurriedly went to Her and before her gibberish started, hugged her so tightly, she struggled to take me off from her, but I kept repeating sorry over and over again until she melted like snow in my arms. I can never forget that hug in my life. It was that moment that we shared and that will last till the last time. It was the kind of hug that a man can have only once or twice in his’ lifetime if he’s lucky enough to love someone he’s meant or destined to love. Sometimes it takes a man his whole life to learn how to love. Pity!
I hopped in the front seat with her and we went to a restaurant for dinner. Well, one wouldn’t call it a restaurant because it wasn’t one of those places where you park your car in the massive parking lot, and then you walk to the entrance where the waiter would already be waiting for you to take you to your table, and after that he would give each of you your menu and you’ll talk happily with all smiley fake faces until the sizzling food arrives. But what they’d really be looking for is visibility, attention, and praise. You’ll look around you, everyone having a good time. So, you’ll feel comfortable and perhaps have a good time too, or pretend to have a good time. Then you’ll pay the bill and go home. That’s it. Dinner is over. Night well spent. So is your life. Now back to your routine life which you despise from your guts. Period.
But where we actually went wasn’t considered a typical restaurant rather it was a market where there were several hotels, restaurants, fruit vendors, ice cream parlors, people selling clothes, hats, gool gappays, fruit chat stalls, coffee machine on the edge of the road, chai stalls, well it’s a mixture of everything in that small everything in a narrow long road.
Her parked the car outside that long narrow road alongside some houses, and hurriedly locked the car and came sheepishly out of it before someone could see us and stop us because the place where we parked wasn’t exactly the place where one should park, in front of somebody’s house. But she did it nonetheless because it wasn’t some kind of a restaurant where you were going to have dinner.
We walked past through several shops, shop owners, waiters calling you towards them but we struggled our way through them and stopped in front of a shop where the Pathan, probably the shop owner, selling unstitched clothes, saw our faces with strange eyes. She, leading the way, whispered something in his ear and he made the way for us to enter the shop and opened the backdoor of the shop that opened up to narrow stairs that took us to the upper floor of the same clothing shop.
The narrow stairs opened to a very small room with a low roof. We all had to bend our necks and wade our way to sit on one of the four candle lit tables. There were speakers in the corners of the small room, and all the four irregular and unequal walls were adorned with abstract gothic paintings, sketches, wallpapers, posters, that would at first scare the shit out of you. The most horrific and peculiar thing about all the paintings was, the eyes in some of the paintings were colored black, like someone didn’t like them and as a punishment painted them dark, blinded the people in them, only if one could call them people.
The room smelled of cigarettes, sheesha, weed, and all those drugs that we had never heard of. The tiled floor was broken in many places, and it was crooked a little and you’d think that you have entered some irregular gravity place, some fourth dimension. But there was one thing that caught my eye- a big window on the roof of the small room, from where I could see the purple sky, the Stars walking backwards, plane looking like an ant creeping high above leaving white trails illuminating in the dark
And then the owner himself did all the waitering, clearing the table, cooking, serving, playing our favorite songs, and taking our bill. Yes, that’s the kind of an unorthodox “restaurant” where we went. Once we entered its premises, we got out of the dimensions of time and space.
The “restaurant” served only one dish and it was called “Mantu” a special dish from the valley of Swat, as the owner explained. Its outer shape was like an oyster but the meat was enclosed in the elastic soft steamed dough. It was sour, spicy, and sticky.
After Mantu, we all smoked cigarettes, which the owner of Mantu gave us on our way out as though they were free with the meal, went to the beach on the seashore. We dropped our shoes in the car and took a long walk. After going really far from the car we lay down, my friend and his girlfriend started walking towards the water, playing with the tides. I placed my head on her thighs, and we softly whispered to each other. I don’t remember what we talked about or where did both of our friends went after that. It wasn’t that dark as the light of the moon was kissing the soft tides of water and reflected such beauty in her eyes that amazed me, it was a trance where I couldn’t look anywhere else other than Her grey eyes speaking of romance.
All I remember is that I was looking in her eyes as she was gently stroking my hair. She was gently whispering near my ear, heat of our faces reaching each others’ lips, and some mysterious force attracted us towards each other as though she was the moon and I was the water, our breaths colliding each other in the small space between our trembling lips speaking of unspeakable words. As our lips collided in each other’s embrace, everything froze; the tides didn’t make any sound, the nightingales quite, the sand wet, the heart beat stopped. Strange things happen when fire meets water.
Suddenly the thunder roared in the distance and a hard drizzle beating against my window. Has winter really arrived? There was a tear in my eye. My heart beat faster and louder than the road thunder, my forehead sweaty, my breath hollow, my hands cold. I lay awake staring at the ceiling afraid of looking anywhere else. Afraid of proving wrong what I fear the most. Now I have to realize that those days are gone and I have to come back to reality, no matter how much I hate it. Suddenly I was all alone in this all wild brute world. I was drowning in this thunderous rain. With each soaking tear the pieces were falling apart. A pit of loneliness. A prison. My world collapsing in front of my eyes and I could do nothing other than see it helplessly turn to dust and ash.
I became lost in thoughts and carried myself away in the hurricane of this passion. The more I thought the more I fell deeper in the void black hole. Why does God give us hope and dream if I the end He takes it away? Are we just born to helplessly give everything that we have all away? What does He get from hearing all those suffering voices, don’t He get tired, or does it make Him feel superior? If He wants to take away anything then take this brutal life that He makes miserable and full of torture. I’m a pathetic and disgusting creature. I feel nothing. A trance of Godlessness.
The thundering roar and the hurricane of rain became quiet. A warm hand silently brushing my hair went to my eyes, and held the tear in the life-giving hand. As I followed the hand, there, right beside me, behind the cloud of fog, two moon reflecting grey eyes wet with tears speaking of love- it was Her. As though she knew what I saw or felt. She understood me. She didn’t need words or deeds to express what I felt rather she spoke the same language that everyone in this world is capable of speaking, that makes us understand everything that happens all around us, the same language that is spoken in every part of the world, that same language that brings us together in times of despair and loneliness, it was Love. I didn’t know whether the dream was slipping into reality or reality was slipping into my dream. Dream- such a fancy enthusiastic passion. I knew I had to pay a high price for it. But it never cost me as much as those who didn’t live. And I did the only thing I thought I’d never be able to do again, I hugged her.
“Bhaiya, how long will it take for the two burgers that I ordered twenty minutes ago?”
“Year they are almost ready, just give me ten more minutes. My burger stall has never been so crowded before and I’m the only guy who has to make and serve the burgers and also to pack the burgers for those who want to have it as take away, so please wait for ten more minutes I’ll make you two special burgers just like old days.” The burger vendor replied apologetically.
What choice did I have at that moment other than to wait for ten more minutes for my order to get ready. Yes, that was very true what he said about his stall booming with customers, that it had never been that crowded. Moreover, it was a weekend night in the never sleeping city of over two crore population of Pakistan.
I’d been coming to that stall for five years. I was back in college when I first ate his burgers and they were as delicious as they were then. Now I was doing my research and that stall was still standing there as it is, like his father before him, who taught him all his business and passed it to his son, and went to the village to spend the rest of his days on the income of that stall. They were never able to turn it into a proper shop as the income was barely keeping the whole family alive. They were just happy with what they had, keeping faith in God who they thought knew better than both of them.
I’d met his father only once on the eve of my result day when I gave a party to my friends as I got the highest grades in my class. It was the same guy, the same spot, the same taste; in front of a bookstore and alongside the busiest road of the block, just on the edge of the road, as not to become a source of traffic jam.
The area has so developed since last two years. Before all the tall buildings and plaza malls, there were dozens of slums scattered all around the society. But thanks to the capitalists that all the marshy slums are now gone. On my house side of the road, there are tall buildings but the other side of the road is underprivileged. And all the slums have shifted to the other side of the road. Now, the slums all the time beg outside the malls parking slot but the guard are always on the foot to beat the slums as soon as they saw any near the commercial buildings. I hope they soon vacate our area too and then there will be cleanliness and no sight of poverty.
There was a milkshake shop behind the stall and its chairs and tables were spread out on the pavement leaving no way for the passengers to pass, so they had to walk on the edge of the road, crossing above the pavement and the burger stall at the same time.
The burger stall was a metal box on three sides, partially glass, and on the only open side this boy stood and made burgers. The metal box had a big metal plate under which a gas stove burnt. There were two cabins on each side on which salads, ketchup, kabab, mayonnaise, buns and dozens of eggs were placed. The whole place would hold as much space as the length of the wide spread hands of Jack and Rose.
It was a very fine night of April, a weather ought to be enjoyed alone in the darkness of the abyss. Slow breeze caressed my face, few drizzles blurred my vision, and the smell of the heat and water colliding with each other was addictive-enlightening a new world.
As I was relishing the scene, my friend called me asking me about the Sunday’s study circle arrangements in a local coffee shop near my university. I discussed plans with him for upcoming topic on the Asian Marxist Review that will be delivered by a special guest from the leading revolutionary party leader himself to mobilize youth and students from different universities.
As soon as I was off from the call, the burger guy packed my burgers for the go. As I pay him, suddenly a roar of thunderstorm sprang out from absolutely nowhere. It wasn’t the kind of thunderstorm that I saw on the sky rather I saw no light from anywhere, all I could hear was the grumbling of a couple of trucks and shouts of dozens of people. Before I had the time to look back, the three waiters of the milkshake shop quickly grabbed their chairs and tables and ran inside the shop. It all happened so fast that the guy from the truck jumped off from the vehicle and with the speed of lightening snatched the tables from the waiters and threw it in the long vehicle, breaking them.
On their trucks, that were blocking the road, was written: L.D.A (Lahore Development Authority), a governmental organization which seals illegal food stalls and fruit vendors. Illegal in the sense that their stalls come within ten inches of the road. Within a few minutes the road was completely jammed and the noise of horns and shouts of angry drivers reverberated throughout the busiest road of the block.
They dealt with those illegal small time businessmen by grabbing their stall utilities and throwing everything they could get into a huge truck. They quickly moved for the burger stall, threw the salad bowl, Kabab mixture, eggs, and burger buns on the road. They dispatched the gas cylinder from the stove and three bulky men wearing torn and stained Shalwaar Kameez, picked the metal box quite comfortably and threw it in the truck, breaking the glass of the burger stall, alongside the fruit vendors’ carts, their balancing tools, and their fruits that were crushed in the process under the jack-boot.
That boy didn’t know what hit him, he seemed quite as amazed as I was with all this drama, looked completely blown and in a shock, as I handed the boy money for my two burgers and walked away with delicious burgers and went on with my research paper on inequality and injustice in Pakistan.