Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Unrequited Words

The Unrequited Words

In the corners of my mind,
lies a graveyard,
of words,
that were never spoken.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Awaara first caught my fancy at a time, when I could relate to the emotions of being a lost soul from a small town to a big city, a city of glitter. Awaara became so evocative of grief, sorrow and the loneliness which was hurled by the city on me. This brilliant nazm although written for a love lost also depicts the aimlessness of youth in a new city, amongst new faces searching for a foothold to root in.

This Nazm is by Asrar-ul haque Majaz also known as the John Keats of Urdu poetry. He was a poet of love and revolution, but he preferred to write mostly on love.

By genre, he can be classified as a poet of Nazm. This is his most famous one which is considered one of the best Urdu Nazm ever written.

And if anyone could do justice to this beautiful nazm is the mystical voice of Jagjit Singh conjuring up the magic and the evocative feelings of these emotions.

My heart pops out every time I meander through these words ……….

Shaher ki raat aur main, naashaad-o-naakaara phiroon
Jagmagaati-jaagati, sadko Pe awaara phiroon
Ghair ki basti nain kab tak, dar-ba-dar maara phiroon
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoon

Majaz would have aimlessly walked around these streets -, turning
Wherever the heart pleased, in an unfamiliar city of lights and
lonely lanes, his sole companion was - a heart overwhelmed with
unbearable grief.

For the metropolis called Mumbai, Marine Drive was The Queen's
Necklace. For Majaz it was a sharp, gilt-edged sword which
pierced his heart:

Jhilmilaate Kumkumon ki Raah Mein zanjeer-see
Raat Ke Haatho Mein Din Ki mohini Tasveer-See
Mere Seene Par Magar Dehki Huee Shamsheer-see
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoon

The night would smile and the house of wine would beckon Majaz.
And later he would even get seduced by the charms of some faceless,
nameless beauty. And then, there were times when none of that would be
possible ... Majaz would then drift to some isolated place.

Raat Has Has Ke Yeh Kahti Hain Ki Maikhaane Mein Chal
Phir Kisi Shahnaaz-E-Lala-Rukh Ke Kashane Mein Chal
Yeh Nahi Mumkin To Phir Aye Dost, Veerane Mein Chal
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoon
Another glittering Mumbai evening ….The Taj Mahal Hotel.. and the moon rising behind it.

Majaz saw the moon differently, for him..

the moon was a Mulla's pagdi
a grocer's account book
the youth of a destitute
and the charms of a widow
All pale. All dull!

Ek Mahal Ki Aad Se Nikla Woh Peela Mahtab
Jaise Mulla Ka Amama, Jaise Baniye Ki Kitaab
Jaise Mufliss Ki Jawani, Jaise Bewa Ka Shabab
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoon?

Yeh Rupahli Chhav, Yeh Aakash Par Taaron ka Jaal
Jaise Sufi Ka Tasavvur, Jaise Aashiq Ka Khayal
Aah Lekin Kaun Samjhe, Kaun Jaane Jee Ka Haal
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoon

And then Majaz expressed the very quintessence of all hislife and persona ...

In lines which almost shriek with helplessness ...

Raaste Mein Ruk ke Dum Loo, Yeh Meri Aadat Nahi
Lautkar Vaapas Chala Jaoo, Yeh Meri Fitrat Nahi
Aur Koi Humnawa Mil Jaaye, Yeh Kismat Nahi
Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoon?
For me to take a breather ... that is not my habit.
To retrace my steps ... that is not my nature.
To get a companion or a co-traveler ... that is not my destiny

Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoo, Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoon?

Reference:The illustration of Awara by Majaz  is taken from sadequainfoundation and various inputs and translations from internet.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

मुझे खर्ची में पूरा एक दिन , हर रोज़ मिलता है
मगर हर रोज़ कोई छीन लेता है
झपट लेता है , एंटी से !
कभी खीसे से गिर पड़ता है तो गिरने की
आहट भी नहीं होती,
खरे दिन को भी मैं खोटा समझ के भूल जाता हूँ !--

गिरेबान से पकड़ के मांगने वाले भी मिलते हैं!
" तरी गुजरी हुई पुश्तों का कर्जा है
तुझे किश्तें चुकानी हैं--"

ज़बरदस्ती कोई गिरवी भी रख लेता है , ये कह कर,
अभी दो चार लम्हे खर्च करने के लिए रख ले,
बकाया उम्र के खाते में लिख देते हैं,
जब होगा , हिसाब होंगा

बड़ी हसरत है पूरा एक दिन एक बार मैं
अपने लिए रख लूं
तुम्हारे साथ पूरा एक दिन बस खर्च
करने की तमन्ना है !!!!
गुलज़ार साहब

P.S This is one of the most close to heart poem of Gulzarsaab for me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Speak, Truth still lives -Faiz Ahmad Faiz

Bol Ke sach zinda hai ab tak
On Faiz Ahmad Faiz

Hearing this name itself rekindles the magical verses which have adorned the poetry lovers across the Globe; no wonder the word Faiz in Urdu means grace and success. It is the name that symbolizes beauty and reality together in the same platform, the sorcery to turn words into images and movements.

My interest in urdu poetry started with Faiz , it was my first love and first love never leaves you and its because of the inspiration it confers on you to go on and on...His poetry has remained with me ever since .

Faiz stands tall as a sensitive, mild mannered and a soft spoken personality, as a glimmer struggles against the establishment. Born in undivided India; he is the only poet after Ghalib to be translated in a lot of languages of Asian subcontinent. He did not write for a country in particular but for the entire race and this is what draws people across to appreciate his writings .His poetry touches deeper chords, expanses from seraphic romantic beauty to excruciating and harsh realities of life.
He was identified as a progressive poet that provoked the weak into rebellion, startling them from their deep slumber. He empathises with the downtrodden and urges them to free themselves from the shackles of misery and repression and thus into a revolution.

Although being a progressive and a moderate poet he did not disconnect with the traditional poetic expression .He used the verses of Ghalib, Sauda and Makhdoom as his inspiration and churned out pearls yet again in respect of these legends. This is not just bland respect but blending his poetry with their spirit.

For eg

Aap ki yaad aati rahi raat bhar
Chandni dil khilaati rahi raat bhar


Yaad ka phir koi darwaza khula aakhir-e- shab
Dil mein bikhri koi khushboo-e-kaba aakhir-e-shab

The first two verses are of Makhdoom and second verse by Faiz . This tradition was started by Sauda and Meer which Faiz kept alive. Another one by Zauq

Ab to ghabrake ye kehte hai ki mar jayenge
Marke bhi chain na paya to kidhar jayenge

Faiz further elicits as

Nemete zeest ka karz chukega kaise
Lakh ghabrake ye kehte rahein mar jayenge

Another gem by Ghalib

“Kahoon kisse main ki kya hai , shab-e-gham buri bala hai
Mujhe kya bura tha marna agar ek baar hota”

Blended by Faiz is beauty par excellence

“Tumhe kya kahoon ke kya hai , shab-e- gham buri bala hai
Hamein ye bhi tha ghanimat jo koi shumar hota
Hamein kya bura tha marna agar ek baar hota”

One of the brilliant facets of Faiz was the portrayal of hope and its symbolism of dawn with light. The darkness of the night and penury at its peak, the social injustice rearing its ugly head around him puts in the poet the belief that all is not lost and a harbinger of hope which reflects in his poetry .All his helplessness transcends as a beacon of hope and for a better tomorrow. It is this inexplicable connectedness of traditional optimism that defines the popularity and acceptance to the common man.

“Dil na ummeed nahi, nakaam hi to hai
Lambi hai gham ki sham magar sham hi hai”

His first book Naqsh-e-fariyaadi has this line.

“Chand roz aur meri jaan , faqat chand hi roz
Zulm ki chaanv mein dam lene ko majboor hai ham”

“Lekin ab zulm ki miyaad ke din thode hai
Ik zara sabr ki fariyaad ke din thode hain”

“Najate deed o dil ki ghadi nahi aayi
Chale chalo ki woh manzil abhi nahi aayi”

His poetry has the central theme of Sehar - dawn which puts in the feeling of faith and fervent hope and shows the poets thinking of eternal optimism which was required for his communist line of thought. For example

“Sabane dar-e- zindaan pe aake dastak dee
Sehar qareeb hai , dil se kaho na ghabraaye

“Yahi taareeqi to hai gaza-e-rukhsaar-e-sehar
Subah hone ko hi hai aye dil-e-betaab thehar”

“Yeh gham jo is raat ne diya hai
Ye gham sehar ka yaqeen bana hai”

“Yaqeen jo gham ke karimatar hai
Sehar jo shab se azeemtar hai”

Faiz poetry at the start has that magic that lets us feel the sensuous , beautiful feeling of love , longing moments at the onset and intense pain , restlessness and hence does the supreme sacrifice of love .They may look as oxymoron or paradox but in reality both are intertwined like a fabric is with colour and threads. Faiz has a phenomenal range – in his idiom, in his refined phraseology, as well as in the effortless weaving-in of simple everyday words

“Mujhse pehli si mohabbat” was a landmark in Urdu Poetry. This was Faiz’s first experiment with blending love for the ‘beloved’ into love for humanity, of turning the pain of separation into pain for all those who suffered under the ‘dark, bestial spells of uncounted centuries’, in which he declares, ruefully:

Mujhse pehli si mohabbat mere mehboob na maang
(Do not ask of me, my beloved, that same love)

“Maine samjhe tha ki tu hai to darakshan hai hyaat”
Tera gham hai to ghame dehar ka jhagda kya hai
Teri surat se hai aalam mein baharaon ko sabaat
Teri aankhon ke siwa duniya mein rakha kya hai”

“Aur bhi dukh hai zamane men mohabbat ke siwa
Raahatein aur bhi hain vasl ki rahat ke siwa”

And the other facet of reality which evolves in the next verse is

Anginat sadiyon ke taarik bahimaana talism
Resham_o_atalas-o-kimkhaab se saje jism
Khaak mein lithade hue khoon mein nahlaaye hue
Jism nikale hue amaraaz ke tanavvuron se
Peep behti hui galte hue naasuuron se
Laut jaati hai idhar ko bhi nazar kya kije
Ab bhi dilkash hai tera husn magar kya kije
Mujh se pehli si mohabbat mere mahboob na maang

In the above verse we view the paradox which has two opposite sensitiveness , the poet in the same breath can make all the love and longing of the beloved so trivial in the wake of the sorrow , grief of the downtrodden , exploited and deprived society , The transition of the “Me” to the “We”……..

For all this and much more of sorcery in muse, every poetry lover must have a collection of Faiz. Get it if you don't have one.

Some keywords and their meanings
[darakhshaan : shining; hayaat = life]
[Gam-e-dahar = sorrows of the world; aalam = world]
[sabaat = permanence; niguun = bow/subservient]
[faqat = merely; vasl = union/meeting; taariik = dark]
[bahimaanaa = dreadful; talism = magic]
[resham = silk; atalas = satin; kamKhvaab = brocade]
[jaa-ba-jaa = hither-thither; lithade = covered/soaked in]
[amaraaz = diseases; tannuron = ovens; piip = pus]
[naasuur = ulcer/a wound that won't heal; dil_kash = heart-warming]

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

RIP Friend

No, No you are getting me wrong here…… The person is very much alive and kicking but I no longer have him as my friend, which would mean all ties severed, no conversations and no contact whatsoever. I only have the lovely moments, joys and sorrows shared those incessant chatters on the trivial monotonous events of life. But what I feel right now is not agony, grief but a sense of loss and relief.

Oxymoron’s is what they would seem like but yes regret on the void and vacuum filled in the moments of life where contempt too had bred in probably by familiarity . Relief comes from the absence of those everyday tiffs and berating which had become a part of the package.

It’s challenging to have friends these days , in an environment which is politically charged and all the more when two people have contradictory, antithetic and diametric views on political ideologies, religious ideologies and the interests one shares.

It is then we ask. ..What is real friendship?

Everyone longs to have lasting, close friendships. Achieving these special friendships is something that takes time, work, and perseverance

Happy moments even when you are miles apart with the forest preserve of memories shared and the joy it brought. The presence of a soul who would be there with you not only in sunshine but also in the shades of life as a support It’s a treasure that helps us overcome our obstacles , it’s a comforting feeling.

But don’t flatter that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to each other. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do politeness and courtesy become.

So I sat down in retrospection, was it really friendship or was I in a delusional mode about an acquaintance in the garb of a friend……..


"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delusion.

So here I am mourning the loss of a friend ….He that has gone ……a person who I met and walked along for sometime and then it ended. Although it is a difficult day for me today but maybe looking back in memory and introspection comforts me and gives me a good sense of judgments, whereby I can be wiser to get worthy friends for life.

A friend through life and through death ….

“Ek zara si baat par barson ka yarane gaye
Lekin itna to hua ke dost pehchane gaye”

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Cruise with the Clouds

Clouds watching can be fun…..all the more if they are in the state of constantly changing landscapes, as if they are trying to sail away towards new lands, new people, taking you along with them as they smile and float away.

It so happened on one of the usual monotonous drive to work that the eyes struck to fluffy fairy floss on the sky from a hemisphere of my windshield. Gaze transfixed at the light oozing out, I ruminated as to when was the last time I saw them, they looked like scriptures in motion each changing forms, strange animals, extinct dinosaurs, love struck cupid and lazing whales …all portending various forms of my moods into fancy nothings. I cannot put into so many words but the life is going through a low phase, a restless transition.

In sight were billowy masses of white and gray against the bluest of blue sky .It changed the way I was feeling; just gazing at them gave me solace as if those clouds reminded me that the world above and the world below actually make up one world. It is this symbolism that helped me examine my life from a higher perspective.

Isn’t it amazing how clouds can fit into any mood or match any season? I wonder if they could take all my pains, lifting, wafting, lost in the blue. , quietly cruising the celestial seas, wandering aimlessly out of my view. I sat in reverie, cleaning my mind of the day’s mist.

They gave me the lightning flash of inspiration reiterating that beyond the clouds the sun’s still there. The silver lining of the cloud fascinated me, filled in me the hope to weather the lower ebbs of life and guiding me to the apophasis nature of the divine the unknowable, which eludes the human understanding. And I was alive again and humming

“ Baadlon ke paar shayad aur koi aasmaan hoga ….

Main hawa ke paro pe kahan ja raha hoo kahaaan…”

Clouds can make us feel whimsical and dreamy, or they can be oppressive, frightening, and threatening. They can be mysterious, or can be lazy.
Clouds may be a harbinger of angelic messages to come.

Go and find your cloud today?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Book(S) of Life

December is a time of retrospection about how life passed by this year with its various highs and lows , reality bites , lacerated illusions , bandages of fantasy to ease and to celebrate life

People come and go, touched us in various ways and made us experience the slices of emotions , love, hate, ennui, indifference but the only constant companion all through these moments were my books , my most revered companions , never failing to provide all that’s wanted

They are the biggest aphrodisiacs , the power to let on the imaginations, the surreal thoughts , sometimes taking you down the memory lane , sometimes ahead of the moments for inspirations, each page lets you revere the flights of fulfilling enrichments or as i call it the ultimate bliss

The ones that i took on in this journey of 2010 enthralled me with the combination of the outer state of mind as well as the inner state of mind.

The Kite runner – Khaled Hossieni

The Secret – Rhonda Bryne

Tuesdays with Morrie- Mitch Albom

Kane and Abel- Jeffrey Archer

The Zoya factor –Anuja Chauhan

The Reluctant Fundamentalist- Mohsin Hamid

A case of exploding mangoes-Mohammad Hanif

A Piece of cake- Swati Kaushal

Tales from a Turkish whorehouse-Philip Ceallaigh

Who will cry when u die- Robin Sharma

Each book is unique in its own way, a lesson in life, a romance with words, inspiriting you zeal and fervour to take on the world by the horns

For a mortal like me, living the mundane routine boring days, they impact you BIGTIME

While the kite runner takes you right into the final days of Afghanistan’s monarchy to the atrocities of the Taliban regime introducing you with the grey protagonist’s childhood friendship that would live his life with repentance, trying to undo the one wrong with the redemption, the feudal society amidst the felonies of the black characters. It teaches you to stand up once and the power of forgiveness to make peace with oneself, an epic tale of fathers and sons and of friendship.

The Secret on the other side sprinkles the dust of finding that one big success with your thoughts, manifestation, laws of attraction, The magnanimity of the universe in asking anything that you think worth achieving .It takes you to a level where you could redefine your life and get whatever and i mean whatever you want, the fine line being , The want

Tuesdays with Morrie are inspirational lessons of an old man with his protégé. It tells you the aftermath of living life on the busy road and losing the track of your elders and the importance of wisdom from them when the world seems a colder place. It leaves you with the warmth of the intransient meaningless life and the afterglow of getting a second chance to discover life through the death of a mentor.

Kane and Abel brings you to think hard on the similarities of the biblical characters of the first breed of humans, the struggles of two diff aspects of life and the unputdownable tale of fiction pages after pages . Glaring similarities of how US a forward moving society gets their first women president as their 42nd president

With the passage of time and bits of inhibitions, entered the world of social networking and getting exposed to global viewers I’m thankful to a project called Aman ki Asha which led me to interacting with the new age Pakistani writers , the Diaspora writers in the book fair .pick of the week was The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Amidst the backdrop of 9/11 a book tracing the life of Chengiz an idealistic young Muslim man who out throws many to make a recognised successful life in US but after the incident is regarded with suspicion and overshadowed by the fellow personal demons, as well as his own growing paranoia and resentment at the country he has made home. The politics of the Middle East and South Asia and the relationship of the United States with many of the countries in the region in the present state make it a riveting book. Written in the first person narrative, it leaves you with a lot of unanswered questions in your mind.

Comes next in the various facets of life is romance and becomes more delectable, if it has a flavour of cricket in it...The Zoya factor, perfect blend of Mills and boons with cricket, it’s a warm witty humorous book and the dashing Nikhil Khoda , the fictional hero one can easily fall in love and a predictable love story with a happy ending. What more do we all want!

And the other classics revisited like The Alchemist, Pride & Prejudice, Who will cry when you die providing the various philosophies, new dimensions infusing hope, dreams and the greatness.

And hence the journey continues, stumbling along the road of life, exploring new paths, yearning for those long lost in the mists of time, searching for a place called bliss!

Statutory Warning : I have weird tastes in life so please do not take them as recommendations and if you do, at your own risk