Sigh

For years,
I fought recklessly
to fit my bones into the skeleton
that will tempt you the most.

Those summer afternoons spent,
Struggling in front of the mirror
rubbing my mascara & blush
drawing the image you wanted to see.

Through springs & winters,
Fighting depression, tears
relapses, anxiety and more –
dangling in a vicious cycle.

All this labour, facade & pain,
Just to be liked by you
so the false wave of acceptance
from your gaze,
surging down my empty spine
could comfort me to the core.

And even though I beg you,
For your love & touch
my insecure parts are still aching
in the same bony cage,
unfed & despised – the scars shine brightly.

So, do I collect myself?
Gather all these pieces
jot into one whole human
stand tall on my own.

Or do I return back?
To the same misery
that connects me to you
feeds my doubts
leaves me crippled for days
my limbs numb & feelings dead.

The night is dark
heart – broken
spark – crimson
waves – silent
but somebody whispers,
so much to endure just in the name of love.

Chalain phir viva mein mulaqat hogi.

Dear Sir,

I still remember that horrible and unfortunate day, probably 27th of May, 2016, when our househelp came to my room and told about your demise. I instantly jumped out of the bed and got so paranoid that rushed to dad and later on, sent someone to your house to really confirm that you were no more. Funny, isn’t it? We don’t care when people are alive but struggle to wrap our heads around their death news. Not only a teacher, you were my neighbour too.

I visited you so many times during you illness and throughout your absence from college, sometimes to come to the news of your ill health and admission in hospital, other times to be greeted by a sad smile of your dad that you are taken to another city for a better consultation and at times, just to the hours of your bedrest. Every visit broke a part of my heart to only realize how rapidly your health was going down.

That last meeting with you at your clinic is still vividly clear in my memory – a weak smile, determined yet sad eyes, concerned thoughts of a dad about his children, lean body, tired voice, shaking soul but a lot of contentment in each word you uttered. I still find it hard to shrug it off of my mind, that deep melancholic sight I breathed in. We have crossed paths, exchanged greetings and just wished the best for each other so many times in this very street that I walk in on daily basis with the only change of the absence of your classic old Mercedes that was a trademark sign for us all students to know about your presence or absence at college. I am sorry and I am guilty to confess that, like any other student, when I felt super-saturated by the many blood diseases and neurological disorders that you taught – I have wished to not see the Mercedes in the morning that would refer to your absence and a free class for us. I apologize. No matter how much us all, as students, would get irritated at times and the class would seem unwelcoming; I believe everyone can say it with surety that you have been and you always will remain as one of the best teachers of general medicine, my most liked one – your competence, knowledge and insight command over your subject made it a favorite to me.

I look at your house and it sends chills down my spine to realize how the going of a single life can change so many other lives connected to it – your family has moved from here, your clinical setup isn’t there anymore, the parking area of the blue Mercedes is empty and haunting – the worldly system is going on but you are not here. Your patients kept on coming even after your death and I couldn’t absorb the fact that they notified it at the gate about your absence – it broke me to even read that piece of paper. Do I have to shout the loss of my loved one at the top of my crumbled lungs? Is that the only way I can be heard? I couldn’t even study from your lectures for the paper as everytime I came across them, the sight of your name torn a part of my soul into two halves. It was your legacy that I still find myself to be the very best with all the topics being taught by you – from blood to neuro. I hope you feel happy about it.

I know my mates usually think I am mourning the loss of someone that I just knew for his teaching way, too much, but what they don’t know is, you weren’t only a teacher but having lived in the same street for 5 years, the bricks of your house and the people inside it felt like a family. What they don’t know is breaking the news of your death to them killed me then and the thought of it now, kills me again. What they don’t know is some people might not be our immediate family but their passing empties us from inside. And above everything, after all, who are even they to set the standard for grief? For isn’t grief the loss of a will, the will to continue by rephrasing our sentences from IS to WAS for that one person.

After some time our medical school’s journey will end; the system of university will keep on moving like it goes now, many people will graduate, medicine classes would follow their normal routine, your colleagues will come and go, someone will teach blood and neuro, coming batches won’t eve know you, stages and exams will be conducted the same way but there would be only one part missing and that is you. Horrible, isn’t it? It takes us a death to realize how important life is, a permanent absence to value the presence of someone, a void in our heart to appreciate how full it was. The lessons that you have taught me, both big and small, will stick with me for the rest of my life and while I would never be able to say a greeting to you at your house door or to pass by you in college and hear you or to see your blue trademark Mercedes, know that the warmth of your presence is felt every second of the ticking clock. I look back upon that time spent in your presence as so important in the development of the person that I am today. You taught me discipline. You taught me dignity. Much more than General medicine, which was what you were supposedly teaching me, you taught me that I could achieve more than what I or other people thought that I was capable of. I could be a success, instead of a clown. I am thankful. I owe you so much for this but can you hear me?

You’re missed, so much, deeply, every day, every moment.

With a deeply hurt heart,
Your ‘parosan’, as you would call me.

P.S: When you were done with your part of teaching medicine, at the last day, you told us all, “Phir viva mein mulaqat hogi.”
We are done with the vivas, we are in a new class now, you never came to meet us.

P.P.S: Even though it was mostly dirty, that Mercedes was literally so attractive and classy!

Guest post by Aroosa Mushtaq.

Tap, tap, and tap!
It resounds into my ears
the water in the bathroom
the faucet leaking
spilling onto the floor,
Slithering – gently and slowly,
sifting away.
I ignore the sound
the disturbing noise,
but it continues.
Seething, slinking
it perturbs my conscious,
slowly sinking,
it invades my mind.
Exasperated, I open my eyes,
and rub sleep goodbye.
My hands sneak out
testing the outside temperature
it is cold, so cold
but the water’s dripping.
“Oh! For Pete’s sake,”
I grumble and turn
pushing the covers off
I make for the bathroom
and there, that menace!
The water drips into a pool
I make my way over
and with one swift motion
make the faucet run dry.

 

Sleep doesn’t come back
and there’s little else to do
maybe a shower then
maybe a nice little hairdo.

So I clean up and dry
I tie my hair into a pretty bun
I take out the red heels mama bought me
and I wear them with my tutu.
I sit on my bed
all made up like a prima ballerina,
I make sure to wear that new lipstick
And I’ve painted my nails red.

 

Thud, thud, thud!
It blasts into my ears
my dreamy conscious asks
“Oh! What the devil now?”
It’s my upstairs neighbour
that stinky old retard
always fixing things
always hammering nails.
He runs up above
as if it’s his little playground,
He’ll rupture a bone, I’m sure now.
The blasting continues
loud bangs on the floor
Impossible to ignore
I take a long rod,
longest I can find
But it doesn’t reach up.
So I climb up on the bed
I jump to reach the ceiling.
One, two, three!
“Jump”

The rod pierces first, taking me along
through a bit of plaster and dust
towards a very shocked neighbour.

Untold.

Have you ever wondered
what does the back tell?
That every little thing the mouth
is reluctant to speak about.
All the moments witnessed
by the eyes but untold,
the unopened aches of the heart,
the darkness of night,
the silently endured miseries.
This is why,
in this little dangling life,
the other day
when I stepped over a hurdle and
stumbled,
I realized, my spine weighed so heavy,
for it actually carried all the burden singly
and never complained,
telling about each gust and every gaze
fallen upon it, to the one who listened.

Realization.

And how many more
silent nights and dead mornings
would it take, till you finally realize
this aching pang in your chest,
that surges, with every sip of coffee
pouring down into your soul, telling secretly;
it has ended,
that sacred love of yours
which once started on the same table 3
of this empty cafè, with a steaming cup of coffee,
and struggled through the same long night,
to ultimately, dissolve in the very darkness;
my sweet luck,
always so melodramatic.
– H

To a long lost memory.

These lingering thoughts
consuming my inside,
the sruggle continues, bewildered,
the heart that is polluted and a mind –
ever so numb,
these mixed feelings that flash
as I keep on trying
to shut them up,
my soul feels exhausted
in this battle of denial & acceptance,
You know! As they say in stories,
‘to wish upon the shooting star’
ever since then,
I have been in a hope
that my love, no matter, so fragile
and lost; will heal.
The burnt bridges, the crumbled letters,
and all things cracked, the abstract
will let the light to come in,
For not all things torn
are meant to be gone.
So, let me wish,
upon the rays of every rising sun
and the new dawn;
that smiles may return,
the laughter may echo,
the love will reunite
and I,
I will start believing
in the beauty of the ordinary,
the split, the shattered, the hopelessly hopeful and all that is broken.
– H