Dear farmers of Talhar,
How do you feel when you see a gold expanse of grain
Against the silhouette of the sky?
You work day in and day out
Yet you don’t get get your due,
No recognition from mainstream media,
No visits from officials posing for camera
You sow seeds
Of life, wisdom and sugarcane
And you reap stones
Of stratification, status quo and destiny.
The culprits are ignorant urbanes like me
Who live in houses made with coffered ceilings
Want to grow flowers and shrubs in their backyard
But don’t want to step out of that backyard
To hold that flower in their palm,
Take in its magnificence,
And let its aroma beguile their senses
In an old village.
My mother lived in our ancestral village: Talhar
During the four initial years of her marriage,
She would speak of living in houses made of mud,
Using cow dung as fuel,
Sitting together with fellow women in courtyard,
Swinging back and forth in seats suspended by ropes,
Moulding clay to make earthenware pots, jars or vessels,
Reading stories of Akbar Badshah and Birbal -
Without rancour, without any malice.
I visited our ancestral village first time
After my mom's death,
The vast, yellow beds of sunflowers,
Women ploughing the seeds alongside men,
Children helping their fathers in chafing the wheat,
Made me see nature as the biggest equaliser of nature.
I looked at sunflower seeds,
Felt the urge to pluck one seed out after another,
And give them to each farmer,
To help them repay the debts owed to landowners,
But I knew they would stop me,
As their village was the paradise
Where caregivers would lead the cattle.
Whether it's the wave crests
Or the cascading waterfalls,
I saw beauty in all its glory at the village.
Lofty brown mountains --
Hidden amid a beautiful mess --
Would open a cave to collect coins for laborers' survival.
Pockets of green would expand their size.
Rich meadow pastures would open more treasures.
When a laborers’ child played hide and seek,
He would randomly find thistles and flowers.
And his mother would call these little miracles.
Everything was on auto-pilot here.
Dwellers as well as nature.
But above all,
Farmers had a voice here.
Fizza Abbas is a Freelance Content Writer based in Karachi, Pakistan. She is fond of poetry and music. Her works have been published on quite a few platforms including Poetry Village and Poetry Pacific.
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