I’ve been listening to this absolutely beautiful song on repeat, today. It’s an old Punjabi folk song called Chan Kithan, written in the Saraiki dialect (spoken mainly in Pakistan) but it’s never had an original tune and therefore, has been rendering in very different ways. I am in love with Ali Sethi’s version because it is SO melodic!
‘Inque tuo sedisti, Sisyphe, saxo’
Translated to: ‘You sat upon your rock, Sisyphus.’
‘I felt you again in my sleep last night. Like always, my dreams of you are peripheral. An overheard conversation where your name is mentioned; a letter in my hand I try desperately to read before I wake up. A Styrofoam coffee cup and half-read book on an empty table where I knew you were just minutes before. It’s as though my dreams are a mirror of my waking world, like finding myself walking down the street where I could have sworn I caught glimpse of you, only to look again and realize it wasn’t you after all.’
I heard a clock inside his chest
And I found that it ticks to mine.
‘Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.’
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
I’m currently reading Nawab Sikandar Begum’s journey narrative, ‘A Princess’s Pilgrimage’ for my dissertation and although it is devoid of any emotionally stirring memorabilia about the places she visited, I find the cultural clashes and multiple faux pas between the Indians and Turks very funny. Given that I found the initial bits of Great Expectations amusing, my sense of humour is definitely odd and probably a bit off.
But looking at the Begum’s sojourn in Arabia, I can well imagine how confusing and mildly traumatic, the entire journey must’ve been for her entourage (consisting of over a thousand people), especially the maulvi sahab who got mauled and bashed up unnecessarily several times by the Turks purely because he was walking near the Begum. He always cried ‘Begum! Look how they beat me!’ to save himself and surprisingly it was only after a few beatings that the Begum realized that he wasn’t walking next to her anymore. I think this book could easily be made into a slapstick comedy! However, I hope by the end, I will be left with a dissertation-worthy argument instead of a few laughs.
Isn’t there something uncomfortably amiss in those who don’t read fiction? It’s like they choose to shut their ears when the world’s bursting into a song. I just don’t understand them; to me, self-imposed illiteracy is definitely not a turn on.
Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is a hypnotically brilliant poet.
‘The immense distances to the stars and the galaxies mean that we see everything in space in the past – some as they were before the Earth came to be. Telescopes are time machines.’
— Jim Elliot