A Muslim Son’s Plea

Before I start this poem,
I’ll start with my name.
To introduce myself,
In this day and age, I feel ashamed.

I’m Faaiz.
Mohammed Faaiz Dastagir to be precise.
And I’m here to narrate my story,
In a way that it rhymes.

I’ve always had friends whose vibrations resonated with mine.
I’ve adapted to several frequencies,
To feel familiar and not shy.
I’ve wanted to build a reputation.
I’ve wanted to feel familiar, a person that exists.

It all comes down when they ask my name.
With a right hand forward, a smile plastered on the face,
I shake it firmly, mustering up all my pride.
“I’m Mohammed Faaiz,” I say,

But shame seeps into the crevices of my face.
And I’m pulled into that familiar void,
“Oh god he’s imagining me, with a skullcap isn’t he?”
“He has seen my face in every protest.”
“He has seen me killing people, with a wretched suicide vest.”
“He has seen me butcher goats and people.”
“He has seen me being mean and evil.”
But all I hear him say is,
“It’s nice to meet you Faaiz.”

Identity is to blame,
For all my misery and sorrow,
While hoping for a better tomorrow,
The future, to ignore the horror.
The horror that rests on my mother’s face.

Do you know how it feels?
When your own protector kneels,
Accepts defeat,
With arrows of deceit, pierced through her feet,
With the venom being her overthinking.

My protector cries,
She buries the sorrow deep inside.
An angel with her wings clipped, feathers frayed.
She’s scared.
She’s scared of the future you look forward to.
She’s scared of her own state.
She’s scared to talk to people.
She’s scared, for the people she cared for.

Countless hugs and empty consolations,
Do not relieve her of what she thinks of her fate,
I beg her to trust people,
The good that have been led astray.
“You’re too naïve, my child”
Is all she has to say.

She expects an exodus,
She expects to be betrayed,
She stands on the land,
That will soon be taken away.
She’s scared.

I do not wish to see my mother this way,
But I, too, am scared.
Scared of someone ripping my mother’s scarf away,
Scared of having her troubles being downplayed.

I’m familiar with how she feels.
Because I, too, live in this society,
A society that’s ungrateful to my mother.

I, too, have been looked at, in a peculiar way.
I, too, have been afraid.
I, too, have been treated differently.
I, too, feel like a source of dismay.
I, too, have been alienated.
I may deserve it. I accept my fate.

But not my mother’s,
for she has had her share:
Indifference has been harsh,
She’s felt feelings you can’t compare.
She weeps.
Screaming that it’s unfair.

Do you know how it feels?
When your own protector kneels,
Accepts defeat,
With arrows of deceit, pierced through her feet.

But she still smiles,
With twinkling eyes,
I do not know if it’s joy.
Or if she’s about to break down and cry.

Come what may,
With the world taken away,
I hope she still fights.
The fight against that peculiar gaze.
The abundance of indifference,
In a society that doesn’t seem fair.

As her defender, I beg.
I beg of you to have mercy,
I beg of you to sympathise,
I beg for the goodness in you.

I hope the future is better,
A tomorrow devoid of sorrow.
In the darkness, you are the light.
Please be kind, for we all are humans.
We’re all alike.

 Mohammed Faaiz Dastagir is a 22-year-old engineer who’s also an aspiring writer. 

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty