She was fascinated with words. To her, words were things of beauty, each like a magical powder or potion that could be combined with other words to create powerful spells.
- Dean Koontz
There’s nothing that I find more pleasing than words.
And perhaps, that’s the only thing I can offer you.
I look at poetry like constellations. You know how the constellations are just the patterns made by twinkling lights in the sky. Words, are merely words. Until you ornament them with intonation, through metaphors and with sweet misery.
Instead of narrating stories to me, my dadi recited poems to me of how the king was inspired by a tiny little spider, and how this world is a مسافر خانہ.
I grew up listening to Chander. At a very young age I had تنھنجي شھر ۾ آيس قسمت سان پر سھڻا ڪيئن نہ رھايو تو (I came to your city by chance but my love you didn’t let me stay) at the tip of my tongue.
As a child I used to secretly read the diaries of my family and memorized them by heart. Insha subtly settled in my heart and kept whispering
یہ باتیں جھوٹی باتیں ہیں یہ لوگوں نے پھیلائی ہیں
تم انشا جی کا نام نہ لو، کیا انشا جی سودائی ہیں؟
By the age of 14, I read Peer e Kamil and Jannat ke Pattay and memorized Naseer ud din’s
میری زندگی تو فراق ہے
And then came Sabrina Benaim, Taylor Swift, Rudy Francisco, and Phil Kaye. Liking Swift was never about her celebrity status or her music. It was about her magical poetry. It was about her writing,
“You call me up again just to break me like a promise
So casually cruel in the name of being honest”.
About the way she wrote,
“I’m not your homeland anymore,
So what am I defending?”.
You see, words mesmerize me. I’m always in the search of perfect words. This is why, when I hear someone reciting a shair, I hold my breath and try my best to capture every word. I’m a hunter, and my treasure are words. But I don’t intend to keep the treasure to myself, instead I want to offer it to the world. Tell me about ست سورميون (Seven queens of Sindh) in the words of Shah Latif. When you catch me singing
پيرين پوندي سان چوندي سان رھي وڃ رات ڀنڀور م
(Will get on his feet and ask him to stay the night in Bhambhore) or
توڙي حب نہ ھو تہ بہ
ھوت نہ ڪجن ھيتريون
(Even when there’s no love, still you shouldn’t make someone suffer so much) dont laugh. Instead, ask me to sing it for you and explain you the meaning. When I get sick, the only words that I can think of are of Shah Latif saying,
“تڏھن ڦڪيون فرق ڪن
جڏھن امر ڪرين تون ان کي“
(O God! medicines will only have an effect when you allow them to).
You see, I find my pleasure in words. I am not made for talking. When I speak, I stutter and I forget. When I speak, I’m never happy with the way my voice sounds. I’m not good at this speaking thing friends, so recite to me and let me recite poems of Rumi, Kabir, Latif, Insha, Faiz, Rudy, Siken and Ocean Veong. The only language I speak is poetry.