Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Karachi..A Vampire City.

A city of beaches, blue skies and eagles
Soft flute, snake charmers and parks
A city of kebabs, juices and bottles
A city with discotheques, nightclubs and bars
Such was a city that was named Karachi
A city of dances and romances
A city of hotels and cabanas
A city of whiskey and beer
A city where lovers went to matinee
A city where minstrels sang
A city where in the lane behind Radio Pakistan
The artists and musicians hanged
Such was a colorful city named Karachi
The skies above were blue and clear
There were always people laughing far and near
The damsels showed off their long tresses and navels
Beach Luxury, Palace Hotel and Intercontinental
Such was the gem of a city called Karachi
I was five with roller skates on
A tall glass  of Coke in hand on main Shahrahe Faisal 
No traffic
Fun and skating
This was Karachi a city of fun
There was Eid namaz in Polo ground
There was Jinnah parade on Bunder Road
Such was the friendly city of Karachi
There were Parsis, Marathis, Sindhis, and Pathans
There were Muhajirs, Punjabis and Bengalis
There were Americans , British and Chinese
And we all lived together
In this city named Karachi

And now the skies are red with blood
The ground black with hatred
The average man is slave to fear
The child bereft of laughter
O, what has happened to this beautiful city
This city named Karachi
It has become the city of vampires
Living off the blood and death of its inhabitants
The snakes and serpents abound
Hiding, killing, spreading fear
O why has this city become the city of Vampires
This city that was loved named Karachi.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Karachi Kahani..Kut Putli, Kala Naag Aur Pehl Dooge!

A Short Story In Urdinglish 
By Meherzaidi.

Life was a stage in Nazimabad number Chaar, Do, Aik or Teen or even Lalukhet, Teen Hatti, Clifton, Keemari, Federal B Area or Airport. A Shakesparean stage or to put it Indianly  an Agha Hahsarian stage. This was way back in Karachi in the fifties and sixties when Ghalib or to be more precise Aatish or to be gender precise Noor Jehan jawaan thee. My childhood was a dream, a play, a dance. A dream like the Shakesparean Midsummer Night's Dream. Here all the other children were characters, Munni, Bubbly, Salma, Shahid, Tariq etcetera, etcetera. They still stand firm, playing their memorable roles, clearly etched in my memory with their Shararast and various mischiefs. Stuck in their places like Shakesparean characters. The highlight of our monthly fun was the Kut Putli Tamasha. This would be announced with fanfare in my mom's montessori school and almost all Nazimabad Numbers and Lalukhet children would come, invited or uninvited. Like a Mela. The amazingly entertaining and vocal puppets or Kat Putlis will start moving, vibrating and talking in strange C-minored tones. "Arrrrreyy Kia haal hai? " "Asssaam Alaiiikumm"! sometimes we would get scared but then we had to hide the excitement, slurrping on the Kulfis that we cherished licking. The Kulfis would be fattened according to price . Chaar anney ki patley aur Aath aaney ki motey. And there was mango flavor too. Electricity was not important in our childhood days in sixties. Summer, playing and shows were. Only Pir Pagara's house had Air conditioners, twenty rooms, jhoolaas, huge drawing room, exquisite dining room and bathrooms with tubs in all of Karachi. His kids were also my friends but that world was full of dolls, velvet bows, hairbands from England, movies at the drive-in-cinema and frequent horse riding, skating and visits to Clifton beach. And of course journeys to  areas around Nazimabad.
But the real fun was the Kut Putli Tamasha. All I can remember is the intense excitement of watching the show. I can neither remember the dialogues, nor the characters. Then there was the Kaal Naag snake show. The snake charmer was a strange man. He was neither dangerous nor harmful. He was always an epitome of mystery. When he came and the sound of his Been floated in our ears , we would run outside in the galli to welcome him. He would settle his wicker pits which contained various sizes of snakes and partially remove the lids to give us a peek of the black, brown, slimy, writhing creatures as if to whet our appetites for the real Kaala Naag show. Amazingly our parents would send us money to give him willingly. After much pre-show he would open the big Pitari and take out the Kaala Naag. Ah, the majesty, the charm of the Kaala Naag as he would sit and look around. His handsome, sharp forked tongue flickering out, his head high and aloft, he would look at us. We would stare at him fascinatingly, our little hearts full of fear yet endearing excitement of adventure. This strange feeling stayed with me even as an adult. On a Shikaar journey in Sindh jungle I almost ran towards a handsome Kaala Naag sitting on a bund when a deft shikaari helper beheaded him in an instant with a hatchet to save my life. Such are the fantasies and loves of the childhood. Pure, pristine, platonic.
The Been would chant strange songs, mesmerizing us. The Kaala Naag would swerve its head  and the dance would begin.
The games that we played were simple too. Pehle Dooge or hop skip. A chalk design would be made on simple cemented floor. 1, 2, 3 and some more chambers. The game would begin. Cotton frocks, rubber chappals, joyous screams and sometimes Katti. Katti was a way where we showed our little fingers to express our disdain, disagreement or sheer anger. Our little faces would grimace to match our feelings. Eyebrows in a frown. Lips in a pucker,. Sometime a teardrop or two. Then there would be the caressing ,loving Duppatta ka Pallu to dry our precious tears by a mom, an aya or an apa.Life would be simple and safe.
The snake charmer would try to make a fast buck by selling his Magical Saanp Ka Manka to gullible ladies as a potion which will change life, bring lovers in your feet and sometimes make you a millionaire.
As I still long for the snake charmer's Been on the Clifton beach which have strangely disappeared from Karachi, I think that modern life has been made complicated and consumerist by us, ourselves. The snake charmer is still there in Sindh, the beens are there, the reed baskets are there. It is only we who have become boring and artificial in Karachi.
Snake charmer picture courtesy Jan Khaskheli.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Dard Ka Sindhu Sagar

Bhook ,nang, aflaas mein beh kar
Marui je moti lekar
paak, mithaal
aankh se tapka
dard ka Sindhu Sagar

Tinke, chhappar, behte, girte
mera aik gharonda
sada jeevey Sindh mein
dukhta, rista
zakhmee panch, pakheroo
peep se behta
mera panja
pakrde hai kuch kante
shayad bach kar pankh bakhere
dard ja Sindhu sagar

Sacchal saeen, Lateef saeen
mere man ke raja
un ki aankh se tapka jaey
dard ka Sindhu Sagar

Yeh diwanee, faqeer nimaanee
mehru, devi Hingol
mein us ki chashme nam mein basta, rachta
dard ka Sindhu Sagar

Yeh paagal jogi jabal mein phitrta
meree hee maala japta
behta mera sailaabi rela
budta saree khalqat

utraa hun mein ab ke
Sehwan se Manchar
Dard ka Sindhu Sagar

Oh, how the floods have passed
From the hunger, poverty ridden
sweet pearl of Marvi's pure and chaste body
Pure sweet emotions become the teardrop
of  the woeful Sindhu Sagar.

Meherzaidi, the poet.
My hearse is swept away
That which was made of straw and falling reeds only
Always in Jeay Sindh
Painful, bleeding open sore
My claw
I am but a wounded bird, my sore claw holding
Some splinters,some thorns
Hopefully it may be saved 
and spread it's wings
 This  the woeful Sindhu Sagar

Sacchal Saeen, Lateef Saeen
The rulers of my heart
Fallen like  a teardrop
This  the woeful Sindhu Sagar

This fakir like wretched crazy woman
Mehru Devi of Hingol
I dwell thus in her parched eyes
me, the woeful  Sindhu Sagar

And this 'Jogi' wanders in the mountains of 'love'
chanting my love songs always
flows my flooded body
thrashing the humanity
I thus destroy from Manchar to Sehwan, again
I, the woeful Sindhu Sagar.

(I have used words like Sindhu which is the name of Indus river in the Sindhi language,Marvi was a pure and chaste heroine of Sindhi folklore, Sagar is a hindi word for water body that is flowing like a river, jogi is a wandering minstrel or a saint who has left worldly ways, Manchar is a lake in Sindh that is now reflooding, Sehwan is a town where  the great poet and Sufi saint Sacchal Sarmast resides eternally. Lateef Saeen is Shah abdul Lateef Bhittai, one of the greatest Sufi saints and poets of Sindh. his poetry is incomparable in spiritual richness and linguistic beauty of expression.)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Reaching Out.

Shah Faisal Mosque, Islamabad.

Khuda Aur Us Ki Bandi

A poem by Meherzaidi.

Aur tu samajhta hai ke mein ne chor diya hai us ko tanha kaise?

Who jo aik laghar si hai boorhi si tanha aurat
Laitee hai, simtee hai, kuch cheetrey phailaaye

Taktee hai tujh ko, mujh ko apnee pathraaee huwee benoor si aankhon se

Woh jo ek laghar si, boseeda si, pasmanda aurat

Basti hai, sisakti hai, Jinnah aspatal ke peek zada footpath ke paas

Mein jo Kulle Makan hoon, apni muthee mein dono jahan ki saari basaat liye
Us ki be jaan si, sisaktee hui siskee suntan hun

Us ki tasbeeh peh hoon Qaim, apni Shaan liye!
“Subhan Allah”
Aur yeh sach hai ke Qaim yuheen azal ta abad
Aur mein us ki sheh rag se bhi qareeb
Qaim, Daa’em
Azal ta abad

Jab who taktee hai musalsal ek tiktakee  bandhe
Mein us kee sheh rag se bhi qareeb hoon us ke
Jab who taktee hai tiktakee bandhe

Aur tu kiyun us ki jaan naheen lota deta?
Aur us ki baste huwee khotee huwee zindagi
Us peek zada foot path ke saaye, saaye
Woh  to sach’chi hai kehtee hai jo
“Subhan Allah”
Aur Mein hota hoon us ki sheh rag se bhi qareeb uskey
Qaim, daa’em
Azal ta abad
Apni saaree khudai ki tamaam shaan liye!


God and His worshipper woman

Do you think that I have left her all alone yet?
Nay, Not that old, wretched lonely woman
Who lies on the torn shreds of cloth
Alone on the ‘paan’ spit stained footpath
Of the Jinnah hospital.
Who stares with her eyes un-enlightened,
Blind eyes at you and Me
Me, who is everywhere
Me, who has both the worlds in the palm of His hands

I listen to her weak, lamenting cries
I am existent on her repetitive rosary
With my Majestic Presence
When she says “ Subhan Allah”

And this the Truth,
That I exist
From before the beginning to eternity
I am there close to her
Even closer than her aorta
Always present!
Especially when she stares continuously
I am there close to her
Even closer than her aorta

And why do not you return back to her, her life?
Her happy, her sad life
Near the’paan’ stained footpath
She speaks the Eternal  Truth
When she says “Subhan Allah”

I am always there, present,
Closer to her than her own aorta
Always Present
Always There
In all my Godly Majesty!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Rejected Body, Your Rejected Soul!

Meherzaidi, the poet.
Mere Is Jism Ke Peechey
Aik Rooh Bhi Hai
Aye farsooda insaan, kiya Usey dekh Pao ge?
Mere is Tilism ke peechey
Aik Wujood bhi hai
Kiya usey dekh pao ge
Aye murda Shaitaan?

Haan yeh tumhare zulm-o-jabr
Wehshiana Raqse Besehar
Barjamane mehfil-e Meh -wa-shar
Abhi aur sahee, par ab naheen
Ab Aagayee hai woh Khabar
Ke bas Huwee Umeed-e-Sehr
Ayaan, Zofishan
Ba kull-o -Makaan
Uthaa hai hisaab ba mahshar
Tera wujood ab Hil gaya
Aye zanjeer-e-Rizwan-pa, Shar
Dey hisaab, Dey jawaab
Tere wajood ki azmaaish ki gharhi guzar gayee
Aye Sharri insaan
Ab Chal, abla pa, nang sar,
Tu nahin hai qabile rahm
Apne Khuda ke Huzoor
Wohi Khuda jo sab ka hai
Teri ghari guzar gayee
Ab faisla bhi ho gaya
Yeh Zulum ab khatam hua
Teri gharee guzar gayee
Kiya tu ne socha na tha?
Ye aazmaish-e- jism wa -Jaan
Yuheen nahi hai ham par ayaan
Bas ab na ro, bas ab na dhoondh
Tera raasta bhi band hua
Woh jo zindagi mein ayaan bhi tha
Tera zulm jab fashan bhi tha
Tu to mard tha, khuda bana
Akar, akar ke chalta tha
Aur deewaar mein chunta tha
Mera yeh wujood-e-zarfishan
Tu to mard tha , khuda bana
Bas ab Faisla tau ho chuka
Tera Maqbara tau ban gaya
Tera zulm hai tau likha huwa
Woh waqt gaya, woh waqt gaya
Ke  tu bhi hota maa'fi ka haqdar
Ab woh waqt gaya
Bas ab chal  Suwe Daar
Tere jurm hain ab beshumar
Aur naheen hai ab
Rahe Tauba Khulee

Aye marde-kul, bujha huwa
hai woh diya
Joh jala tha Umeed-e-roshan liye
Ke shayad tu hota sarbakaf
Ba Rahe Taqwa!

Translation :

Can your old, prejudiced eyes see
The soul behind my body?
Can you see clearly
O, corpsed Satan
My existence behind this adorned, magical facade?

Oh yes, you may continue
Your tyrannical savage dance
Imposed in the evil "Mehfil"
But no, not now
Now the news has come
The light of Dawn breaks
All over the universe
A light of Hope!
The apocalypse has arrived
The day of judgement is here
Now shakes the existence of your bieng
That whose feet are now shackled
By the Guardian 'Rizwaan'
Angel of the Heavens
Because of your evil dance.
Give account!
Give an answer!
Passed is the moment of Redemption
O, evil man
Now walk with blistered feet,
Bare -headed in scorching heat
You are forsaken
No mercy.
Present yourself before God
Who is the God of everyone
Your moment of redemption has passed
The judgement is given
Your tyranny has ended
Did you not think before?
Of this exam of body and soul?
Was not in vain!

Do not shed tears now
Do not seek forgiveness
Its late
Your path is sealed
That path which was lightened in your life
When your tyranny was evident
You were a man , pretending to be god
You walked in false pride
And you forsaked me in a brick wall.
You were a man, pretending to be god

Now the judgement is given
Your grave dug
Your tombstone written
Engraved with an obituary
Of tyranny that was your forte.
The time has passed
That time has passed
That you would have been redeemed
Now walk the Cross
Your sins many, uncountable
The path to redemption closed
O, all male
Extinguished is th 'Diya' that burnt bright
With a hope
That you may be ' Sarbakaf'
In the path of fear of God.

"Diya" means oil lamp, "sarbakaf" means ready to die from fear of God that is "Taqwa", "Rizwaan" is guardian angel of heaven. I have included metaphors as references , for example in the story of 'Anarkali" an Indian servant girl with whom the Prince Saleem, son of Emperor Akbar  was put inside the brick wall alive as was custom of punishment in olden India. The fear of God in Islam is known as "Taqwa" out of which man has to do justice and refrain from injustice.
"Mehfil " is the party.
I have written this poem in honour of all the women, children and men and others who have died unsung, unredeemed by us cruel people , who have been hanged, brick layered, murdered , killed , burnt and maimed in the name of honour, in the name of not bearing a male child, in the name of studying and educating, of all the NGO workers especially drivers and poor men and women who were killed by terrorists recently for carrying out their duties to help poor Pakistanis improve their lives, in health and educating. My list will go on and on. There is only hope for people who believe in God that the fear of God may forsake them from injustice , from Karo Kari and other honour killings, from rape and violence and child abuse, from giving unfair treatment to the poor, infirm and the needy. The list goes on and on.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Broken Heart, Shattered Dreams!

My heart is shattered into a thousand splinters
Each splinter sharper than a diamond razor
My life is spread like a splintered crystal goblet
Like pearls of dreams, splintered, shattered
My bleeding feet burn numb into my journey
of fires raging , with hatred and curse
My heart is shattered into a thousand splinters
Each splinter sharper than the sharpest "Khanjar"
I walk this thorne laden path alone,
I weep incessantly
Yet my screams fall on deaf ears
false values, fake smiles, broken promises
And then the world is only a make believe
We think we are "normal" ? O you male and female?
Do we not have to find a living, snatch a respectable life?
Then why this prejudice and false pretension
Always, everywhere love is pure
Pure like a mountain spring
falling, sparkling,
Nurturing, benefitting all who care
And yet there is silence and hate and prejudice
My broken heart and a thousand splinters shattered!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dil Darwaza Aur Singhar...Heart Door and Vanity!

Aur jab us ne dil darwaza kharkhaya
Woh hone lagi tayyar, karne lagi singhar
Aankh ka kaajal,
Paon ki payal
Haath ki mehndi
Kaan ki baali
Dene lagi gawahee
Surkh labon ki Muskan
Zulfun ka haijan
Uth,tha girta aanchal
Machane laga ek shorish zada halchal
Woh gaal ka til bhi bol raha hai
Ek uljhan zada daastan

Kabhi hanstee thee, kabhi rotee thi
Kabhi jaagti thee , kabhi sotee thi
Aur har lamha sochtee rehtee thi
Aaye ga woh is ko sab kehne
Aur kare gee woh bhi iqraar
Yunhee jaari tha intezar
Har lamha har pal tha beqarar
Thee us ke gulshan mein ajab si bahar
Pur umeed , pur waqar

Aur phir woh kabhee na aya!
Shayad woh  bhool gaya
ke karti thi woh uska intezar!

Woh saare khat jo arsaal huey the
Woh saare parche phaar diye
Kuch roshan daan se phaink diye
Kuch angeethee mein dagh diye

Sab surma daani , hont ki laali
Sab choori mehndi,
Sab paoon ki payal
Sab pethi mein hain bandh diye.
Sab dafan huey hain 
ek heuwla ban kar!

Ab jab bhi sawan aata hai
Aur papeeha shor machata hai
Ek baarish dil par girtee hai
Har boondh hai bojhal zakhmon se
Har soo ek gehra saya hai
 Aur cheekh raha hai sannata
Khamosh hai payal
Gum sum hai bahaar.
Aur band hai dil ka darwaza
Weeran hai piyar ka suna mandir
Hain Umeed ke saye jaala jaala
Jape hai woh bas ek dukh ki maala
Jogan jogan, Raanjha Raanjha
Bhool gayee hai woh Sohni, Heer
Ban ke Sassui, ban ke Shireen
Kitne sawan beet chuke hain
Jab Khula tha dil ka darwaza!

English Translation:

He knocked the door to her heart
She started adorning.
Kohl in her eyes, Anklet in her feet,
Henna in her hands
Earrings bejewelled.
Spoke thus
The sweet smile on her pink lips
The movement of her tresses
Her falling, moving scarf
Evidence of storm ridden torment
Thus speaks the the mole on the cheek
Of the hidden torment!

She laughed and she cried
She lay awake and slept sometimes
And all the while she thought 
That he would come to express his love
And that she would acknowledge
her sweet passion
Thus continued her wait
Each moment a torment, a tempest.
So was her heart's garden in bloom
In a stange elegant anticipation.

But he never came.
Maybe he forgot that she waited.
And all the  letters  were torn to pieces.
Some thrown out of the ventilator
Some burnt in the chimney.
All kohl container,lip stainer,
All bangles, henna,
All anklet, earrings
Put away in the box.
All buried  like ghostly apparitions

And now when the rains arrive
and the Robin tweets endlessly
The rain falls in her heart
each drop heavy with eternal sadness
All around is endless darkness
And screams the eternal silence
Quiet is the anklet,
Silent , the spring.
Closed is her heart's door.
Empty, abandoned
her heart's unadorned mandir.
Her hopes like spider webs
She "japaays" her "dukh maala".
She's the gypsy of love like "Raanjha"
She has forgotten that she is
"Sohni" , "Heer".
She is like "Sasui", "Shireen".
She has forgotten the endless rain seasons that have passed
Since the heart's door was open to love.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bougainvilla Dreams.

Bougainvilla dreams.

Hey, friend

I am neither the dreaded gang or some unfaithful, old woman

I am just Me

A girl who wants to be helpful,

A girl who is simple and straight forward.

I cannot but feel angry

At the strange, mistrustful behaviour

At the calculating, unfriendly eyes

I hate it when you mistrust me

I am simply sincere and loving in my nature

Hey, guy, how are you mistrusting me

And turning your face away

I feel hurt

And I dont care if you are a man, a woman, or simply a person

If you dont care about me

But then I do care

Because I am


I am not like the old calculating, double faced women that your very artificial world has aplenty

I am not uncaring

I hate it when in your thoughts you put me on the same level

I hate it, I hate it, I do hate it!

But then why should you care

You have only known me a fleeting moment

Dear,dear friend

Why should you care

In your cold and cold world

Why would there be a place for me

A simple, sincere friend!

A world where your heart cannot be open

A world where conspiracies abound

A world where false pretensions rule.

A world of hate and connivances

A world of treacherous deals

A world of dangerous liasons

A world of death and deciept

I simply cannot function

In such an atmosphere

In such a contaminated environment

I will choke and die simply

Because I am like a bird

I am the bird

That flies and chirps and tweets in my own backyard garden

Free, untainted,

Hopping from bough to bough

Singing from branch to branch

Happy, innocent,

Loving you always

In my bougainvilla dreams!
The poet Meherzaidi.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sabz Shamein Kidhar Gayeen?

Woh sabz shamein kidhar gayeen hain
Woh zard subhein bikhar gayeen hain
Yeh kaali ratein sulag raheen hain
Tere hi kajal ke dhundhlakon mein
Yeh shehre yaran bujha huwa hai
Yuheen bhatakta chal raha hai
Yeh qafla-e-sarfaroshan halke halke
Woh sabz shamein kidhar gayeen
Jehan tu aur mein bethte the
Sehan mein kursiyaan lagake
Woh ek khushboodar poda
Rakha huwa tha, ajab tarhe se
Hamaree batein sun raha ho jaise 
Hamaree batein, giley naheen the
Na shikwa-e-naalan
Woh zindagi ka aghaaz ho raha tha
Haseen -o hairan
Muhabbaton ka safar shuru hua tha
Woh hanste chehre  damak rahe the
Muhabbaton ka safar shuru hua tha
Ajeeb meetha meetha nasha hua tha
Fareb deta, ghazab ka saaqi
Keh us ki aankho ki mey me behta
Muhabatton ka safar shuru hua tha
Woh mehki shamein
Sulag raheen theen
Muhabatton ka khumar lekar
Woh zard subhein kidhar gayeen
Ke jin ke aanchal mein ham the baithe
Samandaron ka hisaar lekar
Tere us aanchal ki purkashish si bahar lekar
Samandaron ka hisaar lekar
Woh sabz shamein, woh zard subhein
Chalee gayee hein.
Aur ab hain baithe yahan wahan par
Udaas, shabnami wadiyon mein
Bujhe, sulegte diyon ke saaye
Khamosh subhein, sulagte saye
Gali ki weeran seerhiyon par
Ummad rahe hain, sulag rahe hain
Tera, mera gham bhula rahe hain
Yeh jaam-e- surmageen ba khanjar
Dehek rahe hain, sulag rahe hein
Woh tere gham bhi
Woh mere gham bhi
Udaas shamein
Udaas chehre
Tu ab mera paas aa ke bethe
Yehee hai hasrat, yahee dua hai
Bas eik pal ke lamas ki pooja
Inteha hai,ibtida hai
Woh sabz shamein kidhar gayeen hain
Woh zard subhain bikhar gayeen hain. 


Where have the twilight evenings gone?

O, where have the twilight evenings gone
O, where have dispersed the yellow mornings?
These dark nights, o, how they smoulder;
In the misty darkness of thine kohl-blackened eyes.

This city of loved ones
O, how it smoulders, fading,
Wandering aimlessly
This caravan of the martyrs of love
Slowly, slowly moves.

O, where have the twilight evenings gone
Whence you and I sat quietly
On the porch
On chairs that faced each other.
And that beautiful plant
Placed strangely besides us
As if listening to our conversation
Our conversations were not laments
Neither forlorn complaints
It was the beginning of our lives' journey
Beautiful with anticipatory promises
Love's journey starting anew

Our faces shining in love's bright glow
Love's journey starting anew
Those sweet scented evenings
Smouldering, simmering
Enlaced with love's heady potion.

O, where have the yellow mornings gone
In whose shade we sat
Between the enclosure of the seas
The spring of your scarve's blooming shade
between the enclosure of the seas
Those twilight evenings, those yellow mornings
They have gone!

And now we sit here and there
Sadly in dew-drenched valleys
Under the extinguishing, smouldering lamp lights' shades
Quiet mornings, smouldering shadows
On the abandoned stairs of the alley
Engulfing us, smouldering us
 Making your sorrows go away
Making mine sorrows go away
These pegs of love's sweet wine
Deceptively heady
But with a hidden sword's edge
Burning, smouldering
Those, your sorrows
Those, mine sorrows
Sad evenings
Sad faces
That you come and sit besides me
This, my desire
This, my prayer
That but a moment's touch of thine kiss
Is my worship object
The ultimate
The beginning
O, where have the twilight evenings gone
O, where have the yellow mornings dispersed.

Meherzaidi..The poet.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Of a Sweet Forlorn Kiss.

She dreams of the rose that was so red as he put it in her golden tresses
Sweet scented as his face brushed ever so slightly against them
Silky, shiny golden tresses
Her sweetest smile, enhanced like a bejewelled crown with her pearly white teeth
Betwixt her rosy pink lips,
Hiding her soft, sensous mouth
Inviting to the hidden treasures of her person.
Love, oh what a sweet word,
Formed in his mind,
Waking up in her young heart.
The melodious lark sings on the bougainvillae boughs
She is happy with the advent of spring
The dew drops shine  tremolously
On the fresh green grass
Velvety beneath their feet.

Love's forlorn kiss,
Anticipated anxiously
Will it happen,
She cannot breath almost
Eyes closed, 
And then it is time to wake up! 

Friday, April 30, 2010

An Urban Life, A Song of Hope !

\"I learnt that prejudice is the worst prison"
So sings a sweet crooner from Favela, Rio de Janiero, Brazil,
A thought arises in my mind
A song
A poem

Of Hope and Despair
Methinks of
A Flower and a Star
A Blooming Act
A Falling Deed
In between I stand
In Karachi, In Favela, In Johannesburg
Of Slums and Shanties
Tales That I and you, Spun
An Entangled Spider's Web
Of Tinned Roofs
With holes and spaces
To let the rain in
Of Smokey Stoves, Street Dogs, Stench
And Home Cooking!

My Urban Existence
A mixture of jeans, teeshirts and broken shoes
Burnt Cigarettes, Drugs and Coins
Coins that I Collect
Fascinatingly as a Child
Essentially as a Student
And then these Green, Green Notes
A stab in your back, my back, their backs
Society returns, gives back Nothing
But then I have Loved, Hated, Hoped and Despaired
My Final Destination is always
The truth, through Justice
Through Knowledge
I have found out the best Truth,
The only Truth,
" Prejudice is the Worst Prison"

Brazilian Singer from Favela, Rio de Janiero.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Paani, Tera Mera Wujood! Water, Yours and Mine Existence.

Aur dekhna aahista aahista qadam rakhna
Yeh Paani hai!
Kaheen toot na jaye Iska hajam,
Tumhare Wajood ke bojh se
Aur bikhar jaye is ka badan
Qatra, qatra,
Qatra, qatra,
Aise jaise
Para, para,
Raiza, raiza!
Kirchee, kirchee,
Sheesha, sheesha!

Haan, yeh paani
Chaahe Ravi, chahe Brahma,
Chahe Jehlum, chahe Sindhu,
Chahe Kabul, chahe Yellow!
Bahe hai aur seenchta hai mera jeevan
Bahe hai aur devta maan
Tujhe aur mujhe zindagi bakhshta
Boond, boond,
Qatra, qatra,
Seenchta, dhaalta,
Jeevan dor baandhtaa
Behta chalta hai!

Ghoont, ghoont bheegte
Tere , mere hont!
Piyaas bujhata hua,
Seenchta hua!
Tere mere dil ki kali
Khilata hua,
Yeh paani!

Is par bojh na daal
Apne wujood ka
Naqabile bardasht!


Tread softly,knowingly, lovingly,
On its existence,
Tis Water!
Lest it disappears,
Its body evaporated
As of , in drops one by one!
Like mercurial existence,
Drop by drop,
Or like shards of glass
Smaller and smaller

Yes, this water,
Whether Raavi, whether Brahma,
Whether Jehlum, whether Sindhu,
Whether Kabul, whether Yellow
Flows and nurtures
My Life!
Flows and like a god
Bestows life
To You and Me
Drop by drop!

Nurturing, forming,
Our existence!
Tying the knots of our lives
Together, forever!
Creating a bud that flowers joyously
This Water!

Do not burden it
With your existence,
Lest it fails,

Edgar Degas, After the Bath!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Karachi Literature Festival: Literature In Translation.

Meherzaidi, the writer.
The session on literature in Translation provided insight and tips on how to create good literature translations. The Karachi Literature Festival did generate ideas that good English literary works also need to be translated into Urdu as it is the language that is read and spoken by a wide audience in the subcontinent. It will bring greater cultural exchange and understanding between peoples as desired by the British Council (a cultural NGO).Please read my post on the above address.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Karachi Literature Festival..Creative Writing Workshop.

Your document is publicly viewable at:

Meherzaidi, the writer.
The workshop was conducted by Adrian Hussain and Zulfikar Ghose (poetry section) at the Karachi Literature Festival by Oxford University Press, Pakistan and the British Council , Karachi.I have written the post about it on the above website.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Woh Jigar Chalni Mayein..Those Heart Wrenched Women.

Meherzaidi, the poet.
Woh  bheegey aanchal, woh bheegey pehlu,
Woh aansoo on ki gawahi denge.

Aur woh do aurtein
Betheen hain charpoy lagaye
Eik jhulaste aangan mein!

Aur un ke sar par chamakta suraj
Woh be khabar hain tapish se jiskee

Sulag Raha hai ke jin ke dil mein
Alao apne beiton ki judai ka!

Woh aik aurat ke jis ka beta
Chala gaya hai!
Un sanglakh chateeil paharon ke peechey
Keh shaid jin par rehne waleey
Bhi ho jatey honge, kathen, bewafa!

Woh kho gaya hai yeh maan se keh kar
Ke mein jahad per ja rahaa hoon!

Aur woh doosri aurat ke jis ka beta,
Abhi abhi tau parhta, likhta
Aata tha ghar mein aam khaane!
Bhaagta apni garam bahein
Apni maan ki gardan ke gird
Daalta piyar se
Aur us ka bosa
Apni jabeen per mehsoos karta
Khilkhila ke hansta
Pata naheen kiyun
Chala gaya hai!
Jahad per ya phir bakherne
Doosron ke gulzaron per!

Cheekhtee chillatee auratein
Sar peet raheen hein
Laashe uthai, cheetre uthai
Yeh kis azdahe ne nigal liya hai
Sukoon un maoon ka!
Yeh kis afreet ne khaliya hai
kaleja un maoon ka!

Yeh mazhab ke naam per kaale jadoogar
Yeh insaaniyat ke naam per kaale jaadogar
Phail gaye hain
Hamien das rahe hain
Hum maoon ko!


Those soaked scarves, those soaked borders,
give evidence of the incessant tears.
And those two women sit,
Oblivious to the scorching Sun over them,
On their charpoy!
Their hearts are full of the fire raging ,
Of the sorrow of seperation!

The first woman whose son has gone away,
Behind the rocky, barren mountains,
The dwellers of whose bare valleys,
Maybe become hardened, unloving!
He is lost, telling her that I am going
To jahad!

The second woman, whose son,
Was reading just now, happily he would come home,
To eat sweet mangoes!
Running he would spread his arms around her and feel
Her warm, motherly kisses
On his forehead!
Laughing heartiously!
Oh, I do not know why he left
On jahad or to spread
Fire coals,
On the rosy gardens of others!

The screaming women
Wail and beat their heads
Carrying dead bodies of their loved ones
Blown to smithereens!

O, What devilish python swallows
Their peace!
What Devil eats their hearts!

O, these black devils, using the name of religion
O, these black devils, using the name of humanity
Have spread their devilish tentacles all around us
Biting us, Us mothers!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Naat Rasool- e- Maqbool, Muhammad Sale Ala Alaihe Wa Sallam Ke Naam.

A Few verses of love.

Aik Hai Allah Aur Ya Rasul Allah ,Aik Tu,
Phailee Teri Khushboo Har Soo Koo Bakoo.

Meri Yeh Umar Bas Ek Misle Bulbula,
Kat Gayee Faqat Ba Rahe Sareeh Justajoo.

Jab Pari Yeh Chashme Nam Har Gule Khoshang Per,
Sirf Deedam, Zehe Tu, Khubroo, Ya Rasul Allah!

Translation :

As Allah is one, you are unique, O Muhammad,
The perfume of your message spreads far and wide!

My life but a moment spent swiftly
In finding the truth, in finding you!

Whenever this tearful eyes saw the beautiful flowers,
All I could see the beauty of you,O Prophet.

I wrote this poem in the honour of the prophet of Islam .May peace and blessings be upon him as I had the "Aamad". I translate it so that the youth who do not know Urdu can understand the meaning although Urdu and Persian words are unique.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Karachi Kahani...Dawn newspaper, Tibet Snow Aur Clifton.

A Reminiscent Short Story. By Meherzaidi.

My morning started with the teeth brushing. Bathroom was an interesting place in Nazimabad number Chaar.A large mosaiced place, cool, clean and very private. The door opened in the back "Galli". There were many trees, mango tree with sour, sour "kairees" which were lovingly cut into large square pieces for "achaar'. "Paani na lagey warna saara utar jaiega" warned a careful cook or whoever would make the pickle every summer. Every household in Karachi had a ceramic jar or "Barni". Many a master painters in Karachi have used it as a still life study. Even in Lahore. White . tall body, brown color around neck , almost like a stylish woman , in a cotton 'Borderwali saree' so commonly worn in those days. And it had disappeared almost from Pakistani attire till recent days, saree I mean. Thank god to some fashion designers especially from Lahore the saree is back. I was talking about the trees in my back alley. Then there was the tall ,tall tree of some "Phalee" which had grown tall very fast almost as if by magic. There were comments also about some jinns. Well. Shudder.
So my morning would start with Dawn newspaper at the breakfast table. I have a clear memory of Quaid-e -Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah as the founder of Dawn. As I grew older I came to know him as the founder of our beloved Pakistan also. Gambols were there and they did teach me the importance of  paying bills in modern urban living. The issues and problems remain today, staring , eternal. Even my husband has learnt the importance of Dawn newspaper in my life,essential,almost lifeline.So they have framed my views, my life imaging, these editors, news writers, journalists.
My dressing table or to be presice my mom's dressing table had paraphenelia such as lipsticks, brushes, combs,talcs, perfumes, coat brushes andof course, face creams. but then she never uses Tibet Snow,the small bluish jar with a well groomed lady looking smilingly, enticingly at you, beckoning to come and use it and look like her. Like a moon. This was so popular ,even across the border. "Mere liye Tibet Snow zaroor lana" would be the "farmaish"to anyone taking a journey to India. My mom used "Pond's "cream. Fahionable, those days. Her face like a fair rose, dark, groomed bob, saree.That was my mom. A poet . She learnt Urdu or Indian classical singing, attended "Mushairas"hosted musical evenings at home, ran a montessori school, did social welfare and was a Muslim leaguer. Her shadow overshadows me even today
Then there was Clifton. A beach that has paid an almost eternally important role in my life. So many times I had the opportunty to settle abroad , in America, London but somehow Clifton never let me go . I still reside on this lovable beach. very polluted though , now,after the oil spill too.
There was this Kothari parade,a majestic landmark structure with sloping walls. We would alight from our Bedford van, run across, climb the sloping walls and shriek in sheer delight. Then with chappals in hand run down the sands of Clifton right down to the sea shore about a kilometre or two away.There are roads and hurdles now, in between. It was free, with warm, sands in between then. We wore cotton frocks then, Now even most little girls wear hijab and shalwars. How times have changed. Then those times people were more tolerant, mixed cultures, happier I guess.
The sound of the Arabian sea I still hear as the tides come up every day and night twice. My memories are pleasant , so poetic,so carefree,  so unlike now!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Contemporary Painters of Pakistan.. Aaliya Chinoy.

Contemporary Painters of Pakistan..Young Aliya Chinoy.
Aliya Chinoy with visitor.

Aliya  Chinoy stands out as a very fine painter of nature in Pakistani art scene. Her latest exhibition in Zenaini Art Gallery , the fourth in a series of solo, shows her deep perception of the imagery that is represented in nature in the form of  grass, bushes, leaves, water and flowers. Flowers are  shown as if they were faces, telling a story, conveying a feeling. Her paintings, Serenity, in group, show the light shaded lilies. According to the talented artist, the word, serenity has different meanings or interpretation to different people. To some it maybe a feeling when looking at a particular image or scene, to others it maybe a music piece or a song. It is this relationship between a word and it’s profound yet varied aspects that is so subtly yet finely represented in these lily paintings. The viewer can enjoy the art herself.

Beautiful Flowers or faces?

Aliya did her training in textile design in which fine art was a component. Her paintings do reflect the object of attention executed with the mastery of design. She initially was interested in figurative painting but as she had a sojourn in Islamabad where models are not available, she reluctantly turned to nature. Nature is abundant in Islamabad in the form of green leafy trees, trees who change beautiful colours like orange, red and yellows in autumn, trees with fine small foliage, bushes with small foliage, flowers with all kinds of petals, wild flowers and small ponds and water sheds where the reflections on the water surface are an artists’s dream palette.
Aliya shows us the water surface with fine waves as reflecting the various feelings, moods and perceptions that form the large canvas that is life. Life has various stages, phases and moods. The fine waves are but a reflection. It seems that sometimes the lack of availability of one thing may be the opportunity to find another “Destiny”, which these water paintings are entitled.
A set or multiple frames of fine flowers, some my favorite, is shown in a way as some people either looking at each other, a dialogue, or looking away, as if in disagreement. The paintings if set on a wall together may show the complete sequence, the picture. Aliya’s fine brought up, her delicate sensibilities, her finesse as an individual are reflected in the way she handles her frames. I am reminded of the fine Chinese or Japanese art frames that adorn a sophisticated cosmopolitan drawing room or a serene study of an aristrocratic intellectual. The reality of imagery of Pakistani scenery, yet appearing totally unregional shows the universal appeal of the artists work.
It is for people like this young Pakistani artists that my faith in our art remains optimistic. These are the people who will keep that flame of individuality, innovation and style burning defying the doom of plagiarism, commercialization, cheap, low quality work that seems to be flooding the local art scene today. Her genuineness, her fine independence and her flair for turning a commercial course training into fine art expression shows that the young Pakistani artist is alive and vibrant, in full bloom. 

Water and foliage.

Nature as life.

Flowers or Faces!

Very fine nature study.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pagal Piyaar! Do piyari piyari larkiyon ke naam!

Woh ek pagal si larki,
Chali hai piyaar dhoondne.
Is jehane faani mein
Is bewafa si dunya mein.
Aur woh doosri pagal si larki
Samajhtee hai paa liya usne piyaar
Is misle bulbula dunya mein
Is lamha-e mutalzal mein.
Dono pagal larkiyaan
Dhoondne chali hein piyaar!

Aisa napeid jazba
Jo aaj kal hai dastyaab
Kabhi bhadday laal laal qumqumon mein
Kabhi sastey valentine cardon mein
Aur kabhi kabhi us sajan ki aankhon mein
Woh sajan jo shayad mein ne khud banaya hai
Ek but
Mere dil-e Aazari ki tarash
Shayad yehi hai piyaar
Ek khayal, ek shumaar.

Aur mein sochtee rehtee hoon
Kiya hoga anjaam in dono ka
Ek bari, samajhdar aur parhee
Doosri pagal, pagal se.

Jaise azal se larkiyan
Sochtee ayee hain
Bhagtee, khailtee
Titliyaan pakarti 
Kiya yahee hai piyaar?
Is hee tara chamkta, machalta
Bas na ho yeh ustarha
Jo bana gaya Anarkali ko
Nawishta -e deewaar!

Aur sab larkiyaan
Kiya dhoondtee hain titliyaan
Ek khwaab zada weerane mein
Jahan bhoolke bhi naam na lo
Is lafz ka jo hai piyaar!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Do Raastey Juda Juda, Yuk Jaan...Two Choices Yet One Life!

A poem by Meherzaidi.
دو الگ راستے 
دو جدا راستے 
ایک خاردار پتھریلا 
رواں دواں 
بجانب منزل بے نماں 
چٹیل میدان درمیان 
نمایاں عیان 
اور باز بےنشاں 
بےنشاں گھروندون کے درمیان 
زیست  بیکرا ں 
گزر گیی ڈھال گیی 

دوسر خراماں معتر خرا ماں 
فروزاں سرمگیں 
زیر ساۓ زر فشاں 
 رواں دواں
بے نشاں 
میں سوچتی ہوں 
اب یہاں کہاں 
گزر گیئ 
یہ زندگی 
یہ بحر بے کراں 
رواں دواں 
رواں دواں  

Roman Script (Urdu):
Do  Alag Alag Raastey
Do Juda Juda Raastey

Aik Khardar , Pathreela
Rawan Dawan,
Bajanib Manzil-e- be Numaan
Chatyal Maidaan Darmiyaan
Numayan, Ayaan
Aur Baaz Benishaan!

Benishan, Gharondon Ke Darmiyaan
Zeest-e-Be Kiraan
Guzar Gayee,
Dhal Gayee!

Doosra Kharaaman, Mu'attar, Kharaaman,
Farozaan, Surmageen,
Zair-e Saya-e Zarfishaan,
Rawaan Dawaan
Mein Sochtee Hoon
Ab Yahaan
Guzar Gayee
Yeh Zindagee
Yeh Beher Baikaraan
Rawaan Dawaan
Rawaan Dawaan!

English Translation.

Two roads, two paths,
Separate, yet joined!
My Life,
One stony,thorn shorned,
An Unclear Destination!

Stony, barren spaces
Some prominent, some plain.
Some totally undiscernable!
Some mudhouses,temporary, unsafe
This life
So vast like an ocean
Washed away!

The other choice
 A path, seperate
Perfumed, surreal, beautiful
Eternally flowing!
Yet Unmarked

As I stand by the sea, I think
Where has my life gone by
Gone by!
Passes by!

A passage of life by the sea at Karachi. On my 52nd birthday!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Modern Art Feast ...Pakistan.

The Three Graces.Sophiya Khwaja.Immigration In An Envelope.

The Viewers' Joy!

The feast of modern art abstract  paintings by Sophiya Khwaja at the 'Peace Niche Art Gallery' on the T2 F (  shows the excellent expressionism adopted by the Pakistani painter. From painting to painting, from etching, gouache, collage, to mixed media, the artist uses very well defined, concepts and lines, cubes, coloured spaces, interjecting with pastels, nuetrals, to express the sentiments of "the social biengs, humans" in a strong and clear social comment. The male and female figures, falling, climbing, standing, looking and dancing come alive, almost as if on a live television screen. One is left with no choice but to interact and feel, be inside the subject's mind and  be totally 'affected'.
should this expression be used as a therapy into the soul, or a mere experience in the social milue it is describing I do not know, but the effect on the viewer is profound. figurative work by the artist is very delicate, well defined, outlined and the movement as if walking, climbing, jumping , falling and dancing is almost real and realtime. The artist makes you aware of the  urban, modern dwellers dilemma. It is almost as if one is experiencing the day to day mundanities and yet the excitement of modern urban living with it's taboos, dilemmas, 'Forced Gridlock' as the artist labels her exhibition. The relationships in between humans, individual and society, small communities or larger social groups , men and women is 'Expressioned" in a most charming way. I feel the artist is a great painter from Pakistan but 'Universal' and 'Global' in her  reach.
Gustav Klint, A modern Master par excellence.