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Thursday, 25 December 2014

A Metafictional attempt at writing a Story concerning Kashmir

Disclaimer: No Girls were harmed in the writing of this story as none was deemed important to be a character.

His Story as History: A Metafictional attempt at writing a Story concerning Kashmir

First line should always be gripping – that’s the rule as they say.

Now that we are somehow out of its grip so without wasting precious time, let’s start our story. Frankly, let me read it to you. Please. I insist. Although I am not at all good at reading something to someone but let me at least try. Thanks. Thanks.

Well, the basic idea is to write a metafictional story with Kashmir at its center or in the suburbs. Nothing else. A story about a…… (Well no suspense there) obviously about a boy and not a girl or a woman who is trying hard to write answer to a question about Kashmiri history. Nothing else. Hah! Not that the story will help in bringing vigor to the renaissance that has already crept into our literature but only for the fact that nowadays when you could publish almost anything in the numberless newspapers and magazines how would it hurt me and my conscience to write something that has not been tried yet in our literature (at least let me think that way so that I could happily write it). There is thus clearly a bit of selfish interest in writing this. But then again these days who writes for the sake of writing only. To which you could say quote well Journalists do unquote. But that’s a different problem altogether particularly keeping in view the present Kashmiri literature. Now, don’t make an issue out of it. Otherwise, next time you would read a banner saying Journalism and Literature: An International Seminar on Kashmiri Literature (High Tea and Wazwan available) waving with pride somewhere within the university premises. Let’s leave it there for now.

Mubashir Karim, shivering with cold, Roll no. 2014 is in the middle of writing his history paper. The question he is trying hard to answer is why Zain-ul-Abidin was one of the finest rulers of Kashmir. However, in the middle of the answer he has completely forgotten why.

O! Sorry first the setting.

Setting is important than character in contemporary Kashmiri literature. Somehow, the geopolitical problems of our region have seeped too down the throat of our memories to keep our literature ‘space free’. Well, the character is sitting on the last bench of this huge room where a poorly lit bukhari in one paltry corner is trying hard with its unusual tricks to show the boys around her that she is nothing but hot. The building is called the New Block. Its newness can be calculated from the fact that it was inaugurated by the present fictional CM’s fictional grandfather. That’s probably why the present fictional CM never took interest in inaugurating anything new in our college. It would have been a matter of huge linguistic problem for the authorities. I am deliberately writing fictional CM and fictional grandfather so that no body confuses it with the actual CM and his actual grandfather. I don’t want to put myself in any trouble over this petty piece. Not that in Kashmir, literature is taken too seriously that it will pose problems for real people out there in the valley, but still a precaution. Now, coming back to the story. The problem was precisely this: What would a building inaugurated in the 2000s be called if the building inaugurated in the 1970s is called a New Block. So that’s that.

Now our character has forgotten ‘the answer to the history’ he had rote memorized yesterday from a cheap guide he had bought from Lal Chowk bookseller. To add to the narrative, this was the exact effect of the magic pill he had taken before the exams – the one he got from Amira Kadal Bridge while it was still raining. Although, it was not his fault. So what, he was gullible? Actually somebody had advised him that In order to write an immaculate history of a region it is always better to forget what has already been written about it, quote unquote. This sentence had somehow stuck in his head like the barrel of a gun had stuck his best friend’s head a few months earlier when there was a military crackdown in his area. I knew this would happen as I told you earlier. Somehow, the geopolitical problems of our region have seeped too down the throat of our memories to keep our literature space free or to add conflict free. Because for us Kashmiris, at least for me, a space like Paradise would be Paradise only if that place won’t have a history of being a princely state earlier. Pun intended. It was precisely because of that sentence and because Mubashir was a hard working student he had bought a magic pill from an unemployed PhD scholar who used to sell things like these on the Amira Kadal Bridge as a sole source of his income. He used to wrap these magic pills intentionally in newspapers. Old or new, that was never the problem. Because, here in Kashmir old or new newspapers don’t make much difference as both basically narrate stories of loss and grief and torture and Shia-Sunni brawls and disappearances and what not. Back to the story, the newspaper around which Mubashir’s magic pill was wrapped dated back to the ancient times - precisely 19 September 1428 the headlines of which said I quote “Bud Shah reinforces major administrative changes” unquote. However it was later found that the reference of this headline was taken from Mohibbul Hassan’s book Kashmir under the Sultans. Mubashir had thought that in order to write good history or good answers to his history question paper he should first forget what he had rote memorized. The effect, I told you, of the sentence. But the only pre requisite of the magical pill was that it affected the brain only when one had completely learnt the history by heart in the first place. Now that Mubashir did not know how to answer history back what he did for the most time of the first half was to look around. And all he could see was his fellow classmates meticulously turning history into answer sheets. And to add to Mubashir’s misery they were asking for more answer sheets as if they were Zain-ul-Abidin themselves. Hey, write your own paper, quote unquote yelled one of the examiners who was stuck to the poorly lit bukhari as if he was the winter himself. 

At this critical point, not knowing what to do, the Mubashir, from the story Roll no. 2014 sees me, the Mubashir trying hard to write this metafictional story. Seeing me writing something, he requests me, to write the answer to the question asked or else to wipe out the whole question in the first place as if I was the one who put it in the question paper. Otherwise, he would fail in the exams. Sharing mutual sympathies with my second self from the story and not to let him fail in the exams for I was once a hard working history student too ready to do anything to write it well. I stop writing the whole piece. The exam concludes. The question is, as requested, wiped out. The Magic pill has worked. (Moreover, frankly speaking to add more words to the story, I too did not know the answer to the question asked in the question paper. I did not tell him that but instead posed as if everything was under control. That’s why I stopped writing the whole piece).   

Well, thanks for listening to the story.

If you found it boring, difficult to understand etc. don’t be bothered. There are many other stories to be read out there. However, if you found it interesting. Thanks. Thanks. To find it interesting! Well, that’s an overstatement for a piece like this. But, if you found it interesting, don’t hesitate or overthink. I will then definitely be praised by the “Highbrow club of the pseudo-intellectuals’ founded recently in our valley. So that problem is solved.

For further information however feel free to
Call or email
Mubashir Karim

Now, whenever a person googles metafiction and Kashmir, this story will definitely pop up. I am so happy! Selfishness always pays. These days, most of the times it pays in writing.

Thanks again.

Oh! My mistake, the idea of giving a name to the examiner came late to me. That’s why in the end.

Mubashir, from the story obviously, later found that the examiner who had yelled at him was none other than Haji Khan - Zain-ul-Abidin’s son. Yes, one of the sons who had rebelled against his father.

Discalimer 2: Because I didn’t know any of them. All the historical details have been deliberately taken from Wikipedia. Ya, Whatever! 

Friday, 12 December 2014


This poem intentionally left blank
By the poet
Draw attention towards the conservation of
The endangered species of Silences in us all.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Love Alters

"Do places change
Once you visit them?"

She asked unknowingly
As if her voice
Had travelled a strange mouth.

“Witness me”
I said

And she smiled.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Love: A Case Study

She was collecting material
for an academic paper
The Poetics of Dilapidated Love:
A Case Study of Mubashir Karim's Loveless Poems.

By the time
We broke off
The material was all available
References all in place
The Paper accessible.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Long Distance Relationship

 Late night
She calls me
Whispers into her phone
As if I am sitting next to her
"Don't leave me, Ever!"

A tone that reminds me of spring in my land.

- So much depends on a silly phone call
Dialed with Love.

(for William Carlos Williams)

Thursday, 20 November 2014


She saw me weeping
Held me close to her body
Raised her hands in the air
And started praying:

"O Allah
Let the future career of Grief 
Be a disappointment in Kashmir"

It made me smile
While She wept.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


In the sub-zero temperatures
Of my Soul
My Love
Are an unending bonfire.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Last Settlement

They pronounce
And are absolutely right
Has shaped civilizations
Since times immemorial.

Mine started around your damp lips.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Living or Dead

The new high-heeled sandals
Had bruised her feet
It seemed as if veins would come out
Donating blood
Any moment now.

She likened it all to Kashmir
And the women in it.

Living or Dead.  

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Hotel Apna Kashmir - Since 1947

They make us eat
Guns, bullets and grenades 
They make us drink blood, tears and scars
In abundance.

We still manage to maintain
An appetite for food.

Kashmiris always -
No matter how ferocious, powerful or crazy they are -
Respect their guests/hosts.

Saturday, 1 November 2014


Whether a mere coincidence
Or the dedicated workings of holy fate
But it all happened on the same day.

The day
I lost all interest in designing words
They published henna on her hands.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Brand Love

Love is a universal brand
Set across the globe
With countless logos.

Ours is a toothache on a rainy Sunday.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Coup d'état

She said
“I don’t believe in bringing about a Revolution
through Poetry.
It’s a lame excuse for not fighting out there”

Since that day
My Poetry is
Aesthetically allergic to every Dream.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


I looked into her superbly crafted Eyes
And found out that
She uses a costly smudge resistant Kajal
Other than finding the vast and lost treasures of Love in them.

She looked deep into my eyes
And promptly found out that
I am undoubtedly anemic
And that
I needed proper treatment, medicines and good sleep
Other than proper Love.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Lyrical Notes of Separation

Her friends complain that
She cries alone
In high pitch notes
On my low life lyrics.

They also say that
We are irksome composers
Destined to record Love

She agrees.

I don’t.
That’s what her friends say.

Monday, 13 October 2014

The Road - A Short Story

The Story can also be read here
Though it sounds strange, but sometimes, I think that the local bus transport corporation drivers, even buses and conductors in Kashmir are secretly taught the concept of Différance by hardworking academicians. Otherwise the journey from Dalgate to Dargah/University is not as long and as tedious as it is dexterously differed and deffered by them. More than us - the students, it is they who practice abstruse theoretical postulations, I think. To locate distinctly, there are just five or six permanent stops throughout the journey – first Dalgate itself, then Khayam, Khanyar, Rainawari, Rangar Stop and lastly Dargah/University itself – (not to talk of the intermittent hand stops that happen when every time the bus sees the passenger/s and stops reverentially). Here in Kashmir, I find it respectfully amusing that University and Dargah fall both in one and the same place – otherwise in other parts of the world it seems somehow obligatory to keep academic buildings away from the religious grounds (at least geographically). But here, when you are in a bus that is taking you to the Dargah/University, just as I am in right now, and the conductor asks you where you are going so that he can cut the amount from the sum you have given him, some students prefer to say University instead of Dargah and some Dargah instead of the University - all at heart faithfully conscious of the holiness of the both places.

The bus has not started yet which is a bit disturbing, knowing the fact that all buses come from somewhere and no bus germinates from Dalgate itself to Dargah/University. Well, it may because of the snow. Yes, as I am sitting in the bus, it is snowing outside. The residue of the heavens is falling on my bus and it reminds me of my mother cleaning rice with a traditional Kashmiri Shup, remains from which fall to the ground without a sound. I am happy today. Yes I am, not utterly because of the snow, you may think, but because last night I read something very interesting which today I intend to discuss with a professor in my department. Though, usually, I am not the kind of person who would barge into the room of his/her busy professor and start all the naïve presumptions that I have regarding my subject with the erudite professor who has his/her own specified room in the department – a department which is always busy conducting academic activities for the benefit of its students. Together with this, I myself am also a tad nervous, thinking what if I am not able to convey my ideas to the professor as precisely and accurately as I have been practicing since yesterday in my mind. What if I am not able to utter a single word? What if my mouth just disappears just like Neo in the Matrix movie when he is questioned by the agents of the system. I am thinking this, because it has happened several times with me in the classes. And it has nothing to do with my personality – I am not at all shy. Whenever the teacher used to ask some question the answer to which I knew, I was, at many occasions, not able to utter a single word. That’s why the image of my mouth disappearing. But then, I say to myself don’t worry I will pray at Dargah first and then go to the department. God will help me. Who else? Plus, the professors in the department love me, they always encourage me to express my ideas. After all Professors can be good/bad, beautiful/ugly, free/busy but they cannot be agents, as in the movie, who are searching for Neo – plus I am no Neo. Why would that happen to me? No. No that won’t happen at all.

As I look outside, I realize that my bus is still in Dalgate – I look at the seats of the bus, and to my surprise they are all empty. I ask the driver why there are no passengers coming and he opens his mouth attributing some curse words to the conductor who he says is of no worth. As I look for the conductor, who is still in his teens, he seems not at all interested in calling the passengers to the bus. I ask myself, well he has to call passengers, he has to raise his voice, he has to utter in a loud voice Dargah/University! Dargah/University!, otherwise I won’t make it - first to the Dargah and then to the University, not at all. He should call and guide the passengers to come to Dargah or to the University in whatever voice – it is not as if he is calling people to prayer that his voice should be perfectly tuned so that people would come, if not to prayers, but to see whose beautiful voice was calling them.

Meanwhile, the snow has started falling arrogantly now. In these circumstances, I am sure that I won’t make it. I move out of the bus to catch another bus going towards Dargah/University and the conductor grins at me. I move forward. But I see none. I see no one out there, no people, no buses, no cars, no sumos, no bikes.  In fact, I see nothing in this snow. What I can see clearly is the snow. I take out my phone in order to ring my friends and see whether they have made it to the university or not and to my surprise I discover that there is no signal on my phone. What the hell has happened to Srinagar?, What is all this? I question myself. Look at me; I am still stranded in the first stop of my journey. I think for some time in the snow and start going back to the only bus from which I had alighted earlier – the only available option I have to complete the journey.

But now, how would I go back to the same bus? I ask myself, Won’t the conductor smile sarcastically at me? For I, was the only passenger who came, as he roared his voice earlier, not once but twice for the same long journey. Will the bus start in this horrific cold? What will the driver think of me? How will I cross the other stops? I am sure now; I won’t be able to make it to Dargah let alone to the University, to the department, to the fountain, to the parking, to the room, to the teacher, to the idea, to the words. I won’t be able to open my mouth let alone talk.

Outside the bus, the conductor and the driver have started fighting. There is even some blood on the snow. Meanwhile, I am shaking and utterly disturbed. I am back in the bus on that same seat and trying hard to think what was to be discussed with the professor. Though it sounds strange, but sometimes, I think that the local bus transport corporation drivers, even buses and conductors in Kashmir are secretly taught the concept of Différance by hardworking academicians. Otherwise the journey from Dalgate to Dargah/University is not as long and as tedious as it is dexterously differed and deffered by them.                

(Inspired from Franz Kafka’s short story ‘An Imperial Message’)

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Smoking Kills

Remember the day
My Love
When we smoked happiness
From some old
Rugged broken pencils?

It is since then
I am coughing Love.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A Deviant Protest

Our sources report
In the middle of the protest
Against government security forces
The angry protestors
Looked all up
Started pelting stones
Towards the grand sky.

The protest
It is reported
Violently took a spiritual turn
With most of them dying on spot.

The local residents
However claim
That later
Was heavily fired upon
And dispersed 
By using some expired tear gas shells.

Confession of a Wealthy Mind

Had it been nothing
But a curable disease
I would've embraced both gladly:
Love and its all pharmaceutical expenses.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Love is a Genre

You loved me
Understood me completely
And I wrote literary
Love poems for You.

Our own 
Little innocent
Genre specific Love.

You say
You don't 
Love me anymore
And feel sorry for me
Even guilty.

It's alright
I understand completely.

Your own 
Little creative
Genre transgressing Love. 

Domestic Violence

Usually late
He comes to his house

Watches News 
In more than six languages
And reads newspapers
Old or new
With unusual curiosity.

I wait for him
Look at him
Stare him
In more than six expressions
Without him uttering a single word back.

Will my death,
Or those who die continuously,
be mourned in your Media?

No my life partner.

Don't be too optimistic.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Verbal Abyss

I ask
“Our Love, it seems, is falling apart”

After a moment’s wait
Deep somewhere in her thoughts
In a gloomy voice
She replies
“Sorry, what were you saying?”

I smile
So does She.

PS: Love is no question answer session.

Sunday, 13 July 2014


He too
With all his spiritual trousseau
Left Gaza in a hurry.

After all is an atheist.

Monday, 7 July 2014


It may 
Or may not be true
I wreckingly believe
Love is a suicide bomber
Working anonymously for you.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

I’m Not Interested in Crossing the Boundaries

An English translation of Muzaffar Karim's urdu poem Mujhe Sarhadein Paar Karne Ka Shouq Nahi 

I’m not interested in crossing the boundaries
But still
At times
I wish
Us to be birds

Crossing a handful of sky
Feather by feather

We’d come to our tree-house.

And in autumn
If reminded of our remembrances
Would go 

House-in that lamppost of the university
Under which, somebody, still today
With some books

Is waiting for someone. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Ailing Paper

This blank page retches
Coughs ink in your name
Which gradually seeps
Deep back
Into the extensive roots of the paper.

A poem gets stained.

This paper is clinically suffering from you.

What remains on it
Is the communicable disease of Words. 

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Hare and the Tortoise

The day the hare lost
His race against the tortoise
That’s when Terrorism started
That’s when thematically History changed.

PS: The story is more important than the moral.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Curse poem

Of course F*** is not a religious word
Neither is Shit
Nor bitch, nor crap or piss.

But when
My Love
They come out of your Kashmiri mouth
And rest for a moment on your glossy lips  
It seems as if they have been
Beatified and canonized
For eternity and ever
For public use.

An Appetite for Love (III)

I have developed
An Appetite for Love.

In Love
I want to request all the migratory birds
To deliver your messages unhurriedly.

In Love
I want to weep alone like a child
And name it your unique brand of Love.

In Love
I want to write passionate love letters
But never deliver them to you ever.

In Love
I want to meet you after decades of tiff
And confess my countless deaths.

In Love
I want to eradicate all the miseries from the world
But die of one myself.

In Love
I want to burn all the newspapers of the world
And feed the heap to dictators.

In Love
I want to name all the jilted lovers
Martyrs of an unknown realm.

In Love
I want to pronounce Separation
As a Game of Desires.

In Love
I want to look deep into your eyes
But willingly fail to locate the epicenter of my sickness.

In Love
I want this poor poem to end

At the huge door of your elite house.