what is it about people that makes the letters coming out of my mouth trip and tumble. is it their masculinity, femininity, androgyny. is it the way they carry themselves or the way they hold your gaze, as if the longer they stare, the more they peer into your soul. time seems to stand still but in reality it is just hammering away at you to keep your pace up. so when someone says it’s okay slow down take your time my mind is trying to find a hundred ways to say the same phrase while my mouth, flustered, tries to gather the fallen letters and produce, somewhat, the original words. and when it does, sighing a “i did it” relief, they have the audacity to say i’m sorry i wasn’t paying attention what did you say. SIGH.
The best part of a foggy, wintry morning
in the rural parts around here is enjoying
freshly collected from the sap of date trees,
free of dust, noise, pollution,
A big thank you to baba (my father) who helped me understand the process of how the molasses were collected from the date palm trees. I knew molasses were being collected but it looks a tad bit different than collecting maple syrup, as I’ve read in Laura Ingall’s “Little House in the Big Woods”. The things you can learn from books 🙂 . Anyways, baba has experienced this before and he misses it quite a bit. Also a big thank you to Shoudho Bhaiya. When I actually saw you out there the other day, enjoying the very same thing I’m writing about, I just had to know what your experience was like 🙂
Bullets flew past me as I crawled through the paddy field. I saw many fall down in front of me but I could do nothing to help but go on. I reached the bank but wasn’t sure if I should cross it. Hearing men coming my way, I slunk back into the field and waited. I stopped breathing for a minute and nine seconds in fear that they might hear me, capture me, and kill me. Nothing was left and there was no where to go. The only thing you could do was go forward and pray that you stayed alive for one more day. A group of soldiers were on the road laughing and talking in their language. Their boisterous voices were full of filth and hate. Anger boiled inside of me. I wanted to take them down right then and there, but they were too many. They heard a noise from a little ways away and followed it while I took the chance to get out of there as fast as I could.
The only way to move about was at night. It seemed as if I had been walking for miles. I was tired and my feet were cracked and dirty. My stomach growled. The road was pitch black and the moonlight wasn’t helping me any. Eventually, I lost track of the road and landed back in the paddy field when I felt a great excruciating pain on my right toe. I screamed silently for fear of the Paki cops finding me as I blindly tried to remove the thorn. Unable to, I kept on walking as my foot bled. I had no choice but to go on. I don’t know how much longer I walked but after a while, even the pain seemed to go away. After what seemed like hours, I saw something off in the distance, like a light flickering, and then it was gone. A few minutes later, I saw it again and this time I figured it wasn’t just in my head. I headed towards it and found a small house. I limped my way to a tree and wondered if I should get closer. What if the soldiers were using it as a base? But what if they weren’t? What if it was just a normal house with normal people inside? I could get help. They could tell me if they saw my family.
Taking a chance, I limped across the yard to the front door. My heart, beating more times than I could count, stopped right there as I pushed the door open and ten thousand voices shrilled, resonating through my body and into the night.
^^This is a recount of my father during the Liberation War. It was about the time he became separated from his family when Pakistani soldiers stormed his village and they were forced to leave everything and flee for their lives.
keep your head above the water
because if you don’t
you’ll have no choice
but to go
“I like to see people reunited, I like to see people run to each other, I like the kissing and the crying, I like the impatience, the stories that the mouth can’t tell fast enough, the ears that aren’t big enough, the eyes that can’t take in all of the change, I like the hugging, the bringing together, the end of missing someone.”
– Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The hourglass sits there idly,
I turn it,
Over side up
And it starts,
S L O W L Y
Working its way through.
The sand dunes cave in
Second by second,
Minute by minute;
Forming itself yet again,
I am closed away
Somewhere in my mind,
Somewhere past my own conscience,
Like a lost toy boxed away
After it has lost its battle,
Eager to be found again.
The paper plane in my hand
As if frozen in time.
We don’t belong yet.
I make my way across the empty halls,
Awaiting to find
I hear the sound of laughter,
The kind of laughter that really makes you smile.
The empty halls fade into thin air
As if the sound of the laughter
Is beating on it,
Forcing it to go back
To its place.
The emptiness fades away
And I am left standing here
Under the sky blue sky.
I can feel the warmth,
The touch of a hand
Upon my cheek;
The touch invisible to me.
As I tread on the vastness of the water,
My feet gives light to tiny ripples,
Each of them leaving
As the next one appears.
I look on as I walk with my reflection,
My feet in touch with hers.
I feel so true.
The wind is so strong and steady.
I let it braid my undone hair.
I let it ruffle my pleated dress.
I let it just be.
With a flick of my wrist,
I push my plane forward
And into the sky.
The strong and steady wind catches it
And blows life
Into its paper wings.
And my plane?
Up into the sky,
Past the massive white clouds,
Past the sapling in its mother’s embrace.
My plane keeps its pace
With its reflection
Without giving light to a single ripple.
But it doesn’t matter.
My once lifeless airplane
Has taken flight,
And has gone to find its own self.
I feel lost…
As I wander through the dark chasms
With a matchstick.
This emptiness in my chest…
From where does it come and why?
This feeling grows stronger and stronger
As the emptiness grows wider and wider.
My emptiness grows in me.
I know my purpose but I can’t reach it.
Or rather, I don’t know how to reach it.
It’s so dark in here that
My voice goes unheard,
my being unseen.
Am I lost
Or are people just pretending
To not see?