My notebooks are found in every corner of this apartment

Who will read these pieces of writing when I die?

Will they be misplaced, never to be found? Or will they be uncovered, those writings I have cached away in the bruised and battered leather bound briefcase I bought at a jumble sale? Perhaps they will be opened occasionally by someone looking for fragments of the person I was, claiming they understood what I meant when I wrote a certain piece and what it was I was trying to impart, confess...but in truth they will only come away with the crust of the meaning, claiming my fiction as factual. Never interested to grasp the notion of the inventive writer. What I write. Perhaps I too am afraid they will discover the truth behind the words? But I am taking the risk. Life is too short.

I have my breifcase. My father had a portmanteau filled with notes, poems, essays, speeches all written by hand. A light blue ink colured the neat smooth flow of Urdu words upon paper with "Special Offer" flashed impudently on the top of the page.

I remember fingering through these pages after his death; these creations, masterpieces , hidden away from the rest of the world. I never understand the meaning of what he wrote, faltering over the alifs and beys of a rich language unfortunately never one I owned. Evidently and embarassingly the words stumble out of my mouth.

This is not the way he wanted it, was it? His works locked away in boxes in the cupboard, collecting dust, the unsullied sheets, year by year turning a pusillanimous yellow. The works of words, defeated like a slow cancerous death, now in boxes, curtained by the sombre winter coat he used to wear on fridays to the mosque.

Locked away in the backroom of a quiet shop, my father wrote, huddled into the shabby olive green armchair with rasping iron springs and warmed by a purring calor gas heater and a cup of tetley tea . With a thick book to lean upon and a mass of paper to write upon, was when I remember he looked most comfortable and relaxed. Disregard for everyone around, engrossed only in the words that sprung from the swift movement of his pen in hand..

Angry when disturbed, the rest of us tiptoed in and out of that backroom.

For a writer needs a room of his own with no interruptions and obtrusive voices to break his thoughts.

He was fastidious when it came to the arrangement of his notes and cuttings from newspapers. There was a silver matted covered photo album that I would flick through whilst slurping tea in his little office at the back of the family’s grocery store. The gummed down plastic sheets curling at the corners. There were only a couple of snapshots, the rest of the pages were filled with newspaper articles about the shop, a poem by me, age ten, an invitation to the Pakistani Writers’ Circle, a picture of my father in a checked jacket and shirt and of course tie, receiving a cheque from some goofy looking guy with bucked rabbit like teeth.
On his desk there was a cracked pane of glass which covering the inky, scorched surface, and a array of more newspaper cuttings, mostly from an Urdu newspaper. Shielded beneath the scratched glass and reflecting a small inquisitive face, with large cubbyhole eyes. I must of been around 8 years old.

There was also a small plastic folder filled with penny stamps and first class stamps, and I would sit there writing letters to kids magazines and licking the stamps like they were peices of sugar candy, before skipping outside to feed the array of cards through the mouth of the post box. My father soon found out and forbid me to meddle with his “important” documents. But I challenged his authority by doing just as he had forbade me to. There seemed nothing of significance between the curled corners of card folders, other than piles of writing which I could neither read nor even try to comprehend

I never felt that I was impinging upon his belongings, though I was. My fingers would slip, slide between the ledges of the huge oak drawers, which were deep with memos, bills
registers, old and newly issued passports.

He would write everyday. There must have been a reader or a listener he hoped to reach through his words, an avid writer like that has an end in mind, surely! One of the notes I found amongst his papers states ‘Man who is creative and discoverer of all things has become alienated from his creative past . Man has become a killer of man because of his love of capitalism’.
My father never loved capitalism. Money was spent and shared. But in fullfilling his duty as a constant provider and protector to his family he too became alienated from his creative past as a writer.
A reason to write and be read by others.




Blogger rzq said...

this was really insightful.

1:06 pm  

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