Sunday, May 30, 2004

I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it--

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My face featureless, fine
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?--

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.

Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me

And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.

What a million filaments.
The peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand and foot--
The big strip tease.
Gentlemen, ladies

These are my hands
My knees.

I may be skin and bone,

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.

The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut

As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.

It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:

'A miracle!'
That knocks me out.
There is a charge

For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart--
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.

So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash--
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there--

A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.

Herr god, Herr Lucifer

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.

lady lazarus
sylvia plath

23-29 October 1962

Mina at 12:27 AM


Saturday, May 29, 2004

i’m reading books by mad women. technically mad, socially mad, whatever (i have issues with defining madness), but round holes in square pegs nonetheless. finished the bell jar (was very moved, to say the least. more on that later, maybe), am reading mrs. dalloway. i loved ‘the hours’, i kept having that fantastic sense of all things fitting together seamlessly in a perfect kind of balance where every reference is one that you recognize and all the people you see are relevant and necessary. like being in on all the private jokes in the world. i know that my family is a little concerned with me reading madwomen books- sana and amma are reading the bell jar too (it’s a delicate kind of balancing act, multiple reader reading, an intricate dance) and yesterday were a little freaked out at all the underlining and comments and ‘lol’ that i leave in my book-reading wake. that’s just the way i read, nothing to worry about if i happen to find a madwoman book funny and terribly beautiful. hopefully :)

Mina at 8:28 PM


new look! rowr! huma the blog queen is a most positive influence ;) seriously. woo hoo! *smiles in great wise techie glee* dekho, comments bhi!

Mina at 8:16 PM


Friday, May 28, 2004

'cause being in love just means calling places
when you can't afford the bill'

madness is fun while it lasts :)

'filling up tiny love spaces
getting lost inside of insatiable mazes
looking for heroes in worn-out faces
looking for a great big love in tiny places'

tra la la

i think i should sleep

Mina at 12:34 AM


the herione of the bell jar is told that wanting two mutually exclusive things means you're neurotic. i wonder. most of the intellectual women i know and admire are sharp, bright, intelligent women who are well-read, speak perfect English and Urdu, hold foreign degrees and speak their mind. they run NGOs, they write books, they have discussions about politics and art.
and are single. divorced, never married or married with a nonexistent, nonentity spouse, these women are largely man-less. and i wonder if i will have to make a choice. i think it’s unfair that one even has to think of such a thing- are there no desi men who won’t feel threatened by an intelligent, assertive woman who speaks her mind and can hold her own in a debate? no, but those are feminists na, and hence don’t deserve to have a door opened for them or their suitcase carried because they want to be equal, so it’s okay to cuss in front of them and call them lesbians. this is equality. so i suppose this means that every simpering singsong-voiced sham of a woman is manfully protected and pampered by her menfolk while the confident no-lacy-frills-on-her-shalwar types have to stand in lines and endure being harassed because ‘she had it coming’. i’d like to know one thing though- which one of these women would you respect more? which one would you want to be the mother of your children? the very pretty, entirely feminine miss who will have the perfect hair, nails and body but couldn’t comfort a child in a thunderstorm because she’d be too busy hiding under the bed- or someone who may not know that lime green is the new hot pink, but will twist her hair up and change a tyre, kill cockroaches for a toddler stranded on a toilet and be the first one to press her nose against the window when it rains?
so what'll it be? homemaker or intellectual...writer or wife/mother? should anyone have to choose? maybe we should all just be neurotic.

Mina at 12:23 AM


Tuesday, May 25, 2004

today is a good day. good because i’ve turned off most of the auto-correct nonsense on microsoft word- no more irritating auto-caps rubbish that makes my nostrils flare when i’m trying to write some poetry and the damn thing keeps springing up capital A’s and I’s like some kind of rabid computer weed. daddy brought home a techno filter wala jug. the jug’s rather interesting in its techno art-deco kind of way and the water is all shiny clean but it tastes weird now. i think we’re all just used to the taste of all kinds of unknown things floating around in our water keh now clean water tastes like the smell of a new car (a smell i’ve never liked, for whatever reason). which brings me to what i mean to say. today went to the bazaar with mum and sana and we were tramping along in the dust and heat and rickshas (i am not going to put a ‘w’ in that word now, it’s too angrez. we don’t day rickshauuww, we say rickshaaa nice and snappy) and piles of rubble and orange peel and suspicious puddles-in-corners when sana commented on the smell of it all in a wonderfully succinctly descriptive Urdu word that i will not use here because noone knows what it means (i love being a language snob, it gives me big, evil kicks) (i learnt a lubly new word sunday evening, my parents come up with total gems and my ears prick- baunthra hua. means to be flustered, surprised, taken aback. Punjabi, not Urdu, apparently. rowr) baharal. what is a bazaar without the smells? the garbage and the cow poop and the traffic and tikkay wala and the way heat smells? what point is there in a bazaar if it isn’t noisy and dirty and crammed with all kinds of people and colours and constant activity? a bazaar is such an adventure if you really think about it, there’s something interesting going on everywhere you choose to look, even on the ground. sights and smells and textures if you ever touch, the way the sidewalk heat seeps into the soles of your shoes, toothless beggars and dusty flowers nodding in the slipstream of cars passing by like valiant soldiers bearing their banners with small determinism. i felt a sudden urge of very genuine affection for main market all of a sudden. good old main market, the same ever since i can remember. good old roundabout with its battered grass and swingy, some-broken chains (is there a fountain?). good old master sahib, who has stitched every tailor-made item of clothing i own. good old jalal sons and its chocolate swiss rolls. good old sabzi wallah from forever. things you can count on, things that you know so well…are just so important sometimes. i get bored very easily and i’m all for new adventures and sights and tastes, but you always need someplace to come home to- where the sheets will smell like sunshine and detergent and the pillow knows the shape of your head, where people recognize you because you look like your mother, where you can do the chicken dance in Nana’s room and be lovingly indulged because everyone knows that’s just you being kooky because you can, where there will always be orange peel in the garbage even though it isn’t in season and the buffaloes will pee on the brand-new roads. home is a good thing to have.

Mina at 1:54 PM


Monday, May 24, 2004

"She can't be unhappy," you said,
"The smiles are like stars in her eyes,
And her laugh is thistledown
Around her low replies."
"Is she unhappy?" you said --
But who has ever known
Another's heartbreak --
All he can know is his own;
And she seems hushed to me,
As hushed as though
Her heart were a hunter's fire
Smothered in snow.

Sarah Teasdale

Mina at 9:13 PM


Sunday, May 23, 2004

the free-association ramble that was blogged because it could be. hoo hoo ha haaaaaa

On this yellow day- yellow literally, jaundice-coloured watered banana-peel yellow kind of day, everything is dusty and I wish I knew what to do with myself. I can’t read any of the glorious books on my bedside because of some stupid masochist streak of having to worship them for a while before I can actually get to reading them (damned affliction of getting! I wish I was more poised or whatever it is that gives you seamless adaptation to wonderful things). I can’t play my guitar because I haven’t cut my nails yet (my last bastion of femininity, my fingernails, and I have to chop ‘em off so I don’t twang. rrar. sometimes I think I’ll never be a real girl) and I spent the entire morning editing and proofreading a newsletter to the brink of tendonitis and hysterics (I’ve an insane perfectionist streak and am the pickiest language person to ever walk the earth to boot, so I read every word and fixed every little horrific maligning of the English language there was in the damn thing. yaarggh.). Kher. So after all that today is still yellow and I wish I didn’t keep on making myself so damned WEIRD to figure out all the time! What if I read The Bell Jar and identify too much with it? Then I’d really be cuckoo and oh dear. I don’t even write enough or at the level to be justified doing whatever the hell I want. I think I should stop being self-deprecating also. But still. Today is yellow and I just don’t feel right. As if I should be the wind, not the lump of protoplasm inside a brick box. Or a leaf, swirling and whirling and flying outside instead of tiptoeing barefoot in the dust because walking on a dusty floor is a nasty crunchy kind of unreal feeling. As if it were floor oxide (and that particular gem comes from a conversation my metallurgist Abbu and I were having in the morning about storing aluminum blocks in the open). Ick. Dust is yellow. I wonder what Ayesha’s doing at this exact moment. I miss her because I don’t see her as much as I’d like to. Sigh. Everyone I love should live near me so I could just cycle over and fill up my them-quota of the day in a jiffy. I shouldn’t need people that much I’m thinking. It just doesn’t do. The last time I went swimming I was singing ‘Dobara Phir Se’ in the shower and after the chorus (which is so deliciously gung-ho and spirited that it just makes me want to sparkle) Amma’s primmest, most Victorian voice floats over the top of the cubicle door- ‘aisey gaaney gaana larkion ko zeb nahien deta’. So after a brief spell of ‘who are you and what have you done to my mother?’ variety ki shocked silence I laughed my indigo denimed ass off (‘it’s not that funny’) all the way to the car, slapping my sodden flip-flops on the beige patthar walkway for emphasis. It was just really funny...who says a girl can’t ask a boy to ‘chadd saarey khere hun tu chalni merey naal’? I like it. You’re mine now, let’s go. Rrar. Of course boy’d prolly be too scandalised to really go anywhere so I suppose one must be properly prissy and wait to be taken anywhere. How dismal. Why do wrappers on mini chocolates say ‘miniature’? Do they think we wouldn’t have guessed otherwise? it's like living in the middle of the ocean, with no future, no past...what a really good song…the Bounce soundtrack had some exceptionally dasti songs on it. I wish something really truly special would happen. And happen soon. I wish I was going to climb a mountain too, I could do with some stomping around in the ice with a few kilograms of heavy shit strapped to my back.

tra la la la la la LA (the psycho girl-kid in two stupid dogs style, fully full)

hee hee i do quite love y'all

*blows kisses at all and sundry*

we all are livin' in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine

i do it 'cause i want to
we owe each other the world
i do it for the joy it brings
'cause i am a joyful girl


Mina at 4:20 PM


Friday, May 21, 2004

raat yuun dil main teri khoei hui yaad aayi
jaisey veerane main chupke se bahar aajaye
jaisey sehraaon main hauley se chaley baad-e-naseem
jaisey bemaar ko bevajah qarar aajaye

faiz, 'kal raat'

another summer...ick.

Mina at 11:35 AM


Thursday, May 20, 2004

i miss you.

Mina at 11:01 PM


Monday, May 17, 2004

"i think nighttime is dark so you can imagine your fears with less distraction."

-calvin, from calvin and hobbes

Mina at 4:22 PM


I want to know you
I want to show you
I want to grow you
Inside of me
I want to see you
I want to free you
I want to be you
Inside of me
Love me 50,000 miles beneath my brain
Love me 50,000 times and then again

Can you love me with a thousand eyes?
Can you see right through my bones?
Can you kiss me with a thousand lips?
Can you melt a solid stone?
Can you hear me from a thousand miles
When you're screaming at the stars?
Can you pull me up to Jupiter
When I'm all hung up on Mars?
Burn my eyes with your flame
Let your world spin free
Let it go, baby
I'll do the same
All depends on me
Let it go
It's all the same
What with jewels that you can't see
Love me, love me, love me, love me, love me, babe
Bring it on home to me...

50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain
Ten Years After

Mina at 12:20 PM


Friday, May 14, 2004

I wish I could protect you from the evil there is in the world.
I wish I could take your bullets for you so you could be unscarred,
I wish I could keep you safe.
I wish I weren’t so helpless, I wish I could do something, anything

I wish I never had to see the day I cried for you- for independent, unfettered you..god, I'm so sorry this had to happen..

Mina at 10:09 PM


Thursday, May 13, 2004

leaves and garbage
the smoke fills my house i
can smell it in my hair quite
akin to the way
i could smell you on
my skin, sometimes. burning
leaves and garbage, what a
summertime smell when afternoons
stretch into infinity
shimmering in the heat and
smoke. smoke and sweaty backs
what a summertime thing.


Mina at 9:40 AM


Tuesday, May 11, 2004

i write. my catharsis, my best friend, my craft, my solace and my sanity. when i'm tuned into myself, when fingers fly and words follow in the whirlwind, i couldn't care less about the world and whatever is in it. everyone and everything can go hang for all i care.
the problem here is living enough to write better. if i write about things i don't know of enough, am i lying? what does it say for people if i can write about things i don't know much about and still be told i do a good job? heh, it's almost funny.

Mina at 11:08 PM


Saturday, May 08, 2004

babies can hear at twelve weeks. i speak to Much-Awaited-Baby sometimes. i wonder how it feels- not just carry someone in your heart; anyone can do that- but to really carry a person around in your tummy, know that behind your belly button is someone else's (eventual) belly button. and best of all- they're yours. something you can really treally call your own. that human being belongs to me. (nobody is supposed to belong to anyone but when you share half of your genetic self with someone i think you do, whether you like it or not.) 'that one's mine'. there is such wonder in a small person! such sweetness, such a fragile kind of purity...i can't stop looking at you, at your flower eyes and thoughtful fingers, can't resist lightly tapping your little tiptilted nose ("toot toot!"), smiling back at your six-teeth, crooked are so complete in your tiny self..your head isn't even as high as the kitchen counter and yet there is some kind of grace, some kind of simple wisdom in the way you go exploring, the way you think crossed eyes are funny, the way you give blades of grass, a brick, a thread on a carpet so much importance...carefully investigating, understanding for yourself and carrying onto the next discovery. it's not just that you're so damn cute in your pixie boy way. it's the way the world is still astonishing, still new, still special. how every corner hasn't been turned, every berry hasn't been chewed experimentally, every lawn run around barefoot in, every banister slid down upon, every downpour been danced in. and that's what growing up begins to rob from you, and what i try so hard to retain. wonder.

Mina at 1:53 PM