In Search of a Place Called Home

It is iftaar time. Men decked in pearl white kurtas with traditional golden caps and women ladened with ornaments and crisp dresses, all wearing some itr probably from the land of Arabs are hurrying towards the mosque to answer the call for prayer.

At the doorsteps of His home, I see a lady in late sixties stretching a tattered dupatta with both her arms and resting her head at the hinge of the gate, aimless looking into nowhere with a still freckled face. There’s also a wrecked man in his seventies hopefully gazing at every face, a child who can barely walk and young girl with a husband to please.

God’s house is full of worshipers, and at the backdrop of the ‘pious’ preaching, there is a constant surge of chattering not matching with my chord. Men and women are restlessly waiting for the Azan to fill in their empty pits with butter chicken and kebabs while the little child outside cries for some milk as his young mother cannot lactate.

I am sure the God I know has vacated the place long ago and is in search of a place called home to spare Himself of being suffocated.

The Balloon Man

I painted him as a subject in the art class
a man holding bubbling colors
cheerful children all around;
I see him today on the streets
only to know how I failed imagining the reality
four strings tied to his fingers
struggling to escape its fate,
seams of shirt torn, shoes never worn
none around but a child of his own
hungry and lame, stretching his arm
to survive one more day and
“Life isn’t easy”, the onlookers say.
How beautiful the world would have been
if only the balloon man in my paintings was not a dream.

© Nazneen Kachwala