Be-Numb

“Don’t feel too much,

Benumb yourself,”

They lull you to sleep,

“Hush a bye baby on the treetop,

When the wind blows the cradle will rock,”

Forgetting that

“When the bow breaks the cradle will fall,

Down will come baby, cradle and all.”

 

Their little cradle of wishful thinking-

Their flimsy enclosure of all-is-well,

Is breaking,

The bow that ties this cradle high up

In the world of privileged ignorance

Is breaking,

The knots of safety from thought

And protection from change,

Are breaking;

 

But they will still pat you on the back,

Say that you ought to “stay on track”,

“Don’t feel too much, benumb yourself,

Let pain be a book biting dust on the shelf,”

Fire is ablaze but they will repeat one line:

“Trust us, everything is fine.”

 

But their hut of lies is burning,

Breaking.

Go Read Your History Right

I am a textbook-the only source of history that you claim to need,

The only damage you think I cause is to force you to read,

But I am the product of a careful, systematic design,

You would be naïve to think that I am benign.

I establish ignorant conjecture as an unquestionable fact,

Ensure that the policies of the authorities remain intact,

I am made to deceive; not for you to explore,

Personal opinions and shrouded reality have created my lore.

 

They will teach you religion till they ensure,

That it sounds like a fanatic maxim of war,

They will tell you that questions are forbidden here,

Don’t fall for it, for goodness sake, my dear.

The history they’ll teach you will make you unkind.

Please do not let my pages turn you blind.

 

So as you skim through my crafted timeline,

Don’t let them tell you that this is all fine,

Don’t let them glorify any fabricated quote,

Don’t learn falsities mindlessly, by rote,

Learn to distinguish patriots from xenophobes,

And true scholars from mere men in fancy robes,

 

Go look for the truths, un-censoring stirs upon stirs,

That would make their heroes look like monsters,

And go search for the facts buried deep in the sands of time,

The ones they didn’t publish and the ones they’ve grimed.

 

So go and read your history once again,

Go read it right, this time, my friend.

Hush!

“Shhh!” they whisper, sounding

like a gentle breeze.

When the elders talk,

young one don’t speak at ease.

“You do not know,  but we know

all; except the answers to  your innocent, young woe.”

 

“Hush!” they say,

“Hush! Hush!” the say,

You are  girls, you are forbidden to say.

Silence is a trait that must stay.

“Cross your legs and clasp your hands,

And contain your words within your minds.”

 

“Quiet!” they shout, demanding fear.

They raise their voice,

and tighten their face,

Students mustn’t smile, they mustn’t rejoice,

Forbidden are words of disagreement and disgrace.

“Respect” is the word thrown around,

“We’ll shout at you, but you mustn’t hold your justified ground.”

 

“Silence!” they scream,

at the top of their lungs,

Their tongues still in motion after

they have stung

you with the poison of helplessness.

“Respect” is no longer the sun,

around which revolves this hypocrisy.

Now you’ve been told survival’s key:

“YOU MUST OBEY AUTHORITY.”

 

“Shhh!” she whispers,

with the sound of a fellow being,

wiping your tears and subsiding your cries,

“Speak!” she says, holding your hand,

Throwing you in the air, “Fly!” she says,

“I will watch and stand.”

These parchments are yours.

“Write,” she says,

as a lifting of restrictions,

not as a commandment that you must obey.

 

May you discover her within yourself.

And when you retrieve your ability to say,

You will finally be free that day.

—————————————————————————————————————————————

I have written this with immense gratitude to my family, friends and teachers for all the love, support and guidance. JazakAllah (May God grant you goodness)!

 

 

 

To Dada (Grandfather)

Dear Dada,

It’s been four years since you left us and I have never been able to thank you for everything that you’ve done for me, from delivering the adhaan (call to prayer) in my ear to teaching me the Quran. And perhaps, no note of gratitude will be enough for that. However, I will still try; because that is the least that I can do.

Thank you Dada for teaching me the most valuable of lessons; not through preachy sermons, but through your living example. Although I often forget to use them, they are precious lessons, nonetheless.

Thank you Dada; for teaching me that belittling others should not be a source of pride; that bravery does not exist in shouting and cursing-rather, it is found in being patient and steadfast.

Thank you for being a role model for me-not only through your outstanding academic and professional achievements, but through your proverbial humbleness; which taught me that nobody should consider themselves superior to others, no matter what.

Thank you for showing me that there is nothing wrong with using a walking stick for moving around. But you never asked us to slow down for you, or to do the smallest of things for you like bringing you a glass of water, although doing any of that would have been a source of happiness for us. You showed me that what truly matters is the brave struggle to keep standing on your feet, and the effort to keep moving ahead, with dignity and self-reliance.

Thank you Dada, for showing me that hard work pays off; that one shouldn’t waste time; that it is wonderful to be funny and witty; that one should be forgiving and kind; and how essential it is to bear troubles with patience, hope and unflinching faith in Allah as you did.

May Allah bless you with the highest of places in Jannah (paradise).

The Man with Magic, Spells and Superpowers

Many know that he is honest and respectful,

In what he has to do or say,

And I would absolutely love to

Be like him some day.

 

So whenever he begins to speak,

I listen very intently,

Because my father’s more extraordinary,

Than many people see.

 

They think that his talks are intelligent words

With an effect that lasts,

But I know they are something greater,

They are the spells that he casts.

 

There’s magic in how he finds

Happiness in seeing me smile,

And for that, he’s  always ready

To run the extra mile.

 

He is so courageous and

Unwavering in the face of fear,

My father is a hero,

With powers that are rare.

 

I hope to follow his footsteps,

To wherever he will go,

Because my father has more magic,

Than many people know.