Reminiscence

And so ends another year and in come flooding memories of years gone by. Wish lists, bucket lists, resolution lists and lists of things accomplished in the span of the last 365 days come prancing. As some of us look at the amazing things that have happened and some over the painful memories we want to erase, I think of all the New Year Eve’s that I can remember….where was I, with whom and what were we doing then?

And then another thought crosses my mind.

What does the new year mean but just a time check on the calendar, keeping us on a schedule that was once Roman and now Julian, with errors and leaps and names of Kings and Conquerers, that once started on the 1st of March.

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But this is a blog about poetry, and we must end the year in creative wanderings not cynical logical explanations.

So I end this year’s renderings with a poem about a Room. As I read it, in came memories from bygone years: the room where I spent hours studying as a teenager,  where I retreated after a tiff with my parents, where I wrote in my diary and dreamt of the future.

The words also remind me of several moments from years gone by. In the poem I found the nagging voice of my mother reminding me of chores unfinished, the friend whose blunt truths I reluctantly accept, the old cook with the toothless smile who can no longer work, the naughty innocent laughter of babies who entered my life and the timeless moments I shared with them. The knowing smiles of my mentor, the beautiful green grasslands witnessed from a peak, moonlight on a lake, unread books and unfinished stories…

To another year of collecting memories, I hope you find your own memories as you read this poem…..woh kamra yaad aata hai by Javed Akhtar.

Woh Kamra Yaad Aata Hai

Transliteration

Main jab bhi
girl-at-window-dali-1925-1342572647_b Zindagi ki chilchilaati hui dhoop main tapkar
Dusron ke aur khud ke jhoot se thak ke
Main sab se ladkar khud se haar kar
Main jab bhi us kamre main jaata the
woh halke and gehre kathae rangon ka ek kamra
woh behad meherbaan kamra
jo apni naram mutti main mujhe aise chupa leta tha
jese koi maa
bacche ko aanchal main chupa le
pyar se daante
ye kya aadat hai
jalti dupehar main mare mare ghumte ho tum
woh karma yaad aata hai

dabees aur khasa bhari
kuch zara mushkil se khulne wala
woh sheesham sa darwaza
ki jese koi akkhad baap
apne kurhdure sine main
shafkat ke samandar ko chupaye ho

woh kursi
aur uske saath woh judwa behen uski
woh dono
dost thi meri

woh ek gustakh muh-phat aaina
jo dil ka accha tha

woh behangam si almari
jo kone main khari
ek bhudi anna ki tarah
aaine ko tanbhi karthi thi

woh ek guldaan
nanha sa
bahut shaitan
un dono par hasta tha

daricha
woh jahaanat se bhari ek muskurahat
aur dariche par jhuki woh beal
koyi sabz sargoshi

kitabe
taak main aur shelf par
sanjida astaani bani bhethi
magar sab muntazir es baat ki
main un se kuch punchu

sirhane
neend ka saathi
thakan ka chaargaar
woh narm-dil takiya
main jiski goad main sar rakhke
chath ko dekhta tha
chath ki kadiyoan main
na jane kitne afsano ki kadiyan thi
woh choti meez par
aur samne deewar par
awezaan tasveerain
mujhe apnayeyat se aur yakeen se dekhti thi
muskurati thi
unhe shak bhi nahi tha
ek din
main unko aise chodh jaonga
ki phir vaapas na aaunga

main ab jis ghar main rehta hu
bahut hi khoobsorat hai
magar aksar yahan khamosh betha yaad karta hu
woh kamra baat karta tha.

Translation in English by David Mathews

Whenever
I was scorched by the burning sun of life
Whenever
I grew tired of my own lies and lies of others,
Fighting with everyone, losing against myself
I used to go into that room.
That one room with its light and dark brown colors,
That room, kind beyond all bounds,
Which used to tuck me up in its soft sleep
As a mother
Might hide a child in the folds of her dress,
Scolding with love:
‘Now what a way to go on!
Wandering about in the midday sun!’
I remember that room,
That heavy, solid wooden door,
Hard to pull open
As if a stern father
In his rugged breast
Had hidden an ocean of tenderness

That chair
with its twin sister
Both of them
were my friends
That insolent, loud mouthed mirror,
Which had a kind heart
That clumsy wardrobe
Standing in the corner
like an old nurse
would reprove the mirror
The flower vase
Quite tiny
Very naughty
Laughing at both of them
The window
Or a knowing smile
And the creeper, bending over the casement
some green whisper
books
in the alcoves or on the shelf
sat like some serious school ma-am
but they waited for me
to ask them something

Pillows
companions of slumber
remedy for tiredness
That soft hearted bolster
In whose lap i would rest my head
and gaze at the ceiling
In the rafters of the roof
No one knows how many tales were begun
Over the little table
On the facing wall
hanging pictures
Used to look at me with affection and trust
they smiled
Never dreaming that
One day
I would leave like this
One day I would depart
Never to return

The house where I live now
Is very, very fine
But often I sit here in silence and remember
How that room would talk to me.

 

 

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