What of life, if not for all the people we meet en route, the moments we share with them, the impact they have on us, on our thoughts and our perspective.
I remember being 17 and having a whole host of friends. Surrounded by peers mostly, trying to fit in, trying to be liked, playing hard at impressing and being popular. Even with no musical inclination, I remember joining the choir at college, signing myself hoarse, just so that I could belong.
For the next 5 years I took a kind of sabbatical from making friends, connecting with new people or even keeping in touch with old friends. Life was taking me in another direction, and I was trying to make sense of where.
The journey back into developing and nurturing relationships was slow and unique in many ways. The relationships in this phase were not forced by blood,  by environment nor by society, but by what I would like to call ‘clicks’.
We simply clicked.
This has led me today to be surrounded by individuals unique in personality, character and temperament. It is a motley group of people who I call my friends; some have grandchildren, some have just experienced their first kiss, some have adopted a child, and some are just beginning their careers.
Was I drawn to them or were they souls wandering in time, whom I have met in another lifetime, coming together again ? How else am I going to explain playing battleship one evening, while the next day sipping wine on a rooftop as we talk late into the night. Robert Kiyosaki, in his book, Rich Brother, Rich Sister calls them the ‘spiritual family’.
Each soul in my spiritual family has touched me in so many ways, allowed me to escape time, allowed me to enter their world where we learn, rejoice and become.
This week’s rendition by Faiz, in his words captures the moments I have been fortunate to share with these individuals. Everything that is the present today, the sky, that glass of wine, the dry leaves, the long road, the pain within us, the hurt, love lost and love fulfilled, would not be the same without You.

Rang hai dil ka mere
Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Tum na aaye the to har ik cheez wohi thi ki jo hai
Aasmaan hadd-e-nazar, raahguzar- raahguzar, sheesha-e-mai- sheesha-e-mai

When you weren’t here,
all things were as they are:
the sky stretched as far as the eye can see
the road stayed a road,
a glass of wine, a glass of wine.

Aur ab sheesha-e-mai, raahguzar, rang-e-falak

Rang hai dil ka mere, “khoon-e-jigar hone tak”
Champaai rang kabhi, raahat-e-deedaar ka rang
Surmayi rang ki hai sa’at-e-bezaar ka rang
Zard patton ka, khas-o-khaar ka rang
Surkh phoolon ka, dehekte hue gulzaar ka rang
Zehar ka rang, lahu rang, shab-e-taar ka rang
Aasmaan, raahguzar, sheesha-e-mai
Koi bheegaa hua daaman, koi dukhti hui rag
Koi har lehzaa badaltaa hua aaina hai

And now, the glass of wine and the road
are imbued with the colour of dusk-
the colour that is, of my heart, singed
with blood that pumps through it,
sometimes, turning purple,
straining with the relief of reunion,
or sometimes pale gray, the moment
of weariness, of self-loathing.
Leaves dried, yellowed,
prickly, like thistles, like hay.
Red blossoms igniting
the garden into inferno.
Venom, stained of the blood it shed.
The dead hue of night.
The sky, wet like a tear-stained vest,
the road, pulled like a throbbing vein,
the glass, disloyal, like a mirror
that changes reflections by the moment

Ab jo aaye ho to thehro ki koi rang, koi rut, koi shai

Ek jagah par thehre
Phir ik baar har ik cheez wohi ho ki jo hai
Aasmaan hadd-e-nazar, raahguzar-raahguzar, sheesha-e-mai- sheesha-e-mai

Now that you are here, stay.
Stay, so colors, seasons, so everything
comes to rest in one place. And once again,
let all things be as they are:
the sky stretched as far as the eye can see,
the road stay a road,
a glass of wine, a glass of wine.

August 1963

Here is Faiz himself, reciting his poem ‘Rang hai dil ka mere’.

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