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Postcard from Kashmir by Agha Shahid Ali
Can we really make another home away from home? Postcard from Kashmir explores the experience of settling in another land. Postcard from Kashmir is a poem written by Agha Shahid Ali; the poem is about remembering one’s home from far away. One theme that is predominant in the poem is the theme of nostalgia.
In the poem, I feel like the poet expresses his sadness over disconnection from his home, and he is experiencing an identity crisis. Shahid brings out the theme of nostalgia and his loss of identity when he uses an overexposed picture to compare his potential return to his estranged home (Ali, line 6); the colors would have faded due to unfamiliarity.
The poet notes that the postcard is the closest he will ever be home (Ali, line 5); this imagery expresses his sadness and nostalgia for Kashmir. The poet also notes that his memory (of Kashmir) will be out of focus; this means that his memories of his home are faded, and it gets more faded the longer he is separated from Kashmir. Shahid also uses a giant undeveloped black and white negative to describe his memory (Ali, line 13); it is colorless and not as a clear picture. The poet uses sadness and frustrations that emanate from being estranged from Kashmir to bring out nostalgia’s theme effectively.
The poet narrates how difficult it is to make a home away from home; he highlights the dilemma of not fitting completely into the new home and feeling like your old home will not feel like home again. Postcard from Kashmir makes me wonder do immigrants and people in exile have the same conflicted emotions as the poet? or is it unique to the poet?
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