No announcement yet.


  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts


    The village had expanded to three dusty alleys opening into a potholed main street a car wide, with electricty and a phone line. This was the progress in seven years. A muddy cafe jutted onto the street, narrowing it with a makeshift wooden table weighed down by three large pots smelling of rice, dahl and cheap korma. Creaky old men, near death, sat eating on the ground watching an Indian movie on a speckled old TV connected to a dish. The gawdy dancer flickered across the screen shouting " ... dil pay mat le yaar ..." to a gawdy Bombay tune. And so they did, forgetting the days labours. A barefooted crosseyed scrawny child in a tattered knee length shirt scurried by, stepping into all the sewage and rain water filled potholes splashing the old men. His playful mission accomplished, he turned down a narrow dung-wall lined alley and disappeared behind a buffalo parked like a prize Porsche.

    The other side of the street was lined with a high red brick wall, separating the Club polo field from the wretched alleys. A few BMW's glistened in the setting sun near a lawn manicured like a Wimbledon court. Their owners sipped deep red and yellow cocktails with almond eyed companions as the maghrib azan intertwined with Mozart and the Bombay tune streaming over the wall. True to their faith the elegant women straight from the pages of "Libas" pulled delicate dopattas over their hair, lowering eyelids in deference to t e fifteen hundred year old call from the Arabian desert. The other Polo Cafe rituals came from Paris.

    On hearing the azan, one of the old men got up slowly, knees crackling, as he weighed down on a rickety walking stick, muttering a prayer. He scampered down one alley to a door like opening in a mud wall covered with a cloth patterned with a star and cresent. Inside, tired men old and young, lined up for prayer, all disciplined in their rags. One of them, a dark young man, was in cleaner dress. A chain with BMW keys dangled from a pocked of his loose brown kurta. The old man took a place next to him, adjusting his paghri, and locking his remaining hair to his scalp.

    The namaz began. As the azan ended, the perfumed dupattas had already slid back onto bare shoulders, their sacred task complete. The polo player's mouth opened in an inaudible gasp as the dupatta settled, like rain sheets in a river valley. For him this unconscious ritual grew ever fresher dimensions with each recurrence. He, and the rickety old man with crackling knees, never missed the magrib azan.

    Uske ik ik hurf ki teh mein mein ne akser chahat ka deriya daikh..
    uski ankhon mein mein ne akser pyass ka sehra daikha..
    derd ki ruut mein kon kisi ke zakhmon pe merhum rakhta hai..
    chandni raat mein mein ne akser chand ko tanha daikha..


    'tis true, 'tis true.