September 2007


That one hour seemed too long. I felt somewhat disappointed. I did not expect her to be from a non-muslim background. I asked myself “why not?” and response was ‘ because I had started thinking of her and I together. In the back of my mind I had envisioned the complete love story…getting married, a home, family’ but now it seemed slipping away. I was pretty sure that her mother must have converted else how can her father marry her but then the realization struck me. I was not thinking like her father but these thoughts were of Ayaz. Now what should I do?. Step back and go back to my world or still cling to the hope that she may be a muslim. How could a non-muslim have a name like Sharmeena? Even if her mother is not a muslim, she is muslim from father’s side and she can learn more with me and adopt Islam completely. I kept on thinking while nibbling the salty crackers. The text appeared on my screen

“ hey Ayaz, I am back “
“ Leila, you are late!”
I teased her trying to shed off my own thoughts.
“ am I?…sorry if I am, I got stuck in the traffic”
“ ok now start with the story”
“ you are so eager to hear about my parents”
she smiled
“ no I am interested in the story of love” I responded in the same way.

“ ok, so yes, my father is from Peshawar and belongs to Yusuf Zai tribe. He did his MBA in finance and after few months he was offered a good job in Dubai so he moved there. After a year or so he went to an Indian concert where he saw my mom. He fell in love the moment he saw her. He was handsome too and his stares did not go unnoticed. They both started talking to each other and the cupid worked his way. My mom was visiting Dubai and was staying in a hotel nearby with her parents. Next day my father somehow managed to put a large bouquet of roses in her room like bollywood hero style.”

“ I guess your dad was watching too many Indian movies”
“ I think so too”
she laughed.
“ ok, continue..what happened then?”

“ right, so when my mom came back to her room, she was totally surprised. She tells us that there she knew this was the man. She thanked my father and then they met few more times and made all those promises though they knew that was too difficult to happen specially in those days when Pakistan and India were just recovering from war. My mom told my grandma about it who tried to explain it to my grandfather. My grandfather did not like Pakistanis at all and he got infuriated. He booked the next available flight back to Delhi and before my dad could know of this, they were gone. But fortunately my mom left a message for him giving her contact number and telling him what had happened.”

“ your father must have gone crazy?”

“ yes he did but he could not do anything except trying to contact her, which he did. It went on for ten months and when my grandfather’s anger subsided, my mom took off to Dubai to visit one of her aunt. When my dad met her again they decided to get married. My dad talked to his family and narrated the story. The response was as expected. They were very opposed to it but my dad told them he is marrying the girl anyway.”

“against his parents will?”

“yes..my mom told the same thing to her parents. Both the families flew in to stop them . My dad’s mother was dead set against it and told him she would not accept it but his father realized that his son would do what he had said and, wisely, he agreed to his wishes. On the other side my mom’s mother wanted her daughter to be happy but her father was not willing to accept it. My dad’s father talked to him and told him to be happy in what children have decided. His mother then wanted my mom to convert but my dad told her that he would not force anything. If later in life she would decide to do so , she could do that with her own choice and will.”

“and they got married?”

“yes..then they got married in Dubai in a simple ceremony. My mom and dad stayed in Dubai for one more year and then they moved to US. In the beginning it was difficult for them to settle in an entirely different society and culture but with passing days and good jobs they together built a home. We were born here in US”

“ and your grandparents?”

“ they have accepted the reality and have come to terms with it. My mom tried very hard on both sides. She makes it a point to take us to India as well as Pakistan every couple of years so that we meet and live with our grandparents for some time and see our origins.”

“ so you have been to Pakistan. Do you like it?”

“ who does not like her country , Ayaz?…Pakistan is my country, so is India. I love Pakistan and India alike , they are part of me…and sometimes when I see Pakistanis and Indians here fighting against each other I fail to understand why. Each of the group tries to pull me to its side but I can not do that. For me it is impossible to love half of me and hate the other half.”

– fromLeila – a love untold Copyrights Reserved

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تم جو نکلے تو صحراؤں سے طوفان اٹھا
تم نے بجلی کے کڑکنے کی مثل ڈالی تھی
نہ ہی اسباب، نہ اعداد صرف ذوق ِ یقیں
اپنے اس ڈھنگ سے دنیا ہی بدل ڈالی تھی

 

Translation

You rose from the deserts like a storm
You set the examples for the thunder
Not armor, not numbers but only faith ( in Allah )
This way you changed the world forever

( 17 Ramadan – The day of Ghazwa e Badar )

Copyrights Reserved

“ Ayaz”
“yes?”
“nothing”
“you sure?”
“ I am scared ”
“scared? of what?”
“ you know it feels so good talking to you and it scares me if tomorrow I wake up and you are gone like a nice dream”
“ and why do you think I will be gone suddenly?”
“ I don’t know”
“ Listen leila, do not think about future with fear. If you think negatively, negative things are likely to happen.”
“ ok, I will try not to “
“ thats like a good girl. If you are still worried I can call you?”
“I would love to Ayaz, but….”
“ but you don’t trust me..right?”
“ no its not like that but you know my father does not like it. Guys are allowed to call me but I find it better if they don’t.”
“ and why is it so”
“ well he was brought up in a strict Pakistani household “
“ I think I can understand now, I come from similar background “
“ but he lived in Dubai for some time where he met my mother”
“ interesting!, and there he fell in love with her ?”
“ yes but their’s is a long tale. I will tell you someday”
“ I guess your mom is not Pakistani”
“ she is not, she belongs to an Indian Sikh family”
“what!!”
“ you sounded surprised Ayaz”
“ I am surprised because I have not come across any couple like this and may be I was not expecting this”
“ I know it is not very common thing specially in Pakistan or India..and for them too it was very hard to overcome the resistance from their families”
“ and they overcame that”
“yes they did because they were deeply in love”
“ your mom must be very beautiful “
“yes she is, am not saying just because she is my mother but she is really beautiful. Green eyes, honey complexion, long black hair, tall, slim, elegant like a dream princess.”
“ I imagined so “
“how ”
“ simple logic…your dad must have some real reason that he stood against his family and norms”
“intelligent Mr. Programmer”
“ thanks Leila, won’t you tell me their story?”
“ now?”
“ if you can”
“ ok, I will be back in one hour , ok?”
“ no problem, I will wait “.

– fromLeila – a love untold Copyrights Reserved

‘Welcome home’. Listening to these words always feels good.
It was evening of September 26 just before sunset when I landed at Toronto’s Pearson airport for the first time . The only thing I had in mind was that finally I am going to settle down here. No family, no relative, no friends …just a new land to discover and a wait to see my fate unfolding what it holds. First time in my life I crossed the Atlantic..the large water desert I used to look at from the Cliffs of Mohr. It was not my first venture of the kind so there was no anxiety, no worries and to be honest, no real excitement. Once the immigration officer was through with my papers he stamped and handed them over to me and smiled ” Welcome to Canada”. That one simple phrase and the voice tone was so good that I had never experienced on any other airport in any country I have lived or visited. I really felt welcomed. From that day on, alhamdolillah I am very lucky to get things going my way. Job, friends, business, social circle, activities…everything enhanced my positive attitude. The beautiful autumn, the lively spring, warm and sometimes burning summers and snow blizzards in freezing winters adds to Toronto’s beauty. Toronto without any doubt is one of the best livable cities on this planet. Every second person has roots somewhere else. A very diverse and multicultural city not only in appearance but in essence. The same applies to whole of the Canada, in general. The values of freedom of speech, respect and justice are being upheld, something that every Canadian feels proud of. People respect differences and appreciate diversity and we do laugh at each other…when friends walk together telling joke about a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian and a Buddhist. Ofcourse, as a Muslim Pakistani Canadian I must respect others and initiate the good but I feel good when my colleagues do reciprocate by respecting the values I bring in; one stops swearing because it is Ramadan, another wants to observe fast with me and a third one learning about five basics and studying Quran. This is Toronto!…and as they say ‘Toronto: you belong here’.
I have traveled few times out of the country but wherever I go this city awaits me and no matter what time of the day I land at the Pearson’s I am greeted with the same smile ” Welcome Home!”.

یہ شہرِ خموشاں ہے یاں تاریخ سوتی ہے
اس دنیا میں سب کی آخری منزل یہ ہوتی ہے
چلو کچھ باسیوں کا آپ سے تعارف کراتے ہیں
کیا تھے اور کہاں پر تھے، کہانی ہم سناتے ہیں
یہ صاحب تھے غرور اتنا کہ وہ تو ذات والے تھے
وہیں مزدور ہے لیٹا کئے ہاتھ جس نے کالے تھے
قریب ہی شاہ کچھ سو سال سے آرام کرتے ہیں
وہ ملزم بھی درباری جسے بدنام کرتے ہیں
وہ شاعر بھی جن کی شاعری دل کو لبھاتی تھی
بنا تختی کے وہ بھی ہے جو ان کے گیت گاتی تھی
وہ کونے میں ہے اک لیلیٰ تھا جس کو حسن کا یارا
اسی پہلو میں ہے سویا جسے تھا ساتھ میں مارا
وہیں پر ایک بچہ بھی جو ماں کے ساتھ سوتا تھا
سرہانے باپ ہے جو اپنی لاچاری پہ روتا تھا
وہ افسر ہے کہ جس کا نام تھا سارے زمانے میں
وہ چپڑاسی ہے جس کو لطف نہ تھا مال کھانے میں
وہ آگے کو ہے اک جنرل کیا تھاجس نے شرمندہ
شہید اک ہٹ کے سوتا ہےمگر ہے اب تلک زندہ
یہیں قاتل بھی اور مقتول ، منصف اور مجرم بھی
یہیں پر سو رہے ہوں گے، میں بھی ایک دن تم بھی

Translation

This is cemetery, history sleeps here
This is everyone,s final destination in this world
Let me introduce some of its citizens to you
Who they were and where they were
This gentleman was very proud because of his lineage
Next to him is a laborer who toiled hard with hands
Close by, there sleeps a king for last few centuries
and then that accused too who was maligned by king’s courtiers
That poet too whose poetry attracted people’s heart
and that anonymous courtesan too who used to sing his poetry
At the corner lies the woman who was all beauty
beside her is the one who was killed with her
Then there lies a child who wouldn’t sleep without his mother
next to him lies his father who would weep at his helplessness
Then there is officer who was notorious in the town
and his office boy who would not take the bribe
Few steps ahead lies a General who brought shame to the nation
and a martyr lies nearby but ‘he is still alive’
It is a place where lies murderer and murdered, judge and the criminal
One day everyone will be sleeping here including you and I

یہاں پہ کچھ نہیں بدلا
یہاں پہ کچھ نہیں بدلا
تمھاری ذات کی خوشبو
تمھارے عکس کا جادو
تمھارے لفظ بکھرے ہیں
ہوا کی تازگی بن کے
تمھاری کھنکھناتی سی ہنسی
ہے چار سو پھیلی
تمھارے اشک بھی کچھ دور
موتی بن کے پھیلے ہیں
وہیں پر ہیں جہاں تم نے
کبھی بیلا لگائے تھے
کتابیں میز پر بکھری ہیں
جو تم نے پڑھ کے رکھی تھیں
کسی کاغذ کی اک جانب
تمھاری نظم لکھی ہے
بہت سے رنگ الجھے ہیں
تمھاری داستاں بن کے
جہاں سنگھار کرتی تھی
وہیں ہیں بالیاں رکھی
وہیں پہ سرخ چوڑی اور
تمھارا ہار
رکھا ہے
اسی کونے میں ہنستی ہوئی
تصویر رکھی ہے
وہ تازہ پھول کے پتے
اسی تصویر کے اوپر
وہیں پہ چند سکوں سے
تمھارا نام لکھا ہے
یہاں پہ کچھ نہیں بدلا

جو واپس لوٹنا چاہو
تو سوچیں اپنی کم کر لو
جو گر تم لوٹ کر آؤ
کیلنڈر غور سے دیکھو
نہ ہی تاریخ بدلی ہے
نہ ماہ و سال بدلے ہیں
یہاں کچھ بھی نہیں بدلا

کھو نہ جانا ” سے

Translation

Nothing has changed here
Nothing has changed here
Fragrance of you
Spell of your image
your words are scattered
in the air like its freshness
Your laughter
is spread all over
Your tears too
are scattered like pearls
Jasmin is still there
where you planted
books are lying on the table
in the same way you left after reading
On one side of the paper
there is a poem that you wrote
Many colors are entangled
creating your story
Where you used to do makeup
there are ear rings
there are red bangles
and your necklace too
in the corner
is your smiling picture
there are petals
around the pictures
Few coins are arranged
to write your name
Nothing has changed here

If you wish to return
do not think much
and if you return
do look at the calendar
date has not changed
neither has month or year
nothing at all has changed here.

fromKho na JanaCopyrights Reserved

I loved you;
even now I may confess,
Some embers of my love their fire retain;
But do not let it cause you more distress,
I do not want to sadden you again.

Hopeless and tongue-tied, yet I loved you dearly,
With pangs the jealous and the timid know;
So tenderly I loved you, so sincerely,
I pray God grant another love you so

Alexander Pushkin

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