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!