When I was 6 I think, my dadi would take me to this meyla, a traveling fare of many coloured dreams and with the candy floss and Ferris wheel rides, she would also buy me mitti kay bartan, bowls and pots and spoons and stoves of clay baked on fire in lands too far for my hands to understand – I remember I would bring them home and line them up under the jaaman tree, careful, so careful of the breaking, making up stories about fairies and giants and ghosts having their evening meals in that perfectly crafted earth, whispering secrets, while the world slept and the night.
And then there was chooriyon ka bazaar we would go to on Eid, a night market of bangles, fields upon fields of glass in geometries of red yellow and blue that I would walk through, holding my sister’s hand, measuring distances between the song (of glass) and the heart, careful so careful of the breaking;
The rooftop I grew up on too was a place of magic, of kites and gupshup and stars, and in the long dark spells of the dark, we would have no need of lamps for we had fireflies and the moon, and when, at the end of Ramadan, tiny footsteps (us) would go thundering up the stairs, to lay claim to its new born light, mama would shout loud (through the heat of the hearth, through years lost), “carefully, go carefully”…careful of the breaking.
Decades have passed, decades since the time of quiet loves and river hearts, and I have grown up, and in the way of grownups, I put aside silly little things not needed in this meticulously laid, neon lit, UV packaged world, not needed in lines drawn with yellow chalk dictating who fits in and how much. But a lot has changed this past year, a lot taken away and given, and as the story goes (ancient and true), in sifting through the debris (the foundation was always weak), I found me.
Tonight is chaand raat, and as I open my window (after years of being away, of being a stranger to my self) to take a peak at the Eid moon, in flies a mitti ka meyla, kaanch ka bazaar and a chaand ka aangan – and I smile for I understand, finally – I have been careful, so careful (treading soundlessly) but in the end have found that life, and all its light is infact, most beautiful, most wondrous, most powerful in the breaking.
Meyla: Traveling Fare
Mitti kay bartan: pottery made of clay
Jaaman: native fruit
Chooriyon ka bazaar: market of glass bangles
Mitti ka meyla: a traveling fare made of clay
Kaanch ka bazaar: Night market made of glass
Chaand ka aangan: courtyard of the moon
- Madeeha Noor©