By: Asma Anjum Khan
Laal Salam to quite a green Asma
How do you do?
What is this I hear? My song , Laazim hai ke hum bhi dekhen ge..
Has really burst open your heads and knocked your brains out?
Have you guys really lost it?
Or has Jalib misinformed me? I strongly feel it’s a rumour.
They say it was anti-something?
What a tragedy, sorry, travesty .even me and Ghalib together here in the heavens could not imagine such a blast of an idea.
Such geniuses you are.
Do let me know when and how did this happen?
And what is this I am hearing?
You are also banning my song?
Banning I can understand perfectly being a Pakistani, but I went into splits when Momin Khan Momin told me that you are investigating my song for its allegedly anti-Hindu credentials.
Let me laugh. [ Is there a Hasya asana in your Yoga?]
Had Fehmida Riyaz, not hurried here to see us, she would have corrected her verses from,
Tum bhi hum jaise nikle,
Tum toh hum se badh kar nikle.
Mind it she was quite adept at such back handed compliments, which she keeps practising on all of us. I am fed up of her Roosi jibes. The moment she happens to see me at the evening gatherings which have no segregation and thank God for that, she starts mumbling an Afghani song. I really don’t like her doing this to me.
I want to laugh at you all, but unable to. You don’t know me, I rarely ever laughed uproariously when I was there, but only used to smile. But this anecdote from your “Good Days” Hindostan sent this “New Day” Pakistani, me, into peals of laughter, so much so that Ghalib who lives just a door apart from where I stay, peeped from his high window, listening to my chuckles. What appeared first was the top end of his Turkish long cap, then a part of his temples and then a bit of his nose. After appearing in one whole piece, he lowered his gaze, took a long look at me and sighed. Now he wholesomely understands the reality of his jannat e Benazir Hindostan as pronounced once upon a time;
hum ko maloom hai Hindostan ki haqeeqat lekin,
dil ke rone ko Ghalib yeh khayal acha hai
After his confessions to Colonel Brown about eating pork and drinking wine, he has been half-pardoned for his gambling, because, well, he claimed to be a half -Muslim. Hence , you see his jaam e sifaal half filled, his kebabs half fried and his chorpoy allowed to be only half in the sunny shade.
Oh, I am digressing again.Lol.. this jannah business wrecks my nerves just as the social media does yours.
Coming to the point, Ghalib says, he is not worried a bit about the latest, For Whom the Bell Tolls, type of shenanigans, as he had already publicly announced,
Sau pusht se hai pesha e aaba sipahgiri, (My forefathers since hundred generations have been warriors, by merely writing poetry, fame I seek do not.)
No Entry board, on the Khayber pass from 1195 onwards might have helped to stop the flow.
But what could you do when the flow becomes the stream and the stream turns into a river and nourishes the soil.
And what a nourishment it was!
The language, the poetry, the culture, that to die for architecture and that Sambusa recipe brought along was heavenly wholesome for the environs and the connoisseurs. For the gastronomists, that sinful salacious biryani, those seductive aromas, those velvety layers of meat and rice engulfed and devoured the whole region, sending whiffs of contented burps all over.
The flow doesn’t stop at the culinary fanfare but crosses over from the tummies and goes straight to the head. Sitting in your head, it writes Urdu poetry, making you drool, making you cry, and engulfing you in sheaths of wonderful ecstasy. Such poetry could be written only in the bazaar and gullies of Dilli and not in Milan or Greek and French thoroughfares. Gully, reminds me..You guys got Qasim Jaan ki gali as well, where Ghalib claimed to live since ,’sau pusht’? What would I tell him? That he should have migrated in 1857?
Oh, I am sorry, I don’t believe in the type of khuda that rewards you guys with the toffees, then threatens to cut off the water supply to your area without notice. I scoff at your frequent mentions of hell and its fires. You are laughable indeed.
This is why I have been urging everyone who cares to listen and not just feigning to swoon and sway listening to my verses; to get back to their senses.
You make your own hell or heaven or rather I would modify it this way:
You are your own heaven. You are your own hell.
You may find it difficult. But hell is nothing short of load shedding in the month of May with temperatures running and soaring high like politicians competing for who would get the most muck plastered on his face. Hell is when the stinks of hatred fill the air to the extent that you all start choking. We have gone through that and we confess it was horrible, way too horrible. Do I need to warn you to not eat that muck?
Coming back to where we began and you banning my swan song,
, Laazim hai ke hum bhi dekhien ge! We shall see! Certainly, we too shall see!
You find something to cavil at this soul fulfilling beauty.
Won’t you like to see your ‘gone kaput’ banks, return your money? Your dead to get justice? Your women to breathe safe under a clear blue sky? And your hatred for each other; to die a natural death and buried deep not just six feet but hundreds, if possible?
Yes, yes, We shall see, Certainly, we too shall see, That all you have so far seen ,is only the muck flying around thick and sullying everyone and everything in the vicinity.
But what makes you think, you won’t get to see the fragrant breeze of understanding and compassion?
What I wanted you all to see, was a glimmer of hope. A ray in the dark, a silver.. Okay, okay, asma dear, no more clichés,
Dekhna laazim hai. It is de rigueur for you to watch; mandatory.
To hope to watch, your dreams sprouting and growing from the very soil that gives you birth and takes you in its arms ,once the time is over.
Until then, Laazim hai ke hum bhi dekhien ge.
We too shall see.
Certainly, we will.