Writing Henceforth on Medium

It is to announce my unexisting audience that I shall be writing henceforth on medium.com under a gorgeous blog I chose to name Lost In Metaphors. Because that is what I am, most of the lifetime. Lost. In metaphors.

Medium iz a gorgeous place, the focus on writing, the presentation, the concern, the payment. Two places you should always visit for their beauty, Switzerland and Medium.

Now, watch out for my dramatic departure:


But since “auf wiedersehen” means ‘till I see you again” and since I never wish to see you again here.

or ma’am, for that matter.



The Weight of Storytelling


It is a scary thought to be wanting to write a story. Before you settle with that intention it gets clear to you that your characters are realer than you take them for. I feel they will be amused, happy, offended, hurt, sad, angry by what we think about them outside their story. Outside the two covers of the book. Characters become that loudly alive once you have brought them to life.

Now when you have to tell their tragedies, their endeavors and simply their tale, the biggest judge will always be on your shoulder looking at how you are weaving the story for others — the characters them-self. It sounds a little insensitive to even call them, or her, a character. Let’s call her Evi.

Dealing with her story is as bigger a responsibility as dealing with a real person’s story. A constant fear nags me that I will not be able to do justice with her story due to my poor writing skills. It makes you skip a heartbeat to imagine if she wished she was born in a more delicate storyteller’s mind. That will hurt, just like how it will hurt a parent who is incapable of fulfilling the desires of their ward. All Evi wishes is her story to be told as beautifully and memorably as it could be.

Once you start typing with your trembling fingers, with a constant sensation of her eyes on every word you scribe, you do not stop. I have come to realize that a story never really ends. It just comes to a point when you choose to stop writing. But once you have chosen to stop writing, the next is far tougher than actually writing it. The next step is to set it out for it to be read. Till now, however the story was, it stayed between you and Evi herself. Now there is a responsibility on your shoulders. How the readers receive the story will be what Evi will be left feeling, and conversely you. Her sorrow or joy will determine how great were you able to do justice to her, and her story.

That was why you never really want to set it out amongst the ocean of other books. You want to carve it as finely as you can, for as long as you can until every freckle of error has been rectified and turned into a perfect piece of art. It is, however, doubtful if a story can ever be carved into its best shape. There will always be at least one sentence that could have been crafted far more beautifully than it is now. It is a scary thought in itself to think of writers who pick up their books, and at one sentence they irk, realizing it could have been better some other way. The chance to rewrite it is gone.

Well, may we be able to do justice to words, and to stories.

Withering Away


For the most part of our lives, we are constantly engaged in some sort of chaos. There are very few moments of stillness in our hands where we can absorb whatever is happening around. Two lives pass through each other like two trains running in opposite directions, too fast to see what is going on in the other’s cabin.

Memories, however, always seem to unfold in slow motion whenever we peak in the past. There is an extra sensitivity and consciousness towards the passing of time in some of us. Sometimes, in any moment I would snap back myself in thoughts about how this very moment will be added in the timeline of memories after a long while from now. Remembering, is the only way we know to preserve the past and not let it dissipate into nothingness. Life, the greatest thing there to behold every meaning to everything, itself is transient.

One summer vacation at home, I was sitting beside mum and grandma surrounding a heater with a tea pot over it. It was that hour of work-less-ness before night, just after darkness has taken over the day; the moment when all the birds return to their homes. Every one to stay the night were coming in one by one, the kids heavily dressed in layers of sand and dust and leaving again. Me, I was in the stillness of being at home sitting beside them, talking shortly and freely without any discussion. If you notice, there is this very short state of confusion when the day has just elapsed and the night has just dawned. In this confusion one likes to just sit and let the night completely spread to begin with things to do. Our moment was just that. At this point, I was lying by their side, with my head on grandma’s lap and watching mother do some chores. I twisted a little to look up and saw her face; an old lady lost in some deep thoughts, her palm gently brushing from my hairs to my cheek. We were all quiet for some time, there wasn’t anything to be said. She was lost in a thought of her own from almost an eighty years of life. I realize that it would be impossible for anyone to strike a close guess about what she was wondering. It could have been anything about tomorrow, or about all the deep unending yesterdays she has lived. There were no strains of worry on her face, it certainly was nothing unpleasant, neither anything overwhelming. Just a thought, just a memory.

The picturesque moment I was lost in seemed to last so long. My eyes had softly rested on her. I was reading her face like an old painting, trying to draw out meanings from the wrinkles that seemed like brushstrokes of an experienced artist. There are stories behind this painting, and no one shall hear it once she is gone. Death silently sits on the shoulders of old age like a falcon. Along with withering away of this painting, a part of so many of us will wither away too, because she carries our stories too. I have been walked around so much carried on her shoulder when I was tooth-aching child crying inconsolably. It was heavy to realise that someone made of so many stories must disappear in the air just like that. Given the silent corner of everyone’s lives she takes; it will be a silent moment of loss. At that age, one does not demand love, they are accustomed to absorbing every feeling silently, without complaints. The bones must feel tired to handle any emotional strain at that tender age. However, for me, I will feel like a piece of my universe has been taken away with her. Currently, there is not much I can do to prolong our proximity. We take part in such a race of life where there is no going ahead without leaving something behind. I see her, walking away on a road, disappearing slowly in the fog, fading away from existence, to reveal nothingness once the fog subsides. Gone, just like that.

I paused in the moment, trying to absorb it all in my skin that it may never dissipate away as long as I live, for as long as I needed it. All my focus shifted from everywhere else to the universe between the touch of her fingers and my skin.

There are scriptures embarked on my skin were she has touched.

Broken Pen

I am a failed writer, or a writer in making.

I am a warrior robbed off of my sword.

A broken pen before a troubled soul.

I am not a spectacle of human world.

Not an ageing woman. Not a broken poet.

I am a faded identity. A blurred line.

I am the lost sea, or just another wave.

I am a radiant light, too bright to be seen.

I am a scentless flower, my fragrance dried.

My heart is a battlefield of lost wars.

I am the empty reservoir of peace.

An untaken step, weighed of hesitation.

A broken needle in the art of mending.

I am the frozen fire, or the burning cold.

A paradox of old soul, and young age.

The Lost Home

The places where I lived my childhood do not seem the same when I reappeared there after a decade or so. They seem shrunken. As if silencing the forever echoing cries of my childhood, they were eaten from inside by the sadness that looms in the air. As if lifting and soothing the child fallen on ground, they were bent on their knees. As if the uncertainty of my arrival made them weak, like old parents feel for their prodigal son.

The places where I played are not deserted either. They are busy, with the children of time. I remember doing the same as I look at them, rather better.
And I walk past them. I am a man, I cannot roll on the sand anymore. I cannot punch on those heaps of earth.
I walk straight, dragging the child in me behind.

Mumtaz Hussain.

(I visited my childhood place after almost a decade in April, 2016. This is just a glimpse of what I went through.)

It is an unabridged edition of a facebook note i wrote under heavy influence of nostalgia after returning from home. Summoning it here along other writings, not changing a single word. Written in May 2016.