Presentation on theme: "Presents From My Aunts in Pakistan Moniza Alvi. Moniza Alvi was born in Lahore in Pakistan, the daughter of a Pakistani father and an English mother."— Presentation transcript:
Presents From My Aunts in Pakistan Moniza Alvi
Moniza Alvi was born in Lahore in Pakistan, the daughter of a Pakistani father and an English mother. She moved to Hatfield in England when she was a few months old. She didn't revisit Pakistan until after the publication of her first book of poems - 'The Country over my Shoulder' - from which this poem comes. The poet says: Presents from My Aunts...was one of the first poems I wrote. When I wrote this poem, I hadn't actually been back to Pakistan. The girl in the poem would be me at about 13.
Presents From My Aunts In Pakistan They sent me a salwar kameez peacock-blue, and another glistening like an orange split open, embossed slippers, gold and black points curling. Candy-striped glass bangles snapped, drew blood. Like at school, fashions changed in Pakistan - These words stand out From the English words Just as the presents do From her English clothes In contrast to the dull colours she usually wears Exotic fruit metaphor. also the inside makes it seem irresistible They broke – like her links with Pakistan Although a different culture human nature is universal
the salwar bottoms were broad and stiff, then narrow. My aunts chose an apple-green sari, silver-bordered for my teens. I tried each satin-silken top – was alien in the sitting-room. I could never be as lovely as those clothes – In contrast to the dull colours she usually wears Shes more comfortable with the Plainness of English clothes than the bright colours of the salwar kameez The presents make her feel out of place in England She feels she cant do the clothes justice. Like her clothes she feels plain
I longed for denim and corduroy. My costume clung to me and I was aflame, I couldn't rise up out of its fire, half-English, unlike Aunt Jamila. Shes more comfortable with the Plainness of English clothes than the bright colours of the salwar kameez Child-like desire for something she cant have Refers to the legend of the phoenix rising from the flames – but she cant recreate this She is a mix of cultures. Unlike her aunt or friends, she doesnt really know where she belongs
I wanted my parents camel-skin lamp - switching it on in my bedroom, to consider the cruelty and the transformation from camel to shade, marvel at the colours like stained glass. Child-like desire for something she cant have The poet feels sorry for the camel whose skin was used to make the lamp. This reflects her own negative feelings about change Beautiful colours and expensive
My mother cherished her jewellery – Indian gold, dangling, filigree, But it was stolen from our car. The presents were radiant in my wardrobe. My aunts requested cardigans from Marks and Spencers. The theft of her mothers jewellery in England could be a metaphor for England stealing her Pakistani Identity. Humorous but regretful as she never wore them Archetypal of England
My salwar kameez didn't impress the schoolfriend who sat on my bed, asked to see my weekend clothes. But often I admired the mirror-work, tried to glimpse myself in the miniature glass circles, recall the story The school friends reaction to the clothes contrasts with the poets – so the poet doesnt entirely fit in in England either Friend doesnt like anything different She likes the Pakistani clothes but cant feel attached to them. Shes also trying to see her identity.
how the three of us sailed to England. Prickly heat had me screaming on the way. I ended up in a cot In my English grandmother's dining-room, found myself alone, playing with a tin-boat. The real boat took her away from her homeland Demonstrates her mixed heritage She must have been very young when she left
I pictured my birthplace from fifties' photographs. When I was older there was conflict, a fractured land throbbing through newsprint. Sometimes I saw Lahore – my aunts in shaded rooms, screened from male visitors, sorting presents, wrapping them in tissue. She cant remember Pakistan so she has to imagine it This refers to the war when East Pakistan split to become Bangladesh The split is compared to her confused identity – split just like her culture Her knowledge is based on what she read and heard Brings the poem back to the original theme Another contrast to her own experiences
Or there were beggars, sweeper-girls and I was there – of no fixed nationality, staring through fretwork at the Shalimar Gardens.
Or there were beggars, sweeper-girls and I was there – of no fixed nationality, staring through fretwork at the Shalimar Gardens. A less positive image of Pakistan Sums up her feelings of isolation and not belonging Theres a barrier stopping her from being part of Pakistan A beautiful and famous place in Pakistan