Kashmir Lit News Desk
We introduce a new poetry book written by Kashmiri poet Mubashir Karim.
“Love in the Time of Camera has a strong appetite for love that transforms the modern Kashmiri life – from Mehjoor Nagar to 90 Feet, Heavy Traffic to Mobile Phones, Unmarked Graves to Surveillance – into love, longing, and passion. Mubashir’s poetry makes mundane magical where lovers are a threat to the environment, where Love has a relationship with Richter scales, where Toothache and overused cheap soap can invoke emotions, where Snowden and Camera are well within the cartography of love. Love in the Time of Camera is witty, funny as well as heart-breaking.”
“Love, longing, and loss unfold the language of desire. From playful to erotic, whimsical to romantic, from conspicuous to subtle and togetherness to separation, the poems both confront and celebrate the inexplicability of love. Kashmir with its exquisite beauty and ceaseless chaos has shaped the poems with undying hope. In an environment of resistance and accelerating violence, these tiny poems are recognition of love, in its purest form.”
Read a few poems extracted below:
Poetics of a Kashmiri Love Poem
Lovers walking side by side
Holding hands by the bund
Telling each other their worth.
And at irregular intervals
Walking distant and pretending
Not to know each other.
And then again
trying to catch up.
That’s how a love poem is written in Kashmir:
At times obsessed with the craft
At times banal.
They couldn’t find me
They took all my finger prints
Away from your skin.
I reside inside my beloved now.
Call it love if you want
I’m just afraid of moral policing.
To their utter surprise
Azaadi came as a girl
With no Abaya
With cunning political tricks
And armed military strategies
Doves are kept ignorant
Of representing Peace and Pacifism.
The first task of every true revolutionary
To love, respect
And teach doves a lesson in symbolism.
We were caught
On the barbed land of our lips
With expired visas of Sight
Smuggling illegal breaths of Love
Into our bordered bodies.
We could’ve escaped.
They say, they yearn/I think, I die
“Kashmir was a paradise you know”
I think of your beauty.
“People lived in harmony”
And I think of those wondrous times.
“There was peace”
And I think of those tranquil moments.
“People used to loiter late nights”
And I think about mutual dreams.
“Dal was as clean as faith”
And I think of your gazelle watery eyes.
It all changed in the 90s”
And I think about those turbulent times.
“People were forced to flee”
And I think of our encounters.
“Bullets, bullets and bullets”
And I think of your fusillade of words.
“Things have somehow changed now”
I stop thinking.
Change the topic please!
So does Kashmir.