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(472) Comprehension of  a Poem ‘Colossal Mistake’ (by Rabab Maher) – Valibhai Musa

You may click here to read in Gujarati

I have great pleasure to write a prose version in word for word style of narration with some explanation wherever it is necessary for a very nice poem of Rabab Maher, a renowned Muslim poetess of Doha, Qatar. This is her second poem which is here for sharing my enjoyment with my good readers on my blog. Let us, first, read the poem. It is as follows:

Colossal  Mistake
(One with a Happy Ending)

What follows is a toned-down tale of a young lady
Who wedded a man of character so shady
Although its beginning is not so sweet
The ending is one with a victorious defeat (1)

He fought for her to be his wife
To be the one to complete his life
Wedded into his net weaved for her
An existence of nothing but strife (2)

He won her over only to control
To enslave her mind and her soul
To mould her into the ideal wife
To be his lover, and he her dole (3)

He demanded and he expected
To always be loved and respected
Blind to his own actions and words
She’s the one who was “to be perfected” (4)

A pretty doll to dress up for display
Because of the dowry he had to pay
She was his property forever to stay
An orchestrated character in his play (5)

He rewrote her into a new being
And quietly drained her of her voice
Stripping her gently for the unseeing
Leaving her with nothing and no choice (6)

He wanted to make her dependent on him
Isolating her from the world she used to know
Family and friends were out of the picture
. . . Resentment towards him began to grow (7)

He was a weak and miserly creature
A slap to her face: He priced her health
To not lose money for their brighter future
So she won’t be a dent in his increasing wealth (8)

He even used her illnesses against her
In winter, he left her to live in the cold
She noticed her drama begin to unfold
Of a weary tragedy that needed to be told (9)

He abused her with his venomous words
And emotional and psychological blackmail
A depressing and damaging chapter in her life
To divulge for he was, and is, a cautionary tale (10)

In reviving her voice she finally says,
My mistake was that I loved you
For wasting my heartbeats on you
For holding my silence for a better us
All the whilst losing myself for you (11)

My mistake, I thought you could be better
And for trusting you as a man
Betraying my identity in return
So I can cosy into your lifelong plan (12)

My mistake is I betrayed all my ideals
And did what I loathed most: Compromised
I was the only one who had to change
And so I became the sort of person I despised (13)

My mistake was for having some faith in you
For hoping you could prove me wrong
Instead you reaffirmed what I always believed
And for this I could no longer hold my tongue (14)

My big mistake is my nuptial to you
That I stayed with you as long as I did
But because of you I rediscovered myself
And for that you were the one I had to rid (15)

My colossal mistake was meeting you
The shortest story I ever did write
A relation of a surviving woman
Slowly ebbing away for her true knight (16)

Thanks to him for he paved the way
And proved: ‘Life is never what it seems’
She knew what she didn’t want in a man
And for her to find the man of her dreams (17)

Her first tale was a thrust of pathos
The one to follow is her ‘happily ever after’ . . .
However, that is for another poem
Imbued with freedom, love and laughter (18)

-Rabab Maher (Poetess)

Disclaimer :

(The poetess has been tried to be contacted by various attempts for her valued consent for the conversion of her poem into Comprehensive Prose Version by me, but I could not succeed. Her blog (‘BoBi’z Breathings . . .’) seems to be inactive. It is true that my mails have not bounced, but it is equally also true that I haven’t got any reply from her. I presume that she might not be using that e-mail account presently otherwise I would have received her positive response soon. She had been kind enough towards me with her consent and encouragement for writing my exposition for her poem ‘A Publicity Whore’ in past. Even though, I assure to remove this post from my blog if I am intimated to do so. My contact details may be collected from Home Page of this blog under ‘Contact’ Page. I declare that all credit for this post goes to Sr. Rabab Maher, the Poetess. – Valibhai Musa)

* * * * *

Comprehension of  a Poem ‘Colossal Mistake’ ( by Rabab Maher)

– Valibhai Musa

Colossal  Mistake
(One with a Happy Ending)

Part – I  Preface

In style of a story-teller, the poetess begins her poem with its first line in the title words as ‘A toned-down (harsh) story of a young lady’. Thus these initial words seem to be indicative for mental preparedness of the reader to witness the miseries of a young woman. Though the title of the poem as well as the last stanza of the first verse are suggestive of happy ending, it does not harm adversely for maintenance of interest in reading the poem so far. Now, let us go to the content of the poem in detail so that we may comprehend the aesthetic enjoyment of poetic sentiments. (1)

Part – II Pessimistic Life of an Unfortunate Woman

A female weds a wrong man having unreliable character. She is not satisfied with her married life from very beginning. She has to struggle hard to adjust herself with the uneven circumstances and deal with a wicked husband. At long last, she is defeated in spite of her great endeavor to struggle for happy married life. But, the poetess equates her defeat with a victory in the sense that all her pains and psychological disturbances come to an end after that defeat. (2)

Now, we come to the inclination of the mind of an unworthy husband towards his wife. Generally, such tyrannical husband’s prime goal always remains to have power and control over wife. Here, the husband in our poem also becomes aggressive towards his wife. He forcefully tries to be her master to enslave her mind and soul. He knows very well that he is imperfect without wife and for this very reason of being a complete man, he entraps her in a net woven by him. Such spousal relations lacking love for each other can create nothing but conflicts and quarrels only. His outrageous behavior is such as he wants to remain as he is, but he expects that his wife must turn to be an ideal wife. She must be his lover and reciprocally he would give her some money as if like alms or price but not love. Catherine Pulsifer has rightly said, “Marriages are ruined where one person continues to learn, develop and grow and the other person stands still.” (3)

In matrimonial relations, rights and duties of both husband and wife are connected with each other inseparably. When one expects any rights from the other, the one should be ready to carry out one’s duties also. One sided expectation of rights is just like oppression towards the other. The husband, in our poem here, always expects to be loved and respected by his wife; but he himself remains inactive towards his actions and words. He is not prepared to make any behavioral changes in him, but he expects perfection from the wife. Such tendency of a husband is a dictatorial act and it has no any place in tender hearted spousal relationships. (4)

He forgets the dignity of a woman and considers his wife as nothing but simply a well-dressed doll for display in a show-case as if he would have purchased her by paying dowry to her. He thinks her as his property and believes that she has to stay with him for the whole life time. He equates her with a character of his play which has no any own words for utterance but pre-recorded musical notes. (5)

He, as a writer of a re-written play, changes her into a new being. He quite quietly drains her voice in such a manner that she cannot utter even a single word of any protest against her own exploitation. He crosses all boundaries of civic ideals by striping her to the buff and puts her in such a shameful state of unseeing that her womanly dignity gets degraded. He becomes so inhuman that he leaves her with nothing. He adopts such policy of mental oppression towards her that he does not allow her to express any thought of hers. (6)

He keeps her purely dependent on him. She has been isolated from her world. She is not allowed to keep any relations with her parental home and friends. Such continuous mental torture awakens her annoyance towards him.(7)

He is a weak and greedy man. He is tyrannous as he slaps on her face. He values money high and hence he is not prepared to spend more money for her cure. Just to keep his future bright with money, he is not ready to lose any money. He does not wish that his increasing wealth should bear any reduction due to any expenses made after her ailment. (8)

Here, the climax of his brutality can be seen. When his wife falls ill, he uses her illness against her. He compels her to live in cold in winter in spite of her illness. She notices dirty games of her husband played against her. She is terribly tired of her tragic married life and just to lighten her sorrow, she needs to tell her tiresome story to somebody. (9)

He abuses her with bitter words in insulting tone. Blackmailing her emotionally and psychologically is his habitual practice. This unhappy period of her life is very much depressing and damaging her self-respect. She is now determined to expose her husband and come to the concrete decision to terminate her spousal relationship. (10)

Part – III Confessions of Terrible Mistakes

Now gathering courage in her own self and with vigorous voice, she finally says:

“I confess that it was my mistake that I loved you by wasting my heartbeats on you. I had kept silence just for good of us. I had sacrificed my own self, but all was in vain. (11)

I had always thought that you would improve yourself and be better towards me, but it was my mistake. I had put my full trust on you as a male that you would treat me well, but true color of your bad intention of trapping me by your lifelong enticing plot for my exploitation has become very clear to me. (12)

It was my mistake that I sacrificed all ideals of my life and did what I didn’t want actually to do. I compromised at every stage of my life just to save my married life from breaking. It was a pitiable situation of mine that only I had to change myself in such a manner that I might become a contemptible person in the society. (13)

It was also my mistake that I had some faith in you with my hope that you would one day prove me wrong for what I thought any ill of you. But, it is the irony of my fate that my hypothesis turned out wrong and at last you established your real self in my mind. Now, I can no longer hold my tongue to expose you in public. (14)

I confess that it was my unpardonable mistake that I got married with you and stayed with you for a long time. I must say that I could know my dignity due to you and just to preserve it I must get rid of you. (15)

My association with you was my terrible mistake. Incidents that happened in our married life were just like the shortest story of life. My story could not have been written if I had not married you. I am a living woman and abusive relationship with you has destroyed my nobility.” (16)

 * * * * *

Part – IV Conclusion

Concluding part of the poem has been taken up in discussion by the poetess herself. She is thankful of the husband on behalf of the miserable wife that he paved a right path of divorce to get rid of his inhuman behavior towards her. He indirectly helped her to come to a decision that she should not live in fear of the person who abuses and treats her badly for no any longer time. He made it very clear for her to find out a right man as her next mate.  Thus the wife realized that the life can be shaped in a better way leading to happiness. During some married life passed with the rude husband, she knew that life as it is seen might not be what actually it is. It is said that sweet are the uses of adversity and thus she could rediscover her own self and find out a right man as her next spouse. She could distinguish the difference between a bad and a good husband. She found out what good qualities in a husband should be there and accordingly, she might get another deserving person of her dream as her new husband. (17)

First marriage of the wife was full of sadness, but her second marriage with her right mate-selection is happier with freedom, love and laughter than the former one. But it is improper here to narrate it as it might require an another poem. Thus, the poem is over here with a happy ending as it was pre-mentioned in the title itself. (18)

– Rabab Maher (Poetess)

 – Valibhai Musa
(Narrator of the poem in simplified form of prose)

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(348) An Exposition of a Poem: ‘A Publicity Whore’ by Rabab Maher, a talented Muslim poetess

(348) An Exposition of a Poem: ‘A Publicity Whore’ by Rabab Maher, a talented Muslim poetess

Click here to read in Gujarati

“Thank you very much for supporting my views on Yoga. Through which link, I can’t recall, but I did come in contact of a very nice blog of yours. Simplicity, lucidity and emotional approach are the attractive elements of your poetry.” These were my words in my reply comment on my blog page My Interview to the commentator, Mohtarama Rabab Maher, a British-Palestinian poetess, presently residing in Doha, Qatar. I have great pleasure to express my exposition of her poem, A Publicity Whore, published on her Blog *(‘BoBi’z Breathings . . .’) here.

Before I advance further, it would be necessary to put the poem under exposition on this page. Without going through it would be like firing in darkness. This article being an online blog publication, I provide the link of the poem only, *‘A Publicity Whore’, with prior permission from the poetess to serve our purpose and maintain the size of the article. It is obvious that in case of publishing my E-Book or P-Book in the future containing this article therein, I will have to include the entire copy of the poem.

This poem is written in an autobiographical style, hence in the first person, where the singular pronoun ‘I’ is used. It is about the ‘Network of Electronic Media’ – as shown by the image of a TV with the words ‘Weapons of Mass Deception’ to symbolize the poem. The poetess herself also says in her reply comment to some commentator that the poem is about a “Network” in little Qatar.

The ‘Network of Electronic Media’ is compared here to a woman of bad character in a metaphorical figure of speech. A hollow publicity is just like an imaginary female ghost (witch) who looks beautiful when facing us; but when she turns her back, she looks fearful with her internal flesh and bones bare and horrific. TV and the web-world are the most effective ‘Weapons of Mass Deception’, which can brainwash spectators sometimes with its presentation of unreliable so-called facts as part of its propaganda. Both print and electronic media are so powerful nowadays that they can mould the public as they wish by fabricating stories and telling lies. A network can do anything it likes with its powerful tools of cameras, satellites, journalists and propaganda techniques. It can also depict a person from Hero to Zero.

The role of the media is mostly negative and that is why the poetess has portrayed it as an evil instrument harmful to mankind in all respects up to the end of the poem. The poem starts with a confession of a network, it being a blood-sucking leech that wants to keep its existence strong and stable at the cost of the prestige and lives of others. It can present and represent even unseen things in such a way as if they are actually there. The media always tries to remain popular, and to achieve that very goal, it will not even hesitate to exploit its people and others. Print or electronic media are far from any ethics and yellow journalism presenting un-researched news unprofessionally with eye-catching headlines only to increase sales of newspapers or maintain TRP of TV programs or channels to get more and more revenue through commercial ads. Like a whore, the media will do pretty much anything, degrading itself to entice viewers or Readers. The poetess marks such negative tendency of the network, ‘But the facts I keep securely obscured from you’.

The middle part of the poem is sarcastic and/or ironical. Here, we can see the double standards of the media or network. Let us go through this stanza, ‘I fiercely claim I fight and speak up for the truth / Whilst my treatment of my workers is rather uncouth’. On the one hand, the network aggressively claims that it fights and speaks up for truth, but its behaviour towards its own employees is rough and uncultured. We are shocked when we learn that the employees of the network (media) sometimes sacrifice their lives to report against gangsters and enemies of society and humanity, and the authorities of the network do not pay due respects to them. They should be praised, but instead, their names are immediately forgotten and buried with the dead common people as if they never existed in this world. The network applies its polished lip service to introduce its deceased as martyrs just to fool the public (even if they are worthy of such a title). They have no true regards towards their martyrdom, but to show its outward and artificial sympathy, they associate their names with its news broadcasting studios. These poor fellows are remembered on their death anniversaries just as a formality to win the favour of the people and to keep the opponents away.

In the concluding part of the poem, the poetess has successfully unveiled the network’s original face besmeared with cunningness and roguery. The network is always very smart in dealing with the public with its trickery. The eyes and ears of the public are under the control of the network. It can very cleverly hide its own low “character” and cowardice by hook or crook. It can break the morale of powerful personalities for fear they may damage its reputation. The climax of the network’s negativism is expressed in its extremely exposed words, ‘…I am a publicity whore / I only please you with frivolity (childish gestures) and nothing more’. I cannot restrict myself by not mentioning a line from a poem from the Shakespearean play, As You Like It, ‘All the world’s a stage’, just to correlate it with the last stanza of our poem, ‘When I am in the spotlight, I smile to gain that publicity / And behind the shadow of that light, I just care about me’. Here, the poetess succeeds in her aim to expose the true colour(s) of the network, its inner being. When the network is under the spotlight, as on a theatrical stage, it displays pleasure and smiles with great joy; but, as soon as it finds itself behind the shadow of that spotlight, it becomes very conscious and worries about regaining its popularity.

Summing up, I have to say that I have read the above poem under exposition again and again just to feel the feelings the poetess would have felt during its creation. It is the principal principle when criticising poetry that the critic experiences the overall impression and concept of the poem and then go for a summarized text to submit natural expressions of the feelings of the poet or poetess. I have tried my level best to understand the poem before starting to write its exposition. I hope that any veracity or difference of opinion in my interpretation of the poem will be excused if it is otherwise understood by the poetess herself or anybody else.

-Valibhai Musa

Note : It seems that the Author has deleted the site – ‘BoBi’z Breathings . . .’.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Article, Exposition, Poetry

 

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