Friday, 22 June 2012

Peshawar: The land of my childhood

By Musafar

Land of my childhood, how I yearn for you
Your children so fair, maids as pretty as flowers
Handsome, stalwart sons brandishing guns as adornment
With gazes averted from our mothers and sisters
And your men courteous and true to their word
Your cities were the praise and envy of people from lands afar
Yea, they were called the Cities of Flowers
O where, O where, have you gone

Land of my childhood, how I yearn for you
The kehwa-khanas of Qissa-Khwani in Kabalae Darwaza
The seekh kababs of Sabiri astride the ganda nallah
The aroma of tikkae mingling with the dust and smoke
Roganae, kulchae, amrasae and zalobae to make you drool
Ucha mewa, sheer chai, and the chugha besides a winter log fire
The sitar to draw a chord and mangae with accompanying beat
O where, O where, have you gone

Land of my childhood, how I yearn for you
The citadel of Bala Hissar of my distant memory
With crumbling walls yet majestic and intimidating
The Chauk Yadgar, a confluence spot of yore for the mazdur
The Ghanta Ghar clad in its brick elegance striking the hour
The glory of Sethi Mohalla, a pearl set in an oyster
The masjids of Qasim Ali Khan and Mahabat Khan
The Samdo ki Gali of Kohati Darwaza
O where, O where, have you gone

Land of my childhood, how I yearn for you
The plaintive cry of the mashki filling mangee door to door
Sprinkling the parched earth on a hot torrid afternoon
The rich age of craftsmen priding themselves in their wares
A rich time when there was respect between the old and young
A rich time when one’s word was an irrevocable bond
The reverence and awe of the passing Moharram procession
The human sound of the azaan floating over the air waves
The clip clop of a horse drawn tonga a melodious beat
O where, O where, have you gone

Land of my childhood, how I yearn for you
But nay, tarry a while and ponder
How could you go away, it was I who abandoned you
Why didn’t you beckon me to stay and grow in your shade
Why didn’t you enfold me to your bosom from distant places
Why didn’t you reach out to me then, as I reach out to you now
Why didn’t you plead with me, not to forsake you to the wolves
O why, O why, did I go and forsake you my beloved

Land of my childhood, how I yearn for you
I berate myself for returning so late in the day
But I perceive a silver lining in the resilience of your being
May the Almighty cleanse your soul and restore your dignity
I shall cherish the day when, by His will, you shall rise from the ashes like the Pheonix

Land of my childhood, how I yearn for you
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