“Did you listen to Faiz Ahmed Faiz?” asked she.
“No. I was reading about him. I am yet to choose which book to buy,” I tried to cover. I had just excused myself from attending their new year’s celebration and totally forgot she asked me to listen to Faiz’s poem.
“Hmph!?” she exhaled.
I knew I overlooked something of critical importance and lost rights to be addressed as a human. ‘Hmph!’ with interrogative is reserved for those rare moments. In a parallel universe, where she really is the princess she acts, I was already sentenced to roast–upside down on burning coal–till my head expands to her standards, and I realize my mistake.
“Yeah,” I mumbled. It seemed bad statistics to say no to three consecutive questions.
“He died before you were born. Quit acting like a fool. You can get his work for free,” she stated.
“Feelings don’t have price tags. Poems are condensed feelings precipitating upon the soul of readers. A poem once conceived seeks the most ravenous among us to be devoured. Somehow, they find their right readers,” she spoke without a hint of pun in her tone and conspicuously meant it all. She added, “Also, Urdu literature is phonetic. It is more satisfying to listen than to read.”
“What was the last thing I said?” I wondered.
“Bol key lab azaad hai tere, bol zubaan ab tak teri hai,” she quoted the poet like she had read my mind. (loosely translated — speak, for your lips are free; speak, your tongue is still your own)
“Aye Aye, Captain! I will listen to his poems,” I agreed. I was out of choices.
“Roger that,” she continued, “I called for a favor. Suggest me a book or two that I can gift as secret Santa to my boss. He is into your kind of literature–unromantic and boring. I do not want to spend the best month of the year strolling in the grumpy section…”
“…Got it. I will mail it to you in an hour. I have a meeting now.”
I came across this quote from Kafka, “Some books seem like a key to unfamiliar rooms in one’s own castle.” I hope you find the one that rescues your feminine side.
Here is the list of books:
The Hero with a Thousand faces — comparative mythology, thesaurus optional, slow read, known to expand gray matter.
Stories of Your Life and others— collection of short stories, sci-fi, intelligent, captivating, adapted into movie Arrival.
Sapiens: A Brief history of Human Kind— the title says it all, and the author delivers with arresting command.
Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman — a hilarious autobiography by a noble laureate.
Tools of Titan — curated advice by Titans in three categories–health, wealth and wisdom.
The thing about choices is, ‘If you have one, you don’t really have any!’ Stop being lazy and choose the one that reflects you.