Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers
A breathing portrait on notebook
Mushtaque B Barq
Umat was repeatedly sneaking her looks through that half broken window protected with iron grill which was seizing side glances which Umat was trying hard to take hold of the Vast Blue , yet the grill was enough irritating to produce different views of the cloudless sky. Her face was partially held by some unknown grief and partially by some hope. She was smiling at times and yet her dull and hanging cheeks were adequately occupied by some unattended ail. Every time she raised her face to search for something in the sky, each time her eyes could produce a dull expression depicting her unrest. Those bulged eyes were wide enough to occupy the entire sky that she was gazed at with different looks. Classmates in the class room were hardly interested in observing Umat for they were either taking down their notes or they were so much involved in what was dictated to them. On each desk pens and notebooks were singing so sweetly that the class room was showering the majestic look, it was as if composers were on full swing to create a master piece out of insignificant rhyme, but Umat was alone and isolated from the lesson that could hardly move her for she was lost in the vastness of the sky and was perhaps waiting for the heavenly dictations to carry home a note that could fetch solace which she was desperately looking for. Umat reacted sharply when one of the students in the class room empathetically used the word “Expectations”. Umat all of a sudden brought the vastness of the sky in the class room by forcing her desk mates in particular and class mates in general to explore what lies deep down into the depths of destiny. She was struggling to narrate what she had discovered by engaging herself in gazing at the Bigger Book that was overhead but none of her class mates could read a line but were as usual forced to know the lines in the book on their desks, a horrible difference, and a heterogeneous harmony
As the ‘First Snow’ was being discussed, different experiences were shared. Those innocent experiences were more majestic than experiencing The First Snowfall. ‘The Snowman’ was the talk of the town yet for Umat the chilled snow mass so called Snowman was too far from being a source of thrill. Umat seems more chilled than the snowman for none of her nerve was reacting to create a fictitious scene, she was a living snowman for her looks were frozen , her lips dead dry, her cheeks dull, her fingers were quivering for often the pen slipped off and those eyelids were half bitten by the agony that she was nursing within. Her Snowman was quite different in texture and nature. She had come too ahead of others in creating a human face out of the soft puffs by exposing her unrest which appears wilder than ill made Snowman and uglier than Scarecrow in the field. Her Snowman was half scarecrow and half frozen human face. The class room once again turned into the debate hall wherein all sorts of views were honored. The discussion slowly melted much of the ice from Umat’s face and she started to narrate what was eating her up. A gush of fresh wind motivated her to disperse the seeds of pain and to shed the leaves that carry agony over their tips to be the craze of the jack boot, and a wanton boy’s game when they warm their trembling limbs under the cloudy sky that looks dull and dirty for want of sun shine and moonlight.
Umat justified her skill of making ugly Snowman for she had carved it out of irrelevance. To her shape and size is the outcome of expectations while her Snowman is an epitome of pessimism for she seems to take down dictations not from what people believe but what Umat observes. Her pessimism is stronger than conventional optimism. Her observations are not labeled as expectations but her perspective is looking ahead to break the limitations that the observer grants. Expectation for her is to serve the salt where sugar is needed. Umat stands alone in justification for no one in the class could rebut her for she was giving validation to her newly discovered experience after she detached herself from the Vast Blue to that dull notebook wherein feelings are hardly turned into expressions and the real thrill of the ‘First Snow’ remains deep down within the gorges of mind yet one tries to wet the paper with the kind of vocabulary one is equipped with and for those whose terminology is not up to the mark of “ Men of Letters” they too carry a feeling deep down into the depths of their hearts and with the time these raw experiences teach them more than what “Men of Letters” claim to be for they learn not by letters but by little and unacknowledged experiences.
Umat challenged all the Snowmen for they are crafted within the skull that knows what books inject into it, for they are carved out of mechanical terminology that knows quantitative values, for they are raised out of imitations that crushes the creativity which serves as a source of everlasting joy , for they are stationed out on the squares to lure kids but remain too far from being recognized , for they are designed to bear a resemblance to mankind who in the rat race has reduced his face to that of a Snowman that gets drastically changed at every ray and rain. Umat’s Snowman is an open book that needs a keen focus, for it does not carry pages or lessons but life itself. It is neither a human face that changes its expression at every moment nor a monster that continues to scare the viewers, but a real Snowman who weeps for its survival at the advancement of Sun and runs down the drain as wastage.