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Dear Khalida

Mahek Jangda | Updated on January 18, 2019

Dear Khalida,

It has been three years

Since I last saw the light

That inhabits your eyes

Or at least used to

I’m not sure

Which would make me happier

That the light

Is still the beautiful speck of golden it used to be

Or that it has dimmed

Because you

Are not at home anymore

Because I

Am not your home anymore.


 

 

The one time that your father

Visited this

One-room

Bare walled

Windowless

House

You were only seven years old

I remember, Khalida

That memory is imprinted onto my heart

Like the dried marigolds

You soaked in kumkum

And haldi

And the blue ink

You extracted out of your pen by shaking it

Till its reserves of resilience ran out

And in equal distances

Pressed the flowers

Onto the four grey concrete walls

So our house wouldn’t look

That colourless anymore

And you could show your father

That you are worthy of him

Not knowing

That if you need to show someone your worth

Then they  are not worthy of you

I have painted those walls yellow now

They try so hard

To smile at me

To make me smile

But all the yellow in the world

Cannot exhaust the vacuum

Of colourlessness

That you left behind

When you left.


 

 

I wish, Khalida

Sometimes, I wish

I had bought you

That small brown clay doll

You always pointed at

When you accompanied me

And watched as I worked

You sat patiently

As I cleaned stovetops

And clothes

Floors

Better than I did at home

Khalida, you heard music

When I clanked the vessels together

You ran under the taut, stretched rope

And when I twisted the clothes we couldn’t afford

To let every drop of water fall out of them

You danced

As if it was a magical rain

Pouring down upon you

You sang,

Khalida, when you were younger

You always sang

Every single time that you spoke

Words moved

As if they were flutes

And pianos

And drums

Creating the most beautiful symphonies

Until suddenly, there was only deafening silence

Why did you stop playing, Khalida?


 

 

I don’t know

If it is in my good fortune

To see again

Those dark wide eyes

Those thin lips

That didn’t always know to distinguish

Between a grin and a smile

Those curls

That I oiled and braided

In tight knots

Every single morning and night

But I hope, Khalida

That if nothing comes to be

Of the million prayers

I wish upon you

Each moment of my existence

If nothing else, Khalida

Desperately, I hope

At least, your memory

And your heart

One day

When you most need it

Teach you

To sing again.

 

Mahek Jangda

 

Mahek Jangda’s debut novel Against The Wind will be published by Hachette India

Published on January 18, 2019

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