Flights of Fancy: Travel to the Jaipur Literature Festival

I was fortunate to be part of the literature festival in Jaipur held on jan 25th…

I was most attracted to the forums on poetry, urdu and ghazals, understandably I also bought a lot of Urdu books and this time Urdu poetry written in Hindi script.

So soon you will read poetry by Javed Akhtar, kaifi Azmi and Fahmida Riaz, which I will transliterate in the weeks to come….

Meanwhile here is a Vlog of the days spent at JLF.


Rooh dekhi hai kabhi

I heard this poem in the voice of Gulzar himself at a li-tfest in Bangalore. His baritone voice made the visuals that he writes about ever more alive.

As a poet Gulzar has a rare talent of creating lingering visuals using his words, this along with the flowing easy to read words, make him a beloved shayar to millions of poetry lovers.

Being in his presence, you can feel a calm and radiant aura so alike a mystic.

I especially like the word Kundan in the last line of this poem…..a word used to denote the Dalai Lama himself.

If you would like to listen to more such poems in his voice, you can find them at this link here.


Rooh dekhi hai, kabhi rooh ko mahsoos kiya hai?

Jaagate jeete hu e doodhiya kohre se lipatkar
Saans lete hu e is kohare ko mahsoos kiya hai?

Ya shikaare mein kisi jheel pe jab raat basar
aur paani ke chapaakoon pe baaja karti hon taliyaan
subkiyaan leeti hawaoon ke kabhi bain sune hain?

Chodhaveen raat ke barfaab se ek chaand ko jab
dher se saaye pakarne ke liye bhaagate hain,
tum ne saahil pe khare girje ki deewar se lagkar
Apni gahnaati hui kokh ko mahsoos kiya hai?

jism sau baar jale tab bhi wahi mitte ka dhela
rooh ek bar jalegi to woh kundan hogi

Rooh daekhi hai, kabhi rooh ko mahsoos kiya hai?


Have you seen the soul, ever sensed it?
Have you ever felt the mist, alive, alert,
Soaked yourself in its breathing, milky whiteness?

Or else, when ripples of water tinkle
While on a boat on a lake on the onset of night
Have you ever heard the sobbing wind wail?

When a great many shadows run
To catch the full moon on a snow white night
Standing against the wall of a church on the shore
Have you sensed your womb resounding?

The body, burnt a hundred times, is still a clod of earth
The soul, burnt once, becomes gold

Have you seen the soul, ever sensed it?

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