Watch the Iranian film Baran. Several subtle and memorable scenes. But there is this particular one where the young man is taking a pair of crutches for a poor man who cannot walk well. He has to travel a long distance to get to that village, so he tries to stop passing cars. No one does. Then he has a brainwave -- he puts the crutches beneath his armpits and starts to limp. A car whooshes past and suddenly stops at some distance. Overjoyed, he grabs the crutches in his hands and starts to run! The car goes away...

I smile when I recall that scene. Just when I begin to think I am being smart, I do something stupid. I am told life is for the sharp cookies, so I stand before the mirror, squint my eyes and tell myself that I will show them the stuff I am made of...

And then I goof it all up.

Another scene...after the girl he loves/is concerned about leaves, he goes to the water tank; there is a red flower floating in it...he looks in and splashes some water on his face. For those few moments, he is a mere ripple, faceless, without any identity.

I have splashed my face often, seen the ripples, the facelessness. I sometimes want to erase myself, but even in the dark I can see the ashes.

There has got to be a burning flame somewhere.


  1. Thanks for writing this beautiful article Farzana. Reminds me of the beautiful face of Baran (Rehmat) on the DVD. Reminds me of all the sweet Urdu names… Reminds me of all the Video tapes of those other beautiful Urdu serials I watched as a kid. The excitement to hear the anchor saying… peshe khidmat hai Urdu Khel “Dhoop Kinare”

    And the beautiful lyrics:

    raat yun dil mein teri khoyi hui yaad aayi,
    jaise veeraane mein chupke se bahaar aa jaye,
    jaise sehraaon mein haulay se chale baad-e-naseem,
    jaise beemaar ko be-wajh quraar aa jaaye

    - Faiz Ahmed Faiz –

    (translation for some of your readers)
    Last night, your long-lost memory came back to me as though
    Spring stealthily should come to a forsaken wilderness,
    A gentle breeze its fragrance over burning deserts blow,
    Or, all at once be soothed somehow the sick soul’s distress.

    May Baran douse your burning flames too…as you soak ours

    Thanks again Farzana!

  2. Amandeep:

    'Ajeeb' or 'ajooba', I don't know what to call it...but your comment was serendipitous. I had just finished watching 'Dhoop Kinare' a few days ago, and have brought out the 'Ankahee' set...For the past 2 days I have been reading Faiz...And I have been singing Khusrau all morning...

    Zehal-e miskin makun taghaful, duraye naina banaye batiyan

    (Do not overlook my misery by blandishing your eyes,and weaving tales)...
    - - -
    For a few hours today, I had almost decided to forget about this blog (the reference to ashes was partly for that)...but, for good or for bad, your words make me feel a bit more connected with the world...duniya maane ya na maane!

    Here is something from Faiz...peshe khidmat hai with my rather rough translation...

    dasht-e-tanhaai mein ai jaan-e-jahaan larzaan hain
    teri aawaaz ke saaye tere honthon ke saraab
    dasht-e-tanhaai mein dooree ke Khas-o-Khaak tale
    khil rahe hain tere pahalu ke saman aur gulaab

    (in the lonely desert my love I tremble
    as I sit near the shade of your voice and the mirage of your lips
    in the lonely desert of dead grass
    at our feet roses grow)

  3. facelessness is blessing.
    Identity is meaningless.

    You find your real face being faceless.

    Your identity is lost untill you find your real identiy being unidentified.

    Sharp cookies are actually the stupid ones.

    Love can burn you in to ashes. Love can sooth your burns.

  4. anonymous: Even meaninglessness has an identity. The idea is to lose yourself, in anything and then in nothing.

    Main khayal hoon kisi aur ka
    mujhe sochta koi aur hai.

    We are mere thoughts...

  5. Touché ! :-)

    If you haven't already...please hear Tina Sani sing 'Dasht-e-Tanhai mein" at


    Thanks for the wonderful blog!