Be it Victoria brand eye-liner
Or the kohl of the heroine Writambhara
The purest of these were only made by Noor Miyan
Or so my grandmother believed!
She’d always buy some from him.
One thin line of darkness she’d draw
And her eyes would threaten like rain clouds
Rivers would merge in them
Those eyes would flow into oceans
Wherein we children would gaze
And see it all!
My grandmother blessed him and his kohl
It gifted her with youth in old age
And light to pierce needles with thread.
I often wanted to tell her she was Sukanya
And Noor Miyan her Chyawan Rishi
His kohl the elixir of her eyes.
Her eyes were not eyes, but irises.
His kohl, the gift of nourishment.
And Noor Miyan went away to Pakistan!
Why? They say he had no one here.
Who were we? Why did he leave?
Without telling us,
Without letting grandmother know?
Why did he go away to Pakistan?
Now there’s no dark kohl, nor lit eyes.
My grandmother has left for the banks
From where she had arrived.
She’d married and travelled across the river
She’s burnt and has travelled across it again.
And as I scatter her ashes on this river
It flows into her eyes, to meet the ashes
That darken into Noor Miyan’s kohl.
And that’s the last time
I gifted my grandmother’s eyes
With Noor Miyan’s kohl.
This poem is part of Naked Punch Issue 18. To buy the issue click here: http://nakedpunch.com/site/issues/16