In this Part of the world where silence is a common narrative and unidentified graves, the hotcakes for the foreign media to sell, where shoulders of brave fathers shall never be aided for they carried on them their future. Our graveyards are no more scary but little shrines were parents offer roses to their sleeping princes. In this part of the globe, graves serve the nation. Gravediggers are busy, they never rest, and they dig round the clock. May it be sizzling summer, bone- chilling winter, fading autumn or budding spring, they dig and dig. Even under the canopy of the fourteenth moon their tools are busy opening the chest of this soil to fill the vast belly basket of this earth. Funerals are now our daily rituals, mourning and massacres are headlines. Our waste lands no more deserted but green. We have planted our future in the very core of this earth. They speak to us; we hear them, we communicate and share our silence as well with them. Here in this part of the world older folk opens the sternum of the soil to dump the younger lot, nowhere such paradox prevails save Kashmir for our house are living graves, we live but in graves, for every family has a grave to visit. Our tulips are resting in the depths of this turf. Yes, these graves too enjoy the seasonal sensations. During summers we offer them petals, we remove the snowflakes from their tombstones during winter, we sweep the fallen leaves of autumn from their silent facades and yes, we do plant seedlings around their cemented cages during spring. We have not isolated them from our seasons; they are treated and treated well, but Alas! The tyrant knows no mercy.
Grow no more saffron
No more rice and wheat
Water the graves. They shall better serve
If you believe in tomorrow.
Graves too speak; all you need is to appreciate the metaphor of death. These graves are homes-eternal couches on which our malevolence, mundanity and acquisitiveness are operated upon to feed micro populace not easy to detect by naked eye. Just after the invasion, one enters into a micro phase of life. A phase one never takes notice of when he walks around the graveyard. What vast belly these graves have! They munch through human existence; they once abandon a palpating entity on the soil and surface. Graves speak louder than us, they sigh and share and if at all they have no takers, they should not be blamed but us alone, for not doing away with the veils of ignorance. Walk through a graveyard, stop a while and ponder over. The deadly silence shall surely communicate if at all, you are willing to listen to them. Those who have listened to them are so clear in their expression that surely liquefies even the hardest bone and the brilliant brain.
Someone’s grave is like façade decked up flowers
Someone’s grave is a dark chasm
A few O! Master on to you
A few were misleading by flimsy doubt …….
The tombstones on these graves keep us alive at least in the world of digits. Thanks to skillful hands of gentle calligraphers who chisel and hammer the very heart of the stone that reads our date of death. They bury us in the coffin of words and verses. Graves communicate, yes, they do. They narrate a hard- core tale of our bygone days. These marble sheets may look dull and bare, but it definitely serves the sensitive eye of a man of letters. For him, these marble blocks are the characters they fail to find in the real life. The journey from surface to burrow reveals their plots. The names inscribed on these silent sheets are their genuine story lines reading climaxes and anticlimaxes. The silence, for them, is energetic enough to disclose the procedures of faith. Yes, these graves converse, they illustrate our date of death that during our lifetime was shrouded in mysterious mist. The death alone unfolds this mystery and we pass into the world of silence exhibiting our date of death for the rest of the world to read between the lines what we like them had failed to read. These tombstones convert our identities to the culture of remembrances and we are remembered on occasions.
If ever I think of restituting my ruins brought by destiny
The bricks appear as dry bones bereft of flesh
Before our names are put on marble sheets, do listen to unknown and unmarked graves somewhere in the untrodden canyon. Do listen to them if you can their silent sighs. Do listen to them if you someday accidently pass by their undone cages. Stop a while. Raise your hands and beg for the mercy, do ask for forgiveness and supplicate them. Separation and union have pleasures. You may certainly be able to connect with the vast to realise your insignificance. These graves freeze our brisk steps; they compel us to lower our stiffed necks and above all prepare us to be their future companions. Yes, these graves speak; do understand their language devoid of worldly diction. The silence is wisdom. Wisdom demands introspection. Visit your own grave; arrange thy own lantern to make it shine when all the bulbs of Edison shall cease to illuminate the world. Yes, graves are monstrous and murky. They eat up human flesh. They are merciless.
Some may live in mansions
some in huts and cracks,
yet for all a simple bed
deep in the soil,
shall serve us all
not on merit mundane
but on the mercy
of our Lord.
Yes, the graves hide ails all, our malignancies and malice worst. Walk slowly or better to stop when you come across with these silent settlers. Don’t run over the broken junk; they too were like us walking with their heads high, but then the Wheel of Fortune spares none. If the turn of the wheel has taken them along today, we may be the pick of the bunch for its advanced turn. If it was him last night, it would be you next morning and me. This is what these graves make public. They are better speakers, the best orators and the choicest debaters.
Seek sweet syrup in the garden of Love,
For Nature is a seller of vinegar and a crusher of un-ripened grapes
Come to the hospital of your own Creator:
No sick man can dispense with that Physician.
The world without that King is like a headless body:
Fold yourself, turban-wise, round such a head
Let our graves be festooned with aromatic petals of Lord’s grace, and enlightened with the holy Light of His beloved.
The author is a columnist besides a poet, short story writer and recipient of various literary Awards.