the red stain behind my ear.
It gives me unimaginable joy to curate today’s poem. Rajuthai is a partner in rhyme and unreason. Her footsteps resound as she strides fearlessly in a quest for a kind of utopia. a place filled with metaphor, simplicity, words and children. With tremendous ease and sensitivity she excavates sensation, brushes off the dust from the surface of words before making them gleam in unexpected ways. she loves the sound of things, and in delightfully irreverent and risqué verse, she leaves the reader breathless at a seemingly nonchalant turn of phrase, or image.
This tribute to Coke Studio Pakistan (a phenomenon that has bewitched an entire subcontinent) becomes a metaphor for her relationship with musicians and their music, and the idea of ‘Pakistan’. These themes interact seamlessly with her own deliciously transgressive articulation of desire. There is no sophistry in her unabashed love for the rockstars who grace her TV screen, and even that act is made real. You can feel the coy stain of “Meesha Shafi’s lipstick” and bask in the audio-visual excess of the Coke studio set. This is where the beauty of Rajuthai’s writing lies… it is not poetry, it is an ethnography of desire.
transcript HD mehfils sponsored by an MNC Ears asked to share music with eyes like well-behaved siblings
With my cross-border subscription, I turned West to the Sound of a Nation I was programmed to hate
Over ten years, I ripened with desire for Ali Noor and Ali Hamza, Ali Zafar and Ali Sethi
Penetrated by honey-roasted voices of forbidden men, I turned woman.
The red stain behind my ear? That’s Meesha Shafi’s lipstick. It is she who proposed in a faiz-à-faiz with me, that dasht means forest saraab means mirage ufaque means horizon I turned traveller.
Atif suggested with the saccharine sincerity of a Sufi child "aao madine chalein, aao madine chalein isi mahine chalein, aao madine chalein”
and I packed my bags at once
half-expecting to bump into Momina Mustehsan at Karachi Bazaar.