It was a rebellion.
A rebellion against humanity.
A rebellion against life.
A rebellion against what I thought the world was and what it turned out to be.
I thought about it long enough. Everyone thought I was over reacting. Maybe I was. But I really wasn’t.
I was reacting. I was genuinely reacting against the false impression I had had of life; the thoughts, the aspirations, the hopes, the desires, the failures, the heartbreak.
It was like a blackout for the longest time. I tried hard to understand what was happening, what had happened and what was going to happen. But it refused to make any sense. It was as if someone had wiped the chalkboard before I had had the chance to note it all down. Almost like a dream, it was unbelievable that circumstances could alter so fast. It was fleeting, boundless at one moment and a joke at the next.
I could feel someone standing there, pointing a finger and laughing at me. “Did you really think that would last? *laughter* Did you really?” I didn’t even know who that someone was. Or did I? Maybe I did at some point and now I didn’t. It was all so fleeting, so unreal. Someone standing in front me now had a solemn expression, giving me an unsaid lesson with those earnest eyes, so intense it sent me shivers through my body. I could also hear the raindrops. Fat little drops of rain falling on the shed, fat little drops of rain falling on the shed, fat little drops of rain falling on the shed. I had made a song out of it and hummed along. Suddenly, that was a moment that made me forget about my very grave thoughts, moving with the hum of my new song. It was a hit on the head when I got back, realized what I had become.
A hymn for the universe; the highs and lows; I was coming alive to being human, I was coming alive to it all.
Let me give you a route to go.
A window to pass from.
An arch to look through.
A broken wall to climb on.
What if the window is half your size?
What if the arch is big enough to house your entire city?
What if the broken wall is a hike up a mountain?
With close up, space expands.
The bricks peeked out at me. They came, like a sudden scene in a film, a dynamite of the tenth of a second. There was red and brown, a skyline of broken lines standing in sheer contrast against the blue.
It was floating, almost unreal; a physical interconnection in the suspended reality of its half burnt walls in the midst of its far flung ruins and debris. The ethereal fragility of its soul just existing in the midst of consciousness; the past with its destinies and transformations all gathered into this instant of an aesthetically perceptible present.”
It gave evidence of the present I was a part of, the possible future it could hold, and a scattered image of the past that had defined it. Time had gnawed on those walls and dragged them down to their brink. The crumbling walls lurking beneath those thick layers of overgrown foliage. Nature had taken its toll on them. Man was irrelevant there in the midst of grass ten feet high, trees forty feet high, a river of fast flowing water, fishes of golden color, melodic chirping in the background.
I was trying
5 6 7 8 9 10
I wonder if I should have asked. 16
Asked for directions. Asked for routes. 17
Asked for possibilities. Asked for probabilities. 18
It would have been so different. 19
Because it was dark, 2122232425
But what about the directions? 26
I picked up the keys. 272829303132
But what about the keys? 33
I headed towards the door. 343536373839
Her face expressions changed 40
But what about the door? 41
I opened the handle. 42
So dark, was it not? 434445464748
But what about what it is about? 49
Does that mean anything to me?
I kept walking down,
trying to avoid every living creature.
I was heading towards what I had wanted to see all along.
The lights were just very dark.
I remember those trips to the masjid right around the corner from my house. It wasn’t a grand place, but it had what was needed: the holy books, the holy tasbeehs and sajdigaahs, prayer quarters, ablution areas, simpler meditation areas, open verandahs, spacious courtyards, and the moulvi I can never forget. I remember him using his small misvak stick to playfully hit us, whenever we pronounced Arabic not up to his standards; the touch of his hand on my back, patting me and massaging me under the loose scarf, encouraging me to read better?
I also remember the parking right outside the masjid. Nothing huge, just angled cars aong the street.I remember walking up to the masjid gate with my younger brother, dodging the ogling, smelly pathans lined up against the pan ridden masjid wall. Their stare pierced me right through my clothes; with half crooked smiles, scratching their balls and calling out on the ‘bachiyaan’ (urdu for young girls). I remember parking our bicycles by the walls and rushing inside.
I also remember the supermarket on our way to the masjid. It had a very Indian name, some Shankar or Prakaash. It had aisles and hidden aisles of hidden goodies. But it had not just that. I remember that short, plump sales man who always smiled at me when we entered. The rubber of the glass doors gave a shrill sound that echoed across the small store. I realized the immunity to reoccurring sounds at such a small age. The head of the salesman twisted every time the door made a sound. He would eagerly run up to us, shaking hands, giving us tight unnecessary hugs. I let him hold my hand to lead me to the sweet aisle the first few times. Slowly, I developed the habit of clutching a few dirhams in tightly clasped fists, to avoid his uncomfortable brash hands. But didn’t he still come, every time?
I also remember the guard of our apartment building complex. His cubicle was right next to the gates. I remember the air conditioner hitting me on the face every time he ran out to greet me as I passed by.The wisps of smoke from the cigarette in his hand always suffocated me when he came too close to give us sweets. I always wondered why. I was very young, but I remember feeling uncomfortable, so uncomfortable.
I also remember my paternal cousin who was staying in that extra room in our apartment. He had flown in from Pakistan, with hopes and dreams of earning big amounts of money. The only luggage he had was a single bag he carried on his shoulders when he walked out from the ‘Arrivals’ section at the airport. He had difficulty with English, I remember him sitting with me when my mother helped me with my homework, just skimming through my English text books. He repeated everything I said in that wonderful foreign language that made him feel so grand; and he did get better. It took some time, but he did get better. But what I also remember is my feeling of discomfort in his presence. I felt fear and helplessness. I remember him making me sit on his lap where I felt something taut under myself that made me want to cry and run. We had a desktop computer, bigger than anything you would come across now. I don’t know how he did it, but he downloaded videos of nude boys and nude girls making noises and clamped to each other in all possible positions, with the widest array of backdrops, from deserts to washrooms and swimming pools to bedrooms. He rubbed against me, played with me. I didn’t know what was happening, but I only remember trying to avoid him.
I’m just really trying to remember where it was that I had ever felt safe.
She lay huddled under those blankets, shuddering with the thought that he was coming back. Of course he was coming back.
He always did.
He waited for her to go downstairs. He waited for her to just head out that front door, and as soon as he would hear that knob turn, he would suddenly be wide awake. By then, he would already be out of bed, staggering in a hurry to the next room. These moments were an absolute bliss for him. With excitement rushing through his veins he would rush inside the dark room, leaving the door open to let the hallway light in.
Did it bother him that his wife was probably just in the elevator, ten steps from his front door? No, it didn’t.
Did it bother him that his wife was carrying three school bags on her shoulders, clasping the hands of her children, hurrying them along so as to not miss that morning bus? No, it really didn’t.
He tiptoed across the now slightly illuminated room. So excited, he was trembling. These days didn’t come often, but when they did, he made sure he didn’t miss these moments. Across the room lay the bed, and on the further left end, she was huddled. And of-course she knew he was coming for her. She hadn’t been able to sleep all night with the nightmare of the coming moment. Every time, she thought she would stand up for herself; that she would shout and scream till the entire building, street, block, city, country, continent, world would hear her…
But when the moment arrived, she lay as still as a stone, as cold as ice. She was trembling, yes. But that was somewhere deep inside her, her organs were rattling inside that frozen cage that embodied her. Almost as a curse.
Her heart was ready to burst out of that chest, and save her maybe? She knew she was crying, but her wide open eyes refused to show them. Her room was illuminated now, but all she could see was the darkness that curtained over her, huddling her closer and closer until she didn’t even feel like she existed inside that body anymore. She was silently rebelling against those harsh caressing hands and fingers. Oh those fingers, going in all possible directions. She was wailing, looking down on her body; on that embodied cage she had just exited.
Floating above the scene of crime, she wailed in pain to the body below her, “Scream! Shout! Shove him away!”, trying to convince it to do something this time. But could anyone hear her she knew not.
It was strange, the sensation of that body’s head slowly titling itself up to her and looking at her with those huge empty eyes. Those eyes that were screeching and moaning, at their periodic death; she looked down, ever so helpless at that filthy mouth that was moving over the body. there was another moan in the room. Another, entirely different moan, that echoed of pleasure. Not guilt, just pure plain unrequited pleasure. A demanding pleasure. Those hands, fingers and mouth were getting restless and even faster, like they wanted to gain everything possible in those few minutes and gain more and more and more. There were ecstatic moans, and there were painful moans.
Did it bother him that his wife lovingly thought he was in bed, tired from last nights late shift, while he was up here doing this to his own twelve year old niece? No, it didn’t.
Did it bother him that his wife was presently thinking of giving him a loving peck on the check to wake him up with a tray of his morning breakfast right now? No, it really really didn’t.
It didn’t bother him because now he was already covering her back up. He slid the rumples of her shirt back down her neck, and gave those two taut nipples a good long look of lust and desire before covering them too. He slid his hands between her wet thighs one last time, looking up at the ceiling in pleasure. Ahh, the love of sweet untouched little girls, what taut buttocks and smooth virginity. The pyjamas were slid back into place, the blanket on top. He gave his niece a quick peck, massaged her shoulders, telling her how he had massaged her only because she had been working so hard on her school assignment all night.
Yes, she had been working in his room all night, on his laptop, as he lay on the bed in front of her with his own excited self dangling out of his meager shorts. She had been frantically trying to work with the beating anxiety inside her, as he lay there just staring at his niece with those cold blinking eyes, rubbing his meat with longer breathes.
“My baby was tired, wasn’t she? You work so hard, oh you’ve been working sooo hard. So hard. Youre more relaxed now, aren’t you?”
And then he was gone, back to his own room, his own bed, his own blanket; and his own hard desire.
I was left to die once more.