December 21, 2009

Diary, I am tired. As much as I can’t come to terms with Ammi’s death a year ago, the nightmares of my childhood keep me awake at night. The entire game of time pins down to nothing but the day they divorced. I feel an obscured guilt raging inside my mind.

Could I save our house from falling apart that day? Could I do something for Ammi in all these years so she didn’t have to die of being grief-struck? The house is as desolate as the eyes of Ammi when Abbu left us. I am shocked at the games of nature. Our home that once had our laughs creeping into the walls, now echoes  with shriek of silences. I’m moving to Lahore in a day or two It is becoming a trauma to reside between these four walls where Ammi and I shared so much gloom. Srinagar has mended and broken me every single day.


December 26, 2009

I don’t know if it is sorrow anymore. It has since confused me because alas, forgetting is nothing but a disguised form of remembrance. And this is what I have been drenched it since the summer of 1999: hues of nostalgia tinted with an indefinable longing.


December 29, 2009

I finally left the embrace of Srinagar today and welcomed the city of Lahore. After my parents, the place that i once called my sanctuary, now became a sacrilege of nothingness for me. I am not sure if it was because of Ammi’s absence ,or the box that lay dust coated near the rim of my bed.

After I had packed my belongings and waited for the movers to arrive. I faced my biggest fear. I faced the fear of my past as I lingered on the edge of an almost. I was bushed. A part of me wanted to rush and open the brown lid, but the part which had dominated all my life choices since, whispered me to throw it away. I could have just thrown it away and the past weaved into it. But I didn’t. I am glad i didn’t. I would’ve never forgiven myself and painted again.

1999, July 15th. Ammi tied my brown hair into two pigtails, despite me extreme protest. She would say” Sana! Sit down properly and we can paint a picture once you let me do your hair”.

The little naive sana would jump of exuberance “PAINTING? I can finally bring the paints baba got for me!”.


Painting had always made the tiny girl present her gapped toothless smile. As soon as she asked me to bring in my paints, the petite girl leapt across the beramdas with bare feet and her pink floral frock. Fishing out the paints, I sat down close to Ammi on the cemented floor, sleeves rolled up. Ammi looked sad that day. A queer melancholic air hung lightly around her. I think she could weave the recent circumstances and predict the approaching storm.

“Ammi! Lets dip our fingers in the colors and draw like how it was on the television show!”. Ammi dipped her ring finger into the black, I dipped mine into pink. The pages lay scattered around us. One by one, we splattered them with all the colors available until Abbu came roaring in.

Ten years today, I held the crinkled paper in my hands; our fingerprints smudged away by the weight of all these years. I could easily distinguish between her finger prints and mine. Her’s were mature, fainted by her thoughts. Mine were small but vivid because of my igneous childhood. The painting reminded me of Ammi, my hands now looked like hers – long fingers and flaked skin. I smiled briefly and cried some. But mostly, watched with sad eyes the slow dance of our finger strokes on the sheet. It spoke of sorrow, despair, Abbu and their divorce.


December 31st 2009

I have been residing in the possibility of what-ifs since the day our world collapsed. It has been a decade since I ran to Abbu’s embrace. Its been a decade  since I touched my paints.

As I sit amidst a city I share no acquaintances with, I know its time I move on. Its time I forgive myself for something I didn’t have a hold on : Their divorce. Seeing the paintings that held the fragments of a beautiful time has only made me conjure up the fervor of passion I held for painting once. Ammi’s words echo around me “ You painted because you lived for it. Dont lose your reason to live because you feel like your past overshadows it”.

I have my first day of Art school tomorrow. I think I owe it briefly to Ammi and mostly to myself and the world of colors. I can spot my canvases lying blankly in the corner of my dorm waiting to be given a meaning through my colors. I think it’s time to let go.


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