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Multidimensional - an ode to Pakistan

By Myra Ahmed and Shizah Kashif


The winner of our Quarantine Creativity Challenge, Shizah Kashif, details her poem, Multidimensional in this week's feature article. Her poem stood out amongst other submissions for its expression of what it means to be a Pakistani. Her writing emanated a sense of faith, pride and love for her culture and truly represented Pakistan for what it is. We discuss her inspiration behind Multidimensional, why she thinks writing is so powerful and how she goes about penning down such amazing poetry.


Hailing from the capital of the country, Islamabad, Shizah lives in the UAE. She is currently a rising college freshman, and is in love with the art of storytelling. She writes articles, poetry and short stories on her blog, and also contributes to other publications around the world.


Multidimensional, Shizah tells us, was written back in 2018, when she was visiting Pakistan. During what was a rather long and winding trip, Shizah travelled through Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad, the world-famous Neelum Valley and Karachi. This deep exploration of her homeland brought her close to home, and she realised all the ways she felt tethered to Pakistan.


She describes Multidimensional as 'a portrait of the wavelengths of the country (she) claims as (her) identity'. Remembering her childhood, she tells us of the multiple cultures and cities she grew up in, and how none of them were standard or one-dimensional. The rites and rituals, memories and people, cities and languages that she sees within herself are representative of her as a Pakistani, and this is what Multidimensional is an ode to.


Writing is something that many young people, especially in today's busy lifestyle, find cathartic. Shizah says that writing levels her with the rest of the world, allowing her to be the most uncensored and real version of herself. Her writing process is very spontaneous, and she rarely edits the first drafts of her poetry, in an effort to preserve their ingenuity.


She says: "There's an intimacy between my verses and me that makes the whole experience not an activity but an extension of myself - when I write, it's a conversation with myself, the parts that don't often come out in public. It's how I process the hurt and celebration around me but also just my own person."


We thank Shizah for being such a wonderful representative of Pakistan, highlighting the determination and talent that resides within our population and for spending time and effort to make this feature.


Have a read of her beautiful poem, Multidimensional, below:


I am multidimensional

Not three dimensional, like a pyramid

But a reflection in time that continues, intangible, forever

Never caught in one fist

Never trapped in one name

Never discrete, never one

I am multidimensional

The way my mother learnt the roadwork of our City of Lights

The way my father moulded words together in a twang we call Punjabi

The way my nani's tongue slipped between the language of her dwelling and the language of her home

As her mind jostled with the scents of her Kashr childhood, a montage of hazy nostalgia

The way my dada pushed back on his charpai so deep into time, he was a young Indian boy rolling tyres in a Jalandhar street where V words are unheard of

I could see myself in the lazy orbitals around his eyes

Slivers of me in a life I hadn't lived.

I am multidimensional

The way my fingers coil around familiarity in every direction i extend them

The way there is home around me every where I turn

I could drill into an aquifer under this solemn soil right this second

And find myself drowning in belonging.

I am multidimensional

In the shattered light glinting off the glass tapestries in our old melas

Under the shadow of sage old chestnuts, bleached white with age in my capital

In the crescendos of the crowd chanting freedom while a man swings his bat into the sunset

I am multidimensional

My voice vacillates between two poles of a heart born 70 years ago

And like a mediator grown accustomed to conflict

It continues to lilt contentedly while mellifluity nurtures itself

There are sediments of the Himalayas, silt from the Chenab, salt from the Sea and saccharine from the

In-between in my voice

I am a panacea of freedom

I call on it every day

I am multidimensional

In the way my heart is not one's, but everyone's

My tongue, a crossroads of two families finding home,

Dismounting the peaks to the beaches of the South

A few steps west across a line that hoots with ceremony,

My home a manifesto of freedom scripted into the roads between homes

There is a mirror waiting in all for me

To cleave me up until I am all but unified

And multidimensional.


More of Shizah's writing works can be found at the following link:


https://writingharmonies.wordpress.com/about/


©2020 by Land of the Pure | Youth Organisation