Baby baby so ja
Lal palang pe so ja
Ami abu aaen ge
Lal khiloney laaen ge
Kheltey khelte bhook lagi
Kha lo beta moomphali
Moomphali me dana nahi
Hum tumhare nana nahi
Nana gaey dili
Dili se laey bili
Bili ne diye bache
Allah mian sache
Our miniature worlds definitely invoke a sense of nostalgia for us. In our next one, we visit a lullaby our mother and grandmother used to sing to us.
To contexualize the lullaby, Manahil has translated the words into English as best as she can:
Sleep my little baby
Sleep on your red bed
Mama and abu will come
With red toys
As you play, you’ll hunger
Eat peanuts, my child
The peanut shells are empty
We aren’t your nana
Nana goes to Delhi
From Delhi he gets a cat
The cat birth kittens
God is indeed real
The lullaby is rich with imagery: a red bed, red toys, a cat, and a baby. We still wanted to be creative and adapt the elements in the lyrics.
For example, instead of making a literal “lal palang” (red bed), we designed a big swing for the baby to sleep in. Manahil collected red roots by the river to make the structure. The bed swings on an old necklace chain.
Another part of the rhyme includes “lal khilonay” (red toys). We didn’t want to overwhelm the scene with too much red, so instead we went with colours that complimented the rest of the scene.
Here’s the doll, bear, rattle, and spinning top!
The main character in this world is, of course, the baby. One part of the rhyme goes: “moomphali me dana nahi” (no peanut in the peanut shell), so naturally we had to include that in the world.
We were VERY diligent in finding just the right shell for the baby to sleep in – take a look at our ‘hard work.’
It definitely paid off. Here’s the baby napping peacefully below!
We brainstormed many ways on how to make the cat. Modelling it with clay didn’t seem to work that well, and we didn’t have the tools to felt one. We finally figured that the body could be made of clay, while white felt could be “stuck” onto it as fur.
To signify the end of the poem “God is real” we started making a janamaaz (prayer mat) out of an old shalwar. We created a disproportionately large tasbih (rosary beads) and Quran.
Manahil created the book cover with the binding from an old German dictionary (remember the book our Shire was in?)
We figured out how we wanted to arrange the world – but didn’t know what to put it in. A cold ceramic cup wouldn’t fit the homey and tender lullaby.
Then Nimra found a wooden pot that was perfect! Urdu is a very naturally artistic language, so we decided to paint the lullaby on the pot. We stained the wood to match the earthy tones of the world.