My first published article in ‘Us’ Weekly Magazine of ‘The News’ for the youth on the occassion of Mothers’ Day:
“If death comes knocking on my door,
I shall smile and welcome it in my home,
But never will I abandon my land, my soil, its sand…
As inseparable as the human’s flesh and spirit,
Until death’s fragrance stings the heart’s core,
For my soul is Pakistan and I am a body,
And without it,
I am what the body is without the soul,
A mere heap of flesh and bones…”
As the ideas about giving the perfect gift to my mother on Mother’s Day churn in my mind, the flood-gate of memories opens in my heart. I close my eyes and dwell into the realm of remembrance, going back to 1994, the year I was born and opened my eyes into this world.
I never recognised or heard her name until the age of four, yet she loved me unconditionally since my birth. She nurtured me gently as I played in her green gardens, full of blooming flowers that splashed their colours into my eyes, which soon turned into dreams filling my childhood with the sweet scent of joy. Every time I would fall, she would give me her hand and help me stand up again. Whether in rain, thunderstorm or the worst of summer, I always knew that I could seek refuge in her bosom, and in her embrace lay my haven from all brutalities of life.
But today, I see white strands of hair on her head and creases on her forehead. Faint wrinkles can be traced on her fair face. She wears a dark green suit, torn from many places, and sewn numerous times from some. Paths of tears can be traced on her once rosy cheeks and the glow of light has been fluffed out. She cannot stand up, for her body has become frail from years of tragedies and continuous rape of her dignity. She seeks help to feed her starving children, who live with pain and helplessness. Yet there are others that cast stones of hatred at her. They hurl insults at my mother, blaming her for breeding those who have destroyed the peace of the world. She cannot answer them, for she has lost all her strength. Her feet are in shackles and she is dragged around as a symbol of terror.
Why is she like this today, I wonder. Just because her children chose to abandon her to lead their own lives, leaving her fate into the hands of disguised traitors, never bothering to turn around and check her condition, forgetting that she is their mother, watching her pain yet sinking in deep slumbers, not bothering to change her state.
But on this Mother’s Day, I will vow and promise to work in order to try and change her fate; for she is my mother, and to her I belong after Adam and Eve and to her I have a duty. She has suffered, struggled and her existence is in jeopardy today. I do not have her blood in my veins nor have I seen her face, yet in my soul I feel her pain for she is the reason why I live, the identity of my existence, the haven from my fears, the land of my birth, the home of my destined grave… my mother, the woman in green, my motherland … my Pakistan.
– Hafsa Khawaja