Traversing Through A Woman’s Dreams

April 20, 2021
Traversing Through A Woman’s Dreams

Ramzan has arrived, I hear the Azaan, but my taste buds are tempted by the sweetened crimson sherbet, Rooh-e-Afza, Elixir of the Soul, neat on the rocks. Should I be ashamed of losing sleep for dampened dreams last night during this “holy” month? I do not know whether I am on purpose, toying and tempting with the waves of obscene. I open up the fridge to rummage for an apple. Right there, a crimson ruby-like gemstone staring at me, but I get distracted by mangoes, peaches and bananas. Thank God, there was no serpent seducing me the way he led Eve on.

Instead of an apple, I would have requested God for Godiva’s kisses falling down like raindrops, in real gold and silver foil. 

Am I hungry or starving food? I thought. ‘Starving’ is to yearn for food until death, and ‘Hunger’ is to desire. That is the precision of language. But my state of mind is quite imprecise, such that I am hopping between two states, physical and mental. Or is it just mental? On the trampoline of desire; now that I am full, I am low; now that I am hungry, I am on a high. Or is it an endless circle of no distinction between mind, body and soul?

Am I hungry or starving food?

Years of desires that I am now conscious of, repressed deep within the crevice of my memory, I now want to let go of. I stare at myself as I stand in front of the mirror, naked. I call upon Uriel and implore him to open the gates of heaven 24/ 7, to begin the “regulative function” (Freudian Dream Interpretation: allowing the discharge of unpleasant drive tension through hallucinatory wish-fulfilment also occurs when a state of excitation threatens to disturb sleep.) and make me bold enough to face the “pleasure principle” (a direct expression of our desire for body warmth).

The Prophet (PBUH) said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of Heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained.” But temptations linger on so how are those gates closed; I am sure those gates are made of iron bars, like jail, enough room for skeletal evil to pass through.

Throw the dart in the crevice of my memory and it falls, throw another and track the location of the first one instinctively. But what follows which is the pure innocence of a child, then becomes the Devil’s playground in the adult mind. One childlike memory will become a shameful past, then another, then other, then another. 

The clock strikes 5 am, time For Azaan, and I shudder, what was I even thinking?

Today the melody of Azaan just does not seem to be the same.

Today the melody of Azaan just does not seem to be the same. The koel sings along, the gentle breeze caresses and cools my skin, the rub and rustle of the leaves, the trickling of the raindrops, ‘pitter, patter’ to English ears and ‘cham, cham’ to Urdu speakers, to a bilingual speaker, it could possibly be “chitter, chatter.” Nature’s orchestra, indeed. The Azaan is not even over yet, and I long to imagine one more kiss or ‘fast’ love, or eat one more bite of bread, or drink one more sip of water. It is not that I am not allowed to; I choose not to.

“God is most Great/ Come to Prayer, Come to Success…” 

‘Empty stomached and smitten with passion,’ I thought.                                         

My parched throat, my voice husky, can God hear me whisper in my mind? My breath acrid, my stomach growling, and I am still thinking about him. I need to perform ablution to ask God for the redemption of my bodily sins, but he laughs at my plan.

 I need to perform ablution to ask God for the redemption of my bodily sins, but he laughs at my plan.

Instead of following the sequence of washing up thrice, left to right, I dip into the tub during Maghrib (evening prayer).

Step one: Derive strength for humility to lower my gaze. Lord, guard my eyes to prevent these pupils from dilating in his lust.

Step two: Inhale, blend and exhale inflexions of divine blasphemy. 

Step Three: Tighten my towel around me, my curly hair dripping wet; I ask the Greek Goddess of Aphrodite to envelop me, a Muslim woman, with modesty. 

Step Four: Prostrate with feelings of insignificance to All-Mighty, make me remember and restrain our yearnings. Lucifer lifts my towel and shows me the clock striking 4 am, “oh ye creature with intellect I envy thee.”

Step Five: Draw the Vicsek snowflake like the Christian Cross in the air: Intellect, heart, left- salute to Lucifer and Right-salute to Archangel.

I whisper to them to loosen playful anarchy of innocence upon the world

Step Six: Lucifer and Barachiel have a discourse through the tunnel of my ears.

Lucifer gives instructions to others:

“saluting me to the left and you to the right? Why is she confining our jobs? I’ll guard heavens, Arch you go to hell and Barachiel take care of little ones, especially those who sleep in their Mummy, Daddy’s room. Shut the gates of heaven; let her be further restless in the nights. Barachiel, ensure you remind her about modesty,” said Lucifer.

“Hi-five,” Barachiel

“Four years, apart, eh. I’ll teach her about 4 centuries of pining and waiting!” exclaimed Lucifer.

Step Seven: Leave the room fully clothed with a 100 beaded long prayer string.

Traversing Through A Woman’s Dreams
Painting by Afshan Amin Mohammad

Rumi from Turkey would spin enraptured when Shams, the sun, arrived. But in a Muslim country like Pakistan, expressing love through various forms of art such as singing or dancing is confined due to orthodox view as our feudal lords have a limited perception of love and knowledge.

Why can’t I spin with a two-edged sword to this symphony of Azaan, blow my reed flute, each note touching the soul of my lover, let me spin enraptured like a Sufi when I “testify” God is Great. Just like nature, as Caterpillars spin silk and spider spins a web, so do I have to go all the way from Krokola (olden Karachi’s) to Anatolia (olden Turkey) to see the Sufi spin? Light a constant flickering flame at Konya; Hagia Sophia, the Church of Wisdom, is blue since centuries, offering pearls of wisdom that no one yearns to comprehend.

To express the inner desires for a woman is rather a misdemeanor in Pakistan even in the indirect form of art, and to repress it is to develop a psycho-social illness, called depression. How easy it is to voice opinions for a woman living in a developed world, a tête-à-tête over strawberry cosmopolitan with her faithful girlfriends, who could be her next match and how she yearns to earn by spending time with her catch. Is this freedom of speech or inability to control the subconscious carnal desires, I wonder?

Is this freedom of speech or inability to control the subconscious carnal desires, I wonder?

To act upon it, must be facile from a Pakistani perspective, and to restrict one’s feelings might seem easy to the opposite side. It is balancing upon the tight rope, give in a little to temptations and resist enough that he does not run away, a push and pull game of chasing and running, a chemistry of attracting and repelling, and what becomes is a spiritual attraction. Sustain the mystery and wonder without giving it all.

But it is wrong to see it from a single perspective as well. What Freud claims as a “pleasure principle” could only be one-sided; hence, in the end, it does not matter whether the women belong to the dependent or independent world, they still have to “fake it” most of the times. No matter what the conversations amongst the angels and devils, we know that it all depends on “us” as women. 

No man or devil for that matter can exploit unless we let them, and no man can ever give us the pleasure unless we are open to please them too. 

So, Be it

He blew “Kun” 

and she inhaled.

Four years

a p  a  r  t.

A glittering cell

in the womb.

a breath,

a sigh,

a desire

a prayer.

              An oriental symphony








t  h  r  o  u   g  h o u t  t h  e  c  o  s   m  o   s    

She moaned

with pleasure

in her latent dreams.

He longed to hear her 

whispering generous,

the tales of

War and Peace

The more he resisted,

the more she tempted.

Enchanted, she leaves the door


after midnight.

Naked, she teaches him

the difference between

a bud


a flower

They throw diamonds, emeralds and pearls,


A sparkling track in the dark

to tiptoes upon.

“Nothing more tantalizing,

lingering outside the borders

of one’s memory.

They hated to give her up.”

Melancholy, when she’s awake.

Manic, when she sleeps.

A fasting of forbearance.

A disease of patience.


of her own shame.

A festering pus.

Exploding into

a deformed verse.





“Kun”- Be

Sigmund Freud

Sophie’s World- Jostein Garner

Roald Dhal

War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

About Afshan Amin Mohammad

Afshan Amin Mohammad was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Agnes Scott College, Georgia and a Diploma in Early Childhood Education from Australia. She teaches English literature and language at Karachi Grammar School.

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