the Quranic calligraphy in glitter, fringed by corkscrew seashells –
redolent of Karachi, still hangs above the headboard in my room;
the warm aroma of desi ghee on parathas, the tea, and fried eggs –
breakfasts at dawn after a stroll in the lawn were such a delight;
the crimson-chocolate hues of henna mosaics sketched on hardels –
the Chaand Raat wonts glister clinking in wrists, rustling in lehenga;
the qawwali swinging in the air, murals of Nusrat, the chaff-canopy –
dinners in desi restaurants with family being in a city were a wonder;
chilly nights of Eid-ul-Azha in the terrace with fresh seekh-kebabs –
the cozy grill’s smoke escalating and scattering was life-offering;
slaughtering English back in 3rd grade with classmates and laughing –
learning so much over the years has been both pleasing and hilarious;
confusing ‘munshiaat’ (drugs) to be the plural of ‘munshi’ (secretary) –
dear Urdu was as bizarre, absurd, and tough as English in school;
watching Ainak Wala Jin with cousins and bothering mom all night –
childhood fears, old television shows, and lame jokes were kawaii.
Chaand Raat* – The night of moon-sighting before Eid.
Ainak Wala Jin* – (translates to ‘a ghost with spectacles) An old Pakistani show for kids
Lehenga* – a three piece outfit with a shirt, a long skirt reaching the ankles, and a scarf
Hafsa Mumtaz, aged 22, is an emerging Muslim poet from Pakistan, with a bachelor in English Language and Literature. Her poetry has been published in Visual Verse, The Rising Phoenix Review, Women’s Spiritual Poetry, The New Verse News, Poetry Potion, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Terror House Magazine, Ravi Magazine, The Sandy River Review, and has appeared or is forthcoming in Couplet Poetry. She’s also been an author on Reedsy Prompts back in 2020 where a story ‘Vulture’ written by her can be found.