Friday, April 8, 2011

A call from home

A call from home

“Card chukha seath thavaan?”
(Do you carry the ID card with you?)

Mother worries over frequent phone calls
Away from home, home enters questions
‘Identity’ printed on a piece of paper
cuts through her voice; a discomforting lullaby:
“Card gase hamashe seath thavun”
(always carry the ID card with you)

Home leaves a permanent imprint…
On scattered notes, stamped on memories

At home, mother would tiptoe after me
At the door, before endless blessings, she always asked -
That question mothers have for their sons -
“Card tultha seath?”
(are you carrying your ID card?)

From Delhi now, your question settles on my unrest
Identity – detached from the card – hangs heavy

This is not Kashmir, mother
“Toete gase card seath thavun…. “
(Still you must carry the card with you...)
The line dropped on this insistence

I kept redialing, to rest her concerns,
her unfinished questions, unanswered
Hello..heloo… mother
Can you hear me?

I left the card at home, mother
In the back pocket of my worn-out jeans
Find: a fading photograph, scrutinized edges
And no trace of those unrecognized questions
forever inked on my memory

For troops to question my absence
The proof I left behind is not enough
That frisked ID card remains
like a festering wound, pocketed pain
I carry everywhere

By Majid Maqbool