An Unusual Dream – A tribute to Mahjoor

Story By Javid Nisar


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Mahjoor, also known as the ‘Wordsworth of Kashmir’ describes himself in his own short line (immersed in profound acumen), as the one rendered away from the masses.
Flash 1:
When I visited Mahjoor’s native village for the first time, the feeling was something unusual, pretty pioneering blossomy. My soul deceived its holder as the normal hormonal activity altered, sending shivers down the frozen spine, freshly excavated bones and adrenaline of course, released in heavy dribs.
I put the shutters over my bulged eyes and a man with sharp moustache and a heavy turban stood right in front of my burning eyes. My mind frantically developed the scenario out of those expressive lines which Mahjoor wrote for his own description!
“Chhus Lukav Nish Door Puemutt, Chumm Tawaii Mahjoor Naav!”
“Does anybody visit his grave anymore?” I asked myself. “Or is he still a Mahjoor even after his death?”
I lifted the shutter off from my eyes and decided to visit his grave after a week.
“Athwajan”, replied a man when I asked him about the name of the place where the noble soul was buried.
Back home, after a tiresome day, I decided to make a list of activities I was going to perform at Athwajan. With a paper and pen, I was lying on my bed, and noted down the activities as follows:
1. Charity in Mahjoor’s name.
2. Kiss the tombstone of his grave.
“Well, that’s kind of stupidity.” I thought in my mind, so I erased the ‘kissing tombstone’ option.
2. Greet him at his grave.
3. …………….
4. …………….

Flash 2:
“It’s been five long days since you told me that you were going to visit Mahjoor’s grave,” said my dead grandmother while she was boiling milk the way she used to boil it when she was alive.
“I was waiting for the following Friday,” I replied.
“It is Friday today. I was thinking about accompanying you. And your uncle wants to go with you as well.”
“So I’m not going alone? Alright.”
Flash 3, at Athwajan.
“Wait for us daadhi. We will visit the grave in ten minutes. Jum’ah prayer will start soon.” I said to my grandmother.
I and my uncle entered the graveyard, and to my surprise, the graveyard looked more of a garden, where almost all the flowers around the globe were grown around Mahjoor’s grave.
“Yeti ti poash, tat’ti aasen poash!” “Flowers here, and flowers would be there as well!” said my uncle and these beautiful words from him made me so emotional that I wanted to take Mahjoor out of his grave and hug him; or stop breathing so that I too could fly to Mahjoor’s world, just for a mere hug.
I went close to Mahjoor’s grave. An abstract barrier stopped me from taking another step. A loud and heavy voice (perhaps Mahjoor’s) said:
“Did you hear something?” I said to my uncle.
“No I didn’t,” said my uncle and I realized that the voice was of none except Mahjoor’s and it was coming within me alone.
“Why sire?” I enquired.
“You forgot greeting me. And I will not let your shadow fall on my grave.”
“Oh no!” I whispered to myself and slapped my right cheek. “I should have brought the list along with me.”
“You have the right to punish me, for it was insane to forget the principle activity,” I replied.
“Poetry; as there shall never be an alternative better than poetry.” replied Mahjoor.
“In front of you? I can’t dare!”
“There is no other option son. Let me hear from you, even if it is a single couplet.”
I failed to articulate, mumbled more, stuttered and stuttering made me bold enough to finally break the abstract barrier as I recited the following lines:
“Nastiest in its custom, seldom happens a meeting.
This rare meeting, however, became my fate.
Quavering or stuttering was candidly new,
But, isn’t the innovation barred in love?
I have decided to bear it all,
Have you decided to carry the burden?”
“Take another step,” said Mahjoor.
The abstract barrier was no more there and I finally touched Mahjoor’s grave.
Mahjoor talked to me, no doubt the conversation wasn’t of the type I wanted. Yes, I knew that if the barrier was to be vandalized, it could only be vandalized in Mahjoor’s way: the poetic way, but I too wanted to mollify my ears with Mahjoor’s poetry.
“But why is this man here? What does he know about poetry?” Mahjoor enquired about my uncle.
“He is asking about you.” I said to my uncle.
A bunch of folks that dissent among each other, unknown about the outcomes, have one thing to unite on: a color that stands common. If the 9 out of 10 unite and the 10th still has something to stand aloof, he attains the change, which cooks in his vicinity. My uncle is the same 10th guy who breathed in the change, the aroma of which had accoutered the whole of the graveyard, almost transferring the change into the rest of the corpses scattered throughout the graveyard to beat to the same rhythm. Yes, my uncle’s heart composed a new melody.
“An escort to hell, or one to paradise,
None is better, in epochs of emotion.
Then which is better? They often ask.
That which helps meet, a lover to his beloved.” My uncle pointed his finger towards me and then to Mahjoor’s grave.
“Indeed,” replied Mahjoor from his grave. “And why are you here?”
“I want to be you.” I said.
Flash 4:
“Did you perform your ablution, daadhi?” I asked my grandmother.
“Yes I did.” She replied back.
“Where?” my uncle enquired.
Daadhi pointed towards the courtyard of the nearby mosque and told us about the ablution chamber which located exactly in between the mosque and the graveyard.
Flash 5:
While we sat down to perform ablution, I looked at the same graveyard where the graves were aligned in different contours this time. It was a flat piece of land minutes ago and now it had turned into a hill of graves.
I filled my mouth with a little amount of water and it tasted the worst and it took me no time to throw the water out of my mouth. My mouth was still burning because of the pungency and the foul odor of the water. My uncle almost vomited and we looked at each other surprised.
“Where the hell is this water coming from?” My uncle shouted in anger.
“I have never tasted anything as bad as this water!” I replied.
One of the graves from the graveyard opened and a putrefied coffin went some 2 or 2 and half feet in the air, without moving back and forth remained stationary in the air. I was terrified to see a coffin coming out of grave. The coffin dropped back into the grave but the grave still remained open.
“It is Mahjoor’s grave.” I heard uncle mumbling. “Let me see what is going on.”
I followed him. We reached there and we were astonished to see that the water we decided to perform ablution with, was coming from Mahjoor’s grave. My uncle opened the coffin and there was the body of Mahjoor, fresh like never before, smiling with his eyes closed. The moustache were even darker. I saw him without turban for the first time. He looked bold, confident and the confidence reflected a poet in him, alive and honest. The water was constantly washing him and moving towards the virtual ablution chamber.
My eyes were moist and my heart terrified at the same time!
“Why do you make that water impure?” asked my uncle boldly.
“Not so often,” replied Mahjoor.
“Sorry?” I opened up.
The poet finally got unleashed:
“Yim zaddeh yeth zameenas kus bharey,
Akha wothaan, pakaan te basawaan mehfiley.
Khwaab wichnnes kem yiman haram wonn,
Hargah ne yim doh raat traiyhen larrey.
The grave started closing back. I was shivering more!
“Shayad me nov tasawwur duet az Dhayan,
Mea dop be zindeh gass azz bey nayey.
Nazar mea thehrem, chaneinis sirs peth waetitheii
Gaash myani qabri ti aayav yicxkaeliyay.
Aekhras cxe tueth loguii muen ti rass/jaam
Cxi na banekh Mahjoor hata myani baeliyey.
Mahjoor chhus, draamut chhus nayis aalemas,
Yi wath ti akha, seri pakaan panney watey.”
The grave was now closed completely. A massive earthquake brought the graveyard back to flat form.
“Waqt e Sahaar,” I woke up as the time to eat Suhoor had already come.
My mouth was still carrying the pungency of Mahjoor’s jaam/rass as if it wasn’t a dream. Yes, it wasn’t a dream. It was an unusual dream. An unusual dream can never be a dream. It was a message. A message given to me, telling me that I can’t be Mahjoor. There was one and he is gone. My body was still shivering in fear. I got up, brushed my teeth. The pungency was gone.
“Yi wath ti akha, seri pakaan panney watey.” I whispered to myself. “You were never wrong with words, Mahjoor. Not even in dreams.”

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Javid Nisar, India

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