My grandfather, a bearded family man,
dressed in a khan dress, a waistcoat,
a brown cap made of lambskin,
would often sit in a room
smoking his hookah.
He, dutifully, woke up
before the dawn,
for his morning prayers, lighting
the kitchen fireplace to cook,
long before the rest of the family
He liked the company
of his, peasant, friends.
He was kind, more than his children,
to his orphaned grandchildren.
His wife, my maternal grandmother,
mostly praying or chatting.
She never cooked.
He tuned to Radio Kashmir, daily,
mumbling Sufi songs
with his eyes closed, as if
in a transcendental state.
He would talk, to his grandchildren,
about his six months pilgrimage
to Mecca, by a ship, about sea burials
of pilgrims, who could not make to the land.
He would distribute
Zamzam water, discovered
by the heel
of thirsty prophet Ismail, among the family
and friends, even years after
his return from Mecca.
To follow the tradition
of the prophet, he would, for months,
look after the sacrificial sheep.
He would feed, wash,
and apply henna dye to them, until the annual festival
to commemorate the sacrifice
of prophet Abraham.
We went through his things.
We found his marriage
by Kashmir's would be prime minister,
his snow-white burial garment
he bought, decades before
his death, from Mecca.
His home, filled
with soundless words, memories,
of his grandchildren, now sold
to some strangers.
They have whitewashed,
of our childhood and his life.
He, persistently, told us
"no human being, living or dead, is worth
He deserves his own prayer
(for Haji Mohamed Ramadan Wani on 27/08/2020)
(The Poet's Espresso Review- USA)
These poems have been previously published in various literary journals, magazines, books and anthologies around the globe including the UK, the USA, India, Ireland and Canada.
List of Poems