Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Raat Youn Teri (Faiz)-Translation

Your forgotten memory, last night, came by,
As spring steals upon a garden deserted,
Amidst still sands, gently, as the morning breeze blows,
As an ailing man is simply comforted.

Original by Faiz:

Raat youn teri khoyi hui yaad aayi,
Jaise veeraane mein chupke se bahaar aa jaaye,
Jaise sehraon main haule se chale baad-e-naseem,
Jaise beemaar ko bevajah qaraar aa jaaye.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Basera-e-Tabassum (Kashmir)

Kashmir BeT

The love affair started tenderly: a warm hug, a lightless night, a dim lantern, the resonating trickle of streams and whispers of footfalls. I had reached Peth-Bugh tired, after two long and extremely hot journeys. The cool still air was a respite. As I stepped out of the car, a strange good feeling set in. Someone hugged me. My bags were taken. Four or five hands gently caught my wrist- some strongly holding me, responsibly; others, shyly, just touching. Some more hands slowly joined in. Someone ahead held the lantern, so I could see my feet and some more feet. There wasn’t any electricity and so there weren’t any faces. Soon I started getting comfortable in this strange lightless, faceless walk of sounds and touches. I too caught their hands, letting down my guard- trusting them to guide me through the damp mud and unsteady planks that served as footbridges over the trickling water.

As we reached Basera-the home, gaslights were put on, some more candles and lanterns were lit and the world became a place of faces again. The magic did not dissipate. In fact, the enchantment only grew. Twenty brilliant curious faces and forty gleaming eyes slowly appeared and disappeared behind veils, curtains, doors, leaving behind them images of giggles and faint sounds of smiles.

The days that followed, went by wondering, working, observing, discussing and doing a whole lot of things in the midst of smiles and hugs and kisses. The last time when work was rewarded like this, I cannot remember. Everything seemed more integrated. It was as though the self was binding with and diluting within the larger, more comprehensive whole of the place. The sense of individuality seemed comfortably less significant. Even the heart and mind seemed to suddenly get along well. The concerns of the place seemed real and worry-deserving.
In Kashmir, there seemed to be a sense of solace and purpose in everything, even in worrying…

Some pictures from Kashmir here

(The above are some impressions I put down on returning from Kashmir. I had been there in June to visit Basera-e-Tabassum. In conventional terms one would describe it as an orphanage, but i felt like a city girl visiting a long lost family in a native. It is a place for girl orphans, whose parents have been victims of the terrorism in Kashmir. Despite the seeming bitterness of their lives, these children are perhaps the most affectionate ones I have ever come across.
I'm grateful I went there, perhaps some of my share of love was destined to come from a hundred children in Kashmir)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ek Arsey Se

This is the poem "Ek aur Ufuq" written earlier, that Nitin Sinha has composed beautifully and sung.thanks Nitin :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I can’t seem to write…nowadays
Perhaps I’m not strange enough to write well
But I am strange, in fact stranger – a stranger unto myself?
I play with words
I stand musing, shutting myself on the inside of a glass window
Leaving the curtains open
I’m fearful of shutting the light out
I play with my hot breath on the cool wintry glass
Blowing up the blob of vapour
Making hazy flowers of those blobs
Spreading and disappearing
A blinking orgy of vaporous lights
I have a race against time
I have to make more flowers and bigger ones
Before the others vanish
“Come on” says a voice somewhere, “faster, bigger, faster!”
He asked me a couple of days back
“Why do you write?”
“Hmm” I said
And doled out
Some seemingly sensible reasons
Release? I like the craft involved in writing…
“Stuff like that” I said dismissively
I’m still blowing on the panes
Carelessly watching the grey beams of construction
In the next building
So many workers, all brown and grey,
Their whites and blacks all evenly browned
Like well baked clay
Sure footed they appear,
Knowing what to do
I don’t even seem to know what to write…
Hey! What! Why is one of them looking at me?
I hate being spied on when I’m spying
I leave the window and some vapour of hot musings on the cold glass
And walk away
Ready to write
About being unable to write

Saturday, January 03, 2009

For J

Here's an attempted translation...

Aate hai.n ghai'b se ye mazaamee.n khayaal mein,
Ghalib sareer-e-khwama, nava-e-sarosh hai

They occur from the obscure
These conceptions in the mind
The scraping of Ghalib’s pen
Is expression of the divine