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


bhavini said...

This was so pungently painful. I cannot believe we live in the same country. Perhaps we don't - there are so many basic differences, on so many levels, between the way the government, the police, the state works where I live, and where you live.

I am pitifully unaware of the situation in Kashmir. Given my privileged situation (I live in Bombay, belong to an upper-middle-class family) I have - I must admit here with shame - never been affected by reports or news stories that I have heard about Kashmir, simply because I am not suffering the atrocities that you and other Kashmiris are put through, every day. I'm glad I came across your blog - I hope to educate myself.

Your poetry touched me - please keep writing.

maqbool said...

Thank you, Bavnini. for your appreciation. The fact that you shared your thoughts means you are sensitive towards what is happening in Kashmir. May your tribe grow! Best wishes, Majid

Manali S. said...

People anywhere else in India cannot even begin to imagine the daily life of Kashmiris. Very well written.