The Heart Longs is a handmade book with interleaving pages, the left side is comprised of Islamic interlaced symmetrical patterns featuring the 8-pointed star and the opposing side features the ghazal (sonnet) “Dil Dhadakne Ka Sabab Yaad Aaya” by the late Pakistani poet Nazir Kazmi. This particular work is an interpretation of my experiences growing up as a Muslim girl in India.
To escape Mumbai during summer, my family spent most of our summer vacations visiting hundreds of mosques that were full of intricate Islamic tiles of bright and vivid colors. Entry to these tranquil mosques required women to be covered by the burqa with our sight obscured and bodies hidden.
The book’s structure is to simulate that experience of being restricted and yet at the same time exposed to such wondrous beauty. The ghazal I chose, essentially a poem expressing longing for a time (or person) that was no longer part of the present, mirrors the feelings I have towards the life I left behind. These memories are bittersweet and warm but are always interleaved with the pain of being hidden and lesser as a woman.