New Delhi, 13 September 2008, 6.21 pm
The first newsflash must have been
Beamed about 6.40 pm
As my brother called me up from Kerala
To see all was well with me and mine.
Bombs, he said, had gone off
At Gaffar Market Karol Bagh,
Central Park Connaught Place,
Barakhamba Road, M Block Market GK I.
At first count the figures were
Soon it rose to 30-40
Within a few minutes
I switched off the TV.28 and Counting
28 blank picture-masks
In the TV screen
To get a face each…..
A pretty face…
A distraught face…
A ravaged face…
All the rest
Contorted in mortal pain,
In a deadly freeze-shot….
Young men, earnest
In grisly irony
A pretty body
The shapely legs,
The slender waist and the buxom
Bosom and comely face
TV cameras instinctively zooming in on…..
The Terrorist’s Mind
When he wages a war
He must certainly have
His enemies in his sights.
So, when a two-year-old bundle
Of blood and tender bones shudders lifeless
In a rescuer’s hand
Does the terrorist score off
A name from his list?
Does a face loom up in his mind?
When an 80-year-old patriarch
Lies like a sieve
Bleeding from hundreds of
Which Merciful God
Is the terrorist propitiating?Saturday, 27 September 2008, Delhi
The mobike snaked its way through
The narrow, crowded gali
And the pillion rider seemed to drop a parcel
Accidentally. The four-year old
Girl-child picked it up and ran after
The slow-moving bike
Piping, “Uncle, uncle
You’ve dropped something,
here it is…” Before she could complete,
smoke came out of the parcel
and the explosion blew her to bits,
her tender brain scattering all around….
This was at 2.30 pm and
The TV visuals repeating
The scene of the disconsolate mother
From whose finger the child
Wrenched herself away
Being forcibly lead towards elders
As she refuses to leave the spot…
This is another Saturday
Fifteen days exactly after 13/9.
My heart is hardened like a criminal’s
i can’t fail to remember it isn’t me out there…
somehow i manage to be not there
i escape nuclear bombs
and rise like a cockroach
the day after the n-holocaust…
i escape earthquakes
and thrive on the debris,
looting what is left…
i escape all accidents, bomb-blasts
all my limbs intact
my heart rubberised.
victory to the great survivor!I Wanna Go Home
My heart yearns
To go back to my childhood greens.
To the tiny mauve flowers
The succulent eraser-weed stems
The tear-drop grass-roots
Hanging below the tiny gushing cascade
In the rivulet…
The cracker-grass shoots…
The dragon flies…
The hosts of mist rising to the cerulean skies
The giant silk-cotton tree
Glowing at dusk…..
I don’t want to see this cityscape
I don’t belong here…
I don’t want civilization…
Let me run far, far back.,..
Farther and farther,
Till I fall back on earth’s pristine bosom.Translated by The RefugeeBeingFadingRustic VignettesShoorpanakhaSarmad ShaheedGhalib’s Haveli in Ballimaran Road