Monday, September 17, 2012

The question

She asks him "When?".

He steps towards the window and looks out. It is evening and the sun is on the horizon. The sky is a visual cocktail - a myriad mix of the colours of the rainbow. Hues of blue set against pale white stratified clouds bidding adieu to the fading yellow sun.

For a long time he is silent, his gaze fixed on the setting sun, as if almost experiencing a philosophical deja vu. A torrent of memories sweep across the arid landscape of his mind and at the same time he is reminded of the mission with which he was chosen, a long long time ago. He falls into a reverie of the past, the ageing sun still burning in his eyes.

He has almost forgotten why he is here anymore. This was not the way things were supposed to happen. This was not the path he was to tread when he began his journey. This conversation was just not in the plan. Yet, a question has been asked and answer, he will.

He thinks again of her, the one who had asked the very same question a long time back. Its been eleven long years since he first met her. Where she might be now, he has no clue. What would have become of her, he doesn't know. Does she still think of him, he is not sure. Does he still think of her, he does. Does he still feel the same way, he doesn't. He was different back then, he is different now. His thoughts bring him to the now.

There is someone who is asking the same question now. A different person. The very same question. The very same, very difficult question. But a question has been asked, and reply to it, he shall. His gaze shifts from the sun and across the ocean onto the rising moon. He steps back a bit and breathes in the misty ocean air, as if inhaling the scenery before his eyes. Then, with the weight of his past and the depth of the darkness inside him, he speaks, "Soon. Very soon."

Friday, August 17, 2012

Kis kadar chot khaaye hue hain

Failing to be inspired in the way I used to, for a very very long time now, it is almost impossible for me to compose something original. Nevertheless, desperate times call for disparate mesaures :) , and so I have resorted to the next best thing - reading poetry, listening to old time melodies, ghazals and qawwalis. All this is just a frantic, though feeble at that, attempt to remain connected with that miniscule part of me which is still human. (at this point it becomes natural to question the nature of the other not-so-miniscule part of me, to which I would sadly clarify by stating that the other part is slowly but surely mouldng itself in the shape of a commonplace urban phenomenon - the cubicle rat).

These days most of my time is being spent on work related affairs, and all the other, ahem, affairs have taken a backseat. Nevertheless, once every few months, I still go into those moments of trance / insanity that give rise to blog posts such as those that shall follow this one. And, true to my human side, notwithstanding the minisculity of its form, this post is still a vehement representation of what I am and a stubborn reminder of the stain of the human emotion etched into my psyche. Some things just don't go away, do they?

Out, bloody damned spot!

I had first heard this song in a Bollywood masala movie from the 90s. It was well sung, well directed and eventually became a hugely popular song. That number was sung by Sonu Nigam. However, very recently I discovered a video on youtube of a version sung by a Pakistani artist, Ataullah Khan, who is a living legend in his own right (as I came to know subsequently). Further research and a couple of hours digging through the WWW, I found more versions sung as qawwalis by Sabari Brothers, Ayaz Ali and Munni Begum.

Each one has their own style of singing it. Although there is much speculation and conflicting views regarding the poet of the original verse, the poem itself is heart rending. I have compiled the present verse below based on multiple renditions by various artistes named above.

Although the theme is not sufi per se, there are philosophical undertones and a sense of renunciation mixed with a sense of loss and anguish. The beauty of the song, akin to Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, is that the tone of the verse depends entirely the approach the audience takes while interpreting the song.

Here's the verse.
इश्क में हम तुम्हें क्या बताएं

इश्क में हम तुम्हें क्या बताएं, किस क़दर चोट खाए हुए हैं
... मौत ने हमको मारा है अब हम, ज़िन्दगी के सताए हुए हैं

उसने शादी का जोड़ा पहन कर, सिर्फ चूमा था मेरे कफ़न को
... बस उसी दिन से जन्नत की हूरें, मुझको दूल्हा बनाये हुए हैं

सुर्ख़ आँखो में काजल लगा है, रुख पे गाज़ा सजाये हुए हैं
... ऐसे आए हैं मैय्यत में मेरी, जैसे शादी में आए हुए हैं

ऐ लहद अपनी मिट्टी से कह दे, दाग लगने ना पाए कफ़न को
... आज ही हमने बदले हैं कपड़े, आज ही हम नहाए हुए हैं

बिख़री जुल्फें परेशान चेहरा, अश्क आँखो में आये हुए हैं
... ऐ अजल ठहर जा चाँद लम्हें , वो अयादत को आये हुए हैं

दुश्मनो की शिकायत है बेजा, दोस्तओं से गिला क्या करेंगे
... झड़ चुके जिन दरख्तो के पत्ते, फिर कहाँ उनके साये हुए हैं

ज़िन्दगी में पलटकर न देखा, और न पूछा कभी हाल 'अफज़ल'
... बाद मरने के मेरी लहद पे, वो दुल्हन बनके आये हुए हैं

क्या है अंजाम-ए-उल्फत पतंगो, जाके शम्मा के नज़दीक देखो
... कुछ पतंगो की लाशें पड़ी हैं, 'पर' किसी के जलाए हुए हैं

दफ्न के वक़्त सब दोस्तो ने, ये चुकाया मुहब्बत का बदला
... डाल दी खाक मेरे बदन पर, यह न सोचा नहाए हुए हैं

उनकी तारीफ़ क्या पूछते हो, उम्र सारी गुनाहो में गुज़री
... पारसाँ बन रहे हैं वो ऐसे, जैसे गंगा नहाये हुए हैं

देख साकी तेरे मैकदे का, इक पहुंचा हुआ रिंद हूँ मैं
... जितने आए हैं मैय्यत पर मेरी, सब के सब ही लगाए हुए हैं

ज़िन्दगी में न रास आई राहत, चैन से अब सोने दो लहद में
... ए फ़रिश्तो न छेड़ो न छेड़ो, हम जहाँ के सताए हुए हैं

एक आँसूं न पलको से टपके, यह वफ़ा का तकाज़ा है वरना
... दोस्तो हम भी आँखो में अपनी गंगा-जमुना छुपाये हुए हैं

खोई-खोई सी बेचैन आँखें, बेकरारी है चेहरे से ज़ाहिर
... हो न हो आप भी शेख साहिब, इश्क की चोट खाए हुए हैं

I hope someday I am able to put up a translation of the verse for the non-Indic readers.