Sunday, November 11, 2007

For old time's sake

Theek hai - so be it
you said, promising to
buy me a pocket watch.
Opening its lid, I'll
watch seconds glide into
years; wait for Captain Time's
whistle, and then, I'll
caress your tresses

These days I play to
destiny's packed gallery,
watching it bend with laughter
at my antics. And in the solitude
of Begum Akhtar's voice
when your memory bedazzles my heart
like her nosepin, I cry silently

I remember you wore one too
years ago, when we met at
the house, close to the spot
where they had silenced Safdar Hashmi
I had thought that you'ld look like
your mother when you grow old

Please grow old with me
Don't travel alone in desolate
railway compartments, while
sun and shade roll dice after dice
I shall wait for Captain Time's whistle
and when I hear it, I'll sit beside you
and I'll caress your tresses

(In memory of Agha Shahid Ali)