Poetry (English)

The Street Light

The street light flickers,
Yellow black yellow black …
The still pattern moves on
And with it, around it,
Flies and insects
Battering again and again against
The flickering lamp.
The glass; they curse it,
For it is a hurdle, a screen.

A little girl watches
From her window,
The flickering light,
Yellow black yellow black …

A young woman takes timid steps,
Afraid of the dark and night,
Gets more frightened
When someone passes by.
A dog is barking.
She tries to revise in mind
All in defence class, she had learnt,
But the tongue instead, prays.
She finds some relief in
The dog’s bark.
She smiles, he wags his tail.
The light flickers, flickers …
The dog suddenly howls,
Perhaps, is kicked.

The little girl shuts the window
And runs to her mother

© Muntazir
Picture Credit

Short Prose


She moved ahead slowly, taking a step or two carefully, lest she would frighten the squirrels and they will run away. Only if she could get a little closer, but the path was covered with dry leaves. She liked it not to crush them under her feet. That voice! How can she inflict such pain on the little leaves. Dry leaves, they always attract her. While strolling here and there, in the morning, noon and evenings or even while going to or returning from somewhere, she has this habit of picking up fallen dry leaves. She would pick them up, move her fingers slowly over the patterns on the lamina, feeling it, absorbing it and then put it down carefully at the foot of some big tree. Dry leaves. Fallen dry leaves. How beautiful they are. Once lush green, they danced with the winds, rustling, swaying. Sequined with pearls, adorned with flowers, they floated high, like a queen, in the air. Now, on the ground, slimed with mud, dried and withered, they are crushed, while someone negligently steps on them to praise some newly formed bud. She hunched down, sat in the little clearing and picked up a red leaf. Her fingers were tossing it over, making random lines and circles on it, while she herself was drowning in the deep circles of memories, dark impressions which had wilted her, withered her.

She hunched down, sat in the little clearing and picked up a red leaf. She could hear them, calling her, searching her. And here she was hiding in this little clearing in the mid of these thorny bushes. She sat quietly trying to suppress her giggles, when anyone of them passed from there. There were many leaves and little wild flowers. She started playing with them, forgetting entirely that she was playing something else, while the rest of the children too forgot her, young as they were, as soon as some movie began. Her little fingers carefully picked up the yellow and red flowers from the ground and tried to fix them in the braid. She would adorn herself and would surprise everyone. With the red and yellow flowers against her swarthy skin and olive green frock she looked heavenly. Carefully she emerged out from the hiding, running zealously towards the home, excited as she was, to surprise them all. The afternoon road was quiet and sun had enveloped everything in a lazy heat. As a ripple breaks out in silent waters, she ran with little steps. Redness sprouted its branches on her angelic visage. She was a bud, half opened, about to bloom into a full flower. But suddenly the sun drowned in the darkest of waters, the yellow and red flowers fumed into black ashes, the gleam of her eyes got lost in some ghoulish hollow. The petals shattered, the bud would never bloom. Covered in olive green tatters, she crawled to reach her home, blood dripping down from between her thighs, leaving behind traces, traces of …

A tear drop fell on the little red leaf, and settled on the dry surface like a glistening pearl. A squirrel which had came very slowly near her, finding her perfectly still and lost, and was about to snatch the leaf from her hands, at the fall of the tear, got really frightened and in no time ran away from there. The hasty movements of the squirrel forced her to laugh, but the laughter only deepened her pain. The fear of the squirrel reminded her more intensely of the black day and a sudden outburst of tears wrapped her. She sobbed and cried, tears flowed freely, endlessly, but at the same time she felt a strange lightness. Something which she had not felt since. The tears had washed the little red leaf, it was dry still, but was dazzling brightly under the sun.

© Muntazir
Picture Credit

Poetry (Hindi-Urdu)

फिर हवाओं में

फिर हवाओं में वही आवाज़ सुनाई देती है
वही आवाज़ जो भीड़ में भी तन्हाई देती है

जैसे बुझने से पहले लौ कुछ तेज़ दहकती है
कि ज़मीं पर गिरती पत्तियां अंगड़ाई लेती हैं

निकहत तो आती है‌ हवा के हल्के झोंकों से
आंधी बस चमन-ओ-बाग़ तबाह कर देती है

चमकते सूरज की गर्मी से उसका क्या लेना
वो तो लाश-सी किसी मदफ़न में लेटी है

सुनसान गलियां डरा देती हैं आज भी उसे
हर चीख़ में उसे अपनी चीख़ सुनाई देती है

پھر ہواؤں میں وہی آواز سنائی دیتی ہے
وہی آواز جو بھیڑ میں بھی تنہائی دیتی ہے

جیسے بجھنے سے پہلے لو کچھ تیز دہکتی ہے
کی زمیں پر گرتی پتیاں انگڑائی لیتی ہیں

نکہت تو آتی ہے ہوا کے ہلکے جھونکوں سے
آندھی بس چمن-او-باغ تباہ کر دیتی ہے

چمکتے سورج کی گرمی سے اسکا کیا لینا
وہ تو لاش-سی کسی مدفن میں لیتی ہے

سنسان گلیاں ڈرا دیتی ہیں آج بھی اسے
ہر چیخ میں اس اپنی چیخ سنائی دیتی ہے

© Muntazir
Picture Credit

Poetry (English)

In The Yards

If purity, serenity, peace were a face,
What visage would all the brushes paint?
A little girl smiling,
At the edge of forests
Or a lady at the horizon,
Rising with the sun or the
Old woman with wrinkled face, who
Sits in the backyard with her grandson,
Telling him to feed the birds
When she will be no more.

Purity, Serenity, Peace.
Peace. Peace.
Close your eyes for a moment,
Forget where you are
And imagine a white cloud –
Hanging there, there, up there –
Far away from your reach,
But still you raise your hands
And stand taller on your feet,
Try to catch it, touch it.

The little girl, the lady,
The wrinkled old woman.
Are they three or one?
Who knows! Who knows…
But, all eyes stop to see the cloud
Which floats so high, so heavenly.
All eyes witness the sunrise
At the horizon, so heavenly
And birds chirp each dawn,
In the yards.

© Muntazir
Picture Credit

Short Prose

A Withered Flower

She had not seen her for the past two years. Two years, such a long time. It passed like two centuries, in a jiff. Each minute burdened her soul and months passed unnoticed. The nights refused to pass and days kept sliding. Flowers withered and fell and withered. Dogs wailed and sighed and wailed. She had not seen her for the past two years. Two years and her anklets tinkled in the empty room. Hands waved in front of the white mirror, but it reflected only white walls, the walls which refused to scream. They were silent. Silent as a deserted house. She lived in a house, longing for a home. Two years and her arms ached to carry a beating heart.

The milk she had kept for boiling, over the gas-stove, rises and rises and flows down all over. The smell reaches her through the passage. It makes her feel nauseated. She had never liked this smell. Was it because of this disgust of boiled milk’s smell that her breasts are dry? But she loved to drink milk. Her daughter would have loved it too. Why was she snatched away from her? She was not dead. She herself had felt her little heart, rising and falling with each breath. Yes, she was not dead. But they, they never listened to her. They told her that her flower was withered and they buried it under the ground. She stood up, untied the anklets from her feet and threw them negligently over the table, where they  failed to land. Lost in another world, she blindly moved towards the kitchen, through the hall. It was empty, like the rest of the house, but she moved with such an effort as if she was making her way through loads of stuff. The more she tried to remove them from her way, the more they blocked her passage.

She felt a wetness touch her feet. She looked down, and a silent scream choked her throat. The white tiled-floor was all covered with blood, red human blood, and it was making her feel nauseated. She felt sick. Her eyes followed the course of blood, but what she saw was more than she could ever take. On the gas stove, in her own kitchen, boiling in a black rusted pot, was her daughter – formless, featureless, only a piece of flesh – boiling. From it were flowing  bloodstreams, ceaselessly through her entire house, painting the white walls red, making her house a home. The silent room echoed laughter, laughter of hundreds of masked doctors. They had once snatched her baby, she won’t let them do it again. She ran towards the pot and in the hot boiling blood, which had now turned black, inserted both her hands.

Her baby. Her baby was now in her arms, she kept it on her breast and felt her warm heart melting. For the first time in two years, a teardrop fell out of her eyes. She had screamed and kicked and yelled, when they had snatched her two years back. She wanted to cry but tears never showed up. She thought her heart was stone, but today the stone melted. She wept and sang and smiled and the whole house, which was silent for the past two years, echoed her voices and rejoiced. She kissed the flesh, again and again all over, till she started recognising her baby’s features, her little face, hands and feet. It was the happiest day of her life. She wanted to dance. She will dance. She ran to get her anklets. She bowed down to pick them up from the floor, but the beads had scattered. The music had stopped.

© Muntazir
Picture Credit