Farewell, 2016! You Killed ‘Liberal’ for Me

As the year 2016 draws to a close, many will rush to call it the annus horribilis. From Brexit to Trump, from the migrant crisis to Aleppo, much went wrong with the world. Like the many others before it on these topics, there’s probably no point in this post. Still, I feel a need to say something out loud.

So here goes…

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आज छोड़ चलते हैं…

2015 is coming to an end, and with that a phase of life draws to a close. In wishing you all a very happy 2016, and indeed, the rest of your life, I also wish goodbye to the days that have passed… This poem is a celebration of the era that draws to a close today – childhood, with all its vicissitudes and victories, with all its charms and challenges, with all its memories.

I hope you had a great 2015. I wish you all the love, hope, strength, and fulfilment in 2016!

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Winter in the City

Here’s something I had written earlier, forgotten about completely, and rediscovered recently. Since summer is still marauding us these days, I think publishing a poem about winter still makes sense.

After all, aren’t we all in a perpetual yearning for the beautiful days of the past or the beautiful days of tomorrow? Aren’t we all just looking for an escape even when we know there isn’t one?

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Reading Gulzar – Beeti Na Bitaai Raina

Gulzar (Click on the image for source.)

Gulzar (Click on the image for source.)

This has been a long time coming.

I think the blog hasn’t been updated for a while now (a month to be precise), but that hasn’t really been for a lack of trying. A couple of pieces that I have been working on are taking an impossibly high amount of time to get done with. As such, not quite able to head anywhere with my own words, I have decided to return to the relief and comfort of those of Gulzar.

There are a few songs where the singing of the words surpasses their poetry, if you know what I mean. Usually, the latter is so good that if you were to sing it (and I am assuming here that you’re as bad a bathroom singer as any), you’d still find joy. You’d find joy in merely reading the poetry. But the rare songs I refer to are those where the poetry’s meaning and emotion is enhanced by the manner in which they have been sung. They will be beautiful if you read them, or make your best un-donkeybray effort at singing, but they won’t be as beautiful as the original, shot-on-film, sung-by-the-gods song itself.

This film, Gulzar’s ‘Parichay’ has both these kinds of songs: there is the former of the rich poetry, and this, the latter.

When you listen to the song, or rather, watch it, you’ll see how Lata Mangeshkar and Jaya Bachchan begin the song more like a narration, like singing a song you knew the words to but thry don’t really mean anything personal to you. For a song that is inherently sad in its words, watch the latter smile and enjoy the singing. Then, watch how Bhupinder’s voice and Sanjeev’s introduction to the scene adds the feels to it, like moments beginning to form out of the mist of memories. You know this is more than just a collection of words for him. This leads beautifully to the second verse, by which they’re both emoting, yearning for the filling of a common void.

It is subtle. It is, in fact, aspiration.

Incidentally (and sadly, for it highlights the dearth we’ve had of actors of his ilk in Hindi cinema), Sanjeev Kumar who plays Jaya Bachchan’s father in this song was cast opposite her in ‘Anamika’. Incidentally, again, R. D. gave the music to that film too!

Film: Parichay

Music: R. D. Burman

Singer: Lata Mangeshkar and Bhupinder Singh

Lyrics: 🙂

Here goes…

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All Vacations Must End

At times, your words don’t come from you. They are too powerful to belong to one voice, their meaning too deep for one tale. Recently, I uttered some of this sort. They were said to someone I know in a jovial tone, without much thought gone in their formation.

And yet, when I reflected on them, I was saddened. Extremely. By their weight, the lost possibilities they spoke of, the grief of demise they had. Moved, I wrote this poem, and made those words its title. Let me know how you like it.


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कुछ दिनों पहले एक ख़याल आया था जो कविता में बुन सकता था। यूं तो यह ख़याल अक़्सर धुंआ हो जाते हैं, यह रह गया कहीं।

फिर अगले ही दिन कुछ बेवजह, या शायद यूं ही मंज़ूर हो उसे जिसकी मर्ज़ी चलती है, मैं एक पसंदीदा कविता से आन मिला। लॉर्ड अल्फ्रेड टेन्नीसन ने लिखी थी, और मैंने हमेशा माना है की उसकी आखरी पंक्ति जीवन का आधार भी है और उद्देश्य भी।

जो मेरे ज़हन में था और जो टेन्नीसन के ज़हन में रहा होगा, दोनों ख़याल कहीं जाकर मिलते से लगे। जो लगा सो यह कविता लिखनी शुरू की। आशा है की यहां आपको भी मिलते नज़र आएंगे…

और हाँ, अगर आप उस कविता को पहचान गए हैं (और गर साहित्य और कविता में ज़रा रूचि है तो न पहचानने की कोई वजह भी नहीं), तो कमेंट्स में बताइयेगा!


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रिश्तों की उम्र कौन माप पाया है?

कुछ सदियों ज़िंदा रहते हैं, हमें शेरों-कहानियों में मिलते हैं। कुछ पूरी ज़िन्दगी अपने पैरों पर खड़े होने में लगा देते हैं, कुछ पूरी ज़िन्दगी हर दिन जीते हैं। हर एक की अपनी उम्र होती है। हाँ, कहानियां सबकी एक ही लगती है मुझे।

काफ़ी रिश्तों को क़रीब से देखा है मैंने। पाया है की जहां ख़ुशी है, रंग हैं, वह सब लोगों के अपने हैं।  पर जहां कलह है, दुःख, रुस्वाई है, उन सबकी एक सी पहचान होती है। ऐसा लगता है की मानों एक को देख लिया हो, तो सबको देख लिया। हम उन्ही मसौदों पर रूठते हैं, वैसे ही बेगैरद लहज़े से बात करतें हैं, उसी दर्द से बिछड़ते हैं, वही आंसू रोते हैं… सब वही है, हमने कुछ नहीं सीखा है। इन्ही उलझनों से गुज़रने का नाम हमने ज़िन्दगी कर दिया है। यही चेहरे, यही मोड़, यही सब चलता रहता है, एक के बाद एक, दोबारा…

इन्ही किस्सों, कहानियों, दोस्तों, और लोगों के ग़म को देखा है मैंने, और उसे संजो के ये कविता लिखी है। उमीद है कुछ पसंद आएगी।


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Reading Gulzar – Filhaal

Gulzar (Click on the image for source.)

Gulzar (Click on the image for source.)

There is, arguably, no escape from the ephemeral nature of Life.

We sail on a sea of motion, where the tides of Time and Chance decide our destinations as much as the forces of Will and Desire. Life is lost and found in the finite moments of tranquility that exist in the storms that ravage, ceaselessly, these waters. And we are all, always, fighting for these moments.

Which is why, at times, it seems prudent to forget the big picture, let go of the dream of the golden shore of destination that awaits on the other side. They will come, yes; but for what it is worth, we could always breathe a little. Make do with the simple pleasures that abound in the featureless commonality and redundancy of Routine. Love ourselves a little.

We know not when the wind will change its course, we know not what the weather gods decide, we can never foresee what the next moment will bring. But if we enjoy what we have, when we have it, no joy is too small to be celebrated.

I have written earlier of Gulzar’s celebration of everyday objects, occurrences, and experiences (here and here, for your reading pleasure). This piece, instead, is about everyday sentiments.

Film: Filhaal

Music: Anu Malik

Singer: Asha Bhonsle

Lyrics: 🙂

Here goes…

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ज़िन्दगी मुस्कान है

पिछले साल सोचा था कि हिंदी में लिखेंगे। वोह तो हुआ नहीं। अब पहले दिन से ही भली शुरुआत कर रहा हूँ।

अक्सर यह देखा है कि ज़िन्दगी से मायूस होते हैं, इससे मोहब्बत नहीं रहती। मज़ाक कि बात नहीं लगती कि हम इसकी बेवफाईओं के कारण इससे नफरत करना जानते हैं, यह भूल जाते हैं कि बेवफा ही सही पर है तो एक ही? यह चली गयी तो जायेंगे कहाँ?

तो इस साल थोडा उम्मीद से शुरू हो, थोड़ी आशा कि ओर चले, इस आरज़ू के साथ आपको एक तोहफा देता हूँ…


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