From the ashes of the distance between us,
bloom the Jasmines~
The love story of my Nana and Nani is my most prized possession. It's a story I have battled myself to tell multiple times but I could not bring myself to share it with the world. The memories of my time together with them recall upon to me with such pain and anguish that the thought of visually piecing them together was beyond my mental capability. But this past year has been the year of growth and of coming into my own and facing the depths of my vulnerability. My colleagues in my art therapy class, comics narratives, really pushed and inspired me to share a story that is so beyond any fairytale.
But before I could share that story with the world, I had to first deal with the loss of the love that gave me reason to live. I realized that the loss of love and how people cope with it in their own way can be so beautifully captured through art. It is only by illustrating my memories of watching my Nana struggle with his loss of my Nani that I was able to bring myself to even write about it.
Let me tell you, this story narrates the life of a man who took a journey across a border that forever changed the course of not only his life, but also that of his family. My Nana was a poet, a published poet. His poems were about social justice rather than love. Because he kept his love private. My Nana and Nani had the most vivacious love affair, a one of a kind union and they were best friends.
As I recalled this story, I did so in two languages, Urdu and English. Growing up bilingual I often found it difficult switching between the two. While my mind thought in one, my tongue spoke in the other. I composed this story as a translation from Urdu to English, and while the grammar may be incorrect in the latter, it makes perfect sense in the former.
It is in the flowers where this story begins, where it flourishes, and then ultimately withers, leaving behind memories that are forever sealed in their lasting fate. With all of my being, I give you Withered Memories.
P.S. to read my book in its entirety, you can purchase it at Quimby's Bookstore or Chicago Comics,or you can reach out to me personally and I can send you a copy!